Terrorism in East Africa is expected to dominate President Bush's talks Thursday with visiting Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Bush has promised to help find those responsible for last week's attacks on a resort and an Israeli airliner leaving Kenya - widely regarded as Al Qaeda operations. Joint US-Kenyan military exercises got under way Wednesday along the Kenyan coast, a main trafficking route for weapons and other contraband.

In a blow to the Justice Department, detained "enemy combatant" José Padilla has the right to confer with attorneys and challenge whether his detention was legal, a federal judge in New York ruled. The government had asked to dismiss the case. Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, is accused of plotting to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the US.

Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese allowed priests accused of sexual and other misconduct to continue for years in active ministry, newly released court documents showed. Church dossiers on eight priests include one who allegedly gave a boy cocaine for sex and another who repeatedly abused girls studying to be nuns. The documents were released by lawyers for alleged victims of clerical abuse. They contend the church failed to take sufficient action to protect minors.

Saying Bush is using Iraq to distract Americans from their economic troubles, Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, who's exploring a 2004 presidential bid, criticized the administration's tax, energy and healthcare policies. In a speech Tuesday to the City Club of Cleveland, Kerry said Bush's tax cuts favor the wealthy and "will be paid for by our children." He outlined proposals to benefit those with middle incomes, such as exempting the first $10,000 in earnings from Social Security tax.

A new law banning soft-money contributions to political campaigns was the focus of arguments before a special three-judge panel in Washington. Opponents, including the Republican National Committee, California Democratic Party, and the National Rifle Association say it limits free speech. But US Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, a cosponsor of the law said, "If money is free speech, then the richest people ... obviously will control the political process."

Six guns, almost 16,000 knives, and 98 boxcutters were among the items seized by airport security screeners in last week's Thanksgiving travel rush, the Transportation Security Administration said. It is hoping to spread the word about contraband items before Christmas.

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