Protesters in several southern cities cut off key roads linking to the capital of Baghdad as widespread demonstrations continue. In Nasiriyah, demonstrators stopped traffic across most of the city’s major bridges. In Muthanna, protesters crossed the main streets of the city of Kut and forced employees and students to return to their homes, demanding that a general strike continue. Demonstrators also shut the main gate of Muthanna University in the city of Samawah.

The leader of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, says “catastrophic” fire conditions have almost completely razed one Australian community. She said there was “not much left” of the town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, where about 400 people live. Firefighters are struggling to contain bushfires burning across several states amid dry and hot conditions. Since September, Australia’s bushfire emergency has killed at least nine people, destroyed hundreds of homes and scorched millions of hectares of land.

A Virginian biochemist has been named winner of Miss America 2020 after performing a live science experiment that defied stereotypes of the contest. Camille Schrier defeated 50 women to take the crown wearing a lab coat. The 24-year-old impressed judges with a chemistry demonstration in the talent show. Ms Schrier won a $50,000 (£38,000) scholarship and a one-year role as Miss America.