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Pompeo, Lavrov Agree on Creating American-Russian Business Council

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The foreign ministers of Russia and the United States, Sergey Lavrov and Mike Pompeo, have confirmed their positive stance on the creation of a bilateral business advisory council, Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S Anatoly Antonov has said, according to RIA Novosti.

The idea of creating a bilateral business council was first mentioned during a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki last year. It was brought up again when the two leaders met in Japan’s Osaka this summer, Russia Business Today reported.

“Minister Lavrov and State Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed their positive attitude toward this initiative at a recent meeting [at the UN General Assembly in September],” Antonov said on Sunday at the Fort Ross Dialogue forum in California.

According to the Russian ambassador, despite U.S. sanctions, the American business community has a strong interest in the Russian economy and there has been positive dynamics in trade between the two countries in the past three years.

“It [US-Russian trade] reached $61.1 billion in the first seven months of 2019. And there is an increase in purchases on the part of the United States. The U.S. still has the largest share of direct investment in Russia,” Antonov said, adding that the assets of about 3,000 U.S. companies in Russia are estimated at $85 billion.

Antonov also pointed out that U.S.-Russian cooperation in cybersecurity could help resolve a number of relevant issues.

“We reiterate our proposal to create a cybersecurity [cooperation] group. Professional dialogue in this area will help reduce misunderstandings and current concerns,” Antonov said.

The annual bilateral Fort Ross Dialogue forum is a platform for communication between U.S. and Russian parliament members, as well as cultural figures, entrepreneurs and various experts. It has been organized since 2012.

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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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