Biden speaks to US troops in Baghdad
BAGHDAD — Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. should make sure Iraq’s stability and democracy are strong enough to make it ‘‘a country that was worthy of the sacrifices’’ the American military suffered during eight years of war.
Biden, speaking to some 400 soldiers in Baghdad, also said the U.S. would continue to train and equip Iraqi forces beyond 2011. His remarks highlighted continuing uncertainty about whether all American troops will head home by the end of the year as required by a security agreement between the two nations.
‘‘The Iraqi people for the first time, I suspect, I would argue, in their history are on the verge of literally creating a country that will be democratic, sustainable and, God willing, prosperous,’’ Biden told the troops at the military’s headquarters on the outskirts of Baghdad. ‘‘It could have a dramatic impact on this entire region, and God knows the Iraqi people deserve it.’’
Mortars kill 8 in Pakistan
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — Mortars allegedly fired from Afghanistan hit a house in a militant-infested area of Pakistan on Thursday, killing eight people, officials said. A pair of attacks elsewhere in the northwest killed four officers.
The mortar attack occurred in Tity Mada Khel village in North Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s lawless tribal area dominated by militants who regularly launch attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan, according to intelligence officials.
Acid-laden tanker capsizes on Rhine
BERLIN — A tanker loaded with sulfuric acid capsized on the Rhine river in Germany on Thursday, and special cranes and more than 100 rescuers struggled to right the vessel and find two crew members who remain missing.
There was no immediate word on why the ship capsized, the shipping office in Bingen said. Two other crew members were rescued from the ship, which overturned near St. Goarshausen, in western Germany, early in the day.
‘‘Suddenly the ship just disappeared from the radar,’’ said Martin Mauermann, the head of the Office of Water and Shipping in Bingen, adding that could mean the vessel submerged completely before turning on its side and floating to the surface.