Babil Province, IraqThe U.S. military aind Iraqi authorites held a ceremony on October 23 marking the transfer of security responsibility for the province of Babil from the U.S. military to the Iraqi government.  Babil is the 12th of 18 Iraqi provinces to be transferred to Iraqi control. The transfer-of-power ceremony was held in the provincial capital, Hilla, located near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon.

U.S. soldier in IraqIraq's cabinet said on October 21 it would demand changes in the proposed security agreement between the United States and Iraq, raising doubts that the document would quickly be approved. The United Nations Security Council resolution that authorizes American troop operations in Iraq expires on December 31, and unless an agreement can be reached by then, or the Security Council votes to extend the existing resolution, American troops would be required to cease operations in Iraq on that date.

Iraqi ChristianIn recent days, as many as 15 Christians have been slain in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul,  prompting the Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to dispatch 1,000 police to the violence-plagued city. The prime minister’s  office said in a statement that units of the Iraqi army and police were being sent to the Mosul area “to provide protection for members of this community” and that the forces would “target the terrorist groups” responsible for the attacks. Police reported that two car bombs blew up in Mosul on October 12, killing seven Iraqis.

north koreaOne day after the United States announced on October 11 that it was removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, the North Koreans announced that they would resume disabling the communist nation’s principal plutonium processing plant at its Yongbyon compound and allow international monitors back to the site.

Nuclear FacilityAccording to a confidential statement made by diplomats associated with the International Atomic Energy Agency on October 9, the North Korean government has barred UN monitoring of its Yongbyon nuclear complex. The diplomats made anonymous statements to both Reuters news service and the Associated Press, citing confidentiality.

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