Andy Sullivan

Andy Sullivan

    Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama faced off on Wednesday in a possible prelude to a United States presidential election battle, tangling over whether Iraq would be prey for al-Qaeda if US troops are withdrawn. McCain, who has linked his candidacy to a successful outcome in Iraq, attacked Obama's stance on the war.

    Over White House objections, the New York Times and other United States news outlets have adopted the term "civil war" for the fighting in Iraq, reflecting a growing consensus that sectarian violence has engulfed the country. After NBC News's widely publicised decision on Monday to brand the conflict a civil war, several prominent newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, pointed to their use of the phrase.

    Accounting irregularities at fallen telecommunications giant WorldCom Inc. stretch back to 2000, one year earlier than previously believed, a congressman investigating the company said on Sunday.