40 Iraqi protesters slain in 24 hours as violence spirals
BAGHDAD — Security forces shot dead 40 anti-government protesters during 24 hours of bloodshed amid spiraling violence in the capital and Iraq’s south, security and medical officials said Thursday, one day after an Iranian consulate was torched.
Iran condemned the burning of its consulate in the holy city of Najaf as violence continued into the night across southern Iraq, where security forces had killed 36 protesters and wounded 245 since Wednesday evening, the officials said. Another four protesters were shot dead in the capital. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Police and military forces were deployed across key oil-rich provinces to re-open roads closed off by demonstrations.
The escalating violence and heavy response against demonstrators by a largely Iran-backed government threatened to intensify tensions, especially if efforts to implement electoral and anti-corruption reforms fail to placate protesters.
Crisis committees were created to enhance coordination between Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and governors in provinces affected by the protests “for the importance of controlling security and enforcing the law,” said a statement from the joint operations command.
Ads assail conservative legal group over Trump’s court picks
WASHINGTON — A liberal activist group is launching a digital ad campaign targeting the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that has championed judges appointed by President Donald Trump, such as Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
The ads, to appear on LinkedIn and Facebook, assail major law firms that sponsored the Federalist Society’s recently annual dinner, where Kavanaugh addressed more than 2,000 people in tuxedos and gowns at Washington’s Union Station.
The ads feature photos of a snarling Kavanaugh, along with Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, a charge he denied. “The Federalist Society is rebuilding Kavanaugh’s image” through events such as its annual dinner, the ad charges, so why are the law firms paying for it?
Sponsored by Demand Justice, the ads target a half-dozen prominent firms that sponsored the dinner, such as Kirkland & Ellis, where Kavanaugh served as a partner, as well as Sullivan & Cromwell, WilmerHale and Consovoy McCarthy, where a senior partner was recently confirmed as a federal appellate judge.
The bare-knuckle ads are a rarity in the city’s genteel legal world and an example of the increasing toxicity of the political debate over Trump’s judicial nominees.
Opponents attack Johnson’s character as UK election looms
LONDON — Britain’s opposition parties intensified attacks on Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday with two weeks to go until election day, as polls suggested the U.K. leader’s Conservatives have a substantial lead.
Johnson was accused of running scared of scrutiny after he declined to take part in a debate alongside his main opponent, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, and other party leaders, and refused to commit to a one-on-one TV interview.
For Thursday’s climate change-themed debate, broadcaster Channel 4 put Earth-shaped ice sculptures atop podiums in place of Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who also declined to appear.
With most polls showing a double-digit lead for Johnson’s Conservatives, the party is keen to limit the prime minister’s opportunities for gaffes and slip-ups.
As well as skipping the climate debate, Johnson is the only main leader not to have agreed — so far — to a one-on-one interview with BBC journalist Andrew Neil. Corbyn was subjected to an intense grilling by Neil earlier this week about allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
Police: 7 dead in plane crash near Canadian city
KINGSTON, Ontario — Police in the Canadian city of Kingston say seven people have died after a small plane crashed in the area Wednesday evening.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent a team of four investigators to the scene of the crash, where they’re examining and documenting the wreckage.
They’ve said the plane left Markham, Ontario, and was destined for the Kingston airport, but went down just a few miles from its destination.
Kingston Police Const. Ash Gutheinz said Thursday there’s “no indication” there were any survivors from the crash. Identities of the victims have not been released.
Gutheinz says the area was under a wind advisory at the time, and while winds may not have been as bad as predicted, it was certainly “blustery.”