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Tuesday, November 8

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.

U.S. embassy warns citizens about Chinese hotel terror threat

BEIJING (CNN) -- The U.S. embassy is warning American citizens traveling to China to exercise caution after learning of a possible terror threat concerning the country's hotels.

"The embassy has learned that Chinese police advised hotels that Islamic extremist elements could be planning to attack four- and five-star hotels in China sometime over the course of the next week," said an advisory issued by the Office of American Citizen Services.

"Chinese authorities have assured the embassy that they are taking appropriate security measures and investigating the possible threat thoroughly."

The possible threat apparently did not target any specific area of China. No further details were immediately available.

7 killed, 4 injured in Baquba car bomb

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Seven Iraqis, four of them police officers, were killed and another four people injured Wednesday when a suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol detonated in Baquba, according to a CNN stringer at the site of the blast.

Baquba is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Baghdad. It has been the site of repeated sectarian violence and attacks aimed at Iraqi security forces.

In northwestern Baghdad, a driver for an Education Ministry official was gunned down in the Shula neighborhood Wednesday morning by gunmen, Iraqi police said.

Earlier Wednesday, a Coalition Forces air strike in western Iraq destroyed what was believed to be an al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist weapons cache in the village of al Bu Hardan near al Qaim, the military said.

A terrorist mortar cell was thought to be using the targeted building and had been seen moving mortars and other small weapons into it.

Rioting dampened, but not extinguished, by curfew

PARIS (CNN) -- Violence flared in parts of France for a 13th consecutive night, but the rioting early Wednesday appeared dampened from that of previous days -- a possible sign that emergency measures have helped restore calm.

Less than 600 vehicles were burned overnight, French state radio reported -- a marked decrease from Saturday, when more than 1,400 were burned.

In addition, there were fewer clashes between police and rioters. But rioting still flared violently in many areas. Lyon's subway system -- the second largest subway system in the country -- had to be shut down after a gasoline bomb was thrown at a train station, according to French media reports.

A number of cities had established curfews in an effort to quell the violence, and some banned the sale of gasoline to minors, as the majority of the rioters were thought to be youth. The curfews will allow police to jail rioters for up to two months. (posted 1:55 a.m.)

Democrats keep governorships in Va., N.J.; Bloomberg wins in NYC

(CNN) -- Democrats kept their grip on the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey in Tuesday's off-year elections, while New York City's Republican mayor, Michael Bloomberg, easily secured a second term in the Democratic-dominated Big Apple.

Meanwhile, in California, votes were still being counted in a statewide special election called by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to push four initiatives he insisted were necessary to reform state government -- a political gamble with implications for his re-election bid next year.

Also Tuesday, two states voted on gay rights ballot measures, to mixed results. In Texas, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was overwhelmingly approved. But in Maine, a measure that would have repealed a state law outlawing discrimination against gay men and lesbians was defeated. (Posted 1:50 a.m.)

Bush officials: Stronger campaign planned against Democratic criticisms

Senior administration officials are working on what they call a "campaign-style" strategy to respond to stepped-up Democratic criticism that the Bush administration twisted intelligence in making the case for war in Iraq.

"You're going to see heavy and direct engagement from this administration," according to a senior administration official, who said there would be "an increased presence and willingness to be more aggressive in responding to Democrats."

The examination into the intelligence used by the Bush administration to justify invading Iraq has intensified, on the heels of the Oct. 28 indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who resigned the day he was indicted. Democrats have pointed at declassified information they say shows the White House was "deceptive" in pre-war statements.

Libby is charged with with obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to federal agents investigating who revealed to reporters the identity of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame, whose husband had publicly challenged a key element of the administration's case for war. (Posted 10:15 p.m.)

CNN projects Corzine winner of New Jersey governor's race

BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CNN) -- CNN projects Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine will win the New Jersey governor's race over Republican businessman Doug Forrester.

With the projected win, Corzine will make the unconventional move from the Capitol in Washington to the statehouse in Trenton. Forrester, the GOP's unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate in 2002, gave Corzine a tough fight in the solidly Democratic state.

Both men are multi-millionaires who pumped their own money into what became an increasingly nasty race. Together, they spent more than $70 million on the campaign, making it the most expensive race in state history.

New Jersey Democrats were damaged by a messy scandal last year, in which former Gov. Jim McGreevey resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a male aide and acknowledging he was gay. Forrester tried to tie Corzine to the Democrats' problems in Trenton, while Corzine tried to tie Forrester to President Bush, who lost New Jersey by nearly 250,000 votes last year. (Posted 9:58 p.m.)

CNN projects Kaine winner of Virginia governor's race

RICHMOND, Va. (CNN) -- CNN on Tuesday night projected that Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine will win the Virginia governor's race over Republican Jerry Kilgore, the state's former attorney general.

Recent polls showed a neck-and-neck race between the men. Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, was barred by state law from seeking a second term.

With about a third of the precincts reporting, Kaine had opened an early lead in the race. Though Virginia leans Republican, Kaine appears to be benefiting from the popularity of Warner, who is being mentioned as a possible 2008 Democratic presidential candidate.

He could also be helped by a third candidate in the race, GOP state Sen. Russell Potts, whose independent candidacy could drain votes from Kilgore. Bush was in Richmond Monday night, making a last-minute pitch for Kilgore.

"You know where he stands, and you know he can get the job done," the president said. (Posted 9:20 p.m.)

CIA reported possible leak of secret prisons info, U.S. officials say

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The CIA has sent a report to the U.S. Justice Department indicating classified information may have been leaked to the Washington Post for its recent story about CIA secret prisons, according to U.S. officials.

The newspaper reported that the CIA was holding top suspected al Qaeda terrorists at undisclosed prisons in eastern Europe and other locations.

The Justice Department refused to confirm or deny a referral was made. The action was taken last week, an official said, immediately after the the Washington Post article was published. --From National Security Correspondent David Ensor and National Security Producer Pam Benson (Posted 6:23 p.m.)

Two Oregon couples to split largest-ever Powerball jackpot

(CNN) -- Two Oregon couples Tuesday claimed the largest Powerball jackpot in history -- an announced $340 million -- which the woman who bought the ticket called "just a tremendous blessing."

Frances and Bob Chaney, their daughter, Carolyn West, and her husband, Steve, told reporters at Oregon State Lottery headquarters in Salem that they will share the prize from the Oct. 19 Powerball drawing.

The four, who chipped in to buy $40 worth of tickets at Ray's Food Place in the small town of Jacksonville, in southwest Oregon, will take their winnings in one lump sum, or $164,410,058, before taxes, said Frances Chaney, 68. Powerball spokeswoman Marlene Meissner said that would come to about $110 million, after taxes. (Posted 6:07 p.m.)

State Department cites Saudi Arabia, North Korea for no religious freedom

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Just days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left for a trip that will include Saudi Arabia, the State Department cited the kingdom for serious violations of religious freedom.

"Freedom of religion does not exist" in Saudi Arabia the State Department's annual Report on International Religious Freedom said. "Islam is the official religion and all citizens must be Muslims."

The report said religious freedom also does not exist in North Korea, where underground Christians are believed to be executed or tortured for reading the Bible. Those two countries and six others are named as being "of particular concern" in the annual survey of 197 nations. The others were Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Sudan and Vietnam. --From CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott (Posted 6:02 p.m.)

Assistant principal killed, two other administrators wounded in Tennessee high school shooting

(CNN) -- A student opened fire on a principal and two assistant principals at Campbell County Comprehensive High School in Jacksboro, Tennessee, killing one of the assistants, the sheriff said.

The sheriff identified the slain assistant principal as Ken Bruce.

A suspect was taken into custody Tuesday after the shootings, authorities said.

The two wounded men -- principal Gary Seale and assistant principal and track coach Jim Pierce -- were airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Pierce was listed in critical condition and Seale was in serious condition, hospital spokeswoman Lisa McNeal said.

No students were injured in the shooting, which occurred around 2 p.m. The suspected shooter was taken into custody shortly after the incident, the sheriff's office said. CNN affiliate WATE reported that the suspect is believed to be a student who concealed his weapon under a napkin. (Posted 5:11 p.m.)

GOP leaders call for leak probe on CIA 'secret prisons' report

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican congressional leaders Tuesday asked for an investigation into the possible leak of classified information about secret U.S. prisons for suspected terrorists overseas, but a GOP senator suggested his own colleagues could be to blame.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert said last week's disclosure, published in The Washington Post, could damage national security. Hastert, R-Ill., and Frist, R-Tenn., have asked the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees to look into the report.

"If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," they wrote in a letter requesting the investigation.

But Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., told reporters the information in the Post story was the same as that given to Republican senators in a closed-door briefing by Vice President Dick Cheney last week. "Every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper," he said, and added, "We can't keep our mouths shut." (Posted 5:04 p.m.)

Annual CDC report shows syphilis up 8 percent

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The incidence of syphilis in the United States, though still low, rose in 2004 for the fourth consecutive year, even as gonorrhea dropped to the lowest rate recorded, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released Tuesday.

The CDC estimates that 19 million sexually transmitted disease (STD) infections, including HIV and other non-notifiable STDs, occur each year in the United States -- almost half of them among people ages 15 to 24, and carry an annual price tag of about $13 billion in direct medical costs.

All three STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission, and some can lead to infertility, neurological damage, and even death, the CDC said. The annual report of surveillance data on the three nationally reportable sexually transmitted diseases concluded that nearly two-thirds of the increased incidence of the early stages of primary and secondary syphilis -- suggestive of recent infection -- was noted among men who have sex with men. (Posted 4:15 p.m.)

U.N. Security Council extends multinational force in Iraq for another year.

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend for another year the U.N. authorization of U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq, which now number about 180,000.

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said he was "pleased" by the unanimous adoption of the resolution co-sponsored by the United States, Britain, Denmark, Japan and Romania.

He said the resolution was adopted two months early because the United States wanted to show "the solidarity of international support for the electoral process in Iraq and to avoid it becoming an issue in the upcoming election." Elections in Iraq will take place Dec. 15. --From CNN Assignment Editor Lauren Rivera (Posted 3:34 p.m.)

House lawmakers want investigation into military chem-bio exposures

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States should establish a commission to identify and learn the fate of people exposed during the military's secret testing of chemical and biological materials in the 1960s and '70s, two House lawmakers declared Tuesday.

"We cannot be afraid to identify the problem," said Montana Republican Denny Rehberg, who, along with California Democrat Mike Thompson, plans to introduce a bill they call the "Veterans Right to Know Act."

Nearly 5,900 people, both military and civilians, may have been exposed to the toxins as part of the military's "Project 112," involving about 50 tests from 1962 to 1974, according to a report last year from the Government Accounting Office. --From CNN's Paul Courson on Capitol Hill (Posted 2:53 p.m.)

High court hears dispute over competing consent to search a home

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A dispute between a husband and wife over a search for illegal drugs in their home left the Supreme Court equally at odds Tuesday, in an important case over police powers.

At issue was whether law enforcement officers may conduct a non-warranted search of private property when occupants disagree over allowing the search.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, for example, said there are long-standing "social norms" on the right to privacy. And Justice Antonin Scalia said, "I would think the normal assumption is if one person wants that search excluded, that search is excluded."

But Justice Stephen Bryer noted, "It's her house, too, isn't it?" And Justice Clarence Thomas asked -- after an attorney conceded it would be OK for the wife to find a hidden drug stash and give it to police -- how that would be different from this case.

A ruling is expected in the next few months. --From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears (Posted 2:40 p.m.)

Prime minister: France is 'at an hour of truth'

PARIS (CNN) -- Saying "the republic is at an hour of truth," French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced a sweeping package of reforms Tuesday aimed at stopping 12 days of violence and treating the social problems that caused them.

In remarks to the National Assembly, France's parliament, de Villepin said "the fight against all discrimination must be a priority because it has an incredible cost on our community."

De Villepin divided his address, spending the first portion on steps the government will take to crack down on violence and the last half on social programs to deal with discrimination.

"The state will be firm and just," he vowed. "We will guarantee the public order for each of our citizens." One step already under way, he said, is strengthening the intelligence-gathering capability of French authorities.

Regarding social programs, he said 30 billion euros will be spent in France's riot zones, with the focus primarily on helping young people. (Posted 2:03 p.m.)

U.N. for 14th consecutive year calls for end of U.S. embargo of Cuba

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- For the 14th consecutive year, the U.N. General Assembly has called overwhelmingly for an end to the more-than-40-year U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton called the vote "a complete exercise in irrelevancy."

The vote was 182 countries in favor, four (the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau) against and one (Micronesia) abstaining.

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told the General Assembly, "The U.S. government is delusional with the idea that it can overthrow the Cuban revolution." As in previous years, his speech -- delivered in Spanish -- was greeted by hearty applause.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, British representative Paul Johnston urged Cuba to cooperate with human rights law and free political prisoners, but said despite Cuba's human rights record, the EU supports the lifting of the embargo for the benefit of Cuba's economic development. (Posted 1:42 p.m.)

GOP leaders call for leak probe on CIA 'secret prisons' report

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican congressional leaders announced Tuesday they are asking committees to investigate the possible leak of classified information about secret U.S. prisons for suspected terrorists overseas, details of which were published last week.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert said the disclosure, first reported in The Washington Post, could damage national security. Hastert, R-Ill., and Frist, R-Tenn., have asked the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees to look into how last week's disclosure came about. (Posted 1:34 p.m.)

Fourth day for Operation Steel Curtain

HUSAYBA, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Marines taking part in the fourth day of Operation Steel Curtain in the western town of Husayba on Tuesday found the corpse of a man who had been bound, gagged and shot in the head on the southern outskirts of the town, according to a military news release.

"This is strong evidence of the murder and intimidation campaign the al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists waged in Husayba against anyone the insurgents felt were a threat or non-supportive of their aims," military spokesman Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool said.

The operation involves street-to-street and house-to-house efforts to flush insurgents from the town near the Syrian border. (Posted 1:28 p.m.)

Intelligence chief announces creation of open-source intelligence center

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, announced Tuesday the creation of a new "open-source" intelligence center, to be based at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

His deputy, Gen. Michael Hayden, told reporters the new center will train analysts throughout the intelligence community to make better use of information that is publicly available.

Negroponte's office said in a written statement that the new center "will advance the intelligence community's exploitation of openly available information to include the Internet, databases, press, radio, television, video, geospatial data, photos and commercial imagery." --From National Security Correspondent David Ensor (Posted 1:05 p.m.)

Saudi ambassador to U.S. pledges kingdom's commitment to war on terror

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saudi Arabia's new ambassador to Washington said Tuesday his country does not support terrorism and is prepared to fight a war with al Qaeda for the heart of Islam.

"There are those that would have you believe that the current wave of terrorism springs from and is or has been supported by Saudi Arabia. That is absolutely not true," Prince Turki al-Faisal told a packed crowd at the annual conference of the Middle East Institute.

"We have suffered at the hands of terrorists. We do not support them; we do not fund them. These terrorists are as much against us as they are against you." --From CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott (Posted 12:45 p.m.)

Iran says 'no' to EU push to stop enrichment program

TEHRAN (CNN) -- Iran Tuesday rejected a European Union call to freeze its uranium enrichment activities, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

"Iran will not give up its right to enrichment," said Hamidreza Asefi. This weekend Iran indicated it is ready to resume the stalled negotiations with three European nations -- Britain, France and Germany -- seeking to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear enrichment program, which could be used to make weapons. The United States has supported the efforts by those nations.

Iran broke off talks with the so-called EU-3 earlier this year, saying the demand that it stop its nuclear program altogether was unacceptable. Iran insists its program is purely for energy purposes, but the United States argues Iran is using the program as a guise to try to develop nuclear weapons. (Posted 12:33 p.m.)

In wake of twister, mobile home park residents all located

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (CNN) -- All residents of a Vanderburgh County mobile home park were accounted for Monday, two days after a tornado ripped through on a deadly 43-mile run from Kentucky across the southern Indiana countryside, killing 22 people.

Eighteen people died in the mobile home park and four in neighboring Warrick County.

The damage was devastating -- 100 of 350 homes in the mobile home park destroyed and another 125 badly damaged. Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth told CNN Tuesday that residents would be allowed to return to the park beginning Wednesday to search for belongings.

Authorities planned to continue Tuesday draining a lake adjacent to the mobile home park. Four bodies were found in the water on Sunday, said Ellsworth, and a fifth was found Monday when they started to drain the 6-foot deep lake. (Posted 10:55 a.m.)

Senate Intelligence Committee bipartisan panel to discuss Iraq war investigation

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six bipartisan members of Senate Intelligence Committee will meet Tuesday to lay out a timetable for the second phase of the committee's investigation into the intelligence that led the United States into the Iraq war.

Democrats have accused Republicans of dragging their heels on Phase 2 of the investigation. Republicans have accused Democrats of politicizing the issue.

The bipartisan panel is made up of Sens. Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller. GOP members are Sens. Pat Roberts, Kit Bond and Trent Lott. (Posted 10:41 a.m.)

Killer tornado F3 on Fujita scale

(CNN) -- The tornado that killed 22 people on a 41-mile run through Kentucky and Indiana was an F3 on the Fujita scale with up to 200 mph winds, according to the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

According to the Fujita scale, an F3 tornado causes severe damage with "roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown."

The twister, part of a line of thunderstorms that raked across the area, was 400 yards wide at one point, the service said. (Posted 10:33 a.m.)

Annan: If Syria doesn't cooperate, 'other action' likely

CAIRO (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday the U.N. Security Council will have to look at "what other action to take" if Syria does not cooperate with an investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"Let me say that the U.N. resolution, the recent one which was passed on Syria, does not threaten sanctions," said Annan, after a meeting with the secretary-general of the Arab League. "It asks Syria to cooperate and, of course, if Syria does not cooperate they will look at what other action to take"

The United Nations has told Syria it wants to interrogate several suspects in its investigation into the assassination of Hariri. Annan said he did not know where the chief investigator would interview the people he wants to question but said those interrogations could take place outside Syria. (Posted 10:18 a.m.)

Attorney representing Saddam's co-defendant assassinated

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An attorney representing one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants was gunned down in Baghdad Tuesday, the second defense lawyer involved in the trial assassinated in less than a month.

The killings are raising questions about whether the trial of the former Iraqi leader and his accused co-conspirators can resume as scheduled on Nov. 28.

Iraqi police said gunmen Tuesday opened fire on a vehicle carrying two defense attorneys. Adil Muhammed al-Zubaidi, who was representing former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, died in the attack. Thamer Hamoud Hadi al-Khuzai was wounded.

This comes nearly three weeks after another attorney in the case, Sadoon Janabi, was kidnapped and fatally shot in the head on Oct 20. (Posted, 9:30 a.m.)

Fourth day for Operation Steel Curtain

HUSAYBA, Iraq (CNN) -- For a fourth day, U.S. military forces and Iraqi troops worked street-to-street and house-to-house in an effort to flush insurgents from the western town of Husayba, near the Syrian border.

CNN Producer Arwa Damon, embedded with U.S. troops for "Operation Steel Curtain," said sporadic gunfire echoed in southern sections of the city Tuesday as forces uncovered a weapons cache and a bomb-making factory just a few doors apart.

The offensive is meant to wrest control of the town from insurgents and secure the nearby Syrian border, which U.S. commanders say has been open to fighters infiltrating into Iraq. (Posted, 9:30 a.m.)

Recaptured death-row fugitive back in Texas

HOUSTON (CNN) -- A Texas death-row inmate who escaped last week from a Houston jail and was taken into custody Sunday night outside a liquor store in Shreveport, La., was back in Texas a day later, a court official told CNN late Monday.

Charles Victor Thompson, 35, was the subject of a 78-hour, nationwide manhunt after he escaped Thursday by shedding his handcuffs and trading his prison jumpsuit for street clothes in a jailhouse booth after telling deputies he was meeting with a lawyer.

He was back behind bars in the same Harris County Jail Monday night. (Posted, 2:30 a.m.)

Counterterrorism operation nets 17 in Australia

(CNN) -- Australian authorities arrested 17 people Tuesday on terrorism charges in Melbourne and Sydney and credited their 18-month investigation with averting terrorist bombings. One of the suspects was shot by police during the raids.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said raids continued across the country Tuesday with more than 600 police involved in the operation, which is expected to continue for a number of months.

"We believe that we've been able to significantly disrupt a proposed terrorist attack here in Australia," New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney told Australia's Channel 7 Television. (Posted, 2:20 a.m.)

Bird flu claims 42nd life in Vietnam

(CNN) -- Vietnam's Ministry of Health Tuesday reported the country's 42nd death from avian influenza.

The latest victim, a 35-year-old man from Hanoi, died on October 29.

Since December 2003, Vietnam has had 92 cases of the often deadly H5N1 strain of the virus in humans. (Posted, 2:10 a.m.)

Bloomberg expected to win big Tuesday

(CNN) -- New Yorkers will decide whether to give Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg a second term on Tuesday.

Bloomberg's race with former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer was shaping up as a mismatch, despite a more than 5-to-1 Democratic advantage in registered voters in the Big Apple. Recent polls showed Bloomberg with a lead of about 30 points.

The mayor, a billionaire media mogul, was a political novice when he was elected just two months after the 9/11 attacks, with the support of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

As he did four years ago, Bloomberg has dipped into his own fortune to finance his campaign, which has spent more than $28 million on television ads, according to CNN's ad spending consultant. (Posted, 9:59 p.m.)

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