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Obama to make statement on Iraq...Court rules for whistleblower...Better economic indicator

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 19, 2014 at 9:11 a.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is planning a statement about Iraq shortly. Obama has been weighing a range of responses, including sending a small contingent of U.S. special forces to help Iraq train security forces there. Limited airstrikes are also an option, though it's become less of a focus of the deliberations in recent days. It's not clear whether Obama or other administrations might publicly call for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee) to resign. Officials say there's concern that pushing him too hard might stiffen his resolve to stay in office and drive him closer to Iran.

BAGHDAD (AP) — One of the militants trying to take over Iraq's oil refinery says the attack on the refinery would have been successful, had it not been for the helicopter gunships being used by government forces to defend the facility. Still, there are signs that the militants are in control of at least part of the refinery. A witness says the Sunni insurgents have hung black banners from watchtowers.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says the First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they testify in court about official corruption. The justices ruled unanimously today in favor of Edward Lane, a former Alabama community college official who says he was fired after testifying at the criminal fraud trial of a state lawmaker. Lower courts had ruled against Lane, finding that he was testifying as a college employee, not as a citizen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — For a fourth straight month, there's an increase in a gauge that's designed to predict the economy's future health. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators rose by a half-point in May. It's further evidence that the economy is gaining strength after a harsh winter.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Cities in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota are fighting a surging Big Sioux River after heavy rain this week pushed the waterway to record levels in some locations. The river, which converges with the Missouri River near Sioux City, Iowa, runs more than 400 miles across eastern South Dakota and western Iowa. In Sioux City and in North Sioux City, South Dakota, officials are building temporary levees including one at an Interstate 29 exit where the interstate will serve as a levee.

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The Associated Press

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