Henry the Intern is on sabbatical. The Daily Briefing isn't, though it is a bit later than usual.

  • President George W. Bush makes a surprise visit to Iraq to visit with new Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who has just announced a new security plan for Baghdad. [NYT, WP]

  • Karl Rove's attorney announces to the media that his client will not be indicted in Patrick Fitzgerald's Valerie Plame leak case. Rove is "delighted, obviously...." [WP, NYT]

  • Israeli airstrikes kill 10 people in Gaza, hours after "hundreds of Palestinian police loyal to Abbas went on a rampage against the Hamas government." [NYT]

  • The FBI released the 2005 crime statistics, showing an overall nationwide rise in violent crime of 2.5 percent, fueled by a "a surge of killings and other attacks in many Midwestern cities." Robbery was up 14.6 percent in DC, though rapes and murders were down. [WP]

  • David H. Safavian becomes the first person to go to trial on charges related to the Jack Abramoff scandal, with prosecutors accusing him of "doing Jack Abramoff's bidding" as a federal procurement officer. [WP]

  • The EPA loosened a rule designed to keep groundwater near oil drilling sites clean after a well-connected Texas oilman wrote a letter to Karl Rove. Environmentalists are accusing the administration of "political payoff," due to Rove's forwarding of the letter to White House environmental advisors with a note reading "get a response ASAP." [LAT]

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