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Big Picture

Need to cool off? This idea fits

When the mercury rises, many will head to where the water is.

And if you are in The Netherlands, a good option is the Maarsseveenseplassen, or Puzzle Island, in Utrecht.

The jigsaw puzzle-shaped playground, set within a 140ha leisure park and lake, saw a good crowd on Wednesday seeking relief from the summer heat.

Restoration work done recently on the man-made island included a water slide and fountains, and comes just in time.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute is predicting sunny and hot weather for the coming days and the Dutch are not alone in sweating it out.

Western Europe is bracing for record temperatures this week - 42 deg C in Spain and the high 30s in France and Britain.

In May and June, thousands died in India and Pakistan from deadly heatwaves, while the west coast of the United States has been plagued by forest fires.

More extreme weather may be on the way if El Nino gathers force in the coming months. This weather phenomenon, associated with prolonged droughts in Asia and flooding in South America, is a familiar and unwelcome presence in Singapore, too, where there has been little respite from the oppressive heat.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'Need to cool off? This idea fits'. Print Edition | Subscribe