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At least 16 dead as arms depot blows up in Baghdad

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…15 killed in clashes in Benue***

At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured after an arms depot exploded in the Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital late Wednesday, security and medical sources said.

“An arms depot exploded… The security forces have opened an inquiry to determine the cause,” Baghdad’s security operations command said in a statement.

A senior police source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the blast was caused by heavy weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and shells, belonging to an armed group and stored in a house.

He said at least 16 people were killed and some 32 injured in the explosion.

Medical sources confirmed the toll and said that women and children were found among the victims.

Sources said the blast struck near a Shiite mosque in the district of northeast Baghdad.

Witnesses reported heavy material damage to homes and other buildings in the Sadr City district, which is a stronghold of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.

In the meantime, at least 15 people were killed over the past few days in separate attacks in central Nigeria’s Benue State, the scene of regular clashes between Christian farmers and nomadic cattle herders, official sources said Wednesday.

Suspected militant herders carried out the attacks on several villages in under 48 hours, Benue State information minister Lawrence Onoja said.

The village of Tse Ishav, near Guma, was attacked at around 3am on Wednesday, with militants “leaving behind eight corpses, several missing and many wounded,” he said.

It came after two other people were killed on Monday by the same armed men close to the nearby locality of Yelwata, he added.

The head of Guma’s local government Anthony Shawon confirmed the death toll of 10, adding that the attackers set fire to houses and farms as they left.

The same militia also carried out further attacks in the neighbouring district of Logo where “five people were killed… and many more wounded,” said Onoja.

The head of the local government Richard Nyajo echoed the report, adding that police reinforcements have been deployed.

Benue state has seen a wave of deadly clashes which have left hundreds dead in recent months.

The area lies in the so-called “Middle Belt” between Nigeria’s mainly-Christian south and predominantly-Muslim north.

Guardian UK with additional report from Guardian NG

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German union, Greenpeace slam Amazon’s Black Friday

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German union, Greenpeace slam Amazon’s Black Friday

The large German services trade union Verdi and environmental organisation Greenpeace held protests to express opposition to online retailer Amazon’s Black Friday discount campaign on Friday.

Verdi is reiterating demands for improved pay for workers and for Amazon to recognise the deals it reaches with other employers in the retail sector.

However, Amazon and Verdi have long been at loggerheads over recognising the trade union in the company’s distribution centres.

Meanwhile, Amazon has rejected Verdi’s criticism, pointing to starting wages including bonuses of at least €13.00 ($13.50) per hour.

Greenpeace has accused Amazon of incentivising excessive consumption, refuse from packaging and the waste of resources.

Demonstrators held up a banner reading: “Black Friday: Destruction of Nature as Business Model,’’ at the company’s headquarters in Munich.

Amazon points to its efforts to cut pollution and CO2 emissions by shifting to electrically powered delivery vehicles among other measures. 

– dpa

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Terrorism: Accra Initiative Member States to Operationalise MNJTF to Tackle Spread

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Terrorism: Accra Initiative Member States to Operationalise MNJTF to Tackle Spread

Member States of Accra Initiative have agreed to operationalise a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) within a month to tackle the spread of terrorism and other transnational organised crimes.

In a communique issued on Tuesday at the end of their meeting in Accra, Ghana, the members agreed to be innovative and provide operational tools to tackle the security challenges.

The Accra Initiative countries are Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.

They “expressed their deep concern for the dramatic expansion of terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime and transhumance consequences in their countries.

“Expressed their sympathy and full support to the Member States and their populations who face violent extremism and terrorism on a daily basis.

“Took note of the commitments by partners to support the Accra Initiative in the fight against terrorism in the sub-region.

“Reaffirmed their commitment to mobilise the necessary indigenous resources to operationalise within a month, the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Accra Initiative (MNJTF/AI).”

The summit recommended that concrete actions, including fundraising, be taken to support the countries severely affected by terrorism.

The Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Accra Initiative was held under the chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

The summit agreed to operationalise the MNJTF which would conduct Operation Enhanced Koudanlgou after it received a briefing from the Chief of Defence Staff of Ghana, Vice Adm. Seth Amoama.

The communique also said that the summit took note of the will of Nigeria to designate representatives to the Headquarters of MNJTF/AI.

“At the end of the Summit, the Heads of State and Government welcomed the idea of organising an International Conference on the Accra Initiative and are pleased with the good progress of the activities.

“They took note of the report of the activities of the Ministers of the Member States of the Accra Initiative of Nov. 21 in Accra

“They congratulated the Ministers of the Member States of the Accra Initiative and the Non-State Actors for the quality of the conclusions of their work.

“Expressed their deep appreciation to the European Union for its support in making the International Conference on the Accra Initiative possible.”

The communique also said that they expressed deep appreciation to President Akufo-Addo, for his leadership in making the summit a success.

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Girl, 16, gives birth after Judge approves Caesarean against wishes

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Girl, 16, gives birth after Judge approves Caesarean against wishes

A 16-year-old girl with mental health difficulties has given birth after a judge in London gave doctors the go-ahead to perform a caesarean section without her consent, lawyers said.

Justice Cobb said it would be lawful for specialists to operate on the teenager, who is in council care, if necessary.

The judge made a ruling at a public hearing in the Court of Protection in London on Friday but embargoed reporting until the baby had been born.

Lawyers representing hospital bosses responsible for her treatment and care said the girl has given birth.

Cobb was told that the girl had a “history of sexual exploitation,” post-traumatic stress disorder and an anxiety disorder.

He said she could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Bosses at the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, had asked the judge to decide what moves were in the teenager’s best interests.

Specialists said they thought the teenager’s mental health difficulties made delivery by caesarean section the only “realistic” option.

They said efforts to induce had been unsuccessful because of the youngster’s problems.

Barrister Peter Mant, who led the trust’s legal team, told the judge that the youngster’s views on giving birth had changed repeatedly recently.

Mant said specialists thought it was in the girl’s best interests to have a caesarean section.

He said there was “a significant risk of stillbirth.”

The teenager, who was represented by barrister Mungo Wenban-Smith, said she wanted to deliver her baby naturally.

She told the judge that she had a strong wish to give birth with the least intervention and to be awake and aware when her baby was born.

Judges in the Court of Protection consider issues relating to people who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Evidence indicated that the teenager’s capacity to make decisions “fluctuated,” the judge was told.

Cobb said doctors should make one last attempt to induce but ruled that performing a caesarean section would be lawful if necessary.

The judge embargoed reporting after lawyers raised concern about the girl recognizing herself in reports and behaving in a way which might put her and the baby at risk. 

-dpa

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