President Bush acknowledged problems in the reconstruction of Iraq while insurgent activity continued in the final days before legislative elections Dec. 15.

In the United States: Bush said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations that Iraq's reconstruction has been hurt by corruption and attacks by insurgents but that "quiet, steady progress" would ultimately transform the country. Bush said that rebuilding has proceeded in "fits and starts." But the administration has learned from its mistakes, Bush said Wednesday, and has reshaped its approach.

* Democrats, although divided over whether the United States should put forth a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, criticized the speech as full of generalities and failing to acknowledge the serious problems on the ground.

In Iraq: Two suicide bombers struck Baghdad's police academy Tuesday, killing at least 27 people and injuring about 50. After the first bomber blew himself up, survivors rushed for the shelter of concrete blast walls, where a second bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body, witnesses said.

* A suicide bomber jumped onto a bus in the al Nahda station in Baghdad on Thursday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens more on the bus and in the station. The bus was bound for Nasiriyah in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, 200 miles from the capital.

* In the trial of former president Saddam Hussein, witnesses from the Iraqi village of Dujail testified about torture and killing as part of the punishment leveled against them after an ambush attempt on Hussein's convoy in 1982. Hussein declined to attend the trial on Wednesday but promised the judge he would return when the trial resumes Dec. 21.