IRAQ

Push for U.S. assistance

Iraq is open to greater American military cooperation as U.S. commanders explore ways to boost security assistance to the country, a top Iraqi official said Thursday as a fresh wave of bombings claimed 16 lives. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has recommended that U.S. commanders seek ways to aid the military capabilities of Iraq and Lebanon, which both face the risk of spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria. Dempsey said Wednesday that the assistance would not involve sending U.S. combat troops, but could involve sending training teams and accelerating sales of arms and equipment. The last U.S. combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, ending a nearly nine-year war that cost nearly 4,500 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives. About 100 military and civilian Department of Defense personnel remain in Iraq as an arm of the American Embassy.

BELGIUM

EU reaches budget deal

European Union leaders reached an outline deal Friday on the 27-country blocís $1.3 trillion seven-year budget, overcoming British objections to sign off on the agreement. British Prime Minister David Cameron had held out for the same financial conditions already promised him months ago, overshadowing a summit called to approve plans to deal with the continentís youth unemployment problems. In the end, however, all 27 nations backed the budget deal.

CHINA

35 killed in remote riots

Chinese state media said Thursday that 35 people were killed in rioting early Wednesday in the far-western region of Xinjiang. Initial reports said 27 people were killed, but a late Thursday night report updated the figure to 35. The tally included 11 assailants shot dead at the scene in Lukqun township in Turpan prefecture. The official Xinhua News Agency Xinhua did not explain what might be causing conflicts in the Turkic-speaking region where ethnic Uighurs have complained of suppression and discrimination by Chinaís ruling Han people.

Compiled from wire reports.