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Congo opposition leader declares himself president as court upholds election result Early look at Super Bowl LIII: Picks, questions and more for Patriots-Rams

Congo opposition leader declares himself president as court upholds election resultCongo's political standoff deepend on Sunday after the top court backed the contested presidential election victory of Felix Tshisekedi, then his main rival rejected the ruling, called for protests and declared himself leader. As Mr Tshisekedi's supporters celebrated the ruling in the streets of Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, runner-up Martin Fayulu said the decision had opened the way to a “constitutional coup d'etat”, raising fears of more violence. Rwandan President Paul Kagame - the chair of the African Union which has said it has “serious concerns” about the vote and called for the results to be delayed - was due to arrive in Kinshasa with an AU delegation to discuss the crisis on Monday. Last month's delayed election was meant to mark the first democratic transfer of power in the vast central African country, where conflicts have regularly destabilised the region. Felix Tshisekedi, leader of Congolese main opposition party, the UDPS Credit:  BAZ RATNER But monitors pointed to major flaws in the poll. Unrest over the vote has already killed 34 people, wounded 59 and led to 241 “arbitrary arrests” in the past week, according to the U.N. human rights office. In the early hours of Sunday, the Constitutional Court ruled that a legal challenge to the result filed by Fayulu was inadmissible. “Felix Tshisekedi will become the fifth president of the republic,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said as he welcomed the judgement. Mr Fayulu issued statements dismissing the ruling. “The constitutional court has just confirmed that it serves a dictatorial regime ... by validating false results, (and enabling) a constitutional coup d'etat,” he said in one. “I am now considering myself as the sole legitimate President of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he added in another statement. He called for people to mount peaceful demonstrations - though the streets of the capital were calm on Sunday afternoon. Mr Fayulu says Mr Tshisekedi and outgoing President Joseph Kabila made a deal to cheat him out of a more than 60-percent win - an accusation they both dismiss. The provisional results, announced on Jan. 10, showed Mr Tshisekedi winning with a slim margin over Fayulu. In a speech, Mr Tshisekedi welcomed the victory and said he would seek to mend divisions in the country. “This is the end of one fight and the start of another in which I will enlist all the Congolese people: a fight for well-being, for a Congo that wins,” he said. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a bloc which includes South Africa and Angola, congratulated Tshisekedi and called for a peaceful transfer of power. “SADC calls upon all Congolese to accept the outcome, and consolidate democracy and maintain a peaceful and stable environment following the landmark elections,” it said. On Thursday, SADC eased pressure on Congolese authorities by backing off earlier calls for a recount. Independent monitors flagged major problems with the election, including faulty voting machines and polling stations where many were unable to vote. The Catholic Church, which had a 40,000-strong team of observers, denounced the provisional result. A tally from the church reviewed by Reuters from about 70 percent of polling stations suggested a victory of 62 percent for Mr Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobil country manager.  MrTshisekedi and Mr Ramazani were virtually neck-and-neck second place with 16.93 percent and 16.88 percent, respectively. Congo - which was ruled by kleptocratic dictator Mobutu Sese Seko for 32 years before tumbling into chaos and war in the late 1990s - is a vital source of copper and other metals, including cobalt.


The Patriots and Rams will go head-to-head for a title in two weeks. We have predictions, X factors, looming questions and more.
Reports: Ice storm creates treacherous travel in New England as temperatures plummet across snow-covered Northeast Brady exults, says Pats overcame stacked odds

Reports: Ice storm creates treacherous travel in New England as temperatures plummet across snow-covered NortheastThe snowstorm that caused nearly a thousand flights to be canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is expected to bring difficult and dangerous travel to a large swath of the Northeast through at least Sunday.


Tom Brady, despite his long list of once-in-a-generation accolades, had the look of a kid in a candy store after Sunday's AFC title game win. Afterward, he attributed his emotions to the adversity New England conquered this season.
Mexico fuel pipeline blast kills 71, witnesses describe horror Saints' Payton: Referee chief admitted blown call

Mexico fuel pipeline blast kills 71, witnesses describe horrorAt least 71 people were killed after a pipeline ruptured by suspected fuel thieves exploded in central Mexico, authorities said on Saturday.


Sean Payton said the NFL's head of officials told him the officials "blew the call" by not penalizing the Los Angeles Rams for pass interference late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Divided over leadership, but united in goals, women march and rally in New York Patriots favored slightly over Rams in Super Bowl

Divided over leadership, but united in goals, women march and rally in New YorkWomen in New York City on Saturday could march, rally or protest in a variety of locations under different auspices, but the messages, and even one of the messengers, were similar.


The New England Patriots opened as a slight favorite among multiple sportsbooks to beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Why the stock market is headed for a swift recovery Brees sets sights on 'making another run at it'

Why the stock market is headed for a swift recoveryEverywhere I look, people seek negatives and ignore positives. When that happens, better times lie ahead for the stock market.


Drew Brees, while saying the Saints' NFC title game loss was still fresh in his mind, affirmed he will be returning for his 19th season. "This was a special team and this was a special year," he said.


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Baltimore Views and Opinions
 
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy

Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to “criticize the government and other organizations.” So why would that be relevant in a democracy?

Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Capitalism and The Wealth Gap

When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

Religious Freedom Bill - Protecting The Faithful or Legalized Discrimination?

After a much heated national debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill that would have allowed people and businesses in the state to refuse services to LBGT people based on their religious belief.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 

 
 
 
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