UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) meets with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad on July 24, 2014. (REUTERS/ Ahmad Al-Rubaye)
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Iraq's parliament elected a senior Kurdish lawmaker president on Thursday, a significant step in a delayed process to create a government capable of uniting the country and countering insurgents threatening to march on Baghdad."Iraq is facing an existential threat but it can be overcome through the formation of a thoroughly inclusive government -- a government that can address the concerns of all communities, including security, political, social and economic matters," Ban told a news conference with Maliki in Baghdad.Hours after he spoke, two car bombs exploded in central Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding 33, police and medical sources said. As Kurdish lawmaker Fouad Masoum was being elected president in Baghdad, a deadly gun and bomb attack on a bus carrying prisoners to the capital killed 52 prisoners and nine policemen, justice ministry sources said.In Mahmudiya, just south of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed four people, police and medics said, while insurgents kidnapped six people travelling from the capital to Kirkuk in the north.In northern Iraq, Kurdish peshmerga fighters, who have for weeks been battling Islamic State militants in Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad, took complete control of the town after overnight clashes.
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