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The Bush administration sought to quell alarm following a UN report that more than 300 tons of explosives were missing from an Iraqi storage base after the war broke out. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said there was no risk of nuclear proliferation because of the theft. Meanwhile, an NBC News correspondent embedded with the 101st Airborne Division said the explosives already were gone by the time US troops arrived at the storage depot in April 2003 and were not stolen while the facility was under the watch of the US-led alliance.

With the presidential race in its final full week, the rush is on to win over voters before the Nov. 2 election. After exchanging barbs over national security matters, President Bush is scheduled for stops Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, while Democratic challenger John Kerry visits Iowa and Minnesota. Bush accused his opponent of "the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking" for his critiques of the US-led war in Iraq. Kerry says the president has failed the test as commander in chief. Meanwhile, former President Clinton on Monday made his first public appearance since his heart surgery at a Kerry rally in Philadelphia and was scheduled for more appearances in Nevada, New Mexico, and Arkansas.

A consensus opinion of government lawyers was reached in recent months that some non-Iraqi prisoners captured by American forces in Iraq are not entitled to Geneva Convention protections, the New York Times reported.

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The surprise announcement Monday that Chief Justice William Rehnquist had undergone surgery appeared to catch even the closest followers of the Supreme Court off guard. The court said his return was expected next week. But doctors offered differing opinions about his recovery, and his hospitalization gave new prominence to the issue of court appointments in the final week of presidential campaigning.

The all-volunteer Army is fully capable of crushing the Iraqi insurgency and defeating terrorism, although that mission could take years or even decades, leaders said at Monday's annual meeting in Washington of the Association of the US Army, which represents current and retired soldiers.

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