By John Lee.

Iraq is reportedly considering banning several popular video games over fears that they encourage violence and crime.

MP Sami’a Ghulab, who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Information, Tourism, and Archaeology, is quoted as saying that games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends and PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) are “affecting the social, psychological and educational level of everyone [who plays them]“.

According to The Independent, the MP provided no evidence for this alleged damage, nor any details about how the ban would be enforced. The newspaper also cites a recent study from the University of Oxford which suggests that links between violent video games and real-world violence have been overblown.

The National reports that Iraq’s 2005 constitution enshrines press freedom unless they “violate public order or morality.”

(Source: The Independent, The National)

By John Lee.

On Thursday parliament approved Iraq’s 2019 budget.

According to AFP, at $111.8 billion it is one of Iraq’s largest ever spending bills, and represents a nearly 45 percent increase from last year.

It assumes exports of 3.9 million barrels of oil per day in 2019, including 250,000 bpd from Iraqi Kurdistan, at an average of $56 per barrel (compared to $63 per barrel at the moment).

More here.

(Sources: AFP, Reuters)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) In cooperation with the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) organized three-days induction sessions on the principles of Parliamentary work.

The sessions came as part of the continues support to the institutional reform and enhanced governance in Iraq. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 35 newly elected Parliamentarians attended the three-day sessions where they went through a practical guidance about the parliamentary administration work, legislative and oversight role, constitutional and legal framework for the work of the Council of Representatives, human rights, Gender equality, SDGs and media relations.

In addition to presenting international experiences in parliamentary development.

As part of a four-phase induction programme to inform Members of Parliament (MPs) about their legislative, and oversight role and their constitutional responsibilities, this session followed the previous workshop held in last November for 50 parliament members, in cooperation with the office of the First Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives and the Parliamentary Directorate.

The First Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Mr. Hasan Alka’bi said:

“Our cooperation with UNDP is very important at this stage to enhance the capacities of the newly elected MPs, the CoR is very interested to conduct more similar sessions, especially with the current critical situation of Iraq. We have lots of laws and legislations but implementing them is our main issue. Therefore we count on the expertise that the UNDP is offering in terms of institutional reform and parliamentarians legislative and oversight role”.

Inclusive Governance Project Manager Mr. Zeyad Al Obaidi said:

“This training has been tailored made by UNDP with assistance from the parliament staff from the general secretary, it is an opportunity for the Iraqi MPs to meet and interact with the parliamentary staff and international experts and discuss their constitutional role”.

Gender session led by UNDP Gender advisor Ms. Sundus Abbas was an opportunity to open a discussion on the decision of merging the Women Parliamentary Committee with the Human Rights Committee, and how this will reflect a negative message to the international community. The First Deputy Speaker Mr. Alka’bi expressed that this decision requires further consultation with the relevant MPs.

The workshop concluded with positive feedback from the participant MPs. It was recommended to conduct additional intensive sessions to strengthen the MPs capacities and perform their functions more proactively.

Launched in late 2017, The Inclusive Governance Project focuses on democratic governance that plays a key-role in the development of Iraq’s inclusive politics. It aims to foster Inclusive Politics through strengthening the effectiveness and accountability of Iraqi’s parliamentary institutions in promoting participation in political processes, state-building and the Sustainable Development Goals-SDGs.

(Source: UNDP)

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

The Iraqi parliament has passed a bill to officially recognise Shia armed groups collectively known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces.

The PMF are currently playing a vital role in the battle for the city of Mosul.

By John Lee.

The Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Salim Al-Jabbouri [Saleem al-Jabouri] has reportedly been cleared of corruption allegations on Tuesday due to insufficient evidence.

Last week, Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi claimed that al-Jabouri and at least five lawmakers and business people had tried to persuade him to secure specific contracts and to reinstate employees fired due to corruption, according to Associated Press.

(Source: KUNA)

By John Lee.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (pictured) has issued a temporary travel ban for some sitting lawmakers and politicians, according to Associated Press.

The move follows allegations of corruption that emerged during the questioning in parliament of the country’s defense minister, Khaled al-Obeidi, who claimed that speaker Salim al-Jabouri and at least five lawmakers and business people had tried to persuade him to secure specific contracts and to reinstate employees fired due to corruption.

(Source: AP)

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

Thousands of angry protesters broke into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Saturday and stormed the parliament building after lawmakers again failed to approve new ministers:

By John Lee.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Baghdad to protest at a months-long political crisis and lack of reform, according to BBC News.

Supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (pictured) marched towards the Green Zone to press Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to push ahead with his plan to replace ministers appointed on the basis of political affiliation with technocrats.

Powerful parties in parliament have so far refused to approve the reshuffle.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi was prevented from speaking in parliament on Tuesday, reports Rudaw.

Parliamentary sources told the BBC that Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari also submitted his resignation, but that the prime minister had refused to accept it.

(Sources: BBC News, Rudaw)

By John Lee.

Iraqi lawmakers voted on Friday to remove the parliament speaker, Salim al-Juburi (pictured), and his deputies

The move further delays Prime Minister al-Abadi’s efforts to appoint a new ‘technocrat’ cabinet.

It came a day after a fist-fight reportedly broke out between lawmakers in the parliament hall following an overnight sit-in.

(Source: AFP)

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

Iraqi lawmakers held an all-night sit-in at parliament protesting efforts by powerful political blocs to maintain control of key government posts, pushing the speaker to convene an emergency session Wednesday.