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Two car bomb blasts in Baghdad Wednesday killed at least seven people and wounded more than 20, police and medical sources said. The explosions rocked the Iraqi capital's frequently targeted Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr City and a street in the central Karrada district, a police colonel said. He said at least three people were killed in Sadr City and four in Karrada. A hospital source confirmed the casualty figures. Bomb attacks, including suicide car bombs, have intensified in Baghdad in recent days.

Iraqi Kurdish regional lawmakers Wednesday approved the deployment of security forces to the Syrian town of Kobane to help Kurds battling the Islamic State jihadist group, the parliament speaker said. The planned deployment of Kurdish peshmerga forces to neighbouring Syria, the details which are still under discussion, stretches the bounds of the Iraqi Kurdistan region's autonomy.
Four former employees of the Blackwater security firm were found guilty Wednesday in connection with the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad that left 14 dead. A jury in a federal court in Washington found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
The Islamic State jihadist group has again surrounded Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, where it trapped thousands of civilians this summer, commanders in the area said Wednesday. The civilians, mostly members of the Yazidi religious minority, eventually escaped via Syria with the help of Kurdish fighters from Iraq's neighbour to the west, but that route has now been cut.
A Palestinian rammed a car into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a baby and injuring eight other people in what Israeli police said was a suspected "terror attack". It was the second such deadly incident involving a vehicle driven by a Palestinian in three months, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately order an increase in police presence across the city.
A judge who led an inquiry of North Korea's dismal rights record urged the United Nations on Wednesday to reject a "charm offensive" from Pyongyang and seek war crimes prosecutions of the regime. Australian judge Michael Kirby said the UN Security Council should refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court and not "trade away" the possibility of tough action for concessions from North Korea.
Around 1,000 people took to the streets in Iran on Wednesday to demand action after four women were maimed in acid attacks reportedly linked to them not wearing the veil. The demonstration took place in Isfahan - 450 kilometres (280 miles) south of Tehran - where the victims were injured in the past week by assailants on motorcycles.
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Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyAugust
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 20, 2014
Reserves $13.436 bln