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His home destroyed by wildfire in Paradise, Calif., a man saved this shivering mule from a pool – National




Jeff Hill has lost everything he’s ever owned.

But even as flames destroyed his childhood home — the very property where he has raised his own family — the resident of the fire-ravaged community of Paradise, Calif. took a moment on Sunday to save a mule that was neck deep in a pool and shivering, a “look of defeat in her eyes.”

Coverage of the California wildfires on

Hill, a father of two boys and a baby expected in two months, returned to the community last weekend, days after flames ignited there, eventually claiming 48 lives and destroying thousands of homes.

Hill had returned with friend Geoff Sheldon to check on a 76-year-old father, who insisted on staying home and fighting the fire.

On the way to the house, they spotted a mule pacing back and forth on a property down the road from his home.

READ MORE: Incendiary photos show the damage in Paradise, a town that a California wildfire ‘destroyed’

“These things shouldn’t be so skittish, there must be something wrong,” Hill remembered thinking.

Moving closer, he and his friend saw that the mule wasn’t alone.

There was another nearby, trapped by a pool cover in as much as 10 feet of water and unable to free herself.

A horse trapped in a pool in Paradise, Calif. on Nov. 11, 2018.

Facebook/Jeff Hill

The mule was “damn near dead” and had “just given up,” Hill said.

“She wasn’t fighting or anything,” he said.

“She was just kind of laying there, shivering.”

Hill guessed from the mule’s state that she had been in the pool for days.

The way she looked, she could have stepped into the pool and mistaken its cover for solid ground, he said.

“You could tell in her eyes that she had accepted that she was going to die in that pool,” Hill said.

They tried to cut the pool cover off of the mule before she went underwater, showing none of the strength or energy she needed to pull herself up again.

Hill and his friend pulled the horse to the pool’s shallow end, then stood her up again.

READ MORE: Deadliest wildfires in California’s history continue to burn, killing at least 48

They wrapped a chain around the horse and guided her up the pool’s stairs, finally bringing her on to dry land again.

Hill and his friend were standing shoulder to shoulder when the horse came over and put her head in between them, as if to show affection for the men who saved her.

Then the horse walked away, turning back just before she left her rescuers for good.

“I took it as she was saying ‘thank you,’ as a kind of, ‘I’m going to be OK,’” Hill said.

The mules that Hill encountered have since been spotted roaming in Paradise by people who’ve worked to rescue animals from the burned-out community.

He’s sure they’ll be saved, too.

“I am confident, if they have not been already, that they will be, especially with them sticking together,” he said.

A horse is freed from a pool in Paradise, Calif. after wildfires ravaged the community on Nov. 11, 2018.

Facebook/Jeff Hill

In the meantime, Hill’s family has been located all over Northern California as they try to figure out what to do next.

Hill’s two boys are with their mother, while he and his pregnant girlfriend have rented a trailer and are currently stationed in Chico, just over an hour’s drive from Paradise.

Tuesday was the first day that he had a chance to speak with insurance companies.

He has set up a GoFundMe campaign seeking financial help as his family  — and his community — work to figure out a new “normal.”

“We lost everything, we lost half of our hospital, schools stores, churches,” he said.

“I honestly am skeptical if Paradise will be able to bounce back from this.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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