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Briefs (left)

7 More U.S. Deaths in Iraq
End a Lethal Month

By Sabrina Tavernise

The military announced the deaths of seven American soldiers and Marines near Baghdad on Monday, making October the fourth-deadliest month for troops here since the war began.

Also on Monday, at least 13 people were killed and 55 wounded when a car packed with explosives detonated near a restaurant in the southern city of Basra, the spokesman for the Basra police department said.

The U.S. troops were killed in three separate roadside bomb attacks in two days, the military said in a statement. Four soldiers were killed Monday when their vehicle hit a bomb in Yusifiya, about 10 miles south of Baghdad.

Another two died in a similar fashion near Balad, 50 miles north of the capital. On Sunday a Marine was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Amiriya, southwest of Baghdad.

The attacks brought the number of Americans killed in October to 92, the highest monthly toll since January, when 106 U.S. troops were killed in violence ahead of national elections here.

Methodist Court Cracks Down
On Gays

By Neela Banerjee


In a series of decisions that bolstered conservatives, the highest court in the United Methodist Church on Monday defrocked an openly lesbian minister in Pennsylvania and reinstated a pastor in Virginia who had been suspended for refusing to allow a gay man to become a member of his congregation.

The Judicial Council, the United Methodist equivalent of the Supreme Court, also in two cases involving the regional conferences of the Pacific Northwest and California-Nevada, held that church law superseded local resolutions that were more inclusive toward gays.

The rulings come at a time when disputes over the role of gays in the clergy and whether to bless same-sex unions are roiling the mainline churches and the decisions served to reaffirm the United Methodist Church’s traditional stance against the ordination of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.”

In Rejecting Deal With Red Sox
Epstein Concludes Memorable Run

By Ben Shpigel

Theo Epstein, the wunderkind architect of the Boston Red Sox’ first World Series-winning team in 86 years, resigned Monday in a stunning conclusion to what apparently was a power struggle that undermined his three-year tenure as general manager.

Epstein, whose contract was to expire at midnight Monday, declined the team’s offer for an extension and left a position he had desired since his childhood, when he grew up a few blocks from Fenway Park.

“In my time as general manager of the Red Sox, I gave my entire heart and soul to the organization,” Epstein said in a statement. “During the process leading up to today’s decision, I came to the conclusion that I can no longer do so.”

Epstein, 31, also said he would remain with the Red Sox for several days to ease the transition heading into next week’s general managers meetings, but did not say what he would do after that.

The Boston Herald, which first reported the news on its Web site, said the prevailing factor in Epstein’s decision was neither money nor the length of the extension.