Sunday, 25 February 2018
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UN approves 30-day ceasefire to end deadly bombing in Syria’s Ghouta

Added: 25.02.2018 4:09 | 0 views | 0 comments


The United Nations on Saturday passed a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, but Western diplomats said they were sceptical the Syrian regime would actually end its ferocious assault on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta.  After days of intense negotiations, Russia agreed not use its veto to scuttle the UN security council resolution, which calls for a halt to fighting as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the wounded from besieged areas.  The unanimous passage of the resolution was hailed by Western diplomats, who had pushed hard for a deal amid a week of intense Syrian regime bombing of Eastern Ghouta. Hours before the vote, the civilian death toll climbed above 500.   Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, castigated Russia for days of delays which slowed the passage of the resolution. “In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and the shelling?” A picture taken on February 20 shows smoke plumes rising following a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region Credit: ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP/Getty Images It remains to be seen what impact the deal crafted in meeting rooms at the UN’s New York headquarters in New York will have on the ash-filled streets of Eastern Ghouta. Mrs Haley said the US was “deeply sceptical the regime will comply” with the ceasefire and called on Russia to pressure Assad’s forces to respect it. Russia demanded that the resolution not include a specific time for the ceasefire to go into force. The text instead reads that it should begin “without delay”, making it unclear when the fighting would actually stop. The ceasefire does not extend to terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. Both Russia and the Syrian regime accuse large swathes of the Syrian rebels of being al-Qaeda members, giving themselves a broad license to continue strikes.    “Russia used this loophole in previous agreements to continue bombing indiscriminately,” said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, an Israeli think tank. Members of the United Nations Security Council vote for ceasefire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York Credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz One Western diplomat said they feared the exemption on al-Qaeda might render the resolution “worthless” but that they were still hopeful its passage at UN would compel Russia to at least reduce the violence in Eastern Ghouta.   “The people are happy but they do not trust the regime and its allies,” said one man in Eastern Ghouta, after hearing the news from New York. The council had been due to vote on Friday but the vote was delayed. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, tweeted her frustration, demanding a vote, as the discussions continued late into Friday afternoon. Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria. How many more people will die before the The Security Council agrees to take up this vote? Let’s do this tonight. The Syrian people can’t wait.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) February 23, 2018 More than 500 people have been killed since the assault began Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. New air strikes on the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Saturday took the civilian death toll from seven days of devastating bombardment to more than 500. A Syrian rescuer helps a man at the site of Syrian government bombardments in Douma Credit: HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP “This is about saving lives,” said Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog. "UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go. It's time for the council to come together and shoulder its responsibility to urgently avert a situation that is beyond words in its desperation,” he said. Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council that can veto a draft resolution. It has done so repeatedly throughout Syria’s civil war, torpedoing numerous efforts to stem the bloodshed even as its air force carries out bombing runs on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally. Russia had described civilian testimonies from the embattled area as “mass psychosis” earlier in the week, and blocked a UN Security Council vote.  Ghouta dispatch On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for an immediate truce in Eastern Ghouta. “France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations, including very large numbers of children, and against civil and medical infrastructure in clear violation of the most fundamental international humanitarian law,” it read. The letter included a condemnation of the attacks on Damascus by opposition fighters inside Eastern Ghouta, but ended with a call for Russia to “assume its full responsibilities”. In a statement released Friday, the European Union called for an immediate ceasefire and access for aid trucks, citing a “moral duty” to protect civilians. Damascus (South West Syria) territorial control map "The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta," the bloc said. US president Donald Trump said Russia and Iran's behavior in Syria was a 'disgrace'. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also spoke out Friday. "Russia and Iran must stop the regime," he said. Turkey, Iran and Russia are co-signatories on the de-escalation agreement. Mr Cavusoglu said the offensives in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib were "contrary" to the agreements negotiated by the three countries. How Russia's secret mercenary army came up against the US in Syria Eastern Ghouta is the last holdout of Islamist and opposition fighters near the capital. The densely populated area has been under siege since April 2013 and has become synonymous with civilian suffering – either through starvation and lack of access to medical supplies, or under intense aerial bombardment. On Friday, helicopters dropped barrel bombs on homes in the Hamorieh neighbourhood, and warplanes strafed the residential neighbourhood of Ein Tarma. According to Save the Children, more than 70 per cent of buildings in Ein Tarma have been destroyed or damaged. Infrastructure across Eastern Ghouta has sustained heavy damage, and some areas have not had water or electricity for two years. Twenty-two hospitals and clinics have bombed since Sunday. Medical charities have accused the Syrian government of deliberately targeting healthcare facilities, which is a war crime. Hala, 9, receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following Syrian government bombardments on rebel-held town of Saqba, in Eastern Ghouta  Credit: AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 13 hospitals it supports have been destroyed or damaged this week and that medical staff were struggling to cope with repeated mass-casualty influxes. The latest surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta is thought to be the first phase of an assault that will eventually include ground troops and will follow the same arc as Syrian government forces’ battle for east Aleppo. In Aleppo, the population was starved and endured weeks of air raids, after which ground troops moved in and fought block by block until the entire area was back under government control. Surviving civilians and militants were then bussed to Idlib province, one of the last areas of Syria still controlled by anti-government forces.

The Year The Miami Marlins Lost $6 Million With Interest Rate Swaps

Added: 25.02.2018 1:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

Baseball accounting is an art, not a science.

Tags: Lost
From: https:

Police nab twin brother school coaches a week apart on child porn charges

Added: 24.02.2018 20:24 | 0 views | 0 comments

Twin brothers have lost their California school jobs after being busted on child pornography charges a week apart in separate cases.

From: feeds.foxnews.com

Chrissy Teigen "Oddly Mad" She Wasn't Invited to Emily Ratajkowski's Wedding

Added: 24.02.2018 19:49 | 1 views | 0 comments

Did Chrissy Teigen--and almost everybody else's invitation to Emily Ratajkowski's wedding get lost in the mail? While there were almost no guests who witnessed her and actor and...

From: uk.eonline.com

Gattuso surprised by AC Milan´s growth since taking over

Added: 24.02.2018 19:10 | 0 views | 0 comments

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso is surprised at how quickly his team have improved since he replaced Vincenzo Montella. Gattuso took over from Montella in November, with the side having won just two of their previous nine Serie A games despite a major recruitment drive in pre-season. Although Gattuso's influence was not immediate, Milan have lost just three of ...]

Tags: NFL, Lost
From: www.soccernews.com

The Year The Miami Marlins Lost $6 Million With Interest Rate Swaps

Added: 24.02.2018 19:06 | 0 views | 0 comments

Baseball accounting is an art, not a science.

Tags: Lost
From: https:

The standout moments that made CNN's gun control town hall feel like a game-changer

Added: 24.02.2018 14:07 | 0 views | 0 comments


On Wednesday night, a raw, emotional town hall about gun control on CNN emerged as a pivotal moment in the debate over gun control.  As a crowd of several thousand cheered and jeered, the survivors and families of the victims of last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, pushed back on Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch more than any member of the media has.  SEE ALSO: Amy Poehler blasts NRA after they tweeted a 'Parks & Rec' GIF This movement is being led by a group of brave and mature-beyond-their-years teenagers who are unafraid to express their fury at an inactive government and the big money that enables them. And it finally feels like this time, finally, something is different.  That it was all broadcast on a national platform like CNN was even more crucial, and it provided a stark contrast to the usual empty talking points that are circulated by six-pundit panels on cable news. While such town halls are often devoid of substance, the students and their tenacity not only broke the cycle of these pointless made-for-TV debates, but also changed the conversation in the process. Students like Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky have given voice to the anger and grief we've collectively felt too many times. They've channeled their outrage and exasperation in a way that, though sometimes uncomfortable, refused to let apathy sink in, cracking the shiny facade of cable news and pushing the gun debate forward. Emma Gonzalez, Sheriff Israel refuse to let Dana Loesch off the hook Emma Gonzalez has already gained notice for her passionate speech in the wake of the shooting, and on Wednesday night she was one of many students bravely stood their ground against those in power — including NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.  Loesch has caused controversy in the past with her pro-gun statements for the NRA, but that didn't rattle Gonzalez, who not only didn't blink in the face of one of America's most (in)famous gun advocates, but wouldn't let Loesch get away with ducking the question, proving herself to be a tougher questioner than so many reporters have in the past.  And Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel followed up on Gonzalez's questioning, refusing to let Loesch off easy for her stance, telling her, "You're not standing up for [the students] until you say 'I want less weapons.'" The one-two combo of a student survivor and a respected law enforcement official — whose jurisdiction includes the school where the shooting occurred — was an undeniable show of unity against an organization that has sunk countless millions into making sure guns like the one used in this (and other) mass shootings remain obtainable.  Cameron Kasky and Fred Guttenberg corner Senator Marco Rubio When given the chance to directly confront an elected official that is supposed to represent the people, it's reasonable to think that the heat of your argument might dim a little because of the weight of the moment.  But not in the case of Cameron Kasky. Another student survivor of the shooting, Kasky called Rubio out on his acceptance of NRA campaign contributions and challenged him to start turning them down as cheers from attendees rained down.  The debate around the NRA's lobbying efforts is another milestone in the familiar cycle of mass shootings. Those lawmakers that accept the NRA's money are called out, time and again. Yet few of them have had to face down survivors of a mass shooting like Rubio did on Wednesday night in front of a national television audience.  SEE ALSO: Powerful New York Times ad calls out lawmakers funded by the NRA Kasky wasn't the only one who pressed Rubio hard. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the shooting, told Rubio point blank that statements made by him and by President Trump in the wake of the shooting were "pathetically weak."  Rubio was forced to look into the eyes of a parent who'd lost his child and address his views. The in-person audience hurled boos at Rubio while an anguished parent lambasted him in a way he's not used to. It was raw and riveting and beyond any television CNN or its competitors have produced in a long time. It was also probably the toughest questioning Rubio has ever faced — on CNN or any other news channel. And that it came from a high school student and a grieving parent shouldn't be lost on us. A new bar for holding politicians accountable has been set. Sheriff Israel takes the lead While the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been at the forefront of the renewed debate, they have a powerful ally in the aforementioned Sheriff Scott Israel. That a leading law enforcement member has so vocally backed the students only gives legitimacy to their point of view. To say that law enforcement has become a lightning rod in our current divisive political environment is a brutal understatement.  But Sheriff Israel has been an ardent supporter of the students' initiatives since the shooting. Doing so on a national stage, standing with the students in front of a national audience and leaving no wiggle room for those looking to twist his words, was a powerful show of unity to a nation that badly needs it.  The students refuse to go quietly Perhaps the most cathartic moment came at the conclusion of the town hall, when students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sang "Shine," an original song written by the students about love and defiance in the face of tragedy. While the song features moving lyrics, especially considering the context in which the students wrote it — "We're not gonna let you win / We're putting up a fight / You may have brought the dark / But together we will shine a light" — it was the spoken interludes from the students that delivered the biggest punch.  When one student emotionally delivered the line, "We refuse to be ignored by those who refuse to listen," it was easy to believe her. The fiery resolve was evident to anyone watching the town hall and listening to the song.  SEE ALSO: Parkland shooting survivors call for a march on Washington, D.C. So often these events are dominated by politicians who excel at spinning direct questions in banal talking points and by "commentators" who sometimes mean well but ultimately spout the same sound bites over and over, a circle of "analysis" that sounds all too familiar. But the students and their allies — law enforcement, teachers, the parents of their slain classmates — made the most of the platform they were given Wednesday night, transforming the typically made-for-TV event into something rawer, more emotional and, ultimately, more powerful than anyone could have possibly imagined. 

EU's £24bn BOMBSHELL: Lithuania admits Brexit cost is DOUBLE the previous estimate

Added: 24.02.2018 13:52 | 1 views | 0 comments

ONE-FIFTH of the EU budget will be lost when Britain leaves the bloc, according to the Lithuanian head of state, who warned that difficult decisions will have to be made to make up this significant loss.

Tags: EU, Brexit, Lost
From: feedproxy.google.com

Settled Salah demands Champions League qualification for Liverpool

Added: 24.02.2018 11:06 | 0 views | 0 comments

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has told his team-mates that qualifying for the Champions League is "not optional" and shrugged off reports he could leave the club at the end of the season. Jurgen Klopp's men have only lost once in the Premier League since late October, sitting third in the table but only two points ...]

From: www.soccernews.com

Who's the veteran who earned this lost burial flag? Woman in Arizona turns to social media for help

Added: 24.02.2018 5:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

A photo inside of the triangular box containing the flag appears to be of a man who served in the U.S. Navy.

From: rssfeeds.usatoday.com

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