More Than 200 Still Missing In California's Deadliest Wildfire

More than 200 people were missing early on Monday in California's deadliest and most destructive blaze on record, one of two fires raging in the state which have killed at least 31 people and forced more than a quarter of a million evacuations.

The so-called Camp Fire 40 miles northwest of Sacramento burned down more than 6,700 homes and businesses in the town of Paradise, more structures than any other wildfire recorded in California.

The fire had burned more than 111,000 acres and was 25 percent contained by late Sunday, officials said. Its death toll of 29 now equals that of the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, the deadliest wildfire on record in California.

At least 228 people were still missing, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has scorched at least 85,500 acres and destroyed 177 structures. The blaze was only 15 percent contained. At least two people have died in that fire, according to officials from the statewide agency Cal Fire.

The blaze has forced the authorities to issue evacuation orders for a quarter million people in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and beachside communities including the Malibu beach colony.

Celebrities at the People's Choice Awards Sunday night in Santa Monica, Ca., asked for prayers and donations for residents and first responders.

Reality television star Kim Kardashian said, 'It's been a really rough week in our home in Calabasas, Hidden Hills and our neighbors in Thousand Oaks and Malibu."

Actor Melissa McCarthy said, "Please keep the victims, volunteers and firefighters in your thoughts." She also asked people to donate to the Los Angeles fire Department Foundation.

Hot, dry winds were expected to whip up the fires burning in both tinder-dry southern and northern California until Tuesday, officials said.

Officials urged residents to heed evacuation orders.

"Winds are already blowing," Chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Sunday. "They are going to blow for the next three days. Your house can be rebuilt but you can't bring your life back."

Governor Jerry Brown asked U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster to bolster the emergency response and help residents recover.

Trump has criticized the California government in Tweets this weekend, blaming poor forest management for the infernos.

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9 Dead In California Wildfire, Residents Take Refuge On Beaches In Malibu

Paradise: Wildfires burned out of control on Friday across California, killing at least nine people in a mountain town and forcing residents to flee the upscale beach community of Malibu in the face of a monster fire storm.

All nine victims were found in and around the Northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the Camp Fire, making it one of the most destructive in state history, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire protection data.

"This event was the worst-case scenario. It was the event we have feared for a long time," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening press conference. "Regrettably, not everybody made it out."

The remains of five of the victims were discovered in or near burned out cars, three outside residences and one inside a home, Honea said.

Another 35 people had been reported missing and three firefighters had been injured.

The flames descended on Paradise so quickly that many people were forced to abandon their cars and run for their lives down the sole road through the mountain town.

A school bus was among several abandoned vehicles left blackened by flames on one road.

The Camp Fire, which broke out on Thursday at the edge of the Plumas National Forest northeast of Sacramento, has since blackened more than 90,000 acres and was only 5 percent contained as of nightfall on Friday.

A total of 6,453 homes had been destroyed in Paradise and elsewhere, Honea said, along with 260 commercial buildings. The Tubbs Fire, which destroyed 5,636 structures in Napa and Sonoma counties in October 2017, is listed by Cal Fire as the most destructive in state history.

Fire burns toward Malibu

In Malibu, some 500 miles (800 km) to the south, flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes.

Thousands of residents packed the Pacific Coast Highway to head south or took refuge on beaches, along with their horses and other pets.

Among those force to flee the Woolsey Fire, which had charred some 35,000 acres (14,164 hectares) as of Friday afternoon, were celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, who said on Twitter flames had damaged the home she shares in nearby Calabasas with Kanye West.

"Fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu," the city said in a statement online. "All residents must evacuate immediately."

Malibu and Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, are home to hundreds of celebrities and entertainment executives attracted by ocean views, rolling hills and large, secluded estates.

The blaze, which spewed massive plumes of thick black smoke, also threatened parts of the nearby town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people earlier this week in a shooting rampage at a college bar, stunning the bucolic Southern California community with a reputation for safety.

The Woolsey Fire broke out on Thursday and quickly jumped the 101 Freeway in several places. On Friday, it climbed over the Santa Monica Mountains toward Malibu.

Authorities were forced to shut down the 101, a major north-south artery, as well as the Pacific Coast Highway. Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said a "significant number" of homes had been destroyed by the flames but that an accurate count could not yet be made.

Elsewhere, the Hill Fire in Ventura County's Santa Rosa Valley had charred about 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) as of Friday evening, according to Cal Fire.

In Los Angeles, another, smaller fire in Griffith Park forced the Los Angeles Zoo to evacuate a number of show birds and some small primates on Friday as flames came within less than 2 miles (3 km) of the facility, zoo officials said in a statement.

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US won’t let Russia ease North Korea sanctions, Haley says

Russia says it’s trying to ease sanctions on North Korea to make aid organisations’ work there possible. The US says it won’t let that happen.

Following a closed-door UN security council meeting this Thursday requested by Russia and China, US ambassador Nikki Haley told press members that Russia is trying “to lift banking restrictions” against North Korea, an option which she says is off the table:  “So now we know what their agenda is, we know exactly why they’re trying to do it and we’re not going to let it happen.” 

 
At the meeting, the Russian Mission to the UN released a statement referring to “serious humanitarian problems” resulting from the current American-championed sanctions. The statement claims the restrictions are interfering with the ability of nonprofits and humanitarian aid organizations to work in North Korea – even though they’re not directly subject to the sanctions regime. It urges the council “to examine as soon as possible the options to rectify the situation using the entire tool set available to the UNSC.

Echoing Trump’s statements on the matter, Haley responded that sanctions would not be lifted since the North Koreans “haven’t done anything to warrant us getting rid of them yet,” adding that “The threat is still there.

Earlier this year Haley accused Russia of violating the sanctions agreements and asked the UN to impose punishment. Russia, China and South Korea, in turn, have been pushing for the US to make small concessions in order to facilitate dialogue.

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New U.S. sanctions over chemical weapons would be 'illegal': Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia would consider any new chemical weapons-related sanctions imposed by the United States to be illegal, a Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it would impose additional sanctions on Russia after Moscow failed to give reasonable assurances it would not use chemical weapons after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England.

“We consider restrictions imposed by the United States against Russia illegal,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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War-stricken Yemen 'living hell' for all children: UN official

Yemen has turned into a "living hell" for all children with thousands dying every year from malnutrition and easily preventable diseases, a top UN official says as Saudi Arabia presses ahead with its bloodshed and atrocities in the course of its three-and-a-half-year-old war against the impoverished country.

"Yemen is today a living hell -- not for 50 to 60 percent of the children -- it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen," Geert Cappelaere, the regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at UN children's agency UNICEF, told reporters in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Sunday.

He called on the warring parties to join proposed peace talks due to be held later this month and agree to a ceasefire across the conflict-ravaged Yemen.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warned that more than seven million children are facing a serious threat of famine in Yemen.

 

“Today, 1.8 million children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition, and 400,000 are affected by severe acute malnutrition,” Cappelaere said late in October 31.

Elsewhere in his Sunday remarks, the UN official said malnutrition leads to the death of 30,000 children each year in Yemen, while one child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases.

Cappelaere added that the figures were "a reminder for all of us to realize how dire the situation has become."

"We call on all parties to get together later this month under the leadership of the UN special envoy... and agree on a ceasefire and a road to peace for Yemen," he said.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Yemen is teetering “on a precipice”, appealing to the international community to put an end to the Saudi war on the impoverished nation.

“Yemen today stands on a precipice. On the humanitarian side, the situation is desperate. We must do all we can to prevent the already dire conditions from deteriorating,” said the UN chief in a press conference, adding that the consequences of such a war would be “terrible” for the Yemeni nation.

Leading a coalition of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who resigned amid popular discontent and fled to the Arab kingdom.

Since the onset of the imposed war, the Yemeni army, backed by fighters of the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, has been defending the impoverished nation against the brutal aggression. The coalition, supported by the United States, is also resolute to crush the movement as another goal in its war on Yemen, which is teetering on the edge of famine.

Saudi Arabia has so far achieved none of its objectives in Yemen. Riyadh had declared at the start of the invasion that the war would take no more than a couple of weeks.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

A number of Western countries, the United States and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence.

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US-Led Coalition Strikes Kill 14 Civilians In East Syria: Monitor

Beirut: At least 14 civilians were killed Saturday in US-led coalition air strikes on the ISIS' last holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said.

"Fourteen civilians, including five children under the age of 18, were killed in the coalition air raids on the villages of Hajin, Sousa and Al-Shaafa" in eastern Deir Ezzor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The death toll is likely to rise due to the number of seriously wounded," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

At least 9 ISIS jihadists were killed in the raids, he added.

The coalition was not immediately available for comment.

Strikes on the area intensified following an attempted jihadist attack on a coalition base in the nearby village of Al-Bahra, the Britain-based monitor said.

ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.

But the jihadist group has since lost most of its territory to various offensives in both countries.

In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and a pocket in Deir Ezzor that contains Hajin, Sousa and Al-Shaafa.

A Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by the coalition launched an offensive in September to wrest the Deir Ezzor pocket from IS.

But on Wednesday the alliance, the Syrian Democratic Forces, suspended its fight against the jihadists after Turkish forces fired on the group's positions.

The coalition estimates that 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in the Hajin pocket.

A total of more than 360,000 people have been killed since Syria's war erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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Gunman kills 2, wounds 6 at yoga studio in Florida, suspect dead

Two people have been killed in a shooting spree that broke out at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida. The gunman also injured several more people before killing himself.

Officers responded to an emergency call on Friday evening, arriving at the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio. Multiple people suffering from gunshot wounds were found when the police arrived.

Six injured victims were immediately taken to trauma care, but two died at the hospital, according to ABC. Another victim is said to be in a critical condition, while the remaining three people have serious injuries.

The gunman was identified as 40-year-old Scott Paul Beierle, according to the Tallahassee Police Department. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Several people inside the studio tried to fight back and save others, police told reporters after the incident, calling it “a testament to their courage.”

The motive of the shooter is not yet known, and police believe he acted alone. The investigation will now focus on possible causes of “this senseless act of violence,” according to their statement. Over 40 victims have been interviewed at this stage.

Home to some 191,000 people, Tallahassee is Florida’s capital being the 7th largest city in the state. Florida itself has seen a range of shooting sprees earlier this year.

READ MORE: ‘He lost & went crazy’: Witnesses describe killing spree at Florida video game tournament

In August, two people have been killed and 11 were treated after losing participant opened fire at a video game tournament in Jacksonville. The shooter has committed suicide.

Another rampage took place in February in Parkland after a lone attacker began to shoot at students at the end of the school day outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The gunman, a 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, left 17 people dead and at least a dozen injured.

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Over 120 civilians killed by US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria in 1 month – Russian military

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