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A fire during a party in a warehouse that housed artists' studios in Oakland, California killed at least nine people and left some 25 missing, and authorities said on Saturday they were preparing for a jump in the death toll. Fire officials have not yet determined how the fire started or an exact number of fatalities, said Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed, who called it the worst single-structure fire she had seen in her career. "It's just so hard to accept that some really wonderful people's lives got cut short," said artist and activist Jenny Yang, 34, waiting for news of missing friends at Eli's, an Oakland bar that opened early as a gathering spot.
By Tom Perry, Isla Binnie and Vladimir Soldatkin BEIRUT/ROME/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday it was ready for talks with the United States about a withdrawal of all Syrian rebels from eastern Aleppo, where advances by the Russian-backed Syrian army and its allies threaten to deal a crushing blow to the rebellion. In just over a week, the army and allied militias have seized large areas of the opposition-held territory in eastern Aleppo in a fierce campaign that may leave the rebels with no choice but to seek a negotiated passage out of their area. With tens of thousands of civilians still living in the rebels' shrinking, besieged enclave, the U.N. envoy for Syria suggested eastern Aleppo could fall by the end of the year and hoped a way could be found to avoid a "terrible battle".
Britain has signed a $125 million (98 million pound) contract with privately held U.S. weapons maker General Atomics for development of a new drone, and plans to eventually buy 20 of the new unmanned planes, Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon said on Saturday. "We're planning to buy 20 aircraft that will double our current fleet," Fallon told Reuters in an interview at the Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California. "We have 10 aircraft that still have some life in them, but we need to think ahead." Fallon gave no details on the expected cost of the new drones.