Australia's NSW braces for catastrophic fire conditions
AUSTRALIA-BUSHFIRES/ (TV):Australia's NSW braces for catastrophic fire conditionsAuthorities asked people to delay travel, at the start of what is normally a busy Christmas holiday period, warning of the unpredictability of the fires as winds of up to 70 kph (44 mph) were set to fan flames through the middle of the day.
Image caption Sydney 's New Year fireworks - pictured here in 2018 - generate millions for the economy. More than a quarter of a million people have signed a petition calling for Sydney 's New Year's Eve fireworks to be cancelled and the money spent on fighting fires that threaten the city.
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More than a quarter of a million people have signed a petition calling for Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks to be cancelled and the money spent on fighting fires that threaten the city.
Some A$5.8m (£3m; $4m) was reportedly spent on fireworks in Sydney last year, the petition says.
The display should also be cancelled as it "may traumatise some people" who are dealing with "enough smoke in the air".
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Sydney 's New Year fireworks - pictured here in 2019 - generate millions for the economy. Another said redirecting the money towards bushfire relief would Moore wrote on the petition's website that while she shared the "deep sympathies" of the people signing the petition, most of the fireworks budget
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But Sydney's lord mayor Clover Moore said the fireworks would go ahead.
Ms Moore said she shared the "deep sympathies" of those who had signed the petition, but the fireworks were planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget had already been spent.
"We can't cancel the fireworks and even if we could, doing so would have little practical benefit,"
However, Australians who signed the Change.org petition said a firework display would be an "insult".
"Australians all across the country need the money to rebuild their schools, their homes," said one person. "It's a matter of priority and this is where we show we care."
Linda McCormick, who set up the page, said other communities in Australia were "cancelling fireworks and celebrating New Year in other ways".
In recent months, Australia has been grappling with severe bushfires due to record-breaking temperatures and severe drought.
New South Wales - where Sydney is located - is the worst-affected state, with nearly 100 fires burning.
The town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was largely destroyed on 22 December and major roads south of the city have been closed.
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A 13-year-old Mississippi girl is accused of repeatedly stabbing her 15-year-old brother on New Year's Day in an argument over fireworks.The boy was in critical condition after suffering multiple stab wounds to his upper body, Jackson police spokesman Sam Brown confirmed. Police said the girl was detained and the case remains under investigation. Neither the suspect nor the victim are being identified because they are underage.