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Saturday, April 22

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. "Posted" times are Eastern Daylight.

Nagin, Landrieu face runoff election for mayor

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Controversial Mayor Ray Nagin, who was soundly criticized for predicting New Orleans would remain a "chocolate city," with a black majority, will face Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in a runoff race for mayor May 20, based on unofficial results, officials said early Sunday.

Official results will not be available until Tuesday, according to Louisiana Secretary of State Al Ater, whose office oversaw the election.

With all 442 precincts reporting from Saturday's balloting, Nagin had 33,334 votes (38 percent); Landrieu with 23,923 votes (28 percent) and Ron Forman with 15,207 votes (18 percent). All three men are Democrats.

The tallies do not include 21,253 absentee ballots, which Ater's office accepted up until 8 p.m. Saturday to accommodate displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina. (Posted 1:59 a.m.)

Curfew re-imposed in Nepal; cell phone service shut down

KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- An 11-hour government curfew was imposed Sunday in Nepal's capital -- aimed at impeding ongoing protests in a show of opposition to the absolute rule of King Gyanendra, who vowed two days ago to return political power "to the people."

A government announcement said the curfew would last from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time (11:15 p.m. Saturday to 10:15 a.m. Sunday ET). In addition, virtually no cell phone service was available in the Kathmandu valley, as the government ordered cellular telephone providers to shut the phones down, Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of Nepal Telecom -- one of the three main cell phone providers -- told the Himalayan News Service. The move was aimed at restricting text messages sent to organize protest rallies.

The phones were shut off as of about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It was the second time the government had ordered cell phones shut off this month. On Saturday, heavy rain and a strong police presence doused a protest by about 200,000 marchers who headed toward the palace. The weather changed abruptly halfway through an eight-hour government curfew, which the protesters ignored to enter Kathmandu. (Updated 10:39 p.m.)

Nagin, Landrieu appear headed for runoff in New Orleans mayoral vote

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- New Orleans residents paused Saturday from their struggles to rebuild and reclaim their lives to vote in one of the oddest mayoral elections in American history -- a watershed event in which they will pick the person who will oversee the Crescent City's comeback fight.

Incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin, whose performance before, during and after Hurricane Katrina has been endlessly dissected, discussed and critiqued, is listed among 22 candidates on the ballot for an election that was postponed nearly three months to give election officials in the storm-ravaged city more time to prepare.

His strongest rivals are expected to be Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, scion of a New Orleans political dynasty, and Ron Forman, a first-time office seeker with strong ties to the city's business community who has raised more than $1.6 million since jumping into the race in mid-February.

Returns indicated Nagin and Landrieu may be headed for a May 20 runoff vote. With 374 of 442 precincts reporting, Nagin had 37 percent of the vote, Landrieu 29 percent and Forman 18 percent. (Updated 11:12 p.m.)

Court approves lawyers' request for subpoenas for Rice, other government officials

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Lawyers representing two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who are accused of disseminating classified information said Saturday they have been granted permission to file subpoenas for the testimony of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Ambassador to Russia William Burns and two others.

The subpoenas, approved by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, required court approval because of local rules for subpoenas involving government officials of certain levels of seniority.

Attorney Abbe Lowell -- who represents former AIPAC analyst Steven Rosen -- told CNN on Saturday that in oral arguments before the court on Friday, he argued that the subpoenas and testimony are necessary for the defense's case because it wants to show that Rice and other officials, during "real-life meetings," had provided Rosen and Keith Weissman with the same type of national defense information that the two are now being prosecuted for disseminating.

He asked how the defendants were supposed to know the difference between information that was acceptable to receive and information that was not. --From CNN's David de Sola (Posted 5:36 p.m.)

5 U.S. soldiers killed south of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Five U.S. soldiers were killed south of Baghdad on Saturday, the U.S. military said.

Four were killed in a roadside bombing when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle while they were on patrol, the military said.

Later, the military announced the death Saturday night of another soldier from wounds sustained in a roadside bombing.

It is not clear whether all of the deaths were the result of one roadside bombing.

All five were from Multi-National Division-Baghdad. (Posted 2:42 p.m.)

Fatah, Hamas officials meet to cool off tensions

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Fatah and Hamas officials met Saturday night to settle the tensions between followers of those two political Palestinian factions.

Palestinian security sources said a sitdown began with Egyptian mediators assisting.

It came on a day when Palestinian students from neighboring colleges squared off Saturday in Gaza City, hurling stones at one another in an incident thought to be related to differences between the Hamas and Fatah political movements.

Twenty injuries were reported. (Posted 1:50 p.m.)

Rice hails Iraqi selection of PM as 'important milestone'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday called the Iraqi parliament's selection of Jawad al-Maliki as its candidate for prime minister an "important milestone" for the Iraqis and said he is a man with whom the United States can do business.

"This is a good day for Iraq," Rice said in a conference call with reporters. "This is an important day for Iraq." Although Rice said she hasn't met al-Maliki, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad knows him well.

"He is thought to be a strong figure, someone who is fully capable of getting things done," Rice said, adding that he is considered "an Iraqi patriot; someone who is very concerned about Iraq and Iraq's sovereignty"

Rice called al-Maliki "courageous and brave" for reaching out to a broad range of groups in such tough political negotiations. She said the fact that he won the broad support of not only six of of seven of the groups in the Shiite alliance, but also Sunni and Kurdish leaders, signals he is a skilled politician who is willing and able to govern across sectarian lines. --From CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott (Posted 1:05 p.m.)

Kerry calls for May 15 deadline to force Iraqi parliament to form a government

(CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry said Saturday that the United States should hand an ultimatum to the Iraqi parliament: Form "an effective unity government" by May 15 "or we will immediately withdraw our military."

"If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave," Kerry said, according to the transcript of a speech prepared for delivery at Boston's Faneuil Hall.

"If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: A schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end," Kerry added. "Doing so will actually empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country."

A deadline is needed, he said, because "Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines."

Kerry also delivered a passionate defense of the right and duty of dissenters to speak out against presidential policy they disagree with. (Posted 11:36 a.m.)

Iraq's political impasse ends as lawmakers vote to fill top positions

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Members of the Iraqi parliament methodically started filling top leadership positions Saturday, ending the months-long political impasse in the war-wracked country.

The parliament elected Jalal Talabani to another term as the country's president, and Talabani then formally named Jawad al-Maliki as prime minister-designate and asked him to form the next government.

Talabani, a Kurd, has been serving as transitional president and will fill the same role over the next four years.

Al-Maliki, the recent choice of the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance, was picked for the job after politicians squabbled for weeks over the original choice for the position -- the transitional prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Parliament elected Sunni Arab politician Mahmoud al-Mashhadani as its new speaker. Two deputy speakers were elected as well. They are Khalid al-Attiyah, a Shiite, and Aref Tayfour, a Kurd. (Posted 10:31 a.m.)

5 bodies found in Baghdad; roadside bombings wound 5 police officers

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Five bodies were found slain in Baghdad on Saturday, police told CNN.

Their hands were tied behind their backs and they had gunshot wounds in their heads.

The bodies of a woman and two men were found in Dora in southern Baghdad and the others were found in Jihad neighborhood in western Baghdad.

Slain people have been found regularly in the capital over the past few months during the upsurge in Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence.

Also, roadside bombings wounded five police officers Saturday in two blasts targeting police patrols -- three in eastern Baghdad and two and the central Baghdad area of Harthiya. --From Producer Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 10:14 a.m.)

4 Canadian soldiers killed in roadside bombing in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A roadside bombing on Saturday killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, the Canadian military told CNN.

A Canadian military spokesman said the incident took place at 7:30 a.m. near Gumbad in Shah Wali Kot District of the Kandahar province. The location is more than 45 miles north of the city of Kandahar, which is in the southern part of the country.

Sources in Kandahar said the bomb might have been an improvised explosive device made from anti-tank mines wired together.

"The four were traveling in an armored jeep at the time of the explosion in an area northeast of Gumbad platoon house," according to a news release from the coalition command in Kabul.(Posted 9:34 a.m.)

Iraq lawmakers meet, consider choices for top government jobs

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq's parliament Saturday began the process of forming a new government, a long-delayed process reinvigorated over the last few days by the choice of a new prime minister candidate by the powerful Shiite-led political bloc.

The Council of Representatives is considering candidates for the top jobs in the government -- the prime minister, the parliament speaker and two deputies, and the president and two deputies.

The prime minister candidate is Jawad al-Maliki, a Dawa Party politician, who called for a government of national unity "to eradicate injustice that the Iraqis have suffered." (Posted 8:25 a.m.)

Students in Gaza City aligned with Fatah, Hamas square off

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Palestinian students from neighboring colleges squared off Saturday in Gaza City, hurling stones at each another amid tensions thought to be related to differences between the Hamas and Fatah political movements.

A witness reported the clashes between students from Al-Azhar University -- many of whom support the Fatah movement that once dominated the Palestinian government -- and those from Islam University, a bastion of support for Hamas, the militant group that wrested parliamentary power from Fatah in elections earlier this year. (Posted 8:25 a.m.)

Source: Defense attorneys questioning alleged victim's ID of suspects

DURHAM, N.C. (CNN) -- Defense attorneys representing two Duke University lacrosse players charged with raping a woman hired to dance at a team party in March are questioning the process by which the alleged victim identified her attackers, a source close to the defense told CNN Friday.

The source said the alleged victim was shown images of the 46 white players on the team and was told beforehand that she would be looking at people police had reason to believe attended the party. The defense will likely file a motion to suppress the identification because no pictures of non-team members were included in the presentation, the source said.

District Attorney Mike Nifong did not return a call seeking comment on the identification procedure. However, legal experts have told CNN that authorities would not necessarily be required to show pictures of unrelated people along with pictures of the lacrosse players. -- From CNN Correspondent Jason Carroll (Posted 11:00 p.m.)

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