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US Military Begins Major Offensive Across Iraq


Iraq: The U.S. military began a major offensive across Iraq today (Monday) to crack down on extremist militants.
A military statement says Operation Phantom Strike "consists of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing...al-Qaida terrorists and Iranian-supported" extremists.
Earlier, officials said coalition forces had killed several militants and captured 13 alleged Iranian-linked arms smugglers in a pre-dawn raid Sunday on Baghdad's Shi'ite Sadr City district.
The military statement said coalition forces also destroyed a truck during the raid, "killing an estimated three to five" suspected terrorists.

World Credit: The European Central Bank says it will inject more cash into the banking system Monday to bolster credit markets that were rattled last week.

The ECB says market conditions are stabilizing.
All the major European stock markets are up in early trading (today/Monday). And Japanese share prices closed slightly higher today (Monday).
Monday's announcement from the European Central Bank follows moves by central banks in Asia to try to calm global markets for a third straight trading day.

China Economy: Inflation in China is at its highest level in 10 years.
The National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing reported today (Monday) that consumer prices in July were five-point-six percent higher than at the same time last year. That is the highest inflation rate since January of 1997, when the government reported a five-point-nine percent increase in prices from the previous year.
Much of the rapid rise in inflation is due to sharply increased food costs. Reuters news agency says the price of meat in China has increased by 45 percent from last year, and overall food prices are up more than 15 percent.
The Chinese central bank has raised interest rates three times this year in an effort to keep the country's economy from overheating. Economists say the new inflation figures may increase pressure for yet another interest rate hike.

China – Toys Suicide: A Chinese newspaper says the head of a company that made toys recalled in the United States because of safety concerns has committed suicide.
The "Southern Metropolis Daily" newspaper reports today (Monday) that Zhang Shuhong of the Lee Der Industrial Company Limited was found dead in his Guangdong province factory Saturday.
Earlier this month U.S. toy giant Fisher-Price recalled nearly a million toys made by Lee Der from stores around the world.
Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, issued the recall after finding the products were covered in lead paint. Lead poisoning can cause brain damage in children.


Afghanistan – Hostages: The governor of Afghanistan's southeastern Ghazni province says that two of 21 South Korean hostages held by the Taleban will be freed today (Monday).
Governor Merajuddin Pattan said Sunday the Taleban promised to release two ailing female hostages as a gesture of good will.
Reports from Afghanistan quote a Taleban spokesman as saying the two will be released at 1130 UTC.
However, confusion surrounds the status of the captives. On Saturday, a Taleban spokesman (Qari Yousuf Ahmadi) said the release of all 21 was imminent, but then reversed that to say all 21 are still being held.
Then came word that two of the female hostages had been released but Afghan officials said none of them had been handed over to the government.

Listen to our World News for details.

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