Devil Went Down... to Utah?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Defying the White House

The New York Times refused repeated requests by the Bush administration not to expose its use of an international financial cooperative database that the government has used to track terrorist operations. Treasury Department officials urged newspaper reporters Thursday not to publicly disclose details of the program, citing national security concerns. But The Times — along with The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times — published the story anyway.

New York Times executive editor Bill Keller says despite listening to the administration's arguments and giving it, "the most serious and respectful consideration," the paper found the information to be a matter of public interest. But FOX News has learned that the two co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission who were briefed on the program — and gave the administration an A-minus for its efforts on terrorist financing — also called The Times and asked it not to print the story — to no avail.

Devil Went Down... to Utah?

Republican congressional hopeful John Jacob of Utah is accusing the devil of trying to sabotage his campaign to beat incumbent Representative Chris Cannon by foiling his business deals. Since announcing his candidacy, Jacob has had numerous business deals tank, preventing him from contributing as much money to the campaign as he had planned.

Jacob tells The Salt Lake Tribune's editorial board that his misfortune can't be blamed on anything except Satan, saying, "I don't know who else it would be if it wasn't him. Now when that gets out in the paper, I'm going to be one of the screw-loose people."

Deep Divide

A new study from the Pew Research Center concludes that a deep rift exists between Western and Muslim societies, with both sides blaming each other. According to the study — conducted in 13 countries, including the U.S. — many in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent and as lacking tolerance, while Muslims in the Middle East and Asia generally see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy.

Meanwhile, a majority of Muslims living in Muslim countries and in Britain say they do not believe that Arabs were responsible for the September 11th attacks. At the same time, the research showed positive trends, such as increasing opposition among Muslims to violence carried out in the name of Islam.

Rowdy Monks?

In Thailand, Buddhist monks are paying a price for their love of the game. According to the Thai newspaper The Nation, the monks have been oversleeping because they're staying up late at night to watch World Cup soccer matches. And the city of Chiang Mai's chief monk has heard complaints of rowdiness at seven temples in the province.

Meanwhile, in nearby Cambodia tens of thousands of monks have been warned they could be defrocked if they make noise or cheer while watching the games.

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.