Bush gives chilly response to Iraq study group

President Bush gave a chilly response to the Iraq Study Group’s proposals for reshaping his policy yesterday, objecting to talks with Iran and Syria, refusing to endorse a major troop withdrawal and vowing no retreat from embattled U.S. goals in the Mideast.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, an unflagging ally in the unpopular war, stood with Bush and wholeheartedly supported his determination to fight to victory in Iraq and spread democracy across the Middle East.

“The vision is absolutely correct,” Blair said at a news conference where the two leaders agreed, nevertheless, on a need for new approaches in Iraq.

“I thought we would succeed quicker than we did,” Bush said. “And I am disappointed by the pace of success.” When a reporter suggested Bush was denying even to himself how bad things are, the president tartly replied, “It’s bad in Iraq. That help?”

Ex-Russian spy buried, but trail of radiation lingers

LONDON (AP) – A former KGB agent was buried in a rain-swept London cemetery yesterday, his grave surrounded by Russian emigres and his body sealed in a coffin to prevent further contamination by the radioactive substance that killed him.

But the drama of Alexander Litvinenko’s death was not over. Whoever dosed him with polonium-210 appears to have left a lengthening trail of victims.

Seven employees at the London hotel where the meeting took place have tested positive for low levels of polonium-210, Britain’s Health Protection Agency said yesterday.

The seven are not likely to suffer short term health problems, a Health Protection official told BBC Television, but the poison could cause “a very slight increase” in their risk of health problems over the long term.

The agency said the seven were working at the Millennium Hotel’s wood-paneled Pine Bar on Nov. 1, the day Litvinenko became sick. He died Nov. 23.

Among the others contaminated by the poison is Mario Scaramella, an Italian security consultant working with the Italian parliament who also met the Russian in London Nov. 1.

Scaramella was found to have significant quantities of polonium-210 in his body and there are concerns for his health, but he has not developed symptoms of radiation poisoning.


GOP hold ends in a shuffle of boxes, some long faces

It has not been a pretty sight on Capitol Hill in the waning hours of Republican control.

Once-powerful lawmakers have been shown the door at their own offices, forced to crowd in a basement or other nooks to finish their work, if not their careers. The usual backslapping has given way to back pats as colleagues try to comfort losers who will soon be going home.

Historic hallways are jammed with desks, leather sofas, chairs, lamps, metal file cabinets and cardboard file boxes, part of a massive office shuffle that will continue when the lame-duck Congress finishes, probably today. Rubbermaid trash bins holding office garbage bear signs saying “Do Not Remove.”

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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