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Clashes Erupt After Iraqi Shiite Cleric Resigns, 5 Dead

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By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and SAMYA KULLAB, Associated Press

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BAGHDAD (AP) — An influential Shiite cleric introduced Monday he would resign from Iraqi politics, prompting a whole lot of his indignant followers to storm the federal government palace and sparking clashes with safety forces through which not less than 5 protesters have been killed.

Protesters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr pulled down the cement boundaries outdoors the federal government palace with ropes and breached the palace gates. Many rushed into the lavish salons and marbled halls of the palace, a key assembly place for Iraqi heads of state and international dignitaries.

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Iraq’s navy introduced a nation-wide curfew and the caretaker premier suspended Cabinet periods in response to the violence. Medical officers stated not less than 15 protesters have been wounded by gunfire and a dozen extra have been injured by tear fuel and bodily altercations with riot police.

Iraq’s authorities has been deadlocked since al-Sadr’s get together received the biggest share of seats in October parliamentary elections however not sufficient to safe a majority authorities. His refusal to barter along with his Iran-backed Shiite rivals and subsequent exit from the talks has catapulted the nation into political uncertainty and volatility amid intensifying intra-Shiite wrangling.

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Iraq’s majority Muslim inhabitants is cut up into two sects, Shiites and Sunnis. Under Saddam Hussein, the Shiite have been oppressed till the U.S.-led invasion reversed the political order. Now, the Shiites are preventing amongst themselves, with the dispute centering round energy and state sources but additionally affect over the Shiite road.

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To additional his political pursuits al-Sadr has wrapped his rhetoric with a nationalist and reform agenda that resonates powerfully amongst his broad grassroots base who hail from Iraq’s poorest sectors of society and have traditionally been shut out from the political system.

Many have been first followers of his father, a revered determine in Shiite Islam. They are calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections without the participation of Iran-backed Shiite teams, which they see as accountable for the established order.

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During Monday’s clashes, Saraya Salam, a militia aligned with al-Sadr gathered within the capital’s Tahrir Square to “shield” protesters, considered one of its commanders stated.

An Associated Press photographer heard gunshots being fired within the capital and noticed a number of protesters bleeding and being carried away. It was not instantly clear who fired the gunshots. A senior medical official confirmed not less than 5 protesters have been killed by gunfire.

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Protests additionally broke out within the Shiite-majority southern provinces, with al-Sadr’s supporters burning tires and blocking roads within the oil-rich province of Basra and a whole lot demonstrating outdoors the governorate constructing in Missan.

Iran considers intra-Shiite disharmony as a menace towards its affect in Iraq and has repeatedly tried to dealer dialogue with al-Sadr.

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In July, Al-Sadr’s supporters broke into the parliament to discourage his rivals within the Coordination Framework, an alliance of largely Iran-aligned Shiite events, from forming a authorities. Hundreds have been staging a sit-in outdoors the constructing for over 4 weeks. His bloc has additionally resigned from parliament. The Framework is led by al-Sadr’s chief nemesis, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

This shouldn’t be the primary time al-Sadr, who has referred to as for early elections and the dissolution of parliament, has introduced his retirement from politics — and lots of dismissed Monday’s transfer as one other bluff to realize better leverage towards his rivals amid a worsening stalemate. The cleric has used the tactic on earlier events when political developments didn’t go his means.

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But many are involved that it is a dangerous gambit and are fearful the way it will impression Iraq’s fragile political local weather. By stepping out of the political course of, al-Sadr is giving his followers, most disenfranchised from the political system, the inexperienced gentle to behave as they see match.

Al-Sadr derives his political energy from a big grassroots following, however he additionally instructions a militia. He additionally maintains an excellent diploma of affect inside Iraq’s state establishments via the appointments of key civil servant positions. His Iran-backed rivals even have militia teams.

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Iraq’s navy swiftly introduced a nation-wide curfew starting at 7 p.m. It referred to as on the cleric’s supporters to withdraw instantly from the closely fortified authorities zone and to follow self-restraint “to stop clashes or the spilling of Iraqi blood,” in keeping with an announcement.

“The safety forces affirm their accountability to guard authorities establishments, worldwide missions, private and non-private properties,” the assertion stated.

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Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi additionally demanded that al-Sadr name on his followers to withdraw from authorities establishments.

The U.N. mission in Iraq stated Monday’s protests have been an “extraordinarily harmful escalation,” and referred to as on demonstrators to vacate all authorities buildings to permit the caretaker authorities to proceed running the state.

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It urged all to stay peaceable and “chorus from acts that might result in an unstoppable chain of occasions.” “The very survival of the state is at stake,” the assertion stated.

Al-Sadr introduced his withdrawal from politics in a tweet, and ordered the closure of his get together workplaces. Religious and cultural establishments will stay open, it stated.

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The true motivations behind al-Sadr’s announcement gave the impression to be a response to the retirement of Shiite non secular chief Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, who counts a lot of al-Sadr’s supporters as followers.

In a shock announcement Sunday, al-Haeri stated he can be stepping down as a non secular authority for well being causes and referred to as on his followers to throw their allegiance behind Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, somewhat than the Shiite non secular middle in Iraq’s holy metropolis of Najaf.

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The transfer was a blow to al-Sadr, who regardless of harboring ambitions to be a non secular authority lacks the scholarly credentials to be an ayatollah. Al-Haeri, who resides within the Iranian holy metropolis of Qom, as soon as supplied him with the legitimacy he lacked by designating al-Sadr as his consultant in Iraq. He lower ties shortly after with the cleric, however continued to benefit from the assist of his followers.

By calling on his followers to aspect with Khamenei, al-Haeri introduced on a disaster of legitimacy for al-Sadr.

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In his tweet, al-Sadr stated al-Haeri’s stepping down “was not out of his personal volition.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Warriors 0-6 on Road, Fall to Pelicans With 4 Starters Out

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By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The defending champion Golden State Warriors fell to 0-6 on the street, shedding 114-105 to Brandon Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night time with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins sidelined.

Ingram scored 26 factors in his return from a four-game absence due to a concussion and reserve Larry Nance Jr. scored 20 factors for the Pelicans, together with a number of fourth-quarter dunks that saved Golden State at bay. CJ McCollum scored 20 factors and Zion Williamson added 16 for New Orleans.

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Jordan Poole had 20 factors and 9 assists for the Warriors. Kevon Looney was the one common starter in uniform for Golden State’s second sport in two nights on the finish of a winless five-game journey.

The Warriors are 3-7 total. Among Western Conference groups, solely Houston (1-8) has extra losses.

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Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins all had been scratched after taking part in the earlier night time in a loss at Orlando.

The Warriors will not be taking part in Thompson on back-to-back nights due to his anterior cruciate ligament and Achilles tendon accidents in 2019 and 2020. Green is beneath related limitations due to a again damage final season. Curry was being rested due to elbow soreness and Wiggins due to a sore left foot.

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A beginning lineup that as an alternative included Poole and fellow guard Moses Moody, together with forwards Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga, made the sport aggressive into the fourth quarter.

Ty Jerome, who scored 18 factors, hit a 3 to pull the Warriors inside 99-96 earlier than the Pelicans steadily pulled away through the closing six minutes.

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Trey Murphy III’s 3-pointer capped a 7-0 Pelicans spurt that started with Nance’s dunk and layup and made it 111-101 with two minutes to go. Ingram, who additionally had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and two blocks, obtained a standing ovation when he checked out of the sport within the closing minute.

New Orleans led by as many as 11 within the second quarter when Jose Alvarado intercepted Poole’s go and located Williamson for a breakaway, windmill dunk.

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But the Warriors chipped away and trailed 50-49 on James Wiseman’s putback dunk.

Nance scored the ultimate 4 factors of the quarter on a finger roll and dunk, placing the Pelicans up 61-54 at halftime.

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Warriors: Kuminga completed with 18 factors, whereas Lamb scored 16 and Moody had 14. … Went 12 of 32 from 3-point vary. … In addition to the 4 starters who sat, G/F Andre Iguodala (hip) and G Donte DiVincenzo (hamstring) remained inactive. Iguodala has but to play this season, whereas DiVicenzo hasn’t performed since Oct. 23.

Pelicans: Alvarado and Murphy every scored 10 factors and every hit three 3s to assist New Orleans go 12 of 29 from lengthy vary … Shot 50.6% total (41 of 81) and outrebounded Golden State 51-36.

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated he appreciates that followers paid “good money” to see gamers on his staff who sat out with the objective of preserving their long-term well being.

“Ultimately the gamers’ well being is the No. 1 consider our staff’s success and even our followers’ satisfaction in the long term,” Kerr stated.

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He added that whereas some absences are unpredictable, “it will be smart” for followers to research schedules of groups they need to see and handle expectations when these groups are taking part in on consecutive nights on the finish of a visit, because the Warriors had been.

“Especially once you get a staff with gamers who’ve previous accidents like we do, or guys who’re superior age-wise,” Kerr stated. “I apologize to any followers on the market who had been hoping to see these guys.”

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Warriors: Host Sacramento on Monday.

Pelicans: Visit Atlanta on Saturday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Twitter Slashes Its Staff as Musk Era Takes Hold on Platform

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By BARBARA ORTUTAY and MATT O’BRIEN, AP Technology Writers

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Twitter started widespread layoffs Friday as new proprietor Elon Musk overhauls the corporate, elevating grave issues about chaos enveloping the social media platform and its capacity to struggle disinformation simply days forward of the U.S. midterm elections.

The pace and size of the cuts additionally opened Musk and Twitter to lawsuits. At least one was filed alleging Twitter violated federal regulation by not offering fired workers the required discover.

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The San Francisco-based firm informed staff by e mail Thursday that they’d study Friday if they’d been laid off. About half of the corporate’s employees of seven,500 was let go, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security & integrity, confirmed in a tweet.

Musk tweeted late Friday that there was no alternative however to chop the jobs “when the corporate is dropping over $4M/day.” He didn’t present particulars on the each day losses on the firm and mentioned workers who misplaced their jobs have been supplied three months’ pay as a severance.

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No different social media platform comes near Twitter as a spot the place public businesses and different important service suppliers — election boards, police departments, utilities, faculties and news retailers — preserve individuals reliably knowledgeable. Many worry Musk’s layoffs will intestine it and render it lawless.

Roth mentioned the corporate’s front-line moderation employees was the group the least impacted by the job cuts.

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He added that Twitter’s “efforts on election integrity — together with dangerous misinformation that may suppress the vote and combatting state-backed info operations — stay a prime precedence.”

Musk, in the meantime, tweeted that “Twitter’s sturdy dedication to content material moderation stays completely unchanged.”

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But a Twitter worker who spoke with The Associated Press Friday mentioned it is going to be so much more durable to get that work executed beginning subsequent week after dropping so many colleagues.

“This will influence our capacity to offer help for elections, positively,” mentioned the worker who spoke on the situation of anonymity out of issues for job safety.

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The worker mentioned there’s no “concrete sense of route” aside from what Musk says publicly on Twitter.

“I comply with his tweets they usually have an effect on how we prioritize our work,” mentioned the worker. “It’s a really wholesome indicator of what to prioritize.”

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Several workers who tweeted about dropping their jobs mentioned Twitter eradicated their complete groups, together with one centered on human rights and world conflicts, one other checking Twitter’s algorithms for bias in how tweets get amplified, and an engineering crew devoted to creating the social platform extra accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Eddie Perez, a Twitter civic integrity crew supervisor who give up in September, mentioned he fears the layoffs so near the midterms may permit disinformation to “unfold like wildfire” in the course of the post-election vote-counting interval specifically.

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“I’ve a tough time believing that it doesn’t have a cloth influence on their capacity to handle the quantity of disinformation on the market,” he mentioned, including that there merely might not be sufficient workers to beat it again.

President Joe Biden, at a marketing campaign occasion in Illinois Friday night time, mentioned: “Now what are all of us anxious about? Elon Musk, who goes out and buys an outfit that sends and spews lies all the world over. … How can we count on children to have the ability to perceive what’s at stake?”

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Twitter’s workers have been anticipating layoffs since Musk took the helm. He fired prime executives, together with CEO Parag Agrawal, and eliminated the corporate’s board of administrators on his first day as proprietor.

As the emailed notices went out, many Twitter workers took to the platform to specific help for one another — typically merely tweeting blue coronary heart emojis to indicate its blue chicken brand — and salute emojis in replies to one another.

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A Twitter supervisor mentioned many workers discovered they’d been laid off after they may now not log into the corporate’s methods. The supervisor mentioned the way in which the layoffs have been carried out confirmed a “lack of care and thoughtfulness.” The supervisor, who spoke to the AP on the situation of anonymity out of issues for job safety, mentioned managers weren’t given any discover about who can be getting laid off.

“For me as a supervisor, it’s been excruciating as a result of I needed to discover out about what my crew was going to seem like by tweets and thru texting and calling individuals,” the worker mentioned. “That’s a very arduous approach to care in your individuals. And managers at Twitter care so much about their individuals.”

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A coalition of civil rights teams escalated their calls Friday for manufacturers to pause promoting buys on the platform. The layoffs are significantly harmful forward of the elections, the teams warned, and for transgender customers and different teams dealing with violence impressed by hate speech that proliferates online.

In a tweet Friday, Musk blamed activists for what he described as a “huge drop in income” since he took over Twitter late final week.

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Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg mentioned there may be “little Musk can say to appease advertisers when he’s maintaining the corporate in a continuing state of uncertainty and turmoil, and seems detached to Twitter workers and the regulation.”

“Musk wants advertisers greater than they want him,” she mentioned. “Pulling advertisements from Twitter is a fast and painless resolution for many manufacturers.”

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A lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court docket in San Francisco on behalf of 1 worker who was laid off and three others who have been locked out of their work accounts. It alleges Twitter violated the regulation by not offering the required discover.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification statute requires employers with not less than 100 staff to reveal layoffs involving 500 or extra workers, no matter whether or not an organization is publicly traded or privately held, as Twitter is now.

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The layoffs affected Twitter’s workplaces all over the world. In the United Kingdom, it could be required by regulation to offer workers discover, mentioned Emma Bartlett, a accomplice specializing in employment and partnership regulation at CM Murray LLP.

The pace of the layoffs may additionally open Musk and Twitter as much as discrimination claims if it seems, for example, that they disproportionally affected ladies, individuals of shade or older staff.

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AP Business Writers Mae Anderson, Alexandra Olson and Ken Sweet in New York, James Pollard in Columbia, S.C., Frank Bajak in Boston and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this story.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Settlement Reached in Suits Over FBI Posing as AP Reporter

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By LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will get a $145,000 settlement following a pair of lawsuits filed after an FBI agent posed as a reporter for The Associated Press and created a faux story.

The long-running Freedom of Information Act instances led to appeals court docket selections that may assist bolster entry to public information, stated Adam Marshall, an lawyer for the group. The instances additionally make clear FBI brokers posing as members of the media, a tactic that free press advocates say undermines media credibility and blurs strains between legislation enforcement and the press.

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The company did not comply with its personal guidelines over such undercover operations when an agent posed as an AP reporter and despatched a link to a faux story in an investigation in Washington state in 2007, in keeping with paperwork uncovered in the lawsuit filed together with The Associated Press.

Then-FBI Director James Comey known as the approach “correct and acceptable” below FBI pointers on the time, although he stated it might require higher-level approvals when the incident got here to gentle seven years later, in 2014. No precise story was revealed and it led to an arrest, he maintained.

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The agent posing as an AP reporter despatched a link to the faux article to a 15-year-old suspected of creating bomb threats at a highschool. When the teenager clicked the link, a monitoring instrument revealed his pc’s location and helped brokers affirm his id.

The FBI declined to remark Friday.

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Kathleen Carroll, then government editor of the AP, stated in 2014 that the FBI’s “unacceptable techniques undermine AP and the important distinction between the federal government and the press.” A letter signed by two dozen news organizations known as the revelations “inexcusable” and the Reporter’s Committee particularly known as out using the AP’s title as “cowl for delivery of digital surveillance software program.”

Lauren Easton, an Associated Press spokeswoman, declined extra remark Friday.

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The lawsuits had been filed as a part of an effort to get information about FBI news-media impersonations, and finally resulted in vital court docket selections about how far businesses should go in looking for requested paperwork and the requirements they need to meet in order to withhold paperwork, Marshall stated. The settlement will cowl lawyer’s charges and prices.

“This has proven that there are important, regarding and ongoing points with respect to federal legislation enforcement impersonation of the press in the United States,” Marshall stated. The instances have additionally “proven that the Reporters Committee and The Associated Press had been dedicated to discovering out as a lot as we might about what occurred right here for the general public to know.”

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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