Live: Tuesday’s news – as it happens

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Sulaymaniyah governor's office issues warning against counterfeit baby bottles

A public health alert has been issued by the Sulaymaniyah Governor's Office, warning against counterfeit baby bottles that pose a significant risk to infant health and well-being. The alert followed the confiscation of a substantial number of counterfeit bottles that misleadingly resembled the renowned "AVENT" brand.

The counterfeit bottles have been identified to have a critical flaw in their design. Contrary to the authentic bottles, which are marked for 30 ml of water, the counterfeit versions are marked for only 15 ml. This incorrect measurement could lead to the improper mixing of baby formula, causing potential health risks to infants, such as an imbalance in essential minerals like sodium and potassium, and inadequate intake of necessary proteins and calories.

Hiwa Salih, a representative of the Health Directorate, expressed concerns that the improper mixing due to the counterfeit bottles could lead to issues primarily affecting the digestive system of infants and hindering their overall development and growth.

In a robust response, the Sulaymaniyah Governor's Office has assured that all seized counterfeit bottles will be appropriately destroyed, and legal actions will commence against those responsible for distributing these fraudulent items.

The office strongly urges parents and caregivers to exercise caution and to report any suspicious baby bottles in the market. They encourage the public to assist in safeguarding the community by reporting any counterfeit products directly to the governor’s office.

During an event marking the anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution on Women Peace and Security (WPS), SCR 1325, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani expressed his commitment to enhancing the role of women in the government.

Barzani underscored the KRG;s endeavors to combat violations against women’s rights, focusing on eradicating marginalization and promoting women’s participation in state-building and governance.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government is working to further strengthen and develop the role and position of women in government," Barzani stated. He also highlighted plans to allocate a specific budget for implementing the resolution and UN action plan, reiterating the need for a collective effort to implement these strategic initiatives.

Adopted in 2000, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is groundbreaking in promoting women’s involvement in peace and security efforts. It calls for the prevention of violence against women in conflict zones and emphasizes the importance of women’s participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction.

Despite progress since 2003, women's rights in the Kurdistan Region continue to be under threat by systematic, institutional, societal, tribal and religious pressures.


Italian and Iraqi PMs discuss Gaza and bilateral relations

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani and his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, held a telephonic conversation discussing the critical humanitarian situation in Gaza and bilateral relations between Iraq and Italy, according to a statement from Sudani's office.

During the call, Sudani expressed deep concerns about the escalating crisis in Gaza, highlighting the tragic conditions faced by the Palestinian people due to recent conflicts. He emphasized the urgent necessity for the international community to take decisive actions to curb the escalation of violence, promote peace, and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected areas. 

Prime Minister Sudani reiterated Iraq’s unwavering position on the Palestinian cause, urging global powers to take responsible actions to address the humanitarian crisis and prevent further expansion of the conflict. 

Italy’s Prime Minister Meloni expressed her country's apprehensions regarding the distressing events unfolding in Gaza, voicing Italy’s commitment to contribute towards efforts in de-escalating the situation. Meloni lauded the Iraqi security services for their role in maintaining stability and security, reflecting on the strategic partnership between Italy and Iraq. 

Besides the Gaza crisis, the two leaders also discussed ways to bolster bilateral relations between Iraq and Italy. An invitation was extended to Prime Minister Sudani to visit Rome, which he accepted, intending to fulfill as soon as feasible.

The UN's discussions on the situation in Gaza indicate a concerning humanitarian crisis. Top UN officials have urged the Security Council to adopt an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, citing alarming conditions such as the breakdown of civil order and significant damage to health infrastructure in Gaza. The Council has faced challenges in reaching a consensus on resolutions addressing the crisis due to vetoes from major powers.

Roj News reporter arrested in Duhok

Duhok security forces have detained Sulaiman Ahmad, a journalist from Rojnews Agency, accusing him of “covert and unauthorized activities for the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).” Ahmad had traveled from Syria's Kurdish region to attend his father’s funeral and was reportedly apprehended by KDP forces during his return journey.

Rojnews Agency and Chatra Company allege that Ahmed, an Arabic section reporter for Roj News, has been held by the KDP for over a week. They assert that Ahmad had formally traveled to Rojava, Syria, on October 1 to attend his father’s funeral and be with his family. However, upon his return to the Kurdistan Region through the Fishkhabour gate, he was arrested by security forces without any given explanation.

Security officials have labeled Ahmad a "PKK operative," alleging that his travel was related to "clandestine and unauthorized activities for the PKK," disassociating his detention from his journalistic work. Rojnews is recognized for its close ties with the PKK.

"Sulaiman Ahmed has admitted to the charges during the interrogation, and legal proceedings will follow accordingly," stated the police. 

Roj News and Chatra Company have criticized the statements by Duhok security forces as “deceptive and unfounded,” accusing them of implicitly threatening punitive actions against the journalist, while not acknowledging his alleged abduction.

"We firmly oppose and denounce the accusations and distortions propagated by the KDP-affiliated security forces in Duhok. It appears that the KDP intends to obfuscate the facts surrounding this case, akin to the circumstances involving other detainees in Badinan," said Roj News.

Sulaiman Ahmed, originally from Rojava, has resided in the Kurdistan Region for the past five years, according to Peregraf.
Not to be outdone by the KRG's recent digitalization efforts, the Iraqi government has unveiled a four-stage plan to digitalize government, a consultant said. Mohammed Ismat detailed the plan in an interview with the official government newspaper, Al-Sabah, on Tuesday. Hat tip to +964 for the translation and summary.

The initiative begins with the launch of an official government website, offering information on services, laws and procedures, and facilitating citizen communication via government email addresses. Security agencies will focus on protecting data from potential breaches throughout the process.

In the second phase, the government aims to bring essential services online, such as application processes and official certificates, as well as platforms for citizen complaints and suggestions.

Ismat said the third phase would expand e-government services to various sectors, including health, education and transportation, while also developing content management systems for data updates.

"The fourth phase involves community participation platforms for collecting citizen opinions and guiding government decisions," Ismat said, adding that the phase will also include the publication of government information and decisions, and establish channels for citizen communication via social media.

Turkey says it has killed PKK 'logistical ringleader' 

The Turkish Intelligence Organization (MIT) has reportedly "neutralized" Cahit Aktay, alleged logistical ringleader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), in an operation in the Kurdistan Region, according to the state-controlled Anadolu Agency. Turkey commonly uses the term "neutralized" to refer to adversaries they have killed, captured, or forced to surrender, particularly in operations against the PKK.

Aktay, also known by the codename Huseyin Piran, had purportedly been involved with the PKK since 2008, holding various positions within the organization over the years. He was implicated by Turkey as the 'mastermind' behind several attacks, including a 2016 incident in Turkey’s southeastern Sirnak province that resulted in the death of three soldiers and two village guards.

The "pinpoint" operation part of Operation Claw-Lock, a campaign launched by Turkey in 2022, aimed at dismantling PKK strongholds in parts of the Kurdistan Region.

The operation reportedly focused on areas where the PKK, a group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU, is known to plan and execute attacks. The PKK has a significant presence in many mountainous areas in the Kurdistan Region.