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Suicide Bomber Kills 41 in Iraq


IRAQ: Iraqi police say a suicide bomber has killed 41 Shi'ite pilgrims in northern Baghdad and wounded more than 100 others. Officials say the female bomber detonated an explosive belt Monday in the middle of the crowd of pilgrims. The group was among hundreds of thousands of Shiites making the spiritual pilgrimage to the southern city of Karbala this week. Many Shi'ites are marking the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of a revered Shi'ite figure. Insurgents have routinely targeted pilgrims in Iraq in recent years.
SOMALIA: Authorities in Somalia say heavyfighting between insurgents and soldiers in the capital has killed at least eight civilians. Officials said Monday northern Mogadishu was hard-hit by the overnight fighting. An official with Mogadishu's ambulance service says 55 people were wounded in the exchange of mortar fire. Last week, fighting erupted in the capital between militants and African Union peacekeepers, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 20.
The militant groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam control parts of the capital and have been fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government.
PAKISTAN: Two major U.S. newspapers say U.S. and Pakistani officials are growing increasingly confident that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban has died after being wounded in a drone missile strike. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post quoted anonymous U.S. officials in Monday's editions as saying they are more than 90 percent certain Hakimullah Mehsud has died.
The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday denied the reports of his death. A spokesman for the group dismissed the widely reported death as "propaganda."
The Pakistani army says it is investigating, but so far there is no confirmation Mehsud is dead. The army's announcement followed a report on Pakistani state television that Mehsud had died and was buried in the Orakzai tribal area.
HAITI-EARTHQUAKE: U.S. military flights bringing Haitian earthquake victims to the United States resume Monday. The medical evacuation flights were suspended last week in a dispute over where the patients would be treated and who would pay for their care. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said (in a statement) Sunday the White House has received assurances that the United States and its international partners have the medical capacity to treat the injured Haitians.
US-BUDGET: Senior U.S. officials say President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.8 trillion budget proposal Monday that would put money toward creating jobs, and cutting long-term deficits. Mr. Obama's 2011 budget forecasts a record-high deficit of about $1.6 trillion for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30.
News agencies with access to the plan, which is scheduled for release Monday, also report that the White House envisions the 2011 fiscal year deficit at about $1.3 trillion, with deficits continuing to decrease over the next several years.
The reports say the White House plan predicts that deficits over the rest of the decade will average 4.5 percent of the U.S. economy -- a level many economists consider unstable.

US-GRAMMYS: Beyonce made history at the U.S. music industry's 52nd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Sunday, becoming the first female artist to win six top awards in a single night. R&B singer Beyonce won for song of the year, best R&B female vocal and best R&B song for her hit "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." She also won best contemporary R&B album for "I Am...Sasha Fierce," and best traditional R&B vocal performance for the song "At Last." She also was awarded best female pop vocal for her ballad "Halo."
Country star Taylor Swift won four Grammys, including the album of the year for her "Fearless" release. She also won the best female country vocal performance, best country song and best country album.
The rock band Kings of Leon won the record of the year Grammy for "Use Somebody."

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