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Tuesday, January 24

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

Sri Lanka rebels agree to resumption of peace talks

KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to resume peace talks with the government, raising hopes the country may avert a backslide into civil war.

Peace talks between the two sides broke off in 2003. While an agreed-upon cease-fire has generally held, increasing violence within the past few weeks has led to fears the civil war would resume.

The agreement came Wednesday at a meeting in Kilinochchi -- within rebel-held territory -- between the Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim, and rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. After the talks, Solheim told reporters that the rebels and the government of Sri Lanka have agreed to hold talks in Geneva, probably in February.

The 2002 cease-fire halted two decades of the civil war, which has killed more than 65,000 people since 1983. -- Journalist Kasra Naji contributed to this report. (Posted 6:23 a.m.)

Motorcycle bomb explodes in central Baghdad; Diyala violence kills 6

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A motorcycle rigged with explosives detonated near a police patrol in central Baghdad Wednesday, wounding at least two police officers, authorities said.

The blast in busy al-Tahrir Square damaged a number of storefronts and several civilian vehicle, according to emergency police.

In Baquba, gunmen killed two police officers and an employee with the Water Resource Ministry in separate attacks Tuesday, an official with the Diyala Joint Coordination Center told CNN.

In Balad Ruz, about 20 miles (30 km) east of Baquba, Iraqi police found the bodies of two men and one woman Tuesday, the official said. All had been shot. -- CNN Producer Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report. (Posted 5:21 a.m.)

Report: Iran supports fine-tuning of Russia enrichment plan

MOSCOW (CNN) -- An Iranian official said Wednesday Tehran supports a proposal under which Russia would enrich uranium for Iran, but believes the plan still needs some work, according to a report from the Russian news agency Interfax.

Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, said the question was discussed at talks in Moscow with Russian Security Council secretary Igor Ivanov. "Our attitude to the proposal is positive," Larijani said at a Moscow news conference, Interfax reported. "We tried to bring the positions of the two sides closer ... The plan can be fine-tuned in the future during the talks due in February."

"The project won't have the full potential to resolve all problems" regarding the furor over Iran's nuclear program, Larijani said. "It should be fine-tuned, together with other measures." (Posted: 4:55 a.m.)

Chinese language version of Google to self-censor

(CNN) -- Internet search engine Google has rolled out a China-based version of its popular Web site -- one that bows to Beijing's censorship laws and will edit the content of its results. -- the Chinese language version of the search portal -- debuted Wednesday with the company acknowledging the balancing act it was attempting to perform. "In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on, in response to local law, regulation or policy," a Google statement said. "While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission."

Google said it intends to report to users when information is removed from search results. The company says it does the same thing in response to local laws in Germany, France and the United States. (Posted: 4:38 a.m.)

Hamas leader: Negotiations with Israel a possibility

GAZA CITY, Gaza (CNN) -- Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, whose party is expected to make a strong showing among Palestinians in their first parliamentary election in a decade, on Wednesday left open the possibility of forming a coalition with the ruling Fatah Party and also the possibility of future negotiations with Israel, under certain conditions.

Zahar said his goals include reconstruction of what he claimed has been destroyed by Israeli occupation and corruption, as well as rebuilding the Palestinian infrastructure. He said he would be open to negotiations with Israel, but only if the Israelis have something to offer and enter into talks with good will and respect for the rights of Palestinians.

"We are not going to meet them just for meeting," Zahar told a throng of reporters after casting his own ballot. Previously, he said, many meetings have been held but "ended with nothing." Asked if Hamas would ever recognize Israel, Zahar replied: "Never."

Polls opened Wednesday in Gaza and the West Bank for about 1.3 million Palestinians. Observers have said the key vote could be pivotal in the Palestinian push for statehood. (Posted 3:57 a.m.)

Officials hope DVD gets pandas in the mood for love

BANGKOK (CNN) -- After Thailand's most popular animal couple failed to mate, zoo officials are gearing up for plan B -- a DVD they hope will get Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui in the mood for love.

The pandas' first mating season -- a three-day window -- came last week.

Despite a widely-publicized encounter between Chuang Chuang, a 6-year-old male, and 5-year-old Lin Hui, the mating apparently was unsuccessful.

Zoo administrator Prasertsak Puttrakul, who leads a team taking care of the pandas, noted they tend to live in isolation in the wild, and do not witness other pandas mating.

"That's why they are bound to extinction should there be no help," he said. Recent panda reproduction in the United States and Japan stemmed from artificial breeding, he said. (posted 2:08 a.m.)

Palestinian election could see Hamas emerge on the political front

GAZA CITY, Gaza (CNN) -- Polls opened Wednesday in Gaza and the West Bank for about 1.3 million Palestinians in the first parliamentary elections in a decade -- a key vote that observers say could be pivotal in the Palestinian push for statehood.

The voting will be held at more than 1,000 polling stations until 7 p.m. (noon ET)

On the eve of the election, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinians to turn out for the vote.

"Voting is the right of every citizen," Abbas said. "It's a national obligation because the results of the election should reflect a truthful expression of all Palestinians."

An array of militant groups said they would disarm during the voting. (posted 12:20 a.m.)

Father of 8-year-old shooter is arrested on gun charges

GERMANTOWN, Md. (CNN) -- Hours after an 8-year-old boy shot a 7-year-old girl at a day-care facility, police Tuesday arrested the boy's father -- a convicted felon -- for allegedly leaving a handgun in an unsecured container in his home.

The 56-year-old father was charged with leaving a firearm in a location accessible by an unsupervised minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of a firearm by a felon, the Montgomery County police said.

The boy also is in custody. Police said the boy got the gun, a .38-caliber Taurus revolver, and bullets used in the shooting from an unsecured container in a closet containing his father's possessions.

The girl was taken to Children's Hospital in Washington, where she was listed in stable condition. Police said they have "initiated a number of charges regarding the juvenile's involvement with this incident."

"Any further action regarding the juvenile will be determined by the Department of Juvenile Services," a police statement said. (Posted 9:36 p.m.)

Chairman emeritus of Fortune 500 company killed in California plane crash

CARLSBAD, Calif. (CNN) -- A small plane skidded off the runway and burst into flames here early Tuesday, killing all four people aboard, including the chairman emeritus of a Fortune 500 company.

Frank Jellinek Jr., the chairman emeritus of Fisher Scientific International, is the only person to have been publicly identified in the crash at McClellan-Palomar Airport.

"Frank was a great leader and an outstanding person who dedicated his life to his family, company and community," said Paul Montrone, the chairman and chief executive officer of Fisher, which provides products and services to the scientific community.

Bill Polick, a spokesman for the airport, said the twin-engine Cessna 560 overshot the runway about 6:40 a.m. (9:40 a.m. ET) and hit a set of lights before driving into a storage area and bursting into flames. (Posted 8:32 p.m.)

Prosecution requests secret hearing in Al-Jazeera memo case

LONDON (CNN) -- A hearing for two British bureaucrats accused of providing a tabloid newspaper with a secret memo about a purported conversation between President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair should take place behind closed doors, prosecutors said in a request made Tuesday.

In November, the Daily Mirror reported that during an April 2004 meeting, Bush suggested bombing the headquarters of the Arabic language news network Al-Jazeera in Qatar, but he was talked out of it by Blair. Both the White House and Blair's office have disputed that account.

David Keogh, 49, a civil servant, and Leo O'Connor, 42, a parliamentary researcher, are accused of making "a damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations," in violation of the country's Official Secrets Act.

Keogh, who worked in the Cabinet Office, is accused of sending a confidential government file, which originated in Blair's office, to O'Connor, who worked for a member of Parliament. The MP later returned the document to Blair's office. -- From CNN Producer Jonathan Wald (Posted 7:52 p.m.)

Supreme Court stays Florida prisoner's execution

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court ordered a rare, last-minute stay of execution Tuesday for a Florida man sentenced to die for the 1982 killing of a police officer.

Clarence Hill, 48, had been scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Tuesday evening. But Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily stayed the procedure after Hill's lawyers argued their client was mentally retarded and that the method of execution used in Florida violated the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishments.

The Supreme Court barred the execution of mentally retarded prisoners in 2002.

Kennedy's order included no immediate explanation for the decision. The justice could refer the case for a decision by the full court. Hill's execution had been set for 6 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Starke. His lawyers argued that the combination of chemicals the state uses to kill prisoners causes pain for the dying inmate. -- From CNN Producer Bill Mears (Posted 7:48 p.m.)

Palestinian election could see Hamas emerge on the political front

GAZA CITY, Gaza (CNN) -- About 1.3 million Palestinians are to head to the polls Wednesday in the first parliamentary elections in a decade -- a key vote that observers say could be pivotal in the Palestinian push for statehood.

On the eve of the election, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinians to turn out for the vote, and an array of militant groups said they would disarm during the voting, which will be held at more than 1,000 polling stations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (midnight to noon ET).

"Voting is the right of every citizen," Abbas said. "It's a national obligation because the results of the election should reflect a truthful expression of all Palestinians."

Central in the balloting is the battle between the ruling Fatah Party and Hamas, the militant Islamic group that has called for the destruction of Israel and is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. (Posted 6:13 p.m.)

Disney buying Pixar in deal estimated at $7.4 billion

NEW YORK ( -- Walt Disney has announced that it is buying Pixar, the animated studio led by Apple head Steve Jobs, in a deal worth $7.4 billion.

Speculation about a deal being imminent had raged on Wall Street for the past few weeks. Disney has released all of Pixar's films so far but their current distribution deal was set to expire after the release of this summer's "Cars."

As part of the deal, Jobs will become a board member of Disney, the companies said. And John Lasseter, the widely respected creative director at Pixar who had previously worked for Disney, will rejoin the House of Mouse as chief creative officer for the company's combined animated studios and will also help oversee the design for new attractions at Disney theme parks. (Posted 4:39 p.m.)

West Virginia politicians take mine-safety mission to White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- West Virginia lawmakers met Tuesday with Bush administration officials to set a national strategy to improve mine safety.

"We need money, money in the budgets," Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., told reporters outside the White House. "We have to stop cutting the budgets for mine safety."

The meeting came after 14 miners died within three weeks, and a day after state legislators enacted safety legislation.

"This is a truly bipartisan effort movement," said Gov. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, after meeting with a number of administration officials, led by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. (Posted 3:50 p.m.)

Annan's son admits dodging duty on Mercedes

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The son of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has admitted misusing his father's name to avoid paying a customs duty on a Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle eight years ago, a transaction that came under scrutiny due to the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.

Kojo Annan now wants to make amends, according to a letter and documents just released by his attorney.

Investigators last year found that Kojo Annan had "used false pretenses" in November 1998 to obtain a diplomatic discount for a $45,000-plus green Mercedes ML 320 S/Wagon in Geneva, Switzerland, and to ship it to Ghana, the West African nation where both Annans are from.

By using his father's name, Kojo Annan saved close to $21,000, according to the Sept. 7, 2005, report by the Independent Investigative Committee, led by Paul Volcker. (Posted 3:29 p.m.)

Olmert tells Israelis: 'The only solution now is 2 states'

HERZLIYA, Israel (CNN) -- In his first major policy address since taking the helm of the government earlier this month, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that the most important challenge facing the nation is "setting the permanent borders of the state of Israel to ensure a Jewish majority."

Speaking at the the annual Herzliya Conference, Olmert called Israel's pullout from Gaza last summer as a "turning point for the state of Israel."

"In order to ensure that we have a Jewish homeland, we cannot continue to control those territories where there is a Palestinian majority. We must as soon as possible lay down a clear-cut border that will ensure a Jewish majority within the state of Israel," Olmert said.

And he made clear his view that there is now only one way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. "The only solution now is two states -- one Jewish, one Palestinian," he said. (Posted 2:59 p.m.)

Coalition troops in Basra stage operation against police corruption; make arrests, seize weapons

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two "serving Iraqi policemen" and "another Iraqi male" were arrested in Basra as part of an effort to fight police corruption in Basra, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

"The individuals detained are suspected of involvement in numerous criminal acts including kidnapping, extortion and assassination of Iraqi civilians. They are also believed to have been involved in attacks on members of the Iraqi Police Service and Multi-National Forces," said a statement released by the military.

British and Danish troops were involved in the operation, in which weapons were seized, it said.

Basra is in southern Iraq. Police officers who have been members of the "former Department of Internal Affairs, Criminal Intelligence Unit and Serious Crimes Unit are believed to have been involved in corrupt and criminal activities, targeting both Iraqis and Multi-National Forces." the statement said. Posted 2:19 p.m.)

Lieberman says White House stonewalling Katrina probe

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House has refused to answer questions from a Senate committee probing the response to Hurricane Katrina and has told other agencies to straight-arm investigators, the committee's top Democrat said Tuesday.

Documents released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee showed that top federal officials warned the White House hours before the storm hit that Katrina was likely to breach the protective levees surrounding New Orleans.

The memo was sent to the White House Situation Room shortly before 2 a.m. on Aug. 29, said Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the committee. Lieberman questioned why President Bush was "so uninformed" that three days later, he told a television interviewer, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

But Lieberman, who has been an ally of the White House on other issues, said the president's office has hindered the committee's efforts to get to the bottom of the mess that followed. (Posted 1:58 p.m.)

Nigerian gunmen kill 9 at Italian oil company; hostage negotiations ongoing

(CNN) -- Nigerian gunmen Tuesday opened fire on the base of an Italian oil firm, Agip, killing nine people, most of them Nigerian police, before escaping with over $30,000, according to a police spokeswoman.

The attackers approached Agip's base in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt in three boats, the spokeswoman said. The dead include seven police, one civilian, and a security guard, she said.

Foreign oil companies based in Nigeria's oil-rich delta have been a target for recent violence. On Jan. 11, Nigerian militants took four Shell Oil workers hostage and demanded ransom and the release of two of their leaders.

Nigerian Information Minister Frank Nweke Jr. told CNN that the government is in touch with representatives of the group and "discussions are ongoing." -- CNN stringer Christian Purefoy contributed to this report (Posted 1:34 p.m.)

Hamas calls for Jill Carroll's release

(CNN) -- Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, is calling for the release of abducted journalist Jill Carroll, kidnapped in Iraq on Jan. 7, according to the Christian Science Monitor newspaper.

Saeed Syam, a top Hamas official in Gaza, said Monday the group "joins those who ask to release American citizen Jill Carroll" and stressed "we have declared many times we are totally against kidnapping civilians."

The statement has been posted on the newspaper's Web site at

Muslims and non-Muslims have issued statements urging the release of Carroll, who has been a free-lancer for the Monitor. (Posted 1 p.m.)

Bush, Pakistan's prime minister gloss over recent rancor

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush met Tuesday at the White House with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, after which the two men reaffirmed the close relationship of their two countries in an appearance before reporters that betrayed none of the rancor that Aziz expressed Sunday over the U.S. attack on a remote area of Pakistan that killed 13 people, including women and children.

"I want to thank the prime minister and thank the president for working closely with us on a variety of issues; we're working closely to defeat the terrorists who would like to harm America and harm Pakistan," Bush said, as Aziz nodded in assent.

"They are our friends, and we consider this friendship to be a vital friendship for keeping the peace."

Bush said that he will visit Pakistan and India in March. (Posted 12:41 p.m.)

High court nominee Alito receives party-line vote in Senate committee

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito received approval from a Senate panel Tuesday along party lines, setting up a potentially divisive floor fight later in the week.

All 10 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee supported Alito, praising his qualifications and long judicial career. The panel's eight Democrats opposed him, saying he would be too deferential to presidential authority.

Despite the partisan tone, Alito is expected to get confirmed as the 110th justice on the Supreme Court, replacing the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. --From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears (Posted 12:22 p.m.)

4 dead in small-plane crash

(CNN) -- A small plane landing Tuesday at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California, skidded off the runway and burst into flames, killing all four occupants.

Bill Polick, a spokesman for the airport, said the twin-engine Cessna 560 landed "long" about 6:40 a.m. (9:40 a.m. ET), hit a set of lights, drove into a storage area and burst into flames.

The private jet was arriving from Sun Valley, Idaho, and was attempting to land in a tailwind, said Laura Brown, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. (Posted 12:18 p.m.)

Reform-pushing House duo backs Shadegg for majority leader

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The conservative and moderate duo who spearheaded the petition drive earlier this month to elect a permanent House majority leader joined forces Tuesday to endorse Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., for the post.

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., argued that Shadegg, a conservative who is trying to replace Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, would provide a "fresh face" in leadership.

Shadegg faces an uphill race against Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. Blunt is the front-runner, claiming to have more than the 117 votes in the GOP caucus needed to win the post. Ninety members have publicly supported Blunt's candidacy. Boehner's camp maintains the race isn't over, arguing he has 90 supporters, 47 of them public. (Posted 11:55 a.m.)

New network to begin broadcasting in September

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Warner Brothers and CBS are joining to create a broadcast network that will replace two existing networks and will begin operating in the fall, Les Moonves, the chairman of CBS, announced Tuesday.

The new network is to be called the CW Network; WB and UPN will cease operations as of September, he told reporters. (Posted 11:21 p.m.)

16 men found shot dead near Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The bodies of 16 men were found shot dead Tuesday in the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, police said.

Police said they believe the deaths are related to the abduction Monday of at least 20 Sunni Arab males in northwestern Baghdad. In that incident, at least 30 gunmen dressed like Iraqi police commandos raided homes of Sunni Arabs, detained at least 20 people and killed two others.

Police believe the bodies are most likely those of 16 of the abducted men. (Posted 11:03 a.m.)

Attorney for jailed anti-Castro figure seeks release pending case resolution

MIAMI (CNN) -- An attorney for anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles asked immigration officials Tuesday to release his client while they decide what do with the former CIA operative, who snuck into the United States last year before being arrested by Homeland Security agents.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have 180 days to reply to the request, said Posada's attorney, Eduardo Soto. Posada is in federal custody in El Paso, Texas.

In September an immigration judge ruled that he could not be extradited to either Cuba or Venezuela because of concern that he would be tortured there. (Posted 10:46 a.m.)

Iraqi official says 5 female prisoners in U.S. custody in Iraq to be released this week

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An Iraqi official said Tuesday five female prisoners in U.S. custody are to be released in two days.

This comes after militants last week said they would kill abducted U.S. journalist Jill Carroll if all female prisoners in U.S. detention were not freed.

Bosho Ibrahim Ali, a deputy justice minister, last week told CNN there were nine female prisoners in custody.

He told CNN that the U.S. military on Thursday will release 424 prisoners, including five women. Ali said the other four might be released with another group at another time. --From Producer Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 10:28 a.m.)

Ramsey Clark: Scrap 'dysfunctional,' ineffective Iraq war crimes court

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Ramsey Clark -- the former U.S. attorney general who now serves as a legal adviser to Saddam Hussein's defense team -- said the latest delay in the former dictator's war crimes trial provides "further evidence and strong evidence that the court's dysfunctional" and asserted that the court should be "abandoned."

"The trial has never been on track," Clark said Tuesday in an interview on CNN's "American Morning," disputing what he said was President Bush's recent remark that the trial was on track.

"What you have is pure chaos," Clark said.

The trial -- which began in October -- was to resume Tuesday, but was delayed until Sunday because witnesses couldn't show up for the proceeding. (Posted 10:27 a.m.)

Kuwaiti power shift in motion: Ailing sheikh removed from emirate

(CNN) -- Kuwait's parliament on Tuesday voted to remove the ailing sheikh who came to power briefly after the recent death of the country's long-ruling emir, sources in parliament told CNN.

The country's Cabinet now is to select a new emir, expected to be the country's prime minister. A Kuwait diplomat on Monday told CNN that Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, 75 -- who is in poor health -- agreed to hand over authority of the emirate to the prime minister, Sabah al-Sabah, who is his cousin.

The agreement came amid meetings between the current emir, the prime minister and Salem Ali, a family elder, held over the past few days. (Posted 9:42 a.m.)

Turkey proposes 'action plan' for Cyprus

(CNN) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul put forth an "Action Plan" Tuesday aimed at moving Turkey and Greece closer to a settlement over the divided island of Cyprus, beginning with the elimination of "all kinds of economic restrictions on the island."

The plan includes opening Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot ships, allowing Greek Cypriot planes to fly over Turkish territory and use Turkish airports, and opening Turkish Cypriot ports and the airport to international business.

The move comes amid Turkey's bid for European Union membership. Posted 9:41 a.m.)

DaimlerChrysler announces job cuts

YORK ( -- DaimlerChrysler will implement a new management structure that will include cutting 20 percent of its general and administrative staff, the world's fifth-biggest car manufacturer said Tuesday.

The cuts are expected to reduce the company's global white-collar jobs by about 6,000 over the next three years and result in a $1.2 billion a year savings(Posted 7:59 a.m.)

Gonzales: NSA spying program 'lawful,' Congress knew 'scope'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales dismissed criticism of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program Tuesday, telling CNN that Congress was aware of the program's scope and approved it "under the authorization to use military force" against terrorism.

Many Democrats and some Republicans have disagreed with the administration's position on authorization, and some have said that they were not made aware of the program's scope during briefings -- nor were they allowed to go public with their concerns because of the program's sensitive nature.

But Gonzales sought to ease concerns that the program was tantamount to spying on American citizens. (Posted 7:52 a.m.)

4 killed in Thai truck-train crash

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Four people were killed Tuesday when a truck rammed a Bangkok-bound train in Lopburi, about 150 miles north of the Thai capital, police said.

About 50 others were injured in the accident, which took place at 3 p.m. The train originated in Nongkhai, a provincial capital about 600 km from Bangkok. (Posted 7:50 a.m.)

Japanese executive removed from top company posts after arrest

TOKYO (CNN) -- The board of Japanese Internet firm Livedoor has removed CEO and President Takafumi Horie from those positions in the wake of his arrest over allegations of securities fraud, the company said Tuesday. Horie remains on the executive board, however.

The new president will be Kozo Hiramatsu, a Livedoor executive and president of Livedoor's accounting software unit, Yayoi Co., while Fumito Kumagai, an executive board member, will serve as the chairman of the board. (Posted 6:51 a.m.)

Indonesian authorities question man in connection with possible terrorist activities

JAKARTA (CNN) -- Indonesian police are questioning a man in connection with possible terrorist activities related to a senior operative in the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network, a police spokesman said.

According to Brig. Gen. Anton Bahrul, the man, simply known by the single name of Catur, was detained Monday by police in Semarang, in central Java. Under Indonesian law, he can be held for a week without being charged, but is being questioned in connection with terrorist activities involving JI senior operative Noordin Top.

Indonesian authorities believe Top, a Malaysian, was an accomplice in last year's deadly trio of bombings at three crowded Bali restaurants that killed 22 people on the resort island, a police spokesman said. (Posted 6:34 a.m.)

Saddam Hussein trial postponed until Sunday

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- In the latest in a series of delays involving the Saddam Hussein trial, Tuesday's court session was canceled because a number of witnesses were not able to attend, a court official told CNN.

The trial is scheduled to resume Sunday. (Posted 6:33 a.m.)

4 million still without heat amidst record low temperatures in Georgia

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Over 4 million people in the country of Georgia remain without heat for a third consecutive day Tuesday after a series of explosions destroyed the Russian pipeline that supplied the country's natural gas needed for its central heating.

The heating crisis comes as the former Soviet republic is battling the coldest weather it has seen in three decades. Hopes were high that gas supply would be restored in the next couple of days, but a number of factors now appear to be complicating that effort.

While Russian officials repair the pipeline, Georgia was set to receive about half of what it needs from Russia through the neighboring country of Azerbaijan, but that supply has now been cut off after Russia reported a problem with a compressor unit, the head of the Georgian Presidential Administration, Georgy Averladze, told CNN.

Meanwhile, the repair work on the main pipeline has been postponed due to a technical problem, Russian officials said. (Posted 6:32 a.m.)

Investigator: Evidence of 'outsourcing' of torture by United States

(CNN) -- In his initial report to the Council of Europe on alleged secret prisons run by the CIA in eastern Europe to question terror suspects, a Swiss investigator said there is evidence of the "outsourcing" of torture by the United States, adding it was likely a number of Europe nations or their intelligence agencies knew about it.

"It has been proved -- and in fact never denied -- that individuals have been abducted, deprived of their liberty and transported in Europe, to be handed over to countries in which they have suffered torture," said Swiss Senator Dick Marty in a statement issued from Strasbourg, France.

Last month, the group, Human Rights Watch, said it had "not reached final conclusions about CIA operations in eastern Europe," but had collected information that CIA airplanes traveled from Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, making direct flights to remote airfields in Poland and Romania, and sometimes passing through other European nations. (posted 4:40 a.m.)

4 U.S. servicemembers die in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least four U.S. servicemembers died in Iraq Monday, according to U.S. military reports.

Two Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldiers were killed when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in southeastern Baghdad, the military said. One of of the soldiers died at the scene and the other died en route to a military hospital.

On the northern outskirts of Baghdad, a pair of U.S. Marines died in an accident near Al Taqaddum Monday, a U.S. military statement said. They were assigned to II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and were killed in what was described as a non-hostile vehicle accident.

The names of the dead are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Since the start of war, 2,235 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. (posted 3:23 a.m.)

German engineers taken by gunmen in Baiji

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen dressed like members of the Iraqi army kidnapped two German engineers in Baiji Tuesday morning, an official with the Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center told CNN.

According to the official, the engineers were headed to work at a detergent factory on the grounds of the Baiji refinery when the abductions were staged around 8: 15 a.m. (12:15 a.m. ET)

The German Foreign Office in Berlin said it could not confirm the report, but was aware of it and was investigating. (posted 3:20 a.m. )

Rescuers search through rubble of collapsed building in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Rescue teams, assisted by 22 U.S. Marines, battled against time Tuesday as they clawed through the rubble of a building that collapsed in downtown Nairobi a day earlier in the midst of construction.

The death toll has climbed to 8, according to police spokesman Jaspher Ombati, although some reports put the number of dead higher. At least another 84 people were injured.

Ombati said the rescue efforts could last another two days.

The cause of the collapse was unclear, but foul play was not suspected. (posted 3:20 a.m.)

Conservative Harper takes power Canada; Martin to step down as Liberal leader

(CNN) -- Canadian voters veered slightly right Monday, electing Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper as their next prime minister, but denying him the outright majority he would need to take any strong change in direction.

Earlier in the evening, Prime Minister Paul Martin, whose scandal-plagued Liberal Party was ousted after 12 years in power, conceded defeat and announced he would step down as party leader after a "tough night."

As the votes were being counted late Monday night, the Conservatives were hovering at around 125 seats, well short of the 155 they needed for a majority, while the scandal-plagued Liberals were winning around 100 seats, down from the 133 they held going into the vote.

The Conservatives were taking about 36 percent of the vote nationwide, compared to 30 percent for the Liberals, 17 percent for the left-wing New Democrats and 10 percent for the Quebec-separatist Bloc Quebecois, which only runs candidates in the province. (posted 2:05 a.m.)

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