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AP count: Iraqi deaths hover near lowest level

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces last month hit their second-lowest level in nearly four years with 283 deaths linked to war-related violence, according to an Associated Press tally.

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US commanders hone battlefield diplomacy in Iraq

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Sheik Sabah Mutasher appreciated the U.S. Army's efforts to build a school for his tribe. But he didn't embrace the American mission until Col. Walt Piatt showed up in a dusty pickup truck for a spur-of-the-moment courtesy call.

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Baker, Hamilton endorse Iraq plan

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Foreign policy gurus Lee Hamilton and James A. Baker III said Thursday they support President Barack Obama's 19-month timetable in Iraq and, if asked, would advise Obama to limit the nation's goals in Afghanistan.

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US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,255

Updated: 03/06/2009 - As of Thursday, March 5, 2009, at least 4,255 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

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Leaving Iraq: Shift to south, exit through desert

Updated: 03/06/2009 - The U.S. military map in Iraq in early 2010: Marines are leaving the western desert, Army units are in the former British zone in the south and the overall mission is coalescing around air and logistics hubs in central and northern Iraq.

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Falling oil prices stymie Iraq's security spending

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Falling oil prices will force Iraq to cut back on military spending, leaving questions about whether it can handle tasks such as protecting oil platforms in the Gulf once the American pullout is complete, a top U.S. commander said.

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AP count: Iraqi deaths hover near lowest level

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces last month hit their second-lowest level in nearly four years with 283 deaths linked to war-related violence, according to an Associated Press tally.

Read More

US commanders hone battlefield diplomacy in Iraq

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Sheik Sabah Mutasher appreciated the U.S. Army's efforts to build a school for his tribe. But he didn't embrace the American mission until Col. Walt Piatt showed up in a dusty pickup truck for a spur-of-the-moment courtesy call.

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Baker, Hamilton endorse Iraq plan

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Foreign policy gurus Lee Hamilton and James A. Baker III said Thursday they support President Barack Obama's 19-month timetable in Iraq and, if asked, would advise Obama to limit the nation's goals in Afghanistan.

Read More

US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,255

Updated: 03/06/2009 - As of Thursday, March 5, 2009, at least 4,255 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

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Cleveland man sought in deaths of 2 women, 3 kids

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Police in Cleveland say they are using tactical teams to search for the newlywed who is suspected of killing his wife, his sister-in-law and her three young children.

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Clinton raises hope of US-Russian missile deal

Updated: 03/06/2009 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised the hope of U.S.-Russian cooperation on missile defense Friday on her way to discussions with her Russian counterpart, with a goal of repairing the two nations' relations.

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Obama calls latest job losses astounding

Updated: 03/06/2009 - COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Calling the latest job losses astounding, President Barack Obama promised on Friday to get Americans back to work. Obama spoke at the graduation ceremony for 25 police recruits who owe their jobs to the $787 billion economic recovery bill he signed into law less than three weeks ago. In a 12-minute speech, the president noted that 651,000 U.S. jobs were lost last month, bringing to "an astounding 4.4 million" the number lost in the current recession. The Columbus police recruits were about to join those ranks, he said, "a future that millions of Americans still face right now." "Well, that is not a future I accept for the United States of America," Obama said. That's why he signed the stimulus bill that Congress passed last month with minuscule help from Republicans, he said. Obama noted the many critics of the package, but he said government leaders have a responsibility to act for future generations. The United States has met every challenge with bold action and big ideas, he said, and "that's what fueled a shared and lasting prosperity." Meanwhile Friday, the Labor Department said it was making more than $3.5 billion available to states for education, training and re-employment services. The Columbus police recruits are part of a class of 27 who were laid off in January by Mayor Michael Coleman, a Democrat, before they could even start walking the beat. Coleman blamed city budget problems at the time. But Coleman announced last week that the Justice Department had informed the city that it would get $1.25 million in stimulus money to pay the officers' salaries through the end of the year. Two of the recruits chose not to return. When he signed the bill on Feb. 17, Obama cited saving the Ohio police recruit class as one use for stimulus money. Obama has been highlighting programs to be funded by the legislation, along with the jobs he says are being saved or created by those dollars. He has practically staked his presidency on his promise that the stimulus package will save or create 3.5 million jobs within the next two years. The latest economic news was a fresh reminder for the Obama administration of the nation's grim financial outlook. The government said Friday the nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since late 1983. Over a three-month period, nearly 2 million jobs have been cut. The trip was Obama's first to Ohio as president. He won the state in the November election. --- Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett and Matt Apuzzo in Washington and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

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Congress passes stopgap bill to avoid shutdown

Updated: 03/06/2009 - With a $410 billion catchall spending bill stalled in the Senate and a midnight deadline looming, Congress rushed through stopgap legislation Friday to keep the government running for another five days.

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Prosecutors indicate Madoff plea may be in works

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Prosecutors filed a motion Friday indicating that Bernard Madoff may be ready to plead guilty to charges that he carried out one of the biggest financial frauds in history.

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