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Over 50 Killed, Injured As Explosion Rocks Afghanistan

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Over 50 Killed, Injured As Explosion Rocks Afghanistan

A suspected bomb attack on worshippers at a Shiite mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 50 people Friday, in the bloodiest assault since US forces left the country.

Scores more victims from the minority community were wounded in the blast, which has not been claimed but appears designed to further destabilise Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

A medical source at the Kunduz Provincial Hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 wounded had been taken there, while a worker at a Doctors Without Borders hospital reported 15 dead and scores more wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier said an unknown number of people had been killed and injured when “an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shiite compatriots” in Kunduz.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group, arch-rival of the Taliban, has claimed similar recent atrocities.

Residents of Kunduz, the capital of a province of the same name, told AFP the blast hit a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, the most important of the week for Muslims.

Zalmai Alokzai, a local businessman who rushed to Kunduz Provincial Hospital to check whether doctors needed blood donations, described horrific scenes.

“Ambulances were going back to the incident scene to carry the dead,” he said.

An international aid worker at the MSF hospital in the city told AFP there were fears the death toll could rise.

“Hundreds of people are gathered at the main gate of the hospital and crying for their relatives but armed Taliban guys are trying to prevent gatherings in case another explosion is planned,” he said.

Graphic images shared on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed several bloodied bodies lying on the floor. Pictures showed plumes of smoke rising into the air over Kunduz.

Another video showed men shepherding people, including women and children, away from the scene. Frightened crowds thronged the streets.

Aminullah, an eyewitness whose brother was at the mosque, told AFP: “After I heard the explosion, I called my brother but he did not pick up.

“I walked towards the mosque and found my brother wounded and faint. We immediately took him to the MSF hospital.”

A female teacher in Kunduz told AFP the blast happened near her house, and several of her neighbours were killed. “It was a very terrifying incident,” she said.

“Many of our neighbours have been killed and wounded. “A 16-year-old neighbour was killed. They couldn’t find half of his body. Another neighbour who was 24 was killed as well.”

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Kunduz’s location makes it a key transit point for economic and trade exchanges with Tajikistan.

It was the scene of fierce battles as the Taliban fought their way back into power this year.

Often targeted by Sunni extremists, Shiite Muslims have suffered some of Afghanistan’s most violent assaults, with rallies bombed, hospitals targeted and commuters ambushed.

Shiites make up roughly 20 per cent of the Afghan population. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.

In October 2017, a lone IS suicide attacker struck a Shiite mosque as worshippers gathered for evening prayers in the west of Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 including women and children.

And in May this year, a series of bombings outside a school in the capital killed at least 85 people — mostly young girls. More than 300 were wounded in this attack on the Hazara community.

AFP

 

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BREAKING:Iranian President Raisi Dies In Helicopter Crash

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Iranian President Ebrahim Iraisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed dead in a helicopter crash.

The chopper, which also had Hossein Amirabdollahian, foreign minister; Malek Rahmati, governor of East Azarbaijan province; and Hojjatoleslam Al Hashem, Tabriz Friday prayer leader onboard, crash-landed Sunday afternoon in the Varzaqan region.

Search and rescue teams scoured the mountainous terrain amid heavy fog overnight, and found the wreckage early Monday.

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second attempt in 2021.

He was regarded as a potential successor to Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, who has held the position since 1989.

In 2019, Khamenei appointed Raisi as head of the judiciary.

Raisi was also deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts — the 88-member clerical body responsible for electing the next supreme leader.

State media report that the Iranian government held an emergency meeting after the president and some members of the cabinet were confirmed dead on Monday.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber led the emergency meeting.

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King Charles III Down With Cancer

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King Charles III King Charles III

By John Michael Ojo

King Charles III whose reign began in September 2022 after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II is currently suffering from a cancer-related illness.

The King’s ill-health was made known on Monday evening in a circular from the Buckingham Palace.

While the circular did not reveal the exact nature of the cancer, it stated that  the disease was detected during a medical procedure that recently treated the monarch’s enlarged prostate.

The circular which has now gone viral and seen by New Times reads in part: “During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted.” “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.”

The Royal Palace added that while the King may not be facing the public anytime soon, he would however be actively working “to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual.”

“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”

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Namibian President Dies

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Hage Geingob

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, 82, died in hospital early on Sunday, the presidency said, weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Geingob had been in charge of the thinly populated and mostly arid southern African country since 2015, the year he announced he had survived prostate cancer.

Vice President Nangolo Mbumba takes the helm in Namibia – a mining hotspot with significant deposits of diamonds and the electric car battery ingredient lithium – until presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of the year.

A presidency post on social media platform X did not give a cause of death, but late last month the presidency said he had travelled to the United States for “a two-day novel treatment for cancerous cells”, after being diagnosed following a regular medical check-up.

Born in 1941, Geingob was a prominent politician since before Namibia achieved independence from white minority-ruled South Africa in 1990.

He chaired the body that drafted Namibia’s constitution, then became its first prime minister at independence on March 21 of that year, a position he retained until 2002.

In 2007, Geingob became vice president of the governing South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), which he had joined as an agitator for independence when Namibia was still known as South West Africa.SWAPO has remained in power in Namibia unchallenged since independence. The former German colony is technically an upper middle-income country but one with huge disparities in wealth.

“There were no textbooks to prepare us for accomplishing the task of development and shared prosperity after independence,” he said in a speech to mark the day in 2018. “We needed to build a Namibia in which the chains of the injustices of the past would be broken.”
Geingob served as trade and industry minister before becoming prime minister again in 2012.
He won the 2014 election with 87% of the vote but only narrowly avoided a runoff with a little more than half the votes in a subsequent poll in November 2019.

That election followed a government bribery scandal, in which officials were alleged to have awarded horse mackerel quotas to Iceland’s biggest fishing firm, Samherji, in exchange for kickbacks, according to local media reports. The resultant outcry led to the resignation of two ministers.

The following year, Geingob lamented that Namibia’s wealth still remained concentrated in the hands of its white minority.

“Distribution is an issue, but how do we do it?” Geingob said in a virtual session at an event organised by international organisation Horasis.

“We have a racial issue here, a historical racial divide. Now you say we must grab from the whites and give it to the Blacks, it’s not going to work,” he said.

His comments came after the government rescinded as unworkable a policy that would have made it mandatory for white-owned businesses to sell a 25% stake to Black Namibians.

Geingob died at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek, where he was receiving treatment from his medical team, the presidency said.

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