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MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007
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Rising violence clouds U.S., NATOprogress

KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. and NATO commanders say they have
blunted the Taliban’s threatened spring offensive, killing almost 40 commanders and 2,000 insurgents. But suicide
bombings and civilian deaths inflicted by international forces are all on the rise, threatening to derail the five-year mission to pacify and rebuild Afghanistan.

Six months into 2007, claims of progress in stabilizing the government of President Hamid Karzai are clouded by strains in the Western alliance and what analysts say is growing pessimism in NATO capitals.

Leahy prepared to go to court over subpoenas

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday he was ready to go to court if the White House resisted congressional subpoenas for information on the firing of federal prosecutors.

“If they don’t cooperate, yes, I’d go that far,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He was asked in a broadcast interview whether he would seek a congressional vote on contempt citations if President Bush did not comply. That move would push the matter to court.

“They’ve chosen confrontation rather than compromise or cooperation,” Leahy said. “The bottom line on this U.S.
attorneys’ investigation is that we have people manipulating law enforcement. ”

Crews tackle wildfire that killed 3 in Utah

NEOLA, Utah — A wildfire that has scorched about 46 square miles in northeastern Utah and killed three people has prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people from nearby towns and forced authorities to close a national forest to the public.

The fire started Friday morning north of Neola, about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City, and on Sunday morning crews had it about 5 percent contained.

Kansas, Missouri floods force more from homes

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — Flooding worsened Sunday across parts of Kansas and Missouri, forcing more people from their homes, and meteorologists said it could be days before rivers return to normal following days of drenching rainfall.

The Kansas National Guard was sent to help with a mandatory evacuation of Osawatomie, a town of 4,600, as the Pottawatomie Creek surged through a broken levee and workers struggled to reinforce a levee on the Marais des Cygne.

The river was expected to reach 49 feet late Sunday, just shy of the record level of 50.3 feet, said Maren Stoflet, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Pleasant Hill.

Iraqi civilian death toll down 36 percent

BAGHDAD — Iraqi civilian deaths dropped to their lowest level since the start of the Baghdad security operation, government figures showed Sunday, suggesting signs of progress in tamping down violence in the capital.

But American casualties are running high as U.S. forces step up pressure on Sunni and Shiite extremists in and around Baghdad.

At least 1,227 Iraqi civilians were killed in June along with 190 policemen and 31 soldiers, an officer at the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s operations room said.

That represented a 36 percent drop from the ministry’s May figures — 1,949 civilian deaths along with 127 policemen and 47 soldiers.

Top U.S. general says N. Korean tests a threat

SEOUL, South Korea — The top U.S. military commander in South Korea said Monday that last week’s North Korean missile tests were provocative and a threat to Seoul.

Gen. B.B. Bell said that although he welcomed moves by Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program, the communist country still retains the capability to attack Seoul with conventional artillery and special forces.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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