Displaced Iraqis who were evacuated from their villages by Iraqi government forces rest at a safe zone in Subayat on June 12, 2016. Moadh Al Dulaimi / AFP
Displaced Iraqis who were evacuated from their villages by Iraqi government forces rest at a safe zone in Subayat on June 12, 2016. Moadh Al Dulaimi / AFP

Shiite militias accused of executions in Fallujah



BAGHDAD // Iraqi authorities have arrested Iran-backed Shiite militia fighters accused of executing 49 Sunni men fleeing Fallujah during the battle to retake the city from ISIL.

Sohaib Al Rawi, the governor of Anbar province, said the men had been killed after they surrendered to a Shiite faction. Another 643 men had gone missing between June 3 and June 5 and “all the surviving detainees were subjected to severe and collective torture”.

Iraqi spokesman Saad Al Hadithi said the accusation was being investigated “and a number of arrests have been made”.

Men aged over 15 who escape from Fallujah are routinely separated from their families and screened to ensure they are not ISIL fighters. However, there have been accusations of arbitrary detention, torture and execution of innocent civilians by the Hashed Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation Forces, the coalition of mostly Shiite militias backed by Iran. The militias surrounded Fallujah ahead of the army operation to recapture it, but have so far remained on the outskirts of the city.

Security forces said on Monday that more than 500 ISIL fighters had been caught trying to sneak out of the city with fleeing civilians.

“We have arrested 546 suspected terrorists who had fled by taking advantage of the movements of displaced families over the past two weeks,” said Hadi Rzayej, the police chief for Anbar. Many of the ISIL fighters were using fake IDs, he said.

“Daesh is fleeing among the civilians, we have arrested many and are investigating the suspects,” said Abdelwahab Al Saadi, the overall commander of the three-week-old Fallujah operation.

Estimates for the number of ISIL fighters in Fallujah vary from 1,000 to 2,500.

Until last week, an estimated 50,000 civilians were still trapped in the centre of the city, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad. The army opened a corridor to the south-west of the city on Saturday that has allowed thousands to escape and reach refugee camps.

The participation of Shiite militias in the Fallujah offensive had raised fears of sectarian killings after reports of abuses against the Sunni population in other areas that they helped to recapture from ISIL.

There have also been allegations against Iraqi government forces. Four soldiers were arrested after video footage showed them abusing people who fled Fallujah.

Iraqi defence minister Khalid Al Obeidi pledged to prosecute any servicemen involved in such acts. “Harassment of internally displaced persons is a betrayal of the sacrifices of our brave forces’ liberation operations to expel Daesh from Iraq,” he said.

Government spokesman Mr Hadithi said strict orders had been issued to protect civilians, and these instructions had also been given to the Hashed Shaabi.

The United Nations said last week it knew of “extremely distressing, credible reports” of men and boys being abused by armed groups working with security forces after fleeing Fallujah.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the screening of civilians was legitimate but should not be done by paramilitary groups.

“The country must avoid further divisions or violence along sectarian lines, lest it implode completely,” he said.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIL said the Baghdad government was aware of the abuses.

“We know that the prime minister has come out and said that he believes that these abuses have happened and that he … has demanded accountability of any perpetrators,” Col Chris Garver said. “We think that is the right course of action.”

In the north of the country, Iraqi troops fought ISIL militants in the village of Hajj Ali for a second day in a renewed operation to retake the city of Mosul.

The village is near Qayyara, a town under ISIL control that has an airfield that Baghdad’s forces want to use as a staging ground for a future offensive on Mosul, about 60km north.

* Reuters and Agence France-Presse

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

On the menu

First course

▶ Emirati sea bass tartare Yuzu and labneh mayo, avocado, green herbs, fermented tomato water  

▶ The Tale of the Oyster Oyster tartare, Bahraini gum berry pickle

Second course

▶ Local mackerel Sourdough crouton, baharat oil, red radish, zaatar mayo

▶ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Quail, smoked freekeh, cinnamon cocoa

Third course

▶ Bahraini bouillabaisse Venus clams, local prawns, fishfarm seabream, farro

▶ Lamb 2 ways Braised lamb, crispy lamb chop, bulgur, physalis

Dessert

▶ Lumi Black lemon ice cream, pistachio, pomegranate

▶ Black chocolate bar Dark chocolate, dates, caramel, camel milk ice cream
 

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup – Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.

5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs

B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs

D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

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How to invest in gold

Investors can tap into the gold price by purchasing physical jewellery, coins and even gold bars, but these need to be stored safely and possibly insured.

A cheaper and more straightforward way to benefit from gold price growth is to buy an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Most advisers suggest sticking to “physical” ETFs. These hold actual gold bullion, bars and coins in a vault on investors’ behalf. Others do not hold gold but use derivatives to track the price instead, adding an extra layer of risk. The two biggest physical gold ETFs are SPDR Gold Trust and iShares Gold Trust.

Another way to invest in gold’s success is to buy gold mining stocks, but Mr Gravier says this brings added risks and can be more volatile. “They have a serious downside potential should the price consolidate.”

Mr Kyprianou says gold and gold miners are two different asset classes. “One is a commodity and the other is a company stock, which means they behave differently.”

Mining companies are a business, susceptible to other market forces, such as worker availability, health and safety, strikes, debt levels, and so on. “These have nothing to do with gold at all. It means that some companies will survive, others won’t.”

By contrast, when gold is mined, it just sits in a vault. “It doesn’t even rust, which means it retains its value,” Mr Kyprianou says.

You may already have exposure to gold miners in your portfolio, say, through an international ETF or actively managed mutual fund.

You could spread this risk with an actively managed fund that invests in a spread of gold miners, with the best known being BlackRock Gold & General. It is up an incredible 55 per cent over the past year, and 240 per cent over five years. As always, past performance is no guide to the future.

Bert van Marwijk factfile

Born: May 19 1952
Place of birth: Deventer, Netherlands
Playing position: Midfielder

Teams managed:
1998-2000 Fortuna Sittard
2000-2004 Feyenoord
2004-2006 Borussia Dortmund
2007-2008 Feyenoord
2008-2012 Netherlands
2013-2014 Hamburg
2015-2017 Saudi Arabia
2018 Australia

Major honours (manager):
2001/02 Uefa Cup, Feyenoord
2007/08 KNVB Cup, Feyenoord
World Cup runner-up, Netherlands

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone


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