Prominent al-Qaida opponent killed in suicide bombing

The head of a key U.S.-backed Sunni group was killed Monday in a double suicide bombing that claimed at least 11 other lives and highlighted the deadly precision of attacks on Sunni leaders choosing to oppose al-Qaida in Iraq.

The main target – a former police colonel who led resistance to al-Qaida in one of its former Baghdad strongholds – was first embraced by a bomber posing as a friend. Seconds later, the attacker stepped back and triggered an explosion, a witness said.

A suicide car bomber then struck as rescuers tried to evacuate the wounded. At least 28 people were injured in the twin blasts – the latest in a spate of attacks against Sunnis who have joined a U.S.-supported movement against extremists and credited with helping sharply reduce violence around Iraq.

Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya president to meet with rival in effort to end strife

Kenya’s president on Monday invited his chief rival to his official residence to discuss how to end the country’s election standoff, just hours after the opposition called off nationwide rallies amid fears of new bloodshed.

The signs of softening by both sides came after three days of talks with the top U.S. diplomat for Africa. The African Union president, whose trip to Kenya had been delayed repeatedly as the government rejected outside mediation in the disputed vote, was to begin talks in the capital as early as Wednesday.

The U.S. envoy, Jendayi Frazer, said the vote count was rigged, but declined to blame either President Mwai Kibaki or Raila Odinga, the opposition leader.

“Yes, there was rigging,” Frazer told The Associated Press. “I mean, there were problems with the vote counting process … both the parties could have rigged.”

Salem, N.H.

Two men interrupt Clinton rally with sexist signs

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign stop was interrupted yesterday when two men stood in the crowd and began screaming, “Iron my shirt!” during one of her final appearances before the New Hampshire primary.

Clinton, a former first lady running to become the nation’s first female president, laughed at the seemingly sexist protest that suggested a woman’s place is doing the laundry and not running the country.

“Ah, the remnants of sexism – alive and well,” Clinton said to applause in a school auditorium.


After two years of increases, crime dropped in 2007

Crime dipped slightly for the first half of 2007, the FBI reported yesterday, signaling a stop to a 2-year increase in violence nationwide.

Violent crime – including murders, rapes and robberies – dropped by 1.8 percent between January and June last year, the FBI’s preliminary data show. Property crimes also decreased, including a 7.4 percent drop in car thefts and arsons by nearly 10 percent.

The FBI data, compiled from local and state police departments around the nation, offer a snapshot of crime rates over the six month period. The numbers will not be finalized until later this year.

-Compiled from Daily wire reports

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