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Diplomats say the United Nations has failed to approve a call to end the violence in Tigray.

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Diplomats say the United Nations has failed to approve a call to end the violence in Tigray.

 

After objections from India, Russia, and particularly China, an effort to get U.N. Security Council approval for a statement calling for an end to violence in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region and highlighting the millions in need of humanitarian assistance was dropped Friday night, according to U.N. diplomats.

Following opposition from the three nations, Ireland, which drafted the declaration, agreed not to press for approval, according to three council diplomats.

The UN’s most influential body would have made the first public comment on the Tigray issue, which is now in its fourth month. Fears are rising about the fate of Tigray’s 6 million citizens as fierce fighting continues between Ethiopian and allied forces and those supporting the now-fugitive Tigray leaders who once controlled Ethiopia’s government. Thousands of people have been killed, but no one knows how many.

On Tuesday, United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned of a “campaign of devastation,” claiming that at least 4.5 million people need assistance and demanding that Eritrean forces accused of atrocities in Tigray leave Ethiopia.

External powers and sanctions were not included in the proposed declaration, but it did call for an end to violence in Tigray.

The draft statement also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Tigray, “where millions of people continue to be in need of humanitarian assistance,” as well as the difficulty in gaining access for aid workers. It called for the Ethiopian government’s statements on Feb. 26 and March 3 committing to “unfettered access” to be “fully and promptly implemented.”

China wanted the statement to concentrate solely on the humanitarian situation, with no mention of the violence in Tigray, according to Council diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity because consultations were private. According to the diplomats, India only wanted a small adjustment, and Russia officially backed its ally China at the last minute.

The Associated Press and then Amnesty International published accounts detailing the killing of several hundred civilians by Eritrean soldiers in the holy city of Axum in Tigray. After the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted elections in Tigray, both the federal government and regional officials claim the other’s governments are unconstitutional.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch repeated the news, claiming that in November 2020, Eritrean armed forces “massacred dozens of civilians, including children as young as 13,” in the historic town of Axum in Tigray. It urged the United Nations to set up an impartial investigation into war crimes and alleged crimes against humanity in Tigray as soon as possible.

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Fossil Ridge alum Jaelin Howell agrees to three-year deal with Racing Louisville

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Fossil Ridge alum Jaelin Howell agrees to three-year deal with Racing Louisville

It’s been a whirlwind last few weeks for Fossil Ridge High alum Jaelin Howell.

From going No. 2 in the NWSL Draft, to making her first United States Women’s National Team camp in more than a year and also winning her second straight MAC Hermann Trophy, Howell added another sweet milestone Friday. She signed her first professional contract.

Howell agreed to a three-year deal with Racing Louisville FC, and the highly-rated prospect is now officially a professional.

“I’m extremely grateful for Racing Louisville drafting me and giving me the opportunity to play for a club with such a promising future,” Howell said in a club statement. “I’m excited to help the team compete for championships while learning from some of the best players in the world in this league. I hope to make a positive impact on and off the field for our club, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Howell, who is currently training with the USWNT, became only the sixth woman to win the Mac Hermann Trophy twice, as she left Florida State a two-time national champion. On Friday, she also became the first player to sign a contract from Racing Louisville’s six-member draft class.

“Jaelin is one of the most exciting young talents in the game today,” Racing interim president James O’Connor said in a statement. “We’re delighted to bring her on board. She fills a position of need and has an ability to control the game with such a broad range of passing.”

Racing Louisville’s preseason is tentatively set to start Feb. 1, but that date is currently in jeopardy. The Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported Thursday that players won’t report to their clubs for preseason until a Collective Bargaining Agreement is finalized between the NWSL Player’s Association and the league.

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Could ex-Dolphins coach Brian Flores return home to New York? Giants hire former Miami exec as GM

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Could ex-Dolphins coach Brian Flores return home to New York? Giants hire former Miami exec as GM

Could a return home to New York be in store for former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores?

The New York Giants are expected to interview Flores, according to an ESPN Friday report. Flores, a Brooklyn native, has already been interviewed by the Chicago Bears for their head coaching vacancy and is a name that has been mentioned in connection to the Houston Texans’ opening, as well.

Flores was fired on Jan. 10 after three seasons with the Dolphins, when the team went 24-25. His dismissal was a surprise around the NFL as he took over a roster devoid of talent in 2019 and squeezed five wins out of the team before then producing back-to-back winning seasons in 2020 and 2021. Dolphins owner Steve Ross attributed the decision to Flores’ methods of communication and collaboration within the organization.

The Dolphins have since lined up at least seven known interviews: Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Los Angeles Rams running backs coach Thomas Brown. The latest of those interviews — with Joseph and Brown — are wrapping up on Friday, according to NFL Network.

Frazier, Quinn and Joseph have previous head coaching experience. Daboll, Quinn and Joseph have had a previous stop with the Dolphins, and Brown is a former Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator.

Flores was born and raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and attended Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn before playing college football at Boston College. When the Dolphins topped the New York Jets, 24-17, on Nov. 21 at MetLife Stadium, where the Giants also play, Flores wore an FDNY shirt to the postgame press conference as a tribute to his uncle, a retired firefighter for Ladder 118 in Brooklyn.

The report came as the Giants announced Friday that they hired Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen, who was a longtime Dolphins executive, to fill their general manager vacancy.

The Giants’ hiring of Schoen could also lead to him pulling Daboll from Buffalo to join him with the Giants. ESPN also named Daboll and Quinn as additional candidates for the New York coaching job.

Schoen and Flores never crossed paths in Miami as Schoen joined the Bills in 2017, two years before Flores was hired by the Dolphins. They’ve been in the AFC East together for years, though, with Flores’ 15 years in the New England Patriots’ organization both as a scout and assistant coach coincided largely with Schoen’s time with the Dolphins.

Schoen first joined Miami in 2008 as a national scout. Five years later, Schoen became the Dolphins’ assistant director of college scouting, and in his final four years in Miami, he was director of player personnel, working his way up to fourth in charge.

Schoen’s decadelong tenure with the Dolphins gained him experience under Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, Dennis Hickey and current general manager Chris Grier. Since working under Bills general manager Brandon Beane, the two, along with coach Sean McDermott, have transformed Buffalo into the AFC East’s top team and a perennial contender.

According to the Giants’ press release, Schoen “led Miami’s preparation, assessment and acquisition of potential professional and collegiate free agents. Schoen was heavily involved in Miami’s NFL draft preparations, including evaluation and draft board construction while also serving as a key liaison between the coaching staff and personnel staff” during his tenure with the Dolphins.

Still with connections in Miami, Schoen could potentially look to poach executives from the Dolphins.

Flores went 0-6 against Schoen’s Bills in his three seasons with the Dolphins.

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Dolphins lose receiver Kirk Merritt to New Orleans Saints

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Dolphins lose receiver Kirk Merritt to New Orleans Saints

One of the Miami Dolphins’ top practice squad performers has signed with his hometown team.

Kirk Merritt, who spent two years blossoming on the Dolphins’ developmental unit, has signed a futures contract with the New Orleans Saints, joining the NFL franchise he grew up rooting for as a Louisiana native.

The Dolphins, who are searching for a new head coach after firing Brian Flores last week, have been in the process of re-signing some of the team’s practice squad players.

Tailback Gerrid Doaks, receiver Cody Core, cornerback Javaris Davis, offensive tackles Adam Pankey and Kion Smith. and defensive back Quincy Wilson have signed with the Dolphins to futures contracts.

Merritt was one of Miami’s top performers during training camp, and he contributed in three games his first two seasons.

Practice squad players become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and signing futures contracts, which are minimum-salary-based deals, virtually allows them to train with an organization in the offseason. However, it doesn’t guarantee a training camp spot.

Regardless of who is named Miami’s next coach, it is likely the team will infuse an arsenal of new receivers.

Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins’ 2021 first-round pick who led the team with 104 receptions for 1,015 yards and seven touchdowns, DeVante Parker, a seven-year starter, Allen Hurns, Lynn Bowden Jr., who spent all of 2021 on injured reserve, and Core are the only receivers under contract in 2022.

And considering Parker and Hurns’ contracts are voidable, it is possible that they could be released to create more cap space. Parker is slated to earn $5.75 million, and another $500,000 in per-games-played bonuses. Hurns, who spent all last season on injured reserve because of a hand injury he suffered in training camp, could earn $2,575,000 if he makes the 53-man roster, with another $600,000 in per-games-played bonuses.

If the Dolphins released Parker, who has started 64 of 93 games, it would potentially clear $3.55 million in cap space. Releasing Hurns would create nearly $3.2 million in cap space.

The Dolphins already have a league-high $74 million in cap space to work with this offseason, but the franchise has numerous avenues available to create another $20 million-plus of cap space to spend on free agents and re-sign their own free agents.

Will Fuller, a free agent added last offseason who only played in two games, Albert Wilson, who started five games last season, Isaiah Ford, Mack Hollins and Preston Williams are the receivers expected to become unrestricted free agents.

Williams is a restricted free agent, but it’s questionable whether the Dolphins will place a right of first refusal tender on him, which is worth nearly $2.5 million, because of his struggles last season.

Fuller, who started 17 games during his three seasons in Miami, caught six passes for 71 yards in eight games.

Tight ends Mike Gesicki, who primarily served as a slot receiver last season, and Durham Smythe, who started 41 games in his four-year career with the Dolphins, are also set to become free agents on March 16.

It is possible that the Dolphins could use the franchise or transition tag to retain Gesicki, who finished second on the team with 73 receptions for 780 yards and two touchdowns. The last day to use the franchise or transition tag is March 8.

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