Iraq: The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces have killed the militant behind an attack on a revered Shi'ite mosque in June.
Military authorities say Haitham al-Badri, described as the al-Qaida in Iraq emir of Salaheddin province, was killed during an operation last week east of the (northern) city of Samarra.
A bombing last year brought down the Askariya Mosque's golden dome, and another attack last June destroyed the shrine's two minarets. The initial attack is blamed for triggering sectarian violence that has killed thousands across Iraq.
In the capital, Iraqi police said today (Sunday) at least 11 civilians were killed and more than a dozen wounded when a gasoline station in eastern Baghdad came under mortar attack.
Iraq Pol: The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says he has refused to accept the resignations of six Sunni Arab Cabinet ministers who quit last week.
Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie and five other ministers from the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament, the Accordance Front, resigned last Wednesday, triggering a political crisis.
A spokesman for the Accordance Front (Rafaa al-Issawi) said the Shi'ite led government had failed to meet the bloc's demands.
The Sunni bloc had earlier given the prime minister a list of demands, including dealing with Shi'ite militias and reforming the conduct of raids and arrests.
US Congress – Surveillance: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill expanding the government's ability to eavesdrop on suspected foreign terrorists.
The legislation allows such surveillance without court approval beforehand. Lawmakers approved it late Saturday (by a vote of 227 to 183), one day after the Senate also voted in favor of the bill.
The new law will go into effect immediately after President Bush signs the measure.
Despite extended debate on Capitol Hill, the legislation expands the administration's wiretapping authority only for six months -- in effect, a temporary resolution of the issue. Mr. Bush told lawmakers Friday it was their obligation to pass an anti-terror surveillance bill this week, before leaving Washington for their customary August recess.
US – Afghanistan: U.S President George Bush will host Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington today (Sunday) for talks to focus on problems in Afghanistan.
Their two days of talks are likely to center around Afghanistan's reconstruction, mounting civilian casualties, and the fight against terrorism, corruption and the drug trade.
The South Korean hostage situation also promises to be high on the agenda. Kabul is refusing Taleban demands for the release of jailed militants in exchange for the 21 South Korean hostages abducted more than two weeks ago in Afghanistan.
South Korea has appealed to Kabul and Washington for help in securing the safe release of the mostly female hostages. The Taleban has killed two male hostages, and has warned more hostages could be killed.
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