1 year of liberation: Mosul people living among rubble & dead bodies while ISIS still around

It’s been a year since the US-backed Iraqi forces defeated Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in the city of Mosul that had become their de-facto capital. Baghdad has declared a major victory in the war that gripped the country for several years in a row. On the back of the liberation, disturbing reports began emerging, telling of all-out destruction, extrajudicial killings and a looming humanitarian crisis. A new report from the ground now reveals that, since then, things haven’t improved a lot. 

A Ruptly crew went to the city to talk to local people who went through enormous hardships while living in war-torn Mosul. A man named Mohammed Qadir told the crew a harrowing story of his small daughter being killed in the bombings in April last year. The girl was hiding in the toilet with her little sister when a bomb struck the man’s house.

“You know when a mortar falls you hear the sound, it’s loud. When this [projectile] fell we didn’t hear it even though it was right here. This is where it happened.” Shrapnel severely mutilated the girl, but the nearby doctors refused to save her.

“They said: ‘We are not going to treat her. Our priority is the fighters. We can give her an injection so she dies immediately. Better for her to die at home.’”

As locals struggle to get their lives back to normal, decomposing corpses continue to lie under the rubble. “Yes, there are two bodies still down there. And there are four more bodies in that house behind us,” Qadir said before adding: “The stench coming from them is very strong. Our children are getting sick because of this.”

Meanwhile, Iraqi commanders warn that IS fighters may still be holing up around Mosul and the rest of the country. “No, we cannot say for sure that it is 100 percent [that IS has been eliminated]. … Still, there are few IS sleeper cells hiding in places such as the desert, the jungles, in islands of the Tigris River, and some hiding amongst civilians,” Major General Najmi Al-Juhuri told Ruptly. “We receive tens of phone calls on a daily basis, with people leading us to sleeper cells or guiding us to IS elements appearing anywhere,” he added.

Aid agencies, for their part, are sounding the alarm about the dire state of affairs in Mosul. “It is unfair to say nothing has changed there, but what call for is that the chance should go quicker,” Benoit de Gryse, operations manager with Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF), told RT.

“We see that the level of destruction that happened a year ago is still visible, even infrastructure hasn’t been repaired yet, hospitals haven’t been reopened yet, there’s a lack of water,” he warned.

At least 2,521 civilians were killed and 1,673 wounded during the nine month Mosul operation, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in November 2017, said last year, adding that the figures should be considered an “absolute minimum.”

However, National Public Radio (NPR) said that its investigation revealed that the Mosul morgue had issued 4,865 death certificates during the battle, while AP estimated the civilian death toll between 9,000 and 11,000 people.

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منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/news/433894-mosul-anniversary-civilians-rubble/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Wonder Woman 2 footage shown at Comic-Con, Patty Jenkins refuses to answer why Chris Pine is back

Another day, another Comic-Con panel featuring exclusive footage for attendees only.

One of this year’s biggest surprises was Patty Jenkins debuting the first footage from Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to last year’s incredibly successful Wonder Woman.

The directed asked those at the Warner Bros. presentation to not film the teaser and post online as the movie has only been filming three and a half weeks – with a scheduled 20 more weeks filming to go – and the footage is therefore unfinished.

However, Twitter was abuzz with what was shown, fans describing seeing Gadot’s superhero wearing her iconic costume taking down bad guys at a mall food court. She apparently manages to save one young girl then grabs the villains with her lasso, crushes their guns, and jumps away. 

Jenkins and Pine were also asked what his character, Steve Trevor, was doing back, having died during the last movie? “It’s a very important part of our movie,” she told the audience without actually answering the question.

Meanwhile, the Warner Bros. panel also saw new trailers for the second Godzilla and Fantastic Beasts movies debut, both finding their way online. The first trailer for fellow DC movie Shazam! was also shown.

Also at Comic-Con, the trailer for the Unbreakable/Split sequel Glass was shown, as was a lengthy tease for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. Coinciding with the event, there has also been news of James Gunn being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Joss Whedon working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot.

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/wonder-woman-2-trailer-comic-con-patty-jenkins-chris-pine-gal-gadot-a8458221.html

Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer revealed at Comic-Con, teasing Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah

The first trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, debuted during Warner Bros’ San Diego Comic-Con panel, teasing the monster’s iconic enemies Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah

Directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus), the movie stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sally Hawkins. Ken Watanabe also returns to the series as a scientist with Monarch.

King of the Monsters marks the third overall movie in the modern MonsterVerse, coming after both Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. A fourth instalment in the series is currently being worked on, Godzilla vs. Kong, which will pit the two iconic characters against each other.  

Other trailers that also debuted during the Warner Bros. panel were Shazam!, Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts 2. New footage from Wonder Woman 1984 was shown but has not been uploaded online.

Also at Comic-Con, the trailer for the Unbreakable and Split sequel Glass was shown, as was a lengthy tease for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. Coinciding with the event, there has also been news of James Gunn being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Joss Whedon working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot.

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/godzilla-2-trailer-king-of-the-monsters-comic-con-mothra-rodan-king-ghidorah-a8458161.html

Aquaman trailer debuts at San Diego Comic-Con teasing Jason Momoa superhero movie

Having briefly featured in Batman v Superman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman‘s solo movie has almost arrived, the first trailer for which debuted during Warner Bros. panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

Joining the Game of Thrones actor are Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna (Aquaman’s mother), Amber Heard as Mera (raised by Queen Atlanna but not her daughter), Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko (Aquaman’s mentor), and Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master (Aquaman’s half-brother and the movie’s villain).

The movie follows on from the events of Justice League and sees Momoa’s hero battle with those on land who threaten Atlantis, and those in Atlantis who want to battle the land-dwellers. Directed by Saw‘s James Wan, Aquaman reaches cinemas 21 December.

Meanwhile, at the Warner Bros. panel, the first trailer for Godzilla 2 was shown, the second trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2, the first trailer for Shazam!, and the first footage of Wonder Woman 1984

Also at Comic-Con, the trailer for the Unbreakable / Split sequel Glass was shown, as was a lengthy tease for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. Coinciding with the event, there has also been news of James Gunn being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Joss Whedon working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot.

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/aquaman-trailer-comic-con-jason-momoa-superhero-movie-dc-justice-league-a8458136.html

Theresa May's lack of preparedness for Brexit has been cruelly exposed

It inspires little confidence in the government’s preparations for leaving the European Union that it has no idea, as The Independent reports today, how many customs officers it employs. 

This is a problem on two timescales. In the short run, it could be that Britain urgently needs thousands of border staff in eight months’ time, at the end of March, if we leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement. If the Brexit talks break down completely, so that there is no transition period, this could cause congestion and delays at ports and airports. 

No doubt the UK authorities would be content to wave through EU goods as they do now, with no tariffs, but if the EU side decide to impose customs checks it could mean long queues of lorries in Kent. As we reported last month, plans for new lorry parks in Kent would not be ready in time for a no-deal Brexit next year. 

The Border Force, the part of the Home Office responsible for checks at ports and airports, is unlikely to be ready for a no-deal Brexit if it does not even know how many frontline customs staff it has now. 

This rather undermines the new hardline negotiating stance adopted by Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, who has urged his ministerial colleagues to step up planning for a no-deal Brexit in order to increase his leverage with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. Mr Raab wants to be able to threaten to walk away from the Brexit talks, but Mr Barnier knows perfectly well that we are not well placed to do so. 

We need less of this aggressive posturing. Walking away without a deal will never be a good option for this country, however well prepared for it we were. Becoming a third country, forced to deal with the EU under minimum World Trade Organisation rules, would cost us 4 per cent of our national income over the long term, according to the International Monetary Fund this week. 

The IMF report was significant in that it made clear how damaging a no-deal Brexit would be for the economies closest to us. Ireland would suffer almost as much as we would, while the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic would all lose about 1 per cent of their national income.  

Mr Raab might be better advised to work with our European partners to avoid such an outcome rather than threatening to cut off our (and Ireland’s) nose to spite our face. 

However, our lack of preparedness for new customs arrangements is a problem on a longer timescale too. Theresa May’s Chequers plan for Brexit envisages a new customs system coming into effect at the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021. The prime minister was unable to explain to the Liaison Committee this week how this fiendishly complicated system by which we collect tariffs on behalf of the EU, and vice versa, would work. 

It is scarcely credible that, two years after the referendum, such basic questions of our future trading relationship with the EU have only begun to be resolved. Unless Mr Raab can get a grip in just a few short months, the case for a simple customs union – which would abolish the need for customs checks between the UK and the EU – will only get stronger.

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/customs-union-brexit-dominic-raab-a8457946.html

Home Office doesn't know how many customs officers it has despite looming Brexit 'no deal'

The Home Office is failing to keep track of how many customs officers it has despite warnings of chaos at Britain’s ports and airports in the event of a looming “no deal” Brexit.

Officials admitted to The Independent that they were unable to provide a count of the number of border officials employed for customs checks and they were unsure of whether the number had increased or decreased in recent years. 

Across the Channel the Dutch government has confirmed it is hiring 930 extra customs officials for the port of Rotterdam and Schiphol airport, major hubs that do a lot of trade with the UK, with the aim of avoiding backlogs.

But the British government appears less prepared for its own departure from the EU, with no signs of a similar plan having yet surfaced.

The Independent submitted a freedom of information request asking the Border Force, which is part of the Home Office, to reveal the number of customs officers it employs in frontline roles, and to provide comparable figures for recent years.

The department said it did “not hold data on the numbers of staff who are currently detailed to perform customs roles” and that it would be too expensive to work out the number of officers, as doing so would require a “manual extensive check” of records at various fragmented facilities scattered across the UK.

The EU has said that “frictionless trade” will end with the continent when Britain leaves the customs union and single market, meaning a dramatic increase in checks and staff required. A no-deal scenario, which could come as early as March if talks collapse, is expected to cause massive queues of lorries at ports.

A manual extensive check would be required to determine the complement of staff employed in customs roles. The exercise would involve a number of staff based in each regional office and local port over two weeks to complete

Home Office spokesperson

It comes as The Independent revealed last month that new lorry parks to absorb freight tailbacks in Kent would not be ready in time for a no-deal Brexit, after a previous project ran into difficulty and officials were forced to start again from scratch. 

This week one of Theresa May’s senior cabinet ministers would not say whether or how many customs officers the UK was hiring in preparation for a no-deal Brexit when asked directly about the issue on national radio.

“I think that all governments including the United Kingdom government have to plan for all contingencies,” cabinet office minister David Lidington said.

He added: “We’ll be making more public comment about our no-deal preparations over the weeks to come and Dominic Raab will be leading on that. There is a lot of work that’s been going on behind the scenes”.

The European Commission on Friday presented member states with guidelines on how to prepare properly for a no-deal Brexit at a meeting of ministers in Brussels. The advice, which warns of major disruption, comes after turmoil in Ms May’s cabinet and worries in Brussels about the stability of the British government and its capacity to negotiate.

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, told The Independent: “Instead of properly preparing for Brexit, Theresa May’s government has taken their eye off the ball and wasted vital time arguing amongst themselves.

“The consequences of not getting the preparations right on our borders is stark. The government needs to wake up.”

Michel Barnier: UK Brexit customs and single market plan may not be ‘legally feasible’ or in EU’s interests

On Friday, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier poked huge holes in Ms May’s customs plan, warning that it might not be “legally feasible” and raising the prospect of no deal.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We have established that the Home Office does not hold the information which you have requested. We do not hold data on the numbers of staff who are currently detailed to perform customs roles exclusively.

“We have estimated that the cost of meeting your request would exceed the cost limit of £600 specified in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. We are therefore unable to comply with it.

“A manual extensive check would be required to determine the complement of staff employed in customs roles. The exercise would involve a number of staff based in each regional office and local port over two weeks to complete. Further work would be required to determine and compile information on staff over a 10 year period.”

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-customs-officers-eu-uk-no-deal-europe-ports-airports-home-office-a8456881.html

Shazam! trailer debuts at Comic-Con, showcasing the new superhero movie

To some surprise, the first trailer for Shazam! has debuted online.

Fans of DC comics were expecting only the first glimpse of Aquaman to come out of San Diego Comic-Con but were treated to a two-minute teaser for the Zachary Levi-starring superhero movie. 

Directed by Annabelle: Creation‘s David F. Sandberg, the movie features Asher Angel as Billy Batson’s, a 14-year-old foster child who can turn into the titular character by shouting the word Shazam. 

The synopsis reads: “Still a kid at heart — inside a ripped, godlike body — Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test?

“Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).”

Meanwhile, at the Warner Bros. panel, the first trailer for Godzilla 2 was shown, the second trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2, and the first footage of Wonder Woman 1984

Also at Comic-Con, the trailer for the Unbreakable/Split sequel Glass was shown, as was a lengthy tease for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. Coinciding with the event, there has also been news of James Gunn being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Joss Whedon working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot.

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/shazam-trailer-comic-con-zachary-levi-dc-aquaman-wonder-woman-warner-bros-a8458226.html