Insurgents hit Baghdad hotel with rockets

Rockets struck a Baghdad hotel housing foreign contractors and
journalists late yesterday, drawing return fire and underscoring
the precarious security in the heart of the Iraqi capital. Outside
Baghdad, roadside bombings killed two more American soldiers.

The attacks came as an aide to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr offered to disarm his Mahdi Army militia in a move that
could bring an end to weeks of fighting in Baghdad’s Shiite
district Sadr City. The government cautiously welcomed the offer
and suggested other militant groups also lay down their arms.

Three Katyusha rockets slammed into the Sheraton hotel, the
Interior Ministry said, triggering thunderous explosions,
shattering windows and setting off small fires. Dazed guests,
including Western journalists, contractors and a bride and groom on
their wedding night stumbled to safety through the smoke and

“I made a mistake by booking at the Sheraton,” said
Hayer Abdul Zahra, holding his shivering bride under his arm.
“I knew something like this would happen.”

There were no deaths or serious injuries, Iraqi officials



DeLay scandals draw Dems, GOP into tussle

Leading House Republicans and Democrats exchanged harsh
recriminations yesterday over the second ethics committee rebuke in
a week for Rep. Tom DeLay, the GOP’s No. 2 leader.

The day after the 57-year-old Texan was cited by the House
ethics committee for questionable conduct, Democratic Leader Nancy
Pelosi said his Republican colleagues should decide whether
“they want an ethically unfit person to be their majority
leader or do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over
the Capitol?”

Her news conference came as House Speaker Dennis Hastert
staunchly defended DeLay, calling him “a good man” and
attacking the freshman Democratic congressman whose complaint
launched the investigation.

The series of angry statements cast a pall over a busy House
pushing for adjournment and a return to the campaign trails.

The committee late Wednesday had admonished DeLay, (R-Texas.),
for creating an appearance of giving donors special access on
pending energy legislation and using the Federal Aviation
Administration to intervene in a Texas political dispute.



U.N.: Child death decrease ‘alarmingly

In Sierra Leone, one in four children dies before age 5. In
Iraq, one in 10 does not make it to a fifth birthday. Across the
globe, poor care for newborns, malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and
measles snuff out lives of the very young, according to a U.N.
report released today. The United Nations Children’s Fund
reported “alarmingly slow progress on reducing child
deaths” — one in 12 children worldwide does not live to
age 5, with half of all those deaths occurring in sub-Saharan

“It is incredible that in an age of technological and
medical marvels, child survival is so tenuous in so many places,
especially for the poor and marginalized,” UNICEF director
Carol Bellamy said.

“The world has the tools to improve child survival, if
only it would use them. Vaccines, micronutrient supplements, and
insecticide-treated mosquito nets don’t cost much and would
save millions of children.”



CD in Iraq said to have U.S. school information

Federal law enforcement authorities notified school districts in
six states last month that a computer disc found in Iraq contained
photos, floor plans and other information about their schools, two
U.S. officials said yesterday.

The downloaded data found by the U.S. military in July —
all publicly available on the Internet — included an
Education Department report guiding schools on how to prepare and
respond to a crisis, said one official speaking on condition of

The officials said it was unclear who downloaded the information
and stressed there is no evidence of any specific threats involving
the schools.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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