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Beside Clinton, a Dedicated, Often Blunt Promoter

Edward G. Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, demonstrated his value to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton last weekend, helping her quickly devise a strategy to counter and exploit remarks by Sen. Barack Obama.

When Obama provided an opening by saying that small-town voters in Pennsylvania facing hard economic times “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion” to explain their frustrations, Rendell was ready to pounce. He instantly mobilized his political machinery, organizing many mayors in Pennsylvania to speak on her behalf and to hold rallies. He also suggested that she reshuffle her schedule to visit Scranton, where her father grew up and where, in a hastily arranged visit on Sunday, she highlighted her link with small-town Pennsylvania.

But Rendell could not actually speak with Clinton, in part because he was consumed with the intricate task of negotiating with others to map out her final week before the state’s primary next Tuesday — deciding who gets to see the candidate and who does not.

Zimbabwe Court Rejects Release of Election

Zimbabwe’s High Court on Monday dismissed an opposition demand for the immediate release of the results of a presidential election held 16 days before.Independent monitors say the country’s autocratic president, Robert Mugabe, trailed badly in the vote and that he may have lost outright.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, contending that Mugabe and the military are illegally clinging to power, has called on people across the country to protest by staying home from work Tuesday.

“We are working with a regime that has perfected the art of interfering with the judiciary,” said an opposition spokesman, Nelson Chamisa. “The court has chosen to be a pillar in a collapsing regime.”

Zimbabwean election officials said in a state-run newspaper that on Saturday, they plan to start a recount of the presidential and parliamentary votes in 23 districts. A ruling on an opposition challenge of a recount is expected Tuesday in the same court system that rejected the opposition’s case Monday.

Election monitors say the late recount is illegal and vulnerable to fraud because the integrity of the ballot boxes has not been safeguarded.

Beijing to Stop Construction For Cleaner Olympics

Officials laid out an ambitious series of measures on Monday that would freeze construction projects, slow down steel production and shut down quarries in and around this capital during the summer in an attempt to clear the air for the Olympics. Even spray-painting outdoors will be banned during the weeks before and after sporting events, which begin here on Aug. 8.

Although officials initially suggested that the city’s wholesale transformation would be complete long before the opening ceremonies, the announcement nonetheless represents the most detailed plan yet for how Beijing might reach its long-standing pledge to stage “green Games” in one of the world’s most polluted cities. In earlier proclamations, officials had said that the city’s makeover would be competed by the end of 2007.

The measures announced Monday include a two-month halt in construction, beginning July 20. Government directives will force coal-burning power plants to reduce their emissions by 30 percent through most of the summer. Officials said 19 heavily polluting enterprises, including steel mills, coke plants and refineries, would be either temporarily mothballed or forced to reduce production.