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Monday, December 16, 2013

Multiple Bombings Throughout Iraq

In one of Iraq’s bloodiest days in recent months, a string of attacks across the country killed at least 92 people and wounded at least 161. This has been the most violent year in Iraq since 2006-2007. The bombings mostly targeted Shia Muslims, who celebrate a major religious festival next week, for which hundreds of thousands are making their way to the city of Karbala.

A double car bomb killed 23 Shiite pilgrims, while another killed 6 civilians in a parking lot and a coordinated group of suicide bombers launched a major assault on a police station north of Baghdad.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants have intensified attacks on anyone perceived as supporting the government since a crackdown in April on a protest camp in a northern Sunni town. No one has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks.

South Sudan ‘Coup’ Foiled

South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir claimed that a coup orchestrated by soldiers loyal to the former vice president, Riek Machar, had been foiled as scattered clashes between different military factions continued throughout the capital today. The soldiers had attacked the South Sudanese military headquarters near Juba on Saturday in another sign of the nation’s growing instability. There has been political tension ever since Kiir fired Machar in July. The fighting seems to pit soldiers from Kiir’s Dinka tribe against those from Machar’s Nuer tribe.

A nighttime curfew has been put into place and a number of politicians have been arrested, although it is not clear if Machar is among them.

Protesters, Police Clash in Western China

Sixteen people have been killed in China’s western region of Xinjiang after a mob attacked police attempting to make arrests with explosives and knives, according to the state news portal claims. Two police officers were killed, 14 attackers were fatally shot and two suspected assailants were arrested.

The incident may have been part of the escalating tensions between government authorities and Muslim Uighurs in the region. It is also the latest example of Chinese security forces increasingly opting to kill people at the scene instead of capturing them.

Three Quarters of Syrians Will Need Aid in 2014

The United Nations has announced its largest ever appeal for international aid, seeking $6.5 billion for humanitarian aid to Syria. It estimates that three quarters of Syria’s 22.4 million population will need humanitarian aid in the coming year. It exceeds the UN’s previous record appeal of $4.4 billion for Syria, which is still only 60% funded. Half of all Syrians are currently displaced, and a similar number are in need and a similar number need “urgent, life-saving food assistance.”

76 people were killed on Sunday, including 28 children, after the Syrian military dropped barrel bombs on the city of Aleppo. The number of fatalities is likely to rise.

Sheriffs Won’t Enforce Gun Control

Many county sheriffs in Colorado are refusing to enforce the state’s new package of gun control laws, enacted after the mass shootings in Aurora. All but 7 of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs signed onto a federal lawsuit challenging the statute’s constitutionality.

Dozens of sheriffs around the country – including in New York, Florida and California – are challenging gun control laws, refusing to enforce them or have indicated that their enforcement will be a very low priority.


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