Sunday, November 20
Editor's Note: CNN News Update is a running log of the latest news from CNN World Headquarters, reported by CNN's correspondents, producers and Wires.CNN editors.
5 killed, 11 wounded in suicide attack on market; as many as 4 killed when U.S. troops open fire on vehicle near base
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Five people were killed and 11 others wounded Monday in a suicide attack on a busy market in Kanaan, about 22 miles east of Baquba, a police official with Baquba's information office told CNN.
The official said a minibus was driven near civilians and exploded around 8:30 a.m. Kanaan is a mixed city of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.
Earlier Monday, as many as four Iraqis were killed and five others wounded when a U.S. military patrol opened fire on a Kia minibus driving near a U.S. military base on the road between Baquba and Khalis, a Baquba police official said.
The official said two children were among the dead in the 6:30 a.m. incident.
A U.S. military spokesman in Baquba confirmed to CNN that American forces did open fire on a civilian vehicle but said three people were killed and one was injured.
The spokesman said the circumstances of the shooting were still under investigation but that a civilian vehicle approached the military base and did not heed warning shots to stop, resulting in U.S. forces opening fire on the vehicle.
The spokesman could not confirm whether children were among those killed. (Posted 4:37 a.m.)
Suspect in mall shooting, standoff charged with assault, kidnapping
TACOMA, Wash. (CNN) -- The man accused of shooting six people and holding three others hostage at a shopping mall Sunday is being held on assault and kidnapping charges, according to records at the Pierce County Jail.
The booking records show Dominick Sergio Maldonado is being held on $450,000 bail on six counts of felony assault and three counts of felony kidnapping.
One of the wounded was in critical condition Sunday evening, a hospital spokesman said.
The suspect barricaded himself in a music store at Tacoma Mall, taking three employees hostage, after opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle about 12:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. ET), Tacoma Police spokesman Mark Fulghum said. A SWAT team took him into custody after a period of negotiations, he said.
Fulghum said the shooter, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, "was just in the mall and he opened fire," apparently at random. (Posted 3:40 a.m.)
Sharon requests dissolution of parliament, early elections
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Monday formally requested that President Moshe Katsav dissolve the country's parliament, thereby paving the way for early elections.
On national television shortly after his meeting with Sharon, Katsav said he agreed with the prime minister that elections should be held as soon as possible. However, the president must first hold consultations with legal advisers and with candidates from major parties, to see if any of them can form a ruling coalition, which is considered unlikely.
A statement from Sharon said he asked for the dissolution of parliament after reaching the conclusion that a majority within the Knesset was opposed to the government, making it impossible for him to govern.
The prime minister's request came after the Labor Party voted Sunday to withdraw from Sharon's ruling coalition, a move that left him poised to leave the right-wing Likud party -- which he helped create in 1973 -- to form a more moderate political organization.
Sharon's political advisers told CNN that the prime minister would announce his next step Monday.
If that comes to pass, it would be an odd move for the longtime hawk who, at 77, has become something of a political pragmatist. He could be joined by high-profile political figures on the left and the right, including the current finance minister, Ehud Olmert, and former Labor leader Shimon Peres, a longtime political foe but a personal friend.
For the past year, Sharon has faced rebellion inside the Likud, a party he helped found in the 1970s, over his decision to pull Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, Palestinian territories Israel has held since 1967. (Posted 4:43 a.m.)
Bush wraps up Asia trip with visit to Mongolia; praises country's assistance in war on terror
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (CNN) -- President Bush Monday wrapped up his 8-day Asian trip in Mongolia, making history as the first sitting U.S. president to ever visit that country.
In a speech to the Mongolian parliament, Bush thanked the country's leaders for their continued assistance in the war on terror.
"Both our nations know that our responsibilities in freedom's cause do not end at our borders -- and that survival of liberty in our own lands increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," the president said.
Mongolia currently has 131 infantry forces in Iraq in the fifth rotation of troops from the Asian nation. It has also contributed troops to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and has forces participating in U.N. missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Western Sahara and Sudan, according to the U.S. Central Command Web site.
"As commander in chief of the United States Armed Forces, I thank these brave Mongolian soldiers, and all who have served on the frontlines of the war on terror," Bush told members of the parliament. "The Mongolian Armed Forces are serving the cause of freedom -- and the United States armed forces are proud to serve beside such fearless warriors." (Posted 1:45 a.m.)
Pilot killed in helicopter collision at Florida NASCAR track
MIAMI (CNN) -- Two helicopters collided at a Miami-area speedway after NASCAR's Ford 400 race Sunday, killing one of the pilots, a Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman said.
One helicopter was taking off and the other one was landing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway when they grazed each other, said Lisa Jacobs, a communications supervisor for the Miami-Dade Fire Department. One of the helicopters crashed and overturned, while the second one made a hard landing, she said.
The pilots were the only people on board the aircraft when the collision occurred, witness Greg Smith told Miami television station WPLG.
The injured pilot was taken to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he later died, the police spokeswoman said.
The crash occurred a few hours after the Ford 400, the final race of the NASCAR season. Driver Greg Biffle won Sunday's race, while Tony Stewart clinched the sport's Nextel Cup title with a 15th-place finish. (Posted 12:51 a.m.)
Indonesia reports new bird flu death; WHO to test results
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Indonesian authorities said Monday a 35-year-old man has died of avian flu, while Chinese authorities reported new outbreaks of the illness in among birds in four provinces.
An Indonesian health ministry official said the ministry's test results will be sent to a World Health Organization laboratory in Hong Kong for further examination. If the results are confirmed, the man would be the 68th human victim to die from the H5N1 flu strain, which global medical experts fear could become a human pandemic.
Meanwhile, China's Agriculture Ministry reported Monday that its laboratories had confirmed cases in birds in north, west, and central China. (Posted 9:30 p.m.)
Report of al-Zarqawi's death 'highly unlikely,' White House says
(CNN) -- The U.S. military is conducting tests to determine whether terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among those killed in a weekend raid in Iraq, but a White House official called that prospect "highly unlikely."
The raid took place Saturday in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. A U.S. counterterrorism official said American commanders do not know whether al-Zarqawi -- whom U.S. authorities accuse of being al Qaeda's top man in Iraq -- was in the house, which was targeted because suspected al Qaeda members were inside.
In Beijing, a stop on President Bush's trip to Asia, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones discounted the prospect of al-Zarqawi's death. "The report is highly unlikely, and not credible," he said. (Posted 6:45 p.m.)
Bombs kill child, wounded 10
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb killed a child and wounded five other Iraqi civilians Sunday in western Baghdad's al-Jamia neighborhood, Iraqi police said.
An hour earlier, five Iraqi civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy carrying the mayor of Madaan, a town about 25 km southeast of Baghdad, Iraqi police said. The bomb missed the convoy. (Posted 9:54 a.m.)
Soldier killed north of Baghdad
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier with Task Force Baghdad was killed Sunday by small arms fire during a patrol north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a news release. No further details were given.
The death brings to 2,091 the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq. (Posted 9:53 a.m.)
Iranian legislature to consider measure stopping voluntary cooperation with IAEA if Iran is taken to U.N. Security Council
TEHRAN (CNN) -- The Iranian parliament moved a bill obligating the government to end all voluntary cooperation with the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency -- should Iran and its nuclear program be brought before the U.N. Security Council -- to the top of its priority list, the Iranian Student News Agency reported.
The legislative body will debate and vote on the measure soon, rather than waiting until after the move. It wasn't clear what types of cooperation the measure would cover or if all cooperation would be halted. (Posted 9:51 a.m.)
Bush, in Beijing, addresses Murtha remarks
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- With the debate over the U.S. commitment in Iraq persistently nipping at his heels throughout his eight-day trip to Asia, President Bush for the first time Sunday responded directly to a prominent Democratic congressman's call for withdrawal.
Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., said Thursday the United States should pull out from Iraq over a six-month period. The retired Marine colonel said he had concluded that the presence of U.S. troops was counterproductive because they had become a magnet for insurgent violence.
"Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a United States congressman," Bush said, speaking from the St. Regis Hotel in Beijing. "He is a strong supporter of the United States military, and I know the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way.
"I disagree with his position," Bush said. "An immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq will only strengthen the terrorists' hand in Iraq and in the broader war on terror. That's the goal of the enemy: They want to break our will in Iraq so that we leave and they can turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban -- a safe haven for terror, a place where they can plot and plan attacks against America and freedom-loving countries around the world." (Posted 9:51 a.m.)
U.S. Marine killed, British soldier dies in separate roadside bombs
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine died Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb during combat operations near Haditha, the military said Sunday.
Fifteen Iraqi civilians were also killed, according to a military statement. Immediately following the bombing, gunmen attacked the military convoy with small arms fire. Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines returned fire, killing eight suspected insurgents and wounding another.
The Marine was assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). His name was being withheld pending notification of relatives. His death brings to 2,090 the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq.
On Sunday, a British soldier died from injuries sustained in a roadside bombing in Basra, the British military said. Four others were wounded. The bomb struck about 12:30 p.m. local time, the military said. (Updated 7:37 a.m.)
Tropical Storm Gamma weakens to tropical depression
MIAMI (CNN) -- The 24th named storm of the Atlantic's 2005 hurricane season weakened Sunday to a tropical depression with top sustained winds of about 35 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm is centered about 75 miles north-northeast of Limon, Honduras, and about 215 miles east-southeast of Belize City.
Some fluctuations in strength are expected, the NHC said, as is a slow drift northward. (Posted 7:29 a.m.)
Iraqi police officer gunned down in drive-by shooting
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An Iraqi police officer was gunned down in western Baghdad on Sunday, an emergency police official said.
Maj. Nasir Hamid Bunni, who worked in al-Dora police station, died in the incident about 10 a.m. Sunday in the Nafaq al-Shurta neighborhood. Bunni was driving his private car and wearing civilian clothes when he was targeted in the drive-by shooting. He died instantly, police said.
Earlier Sunday, five Iraqi citizens were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. military convoy, Iraqi police said. And insurgents fired a rocket that landed on a house in the al-Iqari neighborhood in central Baghdad, wounding two civilians, a man and a woman. The incident occurred about 8:15 a.m., police said.
Minutes earlier, three bodies were found by Iraqi police on the outskirts of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad. The men were blindfolded, had their hands tied behind their backs and had been shot in the head, police said. (Updated 5:38 a.m.)
Two bombs explode at car dealership in Spain; no injuries
MADRID (CNN) -- Two homemade bombs exploded early Sunday at a French car dealership on the outskirts of the Basque capital of Vitoria, Spain, causing property damage but no injuries, a government spokesman told CNN.
The blasts damaged a showroom window and one car at the Renault dealership in Armentia, on the outskirts of Vitoria, the political capital of the three provinces comprising the Basque region.
The bombs on Sunday followed a similar small explosion about 8 p.m. Saturday at a Vitoria bicycle factory, which caused slight property damage and no injuries, the spokesman said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the blasts bore the hallmarks of the Basque separatist group ETA, which has been fighting for 37 years for Basque independence from Spain and France. No Spanish government or political leaders immediately blamed the group for Sunday's attacks, however, the spokesman said. (Posted 5:26 a.m.)
Bush, Hu discuss democracy, bird flu, Taiwan
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- In a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, President Bush said he emphasized the need for Chinese citizens to enjoy "greater freedom," including religious freedom.
"It is important that social, political and religious freedoms grow in China," Bush said at a joint news conference held with Hu after the meeting. Hu, in his remarks, did not mention religion directly, but said: "In the future, we'll continue to take into account China's national conditions and follow the wishes of the Chinese people and continuously build democratic politics of Chinese characteristics in the process of continuously raising the level of human rights enjoyed by the Chinese people."
Other topics discussed by Hu and Bush included the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through six-party talks; expanded economic cooperation and trade; the war on terror; avian influenza; and Taiwanese independence.
"I reaffirmed to President Bush that the Chinese government and that the Chinese people are committed to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and we are ready to do our utmost with all sincerity to strive for the prospect of a peaceful reunification of our country," Hu said. "This being said, we will by no means tolerate so-called Taiwan independence." (Posted 1:14 a.m.)
U.S., Iraqi military launch Operation Bruins in Ramadi
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- About 150 Iraqi Army soldiers and 300 U.S. Marines and soldiers launched Operation Dhibbah, or Operation Bruins, in northern Ramadi Saturday night, the military said.
The operation is part of a series of "disruption operations" in Ramadi and aimed at stabilizing the area in time for Dec. 15 elections. Forces were conducting cordon and search operations, blocking off escape routes for suspected insurgents and searching for weapons caches, the military said in a statement.
Operation Bruins follows Operation Panthers, which disrupted operations in eastern Ramadi, and a Nov. 17 engagement where soldiers repelled an insurgent attack and killed 32 suspected insurgents and downtown Ramadi. (Posted 12:28 a.m.)
Religious freedom, trade on Bush's agenda in Beijing
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- President Bush attended a legally sanctioned Protestant church Sunday in Beijing before talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, where the need for religious freedom was on Bush's agenda.
He also planned to discuss trade, intellectual property rights and support for the U.S. push to spread democracy in nations such as Iraq. China is one of the largest manufacturers of counterfeit goods. The U.S. president arrived in the capital Saturday night with first lady Laura Bush, as he neared the end of his Asian tour of Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia.
At the Gangwashi Church -- one of five Protestant churches sanctioned by the government -- Bush signed a guest book with the words: "May God bless the Christians of China." Laura Bush added, "with love and respect."
After the service, Bush told reporters, "You know, it wasn't all that long ago that people were not allowed to worship openly in this society. My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly."
Bush said Hu agreed earlier this year to bring more balance to U.S.-China trade, protect intellectual property rights and implement a flexible market-based exchange system for its currency. China's trade surplus with the United States is expected to reach $200 billion this year. Bush also planned to urge Chinese leaders to make currency system changes; China's currency is undervalued by about 40 percent.
Throughout his trip, Bush has been dogged by the controversy over the U.S. commitment in Iraq, and has repeated his intent to stay the course until the nation can defend itself.
Bush is to arrive in Mongolia Sunday night, local time. (Posted 11:37 p.m.)
Firefighters battle wildfire in Ventura County
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A wildfire that has charred nearly 4,000 acres in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, was 60 percent contained Saturday night, and some fire crews were being released from duty, a county fire department spokesman said.
"This fire is looking a lot better than it did yesterday," Joe Luna told CNN. Homes were no longer threatened, no roads were closed and firefighters hoped to fully contain the blaze by 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Cool, moist air blowing from the Pacific Ocean was helping firefighters fight the School Canyon fire in rugged hillside country, said Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindberry. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. (Posted 11:22 p.m.)
Struggling single father killed in Philadelphia
(CNN) -- Philadelphia police are seeking a motive in the shooting death of an 18-year-old single father featured 12 weeks earlier in a national magazine for the sacrifices he was making to raise his 2-year-old daughter.
Terrell Pough (prono: PEW) died after one shot to the head late Thursday in front of the building where he lived in Germantown, on the city's north side, said Police Sgt. Bob Wilkins of the homicide unit.
Wilkins said Pough apparently was returning from work at the time. The teen died less than an hour later at Temple University Hospital. According to the Aug. 29 issue of People magazine, Pough worked a six-day week as night manager at a Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits franchise where his monthly take-home pay was $1,060. His rent took nearly half of that.
He also took classes and was enrolled in a program affiliated with the public school system called MARS -- Males Achieving Responsibility Successfully -- juggling his days to care for his daughter, who was sometimes cared for by his mother and grandmother. The child with with her grandmother when her father died, Wilkins said.
He said police have no motive for the shooting, and no suspects.
Pough told People he was devoted to his daughter, Diamond. The magazine is owned by Time Warner, CNN's parent company. "She's what I work for, what I live for, why I wake up," he said. "She's everything." He added, "If something ever happens to me, no one can ever tell her that her dad didn't take care of her." (Posted 11:19 p.m.)
Small plane crashes off California coast
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A search was under way Saturday evening off the coast of San Clemente, Calif., for a small plane that crashed into the Pacific Saturday afternoon, police said.
Lt. Erin Giudice of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said there was floating debris near where the plane was seen going down. She said the water there is 200 feet deep.
She said the agency received a mayday call at 2:04 p.m. (5:04 p.m. ET) from a boater in Dana Point Harbor who reported that a small plane had crashed and sunk about one mile from the coast.
The caller said the plane looked like a Cessna, Guidice said. The searchers included the Coast Guard, Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol and Underwater Search and Recovery Team and the state Department of Fish and Game.
San Clemente is about 50 miles south of Los Angeles. (Posted 11:15 p.m.)
in the raid "make it clear that terrorists in Indonesia are likely changing their tactics to include targeting of individual Western citizens," the department said. (Posted, 10:50 p.m.)
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