Thousands of al-Sadr supporters gather for mass prayer in Baghdad | News

Worshippers converge on an enormous sq. inside Baghdad’s Inexperienced Zone, house to authorities and diplomatic buildings.

A whole lot of hundreds of Iraqis have participated in a mass prayer in Baghdad referred to as for by influential Shia chief Muqtada al-Sadr, a extremely symbolic transfer amid an unprecedented political disaster roiling Iraq.

In a present of power, al-Sadr had referred to as on his followers to wish on Friday inside Baghdad’s Inexperienced Zone – a closely fortified space within the coronary heart of the capital metropolis that homes authorities buildings, international embassies and Iraq’s parliament, which his supporters have occupied since Saturday.

Al-Sadr’s supporters converged on an enormous sq. contained in the usually safe Inexperienced Zone the place they stood within the scorching summer time warmth as temperatures reached 48 levels Celsius (118 levels Fahrenheit).

The mass prayer enchantment adopted his demand for early elections, which Iraq’s rival political bloc – the pro-Iran Coordination Framework -says it’s conditionally open to regardless of the final nationwide polls solely going down about 10 months in the past.

Followers of Muqtada al-Sadr attend open-air Friday prayers at Grand Festivities Square within the Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022 [Anmar Khalil/AP]
Followers of Muqtada al-Sadr attend open-air Friday prayers at Grand Festivities Sq. inside the Inexperienced Zone in Baghdad on Friday Aug. 5, 2022 [Anmar Khalil/AP]

Iraq’s political factions haven’t been capable of type a authorities, even because the nation grapples with rampant corruption, crumbling infrastructure and unemployment.

Al-Sadr’s followers stormed the parliament constructing in Baghdad final Saturday at his command to stop the Coordination Framework from voting in a brand new authorities.

An identical prayer name and strain tactic from al-Sadr in mid-July drew a whole bunch of hundreds of Muslim worshippers to Sadr Metropolis, a Baghdad district named after his assassinated father.

Reporting from Baghdad, Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed stated that whereas a number of the protesters on the parliament constructing had been returning to their house cities, others have been becoming a member of the sit-in.

“The [Friday sermon] preacher confirmed that these protesters will proceed their sit-in till their calls for are met. They wish to take away all corrupt politicians,” Abdelwahed stated.

“It appears as if the protesters are planning for a long-term sit-in till they obtain completely different directions from their chief,” he added.

Threat of escalation

Months of post-election negotiations between al-Sadr’s bloc – the biggest in parliament – and different factions did not result in an settlement on a brand new authorities, prime minister and president.

Although al-Sadr’s bloc emerged from the October polls as parliament’s greatest, it was nonetheless far in need of forming a majority.

In June, his 73 politicians give up in a bid to interrupt the logjam. That led to the rival Coordination Framework bloc turning into the biggest within the legislature.

The Coordination Framework’s current nomination of former cupboard minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as prime minister angered the Sadrists and triggered their persevering with occupation of the parliament constructing.

With armed teams linked to varied political factions in Iraq, the United Nations has warned of the danger of political tensions escalating.

On Wednesday, al-Sadr referred to as for the dissolution of parliament and for brand new polls to be held.

His adversaries within the Coordination Framework on Thursday evening stated they had been conditionally open to that concept, signalling a possible de-escalation.

In a quick assertion, the Coordination Framework stated it “affirms its help to any constitutional option to resolve the political crises and realise the pursuits of the individuals, together with early elections”.

However “a nationwide consensus on the query and offering a protected atmosphere” had been conditions for such polls, the group stated.

Above all, the Framework pressured the significance of “not disrupting the functioning” of constitutional establishments – a transparent reference to the present occupation of parliament by Sadrists.

The Coordination Framework contains politicians from the get together of former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a longtime foe of al-Sadr, and the Hashd al-Shaabi, a pro-Iran ex-paramilitary community now built-in into the safety forces.

Parliament can solely be dissolved by a majority vote, in line with the structure. Such a vote can happen on the request of a 3rd of legislators, or by the prime minister with the president’s settlement.

Hong Kong slips into second recession since 2019 mass protests | Business and Economy

Worldwide monetary hub’s economic system shrinks 1.4 % within the second quarter, after earlier 3.9 % decline.

Hong Kong has tipped again right into a technical recession, new authorities figures confirmed Monday, weighed down by mounting rates of interest, weakened international commerce and the town’s continued adherence to strict coronavirus controls.

Following a year-on-year lower of three.9 % within the first quarter of 2022, the town’s gross home product (GDP) once more reported a decline within the second quarter on Monday — however with a narrower margin of 1.4 % — in line with advance estimates launched by the Census and Statistics Division.

The downturn is reversing final yr’s restoration when the economic system loved a 6.3 % annual progress after the slowdown in 2019 and 2020 when the town was first upended by months of giant, typically violent pro-democracy protests, after which the pandemic.

The Hong Kong authorities mentioned the financial enchancment was smaller than anticipated resulting from weak efficiency in exterior commerce.

Official statistics launched final month confirmed the worth of whole exports of products within the second quarter decreased by 4.2 % in contrast with the previous quarter.

For the primary half of 2022, a visual commerce deficit of $206.1bn, equal to eight.2 % of the worth of imports of products, was recorded.

“Weakened international demand and continued disruptions to cross-boundary land cargo flows between the mainland and Hong Kong weighed closely on Hong Kong’s exports,” the federal government mentioned Monday.

Financial coverage tightening by main central banks world wide is predicted to dampen international financial progress considerably, whereas quarantine-free journey between Hong Kong and mainland China is but to have a transparent timetable underneath Beijing’s strict adherence to its zero COVID-19 coverage.

The monetary hub’s new chief John Lee mentioned his authorities would quickly announce additional shortening of obligatory lodge quarantine for abroad arrivals, in line with an interview with the Hong Kong Financial Journal revealed on Monday.

“Connecting with the world and with the mainland, we will do each and they aren’t contradictory,” Lee instructed the newspaper.

“I perceive that one in every of Hong Kong’s competitiveness lies in its worldwide connections.”

In following China’s zero COVID-19 coverage, Hong Kong has been largely reduce off from the remainder of the world for greater than two years.

It nonetheless has a number of the world’s strictest restrictions, together with a week-long quarantine for arrivals and a ban on group gatherings with greater than 4 individuals.

Native media just lately reported that the federal government was mulling resuming quarantine-free journey for abroad arrivals in November, when the town is hoping to resuscitate its worldwide picture with a finance summit and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

Bulgaria announces mass expulsion of 70 Russian diplomatic staff | Politics News

Bulgarian state providers recognized the diplomats ‘as individuals who labored towards our pursuits’, PM Kiril Petkov says.

Bulgaria will expel 70 Russian diplomatic workers, the EU nation has introduced, the most important variety of Russians ordered out at one time from the Balkan nation.

The transfer, introduced by the overseas ministry and outgoing prime minister, was the most important expulsion of Russian diplomats by Sofia in recent times and greater than halves the dimensions of Moscow’s diplomatic footprint within the Balkan nation.

“Bulgaria goes to expel 70 Russian diplomats … Our providers recognized them as individuals who labored towards our pursuits,” Prime Minister Kiril Petkov instructed reporters on Tuesday.

“Everybody who works towards the pursuits of Bulgaria will likely be referred to as upon to return to their nation. We anticipate a full 70-seat airplane to fly again to Moscow,” Petkov stated.

These recognized to be a “risk to nationwide safety” should go away by July 3, the Bulgarian overseas ministry stated.

There was no speedy Russian response to the spying allegations, although an unnamed supply instructed Russia’s TASS information company that Moscow would reply.
A number of European international locations have expelled Russian diplomats following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with Russia responding in variety by expelling European diplomats.

Bulgaria’s overseas ministry stated it had summoned Russian ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova to tell her of Sofia’s choice on the mass expulsion.

Bulgaria additionally anticipated Russia to quickly shut its consulate common in Ruse in northern Bulgaria, whereas Bulgaria will quickly shut its consulate within the Russian metropolis of Yekaterinburg, the ministry stated.

Petkov has taken an unusually sturdy stance towards Russia for a rustic that loved shut ties with Moscow throughout the communist period and has lengthy been a draw for Russian vacationers. He sacked his defence minister in February for refusing to name what Russia describes as “a particular army operation” towards Ukraine a “conflict”.

Bulgaria had already expelled 10 Russian diplomats in March over the conflict in Ukraine.
Although an EU and NATO member, Bulgaria was as soon as a staunch ally of the Soviet Union below communism and nonetheless has shut cultural, historic and financial ties with Russia.

A collection of espionage scandals since 2019 has soured relations between the 2 international locations and resulted in some 20 diplomats and a technical assistant being expelled.

9 killed, dozens wounded in three mass shootings across US | Gun Violence News

Not less than 9 individuals have been killed and two dozen others wounded after shootings in three cities in america.

The shootings on Saturday night time and Sunday morning had been the most recent outbreaks of gun violence which have left legislators scrambling to sort out the disaster.

In Philadelphia, a confrontation between two males on Saturday night time escalated right into a gunfight that sprayed bullets right into a crowded bar and restaurant district, killing three individuals, wounding 12, and setting off panic as individuals tried to flee, police stated.

Equally, a taking pictures broke out after midnight close to a bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing three and wounding 14, based on police.

In yet one more taking pictures within the early hours of Sunday, three individuals had been killed, and two had been wounded in Saginaw, Michigan, WEYI tv reported, citing a police assertion.

Not like the opposite two instances, which affected bystanders unconnected to the taking pictures, all 5 of the individuals within the Michigan taking pictures had been concerned within the incident, police stated.

No suspects had been reported in custody as of Sunday night in any of the shootings.

The violence struck as communities in three different cities are nonetheless grieving from massacres that killed 10 individuals at a grocery retailer in Buffalo, New York; 21 victims at an elementary faculty in Uvalde, Texas; and 4 individuals at a medical constructing in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The brazen nature of the Philadelphia taking pictures left officers aghast. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney known as it “horrendous, despicable and mindless,” whereas Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw stated, “We’re completely devastated.”

Police consider two males acquired right into a struggle and started taking pictures at one another, and considered one of them was killed by gunfire. A police officer noticed the opposite gunman firing into the gang and fired at him.

The attacker dropped his gun, as police consider he was struck by the officer, however he escaped via the gang.

The lifeless had been aged 22, 27 and 34, whereas the ages of the individuals wounded ranged from 17 to 69.

In Chattanooga, three individuals had been lifeless and 14 wounded by a number of shooters, authorities stated. Two died of gunshot wounds, and a 3rd died after being struck by a car whereas fleeing.

Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy appealed for the general public’s assist, asking any witnesses to name a tip line.

In Michigan, Saginaw police reported they had been known as to a scene the place two males had been pronounced lifeless, and one lady was transported to hospital the place she died of her wounds.

Two different males had been being handled for gunshot wounds.

There have been at the least 240 mass shootings within the US thus far this 12 months, based on the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit analysis group.

It defines a mass taking pictures as one through which at the least 4 persons are shot, excluding the gunman.

US President Joe Biden has known as on Congress to ban assault weapons, develop background checks and implement different gun management measures to handle the string of mass shootings.

On Sunday, he renewed his name for restrictions on semi-automatic rifles.

“If we will’t ban assault weapons as we should always, we should at the least increase the age to purchase assault weapons to 21,” he tweeted.

A CBS Information/YouGov ballot revealed Sunday reveals 62 p.c of Individuals again a nationwide ban on semi-automatic rifles. Assist is even larger for background checks on all gun patrons (81 p.c) and “crimson flag” legal guidelines (72 p.c).

Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic US senator engaged on bipartisan gun security talks, stated on Sunday he thinks a package deal together with investments in psychological well being and college security and a few adjustments to gun legal guidelines can move Congress.

New US sanctions target North Korean weapons of mass destruction | Nuclear Weapons News

The transfer got here a day after China and Russia vetoed a US-led push to impose extra UN sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile launches.

The US on Friday imposed sanctions on two Russian banks, a North Korean firm and an individual it accused of supporting North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programme, growing stress on Pyongyang over its renewed ballistic missile launches.

The newest American transfer got here a day after China and Russia vetoed a US-led push to impose extra United Nations sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile launches, publicly splitting the United Nations Safety Council for the primary time because it began punishing Pyongyang in 2006.

The vetoes got here regardless of what the US stated was a sixth check of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea this 12 months and indicators that Pyongyang is making ready to conduct its first nuclear check since 2017.

The US Division of the Treasury in an announcement stated it focused Air Koryo Buying and selling Corp in addition to Russian monetary establishments the Far Jap Financial institution and Financial institution Sputnik for contributing to procurement and income era for North Korean organisations.

Washington additionally designated Jong Yong Nam, a Belarus-based consultant of an organisation subordinate to the North Korea Second Academy of Pure Sciences (SANS), who Washington stated has supported North Korean organisations linked to the event of ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

“The US will proceed to implement and implement present sanctions whereas urging the DPRK (North Korea) to return to a diplomatic path and abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and monetary intelligence, Brian Nelson, stated within the assertion.

China has been urging the US to take motion – together with lifting some unilateral sanctions – to entice Pyongyang to renew talks stalled since 2019, after three failed summits between North Korean chief Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump. The US has stated Pyongyang shouldn’t be rewarded.

UN ‘appalled’ by ‘vile racist’ mass shooting in Buffalo | Gun Violence News

Feedback by UN chief Antonio Guterres got here as vigils have been held within the US for the ten individuals killed in what investigators say was a racist assault.

United Nations Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres stated he was “appalled” by the killing of 10 individuals in a grocery store in a Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York, calling it “a vile act of racist violent extremism”.

The feedback on Monday, launched by a UN spokesman, got here two days after a white gunman clad in tactical physique armour shot 4 individuals within the car parking zone of the Tops Pleasant Market with an assault rifle earlier than getting into the shop and capturing lifeless 9 others. Authorities have been investigating the assault as a racially motivated hate crime.

Within the assertion, Guterres prolonged “his deepest condolences to the households and family members of the victims”.

He added he “hopes justice can be served swiftly”.

Early Sunday, Buffalo residents held a vigil outdoors the store as New York Governor Kathy Hochul and state Legal professional Normal Letitia James addressed a church service.

James described Saturday’s assault as “home terrorism, plain and easy”.

She paid tribute to the victims, who included consumers and store workers, describing an aged girl who planted bushes on her block, and a lady who was meals purchasing after visiting her husband in a nursing residence.

Amongst these killed was a retired police officer working as a safety guard who fired a number of pictures on the assailant earlier than being shot himself.

“I held in my arms a younger girl who labored at Tops, who was so afraid that she was about to die, who witnessed the bloodshed, who shaked (sic) and quivered in my arms, who’s afraid for her group, afraid additionally for herself,” James stated.

Later within the day, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia instructed reporters the 18-year-old suspect, recognized as Payton Gendron, did “reconnaissance” on the predominantly Black space surrounding the market a day earlier than the assault. He stated proof recovered thus far “makes no mistake that that is an absolute racist hate crime”.

Gendron was arraigned late Saturday on a single rely of first-degree homicide. Federal authorities have stated an investigation into the killings as “a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism” was persevering with, with extra fees anticipated.

Hyperlinks to white supremacy

The assault has shone a light-weight on white supremacy within the US and its net of related conspiracy theories that proliferate on-line. In April of final 12 months, President Joe Biden referred to as white supremacist assaults the “most deadly terrorist menace” to the US in recent times.

Regulation enforcement officers have instructed reporters that preliminary investigations confirmed Gendron had visited websites espousing white supremacist ideology and race-based conspiracy theories, and extensively researched the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand and the person who killed dozens at a summer season camp in Norway in 2011.

A manifesto believed to be authored by Gendron espoused the “Nice Alternative Concept”, a racist conspiracy that claims white individuals are being changed by racial minorities within the US and Europe.

Saturday’s assault was not the gunman’s first contact with authorities.

Gendron had beforehand threatened to hold out a capturing final 12 months at Susquehanna Valley Excessive College, the place he was a senior, across the time of commencement, in keeping with police.

New York State Police stated troopers have been referred to as to the varsity in Conklin, New York, on June 8, 2021, when he was 17 years outdated. He was then despatched for psychiatric analysis and later launched.

The assault additionally sparked renewed requires federal gun restrictions, though such measures perenially fail beneath strain from the US’s highly effective gun foyer.

On Sunday, Governor Hochul famous whereas the AR-15 the gunman used was legally bought in New York, which has among the strictest gun legal guidelines within the nation, the high-capacity journal within the weapon had been outlawed within the state.

“We want a nationwide response,” she instructed NBC Information. “We want different states to step up. We want the federal authorities on our facet.”

Buffalo mass shooting: What we know so far | Gun Violence News

A white gunman in army gear shot and killed 10 folks at a Buffalo grocery store within the US state of New York on Saturday, in what authorities referred to as an act of “racially motivated violent extremism”.

The positioning of the mass taking pictures, Tops Pleasant Market, is situated within the coronary heart of Buffalo’s Black group.

The suspect, who appeared to have acted alone, drove to Buffalo from his residence a number of hours away armed with an assault-style rifle.

Shocked residents gathered on Sunday at vigils and church companies to mourn and pay tribute to the victims.

Here’s what we all know up to now:

Who’s the shooter?

Police have recognized the gunman as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York in america. The white 18-year-old drove from the small city situated about 320 kilometres (200 miles) southeast of Buffalo and commenced taking pictures within the parking zone.

He surrendered and dropped the gun with coaxing from the officers after the taking pictures.

Gendron was carrying a helmet digital camera, by means of which he livestreamed the taking pictures to a small viewers on Twitch for a number of minutes earlier than the platform minimize off his feed.

The rifle used within the assault was bought legally, however the magazines used for ammunition weren’t allowed to be offered in New York.

After the taking pictures, Gendron appeared earlier than a decide in a paper medical robe and was arraigned on a homicide cost. He has entered a plea of not responsible and is scheduled to return to court docket on Might 19.

What was the motive behind the assault?

Officers are investigating the taking pictures as a racially motivated hate crime.

“This was pure evil. It was straight-up racially motivated hate crime from any person outdoors of our group, outdoors of the Metropolis of Good neighbours … coming into our group and attempting to inflict that evil upon us,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia stated at a information briefing on Saturday.

The FBI is investigating the taking pictures as each a “hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism”.

Screenshots purporting to be from the stay Twitch broadcast seem to point out a racial epithet scrawled on the rifle used within the assault, in addition to the quantity 14, a probable reference to a white supremacist slogan.

A 180-page manifesto circulated broadly on-line and believed to have been authored by Gendron outlined “The Nice Substitute Principle” – a racist conspiracy idea that white individuals are being changed by minorities within the US and different international locations.

The doc outlined racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs, amongst which was a want to drive all folks not of European descent from the US.

One other doc circulating on-line that appeared to have been written by Gendron sketched out a to-do record for the assault, together with cleansing the gun and testing the livestream.

Authorities have declined to formally touch upon the manifesto.

What does the preliminary investigation say?

A regulation enforcement official informed The Related Press on situation of anonymity that Gendron had threatened to hold out a taking pictures final yr at Susquehanna Valley Excessive College across the time of commencement.

New York State Police stated troopers had been referred to as to the Conklin college on June 8, 2021, when he was 17 years outdated. He was then despatched for psychological well being therapy.

The official stated investigators believed Gendron had particularly researched the demographics of the inhabitants across the Tops Pleasant Market.

In a Sunday interview with ABC, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia stated that Gendron had been on the town “no less than the day earlier than”.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, stated an investigation into the bloodbath would deal with how Gendron managed to get away with it when he was recognized to authorities and offered a menace.

“I wish to know what folks knew and once they knew it,” she stated, including that social media should even be extra vigilant and keep away from internet hosting a “feeding frenzy” of violent extremist ideology.

Did the shooter have white supremacy hyperlinks?

The preliminary investigation discovered Gendron had repeatedly visited websites espousing white supremacist ideologies and race-based conspiracy theories and extensively researched the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the person who killed dozens at a summer season camp in Norway in 2011, the regulation enforcement official informed AP.

US President Joe Biden decried the taking pictures as “abhorrent to the very cloth of this nation” in an announcement on Saturday.

Hochul, the New York governor, stated that “these wicked concepts are fermenting on social media – it’s spreading like a virus now,” including {that a} lack of oversight may lead others to emulate the shooter.

Is gun violence frequent within the US?

Mass shootings have change into a sadly acquainted scene throughout the US. The Buffalo assault is the most recent in a string of high-profile mass shootings within the nation this yr, the second within the state of New York in as many months.

It got here only a month after a taking pictures on a Brooklyn subway wounded 10 and simply over a yr after 10 had been killed in a taking pictures at a Colorado grocery store.

Within the deadliest college taking pictures within the US final yr, 4 college students had been killed and 7 different folks had been wounded after a young person opened fireplace at a highschool in Oxford, Michigan.

Based on the FBI, there have been 345 “energetic shooter incidents” within the US between 2000-2020, leading to greater than 1,024 deaths and 1,828 accidents.