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Missiles hit Iraq as Iran’s revolutionary guard claims responsibility

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed responsibility for a dozen ballistic missile attacks that struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday, Iran’s state media reported.

The elite forces in a statement released on Sunday said it targeted the Israeli “strategic centre” in the country.

The missile attack comes as talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal face the prospect of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations for an undetermined time despite having a largely completed text.

The missiles, which targeted the U.S. consulate’s new building, caused only material damage and one civilian was injured, the Kurdish interior ministry said. An Iraqi security official told Reuters that the missiles were manufactured in Iran.

“Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive and destructive response,” the Revolutionary Guard said in a statement reported by state media.

A U.S. official blamed Iran for the attack earlier on Sunday but did not give further details. Iranian officials have yet to comment.

Separately, the United States of America State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Erbil.

U.S. forces stationed at Erbil’s international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that Washington blames on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months.

“It’s premature to point finger of blame at specific party but initial reports show indisputably that it was a cross-border short range missile attack,” an Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“Parts of the fired missiles were retrieved and it was manufactured by Iran,” he said.

He added that the missiles come at a “critical junction” of Iran’s relations with the world, where Vienna talks about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have been suspended.

Iraq and neighbouring Syria are regularly the scenes of violence between the US and Iran. Iran-backed Shia groups have attacked US forces in both countries, and Washington has on occasion retaliated with air raids.

Kurdish officials did not immediately say where the missiles struck. A spokesperson for the regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Erbil airport.

Residents of Erbil posted videos online showing several large explosions, and some said the blasts shook their homes. The Reuters news agency said it could not independently verify those videos.

Reuters/Al Jazeera

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Musings From Abroad

Transport cleaning staff in UK to join strike train over pay – union

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As industrial actions continue to across the United Kingdom, cleaners have joined other transport workers to strike over pay in Britain, the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union.

The union made the position known on Saturday, stressing that its members, working as cleaners throughout the transport network, had voted to hold their first national strike action.

Over 1,000 contracted-out cleaners working for the likes of Churchill, Italian Servest, and Mitie are said to be eligible to strike.

The union is demanding that the cleaners be paid 15 pounds ($18.14) an hour, with sick pay, holiday entitlement, and better pensions.

Industrial actions have been on the rise in Britain lately with railway workers, nurses, doctors, and teachers, as well as emergency services, postal services, and telecoms workers have either on strike or planning action.

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Musings From Abroad

Britain introduces policy to reduce influx of international students

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Britain in an attempt to manage the influx of Africans into Europe has introduced plans to reduce the rate of immigration to the United Kingdom by limiting the number of foreign students entering the country.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that approximately 560,000 people migrated to the UK as of June. This marked a sharp increase from the comparable period last year, driven by the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

Under the new arrangement, there will be limitation on the number of family members that international students are allowed to bring into the country.

The policy move would be a reversal of the 2019 International Education strategy which sought to boost the country’s education exports to £35 billion per year.

Africa, particularly Nigeria has a large number of students in the United Kingdom. Nigerians consistitute a third non-EU country with the most students in the UK with 21,305 students currently enrolled in UK institutions, ahead of the United States with 19,220 students.

China and India with 143,820 and 84,555 students respectively have the highest number of students in the UK.

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