World Briefs / Iraqi leader seeks U.S. aid

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WASHINGTON -- Terrorists "found a second chance" to thrive in Iraq, the nation's prime minister said Thursday in asking for new U.S. aid to beat back a bloody insurgency that has been fueled by the neighboring Syrian civil war and the departure of American troops from Iraq two years ago.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told a packed auditorium at the U.S. Institute of Peace that he needs additional weapons, help with intelligence and other assistance, and claimed the world has a responsibility to help because terrorism is an international concern.

The new request comes nearly two years after Mr. Maliki's government refused to let U.S. forces remain in Iraq, after nearly nine years of war, with legal immunity that the Obama administration insisted was necessary to protect troops. The administration had campaigned on ending the war in Iraq and took the opportunity offered by the legal dispute to pull all troops out.

Mr. Maliki will meet today with President Barack Obama in what Baghdad hopes will be a fresh start in a complicated relationship.

Pakistan, Taliban talk

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's prime minister said Thursday during a meeting in London with the British deputy prime minister that talks with the domestic arm of the Taliban have started, though he gave no details about who was taking part or what was on the agenda.

Nawaz Sharif said the government "could not wait and see the innocent people and members of law enforcement agencies being killed in the streets of Pakistan."

Also, the leader of one of the country's main opposition parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, threatened Thursday to cut off NATO supplies moving through Pakistan if the U.S. launches any drone strikes during the talks.

Iran still enriching to 20%

JOHANNESBURG -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday said his government hasn't stopped enriching uranium to 20 percent purity as a parliamentary committee spokesman was quoted as saying.

The U.S. and other world powers want Iran to stop enriching uranium to the 20 percent level. Iranian officials say the material is needed for a research reactor in the capital, which produces medical isotopes for cancer treatment.

Hacking trial develops

LONDON -- A high-profile phone-hacking trial in Britain turned considerably seamier Thursday when the prosecution revealed in court that the two most senior editors of News of the World had an affair lasting more than six years -- during the period at issue in the trial, and also while both of them married other people.

The trial, involving a total of eight defendants, is expected to last many months. The two editors, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, are accused of conspiring with others to hack phones and of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office.

Nazi-era mystery resolved

LOS ANGELES -- German historian Johannes Tuchel, head of the German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin, has found conclusive proof that Nazi Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller died in the final days of World War II and was buried in a mass grave in a Jewish cemetery in Berlin, the German daily Bild reported Thursday, appearing to resolve one of the most enduring mysteries of the Nazi era.

As head of Adolf Hitler's notorious Gestapo, Mueller played a key role in orchestrating the Holocaust.


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