Tuesday 26 September 2017

More than 1,000 people killed as Iraq experiences deadliest month in years

More than 1,000 people were killed in violence in Iraq in May, making it the deadliest month since the sectarian slaughter of 2006-07, the United Nations has said. The surge in violence has stoked fears of a return to civil war.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in the last two months as al-Qaeda and Sunni Islamist insurgents – invigorated by the Sunni-led revolt in Syria and by Sunni discontent at home – seek to revive the kind of all-out inter-communal conflict that killed tens of thousands more than five years ago.

PAKISTANI LAWMAKERS ARE SWORN IN

Newly elected members of Pakistan's National Assembly have been sworn in, marking the first transition of power between democratically elected civilian governments in the 66-year history of the coup-prone country.

ECUADORIAN MINISTER TO MEET ASSANGE

ECUADOR'S foreign minister is to visit London on the eve of the first anniversary of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's arrival at the country's embassy. He will meet Mr Assange at the embassy in London and has offered to hold talks with UK foreign secretary William Hague over Mr Assange's future.

The Wikileaks man has been inside the embassy since June 19 last year and has since been granted political asylum. He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sexual allegations by two women – which he denies.

Mr Assange fears that if he travels to Sweden he will be extradited to the US for questioning over the publication by WikiLeaks of confidential information.

IRAQI FORCES 'CAPTURE AL-QAEDA CELL'

SECURITY forces in Iraq say they have captured an al-Qaeda cell that planned to produce chemical poisons, such as mustard gas, to attack Iraqi forces and then to ship these overseas to attack both Europe and the US.

The announcement yesterday was made as investigators probe allegations over the use of sarin nerve gas in next-door Syria, where rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's forces have blamed each other for using chemical weapons.

PUSSY RIOT ACTIVIST ENDS HUNGER STRIKE

A Russian activist says that a jailed member of the punk group Pussy Riot has ended her 11-day hunger strike after prison authorities met her demands.

Maria Alekhina had complained that officials at her prison in the Ural Mountains tried to turn fellow inmates against her with a security crackdown. Inmates, who could previously enter and leave their workplace freely, had to wait for up to an hour for prison guards to escort them.

The husband of her jailed bandmate said Ms Alekhina had called to say she had ended her action after prison officials restored the normal security regime.

US CHURCH SACKS TEACHER WHO HAD IVF

A JURY in the USA will resume deliberations tomorrow in a teacher's lawsuit alleging that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati violated anti-discrimination laws it fired her after she had become pregnant through artificial insemination.

The jury in the federal lawsuit by Christa Dias heard her lawyer say during closing arguments that she was sacked in 2010 because she was pregnant and unmarried and that this violated anti-discrimination laws.

The lawyer representing the archdiocese and two of its schools said artificial insemination violated both Catholic doctrine and Ms Dias's contract.

PARENTS OF CHILD WHO SHOT CHILD SUED

THE family of a six-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed by a four-year-old playmate is suing the younger child's parents. The lawsuit brought by Brandon Holt's family accuses Anthony and Melissa Senatore, of Toms River, New Jersey, of recklessness that led to the child's death. They seek undisclosed damages in the suit.

"Given Brandon's horrific death, his suffering before he passed, and his extreme young age, not to mention the claims of both parents for their own emotional suffering, the case has a value well into seven figures," the Holt family's attorney said.

Brandon was killed in April while playing "pretend shooting" with the Senatores' four-year-old son. The younger boy got a loaded .22-calibre rifle from his home and fired a shot that hit Brandon in the head.

Anthony Senatore was charged with child endangerment and failing to secure weapons after authorities also found four shotguns close to ammunition and accessible to his three children. He is currently free on $100,000 (€77,000) bail but could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Irish Independent

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