Iraq wants to eliminate any chance U.S. forces will stay after 2011 under a proposed security pact and to expand Iraqi legal jurisdiction over U.S. troops until then, said Ali al-Adeeb, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's inner circle. Those demands, which were presented to U.S. officials this week, could derail the deal. Failure to reach an agreement before Dec. 31 could force a suspension of U.S. military operations, and U.S. commanders have been warning Iraqi officials that could put security improvements at serious risk.

The remains of a North Dakota civilian taken hostage and killed in Iraq nearly three years ago have been recovered along with remains believed to be those of his fiancée, an interpreter for the military, his sister and FBI officials said. Ronald Schulz's family plans a burial Saturday in Jamestown, a day after his remains are expected to arrive in his hometown. The Islamic Army in Iraq claimed in December 2005 that it had killed the 40-year-old Schulz, of Eagle River, Alaska. He was working as an electrician.

Iraq should not rush to lure thousands of refugees home with free plane tickets and bus rides because the government is not ready to accommodate them, said Refugees International, a Washington advocacy group. The group said Baghdad has not established the "security and essential services Iraqis need to return and rebuild their lives," according to a report issued Thursday.

NEWS SERVICES