Forty-One Dead in Church Fire
An electrical fire hit a Coptic Christian Church in Giza, near the Egyptian capital of Cairo, during Sunday Mass yesterday, killing 41 people, including 18 children. Smoke from the fire moved quickly to overtake the building, stopping the efforts of would-be rescuers and forcing congregants to jump out windows to save themselves. The local prosecutor's office said the 41 deaths were attributable to asphyxiation, with no other visible injuries on the victims. Copts are the largest Christian minority in Egypt, often suffering attacks. Egyptian Christians complain the bureaucracy of the Muslim-majority nation discriminates against them, especially in matters related to building or reconstructing churches.

This map depicts the location of Giza, in the governorate of Cairo, where 41 people were killed by smoke from an electrical fire during Mass on Sunday morning. Click on the map to learn more.
Further Reading: Reuters, NPR, The Guardian, Vatican News
Graphic Source: Al Jazeera
Massive Deadly Explosion
At least six people are dead and dozens more are injured and missing after a powerful firework storage explosion in Armenia’s capital of Yerevan on Sunday. Officials report 18 people are still missing as around 70 rescue workers continue to search the rubble for survivors. The Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement that preliminary information points to two large explosions bringing down part of a building housing fireworks, which then set off a fire. It is unclear what caused the ignition of the fireworks, but officials have ruled out a terror attack. This is the first time an explosion of this magnitude has happened in Yerevan.

This map depicts the location of Yerevan, Armenia's capital city, where an explosion in a firework storage building killed six and injured over 60 people. Click on the map to learn more.
Further Reading: Barron's, Al Jazeera, Reuters, CBS News
Graphic Source: AFP
Ice Shelves Crumbling Faster
New analysis of satellite images of the Antarctic ice shelf by Caltech and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reveals icebergs are being shed into the ocean faster than glacial ice is being replenished. The research team released its findings in a study in the journal Nature, with the study's key finding showing Antarctic ice sheets have lost a net 12 trillion tons since 1997. This news comes at the same time the Antarctic sea ice extent in July hit its lowest levels on record. The researchers attribute the accelerated ice shelf degradation to the previously poorly-monitored Antarctic Coastal Current, and warn that ice shelves may be losing ice up to 40% faster than had been thought.

This map depicts icebergs being calved from the Antarctic ice shelf in March, revealing the Antarctic ice shelf is shedding icebergs faster than previously thought. Click on the map to learn more.
Further Reading: CTV News, Daily Mail, France24,
Graphic Source: Reuters
Friday's Answer
Q:  Connecting the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, what heavily trafficked strait is the shortest water route between India and China?

A: Strait of Malacca 
Vessels have been traversing the Strait of Malacca for centuries. The small waterway runs southwest of the Malay Peninsula and east of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, bordering Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. At its narrowest point, the Strait is about 500 miles (800 km) long and 40 miles (65 km) wide. Because the Strait is the shortest route connecting the Indian Ocean with the Pacific, it is a strategic location for international commerce. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., almost a quarter of all international maritime trade flows and 60 percent of China’s trade flows move through this heavily trafficked seaway. As one of the busiest channels in the world, the Strait of Malacca is a maritime chokepoint for merchant ships and large oil tankers to and from the Middle East and East Asia. 

Today's Question
Q: Flowing parallel to the Missouri River, the longest river in America, what is the shortest river in the world? 
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