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      • May 19, 2011 (AFP) -- A series of attacks against police Thursday in the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk killed at least 29 people and wounded 90 others, in the worst violence to hit the country in two weeks. Three explosions - two car bombs and a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to a car - occurred around one hour apart in the oil-rich, ethnically-divided city. The first of the blasts came at 9:20am local time when the "sticky bomb" exploded in the parking lot of the city's police headquarters, police spokesman Salam Zangan said. When police and emergency responders arrived at the scene shortly afterward, a car bomb detonated. At around 10:30am, another car bomb exploded near the convoy of a senior police official. "I ran out from the headquarters after I heard the first bomb; I went with my colleague to check the parking lot but as we arrived, a huge bomb went off," Sherzad Kamil, a policeman who was wounded in the stomach and face, said. In separate bombings in Baghdad and the central city of Baquba, a woman and an imam were killed and 10 others wounded, security officials said. Kirkuk lies at the center of a tract of disputed territory that is claimed by both Iraq's central government in Baghdad and Kurdish regional authorities in Arbil. U.S. officials have persistently said that the unresolved row is one of the biggest threats to Iraq's future stability. Currently, U.S. forces participate in confidence-building tripartite patrols and checkpoints with central government forces and Kurdish security officers in Kirkuk and across northern Iraq.

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          • May 22, 2011 -- A series of explosions in and around Baghdad have killed 16 people, including 10 who died when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of police officers. At least nine of the dead were police. It was the third major attack this month in which security personnel were targeted and took the most losses. In total, at least 10 bombs exploded. The worst single attack came near Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad, where police had gathered after a roadside bomb targeting a passing U.S. military convoy blew up.

            When the police arrived on the scene, a suicide bomber walked into the crowd and blew himself up, police and hospital officials said. Seven police and three civilians died and 19 people, including 15 police, were injured. Earlier a car bomb exploded in Sadr City, injuring five people. Namiq Khazal, who lives nearby, said: "We woke up to a big blast nearby and the glass windows in front of the house were smashed. My young brother was injured by glass." Minutes later in Sadr City, a bomb hidden in a pile of rubbish exploded, killing one person and wounding five more. Another roadside bomb, this time targeting a police patrol, injured three policemen and four bystanders. Five explosions in the south-western Baghdad neighbourhood of Bayaa killed five people, including two policemen, and injured 15. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

            The attacks came hours before British military operations in Iraq were due to come to an end with the completion of a Royal Navy mission to train Iraqi sailors. Most British forces pulled out of the country in 2009. The defence secretary, Liam Fox, paid tribute to the 179 British personnel who lost their lives in the eight-year deployment. He said of the last mission: "Royal Navy personnel have used their formidable skills and expertise to bring about a transformation in Iraq's naval force. The Iraqi navy has a key role to play in protecting Iraq's territorial waters and the oil infrastructure that is so vital to Iraq's economy, and I am proud of the role British forces have played in making it capable of doing that job."

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                • Baghdad, June 6, 2011 (CNN) -- At least 25 people, including five U.S. soldiers, have died in a series of explosions across Iraq on Monday, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. The attacks coincide with the deadline set by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for cabinet ministers to make reforms or be fired in the wake of deadly February demonstrations over corruption, poor government services and a lack of personal freedoms. The deadliest attack was in Tikrit, where a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into a security checkpoint staffed by Iraqi army and police, killing 11 people and wounding 17 others, according to Interior Ministry officials who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Most of the casualties were Iraqi security forces, Interior Ministry officials told CNN. The attack occurred at the gates of a fortified compound housing a mosque and several palaces that once belonged to Saddam Hussein. On Friday, attacks at the compound's mosque and at a Tikrit hospital killed 23 people and wounded 60. Tikrit was Hussein's hometown and is the capital of the mainly Sunni Arab Salaheddin province. The U.S. soldiers died in an attack on Foward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad. Interior Ministry officials said the soldiers who died were sleeping in their trailers when the attack occurred.

                  In other attacks, according to information provided by Interior Ministry officials:

                  - Four relatives of an Iraqi police officer died and two others were wounded after insurgents exploded bombs they planted around his home.

                  - In Baghdad, one person died and 10 were wounded when a car bomb exploded on a commercial street in eastern Baghdad. Two separate roadside bombs also exploded in the city, wounding eight people, including three police officers.

                  - In the Adhamiyah Sunni neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad, gunmen attacked three separate security checkpoints, killing an Iraqi soldier and three members of a predominantly Sunni movement composed of former insurgents or sympathizers who have turned against al Qaeda.

                  It is unclear whether the violence has any direct connection to al-Maliki's deadline to cabinet ministers to make reforms or be fired. Al-Maliki announced the reform campaign on February 27, after an emergency cabinet meeting that followed weeks of demonstrations across the country by protesters angry about unemployment, poor basic services, corruption and a lack of freedom. Scores of Iraqis were killed and wounded in the protests, which appeared to be inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The latest violence raise questions over the ability of Iraqi forces to secure the country, with almost all U.S. troops due to withdraw at the end of the year under the terms of a bilateral security pact. But if violence increases and instability persists, the countries could agree to keep some U.S. troops in Iraq, where about 46,000 U.S. military personnel are currently based. That is down from a high of 170,000 in 2007, during the peak of the sectarian violence the country.

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                      • "We Are Many" film planned for February 15, 2013

                        Here is an in-work testimony to the power of public protests....

                        Film title:

We Are Many
                        Planned editing period:

Spring 2012 – Winter 2012
                        Shooting locations:

UK, US, Italy, Spain, Germany, India, Australia, Antarctica.
                        Planned release date:

Feb 15 2013, 10th Anniversary of 15 Feb 2003.

                        We Are Many - Trailer - from Amir Amirani

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                        • Iraqi Seed Project

                          I heard about this project today and found it inspiring:

                          iraqiseedproject.com

                          The 8/27/11 interview on NPR:



                          Part of The Iraqi Seed Project is a series of 5 short documentary and hybrid films, which are intended for educational and broadcast distribution. Through cinema vérité, animation, archival material and formal interviews, these films each explore a different aspect of Iraqi agriculture, past and present. Each film can be screened separately, or together as a collection; the total running time of the collection is 74 min. These films are currently in pre-production with an estimated release in Fall 2011.

                          Watch the trailer here: Film Trailer

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