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This Afternoon

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As U.S. freezes, Australia swelters in heat wave

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CANBERRA, Australia — Bats are dropping from trees, kangaroos are collapsing in the Outback and gardens are turning brown. While North America freezes under record polar temperatures, the southern hemisphere is experiencing the opposite extreme as heat records are being set in Australia after the hottest year ever.

Weather forecasters in Australia said some parts of the sparsely populated Pilbara region along the rugged northwest coast were approaching 122 degrees Fahrenheit today.

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