BAGHDAD – Anti-government demonstrators defied an around-the-clock curfew in Baghdad and other cities Thursday as Iraqi security forces used live ammunition and tear gas during a third day of unrest that has left 33 people dead, most of them protesters.
Authorities cut internet access in much of Iraq since late Wednesday in a desperate move to curb the rallies. By Thursday afternoon, the curfew was extended to three other southern provinces.
The spontaneous rallies have been spurred mostly by youths wanting jobs, improved services such as electricity and water, and an end to endemic corruption in the oil-rich country. Most of the demonstrators were peaceful; many had their faces covered with masks or Iraqi flags.
North Korea brags of missile test
North Korea said Thursday it has carried out its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in three years, in an apparent bid to dial up pressure on the United States ahead of a weekend resumption of their nuclear diplomacy.
North Korea said Wednesday's test was a Pukguksong-3 missile, which it described as a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The Pentagon, however, rejected North Korea's claim, saying Thursday the short-to-medium range missile was not launched from a submarine.
32 parachuting soldiers injured
Military officials are investigating after 32 parachuting soldiers were injured – four badly enough to require hospitalization – when 87 jumpers were blown into trees during a night training exercise in Mississippi.
Injuries during training jumps are fairly common, but the scale of this accident is fairly rare, Col. Christopher Landers, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, said during a brief news conference Thursday.
“In my career, I've seen about a half-dozen times where this many jumpers end up in the trees,” he said.
Ex-lieutenant pleads guilty
A Coast Guard lieutenant accused of stockpiling weapons and targeting Supreme Court justices, prominent Democrats and TV journalists pleaded guilty on Thursday to gun and drug charges.
Christopher Hasson's guilty plea to all four of the counts he faced resolves a case in which federal prosecutors called him a self-described white nationalist and domestic terrorist intent on carrying out mass killings.
With his plea, he now faces up to 31 years in prison. His sentencing is set for Jan. 31.