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Iraq Suspends TV Channels After Deadly Unrest

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Iraq has suspended the licences of 10 satellite TV channels for promoting ‘sectarianism’, the country’s media regulator said on Sunday, as more than 215 people were killed in the past six days.

Iraq1-300x198The bloody unrest, which began on Tuesday with deadly clashes between security forces and Sunni Arab anti-government protesters in north Iraq, has raised fears of a return to all-out sectarian conflict that plagued the country in the past and killed tens of thousands.

“We took a decision to suspend the licence of some satellite channels that adopted language encouraging violence and sectarianism,” Mujahid Abu al-Hail, a top official in the Communications and Media Commission, told AFP.

“It means stopping their work in Iraq and their activities, so they cannot cover events in Iraq or move around,” Hail said.

The suspensions include Al-Jazeera, the main broadcaster in the Arab world, and Sharqiya, a leading channel in Iraq.

“The fact that so many channels have been hit all at once … suggests this is an indiscriminate decision,” an Al-Jazeera spokesman told AFP.

“We urge the authorities to uphold freedom for the media to report the important stories taking place in Iraq,” the spokesman said.

Maliki said on Saturday that sectarian strife “came back to Iraq, because it began in another place in this region,” in an apparent reference to Syria.

The civil war in neighbouring Syria pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam, has killed more than 70,000 people.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called in a statement on Saturday for anti-government protesters to “expel the criminals who targeted Iraqi army and police forces,” after five soldiers were killed near a protest site close to Ramadi, west of Baghdad.

And Iraqiya state television quoted the head of the Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda militia, Sheikh Wissam al-Hardan, as saying that if those who have killed soldiers are not handed over, “the Sahwa will take the requested procedures and do what it did in 2006.”

A protest leader and a provincial official said on Sunday that the names of three people who allegedly killed the five soldiers were given to police, but they have not been handed over despite a 24-hour deadline set by Hardan.

Sahwa militiamen fought pitched battles against Sunni militants from 2006, helping to turn the tide of the Iraq war.

“We do not work for the government, and we are not army or police from the government,” said Abdulrazzaq al-Shammari, one of the leaders of the protest near Ramadi.

“They are outside of the site of the protest, and we helped by giving their names,” Shammari said.

“The criminals were not handed over until now, but the police were given the names of three people who were said to be the ones who killed the soldiers,” said Mohammed Fathi, a media advisor to the provincial council in Anbar province where the soldiers were killed.

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JUST IN: ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions On Mali

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ECOWAS countries
ECOWAS Countries

ECOWAS Countries

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US President, Donald Trump, Wife Test Positive For Covid-19

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Donald Trump and Melania
Donald Trump and Melania

Donald Trump and wife, Melania Trump

President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

The President took to his official Twitter handle on Friday to make this announcement.

Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.

Also Read: What I Told Trump When He Accused Me Of Killing Christians – Buhari

On Thursday, he announced that his aide, Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus which has killed over 1 million people around the world.

He further revealed that he and the first lady had taken the test and waiting for the results before announcing the outcome on Friday.

 

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Mali: N’Daw, Coup Leader Goita Sworn In As President, VP

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President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita
President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita

President of Mali, N’Daw, coup leader, Goita

Retired Army Colonel, Bah N’Daw has been sworn in on Friday as the interim president of Mali and he is to head a transitional government following last month’s military coup in the country.

The swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s capital city of Bamako, where Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.

This administration is to lead the government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.

Also Read: Buhari Attends Virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit Over Mali Crisis

It will be recalled that the country’s military executed a coup last month (August 18) which successfully removed the nation’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office.

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the ceremony alongside other members of the ECOWAS mediation team.

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