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Iraq's Parliament Set to Reconvene Sunday

Iraq's parliament is slated to reconvene Sunday as Prime Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki inches closer to forming a cabinet before a May 22 constitutional deadline.

Mr. Maliki had been expected to name his cabinet Thursday, but disagreements on who should head the oil, interior and defense ministries have fractured the Shi'ite coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, that dominates the 275-seat parliament.

In apparent hope that Mr. Maliki may succeed in forming a government before the deadline, Iraqi officials say an Arab League-sponsored national reconciliation conference will convene in Baghdad sometime next month.

Elsewhere, the governor of Basra, Muhamad al-Waeli, has asked the area's provincial council to fire the police chief and the defense ministry to dismiss an Iraqi army general.

The governor said the two have failed to rein in Basra's escalating violence.

Meanwhile, officials said at least four Iraqis were killed in sectarian and insurgent attacks Saturday. They also said the bodies of at least five people, either tortured or shot, have been found.

Also, the U.S. military said a roadside bomb killed an American soldier south of Baghdad. More than 2,400 American servicemembers have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

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