Six killed in suicide bombing near U.S. complex in Baghdad
A suicide car bomb exploded today near a checkpoint to the main complex housing U.S. administrative offices in central Baghdad, killing six Iraqi civilians, a U.S. military officer said.
About a dozen people were injured in the blast, the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Three of the injured were U.S. soldiers, two of whom were in critical condition.
The car bomb exploded outside of a 3-foot-high concrete blast wall that shields cars driving up to a checkpoint outside of the zone.
Iraqi cars were lined up inside of the blast wall when the car bomb exploded.
"There was a long line of cars. Fortunately, the blast barriers worked in this case," Col. John Murray said.
NEW YORK City
Groundbreaking to be July 4 for 9-11 Freedom Tower
Developers of the Freedom Tower will break ground on the 1,776-foot skyscraper at the World Trade Center site on July 4, Gov. George Pataki said Wednesday.
"On July 4, as we commemorate the founding of our nation, we lay the foundation for our resurgence," Pataki said. "On July 4, as fireworks burst in the sky, ephemeral reminders of our liberty, we will begin to reclaim our skyline with a permanent symbol of our freedom."
Pataki announced several other dates in the redevelopment timetable, including that a complete design of the Sept. 11 victims memorial, "Reflecting Absence," would be finished by the end of the year and construction starting in 2006.
N. Korean missile reportedly could reach U.S. bases
North Korea is preparing to deploy a newly developed intermediate-range ballistic missile that has a range sufficient to reach U.S. bases in Guam and possibly Hawaii, South Korean newspapers reported earlier this week.
The North has been trying for years to develop ballistic missiles that could reach the United States, but it has been widely assumed that such missiles were still in development.
If confirmed, the reports would suggest that the North has made more progress than previously thought.
The reports cited unnamed South Korean officials saying that intelligence satellite had recently picked evidence of two new missile bases under construction in North Korea. Missiles and mobile launching pads observed at the sites were said to be of a design that did not resemble North Korea's better-known Rodong missiles.
Report: More companies offer domestic-partner benefits
Private employers are introducing domestic-partner health insurance benefits to gays at the rate of three companies a day, according to a study by the educational arm of a gay-rights advocacy group.
The analysis by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation found more than 1,000 private employers and colleges and universities added domestic-partner benefits in 2003, 18 percent more than the year before.
Some 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic-partner benefits, including nearly 70 percent of the 50 top businesses.