Iraqi forces kill 6 protesters, retake key Baghdad bridges


6 are killed as protests continue

BAGHDAD — Iraqi security forces killed six antigovernment protesters and wounded more than 100 others on Saturday, pushing them back from three flashpoint bridges in central Baghdad, medical and security officials said. Five of the protesters were killed by live ammunition, while the sixth died after being shot in the head with a tear gas canister. The Iraqi officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. The current cycle of antigovernment protests and the heavy-handed security crackdown has left more than 250 people dead. Mass protests erupted in Baghdad and across southern Iraq last month, calling for the overhaul of the political system established after the 2003 US-led invasion. The deaths occurred Saturday when demonstrators tried to reach the three bridges spanning the Tigris River to the Green Zone. (AP)



Countries vow to fight food waste

ROME — More than 70 countries have pledged to do more to cut down on the amount of food lost due to poor refrigeration. The countries signed the pledge Saturday at an annual meeting of the Montreal Protocol where ministers, government officials, and experts work on regulating man-made chemicals used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems that are harmful to the ozone layer. The meeting took place at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome. About one-third of the world’s food is lost or wasted and the hope is that developing better methods to keep food cold while it’s stored and transported will reduce waste. Experts say better refrigeration would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the harmful gases used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. (AP)


Early wildfiresare hitting hard

SYDNEY — Wildfires surging across Australia’s drought-ravaged East Coast have left two people dead and destroyed more than 150 homes, officials said on Saturday, sounding the alarm for what is expected to be one of the country’s worst recorded fire seasons. With summer heat waves still several weeks away, 1,500 firefighters were battling 70 fires across New South Wales, mostly north of Sydney, where massive clouds of smoke drifted east, turning skies orange. The smoke clouds were large enough to create their own weather systems, experts said. Officials said it was unprecedented to see so many fires so out of control this early in spring. (New York Times)