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Moscow No Longer Among World’s 100 Most Expensive Cities for Foreigners

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The depreciating ruble, the drop in oil prices and continuing anti-Russian sanctions have caused Moscow to drop out of the list of top-100 most expensive cities in the world for foreigners, says the new Cost of Living Index report by international consultancy ECA International.

According to the report, cited by Channel 5, Moscow dropped 66 places to hit 120, while St. Petersburg exhibited a similar trend, falling by 31 spots and landing in 172th place.

A weaker euro resulted in EU cities becoming less expensive for foreigners working there – overall, Europe only takes up 19% of the rating, while the United States demonstrated the opposite tendency. A stronger dollar saw 25 U.S. cities being ranked in the top-100, while only ten made it into the list last year.

This time, Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, was placed first in the list of cities most expensive for foreigners to live in, managing to surpass two Swiss cities, namely Zurich (2) and Geneva (3) that are traditionally ranked very high. They are followed by Hong Kong in the 4rd place, Basel (Switzerland) comes 5th, Bern (Switzerland) placed 6th, Tokyo (Japan) – 7, Seoul (South Korea) – 8, Tel Aviv (Israel) – 9, while Shanghai (China) closes out the top-10.

The Venezuelan capital, Caracas, suffered the most impressive drop, coming from being the leader of the rating last year to falling to the 238th spot because of the inflation that reaches $1.3 million on a year-on-year basis.

Overall, the research compared market baskets of 482 cities all over the world. Tehran occupies the very last place, because of U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran.

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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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