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Puerto Rico Hurricane Toll Much Higher Than Government’s Count

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New figures from researches concerning the number of hurricane victims in Puerto Rico are much higher than previous counts, the Puerto Rican government said on Tuesday.

The new figure is 46 times larger than what was reported in December 2017. Back then officials said 64 people had died in Hurricane Maria but new research shows this figure is in fact 2,975. “This is unprecedented devastation,” Governor Ricardo Rossello told reporters, according to CNN. He added, however, that the new death toll is just an approximation and not a concrete list of names.

Rossello further noted that officials will continue to investigate deaths from the storm and will come up with an updated tally. “This number can change. It could be less, it could be more, as time passes.”

The governor also pointed out that it could take months and even years before they have a complete list of storm-related deaths, but stressed that they are “using the best science available.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration said it would continue to support efforts from Rossello to ensure “full accountability” and “transparency” surrounding the death toll caused by Hurricane Maria, The Hill reports.

“The federal government has been, and will continue to be, supportive of Governor Rosselló’s efforts to ensure a full accountability and transparency of fatalities resulting from last year’s hurricanes — the American people, including those grieving the loss of a loved one, deserve no less,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

She added that the government will also support the island and its people in the recovery from last year’s devastating hurricane.

The Puerto Rico governor admitted he had personally made a mistake in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, adding that everyone will be held accountable and will “be expected to make a change.” Otherwise, he said, they can’t be part of the administration.

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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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