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New information on civilian deaths

Mon., Sept. 8, 2008

The U.S. military says it has “new information” about allegations that an American attack last month killed scores of Afghan women and children and is sending a senior officer to Afghanistan to review its initial conclusion that no more than seven civilians died.

Afghan and Western officials say Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and the U.N. both have video of the aftermath of the Aug. 22 U.S. airstrikes on the village of Azizabad showing dozens of dead women and children.

The Afghan government and the U.N. have said the raid killed 90 civilians.

The U.S. military said Sunday it will send an officer to review the findings of the initial U.S. investigation that as many as 35 militants and seven civilians died.

NASSAU, Bahamas

Hurricane Ike kills 48 in Haiti

Ike roared across low-lying islands Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, destroying homes, sweeping away boats and bringing more rain to waterlogged communities in Haiti, where at least 48 people died in the floods.

Slamming into the southern Bahamas, Ike bore down on Cuba on a path that could hit Havana head-on, and hundreds of thousands evacuated to shelters or higher ground. To the north, residents of the Florida Keys fled up a narrow highway, fearful that the “extremely dangerous” hurricane could hit them Tuesday.

Ike’s winds and rain swept Haiti, and a Dominican man was crushed by a falling tree. It was too early to know of deaths on other islands where the most powerful winds were still blowing.

The center of the hurricane hit the Bahamas’ Great Inagua island, where screaming winds threatened to peel plywood from the windows of a church sheltering about 50 people, shelter manager Janice McKinney said.


Iraqi lawmakers to end recess

Iraqi lawmakers end their summer break this week facing urgent tasks of approving a new election law and signing off on a still-unfinished security pact with the U.S. – key steps in laying the foundation for a lasting peace.

The 275-member legislature failed last month to approve a law providing for provincial elections this fall after Kurds objected to a power-sharing arrangement for the oil-rich area around Kirkuk, which they want to incorporate into their self-ruled region in the north.

U.N. and Iraqi election officials warn the balloting cannot be held this year unless parliament approves the measure quickly after it reconvenes Tuesday.

U.S. and Iraqi officials believe new elections in Iraq’s 18 provinces are an essential step to building a long-term peace among the country’s rival religious and ethnic communities. Voters will choose provincial councils, which wield considerable power at the local level.

From wire reports


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