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USA UK and Malta News
17/12/2007 - 23:40

USA today, Editoweb 17 dec 2007

General urges caution in Baghdad pullout - Second votes could sway Iowa Democratic race - New Jersey bans death penalty - Giuliani pins hopes on big later states - Stocks fall amid economic worries.

General urges caution in Baghdad pullout
Though violence in Iraq has declined, withdrawing U.S. troops too quickly would spell failure in some parts of the capital, a top general said Monday.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, commander in Baghdad, said progress made toward securing the city in recent months is "fledgling, fragile and not guaranteed."
He said that although violence is down, it has dropped because the troop buildup ordered by President Bush in January has made it possible to have a "force presence that is almost throughout the city" — that is, coalition and Iraqi forces, supplemented by so-called "Concerned Local Citizens."

Second votes could sway Iowa Democratic race
In Iowa's unpredictable Democratic presidential scramble, a voter's second choice can be as important as the first -- and ultimately could make the difference in a tight race.
Under the arcane rules in Iowa's January 3 contest, which opens the state-by-state race to choose candidates for the November 2008 election, Democratic contenders are required to muster support from at least 15 percent of the attendees in each precinct to be considered viable.

New Jersey bans death penalty
Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.
The bill, approved last week by the state's Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.
"This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder," Corzine said.

Giuliani pins hopes on big later states
The increased attention Rudy Giuliani has been giving to New Hampshire doesn't seem to be paying off. The Republican still trails in the first-in-the-nation primary and also faces likely defeats in other early voting states.
Pinning his hopes on big states that come later in the primary season, the former New York mayor is struggling to regain momentum after a series of setbacks. The next month could provide a severe test for his unorthodox approach to winning the GOP nomination.

Stocks fall amid economic worries
Wall Street extended last week's losses Monday as investors remained concerned about flagging growth and rising prices, and were skeptical that a special Federal Reserve credit auction will be a solution.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 175 points and all the major indexes lost at least 1 percent.
The Fed offered $20 billion in 28-day credit through an auction Monday. The central bank will not release the results until Wednesday, but the aim of the auction is to encourage commercial banks to borrow from the Fed. That, in turn, is designed to boost banks' lending to businesses and consumers and keep the economy humming.

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