Iraqi PM clears way for Shi'ites to replace him

Under intense US pressure to solve Iraq's political deadlock, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari cleared the way for Shiite leaders to withdraw his nomination for a second term Thursday, a step that could mark a breakthrough in the months-long effort to form a new government. With al-Jaafari apparently on the way out, Kurdish and Sunni leaders who had sharply opposed his nomination expressed optimism that they and Shiite parties would succeed in putting together a government.