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Sunday, April 30

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.

4 killed in explosion in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- A Claymore mine explosion killed four people on Monday in the northeastern port city of Trincomalee, military forces in the troubled district told CNN.

Eight other people were wounded in the attack, the military said.

In another attack, Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of firing at a navy craft, injuring three sailors, the military said.

A tense cease-fire in the two-decade conflict has deteriorated in recent weeks, with several violent incidents reported in the northern region of the country, involving both rebel and government forces.

More than 65,000 people on both sides have been killed since the Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 to create a separate state for Sri Lanka's 3.2 million Tamils, alleging discrimination by the country's 14 million Sinhalese. (posted 1:45 a.m.)

Jurors to deliberate for a fifth day in Moussaoui trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNN) -- Jurors deciding whether Zacarias Moussaoui should be put to death will begin their fifth day of deliberations Monday.

The panel of nine men and three women is not being sequestered and has deliberated for more than 21 hours since receiving the case April 24.

The panel is deciding whether Moussaoui should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection for his connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism conspiracy.

Moussaoui, 37, an admitted al Qaeda operative from France, claimed in his trial testimony he was training to pilot a fifth hijacked passenger jet on Sept. 11 into the White House and that he knew the World Trade Center was targeted. (posted 1:30 a.m.)

Suspected Islamic militants kill 22 villagers in southern Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir (CNN) -- Suspected Islamic militants gunned down Hindu villagers in southern Kashmir late Sunday, killing at least 22 and critically wounding eight others, a police official said.

According to S.P. Vaid, inspector-general of police in Jammu, men were herded into the home of the village chief where the gunmen started firing indiscriminately.

The massacre took place in the remote village of Kulhand, about 15 miles (25 km) from Doda in southern Jammu and Kashmir.

Vaid said an anti-insurgency army unit has been deployed and is combing the area for the attackers. (posted 12:45 a.m.)

Organizers: Millions to join 'Day Without Immigrants' Monday

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Organizers are predicting a massive turnout for Monday's U.S. rallies against a proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and a boycott of jobs, schools and businesses meant to show the economic power of immigrants.

"It will be tens of millions from coast to coast, from Los Angeles to New York," Javier Rodriguez, a spokesman for the March 25 Coalition, told CNN. "You can expect L.A. to be at a standstill almost totally."

Monday's demonstrations, dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants," follow previous rallies that drew crowds estimated in the hundreds of thousands in some cities. A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center found that about 7.2 million illegal immigrants held jobs in the United States, making up 24 percent of farmhands and 14 percent of construction workers.

"We're going to see something that's never occurred in the history of this United States -- a day in which immigrants withhold their labor, withhold their consuming power -- they don't go to school, they don't go shopping, they don't go selling," said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican-American Political Association.

Rice: Iran is 'playing games' on its nuclear program; urges action from U.N.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday accused Iran of "playing games" with the international community over its nuclear program, but stopped short of saying whether economic sanctions against the Islamic republic are inevitable.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Rice pressed for action by the U.N. Security Council, which received a report Friday from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that said Iran wasn't heeding a demand to stop uranium enrichment.

"We can't just go back and have another presidential statement," she said, referring to the toothless compromise reached by the council in March. "We will try to move to a Chapter 7 resolution, which is a resolution in the U.N. that compels behavior from a member state.

"The international community's credibility is at stake here," Rice said. "We can either mean what we say when we say that Iran must comply, or we can continue to allow Iran to defy." (Posted, 3 p.m.)

Labor Party approves chairman's list of ministers

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel's Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz Sunday won a key vote within his party, approving all seven of his hand-picked choices to serve in the government's Cabinet.

Under its deal with the Kadima Party, which won recent legislative elections, the left-leaning Labor Party will have seven ministers in the Cabinet.

Labor's central committee Sunday approved Peretz's list of ministers, which includes himself as the defense minister.

According to Labor Party spokeswoman Ifat Zohar, the other ministers are:

-- Yuli Tamir, education minister;

-- Binyamin Ben Eliezer, infrastructure minister;

-- Itzhak Hertzog, tourism minister;

-- Shalom Simchon, agriculture minister;

-- Ofir Pines, culture, sports and Jerusalem affairs minister; and

-- Eitan Cabel, minister without portfolio, who will be in charge of the Israel Broadcast Authority. (Posted, 2:25 p.m.)

Lott says he's 'open' to excess profits tax on oil companies

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., whose home state was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, broke ranks with the his party Sunday, saying he would be open to the idea of taxing oil companies on their excess profits -- the hallmark of the Democrats' plan to lower gas prices.

"This may come as a shock to you, but I'm going to keep my options open," Lott said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," when asked if he would support a "windfall" tax on oil companies.

"If the oil companies don't stop escalating the gasoline prices, it is going to force the people to demand that the Congress do something or more, and the Congress is going to have to do more."

Most Republicans have denounced the Democrats' excess profits tax proposal, saying the oil companies are simply bowing to the pressures of supply and demand.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman blamed the increase in gas prices on the rising cost of a barrel of oil. (Posted, 12:55 p.m.)

Sudanese government agrees to peace deal; rebels still wary

(CNN) -- On the deadline set by African Union mediators, Sudan's government agreed Sunday to sign a peace agreement to end violence in its Darfur region, but the rebel movement has so far rejected the plan.

The agreement is the result of several weeks of talks in Abuja, Nigeria, the latest round of negotiations to settle the Darfur conflict which erupted over three years ago.

Salim Ahmed Salim, the chief AU mediator on Darfur, held out hope that the rebels would accept the deal, saying "we are very close" to an agreement.

"We are making every effort right now to try and overcome the concerns expressed by the (rebel) movement," Salim told CNN.

"But we do sincerely believe that the signing of this agreement by the government of Sudan is a significant event because it commits them to some specific measures, especially in the security area and if these measures are implemented, it will provide certainly a tremendous relief for the people of Darfur."

Earlier on CNN, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said "the key to all this humanitarian concern is the lack of security."

The rebel movement has expressed several concerns, including how the peace agreement deals with power-sharing, but Salim said those issues are addressed by the agreement on the table.

The crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of nearly 2 million people since February 2003, when people in that region began to rebel against state authority. (Posted, noon)

Iraqi president meets with insurgent groups, expects a political deal

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he believes "a deal can be reached with seven armed groups" and that he will work to include those groups in Iraq's political process, according to a statement released Sunday by Talabani's office.

The statement quoted Talabani saying none of the groups with which he has been meeting include anyone loyal to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who the Iraqi president said has "announced genocide against the Iraqi people."

The presidential statement said he has supported recent talks between U.S. officials in Iraq and armed groups. (Posted, 11 a.m.)

Bodman warns it will be 'years' before high energy prices come down

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Admitting that current energy situation is a crisis, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman Sunday said it could take three years before drivers get relief from spiking prices at the pump.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Bodman blamed the increase in gas prices on the rising cost of a barrel of oil.

"The suppliers have lost control of the market and therefore, demand exceeds supply," Bodman said.

"Clearly we're going to have a number of years, two or three years, before suppliers are going to be in a position to meet the demands of those who are consuming this product."

According to the U.S. government's statistics, the average cost of a gallon of gas has risen about $.60 in the past two months.

Crude oil prices broke through the $75 a barrel in late April, and while they've eased since then, they're still up about 17 percent this year.

Speaking on the same program, assistant Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of Illinois denounced Bodman's assertion that the oil companies are unable to bring down the price of gas.

"Here we have the most enormous profits in the history of the United States of America in the history of business," Durbin said, referring to the oil companies' billion dollar profits.

"All of the market factors you described may suggest that the product is going to be more expensive to sell, but they don't forgive what I think is an outrageous profit-taking by this industry." (Posted, 11 a.m.)

Roadside bomb kills 3 security contractors, wounds 2

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Three private security contractors were killed and two others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded as their convoy passed by south of Baghdad Sunday morning, according to the British Foreign Office.

The nationalities of those killed and wounded was not immediately known.(Posted, 9:45 a.m.)

2 bodies found in Baghdad; 2 bombs wound police, civilians

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two bodies were found early Sunday in Baghdad's Amil neighborhood, an Iraqi police official told CNN.

The victims had been shot in the head and their bodies showed signs of torture, the official said. The bodies could not be immediately identified, the official added.

Between Friday and Saturday, police found 12 bodies in Baghdad. All of the victims had been shot in the head and their bodies also showed signs of torture.

In western Baghdad's Yarmouk neighborhood, a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol exploded Sunday around 7:30 a.m., wounding two policemen, the Iraqi police official said.

Two civilians were wounded Sunday when a bomb exploded in the Amriya neighborhood in western Baghdad at 8 a.m., the official said. (Posted 4:02 a.m.)

Two al Qaeda terrorists killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two al Qaeda terrorists involved in bringing foreign fighters into Iraq were killed by coalition forces north of Baghdad Saturday, a statement from the Combined Press Information Center said.

The two were found near the city of Taji, about 30 km (18.6 miles) north of Baghdad, the statement said.

"Abu Usamah, one of the two killed and the troops' primary target, was allegedly involved in suicide and vehicle-borne improvised explosive device operations, as well as foreign fighter facilitation," the statement said.

No civilians were injured during the operation, according to the statement. (Posted 4:01 a.m.)

Body found in Afghanistan confirmed to be that of Indian hostage

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A body found in Zabol province on Sunday has been identified as that of an Indian telecommunications engineer who was kidnapped earlier in the week by Taliban members, the province's police chief said.

Police Chief Mohammed Nabeel Malahkili said the body had been beheaded.

K. Suryanarayan, who worked for the Roshan mobile telephone company, was abducted along with his Afghan driver Friday afternoon as he traveled from Kandahar to Kabul.

A statement from the Taliban demanded that all Indian workers leave Afghanistan within 24 hours or the hostage would be killed.

After the body was found, a Taliban spokesman said the group had not planned to kill the hostage but when he tried to escape, they shot him.

Malakhili said the body was handed over to Roshan officials in neighboring Ghazni province. The Roshan company is based in Bahrain.

In India, Foreign Minister Shyam Saran held a news conference condemning the killing, and he vowed that Indian workers would continue to help rebuild Afghanistan's infrastructure.

"The government and people of India, I can assure you, will never bow to such acts of terrorism and will continue their fraternal assistance to the people of Afghanistan in their endeavors to bring peace, stability and economic recovery to their country, ravaged by years of conflict," the minister said.

Saran also called on the international community to join together to defeat the Taliban, which he called a "scourge to humanity." (Updated, 8:50 a.m.)

27 killed in coal mine explosion in China

BEIJING (CNN) -- At least 27 miners were killed in an explosion at a coal mine in northwestern China, the country's official news agency reported on Sunday.

Seven people survived Saturday's blast and at least five were missing, Xinhua reported.

The explosion happened at the Wayaobao coal mine in Yan'an City in Shaanxi province.

The cause of the blast is under investigation, the news agency said, and the owner of the mine has been detained. The Wayaobao company's bank account has been frozen, as have the accounts of the owners and other managers, Xinhua reported. (Posted 3:58 a.m.)

Forecasters warn of flash floods or mudslides in Thailand due to rains from Cyclone Mala

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (CNN) -- Forecasters in Thailand issued warnings of possible flash floods or mudslides on Saturday night due to rains in the country's northern provinces from Cyclone Mala.

So far, officials said there are no reported incidents in the provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chieng Rai and Phayao -- which border Myanmar, where two people were killed earlier Saturday when Mala struck the western part of that country.

As many as 50 people were injured and hundreds of homes were damaged by winds of speeds up to 240 km per hour (150 mph), Red Cross officials said. Some areas of Myanmar were flooded in the storm, authorities said, but the system quickly lost its strength after making landfall. (Posted 1:16 a.m.)

Sri Lankan army: 10 paramilitary members killed by Tamil Tigers

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- At least 10 members of a paramilitary group were killed by Tamil Tiger guerrillas in a pre-dawn raid on Sunday, a spokesman for the Sri Lankan army said.

The Tamil Tigers accuse the paramilitary group of cooperating with the army, a charge the paramilitary group denies.

The attack took place in a camp in Welikada, north of Colombo. (Posted 1:15 a.m.)

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