U.N. Chief Kofi Annan visits Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit to meet Iraqi leaders and members of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq.
Annan's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, who is traveling with the secretary-general, said the U.N. chief arrived Saturday morning for a one day visit.
Annan had been on a tour of the Middle East and Friday visited Jordan, where he saw U.N. staff and toured sites of the hotel bombings earlier this week that killed more than 50 people and injured more than 100 more.
"In a town hall meeting with national and international U.N. staff, he will express his solidarity and the thanks of the organization for the crucial work they are doing, in very trying circumstances, in assisting the Iraqi people during this period of political transition and reconstruction," Dujarric said in a statement issued in Baghdad of Annan's visit plans.
"In Baghdad, he is expected to hold a series of separate meetings with Iraqi leaders," the spokesman said.
This is Annan's first visit to Iraq since the overthrow of former President Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Baghdad embassy shooting kills 4, hurts 2
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Insurgent gunman killed an Iraqi guard and a Sudanese worker when they opened fire on the Omani Embassy in Baghdad.
The New York Times reports no individual or group has claimed responsibility for the Friday night shooting but it follows the trend of one group taking aim at diplomats from Muslim and Arab countries.
Al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has also taken responsibility for Wednesday's bombing of three hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing more than 60 people.
This came soon after Jordan said it was going to post an ambassador in Iraq. Al-Qaida in Iraq then publicly threatened Jordon over the Internet.
Four others were injured in the Omani Embassy attack Friday -- another Iraqi guard and a Sudanese worker as well as two Iraqi civilians.
Paris security stepped up
PARIS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- France is taking steps to increase security after two weeks of nightly uprisings, including a weekend ban on any large gathering that may lead to rioting.
Police say the ban in Paris and other emergency measures were prompted after police found threats of "violent acts" in the city in a review of e-mails and text messages, the BBC reports.
Riots began two weeks ago after two teenagers were killed in an electrical sub-station. Witnesses say they were being chased and an investigation is ongoing.
The nightly immigrant violence has died down a little across the country, with police reporting only 500 cars set on fire and the arrest of 206 people.
Police in Paris reported no problems as they carried out random car stops and identity checks Friday night.
Security in the underground train system has also been stepped up.
Republicans raising twice the funds
WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Skeptics of Howard Dean are getting worried because of his slow start to fundraising as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Dean became chair eight months ago but Republicans have raised nearly twice what Democrats have raised in that time, and some strategists and party insiders say that could pose a problem for next year's elections, The Washington Post reports.
Dean is the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate who made waves in the party because of his ability to raise large amounts of money by small donations given over the Internet.
Former California Democratic congressman now lobbyist Vic Fazio called the fundraising numbers "obviously troublesome."
Republicans have raised $81.5 million and Democrats $42 million since Dean took the helm.