Fierce 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.
In Paris, police were out in force to contain outbursts of violence. Police fired water cannon and teargas in the afternoon to disperse groups of protesters in sporadic, brief clashes with riot police on the Champs-Elysees and adjacent streets. Topless feminist activists braved the cold to face off with security forces, a few meters away from the Elysee Palace, the president's residence.
Barack Obama reminded people that Saturday was the last day to sign up for
Sudan's President Omar al-Bachir visited Damascus on Sunday, the Syrian presidency said, in his first such visit to the war-torn country since the start of the conflict. "President Omar Hassan al-Bashir... arrived this afternoon on a visit to the Syrian Arab Republic," the presidency said. President Bashar al-Assad went to meet his Sudanese counterpart at the Damascus airport on Saturday afternoon, the presidency said.
A student was charged with aggravated battery after an attack that left another student seriously injured was caught on video at the Lockport Township High School East Campus.
PARIS (AP) — The man described as the father of the 29-year-old suspect in this week's deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg says his son subscribed to the beliefs of the Islamic State group.
Storm Deirdre caused travel hazards, power outages and disruptions this weekend across the United Kingdom.
Pauley Perrette and Sasha Alexander are supporting their ex-'NCIS' co-star Michael Weatherly after Eliza Dushku accused him of sexual harassment.
Representative Adam Schiff of California said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that any type of compromise needs to be investigated. Schiff’s comments came three days after Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and fellow Senate Democrat Chris Van Hollen called for a Banking Committee investigation of Deutsche Bank’s compliance with U.S. money-laundering regulations.
The parents of a teenage boy who took his own life have condemned a Catholic priest who questioned whether their son would get to heaven while presiding over his funeral. The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit expressed regret for the comments and said the Rev Don LaCuesta would not preach at funerals "for the foreseeable future". But the parents of Maison Hullibarger said they wanted the priest removed from his post for the heartbreak caused. "We wanted him to celebrate how Maison lived, not how he died," his mother, Linda Hullibarger, told The Detroit Free Press. Jeff Hullibarger added: "It was his time to tell everybody what he thought of suicide, (and) we couldn't believe what he was saying. “He was up there condemning our son, pretty much calling him a sinner. He wondered if he had repented enough to make it to heaven. He said 'suicide' upwards of six times. They said they met the priest ahead of the service at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Temperance, Michigan, on December 8, setting out what they hoped to hear in a loving homily. However, the Catholic Church has traditionally taught that suicide was an unforgiveable sin. It has only been in recent years that the stance has softened to forgive suicide in situations of extreme stress. The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit apologised and said Mr LaCuesta would be removed from funeral duties and given extra assistance. "We share the family’s grief at such a profound loss. Our hope is always to bring comfort into situations of great pain, through funeral services centered on the love and healing power of Christ," it said in a statement. "Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case. We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry."