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California firm to pay $13.5bn to wildfire victims

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San Francisco, Dec 7– Californian utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has agreed on a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires in the state, it was reported on Saturday.

The company’s equipment has been linked to several blazes including the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, 2018’s ‘Camp Fire’, the BBC reported.PG&E filed for bankruptcy this year and has already settled with insurers and local authorities.

The agreements should allow the firm to emerge from bankruptcy.PG&E’s settlement relates to claims over several deadly blazes, including the Camp Fire, Northern California wildfires (2017), Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland (2016) and Butte Fire (2015).

The four combined killed more than 150 people and destroyed properties worth millions of dollars. PG&E President Bill Johnson said since entering the bankruptcy process “getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal.

“We want to help our customers, our neighbours and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires,” the BBC quoted Johnson as saying on Friday. This year saw yet more rampant wildfires and the firm sought to prevent them by cutting off power to customers in California.

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Russian Deputy PM Yury Trutnev tests positive for COVID-19

Russia registered 5,102 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 902,701, the country’s COVID-19 response centre.

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Yury Trutnev

Moscow: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev has tested positive for COVID-19.

Trutnev’s trip to the Far East as part of the visit of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been postponed so far, Xinhua news agency.

“Before the trip, Yury Trutnev was tested for coronavirus. He showed a positive result,” he said.

Russia registered 5,102 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 902,701, the country’s COVID-19 response centre.

The death toll stood at 15,231.

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Afghanistan: 4 police officers killed in bomb attack in Western Farah Province

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FARAH, Afghanistan, Aug. 13 : At least four police officers were killed and 16 people wounded after a bomb explosion took place outside a provincial police station in Afghanistan’s western Farah province on Wednesday, a local official confirmed.

“Four killed and 16 wounded were admitted to a provincial main hospital following a bomb explosion in Farah city, capital of Farah province this evening,” Dr. Abdul Jabar Shahiq from provincial health directorate told Xinhua.

Those among the wounded were child and a police officer, he added.

Security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures.

The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, Muhibullah Muhib from provincial police told Xinhua, adding the explosion damaged several vehicles and buildings.

Unofficial sources said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber who detonated a tricycle, targeting a passing convey of provincial intelligence official roughly at 6:40 p.m. local time.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Since the signing of a Taliban and United States peace agreement in late February, Afghan leaders, including President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, have frequently demanded the Taliban to reduce violence.

The militants, however, have intensified attacks, killing and injuring scores of combatants and civilians.

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5.5-magnitude earthquake rattles northern Philippines

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MANILA, Aug. 13 : An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 shook Batanes province in the northern Philippines on Thursday, the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs) said.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 6:32 a.m. local time, hit at a depth of 14 kilometers, about 49 kilometers southwest of Sabtang town.

The institute said the quake, which was tectonic in origin, will trigger aftershocks but will not cause damage.

The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

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