Thursday: Combat Troops Leaving Iraq; Jobless Claims Reach 500,000

BY Tom LeGro  August 19, 2010 at 9:46 AM EST

Seven years and five months after the start of the war in Iraq, the last American combat troops have been making their way out of the country. Troops from the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, moved across the border between Iraq and Kuwait early Thursday morning.

Some 50,000 non-combat troops will remain in Iraq for another year. More than 4,400 U.S. service members have died in the Iraq war since the invasion in 2003.

The NewsHour’s Margaret Warner is in Iraq covering the troops’ exit and what they’ll leave behind. Find her stories here.

The Washington Post has a slideshow of the troops leaving and talks to many of them about what they’re feeling.

Based on these “exit interviews” by the BBC, it’s safe to say they won’t miss the place.

The New York Times’ Media Decoder has a look at the coverage: “The combat mission in Iraq doesn’t officially end until Aug. 31 but viewers and readers could be forgiven for thinking it ended tonight.”

Jobless Claims Rise to 500,000

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 last week to 500,000, reaching the half-million mark for the first time since November. It was the fourth increase in the past five weeks.

U.S., U.N. to Increase Aid to Pakistan

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is visiting Pakistan to assess the flood damage and relief efforts, said Thursday the United States would increase its aid to $150 million.

Meantime, the United Nations is set to hold an emergency session to boost international aid. It says it has raised nearly half of the $460 million needed for initial flood relief efforts, but that the response remains slow.

The number of people in need of immediate assistance in Pakistan has now risen to eight million.