Monday, March 24, 2008

News Roundup, 3/24/08

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 11:52 AM

US toll in Iraq hits 4,000: Les than a year after the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, the American death toll reach 4,000 Sunday night. Four U.S. soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing Sunday night that brought the grim milestone to its present standing. "No casualty is more or less significant than another; each soldier, Marine, airman and sailor is equally precious and their loss equally tragic," said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the U.S. military's chief spokesman in Iraq. Also Sunday, at least 35 Iraqis died as the result of suicide bombings, mortar fire and the work of gunmen in cars who opened fire on a crowded outdoor market. Nearly 100 were wounded in the violence. Estimates of the Iraqi death toll since the war began range from about 80,000 to the hundreds of thousands. Another 2 million Iraqis have been forced to leave the country, and 2.5 million have been displaced from their homes within Iraq, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

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Richardson says he still feels loyal to Clintons: Bill Richardson claims loyalty to Clintons after announcing his decision to support Barack Obama for president. “I am very loyal to the Clintons. I served under President Clinton. But I served well. And I served the country well. And he gave me that opportunity," Richardson told Fox News Sunday. Richardson made his announcement on Friday and has faced harsh words from some of his fellow democrats. Richardson was asked Sunday about James Carville's comment that Richardson's Obama endorsement "came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver."

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Study shows western N.C. teens more likely to abuse prescription drugs: A health study shows high school students in western North Carolina are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than students in other parts of the state. The 2007 Risk Behavior Survey shows about 25 percent of western North Carolina high school students said they have used prescription medicine such as Oxycontin and Percocet for recreational use. The Asheville Citizens-Times reports that compares with 17 percent of students from the central and eastern part of North Carolina. An Erwin High School student, 17-year-old Matthew Chapman, died earlier this month after placing two fentanyl painkiller patches on each arm and drinking alcohol.

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Hamas and Fatah agree to hold talks: The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah yesterday signed up to a Yemeni-brokered deal to negotiate a reconciliation, but hours after the signing, an apparent dispute broke out over just what was included in the agreement. Hostilities between the two groups boiled over last June when Hamas seized control of Gaza, routing forces loyal to the Palestinian President and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in a week of deadly street battles. "We, the representatives of Fatah and Hamas, agree to the Yemeni initiative as a framework to resume dialogue between the two movements to return the Palestinians' situation to what it was before the Gaza incidents," their joint declaration said.

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