Thursday, March 2
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.
Arroyo ends state of emergency
MANILA (CNN) -- In a national broadcast, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday lifted a weeklong state of emergency that was imposed after security forces thwarted what a top general said was a plot to overthrow her.
The purported coup was timed to coincide with demonstrations marking the 20th anniversary of the "people power" revolution that toppled former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Under the state of emergency, rallies and protests were banned.
However, that did not stop thousands of people from marching on the central Manila business district to mark the 20th anniversary last weekend of the massive protests that toppled Marcos and brought Corazon Aquino to power, after both candidates claimed victory in a disputed presidential election.
Aquino entered that race after the 1983 assassination of her husband, Benigno, a popular opposition senator who was gunned down at Manila's airport as he returned from exile in the United States. (posted 11:11 p.m.)
Key figure in feds' handling of Katrina resigns
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Matthew Broderick, director of operations for the Department of Homeland Security and a key figure in overseeing the federal government's botched response to Hurricane Katrina, announced Thursday he will resign, effective March 31.
A DHS spokesman said Broderick wants to spend more time with his family. Last month, Broderick admitted during testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee investigating Katrina that he went home on the night of Aug. 29, hours after Hurricane Katrina had made landfall, without first alerting DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to reports that levees had breached in New Orleans.
Those reports included an account from a Federal Emergency Management Agency official, who witnessed a breach.
Broderick said the reports from the field were conflicting and he didn't want to pass along "rumors" to his boss. (posted 11:10 p.m.)
Brown says Chertoff should be fired over Katrina response
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff should be fired for his handling of Hurricane Katrina, former federal emergency management chief Michael Brown said Thursday, accusing Chertoff of lacking disaster management knowledge.
"It appears to me that, you know, when Chertoff does things like tells me that I've got to go to Baton Rouge and plop my butt down on a seat in Baton Rouge and run a disaster from there, I think that shows naivete about how disasters are run. And you've either have to get with it, or move on," Brown told CNN's "The Situation Room."
Brown resigned from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in September amid intense criticism of his own performance after Katrina, which left more than 1,300 dead in Louisiana and Mississippi. The White House has stood behind Chertoff: President Bush said Tuesday he was doing "a fine job." (Posted 10:15 p.m.)
House panel to 'expand and increase oversight' of NSA surveillance program
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Members of the House Intelligence Committee have agreed to a plan to expand oversight of the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program and will look toward updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
In a written statement, the panel's chairman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said the committee will work with the White House to "expand and increase oversight" of what he called the "critical terrorism prevention tool."
The examination of FISA, he said, is geared toward "modernizing it to account for current and future technological advances."
Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the committee, called the agreement "progress" but added the entire intelligence committee still needs "a full and complete briefing" about the operational details of the NSA program. --From CNN National Security Producer Pam Benson (Posted 5:27 p.m.)
House Armed Services chairman attacks Dubai port deal
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Another House Republican leader has come out against the controversial merger that would leave a Dubai-based company in charge of cargo terminals at several U.S. seaports, saying the emirate has favored profit over security in the past.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Thursday said he will introduce a bill to that would require Dubai Ports World and other companies based overseas to give up their claims on "critical infrastructure" in the United States. DP World is a state-owned venture of the United Arab Emirates.
Hunter, R-Calif., accused the UAE of ignoring American pleas to halt the transshipment of nuclear technology through its ports as recently as 2003.
"It's very clear that Dubai makes money while they accommodate American military interests -- and they do support the United States from time to time. They also accommodate the other side," Hunter said. "And so they're in a position of following dollars, and following those dollars even when it appears to the detriment of American security interests." (Posted 5:05 p.m.)
4th person charged in connection with record British heist
MAIDSTONE, England (CNN) -- A fourth person was charged Thursday in connection with last week's robbery of 53 million pounds ($92 million USD) from a cash depot in Tonbridge, south of London.
Kent Police identified him as Jetmir Bucpapa, a 24-year-old unemployed man from Tonbridge, and accused him of conspiracy to commit robbery. He is to appear Friday morning before Maidstone magistrates' court.
Earlier Thursday, prosecutors asked that three other suspects in the Feb. 22 robbery be held without bail. (Posted 5:02 p.m.)
Poll: Bush approval at 38 percent amid Iraq, management concerns
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's approval rating is mired near its record low amid concerns about his ability to manage the government and pessimism over the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday.
The poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, found Bush's approval rating at 38 percent -- down a percentage point from a mid-February survey and just a point above his record low of 37 percent in November. His disapproval rating was 60 percent, tying November's worst-ever mark.
Of the 1,020 adults surveyed, 59 percent said Bush can't manage the government effectively, and 58 percent said he is not paying enough attention to what his administration was doing. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they consider Bush a strong leader, the poll found.
But only 47 percent said they consider him honest and trustworthy, and 73 percent said they believe big business has too much of an influence over his administration. The survey had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. (Posted 4:06 p.m.)
Senate votes to renew Patriot Act
(CNN) -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a compromise bill that would renew controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the 2001 law passed weeks after the September 11 attacks to help the government investigate and capture possible terrorists. The vote was 89-10.
The bill covers 16 provisions in the act that are set to expire on March 10. The House is expected to approve the measure next week, sending it to President Bush for his signature.
Three provisions of the act would be reviewed in four years; the other provisions would be permanent.
Compared with the original act, the measure passed Thursday somewhat limits the government's power to compel information from people targeted in terror probes. (Posted 3:36 p.m.)
Heavy political maneuvering in Iraq: Pressure on UIA to reconsider nomination of al-Jaafari
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi political leaders from Kurdish, Sunni and secular movements are leaning on Shiite-led coalition that won the December parliamentary elections to reconsider its nomination of transitional prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be the country's prime minister in Iraq's new government.
The Kurdish coalition, the two Sunni-led coalitions of the Iraqi Accord Front and the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's National List believe al-Jaafari has performed poorly during his tenure over the last year, which was marked by a potent Sunni-led insurgency, criticism of Interior Ministry actions against Sunnis, grinding economic problems and on-again, off-again essential services.
Also, a couple of politicians question the wisdom of a trip al-Jaafari made to Turkey during the sectarian violence in recent days, saying it is an example of his poor leadership. (Posted 2:27 p.m.)
State TV: Daytime vehicular curfew announced for Baghdad on Friday
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi state TV reported Thursday that the government will enforce a daytime vehicular curfew in Baghdad on Friday, the weekly Muslim holy day.
Vehicles -- except for official ones providing essential services -- will not be allowed on the streets and vehicles will not be allowed to enter the city. People will be allowed to walk to the mosque for prayers, however.
The curfew begins at 6 a.m. and lasts till 4 p.m. The normal overnight curfew enforcement is in place, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Posted 2:22 p.m.)
Oklahoma wildfire under control; 30-40 homes destroyed
DUNCAN, Okla. (CNN) -- Firefighters overnight Wednesday were able to contain a rash of wildfires that charred as many as 8,000 acres of grassland and destroyed some 30 to 40 homes across the prairie of southern Oklahoma
"Overnight, the crews spent time mopping up hot spots and dousing out heavy rekindles, and that's kind of what's going on here today," said Sam Darst, spokesman for the city of Duncan, where the fires are raging.
Speaking to CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday, Darst said there were two arson suspects, including one in custody, but he later told CNN that was incorrect.
The fires began about 5.5 miles southwest of Duncan in Empire and are considered "suspicious," but Darst said it was not clear how they were started. (Posted 2:19 p.m.)
U.S. soldier killed during combat in Iraq's Anbar province
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday in combat in Iraq's Anbar province, the military said Thursday.
The soldier was assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Multi-National Force-West and was killed "due to enemy action" during the combat, it said.
This brings the number of U.S. troop deaths in Iraq to 2,297. (Posted 2:10 p.m.)
Israeli Labor Party leader meets with Abbas, says Israelis aren't at war with the Palestinians
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Labor Party leader Amir Peretz, seeking to polish his image as a leader, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, telling him Israel is not at war with the Palestinians.
Peretz, who is leading Labor in the March 28 elections, told Abbas, "I want to make it clear that we are not at war with the Muslim world or with the Palestinian people, but rather we are conducting an uncompromising war on terror. We will not allow innocent citizens to pay with their blood."
Peretz urged Abbas to do everything in his power to combat terror. In response, Abbas said the two sides are united in battling terror. (Posted 2:07 p.m.)
Jordan nabs 4th al Qaeda suspect
AMMAN (CNN) -- Jordanian authorities have arrested a fourth suspected al Qaeda member, Jordan's Petra News Agency reported Thursday, quoting a government official as saying the four -- along with three other suspects still at large -- had been planning an attack against a "vital civilian facility."
A senior government official told CNN Wednesday that three members of the cell -- two Iraqis and a Libyan -- had been arrested. The latest suspect arrested is also an Iraqi, Petra reported.
Two more Iraqis and a Saudi remain at large, it said. (Posted 1:02 p.m.)
Victims' families address convicted serial killer nurse before he is sentenced to life in prison
SOMERVILLE, N.J. (CNN) -- Hoping to bring closure after losing loved ones at the hands of Charles Cullen, family members Thursday addressed the convicted serial killer and former nurse at his sentencing hearing Thursday, some calling for him to "burn in hell" and others simply remembering their fathers and mothers.
"Maybe you thought you could play God that day by injecting her, but she planned on living, she was a fighter," said Richard Stoecker, whose mother, Eleanor, was one of Cullen's victims.
Occasionally, the courtroom camera showed Cullen sitting beside his attorney with his hands in his lap and his eyes lowered.
Judge Paul W. Armstrong sentenced Cullen, 46, to 11 life sentences in New Jersey state prison for the 22 murders he committed. Parole is impossible, since he would first be eligible for it after 397 years. (Posted 12:50 p.m.)
British judge OKs ports deal
LONDON (CNN) -- Britain's Royal Court of Justice on Thursday tentatively approved the takeover of the British company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. by Dubai's state-owned DP World.
A lawyer for U.S.-based cargo handler Eller & Co. said that company would appeal the decision, and the judge in the case said that, pending that appeal, the approval is stayed until 3 p.m. Friday.
The agreement has stirred an uproar among U.S. lawmakers, some of whom have said the United Arab Emirates ownership of the company could make the six U.S. ports in which it would operate vulnerable to terrorist acts. In an attempt to placate the lawmakers, DP World has offered to submit to a 45-day investigation of possible security risks. --From CNN's Paula Newton (Posted noon)
Canadian soldier dies, 7 hurt when armored vehicle rolls over in Afghanistan
(CNN) -- A Canadian soldier died and seven others were injured when their armored "vehicle rolled over" during a routine patrol Thursday in southern Afghanistan, authorities said.
The coalition command provided details about the incident. Canada's Department of National Defense confirmed the soldiers' nationality.
The incident took place in Kandahar province. Two of the injured were in critical condition at a coalition hospital at Kandahar Airfield.
"Afghan National Army soldiers secured the site until a coalition quick-reaction force arrived. The cause of incident is being investigated," a coalition statement said. (Posted 11:51 a.m.)
Israeli company voices support of Dubai port deal to leading opponent, Sen. Clinton
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Despite the United Arab Emirates' boycott of Israel, the Dubai-based shipping company that is slated to take control of several U.S. port terminals is a strong business partner of Israel's largest shipping firm, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, according to Zim's chairman.
CNN has obtained a copy of a letter written by Zim's CEO, Idon Ofer, to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., a leading opponent of the proposed deal, voicing his support of the merger that would but Dubai Ports World in charge of some terminal operations at six U.S. ports.
"During our long association with DP World, we have not experienced a single security issue in these ports or in any of the terminals operated by DP World," Ofer said in the letter, written Feb. 22. (Posted 11:30 a.m.)
State Department creates new Iran office amid growing concern over regime
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department is setting up a new office to deal specifically with foreign policy changes posed by Iran and to promote a democratic transition in the country, several State Department officials told CNN Thursday.
Traditionally Iran has been dealt with as part of a larger grouping of Gulf countries, but the officials said the new Office of Iran Affairs reflects a growing concern over actions by the Iranian regime and the need to devote significantly more personnel and resources to Iran policy.
"Certainly this signals the fact that we believe that Iran and Iranian behavior is one of the greatest foreign policy priorities we will be dealing with over the next decade," one State Department official told CNN. --From State Department Producer Elise Labott (Posted 11:06 a.m.)
Police raid newspaper, television offices, alleging threats to national security
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Masked police carrying AK-47 assault rifles raided the television station and newspaper owned by the country's second-largest media group Thursday and briefly detained four journalists.
A police spokesman said in a statement issued hours after the early morning raid that authorities conducted the sweep to collect evidence about a plot that would threaten national security.
"They went straight to the transmission studios and instructed the staff there to switch off the transmitters," said KTN Managing Editor Farida Karoney. "They then took away the computers in the studio, took away the all tapes for today's programs and then they came into the newsroom, dismantled all the computers and went away with them."
The police spokesman said that journalists at the Standard had been paid to write a series of fabricated articles about the government, and that police were acting on intelligence information about "an intended act" that would threaten national security. --From Journalist Maria Lora (Posted 9:43 a.m.)
3 dead, 3 wounded in Ramadi fighting, local official says
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Three people were killed and three others were wounded in Iraq Wednesday in fighting between the U.S. military and insurgents in the Anbar province capital of Ramadi, according to a city council member there.
He said the fighting took place "in the vicinity of a compound that houses the central library and an Interior Ministry office" and U.S. jets and helicopters were over the city and bombs were dropped. -- From Producer Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 9:02 a.m.)
Doctors: McCloy 'way ahead of schedule' in recovery
(CNN) -- The sole survivor of the Sago Mine tragedy is "way ahead of schedule" in his recovery, after breathing in carbon monoxide fumes for nearly 42 hours as he waited to be rescued after the Jan. 2 explosion, his doctors said Thursday.
"His motor function, his speech, his personality, all the things are coming back ahead of schedule," said neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, who's been treating Randy McCloy, 26, since he was brought out of the mine in Morgantown, West Virginia.
His 12 fellow miners died in the accident. (Posted 8:48 a.m.)
4 dead, dozens wounded in attack near U.S. Consulate in Karachi
(CNN) -- A pair of explosions Thursday ripped through a Marriott hotel parking lot adjacent to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, killing at least four people, including a U.S. diplomat and his driver, and wounding more than 50 others, authorities said.
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Shairpao said the attack appeared to be the work of a suicide bomber who was targeting the U.S. foreign service officer. He said the initial blast took place as the car carrying the diplomat approached the entrance to the parking lot.
The apparent suicide bomber accelerated and crashed into the diplomat's car, he said.
Video from the scene showed a crater in the road with Pakistani security forces and emergency workers rushing to douse burning cars and trucks. Numerous vehicles, including at least one police truck, had windows blown out and doors blown off. -- From CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi (Posted 7:26 a.m.)
Guard killed when convoy of Sunni Arab leader ambushed
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen in western Baghdad on Thursday attacked the convoy of a top Sunni Arab politician, killing a guard and wounding four others. The official -- Adnan al-Dulaimi -- escaped injury.
Al-Dulaimi is the chairman of the General Conference of People of Iraq, which is part of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in the newly elected parliament. Al-Dulaimi told CNN that gunmen struck his convoy around 12:30 p.m., using AK-47s and machine guns to pepper his limousine after it had to stop along the road because of a flat tire.
The politician said the attack took place after he had gotten out of the limousine and drove away in another car while others stayed behind to make the repair.
"I am very sorry of what happened to my guards," said al-Dulaimi, who observed that Iraq has become "like hell." --From CNN Producer Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 7:22 a.m.)
Prosecutors ask that 3 suspects in multi-million cash heist be held without bond
MAIDSTONE, England (CNN) -- Prosecutors asked Thursday that three suspects in the $92 million robbery of a cash depot south of London be held without bail.
The three suspects -- John Fowler, 57; Stewart Royle, 47; and Kim Shackleton, 39 -- appeared Thursday morning in court, where prosecutors accused them of involvement in what is considered the biggest cash heist in British history.
While details of the accusations cannot be disclosed because of British court reporting rules, a prosecutor did accuse Fowler, a used car salesman, of conspiring to rob the depot, handling stolen goods, and kidnapping.
Royle is charged with conspiracy in connection with the robbery, while Shackleton is charged with handling stolen goods. --From CNN's Jim Boulden (Posted 7:20 a.m.)
Iran requests last-minute nuclear talks with EU3
LONDON (CNN) -- Iran has asked to meet Friday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany -- the "EU3" that has been trying to reach an agreement with Tehran on its nuclear program, the British Foreign Office said Thursday.
The meeting is to be held in Vienna with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, just days before the International Atomic Energy Agency is to meet March 6 on whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council.
"We will listen, but we have no new proposals. Our position is already set out in the IAEA board resolution of the 4th of February," a spokesman for the British Foreign Office said.
In that resolution, the IAEA's board of governors voted to report Iran's nuclear activities to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. But the board will officially gather on March 6 to make that recommendation. (Posted 4:40 a.m.)
Landmark deal reached on India's civilian nuclear program
NEW DELHI (CNN) -- Saying there "are no limits to the Indo-U.S. partnerships," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday announced a landmark agreement for New Delhi to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs.
The agreement was reached after intense negotiations between both nations, and magnified by U.S. President George W. Bush's relations-building trip to the world's largest democracy.
"I am particularly pleased that we have reached an understanding on the implementation of our agreement on civil nuclear cooperation," Singh said at a joint news conference with Bush.
Bush hailed the agreement as helping "make the world safer," and said he would lobby the U.S. Congress to persuade lawmakers that "this agreement is in our interests." The United States imposed temporary sanctions on India in 1998 after it conducted nuclear tests.
"India and America have built a strategic partnership based upon common values," Bush said. (Posted 2:52 a.m.)
Leader of Islamic militant group arrested in Bangladesh
DHAKA, Bangladesh (CNN) -- Bangladeshi security forces captured the country's top Islamic militant leader Thursday after a 48-hour standoff in the northeastern city of Sylhet, a senior security official said.
Shayek Abdur Rahman is the leader of the Muslim extremist group Jamayetul Mujahedin, which claimed responsibility for multiple bombings across the country in August that wounded more than 100 people. At the time, police said about 350 bombs bombs exploded in quick succession in and around government facilities.
According to the security official, Bangladeshi security forces intensifid their search for Rahman since the August bombings, and they believe that he has ties with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. -- Journalist Tasneem Khalil in Dhaka contributed to this story. (Posted 1:17 a.m.)
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