Morning briefing: climate, security, and politics

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Among other articles featured on our website today are three worth singling out: a view into Britain's difficulties in winning convictions against suspected terrorists, a look at concerns in Southeast Asia over preparedness for climate change, and an examination of the defection of Sen. Arlen Specter (R) of Pennsylvania from the Republican Party.

Each article is rooted in a deeper archive of context.

Mark Rice-Oxley's report from London, for instance, is linked to the difficulties Western democracies have had fighting secretive extremist cells. The Obama administration's release of Bush-era memos on the use of torture, closure of the Guantánamo prison facility, and criticism over overseas detention centers -- all are tied to the struggle of conscience vs. security in democratic societies.

Simon Montlake's report from Southeast Asia, meanwhile, has roots in global concerns over greenhouse gases, overcrowding, and agriculture at a time of climate change. And Senator Specter's shift to the Democratic Party can be traced to an internecine battle within the GOP, which is struggling to find a path after its rejection at the polls last November.

To dive deeper into these issues, check out other articles at CSMonitor.com and/or the new weekly Monitor review of global news and ideas.

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Postscript: In the current edition of the weekly, which is dated May 3 and is arriving in mailboxes this week, Monitor Baghdad correspondent Jane Arraf, who has worked in the Iraqi capital longer than any other Western reporter, tells the story of her friendship with two Iraqis in particular who have seen hope and heartbreak over the years. It is a compelling, personal account.

Jane takes you inside Baghdad, to the backyards and tea shops and book stalls where Iraqis have been trying to keep a semblance of normalcy through the repressive Saddam Hussein years and the collapse of order that followed the US-led invasion in 2003. Jane's story, which will give you the human dimension to this conflict, is the kind of journalism that the Monitor will always support.

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