Cuba entirely without power after Hurricane Ian causes grid to collapse

Cuba entirely without power after Hurricane Ian causes grid to collapse

PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba (Reuters) - Cuba's electrical grid collapsed late on Tuesday, local officials said, leaving the entire country in the dark shortly after Hurricane Ian plowed through the western end of the island leaving a path of destruction in its wake. The sprawling Category 3 hurricane was barreling north towards the Dry Tortugas, off the Florida Keys, late on Tuesday, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Cuba's electrical grid - decades-old and in desperate need of modernization, has been faltering for months with blackouts…
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Millions in Florida urged to evacuate as Hurricane Ian nears

Millions in Florida urged to evacuate as Hurricane Ian nears

SARASOTA, Fla., (Reuters) - Residents of Florida's Gulf Coast boarded up homes, packed up their vehicles and headed for higher ground as Hurricane Ian drew near, threatening to bring a deadly storm surge and more than a foot of rain to some areas. Ian churned across the southeastern edge of the Gulf of Mexico headed for Florida after slamming into Cuba earlier in the day, leaving the entire country without power, forcing mass evacuations and swamping fishing villages. More than 2.5 million Floridians were under evacuation orders or warnings with the sprawling storm on track to make landfall as a…
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Saudi king names crown prince MbS as prime minister

Saudi king names crown prince MbS as prime minister

RIYADH, (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz named his son and heir Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom's prime minister and his second son Prince Khalid as defence minister, a royal decree showed. The reshuffle kept another son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, as energy minister, the aged king said in the royal decree, carried by state news agency SPA. Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih remain in their positions, the decree showed. The crown prince, known as MbS, is promoted from defence minister and has…
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EU sees sabotage of Nord Stream, warns against attacks on ‘active infrastructure’

EU sees sabotage of Nord Stream, warns against attacks on ‘active infrastructure’

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) - European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the leaks of the Nord Stream pipelines were caused by sabotage, and warned of the "strongest possible response" should active European energy infrastructure be attacked. "Spoke to (Danish Prime Minister Mette) Frederiksen on the sabotage action Nordstream," von der Leyen said on Twitter, adding it was paramount now to investigate the incidents to get full clarity on the "events and why." "Any deliberate disruption of active European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will lead to the strongest possible response," she warned. Europe was investigating on Tuesday what Germany, Denmark…
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EU urges Italy to stick to programme as approves more funding

EU urges Italy to stick to programme as approves more funding

The European Commission urged the new Italian government to stick to reform plans as it cleared the way on Tuesday for the payment of an additional 21 billion euros ($20.2 billion) in post-COVID recovery funds. The Commission said Italy had met a series of 45 landmarks and targets in reform of areas such as public employment, procurement, tax administration, teaching and healthcare to qualify for another part of a 192 billion euro programme. "So congratulations, Italia, and keep up the good work! The Commission stands by you on your way to recovery," European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. A…
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Over 96% said to favour joining Russia in first vote results from occupied Ukraine regions

Over 96% said to favour joining Russia in first vote results from occupied Ukraine regions

LONDON, Sept 27 (Reuters) - First partial voting results from four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine showed overwhelming majorities in favour of becoming part of Russia, Russian state news agency RIA said on Tuesday, after so-called referendums that Kyiv and the West have denounced as a sham. Hastily arranged votes had taken place over five days in the four areas - Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson - that make up about 15% of Ukrainian territory. Local election commission members pull out ballots for vote counting in a so-called 'referendum' on the joining of Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine to Russia, at a polling station in Melitopol,…
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Ready for power, UK Labour’s Starmer tells faithful this is their ‘moment’

Ready for power, UK Labour’s Starmer tells faithful this is their ‘moment’

LIVERPOOL, England, Sept 27 (Reuters) - British opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Tuesday it was his party's "moment", championing green policies to spur economic growth and create jobs that he said would open the door to power after 12 years of Conservative government. At his party's annual conference, Starmer struck at the heart of Prime Minister Liz Truss's plan to revive growth, saying a Labour government would create jobs, improve skills and tackle climate change rather than cut taxes for the wealthiest. Trying to capitalise on the divide opened up by the government's so-called mini-budget that saw the Conservatives shift to the right…
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Greece proposes European fund to address soaring gas prices

Greece proposes European fund to address soaring gas prices

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has proposed a multibillion-euro European fund partly financed by a gas levy on power producers to support households and businesses struggling with soaring energy costs and help Europe replace Russian gas, its energy ministry said on Tuesday. To mitigate the impact of sky-rocketing gas and power prices on European consumers and industries following the war in Ukraine, the European Commission, so far, has proposed several emergency EU measures, including windfall profit levies on energy firms and cuts in electricity use. EU countries are negotiating those proposals and aim to approve them when EU energy ministers meet…
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Medvedev raises spectre of Russian nuclear strike on Ukraine

Medvedev raises spectre of Russian nuclear strike on Ukraine

An ally of President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday outlined the scenario of a nuclear strike on Ukraine, saying that the U.S.-led NATO military alliance would be too scared of a 'nuclear apocalypse' to directly enter the conflict in reponse. Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who now serves as deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said Russia had the right to defend itself with nuclear weapons if it is pushed beyond its limits and that this is "certainly not a bluff". Putin last week ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the…
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UK’s Labour party surges to largest poll lead over Conservatives

UK’s Labour party surges to largest poll lead over Conservatives

Britain's Labour party rose to its largest poll lead in over two decades over the Conservative party, The Times reported on Monday, citing YouGov poll for the publication. Last week, Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng unleashed historic tax cuts, ditched the cap on bankers' bonuses and announced huge increases in borrowing in a fiscal statement which sent markets into a tailspin. The opposition party is 17 points ahead of the Conservatives, a level of support not seen since 2001 when Labour's Tony Blair was prime minister, the report said. The survey found huge public opposition, even among Conservatives, to the tax cuts announced by…
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Asked about Italy, ECB’s Lagarde says she won’t fix ‘policy errors’

Asked about Italy, ECB’s Lagarde says she won’t fix ‘policy errors’

The European Central Bank won't use its latest emergency scheme to buy the bonds of countries that make "policy errors", its President Christine Lagarde said on Monday in response to a question about Italy's likely next government. A right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni triumphed in Italy's general elections on Sunday, inheriting one of the euro zone's heaviest debt burdens at a time of rising borrowing costs and looming recession. Meloni has pledged not to take risks with Italy's fragile finances and stick to European Union budget rules but coalition partner Matteo Salvini has called for increasing the deficit. Asked…
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Kremlin says no decision yet on whether to seal Russia’s borders to stop men fleeing

Kremlin says no decision yet on whether to seal Russia’s borders to stop men fleeing

The Kremlin said on Monday no decision had been taken on whether to seal Russia's borders to stop an exodus of military-aged men fleeing the country, after days of chaotic scenes during its first military mobilisation since World War Two. Asked about the prospect of the border being shut, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "I don't know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this." Reports that Russia might close the frontier have contributed to turmoil since President Vladimir Putin gave the order last week to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists in the biggest escalation yet…
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Orthodox Church leader says Russian soldiers dying in Ukraine will be cleansed of sin

Orthodox Church leader says Russian soldiers dying in Ukraine will be cleansed of sin

Sept 26 (Reuters) - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has said that Russian soldiers who die in the war against Ukraine will be cleansed of all their sins, days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the country's first mobilisation since World War Two. Patriarch Kirill is a key Putin ally and backer of the invasion. He has previously criticised those who oppose the war and called on Russians to rally round the Kremlin. "Many are dying on the fields of internecine warfare," Kirill, 75, said in his first Sunday address since the mobilisation order. "The Church prays that this…
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Hungary PM Orban says EU sanctions on Russia have “backfired”

Hungary PM Orban says EU sanctions on Russia have “backfired”

BUDAPEST, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Hungary should prepare for a prolonged war in neighbouring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told parliament on Monday, sharply criticising European Union sanctions imposed on Russia which he said were driving up energy prices. Orban said the EU sanctions have "backfired" and it was no surprise that governments were falling in Europe, referring to the Italian election on Sunday where Giorgia Meloni looks set to become Italy's first woman prime minister at the head of its most right-wing government since World War Two. Hungary's government has revised its long-term energy strategy and plans a raft…
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UPDATED: Kremlin says no decisions taken on border closure amid mobilisation

UPDATED: Kremlin says no decisions taken on border closure amid mobilisation

This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine. MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Monday that no decisions had been taken on closing Russia's borders, amid an exodus of military-age men since President Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilisation last Wednesday. Asked about the possibility of border closures in a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "I don't know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this." Peskov also acknowledged that some call-ups had been issued in error, saying mistakes were…
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UPDATED: Italy election victors aim for rare political stability

UPDATED: Italy election victors aim for rare political stability

ROME, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The right-wing alliance that won Italy's national election will usher in a rare era of political stability to tackle an array of problems besieging the euro zone's third largest economy, one of its senior figures said on Monday. Giorgia Meloni looks set to become Italy's first woman prime minister at the head of its most right-wing government since World War Two after leading the conservative alliance to triumph at Sunday's election. "I expect that for at least five years we will press ahead without any changes, without any twists, prioritising the things we need to…
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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy doesn’t think Putin is bluffing over nuclear arms

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy doesn’t think Putin is bluffing over nuclear arms

KYIV, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he doesn't think Vladimir Putin is bluffing when he says Moscow would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia. The Russian president said in a televised address last week that Moscow would use "all available means" to protect Russia and its people if its territorial integrity were threatened. "Look, maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now, it could be a reality," Zelenskiy, who had previously played down such warnings as nuclear blackmail, told CBS News on Sunday. "I don't think he's bluffing," Zelenskiy added. The Ukrainian president said Russian…
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UPDATED: Swastika-wearing gunman kills 13 at Russian school

UPDATED: Swastika-wearing gunman kills 13 at Russian school

MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A gunman with a swastika on his teeshirt killed 13 people, including seven children, and wounded more than 20 at a school in Russia on Monday before committing suicide, investigators said. The identity of the attacker and the motive for the shooting in Izhevsk, about 970 km (600 miles) east of Moscow, were not clear. Russia's Investigative Committee, which handles major crimes, said the gunman was wearing a balaclava. It released a short video showing his body lying on the floor of a classroom with overturned furniture and papers strewn on the floor. He was…
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Russia’s Putin to meet Belarus’ Lukashenko later today

Russia’s Putin to meet Belarus’ Lukashenko later today

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Monday in Moscow, Belarus state media reported. Russia and Belarus are close allies, with Russia having used bases in Belarus as a staging post for its troops, aircraft and equipment in the invasion of Ukraine.
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Ukraine says referendum voting door-to-door under Russian-backed security

Ukraine says referendum voting door-to-door under Russian-backed security

KYIV, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Voting in referendums in Ukraine aimed at annexing territory to Russia enters a fourth day on Monday, after the United States warned of "catastrophic consequences" if Moscow used nuclear weapons to protect any annexed regions. The votes in four eastern Ukrainian regions, which Kyiv and the West regard as a sham, saw Russian-backed officials carry ballot boxes from door to door, accompanied by security officials, said Luhansk's regional governor. Serhiy Gaidai said residents' names were taken down if they failed to vote correctly or refused to cast a ballot. "A woman walks down the street…
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UPDATED: EU crisis response meeting to discuss developments in Russia

UPDATED: EU crisis response meeting to discuss developments in Russia

BRUSSELS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Ambassadors of European Union member states have been invited to a meeting of the bloc's crisis response working group on Monday to discuss concerns about an escalation of the war in Ukraine, an EU official and an EU diplomat said. The talks will also touch upon the ongoing referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine aimed at annexing territory to Russia, and on how the EU aims to handle scores of Russian men trying to enter the bloc to escape a partial mobilisation ordered last week, the sources said. Ambassadors are not usually present at meetings…
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Italy’s right-wing, led by Meloni, wins election -exit polls

Italy’s right-wing, led by Meloni, wins election -exit polls

ROME, Sept 25 (Reuters) - A right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party looks set to win a clear majority in the next parliament, exit polls said on Sunday after voting ended in an Italian national election. An exit poll for state broadcaster RAI said the bloc of conservative parties, that also includes Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, won between 41 and 45%, enough to guarantee control of both houses of parliament. Italy's electoral law favours groups that manage to create pre-ballot pacts, giving them an outsized number of seats by comparison with their vote…
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Moscow pledges ‘full protection’ to any areas annexed by Russia

Moscow pledges ‘full protection’ to any areas annexed by Russia

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Russia has sought to defend its seven-month old war, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov telling the United Nations that regions of Ukraine where widely-criticised referendums are being held would get Russia's "full protection" if annexed by Moscow. The votes in four eastern Ukrainian regions, aimed at annexing territory Russia has taken by force since its invasion in February, were staged for a third day on Sunday. The Russian parliament could move to formalise the annexation within days. By incorporating the four areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia into Russia, Moscow could portray attacks to retake them as…
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Britain’s Labour vows to reintroduce top 45% rate of income tax

Britain’s Labour vows to reintroduce top 45% rate of income tax

POOL, England Sept 25 (Reuters) - Britain's main opposition party leader Keir Starmer said on Sunday he would reintroduce the top rate of income tax to 45% after the government abolished the rate in a mini-budget. Starmer is under pressure to assert himself as the prime minister-in-waiting as he starts his campaign for power at this week's annual Labour conference in Liverpool in northwest England. The Labour leader said the move to cut the top rate of tax was unfair because it handed someone earning 1 million pounds ($1.09 million) a 55,000 pound tax cut. "I would reverse the decision they made,"…
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Czech opposition party wins most major cities in local election

Czech opposition party wins most major cities in local election

PRAGUE, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis's opposition ANO party won most of the country's major cities in municipal elections seen as a test for the ruling coalition's handling of the energy crisis. The Czech Republic, similar to other European Union member countries, has been struggling with soaring inflation pushed up mainly by high energy prices. The opposition has been saying that the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala has done too little too late to help the people. Czechs voted in more than 6,000 municipalities on Friday and Saturday, with the final results declared on Sunday morning…
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Explainer: Rightist alliance set for Italian election victory

Explainer: Rightist alliance set for Italian election victory

ROME, (Reuters) - Italy votes in a national election on Sunday Sept. 25 after Prime Minister Mario Draghi's national unity government was brought down by party infighting in July. WHO WILL WIN? Polls have consistently shown that a rightist coalition led by the nationalist Brothers of Italy party and also involving the League party and Forza Italia is on course for a clear victory. Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni would be the likely choice to be the country's first female prime minister. WHAT WILL BE DECISIVE? Brothers of Italy has seen a surge in its support after it remained…
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Iran’s President Raisi says protesters should be ‘confronted decisively’

Iran’s President Raisi says protesters should be ‘confronted decisively’

Iran must deal decisively with protests which have swept the country after the death in custody of a woman detained by the Islamic Republic's morality police, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday. Thirty-five people have been killed in the weeklong demonstrations, according to Iran's state television, with protest spreading to most of the country's 31 provinces. On Friday, state-organised rallies took place in several Iranian cities to counter the anti-government protests, and the army promised to confront "the enemies" behind the unrest. State media quoted Raisi on Saturday as saying Iran must "deal decisively with those who oppose the country's…
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Zelenskyy urges conscripted Ukrainians to ‘sabotage’ Russian army from the inside out

Zelenskyy urges conscripted Ukrainians to ‘sabotage’ Russian army from the inside out

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned a number of referendums being held in four occupied regions. He also told those in Russian-controlled areas who have been conscripted into the army to "sabotage any activity of the enemy". Mr Zelenskyy added: "Do the main thing - save your lives and help us weaken and destroy the occupiers." Thousands are fleeing to avoid being sent to fight in Ukraine after the Kremlin declared a partial mobilisation. There are long queues of cars attempting to leave Russia at various border points -  as men of fighting age attempt to avoid conscription. Last Wednesday, Russian…
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UPDATED: Death toll from sunken Lebanon migrant boat rises to 86

UPDATED: Death toll from sunken Lebanon migrant boat rises to 86

CAIRO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The death toll from a migrant boat that sank off the Syrian coast after sailing from Lebanon earlier this week has risen to 86, Syrian state TV said on Saturday. It marks the deadliest such voyage yet from Lebanon, where mounting economic desperation has led many to board often rickety and overcrowded boats in the hope of reaching Europe. Syrian authorities began finding bodies off the coast of Tartus on Thursday afternoon. The Syrian transport ministry has cited survivors saying the boat left from Lebanon's northern Minyeh region on Tuesday with between 120 and 150…
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European Council President calls for Russia’s suspension from Security Council

European Council President calls for Russia’s suspension from Security Council

“Every war is a denial of humanity,” European Council President Charles Michel told the UN General Assembly on Friday, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he said has threatened hundreds of millions of people with starvation, heat deprivation or energy constraints. “This is hybrid warfare. It combines the violence of weapons with the poison of lies,” Mr. Michel stated, describing falsehoods coming from the Kremlin – such as the justifying the war as a preventative measure for an alleged genocide of Russian-speakers in Ukraine. “It is wrong, and it is filthy,” he said. More lies Also, in Russia’s “web of lies”…
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Russia excludes some IT professionals, bankers and journalists from mobilisation

Russia excludes some IT professionals, bankers and journalists from mobilisation

Russia said it was exempting some bankers, IT workers and journalists from being drafted into the army to serve in Ukraine under President Vladimir Putin's mobilisation. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that Russia would seek to call up 300,000 additional troops for Russia's war in Ukraine in what the Kremlin calls a "partial mobilisation". The section of the official decree announcing mobilisation which included the number of people who would be drafted was kept classified and unpublished, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Russia's defence ministry said some employees working in critically important industries would be excluded from…
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Italy’s election campaign ends, tensions between EU and right flares

Italy’s election campaign ends, tensions between EU and right flares

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's leaders held their final rallies on Friday ahead of a parliamentary election at the weekend that is expected to be won by a rightist alliance, putting Rome on possible collision course with Brussels. A trio of centre-left and centrist groups held their closing meetings in different squares across the Italian capital, underscoring their failure to forge a united electoral pact - a decision that has enormously benefitted the conservative bloc. Opinion polls have all predicted that Giorgia Meloni's nationalist Brothers of Italy group will emerge as the leading party on Sunday and share power with its…
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Finland and Kazakhstan see more Russians at border wanting ‘to be safe’

Finland and Kazakhstan see more Russians at border wanting ‘to be safe’

Traffic into Finland across its southeastern border with Russia was heavy on Friday, border guards told Reuters, adding that the number of Russians who entered the previous day was more than double the amount who arrived the week before. Finland is considering barring most Russians from entering as the volume of arrivals from its eastern neighbour "intensified" on Thursday following President Vladimir Putin's order for a partial military mobilisation. "This morning it remains busy ... maybe increasing a little bit from yesterday," a spokesperson for the border guard said early on Friday. Max, a 21-year-old Russian student who declined to…
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UPDATED: UN-mandated inquiry concludes war crimes were committed in Ukraine

UPDATED: UN-mandated inquiry concludes war crimes were committed in Ukraine

GENEVA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The chair of an independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said on Friday that it had concluded that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine following investigations conducted in four regions of the country. "Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine," Erik Møse told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. He did not say explicitly who had committed the crimes but the commission's work was focused on areas of Ukraine previously occupied by Russian forces such as Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy. Russia was…
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UPDATED: Russia starts annexation vote in occupied areas of Ukraine, West condemns ‘sham’

UPDATED: Russia starts annexation vote in occupied areas of Ukraine, West condemns ‘sham’

KYIV, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Russia began referendums on Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine, raising the stakes of the seven-month-old war in what Kyiv called an illegal sham that saw residents threatened with punishment if they did not vote. The votes on whether the regions should become part of Russia began after Ukraine earlier this month recaptured large swathes of northeastern territory in a counteroffensive against the invasion that began on Feb. 24. With Russian President Vladimir Putin also announcing a military draft this week to enlist 300,000 troops to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin appears…
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UPDATED: UK to introduce sales tax free shopping for overseas visitors – Kwarteng

UPDATED: UK to introduce sales tax free shopping for overseas visitors – Kwarteng

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Britain will bring back sales tax free shopping for overseas visitors to boost the country's flagging retail sector, finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Friday. "Britain welcomes millions of tourists every year, and I want our high streets and airports, our ports and our shopping centres, to feel the economic benefit. So we have decided to introduce VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors," he told parliament during the presentation of a mini-budget. A previous tax-free shopping was abolished at the end of 2020. Kwarteng said the government would replace the previous paper-based system with a digital…
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Finland mulls barring Russians from entering as border traffic grows

Finland mulls barring Russians from entering as border traffic grows

VAALIMAA, Finland (Reuters) - Finland said it was considering barring most Russians from entering the country as traffic across the border from its eastern neighbour "intensified" following President Vladimir Putin's order for a partial military mobilisation. Finnish land border crossings have remained among the few entry points into Europe for Russians after a string of Western countries shut both physical frontiers and their air space to Russian planes in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday the government was assessing risks posed by individuals travelling through Finland, and was considering ways to sharply reduce…
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Armenia says Azerbaijan broke ceasefire pact

Armenia says Azerbaijan broke ceasefire pact

Sept 23 (Reuters) - Armenia's defence ministry on Friday accused Azerbaijan's armed forces of opening fire on Armenian positions, in violation of a ceasefire agreement, the ministry said in a post on social media. "On September 23, at 0740 (0340 GMT), units of the Azerbaijani armed forces again violated the ceasefire regime by firing from different positions against Armenian combat positions located in the eastern area of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border," the ministry said in a post on Facebook on Friday. Armenia said it had opened retaliatory fire and reported no losses among its service personnel. There was no immediate comment…
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UPDATED: Iranian army says it will confront enemies as protests rage

UPDATED: Iranian army says it will confront enemies as protests rage

Sept 23 (Reuters) - The Iranian army said on Friday it will "confront the enemies" to ensure security, the toughest warning yet to nationwide protesters enraged by the death of a woman held by police. Iranians have staged nationwide demonstrations over the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested by the morality police for wearing "unsuitable attire". The army said "these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime". It will "confront the enemies' various plots in order to ensure security and peace for the people who…
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Lavrov defends Russia at U.N. showdown rife with anger over Ukraine war

Lavrov defends Russia at U.N. showdown rife with anger over Ukraine war

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended Moscow's war in Ukraine at the U.N. Security Council as the United Nations warned Moscow against annexing Ukrainian regions and Western ministers called for accountability over atrocities. Lavrov was only in the council chamber to deliver his address to the meeting of the 15-member body, which was attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Lavrov did not listen to anyone else speak. "I noticed today that Russian diplomats flee as aptly as Russian forces," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Security Council…
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Poland distributes iodine pills as fears grow over Ukraine nuclear plant

Poland distributes iodine pills as fears grow over Ukraine nuclear plant

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland, concerned about fighting around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, has distributed iodine tablets to regional fire departments to give to people in the event of radioactive exposure, a deputy minister said. Iodine is considered a way of protecting the body against conditions such as thyroid cancer in case of radioactive exposure. Shelling at the site of Zaporizhzhia - Europe's biggest nuclear power plant - has damaged buildings close to its six reactors and cut power cables, risking a nuclear catastrophe that would affect neighbouring countries. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the shelling around the…
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U.S. aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea as warning to North Korea

U.S. aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea as warning to North Korea

BUSAN, South Korea, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Friday for the first time in about four years, due to join South Korean ships in a military show of force aimed at sending North Korea a message, officials said. USS Ronald Reagan and ships from its accompanying strike force docked at a naval base in the southern port city of Busan. Its arrival marks the most significant deployment yet under a new push to have more U.S. nuclear-capable "strategic assets" operate in the area to deter North Korea. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol…
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Russia’s Medvedev: new regions can be defended with strategic nuclear weapons

Russia’s Medvedev: new regions can be defended with strategic nuclear weapons

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that any weapons in Moscow's arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend territories incorporated in Russia from Ukraine. Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said that referendums being organised by Russian-installed and separatist authorities in large swathes of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory will take place, and that "there is no going back": "The Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk) republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia." Medvedev said the protection of all the territories would be significantly strengthened by the Russian armed forces, adding:…
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UPDATED: EU says members will need joint position on Russians arriving at borders

UPDATED: EU says members will need joint position on Russians arriving at borders

BRUSSELS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The European Union will need to establish a joint position on requests for entry by Russians fleeing their country due to the war in Ukraine, the bloc's executive said on Thursday. The European Commission said, however, that member states will have to assess requests on a case-by-case basis, taking into account fundamental rights and asylum procedure legislation. Commission spokesperson Peter Stano noted reports of many Russians trying to leave the country after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation on Wednesday, and said half a million have left since the invasion of Ukraine in February.…
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Some Russian banking staff will be exempt from draft, bank CEO says

Some Russian banking staff will be exempt from draft, bank CEO says

Sept 22 (Reuters) - Some personnel working in Russia's banking sector deemed critically important will be exempt from the country's military call-up, the CEO of Russia's No. 2 bank VTB said on Thursday. "For banks and companies in the financial sector, a number of critical staff will be identified who will not be called up," VTB head Andrei Kostin said. President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists on Wednesday, although Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the mobilisation would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers. In Other Developments FIGHTING * In Moscow's first update on…
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UPDATED: Britain lifts ban on shale gas fracking in push for energy independence

UPDATED: Britain lifts ban on shale gas fracking in push for energy independence

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Britain on Thursday formally lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas that has been in place since 2019, saying strengthening the country's energy supply was an "absolute priority". Energy prices have soared in Europe after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Britain is subsidising bills for households and businesses at a predicted cost of more than 100 billion pounds ($113 billion). Prime Minister Liz Truss said earlier this month that fracking - extracting shale gas from rocks by breaking them up - would be allowed where it was supported by communities. Business and Energy Secretary Jacob…
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UPDATED: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards issue warning as protests over woman’s death spread

UPDATED: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards issue warning as protests over woman’s death spread

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards called on the Islamic Republic's judiciary on Thursday to prosecute "those who spread false news and rumours" about a young woman whose death in police custody has triggered nationwide protests. Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday as public outrage over the death showed no signs of easing, with reports of security forces coming under attack. Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing "unsuitable attire". She fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would launch an investigation…
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Zelenskiy calls for punishment of Russia including loss of U.N. veto; Russia, Ukraine announce prisoner swap

Zelenskiy calls for punishment of Russia including loss of U.N. veto; Russia, Ukraine announce prisoner swap

NEW YORK/KYIV, Sept 22 (Reuters) - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy demanded a special United Nations tribunal impose "just punishment" on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including financial penalties and stripping Moscow of its veto power in the Security Council. Zelenskiy's recorded address to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday came after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Moscow's first wartime mobilisation since World War Two and threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia in what he has cast as a defining East-West clash. Some of the Ukrianian soldiers who have been released in the last few hours.…
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Donald Trump and children are sued by New York attorney general for fraud

Donald Trump and children are sued by New York attorney general for fraud

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - Donald Trump, his family business, and three of his adult children were sued by New York's attorney general, who accused them of overvaluing the former U.S. president's assets and net worth through a decade of lies to banks and insurers. Attorney General Letitia James filed her civil lawsuit in a New York state court in Manhattan, accusing the Trump Organization of "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" in preparing financial statements from 2011 to 2021. She also said Trump, who has long used his net worth to burnish his image and fame as a successful businessman…
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Latvia says it won’t offer refuge to Russians fleeing mobilisation; Flights out of Russia sell out

Latvia says it won’t offer refuge to Russians fleeing mobilisation; Flights out of Russia sell out

European Union member Latvia, which borders Russia, will not offer refuge to any Russians fleeing Moscow's mobilisation of troops, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in a tweet on Wednesday, citing security concerns. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two and warned that Moscow would defend itself with the might of all its vast arsenal if faced with a nuclear threat from the West. Flights out of Russia sell out Meanwhile, one-way flights out of Russia were selling out fast on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists. Putin's…
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EU says support for Ukraine steadfast in face of Russian aggression

EU says support for Ukraine steadfast in face of Russian aggression

BRUSSELS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The European Union's support for Kyiv will remain steadfast in the face of Russian aggression, the president of the council representing the bloc's 27 member states said on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated the war in Ukraine. President Charles Michel wrote on Twitter from the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in New York this week: "Kremlin announces mobilization... while at UNGA countries work for cooperation, security and prosperity." https://twitter.com/CharlesMichel/status/1572535699236331520 "In this war, there is only one aggressor, Russia, and one aggressed country, Ukraine," he said. "EU's support to Ukraine will remain steadfast." His…
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UPDATED: Putin signs decree on mobilisation, Russia’s partial mobilisation will see 300,000 drafted

UPDATED: Putin signs decree on mobilisation, Russia’s partial mobilisation will see 300,000 drafted

 (Reuters) - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin's decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called up to serve in Russia's military campaign in Ukraine. In an interview with Russian state television, Shoigu said that students and those who served as conscripts would not be called up, and that the majority of Russia's millions-strong reserves would not be drafted. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two, warning the West that if it continued what he called its "nuclear blackmail" that Moscow would respond with the might…
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UPDATED: Two dead and 25 injured in Iran’s Kermanshah following protests

UPDATED: Two dead and 25 injured in Iran’s Kermanshah following protests

Two people died on Tuesday following protests in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah, the city's prosecutor was quoted as saying on Wednesday by the semi-official Fars news agency. "Unfortunately, two people were murdered in yesterday's riots in Kermanshah. We are certain this was done by anti-revolutionary elements because the victims were killed by weapons not used by the security apparatus," Shahram Karami said. The prosecutor added 25 people, including protesters, security forces and bystanders, were injured during the protests. Protests raged for a fourth straight day across Iran on Tuesday and authorities said three people had been killed during…
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World leaders lash Russia over Ukraine invasion, referendum plans

World leaders lash Russia over Ukraine invasion, referendum plans

KYIV/UNITED NATIONS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - World leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as Moscow-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia in coming days. In the apparently coordinated move, pro-Russian figures announced referendums for Sept. 23-27 in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15% of Ukrainian territory, or an area about the size of Hungary. "The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday in response to reporters' questions…
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UPDATED: Taiwan denounces China’s peaceful ‘reunification’ pledge

UPDATED: Taiwan denounces China’s peaceful ‘reunification’ pledge

TAIPEI/BEIJING, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Taiwan will never allow China to "meddle" in its future, the government said on Wednesday, after a Chinese government spokesperson said Beijing was willing to make the utmost effort to strive for a peaceful "reunification" with the island. China claims democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory. Taiwan's government rejects China's sovereignty claims. China has been carrying out military drills near Taiwan since early last month, after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, including firing missiles into waters near the island, though the activities have since scaled back. Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for China's Taiwan…
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U.S., Canadian warships sail through Taiwan Strait, second in a year

U.S., Canadian warships sail through Taiwan Strait, second in a year

 (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy warship and a Canadian frigate carried out a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, the U.S. and Canadian militaries said, an operation which comes amid heightened military tensions between Beijing and Taipei. China condemned the mission, saying its forces "warned" the ships. In recent years, U.S. warships, and on occasion those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have routinely sailed through the strait, drawing the ire of China, which claims Taiwan over the objections of the island's democratically elected government. In a statement, the U.S. Navy said its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile…
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Russia triggers plan to formally annex occupied Ukrainian regions

Russia triggers plan to formally annex occupied Ukrainian regions

Two Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia later this week and an ally of President Vladimir Putin said the votes would alter the geopolitical landscape in Moscow's favour forever. The move, which seriously escalates Moscow's standoff with the West, comes after Russia suffered a battlefield reversal in northeast Ukraine and as Putin ponders his next steps in a nearly seven-month-old conflict that has caused the most serious East-West rift since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The Russian-backed, self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) and the neighbouring Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said the planned referendums would be held from Sept. 23-27. In a…
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UK to spend at least $2.63 billion on Ukraine war effort in 2023 – FT

UK to spend at least $2.63 billion on Ukraine war effort in 2023 – FT

British Prime Minister Liz Truss will tell world leaders this week that the UK will next year match or exceed the 2.3 billion pound ($2.63 billion) it committed to Ukraine's war effort against Russia in 2022, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. This comes as British politics returns to centre stage on Tuesday after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, with Truss flying to her first major summit in New York. Kyiv's biggest European supporters, such as the Baltic states which have long called for more military aid for Ukraine, say the successes of the last week have demonstrated the case for more support…
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