Baghdad

Iraq to seal borders with Syria and Iran in crackdown

The Iraqi commander of the Baghdad security crackdown announced yesterday that Iraq will close its borders with Syria and Iran and ordered the return of unlawfully seized homes, as part of the drive to end the violence that has threatened to divide the capital along sectarian lines.

Ahead of the crackdown, anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fled Iraq for Iran some weeks ago and is believed to be in Tehren where he has family, a senior U.S. official said yesterday.

Addressing the nation on behalf of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar also said Baghdad’s nighttime curfew would be expanded by an hour and permits allowing civilians to carry weapons in public would be suspended during all of the operation, which he suggested could last weeks.

Washington

North Korea agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons

The Bush administration called a deal to begin dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program a breakthrough, but the North’s history of broken promises kept the celebrations to a minimum.

There was worry, too, that accommodation of North Korea would encourage brinksmanship by Iran or other would-be nuclear states.

The bargain among six nations gives North Korea energy, food and other aid in exchange for shuttering its main nuclear reactor. It does not expressly require the North to give up existing weapons or testing now, and the agreement does not spell out how negotiators will resolve issues that have derailed previous pacts.

President Bush, who once labeled North Korea part of an “axis of evil,” said the bargain is a promising first step toward getting rid of the North’s nuclear weapons.

Detroit

Delphi Corp. posts dramatic losses

Delphi Corp. said yesterday it lost $2 billion in the third quarter, blaming half the loss on the cost of paying about 20,000 unionized workers to leave the struggling auto parts maker.

The net loss of $3.51 per share was worse than the $788 million, or $1.40 per share, that Delphi lost in the same period of 2005.

The Troy-based company, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said it lost about $1 billion to charges associated with shrinking its U.S. hourly work force.

Delphi, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, also said it lost $4.6 billion during the first nine months of 2006, and the company attributed $2.9 billion of that to costs associated with the work force reduction.

The nine-month loss was worse than the $1.5 billion it lost in the first nine months of 2005, according to its filing.

New Orleans

Tornado ravages recovering city

Eighteen months after Hurricane Katrina, Stella Chambers’ modest red-brick house had finally been repaired, and she was waiting for one last utility hookup to move back in. But the 85-year-old woman never made it.

A tornado tore through her neighborhood in the city’s Gentilly neighborhood before daybreak yesterday, flattening her house, ripping apart the front-yard FEMA trailer in which she was living, and killing her.

At least 29 people were injured, including Chambers’ daughter, Gail, as the twister heaped more misery on neighborhoods still trying to recover from Katrina. The storm destroyed at least 50 FEMA trailers and dozens of homes.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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