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100 Die, 150 Injured As Fire Breaks Out At Wedding In Iraq

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No less than 100 people have been killed and more than 150 injured after a fire broke out during a wedding at an event hall in Al-Hamdaniyah town of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

Hundreds of people were celebrating in Al-Hamdaniyah when fire tore through the venue late on Tuesday evening.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but early reports say it broke out after fireworks were lit and inflammable panels in the venue might have fuelled the flames, causing parts of the ceiling to catch fire and fall.

“The fire led to the collapse of parts of the hall as a result of the use of highly flammable, low-cost building materials that collapsed within minutes when fire breaks out,” Iraq’s civil defence directorate stated.

It was not clear if the bride and the groom were among the victims. Initial reports in Iraqi media said they had died in the blaze, later reporting that they were alive but were being treated for burns.

A photo posted by Nina showed dozens of firefighters battling the fire, and pictures from local journalists on social media show the charred-out remains of inside the event hall.

Firefighters were seen climbing over the wreckage of the building in search of survivors on Wednesday morning.

Eyewitnesses said hundreds of people were there celebrating when the building caught fire at around 10:45 local time (19:45 GMT) on Tuesday.

“We saw the f;re pulsating, coming out of the hall. Those who managed got out and those who didn’t got stuck. Even those who made their way out were broken,” Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who escaped the inferno, told an international news agency.

Another wedding guest, Rania Waad, who sustained a bụrn to her hand, said that as the bride and groom were slow dancing “fireworks started to climb to the ceiling, the whole hall went up in flames. We couldn’t see anything. We were suffocating, we didn’t know how to get out.”

The deputy governor of Nineveh, Hassan al-Allaq, told reporters that 113 people had been confirmed dead, while state news agency INA put the death toll at at least 100, with 150 people injured.

The injured have been transferred to hospitals across the Nineveh region, the region’s governor told INA, suggesting that the number of deaths and injuries was not fixed and may rise.

Report says at the main hospital in Hamdaniyah, which is east of the region’s capital Mosul, dozens of people arrived to donate blood to help the injured.

Iraq’s prime minister posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had directed officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident”.

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IMF Urges Stronger Social Safety Nets to Maximize AI’s Benefit

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International Monetary Fund
– IMF warns of job losses and inequality from generative AI
– Fiscal policy crucial for equal distribution of AI benefits
– Upgrades to social protection and tax systems necessary

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sounded the alarm on the potential negative effects of generative AI on jobs and wealth inequality. To mitigate these effects, the IMF recommends implementing stronger social safety nets and fiscal policies.

Accordingly, governments should consider new measures to raise revenue and support workers who lose their jobs due to AI. This includes investing in sector-based training to prepare workers for the jobs of the future.

The IMF emphasizes that fiscal policy has a major role to play in ensuring a more equal distribution of AI’s benefits. However, this requires significant upgrades to social protection and tax systems worldwide.

As the IMF notes, “Fiscal policy has a major role to play in supporting a more equal distribution of gains and opportunities from generative AI.” They argue that more generous unemployment insurance and investment in sector-based training are necessary to prepare workers for the changing job market.

The IMF advises against a special tax on AI products, instead suggesting that corporate tax breaks that encourage job displacement should be reconsidered. Strengthening taxes on capital income could help offset rising wealth inequality.

 

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Police Probe US Businessman’s Sudden Demise in Lagos Hotel

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– US-based businessman Onyejekwe Izuchukwu found dead in Lagos hotel
– Police investigation underway to determine cause of death
– Autopsy to be performed to reveal more details

The Lagos State Police Command has launched an investigation into the sudden death of Onyejekwe Izuchukwu, a 62-year-old US-based businessman. Izuchukwu’s body was discovered in his hotel room in Ikoyi on June 9, 2024.

According to a source, Izuchukwu had been staying at the hotel since June 6, engaging in business activities. Tragically, his lifeless body was found by a cleaner on the floor of his room.

The hotel’s management reported the incident to the police, who have commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Izuchukwu’s death. A doctor was called to the scene and confirmed the businessman’s demise.

Izuchukwu was a prominent figure in the oil and gas industry, having served as President of Bits and Drilling Tools, a division of Schlumberger. His death has sent shockwaves through the industry.

“The command has commenced an investigation into the case,” said Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin. “Izuchukwu’s corpse has been deposited in a morgue in Ikeja for autopsy.”

 

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