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Iraq's marshes named world heritage site
17 July 2016 - A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday, 17 July. Fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshlands of Mesopotamia are spawning grounds for Gulf fisheries and home to bird species such as the sacred ibis. They also provide a resting spot for thousands of wildfowl migrating between Siberia and Africa. (more)

Iraq: Kurds to fill the' bread basket' once again by restoring agriculture
14 June 2016 - After years of neglecting agriculture in favor of the many barrels of oil that were flushing Kurdistan's economy and fueling a financial boom, Kurdish authorities are taking a fresh look at agriculture. For many years the Kurdish region was considered the bread basket of Iraq due to its fertile land and agreeable climate. The ministry of agriculture welcomes the new government policy to revive the sector. (more)

In Basra workshop, Iraqi oud maker crafts sought-after instruments
18 April 2016 - In his small workshop in the Iraqi city of Basra, Thabit al-Basri carefully bends a slim piece of wood over a flame before placing it over the pear-shaped oud in the making. The 72-year-old craftsman is putting together the traditional string-instrument, popular in Middle Eastern music, a process that can take around a month. His finished product usually fetches $1,000 and is highly sought-after. (more)

Ancient Babylonians took first steps to calculus
29 January 2016 - Tracking and recording the motion of the sun, the moon, and the planets as they paraded across the desert sky, ancient Babylonian astronomers used simple arithmetic to predict the positions of celestial bodies. Now, new evidence reveals that these astronomers, working several centuries B.C.E., also employed sophisticated geometric methods that foreshadow the development of calculus. The Babylonians had developed 'abstract mathematical, geometrical ideas about the connection between motion, position, and time that are so common to any modern physicist or mathematician,' said astroarchaeologist (and astrophysicist turned historian) Mathieu Ossendrijver of Humboldt University in Berlin. (more)

Knowing all the angles: Ancient Babylonians used tricky geometry
28 January 2016 - Ancient Babylonian astronomers were way ahead of their time, using sophisticated geometric techniques that until now had been considered an achievement of medieval European scholars. That is the finding of a study published on Thursday that analyzed four clay tablets dating from 350 to 50 BC featuring the wedge-shaped ancient Babylonian cuneiform script describing how to track the planet Jupiter's path across the sky. Babylon was an important city in ancient Mesopotamia, located in Iraq about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Baghdad. (more)

AP photographer walks refugee road, forges bond with family
22 December 2015 - I never imagined that I would grow so close, and so quickly, to perfect strangers. But the Qasu family will live in my heart for the rest of my days. My professional goal since November has been to befriend a newly arrived refugee family in Lesbos and accompany them the rest of the way to their European sanctuary. (more)

Iraqi family braves perilous journey to new life in Germany
22 December 2015 - The Qasus do not normally cry, but this felt nothing like normal. Like hundreds of thousands before them and untold more to come, the Iraqi family had just completed a disorienting dash across Europe and found refuge in Germany. The Qasus are Yazidis, a religiously distinctive ethnic group within Iraq. As the children play the parents watch from a park bench, pleased to be in a land that offers a future now unimaginable where they came from. (more)

UN chief lauds formation of new Government in Iraq
9 September 2014 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the formation of a new inclusive Government in Iraq as 'a positive step towards political stability and peace in the country'. In a statement from his spokesperson, Mr Ban congratulated Haider al-Abadi on his confirmation as the new Iraqi Prime Minister. He also paid tribute to outgoing Nuri al-Maliki for his leadership during this time of transition. (more)

After decades of war, Iraq adds fleet of new trains to its aging railway
24 March 2014 - Brand new trains were delivered to Iraq for use on a popular railway route, another sign that the country is rebuilding the public transportation network that had fallen into disrepair over decades of neglect and war. The 10 new trains will roll on the Baghdad-Basra line, between Iraq's capital and one of its key cities. It's a line that's been of strategic importance since it was built as part of the Baghdad Railway in the years surrounding World War I, and now it's getting trains capable of 100 mph. That's a big step for a country that only had two passenger trains as of this summer. (more)

UK-based Standard Chartered opens branch in Iraq
27 November 2013 - British bank Standard Chartered PLC says it has opened a branch in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, and that it hopes to play a role in the country's economic growth. A statement said Wednesday that the main aim is to meet the increasing banking needs of its multinational clients in Iraq and to support large government projects. It says a second branch will be opened next month in the self-ruled northern Kurdish region and a third will be opened in 2014 in the oil-rich southern city of Basra. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Proven approach to stop sectarian violence in Iraq
23 June 2014 - With regard to growing sectarian violence in Iraq, President Barack Obama recently said, 'I don't rule out anything,' and 'my national security team is looking at all the options.' He should consider Invincible Defense Technology (IDT), a scientifically-validated approach to effectively, efficiently, and quickly end the turmoil, writes Dr David Leffler in an editorial published today in The Hill, a top US political website widely read by Washington policymakers. This IDT approach to reducing stress and violence is already part of the training of America's future commanders at Norwich University, and has been field-tested by foreign militaries. It is validated by 23 peer-reviewed studies carried out in both developed and developing nations in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Independent scientists and scholars endorse it, based on 25 years of research. (more)

A statistically tested way to stop terrorism and boost Iraq's economy
14 June 2014 - NBC News reports that U.S. President Barack Obama said ''I don't rule out anything,'' and ''my national security team is looking at all the options'' with regard to the rapidly growing unrest in Iraq. Even if The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is defeated, the problem of terrorism will not likely be solved for long, particularly if Iraq's economy does not improve, write the authors of an article that has been reprinted in many countries. Obviously, it is a dangerous time in Iraq. There is a scientifically-validated approach--known as Invincible Defense Technology--validated by 23 studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, that has been statistically proven numerous times to decrease and prevent violence and terrorism. If President Obama really means that he will not rule anything out, then he should request that Iraq establish Preventive Wings of the Military to ease high tensions and prevent further terrorism and war. If they promptly act, Iraq could create lasting peace, boost its economy and gain international prestige. (more)

Meditating for peace in Iraq
19 February 2007 - A recent editorial suggests a solution to the war in Iraq. If just 1,500 of the 133,000 US troops in Iraq practised Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques, an influence of peace and harmony would be created in the region. (more)

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After years of war and drought, Iraq's bumper crop is burning
20 June 2019 - Since the harvest began in April, crop fires have raged across Diyala, Kirkuk, Nineveh, and Salahuddin provinces while the government, battered by years of war and corruption, has few resources to counter a new hit-and-run insurgency. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for burning hundreds of hectares of farmland in Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin provinces as well as Syria. (more)

Several dead, thousands flee homes in Iraq floods
23 November 2018 - At least seven people died and thousands fled their homes in flash floods around the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat on Friday (23 November), its mayor said. The floods, after unusually heavy and early rainfall in recent weeks, have piled more pressure on Iraq's new government to provide services and fix infrastructure in provinces hard-hit by the 2014-17 war against Islamic State militants, and by years of neglect that critics blame on corruption. (more)

Water shortages to cut Iraq's irrigated wheat area by half
11 September 2018 - Drought, water shortages have reduced Nineveh, Iraq's former breadbasket, to a dust bowl. Iraq, a major Middle East grain buyer, will cut the irrigated area it plants with wheat by half in the 2018-2019 growing season as water shortages grip the country, a government official told Reuters. An investigation by Reuters in July revealed how Nineveh, Iraq's former breadbasket, was becoming a dust bowl after drought and years of war. (more)

Water crisis salts the earth in Iraq's long-neglected south
2 August 2018 - Qassim Sabaan Ali has spent the past 15 years tending to orchards in southern Iraq, only to see them wither or die as saltwater has seeped into the once-lush soil. The southern city of Basra was once known as the 'Venice of the East' because of its freshwater canals, and Iraq itself is still known as the 'Land Between the Two Rivers' -- the Tigris and the Euphrates -- which have nourished civilizations since antiquity. (more)

Iraq bans farming summer crops as water crisis grows dire
5 July 2018 - Iraq has banned its farmers from planting summer crops this year as the country grapples with a crippling water shortage that shows few signs of abating. Citing high temperatures and insufficient rains, Dhafer Abdalla, an adviser to Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources, told The Associated Press that the country has only enough water to irrigate half its farmland this summer. But farmers fault the government for failing to modernize how it manages water and irrigation, and they blame neighboring Turkey for stopping up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers behind dams it wants to keep building. (more)

As climate threats grow, Iraq battles a new enemy: Water shortages
12 December 2017 - After years battling Islamic State militants, Iraqi farmers -- many of them military volunteers -- are now returning to their homes and fields only to find a new threat: a shortage of water. Construction of dams and other water-holding facilities in upstream Turkey and Iran, combined with increasingly erratic rainfall across the region, mean the amount of water flowing in key Iraqi rivers has fallen by at least 40 percent in recent decades, said Hassan Janabi, the country's water resources minister. (more)

Iraq's vast marshes, reborn after Saddam, are in peril again
26 October 2017 - In the southern marshlands of Iraq, Firas Fadl steers his boat through tunnels of towering reeds, past floating villages and half-submerged water buffaloes in a unique region that seems a world apart from the rest of the arid Middle East. The marshes, a lush remnant of the cradle of civilization, were reborn after the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein when residents dismantled dams he had built a decade earlier to drain the area in order root out Shiite rebels. But now the largest wetlands in the Middle East are imperiled again, by government mismanagement and new upstream projects. (more)

IS car bomb kills 56, including 20 Iranians, in Iraq
24 November 2016 - A car bomb tore through a gas station south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 56 people, including 20 Iranians, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. The Iraqi officials said the target of the attack appears to have been a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims heading home after taking part in a major Shiite religious observance in the holy city of Karbala. The blast left the bus and some dozen cars charred. (more)

Mass grave points to IS horrors to come in push for Mosul, Iraq
12 November 2016 - For months, Islamic State group fighters drove thousands of civilians on forced marches across the Nineveh desert into the small town of Hamam al-Alil. Retreating ahead of methodical Iraqi advances on Mosul's southern approach, IS fighters converged here, rounding up men, women, and children for use as human shields and killing dozens of others. When Iraqi forces began to close in on this cluster of villages along the Tigris River valley, most of the militants fled into Mosul, taking thousands of civilians with them. But before the retreat, IS fighters also led hundreds . . . past an old IS training camp and shot them dead . . . (more)

Iraq: 'Crashing waves' of jihadists fray soldiers' nerves in Mosul battle
10 November 2016 - A week after his tank division punched through Islamic State defenses on the southeast edge of Mosul, an Iraqi army colonel says the fight to drive the militants out of their urban stronghold is turning into a nightmare. Against a well-drilled, mobile, and brutally effective enemy, exploiting the cover of built-up neighborhoods and the city's civilian population, his tanks were useless, he said, and his men untrained for the urban warfare they face. ... He said it was impossible to differentiate between civilians and fighters who melt in amongst them. Islamic State has forced its dress code on the population during the two years it has controlled the city. (more)


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