Iraqis are less concerned about violence in their midst and more confident about their futures than they were a year ago, a new survey has found. The poll, conducted last month by ABC News, the BBC, and Japan's NHK Television, sampled 2,228 people across all 18 provinces. Eight-five percent of respondents described current conditions as "very good" or "quite good," an increase of 23 points over March 2008. Fifty-six percent said they believe their lives will be better a year from now.Skip to next paragraph
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Aides to Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said he has reached agreement for a coalition government with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beytenu Party. The deal reportedly calls for the latter's leader, Avigdor Lieberman, to be foreign minister. But the aides said its wording leaves an opening for the current office holder, Tzipi Livni, to keep the post if her Kadima Party were to join the coalition. Such an outcome appeared increasingly unlikely, however, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Crude oil prices for future delivery appeared likely to close at around $44 a barrel Monday after OPEC chose not to impose a new cut in production. The 12-member cartel decided it could afford to produce oil at lower prices for the short term. But Secretary-General Adullah al-Badri said, "We really can't go too long, because at this price there is no way we can invest" in raising production capacity. OPEC is due to meet again May 28.
More suspects in the shooting deaths of two soldiers and a policeman in Northern Ireland were being questioned Monday, bringing to 11 the number arrested so far. All have been identified as Irish Republican Army dissidents. While there were no indications that the murders are fraying sectarian relations, the British Army canceled a planned parade in Belfast, the capital, for troops returning next month from Iraq.