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Tuesday, January 31

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

Ferry sinks off West Timor, at least 115 rescued

JAKARTA (CNN) -- Indonesian search and rescue teams have pulled 115 people from the waters off West Timor, an Indonesian navy commander said Wednesday, after a ferry sank in high seas the night before.

According to Adm. Syahrin Abdurrahman, three navy ships and and one plane are taking part in the ongoing rescue operation.

The ferry was en route to Roti island from Kupang when it capsized Tuesday evening in waves running two to three meters (six to nine feet) high. The ferry was also carrying cars and motorcycles.

The last known contact with the boat was Tuesday at 830 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET) (posted 2:05 a.m.)

Suicide bomber kills 3, wounds 61 in eastern Baghdad attack BAGHDAD

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber detonated in the midst of a group of day laborers in eastern Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding 61 others, Baghdad police said.

The attack took place around 6:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday) in the capital's New Baghdad neighborhood. (posted 2:54 a.m.)

Official: U.S. military accidentally shoots at Canadian official's car

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- U.S. forces in Baghdad accidentally shot at the car Tuesday of the Canadian ambassador to Iraq, John Holmes, but no one was injured, a State Department official said.

It was not immediately clear whether Holmes was inside the vehicle.

"It's an unfortunate incident," the official said. "We are in close contact with the Canadians about the matter."

A Canadian official said the car, which was carrying four people with the Canadian mission in Iraq, was fired on in the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone. (Posted 11:41 p.m.)

Kaine: Bush administration plagued by 'poor choices, bad management'

RICHMOND, Va. (CNN) -- Newly sworn-in Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine faulted the Bush administration's "poor choices and bad management" for the nation's mounting debt and other ills Tuesday night, but he mostly stayed clear of Democratic charges that Republicans have fostered a culture of corruption in Washington.

In the Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address, Kaine talked about his party's work in national and state efforts to mount campaigns for budget and health reform, lower energy costs, improved education, quality jobs and clearer immigration policies.

The Republican-led federal government isn't serving Americans, Kaine said.

"Families in the Gulf Coast see that as they wait to rebuild their lives. Americans who lose their jobs see that as they look to rebuild their careers. And our soldiers in Iraq see that as they try to rebuild a nation," he said. (Posted 10:31 p.m.)

Peace activist Sheehan arrested in House gallery

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House chamber after refusing to cover up a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan before President Bush's State of the Union address.

"She was asked to cover it up. She did not," said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman. "She's been cooperative."

Schneider said Sheehan was arrested around 8:30 p.m. for unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail. She was handcuffed and held in the Capitol building until she was driven to the Capitol Police headquarters for booking.

Sheehan, who became a vocal war opponent after her son was killed in Iraq, was an invited guest of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., who has called for a withdrawal of troops in Iraq and supports legislation for the creation of a Department of Peace. (Posted 10:29 p.m.)

Bush proposes commission on Baby Boomers and Social Security

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday urged Congress to create a commission to investigate the impact of the retiring Baby Boom population on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

"We need to put aside partisan politics, work together and get this problem solved," Bush said.

Last year, Bush recommended an overhaul of Social Security, but the plan fizzled due to strong opposition among lawmakers. (Posted 9:50 p.m.)

Bush defends domestic surveillance before lawmakers

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday urged Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act and defended his decision to authorize the warrantless surveillance of Americans inside the United States suspected of communicating with al Qaeda terrorists.

"This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America," Bush said during his State of the Union address. "If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know it -- because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again." (Posted 9:43 p.m.)

Bush says Iran's 'clerical elite' is holding nation hostage

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday said Iran is being held hostage by a "small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people" -- and he appealed directly to Iranian citizens by saying, "Our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran."

"The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons," Bush said. "America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats." (Posted 9:37 p.m.)

Bush: Military commanders, not politicians will decide when to withdraw

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday said any draw-down of U.S. troop levels in Iraq would be made by military commanders, "not by politicians in Washington, D.C."

"Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy," Bush said in his State of the Union address. "A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison." (Posted 9:28 p.m.)

Bush honors Coretta Scott King in State of Union

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush opened his State of the Union address Tuesday by remembering Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. who died Monday night.

"Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight, we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King," Bush said. (Posted 9:13 p.m.)

Libby seeks documents from White House, CIA in leak case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Lawyers for indicted former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby asked a judge Tuesday for access to documents relating to White House intelligence briefings and any damage assessment done by the CIA over the 2003 exposure of an agent's identity.

Libby's lawyers asked to review material from daily intelligence briefings and Libby's notes for part of 2003 and 2004 as they prepare his defense to criminal charges related to the leak of operative Valerie Plame's name.

In court papers, his lawyers argue that those materials would show that Libby -- who was chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney until his indictment -- was so busy "any errors he made in his FBI interviews or grand jury testimony, months after the conversations, were the result of confusion, mistake, or faulty memory, rather than a willfull intent to deceive." -- From CNN Senior Producer Carol Cratty (Posted 8:42 p.m.)

New charges in $485 Million theft from Bank of China

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two former Chinese bankers and their wives were indicted in Las Vegas in connection with a massive scheme to steal and launder nearly half a billion dollars from the Bank of China, Justice Department officials announced Tuesday.

The former managers of the state-owned Bank of China are alleged to have been engaged in an elaborate plot in which they stole $485 million by running funds through front companies and financial institutions in Hong Kong, Vancouver and Las Vegas, officials said. They allegedly planned to immigrate to the United States with their wives and gain citizenship through schemes involving phony documents and sham marriages.

A federal grand jury in Las Vegas brought the new charges against the defendants, who were first jailed in September 2004 on charges of violating immigration laws for trying to illegally gain U.S. citizenship. --From Justice Department Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 6:05 p.m.)

Wounded ABC anchor, photographer arrive in U.S. for treatment

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two days after a roadside bomb seriously wounded them, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and photographer Doug Vogt on Tuesday returned to the United States aboard a military medical transport plane for further treatment for the wounds they sustained Sunday in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq.

Woodruff, 44, and Vogt, 46, arrived at Andrews Air Force Base shortly before 4:30 p.m. Both men were brought out of the rear of the plane on stretchers, where military men and women -- dressed in camouflage fatigues -- gently lifted them onto a nearby vehicle to transport them to the hospital. Wounded members of the U.S. military were also on the plane and were unloaded in the same dignified fashion.

Woodruff and Vogt were then transported to the nearby brain injury center at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Posted 5:39 p.m.)

Search engine leader's 4Q sales meet expectations but earnings miss targets; stock falls

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It had to end some time. Before Google, the popular search engine, reported its fourth-quarter results Tuesday, the company had crushed Wall Street's sales and earnings estimates in every quarter of its short history as a public firm. That streak is no more.

Google reported fourth-quarter sales, excluding traffic acquisition costs (TAC), the revenue that Google shares with advertising partners, of $1.29 billion. That was in line with expectations. But John Aiken, an analyst with Majestic Research, an independent research firm, said earlier Tuesday that Google would probably need to report sales of $1.37 billion to impress Wall Street.

And more alarming to investors, the company posted earnings per share, excluding the effect of stock options costs and research and development-related charges, of $1.54 a share, well below analysts' consensus estimates of $1.76 a share.

Shares of Google, which rose 1.4 percent in regular trading on the Nasdaq Tuesday, plunged nearly 20 percent in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings. (Posted 5:38 p.m.)

Great White road manager to plead guilty in R.I. nightclub fire

(CNN) -- A former road manager for the rock band Great White faces up to 10 years in prison after agreeing to plead guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a deadly fire that swept through a Rhode Island nightclub in 2003.

Daniel Biechele set off fireworks, which ignited foam insulation behind the stage, during the band's show at The Station nightclub in West Warwick. The ensuing fire roared through the crowded building, killing 100 people.

After a pre-trial conference among attorneys in the case Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan announced that Biechele "has indicated that he wishes to accept responsibility for his actions" and will plead guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter for each person who died. The plea will be entered at a hearing next week. (Posted 5:36 p.m.)

Two more federal courts rule federal "partial-birth" abortion law unconstitutional

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal ban on a late-term abortion procedure critics call "partial birth" continues to meet judicial skepticism, as two more federal appeals courts have ruled the law unconstitutional.

The opinions Tuesday concluded the 2003 measure passed by Congress was invalid because it lacked a health exception for women seeking the procedure. Six various federal courts have all ruled against the law, and the Bush Administration has appealed one case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the 2nd Circuit in New York made their decisions public within hours of each other. -- From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears (Posted 5:34 p.m.)

U.S.: Iran stepping up nuke preps as IAEA prepares to refer Tehran to UN Security Council

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As the international community prepares to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear program later this week, Tehran has stepped up its preparations to enrich uranium, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

The official, briefing reporters on Tuesday's recommendation by the five permanent members of the Security Council for it to consider the issue of Iran's nuclear program, said time was of the essence in dealing with Iran's growing nuclear capability, but said the United States and its partners were committed to finding a diplomatic solution.

Since breaking International Atomic Energy Agency seals at its nuclear facilities last month, Iranian nuclear activity has been "pretty consistent," with Tehran moving equipment to its nuclear facility at Natanz in preparation for enriching uranium -- activity the U.S. believes could be aimed at producing fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

The official cautioned, however, there was no timeline as to when Iran would have enough of that material to build one. "I don't think we have time to play games in the Security Council, but we do have time to allow the Security Council to make clear to Iran there will be consequences, and impose consequences if necessary," the official said. -- From CNN State Department Producer Elise Labbott (Posted 5:05 p.m.)

Iraqi insurgents threaten to kill German hostages

(CNN) -- Iraqi insurgents have released a second videotape showing two kidnapped German engineers. According to the Arabic language network Al-Jazeera, which aired the tape, the insurgents threatened to kill the two men unless the German government cuts ties with Iraq and German companies pull out of the country.

The hostages were surrounded by masked, armed men in a videotape aired Tuesday evening on the Qatar-based satellite network. The tape bore an electronic time stamp of Jan. 29, and on it, their captors threatened to kill the men in 72 hours if their demands were not met, Al-Jazeera said. CNN could not independently verify the tape's authenticity.

The captors, who call themselves the "Supporters of God's Unity and Sunna Brigades," called on all German companies to cut ties with Iraq and for the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel to close its embassy in Baghdad.

Germany's Foreign Office responded by calling the pictures "proof of a crime that has no regard for life." In a statement issued late Tuesday, the agency said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was being "briefed continuously" on the situation and would brief the Cabinet on Wednesday.

The men, identified in the German media as Rene Braunlich and Thomas Nitzschke, were kidnapped last week. They were working at a detergent factory on the grounds of the Beiji oil refinery, north of Baghdad, at the time. (Updated 5:40 p.m.)

Louisiana officials accept partial blame for Katrina evacuation failures

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Louisiana state and local officials conceded Tuesday they failed to adequately evacuate the poor, elderly and sick from New Orleans in the days before Hurricane Katrina, but put part of the blame on the federal government and told a Senate committee that help is needed to avoid a repeat of the disaster.

"We are currently looking down the gun barrel of the 2006 hurricane season due to begin 1 June," said Col. Terry Ebbert, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security. "We are projected another super storm season ahead and we need your support."

"We need help," said Johnny Bradberry, Louisiana's top transportation official. "Following Katrina, citizens asked, 'How can this happen in America?' Today, Louisiana citizens feel they have been abandoned a second time."

The hearing -- the 13th on Katrina by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee -- focused on the evacuation of more than 1.3 million people from the New Orleans area. -- From CNN Producer Mike M. Ahlers (Posted: 4:25 p.m.)

Bush hopes State of the Union will offer rebound from rough year

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Coming off the roughest year of his presidency, President Bush will tell the American people in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that America must maintain its leadership at home and overseas, a top aide said.

"It's critically important we understand the stakes of our leadership, not only around the world but here at home as well," presidential counselor Dan Bartlett told CNN. "So he'll talk at length about leadership in our country, what it means, why it's important to our security, and why it is critically important to maintain our economic leadership in the world, which means more jobs and a higher standard of living for the American people."

Bush will attempt to revive his presidency with an emphasis on kitchen-table issues such as energy and health care, aides said. But administration officials familiar with the speech say he also will discuss the war in Iraq, the diplomatic standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions and the victory of the Islamic militant group Hamas in last week's Palestinian elections. (Posted 4:24 p.m.)

Former postal worker kills 5 employees, self, after obtaining ID at gunpoint; motive unclear

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A former postal worker stole an employee's identification badge at gunpoint to gain access to 24-hour mail sorting facility, where she shot and killed five employees before turning the gun on herself, according to an internal communique from the U.S. Post Office released Tuesday.

A sixth employee was shot and is in critical condition. The employee whose ID badge was taken was unharmed. The shooting happened Monday night at the postal facility in the Southern California community of Goleta.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson said the shooter's motives weren't clear and it was not known if she targeted specific employees. (Updated 4:23 p.m.)

Survey shines light on differences between Sunnis, Shiites-Kurds in Iraq

(CNN) -- A University of Maryland survey of Iraqi public opinion issued on Tuesday punctuates the cultural and political divide in Iraq between the Shiites and Kurds, who now dominate the transitional government after decades of oppression, and the Sunni Arabs, who lost their clout after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

"The majority of Iraqis overall view the recent parliamentary elections as valid, are optimistic that their country is going in the right direction and feel that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has been worth the costs. Sunnis, on the other hand, overwhelmingly, reject the validity of the elections, see the country going in the wrong direction and regret the overthrow of Saddam," the report said.

The polling -- conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes -- was conducted Jan. 2-5 with a nationwide sample of 1,150. (Posted 4:22 p.m.)

Shell to sponsor New Orleans Jazz Fest

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- For the first time in its 36-year history, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be a sponsored event.

It was announced by Jazz Fest's organizers Tuesday that Shell Oil will be the presenting sponsor of the Festival, and that American Express and Tenet Choices will also provide corporate partnerships and financial support.

Jazz Fest is scheduled for April 28-30 and May 5-7. The event is projected to generate $200 million in revenue for the beleaguered city of New Orleans, which has struggled financially ever since it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. (Posted 3:28 p.m.)

Explosion at NC chemical plant sparks fire; 8 employees injured

(CNN) -- North Carolina authorities Tuesday were investigating what caused a chemical plant explosion, which shook the ground as far as 30 miles away and ignited a fire that sent billowing smoke into the air.

Eight men were treated for burns and smoke inhalation, according to Chris Allison, a spokesman for Blueridge Healthcare in Morganton, N.C.

The fire broke out around 11:30 a.m. at the Synthron, Inc. plant, a France-based company. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze, and let some of the smaller chemical fires burn themselves out. Residents near the plant in Morganton, about 75 miles northwest of Charlotte, were asked to stay indoors with their windows shut, according to the Burke County Sheriff's Department. No evacuations were ordered. -- From CNN's Deanna Proeller and Marylynn Ryan (Posted: 3:14 p.m.)

Former Wal-Mart exec pleads guilty in embezzlement scheme

(CNN) -- Former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Thomas Coughlin pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to five counts of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion in connection with a scheme to embezzle funds, prosecutors said.

The crimes occurred between 1996 and 2002 when Coughlin served as executive vice-president and vice chairman of retail giant Wal-Mart. In a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas, U.S. Attorney Robert Balfe stated that Coughlin used his position at Wal-Mart to, "execute a scheme to illegally instruct subordinate employees to manipulate the employee travel and reimbursement and vendor invoice accounting system at the company to embezzle monies, gift cards, and products which were provided to Coughlin for his personal use."

Coughlin faces a maximum sentence of five years per count of wire fraud and a maximum fine of $250,000 per count, or both. For the tax evasion count, Coughlin faces a maximum sentence fine of three years and a maximum fine of $100,000 or both. After Coughlin's guilty plea, Wal-Mart issued a statement that said in part, "Wal-Mart has high ethical standards, and the way we handle these matters makes it clear that every associate will be held to these standards with no exceptions."-- From CNN Assignment Editor Tom Ziegler and CNN Assignment Manager Caleb Silver (Posted: 3:11 p.m.)

As expected, Fed hikes interest rates by quarter point

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Reserve raised a key short-term interest rate Tuesday another quarter of a percentage point, and said more rate hikes may be needed in chairman Alan Greenspan's last meeting after more than 18 years at the helm of the central bank.

Speculation now turns to what new Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, who officially takes over on Feb. 1, will do when the Fed's monetary policy committee meets next on March 28. Some economists argue that Bernanke will need to raise rates one more time to show that he is serious about fighting inflation. But others say the Fed has already nipped inflation in the bud and that further rate hikes could unnecessarily hurt the economy.

To that end, the government reported last week that economic growth slowed to 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the weakest pace in three years. After the latest rate hike, the central bank's fourteenth since June 2004, the target for the federal funds rate now stands at 4.5 percent, the highest in nearly five years. The overnight bank lending rate is important since it influences the rates consumers and businesses pay on many types of loans. (Updated: 2:27 p.m.)

Father of hostage in Iraq makes plea for freeing of 4 humanitarian workers

(CNN) -- The father of one of the four humanitarian workers kidnapped in Iraq two months ago on Tuesday made a televised plea for their release.

Dalip Singh Sooden, wearing a Sikh turban, spoke on Al-Jazeera Arabic-language TV network, which aired footage Saturday of the four members of the Christian Peacemakers Team kidnapped Nov. 26.

"I appeal for the captives of my son and his three friends to release them unharmed. I hope my appeal will be answered," said Sooden, stressing that his son, Harmeet, was peace-loving and in Iraq to help the citizenry. Harmeet Singh Sooden is a Canadian. The other hostages are James Loney, a Canadian; Tom Fox, an American; and Norman Kember, a Briton. They were seized by a group that calls itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. (Posted: 2:15 p.m.)

Prosecutor: Lay, Skilling knew of 'ticking time bomb' at Enron

HOUSTON (CNNMoney.com) -- Former Enron heads Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling knew of "a ticking time bomb" at the energy trading company, but chose not to disclose the accounting problems that would eventually bring it down, a U.S. prosecutor told the jury in the two ex-executives' trial Tuesday.

A day after a jury of eight women and four men was seated, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hueston (prono: HYOO-stun) told the panel in his opening statement that, "this is not a case about accounting. It's about lies and choices." Hueston then said that both Lay and Skilling told lie after lie about the state of Enron's finances, and that they had key facts; with those facts, he said, they sold tens of millions of dollars of their Enron stock.

But Skilling's attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, pointed out in his opening statement that prosecutors did not use the word "conspiracy." "Let me tell you right now, this man never ever led any criminal conspiracy," Petrocelli said of the former CEO. "This is not a case of hear no evil, see no evil, because there was no evil."

Both Lay and Skilling appeared relaxed as they took their seats for opening statements, shaking hands and hugging their lawyers. Combined, the two men face more than three dozen fraud and conspiracy charges accusing them of lying to investors about the company's financial state while they lined their own pockets by selling millions of dollars in stock. (Posted: 2:14 p.m.)

Iran diplomat: Sending Iran nuclear matter to Security Council would be 'end of diplomacy'

(CNN) -- A top Iranian diplomat on Tuesday warned the recommendation by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for it to consider the issue of Iran's nuclear program would be "the end of the road for diplomacy."

The recommendation -- also OK'd by the European Union and Germany -- comes before the International Atomic Energy agency board as it meets on Thursday in Vienna to discuss Iran's nuclear program. The five permanent Security Council members are the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said, "we view any referral or report to the (U.N.) Security Council as the end of the road for diplomacy, and this is not a positive step," he said.

Many countries have been concerned that Iran has intended to use its nuclear program to develop weaponry. But Iran says its program is solely for peaceful purposes. (Posted 1:34 p.m.)

U.S. military increasing 'surveillance' in response to bird flu threat in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military is increasing its medical "surveillance" of U.S. troops in Iraq, looking for possible infections and flu-like illnesses that could be related to avian flu, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

So far there has been no evidence of either the deadly bird flu or any unusual increase in influenza among U.S. troops, according to the official.

Monday, Iraqi officials announced that a 15-year-old girl who died Jan. 17 had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. It was the first confirmed human case of H5N1 in the country.

A Pentagon spokesman said the confirmation was made after a test at a U.S. Navy medical laboratory in Cairo, Egypt.

The officials said the U.S. military also has labs on the lookout for bird flu in Peru, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Iraqi officials have began culling thousands of birds in northern Iraq and warning farmers elsewhere to inspect their flocks following the announcement of the 15-year-old girl's death.

A spokesman for the World Health Organization said it is investigating two more possible bird flu cases in Iraq -- the girl's uncle, who died Jan. 27 and a 54-year-old woman from the same region who has been hospitalized. (Posted 12:40 p.m.)

'First lady of the human rights movement' Coretta Scott King dead at 78

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., died Monday night in a holistic health center in Mexico, according to a former aide and a public relations firm representing the family.

Mrs. King, 78, suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack last August. She was receiving further medical treatment at Hospital Santa Monica in Baja California, Mexico, in her rehabilitation.

The clinic's Web site says its philosophy is "an alternative, wholistic approach to the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, candidiasis, diabetes, hepatitis C, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune diseases; as well as offering programs for weight loss, detoxification, rejuvenation and life-extension."

Mrs. King's last public appearance came Jan. 14, when she made a surprise appearance in Atlanta at a Salute to Greatness dinner as part of the celebration surrounding Martin Luther King Day. She received a standing ovation as she waved at the crowd, supported on the arms of her children. Mrs. King did not speak at the event and was wheeled into the ballroom in a wheelchair. (Updated 11:37 a.m.)

Alito confirmed as 110th Supreme Court justice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate Tuesday approved Judge Samuel Alito's lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, making him the 110th justice.

The final vote, 58-42, was largely along party lines and comes a day after an attempt by some Democratic senators to block his nomination fizzled. Alito, 55, watched the Senate vote with Bush at the White House.

He will be sworn into office later in the day, just hours before President Bush's State of the Union address. The newly confirmed justice and recently appointed Chief Justice John Roberts are expected to attend the president's Tuesday night speech before a joint session of Congress, court sources told CNN. Alito replaces retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the high court.

Only one of the Senate's 55 Republicans voted against Alito's confirmation -- Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a moderate facing re-election this fall in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. The four Democrats who broke party ranks and voted for Alito are Sens. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Kent Conrad of North Dakota. All four represent states Bush carried in both 2000 and 2004. -- CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears contributed to this report. (Updated 11:38 a.m.)

Two Islamic Jihad militants killed in gun battle with Israeli troops

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A senior Islamic Jihad militant -- who Israel said was involved in all the Islamic Jihad terror bombings over the last year -- was killed Tuesday in a gun battle with Israeli troops near Jenin.

A second Islamic Jihad militant was also killed and an Israeli soldier was seriously wounded, according to an Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman. Palestinian security sources identified the senior militant as Nidal abu Saada, 28.

In the last year, Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for five suicide bomb attacks. Four of the attackers set off their bombs inside Israel and one detonated near an Israeli checkpoint on the West Bank near Tulkarem. The latest attack occurred Jan. 20 in a sandwich shop near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, killing the bomber and wounding at least 20 people.

Israeli military sources said Saada was planning new attacks. -- CNN Producer Shira Medding contributed to this report. (Posted 11 a.m.)

Journalists' group plans to renew efforts with Arab media to help gain Jill Carroll's freedom

(CNN) -- A day after footage of kidnapped U.S. journalist Jill Carroll aired on TV satellite channel Al-Jazeera, a journalists' watchdog group said it plans to work with the Arabic-language media to help organize a campaign to help gain her release.

Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday called the videotape of the tearful journalist pleading for help "extremely disturbing to watch" but "an encouraging sign because it proves that Carroll is still alive."

"Regardless of the revulsion we may feel for such kidnap methods, this is the moment for relaunching the support campaign. We appeal to news media throughout the world, especially the Arab world, and to Muslim leaders to continue speaking out in support of Carroll," the group said in a statement. Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world have called for Carroll's release, and Reporters Without Borders helped organize a demonstration in Paris on Jan. 20 attended by Florence Aubenas -- a French female reporter held hostage last year.

The group said two of its representatives "will travel to Doha and Dubai in the coming days to help relaunch the campaign together with the Arab media."

Al-Jazeera is based in the Qatari city of Doha and Al-Arabiya, another Arabic-language network, is based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The tearful Carroll, a free-lance reporter for publications including The Christian Science Monitor, exhorted people to urge the U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry to release female prisoners, a demand of her militant kidnappers.

She had been kidnapped on Jan. 7 on her way to a meeting with a Sunni Arab politician, Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her interpreter was later shot dead. (Posted 10:03 a.m.)

15 bodies found in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Fifteen bodies were found in Baghdad on Tuesday, all riddled with gunshots and apparently slain execution-style, police told CNN.

Police think they are Iraqis, but said personal identification was not at any of the three scenes where the bodies were found.

Eleven bodies were discovered in the back of a Kia pick-up truck in northern Baghdad. The people, seemingly in their early 20s, were blindfolded. They were shot in their heads and displayed traces of torture.

Three bodies were found in Rustumiye, in the southeastern outskirts of the city, and another body was found just outside of the Sadr City district, in the northeastern section of the city.

-- From Video Correspondent Arwa Damon (Posted 9:14 a.m.)

Afghan donors conference begins in London

LONDON (CNN) -- Diplomats and leaders from dozens of nations and international agencies gathered in London on Tuesday and kicked off an international donors conference on Afghanistan -- the struggling central Asian country that continues to endure warfare and instability more than four years after its Taliban rulers were ousted from power.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration would ask Congress for $1.1 billion in new assistance at the two-day conference, which is co-hosted by the United Nations and the Afghan and British governments.

There is optimism about what Afghanistan has done in recent years. Afghanistan has made great strides in developing political democracy, restoring its education system, and returning many refugees. At the same time, the country faces a stubborn, resurgent Islamic militant insurgency, the opium trade, political corruption and grinding poverty. (Posted 8:47 a.m.)

In Iraq's Diyala province, 6 killed over last 24 hours; 3 soldiers in one incident, Sunni cleric's wife, two young sons in another

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Violence erupted in Iraq's Diyala province over the last 24 hours, as fighting killed three Iraqi soldiers and gunmen shot dead the family of a Sunni cleric in what is thought to be the result of sectarian hostilities.

A mixed, volatile province northeast of Baghdad, Diyala has endured a great deal of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites. Baquba, its capital, and other towns in the region has become accustomed to the warfare.

Sheikh Qassem Daham arrived at his home in Muqtadiya, north of Baquba, after nighttime prayers on Monday to find his wife and two sons -- ages 5 and 2 -- shot dead. The cleric and a spokesman at Diyala's Joint Coordination Center confirmed the incident.

Authorities believe this is part of an ongoing campaign to instigate sectarian divides in the region. Daham said that it was "God's will" that his family had perished.

In Buhriz, south of Baquba, armed gunmen and Iraqi security forces fought, the JCC said. Along with the deaths of the three soldiers, three other soldiers were were wounded.

-- From Video Correspondent Arwa Damon (Posted 7:02 a.m.)

Russia, China to urge Iran to cooperate with U.N. nuclear watchdog

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russia and China are dispatching diplomats to Iran to urge the Islamic republic to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency over the country's controversial nuclear program, according to a state-run Russian news agency.

The Russian Information Agency reported the development ahead of Thursday's special meeting in Vienna of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors, which will be discussing the Iranian situation. Russia, China, Britain, France and the United States -- the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- asked the IAEA to take the case over Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council.

They made that determination after diplomats met in London beginning Monday night into the early hours of Tuesday. Many countries have been concerned that Iran has intended to use its nuclear program to develop weaponry. But Iran says its program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Months of talks with European nations didn't make headway in settling the issue and discussions recently ended. Iran recently broke IAEA seals on its nuclear facilities, raising great concerns in the West.

This set the stage for a possible referral to the Security Council for violating a nuclear arms treaty and ensuing sanctions. The IAEA board of governors will meet in Vienna on Thursday for the meeting on Iran.

British soldier deaths reach 100 in Iraq

LONDON (CNN) -- Two British soldiers have died in southern Iraq this week, bringing the number of the UK force to die during the conflict to 100, a Ministry of Defense statement said.

On Tuesday morning, an explosion killed a solider with the 7th Armored Brigade in Basra province. Three other soldiers were wounded in the same incident -- one seriously.

Another soldier with the same brigade died Monday morning after his patrol came under fire in Maysan province. (posted 5:43 a.m.)

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