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Wednesday, Dec 07th

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Blackwater Machine Gun Found in Raid on Iraqi Insurgents

An M4 machine gun sent to Iraq by the Blackwater private security firm somehow disappeared from the company's storage facility in Baghdad and was later discovered during a US military operation, apparently against suspected insurgents, people familiar with the situation have told ABC News.

The incident, in 2006, has been kept secret until now but it raised more questions about Blackwater's operations in Iraq.

Allegations that Blackwater shipped weapons and silencers to Iraq without proper licensing are already under investigation by a federal grand jury in North Carolina, according to people familiar with the case. 

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Baghdad shaken by suicide attacks

Suicide bombers have struck near two Shia mosques in Baghdad, killing 20 people and wounding another 25, Iraqi security officials said.

The attacks came as worshippers left mosques after prayers celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

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British Envoy Says Mission in Afghanistan is Doomed, According to Leaked Memo

  The official version of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan received a blow today with a leaked report that the British Ambassador in Kabul believes that US strategy is wrong and the war is as good as lost.

    The potentially explosive views were published by Le Canard Enchaîné, a respected French weekly, which said that they were direct quotations from a diplomatic cable written by François Fitou, the French Deputy Ambassador in Kabul.

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Iraq signs bln-dollar power deals with GE, Siemens

Iraq has signed preliminary deals worth billions of dollars with General Electric Co and Siemens for equipment to almost double electricity generation capacity, an energy official said on Saturday.

The deals with GE, Siemens and a third company would be worth a total of $7 billion to $8 billion, Iraq's Electricity Minister Karim Waheed told Reuters.

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TVNL Comment: The spoils of war: Bomb a country's electrical generators to smithereens and then make deals worth billions to rebuild them. Damn clever, these Americans...

British troops 'will leave Iraq within a year'

Britain's war in Iraq will end by this time next year, a highly placed defence source said yesterday. But asked whether the pullout from Iraq would mean reinforcements being sent to combat a resurgent Taliban, the senior officer responded: "Emphatically no. We have already mortgaged the Iraq dividend by boosting our force in Afghanistan to 8,000. That is the limit."

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Iraqi Red Crescent Paralyzed by Allegations

The Iraqi Red Crescent, the country's leading humanitarian organization, has been crippled by allegations of embezzlement and mismanagement, including what Iraqi officials call the inappropriate expenditure of more than $1 million on Washington lobbying firms in an unsuccessful effort to win U.S. funding.

The group's former president, Said I. Hakki, an Iraqi American urologist recruited by Bush administration officials to resuscitate Iraq's health-care system, left the country this summer after the issuance of arrest warrants for him and his deputies. He and his aides deny the allegations and call them politically motivated.

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NIE on Afghanistan reportedly 'grim'

A classified report on Afghanistan being prepared by U.S. intelligence analysts calls the Asian country's state grim, ABC News reports.

Sources close to the preparation of the National Intelligence Estimate said the Bush administration does not plan to declassify it before the election. It is to be presented to policy makers in the administration.

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