U.N. Recognizes Iraq Council

Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan and Iraq are the five most corrupt nations, according to a survey by Transparency International measuring public sector and political corruption. bribe bribery regime, global
The Security Council on Thursday authorized a United Nation's mission in Iraq and welcomed the Iraqi Governing Council.

The vote was 14-to-nothing. Syria abstained because it opposes any endorsement of the 25-member governing council, which was appointed by the United States. It has the power to name interim ministers and create a constitutional council, as well as some administrative duties.

The U.N. mission in Iraq would oversee efforts to help rebuild the country and set up a democratic government.

In Iraq, a Shiite Muslim group demanded that U.S. troops withdraw from a Baghdad neighborhood within 24 hours, a day after American forces fired on thousands of protesters in the Shiite enclave and killed at least one person.

A statement distributed in Sadr City said American forces "deeply regret" what happened and described it as a mistake. Later, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said troops try to keep Iraqi culture in mind but must remain aggressive.

A military spokesman American troops killed one person and wounded four after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at them. No U.S. soldiers were reported hurt.

In other developments:

  • The Defense Department supports cutting combat pay for American troops. A recent increase in imminent danger pay, from $150 to $225 a month, and family separation allowances, from $100 to $250, will lapse Sept. 30 unless Congress and the White House act, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The Pentagon says it cannot afford the annual $300 million cost of the higher pay.
  • The military announced it was going to forbid reporters from accompanying the military on some operations, then reversed itself.
  • A U.S. commander says about $200,000 worth of oil was being stolen each day and smuggled across Iraq's southern border.
  • U.S. forces have discovered three major ammunition caches in the previous 24 hours, the commander says.
  • According to a CBS News poll, a majority of Americans, 55%, continues to believe that removing Saddam Hussein was a worthwhile effort, despite its costs. This has not changed in the past month, though it remains down from the 65% of Americans who thought so in May.
  • Since Mr. Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1, combat casualties have reached 58, with the latest U.S. soldier killed Wednesday, according to U.S. Central Command. Overall, 267 service members have died in hostile and non-hostile operations since the military operation began.

    The protest in Baghdad erupted Wednesday in Sadr City after thousands of Shiites gathered around a telecommunications tower where they said American forces in a helicopter tried to tear down an Islamic banner.

    U.S. military spokesman Sgt. Danny Martin said Wednesday the banner was apparently blown down by rotor wash from a Black Hawk helicopter.

    Amateur video obtained by Associated Press Television News showed a Black Hawk helicopter hovering a few feet from the top of the telecommunications tower and apparently trying to tear down the banner. Later, U.S. Humvees drove by and the crowd threw stones at them. Heavy gunfire could be heard and demonstrators were seen diving to the ground.

    "What occurred was a mistake and was not directed against the people of Sadr City," said a statement signed by Lt. Col. Christopher K. Hoffman of the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The document, in English, was being distributed in the sprawling slum Thursday. "I am personally investigating this incident and will punish those that are responsible."

    Hoffman's statement said the number of U.S. helicopters flying over the slum and the number of patrols in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood, formerly known as Saddam City, would be reduced.

    Al-Sadr, a Shiite religious group, demanded that the U.S forces halt all helicopter flights over the neighborhood, give an official apology and provide compensation to victims of the shooting, said Qais al-Khaz'ali, a representative of the group in Sadr City.

    Al-Khaz'ali said in a statement the group was giving U.S. forces a one-day ultimatum to meet the demands, "otherwise we are not responsible for whatever reactions the U.S. soldiers might face if they entered the city."

    Baghdad isn't the only place where tensions are high. Iraq's second city, Basra, is fast becoming an example of the difficulty facing the coalition as it tries to rebuild a nation devastated by war and sanctions while the goodwill of the people melts in the searing summer heat.

    Murtadah Noori, who was beaten and detained in an Iraqi jail for six months in 1992, rejoiced when British troops seized the southern city on April 7. But now the stocky 32-year-old taxi driver's anger is directed at the U.S.-led coalition.

    The British "offered us false promises…now I want them to leave," Noori said as he waited in line with scores of other drivers outside a gas station. Vehicles stretched hundreds of yards up the road, while British troops in armored personnel carriers kept watch at the empty pumps.

    Iain Pickard, the coalition spokesman in Basra, said expectations were too high, in part because "some people" — coalition officials — made promises without taking into account the state of the infrastructure.