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Iraq Prepares to Open Up Oil Reserves to Foreign Companies

Iraq Prepares to Open Up Oil Reserves to Foreign Companies
The Independent of London is reporting the Iraqi government is drafting a new law that would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude. The law is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days. Foreign oil companies would be allowed to take up to 75 percent of the profits until they have recouped initial drilling costs. After that, they would collect about 20 per cent of all profits -- that is about twice the industry average for such deals." The oil law would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972. 

Report: 17,000 Iraqis Died in Last Six Months of 2006
New data from the Iraqi Health Ministry shows that more than 17,000 Iraqi civilians and police officers died violently in the latter half of 2006. That is more than three times the number of Iraqis reported to be killed during the first six months of the year. A Health Ministry official provided the data to the Washington Post. The actual number of violent deaths in 2006 is believed to be higher because the official said these numbers were incomplete. 

More Details Emerge Over Haditha Massacre
More information has come to light about the U.S. massacre in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005. The Washington Post has obtained an internal military report and photographs that show U.S. Marines gunned down five unarmed Iraqis who stumbled onto the scene of a roadside bombing in Haditha. The squad's leader, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich shot the men one by one after Marines ordered them out of a white taxi in the moments following the explosion. Another Marine fired rounds into their bodies as they lay on the ground. The shootings were the first in a series of violent reactions by Marines on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005. By the end of the day, 24 civilians had died -- many of them were women and children. 

Report: Israel Preparing to Use Tactical Nukes Against Iran
Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. This according to the Times of London. The paper is reporting that two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters." The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb. The Israeli Foreign Ministry denied the report.

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