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    Pictured: Afghan resistance fighters take up position during a patrol on a hilltop in Panjshir Valley, September 1, 2021 Some of the thousands of resistance fighters amassed in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley clashed with Taliban forces again on Thursday, with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties. It comes after the the rebel group - the National Resistance Front (NRF) - said yesterday it had killed dozens of Taliban who tried to advance into a narrow gorge at the entrance to the valley. Following the fall of Kabul on August 15, several thousand rebels from local militias and the remnants of Afghan army and special forces units have massed in the last province resisting Taliban rule. The rugged snow-capped valley, which begins around 50 miles north of Kabul, is the last bastion of freedom in Afghanistan. Under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, son of a former anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander, they have been holding out in the province, a steep valley that makes attacks from outside difficult and that has a reputation for having never been taken. The valley has a storied history of...
    The Pentagon said Saturday morning at a briefing that as of August 14, about 117,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul, including 5,400 Americans. That number is far short of the 11,000 Americans who were estimated to still be inside Afghanistan given by White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week. In this handout provided by the U.S. Air Force, an air crew assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron assists evacuees aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 21, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images) Psaki said on August 17 during a briefing: We are — there have been — how the process works, I should say — I’ll tell you — is that there are individuals who will self-identify as American citizens — that number is around 11,000.  Beyond that — around the country — beyond that, though, there are individuals who may not have self-identified, who may come and request assistance and come to the airport. We’re going...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The extreme cold isn’t scaring away these ice fishers, which is clear by the dozens of ice houses out on Medicine Lake in Plymouth on Friday night. The below-zero drop in temperature gives the ice fishers the confidence to know the ice is thick and there’s no risk of breaking through. “I’m going fishing, come hell or high water,” said Robert Nelson, who was ice fishing all weekend with his buddy on Medicine Lake. While it’s freezing outside, it feel almost tropical in his ice house. “I can get it as hot as I want, 80 to 90 degrees,” said Nelson. “The whole thing is insulated. They spray foam on the inside and the roof, so it’s really warm.” Another group of people thriving in the cold: cross-country skiers. Signe Johnson and her cross-country ski teammates for Spring Lake Park, St. Anthony and Centennial feel fortunate that their sport requires some serious cardio, which helps them handle the frigid conditions. “Knowing that we can go out and move,” said Johnson, “we have this positive attitude about winter....
    Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor. Impeachment smacks of revenge, not healing The editorial board once again shows its tone-deafness toward one-third of its community by strongly endorsing the Trump impeachment process in order for healing to take place (“The country needs impeachment trial to start its healing,” Page A12, Jan. 17 ). Progressives have won the presidential election and both branches of Congress and now they want to use their political power to drive the last nail in the coffin of the Trump era. Sounds more like revenge than healing to many. Conservatives watched from day one where Trump was persecuted and prosecuted by Democrats and barbecued by 90% of the media. The progressives have procured their pound of flesh. The healing now needs to take place for marginalized conservatives. If only the Editorial Board would walk a mile in conservatives’ shoes once in a while they and all of us would be better off. Joel Greenia Santa Clara Time to reassert civics and logical discourse Rep. David Valadao’s (R-Bakersfield)...
    THE GOVERNMENT has branded all women's football below the 23 teams in the WSL and Championship 'non elite'. This means that clubs in the third division and below cannot train or play if they are based in tier four areas of the country. 1Watford are among the women's teams classed as 'non elite' by the Government Credit: Times Newspapers Ltd The new regulations meant all but one of the 18 Women’s FA Cup ties scheduled for last weekend were axed amid the coronavirus crisis. Teams in the Women's National Leagues are set to be without regular training and game time until most areas of England see restrictions loosened. Clubs could face a lengthy wait as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the country. However, this will also be the case for hundreds of men's 'non-elite' teams in the lower levels of the non-league system. In the women's game some huge Premier League names have been affected by the new rules. Burnley, Newcastle, and Southampton are among the clubs whose men's teams can currently play while their women's teams...
    By Raf Casert | Associated Press BRUSSELS — Just a week before the deadline, Britain and the European Union struck a free-trade deal Thursday that should avert economic chaos on New Year’s and bring a measure of certainty for businesses after years of Brexit turmoil. Once ratified by both sides, the agreement will ensure Britain and the 27-nation bloc can continue to trade in goods without tariffs or quotas after the U.K. breaks fully free of the EU on Jan. 1. Relief was palpable all around that nine months of tense and often testy negotiations had finally produced a positive result. The Christmas Eve breakthrough was doubly welcome amid a coronavirus pandemic that has left some 70,000 people in Britain dead and led the country’s neighbors to shut their borders to the U.K. over a new and seemingly more contagious variant of the virus spreading in England. “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny,” declared British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who posted a picture of himself on social media, beaming with thumbs up. ...
    Actor Matthew McConaughey claimed neither liberals nor conservatives are responsible for the political divide in the United States. McConaughey emphasized that the “extreme left” and “extreme right” “illegitimize” the liberals and conservatives during an appearance Tuesday on “Good Morning Britain.” ‘Some liberals don’t see they’re being cannibalised by the illiberals.’ @McConaughey explains he thinks free speech and both sides of being political debate are ‘illegitimatised’ by the other side.@piersmorgan | @susannareid100 pic.twitter.com/fY5o4THqcs — Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 15, 2020 “You need liberals,” McConaughey said. “What I don’t think we need is the illiberals. And what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalized by the illiberals.” “Now there are extremes on both sides that I think are unfair, that I don’t think are the right place to be,” he continued. “The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize the other side, the liberal and conservative side, which we need in certain places. The two extremes illgeitimze those two sides. Or they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state that makes no...
    CONCORD (KPIX) — At Todos Santos Plaza in Concord, there were no wild celebrations or angry protests. It was a good place to go to get a thoughtful reaction to Saturday morning’s election news. While others danced in Times Square or outside the White House, in Concord there was simply a feeling of relief for Shannon Zuvellavega. “It felt like we’ve been holding our breath for, like, the last four years,” she said, “so it just feels nice.” She sat with fellow Biden supporters who have been on edge since Election Day. “That was the longest Tuesday of my entire life so I’m glad it’s over,” said Biden supporter Tawny Bourgue. “I was very relieved to know … that our country is going to get better, hopefully,” said Juliette Lusca, a 16-year-old Biden supporter. Even though the legal battles may be just beginning, Torian Allen of Concord thinks it’s helpful to have someone declared the winner. “I mean, it’s so good to get past this decision,” he said, “because I feel like a lot of people … it’s like closure,...
    NAIROBI – Ethiopia’s prime minister is defending military operations against the country’s well-armed Tigray region, asserting that months of patiently trying to resolve differences have “failed” because of the regional leadership’s “criminal hubris and intransigence.” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a brief statement on Twitter midday Friday asserted that the military operations “have clear, limited and achievable objectives — to restore the rule of law and the constitutional order.” Communications were cut off in the Tigray region around the time that Abiy early Wednesday announced the military’s move in response to an alleged deadly attack by Tigray forces on a military base. Both sides issued strong statements Thursday. Ethiopia’s army said it was deploying troops from around the country to Tigray, and the Tigray leader alleged that fighter jets had bombed parts of the regional capital. “We are ready to be martyrs,” he said. Casualties have been reported on both sides. It remains challenging to verify either side’s version of events. Some in the international community are urgently calling for dialogue as one of Africa's most powerful and populous...
    CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s rivals wrapped up their military talks with a call to the U.N. Security Council to adopt a binding resolution to implement a cease-fire deal inked last month, the U.N. said. The two-day talks in the oasis town of Ghadames, which concluded late Tuesday, were the first face-to-face negotiations inside Libya since last year’s months-long attack on the capital by forces loyal to the east-based military commander Khalifa Hifter. The two sides agreed to meet again in the contested coastal city of Site sometime in November, and to form a sub-committee to oversee the return of all Libyan forces to their camps, as mentioned in the Oct. 23 cease-fire reached in Geneva, the U.N. support mission in Libya said. “This is the beginning of a process that is going to require determination, courage, confidence and a lot of work,” said the head of the U.N. support mission for Libya, Stephanie Williams, who headed the Ghadames talks. She said they have discussed in detail a monitoring mechanism to implement the cease-fire agreement, which includes the departure of foreign...
    CAIRO (AP) — Military leaders from Libya’s warring sides arrived Monday in the oasis town of Ghadames, the United Nations said, for the first face-to-face talks inside Libya since last year’s attack on the capital by the forces of military commander Khalifa Hifter. The fifth round of talks, brokered by the U.N., has come less than two weeks after the two sides inked a permanent cease-fire in Geneva on Oct. 23, a move the U.N. billed as historic after years of fighting that has split the North African country in two. The U.N. mission in Libya said the meetings through Wednesday would discuss implementing and monitoring the cease-fire, along with how to verify possible violations. The October cease-fire deal included the return of armed groups and military units “to their camps” and that all foreign mercenaries be out of the oil-rich country within three months. Brig. Gen. Khaled al-Mahjoub, the head of the mobilization department at Hifter’s self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces, said in comments aired by the satellite news channel Al-Arabia that LAAF’s units would return to its camps...
    The rival sides in Libya's conflict signed a permanent cease-fire Friday, a deal the United Nations billed as historic after years of fighting that has split the North African country in two. But skepticism over whether the agreement would hold began emerging almost immediately. The breakthrough, which among other things orders foreign mercenaries out of the country, sets the stage for political talks in November to find a lasting solution to the chaos unleashed after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Previous diplomatic initiatives to end the conflict have repeatedly collapsed - but the U.N.-brokered deal aims to cement a monthslong lull in fighting and gives a boost to the political process. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox "I am honored to be among you today to witness a moment that will go down in history," Stephanie Turco Williams, the top U.N. envoy for Libya who led mediation talks this week, said at the signing in Geneva. She did, however, express some caution, noting that a "long and difficult" road...
    GENEVA (AP) — The rival sides in Libya’s conflict signed a permanent cease-fire Friday, a deal the United Nations billed as historic after years of fighting that has split the North African country in two. But skepticism over whether the agreement would hold began emerging almost immediately. The breakthrough, which among other things orders foreign mercenaries out of the country within three months, sets the stage for political talks in November to find a lasting solution to the chaos unleashed after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Previous diplomatic initiatives to end the war have repeatedly collapsed — but the U.N.-brokered deal aims to cement a months-long lull in fighting and boost the political process. “I am honored to be among you today to witness a moment that will go down in history,” said Stephanie Turco Williams, the top U.N. envoy for Libya, who led mediation talks this week in Geneva. She did, however, express some caution, noting that a “long and difficult” road remains ahead. It’s not clear how the cease-fire will be...
    GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations said Friday that the two sides in Libyan military talks had reached a “historic achievement” with a permanent cease-fire agreement across the war-torn North African country. After mediation this week led by U.N. envoy for Libya Stephanie Turco Williams, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the U.N. called an “important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya.” Details were not immediately available, but the two sides were taking part in a signing ceremony in Geneva on Friday morning. Libya is split between a U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east. The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers. The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. “The road to a permanent cease-fire deal was often long and difficult,” Williams, a former U.S. State Department official, said in Arabic at the signing ceremony. “Before us is a lot of work in the coming days and weeks...
    BERLIN (AP) — The U.N. chief on Monday urged world powers and others with interests in Libya’s long-running civil war to keep working toward a lasting cease-fire between its rival governments, warning that the country’s very future “is at stake.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implored those at a virtual ministerial meeting co-hosted by the U.N. and Germany to support peace efforts “not only in words but in actions,” including immediately backing a widely violated U.N. arms embargo against Libya. “The violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved,” he told the closed meeting. “Foreign deliveries of weapons and other military support must stop immediately.” Libya plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments. Military commander Khalifa Hifter and his self-styled army launched an offensive in April 2019, trying to capture Tripoli, the capital. But his campaign collapsed in June when the...
    CAIRO (AP) — The United Nations says talks between Libyan rivals in Egypt have concluded with preliminary agreements to exchange prisoners and open up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory. The face-to-face military talks, which started Monday in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, came amid international pressure on both sides of the war and their foreign backers to avert an escalation. The U.N. support mission in Libya said in a written statement that the two days of talks, conducted in “a spirit of responsibility, transparency and mutual trust,” had resulted in progress on several of the lingering issues between the war’s two parties. It said that both sides agreed they should take steps to ensure the release of all prisoners taken amid military operations sometime next month. Another point was that both sides would expedite the opening of transit links across their respective territories. The outcomes of the negotiations will be mainstreamed into U.N.-brokered military talks which should be held in the coming week, the U.N. mission said. The two sides also...
    CAIRO (AP) — Warring parties in Yemen’s yearslong conflict are “severely restricting” the delivery of desperately needed aid as the country slides toward famine amid the coronavirus pandemic, a rights group warned on Monday. Human Rights Watch said international donors slashed their funding in June partly because of the “systemic interference” in relief operations by the Houthi rebels who hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as well as by the country’s internationally recognized government and their southern separatists. That aid includes food, health care supplies, water and sanitation support to people in need in the Arab world’s poorest nation. “Millions of Yemenis depend on the authorities letting aid flow freely for health care and other necessities,” said Gerry Simpson of Human Rights Watch. Yemen is home to the world’s worst food crisis, mostly due to the civil war that pits the Houthis in the north against a Saudi-led coalition and its allies in the south, including separatist forces. The Houthis seized Saana in September 2014. The coalition entered the war in March 2015 on behalf of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The New...
    (CNN)In his August 20 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden said that "there is only one way forward. As a united America ... United in our dreams of a better future for us and for our children." He later asserted that, fortunately, we are indeed "united in our love of America and united in our love for each other." John R. HibbingSuch pleas for and assertions of American unity are de rigueur among politicians, who often tell us that deep down, the American people all have the same basic values and needs.In "The Audacity of Hope," former President Barack Obama considers but then quickly rejects the argument against American unity: "Maybe there is no escaping our great political divide ... but I don't think so." Even President Donald Trump, frequently a divisive force in American culture, voiced a similar refrain: "our country will be united ... We should all want the same thing." Yearning for unity is perfectly understandable. The idea that all Americans are cut from the same cloth is seductive and comforting. And a...
    Hungry for some doggone good classic Southern comfort? Culinary entrepreneur Todd Marvel is bringing just that to Maplewood with the recent launch of "Hazel's Country Kitchen." Located inside of salad eatery Sprout on Maplewood Avenue, Hazel's Country Kitchen is open for pick-up and delivery Tuesday through Saturdays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The idea is simple: Meat + 3. Customers choose a protein, then add three sides. Protein options include fried chicken, the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, homestyle meatloaf, southwestern pulled chicken sandwich and the cauliflower steak with house-made chimichurri sauce. Side options include sweet corn niblets, pinto beans, butter bean salad, macaroni and cheese, fried apples, mashed potatoes, fried cauliflower and southern-style green beans. A value-conscious specialty of the house is the family-friendly Hazel’s Barn Box: it includes 8 pieces of Fried Chicken, a pint of mashed potatoes, and 4 pieces of house-baked corn bread for $25.99. Hazel's Country Kitchen is located inside of Sprout, 181A Maplewood Ave., open 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, for pickup and delivery.
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