An influential group of Islamic scholars has denounced the forced expulsion of Christians from northern Iraq by Islamist hardliners, saying it paves the way for fighting between the country's ethnic and religious groups. The Christian community of Mosul fled to the Kurdish autonomous region last week, ending a presence stretching back nearly 2,000 years, after Islamic State militants set them a deadline to submit to their rule or leave.
(Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as sales rose across its businesses and margins improved due to higher prices and a tight control on costs. Activist investor Daniel Loeb has urged Dow to separate its commoditized raw materials businesses from its specialty chemicals operations - demands that Dow has repeatedly rejected. Dow has said that its raw materials units help to keep costs down in its high-growth specialty chemicals businesses. "We are focused on driving portfolio improvements - monetizing non-strategic businesses and releasing additional value from our assets and joint ventures," Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement on Wednesday.
Pro-Russian rebels shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets on Wednesday, not far from where a Malaysian airliner was brought down last week in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers on board. A spokesman for Ukraine's military operations said the planes were downed near Savur Mogila, a burial mound in the Shaktersky region where a memorial marks ambushes by the Soviet army on occupying Nazis during World War Two. Igor Strelkov, who is now in charge of the rebel ranks in the eastern city of Donetsk, said the separatists had brought down one plane and that the pilot had ejected. Fierce fighting raged near the rebels' two main centers in Donetsk and nearby Luhansk, where they have been pushed back by Ukrainian government forces, who have taken control of villages and suburbs around the cities.