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News Wrap: Iraq Bombings Kill 32, Days Ahead of Vote

March 3, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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In other news Wednesday, three suicide bombings in Iraq killed at least 32 people, just four days before national elections, and President Obama signed a stop-gap extension of jobless benefits after a budget impasse in the Senate.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A string of three suicide bombings in Iraq killed at least 32 people today, with national elections just four days away. All of the attacks were in Baquba, a former insurgent stronghold northeast of Baghdad.

Two bombers targeted government offices. But the third pretended to be a wounded military officer, rode in an ambulance, and blew himself up at a hospital. Most of the wounded from the first two blasts were killed in the third attack.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the violence will not change plans to withdraw all U.S. troops by the end of next year.

GEOFF MORRELL, Pentagon spokesperson: Neither this attack, nor any of the previous attempts to derail the electoral process and to destabilize the government have been or will be successful, nor do we anticipate that it will derail our responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In turn, Iraqi officials insisted Sunday’s election will go forward as planned, despite today’s attacks.

President Obama has signed a temporary extension of jobless benefits, after a budget impasse ended in the Senate. Republican Jim Bunning of Kentucky had held up a $10 billion stopgap measure for days, but he gave way last night. The temporary bill also restores funding for highway projects and health insurance subsidies for the unemployed.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nine points, to close at 10396. The Nasdaq fell a fraction-of-a-point to close at 2280.

Gay marriage became legal in Washington, D.C., today. Same-sex couples lined up for marriage licenses at the city’s main courthouse. Washington is the sixth place in the nation where gay marriage is now legal. It joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The American Cancer Society is now urging doctors to tell male patients more about the risks of prostate cancer screening. New guidelines released today warned, there is little evidence that early detection saves lives. They also said the PSA blood test can detect false positives and lead to unnecessary treatments. Millions of American men now get the blood test.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the “NewsHour”‘s Web site.