Iraq prepares for Pope Francis and other stories…

A barrage of rockets pounded an Iraqi base hosting US-led coalition troops on Wednesday just two days before Pope Francis is due to arrive in Iraq for the first ever papal visit to the country. 

On his tour of the country, Pope Francis will meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, an eminent figure in Shia Islam. 

The meeting will take place in Najaf, Iraq’s holiest city. 

The Vatican hope that Francis and al-Sistani will sign a document to pledge human fraternity. 

Security has been tightened across the country with as many as 10,000 additional personnel deployed to ensure the trip goes smoothly. 

Violent crackdowns continue in Myanmar

Myanmar’s security forces continue to attack peaceful protesters, with several cities reporting the use of live ammunition. 

The UN Human Rights Office believes that at least 18 people were killed on Sunday, with several other reports being shared on social media from more rural areas. 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations held a teleconference with foreign ministers on Tuesday to come to an agreement on helpful intervention.  

The military coup on 1st February 2021, which resulted in the ousting of democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, took place on the day that the newly elected parliament should have taken office. 

Ms Suu Kyi’s has instead been detained along with President Win Myint and other officials. 

Biden promises enough vaccines for all by May 

US president Joe Biden has declared that America “will have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May”.

This will bring the US vaccination ambitions of ‘80% herd immunity’ forward by two months earlier than originally anticipated.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, only 8% of the population has been fully vaccinated so far.

Although the roll out is gathering pace, it’s success it also dependent on Americans coming forward to receive the jab.

Three women journalists murdered in Afghanistan

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Journalists Mursal Wahidi, Sadia Sadat, and Shahnaz Roafi, who work for Enikass Radio and TV in Jalalabad, Eastern Afghanistan, were gunned down in a targeted attack claimed by the so-called Islamic State.  

These murders are the latest in a series of attacks on media workers and journalists, most frequently women, that have resulted in 15 deaths in recent months.  

The so called Islamic state group claimed the women were targeted because they worked for a media station that was ‘loyal to the apostate Afghan government’.  

Shaharzad Akbar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, called the attack ‘horrific’ .

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