Three people wounded in bomb blast, north of Baghdad

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Three people were wounded as a bomb blast took place in north of Baghdad, a security source from the Iraqi Interior Ministry said on Friday.

“A bomb, placed near stores at al-Mushahada region in Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, went off leaving three people wounded,” the source told Alghad Press.

“Security troops arrived at the blast spot and transferred the wounded to hospital for treatment,” the source added.

In December, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Baghdad has seen almost daily bombings and armed attacks against security members, paramilitary troops and civilians since the Iraqi government launched a wide-scale campaign to retake Islamic State-occupied areas in 2016.

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians, excluding policemen, were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Nineveh, with 13 killed and 7 injured.

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Iraq foils smuggling of USD13 mn antiquities smuggling to Turkey

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Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Iraq has foiled an attempt to smuggle antiquities worth millions of dollars to Turkey, its interior ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry’s general inspector said in a statement, quoted by Alforatnews, that ministry teams in Kirkuk blocked the transfer of scriptures and antiquities worth USD13 million to Turkey, which were in the possession of two people.

Those, the statement revealed, included scriptures and a bust.

It added that the suspects confessed to agreeing with another party in Turkey on the handover of the pieces. They said they were also expecting to receive more items while waiting at the Turkish borders, including jewelry belonging to the wife of late president Saddam Hussein worth millions of dollars.

Iraq’s archaeological sites sustained severe damage when Islamic State militants occupied a third of the country to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “caliphate”. The militants had filmed themselves axing down priceless statues in Mosul and other areas as they considered statues as pagan representations at odds with their extremist religious codes. However, later reports told that militants turned to selling antiquities to fund the group’s operations.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Fearing drought, Iraq pleads to neighbors to release its water share

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq has urged neighboring countries to release its share of water from Euphrates and Tigris rivers, warning that it may be facing a “water scarcity” crisis.

Government-owned Al-Sabaah quoted Hamid al-Nayef, spokesperson of the agriculture ministry, saying that “Iraq has made official requests to Turkey and Syria to release its share of Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which had witnessed a great decline,” he added that the requests were made after “those countries failed to commit to agreements and mechanisms determining each country’s share for many reasons, including the construction of dams”.

According to Nayef, the drop in rainfall rates contributed to the decline of water levels at the rivers. He said the government has only managed to provide water to 75 percent of lands allocated for cultivation.

“All regions of Iraq face the danger of water scarcity,” water resources minister, Hassan al-Janabi, told al-Sabaah.

The minister said a visit by the Iraqi side is planned to Turkey soon to discuss Iraq’s water share in light of Turkey’s Ilisu Dam, one of the biggest dams on Tigris River southeast of Turkey and near the borders with Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had directed for combating violations of water resources at southern provinces.

Meanwhile, Hilal al-Sahlani, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s foreign relations committee, warned that the water scarcity danger might cause to remove southern Iraq’s Ahwar marshes from the UNESCO world heritage list.

“As the water crisis exacerbates, Iraq will sooner or later lose Ahwar from the world heritage list,” Sahlani said.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Five people killed, injured in two bomb blasts in west, south of Baghdad

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) A civilian was killed, while four others were wounded in two bomb explosion in south and west of Baghdad, a security source was quoted saying on Saturday.

Speaking to Baghdad Today, the source said, “A bomb exploded today at a car of a civilian at al-Furat district, west of Baghdad, which caused his immediate death.”

“Security troops transferred the victim to forensic medicine department and conducted investigations,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, added.

Moreover, “another bomb went off near stores at al-Yusufyia region, south of Baghdad, leaving four people wounded,” the source said. All were transferred to hospital for treatment.

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians, excluding policemen, were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Nineveh, with 13 killed and 7 injured.

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Relics of over 100 victims, executed by Islamic State, found in mass grave in Mosul

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Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) A huge mass grave composed of relics of more than 100 victims, executed by Islamic State, has been found, south of Mosul, a security source from Nineveh Operations Command said on Saturday.

“Testimonies of local residents enabled army troops to reach the grave, located at al-Ramdaniyah village in Qayyarah, south of Mosul,” Col. Saleh al-Sherifi told BasNews.

“The grave contained relics of more than 111 victims,” Sherifi added. “The relics had symptoms of shooting at chests and heads.”

“Most of the victims were civil servants from the Nineveh elections commission office and security personnel,” he said.

IS militants, according to Sherifi, executed the victims and buried them at the grave during their control on Mosul, which lasted for three years.

Security troops ran into tens of mass graves at regions recaptured from IS. More than 70 graves, including Yazidis killed by IS, were also found.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared in July victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014. More than 25,000 Islamic State militants were killed throughout the campaign. Abadi announced, in December, full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

RTA starts trial run of ‘Bus on Demand’ service in Dubai

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Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 03.06 pm

The service debut will be at Al Warqaa and Al Barsha

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched the trial run of its ‘bus on demand’ initiative in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha. For three months, the service will be free, the authority announced on Saturday. It is offered through the MVMANT app.

Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA’s public transport agency, said: “The 18-seater buses will operate on flexible routes and schedules, and bus drivers can know the service demand through the app to reach to the nearest point to their destinations. Through the MVMANT app, customers living in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha will be able to identify their locations and track the bus arrival times to their locations.”

Video: Residents can now get an RTA bus on demand in Dubai

The smart responsive system is based on the idea of linking some places with mini public buses operating near the locations of commuters. “They can avail the service through the smart app, which enables them to figure out their routes from the start point to destination point, choose their preferred seats, and pay fares. The service will be an innovative solution to the first and last mile between the homes of clients and the nearest public transport station,” added Bahrozyan.

During the trial period, the RTA will assess the efficiency of the service in terms of accessibility to riders, response period, and the time of journey to the destination. A questionnaire will be provided at the Metro stations in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha to understand commuters’ “needs, views and thoughts”.

Khalfan Belhoul, chief executive officer of the Dubai Future Foundation, said: “The solutions that the MVMANT’s bus on demand service brings to the table will help reinvent the transportation sector on the one hand, while bringing benefits to the economy as a whole.”

Site surveys

Before the launch of this initiative, the RTA had conducted site surveys and polls covering 1,750 commuters (63 per cent males and the rest females). The proportion of those aged 25 to 34 amounted to 53 per cent. 

The service targets three categories: Workers (23 per cent), occupational specialists (15 per cent), and retail and services business (62 per cent). According to the RTA, the site survey was based on several parameters, including demography of service users, car ownership, mobility options, nearest public transport station/stops, and preferred mobility choices such as the walking distance, waiting time etc.

Other parameters included comfort, accuracy of schedules, and service on demand, service proximity to homes and destinations, and reasonable fares of the service. 

reporters@khaleejtimes.com

How the system works

> Download the MVMANT app

> You can track movement of buses in your neighbourhood

Book the bus and seats

Source :  The Khaleej Times

Illegal fishing nets blamed as 5 dugongs washed ashore

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Staff Reporter/Abu Dhabi
Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 11.16 pm

The causes of dugong death included habitat loss, marine pollution and collisions with speeding boats.

Four dugongs – three males and one female – have been found washed ashore on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Public Beach in recent weeks, in what may be the biggest single die-off of one of Abu Dhabi’s most vulnerable species.

In addition, another dead dugong, an expecting mother with a fully-developed calf, was discovered last week.

Following the incident, a team from the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) made up of species scientists and marine biologists have been racing against time to determine the cause of death and to intensify monitoring of critical areas. The results of the investigation and necropsy indicate that the most probable cause of death was drowning in an illegal fishing net, locally known as ‘hiyali’.

Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s second largest population of dugongs, with around 3,000 found mostly in the waters around Bu Tinah Island, part of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve. Dugongs, their foraging habitats and their migratory routes in the UAE have been protected under Federal Law No. 23 and No. 24 since 1999.

The UAE is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species, making it an international commitment to protect dugongs.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, excutive director of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector at EAD, said: “This discovery is a harsh blow to one of Abu Dhabi’s most vulnerable species and it may be the biggest single die-off of dugongs recorded in a decade. It once again affirms the vulnerability of this species to human threats and the pressing need for fishermen to end irresponsible fishing practices.

“EAD’s research has demonstrated that the majority of commercial and recreational fishermen are fully aware of the laws prohibiting the use of illegal nets and the protected status of dugongs in the UAE. However, in spite of the regulations in place and the awareness being raised, many fishermen continue to use hiyali nets, because it is a particularly lucrative method of fishing.

“As the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE, stressed, environmental protection is not a matter only for government officials. It is an issue that should concern us all. And so, we call on all fishermen to fish in a responsible way,” she said.

The EAD has now intensified its monitoring of critical areas within and outside marine protected areas and is meeting regularly with fishermen, calling on them not to use the illegal hiyali net and to report the locations of any abandoned fishing nets.

Commercial and recreational fishermen caught using illegal and banned fishing gear and methods will be prosecuted. First-time offenders can receive fines of up to Dh50,000 and/or an imprisonment term of not less than three months, while second-time offenders can receive fines of up to Dh100,000 and/or an imprisonment term of not less than one year.

Other causes of dugong death included habitat loss, marine pollution and collisions with speeding boats.

Know the shy vulnerable marine mammal

>Dugongs are the only marine mammals which are herbivore.

>The Arabian Gulf and Red Sea host around 7,000 dugongs.

>Dugongs have been traditionally persecuted by humans for their meat and oil.

>Dugongs are more closely related to elephants than to whales or dolphins.

>Dugongs are shy, secretive.

>Dugongs are often referred to as “sea cows” because they feed almost exclusively on seagrass. They can eat up to 30kgs of seagrass daily and can weigh anywhere from 230-500kgs.

>Dugongs sometimes breathe by “standing” on their tail with their heads above water.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

 

Source :  The Khaleej Times