The Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

The Cabinet discussed the needs of Iraq’s health sector, and agreed several measures to expand existing capacity and introduce new services. The measures included:

  • Adding additional ward capacity for the treatment of cancer patients at the National Amal Hospital and the National Cancer Centre
  • Establishing general nuclear medicine centres in Anbar, Basra, Babylon, Najaf and Nineveh provinces

The Cabinet discussed other policies and agreed to:

  • Make a one-off payment in the sum of 75,000 dinars to citizens who receive social security benefits on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha
  • Cancel the outstanding debt due from 17,552 families who receive social security support
  • Appoint graduates of medical colleges to positions in the health sector
  • Refer Al-Khairat Power Station Project to the consortium led by Hyundai. This important project will contribute to increased power generation and support the operation of the Karbala Refinery Project
  • Approve a recommendation from the Ministerial Council on Energy in relation to the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) project at Basra Refinery

The Cabinet reviewed and approved a number of other measures and policies.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

The University of Karbala produces locally made hand sanitizer and disinfectant for health facilities, in first of its kind UNICEF-supported project

In the first of its kind project since the corona virus outbreak, graduate students in the pharmaceutical department of the University of Karbala have produced 14,500 locally made hand sanitizers and 10,000 large products to disinfect surfaces, with the support of UNICEF and its partner the Karbala Directorate of Health.

Over the course of the month of June, the bottles were distributed to primary healthcare centers in Karbala and Baghdad, both which have been hard hit by covid19.

“We have been distributing hand sanitizer and soap to some of the most vulnerable communities since the beginning of the outbreak. To now be able to support Iraqis as they themselves produce items they need to protect their communities from COVID-19 is something we are proud of and that lives up to our commitment to empower local communities who are driving positive change,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq.

The sanitizer is produced according to the highest global standards and with locally sourced raw materials. The gel is then bottled into 250 milliliters containers that are labelled and include instructions on how to use. The production cost of one bottle amounts 2 US dollars, a third of the average selling price of one hand sanitizer bottle (6 dollars) on the market.

“I am happy with the quality of the materials that we are using. I hope that our work will benefit Iraqis across the country, and not only here in Karbala,” explained Karrar Abd, one of the graduate students taking part in the production.

There are already plans to produce at least 10,000 more bottles that will be distributed in the two governorates, as well as in Basra and Najaf. The production process takes up to three weeks. Once ready, youth volunteers who are trained in hygiene promotion by UNICEF distribute the bottles to public health clinics and centers. To date, the hand sanitizer bottles, and disinfectant solution have been given to 34 main Primary health care centers in Karbala and Baghdad.

“I heard so many people say that COVID-19 does not exist, which is not true. Someone in my family came into contact with the disease and transmitted it on to others. I know that hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent us from spreading COVID-19 because it ensures that we have clean hands, and therefore I wanted to work on this project. It makes me feel I am giving something to my community,” explained 22-year old Zainab Hussein, one of the volunteers from Karbala who participated in the distributing.

With access to hand sanitizer, patients and health workers alike can practice hand hygiene, thereby enabling health centers to continue providing communities with essential services such as immunization and maternal health despite COVID-19. The project was made possible with generous support of the Department of International Development (DFID UK).

(Source: UN)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Students protest against American and Iranian interference

Iraqi students take to the streets in the Iraqi city of Karbala to protest against the US and Iran’s interference in Iraq.

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By Shelly Kittleson for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

Protesters have reportedly attempted to burn down the Iranian consulates in both of Iraq’s holy cities, Najaf and Karbala, over the past month, with the consulate in Najaf torched twice in a single week.

The attacks in Najaf took place Nov. 27 and Dec. 1, two days after the Iraqi prime minister offered to resign following Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s Friday sermon in the city.

Protesters in Najaf also attacked the shrine of late Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, who was assassinated in 2003 after he returned to Iraq following two decades in Iran.

On Nov. 3, protesters attempted to burn down Karbala’s Iranian Consulate after a similar incident in Basra late last year.

Click here to read the full story.

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi protesters clash with security forces in Iraq’s city of Karbala

Iraqi protesters clash with security forces in Iraq’s central city of Karbala as anti-government protests continue across the country.

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By Gilgamesh Nabeel for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

October brought bad news to Iran, as popular demonstrations in Baghdad and Beirut continued, signaling a potential threat to its dominance over the Shiite Crescent.

Anti-Iran sentiments have been a staple of Iraq’s protests since Oct. 25. Tens of thousands of Iraqi protesters view Iran as the main source of the country’s instability.

Protesters wielding Molotov cocktails attacked the Iranian Consulate in Karbala, home to several Shiite shrines, on the evening of Nov. 3.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By Amnesty International. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Horrific scenes as security forces resort to lethal force to disperse Karbala protests

Iraqi security forces resorted yet again to excessive and unlawful lethal force to disperse crowds of largely peaceful protesters in the southern city of Karbala last night, said Amnesty International, after at least 14 protesters were reported killed and more than 100 injured.

Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses and verified geo-located video footage indicates that Iraqi security forces and anti-riot police opened fire using live ammunition as well as tear gas, chasing peaceful protesters staging a sit-in at the Tarbiya roundabout on 28 October. Witnesses also said security forces attempted to run them over with vehicles.

More here.

(Source: Amnesty International)

More than three million Iranians have registered to visit the holy cities of Iraq during the Arbaeen season, which marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam, a senior official said on Saturday.

Amir Moradi, the executive manager of a task force charged with handling the Arbaeen pilgrimage, said by 8:30 on Saturday morning, the number of people who have registered at the Samah website, has surpassed three million.

The Samah website has been launched by Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization to facilitate sending pilgrims to Iraq’s holy sites during the Arbaeen season.

Moradi pointed to the Iranian provinces that account for the largest number of people registered to go on the pilgrimage to Iraq, and said Tehran, with 500,118 names registered, is on the top of the list.

This year, the four borders of Khosravi, Mehran, Chazzabeh, and Shalamcheh are open to the Arbaeen pilgrims.

Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.

Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites.

In August, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement in Tehran to reopen the Khosravi border crossing and remove visa restrictions for Iranian Arbaeen pilgrims.

Iran and Iraq also agreed to raise the level of services and facilities for the pilgrims and enhance border security during the Arbaeen season, which will culminate in a large gathering in Karbala on October 19.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

During their recent visit to China, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, accompanied by the Ministers of Transport and Electricity visited the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which specializes in transport, energy, communications and heavy engineering equipment.

The company is already involved in the reconstruction of Salah al-Din power station and is in negotiations regarding power stations in Al-Khairat and Karbala.

Iraq’s Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb said he hoped to establish a strategic economic partnerships with China, with a focus on the energy sector.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Finance)

By John Lee.

During their recent visit to China, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, accompanied by the Ministers of Transport and Electricity visited the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which specializes in transport, energy, communications and heavy engineering equipment.

The company is already involved in the reconstruction of Salah al-Din power station and is in negotiations regarding power stations in Al-Khairat and Karbala.

Iraq’s Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb said he hoped to establish a strategic economic partnerships with China, with a focus on the energy sector.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Finance)