Second day of violence in Iraqi-Kurdistan; Saudi Arabia 'intercepts Houthi missile'

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Curated top stories

  • Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels from the Houthi movement towards its capital city Riyadh on Tuesday. There were no reported casualties. A missile targeted the royal court at al-Yamama palace, where a meeting of Saudi leaders was underway, a spokesperson for the Houthi movement saidAl Jazeera also reportsThis is the latest in a series of attacks by the Houthis, an Iran-backed militant group. (Read WikiTribune‘s explainer The crisis in Yemen: how did we get here?)
  • Kurdish protesters attacked the buildings of Iraq’s main political parties in Iraq’s Kurdish north in a second day of unrest and demonstrations. Over 1,000 people protested in the city of Sulaimaniya but many were hit with rubber bullets and with tear gas fired by security forces. Six were injured, according to the region’s health officials, reports Reuters. The violence is a reaction to tension that has been growing since an independence referendum in September in which the Kurds voted overwhelmingly to secede from Iraq. (Read WikiTribune’s explainer on the Kurdistan-Iraq distpute.)
  • A study by the Oxford Internet Institute found Russian Twitter accounts “contributed relatively little to the overall Brexit conversation,” after Britain’s Electoral Commission launched an investigation into Russian social media meddling in the lead-up to the UK’s 2016 European Union referendum. The study says reports of active 150,000 Twitter accounts linked to Russia have not been verified and that despite previous studies making it clear automated accounts were active on Twitter, this one found “found little evidence of links to Russian sources.”
Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh. Photo by: B.alotaby via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0.
Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh. Photo by: B.alotaby via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0.


  • Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he will lift a ban on political activity that has been in place since a 2014 military coup. Prayuth, who is head of the military junta, said that Thailand will hold an election in November 2018, but until it lifts the ban there is no pathway for other parties to participate. The announcement led the European Union to say that it would resume all political contact with Thailand for the first time since 2014.
  • North Korea was “directly responsible” for a cyber attack earlier this year that affected more that 300,000 computers across the world, according to an aide to U.S. President Donald Trump. Writing in the Wall Street JournalThomas Bossert said that Pyongyang carried out the WannaCry malware attack which affected hospitals, businesses and banks, and caused billions of dollars of damage. “North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious. WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless,” he wrote. Bossert, a homeland security adviser, said the U.S. administration would to use its “maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang’s ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise.”

What we’re reading

  • Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham reports on the village of Aberporth, which aims to be the first plastic-free village in Wales, UK, a decade after visiting the village of Modbury, which became the first town in Europe to ban plastic bags in shops. – Harry Ridgewell
  • Human Rights Watch researcher Nick McGeehan has spent years uncovering abuses of the migrant workers building stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. In this piece on Medium he digs into the Dubai wealth underlying the emerging soccer empire that is putting Manchester City among Europe’s elite clubs, and also holds New York City FC, Melbourne City and Girona, among other prize sporting assets. – Jack Barton
  • The Financial Times‘s Courtney Weaver looks at Democratic senator and former corporate lawyer Kirsten Gillibrand in an opinion piece, “Kirsten Gillibrand’s moment arrives with #MeToo” (may be behind paywall). The Democrat is under fresh eyes as a feasible presidential candidate in 2020 after increased attention on the sexual assault allegations leveled against U.S. President Donald J. Trump by more than a dozen women. “If Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama last week was the first #MeToo election, Ms Gillibrand’s rise represents the beginnings of the first #MeToo political campaign,” Weaver writes.

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