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Other News: More Troops Sought for Northern Iraq

August 17, 2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, is seeking to send more troops into northern Iraq, and Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia called for a "new approach" to sanctions against Myanmar.
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said he wants to deploy American troops to disputed areas in the north. Army General Ray Odierno said they would provide oversight and help ease tensions between Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

In recent weeks, there’s been a spike in bombings in the north. The move would be a departure from the security pact calling on American troops to pull back from populated areas at the end of June. Odierno stressed no final decision has been made.

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia called for a new approach to sanctions on Myanmar; that’s after the Democrat met with the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a rare visit to the country also known as Burma. Today in Bangkok, Thailand, Webb indicated Suu Kyi could be easing her stance on U.S. sanctions.

SEN. JAMES WEBB, D-Va.: With respect to Aung San Suu Kyi, I don’t want to take the risk of misrepresenting her views, but I would say to you it was my clear impression from her that she is not opposed to lifting some sanctions, but it’s I would want to say. I don’t want to misrepresent her views.

JIM LEHRER: While on the trip, Webb also secured the release of American John Yettaw. He was sentenced to seven years in prison last week for helping Suu Kyi violate the terms of her house arrest.

In southern Russia, a suicide bombing killed at least 20 people and wounded over 130 more. It happened in the North Caucasus region near Chechnya. That area has seen an increase in militant violence in recent months. A truck filled with explosives rammed through the gates of a police station, sparking a fire that burned for hours. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The U.S. Department of Justice charged a Miami man today in the largest case of identity theft ever in the U.S. Federal prosecutors alleged Albert Gonzalez and two other unnamed suspects hacked into retail networks to steal data from 130 million accounts. Customers of the convenience store giant 7-Eleven and the supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers were among the targets. Gonzalez is already in jail awaiting trial in another hacking case.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season picked up strength today as it churned in open waters. Hurricane Bill packed winds up to 90 miles an hour, putting it on a course to hit Bermuda. Forecasters expect it will become a major hurricane in the next few days.

On the Gulf Coast, tropical storm Claudette weakened to a depression as it came ashore in Florida and passed over southern Alabama.

On Wall Street today, U.S. stocks joined a global downturn. They suffered their worst loss in seven weeks, prompted by a stock sell-off in Asia and Europe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 186 points to close at 9,135. The Nasdaq fell 54 points to close over 1,930.