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FROM THIS EPISODE

Iraq's parliament finally met for business today for the first time since the December elections. After months of political wrangling, Nouri al-Maliki is now the designated Prime Minister, and he's choosing cabinet members. But as the Bush Administration puts its faith in this so-called "unity government," others advocate three semi-autonomous regions. Bloody sectarian violence already is pushing Iraqis into neighborhoods of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Government officials are trapped in the Green Zone with little access to the rest of the country. We hear different ideas for establishing order and keeping Iraq together from economists, political scientists, veteran diplomats and the former spokesman for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
  • Making News: Draft Report Outlines Plans for Flu Pandemic
    The White House has unveiled 300 recommendations for the worst-case scenario in the event that bird virus mutates and causes a flu pandemic in human beings. But Frances Townsend, the President's advisor on homeland security, said federal officials won't be able to offer the kind of aid expected after hurricanes or other localized disasters. Gardiner Harris covers public health for the New York Times.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Mexico Gets an Earful about Its New Drug Law
    Mexico's President Vicente Fox says he'll sign a bill permitting possession of drugs and narcotics, the very substances sold by the drug cartels he's been fighting during five years in office. US officials call the retreat a threat to law enforcement and public health in this country. Lynn Walker, who is in Mexico City for the Copley News Service, says Mexican lawmakers are reassuring their critics with plans to clarify their intentions.

Avian Flu, Centers for Disease Control on

National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan

New York Times article on flu plan, limited federal role

President Bush on new Iraqi government

Prime Minister-designate Maliki, BBC profile of

Biden-Gelb plan for Iraq

Cockburn's article on futility of Washington not accepting Iraq as a Shia state

Walker's article on toughing of new Mexican drug-use bill

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