US – Iraq Study Group: The bi-partisan Iraq Study Group is to formally deliver its much-anticipated report on the war in Iraq to President Bush at the White House today (Wednesday).
Afterwards, the high-level commission, which is co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, will publicly release their findings.
Many of the group's recommendations have already been leaked to news media in the United States. News reports say the panel will call for a major shift in the U.S. mission in Iraq from combat to a support role.
A U.S. television network (CNN) reported late Tuesday that the panel will not call for a definite timetable for pulling out American troops from Iraq. Earlier reports had said the commission would propose setting a goal of pulling out almost all U.S. combat units from Iraq by 2008.
Iraq: Iraqi security officials say a barrage of mortars slammed into a market in central Baghdad today (Wednesday), killing at least eight people and injuring 40 others.
Separately, police said one person died and three others were wounded when a bomb exploded in a shop in the town of Iskandariya, south of Baghdad.
Also today, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed one suspected terrorist and detained another during an early morning raid near the town of Khanaqin, northeast of the capital.
On Tuesday, a top official of the restive al-Anbar province said Iraqi police killed 63 insurgents during a two-hour gunbattle in the city of Ramadi. But that death toll could not be independently confirmed.
U.S. – Gates Nomination: President Bush's nominee to become the next Secretary of Defense could be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate as early as today (Wednesday).
The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved Robert Gates's nomination Tuesday after lawmakers on the panel put him through a full day of questioning, almost exclusively about the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
During his testimony, Gates said he believes the United States is not winning in Iraq. When pressed later, he said the U.S. is neither winning nor losing in Iraq at this point in time.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan officials say the government has decided to reactivate tough anti-terror laws to crack down on violence by Tamil rebels.
Officials say the Cabinet agreed today (Wednesday) to revive the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which has not been strictly enforced since a truce with the rebels began in 2002.
But, Sri Lankan ministers decided not to impose an outright ban on the rebels (known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) due to fears such a move would scuttle hopes for peace.
The anti-terror laws give Sri Lankan security forces sweeping powers to search for and detain anyone considered a threat to national security.
Fiji Coup: The head of Fiji's army, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has sworn in a caretaker prime minister a day after overthrowing the Pacific island nation's democratically elected government.
Dr. Jona Senilagakali took the oath of office in the capital, Suva, today (Wednesday). The military medic has no political experience.
The military has sent deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to a remote island, declared a state of emergency and rounded up his supporters. The coup leader also fired the police chief today (Wednesday), while soldiers forced Fiji's senate to end its session.
Fiji's military leaders are facing sanctions from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
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