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Yazidi children ‘left alone’ to deal with ISIL captivity trauma | Iraq News

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Nearly 2,000 Yazidi children who were subjected to horrendous human rights abuses at the hands of ISIL (ISIS) are not getting the help they need to deal with lasting physical and mental trauma, Amnesty International has warned.

In a 64-page report published on Thursday, the rights groups said the survivors currently living in Iraq’s Kurdish region have “effectively been abandoned” as they deal with severe debilitating long-term illnesses or physical impairments, as well as severe psychological problems.

While post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression are all common, other symptoms and behaviours include aggression, flashbacks, nightmares and severe mood swings, said the report which detailed the challenges faced by an estimated 1,992 children who survived torture, forced conscription, rape and other abuses during their 2014-2017 captivity.

Young female survivors of sexual violence are particularly vulnerable as they suffer from a range of health issues, including infection, scarring, and difficulties conceiving or carrying a child to term.

In the report, a doctor is quoted as saying that almost every girl she had treated between the ages of nine and 17 had been the victim of rape or other forms of sexual violence.

“These children were systematically subjected to the horror of life under ISIS, and now they’ve been left to pick up the pieces,” said Matt Wells, deputy director of Amnesty’s crisis response team.

“While the nightmare of their past has receded, hardships remain for these children.”

‘Please accept us’

The Yazidis are an ethno-religious minority numbering approximately 550,000 in their heartland of northwest Iraq before ISIL swept through the rugged region in 2014. Their belief combines elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.

ISIL, which considers the Yazidis heretics, slaughtered thousands of Yazidi men, abducted women and girls and forced boys to fight on its behalf during the time it controlled large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Yazidi children were forcibly converted to Islam and taught Arabic, banned from speaking their native Kurdish.

Thousands of Yazidi boys were starved, tortured and forced to fight for ISIL. Many former child soldiers today live with missing arms or legs. They have also often been left isolated after their return, Amnesty said.

Sahir, a 15-year-old former ISIL child soldier, told the rights group he knew he needed mental health support to cope with his trauma but felt he had nowhere to turn.

“What I was looking for is just someone to care about me, some support, to tell me, ‘I am here for you’,” he said.

“This is what I have been looking for, and I have never found it.”

Amnesty said access to education could help ease children back into society, but tens of thousands of Yazidis still live in camps for displaced people where schooling is irregular.

Many have also gone into debt from paying thousands of US dollars to smugglers to free Yazidi relatives who were held by ISIL.

The report also documents the plight of Yazidi women struggling to heal their psychological wounds after being forcibly wed to ISIL fighters and separated from their children born of rape.

Mothers interviewed by Amnesty said they were “pressured, coerced or even deceived” into leaving their children when they returned to their families.

“I want to tell [our community] and everyone in the world, please accept us, and accept our children … I didn’t want to have a baby from these people. I was forced to have a son,” said 22-year-old Janan.

“We have all thought about killing ourselves, or tried to do it,” said Hanan, a 24-year-old Yazidi whose daughter was taken from her.

Mothers must be reunited with their children, and no further separation should take place, Amnesty said.

“These women were enslaved, tortured and subjected to sexual violence. They should not suffer any further punishment,” said Wells.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Iran unveils new centrifuges, civilian nuclear ‘achievements’ | Nuclear Energy News

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Tehran, Iran – Iran began feeding gas to cascades of new, advanced centrifuges and unveiled dozens of “achievements” to mark its national nuclear technology day in an effort to show its nuclear programme is peaceful.

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday launched several projects across the country via video link in Tehran that was broadcast live on national television, and an exhibition of 133 technological innovations with civilian and medical uses was also unveiled.

The display comes after the opening week of negotiations in Vienna, Austria, to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers – ended on Friday on a hopeful note, and is slated to continue from Wednesday.

In Isfahan’s Natanz, where Iran’s largest nuclear facilities are located, the order was given to feed gas to 164 all-Iranian IR6 centrifuges, with 10 SWU – separative work units that indicate the amount of separation done by an enrichment process.

The IR6 was also deemed the most sustainably efficient centrifuge Iran currently deploys, which is slated to be mass-produced on an industrial level.

It was said to be able to produce 10 times more uranium hexafluoride (UF6) than IR1, Iran’s first-generation centrifuges.

“We can industrialise these machines without any reliance outside the country,” the engineer who answered Rouhani’s questions said.

Rouhani launched an exhibition of 133 technological innovations with civilian and medical uses [Iran President’s Office]

Rouhani also gave the order to begin feeding gas to test a number of 30 IR5 centrifuges and 30 IR6s centrifuges, numbers that could grow if they are successful.

Moreover, mechanical tests began on the top-of-the-line IR9 centrifuge that has a separative capacity of 50 SWU.

Also in Natanz, a unit to assemble and evaluate advanced centrifuges was launched, where the presenting engineer said more than half of all operations are currently industrialised.

The “terrorist move” to blow up parts of the nuclear facilities in Natanz last year in an attack Israel has been suspected of orchestrating did not stop the progress, the engineer said.

In Arak, the second phase of industrial production of deuterium compounds at the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility was launched by the president, who also oversaw the launch of a first-of-its-kind emergency unit aimed at treating radiation burns.

A series of achievements were introduced at the National Centre for Laser Science and Technology in the Alborz province, while the president next discussed advances at a national centre to research stable isotope separation.

‘Ill-placed concerns’

After the new projects were launched, the president delivered a televised address in which he once more emphasised Iran does not seek nuclear weapons, and railed against Western powers for acting based on the presumption that it did.

“These ill-placed concerns have created many problems for our people in the past 15 years,” Rouhani said, referring to multilateral sanctions imposed on Iran prior to its nuclear deal that provided sanctions relief for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Western intelligence maintains that Iran sought to weaponise its nuclear programme, plans that it abandoned in 2003.

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday launched several projects across the country [Iran President’s Office]

Israel still repeatedly claims Iran is after nuclear weapons despite thorough inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Rouhani also harshly criticised world powers and the IAEA for their lack of assistance in developing Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme.

“We don’t owe them, they owe us,” the president said, adding they should have assisted Iran as part of commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Hours before the unveiling of Tehran’s latest nuclear advances, Reuters news agency cited a confidential IAEA report that Iran has produced a small amount of fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, containing 20 percent enriched uranium.

The IAEA reportedly said in its report that Iran aims to produce molybdenum, which has many civilian uses, including in medical imaging.

As part of the nuclear deal, Iran’s enrichment of uranium was capped at 3.67 percent, a limit that it started gradually scaling back in 2019, one year after then-United States President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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10 Myanmar police killed in attack by ethnic armies: Reports | Conflict News

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Fighters from an alliance of rebel groups reportedly attack a police station in a new escalation after the military coup.

An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar that has opposed the general’s crackdown on anti-coup protests attacked a police station in the east on Saturday and killed at least 10 policemen, local media said.

The police station at Naungmon in Shan state was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, media reported.

Shan News said at least 10 policemen were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay news outlet put the death toll at 14.

A spokesman for the military did not return calls asking for comment.

Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from neighbouring Thailand, noted the ethnic armies are some of the oldest in the world, having battled central government forces for decades.

“Since the coup, there has been a lot of talk about armed groups operating together but we have not actually seen it before. Today it’s claimed three acted together, joined forces, attacked this outpost manned by Myanmar police, killing a number of policemen,” said Cheng, adding the assault occurred over two hours early on Saturday.

More than 600 people have been killed by the military in the crackdown on protests against the February 1 coup, according to a monitoring group. As violence has escalated, about a dozen armed groups have condemned the coup-makers as illegitimate and pledged to stand with the protesters.

Civilian lawmakers, most of whom are in hiding after their removal, have announced plans to form a “national unity government” – with key roles for ethnic leaders – and are holding online talks about joint resistance to the generals.

Dozens of bodies

Meanwhile, reports from Myanmar say dozens of people may have been killed in a military assault on anti-coup protesters in the city of Bago. About 60 people may have died in the clashes in the city, about 60km (32 miles) northeast of Yangon, according to Radio Free Asia citing witnesses.

News site Myanmar Now cited a protest leader as saying dozens of bodies had been brought inside a pagoda compound where the military was based. Witnesses cited by both media outlets reported hours of gunfire that started early on Friday.

Protests against the February coup continued on Saturday in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Sagaing, Myeik and many other cities.

The military crackdown has also included reports of protesters being tortured in detention and harsh sentences.

The military issued death sentences on 19 people from Yangon’s North Okkalapa township on Friday. They were charged with beating an army captain, according to Radio Free Asia.

The military coup dismissed the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Egypt unearth 3,000-year-old lost city

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A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo. (Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology and High Council of Antiquities Joint Mission/Handout via Reuters)

A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo. (Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology and High Council of Antiquities Joint Mission/Handout via Reuters)

Egyptian archeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old lost city, complete with mud-brick houses, artifacts, and tools from pharaonic times.


Noted archeologist Zahi Hawass said an Egyptian mission discovered the mortuary city in the southern province of Luxor. It dates back to what is considered a golden era of ancient Egypt, the period under King Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty.

“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” Hawass said in a statement Thursday. The city, built on the western bank of the Nile River, was once the largest administrative and industrial settlement of the pharaonic empire, he added.

Last year, archeologists started excavating in the area, searching for the mortuary temple of King Tutankhamun. However, within weeks, the statement said, archeologists found mud bricks formations that eventually turned out to be a well-preserved large city. City walls, and even rooms filled with utensils used in daily life are said to be present.

“The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday,” the press release said.

The newly unearthed city is located between the temple of King Rameses III and the colossi of Amenhotep III on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The city continued to be used by Amenhotep III’s grandson Tutankhamun, and then his successor King Ay.

Betsy Brian, professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University, said the discovery of the lost city was the most important archeological find since the tomb of Tutankhamun.

King Tut became a household name and helped renew interest in ancient Egypt when his tomb in the Valley of the Kings was discovered nearly fully intact in 1922.

Archeologists have also found clay caps of wine vessels, rings, scarabs, coloured pottery, and spinning and weaving tools. Some mud bricks bear the seal of King Amenhotep III’s cartouche, or name insignia. 







Source – observer.ug

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