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Shiite cleric's aide killed

Gunmen killed an aide to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the southern city of Basra, police said yesterday, the latest in a string of attacks targeting associates of Iraq's leading Shiite cleric. Iraqi civilian deaths rose in August to their second-highest monthly level this year. pg 23a

Calderon avoids annual speech

Mexican President Felipe Calderon turned over his first State of the Nation report to lawmakers yesterday but became the second president in a row to fail to give the annual speech in Congress amid lingering anger over last year's disputed election. pg 26a


Democrats agree to party rules

The muddled 2008 presidential calendar gained some clarity yesterday as the major Democratic candidates agreed not to campaign in any state that defied party rules by voting earlier than allowed. Their collective action was a blow to Florida and Michigan. pg 3a

Vet's anti-war campaign grows

A little more than a year since he launched, Jon Soltz has helped transform the war debate by channeling the raw anger of many Iraq vets into a political campaign. Soltz and his band of veterans accuse Republicans of recklessly sending troops to war without the right equipment and failing to care for wounded veterans. pg 15a


YWCA women's shelter closing

Cuts in United Way funding and other sources are forcing the Baltimore YWCA to close its women's shelter on West Franklin Street, temporary home to 90 women and children. pg 1b

Bhutanese bow and arrow

About 45 expatriates of the tiny Himalayan kingdom are camping out in a Butler field this weekend for a traditional archery tournament and festival, complete with feasting and dancing. pg 1b


Credit cards less forgiving

No longer able to easily tap the equity in their home, consumers are turning to credit cards. Eileen Ambrose warns that card issuers - sensitive to what's happened in the mortgage market - are unlikely to give much leeway if you miss payments or rack up a lot of debt. pg 1c


Sharapova out of U.S. Open

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland pulls off a stunning upset in the third round, beating defending U.S. Open women's champion Maria Sharapova, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. pg 4d


Obsessive art, on the slow track

In the postmodern era, many artists have returned to highly labor-intensive, repetitive processes that encourage Zen-like transcendence. Maryland Art Place mounted an exhibition called Obsessive Aesthetics and the Rosenberg Gallery put on Accumulation, all work by artists preoccupied with repetition and minute detail. pg 1e

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