IN the last full week of campaigning in the US presidential election the polls continued to show Democrat Barack Obama with a clear national lead over Republican John McCain; however, the position in key electoral college states was much closer. The Democrats also seemed to be on course to strengthen their representation in Congress, a prospect that led McCain to warn of a future leftist rule in Washington.

The International Monetary Fund created a $100 billion fund to help countries with a basically sound economy that may need short-term help during the global economic crisis. Hungary, Ukraine and Iceland also received IMF help.

US special forces carried out a raid on a village inside Syria's border with Iraq; the objective was said to be an al-Qaeda leader believed to be operating in Iraq. Syria protested strongly at the raid in which there were civilian casualties.

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