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News In Brief

Friday, January 12, 2018

8 earthquakes strike along Iran-Iraq border, rattle Baghdad
A series of eight earthquakes hit the Iran-Iraq border area and rattled Baghdad today, apparently the aftershocks of a temblor that struck the mountainous region in November and killed over 530 people. Four people suffered minor injuries in Iran, state television reported. The US Geological Survey said seven of the quakes struck near the Iraqi city of Mandali, 120 kilometers northeast of the Iraqi capital. Mandali is right on the border between the two nations. The eighth hit near Mehran in western Iran, about 90 kilometers southeast of Mandali along the sparsely populated Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Pak scribe vows not to be cowed down after escaping kidnapping attempt
"I shall not be silenced," said a prominent Pakistani journalist and a vocal critic of Pakistan's powerful military who was assaulted and threatened with death by armed men who tried to abduct him. Taha Siddiqui, the Pakistani bureau chief of Indian television channel WION, said he was attacked by 10-12 men while he was going to the airport in Rawalpindi but managed to escape before being kidnapped, suffering minor injuries during the struggle, the DawnNews reported. "It is a miracle that I am still alive...But I am in deep shock," he told reporters last night.

Julian Assange denied diplomatic status by UK
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid arrest and extradition to the US, was today denied diplomatic status by the UK government. The anti-secrecy group's chief has been based at the Ecuador embassy in central London since 2012 after he lost appeals against sexual assault charges in Sweden. The request for diplomatic status was made on behalf of the 46-year-old campaigner by the Ecuadorean government, which has reportedly issued a passport to the Australian national after he had sought political asylum from the South American country five and a half years ago."The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter,” said a spokesperson for the (FCO).

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