Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 14th of December, 2017:-
1. 6,700 Rohingya killed in Myanmar in the first month, including 730 children: International aid group:-
Doctors Without Borders, a private charitable organization consisting of doctors and medical workers, said at least 6,700 Rohingyas have been killed in Myanmar in a month.
The aid group which provides assistance to people in distress across the world said: “At least 6,700 Rohingya, in the most conservative estimations, are estimated to have been killed, including at least 730 children below the age of five years.”
The aid group said it had released the figures based on a survey it had conducted.
The UNHCR in its report had said earlier at least 625,000 Rohingyas had arrived in Bangladesh since August 25th as the Myanmar Army allegedly started atrocities against the minority Rohingyas.
Speaking at the United Nations, Pramila Patten, special envoy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said on Wednesday that United Nations Security Council members should visit Myanmar to investigate reports of large-scale violence by the Army against Rohingyas.
“Some witnesses reported women and girls being tied to either a rock or a tree before multiple soldiers raped them to death,” Patten told the Security Council.
Patten said that a Security Council resolution should demand an immediate end to violations against civilians in Rakhine state and outlining measures to hold the perpetrators accountable “would send an important signal.”
Meanwhile, councilors in Dublin on Wednesday voted to revoke an award given to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to protest against her handling of violence against Rohingyas, Irish media reported.
The vast majority of councilors backed the move to revoke the “Freedom of the City of Dublin” award, with 59 votes in favor, two against and one abstention, broadcaster RTE said.
2. 18 dead in suicide attack on Somalia’s police academy, Al Shabaab claims responsibility:-
A suicide bomber from Somalia’s Shabaab insurgents killed 18 police officers and wounded 15 others on Thursday when he blew himself up inside the country’s main police academy, the force’s chief said.
Witnesses said the police were gathered in a square ahead of their early morning parade when the bomber attacked in the capital Mogadishu.
The assault is the latest in a decade-old battle by the jihadists to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
“Eighteen members of the police were killed, and 15 others were wounded, after a suicide bomber blew himself inside the academy,” acting police chief General Muktar Hussein Afrah told reporters.
The attacker disguised himself in a police uniform to access the camp, Afrah said.
“Some of the police were already in lines, and others were gathering, when the man in police uniform entered and blew himself up,” said bystander Hussein Ali, describing the carnage.
Medics and ambulance teams rushed to take the wounded to hospital and collect the corpses.
Officers said the toll could have been far worse had the attacker detonated his bomb in the center of the crowd.
“The bomber could have inflicted more casualties if he could have managed to reach the midpoint where most people were,” police officer Ibrahim Mohamed said.
Later Thursday, police attended the funerals of some of their colleagues killed in the attack.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab claimed responsibility and put the toll at 27 dead.
3. Disney to buy Fox film, TV businesses for $52 billion:-
Walt Disney Co on Thursday agreed to buy film, TV and international assets from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $52.4 billion as Disney seeks greater scale to tackle growing competition from Netflix and Amazon.com.
Under the terms of the all-stock deal, Disney acquires significant assets from Fox, including the studios that produce the blockbuster Marvel superhero pictures and the “Avatar” franchise, as well as hit TV shows such as “The Simpsons”.
Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each share held. This translates to a value of $29.50 per share for the assets that Disney is buying, Reuters calculations based on Disney’s Wednesday market closing price show.
Immediately prior to the acquisition, Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.
The deal ends more than half a century of expansion by Murdoch, 86, who turned a single Australian newspaper he inherited from his father at the age of 21 into one of the world’s most important global news and film conglomerates.
Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, 66, will extend his tenure through the end of 2021 to oversee the integration of the Fox businesses. He has already postponed his retirement from Disney three times, saying in March he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.
Disney will also assume about $13.7 billion of Fox’s net debt in the deal.
Through Fox’s stake in the Hulu video streaming service, Disney will assume majority control of one of Netflix Inc’s main competitors. Hulu is also partially owned by Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc.
4. Iraq hangs 38 members of IS, Al-Qaeda for terrorism:-
Iraq hanged 38 jihadists belonging to the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda for terrorism offenses on Thursday in the southern city of Nasiriyah, provincial authorities said.
It was the largest number of executions in Iraq on a single day since September 25 when 42 people were put to death in the same prison.
“The prison administration executed on Thursday in the presence of Justice Minister Haidar al-Zameli, in Nasiriyah prison, 38 death row prisoners belonging to Al-Qaeda or Daesh (IS) accused of terrorist activities,” said Dakhel Kazem, a senior official in the provincial council.
They were all Iraqis but one also had Swedish citizenship, a prison source said.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday declared victory against IS after a three-year campaign by government forces backed by a US-led coalition to retake territory seized by the jihadists.
Rights watchdog Amnesty International has voiced repeated concerns about the use of the death penalty in Iraq, which it ranks as one of the world’s top executioners behind China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
In a report released on December 5, Human Rights Watch criticised both Iraq’s central government and the autonomous Kurdish authorities over mass trials of suspected IS jihadists.
HRW said the authorities “appear to be prosecuting all ISIS (IS) suspects in their custody under counterterrorism laws, primarily for ISIS membership, and not focusing on specific actions or crimes that may have been committed”.
The New York-based group identified 7,374 cases of suspects charged under this law since 2014 and put at 20,000 the total number of people imprisoned for suspected IS membership.
It expressed concerns that the broad prosecution of those affiliated with IS “in any way, no matter how minimal, could impede future community reconciliation and reintegration”.
“Iraqi justice is failing to distinguish between the culpability of doctors who protected lives under ISIS rule and those responsible for crimes against humanity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director.
HRW said it regretted what it called the inconsistent application of a 2016 law granting amnesty to suspects who can show they joined IS or any extremist group against their will and have not committed a crime.
“Execution of fighters who surrender or are hors de combat is a war crime,” HRW added.
5. Trump’s defense bill to reimburse $700 million to Pak for supporting Afghanistan operation: Report:-
President Trump signed the defense policy bill on Wednesday authorizing $700 billion military spending for the coming fiscal which included reimbursement for Pakistan for its support to US troops involved in military operations in Afghanistan.
US Congress had passed the National Defence Authorisation Act(NDAA) early last month, allowing up to $700m in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan, Dawn newspaper reported.
The Pakistan daily added that half the amount has been withheld and can only be released if the US secretary of defense James Mattis certifies that Pakistan is taking “demonstrable steps to curb the Haqqani terrorist network.”
Former defense secretary Ashton Carter including James Mattis had refused to certify Pakistan earlier over its progress to eliminate the Haqqani Network which the US says is actively involved in terror activities in Afganistan.
The defense law requires Pentagon to monitor Washington’s security assistance to Pakistan and ensure that it does not use military aid to support militant groups, the report said.
In the earlier version of the bill, US authorities had included both the Haqqani terrorist network and Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) which India accuses is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
However, in the final version of the bill, US authorities dropped LeT from the list.
The NDAA 2018 also expressed concern about the alleged persecution of various political or religious groups in Pakistan, including Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, Sindhis, Hazaras and the Baloch, the Pakistan daily said, adding the bill urged Mattis to ensure that Pakistan does not use “any assistance provided by the United States to persecute minority groups.”