Two bombs in the town of Taji killed at least 35 people on Tuesday, according to Iraqi officials, with dozens more wounded in the latest in a string of attacks coinciding with the debate over whether to ask U.S. troops to remain in the country. The roughly 47,000 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq are scheduled to leave at the end of the year.
According to witnesses, the car bomb near the local council building exploded first, drawing a crowd to the scene before a second explosion. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but it resembled prior attacks carried out by al-Qaida in Iraq, in which government buildings have been targeted.
On Monday night, rockets killed four people in the Green Zone in the vicinity of the Al Rasheed Hotel as a Fourth of July celebration was taking place at the U.S. Embassy.
Lagarde Takes Over as IMF Chief
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Christine Lagarde, tapped to replace former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned after being arrested in New York on charges of sexual assault, took the helm Tuesday after being selected last week in a vote by the member nations. She beat out Agustin Carstens, chief of Mexico’s Central Bank. Some member nations had pushed for a candidate from up-and-coming economies, instead of Europe.
Lagarde, 55, was France’s finance minister before assuming the IMF job. She will serve a five-year term.
(Read Paul Solman’s interview with Lagarde from last summer).
7 Tourists Missing After Boat Accident in Gulf of California
Rescuers are continuing their search for seven tourists from the United States whom they say could still be alive, two days after their boat capsized in a storm. One was confirmed dead after the accident and 19 were rescued in addition to the boat’s 16 crew.
The search is being conducted by the Mexican navy, which has widened the area of the search in an effort to find any who could be alive. “A person who casts away can survive many days. That sea is calm,” said Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez.
The boat sunk before dawn on Sunday during a fishing expedition some 60 miles from San Felipe. The 115-foot vessel was operated by Baja Sportfishing Inc.
4 NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan
Three NATO soldiers died in a bombing in eastern Afghanistan and a fourth died in an insurgent attack Tuesday. Officials have not yet disclosed the exact location or the nationalities of those killed.
The attacks came as British Prime Minister David Cameron met with British troops at Camp Leatherneck. A British soldier was found dead on Monday of apparent gunshot wounds near a checkpoint in Helmand province.
Cameron praised the partnership with the Afghan government but pointed out the challenges of terrorism and the drug trade, saying, “If we forget and leave Afghanistan then the problems will come from here to our homes.” The United States is withdrawing more than 30,000 troops over the next year.
Chavez Returns from Surgery, Celebrates Venezuelan Independence
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned from surgery in Cuba to mark the 200th anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain. Chavez addressed crowds from his presidential palace after a three-week long absence, which had sparked rumors about his deteriorating health.
“We will also win this battle for life,” said the 56-year-old Chavez. He wore combat fatigues and waved a Venezuelan flag above his head. The normally loquacious Chavez cut the speech off after half an hour, telling the crowd that “[t]his recovery process has to be carefully watched to the extreme.”
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa (L) and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez shake hands in Salinas, Ecuador, on June 7, 2011. Photo by Rpdrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.