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Baghdad is much more confusing than it was half a year ago.The blast walls that towered over sidewalks and blocked traffic are coming down. We've got a mix of stories in the works about what this city is like for the people who are returning to their homes and jobs.
Tempers are cool in Iraq despite a string of bombings that has killed more than 125 people in two weeks, fueling hopes that the attacks won't trigger retaliatory killings, at least for now.
The election results are in and I get to try to go to sleep to the sound of celebratory gunfire. I'll play tough and say, that's cool, I expected that. I'm just not sticking my head out the window.
"Driving through Irbil is like driving through Fresno." That quote struck me as odd last winter when I spoke with a member of a Modesto-based National Guard unit that was deployed in northern Iraq, making convoy runs to safe cities like Irbil and not-so-safe cities like Kirkuk.
Yesterday I told you that Erbil felt much safer than Baghdad. I can't get over the things I did today because you simply can't attempt them in Baghdad. I started my day by spending a couple hours in an open-air bazaar beneath an ancient citadel in Erbil's center. People were open and talkative, eager to share their views on tomorrow's election.
Bee reporter Adam Ashton has landed in northern Iraq as he begins a second tour of duty for the McClatchy Newspapers' Baghdad bureau. He's in the town of Erbil to cover elections in three Kurdish provinces this weekend.
The 2,600 white crosses march across the lawn, roughly 24 wide and 104 rows deep. They carry the names and ranks of military personnel killed in Iraq or Afghanistan along with the dates they died. Seven billboards carry thousands more names.
Downey High School history teacher Jason Taylor will stage a 24-hour bicycle ride June 6-7 to benefit the Daniel Hyde Memorial Scholarship Fund at Downey High. And he'll kick off the event with a wine and beer tasting Saturday at the Angels' Share Wine Shop, at Sylvan Avenue and Oakdale Road in Modesto, from 4 to 7 p.m.
The head of a United Nations refugee program in Iraq says the country is increasingly safe, but he continues to recommend that Western countries grant asylum to ethnic and religious minorities such as Assyrian and Chaldean Christians who have fled the war-torn nation.
From across the room in one of Saddam Hussein's former dictatorial digs, Mike Chavez watched the president of the United States get a lesson in pin protocol.
CERES Rita Shabas cozy apartment bears little resemblance to the home she fled in Baghdad the place where her best friends decapitated body was left on a doorstep.
Army Lt. Daniel Hyde, killed last weekend in Iraq when his Humvee was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, always insisted on being one of the guys. But deep inside, his former teammates knew that metric was not in play.
A young Modesto man who twice served as the student body president at Downey High and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., died in Iraq on Saturday. Lt. Daniel Hyde was 24. He is the first Modesto soldier killed in Iraq since 2007.
Service members from the valley and foothills who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan:
CERES -- Emil Adam knew he'd have eight months in the United States to find work before he'd lose the benefits he's entitled to as an Iraqi war refugee.