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Ukrainian City Left Unrecognisable in Videos Showing ‘apocalyptic’ Destruction From Shelling

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Videos posted online of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol – subjected to three weeks of Russian siege and shelling which the Red Cross says has caused “apocalyptic” destruction – show civilian areas left unrecognisable by the bombing.

More than 350,000 people are sheltering in the besieged southeastern port city, officials said, with no access to food or water.

One video showed a shopping centre reduced to ruins, with the windows shattered and rubble strewn across the ground. Another showed similar damage to a swimming pool, where women and children were said to be sheltering in its basement.

Sky News has located and verified these videos to the Portcity Shopping Mall (which emerged on social media on Friday) and the Neptun Swimming Pool (from two days ago). They show extensive damage to the buildings.

Ukrainian authorities say about 90% of buildings in the city have been damaged or destroyed.

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Key developments
o Air raid sirens heard in port city of Odesa
o Russian ambassador to UN denies Putin’s forces bombed Mariupol theatre
o Chinese President Xi Jinping tells Joe Biden he wants end to ‘war’ as soon as possible
o Turkey offers to host talks between Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy
o More than 150,000 British people register interest in housing refugees as Homes for Ukraine scheme launches

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2:01

Devastation in Mariupol

Russian forces ‘tightening the encirclement’

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Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that separatists in eastern Ukraine with help from Russian armed forces were “tightening the encirclement” around Mariupol, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported.

It said fighting was ongoing in the city, with Russian forces supporting troops of the Donetsk People’s Republic “fighting against nationalists in the city centre”, spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

He said: “The grouping of the troops of the Luhansk People’s Republic, with fire support from the Russian armed forces, have liberated more than 90% of the republic’s territory.”

Overnight, aviation and air defence systems of the Russian aerospace forces “shot down six more Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the air”, including one Bayraktar TB-2, he said.

Mr Konashenkov added: “Operational-tactical, army and unmanned aircraft hit 81 military facilities of Ukraine.”

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1:47

Airstrike targets Mariupol theatre

1,300 still trapped under bombed Mariupol theatre

Around 130 people have been rescued from a bomb shelter beneath a theatre ripped apart in an attack in Mariupol.

But 1,300 still remain trapped under the rubble, according to Verkhovna Rada commissioner for human rights Liudmyla Denisova.

Rescuers have been digging survivors out of the rubble of the building which was hit in a reported Russian airstrike – which Moscow has denied.

On Friday, Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskyy said the rescue work was ongoing, but that ongoing shelling by Russian forces was preventing the establishment of effective humanitarian corridors to the encircled port city.

He said the “occupiers” were “burning their national wealth” on the war and “will destroy everything that Russian society has reached over the last 25 years and they will return to where they began to rise – in the 1990s”.

The president also appealed for more military assistance from the West, saying his country still does not have “adequate anti-missile advanced weapons and enough fighter planes”, as he also called for sanctions against Russia to become stronger.

Hundreds of men, women and children were thought to have been sheltering in the theatre’s basement for safety after their homes were destroyed during the invasion – and the word “children” had reportedly been displayed in large letters at the site, prior to the attack, warning warplanes of those inside.

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1:05

Russia ‘indiscriminately’ attacking city

Britain’s Armed Forces minister James Heappey told Sky News there are concerns about the “barbaric tactics” being used by the Russians.

“The evidence that is being gathered points very much to war crimes and the culpability lies with the leader of the Russian government – the man who decided to do this in the first place,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russia has again made unverified claims at the UN Security Council that Ukraine ran biological laboratories for “dangerous research” with US support.

But America’s ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in turn accused Russia of a potential “false flag” operation.

She said: “Ukraine does not have a biological weapons programme. There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories – not near Russia’s border, not anywhere. There are only public health facilities, proudly supported and recognised by the US government, the World Health Organisation, and other governments and international institutions.

“And I will reiterate the United States’ deep and serious concern that Russia’s calling for this meeting is a potential false flag effort in action. Russia has repeatedly accused other countries of the very violations it plans to perpetrate. We continue to believe it is possible that Russia may be planning to use chemical or biological agents against the Ukrainian people.”

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2:47

‘Mariupol is a city of death’ – mother who fled

Ukraine says at least three killed in shelling of eastern cities

One person was killed and 11 others injured by Russian shelling of a multi-storey teaching building in Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian emergency services.

Shells also hit Kramatorsk on Friday, killing two people and wounding six, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in an online post.

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Original Source: news.sky.com

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WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll

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The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.

WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.

Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.

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The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.

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There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.

Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.

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Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.

Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.

There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.

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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.

“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”

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Original Source: news.sky.com

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Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons

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The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.

Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.

He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.

The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.

He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.

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Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.

He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.

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His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.

During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.

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Original Article: news.sky.com

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Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed

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A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.

At least five people are confirmed to have died and possibly dozens are still missing following the disaster in the city of Changsha, in central China‘s Hunan Province, on 29 April.

The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.

The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.

Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.

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All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.

At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.

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This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

Image:
An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province

There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.

China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.

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Source: news.sky.com

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