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BBC NEWS (UK), AL JAZEERA (Qatar), AP, REUTERS

Worldcrunch

BAGHDAD – A series of bomb attacks killed at least 13 and wounded dozens on Thursday morning in Iraq, in the latest surge of violence sweeping the country, officials told AP.

According to the police, most of the attacks happened in Baghdad, including a car bomb that killed four in the northern Shia district of Binouq, and another bombing at a city center market that killed three, the police told AP.

Attacks also targeted the northern city of Mosul, where at least three policemen died after a man attacked a federal police checkpoint. Al Jazeera reports that as many as eight officers may have died in the attack.

"There has not been a claim of responsibility,” Al Jazeera reporter Jane Arraf said of the attack in Mosul. “But in the past, an al-Qaeda front group has claimed responsibility for attacks on Shia areas and security forces, which they see as illegitimate," she added.

The escalation of violence in recent weeks has raised concerns that the country could slide back to levels of sectarian violence that tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007, the BBC reports.

"We have major concerns. Because what is going on now is the same that led to what happened in 2006,"" Adnan Faihan, the head of the political bureau of the Shia armed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, told Al Jazeera.

Reuters reports that more than 1,100 people have been killed since the start of April when the latest wave of attacks erupted. With a death toll of more than 700, April was the deadliest month since U.S. troops left the country in December 2011.

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Green

Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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