USA

The downing of a US military helicopter in Iraq is "clearly a tragic day for America," Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld told ABC-TV's "This Week." "We will win this war," Rumsfeld said in a separate appearance on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press." He expressed sympathy for families of the 36 soldiers killed and wounded in the attack, praising troops for "taking the war to the terrorists." Rumsfeld also asserted that despite reports some Iraqis celebrated the attack, "the overwhelming majority of the population" supports the US-led coalition.

Declaring California's wildfires nearly extinguished, officials began sending weary firefighters home. A second wave of San Bernardino residents also was being allowed back Sunday to survey what's left of their neighborhoods. Heavy rains and snow over the weekend helped put out the blazes, which killed 20 people, but brought new concerns about flooding and mudslides in deforested areas.

In a ceremony that threatens to split the worldwide Anglican faith, an openly homosexual priest, the Rev. Gene Robinson, was being consecrated as Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire as the Monitor went to press. Security was heavy in preparation for vocal protests at the ceremony in Durham, N.H. In an interview by CNN Saturday, Robinson again appealed for church unity, noting that while many members also oppose the ordination of women, "We've not come apart over that and there's no reason for us to come apart over this."

A female motorist is in custody after touching off a security scare at an event President Bush was attending Saturday. She allegedly sped her Toyota sedan - with three children inside - through a security checkpoint and crashed into a wall beside the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Miss., where Bush's motorcade was preparing to leave a rally for GOP gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour. Bush wasn't hurt in the incident, administration officials said, and proceeded on to scheduled stops in Kentucky.

Consumer spending dropped 0.3 percent in September, the first decline since February, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Analysts had anticipated a 0.1 percent dip, following gains of 1 percent in July and 1.1 percent in August.

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