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Wednesday, May 3

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.

Expert points to lightning as trigger of Sago disaster

BUCKHANNON, W. Va. (CNN) -- The January explosion that led to the deaths of 12 miners at the Sago coal mine in West Virginia was caused when an electric charge from a lightning strike triggered a methane explosion that caused a roof collapse in the mine, an expert hired by the mine owner testified Wednesday at a public hearing on the disaster.

The findings of Thomas Novak, from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, parallel preliminary findings made public shortly after the disaster by Sago's owner, International Coal Group.

But they drew a skeptical response from Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, who questioned Novak on behalf of the families of victims of the tragedy.

"How many miners were killed in the explosion?" Roberts asked repeatedly before answering his own question. "One."

Of the 12 miners who died, only one was killed directly by the explosion. The others died of carbon monoxide poisoning while awaiting rescue.

The exchange between Roberts and Novak came on the second day of a public hearing into the disaster.

The hearing was extended to a third day of testimony Thursday, during which government investigators will present their findings and family members will make closing statements. (posted 1:40 a.m.)

Mexico backs off drug decriminalization bill

(CNN) -- Mexican President Vicente Fox Wednesday backed off a bill that would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs, sending it back to that country's Congress for changes.

"The possession and the consumption of drugs are and will always be considered a crime," Fox said in a statement released by his office.

The president had initially said he would sign the bill, which passed the Congress last week, but backed away after criticism from Washington. (Posted 9:57 p.m.)

Blair faces test Thursday in English local elections

LONDON (CNN) -- Just a year after securing an historic third term, British Prime Minister Tony Blair faces an electoral test Thursday that could increase pressure on him to announce a timetable for leaving the political stage.

Blair's embattled Labor Party, dogged by a recent string of controversies, could suffer heavy losses in Thursday's balloting for seats on 176 local government councils across England. While that won't directly affect the prime minister's parliamentary majority, a particularly poor showing could fuel calls for him to say when he will step aside.

During his campaign for a third term last year, Blair pledged not to stand again as Labor leader in the next general election. But that election isn't expected until 2009 or 2010, and he has so far refused to be pinned down on a date certain to step aside.

Thursday's vote will also mark the first test for the Conservative Party's new leader, David Cameron, a telegenic 39-year-old who was picked in December to try to lead his once-dominant party out of nearly a decade in the political wilderness. (Posted 8:33 p.m.)

French Embassy responds to Moussaoui verdict

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The French Embassy in the United States has released the following statement on the sentencing of Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen, to life in prison without parole:

"The Embassy of France in the United States has taken note of the life sentence handed down to Zacharias Moussaoui by the Federal Court of Alexandria. This decision was made by the independent court of a sovereign state. Mr. Moussaoui's trial, all sessions of which were attended by the Consul General of France in Washington as well as the Embassy's liaison magistrate, was conducted in an exemplary fashion.

"We repeat our complete willingness to meet once again with Mr. Moussaoui, as part of the exercise of his consular protection, should he express the wish for such a meeting, which he has not done thus far." (Posted 8:22 p.m.)

Justice officials can't hide disappointment in Moussaoui verdict

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senior Justice Department officials were clearly disappointed but largely mum in the wake of the jury's decision to spare Zarcharias' Moussaoui's life.

"Are we disappointed, yes, but this was a very difficult case," said one senior Justice official who asked not to be identified.

Justice officials are trying not to acknowledge that disappointment publicly and were not ready Wednesday evening to speak on the record.

Two officials acknowledged particular disappointment and sympathy for the prosecutorial team and their aides who had worked tirelessly for years trying to produce a courtroom victory for the families of victims of 9/11.

Some officials in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia had virtually devoted their professional lives to providing support -- and a sense of justice -- for the thousands of survivors and families who were victims of the terrorist attacks.

But some survivors and family members of victims were on the opposite side, testifying for the defense during the penalty trial. (Posted 7:46 p.m.)

Bush, Merkel express solidarity on Iran after White House confab

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After meeting with President Bush at the White House Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was in "total agreement" with Bush that "under no circumstances must Iran be allowed to come into possession of nuclear weapons."

The German leader, whose government has taken a leading role in trying to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, said she still sees "good chances" for a diplomatic solution.

"But we also think that it is essential in this context that the clear resolve of the international community is shown by standing united, by showing cohesion on this matter," she said during a joint appearance with Bush. "What is also essential ... is that we try to draw as many partners as possible into the fold to clearly show to the Iranians that this is unacceptable."

Merkel's visit to the White House came hours after the United States, Britain and France introduced a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Iran give up its production of nuclear fuel. The Tehran regime could face economic sanctions if it refuses to comply. (Posted 7:34 p.m.)

House passes lobbying reform measure

WASHINGTON (CNN) The House of Representatives Wednesday narrowly passed a lobbying reform bill in a 217-213 vote, largely along party lines.

After a series of high profile ethics scandals, the GOP leadership hopes the legislation will improve the image of Congress, whose popularity in recent public opinion polls has reached new lows.

The bill suspends privately funded travel for members of Congress and their staffs through the rest of the year and adds more detailed disclosure rules for lobbyists. It also includes a provision to make it more difficult for members to attach pet projects or "earmarks" to spending bills.

The bill is dramatically scaled back from a proposal offered in January by Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., which would have banned all lobbyist-funded travel and gifts. It also would have doubled the time period required for members of Congress and senior staff who leave Congress to become lobbyists from one to two years. Hastert initially planned a vote on that package in March, but Republicans were split on how far reforms should go.

Wednesday's vote was largely along party lines, with eight Democrats voting in favor of the bill and twenty Republicans, including House Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., voting against it. (Posted 7:16 p.m.)

Additional charge for 1 teen charged in alleged high school plot

COLUMBUS, Kan. (CNN) -- One of five teenage boys charged in what prosecutors call a failed plot at a Kansas high school was charged Wednesday with solicitation to commit first degree murder.

The 16-year-old, along with the other four boys, had previously been charged with making a criminal threat and incitement of a riot, felonies that carry penalties of less than two years in prison, but the prosecutor said at the time that more serious charges could be added as evidence was gathered.

Also Wednesday, a judge reduced bond requirements for the oldest of the five, 18-year-old Coy New, allowing his release upon payment of 10 percent of half of his $50,000 bond. Three of the four younger defendants were given the same bond deal.

The fourth, the 16-year-old now charged with solicitation to murder, has not been granted bail. (Posted 4:50 p.m.)

Moussaoui will receive life sentence for 9/11

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNN) -- Admitted al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui should be sentenced to life in prison for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, a federal jury determined Wednesday.

The nine-man and three-woman jury returned its verdict after 41 hours of deliberations over seven days.

U.S. Judge Leonie Brinkema will impose the sentence at 10 a.m. ET Thursday. --From CNN's Phil Hirschkorn (Posted 4:37 p.m.)

U.S., Britain, France propose Security Council resolution on Iran

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United States, Britain and France introduced a draft Security Council resolution Wednesday that calls on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, with the U.S. ambassador telling reporters that future action "depends on the Iranian reaction."

If approved, the resolution would "make mandatory" a previous Security Council demand for Tehran to give up its production of nuclear fuel, British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said. Iran has not met the council's call to halt its nuclear fuel work, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog reported last week. (Posted 3:31 p.m.)

Massive quake rattles southwestern Pacific

(CNN) -- An earthquake measuring about 8.0 in magnitude shook the southwestern Pacific Ocean early Thursday (local time), sparking tsunami warnings but no devastating waves.

The Pacific Tsunamic Warning Center said a tsunami wave was generated by the quake, but it only amounted to a few inches.

The quake's epicenter was about 95 miles off the coast of Tonga, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at 3:26 p.m. Wednesday GMT (11:26 a.m. ET), or 4:26 a.m. Thursday in Tonga.

Paula Chipman, an American tourist in Tonga's capital, Nukualofa, called it "a major, major shaker" and said it was impossible to assess the damage on the island because it was still dark.

"We felt it. We felt it huge," she said. (Posted 3:26 p.m.)

House passes stiff penalties for energy price gouging

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday passed a bill that bars energy companies from price gouging but failed to pass a bill that would speed up the process to build new refineries for gasoline, biofuel and diesel.

The bill, which passed by a 389-34 vote, imposes criminal penalties up to $150 million and up to two years in jail for those found guilty of price gouging. The bill sets civil penalties at three times the "ill-gotten gains" plus up to $3 million per day of the violation.

President Bush, speaking earlier in the day after a meeting with members of Congress, said that making sure consumers are "treated fairly" is an important aspect of combating high energy costs. (Posted 3:20 p.m.)

Businessman pleads guilty to bribing Democratic congressman

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A businessman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to paying more than $400,000 in bribes to a congressman, whom government sources have identified as Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who has who has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Vernon Jackson, 53, of Louisville, Ky., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., to a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit bribery and payment of bribes to a public official. He agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors who continue to investigate Jefferson's activities related to telecommunications deals in Africa and elsewhere.

Jackson is chairman and CEO of iGate Inc., a firm that develops high-tech equipment.

A written Justice Department statement says Jackson gained Jefferson's help in promoting his products that made them eligible for various federal contracts. Jackson's firm won a contract with the U.S. Army. --From CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 12:39 p.m.)

Defendants charged with 46 felonies in Alabama church fires

(CNN) -- Alabama's attorney general announced Wednesday he will file 46 felony counts against three college students charged with a string of church fires in February.

The three are already being held on federal charges related to the same incidents.

The defendants are Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20, of Indian Springs; Benjamin Nathan Moseley, 20, of Birmingham; and Russell Lee Debusk, 19, of Birmingham. (Posted 12:27 p.m.)

New guidelines to cut sugary beverages in public schools

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The nation's biggest beverage makers have agreed to end sales of nearly all sugary sodas to public schools, a group led by former President Clinton announced Wednesday.

Under the new guidelines, the companies will sell only bottled water, juices with no added sweeteners and fat-free and low-fat milk products to elementary schools and middle schools.

At high schools, at least half of the beverages offered will be water or low-calorie, but they can also offer juices and diet soda.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes and the American Beverage Association have all agreed to the new guidelines, a move that affects nearly 35 million students across the country, from elementary through high school. (Posted 11:44 a.m.)

U.S. contractor killed in southern Iraq roadside bomb

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. civilian contractor was killed and two others were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb Wednesday near Nasiriya in southern Iraq, a British military spokesman said. (Posted 11:37 a.m.)

Mining official admits he may have been the cause of Sago miscommunication

BUCKHANNON, W. Va. (CNN) -- Recalling the day that he found the 12 miners killed in the Sago Mine disaster, a West Virginia mining inspector said Wednesday he may have been the cause of a "communication error" that led the miners' families to believe they had survived.

"I didn't have a radio, I was just screaming out for help," said Bill Tucker. "I think I said 'They're alive,' and that may have been part of the communication error.

"In my mind I knew that most of them were dead at the point that we saw them."

Speaking on behalf of the mining rescue team, Tucker said, "Our heart goes out to the families and the pain that they suffered through the communication error."(Posted 11:26 a.m.)

Lawmakers in Iraq meet, deal with routine business

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi lawmakers on Wednesday held their third parliamentary session, focusing on routine business aimed at building the machinery of 275-member body's operations.

Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni Arab, presided over the meeting, which took place as the prime minister-designate, Shiite politician Nuri al-Maliki, worked to form a unity government that must be voted on by parliament later this month.

Lawmakers formed two committees that will develop rules and procedures for the operation of the body.

Attorney seeks bail for former DHS officials accused of soliciting minor

(CNN) -- As a former Department of Homeland Security spokesman was being transferred to Florida Wednesday to face charges of soliciting a minor via the Internet -- his attorney said he will seek to have his client released on bail so he can return to Maryland and be examined by two psychiatrists who specialize in sexual dysfunctions.

The former DHS official, Brian J. Doyle, 55, has waived extradition in Maryland and is to arrive at the Polk County jail in Bartow, Fla., Wednesday afternoon for a court appearance Thursday morning.

Attorney Barry Helfand said Doyle remains "very depressed" since his arrest April 4 at his Silver Spring, Md., home as he allegedly communicated with a Polk County detective posing on the Internet as a 14-year-old girl. (Posted 10:55 a.m.)

U.S. report cites 11 nations for violations of religious freedom

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. commission recommended Wednesday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice designate 11 nations as "countries of particular concern" for violations of religious freedom.

The nations are Burma, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- the latter three being new designees for 2006.

The recommendations are part of a 246-page report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. As part of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the commission annually assesses "the facts and circumstances regarding violations of religious freedom around the world" each year. (Posted 10:36 a.m.)

Interview: Duke University 'turned its back' on team, coach 'was forced out'

(CNN) -- After Duke University "turned its back" on the lacrosse team amid rape allegations against three players, the team's coach was forced to step down, according to an interview a Raleigh-Durham television station conducted with a young man it identified as a member of the Duke lacrosse team.

"From the get-go we've only had each other to fall back on because we've been convicted in the media, our university turned its back on us and we've only had each other to fall back on," said the man, who was not visible during the interview with CNN affiliate WTVD.

He said the university failed to "stand up for us" after a woman who was hired as a stripper to perform at a team party alleged that she was pulled into a bathroom and raped by three Duke lacrosse players.

"We feel neglected and that our loyalty to the university wasn't reciprocated," he said. (Posted 10:32 a.m.)

9/11 trial deliberations enter 7th day

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNN) -- The jury considering the fate of Zacarias Moussaoui is deliberating for a seventh day whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism conspiracy.

The nine men and three women from northern Virginia resumed their deliberations as scheduled at 8:30 a.m. and plan to meet until 4 p.m.

If the panel reaches no verdict Wednesday, it would deliberate for only half a day Thursday and take Friday off due to personal scheduling conflicts. --From CNN's Phil Hirschkorn (Posted 10:28 a.m.)

Nepal Cabinet declares cease-fire to match Maoist cease-fire

(CNN) -- Nepal's newly reinstated Cabinet met Wednesday and in response to a Maoist cease-fire, declared a cease-fire of its own.

In addition, the Cabinet asked that Interpol, the international police agency, cancel alerts for eight Maoist leaders.

Last week King Gyanendra reinstated Parliament after three weeks of demonstrations that left 16 people dead.

The Nepali Parliament met last week in a process that is expected to lead to the drafting of a new constitution for the Himalayan nation. Parliament had not met since 2002. (Posted 10:21 a.m.)

Serbian deputy PM resigns over failure to capture Mladic

BELGRADE, Serbia (CNN) -- Saying "it's an issue of credibility," Serbia's deputy prime minister Miroljub Labus resigned Wednesday after the European Union cut off key talks with the former Yugoslav state because of its failure to capture wanted war crimes suspect Gen. Ratko Mladic.

"We promised to deliver something and we failed," Labus said, after the deputy prime minister announced his resignation at a news conference in Belgrade.

Carla Del Ponte, the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor accused Serbia and Montenegro of knowing Mladic's whereabouts and letting him slip through their hands.

However, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, said his government "has done absolutely everything in its power" to bring Mladic to The Hague and denied knowing his current whereabouts.

"Ratko Mladic is now hiding completely on his own," according to a statement from Kostunica, posted on the Serbian government's Web site. "Therefore it is a question of technical nature to discover the place where Ratko Mladic is hiding now." (Posted 9:50 a.m.)

2 German engineers freed by kidnappers in Iraq return home

BERLIN (CNN) -- The two German engineers freed on Tuesday by kidnappers in Iraq after they were abducted early this year have returned home.

Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke got off a plane at at an airport in Germany's capital of Berlin on Wednesday and spoke to reporters briefly before they headed off to see their families.

They thanked the government, including the Foreign Ministry, and others for their efforts in freeing them and supporting them, and they recognized the fortitude and bravery of their families.

"We are very happy to be alive," Nitzchke said.

"I am glad to be home. I am lost for words. We have had a difficult time," Braunlich said.

The two men were abducted Jan. 24 north of Baghdad while working at a detergent factory on the grounds of the Baiji oil refinery, a common target for insurgent attacks. (Posted 9:28 a.m.)

British official joins U.S. diplomat at Darfur talks

(CNN) -- A senior British official has joined the talks aimed to end the hostilities in Sudan's Darfur region, the Foreign Office said Wednesday.

Hillary Benn, international development secretary, joins a senior U.S. diplomat at the talks, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick.

Benn "is supporting the African Union which is mediating the talks to try to get an agreement before the revised deadline expires at midnight on 4 May," the Foreign Office said.

Benn has met with representatives of groups involved in the talks, including the African Union, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, both rebel groups.

The talks are being held in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. (Posted 8:25 a.m.)

4 Shiite college students in Baghdad shot dead by gunmen at fake checkpoint

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Four college students were shot dead Tuesday night in southern Baghdad, and police theorized Wednesday they were slain because they were Shiites.

The 5:30 p.m. incident took place in Dora. Gunmen at a fake checkpoint stopped a minibus that was headed from Mamoun college, a private institution in central Baghdad. It was going to southern Baghdad, where students were being dropped off at their homes, police said.

The gunmen checked the identifications of 11 people on the minibus and then killed the four. Police believe they were targeted after gunmen recognized the Shiite names on their IDs. (Posted 8:05 a.m.)

Del Ponte: Serbia knew 'the exact location for Mladic' and failed to arrest him

(CNN) -- The chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor Wednesday accused Serbia and Montenegro of knowing the whereabouts of war crimes suspect Gen. Ratko Mladic and letting him slip through their hands.

"Last time I spoke with (Serbian) Prime Minister (Vojislav) Kostunica he told me that they were now ready to arrest him, but apparently ... not," Carla Del Ponte said. "I don't know if they know today where he is, but I know that they" knew "the exact location for Mladic two weeks ago or 10 days ago."

Del Ponte said Mladic at that time was in or near Belgrade, "moving from one apartment to another." "Now he feels threatened so he moves very quickly," she said. (Posted 8:05 a.m.)

Moderate Indian politician dies nearly two weeks after shooting

NEW DELHI (CNN) -- Pramod Mahajan, an Indian politician who represented the moderate face of his Hindu nationalist BJP party, died in Mumbai Wednesday.

He died 12 days after he was shot in his residence, allegedly by his younger brother. Mahajan, long regarded as the strategist who moved the BJP into the mainstream of Indian politics by striking deals with other parties, was 56.

He was an understudy of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and was considered the voice of the young, progressive leadership of the party. (Posted 8:05 a.m.)

14 bodies found slain in northern Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Fourteen bodies were found slain in Baghdad on Wednesday morning.

According to authorities, all had their hands tied, showed signs of torture and had been shot in the head.

The bodies were found in northern Baghdad. (Posted 6:50 a.m.)

Police officer gunned down in Baquba

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A police officer was shot dead in western Baquba on Wednesday, police said.

The killing took place late in the morning when gunmen opened fire on a patrol. Another police officer was wounded, police said.

The incident took place late in the morning in the Diyala province city. (Posted 6:40 a.m.)

Iraqi military sweep in Mosul nets 36 detentions

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least three dozen people have been detained in an Iraqi military counter-insurgency sweep in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the U.S. military said in a statement on Wednesday.

The announcement comes as Iraqi soldiers and police finished the fourth day of what has been dubbed Operation Lion's Hunt.

Nearly 1,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have taken part. (Posted 6:32 a.m.)

Suicide bomber kills 16 in Falluja

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least 16 people died and 25 others were wounded Wednesday morning when a suicide bomber set off an explosives vest he was wearing at a police recruitment center, police and hospital officials said.

The attack took place in Falluja, about 35 miles west of Baghdad in Anbar province -- the Sunni-dominated region that has been a hotspot for insurgent activity. (Posted 6:30 a.m.)

17 wounded in Baghdad bombing

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least 17 people were wounded on Wednesday when a bomb ripped through a market in one of Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods, police said.

The incident took place in Shula at 1 p.m., police said. (Posted 6:30 a.m.)

Bird flu case in Egypt

CAIRO (CNN) -- A new human case of the often-deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was confirmed in Egypt Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization in Cairo.

The latest victim, a 27-year-old woman who lives in Cairo, has been hospitalized after spending four days in the Nile Delta region late last month where she slaughtered a number of chickens. (Posted 5:25 a.m.)

Armenian passenger jet crashes in Russia, killing 113

MOSCOW (CNN) -- An Armavia Airline plane from Armenia crashed into the Black Sea near the Russian resort of Sochi early Wednesday, killing all 113 people aboard, Russian authorities said.

Rescuers, working in a driving rain and high seas, found parts of the plane, baggage and life jackets about four miles off the coast, according to the Russian Emergency Services Ministry.

It was unknown if bad weather was a factor in the crash. The pilot had reported no problems, Russian officials said.

Ministry spokesman Victor Beltsov said controllers lost contact with the Airbus A320 shortly after 2:15 a.m. Wednesday as it was preparing to land in Sochi.

The plane was flying from the Armenian capital of Yerevan to Sochi, a popular resort, Beltsov said. (posted 2:20 a.m.)

6 die in shootout between Indian security forces and suspected militants

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir (CNN) -- An shootout between suspected militants and security forces in a northern Kashmiri village early Wednesday left six people dead, including two Indian army soldiers and a police officer, a police official said. Three militants also died.

According to Farooq Ahmad, the deputy inspector general of police for the central Kashmir range, a standoff with militants began shortly after they were spotted near the village of Hayan late Tuesday, about 25 miles (42 km) north of the summer capital of Srinagar.

"Troops of Rashtriya Rifles (an anti-insurgency army unit) and local police were quickly moved to cordon the two residential houses were the militants had been hiding," Farooq said. "The holed up militants tossed grenades and fired from their automatics on the surrounding troops."

The homes were destroyed in the firefight and three militants killed, according to Farooq. (posted 5:25 a.m.)

White House to unveil implementation plan for pandemic flu strategy

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration Wednesday will unveil its "implementation plan" for how the nation should respond in the event of a pandemic.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the implementation plan is a "road map" that takes the principles of President Bush's strategy, outlined last November, and "puts them into action for all federal departments and agencies."

It will cover both government and nongovernment actions to plan and prepare for a potential pandemic, he said.

The 220-plus page report includes more than 300 specific recommendations for how both the public and private sectors should tackle a possible pandemic, Bush administration officials said. It assumes a worst case scenario that includes 2 million dead, 50 million infected and 40 percent of the workforce off the job, officials said. (10:08 p.m.)

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