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News in Brief: France Recognizes Libyan Rebels in NATO Talks, and More

France Recognizes Libyan Rebels in NATO Talks

France Recognizes Libyan Rebels in NATO Talks

France is now the first and only country to recognize the leaders of the rebellion in Libya as the legitimate government in the battle-torn country, according to the BBC. France announced that it recognized the legitimacy of the rebel leadership, known as the National Libyan Council (NLC), as NATO met to discuss military options in Libya. The international community is concerned about the bombing of rebel-held areas by forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi, and international observers said civilian casualties in Libya have spiked as pro-Gaddafi forces launched attacks and pushed rebels out of the eastern port city Ras Lanuf.

WikiLeaks Analysis Reveals Hundreds of Thousands More Dead Iraqis

A research team at Columbia University has concluded that hundreds of thousands more civilians may have died in the Iraq war than previously thought by the government and international observers, according to the BRussels Tribunal. The report is based on cross-analysis of the Iraq war logs released by WikiLeaks and civilian casualty numbers provided by the US government and the private British observation team Iraq Body Count. Gaps in data in these sources reveal that the actual civilian causality count could be hundreds of thousands higher than established estimates ranging from 60,000 to 100,000.

NATO Kills Karzai’s Cousin

Tensions between NATO forces and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have reached a boiling point following a botched NATO attack that accidentally killed Karzai’s second cousin Haji Yar Mohammad Karzai and other civilians, according to The Guardian UK. Both NATO and Karzai’s government have launched investigations into the attack. Last week, top US and NATO leaders apologized for an attack that killed nine Afghan boys.

Eleven Democrats Defect on Spending Votes in Senate

Senate Democrats suffered 11 defections on Wednesday in a vote to cut $6 billion in federal spending this year, according to The Hill. The failed Democratic proposal attracted two fewer votes than a Republican proposal to cut $57 billion in spending this year. “Eleven Senate Democrats just voted against their leadership’s proposal,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “The bill supported by Sen. Reid … proved less popular than the ‘draconian’ House Republican proposal in the Democrat-controlled Senate.”

Unemployment Claims Increase

The number of Americans filing unemployment claims in the week ending March 5 jumped to 397,000, an increase of 26,000 from 371,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department. Nearly nine million Americans currently claim unemployment benefits. As of February, the unemployment rate in the US hovered around 9.5 percent.