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Sudan’s military takes power in coup, arrests prime minister

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Sudan PM held in apparent coup; general declares emergency

By SAMY MAGDY

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s top general on Monday dissolved the government and announced that the military will run the country after his forces arrested the acting prime minister and other officials. Thousands of Sudanese protested in the streets against the coup.

The military takeover threatens to derail Sudan’s long, rocky attempt to transition to democracy two years after protesters forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir. The move came just before the military was supposed to hand leadership of the country’s joint military-civilian administration to civilians next month.

After the early morning arrests of government officials, thousands flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman to protest. Footage shared online appeared to show protesters blocking streets and setting fire to tires as security forces used tear gas to disperse them.

Protesters could be heard chanting, “The people are stronger, stronger” and “Retreat is not an option!” as plumes of smoke filled the air. Videos on social media showed large crowds crossing bridges over the Nile to the center of the capital.

At least 12 protesters were wounded in demonstrations, according to the Sudanese Doctors Committee, without giving details.

In the afternoon, the head of the military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, went on national TV and announced that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the country since al-Bashir’s ouster.

He said quarrels among political factions prompted the military to intervene.

Burhan declared a state of emergency and said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023. But he made clear the military will remain in charge, saying, “The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government.”

The Information Ministry, still loyal to the dissolved government, called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup.”

The United States and the European Union expressed concern over Monday’s developments.

Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, said Washington was “deeply alarmed” by the reports. Feltman met with Sudanese officials over the weekend in an effort to resolve the growing dispute between civilian and military leaders. EU foreign affairs chief Joseph Borrell tweeted that he’s following events with the “utmost concern.”

The first reports about a possible military takeover began trickling out of Sudan before dawn Monday. By mid-morning, the Information Ministry confirmed that the prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, had been arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. Several senior government figures were also detained, the ministry said in a Facebook post. It said their whereabouts were unknown.

Hamdok’s office said in a statement on Facebook that he and his wife were detained early Monday as part of what it described as a “complete coup.”

Internet access was widely disrupted and the country’s state news channel played patriotic traditional music. At one point, military forces stormed the offices of Sudan’s state-run television in Omdurman and detained a number of workers, the Information Ministry said.

Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan’s civilian and military leadership over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy.

A failed coup attempt in September fractured the country along old lines, pitting more conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled al-Bashir in protests. In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations.

After the September coup attempt, the generals lashed out at civilian members of the transitional power structure and called for the dissolution of Hamdok’s government. The Sovereign Council is the ultimate decision maker, though the Hamdok government is tasked with running Sudan’s day-to-day affairs.

Burhan, who leads the council, warned in televised comments last month that the military would hand over power only to a government elected by the Sudanese people.

His comments suggested he might not stick to the previously agreed timetable, which called for the council to be led by a military figure for 21 months, followed by a civilian for the following 18 months. Under that plan, the handover was to take place sometime in November, with the new civilian leader to be chosen by an alliance of unions and political parties that led the uprising against al-Bashir.

Since al-Bashir was forced from power, Sudan had slowly emerged from years of international pariah status. The country was removed from the United States’ state supporter of terror list in 2020, opening the door for badly needed foreign loans and investment. But the country’s economy has struggled with the shock of a number economic reforms called for by international lending institutions.

Sudan has suffered other coups since it gained its independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. Al-Bashir came to power in 1989 in one such takeover, which removed the country’s last elected government.

Among those detained Monday were five senior government figures, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share information with the media.

They include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, Information Minister Hamza Baloul, and Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, a member of the Sovereign Council, as well as Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to Hamdok. Ayman Khalid, governor of the state containing the capital, was also arrested, according to the official Facebook page of his office.

After news of the arrests spread, the country’s main pro-democracy group and two political parties issued appeals to the Sudanese to take to the streets.

One of the factions, the Communist Party called on workers to go on strike in an act of mass civil disobedience after what it described as a “full military coup” orchestrated by Burhan.

The African Union has called for the release of all Sudanese political leaders including Hamdok. “Dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to save the country and its democratic transition,” said Moussa Faki, the head of the AU commission.

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Denver’s homelessness response includes permanent cleanup zone in Five Points, safe outdoor space in Clayton

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Denver’s homelessness response includes permanent cleanup zone in Five Points, safe outdoor space in Clayton

The city of Denver has quietly stepped up its efforts to prevent encampments of homeless people from forming in one downtown neighborhood while also working to provide city land for a sanctioned camping site a few miles away.

City crews are now clearing unhoused people and their belongings from sidewalks and other public rights of way at least three times a week in a roughly 10-block area in the Five Points neighborhood, officials said.

“Permanent, regular cleanups are needed in this area to consistently promote the health and safety of everyone in the area, including those experiencing homelessness … ” Nancy Kuhn, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in an emailed statement.

The area identified by officials in late September is bounded by Broadway, Park Avenue, Welton and 20th streets. It’s dotted with signs that mark it a permanent zone for what opponents to the camping ban refer to as sweeps. The permanent cleanup zone was first reported by Westword.

Kuhn said the cleanup actions make the sidewalk accessible so people don’t have to walk in the street and help to mitigate public health risks created by trash, decomposing food, discarded needles, human waste and flammable materials such as propane and gasoline.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

The city of Denver has posted signs marking a new permanent no-camping zone in a portion of Five Points in Denver on Nov. 22, 2021.

Unlike in most encampments cleanups, the city does not provide notice to people camping in the area seven days in advance. The notice rule was established by a federal injunction earlier this year.

“It’s an attempted end-run around the requirements of the preliminary injunction,” Andy McNulty, the attorney who filed the federal lawsuit against the city’s camping ban, said last week. “They are putting up a zone that essentially says you can’t exist here if you’re an unhoused person.”

McNulty and Assistant City Attorney Conor Farley delivered arguments in a hearing with a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit last week about the merits of the preliminary injunction. The city’s goal was to have the restrictions on its camping ban enforcement powers lifted.

Farley noted in his comments there is a process through which the city can speed up enforcement actions to a 48-hour timetable if an emergency public health risk exists in an encampment but said that is still not soon enough. He also acknowledged the public record is thin on examples of public health emergencies that require a speedier response.

A representative for the City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the arguments which are still being considered by the judges on the panel. McNulty said the hearing was a demonstration that the city has been disingenuous about its motives for clearing encampments.

“They just want the power to do whatever they want whenever they want with no consequences and they are not happy that someone is actually holding them accountable for once,” he said.

The permanent cleanup area the city marked out in September is the second of its kind, Kuhn said. Another area, roughly outlined by Larimer, Arapahoe, 22nd and 24th streets, is also subject to regular enforcement, she said.

In her emailed statement, Kuhn encouraged people who are homeless to embrace the city services available to them rather than stay on the streets.

“Our shelters have capacity; they are open 24/7, many do not require sobriety, they are safe and clean, and provide essential services to exit homelessness, including case management and rehousing,” she wrote.

Kuhn emailed The Denver Post her statement before a Denver Rescue Mission employee was fatally stabbed at the organization’s shelter for men at 4600 E. 48th Ave. Saturday night.

The potential for violent episodes is just one thing that can keep unhoused people from using the city’s shelter network. Cathy Alderman, chief public policy officer for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, noted that sleeping in a large, open room with other people is not ideal for everyone and the environment can be triggering for people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Tiger Woods has little to offer on past accident or future in golf

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Tiger Woods has little to offer on past accident or future in golf

NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods had nothing to say about the February car crash that shattered his right leg and even less of an idea what his future in golf holds for him except that he’s a long way from deciding whether he can compete against the best.

“I can show up here and I can host an event, I can play a par-3 course, I can hit a few shots, I can chip and putt,” he said Tuesday. “But we’re talking about going out there and playing against the world’s best on the most difficult golf courses under the most difficult conditions.

“I’m so far from that.”

Woods addressed the media for the first time since his Feb. 23 crash on a winding road in the Los Angeles coastal suburbs. Police said he was driving at least 84 mph when he crossed a median and his SUV tumbled down a hill.

Asked his recollection of the accident, Woods said curtly, “All those answers have been answered in the investigation, so you can read about all that there in the police report.” When asked if he had any flashbacks to the trauma, he replied: “I don’t, no. Very lucky in that way.”

He also felt lucky to be alive and to still have his right leg, and to be able to walk into the press center at Albany Golf Club without a noticeable limp.

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LSU, Brian Kelly agree to 10-year contract worth at least $95M

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LSU, Brian Kelly agree to 10-year contract worth at least $95M

LSU formally announced the hiring of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday and said they have agreed to a 10-year contract worth $95 million plus incentives.

The hiring of Kelly — who has led Notre Dame for the past 12 seasons and eclipsed Knute Rockne for career victories with the storied Fighting Irish — came together on Monday night in yet another blockbuster coaching move in college football.

“Brian Kelly is the epitome of a winner,” LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said. “He has built and sustained success at every program he’s led, from multiple undefeated regular seasons and National Coach of the Year honors to (Division II) national titles and College Football Playoff berths. His credentials and consistency speak for themselves.”

Kelly replaces Ed Orgeron, a Louisiana native who won a national title at LSU just two seasons ago with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow leading the Tigers to a 15-0 record. Orgeron has gone 11-11 since and agreed in October to a $17 million buyout that would have him step down at the end of this season.

Orgeron coached his final game last Saturday, when the Tigers upset then-No. 14 Texas A&M to finish the regular season 6-6.

Like Orgeron, Kelly is 60 but the similarities more or less end there. Orgeron is a Cajun raised in the shadow of shrimp trawlers on the Bayou Lafourche southwest of New Orleans. He was raised on LSU football and idolized the Tigers stars of the past.

Kelly came from an Irish-Catholic family in the Boston area and is bound to be far more familiar with using nut crackers to pick the meat our of a lobster claw than with sucking seasoned juices from the heads of boiled crawfish.

But he has recruited in Louisiana, where LSU gets much of its elite home-grown talent. In recent history, Louisiana has produced as much NFL talent per capita as any state.

“I could not be more excited to join a program with the commitment to excellence, rich traditions, and unrivaled pride and passion of LSU football,” Kelly said. “I am fully committed to recruiting, developing, and graduating elite student-athletes, winning championships, and working together with our administration to make Louisiana proud.

“Our potential is unlimited,” Kelly added. “I cannot wait to call Baton Rouge home.”

LSU scheduled a flight for Kelly to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, inviting fans to greet the coach at the airport, and set Kelly’s introductory media conference for Wednesday.

Kelly is 113-40 as a head coach, including a current run of five straight double-digit victory seasons.

No previous Notre Dame coach has left the Irish, winners of eight AP national championships, to take a job at another school since the AP poll started in 1936. Rockne’s successor, Hunk Anderson, went from Notre Dame to North Carolina State after going 3-5-1 in 1933.

Notre Dame (11-1) remains in contention to reach the College Football Playoff for the third time in the last four years.

LSU paid Orgeron nearly $9 million this season, making him among the highest paid coaches in college football along with Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and, in the past month, Mel Tucker of Michigan State and James Franklin at Penn State. That list certainly now includes USC’s Lincoln Riley, who bolted Oklahoma over the weekend in the other big coaching move this week.

Orgeron was due to make an average of $7 million over the length of his six-year that ran through 2025. Kelly’s full salary at Notre Dame, a private school, is unknown but it was believed to be more than $5 million per year.

While Kelly has no personal ties to the South, neither did two of the past three national-title winning coaches at LSU. Les Miles, who won a title in the 2007 season, was a Michigan man who coached at Oklahoma State before replacing Saban in Baton Rouge. Saban, who won the BCS championship in the 2003 season, is a West Virginia native who came to LSU from Michigan State.

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