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Round Up World in Brief: December 29 2017

YEMEN: Air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition pummelling Yemen have killed 109 civilians since December 18.

That figure includes 54 people blown up at a market in Taiz province and 14 members of the same family killed on a farm in Hodeida, UN humanitarian official Jamie McGoldrick said yesterday.

The strikes, carried out using weaponry supplied by and under the supervision of Britain and the US, “prove complete disregard for human life that all parties … continue to show in this absurd war,” said Mr McGoldrick.

PHILIPPINES: UN experts warned yesterday about human rights abuses against Muslim indigenous people on the southern island of Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law on Mindanao in May to combat Islamist and Maoist insurgencies and the measure has been extended until the end of 2018.

UN human rights council experts said they feared increased militarisation as a result, including “killings and attacks” by troops against the Lumad people, thousands of whom have been displaced by the fighting.

IRAN: Police in Tehran have claimed that they will no longer arrest women for wearing the wrong clothes.

The Sharq newspaper quoted police chief General Hossein Rahimi yesterday as saying: “Those who do not observe the Islamic dress code will no longer be taken to detention centres, nor will judicial cases be filed against them.”

Instead, women who wear the wrong clothes will be sent to re-education classes. Repeat offenders may still be charged.

UNITED STATES: Violent attackers will not be able to use the “gay panic defence” in Illinois from the start of the new year.

Illinois will become only the second of the 50 US states to prohibit the use of the victim’s sexuality as justification for violent crime.

Generally, the “gay panic defence” is used after the discovery of a person’s sexuality supposedly triggers what the Associated Press called “a passionate involuntary response such as murder.”

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