Iraq parliament bans online battle games, citing 'negative' influence
By Ahmed Aboulenein BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament voted on Wednesday to ban popular online video games including PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite, citing their 'negative' influence especially on the young in a country long plagued by real-life bloodshed. Iraq held its first election in 2018 after years of devastating factional violence. Islamic State militants held wide swathes of the country for three years until they were driven out in heavy fighting with U.S.-backed forces in 2017.
By Ahmed Aboulenein
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament voted on Wednesday to ban popular online video games including PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite, citing their "negative" influence especially on the young in a country long plagued by real-life bloodshed.
Iraq held its first election in 2018 after years of devastating factional violence. Islamic State militants held wide swathes of the country for three years until they were driven out in heavy fighting with U.S.-backed forces in 2017.
Lawmakers, who were sworn in last September after months of disputed results and ballot box recounts, approved a resolution that mandated the government to bar online access to the games and ban related financial transactions.
The ban came "due to the negative effects caused by some electronic games on the health, culture, and security of Iraqi society, including societal and moral threats to children and youth," the text of the resolution read.
Oil-rich Iraq has suffered for decades under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein and U.N. sanctions, the 2003 U.S. invasion and civil war it unleashed, and the battle against Islamic State, over which Baghdad declared victory in 2017.
Corruption is rampant and basic services like power and water are lacking. Unemployment is widespread, especially among young people.
The new ban quickly drew online discontent with hundreds of Iraqi social media users criticising lawmakers for what they said were misplaced priorities. Parliament has passed only one piece of legislation since it first convened, the 2019 federal budget law which was issued in January.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, is a survival-themed battle game that drops dozens of online players on an island where they try and eliminate each other.
North Carolina-based Epic Games' Fortnite, with a similar premise, is seen as an industry game-changer by analysts as it signed up tens of millions of users for its last-player-standing "Battle Royale" format.
Both were launched in 2017 and have a huge global following.
Influential Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose political coalition won the largest number of seats in parliament, earlier on Thursday urged Iraqi youth to shun PUBG, calling it addictive. Sadr called on the government to ban it.
"What will you gain if you killed one or two people in PUBG? It is not a game for intelligence or a military game that provides you with the correct way to fight," he wrote in a two-page statement.
(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States said on Thursday it would boost public climate finance to help poor countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate, doubling funding by 2024 from high average levels hit during the Obama administration. The White House said it was embracing "ambitious but attainable goals" for international aid to developing countries, given the urgency of the climate crisis and to compensate for a sharp drop in U.S. funding during the Trump administration.
(Removes extraneous word 'while' in paragraph 3) (Reuters) -Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 and their newborn children face higher risks of complications than was previously known, a study by British scientists showed on Friday. An infection of the new coronavirus in such newborns is associated with a three-fold risk of severe medical complications, according to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford. (https://bit.ly/3tNwkJ7) Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications such as premature birth, high blood pressure with organ failure risk, need for intensive care and possible death
MADRID (Reuters) -Anonymous death threat letters with bullets enclosed in the envelopes have been sent to two of Spain's top security officials and the leader of the hard-left Unidas Podemos party, officials said on Friday, adding police are investigating.