Bogota, Colombia
Bush visits Colombia to offer renewed support

President Bush said yesterday that 4,700 additional troops he is sending to Iraq above an increase announced in January are slated for support roles only, and urged Congress to approve funding for the war “without any strings attached.”

Two months ago, after an extensive review, Bush ordered 21,500 additional American soldiers to Iraq to help calm Baghdad and the troubled Anbar Province.

“Those combat troops are going to need, you know, some support, and that’s what the American people are seeing in terms of Iraq – the support troops necessary to help the reinforcements do their job,” Bush said at a news conference here with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Paris
Chirac announces he will not seek third term

Jacques Chirac, admired and scorned during 12 years as president of France, leaves a legacy as mixed and ambiguous as the man himself.

As widely expected, the French leader announced yesterday that he will not seek a third term in presidential elections in six weeks. In a televised address, Chirac said he would find new ways to serve his country after leaving office: “Serving France, and serving peace, is what I have committed my whole life to.”

Though he did not say as much, the announcement was an implicit acknowledgment that low popularity, age – he is 74 – and Nicolas Sarkozy, his conservative colleague-cum-rival as hugely ambitious as Chirac once was, have finally overtaken him.

Baghdad
Shiite pilgrims face bloodshed again

A suicide car bomber barreled into a flatbed truck packed with Shiite pilgrims yesterday, touching off a giant fireball that left charred bodies strewn through a street in the heart of Baghdad. At least 32 people were killed.

The ambush-style attack showed suspected Sunni insurgents again taking aim at the millions of worshippers who traveled to the holy city of Karbala and are now heading home.

It also displayed the limitations of the U.S.-led crackdown seeking to restore order in the capital, where bombers still strike with deadly efficiency against mostly Shiite targets in an apparent bid to ignite an full-scale civil war.

Anaheim, Calif.
Fire scorches 500 acres of hillside in California

A fast-moving brush fire scorched 500 acres of parched hillside and crept into backyards yesterday, forcing authorities to evacuate more than 200 homes, Orange County fire officials said.

At least one home in Anaheim’s Hidden Canyon neighborhood was on fire and many others were threatened, Anaheim city spokesman John J. Nicoletti said.

“This is a very dangerous firefight,” said Orange County Fire Authority Chief Ed Fleming. “The terrain is quite rugged, with homes on top of ridges, and the fire picks up speed as it head up the hill.”

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

Notable Number:

50

Age of Osama bin Laden, whose birthday was on Saturday, according to some analysts. Followers filled radical Islamic websites with tributes to the terrorist leader. According to The Associated Press, bin Laden’s exact birth date is unclear. It is known for certain, however, that he was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1957. Bin Laden has not served as the public face of al-Qaeda in recent years, leaving that task to his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

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