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    Controversial Bill on Former Baathists Presented in Iraq's Parliament

    Iraq's parliament began discussing a draft law Sunday that would ease job restrictions on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party.

    But a political faction loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr jeered and raised objections that halted the presentation of the bill.

    It is the first time this year that Iraq's parliament has debated a major bill that Washington hopes will promote reconciliation among Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds. The proposed law would make it easier for former Baathists, many of them Sunnis, to apply for jobs in the Iraqi government.

    In other developments, the U.S. military on Sunday said coalition forces killed 10 suspected Sunni militants and detained several others in an operation in the northern city of Samarra on Saturday.

    The military says a man believed to be linked to to a massive jailbreak in Mosul earlier this year was among the dead.

    And, a suicide bomber exploded his vehicle near the Health Ministry in central Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding at least 30. Also in the capital, a roadside bomb, apparently aimed at a police patrol, wounded two civilians.

    Separately, the U.S. military says Iraq's improved security situation will enable the withdrawal of 5,000 American soldiers by next month. It will be the first major reduction of U.S. troops in Iraq since the surge of U.S. forces began early this year.

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

     

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    Serginho Roosblad
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