Dhaka Courier

Popular anger swelled in Iran over the accidental shootdown

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Popular anger swelled in Iran over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner and the government’s attempt to conceal its role in the tragedy, as online videos appeared to show security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protests in the streets. Iranians expressed shock and outrage over the plane crash that killed scores of young people. They also decried the misleading statements from top officials.

The country began last week engulfed in mourning after a U.S. drone strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who led Iran’s regional military interventions. Then on Jan. 8, it responded with a ballistic missile attack on two bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq, although there were no casualties. Hours after that barrage, as it braced for a U.S. counterattack that never came, Iranian forces accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines jetliner, killing all 176 people aboard shortly after it took off from Tehran for Kyiv.

 

Queen Elizabeth II agreed to grant Prince Harry and and his wife Meghan their wish for a more independent life, allowing them to move part-time to Canada while remaining firmly in the House of Windsor. The British monarch said in a statement that a summit of senior royals was “constructive,” and that it had been “agreed that there will be a period of transition″ in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will spend time in Canada and the UK.

The summit at the Queen’s Sandringham estate in eastern England marked the first face-to-face talks with Harry since he and Meghan unveiled the controversial plan to step back from their royal roles. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,″ the Queen said in a statement. “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life.”

 

Red-hot lava spewed from a volcano near the Philippine capital of Manila as tens of thousands of people fled through heavy ash and frightening tremors, and authorities made plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands more for fear of a bigger eruption. Clouds of ash from the Taal volcano reached Manila, 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the north, on January 12, forcing the shutdown of the country’s main airport, with more than 500 flights cancelled. The airport partially reopened the next day after the ashfall eased.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths or major damage directly blamed on the eruption. A truck, however, skidded out of control on an ash-blanketed road, killing the driver and injuring three companions in Laguna province in an accident police said may have been linked to slippery conditions. The government’s disaster-response agency and other officials reported more than 30,000 villagers fled their homes in the hard-hit province of Batangas and nearby Cavite province.

 

Hong Kong authorities barred the head of Human Rights Watch from entering the Chinese territory, the advocacy group said. Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director, had planned to launch the organization’s annual world report in Hong Kong this week. The report’s focus is China’s efforts to “deliberately undermine the international human rights system,” Roth said in video posted to his Twitter.

The move to bar Roth follows China’s pledge last month to sanction organisations that it said “performed badly” in relation to anti-government protests that have roiled Hong Kong for more than seven months. Human Rights Watch, the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House were among the groups cited for sanctions. Roth, a U.S. citizen, told The Associated Press by email that immigration authorities at the airport told him he could not enter Hong Kong. When he asked why, they told him repeatedly it was for “immigration reasons,” without elaborating.

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