Saudi Arabia has strongly denounced US Senate resolutions which called for an end to American support for Saudi forces in Yemen and blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The kingdom released an unusually forceful statement after both Democrat and Republican senators defied the White House and voted through the largely symbolic resolutions criticising Saudi Arabia. "The Kingdom categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership... and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature,” the Saudi foreign ministry said. While Donald Trump has said he plans to stand by Saudi Arabia, the US-Saudi relationship is under increasing scrutiny from Congress and the American public after the death of Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist. The Senate resolutions have no legal weight but will add to pressure on Mr Trump over his administration’s close ties to the kingdom’s leaders. How the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi unfolded Saudi Arabia insists Crown Prince Mohammed was not aware of the plan to kill Mr Khashoggi, even though one of his closest aides and several members of his security entourage were allegedly involved. The kingdom argues that its bombing campaign in Yemen is in self-defence against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who have fired ballistic missiles into Saudi territory. Human rights groups say indiscriminate Saudi bombing and a harsh blockade have killed thousands of civilians. A UN-brokered ceasefire deal is due to go into effect Tuesday in the key port city of Hodeidah after peace talks between the Houthis and the Yemeni government in Sweden last week. The agreement was looking shaky after intense fighting in Hodeidah over the weekend but UN officials said they were optimistic that the truce would go ahead. Residents reported sporadic fighting around the city on Monday. A sustained ceasefire could be a major step towards a larger peace deal to end the three-year war, which is believed to have killed tens of thousands of people and brought millions of Yemenis to the brink of starvation. Aid groups have warned that a full-on Saudi offensive in Hodeidah could destroy port facilities and stop badly-needed humanitarian supplies from reaching civilians. Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed on October 2 shortly after entering the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in what Riyadh called a "rogue" operation. The murder has tarnished Riyadh's international reputation, and Western countries including the United States, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals. UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday called for a "credible" probe into the murder. Anger at the human cost of the war in Yemen has also prompted a harder line in Congress about the US military's role in backing Saudi-led coalition strikes against Huthi rebels. Since the coalition launched its campaign in 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation. But some rights groups believe the toll to be far higher.
PARIS (AP) — People filled a square in the French city of Strasbourg on Sunday to show respect and sympathy for the victims of last week's shooting attack near a famous Christmas market as the death toll rose to five.
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.
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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.
Officials in Egypt revealed they discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb believed to belong to a senior official linked to the fifth dynasty of the pharoahs.
Police and fire officials on Monday were searching for the cause of a dramatic explosion in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo that collapsed a building and injured 42 people. Sapporo police and fire officials said it was too early to say anything certain about the cause of the explosion.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday laid out plans for Moscow to develop mid-range missiles banned under a Cold War treaty with the United States if Washington abandons the deal. Tensions have raged over the fate of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), with US President Donald Trump promising to walk away from the agreement and Putin threatening a new arms race. Washington this month said it would withdraw from the INF within 60 days if Russia did not dismantle missiles that the US claims breach the deal.
Chili's social media department is getting ribbed after it weighed in on North