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Three US diplomats held near Russian test site where mystery blast killed five

Three US diplomats held near Russian test site where mystery blast killed five* Russian foreign ministry says trio ‘obviously got lost’ * August explosion caused radiation levels to surgeA Russian navy official works on the Akula nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine at the Severodvinsk site in July. The August explosion there killed at least five people. Photograph: Sergei Bobylev/TassThree American diplomats were briefly detained in Russia near the military test site where a mysterious explosion released radiation in August, several Russia state news agencies have reported.The US embassy has confirmed the incident, the Interfax news service reported, but said the three diplomats had filed the proper paperwork to travel in the area.The Russian foreign ministry said the diplomats had named a different city as their destination and had “obviously got lost”.The report comes just days after the United States said the accident was caused by a nuclear reaction when Russia tried to retrieve a nuclear-powered cruise missile from the Barents Sea.The diplomats were detained on Monday on a train in the city of Severodvinsk, near where Russian authorities said they had been testing a rocket engine with a nuclear component before the accident took place.The diplomats, who have been identified by Interfax as military attaches, were later released, but could face administrative charges for traveling in a restricted military area, agencies reported.In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry confirmed that the diplomats were on an official trip and had informed the Russian defence ministry of their plans.“Only, they said their intention was to visit Arkhangelsk and they ended up en route to Severodvinsk,” the ministry said.“They obviously got lost. We are ready to give the US embassy a map of Russia,” the ministry added.The blast at the military test site in August killed at least five people and caused panic after radiation levels jumped to 16 times their normal levels in nearby Severodvinsk.Russian authorities have given little information about the accident. But a US diplomat this week said that the accident took place when Russia attempted to retrieve a nuclear-powered cruise missile called Burevestnik from the Barents Sea.“The United States has determined that the explosion near Nyonoksa was the result of a nuclear reaction that occurred during the recovery of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile,” Thomas DiNanno, the diplomat, said during a speech at the UN.Russia’s plans for a nuclear-powered cruise missile that could in theory fly indefinitely were first revealed by Vladimir Putin during a speech last year. The missile is still undergoing testing, and some weapons experts doubt if it can ever be made operable.Russia’s military was attempting to retrieve the missile from another failed 2017 test when the accident took place.It was not immediately clear whether the diplomats were traveling to or from Nyonoksa, the village near the military testing site, when they were detained. But train timetables would indicate they were returning from the village when they were arrested close to 6pm in Severodvinsk.Russia has maintained a shroud of secrecy around the incident, closing off waters in the White Sea to foreign ships to prevent them from collecting information about the explosion.



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India court ends hearings on disputed religious site, decision in weeks

India court ends hearings on disputed religious site, decision in weeksIndia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered an end to hearings in a long-running dispute between Hindus and Muslims over a place of worship, laying the ground for a verdict that could lead to further divisions. Hindus believe that the site in the northern town of Ayodhya is the birthplace of god-king Lord Ram and want a temple built on the ruins of a mosque that was torn down by zealots in 1992, triggering riots across the country. Muslims want the 16th century mosque be rebuilt and leaders from the two sides have been arguing over the matter for decades.



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The Latest: Tropical weather new fear at collapse site

The Latest: Tropical weather new fear at collapse siteTropical weather is the latest worry in New Orleans, where officials say experts have yet to come up with a viable plan for stabilizing a partially collapsed building and two damaged construction cranes. City Homeland Security director Collin Arnold said Tuesday authorities fear a disturbance over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula could become a tropical depression threatening the Gulf Coast, bringing wind and rain that would topple the unstable structures onto neighboring buildings.



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4 dead in shooting at illegal gambling site in Brooklyn

4 dead in shooting at illegal gambling site in BrooklynGunfire broke out inside an illegal gambling club in Brooklyn early Saturday, police said, leaving four people dead, three wounded, and investigators trying to piece together what prompted the bloodshed. The shooting inside the small, nondescript club started just before 7 a.m. as around 15 people were gambling with dice and cards, police said. At a news conference hours later, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said investigators were trying to determine if a gambling dispute, a robbery, or something else was to blame for the violence.



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A US soldier working at Mar-a-Lago uploaded photos of an underage girl to a Russian website — a closer look at the site reveals a horrific underworld

A US soldier working at Mar-a-Lago uploaded photos of an underage girl to a Russian website — a closer look at the site reveals a horrific underworldA cursory look at the Russian website iMGSRC.ru reveals a horrific underworld of shared photos of children.



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Reactor at worst US nuclear accident site finally closed

Reactor at worst US nuclear accident site finally closedThe last reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania was finally shut down Friday, marking the end of the operation of the site of the worst civilian nuclear accident in US history. The plant’s first reactor — which went online in September 1974 — was shut down at noon local time (1600 GMT), according to the plant’s owner Exelon, and the site will be dismantled in the coming weeks. On March 28, 1979, the second reactor experienced a cooling problem that — coupled with a human error — resulted in the partial melting of the reactor and the evacuation of 14,000 people.



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Israeli leader claims to find new Iranian nuke site

Israeli leader claims to find new Iranian nuke siteIsrael’s prime minister on Monday unveiled what he said was a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear weapons site, further escalating a showdown between the two enemy countries. Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement came as the U.N. nuclear watchdog held a meeting in Vienna, where he’s hoping the agency will take tougher action against Iran. It also came in the final stages of Israeli national elections, drawing criticism from opponents that the sudden press conference was a campaign stunt.



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Zimbabwe announces Mugabe funeral amid row over burial site

Zimbabwe announces Mugabe funeral amid row over burial siteZimbabwe’s government has announced a date for Robert Mugabe’s funeral amid a row over where the former president will be buried.  A government memo declared the funeral will be at Harare National Sports stadium on Saturday, September 14th but gave no location for the burial to follow the next day.  Members of Mr Mugabe’s family are battling with the ruling Zanu PF party over its plan to bury Zimbabwe’s liberator-turned-despot in a cemetery for heroes of the liberation war in the capital.  The deceased dictator has a grave ready next to his first wife Sally in Heroes Acre, a North-Korea designed graveyard also home to prestigious Zanu PF supporters.  However, elements of Mr Mugabe’s family want him interred in their rural village in Zvimba district, about 50 miles northwest of Harare.  “We want him buried here. Heroes, for what?” Mr Mugabe’s cousin, Josephine Jorincha, told AFP in the village of Kutama.    Josephine Jaricha, 72, in Kutama Credit: AFP Mr Mugabe’s nephew, Leo, who is the family’s head of burial preparations, told the Telegraph that he was negotiating with village chiefs over the final site.   He said that Mr Mugabe’s toppling in a 2017 coup by his former right-hand man Emerson Mnangagwa had rendered the 95-year-old ambivalent about being buried in the Zanu PF shrine.   However, Leo said that he believed Mr Mugabe would eventually be buried in Heroes’ Acre.  “I am sure he will be buried at Heroes’ Acre,” he said, but “we are with the chiefs, we have to consult.” There is some surprise at the village chiefs’ importance in the burial negotiations as Mr Mugabe’s father was from Malawi, and deserted his family, meaning his son had no role within traditional Shona society. Jealousy Mawarire, a senior Mugabe loyalist said that although he believed Heroes’ Acre would be the burial place, there were “disturbances” within the family because of Mr Mugabe’s wishes to be buried “at home.” A report appeared in a privately-owned Zimbabwe weekly recently which claimed Mr Mugabe told family members he wanted to be buried next to his mother in Kutama. The former president led an uprising against white minority rule in the 1970s but left the economy in tatters over an increasingly despotic 37-year reign characterised by corruption and repression.



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Iranian government jet lands at G7 summit town in France – tracking site

Iranian government jet lands at G7 summit town in France - tracking siteAn Iranian government jet landed on Sunday in Biarritz, southwestern France, where leaders of the G7 group of nations are meeting, the flight tracking website flightradar24.com showed. Biarritz’s airport has been closed for the duration of the summit from Saturday to Monday. The same plane took Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Oslo and Paris last week, the site showed.



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Russian nuclear near blast site 'went silent' after missile testing explosion

Russian nuclear near blast site 'went silent' after missile testing explosionTwo Russian radiation monitoring stations went offline last weekend following reports of a nuclear accident in Arkhangelsk region on Russia’s northern frontier, fuelling concerns of a cover-up.  The Russian government has been vague and at times contradictory when addressing the mysterious explosion near a military test range on August 8.  At least five nuclear scientists died, and a brief radiation spike was detected over nearby Severodvinsk. According to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which operates an international network of radiation monitoring stations, two key Russian stations went offline two days after the unexplained explosion and reports of radiation spikes. According to Russian officials, RBC reported, the stations in Dubna and Kirov experienced “network and communications problems” two days after the explosion in Arkhangelsk region. Russia nuclear map The Russian military has denied that any radiation was released by the explosion, and an official statement from Severodvinsk authorities notifying the public of an increase in radiation levels was quietly withdrawn from the city government’s website.  International confirmation of a radiation spike is hard to come by.  CTBTO head Lassina Zerbo wrote on Twitter Sunday that the organisation was addressing with station operators “technical problems experienced at two neighboring stations.” He included a graphic of the organisation's modelling of radioactive particle dispersal over time. The graphic included time stamps indicating where CTBTO models predicted radioactive particles would travel. Antennas of a testing facility for seismic and infrasound technologies of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Credit: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo According to this model, when the two Russian stations stopped reporting, the particles would have been passing directly overhead.  Some have speculated that the blast was caused by a failed test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile.  However, evidence suggests that whatever radiation was released by the August 8th explosion was localised and small scale. Experts say a nuclear-powered cruise missile would release far more. “When the US deliberately blew apart a nuclear rocket engine at the Nevada Test side in 1965 to see what would happen, the peak gamma dose rate 25 km downwind was 700 microSieverts per hour – hundreds of times greater than what was observed in Severodvinsk,” Edwin Lyman, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists said.



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