Assailants gunned down the chief of Saddam Hussein's tribe in the ousted leader's hometown of Tikrit a few weeks after he publicly disavowed Saddam. Although the motive was unclear, Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khattab had many enemies, the regional governor said. \nElsewhere in Iraq, US troops shot and killed four people at checkpoints and a mosque explosion killed 10 people in Fallujah, further stirring anti-American sentiment in a town where Saddam and his Baath Party still enjoy support. \nTwo attacks against American forces on Tuesday wounded at least six soldiers. \nIn Baghdad, the top US official in Iraq, Paul Bremer, said the US-led provisional authority was "well on track to establish an Iraqi interim administration by mid-July." \n"Day by day, conditions in Iraq continue to improve," he said. \nDespite his reassurances, a burgeoning insurgency has seen several attacks on US troops every day, leading some to worry about the possibility of a Vietnam-style political and military quagmire. \nA delegation of nine US senators on a three-day tour of Iraq expressed confidence on Tuesday in the US mission, but acknowledged that risks remain. \nIn Tikrit, Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khattab, who was leader of Saddam's Bani al-Nasiri tribe, was shot and killed on Sunday afternoon while he rode in his car. \nThe killing highlighted the shifting alliances that have characterized Iraq as the country emerges from 35 years of brutal, one-man rule. Even those eager to distance themselves from Saddam often pay dearly for their past links to him. \nSaddam still enjoys a degree of popularity in Tikrit, where he built roads and schools and soccer fields. \nMost other Iraqis express disdain for Saddam, yet anti-US forces have persisted in stepping up attacks on occupation forces in recent days. \nOn Tuesday, assailants traveling in a vehicle in central Baghdad fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a US military vehicle, wounding three soldiers. Another grenade slammed into a US truck on a road south of Baghdad, injuring three soldiers. \nIn western Baghdad, US troops shot and killed two people when their car didn't stop at a checkpoint, witnesses said. Later, two civilians were shot and killed at another checkpoint, one by soldiers who feared he was an insurgent and another by a stray bullet, witnesses said. \nThe increasing attacks have killed more than 22 US soldiers and wounded dozens more since major combat was declared over on May 1, and many troops have become quicker to pull their guns. \nIn Fallujah, a blast in a cinderblock building in the courtyard of the al-Hassan mosque killed 10 Iraqis and wounded four late on Monday, said Colonel Guy Shields, spokesman for the US military in Baghdad. Iraqis insisted the blast was caused by a US missile -- an account the military denied. \nFallujah, 55km west of Baghdad, has been a hotbed of anti-US activity and scene of several confrontations involving US troops. \nMeanwhile, a weekend explosion at an ammunitions depot killed at least 15 people and injured at least four near Hadithah, 240km northwest of Baghdad. \nAmid the renewed violence in Iraq, the US Defense Department is trying to figure out how many postwar troops should stay and when it can bring home some of the longest-serving.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable