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How to train and equip quick- response peacekeeping operations for wars in Africa and other crises was under early discussion at the Sea Island, Ga., summit meeting of industrialized nations. The US and other Group of Eight nations do not intend to supplant the UN, a conference spokesman said, but only wish to head off genocides and violence until UN forces arrive. President Bush is using the occasion to push his Middle East vision, including a role for NATO in Iraq and a plan to train 100,000 teachers in the region. Some Arab and Europeans summit-goers say that quelling Israeli-Palestinion violence should be the the region's top priority.

Attorney General Ashcroft was grilled Tuesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee about 2002 Justice Department memos that Democrats said could have laid the legal groundwork for torturing prisoners held in the war on terrorism. Although the documents appeared to give the president wartime latitude to override antitorture laws, Ashcroft asserted that the administration does not condone torture of the kind that occurred at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. He refused, however, to give the committee copies of departmental memos, which have been the subject of published news stories.

As a leader of an Iraqi exile group trying to depose Saddam Hussein, new Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi worked with the CIA in the early 1990s, The New York Times reported. According to former intelligence officials, Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, attempted to disrupt Hussein's rule by planting car bombs and other explosives in Baghdad. Whether these efforts led to civilian casualties could not be confirmed because US intelligence in Iraq was limited during this period.

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Members of the special September 11 commission said their final report, due July 26, will avoid placing blame for pre-9/11 mistakes on specific individuals in either the Bush or Clinton administrations. At same time, according to the Associated Press, the report will be sharply critical of the FBI and federal intelligence agencies.

To settle indecency complaints against Howard Stern and other radio personalities, Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest chain of radio stations, has agreed to a record $1.75 million settlement with the Federal Communications Communication, reports said, citing a source close to the matter. Formal announcement of the settlement was expected as the Monitor went to press.

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