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Smoke shrouds the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia's most populous city on Thursday. Photo: Cassie Trotter/Getty Images

Smoke from Australia's deadly wildfires blanketed the state capitals of Sydney and Adelaide as air quality exceeded "hazardous" levels on Thursday, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: Thousands of people have fled the fires. Per News.com.au, much of the country is on high fire alert, as blazes rage across all six of Australia's states. Six people have died in the bushfires in the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
Residents defend a property from a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree, north of Sydney. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
A NSW Rural Fire Service firefighter mops up after a bushfire in the suburb of Llandilo in Sydney. Photo: Sam Mooy/Getty Images
Trees are burned black after a bushfire in Old Bar, north of Sydney. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
Firefighters tackle a wildfire that's threatening a home in Taree, north of Sydney. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
Fire burns near the small town of Deepwater, near Glen Innes in northern New South Wales. Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
A dehydrated and injured Koala receives treatment at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, Nov. 2. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images
Wildfires burn in the distance as children play on a beach in Forster, north of Sydney, Nov. 9. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison comforts 85-year-old Owen Whalan at an evacuation center in Taree, Nov. 10. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
An aerial photo of the fires over northeastern New South Wales, Nov. 9. Photo: Tom Bannigan/AFP via Getty Images
The remains of a house destroyed by fire in Old Bar, north of Sydney, Nov. 10. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
A fire rages in Bobin, north of Sydney, Nov. 9. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.

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Why it matters: The advances in voice synthesis could help fix bad movie dubbing — and they come as international content is becoming increasingly important to studios and streaming platforms as part of the globalization of entertainment.

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Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

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A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.