How the fires look from space. Photo: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory/Facebook
The Amazon rainforest has been ravaged by hundreds of fires for the past 3 weeks, and the Brazilian government has deployed 44,000 troops to battle the blazes.
Why it matters: World leaders at the G7 summit have pledged a $20 million aid package to help affected South American countries fight the blazes. The BBC notes that from 1980 to 2010, the rainforest's trees are estimated to have pulled in carbon dioxide equivalent to the fossil fuel emissions of most of the 9 countries that own or border it.
Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.
The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.
Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.
Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.