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Russia unveils new nuclear arsenal

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MOSCOW — Russia has developed a number of advanced weapons systems, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, which make all US capabilities aimed at undermining the Russian nuclear deterrent obsolete, President Vladimir Putin has announced.

Putin, on Thursday speaking ahead of an election on March 18 that polls, said he could hit any target around the globe with little chance of interception.

Mr Putin also claimed he should win easily saying further that a nuclear attack on any of Moscow’s allies would be regarded as an attack on Russia itself and draw an immediate response.

Putin warned during his annual state of the nation speech that an attack on Russia or any of its allies would elicit an immediate response from Moscow.

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It was unclear if he had a particular Russian ally, such as Syria, in mind, but his comments looked like a warning to Washington not to use tactical battlefield nuclear weapons.

Russia and the West are at odds in several conflicts including Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad – and Ukraine.

The latest advances in Russian strategic deterrence have made America’s anti-missile systems obsolete, so Washington should stop trying to diminish Russia’s security and start talking to Moscow as an equal partner, not the dominant military power it seeks to be, Putin said.

Video footage of the new weapons was projected behind him at a conference hall in the Russian capital, where Putin spoke with legislators.

Agencies

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44 dead as ferry capsizes in Tanzania

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TANZANIA — At least 44 people were killed after a passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized on Lake Victoria in Tanzania, official said late Thursday.

Thirty-seven people were rescued after the sinking Thursday afternoon, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told The Associated Press.

The death toll was expected to rise when rescue efforts resumed at daybreak.

According to local media, the exact number of those on board was not known as the boat was believed to be carrying people beyond the stipulated capacity. The ferry was thought to be carrying between 400 to 500 people.

The ferry overturned between the two islands in Lake Victoria, which is the largest lake in Africa, passing through Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

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Emergency response teams pulled 37 people out of the water during rescue operations, which was stopped due to poor visibility.

Regional Commissioner John Mongella told local Tanzania television channel ITV that the rescue operations would resume in the morning.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, in charge of servicing the vessels, urged patience in a statement as rescue efforts began.

The ferry was traveling between Ukara and Bugolora and capsized near the area of Mwanza, the agency said.

Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

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