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Monday, October 31

Editor's Note: CNN News Update is a running log of the latest news from CNN World Headquarters, reported by CNN's correspondents and producers and compiled by Wires.CNN.

Israel arrests 23 suspected Palestinians militants

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli security forces rounded up nearly two dozen suspected Palestinian militants in West Bank raids overnight, a military source said Tuesday.

Among the 23 people arrested were 13 members of Islamic Jihad, eight from Hamas and the affiliations of two others not immediately known. (posted 2:45 a.m.)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver hospitalized following stroke

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver has been hospitalized following a minor stroke, a spokesman for UCLA Medical Center told CNN Monday.

The 84-year-old sister of the late President John F. Kennedy was hospitalized Saturday; she was also being treated for a recent stress fracture to her left hip, said spokesman Dan Page.

Her doctors expect the hospital stay of Shriver, a philanthropist and mental health activist, to be short, he said. (posted 2:45 a.m.)

Prince Charles will visit New Orleans Friday

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will pay a visit to Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans on Friday, an official with the British Embassy in Washington has confirmed to CNN.

They are expected to visit one of the damaged canal levees and a school during the afternoon visit, prior to departing for San Francisco later in the day. The couple begin an official visit to the United States Tuesday in New York and will stop in Washington before traveling west. (Posted 5:35 p.m.)

Colonel is highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq combat

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Col. William Wood, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment, died Thursday, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. officer to be killed in combat in the Iraq war, the U.S. military said.

Wood, based at Forward Operating Base Falcon in the province of Babil, south of Baghdad, had responded to a roadside bomb and was giving orders to his men as they secured the area when a secondary explosion blew him backwards into a canal, killing him instantly, the military said.

Wood, 44, of Panama City, Fla., was based stateside at Fort Stewart, Ga. He is survived by his wife. A memorial service will be held for him Tuesday at a forward operating base in Iraq, the military said. (Posted 4:05 p.m.)

Bush to unveil national plan for combating bird flu

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday will unveil a national strategy for bird flu to reduce the chance that an outbreak among people could become widespread, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Monday.

The strategy -- to be unveiled at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., will include plans to identify an outbreak as soon as it appears, work to contain it and treat it "to the best extent possible," he told reporters.

Steps to contain the virus include devising a cell-based vaccine against it and stockpiling antiviral medicines, two efforts that are currently under way, he said. Cell-based vaccines could be mass-produced quickly, which could prove to be a critical advantage in the event of a pandemic. (Posted 4:52 p.m.)

Car bomb goes off in southern Iraq; 15 dead

(CNN) -- A car bomb exploded Monday night in a crowded commercial district in Basra, ripping through shops and restaurants in Iraq's second largest city and killing at least 15 people, police said. Another 50 people were wounded in the blast, police said.

The bomb went off around 8:30 p.m. at a time when many Iraqis were in the shops and restaurants. Video from the scene showed glass and other debris strewn across the road. At least one building had its front sheered off. Police said many civilian cars were also destroyed in the blast.

No British troops or Iraqi special forces were injured in the blast, police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. (Posted 2:50 p.m.)

Cheney taps Addington, Hannah to replace Libby

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday named David Addington to replace I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby as his chief of staff and John Hannah to take over Libby's duties as assistant to the vice president for national security affairs.

Addington, who had been Cheney's general counsel, was the author of the so-called "torture memo" of January 2002. That memo, signed by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales -- now the U.S. attorney general -- claimed the Geneva Conventions on torture did not apply in the "war on terrorism."

Hannah has served on Cheney's national security staff since March 2001 and has been principal deputy assistant for national security affairs. (Posted 1:20 p.m.)

New high court nominee's legal record shows a strong conservative record

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Samuel Alito, President Bush's latest nominee to the Supreme Court, has what many conservatives say is the perfect legal background to become a leader on the Supreme Court bench: He has been a judge, a U.S attorney, and a top Justice Department official.

Privately, friends and colleagues say the 55-year-old federal judge is a low-key, intense, but friendly man who is devoted to his family.

He has long been mentioned as a potential high court nominee, with detractors calling him "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite," a comparison to Justice Antonin Scalia, who shares his conservative judicial philosophy and Italian-American and Catholic roots.

But several legal scholars compare Alito more favorably to Chief Justice John Roberts. Their legal opinions reveal a careful, often cautious approach to the law, devoid of the often provocative, sharp-elbowed rhetoric Scalia and other judges are known for. --From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears (Posted 11:48 a.m.)

U.N. Security Council passes resolution on Syria

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday in favor of a resolution demanding Syria cooperate with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri or face "further action."

Last-minute diplomatic haggling deleted a direct reference to the threat of sanctions on the Syrian government, but the effect of the resolution is the same. It is under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which holds open the ultimate possibility of the Security Council considering the use of force with failure to comply with a resolution.

The resolution calls for the U.N. investigators to report to the Security Council on Syrian cooperation by Dec. 15 or "anytime before" if the investigation sees a lack of cooperation.

Speaking in the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the resolution "made it clear that failure to comply with these demands will lead to serious consequences from the international community." Rice called the "Chapter 7" resolution "the only way to compel the Syrians" to cooperate. (Posted 11:46 a.m.)

Indian PM complains of 'external linkages' in Saturday's attacks

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke by phone Monday with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and complained to him about indications of "external linkages" involved in Saturday's bombings in New Delhi that killed 59 people and wounded more than 210 others.

"We continue to be disturbed and dismayed at indications of the external linkages of terrorist groups with (Saturday's) bombings," Singh said during the conversation, according to a press release from his office.

The release also said Singh told the Pakistani leader that "India expects Pakistan to act against terrorism directed at India." Musharraf had called Singh to express his condolences for those killed and wounded in the attacks. (Posted 11:31 a.m.)

Libby arraignment to be Thursday

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, will be arraigned Thursday at U.S. District Court, court officials said Monday.

Libby will appear at the U.S. District Court at 10:30 a.m. before Judge Reggie B. Walton. He will be read the charges against, asked if he understands, and possibly enter a plea.

Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and a powerful voice within the administration, abruptly resigned last Friday when the charges were brought.

The federal grand jury indicted Libby on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury in connection with the 2003 leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Libby was not charged with deliberately revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative. (Posted 11:24 a.m.)

U.N. Security Council passes resolution on Syria

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday in favor of a resolution demanding Syria cooperate with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri or face "further action." (Posted 11:08 a.m.)

AOL co-founder Case leaves time Warner board

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, has resigned from the board of Time Warner to focus on a new company, he announced Monday. Case helped engineer the purchase of Time Warner by America Online in 2001.

He served as chairman of the combined company, then called AOL Time Warner, until early 2003, when he resigned amid criticism of the media giant's declining stock price. Case remains one of Time Warner's largest individual share holders.

Time Warner divisions include America Online, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, HBO, New Line Cinema and Turner Broadcasting, parent of CNN. (Posted 10:28 a.m.)

Abortion cases before the Supreme Court this fall

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Abortion will be front-and-center on the same day in late November when the high court hears a pair of separate cases on the issue.

The justices will decide if a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion is too restrictive. A federal appeals court dismissed the law, saying that although it had an exception for a minor whose life was at risk, it did not also provide broader exceptions to protect the health of the minor when her life was not threatened. New Hampshire claims existing laws already provide for such health contingencies. At least 33 states have parental notification laws.

The other case deals more with free speech than the right to abortion. In that case, the court will again look at the issue of restrictions on anti-abortion activists who protest outside medical clinics. -- From CNN Producer Bill Mears (Posted 10:21 a.m.)

Another case of bird flu reported in Thailand

From CNN Producer Narunart Prapanya

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- A 50-year-old woman has become the 20th human bird flu case in Thailand -- and the closest such case to Bangkok, Thailand's largest city of some 9 million people, the Thai Livestock Department told CNN on Monday.

Officials believe the patient, who tested positive for the H5N1 strain, was contaminated by chickens she owned in Nonthaburi, a suburb of Bangkok, where she lives.

Livestock Department officials sent a team to the woman's home to spray chemicals in order to try to contain any further spread of the disease.

The patient is now being hospitalized in Bangkok, confined to a special ward, officials said. At least 13 people have died after being infected with the H5N1 virus in Thailand.

Health officials across the globe have expressed fear that the virus could unleash a pandemic if it learns to mutate and spread more easily from human to human. So far, more than 120 people are known to have been infected with the virus, which has shown an alarmingly high mortality rate: 62 people, or about 50 percent of those infected, have died. (Posted 10:11 a.m.)

Italian premier says he tried to convince Bush 'not to go to war'

ROME (CNN) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a staunch U.S. ally on the war with Iraq, says he tried to steer President Bush away from war with Iraq, saying he was "never convinced that war was the best way to succeed in bringing democracy to a country."

Berlusconi made his comments in an interview with Italian television LA7 on the eve of his trip to Washington. The two leaders are to meet in the Oval Office Monday.

"I was never convinced that war was the best way to succeed in bringing democracy to a country and in leading it out of a bloody dictatorship," Berlusconi said in the interview. "On the contrary, I tried on numerous occasions to convince the American president not to go to war. I did what was within my capabilities to avoid that happening." (Posted 9:07 a.m.)

Bush taps Alito for Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Monday tapped 3rd Circuit Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, calling him "one of the most accomplished and respected judges in America."

Alito, a former U.S. Attorney who has been a judge for 15 years, is considered a darling of the conservative movement and is Bush's third pick for O'Connor's seat.

"He is scholarly, fair-minded and principled, and these qualities will serve our nation well on the highest court of the land," Bush said.

The pick drew immediate fire from Senate Democrats, who charged that the conservative right forced the withdrawal of previous pick, Harriet Miers, for someone more in line with conservative values.

"It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The 55-year-old Alito was put on the circuit court bench by President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush in 1990 after his service as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He also served as assistant to Solictor General Rex E. Lee from 1981 to 1985 and deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin Meese from 1985 to 1987.

He is considered so ideologically similar to Justice Antonin Scalia that he has earned the nickname "Scalito." (Posted 8:12 a.m.)

Musharraf: Time is right to demilitarize Kashmir

ISLAMABAD (CNN) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Monday that Indian and Pakistani Kashmiris should be able to move about freely in the disputed Himalayan region without fear of provoking military action.

"This is the right time to demilitarize Kashmir," Musharraf told reporters in the Pakistani capital. "And Indian and Pakistani Kashmiris should have the right to travel anywhere in Kashmir, even across the Line of Control."

India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, have fought two of three wars between them over Kashmir, the Indian-controlled portion known the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistani-controlled part known as the territory of Azad Kashmir. (Posted 8 a.m.)

6 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Four U.S. soldiers, all members of Task Force Baghdad, were killed Monday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb, and two other U.S. soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

The four soldiers, whose names were not immediately released, were patrolling the Yusufiyah district southwest of Baghdad at the time of the explosion. The two soldiers in northern Iraq were members of the 29th Brigade Combat team on patrol north of Balad near LSA Anaconda, the largest support base in Iraq.

The six deaths bring the number of U.S. soldiers to have died in Iraq this month to 90, the highest number of American deaths there since January when 107 Americans were killed. November 2004 saw the highest number of U.S. deaths in a single month -- 137. A total of 2,023 U.S. soldiers have died in the Iraq theater since the war began in March 2003. (Posted 7:42 a.m.)

U.S. soldiers face assault charges in Afghanistan

(CNN) -- A pair of U.S. soldiers have been charged with assaulting detainees at a field detention site in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.

"We see this as an extremely serious allegation of unacceptable behavior," said Col. James Yonts, a U.S. military spokesman, at a news conference in Kabul Monday. "We will not tolerate this kind of behavior that is alleged against these soldiers."

A statement released by the U.S. military in Washington Sunday said, "the charges include conspiracy to maltreat, assault, and dereliction of duty." (posted 4:55 a.m.)

IDF: 3 Palestinian militants killed in Qabatiya

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel Defense Forces Sunday killed two members of a Palestinian militant group during operations in the northern West Bank village of Qabatiya, a military statement said.

The men, described as "senior Islamic Jihad terrorists from the terror organization's northern West Bank infrastructure," were killed during a shootout after opening fire on IDF troops who had surrounded a house where they were holed up.

Also in Qabatiya, IDF troops killed a Palestinian gunman who opened fire on them Sunday. The military said he was one of three men who were attempting to place an explosive device along a road. (posted 4:50 a.m.)

U.S. bombs 'terrorist safe house' in western Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- U.S. warplanes launched a pre-dawn precision airstrike against a "terrorist safe house" in the western Iraqi city of Karabila Monday, the U.S. military said.

"A senior al Qaeda cell leader was the target of the strike," Maj. Flora Lee of the Combined Press Information Center. "The timing of the attack and use of precision-guided munitions is intended to avoid civilian casualties."

Karabila is close to Qaim, near the Syrian border. There was no immediate word on casualties. (posted 3:40 a.m.)

U.S., Iraq troops detain insurgents south of Baghdad

SALMAN PAK, Iraq (CNN) -- Following house-to-house searches in the Salman Pak area, U.S. and Iraqi troops detained about 15 suspected insurgents early Monday, including a former high-ranking intelligence official from the regime of former leader Saddam Hussein.

Two enemy combatants were killed in firefights between militants and security forces. (posted 3:12 a.m.)

Hurricane evacuees charged with killing Texas woman who befriended them

(CNN) -- A Texas woman was allegedly robbed and killed by three hurricane evacuees she befriended after meeting them at her church, according to Pasadena, Texas police.

Betty Blair, 77, was strangled to death inside her Pasadena home Friday and her bound body was discovered by her daughter Friday evening, said Pasadena Police spokesman Vance Mitchell.

Three suspects -- all described as hurricane evacuees -- were arrested Friday evening after police located the dead woman's missing car through its OnStar electronic tracking system, Mitchell said. (posted 3:11 a.m.)

Police: 59 dead in New Delhi blasts; Indian officials blame terrorists

NEW DELHI (CNN) -- Stores in marketplaces struck by explosions reopened after cleanup Sunday, expecting a busy shopping day as New Delhi residents prepare for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

At least 59 people were killed and 210 wounded Saturday when three blasts ripped through the city -- two at marketplaces and one on a bus in a neighborhood.

Government officials called the blasts the work of terrorists, but named no groups. Police offered a reward -- the equivalent of $2,300 -- for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. (posted 3:10 a.m.)

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