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Yemen’s Bloody War Could Get A Lot Worse (HBO)

At least 450 Yemenis have been killed in the first nine days of August, making it one of the bloodiest periods since the war broke out three and a half years ago. And it could get a lot worse.

An international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and backed by the United States, is preparing to retake the strategic port city of Hodeidah. The operation could prove disastrous for Yemen’s most vulnerable: Seventy percent of all of Yemen’s goods enter into the country through Hodeidah, so a protracted battle could quickly turn into a humanitarian disaster, which prevents millions of people from receiving food and aid.

The UN is desperately trying to stop this attack and restart failed peace talks in the process. Its Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is hoping to bring all sides together in Geneva on September 6.

Yet, government troops continue to advance towards the city.

“It’s going to be a fierce battle,” 23 year-old fighter Saeed, told VICE News. “The Houthis have big military capabilities — but we are advancing towards Hodeidah.”

VICE News embedded with Yemeni troops as they prepared to retake a crucial Houthi supply route, just 90 minutes from the city. But even a seemingly straightforward operation like this one descended into chaos. It wasn’t long into the advance that Saeed and several men found themselves cut off from their convoy, trapped by Houthi sniper fire. They were forced to run for cover before eventually making their escape.

“They must’ve known about our attack,” he says, as mortar fire rages around us.

A battle in Hodeidah city itself would be one of the deadliest in a war that has already claimed more than ten thousand lives and thrust 23 million more into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis . More than 120,000 civilians have fled the city in anticipation. It’s easy to see why. Not long after government forces started their push, ambulances began rolling up outside the one semi-functioning hospital in the area.

Ten-year-old Mohammed becomes the first civilian to be caught up in the crossfire. Ali Jalmoud says his son was playing in their house with a Houthi mortar hit. Dr. Mahdi Ba-Kather is the one remaining doctor in a local hospital and he’s struggling to cope with the influx of casualties. Mohammed has several shrapnel wounds — one’s hit an artery and staff are trying desperately to control the bleeding.

“We’re tying it tight to stop it” Dr. Ba-Kather explained to Mohammed as he uses gauze as a makeshift tourniquet. Lacking basic supplies or a qualified surgeon, all he can do is triage Mohammed and send him to another hospital three hours away in the hopes he survives the journey.

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This Saudi Film Critic Has Waited Decades For Movie Theaters To Be Legal Again

Saudi Arabia opened its first movie theater last week — ending a nearly 40-year ban on showing films in public. The global blockbuster Black Panther sold out in about a minute.

Welcoming Saudi crowds back to the movies is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to reform the ultraconservative kingdom — and create more revenue sources beyond oil.

And in a country where there aren’t a lot of things for young people to do…bin Salman sees a huge potential upside. One government body calculated that in 2017 alone, Saudis spent $30 billion on entertainment in the Middle East, but outside kingdom. That’s about 5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The plan is to funnel that kind of money back in to the country – and one way would be through entertainment. Over the next 10 years, the kingdom is planning to invest $64 billion in the entertainment industry and open up 300 movie theaters across the country.

VICE News caught a preview with Fahad al-Yahya, a psychiatrist and film critic in Riyadh who’s been waiting for this day for decades.

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Saudi crown prince meets Spanish king in Madrid

Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Spanish King Felipe VI in Madrid during an official visit, which coincides with talks to sell Spanish warships to the oil-rich kingdom. IMAGES

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Saudi crown prince arrives in Madrid for visit

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Madrid. He will meet Spain’s King Felipe VI as he continues a global diplomatic charm offensive. IMAGES

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Saudi crown prince heads to French PM residence

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s convoy left his Paris hotel, headed for France’s Prime Minister’s residence, as part of an image-building global tour as he seeks to revitalise cultural and investment ties with Paris despite lurking tensions. IMAGES

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In Mosul, hundreds fear arrest for sharing names of jihadists

Since jihadists were pushed out of Mosul, Mohammed has not left his home. Although he never joined the Islamic State (IS) group, he shares a name with one of its fighters and fears arrest.

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Today in History for March 1st

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Highlights of Today in History: Lindbergh baby kidnapped; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed caught in Pakistan; Bobby Sands begins hunger strike; JFK creates Peace Corps; Ron Howard born. (March 1)

Highlights of the day in history – a retrospective view on political events, historic battles, and life changing decisions. More: http://smarturl.it/TodayInHistory

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Nine dead in Taliban attack on Pakistan school

Nine people were killed and dozens injured Friday when burqa-clad Taliban militants stormed a training institute in the northwestern city of Peshawar as Pakistan marked the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.

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Several dead in Taliban attack on Pakistan school

Taliban militants stormed a training institute in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, killing and injuring several people, as the country marked the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. IMAGES

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Gunmen storm Peshawar school

Taliban militants storm a training institute in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, injuring at least seven people, as the country marked the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. IMAGES