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War and terrorism. “The Bush administration released portions of a classified intelligence estimate that says the global jihadist movement is growing and being fueled by the war in Iraq”

Politics. “Democratic and Republican strategists said they expected over 90 percent of the advertisements to be broadcast by Nov. 7 to be negative.”

Blogging Cardinal. “Launching his blog on a trip to Rome, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley sounds at times more like a college student making his first trip to Europe than a prince of the church.”

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Full news summary:

War and terrorism. Bush denies war incites terrorists – “President Bush attempted to blunt criticism that the war in Iraq has emboldened a new generation of terrorists, ordering the release of a select summary of a classified National Intelligence Estimate concluding that U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts have “seriously damaged” the leadership of Al Qaeda and disrupted its operations.” Backing Policy, President Issues Terror Estimate – “Portions of a National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism that the White House released under pressure said that Muslim jihadists were “increasing in both number and geographic dispersion” and that current trends could lead to increasing attacks around the globe.” Part of Iraq Intelligence Report Is Released – “The Bush administration released portions of a classified intelligence estimate that says the global jihadist movement is growing and being fueled by the war in Iraq even as it becomes more decentralized, making it harder to identify potential terrorists and prevent attacks.” Text: Declassified Judgments From the Report (pdf)

Analysis. Sobering Conclusions On Why Jihad Has Spread – “In announcing that he would release the key judgments of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate, President Bush said he agreed with the document’s conclusion “that because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent.” Waging the War on Terror: Report Belies Optimistic View – “Portions of the report appear to bolster President Bush’s argument that the only way to defeat the terrorists is to keep unrelenting military pressure on them. But nowhere in the assessment is any evidence to support Mr. Bush’s confident-sounding assertion this month in Atlanta that “America is winning the war on terror.’’

Detainees. Deal Is Likely on Detainees but Not on Eavesdropping – “Congress was headed toward a split decision on President Bush’s pre-election national security agenda, moving closer to passage of legislation on the handling of terrorism suspects while all but giving up hope of agreeing on a final bill to authorize the administration’s eavesdropping program.” Detainee Bill in Final Stages – “White House national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley met with Republican senators in an effort to reach final agreement on legislation that would govern the military trials of terrorism suspects, but they did not resolve a dispute over whether the captives should have access to U.S. courts.”

Iraq. U.S. Forces Report Progress in Baghdad, but Toll Still Climbs – “The military says sweep has netted weapons and suspects. Meanwhile, 19 bodies are found and several bombs explode around the capital.” US casualties in Iraq hit 2,700. House Passes Ban on Permanent Iraq Bases – “Congress is on the verge of barring the construction of permanent bases for U.S. forces in Iraq, a move aimed at quelling concerns in the Arab world that American forces will remain in the war-torn country indefinitely.” Police Stop Protest at Senate Building – “The quiet, sunny atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building was transformed into a chaotic scene yesterday when dozens of war protesters filed into the lobby, formed a prayer circle, shouted Scripture and eventually were arrested as Senate staffers hung over railings and crammed glass-walled offices to watch.”

Darfur. Sudan, UN discuss deal on Darfur deployment – “The United Nations and Sudan are discussing the deployment of UN military advisers to reinforce the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, hoping to avert a standoff that could deepen the crisis in the war-torn region.” Geldof urges Brown to increase aid to Africa – “Bob Geldof put the chancellor, Gordon Brown, on the spot at the Labour party conference today, calling on the government to use next summer’s crucial comprehensive spending review to increase aid to Africa. … Sir Bob also launched an excoriating attack on China and other major powers, accusing them of perpetuating death and destruction in Darfur. Through lens in Darfur, ‘I was a witness to genocide’ – “As an admiral’s son and a former Marine officer, Brian Steidle believed that following orders and doing the right thing were one and the same. Then he went to Darfur. As an official international monitor of the vicious conflict in western Sudan, he faced a choice: respect authority and honor a code of silence or show the world w
hat he’d seen and kiss his career goodbye. He puckered up … and blew the whistle. “I was a witness to genocide,” he says. “I wanted to make a difference.”

Religion. New generation of evangelicals has new focus – “At Bethel University in Arden Hills, long a popular destination for evangelical Christians, a new debate about faith and politics is flourishing. Students are eager to talk about AIDS in Africa, poverty and pollution and far less likely to focus on gay marriage and abortion. They’re hungry for dialogue and eager to find common political ground.”

O’Malley recounts ‘lol’ on his Rome trip blog – “Launching his blog on a trip to Rome, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley sounds at times more like a college student making his first trip to Europe than a prince of the church.” See cardinalseansblog.org .

Politics. New Campaign Ads Have a Theme: Don’t Be Nice – “The result of the dueling accusations has been what both sides described as the most toxic midterm campaign environment in memory. It is a jarring blend of shadowy images, breathless announcers, jagged music and a dizzying array of statistics, counterstatistics and vote citations — all intended to present the members of Congress and their challengers in the worst possible light. Democratic and Republican strategists said they expected over 90 percent of the advertisements to be broadcast by Nov. 7 to be negative.”

Abortion. House vote leaves bill on abortion to the Senate – “Scrambling to pass anti-abortion legislation before they recess for fall congressional elections, House Republicans won passage of a bill that would make it a federal crime to evade one state’s parental consent laws by taking a minor to another state for an abortion.”

Health insurance. More U.S. workers go uninsured – “Health insurance premiums for American workers and their employers continue to rise faster than inflation and wages, straining companies’ ability to offer coverage and leaving a growing number of workers uninsured, according to a survey released Tuesday.”

Tony Blair. In Valedictory Speech, Blair Declines to Name Departure Date – “With some wisecracks and familiar rhetorical flourishes, Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered his final speech as Labor leader to the party’s annual conference, saying it was “hard to let go” but “right to let go.” He offered no formal endorsement of his presumptive heir, Gordon Brown, however, and did not set a date for his own departure, Going, going, not quite gone – “Tony Blair bade farewell to his party last night, insisting it was “right for him to let go” and challenging his successor to avoid the political comfort zone and show “raw courage” in meeting the new global task of reconciling liberty and security.” Clinton salutes ‘stunning’ Blair – “Former American President Bill Clinton has hailed Tony Blair and his government as a “stunning success.”. Mr Clinton told the Labour Party conference that Mr Blair had given a “magnificent valedictory” speech and thanked him for his friendship.”

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