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Kerry asks Arab nations not to support Sunnis in Syria...Iran's leader speaks out...Oil drilling could ruin views of Badlands

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 22, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

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CAIRO (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the Middle East is facing a critical moment as Sunni extremists gain ground in Iraq, and he's discouraging Arab nations from sending financial support to any Sunni groups in Syria. He fears the aid could be used to help the growing insurgency in Iraq. Kerry says he delivered that message to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (AHB'-del fat-AH' el-SEE'-see) during their meeting today in Cairo. Kerry says he plans to make the same case to other leaders in Sunni-dominated Arab states over the next several days.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's supreme leader has spoken out against any U.S. intervention in Iraq and accused Washington of fomenting the unrest. Today's comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (hah-meh-neh-EE') appear to quash speculation that the U.S. and Iran might cooperate in addressing the threat posed by Sunni extremists who have seized four towns in two days in Iraq's Anbar province.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two prominent Republicans are lobbing criticism at each other over Iraq. Sen. Rand Paul says questions about whether President Barack Obama's foreign policies are wrong should also be asked of those who originally supported the Iraq war. The Kentucky Republican tells NBC's "Meet the Press" he blames supporters of the military action with emboldening Iran to have a larger presence in the region. On ABC's "This Week," former Vice President Dick Cheney said he remains a strong supporter of going into Iraq in 2003 and dismissed Paul as an "isolationist."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some conservatives are skittish about having a new House majority leader from left-leaning California. Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany (boo-STAN'-ee) says his constituents are "probably scratching their head" about Kevin McCarthy's election to the No. 2 job on Thursday. A Louisiana congressman, Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES'), has been chosen to succeed McCarthy as majority whip.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK, N.D. (AP) — Oil drilling in North Dakota is moving closer to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands, where the man who became the nation's 26th president sought solace after his wife and mother died in 1884. Today, the vistas that helped instill Roosevelt's zeal for conservation now include oil rigs and flares used to burn off natural gas. Oil development is forbidden in the park itself, but park officials worry that the flares, lights and noise from drilling just beyond the protected area are sullying the natural spaces Roosevelt cherished.

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