Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 31st 2015 Contents • Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
BAGHDAD---Iran s Revolutionary Guard
says a US drone strike has killed two of its
advisers in Iraq, though the US said yes-
terday it has only struck militants in its
campaign against the Islamic State group.
The claim came as negotiators on Monday
attempted to reach a deal on Iran s contested
nuclear program, which hard-liners in the
Islamic Republic have opposed as giving away
too much to the West.
The Guard said on its sepahnews.ir website
the strike happened March 23, just after the
US-led coalition began airstrikes to support
Iraqi forces trying to retake the Islamic State-
held city of Tikrit.
It identified the dead as Ali Yazdani and
Hadi Jafari, saying they were buried Sunday.
It called them advisers, without elaborating
on whether Iran contacted Iraqi or US forces
after the strike.
Iran occasionally reports on the death of
its forces in Iraq and Syria, where it is backing
embattled President Bashar Assad, but this
is the first time Iran has said it has lost forces
in an attack by the US in those campaigns.
The US-led coalition began a campaign
of airstrikes and reconnaissance missions
around Tikrit, Saddam Hussein s hometown,
on March 21 in support of large-scale oper-
ations to retake it after Iraqi efforts had stalled.
Reached by The Associated Press about
the Guard s claim, the US Embassy in Bagh-
dad said: "The international coalition is aimed
at Daesh only," using an alternate Arabic
acronym for the Islamic State group.
"All airstrikes are carried out at the request
of the Iraqi government and in full coordi-
nation with the (Iraqi) Ministry of Defense,"
the embassy said, without directly addressing
the Iranian claim.
The Islamic State group now controls a
third of Iraq and neighboring Syria. The US
began airstrikes against them in August, while
Iran has offered advisers and other assistance
to Iraq to fight the extremists. (AP)
HONG KONG---The president and CEO of The
Associated Press called yesterday for changes to
international laws that would make it a war crime
to kill journalists or take them hostage.
Gary Pruitt said a new framework is needed to
protect journalists as they cover conflicts in which
they are increasingly seen as targets by extremist
"It used to be that when media wore PRESS
emblazoned on their vest, or PRESS or MEDIA
was on their vehicle, it gave them a degree of pro-
tection" because reporters were seen as independent
civilians telling the story of the conflict, Pruitt
"But guess what: That labeling now is more
likely to make them a target," he said in a speech
at Hong Kong s Foreign Correspondents Club.
Last year was a particularly deadly year for the
AP---four of the news cooperative s journalists were
killed on assignment. Globally, 61 journalists were
killed in the line of duty in 2014, bringing to more
than 1,000 the number who have died since 1992,
according to the Committee to Protect Journal-
One of the most high profile killings was that
of AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was
shot by a police officer while covering elections
in Afghanistan. AP reporter Kathy Gannon was
severely wounded in the same attack. Two other
AP staff---videographer Simone Camilli and trans-
lator Ali Shehda Abu Afash---were killed in Gaza
when an unexploded missile went off. In addition,
AP photographer Franklin Reyes Marrero died in
a car accident while returning from an assignment
Pruitt said existing international laws should be
updated to protect journalists. He proposed creating
a new protocol to the Geneva Conventions to make
the killing of a journalist a specific war crime. He
also suggested adapting articles of the International
Criminal Court, which deals with war crimes, to
specifically cover journalists.
While acknowledging that these measures would
not necessarily prevent journalists from getting
killed, Pruitt said it would raise awareness of the
idea that media workers, like doctors and nurses,
should not be targeted during war.
Journalists deserve such protection as the nature
of war changes, Pruitt said. Journalists are increas-
ingly becoming targets of extremist groups because
such groups don t need media organisations to
deliver their message---they can use social media
"They don t need us, they don t want us. They
want to tell their story in their way from start to
finish with nothing in between, and a journalist
is a potential critical filter that they don t want to
have around," he said.
"The larger world, however, needs us. They need
us to get the real facts out or the complete story
out. Not just one side as they want to tell it."
The rising trend of terrorist and extremist groups
resorting to kidnapping and ransoming journalists
to raise money is also making it more dangerous
to report from conflict zones, Pruitt said. Even
more worrying, such groups are also increasingly
killing journalists to get attention.
"A beheading becomes a bloody press release,"
The AP and other news organisations have also
taken steps to protect freelancers, who often don t
have the training and support offered to staff jour-
Iran says US drone kills 2 advisers in Iraq
ABUJA, Nigeria---Nigeria s electoral com-
mission began counting votes in hotly con-
tested presidential elections yesterday as
the United States and Britain warned that
the count may be subverted by "deliberate
For the first time in Nigeria s history, a
presidential vote appears too close to call,
analysts have said of Saturday s high-stakes
election to govern Africa s richest and most
populated nation. Front-runners are President
Goodluck Jonathan and former military dic-
tator Gen Muhammadu Buhari.
The voting was relatively smooth in this
nation of 170 million people despite technical
glitches, deadly attacks by Islamic extremists
and allegations of political violence and threats
in some areas.
Widespread rigging has occurred in many
previous Nigerian elections, along with post-
election violence. New biometric cards aimed
at stemming fraud were brought in but some
newly imported card readers were not func-
tioning properly. Voting was extended to
Sunday in some 300 out of 150,000 polling
stations where that problem occurred, the
election commission said.
The winner could be announced later today
or tomorrow, electoral officials said.
A joint statement by the United States and
Britain said both countries would be "very
concerned" by any attempts to undermine
the independence of the electoral commission
and distort the will of the Nigerian people.
The official collation of votes from 36
states and the Federal Capital Territory of
Abuja was to be carried out in the presence
of party representatives, national and inter-
national election observers and media. There
was a high turnout among the nearly 60
million people who had cards to vote in this
election that for the first time offers the pos-
sibility of a challenger defeating a sitting
president. The vote counting began two hours
late with no explanation for the delay.
Nervousness that the announcement of
the results could trigger violence was palpable.
One radio station played a song written by
entertainment star 2Face Idibia in Nigeria s
colloquial English: "Vote not fight! Election
no be war!"
After Buhari lost to Jonathan in 2011, more
than 1,000 people died and some 65,000
were forced from their homes in northern
riots, according to the National Human Rights
Police in Port Harcourt, a centre of oil
production in Nigeria s south, fired tear gas
Monday morning to disperse thousands of
women supporters of the opposition coalition
who demanded the cancellation of the elec-
tion in Rivers state.
The opposition is demanding new elections
in the southern states of Rivers and Akwa
Ibom, alleging irregularities that include
missing and false results sheets and electoral
officials being replaced by government offi-
cials loyal to Jonathan. The national election
commission said it was investigating.
Just days before the elections, Nigeria s
military, backed by armies from neighbouring
countries, announced major victories over
home-grown Boko Haram Islamic extremists
after months of defeats.
The UN secretary-general s special envoy
to West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas,
told the Security Council in a briefing today
that Boko Haram was "unable to disrupt the
electoral process." The legitimacy of Nigeria s
next government is important for ensuring
the support of the international community,
he said. Detractors accuse Jonathan of being
ineffectual and Buhari of being anti-demo-
Nigerian troops stand near a protest by woman members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, party as they protest against voting
irregularities during the Nigerian presidential election in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, yesterday. The United States and Britain said Monday
there are signs that the vote counting for Nigeria's presidential election may be subverted by "deliberate political interference." AP PHOTO
Nerves on edge in Nigeria
as vote count begins
TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015
Killing of journalists
should be war crime
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