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The National is a private English-language daily newspaper published in Abu Dhabi.
Photo of a man taking a picture of Turkmenistan's Gates of Hell gas crater's giant flames

Why These 7 Eternal Flames Around The World Keep On Burning

The president of Turkmenistan announced plans this year to extinguish the country's famous "Gates of Hell" gas crater. But it's by no means the only one of its kind. We rounded up the eternal flames still burning in all corners of the globe.

On Jan. 8, Turkmenistan’s leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, known for his authoritarian tendencies, announced on television that he had set his sights on the Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the “Gates of Hell”, a mysterious vat of flames that has been spewing fire for over 50 years in the Karakum Desert.

The burning crater is one of the central Asian country’s few tourist attractions, yet President Berdymukhamedov has ordered it extinguished once and for all, saying the methane-belching pit was bad for the environment and locals’ health, while also representing a lost opportunity for the impoverished nation to capture marketable gas.

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Huge Haul Of Whale Vomit Worth Millions For Fishermen In Yemen
Benjamin Witte

Huge Haul Of Whale Vomit Worth Millions For Fishermen In Yemen

It's a modern tale with a rich and fragrant whiff of Jonah and the Whale, when a group of Yemeni fishermen made the catch of their lives this week in the Gulf of Aden.

After a large, dead whale was spotted floating in the waters of the coast of Yemen, 37 fishermen helped drag it ashore, the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported. But what they found in the belly of the beast could make them incredibly rich in one of the world's poorest countries: a giant blob of unexpelled and very valuable vomit.

Known as ambergris, the waxy substance is used to make high-end perfumes. And as gross as it may sound, it's literally worth its weight in gold.

Last year, a fisherman in Thailand made headlines when he came across about 100 kilograms (220 lbs) of the stuff washed up on a beach. London's The Daily Mail estimated that the find to be worth some 2.4 million pounds ($3.3 million).

The chunk discovered in Yemen is reported to be larger still — weighing nearly 130 kilograms (287 lbs) — and perfume makers have already made offers to buy it. But in a war-torn country where the average annual income is just $800, the ambergris is also a serious source of stress.

"We want to strike a deal to sell it as soon as possible, because the longer it stays the more challenging the situation will become," one of the lucky fishermen told The National. "We have already had a big quarrel over how the money should be shared."

The first image NASA's Perseverance rover sent back after landing on Mars.

The Latest: Biden Opens To Iran, Myanmar Coup Death, Photo From Mars

Welcome to Friday, where the coronavirus death toll surpasses 100,000 in Africa, the Myanmar coup protests record the first casualty and NASA's Mars rover sends its first picture of the Red Planet. We also look at how the lack of internet access is preventing minorities in the United States from getting the COVID vaccine.

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