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Iraqi Parliament Sworn In; Talks Continue on New Government


Three months after landmark elections, Iraq's new parliament has been sworn in, with members still deadlocked over the formation of a new government.

The long-delayed inaugural session of the legislature lasted less than an hour Thursday before members adjourned. Lawmakers have yet to agree on the key posts of speaker and prime minister, and there is no sign of progress in talks aimed at breaking the impasse.

Baghdad's streets were largely deserted before the swearing-in, after authorities barred vehicles to prevent violence that has claimed at least 200 lives this week.

The U.S. military boosted its presence in the Baghdad area before the inauguration.

To the north, several thousand Kurds protesting lack of government services stormed a museum in Halabja where officials were marking the 18th anniversary of a deadly poison gas attack by the forces of then-President Saddam Hussein.

Protesters set fire to the facility, which honors an estimated 5,000 victims of the 1988 attack.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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