The Seoul government is to seek approval from the country's parliament to extend the deployment of South Korean troops in Iraq by a year, news reports said yesterday. \nThe defense ministry decided last week to extend the mission which was originally due to expire at the end of the year, Yonhap news agency said. \nThe Cabinet will will ask parliament to allow up to 3,600 South Korean troops to stay in Arbil, a Kurdish-controlled town in northern Iraq, Yonhap said. \nWhen asked about the report, Shin Geoung-Ja, a defense ministry public relations official, said: "We can neither confirm nor deny it." \nBut an unnamed ministry source told Yonhap the deployment of the troops should be extended because it had been delayed for a long time by controversy over the original deployment. \n"If the parliament fails to approve the extension of the mission ... the South Korean troops would have to return home without having completed their job in Iraq," the source said. \nIn February, the parliament approved the dispatch of up to 3,600 troops for relief and rehabilitation in Iraq until Dec. 31. \nBut the dispatch was delayed for months against a background of growing anti-war protests and it was only in late last month that South Korea completed the deployment of 2,800 troops in Arbil. \nThe mission is to be reinforced by another 800 troops next month, just a month before the mission is formally to expire. \nThe government attempted to impose a tough media blackout on the deployment, citing the security reasons following the execution of a South Korean translator by Islamic militants in Iraq in June. \nThe ruling Uri Party, which has a majority in parliament, has pledged to endorse an extended mission by South Korean troops in Iraq. \n"An absolute majority, including both ruling and opposition lawmakers, supported the dispatch of troops to Iraq. I'm sure they will approve a motion for an extended mission," Uri Party chairman Lee Bu-Young said last week. \nThe conservative opposition Grand National Party, the second biggest party in parliament, has also approved the troop deployment.
MORE RESOURCES: The prime minister announced an extra A$1.1bn in health-related spending, of which A$150m would be spent on domestic violence support services Australia yesterday announced a nearly US$100 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence after support services reported a spike in coronavirus-related family abuse. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a 75 percent surge in Google searches for help during the ongoing nationwide shutdown of non-essential services to curb the spread of COVID-19. Women’s Safety, a domestic violence charity in Australia’s most populous New South Wales state, has reported that more than 40 percent of workers had seen an increase in client numbers, with more than one-third of cases directly linked to the virus outbreak. In neighboring Victoria, women’s support
With their health in jeopardy and customers evaporating, sex workers in France are struggling as COVID-19 threatens their livelihoods — and there is no safety net in sight. Many are being forced onto the streets as they lose their incomes, at a time when police are enforcing government orders for people to stay at home. France has been in lockdown for a week, with only essential trips outside allowed, in a bid to stop the coronavirus spreading. “I have no choice since I work on the street and I travel to people’s homes,” said Pamela, a 46-year-old prostitute from the southwestern city of
BOMA ARMY BASE: An official said military vehicles were destroyed and captured munitions were carried off in speedboats in the surprise early-morning attack Boko Haram has killed 92 troops in a seven-hour attack on an island army base, the group’s deadliest assault yet on Chad’s armed forces. Chadian President Idriss Deby told local television that he traveled to the scene of the attack on Tuesday to pay tribute to the 92 dead troops, saying it was the first time so many troops had been lost. The attack early on Monday in Boma is part of an expanding militant campaign in the vast, marshy Lake Chad area, where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria converge. Boko Haram launched an insurgency in Nigeria in 2009, before
The Great Barrier Reef has experienced a third mass coral bleaching event in five years, according to Terry Hughes, the scientist carrying out aerial surveys over hundreds of individual reefs. With three days of a nine-day survey to go, “we know this is a mass bleaching event and it’s a severe one,” Hughes told reporters. It follows the worst outbreaks of mass bleaching on record killing about half the shallow water corals on the world’s biggest reef system in 2016 and 2017. Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and one of