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Thursday, January 5

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.

Report: Sharon returned to operating room following brain scan

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was returned to the operating room Friday after undergoing a brain scan, Israeli television reported.

There was no immediate confirmation of the reports from Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center, where Sharon was being treated.

Sharon remained in a medically-induced coma following a major stroke on Wednesday and hours of brain surgery, and was breathing with the aid of a ventilator.

In his last briefing, Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of the hospital, said doctors were deciding what steps to take next in his treatment.

"During the night, there was no major changes. He is stable," Mor-Yosef told reporters Friday morning. "All the vital measurements -- within normal limits, including the intracranial pressure."

The physicians ordered a brain scan for the Israeli leader to help with their assessment.

Asked Thursday if Sharon would recover and be able to function, Mor-Yosef said, "Predicting the future at this time is impossible." (posted 5 a.m.)

9 U.S. troops killed in Thursday attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Eight U.S. soldiers and a U.S. Marine were among nearly 140 people killed in a string of Thursday attacks across Iraq, military officials said.

A U.S. soldier and a U.S. Marine were killed in a suicide bombing targeting an Iraqi police recruitment center in Ramadi, the military said Friday. Those deaths bring the total number of people killed in the Ramadi attack to at least 82, along with about 70 wounded.

Two Task Force Baghdad Soldiers were killed Thursday when a roadside bomb targeted their patrol in the Multi-National-Division Baghdad area of operations, the military said Friday. The incident was under investigation. Five other Task Force Baghdad soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing near Baghdad.

Including the U.S. troops, 138 people were killed Thursday -- the deadliest single day in Iraq in nearly four months. The names of the soldiers and Marine were withheld pending notification of relatives. Since the war began, 2,191 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. --CNN Baghdad Bureau Director Cal Perry contributed to this report. (Updated 4:20 a.m.)

Polls show Israelis support Kadima, even without Sharon

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Two newspaper polls published Friday showed Israelis would strongly support the Kadima party founded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, even without the ailing Sharon as its leader.

The prime minister suffered a significant stroke on Wednesday and was in a medically-induced coma after undergoing hours of brain surgery.

A poll published in Israel's Haaretz daily newspaper showed that the election scheduled for March 28 was held now, the Kadima party would win 42 seats in Israel's 120-member parliament if the party were headed by former Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. If headed by acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert -- who assumed power after Sharon fell ill -- Kadima would win 40 seats, according to poll results. If headed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, it would receive 38 seats.

A poll published in Yediot Aharonot newspaper had similar results. It showed Kadima would receive 42 seats if headed by Peres, 39 if headed by Olmert and 36 if headed by Livni.

Sharon left Likud in November to form Kadima, a new centrist party, after rebels in Likud attempted to block him from his goal of achieving Middle East peace. --CNN Producer Michal Zippori contributed to this report. (Posted 3:50 a.m.)

Last-surviving Gang of Four member dies

BEIJING (CNN) -- Yao Wenyuan, the last remaining member of China's Gang of Four, has died, the state-run Xinhua news agency said Friday. He was 74.

According to Xinhua, Yao died of diabetes on Dec. 23. Gang of Four was the name given by Communist authorities to four persons, including Yao, held responsible for the excesses of the country's Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1969. The four were also accused of trying to seize power after the deaths of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in 1976.

The other members of the Gang of Four were Mao's widow Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen and Zhang Chunqiao. Yao "was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a special tribunal of the Supreme People's Court in 1976, with political rights deprived for five years" for his crimes, Xinhua reported. (Posted 4:19 a.m.)

Landslide kills 40 in central Java; nationwide death toll surpasses 100

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Heavy rains, mudslides and flooding in Indonesia's Central Java province this week have killed 40 people and injured 13 others, regional disaster officials said Friday.

Combined with flooding in East Java, the torrential rains have claimed at least 110 lives. In the central village of Gunujraja, more than half the village was covered by a midweek landslide that inundated more than 100 homes and a mosque. The death toll is expected to rise, authorities said. Dozens remain missing.

Rescue crews have had difficulty reaching a number of villages because of the devastation in the area. A landslide in East Java at the beginning of the week caused much of the damage, destroying as many as 2,500 homes, according to local media. Police estimated 5,400 people were left homeless. -- CNN's Taffy Santiago and Journalists John Aglionby and Natasha Tampubolon contributed to this report. (Posted 2:17 a.m.)

Third family member dies from reported bird flu in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- An 11-year-old girl died of bird flu in Turkey on Friday, the country's third death from the virus, officials said.

Hulya Kocyigit is the sister of two teenagers who died earlier this week of the virus. Mehmet Ali Kocyigit, 14, died of a strain of avian influenza on Sunday, and Fatma Kocyigit, 15, died Thursday.

World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman Maria Cheng told CNN the group has confirmed that the two teenagers had an H5 variety of the avian influenza, but said it's not yet known if it was the deadly H5N1 strain.

The hospital said Friday that they believe the latest death is also from the H5N1 strain, and samples have been sent for testing.

Cheng said she wouldn't be surprised if the results do come back showing it was the H5N1 strain, because that virus has been found in birds in that region.

It's not known when the results will be back.

U.S. sailor held in death of Japanese woman

TOKYO (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy has confined a man for his alleged involvement in the death of a Japanese woman earlier this month in Yokosuka City near Tokyo, a Navy statement said Friday.

The sailor is called a potential suspect in the Jan. 3 killing of Yoshie Sato.

"I offer my most sincere apology to the family and friends of Ms. Sato, and I wish them strength and comfort during this very difficult time," said Rear Adm. James Kelly, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan.

Sato, 56, was found dead outside a building near the Yokosuka base, according to Yokosuka police. She had bled heavily from her head and face and died from excessive internal bleeding from a punctured liver. Her empty purse was found nearby.

Head of Federal Air Marshal Service to retire

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, which made headlines last month after two marshals fatally shot an unarmed airline passenger in Miami, said Thursday night he is retiring.

Thomas Quinn said he will exit his post within the Transportation Security Administration on Feb. 3. He gave no reason for leaving, but praised the marshals who, disguised in civilian clothes, provide security on flights.

FAMS spokesman Dave Adams was asked whether Quinn's retirement was connected to the Dec. 7 shooting at Miami International Airport -- the first shooting by air marshals since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"No, there's no correlation with that at all. That shooting was a textbook situation. The director has just decided that it's time for him to retire and enjoy some personal time," Adams said.

New Jersey teacher charged with sexual abuse

NEW YORK (CNN) --A former Somerville, N.J., high school music teacher is being investigated for allegedly sexually abusing several New Jersey high school students.

William "J.R." Thompson has been charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault, three counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, according to a news release posted on the Web site of

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest. Officials believe the 43-year-old teacher has left the state.

The New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit is involved in searching for him, Police Sgt. Steve Jones told CNN.

Schwarzenegger offers mea culpa, new spending in State of State speech

(CNN) -- Saying he was still "happy, hopeful and wiser" after a season of political setbacks, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled an election-year legislative agenda Thursday that centered on a massive bond issue for infrastructure improvements, as well as increases in education spending and the state's minimum wage.

In his annual State of the State address to legislators, the Republican governor also offered yet another mea culpa for pushing ahead with a special election in November, in which voters soundly rejected all four reform initiatives he proposed.

"It is true that I was too much in a hurry. I didn't hear the majority of Californians when they were telling me they didn't like the special election. I barreled ahead anyway, when I should have listened," Schwarzenegger said. "To my fellow Californians, I say, 'Message received.'"

The governor, running for re-election in November, said voters had sent a "clear" message to the state's leaders to "cut the warfare, cool the rhetoric, find common ground and fix the problems together." (Posted 10:14 p.m.)

Syria's ex-VP vows to 'dismantle' al-Assad's rule

PARIS (CNN) -- Syria's former vice president said Thursday he will work to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad from exile, expressing hope that the Syrian people "will free themselves of this corrupt regime shortly."

"I took part in building this regime, and I know how this regime can be dismantled," Abdel-Halim Khaddam told CNN.

He gave no specific details of what steps he would take to oust Syria's ruling Baath Party, which has ruled the country since 1963.

"What I will do is I will work with the Syrians in trying to get rid of a repressive, corrupt regime, and I think the Syrian people will free themselves of this corrupt regime shortly," he said.

Khaddam resigned as al-Assad's vice president in June over what he said were differences on both international and domestic affairs. He said he had hoped the Syrian president, who took office in 2000 when his father died, would institute political and economic reforms, "but the situation only became worse." (Posted 8:55 p.m.)

Mine disaster survivor getting specialized treatment in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (CNN) -- Miracle miner Randy McCloy Jr. beat the odds to survive 41 hours trapped underground, and now doctors are hoping a specialized oxygen treatment can help him beat the odds again and overcome the effects of brain damage that have left him comatose.

McCloy, 26, arrived at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh Thursday evening for treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, where he will be given pressurized oxygen in an effort to combat the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and oxygen deprivation that damaged his brain and other vital organs.

Dr. Richard Shannon, who is treating McCloy at Allegheny, said the treatments, which began Thursday evening, are designed to remove any remaining carbon monoxide that may have attached to molecules inside of cells, preventing any further damage. However, he said there is no evidence that the treatment will reverse any brain damage that has already occurred.

"I think any support that we can provide to Mr. McCloy at this point increases his chances of recovery," he said. "We are doing this because we want to leave no stone unturned. We want to offer him any possible benefit." (Posted 8:20 p.m.)

Official: Amanpour, other CNN journalists not targeted for surveillance

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A senior U.S. intelligence official told CNN Thursday that the National Security Agency did not target CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour or any other CNN journalist for surveillance.

NBC raised the allegation in an interview with New York Times reporter James Risen, asking him whether he knew anything about possible surveillance of Amanpour by the NSA. Risen, author of a new book, "State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," said he had not heard anything about it.

NBC posted a transcript of the interview on the MSNBC.com Web site Wednesday, then quickly removed the page. In a statement posted on the industry weblog TVNewser, the network said the transcript was "released prematurely," and that reporting would continue.

The interview was not broadcast on any NBC news program, the network said. From National Security Correspondent David Ensor (Posted 8:16 p.m.)

Jose Padilla transferred to civilian custody after 3 years

MIAMI (CNN) -- Jose Padilla, the terror suspect dubbed an "enemy combatant" and held without charges for more than three years, was transferred Thursday from a military brig to civilian custody in Miami, where he appeared briefly in a federal court.

Padilla, 35, arrived in Miami aboard a Department of Homeland Security helicopter and was whisked away under heavy escort in a black SUV for his first-appearance hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry L. Garber.

The hearing lasted about 5 minutes. Garber said Padilla would be arraigned at 4 p.m. Friday in his court, where he would be represented by one of his attorneys, Andy Patel. The judge said the subject of pretrial detention also would be discussed.

With Padilla standing in front of the judge's bench, Garber told him that anything he said at the hearing could be used against him at trial, and that he was free to ask questions. The only comment from Padilla came after Garber asked him if he understood everything he had said, and Padilla replied, "Yes, I do." (Posted 6:25 p.m.)

Intelligence court to be briefed Monday on NSA surveillance program

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The judges who sit on the court that oversees requests by U.S. intelligence agencies for wiretap warrants will receive a private briefing Monday in Washington on the National Security Agency's surveillance program that allows for eavesdropping of people in the United States without judicial approval, two court sources told CNN.

The briefing for the court was initiated by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who currently presides over what is known as the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court. One of the court's members, U.S. District Judge James Robertson, resigned from the panel last month because of his concerns about the NSA program, sources who claim knowledge of his reasons have told CNN.

The judges who sit on the intelligence court, which includes up to 11 judges at a time, are members of the federal judiciary and serve on it in addition to their regular duties. --From CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn (Posted 5:36 p.m.)

Hotel collapses as pilgrims arrive in Mecca; at least 20 dead

(CNN) -- Saudi authorities are investigating what caused a small hotel in Mecca to collapse Thursday, killing at least 20 Muslim pilgrims and wounding 59 others, an Interior Ministry spokesman told Saudi's state-run news agency.

The hotel crumbled to the ground Thursday, sending chunks of debris into the street and sidewalks packed with Muslims who are in Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage which begins Sunday.

Rescue teams are working through the night, searching for more victims and possible survivors beneath the rubble of the hotel, which is near the Grand Mosque in central Mecca, the focal point for much of the Hajj. Four of those killed were citizens of the United Arab Emirates, UAE's state-run media, WAM, reported.

Millions of pilgrims are expected to arrive in Mecca for this year's Hajj, during which they participate in a series of rituals. The Koran requires every adult Muslim to make the journey to Mecca at least once, if possible. (Posted 3:29 p.m.)

Military says U.S. bomb hit wrong target in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A precision-guided bomb that killed six civilians near Baiji, Iraq, on Monday missed its target by 20 meters after being dropped by a U.S. fighter and hit a different home, military officials said.

The airstrike was aimed at a building into which three men had entered after apparently planting a roadside bomb as a U.S. unmanned surveillance plane watched unnoticed from above, said military officials.

A spokesman for the Salaheddin provincial governor's office said the strike flattened the family's home, killing six family members and seriously wounding three others. A father and daughter survived relatively unscathed, he said.

U.S. military officials said they are still investigating why the wrong building was struck. --From CNN Pentagon Producer Mike Mount (Posted 2:33 p.m.)

Residents, protesters clash with workers clearing debris in 9th Ward

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Angry residents and protesters in this city's devastated lower 9th Ward clashed with workers who were using bulldozers to clear debris from a sidewalk Thursday.

The residents, some of whom are part of a class-action lawsuit against the city's plan to demolish at least 120 homes in the neighborhood, claimed the city was violating an injunction to halt any demolition until the suit is heard in court.

The neighborhood was one of the areas of New Orleans hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Levees around the city crumbled Aug. 29 and floodwater went to the rooftops in some places.

City officials said the workers were clearing rubble from a public sidewalk, as they have an obligation to do to make sure it's accessible, but about 30 protesters and residents said that rubble was someone's home. Police came in to calm tempers and the workers withdrew under police protection. Tracie Washington, one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit, said later the city had agreed to stop all clearing operations in the neighborhood for the day. (Posted 2:22 p.m.)

Note: Miners went 'to sleep' while waiting for rescue

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (CNN) -- A doomed miner, 13,000 feet into a dark coal mine, penned some final words -- saying that he and the others trapped after an explosion were "just going to sleep," the brother-in-law of one of those men told CNN Thursday.

Bill Rogers, brother-in-law of bolt operator and third-generation coal miner Jerry Groves, said he learned of the existence of the note from another family member who had seen it. Other relatives also said they knew of the existence of at least one note and it brought them some solace.

"Our only comfort would be that there was no suffering, that they would go to sleep, and there it is," Rogers said. "I hope it's not the fault of the mine and that it's an act of God rather than negligence."

Groves, 56, and 11 other miners died after Monday's explosion. (Posted 2:11 p.m.)

Sharon remains on life support in stable condition, his doctor says; not possible yet to assess effect of stroke

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon remains on life support in stable condition in an induced coma after suffering a stroke and cerebral hemorrhage, Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of Hadassah Medical Center, told reporters Thursday.

Sharon remains under anesthesia, breathing with the aid of ventilator, to reduce cranial pressure after the surgery to stop the bleeding in his brain, said Mor-Yosef, who added that at the moment it was not possible to assess the effect of the stroke.

Asked what doctors had been able to determine about Sharon's condition, Mor-Yosef said, "We have said he suffered a significant stroke, severe internal hemorrhaging. ... We do not have any assessment at this point. We can only say, gradually we will wake him up." He said it may be necessary to keep Sharon under sedation for as much as 72 hours.

"We are fighting for the life of the prime minister without any compromise," said Mor-Yosef. He said the pupils of Sharon's eyes are responding to light, indicating "the brain is operating." (Posted 1:30 p.m.)

Study: Little progress in highway safety laws

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- States have done a poor job of enacting highway safety laws, according to an advocacy group that released its annual report assessing 14 basic traffic laws addressing drunken driving, child safety, teen driving and occupant protection.

The group, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, gave a passing safety rating of green (good) to only 16 states and the District of Columbia. It also found that 34 states lack fundamental traffic safety laws.

Every year for the past 12 years, at least 40,000 Americans have been killed and 3 million more injured on highways at a cost given by the group at $230 billion.

"Too many people are needlessly dying and too few governors ... are making the enacting of traffic safety laws the public health priority that it should be," said Jacqueline Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. --From CNN Producer Nicole Jackson (Posted 12:52 p.m.)

Second human death from bird flu reported in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- A 15-year-old girl died of bird flu in Turkey Thursday, becoming the country's second person to succumb to the virus, health officials said Thursday.

Fatma Kocyigit's brother, Mehmet Ali Kocyigit, 14, died of a strain of avian influenza Sunday, Health Minister Recep Akdag said.

World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman Maria Cheng told CNN the group has confirmed that the two had an H5 variety of the avian influenza, but said it's not yet known if it was the deadly H5N1 strain.

Cheng said she wouldn't be surprised if the results do come back showing it was the H5N1 strain, because that virus has been found in birds in that region. The siblings would be the first known human deaths from the strain outside of China and Southeast Asia. (Posted 12:05 p.m.)

Iranian delegation to IAEA leaves Vienna after Tehran asked to explain intentions in restarting nuclear program

(CNN) -- Iran's delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency abruptly left Vienna Thursday without attending a meeting in which delegation members were to explain the reasons behind Tehran's planned resumption of its nuclear program, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization announced Tuesday it would restart its nuclear research program Jan. 9 to put idle atomic researchers back to work.

An IAEA statement Tuesday said Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general, acknowledges the right of Iran "to the peaceful use of nuclear technology." "However, he continues to call on Iran to take the steps the IAEA requires to resolve outstanding issues regarding the nature of Iran's nuclear program," the statement said. (Posted 9:36 a.m.)

Memorial service planned for mine victims

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (CNN) -- As black ribbons and signs calling for prayer went up across the area, Upshur County officials planned a memorial service for the victims of the Sago Mine accident.

The service was tentatively planned for Jan. 15 at the Wesley Chapel at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, according to Terri Jo Bennett, assistant to the county commission. The chapel seats an estimated 1,500 people. (Posted 9:28 a.m.)

Suburban Washington commuter train derails, 5 injured

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A commuter train en route to the nation's capital derailed early Thursday, according to a dispatcher with the Dumfries, Va., police department.

Five people were injuried and transported to a hospital, according to Capt. Tim Taylor of the Prince William County, Va., Fire Dept.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was on site of the accident, and that three cars and an engine had derailed. All remained upright, the NTSB said.

The train is a popular commuter line with residents of Virginia who work in Washington. (Posted 9:19 a.m.)

At least 134 killed in string of attacks across Iraq, including U.S. soldiers

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Insurgent attacks across Iraq Thursday left more than 130 people dead, including five U.S. soldiers.

Most of the victims were Iraqi citizens killed in a pair of suicide bombings, one near two Shiite shrines in Karbala and the other near an Iraqi police recruitment and screening drive in eastern Ramadi, officials said. (Updated 10:14 a.m.)

Mine owner deflects criticism of safety record

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The owner of group that runs the Sago mine Thursday acknowledged a seemingly large number of safety violations at the site, but said it remains to be seen whether those violations contributed to the explosion that led to the deaths of 12 miners this week.

A 13th miner remains in critical but stable condition, hospitalized with severe dehydration, a collapsed lung and organ damage caused by lack of oxygen and water during his 41-hour ordeal in the mine tunnel.

Wilbur Ross, billionaire chairman of the International Coal Group, told CNN's "American Morning" that it was "significant" to point out that mine inspectors, who completed their last report on Dec. 22, "did not say the mine should be shut down." (Posted 9:14 a.m.)

Roadside bomb kills 5 U.S. soldiers in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb struck a Task Force Baghdad patrol, killing five U.S. soldiers, according to a U.S. military news release. The soldiers were in an armored Humvee, military officials said.

Their deaths bring to 2,187 the number of U.S. troops who have died in the Iraq war. (Posted 8:59 a.m.)

Taliban claims responsibility for suicide bombing; 10 Afghans killed

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 10 Afghans were killed and 50 injured Thursday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded area of Tarin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan Province, according to the provincial deputy governor.

Uruzgan Deputy Governor Haji Abdul Aziz said the dead included two children, and said 15 of the injured were seriously wounded. He said the bomber blew himself up around 11:30 a.m. local time in a crowded area of the provincial capital as people flocked to stores to buy gifts for the upcoming Eid holiday.

There were no U.S. casualties, a U.S. military spokesman said, although U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Finter confirmed that U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann and other embassy officials were only about a half a mile away from the scene of the blast. The ambassador and his staff have all been accounted for and are safe, Finter said. (Posted 8:57 a.m.)

Bomb explodes at empty hotel in northern Spain

MADRID (CNN) -- A small bomb exploded at a vacant hotel in Spain's northern Zaragoza province Thursday, following a warning call in the name of the Basque separatist group ETA.

There were no reported injuries, a government official told CNN. The explosion apparently did not cause significant damage, the official said, who is based at the central government's main office in the city of Zaragoza about 45 miles (75 km) south of the attack. Senior government officials were heading to the scene, he said.

A recording at the government-run hotel -- the Parador Nacional in the village of Sos del Rey Catolico -- said the hotel is closed through February 11.

The village is located about 250 miles (400 km) northeast of Madrid. Spanish news reports said the warning call was made to the Basque emergency road service, DYA, at 7:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. ET). The agency often receives calls from ETA before its attacks.

2 Marines killed, 2 hurt in Calif. military vehicle accident

(CNN) -- Two Marines were killed and two others injured Wednesday in a military vehicle crash on a California freeway, the California Highway Patrol said.

A light armored vehicle was transporting Marines from the base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., to Miramar Marine Corps Air Station when the accident occurred about 7:20 p.m. (10:20 p.m.) on southbound Interstate 15 in the Rancho Bernardo area near San Diego, according to a CHP statement. The vehicle was towing a second vehicle, and both struck a concrete barrier and overturned, the statement said. The Marines, ages 20 and 22, were ejected from the rear of the vehicle and went over the side of the freeway, the CHP said.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Their names were withheld pending notification of relatives. Two other Marines were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were described by the CHP as minor. The cause of the crash remained under investigation. The weather at the time of the crash was clear, said CHP spokesman Larry Landeros. (Updated 5:05 a.m.)

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