Reported Security Incidents
About 30 armed men attack the offices of a Kurdish television channel, NRT, and burn it to the ground. The station had just recently gone on the air and has been covering the demonstrations in the region, including violence against protesters. It's editorial leadership has been critical of the Kurdish regional government. AFP has additional details.
Shaqlawa, near Arbil
The Kurdish opposition Goran movement accuses the Kurdish Democratic Party of setting a fire that destroyed it's headquarters in Shaqlawa on Saturday. The local authorities deny this and say the fire was accidental.
Yahya Barzanji of the AP discusses the unrest in Kurdistan. It is important to understand that the dispute in Kurdistan is not with the government in Baghdad, which has no sway in Kurdistan, but with the monopoly on power of the two parties which have long controlled the region. The Goran movement, which has arisen to challenge them, is the focus of both protests and retaliation.
Other News of the Day
CNN, in a non-bylined story, discusses the recent protests in Iraq. In addition to the unrest in Kurdistan, efforts are underway to organize a large protest in Baghdad for next Friday, following a relatively small demonstration on the 18th. PM al-Maliki has said a permit will likely be issued, but also refers to unnamed foreign influences on the demonstrators.
Iran will increase its exports of electricity to Iraq.
Here's an example of why lots of Kurds are upset:
ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan: Nearly eight months after the Independent Human Rights Commission Law was passed by the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament, the commission is yet to be formed. The Ministry of Human Rights (MHR) has been defunct for 16 months, but yet the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continues to pay the salaries of its 370 former employees. The KRG also pays rent for the former MHR building in Erbil, although the ministry is no longer in existence. So far, the total amount of the ministry’s salaries and rent since its disbandment is 2.5 billion Iraqi dinars (approximately US$2.1 million).
Tavga Omar, former director general of the MHR, continues to occupy her position in the non-existent ministry. She told Rudaw that Kurdistan’s Human Rights Commission (HRC), which was endorsed by the parliament, had not yet been set up and the former ministry’s departments had not actually been disbanded in practice.
Ms Omar said the spending of the 2.5 billion dinars was remiss of both the government and parliament, and was a “waste.”
The governor of Kunar Province says that NATO attacks, mostly air strikes, have killed 63 civilians in recent days. Note: Other accounts give the number as 64. Governor Fazlullah Wahidi says many women and children are among the dead. NATO claims to have killed "insurgents," but is investigating.
Death toll in the attack on Saturday on the Kabul Bank branch in Jalalabad now stands at 38. Five armed men entered the bank as soldiers were collecting their pay and started shooting. Four of them detonated suicide vests, and one was captured. "Among those killed in Saturday's attack in Jalalabad were 21 members of the Afghan national security forces, including 13 policemen and seven soldiers. The other 17 killed were civilians. A total of 71 people, mostly civilians, were wounded."
France announces one of its soldiers was killed and two injured on Saturday by an anti-tank weapon, near Kabul.