Your Thursday Briefing: Iran Strikes Kurds in Iraq

Iranian security forces are attacking Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq. Tehran has accused the groups of stirring up protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman who was killed in police custody.

According to Kurdish officials, drone and missile strikes by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have targeted the offices and paramilitary bases of groups based in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq, including in the cities of Erbil, Sulaimaniya and Pirde.

Domestic unrest has been especially intense in Kurdish areas in northwestern Iran, near the Iraqi border. Amini, who lived in the region, was visiting Tehran with family when she died.

Details: Nine people in Iraq were killed yesterday after days of Iranian bombardment. At least 32 others, including children, were injured.

Protests: Iran’s demonstrations, which are mostly led by women, have become the most widespread challenge to the authoritarian government since 2009. Yesterday, students and teachers at more than 20 universities staged a mass strike.

Crackdown: On Monday, Iranian authorities said 41 protesters had been killed and more than 1,200 had been arrested. Human rights groups said the toll was probably much higher.

But much of the work would take place out of public view, reflecting a struggle to balance independent accountability with the country’s well-worn cocoon of procedural secrecy.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the commission, but questions remain about its transparency. It would require vaguely defined “exceptional circumstances” to make hearings public, setting a high bar for public disclosure, beyond what is required by most state anti-corruption bodies with similar mandates.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and many corruption investigations would not be successful without public hearings,” said Anthony Whealy, a lawyer and chairman of the Center for Public Integrity. “In legal terms, ‘exceptional circumstances’ has no real meaning, and it will act as a brake on the public interest.”

Background: In May’s election, the previous government was thrown out of office after a series of scandals involving public money being directed to contested districts for unneeded projects. The public is also still reeling from the bizarre revelation that Scott Morrison, who led that government, covertly put himself in charge of five ministries during the pandemic.

Jury selection begins today in Minnesota in a civil trial against Liu Qiangdong, known as Richard Liu in the English-speaking world. A young woman named Liu Jingyao has accused Mr. Liu of raping her after a 2018 dinner for Chinese executives that she attended as a University of Minnesota volunteer.

Mr. Liu, the founder of, an e-commerce giant in China, has denied the allegations and says the encounter was consensual.

The trial is significant for the fact that it is happening at all. In China, where such accusations rarely make it to trial, the ruling Communist Party has repeatedly quashed the country’s small but spirited #MeToo movement.

Context: The trial, which has riveted China, comes at an exceedingly sensitive time for the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping. He is expected to take an unprecedented third term next month. According to court documents, several people with ties to China’s business and political elite also attended the dinner.

Details: Local prosecutors declined to charge Mr. Liu with sexual assault in 2018, saying it was highly unlikely that a criminal charge could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Ms. Liu, who has endured a barrage of attacks on Chinese social media, is seeking at least $50,000 in damages through the civil court system, where the burden of proof is lower.

The mayor of Seoul has a proposal to boost South Korea’s low fertility rate: more foreign nannies, who could ease the cost of child care.

Our foreign correspondents are not only reporters. They’re also residents of the countries they cover, and they keep tabs on breakout novels and movies, hit TV shows and catchy tunes.

In East Africa, an essay collection started a wave of frank conversations about sex. “Everyone — and I mean everyone — has either read, is reading or was at some point shamed for not reading ‘The Sex Lives of African Women,’” said Abdi Latif Dahir, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

In Egypt, “The Choice,” a popular TV drama, ignited controversy for its portrayal of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. “Everyone was abuzz about it and its political ramifications,” said Vivian Yee, our Cairo bureau chief.

And our Sydney bureau chief, Damien Cave, said the teenage rapper Kid Laroi is “the hottest musical act Australia has produced in years.”

You can read more cultural dispatches from South Korea, Iraq, Ukraine, Israel and lots of other places in between.