- Tributes pour in for actor Robin Williams
One of the world’s most revered entertainers, Robin Williams has died. The comic actor I shall remember fondly for a string of films that helped to shape my childhood including Flubber, Jumanji and the hilarious Mrs Doubtfire. Williams had been suffering for several decades with depression and substance abuse, and his death at the age of 63 is thought to have been the result of suicide.
- Move against Nouri al-Maliki deepens Iraq crisis
The crisis in Iraq has moved into yet another new phase after the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, appears to have been ousted from power. Al-Maliki has been widely condemned for his authoritarian and sectarian policies over the past 8 years, and is considered at least partially responsible for the rise of ISIS through his alienation of the Sunni minority in Iraq. With the country in a state of civil war, Mr Maliki’s Shia coalition now appears to have abandoned him. Many have joined a national coalition in Iraq’s parliament, which yesterday nominated Haider al-Abadi, another Shia, as Prime Minister designate. The Iraqi President Fouad Masoum endorsed the move and has asked Mr Abadi to attempt to form a government. Mr Maliki immediately rejected this as a coup, and it remains to be seen whether he will attempt to hold on to the power that he has cemented over the course of his premiership. It is feared that Mr Maliki may attempt to use the army, which could remain loyal to him, to retain control. With Iraq seemingly destined to be split on ethnic and sectarian lines, a power struggle between Shia politicians in Baghdad is exactly what the country does not need.