USA

The Bush administration circulated a revised UN draft resolution on Iraq at the Security Council, hoping to win approval before an international donor conference in Madrid later this month. The draft, presented Wednesday by US Ambassador John Negroponte, this month's Security Council president, reportedly stresses the temporary nature of the US-led occupation and the need for Iraqis to assume self government at an early date. But reports said it does not meet demands, notably by France, for a specific timetable and a central, independent role for the UN in Iraq. Diplomats expected considerable wrangling over the measure, but there were no reported veto threats.

Setting the stage for another showdown over a Bush judicial nominee, the Senate Judiciary Committee was expected to approve Mississippi judge Charles Pickering for a federal appeals court post in New Orleans. Democrats, who object to Pickering's record on abortion and civil rights issues, voted down his appointment last year and are threatening a filibuster to prevent his confirmation by the full Senate. Democrats currently are blocking three other appellate court nominees.

The House was poised to vote on a compromise bill to ban a controversial medical procedure known as "partial birth abortion." The measure is backed by majority Republicans and is expected to pass there and in the Senate, and President Bush has said he will sign it. Women's rights advocates have vowed an immediate court challenge of what would be the first federal law on abortion since the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 ruling that declared it a constitutional right.

Top California gubernatorial contender Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a 10-point plan for his first 100-days in office Wednesday. He pledged to freeze state spending and repeal a tripled car tax, among other proposals. Meanwhile, six women accused the actor of groping them in encounters that occurred over the past 30 years, the Los Angeles Times reported. A spokesman for Schwarzenegger denied any inappropriate conduct and dismissed the claims as an attempt by Democrats to hurt his campaign in the final days before the Oct. 7 recall vote against Gov. Gray Davis (D).

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh resigned as a commentator for ESPN, three days after a controversial remark about a black NFL player. He said he regretted causing "discomfort" to colleagues at the network but denied claims that his views on Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles were racially motivated. On ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown," Limbaugh said McNabb was unduly credited for his team's past successes because "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."

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