UN warns of ‘chaos’ if Iraqi leaders fail to break political deadlock, form new government
BAGHDAD — The U.N. urged Iraq’s leaders Saturday to overcome their deep divisions and move quickly to form a new government that can unite the country and confront a surging militant threat, warning that failure to do so “risks plunging the country into chaos.”
The Sunni insurgent blitz over the past month has driven Iraq into its deepest crisis since the last American troops left in 2011, pushing bloodshed to levels unseen since the height of the Iraq war, sending Sunni-Shiite tensions soaring and raising the specter of a nation cleaved in three along ethnic and sectarian lines.
Iraq’s new parliament is scheduled on Sunday to hold its second session amid hopes that lawmakers can quickly decide on a new prime minister, president and speaker of parliament — the first steps toward forming a new government. It failed to make any progress in its first session, and postponed its second session until Sunday.
U.N special envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, called on lawmakers to attend the meeting and forge an agreement on new leaders. He warned of dire consequences if the current political deadlock drags on.
“It will only serve the interests of those who seek to divide the people of Iraq and destroy their chances for peace and prosperity,” he said in a statement. “Iraq needs a team that can bring people together. Now is not the time for mutual accusations, now is the time for moving forward and compromising in the interest of the Iraqi people.”
Obama hits the road campaign-style, but his agenda remains gridlocked
WASHINGTON — Welcome to Barack Obama’s split-screen presidency.
On one side: a confident Obama making campaign-style stops around the country and ridiculing his political opponents to the delight of cheering supporters. On the other side: an increasingly unpopular president hobbled by gridlock on Capitol Hill and a steady stream of vexing foreign policy crises.
Obama has long sought refuge outside of Washington when his frustrations with the nation’s capital reach a boiling point. But his ability to rally public support in a way that results in progress for his legislative agenda has perhaps never been weaker than it is as he nears the midpoint of his second term.
To the White House, the take-away is that Washington — and the Republican Party in particular — is out of touch with the American people and failing to address their priorities. But to GOP leaders, Obama’s activities in a midterm election year reinforce their view of a president more focused on soaring speeches and partisan politics than on working toward compromise solutions to the nation’s problems.
Each side has at least some evidence to support its case.
Tracy Morgan released from care, files lawsuit against Wal-Mart
Actor Tracy Morgan has been released from a rehabilitation center and will continue his recovery at home, a representative for the comedian said Saturday.
The news came after Morgan filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over the New Jersey highway crash that left one man dead and several injured last month.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey by Morgan and three other survivors of the crash, claims Wal-Mart was negligent when the driver of one of its tractor trailers struck Morgan’s limousine.
James McNair, 63, a comedian better known by his stage name, Jimmy Mack, died in the accident.
The lawsuit alleges that “Wal-Mart knew or should have known” that Kevin Roper, the 35-year-old Georgia man who was driving the tractor trailer, had been awake for more than 24 consecutive hours when the crash occurred.
Roper had not slept for nearly 24 hours before the crash, according to a warrant for his arrest.
Wal-Mart called the accident a “terrible tragedy” in a statement Saturday.
“We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved. As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation. We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”
By wire sources