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Iraqi Political Factions Agree to Resolve Disputed Issues


Iraq: Top leaders from Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions say they have agreed to resolve key issues to boost national reconciliation.
Five Iraqi political leaders announced the pledge Sunday.
Iraqi officials say they agreed to ease restrictions on members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party joining government ministries, among other measures. But the office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said more talks are needed on constitutional reforms and a critical oil law.
The White House congratulated Iraqi leaders on the pledge, saying it was "important symbol" of their readiness to work for all Iraqis.
The pledge came ahead of a September deadline for a U.S. report on progress in Iraq. The U.S. Congress has demanded that Iraq meet certain benchmarks in exchange for continued funding of the war.

Greece Fires: Greek firefighters continue to fight blazes burning in half the country today (Monday) amid allegations of arson in the deadly wildfires that have left at least 63 people dead.
Officials are offering more than one million dollars for information leading to the arrests of arsonists blamed for the fires that have left hundreds homeless.
Dozens of the deadly blazes are still burning today and new fires have appeared in several areas.
Extremely hot weather and strong winds are making it difficult to put out the flames and have overwhelmed Greece's ability to control the fires.
Firefighters, planes and helicopters from European Union nations, Serbia, Israel and other countries began arriving Sunday.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has declared a nationwide state of emergency. He expressed grief and rage, and said the fact that so many wildfires have broken out since Thursday can not be a coincidence.

Uganda – Crash: A Ugandan army spokesman says at least 71 people were killed when the truck they were riding in crashed into a concrete barrier and overturned.
The large truck relocating soldiers and their families from Uganda's mountainous east crashed into a guard barrier at the side of a mountain late Sunday. The dead included soldiers and their family members. At least forty other people were injured.
The accident occurred near the town of Kapchorwa, about 400 kilometers north-east of (the capital of) Kampala
State-owned media quoted a local police chief as saying the brakes on the truck failed as it careened down the mountain.

China – Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to do more to fight climate change, and protect intellectual property rights.
Ms. Merkel met the Chinese premier today (Monday) in Beijing, during her second official visit to the country.
China is considered one of the world's worst violators of intellectual copyrights. It also is fast becoming the biggest producer of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.
Mr. Wen said China wants to fight climate change, but that it is difficult to reduce pollution because China is still a developing country that lacks the resources of rich countries.
Ms. Merkel says she will use her three-day visit to China to tackle other sensitive issues, like the country's human rights record and Beijing's relationship with the Sudanese government.

Japan Politics: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reshuffled his Cabinet and the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party after a recent defeat in parliamentary elections.
In a bid to restore public confidence in his scandal-ridden government, Mr. Abe appointed veteran bureaucrats and conservative politicians to top Cabinet positions today (Monday).
Foreign Minister Taro Aso will become the secretary-general of the ruling party. He will be replaced by Nobutaka Machimura, who previously served as foreign minister during a diplomatic crisis with China.
Masahiko Komura was named defense minister. A former foreign minister, Komura has taken a hard line with North Korea, which kidnapped a number of Japanese citizens during the Cold War. He replaces Japan's first female defense minister, Yuriko Koike, who took her job only months ago.
Former defense chief Fukushiro Nukaga will become finance minister.

Listen to our World News for details.

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