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|Kurds agree to Russian-brokered plan to allow Assad into their territory ||Score picks, bold predictions and fantasy tips for every Week 3 NFL game |
The West’s Kurdish allies on Sunday night announced they had agreed to a Russian-brokered deal to allow the Assad regime into their territory in a bid to spare their cities from a Turkish assault after they were abandoned by Donald Trump. Hours after the US said it was withdrawing all of its troops from northern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it had reached an agreement to allow Bashar al-Assad’s troops into their territory. “If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” said Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the commander of the SDF. It was not immediately clear if the agreement with Assad would bring a halt to the Turkish offensive or if the Turkish military and its Syrian rebel allies would continue to advance. But the deal appeared to strike a death knell for Kurdish hopes of maintaining autonomy from Damascus in their own semi-state in northeast Syria. Read more | Syria crisis The announcement marked a stunning fall for the SDF, who just a week ago could count on the support of the US military in deterring Turkey from taking action. That security came to an end last Sunday night when Mr Trump told Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, the US would not interfere in a Turkish attack on northeast Syria. “The betrayal process is officially completed," an SDF official said of the US withdrawal. Turkish warplanes thundered into Syrian airspace while Turkish-backed rebel forces advanced against the SDF on the ground and on Sunday night Kurdish commanders decided they had to strike a deal to prevent annihilation. While the formal details of the agreement were not announced, Syrian regime forces appeared poised to enter many of the key Kurdish-held cities along the Turkish-Syrian border, including Kobani, Manbij and Qamishli. Many of the areas hold vast symbolic importance for the Kurds, who have lost 11,000 men fighting against the Islamic State (Isil) in the last five years to free those cities from jihadist rule. A woman sits in the back of a truck as they flee Ras-al-Ain The announcement came after Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, said he and Mr Trump had decided to withdraw all 1,000 US troops from northern Syria because the Turks “likely intend to expand their attack further south than originally planned”. “We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it's a very untenable situation,” he said on Sunday morning. While Mr Trump said last week he was removing around 50 US commandos from a 120km section of the Turkey-Syria border, hundreds of other American soldiers remained near Kurdish key cities like Kobani and Qamishli. News of the US retreat sparked panic across northern Syria as civilians, who believed their towns might be spared from Turkish onslaught by the presence of American forces, started fleeing their homes. At least 200,000 people have been displaced so far, aid groups said, and the number is likely to rise. The town of Ras-al-Ain in flames The decision came as civilian casualties mounted and Islamic State prisoners took advantage of the chaos to mount a mass escape. Kurdish authorities said early on Sunday around 785 women and children escaped from a camp in Ain Issa when it came under attack from Turkish shelling. Isil inmates “attacked the camp guard and opened the gates” while Kurdish forces were under fire, authorities said. Tooba Gondal, a notorious British Isil recruiter from Walthamstow, and her two children, may have been among those who fled and her whereabouts were unknown on Sunday night. Ms Gondal travelled to Syria to join Isil in 2015 and has been accused of grooming other young British women, including Shamima Begum, to follow her. There were unconfirmed reports last night that Ms Gondal had contacted family back in Britain to tell them she had escaped the camp. The Telegraph understands at least three other British women, and reportedly three British orphans, were held in Ain Issa camp before the break-out. British Isil recruiter Tooba Gondal pictured inside Ain Issa camp The SDF warned the West the breakout may be the first of many and that the resurgent jihadists “will come knocking on your doors” if the Turkish offensive is not stopped. Mr Trump said on Sunday night that Turkey and the Kurds must not allow Isil prisoners to escape and blamed the terror risk on Europe for not taking them back. "The US has the worst of the ISIS prisoners. Turkey and the Kurds must not let them escape," he tweeted. "Europe should have taken them back after numerous requests. They should do it now. They will never come to, or be allowed in, the United States!" The SDF said Turkish-backed rebel fighters intercepted a car carrying Hevrin Khalaf, a Kurdish political leader with the Future Syria Party, and shot her to death along with her driver and an aide on Saturday. Video footage showed her black SUV riddled with bullet holes while Arabic-speaking Syrian fighters cheered. Turkey has said such fighters, known as the National Army, would be at the forefront of anti-Isil operations once the Kurds were defeated. While US officials insisted America was opposed to the Turkish invasion, Mr Trump struck a laissez-faire note in a series of Sunday morning tweets. Plight of the Kurds | Timeline of Western involvement “The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” he noted. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!” The US has yet to slap any sanctions on Turkey for the assault, despite White House warnings that it would target the Turkish economy if the offensive led to a humanitarian crisis or disrupted anti-Isil operations. Both outcomes have already happened. At least 60 civilians have been killed in northern Syria and 18 civilians have died from Kurdish shelling in southern Turkey since last Wednesday, according to the Syrian Observatory. France and Germany both announced they were halting arms sales to Turkey but the UK did not match their announcements. Britain approved military export licenses worth £583m to Turkey in 2017, including licenses for attack aircraft and helicopters.
| What to watch for in every game. Bold predictions. Fantasy advice. Key stats to know. And, of course, score predictions. It's all here for Week 3. |
|HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator ||Belichick cuts presser short after AB questions |
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.
| Patriots coach Bill Belichick's patience ran thin. He walked off after fielding seven questions about Antonio Brown's off-the-field issues. "I'm good," he said. "Thank you." |
|Serial killer's victim portraits could help crack cold cases ||Sources: Yanks' German won't pitch again in '19 |
Most of the women in Samuel Little's hand-drawn portraits seem to be frowning. Little, whom the FBI identified this month as the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, produced startlingly detailed likenesses of dozens of women he says he strangled over the course of more than three decades. Now the FBI is publicizing his portraits — hoping that someone, somewhere, will recognize the face of a long-lost loved one in an image drawn by the killer himself.
| Right-hander Domingo German will miss both the rest of the regular season and the postseason following his placement on administrative leave, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. |
|BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers? ||Flame out: NFL field pyrotechnics get brief ban |
Will Beijing's strategy work?
| The NFL has placed a temporary ban on all flame effects and pyrotechnics used on its playing fields as it investigates a fire at the Tennessee Titans' Nissan Stadium in Week 2. |
|Hungary opposition wins Budapest in blow for PM Orban ||DC floats Lamar-Mahomes as next Peyton-Brady |
Hungary's opposition scored a shock win in the Budapest mayoralty election Sunday, the first electoral blow for nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban since he came to power in 2010. The win was "historic" said the pro-European centre-left challenger Gergely Karacsony, 44, who was backed by a wide range of opposition parties from across the political spectrum. The mild-mannered former political scientist led by 51 percent of the vote ahead of the incumbent Istvan Tarlos on around 44 percent, with 82 percent of votes counted.
| Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale is looking forward to Sunday's showdown between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, saying it could be sports' next great rivalry, a la Tom Brady and Peyton Manning or Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. |
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Shreveport 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 â€œcriticize the government and other organizations.â€ So why would that be relevant in a democracy?
Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?
â€œCongress 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.â€ -- 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 nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™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.
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.