USA

Seeking to boost what polls show is waning public support for the war in Iraq, President Bush delivered a major speech Thursday, urging Americans to show more resolve in fighting Islamic militants. "The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we have ever faced," he said, addressing the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington. He refuted suggestions that the presence of US troops is fomenting unrest in the region and accused elements of the Arab news media of aiding militants in inciting hatred and anti-Semitism.

A bill restricting the treatment of detained terrorism suspects was passed 90-to-9 in a Senate vote Wednesday. The legislation, an amendment to a defense spending bill, would prohibit the use of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. A White House spokes-man said Bush is "likely" to veto the measure unless the amendment is removed.

Federal officials said Leandro Aragoncillo, a naturalized US citizen born in the Philippines, is under investigation by the FBI to determine whether he shared secret White House documents with Filipino officials. Aragoncillo worked in the offices of Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney from 1999 to 2001.

Pentagon policy analyst Lawrence Franklin reversed course Wednesday and professed his guilt in a plea bargain to three counts of leaking secret information to Israeli embassy officials and members of a pro-Israel lobbying group. He faces up to 25 years in prison at a sentencing hearing in January.

Although not yet 16, Hawaiian golf sensation Michelle Wie, whose talents have been compared to those of Tiger Woods, announced Wednesday in Honolulu that she will turn professional. She'll make her pro debut next week at the Samsung World Championship in California. She has signed $10 million in endorsement deals with Nike and Sony.

During a congressional hearing Wednesday on renewing the USA Patriot Act next year, the US Chamber of Commerce joined other powerful lobbying groups to call on limiting its powers. The groups said that the current terrorist-fighting act makes it too easy for federal agents to access confidential business records.

CIA Director Porter Goss said an agency report critical of the failures of senior officials in the lead-up to the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks will remain classified, The Washington Post reported. Goss was quoted by the newspaper as saying that making the report public "would only bring harm to the agency when it is trying to rebuild."

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