Forest fire tragedy in Portugal

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Burnt cars block a road in the Pedrogao Grande area, Portugal, 18 June 2017 (AP/Armando Franca)

A massive forest fire in central Portugal has claimed more than 60 lives and injured dozens of others with hot, windy conditions fanning the flames.

Many died in their vehicles trying to flee the blaze while others died from smoke inhalation.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning in what has been called the worst human tragedy in recent times.

More than 2,000 firefighters are on the scene with help coming from Spain and across Europe.

Officials believe lightning started the fire on Saturday in the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, northeast of Lisbon.

Europe cold snap ruins crops

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Snow falls along Mediterranean Sea at Javea, Alicante, Spain, 18 Jan 2017 (Facebook)

A combination of cold temperatures, flooding and lack of sunlight has been ruining crops across key agriculture areas in southern Europe.

The heaviest rain in 30 years has flooded the Murcia region of southeast Spain and severe cold and snow in central Italy have nearly wiped out vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, eggplants and zucchinis.

The shortages have significantly increased food prices across northern Europe as suppliers scramble to meet demand.

Measurable snow has also blanketed the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since the early 1980s.

The cold snap has claimed more than 65 lives across Europe this month.