Iraqis Reach Tentative Deal on Power-sharing Government; U.S., South Korea Fail to Reach Trade Agreement
After eight months of gridlock, Iraq’s leaders reached an agreement that would keep Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in power but give Sunnis and Kurds leadership blocs in the government, including a prominent role for Ayad Allawi. The deal comes at a time of uncertainty over possible sectarian violence and follows a wave of attacks on Iraqi Christians.
U.S., South Korea Fall Short of Trade Deal at G20
After several days of talks, negotiators failed to reach an anticipated free trade agreement, but President Obama said he and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak had “asked our teams to work tirelessly in the next days and weeks to get an agreement, and we are confident we will do so.”
Among the issues not yet resolved are those involving trade in automobiles and beef. In 2008, South Koreans took to the streets to protest imports of American beef over fears of mad cow disease after a five-year ban was lifted.
Pentagon Survey Finds Allowing Gays to Serve Would Have Minimal Impact on War
A Pentagon study group concluded that there would be little risk to the war efforts if gays were allowed to serve openly in the military. In the poll of troops and family members, 70 percent said lifting the existing ban would have either a positive or neutral effect. President Obama has said he intends to repeal the law, which was enacted in 1993.
Obama Cautions Against Rush to Judgment on Deficit Recommendations
After a bipartisan commission released its recommendations yesterday for reducing U.S. debt, President Obama was quick to respond to Democrats who opposed the idea of changes to Social Security and tax policy, telling reporters at a press conference in Seoul, “[I]f we are concerned about debt and deficits we’re going to have to take actions that are difficult and we’re going to have to tell the truth to the American people.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called the commission’s recommendations “unacceptable.”