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Iraqi Forces Kill 28 Protesters After Iranian Consulate Torched

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More Than 16 Killed In A Crackdown On Protests In Iraq

28 protesters were shot dead by Iraqi security forces on Thursday in the southern city of Nassiriya, and authorities have imposed a curfew in Najaf after demonstrators burned its Iranian consulate.

Joint military-civilian “crisis cells” have been set up by authorities to try to stem unrest.  A paramilitary commander has vowed to use force to stop any attack against Shi’ite Muslim religious authorities.

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The burning of the consulate in Najaf, the southern holy city, has caused violence to increase in Iraq after weeks of mass demonstrations that aim to bring down a government they believe is corrupt and backed by Tehran.

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The inability of Iraq’s government and political class to deal with the unrest and answer protesters’ demands has fueled public anger.

Prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has promised electoral and anti-corruption reform, but he has barely begun delivering while security forces shot dead hundreds of mostly peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Baghdad and southern cities.

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Belarus President Closes Western Borders, Puts Army On High Alert

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Belarus President Closes Western Borders, Puts Army On High Alert

Protesters in Belarus are still angry in their sixth week of mass protests demanding the resignation of president Alexander Lukashenko.

The president has announced, in retaliation, he is putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania.  He also said the Belarusian border with Ukraine would be strengthened.

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Lukashenko insists the six weeks of protests are driven by the west. He faces increasing criticism from the united states and the European Union.

Demonstrations began after the disputed august presidential election official results gave the authoritarian leader a sixth term in office–results opponents say were manipulated.

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Bolivian Interim President Anez Withdraws From Election Race

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Bolivian Interim President Anez Withdraws From Election Race

Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Anez has withdrawn from next month’s presidential election, saying she’s withdrawing in the interest of the party.

Anez, a former conservative senator, took office during the power vacuum that followed former president Morales’s departure after allegations of irregularities in last year’s election.  Those allegations fueled violent protests, and army pressure forced the country’s first indigenous president into exile in Mexico.

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Anez says if she does not step down, Morales would possibly return to power.

She declined to name the candidate for whom she will vote.

Next month’s election is the delayed rerun of last year’s ballot.  Anez’s candidacy had sparked controversy after she initially ruled herself out and pledged to guide the country to transparent new elections.

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By pulling out of the race, analysts say Anez could increase chances that the election will be pushed to a second round by consolidating the anti-Arce vote.

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To avoid a second round, the election winner requires at least 40 percent of valid votes in the first round and a 10-point advantage over the closest competitor.

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First Case-Free Day For New Zealand In Five Weeks

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First Case-Free Day For New Zealand In Five Weeks

New Zealand for the first time in more than five weeks has reported no new confirmed cases of the coronavirus amid efforts to stamp out an outbreak discovered in Auckland last month ending a spell of 102 days free of community transmission.

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The South Pacific nation with its population of five million has reported more than 1,800 cases of COVID-19 and 25 fatalities.

The report on Friday also marked the fourth consecutive day without any cases of community transmission. All recent cases have been found among quarantined travellers returning from abroad.

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Following strict measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which were widely praised, New Zealand is in its deepest recession in decades after the country’s GDP shrank by 12.2% between April and June as the lockdown and border closures hit.

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Auckland lockdown began on 12 August after four cases were detected in the city of 1.5 million.

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