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Jacques Chirac: Former French president dies aged 86

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The former French president Jacques Chirac has died aged 86, his son-in-law has confirmed.

Mr Chirac led the country between 1995 and 2007.

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Middle East

4 rockets hit military base near Baghdad, 6 injured

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Baghdad, Dec 9 : Four rockets struck a military base near the Baghdad airport, leaving six army personnel injured, Iraqi authorities said Monday.

According to a statement by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, forces searched the areas around the military base and found a rocket launcher left with some unfired rockets because of malfunction, Xinhua news agency reported

The statement however, did not say when the attack took place or identified which base was hit.

Meanwhile, an Interior Ministry official told Xinhua that the targeted base was where US troops were stationed.

Military bases housing US troops across Iraq and the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad have been frequently targeted by insurgents’ mortar and rocket attacks.

Over 5,000 .S troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against the Islamic State (IS) militants, mainly providing training and advice to the Iraqi forces.

The troops are part of the US-led international coalition that has been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

The incident came as mass demonstrations have continued in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.

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Sharif may travel to US for treatment on Dec 16

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Islamabad: Ailing former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was likely to travel to the US from London on December 16 for further medical treatment, family sources have said.

Sharif has been residing at the Avenfield flats owned by his son Hasan Nawaz in London since November 20, reports Dawn news.

Diagnosed with an immune system disorder causing low platelet count, the sources said that as treatment of the disease was not available in London, Shaif had to be shifted to the US .

They said that the medical tests conducted in London revealed that blood supply to a part of Sharif’s brain was obstructed causing low platelet count issue and the surgical procedure facility required to treat it was available only in Boston.

Serving a seven-year jail term in a corruption case, Sharif had been released on medical grounds for eight weeks by the the Islamabad High Court on October 27.

The Lahore High Court later directed the government to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) for four weeks so that he could fly abroad for his treatment as suggested by various medical boards, Dawn news reported.

The former premier had refused to travel abroad on the condition set by the incumbent Imran Khan government that he should submit an indemnity bond as a guarantee for his return to the country after his treatment.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif then gave an undertaking to the court that he would ensure the return of his brother on certification by the doctors that he was fit to travel to Pakistan.

A group of senior PML-N leaders were currently in London. But they were so far not allowed to visit Nawaz Sharif.

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Election

Finland’s Social Democrats pick Marin to be youngest ever PM

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Helsinki, Dec 9 : Finland’s Social Democratic Party (SDP), one of the five parties that form the coalition government, has picked 34-year-old Sanna Marin to be the country’s youngest Prime Minister.

Marin, who is currently the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications, narrowly won over Antti Lindtman, the 37-year-old chairman of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group, in a vote of 32-29, Xinhua news agency reported.

The vote was carried out at the Social Democratic Party Council on Sunday evening. The results of the vote were announced in a nationally-televised broadcast.

The position of the prime minister became vacant as the cabinet under former Prime Minister Antti Rinne had to resign following the loss of confidence in him of one of the coalition partners, the Centre Party.

The previous coalition composition will continue. The five parties met on Sunday afternoon and pledged adherence to the program of the outgoing cabinet. The coalition comprises the Social Democrats, the Centre, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party.

Following her victory, Marin gave a brief statement calling for party unity. Procedural formalities of the government change will continue on Monday. Local media said President Sauli Niinisto is likely to appoint the new government on Tuesday.

Marin has been Finland’s Minister of Transport and Communications since June of 2019. She is also SDP deputy chair, who led the party during Rinne’s extended sick leave last winter. Marin is also a member of parliament.

She became nationally known first in the municipal political scene in Tampere, the second largest town in Finland. She was the chairperson of the City Council of Tampere from 2013 to 2017.

Marin has a master’s degree in Administrative Sciences in Tampere University.

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