IS frees 2 Christian women held in Syria, other 210 still captive
Syrian activists say the Islamic State group has released two Christian women who had been held along with dozens others since February in northeastern Syria.
IS had kidnapped more than 220 Assyrian Christians in February, after overrunning several farming communities on the southern bank of the Khabur River in Hassakeh province.
Osama Edwards, director of the Assyrian Network for Human Rights, says the women, who are 70 and 75 years old, were released on Tuesday and have now reached the northwestern city of Hassakeh.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday the two were likely released because of their poor health. Some of the captives were released previously.
Edwards says the Islamic State is still holding 210 Assyrian Christians and is demanding $100,000 for each hostage.
An Iraqi military spokesman says Islamic State militants have carried out multiple suicide attacks targeting the army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops.
Brigadier general Saad Maan Ibrahim, the spokesman for the Joint Military Command, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the attacks took place outside the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah late the previous night.
Ibrahim says Islamic State extremists used a sandstorm that engulfed most of Iraq on Tuesday night to unleash the deadly wave of bombings.
The attacks came just hours after the Iraqi government announced the start of a wide-scale operation to recapture areas under the control of IS in western Anbar province.
The war in Ukraine could allow illegal drug production to flourish, while the opium market's future hinges on the fate of crisis-wracked Afghanistan, the United Nations warned Monday.
Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday slammed the country's former government - led by Imran Khan - for its failure to implement the National Action Plan against terrorism. Slamming the Pakistani prime minister, Khan - during a meeting - reportedly referred to the rise in terrorism-related incidents during the last four years, against the backdrop of a 56 percent surge in the number of terror attacks in 2021.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is set to make his first international trips since ordering the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year. Putin will be visiting Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, reported news agency Reuters, citing local media, adding that the Russian president will also meet Indonesian president Joko Widodo for talks in Moscow post the two visits.
Places including U.S. states that have legalized cannabis appear to have increased its regular use, while COVID lockdowns had a similar effect, raising the risk of depression and suicide, a U.N. report said on Monday. Various U.S. states have legalized non-medical use of cannabis, starting with Washington and Colorado in 2012. Uruguay legalized it in 2013, as did Canada in 2018. Others have taken similar steps but the report focused on those three countries.
Ghislaine Maxwell, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday for her December conviction for helping her then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, the globe-trotting financier and convicted sex offender, abuse girls between 1994 and 2004. Prosecutors say she deserves between 30 and 55 years in prison. She told psychology staff she was not suicidal. Prosecutors said the jail's warden will oversee an investigation. Maxwell wants less than 20 years, arguing she is being scapegoated for Epstein's crimes.