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Top News Stories 2008-03-17 07:00:44

Front Page: Cheney, McCain in Iraq, Violence in Kosovo

  • Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Baghdad just hours ago on an unannounced visit, according to the Iraqi prime minister's office. On Cheney's agenda are plans to meet with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and with Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, as well as US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. The vice president was on a tour of the Middle East, the latest official to make the trip recently. The trip coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war.
  • On an unrelated trip, Sen. John McCain is also in Iraq today with colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is scheduled to meet with the same officials as Vice President Dick Cheney. Iraqi politicians are monitoring the visit closely knowing that the outcome of the upcoming election will certainly affect their country. Wael Abdul Latif, an independent Shiite member of the Iraqi Parliament, said “this visit confirms that the Republicans believe that the Iraqi war is very important in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.” As Iraq is central to the current campaign, Hillary Clinton delivered a major policy speech in DC this morning on the Iraq surge and her plan to begin troop withdrawals.
  • United Nations police have been forced to withdraw from parts of Kosovo after clashes in Serbian areas in the divided city of Mitrovica with Serb demonstrators grew too violent. The violence is said to be the worst since Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence last month. In the clashes, at least 22 UN police and eight NATO troops were injured. The violence started after about 100 UN police arrested 53 Serbs in an operation to retake the UN court in a Serbian part of the city. The action caused 200 to 300 protesters then gathered in front of the court and began to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, forcing the withdrawal.
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