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Fierce clashes in Hodeidah cast doubt over ceasefire NFL playoff picture: Texans jump Pats in Week 15, Eagles (barely) alive

Fierce clashes in Hodeidah cast doubt over ceasefireFierce clashes broke out in Yemen’s crucial port city of Hodeidah on Sunday, leading UN and Yemeni officials to delay the "official" start of the hard-fought ceasefire agreed last week. Residents reported skirmishes on the outskirts of town with missiles and automatic gunfire heard near the city's eastern 7th July suburb.  Unconfirmed television reports said that the Saudi-led coalition had launched two airstrikes on Ras Isa, a port north of Hodeidah. On Thursday, the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels agreed to a UN-brokered truce in Hodeidah with the Saudi-led coalition that backs the official government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.  UN officials said it was necessary to delay the implementation of the ceasefire until December 18th to convey orders to troops on the ground.  On Sunday afternoon, UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths issued a plea to both to “respect their obligations as per the text and the spirit of the Stockholm Agreement” and “engage in the immediate representation of its provisions.” "Without peace, we will be facing in 2019 a much worse situation than today" as a result of food shortages, warned UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday. Hodeidah is almost completely controlled by the Houthis, and their withdrawal from key positions like the port is one of the central components of the UN-brokered deal reached last week in Sweden. By moving units away from the Red Sea port, international officials hope to get desperately needed food and aid into the country to ease Yemen’s festering humanitarian crisis. Under the deal, which could create the breathing space for meaningful peace talks, international monitors are to be deployed in Hodeidah to observe as all armed forces pull back completely within 21 days of the start of the ceasefire. Skirmishes and clashes like those seen in Hodeidah over the past two days are not in themselves a sign that the ceasefire is doomed, said independent Yemen analyst Hisham Al-Omeisy. “Even in previous ceasefires, there was a huge de-escalation infighting, but still sporadic fighting here and there, like we’ve seen over the past few days,” he told the Telegraph. He cited recent conversations with Houthi contacts where the atmosphere in Hodeidah was cited as “toxic” and characterised by a deep mistrust of the Saudi-led coalition. A rise in looting by Houthi forces, he said, showed "bad faith" ahead of the agreed withdrawal. 


If the regular season ended right now, here's how the top six would look in each conference, plus clinching scenarios.
US Official: 'End days' nearing for Islamic State in Syria Foles sparks Eagles' biggest upset since 1995

US Official: 'End days' nearing for Islamic State in SyriaBEIRUT (AP) — Fighting against the Islamic State group in its last enclave in eastern Syria "is going very well," a U.S. official said Saturday as U.S.-backed Syrian fighters battled the extremists on the edge of the largest urban area they still hold.


No Carson Wentz, no problem, as Nick Foles again stepped in, this time leading the Eagles to a 30-23 upset of the Rams in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Camp Fire Cleanup Workers Fired After Posting Disgraceful Photos Raps' Nurse rips refs: Kawhi no-calls 'ridiculous'

Camp Fire Cleanup Workers Fired After Posting Disgraceful PhotosThree contractors working to clear the devastation left in the wake of the


Raptors coach Nick Nurse directed his ire at officials after Sunday's loss to the Nuggets for not calling fouls made against star Kawhi Leonard.
Saudi Arabia slams US Senate vote as 'interference' Tomlin backs Boswell after FG helps seal victory

Saudi Arabia slams US Senate vote as 'interference'Saudi Arabia on Monday slammed as "interference" US Senate resolutions over its war in Yemen and critic Jamal Khashoggi's murder, warning that the move could have repercussions on its strategic ties with Washington. The Republican-controlled Senate voted on Thursday to end American military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen, and separately held Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi's killing. The largely symbolic vote dealt a fresh warning to President Donald Trump, who has staunchly backed the Saudi regime in the face of intense global outrage that analysts say has left the kingdom diplomatically weakened.


Steelers kicker Chris Boswell, making 61.1 percent on his field goals on the season, seems nevertheless to have the backing of coach Mike Tomlin after helping seal a 17-10 win over the Patriots with a 48-yarder in the final minutes.
Obamacare Will 'Likely' Survive Judge's Ruling, Obama Tweets Beasley attends Lakers game with ailing mother

Obamacare Will 'Likely' Survive Judge's Ruling, Obama TweetsBarack Obama reminded people that Saturday was the last day to sign up for


Michael Beasley, who has missed a week while spending time with his ailing mother, was in the area as the Lakers' four-game road trip rolled through Washington and sat on the bench with the team in the second half.


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Grand Rapids Views and Opinions
 
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy

Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to “criticize the government and other organizations.” So why would that be relevant in a democracy?

Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Capitalism and The Wealth Gap

When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

Religious Freedom Bill - Protecting The Faithful or Legalized Discrimination?

After a much heated national debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill that would have allowed people and businesses in the state to refuse services to LBGT people based on their religious belief.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 

 
 
 
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