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The early draft of US weapons inspector David Kay in Iraq says that no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Kay has led the CIA-backed search for the past four months. His team of 1,400 searched suspected sites and interviewed Iraqi scientists.
Sections of the report are expected to be released to the public this month. The New York Times reports that the CIA has emphasized that this is just an interim report apparently in an attempt to minimize political fallout from the findings. Kay has already returned from Iraq and is working at CIA headquarters.
Just three weeks ago Secretary of State Colin Powell told NBC’s "Meet the Press" that Kay’s report would show people "that there was no question that such weapons exist, existed, and so did the programs to develop one."
In Baghdad a bomb exploded this morning inside the hotel complex which houses the NBC News offices. The BBC reported the attack marked the first time that western media had been targeted since Baghdad fell. One person, a Somali security guard, died in the blast.
Meanwhile in Mosul, two people died when a porn cinema was bombed. Up to 20 people were injured.
Aqila al-Hashimi of the Iraqi Governing Council has died. Five days ago she was ambushed and men armed with machine guns shot her in the stomach and bombed her convoy. It was the first assassination of a member of the U.S. appointed council. She was one of three women on the 25-person council.
President Bush’s problems at the United Nations continued yesterday when he ended two days of meetings without receiving international support for more troops or money for Iraq. This according to the Washington Post. Peter Pace, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned yesterday this may force the National Guard and Reserve to activate 15,000 to 20,000 more troops. There are about 144,000 U.S. forces in Iraq, 14,000 from Britain and about 8,000 from other countries.
Meanwhile, the Post reports U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is considering the total withdrawal of U.N. personnel from Iraq following two bomb attacks at the UN’s Baghdad headquarters.
27 Israeli pilots have signed a letter to the Israel Air Force stating they would not take part in "illegal and immoral" strikes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The letter read in part " "We, veteran pilots and active pilots alike...are opposed to carrying out illegal and immoral attacks, of the type carried out by Israel in the territories.
It continued, "We, who have been educated to love the state of Israel refuse to take part in airforce attacks in civilian population centers. We refuse to continue harming innocent civilians."
Meanwhile Israeli troops killed four Palestinians during raid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Five Israeli soldiers were also injured.
A Nigerian court today blocked the execution of a woman who had been ordered to be stoned to death after being convicted for adultery.
Human rights groups around the world had protested Nigeria’s handling of the case of Amina Lawal, a 31-year-old illiterate woman who was set to be stoned to death because she had a baby 10 months after a divorce.
In environmental news, scientists are reporting global warming has caused the largest ice shelf in the Arctic to split in two for the first time since its formation 3,000 years ago.
And the Houston Chronicle is reporting that a top executive from Halliburton has been appointed to be new senior advisor to the Iraqi Oil Ministry.
The man, Robert McKee III is the chairman of Houston-based Enventure Global Technology, an oil-field joint venture owned by Shell and Halliburton, the oil services company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney that has received billions of dollars in contracts in rebuilding Iraq.
Rep. Henry Waxman of California, one of Halliburton’s chief critics, said "Given Mr. McKee’s close relationship with Halliburton, he’s an odd choice to hold them accountable for the billions of dollars they are charging American taxpayers."
Halliburton has also become the target of road-side signs put up by people opposed to the U.S. occupation. The new website nobodydied.com has started posting photos of some of these anti-war roadside signs. One reads: "Dear America, Thanks for all the money, sorry about your kids. — Halliburton Oil"
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