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Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect

Friday, November 28, 2008

In a preview of his weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama addressed the nation on the occasion of Thanksgiving, nearly one hundred and fifty years after President Lincoln called for the last Thursday in November to be set aside to acknowledge our blessings. For more information, visit http://change.gov.

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Iraqi Parliament Approves Status of Forces Agreement

Iraq lawmakers approved the U.S. security pact Thursday, ending months of wrangling between Baghdad and Washington.

By Middle East Online

The Iraqi parliament on Thursday approved by a vast majority a landmark military pact that will have all U.S. troops withdraw from the country by 2011, during a televised session.

The wide-ranging pact was approved by 144 members of the 198 who attended the session of the 275-member assembly, Parliamentary Speaker Mahmud Mashhadani said before adjourning the parliament for a holiday recess.

"It is good to see that representatives have reached a national consensus ... Everyone should understand that if there are gains, they are for all Iraqis, and if there are losses, they will also be for all Iraqis," said government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.

The approval by lawmakers of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) ends months of wrangling between Baghdad and Washington.

The two sides had been racing to secure a bilateral agreement governing the more than 150,000 U.S.-led troops stationed in the country before December 31.

Most Iraqis are opposed to any kind of deal with Washington that would keep American forces in the country, and that would give U.S. forces immunity from being punished when they commit war crimes against Iraqis.

Here are the main developments since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003....(Click for remainder).

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