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News Making International Headlines: 1 September 2021

California Ablaze

Firefighters are waging an all-out battle in strong winds to protect homes near Lake Tahoe from California’s Sierra Nevada range wildfire known as The Caldor fire. It has been burning since mid-August. Tens of thousands of residents and tourists have been evacuated from the popular resort. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the fire is moving closer to more heavily populated areas. The department has closed all 18 national forests in California in the midst of a fire season already shaping up as one of the worst on record. The fire is only 13% contained.

Double Tragedies Hit Peru

Peru is dealing with the aftermath of two tragedies in as many days. A bus plunged into a ravine outside the capital, Lima on Monday. 32 people, including 2 children, have been killed. The bus was carrying 63 passengers. One survivor said the bus started to zig-zag and passengers were asking the driver to stop, but he kept going. At the same time, two riverboats full of passengers crashed into a barge on Sunday night in Peru's largest Amazon region. At least 20 people are dead. 50 others are still missing. Reporters rushed to the scene to speak to survivors. One man was asked if his wife had made it. He told the reporter that his wife and seven-year-old son had both been killed.

Snake Venom in Covid-19 Vaccine Research

And, researchers are hoping that Brazilian Viper Venom could become a tool in the fight against Covid-19. Brazilian researchers have found that a molecule produced by the jaracussu pit viper inhibits coronavirus reproduction in monkey cells by 75%. The molecule is a peptide, a chain of amino acids that can connect to an enzyme of the coronavirus, without damaging other cells. The University of Sao Paolo says the peptide can be synthesized in the laboratory, so capturing or killing snakes for their venom is unnecessary.

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