Before tearing up parts of Florida, Hurricane Irma ravaged whole Caribbean islands.

The mucky sediment below fish farms usually teems with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

FANG YUAN gazes around his crowded shop and says happily that business is booming.

WITH the giant Himalayas caging its towering clouds, the great basin where the Brahmaputra merges with the Ganges and Meghna rivers is prone not only to heavy rainfall but also to sudden deluges.

The images were disorienting, the reports were surreal. Vast swathes of Houston were underwater. The highways that encircle the city had become canals.

Between now and 2050 the planet’s population is expected to rise by a third, from 7.6bn to 9.8bn. Those extra mouths will need feeding, and not just with staples.

IN POOR countries people are living longer and healthier lives than ever. Since 2000 child mortality has fallen by almost half. The rate of new HIV/AIDS infections has dropped by 40%.

LAST year California Solar Systems (CSS), a small installer of residential solar panels, decided to “Buy American”.

The Gonella Hut, more than 3,000 metres up on the Italian side of Monte Bianco, should be bustling with climbers in August. Instead, it is empty.

In 1868 the world’s first traffic light was installed outside the Houses of Parliament. The gaslit signal controlled the flow of London carriages—at least for a few weeks.