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Twin suicide bombings kill 27, injure 92 in Baghdad

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…As Boko Haram releases new video showing Chibok girls***

Twin suicide bomb explosions on Monday struck busy area in downtown Baghdad, leaving 27 people killed and 92 others wounded, police and medical sources said.

The Iraq interior ministry said the twin massive blasts were carried out by two suicide bombers during the morning rush hours at a crowded site near al-Tayaran Square.

“Our latest reports said that 27 were killed and 92 wounded by the two blasts in al-Tayaran Square, where many construction workers usually gather waiting for potential employers,’’ the ministry said.

Earlier, the ministry source said that the two blasts were a suicide bombing followed by a roadside bomb, putting the casualties at 16 killed and 67 wounded.

Meanwhile, a medical source told Xinhua that hospitals in Baghdad received the bodies of 27 people and that over 92 others were admitted for treatment from different wounded.

“All the hospitals and medical centers are in high alert to receive the victims of the terrorist attacks in central Baghdad.

“Most of the wounded people have received treatment and many of them left the hospitals,” Abdul-Ghani Saadon, Director-Ggeneral of Health Department of Risafa area in eastern side of Baghdad said.

No group has so far claimed responsibility of the attacks, however, the Islamic State (IS) militant group, in most cases, is responsible for deadly attacks targeting crowded areas in Iraq, including markets, cafes and mosques.

Hours after the deadly attacks, Iraqi Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of Iraqi forces Haider al-Abadi orders for the security forces to track the extremist terrorists and bring them to justice.

Al-Abadi held a meeting with commanders of the security forces and the intelligence service of Baghdad and gave his directions “to chase the sleeper cells of terrorists and bring them to justice in order to ensure the security of the citizens.

The car bombing is the second since the beginning of the year in Baghdad city.

It has witnessed tangible improvement in security as the Iraqi security forces managed during the past few months to regain control of strongholds of the extremist ARE militant group across the country.

Over Saturday, a suicide bomber who detonated his explosive-laden motorcycle at the Square of the entrance of the holy Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhmiyah, leaving two people killed and 24 injured, along with destroying 11 cars.

On Dec. 9, 2017, al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

Nevertheless, remnants of small groups and individuals of IS militants are still capable of carrying out attacks from time to time.

In the meantime, Boko Haram has released two new videos one showing girls purported to be among the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped from their school hostel in April 2014.

The other video shows an aircraft allegedly gunned down by the terror group, drone and other Nigerian military assets. Although the footage did not, however, show how the visibly military hardware were taken down by the insurgents, the group said it was as a result of a week-long battle with the Nigerian troops.

In the video that shows the Chibok girls, tt least three of the group were seen carrying babies. One of the students said: “We are the Chibok girls… . By the grace of Allah, we will not return to you.”

It was not clear when or where the latest message was recorded or whether those who appeared on camera were under duress.

But the woman speaking, her face covered by a veil, said they had all been married by Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau.

“We live in comfort. He provides us with everything. We lack nothing,” she added.

Shekau is also seen in the video, firing a heavy machine gun and making a 13-minute-long sermon.

The jihadists seized 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the mostly Christian town in Borno state on April 14, 2014, triggering global condemnation.

Fifty-nine of them managed to escape in the hours that followed.

A total of 107 girls have now been either found, rescued or released as part of government negotiations with the Islamic State group affiliate.

On January 4, the Nigerian army said it had rescued one of the girls’ classmates in the remote Pulka region of Borno, near the border with Cameroon.

The Chibok abductees are among thousands of women, girls and boys kidnapped during the conflict, which began in 2009 and has killed at least 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million.

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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