Sunday 20 September 2020
News ID: 82881
Publish Date: 16 September 2020 - 21:51
ROME (AFP) -- Explosions and a huge fire ripped through the port area of the Italian city of Ancona early Wednesday, destroying warehouses and lorries, but there were no casualties, firefighters said. The flames created vast mushroom clouds of smoke in the city on Italy’s Adriatic coast. The explosions sparked the fire shortly after midnight. The blaze was under control Wednesday morning after the intervention of 16 firefighting teams, the fire service said on Twitter. It was not yet clear what caused the explosions. Warehouses in the area were likely to have stored flammable liquid, according to Rai news, which said there was a company nearby that produced liquid nitrogen, as well as a power station and methane plant. As the smell of burning filled Ancona, the capital of the Marche region, the council said it had "temporarily ordered closed all schools, the university, the parks, open-air sports facilities”.

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- President Donald Trump, in his latest shredding of political niceties, suggested Tuesday that his Democratic opponent Joe Biden has taken drugs to improve his performance in debates. The Republican, who is well behind in national polls, initially insinuated during a Fox News interview that "something was strange” with what he saw as Biden’s improvement during the Democratic primary season debates. Early on, when there were multiple Democratic candidates lined up on stage, Biden was "a disaster” and "grossly incompetent,” Trump said. But at a later debate where Biden was one-on-one with leftist rival Bernie Sanders, "he was OK.” Trump told Fox he didn’t want to say what he thought was the reason for the improvement. Seconds later, he did. "He’s taking something (that) you know, gives him some clarity, or whatever,” he said. Trump repeated his demand that Biden should undergo a drug test before their first of three presidential debates scheduled for September 29. "I would take one too,” he said. Biden responded by telling a Florida radio station "I’m looking forward to the debate and he’s a fool. The comments are just foolish.”
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed a deal to sell 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik-V, to a major listed pharmaceutical company in India, a source close to the deal said on Wednesday. Clinical trials of the Russian vaccine in India are expected to follow and to be held jointly with this firm, the source said. Both the trials and supply deal depend on domestic regulatory approval. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has already inked vaccine supply deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico and has reached a manufacturing partnership agreement with India to produce 300 million doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine there.
RDIF later said it will supply India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories with 100 million doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine against COVID-19 once it receives regulatory approval in India. Russia has billed Sputnik-V as the first vaccine against coronavirus to be registered in the world. Large-scale trials, known as Phase III, involving at least 40,000 people, were launched in Russia on Aug. 26 but have yet to be completed.

TOKYO (Reuters) -- Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd said on Wednesday it would exit a stalled British nuclear power project, a decision that deals a blow to Britain’s plans to replace ageing plants. Hitachi last year froze the 3 trillion yen ($28 billion) project on the island of Anglesey, in north Wales, and booked a writedown of 300 billion yen on its British nuclear unit as the project failed to find private investors. Sources at the time said Hitachi had called on the British government to boost financial support for the project. The project was expected to provide around 6% of Britain’s electricity.

MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Belarus on Wednesday for talks on military cooperation, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said. The talks follow a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in the Black Sea resort of Sochi earlier this week. Lukashenko faces mass protests at home following a presidential election last month that demonstrators claim was rigged.

BRUSSELS (AFP) -- The European Commission’s president on Wednesday warned Turkey against trying to intimidate Greece and Cyprus, as tensions grow over energy reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. In her annual State of the EU speech, Ursula von der Leyen said Ankara was a key partner doing important work hosting refugees but stressed "none of this is justification for attempts to intimidate its neighbors”. Turkey, Greece and Cyprus have been locked in a row over energy resources and maritime borders in the region, with Ankara infuriating the EU countries by sending research ships with naval escorts to work in contested waters. There have been fears of conflict erupting and Cyprus is pressing the rest of the EU to impose fresh sanctions on Ankara over the drilling.
ATHENS (AFP) -- Thirteen people have been detained on the Greek island of Samos after a fire threatened the local migrant camp, police said Wednesday, days after another blaze destroyed Europe’s largest migrant camp on Lesbos. "We are examining the possible participation of these suspects in the incident,” a Samos police source told AFP. The officer declined to identify the nationalities of the suspects. The fire broke out in a forested area near the Samos camp late on Tuesday, but firefighters were able to place it under control. The Lesbos fire at Moria camp on September 8 left over 12,000 asylum seekers homeless. Police have arrested six migrants in connection with the incident.

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