USA

President Bush urged lawmakers Monday to pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government running, amid a lack of consensus on the budget for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, facing protests and tabloid headlines calling him a "madman," stirred debate Monday about free speech ahead of his appearance at Columbia University in New York.

President Bush is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly Tuesday on the second of three days of meetings with world figures. The theme of his New York speech will be the broad struggle for freedom from terror, disease, poverty, and illiteracy.

Fifty years after the battle for school integration was won in Little Rock, Ark., the former students known as the Little Rock Nine gathered in the city Monday for a week of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Central High School's place in history. Earlier this year, a federal judge ordered the end of federal monitoring of desegregation in Central High's school district.

The New York Times said that charging a discounted rate for a controversial ad purchased by MoveOn.org, the liberal antiwar group, was a mistake and a departure from its own policies. The ad, which ran Sept. 10, accused Gen. David Petraeus of "cooking the books" about conditions in Iraq for the White House. MoveOn.org said it would pay the difference between the $65,000 it paid and the full rate of $142,083.

The Internal Revenue Service has dropped its investigation of the liberal All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., congregants learned Sunday. The church no longer faces the loss of its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon delivered before the 2004 presidential election.

Looking to boost public support for a program to distribute inexpensive laptop computers to children in developing countries, the organizers of the One Laptop Per Child Project announced that the machines would be sold to US and Canadian residents for $400 each in a "give one get one" promotion Nov. 12-26.

An experimental Internet debate among the eight Democratic presidential candidates attracted more than 1 million viewers over 10 days, many of them young people, according to the organizing partners – Yahoo, Slate.com, and HuffingtonPost .com. The format was conceived as a way to build a debate with pretaped video segments of each candidate answering different questions.

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