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Telegram Will Cooperate with Terror Probes Everywhere, Except in Russia

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Cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram has said it would comply with requests by investigators to cooperate in terror probes everywhere in the world, except in Russia where it was banned by the country’s state media watchdog, Phys reports.

The encrypted messenger app, founded by Russian Pavel Durov, has been locked in an ongoing battle with Russian authorities since April when it denied a request to provide the keys for decrypting users’ messages to the security agency FSB.

In its updated privacy settings, Telegram said it would disclose its users’ data to “the relevant authorities” elsewhere if it receives a court order to do so, although not in Russia.

“If Telegram receives a court order that confirms you’re a terror suspect, we may disclose your IP address and phone number to the relevant authorities,” the new privacy settings say.

“So far, this has never happened. When it does, we will include it in a semi-annual transparency report,” the app added.

Durov said the new privacy terms were adopted to “comply with new European laws on protecting private data.” But he assured the app’s Russian users that Telegram would continue to withhold their data from security services.

“In Russia, Telegram is asked to disclose not the phone numbers or IP addresses of terrorists based on a court decision, but access to the messages of all users,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. He added that since Telegram is illegal in Russia, “we do not consider the request of Russian secret services and our confidentiality policy does not affect the situation in Russia.”

Meanwhile, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor said it will consider unblocking Telegram in the country if the service complies with the court’s ruling to provide the keys for decrypting users’ messages to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

“Our colleagues should apply to our appropriate authorities – the Federal Security Service – in order to interact with them, as required by Russian law, and to provide the data they are obliged to provide in Russia,” Vadim Subotin, deputy head of the department, told TASS.

He recalled that according to the court’s decision, Telegram failed to meet its obligation as an organizer of dissemination of information.

“When they meet their obligations than we will be able to speak about implementation of the court’s decision and actually about ending the blocking process on the part of Roskomnadzor,” he added.

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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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