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Russia ask 10 US diplomats to leave in retaliation against Washington

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(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)

Russia on Friday asked 10 U.S. diplomats to leave the country in retaliation for Washington’s expulsion of the same number of Russian diplomats over alleged malign activity and suggested the U.S. ambassador return home for consultations, Reuters reported.

The measures, part of a broader retaliatory package, were approved by President Vladimir Putin, as a response to an array of U.S. government sanctions imposed on Moscow a day earlier, including curbs to its sovereign debt market.

Reuters reported that although Moscow responded swiftly and with measures designed to hurt U.S. interests and shrink its diplomatic footprint, it left the door open for dialogue and did not kill off the idea, proposed by President Joe Biden, of a Putin-Biden summit.

“Now is the time for the United States to demonstrate good sense and to turn its back on a confrontational course,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Otherwise an array of painful decisions for the American side will be implemented.”

It said it had options to hurt the United States economically and to shrink its diplomatic corps in Russia to just 300 people, but was holding fire for now.

Russia-U.S. ties slumped to a new post-Cold War low last month after Biden said he thought Putin was a “killer” and Moscow recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations. The envoy has still not returned almost a month later.

The Russian foreign ministry said John Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, should return home for consultations too., Reuters reported.

Washington said its own sanctions were payback for Russia interfering in last year’s U.S. election, cyber hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged malign actions.

The Russian response on Friday was “escalatory and regrettable,” a State Department representative said by email.

“It is not in our interest to get into an escalatory cycle, but we reserve the right to respond to any Russian retaliation against the United States.”

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Bus crash in Croatia leaves 12 Polish pilgrims dead, 32 injured

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Twelve people were killed in Croatia on Saturday when a Polish bus filled with religious pilgrims slipped off a road and crashed near Varazdin, authorities said, Reuters reported.

Thirty-two people were injured in the crash which happened at 5:40 a.m. (0340 GMT) on the highway between Varazdin, in northwest Croatia, and capital Zagreb.

Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said 19 people were in a serious condition.

According to Reuters Marcin Przydacz, deputy head of the Polish Foreign Ministry, who was travelling to the site on Saturday, said the injured were being treated at five hospitals in Croatia.

He said there were 44 Polish pilgrims on the bus driving from Poland to Medjugorje, a Roman Catholic shrine in southern Bosnia, including two drivers. Among them were three priests and six nuns, a ministry spokesman said.

Police cleared the area where the accident took place after firefighters and medical teams recovered all the occupants of the vehicle which had Warsaw registration plates, read the report.

Polish police officers, in Croatia as part of project “Safe Tourist Destination” project, were helping Croatian authorities in communicating with the survivors.

An investigation has been started into the cause of the accident.

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Taiwan official leading missile production dies of heart attack

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(Last Updated On: August 6, 2022)

The deputy head of Taiwan defence ministry’s research and development unit was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room, succumbing to a heart attack, according to the official Central News Agency.

Ou Yang Li-hsing, deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, had died in a hotel room in southern Taiwan, CNA reported.

Authorities said 57-year-old Ou Yang died of a heart attack and the hotel room showed no sign of any ‘intrusion’, CNA said.

His family said he had a history of heart disease and had a cardiac stent, according to the report, Reuters reported.

Ou Yang was on a business trip to the southern county of Pingtung, CNA said, adding that he had assumed the post early this year to supervise various missile production projects.

The military-owned body is working to more than double its yearly missile production capacity to close to 500 this year, as the island boosts its combat power amid what it sees as China’s growing military threat.

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Four people critically injured in lightning strike near White House

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2022)

Four people were in critical condition on Thursday after a lightning strike at Washington’s Lafayette Square in front of the White House, Reuters quoted a D.C. fire official said.

The injured – two adult males and two adult females – were transported to area hospitals with life-threatening injuries, Vito Maggiolo, a D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson, said.

According to Reuters Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park that lies directly north of the White House, is often crowded with visitors, especially in the summer months. The lightning struck the four people near a tree that stands yards away from the fence that surrounds the presidential residence and offices.

Temperatures in Washington exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) on Thursday, although, with the high humidity, the heat felt like more than 100F, forecasters said. A violent thunderstorm swept through the capital late in the day, read the report.

Officers of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police, which have a regular presence in the square, went to the assistance of the victims immediately, Maggiolo said.

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