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Russia laughs off US navy ship near its Pacific coast amid Black Sea tensions

Russia laughs off US navy ship near its Pacific coast amid Black Sea tensionsRussia has laughed off a US warship's “challenge” to its territorial claims in the Sea of Japan as “unsuccessful” while reacting angrily to reports that US ships could also enter the Black Sea.  The US naval activity comes less than two weeks after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea last month in an escalation of existing tensions there. The guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell “sailed in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay to challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims” in a demonstrative “freedom of navigation” operation on Wednesday, the navy said. But the Russian defence ministry claimed on Thursday that the McCampbell had not come closer than 100 kilometres (62 miles) to its territorial waters and was currently “demonstrating its bravery” 250 miles from Russian shores.  A destroyer and several warplanes nonetheless followed the US ship, which tried to “get away at maximum speed,” the ministry said in a sarcastic statement carried on state television. Moscow has since Soviet times maintained that the entire Peter the Great Bay, which includes the home base of its Pacific fleet in Vladivostok, is historically Russian territory.  Washington on the other hand argues that Russian waters extend only 12 nautical miles from shore as per international law. In an unrelated incident, five marines were missing after an American fighter jet collided with a tanker plane during refuelling over the Sea of Japan on Thursday. Russia blocked the Kerch Strait with a tanker before seizing Ukrainian navy ships that tried to sail through last month Credit: Pavel Rebrov/Reuters The navy's freedom of navigation operation marked a geographical broadening of tensions between Russia and the US, which has previously focused on challenging Chinese claims in the South China Sea, most recently sailing naval ships near contested areas there last week.  The two Cold War foes are also at odds over a landmark arms control treaty that Donald Trump wants to abandon. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said on Wednesday Russia would develop new missiles if the US withdrew. Meanwhile, CNN reported that the US was notifying Turkey of “possible plans” to sail a warship into the Black Sea in response to the capture of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors there on November 25.  The ships were headed for Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, which has been controlled by Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea.  US senator John Barrasso had called on Sunday for American and Nato ships to be sent to the Black Sea in a show of force against Russia.  Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, who is trailing in the polls before March's election, continues a string of appearances at military bases on Thursday Credit: Mikhail Palinchak/Presidential Press Service via AP The purported plan provoked a blustery response from Russian politicians and pundits on Thursday, with one warning Russia could repeat the incident of February 1988, when a Soviet frigate rammed a US cruiser in the Black Sea.  MP Yury Shvytkin vowed that Russia would “respond accordingly” if Russia's waters were violated.  “I wouldn't really want our submarines to have to surface off the American coast,” he said.  Following the seizure of its ships, Kiev has declared martial law and called up reservists in response to claims of a Russian troop buildup on its borders, which Moscow has denied. On Thursday, parliament moved forward on legislation claiming Ukraine's waters extend 24 nautical miles into the Black Sea.  In a New York Times editorial on Wednesday, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko told Western leaders to stop “appeasing” Mr Putin and adopt further sanctions on Russia in response to its “unprovoked military attack”.  The head of the Ukrainian fleet has offered himself in exchange for the 24 captured sailors, who face six years in prison on charges of violating Russia's borders. The Russian foreign ministry retorted that he should resign instead. 



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Mexican city shuts down migrant shelter near US border

Mexican city shuts down migrant shelter near US borderMEXICO CITY (AP) — The city government of Tijuana announced Saturday that it has closed down a migrant shelter at a sports complex close to the U.S. border that once held about 6,000 Central Americans who hope to get into the U.S.



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Alaska earthquakes: Twin tremors cause extensive damage as they strike near Anchorage

Alaska earthquakes: Twin tremors cause extensive damage as they strike near AnchorageA powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake followed by a 5.7 magnitude tremor have caused extensive damage around parts of Alaska after striking near Anchorage. The warning covered coastal areas of the Cook Inlet and southern Kenai Peninsula after the initial tremor hit about 7.5 miles north of the city, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported. Part of an off-ramp near Anchorage international airport collapsed, leaving a car stuck between deep chasms in the concrete.



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Russia fires on and seizes Ukrainian ships near annexed Crimea

Russia fires on and seizes Ukrainian ships near annexed CrimeaRussia’s FSB security service said early on Monday its border patrol boats had seized the Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea and used weapons to force them to stop, Russian news agencies reported. The FSB said it had been forced to act because the ships – two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat – had illegally entered its territorial waters, attempted illegal actions, and ignored warnings to stop while maneuvering dangerously. “Weapons were used with the aim of forcibly stopping the Ukrainian warships,” the FSB said in a statement circulated to Russian state media.



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California wildfires – live: Death toll climbs to 50 as strong winds bring new blazes near Los Angeles

California wildfires - live: Death toll climbs to 50 as strong winds bring new blazes near Los AngelesThe remains of six more victims of California’s most lethal and destructive wildfire in history were found on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 48. Forensic teams with cadaver dogs spent the day combing through ash and charred debris in what was let of the town of Paradise, around 175 miles (280km) north of San Francisco. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said 100 National Guard troops were being sent in at his request to assist in the search for additional human remains left by the so-called Camp Fire.



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California wildfires: Death toll climbs to 51 as strong winds bring new blazes near Los Angeles

California wildfires: Death toll climbs to 51 as strong winds bring new blazes near Los AngelesThe remains of six more victims of California’s most lethal and destructive wildfire in history have been found, bringing the death toll to 48 in the so-called Camp Fire in northern California and 51 total, statewide. Forensic teams with cadaver dogs spent the day combing through ash and charred debris in what was let of the town of Paradise, around 175 miles (280km) north of San Francisco, near the state capital of Sacramento. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said 100 National Guard troops were being sent in at his request to assist in the search for additional human remains left by the Camp Fire.



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Less than 1 percent of migrant caravan may reach border near San Diego in 5 days

Less than 1 percent of migrant caravan may reach border near San Diego in 5 daysApproximately 100 of an estimated 11,000 migrants, less than 1 percent those U.S. officials are tracking across four groups, may reach the U.S. border south of San Diego on Sunday.



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Wind-driven brush fire burns 30 acres of dry hillside near Cal State San Bernardino

Wind-driven brush fire burns 30 acres of dry hillside near Cal State San BernardinoA wind-driven brush fire burned behind the California State University, San Bernardino campus Sunday night, but authorities said it did not threaten the campus.



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Tens of Cat Mummies and 100 Cat Statues Found Near Ancient Egyptian Pyramid

Tens of Cat Mummies and 100 Cat Statues Found Near Ancient Egyptian PyramidAncient Egyptians seem to have been “cat people,” or at least cat mummy people. Researchers have dug up several mummified cats alongside about 100 wooden cat statues in a tomb complex near a pyramid built for the pharaoh Userkaf, who reigned from 2291 B.C. to 2289 B.C., the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced Nov. 10. The burials are located near the site of Saqqara in Egypt.



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Pittsburgh School Near Site of Synagogue Shooting Put on Lockdown

Pittsburgh School Near Site of Synagogue Shooting Put on LockdownColfax K-8 school was put on lockdown after an anonymous caller reported a student with a weapon



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