Feature

Cabinet sworn in

The week's news at a glance.

Baghdad

Iraq got its first democratically elected government this week, when Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and his Cabinet ministers took the oath of office. Two key ministries, though, are still vacant. The Shiite bloc has rejected at least three Sunni candidates for defense minister, saying they were tainted either by links to Saddam’s Baath Party or to the Sunni-led insurgency. “We are not going to reward the terrorists and insurgents by appointing them to government positions,” said Hussein Shahristani, a deputy speaker in parliament. The crucial post of oil minister, meanwhile, was also up in the air, because of squabbling among Shiite parties. Ahmed Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who helped convince the U.S. that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, was named acting oil minister. But he is not expected to keep the post.

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