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Typhoon that struck the Philippines, killing at least 146 people

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Arthur Yap, Governor of Bohol Province in the central Philippines, said 72 people have died in his constituency, 10 more are missing and 13 injured. The number of deaths could increase significantly, as only 33 of 48 mayors were able to respond as communications were cut, the official said.

In statements posted on Facebook, Yap ordered the mayors of his province of over 1.2 million to use their emergency powers to ensure large rations and clean water urgently needed in several countries. heavily affected cities.

After flying over the cities destroyed by the typhoon, Yap said: “It is clear that the damage done to Bohol is great and far-reaching.”

Yap said the initial check did not cover four cities, where the typhoon hit the central island provinces on Thursday and Friday. The government said about 780,000 people were affected, including more than 300,000 residents who were forced to flee their homes.

The disaster response agency, national police and local authorities reported at least 64 deaths due to the typhoon. Most of them were damaged by falling trees and collapsed walls, sank during floods or were covered with landslides.

The authorities in the Dinagat Islands, one of the southeastern provinces hit by the typhoon for the first time, separately reported 10 deaths in just a few cities, bringing the total so far to 146.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte toured the region on Saturday and pledged 2 billion pesos ($ 40 million) in aid.

During its strongest period, the typhoon withstood wind speeds of 195 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 270 kilometers per hour, making it one of the most powerful in recent years to hit the disaster-prone archipelago between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

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Flooding quickly intensified in the coastal town of Bohol on Loboc Island, whose residents were trapped on rooftops and trees and rescued by the Coast Guard the next day. In the Dinagat Islands, an official said the roofs of nearly all houses, including emergency shelters, were damaged or completely destroyed.

At least 227 cities were left without electricity, which was restored in just 21 districts, officials said, adding that three regional airports were damaged, two of which remain closed.

The death and widespread damage caused by the typhoon before Christmas in this largely Catholic country was reminiscent of the disaster caused by another typhoon, Haiyan, one of the most powerful on record. It hit many of the central provinces affected in the past week, killing more than 6,300 people in November 2013.

Pope Francis today expressed solidarity with the people of the Philippines, citing the typhoon “which destroyed many homes.”

About 20 storms and typhoons hit the Philippines every year. The archipelago is also located along the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, making it one of the countries most prone to natural disasters.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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