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Crews search for California fire victims as list of missing grows

Crews search for California fire victims as list of missing growsThe search for victims of a catastrophic blaze that reduced a northern California town to ashes intensified on Thursday as authorities posted an expanded list of nearly 300 people reported missing in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. At least 56 people have been confirmed dead so far in the Camp Fire, which erupted a week ago in the drought-parched Sierra foothills 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco and now ranks as one of the most lethal single U.S. wildfires since the turn of the last century. Authorities attributed the high death toll in part to the staggering speed with which the wind-driven flames, fueled by desiccated scrub, raced through the town Paradise, a town of 27,000 residents.



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California fire has claimed 63 as missing list grows to 631

California fire has claimed 63 as missing list grows to 631MAGALIA, Calif. (AP) — At least 63 are now dead from a Northern California wildfire, and officials say they have a missing persons list with 631 names on it in an ever-evolving accounting of the missing after the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century.



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Saudi Arabia drops Francophonie bid as journalist uproar grows

Saudi Arabia drops Francophonie bid as journalist uproar growsSaudi Arabia has dropped a bid to join the world’s club of French-speaking countries, officials said Thursday, as the Gulf monarchy faces criticism over the disappearance of a critical Saudi journalist. The International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) was set to study the Saudi bid at a summit on Thursday, but the kingdom asked to “postpone” its membership application in a letter, spokesman Bertin Leblanc told AFP.



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Saudi Arabia drops Francophonie bid as journalist uproar grows

Saudi Arabia drops Francophonie bid as journalist uproar growsSaudi Arabia has dropped a bid to join the world’s club of French-speaking countries, officials said Thursday, as the Gulf monarchy faces criticism over the disappearance of a critical Saudi journalist. The International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) was set to study the Saudi bid at a summit on Thursday, but the kingdom asked to “postpone” its membership application in a letter, spokesman Bertin Leblanc told AFP.



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Indonesia tsunami death toll rises above 1,200 as anger grows over aid response

Indonesia tsunami death toll rises above 1,200 as anger grows over aid responseIndonesian President Joko Widodo ordered more rescuers to be sent in to find victims of a devastating earthquake and tsunami on Tuesday as the official death toll rose above 1,200 and looting raised fears of growing lawlessness. Most of the dead have been from the small city of Palu, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta, but some remote areas have been cut off since Friday's 7.5 magnitude quake triggered tsunami waves, leading to fears the toll could soar. "There are some main priorities that we must tackle and the first is to evacuate, find and save victims who've not yet been found," Widodo told a government meeting to coordinate disaster recovery efforts on the west coast of Sulawesi island. A woman makes her way through the rubble of houses in Balaroa neighborhood in Palu Credit: AP He said he had ordered the national search and rescue agency to send more police and soldiers into the affected districts, some cut off by destroyed roads, landslides and downed bridges. The Ministry of Defence confirmed to The Telegraph on Tuesday that six military personnel have been sent to the region to establish a command and control centre. A Royal Navy frigate is also being sent to the area and an A400M Atlas transport aircraft is being readied in the UK to deliver aid by parachute if needed. "Things will start moving soon," an MoD spokesman said. The official death toll surged to 1,234, Indonesia's national disaster agency said. The Red Cross said the situation was "nightmarish" and reports from its workers venturing into one cut-off area, Donggala, a region of 300,000 people north of Palu and close to the epicentre, indicated it had been hit "extremely hard". Rescue teams carry bodies to a mass grave in Palu Credit: Tatan Syuflana/AP Four badly hit districts have a combined population of about 1.4 million. In Palu, tsunami waves as high as six metres (20 feet) smashed into the beachfront, while hotels and shopping malls collapsed in ruins and some neighbourhoods were swallowed up by ground liquefaction. Among those killed were 34 children at a Christian bible study camp, a Red Cross official said. The government has ordered aid supplies to be airlifted in but there's little sign of help on Palu's shattered streets and survivors appeared increasingly desperate. 'Liquefaction' adds to devastation in Indonesia earthquake A Reuters news team saw a shop cleared by about 100 people, shouting, scrambling and fighting each other for items including clothes, toiletries, blankets and water. Many people grabbed diapers while one man clutched a rice cooker as he headed for the door. Non-essential goods were scattered on the floor amid shards of broken glass. At least 20 police were at the scene but did not intervene. The government has played down fears of looting saying disaster victims could take essential goods and shops would be compensated later. Indonesia is all too familiar with earthquakes and tsunamis. A quake in 2004 triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia. It has said it would accept offers of international aid, having shunned outside help earlier this year when an earthquake struck the island of Lombok. Indonesia tsunami in pictures: Big waves leave Sulawesi coastline in ruins More than 65,000 homes were damaged and more than 60,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help, while thousands have been streaming out of stricken areas. Commercial airlines have struggled to restore operations at Palu's damaged airport but military aircraft have taken some survivors out. But thousands of people have been thronging the airport hoping for any flight out, and authorities have said a navy vessel capable of taking 1,000 people at a time would be deployed to help with the evacuation. Sulawesi is one of the archipelago nation's five main islands.



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As pressure grows, Venezuela's Maduro addresses UN

As pressure grows, Venezuela's Maduro addresses UNUNITED NATIONS (AP) — Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro showed up unexpectedly at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday to "defend his country" as six nations accused him of crimes against humanity and President Donald Trump hinted at taking military action.



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Iran fears plot by US and its Gulf allies as pressure grows

Iran fears plot by US and its Gulf allies as pressure growsDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — On the same day Arab separatists killed at least 25 people in an attack targeting a military parade in southwestern Iran, President Donald Trump's lawyer mounted a stage in New York to declare that the government would be toppled.



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Still raging: Largest wildfire in California history grows

Still raging: Largest wildfire in California history growsWildfires tearing through trees and brush, rampaging up hillsides and incinerating neighborhoods: The places and names change, but the devastation is showing signs of becoming the new normal in California. Twin fires in Northern California being treated as one are the largest wildfire in state history and by Tuesday had scorched 455 square miles (1,178 square kilometers) — nearly the size of the city of Los Angeles. The Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco was still growing this week as it broke the record set eight months ago.



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Sexual Misconduct Allegations Hit a Beijing Monastery as #MeToo Movement Grows in China

Sexual Misconduct Allegations Hit a Beijing Monastery as #MeToo Movement Grows in ChinaHe allegedly told nuns having sex with him was part of their study of Buddhist doctrine



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Trump administration scrambles as outrage grows over border separations

Trump administration scrambles as outrage grows over border separationsThe Trump administration struggled on Monday to defend its policy of separating parents from their sons and daughters at the southern US border amid growing national outrage and the release of a shocking recording of sobbing children. As the White House scrambled to respond to the deepening political crisis, the homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, flew from New Orleans to Washington to face a barrage of questions from reporters, even as Democrats demanded her resignation and the outcry reached a critical mass. Nielsen claimed that America was a country of “compassion” and “heart” but was unable to square the circle regarding whether the separations were a vindication of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy towards illegal immigration or an unintended consequence of a law made by the US Congress.



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