|1||N||Scream VI||Paramount Pi…||$44,447,270||3,675||$12,094||$44,447,270||1|
|2||(1)||Creed III||United Artists||$27,250,402||-53%||4,007||n/c||$6,801||$101,435,676||2|
|4||(2)||Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania||Walt Disney||$7,133,966||-44%||3,105||-720||$2,298||$198,112,394||4|
|8||(6)||Avatar: The Way of Water||20th Century…||$2,656,192||-27%||1,675||-625||$1,586||$674,653,377||13|
|9||(8)||Puss in Boots: The Last Wish||Universal||$1,752,245||-36%||1,816||-772||$965||$179,729,150||12|
|-||(7)||Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre||Lionsgate||$1,272,319||-59%||2,168||n/c||$587||$5,555,182||2|
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Last month, the Iraqi government published long-proposed legislation banning the import of alcoholic beverages into the country, no doubt including Saddam's beloved Johnny Walker Black Label.
According to the new legislation, the sale or production of alcohol in Iraq is now illegal, while the General Customs Authority in a statement said it had "given orders to all customs centres to ban the entry of all types of alcoholic drinks".
The legislation, originally passed in 2016 but only becoming law after its publication in the official gazette on 20 February, is unlikely to affect the autonomous Kurdistan region that controls its own border crossings.
No, as Julian Bechoca (RUADW) noted last week, it's not going into practice in the Kurdistan. Hadi Mizban (AFP) reports, "Some see the measures as an attempt by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to head off potential political challenges from religious conservatives. They say another motive may be to distract from economic woes, including rising prices and wild currency fluctuations." Ali Mamouri (AL-MONITOR) reports:
Iraq has great religious diversity. The majority of the population is Shiite and Sunni Muslims, but there are also sizable communities of Christians, Yazidis, Zorastrians, Mandaeans and others. Some analysts believe the law is a step toward turning Iraq into an Islamic country.
"This is ethnic discrimination," Diya Butros, an activist in the predominantly Chaldean Catholic town of Ankawa, told Al-Monitor. "It's a violation of the rights of non-Muslim religions that do not forbid alcohol."
Ali Saheb, an Iraqi political analyst, told Independent Arabia on March 6 that Iraq is not an Islamic country, and "Some religions allow drinking alcohol, and the government cannot impose a certain opinion or ideology on others."
Unlike Islam, the Yazidi and Christian faiths do not forbid alcohol consumption. Some even use it in their religious rituals.
Others argue the law violates the Iraqi constitution, which guarantees personal, religious and cultural freedom. Mirza Dinnayi is a Yazidi activist and chairman of Luftbrucke Irak, a non-governmental organization that helps victims of conflict in Iraq. He told Al-Monitor, "The law is contrary to the constitution because Iraq is a multi-ethnic, -religious and -cultural country, and drinking alcohol is not prohibited for many."
Dinnayi also argued that if alcohol drinkers turn to other alternatives, the ban could provide an opportunity for the spread of drug use
“The majority of Muslim countries do not ban alcohol, but rather regulate it. Why doesn’t the Iraqi government do something similar, instead of banning it totally?”
The law is especially troublesome for Yazidis and Christians, who manage the overwhelming majority of alcohol shops in the country. Many Christians and Yazidis have been attacked in recent years for working in this sector, and some fear this law could lead to an increase in violence against them.
This is one aspect of a never-ending crackdown on freedoms and liberties in Iraq. Leave a post on social media and risk being arrested or killed. Dropping back to the February 10th snapshot:
Once the KRG came up, Ned rushed off to another journalist and another topic. That's far from the only thing being ignored.
Tiba al-Ali. Is there a reason that the US government has made a decision to ignore her murder? Is there a reason that the press covering the State Dept and the White House can't get off their lazy asses and ask for a statement regarding the murder.
So-called 'honor' killings continue in Iraq. And not just in Iraq. And it's past time that the US government made a public response about this latest murder.
They're real good about starting wars, the US government, not real good about ending them (or winning them). Maybe if they could use Tiba's murder to start a new war, they'd have something to say?
The alcohol ban comes on the heels of the contentious campaign to police social media content.
In January, the Interior Ministry formed a committee to investigate reports of what it called indecent posts and set up a website for public complaints. The site received tens of thousands of reports.
A month later, judicial authorities announced the courts had charged 14 people for posting content labeled indecent or immoral; six were sentenced to prison time.
Among those targeted were people who posted videos of music, comedy skits and sarcastic social commentary. Some showed dance moves deemed provocative, used obscene language or raised sensitive social issues such as gender relations in Iraq’s predominantly conservative society.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as local and regional rights groups, said the crackdown on expression violates fundamental rights.
Now they're going after those who expose truths in real life, face-to-face. RUDAW reports:
Dozens of Baghdad’s teachers and exam proctors on Sunday protested an
arrest warrant issued for one of their colleagues who exposed a case of
fraud relating to a former police official’s son.
Uday al-Salihi, the head of the examination department in al-Rusafa’s education directorate, in February removed a young man from a ministerial examination, accusing him of impersonating the son of former Federal Police Commander Raed Shaker Jawdat, and taking the test on his behalf.
According to Salihi, once he was removed from the exam room, the young man admitted to receiving 5,000 dollars to take the exam instead of Jawdat’s son.
Nonetheless, when the case was brought to relevant authorities, it was
not the impersonator that faced the legal repercussions, but rather
Salihi, who was served an arrest warrant. It is not yet clear what the
proctor has been accused of.
“This is a message for everyone, if you see someone cheating or taking exams on behalf of someone else, just keep your mouth closed and do not speak,” Nidhal Muhammad, a school principal, told Rudaw's Halkawt Aziz on Sunday.
More attacks on the rights of the people? Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:
As Kurds across the Kurdistan Region marked traditional clothing day on
Thursday, Iraqi security forces manning the gates at Kirkuk University
denied entry to students dressed in Kurdish outfits.
“We tried to enter from the main gate, but they told us that we were not allowed,” a geography student at Kirkuk University who dressed up in traditional clothing alongside scores of his fellow Kurdish students told Rudaw English on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They prohibited us from entering the campus from all three gates, telling us there was no such thing as national dress day. We remained in the parking lot until the school day was over,” he said.
Rudaw reached out to the university, but they declined to comment on the ban.
[. . .]
“One year, they ban raising the Kurdistan flag. Then, they ban Kurdish clothing. If it continues like this, in a couple of years they will forbid Kurds from entering the university altogether,” said another student.