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Divers inspect damage to Crimea bridge hit by a major explosion of Russia’s war By Reuters

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By Max Hunder and Jonathan Landay

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian divers on Sunday were due to discuss the damage caused by a powerful explosion on a road and rail bridge into Crimea, a prestigious symbol of Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula and a key supply route for forces fighting in the south. Ukraine.

Saturday’s explosion on the bridge over the Kerch Strait prompted happy messages from Ukrainian officials, but no one has claimed responsibility. Russia did not immediately blame.

Local news agencies reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnolin said divers will start work in the morning, and a more detailed survey above the waterline is expected to be completed by the end of the day.

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“The situation is manageable … it is unpleasant, but it is not fatal,” Russian Crimean governor Sergei Aksyonov told reporters. “Of course, feelings have taken off and there is a healthy desire for revenge.”

He said that the peninsula has enough fuel for a month and food for two months. The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces in southern Ukraine could be “fully supplied” via existing land and sea routes.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and President Vladimir Putin inaugurated the 19-kilometre-long Crimean Bridge connecting the region to its transport network with great fanfare four years later.

Kyiv is demanding that Russian forces leave the Black Sea peninsula, as well as the Ukrainian lands they captured in Putin’s invasion in February.

The bridge is a major artery for Russian forces that control most of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine and to the Russian sea port of Sevastopol, whose governor told local residents: “Keep calm and do not panic.”

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It is not yet clear whether the blast was a deliberate attack, but the damage to such a prominent structure came amid defeats for Russia on the battlefield, and could add insult to injury from the Kremlin’s reassurances that a conflict was about to be planned.

On Saturday, Putin signed a decree to tighten security measures for the bridge, as well as the infrastructure for electricity supply and Crimea, and ordered an investigation.

“It is conceivable that the Russians can rebuild it, but they cannot defend it while losing the war,” said political analyst James Nixie of the British think tank Chatham House.

Russian officials said three people who were killed may have been occupants of a car traveling near a truck that exploded. On the bridge’s upper level, seven carriages carrying fuel from a 59-carriage train bound for the peninsula caught fire.

Limited road traffic resumed about 10 hours after the explosion, and the Russian Ministry of Transport resumed rail traffic.

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The region’s governor in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia, 125 km from a Russian-controlled nuclear power plant which is the largest in Europe, said that Russian missile attacks killed at least 12 people, and took 49 to hospital.

The governor, Oleksandr Staruch, said on the messaging app Telegram that a nine-storey building had been partially destroyed, five apartment buildings had been flattened, and many more were damaged in dozens of attacks.

He warned that “there may be more people under the rubble,” while eight were rescued.

Earlier, city official Anatoly Kortev estimated at least 17 deaths, while the army’s Central Command said the number of casualties could reach dozens.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

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Happy birthday, Mr. President.

The Kerch Bridge explosion came a day after Putin’s 70th birthday, coinciding with Russia’s third high-ranking military appointment in a week. It appointed General Sergei Sorovikin in the Air Force to take charge of the invasion effort.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not mention the blast in a video address on Saturday, saying the weather in Crimea was cloudy.

“But no matter how cloudy it is, the Ukrainians know … our future is sunny,” he added. “This is a future without occupiers, across our lands, and especially in the Crimea.”

The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council posted a video of the bridge on social media along with a video of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

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Since the war began on February 24, Ukrainian officials have regularly suggested that they want to destroy the bridge. The Ukrainian Post Service said it would print a special stamp.

“Without a doubt, we are witnessing the beginning of large-scale negative operations in Russia,” Zelensky’s adviser Mikhailo Podolak said in a comment, blaming infighting among Putin’s circle as he attributed the explosion to Russian operators.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Kyiv’s reaction to the destruction of civilian infrastructure “testifies to its terrorist nature.”

Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said a cargo truck exploded on the bridge road at 6:07 a.m. (0307 GMT). She said two of the bridges have partially collapsed, but the arc that spans the channel through which ships travel between the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov has not been damaged.

Emergencies Minister Alexander Korenkov told state news agency TASS that quick-thinking railway workers who disengaged burning fuel wagons prevented the fire from spreading.

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Pictures showed that half of the road was broken and the other half was still connected.

Kirill Strimosov, the Russian-appointed deputy director of the Kherson region, said in a social media post that while the explosion “would not greatly affect the army’s supply”, there would be problems with Crimea’s logistics.

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Disasters caused insured losses of $122 billion in 2022

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© Reuters. The remains of destroyed homes are seen nearly a month after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, US, October 26, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

ZURICH (Reuters) – Hurricane Ian and other natural disasters have caused insured losses of $115 billion so far this year, well above the 10-year average of $81 billion, Swiss Re (OTC:) estimated Thursday.

She explained that natural and man-made disasters caused economic damage amounting to $268 billion, of which $122 billion was covered by insurance, making 2022 one of the most expensive sectors so far.

Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 hurricane that struck Florida in September, was the single largest loss-causing event of the year so far, with estimated insured losses of about $50-65 billion. This would put it second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Swiss Re said 2022 marked the second year in a row that estimated insured losses exceeded $100 billion, in line with an average annual increase of 5-7% over the past decade.

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It added that secondary risks such as floods and hailstorms caused insured losses of more than $50 billion.

Widespread flooding in Australia after heavy rains in February and March caused an estimated $4 billion in damage in the country’s costliest natural disaster.

France suffered the deadliest series of hailstorms ever observed, with insured losses reaching an estimated 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion).

Swiss Re has estimated that more than 11,000 people have died in natural and man-made disasters so far this year, excluding the death toll from extreme heatwaves in Europe.

Munich Re is due to release its annual report on the disaster in January.

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($1 = 0.9626 euros)

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Biotech tells Citadel Securities that other major traders manipulated its share price

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In a new lawsuit, Northwest Biotherapeutics has accused the market maker of illegal “spoofing” orders.

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Dollar general stocks plunge as expectations drop

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dollar general

The stock fell sharply Thursday after the discount retailer reported a rare fiasco, and its fourth-quarter financial outlook fell short of Wall Street estimates.

The company said fourth-quarter earnings will range between $3.15 and $3.30 per share. Analysts tracked by FactSet had expected earnings of $3.66 per share in the fourth quarter. Forecasts call for growth of 7% to 8% for the fiscal year versus previous forecasts for growth of 12% to 14%.

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