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Recently many things have happened in the World. The ability of talking about news is rather important but it might be a bit confusing. I'm going to give you an example so that you can help me defeat my doubts.

A block of flats has been burned down. A 50 years old man caused the ignition. Many people died or have died. The arsonist has been detained or was detained by the Police.

I know that in AmE these tenses are interchangeable because I've heard dialogues in AmE many times. But yesterday when I was watching BBC on TV I got confused.

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The simple past is often used for events that are complete in the past. The present perfect is often used if the event just happened or the story is still in progress and the past perfect is used for events that happened earlier.

A block of flats burned down two days ago. Many people died in the fire. They were sleeping and the alarm system malfunctioned, so there was no alarm.  Investigators determined that the fire had been deliberately set. A 50-year-old man who had been accused of arson in several other cases was seen in the neighborhood the day of the fire.  The alleged arsonist has been detained  by the police.
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There are some other issues with other parts of the text, but I will focus only on the tenses.

You would continue using "Many people have died" for as long as the deaths seem recent and connected to the present situation. This might be for a few days. Then, as the deaths recede into the past, you would start using "Many people died".

Similarly with the other sentence. "The arsonist has been detained" implies that the detention was fairly recent and still in effect, i.e. the person is still in custody. As time passes, and the event seems less current, or the person is released, you would switch to "was detained".

(Cross-posted.)

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You have problems worse than present perfect vs simple past.

Recently many things have happened in the world. The ability to talk about the news is rather important, but it might be a bit confusing. I'm going to give you an example so that you can help me resolve my doubts.

A block of flats has been burned down. A 50-year-old man caused the fire. Many people died/ have died. The arsonist has been detained / was detained by the police.

I know that in AmE these tenses are interchangeable because I've heard dialogues in AmE many times. But yesterday when I was watching BBC on TV, I became confused.


(cross-cross posted!)

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Ok. But which tense would you use in my example? I don't want to give a specific time.
 Mister Micawber's reply was promoted to an answer.
I understand what you mean. But the death of these people is a new piece of news, isn't it? And that's why we should use the Present Perfect, shouldn't we?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I did these mistakes as I was writing quickly on my phone.
witty witty 764I was writing quickly on my phone

Then do not do that. This is an English language study site. We cannot judge your real problems if you write carelessly.

Ok, I will take this advice seriously.
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