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The O’Hare UFO

By LESLIE KEAN

The Providence Journal

On Nov. 7, during the late-afternoon rush at Chicago’s bustling O’Hare International Airport, something truly astonishing happened. Pilots, managers and mechanics looked up from their ground positions at the United Airlines terminal and saw an odd, disc-shaped object hovering silently overhead, just below the overcast.

Extended tours endanger troops

By JOHN CRISP

One of the great wonders of the Iraq war is the patience with which our troops have endured unanticipated extensions of their deployments and multiple deployments to the combat zone.

In some cases, they have been required to remain in Iraq or Afghanistan well beyond the date of their previously scheduled redeployments to the United States and even beyond the date of their scheduled retirements or discharges from the service.

Politics of personal distraction

By DAN K. THOMASSON

Don’t you just love it?

Before the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was more than a few weeks old, the candidates certified the accuracy of Will Rogers’ remark about not belonging to any organized political party– “I’m a Democrat,” he said. Now with the two leaders of the pack — Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois — having cast the first stones we can all settle back and enjoy — or not — the negative business as usual.

Top Iraqi official wounded in bomb blast

Iraq’s Shi’ite vice president and a cabinet minister were wounded in an apparent assassination attempt on Monday when a bomb killed six to 10 people at a ministry in Baghdad where they were attending a ceremony.

An aide said Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a member of the Shi’ite majority that dominates the U.S.-backed government, was taken to hospital after suffering minor wounds in the blast at a hall of the Public Works Ministry building.

But one witness told Reuters the bomb explosion had thrown Abdul-Mahdi against a wall.

Levin: Limit troop role in Iraq

By THOMAS FERRARO

A top U.S. Senate Democrat said on Sunday his party aims to limit the role of the nearly 140,000 American troops in Iraq and withdraw most of them from the war-torn country within a year.

But Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said it was unclear if enough Senate Republicans would break ranks with President George W. Bush to allow the effort to proceed.

Pentagon ordered to prepare Iran bombing plan

Despite the Bush administration’s insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.

Sharpton’s family were slaves to Senator Thurmond’s family

Geneaologists have found that civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton is a descendent of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Daily News said professional genealogists, working at the newspaper’s behest, recently uncovered the ancestral ties between one of the nation’s best known black leaders and a man who was once a prominent defender of segregation.

“I have always wondered what was the background of my family,” the newspaper quoted Sharpton as saying. “But nothing — nothing — could prepare me for this.”

Virginia apologizes for role in slavery

By LARRY O’DELL

Meeting on the grounds of the former Confederate Capitol, the Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously Saturday to express “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery.

Sponsors of the resolution say they know of no other state that has apologized for slavery, although Missouri lawmakers are considering such a measure. The resolution does not carry the weight of law but sends an important symbolic message, supporters said.

Death toll brings Iraq war home

By NANCY BENAC

Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

022407deathtoll.jpgWhen the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.

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