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People queue for ice cream at Sydney's Bondi Beach on Thursday: Photo Saverio Marfia/Getty Images

Australia smashed its hottest day record just one day after it was set, preliminary findings from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) released Thursday show.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: The country has also experienced its worst ever spring for wildfire danger, the BOM said in a climate statement Wednesday.

  • The driest spring on record has left more than 95% of Australia experiencing dangerous fire weather that has been above average, and much of the country is in severe drought.
  • The historic heat wave comes as firefighters continue to fight wildfires across the country. The Australian state of New South Wales declared a seven-day state of emergency Thursday.

What they're saying: Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist with the BOM, said in a video posted to the agency's website that many areas would shatter hottest December records and perhaps even the hottest temperature for any time of the year, with Saturday forecast to be a particularly searing day.

Read the climate report:

Go deeper: In photos: Wildfires rage across Australia amid historic heat wave

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the new temperature record details.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

3 hours ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).

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