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UN Envoy Angelina Jolie Calls for Ceasefire in Yemen

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Angelina Jolie has called on the UN Security Council to expedite the ceasefire in Yemen and reach a lasting settlement of the conflict. The Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a statement distributed by the international organisation in Geneva on Sunday.

Jolie said the Council should work with countries in the Middle East to reach a negotiated end to the conflict and to address international laws on the protection of civilians. She also called for a greater understanding of refugee protection laws and for all countries to play a role in alleviating the human suffering in Yemen. The film actress and director is currently in South Korea, where several hundred Yemenis who fled the conflict are being hosted.

“The international community has been shamefully slow in working to end the crisis in Yemen,” said Jolie. “The world has seen the situation deteriorating in Yemen to a point that this country is now on the verge of a human-made famine, and is facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world in decades. When the conflict develops at this level, many people would have no choice but to flee.”

The only way to enable refugees to return back home and to reduce the total number of refugees around the world is to end the conflicts themselves, she insisted. The UN Envoy expressed her hope that there will be a greater understanding of the human reality that is causing people to flee, the strict and practical legal standards under which the status of the refugees are set up by UNHCR, the work with national authorities, as well as the strengthening of joint responsibility to help refugees return to their homes.

Jolie pointed out that without a global response based on international law and collective responsibility, there would be a greater risk of long-term instability and insecurity. She warned that this would have a negative impact on all countries.

The UNHCR pointed out that its famous Envoy’s visit to South Korea was part of her role with the organisation, which calls for essential support for refugees worldwide. It also follows the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, to the Asian country last month.

During a meeting with South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki, who heads the ministry responsible for local refugee policies, Grandi noted that Jolie expressed appreciation for South Korea’s efforts in helping 500 Yemenis who arrived on the island of Jeju in May. He praised Seoul’s efforts to protect refugees until it is safe for them to return home.

Saudi Strikes on Yemen. READ: http://ow.ly/F51S30klsQt#INFOGRAPHIC #UAE #SaudiArabia

Posted by Middle East Monitor on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Creative Commons / Middle East Monitor

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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