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Iraq: Fresh Clashes Erupt In Baghdad Despite Call For Calm

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Fresh Clashes Erupt In Baghdad Despite Call For Calm

Despite a call for calm by the Iraq’s top Shia leader, fresh clashes between Iraq’s security forces and anti-government protesters broke out in Baghdad on Friday.

Authorities grapple with the country’s biggest crisis in years as security forces again fired tear gas and threw stun grenades into crowds of protesters wearing helmets and makeshift body armour on a main road in the middle of the Iraqi capital, sending demonstrators scattering, some wounded.

According to Reuters News Agency, more than 260 people have been killed since the protests over a lack of jobs and services began in Baghdad on October 1 and quickly spread to southern provinces, according to police and medics. Security forces have used live gunfire against mostly unarmed protesters since the beginning of the unrest.

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A representative of al-Sistani said in a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala that “the biggest responsibility is on the security forces. They must avoid using excessive force with peaceful protesters.”

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who only speaks on politics in times of crisis and wields enormous influence over public opinion in Shia-majority Iraq, held security forces accountable for any violent escalation and urged the government to respond as quickly as possible to demonstrators’ demands.

Earlier, security forces in the southern oil-rich province of Basra forcibly dispersed a sit-in but there were no deaths reported, security sources said.

The U.S embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday condemned the deadly violence against unarmed demonstrators, and urged Iraq’s leaders to engage urgently with the thousands who have been protesting.

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ICC Approves Probe Into Myanmar’s Alleged Crimes Against Rohingya 

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ICC Approves Probe Into Myanmar's Alleged Crimes Against Rohingya 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a full investigation into Myanmar’s alleged genocide crimes against the Rohingya.

ICC backed the prosecution request to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and persecution over Myanmar’s bloody 2017 military crackdown against the majority-Muslim group.

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The decision came after Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de-facto civilian leader, was named in an Argentine lawsuit over crimes against the Rohingya and Myanmar.  He faced a separate genocide lawsuit at the United Nations’s top court.

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More than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee across the border into sprawling camps in Bangladesh, in violence that the UN investigators said amounted to genocide.

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The allegations also include “systematic acts of violence,” deportation as a crime against humanity, and persecution on the grounds of ethnicity or religion against the Rohingya.

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Pelosi Accuses Trump Of Bribery Amid Impeachment Inquiry

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Pelosi Accuses Trump Of Bribery Amid Impeachment Inquiry

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi says president Donald Trump has admitted to bribery in the Ukraine scandal at the heart of a democratic-led inquiry. The Democrats say Trump’s action against Ukraine is an impeachable offense under the us constitution.

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Democrats are looking into whether the republican president abused his power by withholding $391 million in US congress-approved security aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Kiev to conduct two investigations against former vice-president Joe Biden to benefit him politically.

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The money was to help Ukraine, a us ally, combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.   The funds were later released to Ukraine.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Testimony of another central figure in the impeachment hearings – former us ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch – is ongoing now.

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White House budget official, mark sandy, will testify in a closed session on Saturday.

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UK Conservatives Lead In Election Polls

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UK Conservatives Lead In Election Polls

It’s barely a month to the British elections and prime minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have something to celebrate.  A national poll gives them a healthy 10-point lead ahead of the election.  This extends their advantage over Labour after the Brexit party withheld its candidates.

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The poll, carried out for the daily telegraph newspaper, showed the conservative party with 40%, up 3 points from a poll last week.  Labour stands at 30%, up 1 point.

The poll was conducted after Nigel Farage said his Brexit party would not put candidates up in conservative-held seats, a major boost to Johnson. The Brexit party will still stand candidates in Labour-held seats.

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The poll showed the liberal democrats at 16% and the Brexit party, 7%. Voting analysis website, electoral calculus, says the vote shares implies a conservative majority of 110 seats. The online poll of 2,022 adults was carried out on Monday and Tuesday.

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