Speaker chosen for Parliament amid deadlock
Iraqi lawmakers took a step toward breaking their political deadlock Tuesday, voting for a new Parliament speaker in the first step of a government formation process that analysts warn is unfolding too slowly to keep the country from fragmenting along ethnic and sectarian lines. It remained unclear, however, whether the overwhelming approval of Sunni Muslim politician Salim al-Jubouri, a moderate Islamist with a background in law, as speaker signaled a broader power-sharing deal between the Shiite Muslim political bloc of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite detractors. Al-Maliki, who has served in a caretaker capacity since elections in April, is seeking a third four-year term, but he faces heavy criticism over policies that are blamed for hardening sectarian divisions, weakening the U.S.-trained security forces and allowing al-Qaida splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to seize large swaths of Iraqi territory. The political system established under the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq calls for a Shiite prime minister, a Sunni speaker and a Kurdish president.
Border tensions rise after attack
Ukraine and Russia traded increasingly bitter accusations of cross-border hostilities on Tuesday, increasingly threatening to draw the two countries into direct conflict. Ukrainian military officials said they suspected Russia of carrying out an airstrike that destroyed a four-story apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, about 12 miles from border, killing at least 11 civilians. Pro-Russian separatists, in turn, said the Ukrainian military had carried out the bombing.
House passes stop-gap road bill
Faced with the threat that federal money for 117,000 transportation projects would begin to dry up in two weeks, the House on Tuesday approved a nearly $11 billion patch to extend funding through May. The stop-gap fix to avert a crisis imperiling up to 700,000 construction jobs won endorsement from the White House, but the Senate is likely to tinker with it before it reaches President Barack Obama's desk. The House vote was 367-55.
Salt Lake City: Two former Utah attorneys general were arrested Tuesday on charges that both men had taken bribes from businessmen.