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Thanks, Alison. The southern Iraqi city of Basra is still rife with violence today as the Iraqi government continues its crackdown on Shiite militants in the area. Reports say one of Iraq's two main oil export pipelines has been blown up. That could severely curtail Iraq's crude oil exports. Iraqi authorities imposed curfews across southern Iraq to try to halt the violence.

More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in clashes which have divided Iraq's majority Shiite community and destroyed a ceasefire declared last year by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Residents of Basra have described the fighting there as the worst since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Three U.S. lawmakers traveled to Iraq in 2002 during the run up to the U.S. invasion. According to the Associated Press, that trip was paid for by Saddam Hussein. According to the AP, a recently unsealed indictment reveals that Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a visit for three members of the Congress.

The lawmakers are not named in the indictment, but the dates correspond to a trip made by Democratic Representatives Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan, and Mike Thompson of California. During that trip, the congressmen made comments urging a diplomatic solution to the U.S. stand-off with Iraq. The U.S. Justice Department says they do not believe any of the lawmakers knew who had funded their 2002 trip.

GOP White House hopeful John McCain gave a major foreign policy address yesterday, urging more collaboration between the United States and other countries to confront challenges like terrorism and global warming. Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

SCOTT HORSLEY: A senior adviser says John McCain has a more consultive approach to foreign policy than the Bush administration. That was evident in McCain's speech, the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles. McCain says the U.S. must lead in the 21st century, but it doesn't have to do so alone.

(Soundbite of speech)

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona): Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want. Nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies.

HORSLEY: The invasion of Iraq angered some allies. But McCain argues it would be irresponsible now for the U.S. to withdraw troops prematurely.

MARTIN: NPR's Scott Horsley reporting there. The family of a woman who died last year while in police custody at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona has filed an eight million dollar lawsuit against that city and its police department. Carol Gotbaum, a 45-year-old mother of three from New York, had been traveling to Tucson to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program.

She was taken into police custody at the airport after she missed her flight and went into a rage. She was placed in a holding cell and left alone. A few hours later, she was found dead. The suit alleges that the police used excessive and unreasonable force on Gotbaum. Authorities said her death was accidental hanging.

And they're home. Space shuttle Endeavor landed back at Kennedy Space Center overnight, bringing seven astronauts safely back to earth. Here's NPR's David Kestenbaum.

That is the news. It is always online at


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