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IS attack kills 30 at Iraq Shiite shrine

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BAGHDAD — Islamic State group militants attacked a Shiite shrine north of Baghdad, killing 30 people, a security spokesman said Friday.

The overnight attack on the Sayyid Mohammed shrine in Balad, which involved suicide bombers and gun and mortar fire, also wounded 50 people, the Joint Operations Command spokesman said in a statement.

The attack followed a devastating bombing in Baghdad that tore through a crowded shopping area early on Sunday ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, killing 292 people.

The Sayyid Mohammed shrine, located in the Balad area, 70 kilometres (around 45 miles) north of Baghdad, was first targeted with mortar rounds, according to the statement on the attack, which it said it was carried out by the IS jihadist group.

Two of the bombers blew themselves up in a market next to the shrine, while the third was killed and his explosive belt defused, it said, without specifying which forces killed the bomber.

The attack came just hours after Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hamoud announced that the death toll from the Sunday bombing had reached 292.

Hamoud said the bodies of 115 killed in the bombing had now been handed over to families, while the identities of 177 others have yet to be determined.

The blast also wounded 200 people, said the minister, who on Tuesday told AFP that the process of identifying the unknown dead — which she put at 150 at the time — was expected to take 15-45 days.

People have been furious over delays in determining the fate of their loved ones, and with the number of unidentified bodies now bigger, it may take even longer.

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Pakistan approves Mandarin as official language

Gorkha Post

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ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani Senate has approved a motion to declare Mandarin as one of the official languages of Pakistan on Monday.

Stating that the step was necessary in view of ties between Pakistan and China, the motion said the relationaship would further deepen between the two countries and help the people connected with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor communicate easily, AbbTakk News reported.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani tweeted: “In a short span of 70 years, Pakistan has flirted with promoting four languages that were not the mother tongue of many people in the country – English, Urdu, Arabic, and now Chinese — ignoring native languages”

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Punjabi, which is widely spoken in Punjab province of Pakistan, Pashto and many other native languages have not been declared official languages of the country.

According to Dawn News, Pakistanis are more interested in learning the Chinese language than ever as they see the tides changing and expect that knowing Mandarin would mean more job opportunities in Pakistan and China.

With ANI Inputs

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