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The Latest: German media appeal for help for local staff – Alaska Highway News

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The Latest developments on Afghanistan, where a Taliban blitz has taken large swaths of territory just weeks before the final pullout of American and NATO troops:

BERLIN — German media have issued an urgent appeal to Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s foreign minister for an emergency visa program to help local staff who worked for them to leave Afghanistan.

In an open letter Sunday, major German newspapers, public and commercial broadcasters, and the dpa news agency warned that “the lives of these freelance staff are now in acute danger.”

The media outlets stressed that reporting from Afghanistan over the past two decades would have been “unthinkable without the efforts and bravery of the Afghan staff who supported us on the ground: local journalists, stringers and translators.”

Citing several recent fatal attacks on journalists, the letter said that due to the advance of the Taliban “it must be feared that such murders will now dramatically increase – and many of our staff are at risk.”

“We are convinced: there is no time to lose now,” it adds. “Our staff who want to leave the country are at risk of persecution, arrest, torture and deaths. That is why we ask you act quickly.”

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say embattled President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country as the Taliban moved further into Kabul.

Two officials speaking on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists told The Associated Press that Ghani flew out of the country. Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, later confirmed Ghani had left in an online video.

“He left Afghanistan in a hard time, God hold him accountable,” Abdullah said.

Ghani’s whereabouts and destination are currently unknown.

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TORONTO — Canada has suspended diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and Canadian personnel are on their way back to Canada.

Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement the decision to suspend operations is temporary and the embassy will reopen if the security situation allows staff to be safe.

Some 40,000 Canadian troops were deployed in Afghanistan over 13 years as part of the NATO mission before pulling out in 2014. More than 150 Canadian soldiers died during the Afghanistan mission.

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is evacuating remaining staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul as the Taliban enter the Afghan capital. But he is playing down America’s hasty exit, saying “this is manifestly not Saigon.”

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Blinken said: “The compound itself, our folks are leaving there, and moving to the airport.”

Blinken also confirmed that U.S. Embassy workers were destroying documents and other items ahead of fleeing the embassy, but insisted “this is being done in a very deliberate way, it’s being done in an orderly way, and it’s being done with American forces there to make sure we can do it in a safe way.”

The evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had U.S. military helicopters lifting off from embassy grounds Sunday, and sent puffs of black smoke up into the skies over Kabul as U.S. officials worked to keep sensitive material from falling in Taliban hands.

The scene comes after President Joe Biden earlier this year played down any idea that the Taliban could capture the country, or that the Afghanistan war would end up in scenes reminiscent of the Vietnam one, with military helicopters taking off from embassy rooftops.

Blinken defended Biden’s decision to end the nearly 20-year U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, saying Biden’s hands were tied by a withdrawal deal President Donald Trump struck with the Taliban in 2020.

If Biden had called off the withdrawal, “we would have been back at the war with the Taliban,” and forced to surge tens of thousands of American forces back into Afghanistan, Blinken said.

__ Ellen Knickmeyer in Oklahoma City.

___

ISLAMABAD — A special flight of Pakistan’s national airline PIA has arrived in Islamabad carrying 329 passengers from Kabul, and another carrying 170 people will arrive later today. A spokesman for the airline said Saturday that the airline will operate three flights tomorrow to transport Pakistanis and other nationalities looking to leave Kabul.

PIA and other commercial flights from Kabul were heavily delayed Sunday due to a U.S. military transport plane that blocked the runway, the airline said.

___

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will brief House members on the situation in Afghanistan in an unclassified virtual conference on Sunday morning, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requested the meeting along with an in-person classified briefing when the House is back in Washington the week of Aug. 23.

— Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington

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BERLIN — NATO says that it is “helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world.”

In a statement it says that it would also maintain its diplomatic presence in Kabul. “The security of our personnel is paramount, and we continue to adjust as necessary,” it added.

NATO provided no details on its number of staff still in Afghanistan, but said it was “constantly assessing developments” in the country.

“We support Afghan efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, which is now more urgent than ever,” the statement said.

___

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president says his country will work for stability in Afghanistan along with Pakistan, in order to stem a growing migration wave amid the Taliban’s countrywide offensive.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Afghans were increasingly attempting to migrate to Turkey via Iran, urging an international effort to bring stability to the country and prevent mass migration.

Erdogan was speaking at a naval ceremony with Pakistan’s president. He said Pakistan had a “vital task” to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, where clashes have intensified. Turkish-Pakistani cooperation would be needed for this, and Turkey would use all possibilities to do so, Erdogan added.

Erdogan did not mention any changes to a proposal for Turkey to secure and operate the airport in Kabul.

MADRID — Spain’s defense ministry says it has not yet begun evacuating Spanish nationals and Afghan staff including translators who are expected to be flown out alongside its citizens, but was speeding up its plans.

In an emailed statement it says that “the evacuation plan for Afghanistan is being accelerated to the maximum,” adding that “details are finalized on logistics and the people who will be evacuated,” but they cannot give more details for security reasons.

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WASHINGTON — A U.S. official says American diplomats in Afghanistan are being moved from the embassy in Kabul to the airport as the Taliban enter the capital.

The official says military helicopters are shuttling between the embassy compound and the airport, where a core presence will remain for as long as possible given security conditions.

The official was not authorized to discuss diplomatic movements and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Relocating a core group of embassy staff to the airport had been a contingency plan as the Taliban made dramatic territorial gains over the past several weeks before the final withdrawal of U.S. troops by Aug 31.

— Matthew Lee in Washington.

___

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said Sunday that he shares “the unanimous concern for the situation in Afghanistan” as Taliban fighters sweep across the war-torn country.

He spoke as the Taliban entered the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan capital, and said they were awaiting a “peaceful transfer” of the city.

From a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the pope asked for prayers “so that the clamor of weapons may cease and solutions may be found at the negotiating table.”

He added that “only in this way, may the battered population of the country — men and women, elderly and children — return to their homes and live in peace and safety, with full mutual respect.”

—-

BERLIN — Germany is sending military transport planes to Kabul to begin the evacuation of its embassy staff Monday.

The German news agency dpa reported Sunday that the mission will include the evacuation of local Afghan staff working for the German embassy. A German official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to be quoted, told The Associated Press that paratroopers will secure the operation.

The military planes are expected to ferry evacuees from Kabul to a base in Central Asia, from where charter planes will bring them to

— Frank Jordans in Berlin.

___

MILAN — Italian media reported Sunday that most personnel at the Italian Embassy in Kabul are being transferred to the Afghan capital’s airport in preparation for evacuation.

The report Sunday by Corriere della Sera said the move affects some 50 Italian staffers and 30 Afghan employees and their families, along with Carabinieri paramilitary police protecting the embassy.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed that staff were being transferred to the airport, as other nations were in the process of doing, but could not give numbers or timing.

Italy’s defense minister has said that 228 Afghans and their families have already been transferred to Italy, calling it a “moral duty” to protect those who had worked with Italy and who would face reprisals by the Taliban.

The Italian agency LaPresse reported a flight carrying Italian embassy staff would depart Kabul Sunday evening.

MOSCOW — Russia’s state news agency reported Sunday that the Taliban promised to guarantee the safety of the Russian embassy in Kabul.

Tass quoted Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, as saying that the organization has “good relations with Russia” and a “policy in general to ensure safe conditions for the functioning of the Russian and other embassies.”

The Kremlin’s envoy on Afghanistan said Sunday that there are no plans to evacuate the Russian embassy in Kabul. Zamir Kabulov told the Interfax news agency that Russia’s ambassador and its staff are “calmly carrying out their duties.”

The reports came as Taliban fighters entered Kabul after a week-long blitz ahead of the final pullout of American and NATO troops. The Taliban said they don’t plan to take the capital city by force.

—-

MOSCOW — Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry reported Sunday that 84 Afghan servicemen crossed the border into Uzbekistan asked for assistance.

Uzbek guards detained the group of Afghan military when they crossed the border. The group included three wounded soldiers that needed medical help, the ministry said. The men were offered food and temporary accommodation in Uzbekistan, and the ministry was in touch with Afghan officials regarding the return of Afghan soldiers to their home country.

The announcement Sunday came as Taliban fighters entered Kabul after a week-long blitz ahead of the final pullout of American and NATO troops. The Taliban said they don’t plan to take the capital city by force.

——

TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s prime minister says his country will temporarily shelter hundreds of Afghans who worked with the Western peacekeeping military forces and are now threatened by the Taliban.

On his Facebook page, Edi Rama said the U.S. government had asked Albania to serve as a “transit place for a certain number of Afghan political emigrants who have the United States as their final destination.”

“No doubt we shall not say no,” he said.

He added that the Albanian government has also responded positively to requests from two U.S. NGOs to shelter hundreds of Afghan intellectuals and women activists who have been threatened with execution by the Taliban.

The Albanian prime minister said that his country stands alongside the United States “not only when we need them for our problems … but even when they need us, any time.”

___

LONDON — British media are reporting that the U.K.’s ambassador to Afghanistan is to be airlifted out of the country by Monday evening amid fears that the Taliban could seize the airport imminently.

The Foreign Office had intended for Laurie Bristow and a small team of officials to remain at the airport with other international diplomats. But the Sunday Telegraph reported that their departure had been brought forward. The Foreign Office declined comment.

Last week the defense ministry said 600 British troops were being deployed to Kabul to help evacuate some 3,000 British nationals and about 2,000 Afghans who worked with British forces.

A Royal Air Force Hercules aircraft was reported to have flown out of the airport on Saturday carrying diplomats and civilians.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace defended Britain’s move to pull troops out of the country. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said “we have not betrayed Afghanistan.”

He wrote that the U.K. could not “go it alone” after the U.S. announced its plans to withdraw. “It would be arrogant to think we could solve Afghanistan unilaterally,” he said.

___

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has closed the Torkham border point with Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the Afghan border facility, the interior minister said Sunday.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the decision to close the Torkhan border was taken due to due to an extraordinary situation on the other side. Ahmed told the local Geo television that the border was closed when Afghan police surrendered to the Taliban.

Ahmed said the Chaman border point with Afghanistan remains open.

Pakistan has already said that it cannot bear any load of new Afghan refugees in the wake of crisis in the war-torn country. Pakistan is about to complete fencing along the long, porous border, saying the step has been taken to check the militants’ movement across the border.

___

ISTANBUL — An Afghan official and the Taliban say the militants have seized the provincial capital of Khost.

The capture Sunday makes the capital the latest to fall to the militants since they began their advance over a week ago.

A provincial council member confirmed the capture to the AP. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

It leaves Afghanistan’s central government in control of just Kabul and five other provincial capitals out of the country’s 34.

— By Rahim Faiez

___

TREBON, Czech Republic — Czech leaders have approved a plan to evacuate Afghan staffers at the Czech embassy in Kabul.

The Czechs already had evacuated their own diplomats from the embassy and transported them to Kabul’s international airport.

Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said Afghan staffers are at risk of “death and torture” if they stay, adding, “We simply can’t allow that to happen.”

The announcement Sunday came as the Taliban seized the last major city outside of Kabul held by the country’s central government, cutting off the capital to the east.

Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said the Czechs will help those Afghans who worked with Czech troops during their deployment in NATO missions.

Metnar said his country is ready to take care of Afghan interpreters and their families. “We will relocate those who have asked, to the Czech Republic,” Metnar said.

The evacuation flights should take place in next days.

The Associated Press

























































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Media Release – September 24, 2021 – Guelph Police – guelphpolice.ca

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Home Invasion Investigation

On the morning of September 16th, 2021, three adult males and an adult female forced their way into an apartment in a residential building located near the intersection of Speedvale Avenue East and Stevenson Street North in the City of Guelph.

An adult male resident was struck with a firearm, and other weapons were brandished during this incident. The male resident and an adult female resident were ultimately able to lock themselves in a room and contact the Guelph Police Service for assistance. The three males and female fled on foot.

The male resident was transported to hospital, treated for his injuries and released.     

Police later located the three males inside another apartment in the building and they were subsequently arrested.

Through investigation, police identified the female involved and a warrant was issued.

This was a targeted incident and there is no concern for public safety. 

A 26 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence

He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 24th.

A 27 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence
-Use Firearm While Committing Offence
-Possession Of A Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose x2
-Breach Probation
-Fail To Comply With Judicial Release Order

He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 24th.

A 33 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence
-Possession Of Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose
-Fail To Comply With Judicial Release Order

He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 29th.

On September 23rd, just before 9:46am, police observed the female as a passenger in a motor vehicle driving near the intersection of Wellington Street West and Fife Road. A traffic stop was initiated, and an adult male driver fled the area on foot.

The female was subsequently arrested.

A search incident to arrest revealed 1.18 grams of Fentanyl.

Further investigation revealed that both the vehicle and the vehicle plates were stolen.

A 30 year old Guelph female has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence
-Use Firearm While Committing Offence
-Possession Of Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose
-Assault With A Weapon x2
-Breach Probation
-Fail To Comply With OIC Undertaking
-Possession Of A Controlled Substance – Schedule I
-Possession Of Stolen Property Under $5,000 x2

She was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 24th.

Please note that police found a second adult female in the vehicle during the traffic stop. She was also subsequently arrested.

A 23 year old Guelph female has been charged with:
-Possession Of Stolen Property Under $5,000 x2

She will appear in court on January 14th, 2022.

The male who fled the vehicle on foot was not located.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Constable Jenifer Nadalin at 519-824-1212 ext. 7523, email her at jnadalin@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous tip at CRIME STOPPERS 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Road Rage Incident Leads To Weapon Charges

On September 23rd, 2021, just before 6:01pm, a road rage incident occurred between two adult male drivers, which lead to both males exiting their motor vehicles out front of a residence located near the intersection of Starwood Drive and Eastview Road in the City of Guelph. One of the males then pulled foldable knife out of his pocket, opened the blade and held it out in a threatening manner. He eventually left the area in his vehicle.

At 10:32pm, the male who had the knife turned himself into the Guelph Police Service station and was subsequently arrested.

A 29 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Assault With A Weapon
-Possession Of A Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose

He will appear in court on January 11th, 2022.

Motor Vehicle Collision Investigation

On September 23rd, 2021, just before 4:52pm, a collision occurred between two motor vehicles near the intersection of Dawson Road and Speedvale Avenue West in the City of Guelph. The collision resulted in minor injuries but significant damage to both vehicles.

Anyone with any dash camera footage in the area or any information at all is asked to contact Constable Lindsay Porterfield at 519-824-1212 ext. 7182, email her at lporterfield@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous tip at CRIME STOPPERS 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Stolen ATV

Some time between midnight and 8am on September 23rd, 2021, a shed in the backyard of a residence located near the intersection of Edinburgh Road South and Waterloo Avenue in the City of Guelph was entered. An ATV was then taken, as its key was left in the ignition.

However, the vehicle wasn’t in good working order and was difficult drive, so it was abandoned around the corner from the residence, and was recovered by police at 9am.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Constable Joshua van Breda at 519-824-1212 ext. 7417, email him at jvanbreda@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous tip at CRIME STOPPERS 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

The Guelph Police Service would like to encourage the public to never leave keys in the ignition of an unattended motor vehicle.

Multiple Motor Vehicle Collisions And Driving Complaints

Over the past 24 hours the Guelph Police Service received reports of 14 motor vehicle collisions and 11 driving complaints occurring throughout the City of Guelph.

The Guelph Police Service would like to encourage the public to slow down and follow the rules of the road in order to help ensure everyone arrives to their destination safely.

Calls for Service in the last 24 hours: 227

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Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week – Summerland Review – Summerland Review

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Good afternoon and happy Friday!

Before you start off your weekend full of sunshine, cooler weather and pumpkin patch adventures, catch up on some of this week’s news headlines from the Okanagan-Shuswap region.

Woman found dead at Highway 33 and Nickel Road in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP launched an investigation after the body of a woman was found at Highway 33 and Nickel Road in the city.

Police said they don’t have much information surrounding the woman’s death or the cause of it, but the investigation is ongoing.

Fundraisers set up for family of Penticton murder victim

Fundraisers have been set up for a Penticton murder victim’s family.

Taig Savage’s mother, Tracey, previously lost two other children in a house fire. The goal of the fundraisers is to support her as she goes through losing a child in a tragic way for the third time.

One dead in Vernon shooting

One person died and another person was taken into police custody after a morning shooting in Vernon on Monday (Sept. 20).

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said the victim and the man in custody are known to each other. As he is still in custody, police said there is no further threat to public safety.

Boaters want Shuswap Lake channel dredged but obstacles deter city

Boaters have been asking the City of Salmon Arm to dredge the channel that leads into Shuswap Lake, but the mayor and his staff say that the high costs and government requirements to dredge are keeping them from doing it.

Staff added that dredging is a temporary solution and has a short life span.

And that’s all for this week. Have yourself a good and safe weekend.


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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Media Day hype, player rankings are clickbait | Pickaxe and Roll – Denver Stiffs

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Ryan Blackburn shares his thoughts on the third day of player interviews for media week that included Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, and Michael Porter Jr. in a stacked session. Gordon was chill, Barton was excited, Green was professional, Rivers was insightful, and Porter showed readiness to take the leap. Then, Ryan discusses the ESPN player rankings that are filtering out and what they had to say about the Nuggets and Nikola Jokić.

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