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Diplomats Protest as Venezuela Attempts to Fill UNGA with Supporters

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In a week when President Donald Trump and his administration placed the spotlight on the humanitarian crisis brought on by Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, a number of diplomats led by the U.S. walked out Friday during a speech by Maduro’s vice-president, Delcy Rodriguez, Fox News reported.

The walkout came as a note from the Venezuelan mission claimed the United States and partners were planning a vote at the General Assembly to prevent the representative of the Caracas regime from speaking.

Diplomats dismissed the exercise as a gimmick to get more countries in to watch the speech. The note sent out to missions from the Venezuelans, and reviewed by Fox News, appealed for allies to come out in force and be ready to vote against any U.S. proposal to challenge the credentials of the regime.

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations must inform hereby of the intention of a group of delegations to request a vote in the General Assembly Hall in the afternoon of this coming Friday, 27 September 2019, to object the participation of and prevent H.E. Ms. Delcy Rodríguez Gómez, Vice-President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, from addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations.” the statement read. 

The memo pleaded with allies to come and oppose any attempt to stop the speech and support Venezuela “in the General Assembly of the United Nations as its delegation does, both in the relevant procedural and substantive votes there may be at the time.”

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that 4 million people have fled the country, which he called “one of the largest displacements in the world.”

President Trump, meanwhile, pulled no punches on the deteriorating situation in Caracas. In his speech to the General Assembly, he called Maduro “a Cuban puppet, protected by Cuban bodyguards, hiding from his own people, while Cubans plunder Venezuela’s oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt communist rule.”

Venezuela has descended into economic and social ruin, with conditions worsening as Maduro has been engaged in a tug-of-war for power with Juan Guaido, the U.S.-recognized president since elections this year. Its population has since been dogged by malnutrition, disease and violence, as well as accusations that the government is engaged in money laundering and supporting terrorism.

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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