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The world at a glance . . . United States

United States

Minneapolis-St. Paul
Cheney to address Republicans: Organizers of the Republican Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul confirmed this week that Vice President Dick Cheney would attend the gathering and, like President Bush, address the convention on its opening night. There had been widespread rumors that Cheney would skip the convention because of his low public approval ratings, which are even worse than Bush’s. “We’re happy to welcome Vice President Cheney,” said Republican spokeswoman Gina Countryman. First lady Laura Bush will also give her own, short address on Sept. 1, opening night. It remains unclear whether presidential hopeful John McCain will cross paths with either President Bush or Cheney at the convention.

Los Angeles
Christian bikers charged: Five members of a self-styled Christian motorcycle gang were charged with a variety of violent crimes last week, after a rival gang member was stabbed in a barroom melee. Los Angeles prosecutors charged Phillip Aguilar, the 60-year-old founder and pastor of the Set Free Soldiers, with illegal weapons possession, and four other group members face charges including attempted murder. They were charged after a violent confrontation with members of the Hells Angels in a Long Beach bar. All those charged have pleaded innocent. The Set Free Soldiers claim to be a Christian ministry that helps ex-convicts and recovering drug addicts, but Los Angeles police call them outlaws who “carry on a pattern of criminal activity.”

Detroit
Mayor charged with assault: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, already facing perjury charges for allegedly lying about an affair with a subordinate, was charged with assault last week after he reportedly rushed two police officers who were serving a subpoena on one of his friends. The officers testified that Kilpatrick shoved them, cursed at them, and angrily asked one of the officers, who is also black, why she was helping a white officer. Kilpatrick, a Democrat, was arraigned in a Wayne County courtroom shortly after being released from a one-night stint in jail for violating his bail in the perjury case. He has so far resisted widespread calls for his resignation.

Washington, D.C.
Gun-control spy? The National Rifle Association used a “mole” to infiltrate pro-gun-control groups and learn their tactics and strategies, according to a report last week in Mother Jones. Mary McFate, also known as Mary Lou Sapone, was reportedly sent by the NRA to join groups such as CeaseFire PA, a Pennsylvania gun-control group, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She lobbied in Washington for gun-control legislation and regularly sat in on high-level strategy sessions. “She had access to all the legislative strategy for every major issue for years,” says gun-control activist Kristen Rand. According to a deposition by a former business associate, McFate reported what she’d learned at the meetings to Patrick O’Malley, a high-ranking official with the NRA’s lobbying unit. The NRA had no comment.

Albany, N.Y.
Chapman denied parole: Mark David Chapman, imprisoned since 1981 for the 1980 murder of John Lennon, was denied parole this week—the fifth time since 2000 that he has been refused early release. The parole board said it denied Chapman’s request “due to concern for public safety and welfare.” Chapman, 53, is serving a term of 20 years to life in New York state’s Attica prison. He was convicted of gunning down Lennon outside his New York City apartment building, just as the former Beatle was returning from a late-night recording session. Chapman admitted in a recent prison interview that he plotted and carried out the killing “with an essentially clear mind.”

Washington, D.C.
Clinton disarray spotlighted: Internal correspondence from Sen. Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign portrays an organization riddled with bitter rivalries and damaged by mismanagement. The memos, obtained by The Atlantic Monthly, show that campaign officials never bothered to determine state parties’ widely varying rules for allocating delegates—a crucial miscalculation. Memos also indicate that Clinton’s staff split into two warring camps while Obama ran off 11 consecutive primary victories. The decision to air the controversial “3 a.m. ad,” which sought to highlight Obama’s inexperience, was made by Bill Clinton, the memos show. One memo by then–chief strategist Mark Penn urged the campaign to portray Obama as “not fundamentally American in his thinking and values.”

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