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At Least 6 Dead in Severe Earthquake in Italy

At least six people have died in a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck central Italy early Wednesday.

Several buildings collapsed in towns around the site of the quake, which hit some  76 km southeast of the city of Perugia

The mayor of Amatrice, a town in the region, told Italian radio that “half the town is gone” and several people are still trapped under rubble.

The shocks were felt in the capital Rome some 100 miles away.


Germany, France and Russia Agree to Ukraine Talks
Conflict in Donetsk

The leaders of Germany, France and Russia have agreed to hold talks on the crisis in Ukraine amid a renewed escalation of fighting in the country’s breakaway eastern provinces.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladmir Putin will meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China this September, according to the Kremlin.

During a three-way telephone conversation on Tuesday, all three leaders expressed concern about breaches of a ceasefire agreement that has been in place since February of 2015.

“There was agreement that progress was urgently needed and that in particular a stabilization of the ceasefire had to be achieved,” said a German government spokesman.

Ms. Merkel and Mr. Hollande called on Mr. Putin to help calm rising tensions in eastern Ukraine, the spokesman said.

According to the Kremlin, Mr. Putin expressed concern about “provocations” by the Ukrainian government in Crimea. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 after the Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by mass protests.

Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Kiev may resort to martial law and a renewed mobilization of the military if the clashes continue.

“If the situation escalates in the east and in Crimea we don’t rule out the possibilities (that) we will be forced to introduce martial law and announce a (further) mobilization,” Poroshenko said in a televised speech from the western Lviv region, according to Reuters news agency.

Mr. Poroshenko will not joint the talks in September as Ukraine is not a member of the G20.

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