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Front Page: Oil, Britain and Russia, and Iraq

  • President Bush ends his tour of the Middle East, with a short visit to Egypt. He also visited Saudi Arabia where he planned to broach the subject of high oil prices with King Abdullah in Riyadh. “My point to His Majesty is going to be, when consumers have less purchasing power because of high prices of gasoline — in other words, when it affects their families, it could cause this economy to slow down.”
  • Tension brews between Russia and the UK this week after Moscow ordered the the British Council, the cultural department of the British Embassy, to close their offices in St. Petersburg. The dispute, possibly stems from Russia's refusal to extradite the main suspect in the 2006 London poisoning of former Russian security agent, Alexander Litvinenko. Yesterday, Russian officials followed, detained, and questioned the director of the British Council office aggravating tensions between the two countries. The British Council is "deeply concerned" by the incident.
  • Near Baghdad, Iraq, a female suicide bomber wearing a vest of explosives, detonated near a market and Shiite mosque killing eight bystanders. The fourth female suicide attack since November, US officials say this growing trend could indicate that extremists are short on male volunteers. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a surprise visit to Baghdad the day before the attack and praised recent steps toward national reconciliation.
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