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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein



Blair announces Iraq troops cut

Prime Minister Tony Blair has told MPs that 1,600 British troops will return from Iraq within the next few months.

He said the 7,100 serving troops would be cut to 5,500 soon, with hopes that 500 more will leave later in the year.

Mr Blair said some soldiers, stationed at Basra air base, would remain into 2008 to help secure supply routes, the Iran border and to support Iraqis.

Basra remained a "dangerous" place but he said that Iraqis would "write the next chapter" in its history.

Mr Blair said the troops reduction followed the success of Operation Sinbad to allow Iraqis to take the lead in frontline security in Basra.

He acknowledged that Basra was still "difficult and sometimes dangerous", but he said levels of murder and kidnappings had dropped and reconstruction was under way.

"The problems remain formidable," he said.
First, watch Harry's regiment not deploy to Iraq.

Second, watch the next PM pull ALL of Britain's forces from Iraq, saying they will be deployed to Afghanistan.

Third, watch Sadr take over Basra.

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