UN experts on Thursday strongly condemned the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after her arrest for allegedly failing to comply with Iran’s strict rules on women’s dress by wearing an “improper hijab”.
In a press statement, the UN Human Rights Office said the experts also denounced the violence directed against peaceful protesters and human rights defenders demanding accountability for Amini’s death in cities across the country by Iranian security forces,
They urged the Iranian authorities to avoid further unnecessary violence and to immediately stop the use of lethal force in policing peaceful assemblies.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Amini. She is another victim of Iran’s sustained repression and systematic discrimination against women and the imposition of discriminatory dress codes that deprive women of bodily autonomy and the freedoms of opinion, expression and belief,” the experts said.
Iranian morality police arrested Amini on September 13 for what was described as wearing an “improper hijab”. Reports indicate she was severely beaten by members of the morality police during her arrest and transfer to the Vozara Detention Centre.
Amini fell into a coma at the detention centre and died in hospital on September 16. Iranian authorities said she died of a heart attack, and claimed her death was from natural causes. However, some reports suggested that Amini’s death resulted from alleged torture and ill-treatment, the experts said.
“We strongly condemn the use of physical violence against women and the denial of fundamental human dignity when enforcing compulsory hijab policies ordained by State authorities,” the experts said.
“We call on the Iranian authorities to hold an independent, impartial, and prompt investigation into Amini’s death, make the findings of the investigation public and hold all perpetrators accountable.”
Since September 16, thousands have taken to the streets in many cities, including Tehran, Ilam, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Mahabad, Saqez, Sanandaj, Sari and Tabriz to demand accountability for the death of Amini and to put an end to violence and discrimination against women in Iran, particularly compulsory veiling for women.
The peaceful protests have been met with excessive use of force, including birdshot by Iranian security forces, the experts said. According to reports, at least eight individuals, including a woman and a 16-year-old child, have been killed, dozens more injured and arrested.
Following the protests, prolonged internet disruptions have been reported in Tehran, Kurdistan provinces, and other parts of the country since September 19. This is the third widespread internet shutdown recorded in Iran over the past 12 months, according to UN Human Rights Office.
“Disruptions to the internet are usually part of a larger effort to stifle the free expression and association of the Iranian population, and to curtail ongoing protests. State mandated internet disruptions cannot be justified under any circumstances,” the experts said, warning against a further escalation of crackdown against civil society, human rights defenders and peaceful protesters.
“Over the past four decades, Iranian women have continued to peacefully protest against the compulsory hijab rules and the violations of their fundamental human rights,” the experts said, urging authorities in the country to heed the legitimate demands of women who want their fundamental human rights respected.
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Iran closes border crossing with Pakistan amid deadly clashes
Iranian government closed the Gabd-Rimdan border with Pakistan following deadly clashes between Iran’s security forces and its Baloch people in Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan and Balochistan Provinces.
The border demarcates Gabd in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Rimdan in Iran’s Sistan province. Iran had closed the crossing point after armed clashes between its security forces and Iranian Baloch people in Zahedan, where “hundreds of people were killed and several others injured.” “The Gabd crossing gate was closed for an indefinite period for pilgrims and trade,” Iranian officials said.
At least 63 people were killed last week when Iranian security forces “bloodily suppressed” a protest in the city of Zahedan, a Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO was quoted as saying.
Iranian forces also suffered casualties, including two senior intelligence commanders.
According to the rights group, the clashes started after reports of a police chief in the port city of Chabahar (in Sistan and Baluchestan province) allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl. Reports added that after the news spread, deadly clashes broke out in Zahedan, the capital of the province, which is home to the Baluch ethnic minority that largely adheres to Sunni Islam in predominantly Shiite Iran, reports added.
The incident occurs against the backdrop of nationwide protests following the death of Mahsa Amini by morality police.
SpaceX blasts off for international space station
Billionaire tycoon Elon Musk-led Space X blasted off from Florida on Wednesday and headed for the International Space Station.
The mission included a Russian cosmonaut, a Japanese and two American astronauts. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina onboard on October 5 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to the press statement released by NASA.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 is the fifth mission of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
The crew members assigned to NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission are in orbit now. The international crew will serve as the agency’s fifth commercial crew rotation mission with SpaceX aboard the orbital laboratory.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Dragon Endurance spacecraft into orbit, carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, as mission commander, and Josh Cassada, as pilot. A statement said, “Wakata and Kikina, also aboard the Dragon, will serve as mission specialists for their science expedition in microgravity aboard the space station”. Dragon will dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module around 4:57 p.m. Thursday, 6 October. NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of docking and hatch opening.
White House says OPEC+ ‘aligning’ with Russia over oil production cuts
The White House on Wednesday (local time) expressed disappointment over the announcement of a cut in oil production quotas by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies.
Criticizing the move by OPEC+ on cuts, the Biden administration said that it was a “short-sighted decision”. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre accused OPEC+ of “aligning with Russia”.
The White House said in a statement from national security adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese that “the president is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Earlier in the day, members of OPEC+ said that they would cut November production quotas by two million barrels per day, citing the “uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks.”
“We (OPEC+) are here to stay as a moderating force, to bring about stability,” Saudi Arabian energy minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud said during a news conference.
An OPEC+ memo outlining cuts shows that Saudi Arabia and Russia will make the biggest individual reductions of the 19 countries doing so, lowering output by 526,000 monthly barrels a piece.
The White House warned that OPEC’s move would “have the most negative impact on lower-and middle-income countries that are already reeling from elevated energy prices.”
The White House also said that President Biden has directed the Department of Energy to release another 10 million oil barrels from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve next month, signalling the administration’s effort to keep gas prices low for another month until the crucial midterms.
US accuses ‘two permanent UNSC members’ of aiding North Korea
Without naming China and Russia, the United States on Wednesday (local time) accused “two permanent members” of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) of helping North Korea by protecting Pyongyang from attempts to strengthen UNSC sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
“The DPRK (North Korea) has enjoyed blanket protection from two members of this council,” US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said at the UN. The 15-member United Nations Security Council met on Wednesday after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Tuesday that soared over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.
The White House said that both Biden and Kishida confirmed that they would continue to closely coordinate their immediate and longer-term response bilaterally, trilaterally with the Republic of Korea, and with the international community.
“They confirmed they would continue to closely coordinate their immediate and longer-term response bilaterally, trilaterally with the Republic of Korea, and with the international community. The leaders discussed the importance of immediate return and resolution of the cases of Japanese citizens abducted by the DPRK and resolved to continue every effort to limit the DPRK’s ability to support its unlawful ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs,” the statement added.
Apart from US, India has also condemned the missile launches, saying it disturbs peace and security in the region and beyond.
North Korea fires another missile towards sea: Report
North Korea launched another ballistic missile on Thursday toward its eastern waters, agencies reported.
This comes just two days after North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan for the first time in five years. “While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States,” the JCS said in a statement.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launches from the Samsok area in Pyongyang between 6:01 am and 6:23 am (local time). It did not provide other details.
The US and South Korea launched four missiles off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday morning, in response to North Korea’s test launch of a ballistic missile over Japan.
This test was the allies’ second exercise within 24 hours. Earlier, on Tuesday, the US and South Korea initially responded to the launch with a precision bombing exercise. This involved a South Korean F-15K fighter jet firing two air-to-surface munitions at a virtual target in a firing range west of the Korean Peninsula, as per the South Korean joint chiefs.
“Through the combined flight of the air strike package and precision strike drills, South Korea and the United States demonstrated their will to respond sternly to any Northern threats as well as their capabilities to conduct a precision strike at the origin of provocations based on the alliance’s overwhelming forces,” the JCS said in a press release.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s missile launch was the first such missile launch in years, prompting a warning for residents to take cover in northern Japan.
Last week, North Korea fired missiles in an apparent protest against joint naval drills involving the United States and South Korea. Under the Kim Jong-un regime, North Korea this year has tested a record number of missiles as it expands its weapons arsenal.
Over 55% more people may die from liver cancer by 2040: research
According to a recent estimate, primary liver cancer was one of the top three causes of cancer death in 46 nations in 2020, and by 2040, the number of primary liver cancer diagnoses and deaths could increase by more than 55% annually.
In a recent article in the Elsevier-published Journal of Hepatology, researchers demand that measures to control the disease be given priority. Senior author Isabelle Soerjomataram, MD, PhD, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO), Cancer Surveillance Branch, Lyon, France, stated: “Liver cancer generates a large burden of disease globally each year.” Major risk factors for the disease include hepatitis B and C viruses, alcohol use, excess body weight, and metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes. It is also completely preventable if control efforts are addressed.
“In light of the availability of new and improved global cancer incidence and mortality estimates, we wanted to provide the most up-to-date assessment of the burden of liver cancer and develop an essential tool for national liver cancer control planning,” explained lead author Harriet Rumgay, PhD candidate, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO), Cancer Surveillance Branch, Lyon, France. “In this analysis, we describe where liver cancer ranks among all cancer types for cancer diagnoses and deaths in nations across the world. We also present predictions of the future liver cancer burden to 2040.”
Researchers took information on primary liver cancer cases and fatalities from the GLOBOCAN 2020 database of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which generates estimates of cancer incidence and mortality for 36 cancer types in 185 nations worldwide. United Nations population forecasts were used to determine the projected change in the number of cancer cases or deaths by the year 2040.
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