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Photos: Record heat index of 62.3C scorches Rio de Janeiro

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Photos: Record heat index of 62.3C scorches Rio de Janeiro

A heatwave stifling Brazil has set new records with Rio de Janeiro’s heat index hitting 62.3 degrees Celsius (144.1 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest in a decade, weather authorities say.

The heat index measures what a temperature feels like by taking into account humidity. The actual maximum temperature in the city was 42C on Monday, the Rio Alert weather system said.

The 62.3C record was notched in western Rio at 09:55am (12:55 GMT) on Sunday, and was the “highest mark” since Alerta Rio began keeping such records in 2014.

The Ipanema and Copacabana beaches were packed with people as authorities published tips on coping with the heat.

“I am very afraid it will get worse because the population is increasing a lot and deforestation is very high due to the increase in housing,” 49-year-old administrative assistant Raquel Correia lamented in a park in central Rio.

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The previous heat index record was set in November when it hit 59.7C (139.5F).

Meanwhile, extreme rains were wreaking havoc in the south of the country and are forecast to continue next week, according to authorities.

“The week will be of very high risk in the centre-south of Brazil due to intense rains and storms. The most worrisome system is a very intense cold front that will arrive with torrential rains and possible gales,” the weather information agency MetSul warned.

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TVLine Items: Tom Brady Live Roast, Baking Show Renewed and More

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TVLine Items: Tom Brady Live Roast, Baking Show Renewed and More


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Turkish President makes first official visit to Iraq in over a decade

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Turkish President makes first official visit to Iraq in over a decade

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Iraq on Monday for his first official visit in more than a decade as Ankara seeks greater cooperation from Baghdad in its fight against a Kurdish militant group that has a foothold in Iraq.

Other issues also loom large between the two countries, including water supply and exports of oil and gas from northern Iraq to Turkey, halted for more than a year.

TURKEY’S ERDOGAN FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE AFTER SHOCK ELECTION LOSSES EXPERT SAYS

Erdogan, whose last visit to Baghdad was in 2011, when he was prime minister, met with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid and Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as they inked agreements on water management, security, energy and economic cooperation.

“I believe that my visit and the agreements just signed will constitute a new turning point in Turkey-Iraq relations,” Erdoğan said in a joint news conference with al-Sudani.

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, right, and Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani shake hands during a welcome ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Erdoğan was set to make his first official visit to Iraq in more than a decade on Monday, April 22, 2024 as his country seeks greater cooperation from Baghdad in its fight against a Kurdish militant group that has a foothold in northern Iraq.  (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Al-Sudani said they discussed “bilateral security coordination, which will meet the needs of both parties and confront the challenges posed by the presence of armed elements that may cooperate with terrorism and violate the security of the two countries.”

Erdoğan’s visit “comes at a sensitive and dangerous time,” al-Sudani added, citing Israel’s war against the Hamas militant group in Gaza — a war that has had ripple effects across the region.

Erdoğan said the leaders had “consulted on the joint steps we can take against the PKK terrorist organization and its extensions, which target Turkey from Iraqi territory,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a Kurdish separatist movement banned in Turkey.

The PKK has maintained bases in northern Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region.

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Erdoğan had previously announced a major operation against the PKK during the summer, with the aim of “permanently” eradicating the threat it poses. He did not specify what actions Turkish forces would take in Iraq but Turkish forces have in the past carried out numerous ground offensives against PKK in northern Iraq and Turkish jets frequently target suspected PKK sites.

Ankara now aims to create a 19-25 mile deep security corridor along the joint border with Iraq, Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler told journalists last month.

The insurgency — the PKK is fighting for an autonomous Kurdish state in southeast Turkey — has claimed tens of thousands of lives since the 1980s and Turkey and its Western allies have labelled PKK a terrorist organization.

Baghdad has long complained that Turkish actions in Iraq against the PKK violate its sovereignty, but appears to be acquiescing with Ankara’s operations.

In March, after a meeting between the Iraqi and Turkish foreign ministers, Baghdad announced that the Iraqi National Security Council had issued a ban on the PKK, although it stopped short of designating it as a terrorist organization. Erdoğan on Monday praised the ban.

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Al-Sudani told journalists during a visit to Washington last week that Iraq and Turkey have “true interests with one another and common projects.” He noted that the PKK has long had a presence in northern Iraq, “but we are not allowing any armed group to be on Iraqi territory and using it as a launchpad for attacks.”

Ankara has argued that PKK’s presence in Iraq threatens the planned construction of a major trade route, the Iraq Development Road, that would connect the port in Basra, southern Iraq, to Turkey and Europe through a network of rail lines and highways.

Baghdad may take a similar approach to the PKK as it has taken to Iranian Kurdish dissident groups based in northern Iraq.

The presence of Iranian dissidents had become a point of tension with Tehran, which periodically launches airstrikes on their bases in Iraq. Last summer, Iran and Iraq reached an agreement to disarm the groups and relocate their members from military bases to displacement camps.

Energy issues and water rights are also key in Iraq-Turkey ties.

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An oil pipeline running from the semiautonomous Kurdish region to Turkey has been shut down since March 2023, after an arbitration court ruling ordered Ankara to pay Iraq $1.5 billion for oil exports that bypassed Iraq’s central government in Baghdad. The sharing of oil and gas revenues has long been a contentious issue between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in Irbil.

In recent years, Iraqi officials have complained that dams built by Turkey are reducing Iraq’s water supply.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which provide most of Iraq’s fresh water, originate in Turkey. Experts fear that climate change is likely to exacerbate existing water shortages in Iraq, with potentially devastating consequences.

Mustafa Hassan, a Baghdad resident, said he hopes that Erdoğan’s visit “will help to solve problems related to water, because Iraq is suffering from a water scarcity crisis, and this affects agriculture.”

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Erdoğan said Ankara was aware of the water problems Iraq faces and that the two countries have set up “a joint permanent committee which is going to help through cooperation … taking our shared interests into consideration.”

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Turkey’s Erdogan meets Iraq PM for talks on water, security and trade

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Turkey’s Erdogan meets Iraq PM for talks on water, security and trade

Turkish president says two leaders discussed steps the two countries could take against the PKK armed group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad for talks on security, economic and energy cooperation.

In a joint news conference on Monday, Erdogan said the two leaders discussed steps the two countries could take against the armed group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and welcomed Iraq’s designation of the PKK as a banned group.

Erdogan said he had shared his strong belief that the PKK’s presence in Iraqi territory would end as soon as possible. The Turkish president said that cooperation on security and the fight against “terrorism” was one of the most important agenda items during his meetings in Iraq.

The PKK, which has fought a decades-long rebellion against the Turkish state and is considered a “terrorist” group by Ankara and its Western allies, has a presence in northern Iraq.

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Since 2019, Turkey has conducted a series of cross-border operations in northern Iraq against the PKK dubbed “Claw”.

Al-Sudani said Turkey and Iraq discussed security cooperation and agreed to deal with the challenge of non-state armed actors that could cooperate with “terrorist” groups.

The two sides signed a strategic framework agreement to oversee security, energy and economic cooperation as well as a 10-year agreement on management of water resources that ensures Iraq will get its fair share, the Iraqi prime minister added.

During Erdogan’s visit, the Turkish president and Iraqi premier also witnessed the signing of a preliminary agreement by related ministers of the countries to cooperate on a $17bn Development Road project.

Erdogan also said in the press conference that Ankara eyes widening mutual trade – and cooperation in energy, health and tourism – with Iraq.

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The Iraqi prime minister said 24 memorandums of understanding were signed during Erdogan’s one-day visit.

“I believe that my visit and agreements just signed will constitute a new turning point in Turkey-Iraq relations,” Erdogan said in the press conference.

Meeting with Rashid

The Turkish leader earlier met with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid in Baghdad. He told Rashid that Turkey “had expectations of Iraq regarding the fight against the terrorist organisation PKK, and that Iraq must be rid of all forms of terrorism”, according to his office.

Erdogan’s trip comes amid soaring regional tensions, fuelled by Israel’s war on Gaza and a confrontation between Israel and Iran.

The Turkish president reiterated his call for all relevant parties to refrain from escalating tensions in the Middle East.

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Bilateral trade between Turkey and Iraq was worth $19.9bn in 2023, down from $24.2bn in 2022, according to official Turkish data.

In the first three months of 2024, Turkish exports to Iraq rose by 24.5 percent, while imports fell by 46.2 percent.

After meetings in Baghdad, Erdogan was set to travel to Erbil, the provincial capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, for talks with Iraqi Kurdish officials with trade and security high on the agenda.

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