UNITED NATIONS -- Iraq picked up momentum Friday in its bid to remove the U.N. trade sanctions that have been hampering its economy for nearly two decades in punishment for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.
With Iraq preparing for March 7 elections and U.S. combat troops getting ready to withdraw in August, the Obama administration has been pushing for the U.N. Security Council to provide a boost to Iraq's economy by lifting sanctions affecting billions of dollars in annual trade.
After a brief meeting Friday, the Security Council pledged in its unanimously adopted U.S.-drafted statement ''its readiness, once the necessary steps have been taken, to review, with a view towards lifting, the restrictions'' on trade in chemicals and other items that it first imposed in 1991, under two sanctions resolutions.
Taliban attack kills at least 16
KABUL -- Insurgents struck Friday at hotels in the heart of Kabul with suicide attackers and a car bomb, killing at least 16 people -- half of them foreigners -- in an assault that showed the militants remain a potent force despite setbacks on the battlefield and the arrest of more than a dozen key leaders.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, which President Hamid Karzai said targeted Indians working in Kabul.
At least six of the dead were Indian citizens, including some government officials, Indian authorities said. The Taliban have long opposed India's involvement in Afghanistan and its ties to an Afghan group that helped the U.S. oust the Islamist regime in late 2001.
Haiti wants refugees home
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Relief officials have changed tack and are urging Haiti's earthquake homeless to return to their destroyed neighborhoods as the rainy season fast approaches.
Officials had initially planned to build big camps outside Port-au-Prince. They still anticipate creating some settlements, but they decided this week to instead emphasize getting people to pack up their tents and tarps and go home.
For that to be possible, authorities will need to demolish hundreds if not thousands of buildings and remove mountains of rubble.