Death toll climbs to at least 27 in Iraq on day-3 of protests- police, medics

UNTV News   •   October 4, 2019   •   169

Iraqis protest in east Baghdad, Iraq, 03 October 2019. According to local media reports at least 27 people have died since protests erupted two days earlier. Despite an unlimited curfew that was declared in Baghdad on 03 October from 5 am, the protesters went out again and shouted slogans against the government demanding better services and jobs. EPA-EFE/MURTAJA LATEEF

 Iraqi security forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who defied a curfew in Baghdad on Thursday (October 3) and exchanged fire with gunmen in a southern city, killing two people on the third day of nationwide anti-government protests.

The protests, in which at least 27 have now been killed and over 600 wounded, began over unemployment and poor services but have escalated into calls for a change of government and pose one of the worst security challenges in years.

They appear to be independent of any political party and seemingly took the security forces by surprise.

At least 4,000 protesters gathered in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square and attempted to march onto the central Tahrir Square only to be met with open fire and heavy tear gas.

Police used live ammunition in the Zaafaraniya district of Baghdad, where a protester was shot dead, and there were protests in the northwestern Shula district.

Police said protesters had fired at them in the town of Rifaen near the southern city of Nassiriya where seven people were killed overnight and one more was killed on Thursday.

Fifty people were wounded in Rifae, including five police, they said. (REUTERS)

(Production: Maher Nazeh, Mostafa Salem)

DFA advised Filipinos in Iraq to keep safe amid unrest

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2019

Iraqi protesters take part in an anti-Iraq government protest in the al-Tayaran square in central Baghdad, Iraq, 04 October 2019 (issued on 07 October 2019). A wave of unrest and violent protests in Iraq have left at least 100 people dead and thousands injured. EPA-EFE/MURTAJA LATEEF

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is again reminding Filipinos in Iraq to take the necessary precautions in view of the ongoing unrest there.

Filipinos, especially those living and working in Baghdad, are advised to remain indoors and to avoid unnecessary travels especially in areas where demonstrations are taking place, the DFA said.

Likewise, Filipinos are advised to make sure that they have stored enough food and water should demonstrations escalate and to call the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad if they require assistance.

Meanwhile, the DFA is requesting families in the Philippines to relay its advisory to their next of kin working in Iraq in view of the interruption in communication services.

They can also go to the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs or the nearest DFA offices should they need assistance, the DFA said.

Iraqi protesters go to the streets to air their opposition against what they call “decades of corruption” under Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

They are demanding for the prime minister’s resignation to give way to a total overhaul of the country’s political system.

Bolivia mourns losses as wildfire fight rages on

Freema Gloria   •   September 18, 2019

Bolivia’s battle against wildfires rages on as the country uses any resource it can, from a 747 Supertanker to the humble shovels and machetes of volunteer fire-fighters, to bring a halt to the blazes.

The 747 Supertanker could be seen flying over the dry hills near Tarija, Bolivia on Monday (September 16) dousing fires with thousands of gallons of water.

Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz, family members of fire-fighters who lost their lives while on duty laid them to rest at funerals.

Local media report that two fire-fighters died of cardiac arrest in recent days.

Blazes have burned largely unabated across vast swaths of hilly forest and savannah near Bolivia’s border with Paraguay and Brazil.

At least 1 million hectares, or approximately 3,800 square miles, have been impacted by the fires, officials have said.

Some 2,000 fire-fighters have been mobilized. But the country is amongst the poorest in the region, forcing many in the fire brigade to battle flames with whatever resources they can muster. (REUTERS)

(Production: Monica Machicao)

Palestinian women demand legal protection after alleged honor killing

UNTV News   •   September 5, 2019

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank on Wednesday (September 4) to demand legal protection for women, after a 21-year-old woman died last month in what rights groups say was a so-called honor killing.

A Palestinian Authority investigation is underway into the death of Isra’a Ghrayeb, a make-up artist who activists say was beaten by male relatives after a video posted on Instagram allegedly showed a meeting between her and a man who had proposed to her.

According to Palestinian media reports, Ghrayeb sustained serious spinal injuries after falling from a balcony in her home in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, while trying to escape an assault by her brothers. She died on August 22.

At least 18 Palestinian women have been killed this year by family members angered at perceived damage to their honor, which may involve fraternizing with men or any infringement of conservative values regarding women, according to the General Union of Palestinian Women and Feminist Institutions.

Ghrayeb’s family has denied the accusations. They said in a statement that Ghrayeb had a “mental condition” and died “after she had a heart attack, following an accidental fall into the (family’s) courtyard”.

The circumstances surrounding Ghrayeb’s death have stirred outrage within the Palestinian territories and on social media, with rights activists demanding action against the alleged perpetrators and legal protection for women under the hashtag #JustceforIsraa.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, female demonstrators held signs reading: “We are all Isra’a” and “My body is my property. I don’t need your supervision, your care, your honor.”

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said this week that several people had been detained for questioning over Ghrayeb’s death as part of the inquiry by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the Israel-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian penal code dates to the 1960s and has been criticized for inadequate protection for women and lenient penalties for men who kill them in honor crimes. (REUTERS)

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