UN: Civilian Death Toll Hits New High in Iraq

The United Nations says the number of civilians killed in Iraq reached a new high in October.

A new report says 3,709 civilians were killed last month, up from the previous high of 3,590 in July. The report says sectarian violence was the main cause of the deaths.

Meanwhile, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki plan to meet next week in Jordan to discuss ways to improve the security situation in Iraq.

In a joint statement, the two reiterated their commitment to building a peaceful, democratic and secure Iraq. And they pledged to strengthen their bilateral partnership.

In other news, Britain's foreign secretary Margaret Beckett says British forces are planning to transfer control of the southern Iraqi city of Basra to the Iraqi government.

She told British lawmakers Wednesday there is "confidence" the move could take place by early next year.

Britain has just over 7,000 troops stationed around Basra.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.