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Syria conflict: ‘Chemical attack’ in Idlib kills 58

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At least 35 people have been killed and 60 wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke.

Local opposition activists and news sites posted photos of those they said had died of asphyxiation.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

However, an investigation by the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded last October that government forces had used chlorine as a weapon at least three times between 2014 and 2015.

It also found Islamic State militants had used the blister agent sulphur mustard.

Map of Syria showing location of Khan Sheikhoun

The Syrian Observatory cited medical sources in Khan Sheikhoun as reporting that the symptoms among those affected by Tuesday morning’s attack included fainting, vomiting and foaming at the mouth.

The victims were mostly civilians, and included at least nine children, it said.

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The pro-opposition Edlib Media Centre (EMC) posted a large number of photographs of people receiving treatment, as well as images showing what appeared to be the bodies of at least seven children in the back of a pick-up truck.

It was not immediately possible to verify the images’ authenticity.

Idlib province, where the air strikes took place, is largely controlled by an alliance of rebel factions and the al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

The region is regularly targeted in air strikes by the government and its ally Russia, as well as the US-led multinational coalition against IS.

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Motherland News

Ghana: video of police assault on nursing mother goes viral

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Ghana’s social media space – Facebook and Twitter – has been buzzing with a call for the arrest of a police officer for assaulting a nursing mother.

A viral video shows the said officer in what starts like a tussle with the woman in a banking hall. Subsequently, he is seen hitting the woman with an umbrella, punching and slapping her on the face.

Reports indicated that the woman, a client of the savings and loans company, where the incident occured had arrived when the company had closed.

She ostensibly got in despite the close of business and refused to leave till she could withdraw a sum of 250 cedis ($50). Social media users are calling for the immediate arrest of the police officer. 

Local media portals also report that the police heirachy has confirmed that a probe had been opened into the alleged incident and that due process was going to be pursued.

The video continues to be widely shared on Facebook with some prominent media personalities joining the calls for justice for the woman.

 

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Motherland News

Trump extends Somali immigrants’ stay in US

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Somalis living in the United States under protected status have been given permission by the Trump administration to remain in the country for at least another 18 months, because of ongoing violence in the North African nation.

At least 500 Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.

 

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