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Front Page: Baghdad Blast Kills 51, Operation Launched Against Taliban, Bush and Offshore Drilling

  • Baghdad Blast Kills 51: An enormous car bombing shattered part of a busy marketplace and set a crowded apartment building alight in a heavily Shiite district of Baghdad yesterday, killing at least 51 people and wounding 75. As the blast occurred in the midst of a neighborhood where Sunnis had been savagely driven out, some of locals blamed the displaced Sunnis for the attack. The bombing was the deadliest attack in 3 months. One man whose wife and child were killed in the blast sceamed, “now the Americans are bringing outsiders to secure our neighborhood, and look what happened! Maybe we should bring back the old days.”

  • Operation Launched Against Taliban: NATO and Afghan forces begun a joint operation to drive Taliban insurgents from the outskirts of the city of Kandahar. Amid conflicting reports of casualties, troops backed by helicopter gunships are patrolling west of the Arghandab river, revealing "no major incidents so far". One resident says of the patrols, "most of the roads have been closed, there are check posts everywhere, planes are flying and military convoys belonging to the Afghan and foreign forces are patrolling the city." Last Friday about 350 Taliban fighters escaped with a total of 1,200 inmates from a jail in Kandahar. Only a handful of prisoners have been recaptured.
  • Bush and Offshore Drilling: President Bush will call on Congress today to reverse a long standing federal ban on offshore oil drilling. Bush wants to work with states to determine where drilling should occur. The move demonstrates how $4-a-gallon gas will be a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign, and a growing number of Republicans are lining up in opposition to the federal ban. The Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling was first enacted in 1982, and has been renewed every year since. It prohibits oil and gas leasing on most of the outer continental shelf, 3 miles to 200 miles offshore.
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