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J&K records 74% voting in nine-phase rural polls

first_imgThe ninth and final phase of panchayat elections in Jammu & Kashmir recorded a 38.8% voter turnout in the Kashmir division on Tuesday. The nine-phase polls has seen an overall 74% voting across the State.According to the Chief Electoral Officer, the frontier district of Kupwara witnessed the highest polling of 53.6%, followed by 46% in Bandipora, 38.9% in Baramulla and 38.8% in Budgam.The shadow of violence in south Kashmir this year, in which 200 militants and 100 civilians were killed, was visible in Pulwama and Anantnag districts.While south Kashmir’s Anantnag witnessed 28.4% polling, Pulwama registered just 1.4% turnout, said the officer.According to the officer, the conclusion of the final phase of the panchayat polls in J&K witnessed an overall polling of 74%, including 83.5% in Jammu division and 44.4% in Kashmir division.Kashmir has witnessed a major dip compared to the previous 2011 panchayat polls, which saw over 70% polling.The elections for 4,483 panchayat halqas, comprising 35,029 panch constituencies, were held from November 17. A total of 58,54,208 voters were registered for the polls.The first phase saw 64.5% polling in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu division, and in the second phase, 80.4% in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division.Later, 55.7% in Kashmir division and 83.0% in Jammu division was recorded in the third phase; 82.4% in Jammu division and 32.3% in Kashmir division in the fourth phase; 85.2% polling in Jammu division and 33.7% in Kashmir division in the fifth phase; 17.3% in Kashmir division and 84.6% in Jammu division in the sixth phase; 84.8% in Jammu division and 30.3% in Kashmir division in the seventh phase; 85.1% in Jammu division and 49.6% in Kashmir division in the eight phase.last_img read more

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US OPEN 2019: All You Need to Know, From Serena Williams to Big 3 of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

first_imgNew York: At first glance, this US Open might appear as unpredictable as any. From recent injuries to players such as Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, to a bit of pre-tournament shakiness from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, to Rafael Nadal’s issues on hard courts, to the group of up-and-coming men’s issues at Wimbledon, it’s difficult to predict what will unfold at Flushing Meadows over the next two weeks.And yet this much is clear with main-draw action set to start Monday: If they’re healthy, then the expected champions will come from a small group of women that includes Williams, Osaka and Halep and the members of the men’s Big Three. “It seems like the same guys are the favorites again this time around,” said Federer, who won five of his men’s-record 20 Grand Slam singles championships at the US Open, although the last came in 2008. “It will be a surprise if anybody else won.” Williams has won six of her 23 major singles trophies in New York, most recently in 2014. Since then, she lost in the semifinals twice, missed the 2017 edition because she gave birth and was the runner-up a year ago to Osaka in a match that stood out more for Williams’ conflict with chair umpire Carlos Ramos than the tennis itself.The key for the 37-year-old American, as it’s been throughout her return since having a daughter, is her health and fitness, because her serve and other strokes are capable of being just about as dominant as ever. Williams reached the final at three of the past five Grand Slam tournaments; she lost each time, leaving her still just one major singles title away from equaling Margaret Court for the most in the sport’s history.”The years are passing, and she’s not getting any younger,” said 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, who coaches 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova. “But she has a shot.” Probably only if her back is fine, though. Williams stopped playing in the final of the Rogers Cup hard-court tuneup this month after having back spasms, then cited that same problem when she pulled out of the following week’s tournament.Williams has withdrawn or retired from all of her non-Slam events in 2019. Unlike other top players, she didn’t hold a pre-tournament news conference at the US Open, but both Osaka (left knee) and Halep (left Achilles) declared themselves OK.Djokovic did the same after having a trainer check on blisters on his right foot while he practiced Saturday. He and Federer went a combined 4-2 in hard-court matches after their historic five-set Wimbledon final. Nadal, meanwhile, has a long history of injury setbacks on a surface that is unforgiving, including retiring from his U.S. Open semifinal last year.Still, there’s a reason one needs to go all the way back to Andre Agassi in 2003 to find someone other than Djokovic, Federer or Nadal seeded No. 1 in New York.Here is what to know as the U.S. Open starts: BIG 3 STILL BIGDjokovic, Nadal, and Federer have combined to take 11 Slam titles in a row and 54 of the past 65. One thing to keep an eye on: Federer and Nadal have played each other 40 times but never at the U.S. Open. It could only happen if both reach the Sept. 8 final.COCO IS BACKCoco Gauff appears in her second major after her captivating run to Wimbledon’s Week 2 as a qualifier ranked just 313th. The 15-year-old, who is based in Florida, was granted a wild card by the U.S. Tennis Association into singles and doubles KYRGIOS ON DISPLAYIn reaction to what went on in last year’s Williams-Osaka final, the USTA will post code violations racket abuse, say, or unsportsmanlike conduct on scoreboards. That might be put to use Tuesday, when 28th-seeded Nick Kyrgios plays Steve Johnson. Kyrgios was fined more than USD 100,000 for his tantrums during a recent match, hardly his first such sanction. “You’ve just really got to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, your game plan,” Johnson said. “He’s going to do what he’s going to do.” ARE THE KIDS ALL RIGHT?The tennis world has been waiting for a younger player to challenge the top men. Three guys pegged for that sort of success Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas all lost in the first round at Wimbledon. How will they rebound at the U.S. Open? Someone else to track: Daniil Medvedev, a 23-year-old Russian whose best Slam showing was a fourth-round appearance at the Australian Open in January. He has been to the finals at three consecutive hard-court tournaments. Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. djokovicfedererMaria SharapovaNovak Djokovic First Published: August 26, 2019, 10:58 AM ISTlast_img read more

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We need to start preparing for 2020 Tokyo from now: Goel

first_imgNew Delhi, Aug 22 (PTI) Sports Minister Vijay Goel today emphasised on the need to start preparing for 2020 Tokyo Games from now itself after the country managed a disappointing two medals from the just-concluded Rio Olympics despite fielding its biggest-ever contingent of 100 plus athletes. Congratulating badminton star P V Sindhu and woman wrestler Sakshi Malik, Goel said a few Indian sportspersons were unlucky to miss out on the podium in Rio but hoped the country will exceed the number of participating athletes four years from now in Tokyo. “I am very happy for PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik. But some players like Abhinav Bindra, Dipa Karmakar, Sania Mirza were very close to a medal,” Goel said after inaugurating Sport India 2016 – fourth India International Sports Good Show here. “Under the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) programme we provided customised training to all athletes. We provided all athletes with the best possible training. We provided them foreign coaches and training at foreign locations and thats why a record 118 athletes qualified for the Rio Olympics. “But we need to start preparing for Tokyo 2020 from now and I am expecting over 200 athletes to qualify from India in the next Olympics,” he added. In Rio, three women athletes — Sindhu, Sakshi and Dipa Karmakar — became the unlikely stars for India and saved the countrys pride from returning empty-handed for the first time since 1992 Barcelona Games. The trio notched a few firsts for India; Sindhu, at 21, became the youngest to win an Olympic medal, a silver which was never achieved in badminton; and Sakshis bronze was also a first for woman wrestling. Indias first female gymnast Dipa went on to miss a bronze by 0.15 points but her clean finish in the high-risk Produnova vault won the hearts of the nation. PTI SSC CM CMadvertisementlast_img read more

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Yamaha commence bookings for 2017 YZF-R15 V3.0 in India

first_imgAccording to reports, select dealerships of Yamaha India have started with the pre-bookings of the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 at an initial amount of Rs 50,000. Yamaha had unveiled the 2017 YZF-R15 V3.0 in Indonesia last year with its India launch expected to take place sometime in August-September. Dubbed as the baby R6, the all new Yamaha R15 was unveiled by the Yamaha MotoGP racer Maverick Vinales in Indonesia.Engine:The all new R15 comes with a 155.1cc, liquid cooled 4-stroke, SOHC engine that churns out maximum power output of 19BHP and 14.7 Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed transmission that aids a wet multi-plate clutch.2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0Design:The all new Yamaha R15 comes with the design elements of a Super Sport bike. The new R15 comes with a new aluminum rear arm for light weight, along with a stable motor control. The body is designed in a way to give a sporty look of a race bike. The LED front and rear lights are equipped with hazard lights that make this bike look more aggressive.2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0Suspension:The all new Yamaha R15 includes new features like Assist & Slipper Clutch, which is usually seen only on large motors. The features assist makes the operation of the clutch very light so that the rider is more comfortable when operating the clutch, while the slipper clutch makes gearshift smoother and quicker acceleration.Features:The new R15 comes loaded with features like fully digital speedometer display which include shift timing light that will alert the driver to switch the acceleration and gear positioning.advertisement2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0Colors:The all new Yamaha R15 has a choice of three colors: Racing Blue, Matte Black and Matte Red.Competition:The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 will compete with the likes of Suzuki 150R and Honda CBR 150R in India.2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0Price:We expect the 2017 YZF-R15 V3.0 to come with a price tag of Rs 1.6 lakh (ex showroom, New Delhi) – Rs 1.9 lakh (ex showroom, New Delhi).ALSO READ:Yamaha discontinues YZF-R3 for the Indian marketALSO READ:Yamaha recalls 1,155 units of YZF-R3 in India over faulty tank bracketsALSO READ:Yamaha FZ-25 first ride reviewlast_img read more

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Anil Kumble resignation: Sad day for Indian cricket, says Lalchand Rajput

first_imgLalchand Rajput on Wednesday declared Anil Kumble’s decision not to continue as the national cricket team’s head coach as a sad day for Indian cricket and praised him for doing a great job during his one-year tenure.”I think it is a bad decision that he had to step down. It gives the wrong signal to other players as well. So, I think it is a sad day for the Indian cricket. He has been given a one-year contract and he waited till the contract expired. He waited till the contract and then decided that he did not want to continue,” Rajput told ANI.The 55-year-old, who is one of the candidates to become new coach of India, further said that if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had to give him an extension, they should have gone for a two-year extension rather than limiting it till the end of the West Indies tour.Rajput also suggested that every coach should be given at least a few years to get along with the team and that one-year is too short a period to achieve results.”If they had to give him an extension, I think they should have given him a two-year contract. I believe he got just two weeks extension to be with the Indian team till the West Indies tour. So, if you look at entire scenario, I think every coach needs some time to gel with the team and I think one year is too short. If you look at the performance of last one year, the performance was extremely good,” he added.advertisementOn Tuesday, Kumble stepped down from the post of head coach, saying that skipper Virat Kohli had reservations about his work ‘style’ and his extension.The legendary leg-spinner, in a strongly worded letter, admitted that although the BCCI had several times attempted to resolve the misunderstandings between him and the captain, it was apparent that the partnership was untenable and therefore, he had decided to move on.Kohli, on the other hand, prior to India’s opening encounter at the Champions Trophy against Pakistan played down the reports of him having differences with the head coach, saying they were mere speculations which have been created by the people.Kumble was appointed as coach in June 2016 for a one-year term by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and was instantly successful. Under him, India won Test series against West Indies, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.It was reported that the three-member CAC, comprising of former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman who are tasked to find the new coach for the Indian cricket team, was also willing to retain Kumble.Meanwhile, the BCCI has already invited applications for the position.Besides Rajput, Dodda Ganesh, Richard Pybus and Tom Moody had also submitted applications for the head coach post, while former Indian opener Virender Sehwag forwarded a two-line cover letter to the management.last_img read more

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Microsoft billionaire co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

first_imgMicrosoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen, the man who persuaded school-friend Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard to start what became the world’s biggest software company, died on Monday at the age of 65, his family said.Allen left Microsoft in 1983, before the company became a corporate juggernaut, following a dispute with Gates, but his share of their original partnership allowed him to spend the rest of his life and billions of dollars on yachts, art, rock music, sports teams, brain research and real estate.Allen died from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, the Allen family said in a statement.In early October, Allen had revealed he was being treated for the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he also was treated for in 2009. He had an earlier brush with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another cancer, in the early 1980s before leaving Microsoft.Music-lover Allen had a list of high-profile friends in the entertainment business, including U2 singer Bono, but preferred to avoid the limelight at his compound on Mercer Island, across Lake Washington from Seattle, where he grew up.Allen remained loyal to the Pacific Northwest region, directing more than $1 billion to mostly local philanthropic projects, developing Seattle’s South Lake Union tech hub that Amazon.com Inc calls home and building the headquarters of his Allen Institute for Brain Science there.Gates described Allen as following the Microsoft partnership with a “second act” focused on strengthening communities and in a statement said, “I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends.”advertisementCurrent Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella on Monday called him a “quiet and persistent” man who changed the world.”He is under-appreciated in Seattle,” said David Brewster, founder of local news website Crosscut.com and the Seattle Weekly newspaper. “He’s remote and reclusive. There’s too much Howard Hughes in the way he behaves for Seattle truly to appreciate a lot of the good that he does.”Paul Gardner Allen was born in Seattle on Jan. 21, 1953, the son of a librarian father and teacher mother. He was two years older than Gates but when they met in the computer room at the exclusive Lakeside School in Seattle in 1968, they discovered a shared passion.”In those days we were just goofing around, or so we thought,” Gates recalled in his 1985 book “”The Road Ahead.”FROM BOSTON TO ALBUQUERQUEAllen went on to Washington State University but dropped out in 1974 to take a job with Honeywell in Boston. While there, he pestered Gates, who was studying at nearby Harvard, to quit school and join the nascent revolution in personal computing.Gates finally agreed and in 1975 the two jointly developed BASIC software for the Altair 8800, a clunky desktop computer that cost $400 in kit form.The pair moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, close to the Altair’s maker, and formed a company. It was Allen’s idea to call it Micro-Soft, an amalgam of microcomputer and software. The hyphen was later dropped.Allen was in charge of Microsoft’s technical operations for the company’s first eight years, making him one of the handful of people who created early software such as MS-DOS and Word that enabled the PC revolution and thrust Microsoft to the top.But he had ceased to be on the cutting edge of software development by the early 1980s. He never displayed the commercial instinct of Gates, who generally is credited with powering Microsoft’s rise to ubiquity in the 1990s.Allen left Microsoft in 1983 after falling out with Gates and his new lieutenant, Steve Ballmer, in December 1982, only months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As he recalled in his 2011 memoir “Idea Man,” he overheard Gates and Ballmer secretly plotting to reduce his ownership stake.”They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders,” Allen wrote.Gates and Ballmer later apologized but the damage was done and Allen left Microsoft, although he remained on the board until 2000.CANCER BATTLESAllen recovered from his cancer after radiation treatment but in 2009 was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another form of blood cancer. He went into remission in April 2010 but the disease resurfaced in 2018.Allen held onto his share of the company. His 28 percent stake at Microsoft’s initial public offering in 1986 instantly made him a multi-millionaire.His wealth peaked at about $30 billion in late 1999, according to Forbes magazine, but Allen was hurt by the sharp decline in Microsoft stock after the dot.com bubble burst in 2000 and some unprofitable technology investments.advertisementIn October 2018, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $21.7 billion and said he was the 44th richest person in the world.Allen, the owner of 42 U.S. patents, liked to cast himself as a technology visionary who drove Microsoft’s early success and saw the future of connected computing long before the Internet.”I expect the personal computer to become the kind of thing that people carry with them, a companion that takes notes, does accounting, gives reminders, handles a thousand personal tasks,” Allen wrote in a column in Personal Computing magazine as far back as 1977, long before portable computers became a reality.In the same year, he outlined an early vision of what turned out to be the Internet to Microcomputer Interface magazine.”What I do see is a home terminal that’s connected to a centralized network by phone lines, fiber optics or some other communication system,” he said. “With that system you can perhaps put your car up for sale or look for a house in a different city or check out the price of asparagus at the nearest grocery market or check the price of a stock.”Allen later called this sweeping idea the “wired world,” which has broadly come to fruition. He was not alone in predicting connected computing but was one of the most prominent.Yet Allen’s technology ventures after Microsoft, which focused on areas he thought would grow with the advent of the “wired world,” were not as successful. He lost $8 billion in the cable television industry, chiefly with a bad bet on cable company Charter Communications, while technology ventures he bankrolled such as Metricom, SkyPix and Interval Research were costly failures.SPORTS TEAMS, A YACHT AND HENDRIXHe had better luck in sports and real estate. Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team in 1988 and became a local hero in 1997 when he purchased the Seattle Seahawks football franchise after the previous owner had tried to move the team to California. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl in February 2014 and both franchises are now valued at many times what Allen paid for them.Allen also made hundreds of millions of dollars redeveloping South Lake Union, a shabby area of downtown Seattle that became a gleaming technology Mecca and site of Amazon.com’s glass “spheres” headquarters.All the while, the never-married Allen pursued myriad personal projects and pastimes. He owned one of the world’s biggest yachts, the 400-foot (122 meters) Octopus, which was the venue for many lavish parties and the base for scuba expeditions.A rock ‘n’ roll aficionado, Allen had a band on call to jam with when he wanted, and spent more than $250 million building a museum devoted to his hero, Jimi Hendrix, which morphed into a music and science fiction exhibit designed by Frank Gehry.He spent millions more on a collection of vintage warplanes and funded the first non-government rocket to make it into space. He also collected priceless antiquities and works by Monet, Rodin and Rothko to put in his extensive art collection.advertisementLike Gates, Allen was a dedicated philanthropist, giving away more than $1.5 billion in his lifetime and pledging to donate more than half his wealth to charity.Through various vehicles, Allen focused his giving on brain science, motivated by the loss of his mother to Alzheimer’s disease, along with universities and libraries.Also read: Google Pixel Slate new leak hints at detachable keyboard, stylusAlso read: iPad Pro keyboards are so bad that typing on glass is betterWatch: India Today Conclave Next 2017: Artificial Intelligence needs to be handled carefully, responsibly, say expertslast_img read more

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A 5-Star Kicker Announced His Commitment

first_imgA general view of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 24: Clouds over the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum turn pink in color as the sun sets during the Oregon State Beavers and USC Trojans college football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)One of the top kicking recruits in the country has made his college decision.Parker Lewis, a five-star kicker in the 2020 recruiting class, announced late on Sunday night his decision to commit to USC.The 6-foot-3 kicker announced his decision on Twitter.Lewis also had significant interest from Arizona and Cal, among other programs.Committed #FightOn✌? pic.twitter.com/Ygsc0HoxE7— Parker Lewis (@ParkerLewi) August 5, 2018Here’s his full statement:“First off, I want to thank God for all he’s done for me and allowing me to play the game of football. Thank you to my family and friends who have supported me throughout this entire process. Thank you Coach Mohns, Sam Watts, and all of the other Saguaro High School Coaches who have made me a better Student/Athlete. Lastly, thank you Coach Helton and Coach Baxter for having the confidence in me and providing me this opportunity. With all this being said, I am excited to say that I will be committing to the University of Southern California. #FightOn.”USC’s 2020 class is currently ranked the No. 17 class in the country, No. 1 in the Pac-12.last_img read more

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Sikh shrine destroyed in Pakistan Punjab CM asks PM to seek probe

first_imgChandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pressurise Pakistan to undertake a thorough probe into the destruction of the centuries-old Guru Nanak Palace in Narowal. He has also offered his government’s help to get the property in Pakistan’s Punjab rebuilt, if the Centre could secure Islamabad’s permission for the same. Amarinder Singh wrote to Modi requesting him to take up the matter with the government of Pakistan asking for “a probe in the wanton destruction of the property in question and to bring to justice all the guilty persons associated with this unfortunate act”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC Calling for urgent steps to restore the remaining structure through scientific conservation and restoration, the Chief Minister also sought to impress upon the government of Pakistan the need to preserve all such monuments that have an association with Sikh heritage in an institutionalised manner so that such incidents do not recur in future. “If the government of India arranges permission from the Pakistan government, the Punjab government (India) would rebuild the historic property,” he said in a press statement. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations Amarinder Singh strongly condemned the shocking incident, which he said hurt the sentiments of Sikhs around the world. In his letter to the Prime Minister, he wrote: “The building, which some media reports cite to be around four centuries old and has been visited by a large number of Sikh pilgrims, has been rapaciously pillaged and destroyed.” He said the incident had caused great consternation in his state and it was almost ironic that it had happened at a time when the two countries were poised to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru.last_img read more

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Trump picks China hawk to lead new White House trade council

Trump picks China hawk to lead new White House trade council WASHINGTON – In another sign that he intends to shake up relations with China, President-elect Donald Trump named economist Peter Navarro to lead a newly created White House council on trade.The University of California-Irvine professor, who advised Trump during the campaign, has sharply criticized China’s economic and military policies in books and videos. In addition to leading the new White House National Trade Council, Navarro will be director of trade and industrial policy.In a statement, the Trump transition team said the creation of the council “demonstrates the president-elect’s determination to make American manufacturing great again.”Trump says China’s unfair trade practices are responsible for wiping out American factory jobs. U.S. manufacturers have cut 5 million jobs since 2000. Trump has threatened to impose taxes on Chinese imports and to label China a “currency manipulator” for allegedly pushing its currency lower to give Chinese exporters a price advantage.Navarro, author of “Death By China,” also endorses a hard line toward China. Navarro has dismissed warnings that imposing sanctions on China could trigger a destructive trade war if China retaliates by targeting U.S. imports. He and Wilbur Ross — an investment banker tapped to be Trump’s Commerce secretary — have argued that China and other U.S. trade partners have more to lose in a trade conflict because they depend so much on the U.S. market.Trump has already rattled U.S.-China relations. Earlier this month, he broke protocol by taking a call from the president of Taiwan. China views Taiwan as a renegade province and considers any acknowledgement that it has its own head of state as a grave insult. Trump also said he did not feel bound by the longstanding “one-China” policy. Under that policy the United States recognizes Beijing as the sole government of China and acknowledges its claim to Taiwan but regards the status of the self-governing island as unsettled.____Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington contributed to this report. by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press Posted Dec 21, 2016 9:40 pm MDT Last Updated Dec 21, 2016 at 10:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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Yemen Committee brings warring parties to the table in Hudaydah builds on

The UN-brokered body made up of both Government and Houthi opposition representatives is known officially as the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), chaired by retired Dutch General, Patrick Cammaert, with the support of UN personnel.The three-day meeting of the RCC followed on from the formal start of the ceasefire on 25 December.On Wednesday, both Houthi rebels and Government coalition personnel, worked to clear minefields to create a safe passage across a frontline for Government representatives to attend the meeting on rebel-controlled territory, during which General Cammaert commended the parties for their demonstration of goodwill to implement the Stockholm agreement.The first phase of putting the agreement into action is based on three priority areas: maintaining the ceasfire, confidence-building measures to deliver humanitarian assistance, and redeployment of fighters.Both parties have acknowledged this as an historic moment, and each have reiterated their commitment to implementing the Stockholm ceasefire, said the UN on Thursday.The UN’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said that the cooperation shown so far, sends a “massive signal” that positive change is possible, adding that if the peace plan can evolve and progress smoothly, “the people of Yemen will notice a new prospect for the future.”The parties are set to present detailed plans for full redeployment to Mr. Cammaert in the next committee meeting, programed for 1 January in Hudaydah. In the meantime, each have agreed to begin opening humanitarian corridors as part of confidence-building measures, starting with the key coastal road between rebel-held capital Sana’a, and Hudaydah.More routes are scheduled to be cleared, and a humanitarian convoy is scheduled to move from the port city along the Hudaydah-Sana’a road on Saturday.Fighting in and around Hudaydah for control of the key port intensified in recent months, which has severely narrowed the flow of essential resources and lifesaving aid, and exacerbated the threat of famine.  The Yemen war intensified in early 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition joined the Government fight against Houthi rebels, instituting an aerial bombing campaign.An added consequence unleashed by the conflict has been the lack of pay for civil servants in rebel-held Hudaydah, which the Yemeni government has agreed to pay, backdated to the beginning of this month.President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi announced the decision on Thursday, marking a shift after more than two years during which the government was unable to pay salaries, according to news reports, causing the Yemeni riyal to fall heavily against the US dollar, and leaving many citizens unable to afford basic necessities like food and water. read more

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