Bush faces tests abroad, to meet world leaders

Bush faces tests abroad,to meet world leaders
WASHINGTON -- Humbled by elections at home, President Bush is heading into talks with leaders in Asia and Europe who will be watching for signs of weakness, uncertainty or retrenchment. Bush's challenge is to demonstrate that U.S. leadership as the world's last superpower is undiminished on the world stage. "I think he will go vigorous, I think he'll give a powerful performance," said Kurt Campbell, a top Pentagon official in the Clinton administration who now is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Some world leaders, particularly those who resented Bush's cowboy swagger and saw his decision to invade Iraq in 2003 as a dangerous act of unilateralism, might be gloating privately at the president's political misfortunes. But the United States does not have a parliamentary system, and Bush will remain president for two more years. And other world leaders have been challenged at home, too, especially Iraq ally Tony Blair of Britain and war opponent Jacques Chirac of France, both of whom could commiserate with Bush.
Bishops OK guidelineson gay ministry
BALTIMORE -- The nation's Roman Catholic bishops adopted new guidelines for gay outreach Tuesday that are meant to be welcoming, while also telling gays to be celibate since the church considers their sexuality "disordered." Gay Catholic activists said the approach was so contorted and flawed that it would alienate the very people it was trying to reach. The statement, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," was adopted by a 194-37 vote, with one abstention, at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops also overwhelmingly adopted separate statements encouraging Catholics to obey the church's widely ignored ban on artificial contraception, and directing parishioners to examine their consciences to decide if they are worthy of receiving Holy Communion. Anyone who knowingly persists in sinful behavior, such as gay sex or using artificial birth control, should refrain from taking Communion, the bishops said.
Marine pleads guiltyin accidental shooting
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A Marine Corps Reserve lance corporal pleaded guilty Tuesday to negligent homicide in the death of a comrade shot with a rifle that wasn't supposed to be loaded. Lance Cpl. Michael C. Fulcher, 21, of Pennsylvania, entered the plea during a court-martial at Camp Lejeune. He also pleaded guilty to negligent use of a firearm. Lance Cpl. Adam Fales, 21, a military policeman, died Dec. 16, 2005, in the room he shared at Iraq's Camp Fallujah with Fulcher and Lance Cpl. Sean P. Riley, 21. Fales died when a loaded rifle discharged unintentionally. Fulcher had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent discharge of a weapon but struck a plea bargain. Riley is accused of involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty. The military also has offered him a plea deal, and a hearing was set for today. Fales' mother, Glenda Fales of Cullman, Ala., has said an investigation found neither Riley nor a sergeant properly checked Riley's weapon to make sure its chamber was empty.
Hamas insists Israelwill not be recognized
JERUSALEM -- Hamas insisted Tuesday it would not recognize Israel even after a unity government takes power in the Palestinian territories, complicating efforts to form a more moderate coalition that would clear the way for vital foreign aid. The militant Islamic group suggested, however, that the emerging coalition would be free to stake out a different position, apparently hoping the ambiguity in its statements will allow it to preserve its anti-Israel ideology but loosen international sanctions that have crippled the Palestinian economy. The tough talk came despite Hamas' promises to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that it would refrain from incendiary public statements during the delicate coalition talks. Abbas was meeting with the leaders of Jordan and Egypt on Tuesday and today to win their blessing for what he hopes will be a broader package deal, including not only formation of a moderate government, but also a cease-fire with Israel and an Israel-Hamas prisoner swap.
Associated Press
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