BAGHDAD

Moderate Sunni elected speaker of parliament

Iraqi lawmakers broke two weeks of deadlock Tuesday and elected a moderate Sunni as speaker of parliament, taking the first step toward forming a new government that is widely seen as crucial to confronting militants who have overrun much of the country.

Still, it was not clear whether lawmakers had reached a larger deal that would also include an agreement on the most contentious decision – the choice for prime minister. The incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, has ruled the country since 2006, but is under intense pressure to step aside. So far, he has insisted on staying for a third term.

After voting behind closed doors, the legislature tallied the results on a whiteboard wheeled into the hall that showed Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Jubouri winning with 194 votes out of 273 cast in the 328-seat parliament. A second candidate, Shorooq al-Abayachi, received 19 votes.

JOHANNESBURG

Pistorius involved in nightclub altercation

Oscar Pistorius was in an altercation at a nightclub over the weekend, his family said.

Pistorius went with a cousin to a trendy Johannesburg nightclub on Saturday, where he was accosted by a man who aggressively questioned him about his murder trial, a family spokeswoman said.

The man gave a different version, saying the double-amputee runner was drunk, insulted his friends and the family of President Jacob Zuma and poked, according to Johannesburg’s Star newspaper.

The weekend episode focuses fresh attention on the disputed character of Pistorius, who is on trial for murder after he fatally shot his girlfriend last year.

– The Associated Press