VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

IRAQ INSTABILITY TESTED FURTHER WITH BOMBING WAVE

 

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A wave of car bomb blasts tore through Shiite areas south of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 36 and deepening fears that Iraq is rapidly spiraling back out of control.

 

The attacks capped a week of turmoil that is posing the greatest test of Iraq's stability since U.S. troops left the country in late 2011. At least 218 people have been killed in attacks and battles between gunmen and security forces that began with clashes at a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq last Tuesday.

 

The unrest follows four months of widespread protests among Iraq's Sunni minority, who feel they are discriminated against and are being marginalized by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led government.

 

Iraqi officials fear that Sunni feelings of disenfranchisement could be exploited by extremist groups such as al-Qaida and militant organizations such as the Naqshabandi Army, which is linked to Saddam Hussein's former regime.

 

In a possible sign of mounting worries over the deteriorating security situation, Iraqi authorities announced they plan to close the country's only border crossing with Jordan, beginning on Tuesday. The Interior Ministry said the move is related Iraq's domestic affairs.

 

CHRISTIE: OBAMA 'KEPT EVERY PROMISE' ON STORM AID

 

HIGHLANDS, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that President Barack Obama "has kept every promise he's made" about helping the state recover from Superstorm Sandy.

 

Hours later, Obama's housing secretary approved New Jersey's plans to spend $1.83 billion in federal money to help the state rebuild and recover from the storm.

 

Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program six months after the deadly storm, the Republican governor said presidential politics were the last thing on his mind as he toured storm-devastated areas with Obama last fall.

 

When it comes to helping New Jersey rebuild from the storm, "the president has kept every promise he's made," said Christie, widely considered a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. "I think he's done a good job. He kept his word."

 

His comments came in response to a question about whether he had any regrets about his warm embrace of Obama after the storm, which angered some Republicans, who said it helped tip a close presidential election. Christie had endorsed and campaigned for Republican Mitt Romney.

 

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