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Presidential politics and the economy have shifted attention away from Iraq and Afghanistan, where circumstances are increasingly complicated for American troops and diplomats. We look at the challenges facing President Bush and his successor. Also, the latest effort to get credit flowing again, and early voters are heckled in North Carolina; others wait for hours in Texas and Florida.

Banner image: A local Afghan carries his load past the US Army's Camp Blessing in the Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Making News Fed's Latest Move to East Credit Crisis 6 MIN, 5 SEC

Yesterday, Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke called for a stimulus package from Congress. Today, the Fed announced that $500 billion will go the money-market mutual-fund industry, the latest effort to get credit flowing again. Peter Coy is economics editor for BusinessWeek magazine.

Peter Coy, Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Main Topic War and Diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan 35 MIN, 32 SEC

Violence is down in Iraq, but it's up in Afghanistan, with American soldiers and diplomats caught in between. After months of painstaking negotiations, the US and Iraq appeared to have reached a deal last week on extending the presence of American forces beyond the end of this year. That's when the UN mandate runs out.  But now, Iraq's cabinet is demanding changes in what's called the Status of Forces Agreement.  In Afghanistan, allied leaders say more troops are needed, against an insurgency fueled in part by the presence of foreign forces. Can the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq resolve their competing political interests and agree on terms for US withdrawal? Will the US and NATO have to sit down with the Taliban to avoid mistakes made in Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union?  

Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times (@TinaSusman)
Laith Kubba, Spokesman, former Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jaafari
Shawn Brimley, Center for a New American Security (@shawnbrimley)
John Burns, New York Times
Barney Rubin, Director of Studies, New York University's Center on International Cooperation

Reporter's Notebook Early Voting Draws Big Crowds in Key States 7 MIN, 36 SEC

Two weeks before the November election, early voting is under way all across the country and it's already providing signs of a record turnout. But it won't be easy. Many states allow early voting, and long lines began forming yesterday in Florida and other key states. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, early voters were heckled on Sunday. Chris Kromm is Executive Director of the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham.

Chris Kromm, Institute for Southern Studies (@chriskromm)

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