USA

Vice President Dick Cheney charged Monday that some Sen ate Democrats were "dishonest and reprehensible" for suggesting that President Bush lied to the nation about going to war in Iraq and said he strongly disagrees with a battle-tested congressman, Rep. John Murtha (D) of Pennsylvania, who advocates a pullout. In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, however, Chaney added that "Nobody is saying we should not be having this discussion."

The index of leading economic indicators, a gauge of future economic activity, rose a promising 0.9 percent in October, the Conference Board said Monday. The result is consistent with forecasts for moderate, near-term economic growth.

CIA Director Porter Goss said the agency does not "do torture" in an interview published Monday by USA Today. To counter what he called much misinformation about the handling of detainees, Goss said the CIA uses "lawful capabilities to collect vital information, and we do it in a variety of unique and innovative ways, all of which are legal and none of which are torture."

The rate of school crime is half what it was 10 years earlier, according to a new report by the departments of Justice and Education. One in 20 students was a victim of violence or theft in 2003, the most recent year for which data are available. Factors cited for the drop include the hiring of security personnel, the use of metal detectors, and programs to curb bullying.

Deborah Howell, the Washington Post's ombudsman, rebuked staff journalist Bob Woodward in a column for withholding information from the editor that he shared in a CIA leak probe.

The Union of Reform Judaism, the largest branch of North American Judaism, adopted a resolution to oppose the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. The union, which represents about 900 synagogues with 1.5 million members, said Alito could shift the court's "ideological balance" on matters of concern to the reform movement, such as abortion and civil rights.

Tony Stewart, the former so-called Bad Boy of stock car racing, cruised to his second season championship in four years Sunday in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. His 15th-place finish was enough to wrap up the points race for NASCAR's Nextel Cup.

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