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Although Moammar Gadhafi's military compound in Tripoli may have been an icon of palatial luxury in the North African country at some point, now, after the Libyan rebel fighters have had their way, it is a tattered, graffiti-covered mess.

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Madonna is no John McCain fan, and the feeling's definitely mutual. The newly minted quinquagenarian icon is once again playing the provocateur on her latest tour, taking aim at McCain by making some undesirable comparisons between the GOP's presumptive nominee and certain nefarious world leaders from past and present.

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The adoring media coverage of Barack Obama's international tour is masking the reality that, whether he wins or loses, we're almost certain to be stuck in Iraq for a long time, thanks to the legacy of George Bush.

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Gen. David Petraeus gave his potential boss, Barack Obama, a helicopter tour of Baghdad on Monday. It's a technique the general has used in the past to show normal life in Baghdad -- from a safe distance. John McCain suggested recently that Petraeus would change Obama's mind and his plan about withdrawing from Iraq, but that plan has newfound momentum and it could easily be Gen. Petraeus who is asked to carry it out.

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Barack Obama embarked on his international diplomacy tour -- a key step in raising his profile on the world stage and demonstrating his readiness to take over the American presidency -- with an important first major stop. The Illinois senator landed in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday as part of congressional delegation surveying the current situation in that troubled nation.

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The pope is set to land Tuesday for a whirlwind visit to America, his first since assuming the mantle of the Roman Catholic Church. A spokesman has indicated that Benedict XVI will address the church's sex abuse scandal, a topic around which protests are expected.

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Despite some congressional resistance, it seems Gen. David Petraeus' recommended "pause" in U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq will take effect after July. On Thursday, President Bush (whose approval ratings have plummeted to a new low) essentially deferred the withdrawal issue to his successor.

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Try not to mist up during this clip of two young boys being surprised at their Virginia elementary school by their father, Lt. Thomas Bourne. As Keith Olbermann opines, the best way to support our troops is to "make sure that that kind of homecoming is what each of them and their families have earned."

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Visitors to the White House are now affronted with a new kind of conservatism: a dress code. Facing stricter guidelines than at the Vatican, tour seekers are now subject to the following rules: no jeans, sneakers, shorts, mini-skirts, T-shirts and tank tops and, especially, no flip-flops.

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Paul Simon has a new touring partner: Senator and presidential hopeful Christopher Dodd. Simon has joined Dodd's campaign and will be performing a series of concerts at Dodd-sponsored events.

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