Biden spends July 4 with son, troops in Iraq

BAGHDAD - Vice President Joe Biden spent the Fourth of July with his son and other American troops in Iraq on Saturday, while the Iraqi government spokesman publicly rejected the American's offer to help with national reconciliation, saying it's an internal affair.

Biden took a break from politics and presided over a naturalization ceremony for 237 U.S. troops from 59 countries in a marble rotunda at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces at what is now Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters on the western outskirts of Baghdad.

He then had lunch with the 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade from Delaware, to which his son, Beau, belongs. Beau Biden stood in the back as his father greeted the troops. In telling the brigade about the naturalization ceremony, the vice president used some of his characteristic colorful language.

N. Korea fires missiles in 4th of July salvo

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea launched seven ballistic missiles Saturday into waters off its east coast in a show of military firepower that defied U.N. resolutions and drew global expressions of condemnation and concern.

The salvo, confirmed by the South Korean government, also appeared to be a slap at the United States as Washington moves to enforce U.N. as well as its own sanctions against the isolated regime for its May 25 nuclear test.

The launches came on July 4, which is U.S. Independence Day. The display was similar to one that took place three years ago, also while Americans celebrated the Fourth of July during another period of tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

2 US troops die in attack in Afghanistan

KABUL - Taliban militants fired rockets and mortars at a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing two American troops in a fierce battle as thousands of Marines in the south continued with their massive anti-Taliban push.

The multi-pronged attack in eastern Paktika province - where an American soldier was captured this week - included a truck bombing near the camp's gates. The battle ended only after U.S. forces called in airstrikes on militants.