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With much of the world now focused on Afghanistan, what about the war in Iraq? Could the failure of civilian government lead to renewed violence and pull US troops back into action? What would that mean for the surge in Afghanistan? Also, the Senate votes to safeguard coverage for mammograms, and Comcast, NBC-Universal and the future of free, broadcast television.

Banner image: Iraqis hold portraits of Sunni Muslim MP Saleh al-Mutlak, one of the leaders of the new Iraqi National Movement coalition, during a protest in Baquba, northeastern Baghdad, on December 3, 2009 in support of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who vetoed an electoral law in an attempt to secure more power for Sunnis. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Making News Senate Votes to Safeguard Coverage for Mammograms 7 MIN, 36 SEC

Senate debate on healthcare reform turned to mammograms today, with just 61 votes — one more than required — for guaranteeing coverage. The issue arose after heated controversy over an advisory panel’s recommendation that mammograms are not routinely needed for women in their 40’s. Jeffrey Young covers healthcare for The Hill.

Jeffrey Young, Huffington Post (@JeffYoung)

Main Topic Iraq: That 'Other' War 34 MIN, 10 SEC

As the US prepares to send 30,000 or more troops to Afghanistan, Iraq has seen a dramatic decrease in violence, less today than at any time since the US-led invasion of 2003. All 120,000 American troops are out of the cities, replaced by Iraqi forces. Complete US withdrawal is supposed to be paved by elections early next year, but powerful ethnic differences — all too familiar -- have caused it to be delayed. Today, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi was given a few more days to approve or veto a new election law that is crucial to the benchmarks established for withdrawal. Could the inability to form a stable government mean a return of violence? Would American troops be pressed back into action? What would that mean for President Obama's plan to increase forces in Afghanistan?

Warren Strobel, Reuters (@WStrobel)
Lawrence Korb, Center for American Progress Action Fund (@LarryKorb)
Rahman Aljebouri, Senior Program Officer on the Middle East and Africa, National Endowment for Democracy
Gordon Lubold, Wall Street Journal (@glubold)

Reporter's Notebook Comcast-GE Deal Will Reshape Television 8 MIN, 47 SEC

When General Electric bought NBC Universal, broadcast television was a reliable cash cow. Now, cable provider Comcast has cemented the deal with GE to buy NBC Universal, a pioneer in free, broadcast TV. Jay Leno, The Office and the Peacock itself are "being thrown in the deal like complimentary floor mats in a new car." That's according to James Poniewozik of Time magazine, who looks at the likely consequences for viewers now and in the future.

James Poniewozik, New York Times (@poniewozik)

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