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Middle East Today: Iraq --- Deadly Bombings Continue

Egypt: Concern Over Effect of Proposed Law on NGOs

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern that a draft law, placed by President Morsi before the legislature on Wednesday, would allow the Government and security agencies to arbitrarily restrict the funding and operation of independent groups.

HRW claims the Associations Law will reinforce and formalise State control over non- Governmental groups by denying them access to both domestic and international funding and giving "complete discretion" to authorities to object to activities of Egyptian and international organisations.

HRW said there were improvements in the draft, notably over the withdrawal of the designation of all NGO funding as "public" and thus open to Government supervision; however, it said the Government still retains excessive powers.

HRW cited the requirement of submission of an annual financial report, as well as copies of all internal decisions and a report on annual activities, to the authorities --- who could object and try to shut down the NGO. Groups also must notify the government in advance every time they wish to raise money through TV campaigns, charity events, or mail campaigns, and a Government committee has absolute discretion to block all access to foreign funding.

Iraq: More Deaths in Bombings

At least 11 people have been killed and dozens wounded in several bombings in Baghdad and Mosul on Thursday.

At least one car bomb killed four people in north-eastern Baghdad. Another two people were killed and a dozen more wounded in a bombing in the centre of the capital.

In the northern city of Mosul, three policemen were killed in a suicide attack.

Attacks and deaths have surged this spring. More than 700 people were killed in April --- the highest monthly toll in almost five years --- and at least 450 have been slain in May.

More than 60 people were killed in bombings and gunfire targeting mainly-Shia areas of Baghdad on Monday. A further 25 deaths were reported in bombings in the city on Wednesday.

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