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Bombs Kill Dozens In Iraq; Mubarak Trial Resumes

Aug 15, 2011

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Good morning.

Seemingly coordinated bombings in more than a dozen Iraqi cities today have left more than 50 people dead and even more wounded, according to various media reports. The Associated Press reports that "the blasts were coordinated to go off in the morning and included a combination of parked car bombs, roadside bombs and a suicide bomber driving a vehicle that rammed into a police station."

According to the BBC, "the worst attack took place in the south-eastern city of Kut where police said two near-simultaneous bombs killed at least 37 people." BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus writes that "who exactly is behind the current violence remains unclear, but it serves a dual and contradictory purpose, at one and the same time highlighting the declining levels of security whilst warning those willing to countenance a continuing US presence of the trouble that might lie ahead if U.S. forces stay on."

Also today, the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resumed in Cairo. He's charged with corruption and with ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters earlier this year. On Morning Edition, NPR's Mike Shuster said Mubarak — again in a hospital bed, as during an earlier appearance — was there with his two sons, who also face charges. The only word Mubarak uttered, Mike said, was "present" after the judge sought to confirm he was in the courtroom.

There were "dozens and dozens" of lawyers present, Mike added. Many wanted evidence such as hospital and ambulance records to help establish how some of the protesters were killed. The judge, said Mike, struggled to maintain control of the courtroom.

Other stories making headlines include:

— "U.S. Stock Futures Climb; S&P 500 May Rise": "U.S. stock-index futures gained [early today], indicating the Standard & Poor's 500 Index will climb after three weeks of losses dragged the gauge to the cheapest level in more than two years." (Bloomberg News)

— "Could The State Collapse Have Been Prevented?" "It's a troubling question in the midst of tragedy but one that state officials must now try to answer: Was there something that could have been done to avoid the deadly catastrophe that took place Saturday at the Indiana State Fair? On Sunday, various state agencies began the sobering task of trying to explain just how five people were killed and 45 others were injured when an overhead stage rigging came crashing down on people waiting for the start of a Sugarland concert." At issue: whether authorities should have taken "ominous weather warnings more seriously." (The Indianapolis Star)

— Perry's Entry May Be More Important To GOP Race Than Straw Poll Results: "With her decisive victory over former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the Ames straw poll, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) established herself as the woman to beat in the Iowa caucuses next winter — the event that begins the 2012 nominating process. ... [But] "it is likely the entry into the field of Texas Gov. Rick Perry this weekend, a deed carried out in the rival early-voting state of South Carolina, will look more important in hindsight" as the battle for the Republican presidential nomination shakes out. (It's All Politics)

Related story on Morning Edition: "Perry, Bachmann Share Billing at Iowa Fundraiser."

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