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Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in Dominican Republic after hitting Puerto Rico

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Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday after unleashing havoc in Puerto Rico, where the power grid was knocked out and residents suffered floods and landslides.Maximum sustained winds at landfall in the Dominican Republic are estimated to be 90 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.Significant flooding caused by the hurricane is being blamed for at least one death on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, a local official said. No deaths have been reported in Puerto Rico, but authorities say it is too soon to weigh the damage from the storm that is expected to unleash torrential rain across the region on Monday.The U.S. territory is forecasted to receive up to 30 inches in its eastern and southern regions.PUERTO RICO IN BLACKOUT AFTER HURRICANE FIONA STRIKES, RESIDENTS COULD BE WITHOUT POWER FOR ‘SEVERAL DAYS’
A road is blocked by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

Biden: US would defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion

BEIJING — China’s government on Monday criticized President Joe Biden’s statement that American forces would defend Taiwan if Beijing tries to invade as a violation of U.S. commitments about the self-ruled island, but gave no indication of possible retaliation.Biden said “yes” when asked during an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News’s “60 Minutes” program whether “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.”The comment added to displays of official American support for the island democracy in the face of growing shows of force by the mainland’s ruling Communist Party, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.Without citing Biden by name, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the “U.S. remarks” violate Washington’s commitment not to support formal independence for Taiwan, a step Beijing has said would lead to war.“China strongly deplores and rejects it and has made solemn complaints with the U.S. side,” said the spokeswoman, Mao Ning.CBS News reported the White House said after the interview U.S. policy hasn’t changed. That policy says Washington wants to see Taiwan’s status resolved peacefully but doesn’t say whether U.S. forces might be sent in response to a Chinese attack.Tension is rising following efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government to intimidate Taiwan by firing missiles into the nearby sea and flying fighter jets toward the island after visits to Taipei by political figures including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Mao called on Washington to “handle Taiwan-related issues prudently” and “not to send any wrong signals” to supporters of Taiwan independence “to to avoid further damage to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with the Communist Party in control of the mainland. The two governments say they are one country but dispute which is entitled to be the national leader.“We will do our utmost to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity, while we will not tolerate any activities aimed at splitting China and reserve the option to take all necessary measures,” Mao said.Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed “sincere gratitude” to Biden for “affirming the U.S. government’s rock-solid promise of security to Taiwan.”Taiwan will “resist authoritarian expansion and aggression” and “deepen the close security partnership” with Washington and other governments “with similar thinking” to protect regional stability, the statement said.Washington is obligated by federal law to see that Taiwan has the means to defend itself but doesn’t say whether U.S. forces would be sent. The United States has no formal relations with the island but maintains informal diplomatic ties.The Communist Party has persuaded most foreign governments to switch official recognition to Beijing, though many maintain informal ties have extensive trade and investment relations with Taiwan. The island’s official diplomatic partners are mostly small, poor nations in Africa and Latin America.”Taiwan is an inalienable part of China,” Mao said. “The government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government representing the whole of China.”Washington says it doesn’t support formal independence for Taiwan, a stance Biden repeated in the interview broadcast Sunday.“Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence,” the president said. “We’re not encouraging their being independent.”In May, Biden said “yes” when asked at a news conference in Tokyo whether he was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded.———Associated Press video producer Liu Zheng in Beijing and journalist Johnson Lai in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

Ukraine says Russian missile struck close from nuclear plant

KYIV, Ukraine — A Russian missile strike hit a facility close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine Monday, causing no damage to its reactors but damaging other industrial equipment in what the country’s atomic energy operator denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism.”Energoatom, which operates Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, said the strike early Monday hit an industrial complex that includes the Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant in the southerm Mykolaiv region.Energoatom said the missile struck just 300 meters (yards) from the plant, causing an explosion that broke more than 100 windows on buildings in the complex.The attack also caused a nearby hydropower plant to shut down temporarily, but didn’t affect the reactors of the nuclear plant, Energoatom said, calling the strike an act of “nuclear terrorism.”The Russian Defense Ministry had no immediate comment on the attack.The Pivdennoukrainsk plant, also known as the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, sits along the Southern Bug River and is some 300 kilometers (190 miles) south of the capital, Kyiv. It is Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear power plant with three reactors.The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion and repeatedly came under fire that cut off its transmission lines and eventually forced operators to shut it down to avoid a radiation disaster. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the shelling.The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, which has monitors at the Zaporizhzhia plant, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the attack.

Strong quake kills 1, knocks house, derails train in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A strong earthquake shook much of Taiwan on Sunday, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside, and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks.One person died and nine people had minor injuries, Taiwan’s Emergency Operations Center said.The magnitude 6.8 quake was the largest among dozens that have rattled the island’s southeastern coast since Saturday evening, when a 6.4 quake struck the same area. Most of the damage appeared to be north of the epicenter, which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said was in the town of Chishang at the relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).In nearby Yuli town, a cement factory worker died and the three-story building, which had a 7-11 convenience store on the ground floor and residences above it, collapsed, the island’s Central News Agency said. The 70-year-old owner of the building and his wife were rescued first, but it took longer to get to a 39-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter. A photo released by the Hualien city government showed the girl lying on a blanket and being handed down a metal ladder from the top of the debris by helmeted rescue workers in orange uniforms. The top two stories of the building were left sprawled across a small street and onto the other side, with electricity wires pulled down by the fallen structure.More than 7,000 households were reported without power in Yuli, and water pipes were also damaged. Shelves and musical instruments fell over at the Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church and a long crack ran down its floor. Outside, the pavement was broken into slabs of concrete. Police and firefighters rushed to a bridge collapse on a two-lane road in what appeared to be a rural part of the same town where three people and one or more vehicles may have fallen off, according to media reports.Also in Yuli, a landslide trapped nearly 400 tourists on a mountain famous for the orange day lilies that blanket its slopes this time of year, the Central News Agency said. They had no electricity and a weak cellphone signal.Debris from a falling canopy on a platform at Dongli station in Fuli town, which is between Yuli and the epicenter at Chishang, hit a passing train, derailing six cars, the Central News Agency said, citing the railway administration. None of the 20 passengers were injured. The shaking was felt at the north end of the island in the capital, Taipei. In Taoyuan city, west of Taipei and 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the epicenter, a man was injured by a ceiling collapse on the 5th floor of a sports center. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for several southern Japanese islands near Taiwan, but later lifted it.———Moritsugu reported from Beijing. Associated Press writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

Environment groups attack EU's green label for gas, nuclear

BRUSSELS — A dozen environmental groups are starting legal challenges against the European Union’s executive branch in a bid to stop the inclusion of natural gas and nuclear power generation in the bloc’s list of sustainable activities.European Union lawmakers in July voted to add natural gas and nuclear to the list, backing a proposal from the European Commission that has been drawing fierce criticism and accusations of greenwashing. ClientEarth, WWF’s European Policy Office, Transport

China says it will work with Russia to create new international order

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A top Chinese official said that his country will continue its partnership with Russia in the hopes of creating a new international order that will rival western influence.”The Chinese side is willing to work with the Russian side to continuously implement high-level strategic cooperation between the two countries, safeguard common interests and promote the development of the international order in a more just and reasonable direction,” Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committe Yang Jiechi said Monday, according to Bloomberg.The comments come amid Russia’s ongoing war with neighboring Ukraine, which has resulted in international outrage and an effort by many western governments to sanction Russia and cut off its influence around the globe.But the international influence campaign has seemingly brought Russia and China closer together, with Chinese President Xi Jinping set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week in Xi’s first foreign trip since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.RUSSIANS SET UP METHOD TO CONVERT WIRE CURRENCY INTO CHINESE YUAN, SPARKING FEARS OF ALLIANCE
Chinese President Xi Jinping
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)While China has not provided Russia with direct support or relief from sanctions, it has extended its trade partnership with a Russian economy struggling to find international partners. About 81% of Russian car imports during the second quarter came from China, Bloomberg reported, while China’s Xiaomi phone brand became the most popular in Russia during the same time period. China has also been a dependable consumer of Russian fuel, buying up liquefied natural gas (LNG) at a steep discount from Russia. The arrangement has benefited both countries, giving Russia a buyer for its energy resources while China has used the windfall to sell energy sources at a markup to a European economy that has found itself short of resources amid sanctions against Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
(Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)”Russia and China are building a massive $55 billion pipeline called the ‘Power of Siberia,’ delivering gas from Siberia to Shanghai,” Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer and the author of ”Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox News Digital. “This is a major development of strategic importance as Putin is pivoting to Asia in a big way. The Kremlin has concluded that Russia-U.S. relations are irreparable and that the U.S. and Western sanctions are here to stay indefinitely.”Russia and China have also worked together to send money transfers to China in yuan without using the SWIFT messaging system, which helps Russia bypass international sanctions and works toward the Chinese goal of devaluing the influence of the U.S. dollar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
(Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Russia already has established a method of transferring payments to convert wire currency into Chinese yuan, bypassing SWIFT,” Koffler said, adding that the Russian Finance Ministry also announced the country is “transitioning to yuan, playing into China’s strategic goal of replacing the U.S. dollar with the Chinese yuan as the dominant international reserve currency by 2049.”

Ukraine-Russia war: Zelenskyy visits newly liberated Izium, officials decry signs of torture

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday traveled to the recently liberated city of Izium in Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv region after Russian forces withdrew from the area late last week.”Before, when we looked up, we always looked for the blue sky, the sun. And today we, and especially the people in the temporarily occupied territories, looking up, are looking for only one thing – the flag of our state,” Zelenskyy said in a flag-raising ceremony.  “This means that the heroes are here. This means that the enemy is gone, he ran away.”
Surrounded by soldiers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a national flag-raising ceremony in the freed Izium, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
(AP Photo/Leo Correa)UKRAINE’S SOLDIERS INCH TOWARD SIEVIERODONETSK IN MAJOR COUNTEROFFENSIVEUkrainian forces have regained large swaths of territory in Kharkiv after Kyiv launched a major counteroffensive earlier this month.Western defense officials have said Ukraine is gaining ground and has forced some Russian forces back across their own border. But as Zelenskyy championed the successes Ukraine has achieved, he also noted the devastation Russia left in its wake following a six-month occupation. 
A Ukrainian soldier holds up a dirty Russian flag in Izium, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)Pictures released following Russia’s withdrawal show buildings blackened and destroyed by shelling, animals wandering the streets and, according to officials, signs of torture among the dead.”The view is very shocking but it is not shocking for me,” Zelenskyy told reporters, “because we began to see the same pictures from Bucha, from the first de-occupied territories… so the same destroyed buildings, killed people.”The Ukrainian president’s comments were in reference to the village of Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, where bodies were found in the streets, mass graves were discovered and several reports of torture were told after Russia withdrew its forces in March.
A Ukrainian soldier stands in Izium, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)RUSSIAN TROOPS PULL BACK AS UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS RETAKE KEY AREAS IN KHARKIV”We have a terrible picture of what the occupiers did, particularly in the Kharkiv region. Such cities as Balakliia, Izium are standing in the same row as Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpin,” Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said. The head of the Kharkiv prosecutor’s office, Oleksandr Filchakov, said investigators were looking into reports of civilians being killed and buried by Russian soldiers in the town of Balakliia – another town that has been retaken by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region.Civilian bodies were found in the towns of Hrakove and Zaliznyche as well.
A Ukrainian soldier takes a rest on the steps of the City Hall in Izium, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that numerous investigations have been opened over accusations of human rights violations. Zelenskyy thanked his troops for their efforts in the hard fought war against Russia and in retaking several strategically important Ukrainian cities. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy poses with soldiers after attending a flag-raising ceremony in Izium, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
(AP Photo/Leo Correa)”The last few months have been extremely difficult for you. Therefore, I am asking you very much [to] take care of yourself, because you are the most valuable thing that we have,” he said. “It is possible to temporarily occupy the territories of our state.”But it is definitely impossible to occupy our people, the Ukrainian people,” he added.The Associated Press contributed to this report.