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Tuesday, July 18

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.

McKinney faces runoff in Ga.; Ralph Reed concedes defeat

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Controversial Rep. Cynthia McKinney failed to get the necessary 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday's Georgia Primary and so she must compete in a runoff with challenger Hank Johnson for the Democratic nomination in Georgia's 4th Congressional District.

McKinney, who made headlines in the spring when she had an altercation with a U.S. Capitol Police officer, had 47 percent to challenger Hank Johnson's 45 percent, with 95 percent of the ballots counted. A grand jury failed to to indict McKinney last month after a Capitol police officer alleged that she struck him when he didn't recognize her at a security checkpoint.

In another Georgia election of note, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed conceded the race for the Republican nomination for Georgia lieutenant governor to state Sen. Casey Cagle. Reed, also known for his close ties with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, had 44 percent of the vote to Cagle's 56 percent with 93 percent counted. (Posted 1 p.m.)

IDF: Israeli ground troops in southern Lebanon

TYRE, Lebanon (CNN) -- Israeli ground troups have launched a cross-border incursion on the ground into southern Lebanon, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN early Wednesday.

"A number of Israeli troops are on the ground in southern Lebanon close to the border," the spokesman said. Their mission is to destroy Hezbollah outposts, he said. (Posted 10:29 p.m.)

Power outage grounds flights in LA area

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A power outage at a high-altitude radar monitoring center for incoming flights forced a groundstop in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas late Tuesday afternoon, the FAA said.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told CNN that some of the systems at the on-route center in Palmdale, Calif. -- north of Los Angeles -- were up again, and authorities were working to bring the rest online.

The cause of the outage was unknown, Brown said.

In the meantime, she said, some of the air traffic in the area -- which includes Los Angeles International Airport, San Diego International Airport, Burbank Airport and John Wayne Airport in Orange County -- was being transferred to other area centers, including Albuquerque and Oakland.

The on-route center handles high-altitude flights -- 18,000 feet and higher, Brown said. The Palmdale center handles seven airports in California and some in parts of three other states -- Utah, Nevada and Arizona, she said. (Posted 9:59 p.m.)

Former Christian Coalition leader Reed trails in Ga. GOP primary

ATLANTA (CNN) -- With 33 percent of the ballots counted, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed trailed Georgia state Sen. Casey Cagle in the Republican primary election for that state's lieutenant governor.

Reed, also known for his close ties with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, had 44.8 percent of the vote to Cagle's 55.2 percent.

In another Georgia election of note, controversial Rep. Cynthia McKinney, facing two challengers, including DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson, in the Democratic primary, was leading with 49.8 percent to Johnson's 41.8 percent, with 12 percent of the vote counted. (Posted 9:40 p.m.)

Power outage grounds flights in LA area

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A power outage at a high-altitude radar monitoring center for incoming flights forced a groundstop in the Los Angeles area late Tuesday afternoon, the FAA said.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told CNN that some of the systems at the on-route center in Palmdale, Calif., were up again, and authorities were working to bring the rest online.

The cause of the outage was unknown, Brown said. (Posted 9:39 p.m.)

U.S. won't make Americans pay for Lebanon evacuation

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration won't require Americans being evacuated from Lebanon to pay back the government for the trip, reversing a policy that came under fire from members of Congress, federal officials told CNN Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decided to use her authority under the law to waive fees for Americans being evacuated from Lebanon to Cyprus, senior State Department officials told CNN. The State Department was working with Congress to resolve the issue. (Posted 9:16 p.m.)

Unusual spending for Hurricane Katrina relief investigated by govt. auditors

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Government "purchase cards" issued to Department of Homeland Security employees were used to buy a beer brewing kit, an $8,000 63-inch Samsung plasma-screen television, hundreds of laptop computers that are now missing and 20 flat-bottom boats at greatly inflated prices, according to a government audit of spending associated with Katrina relief efforts.

The audit, which will be the topic of a Senate hearing Wednesday, is likely to deal yet another black eye to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and DHS, its parent agency. Both have already been bruised by a government audit showing about $1 billion in fraudulent claims was issued by FEMA following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The new audit, also done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), looks at purchases made by DHS employees during a five-month period beginning in June 2005 using "SmartPay" purchase cards, intended to give government employees a more flexible and efficient way to purchase goods and services. Typically, government employees can make purchases up to $2,500 with the cards, but Congress increased the threshold to $250,000 for Katrina-related purchases. (Posted 9 p.m.)

Former Christian Coalition leader Reed trails in Ga. GOP primary

ATLANTA (CNN) -- With 10 percent of the ballots counted, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed trailed Georgia state Sen. Casey Cagle in the Republican primary election for that state's lieutenant governor.

Reed, also known for his close ties with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, had 45.5 percent of the vote to Cagle's 54.5 percent.

In another Georgia election of note, there were no returns available in the state's 4th Congressional District, where controversial Rep. Cynthia McKinney faced two challengers in the Democratic primary. (Posted 8:37 p.m.)

U.S. won't make Americans pay for Lebanon evacuation

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration won't require Americans being evacuated from Lebanon to pay back the government for the trip, reversing a policy that came under fire from members of Congress, aides to two Republican senators said Wednesday.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice notified Sen. John Sununu Tuesday evening that she was waiving the requirement, Sununu's office said. Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican of Lebanese descent, was among several lawmakers who criticized the law requiring U.S. citizens to reimburse the government for their evacuation.

And Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office, said the State Department had notified Frist of the decision as well.

The move came after Democrats compared the rule and the pace of evacuations to the botched response to Hurricane Katrina. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., introduced a bill to do away with the reimbursement provision, saying it "makes absolutely no sense." (Posted 8:20 p.m.)

Palestinians: Israeli troops move into Gaza

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israeli forces moved into central Gaza early Wednesday, Palestinian security sources said.

There was no immediate word from the Israel Defense Forces on the incursion. (Posted 7:22 p.m.)

New airstrikes pound southern Beirut; Hezbollah vows to fight to the death

BEIRUT (CNN) -- As an eighth day of military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah began Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes pounded the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital near the airport, lighting up the night with explosions.

Members of Hezbollah, however, reported the organization's military capability has not been diminished by the strikes and vowed to fight to the death.

Hezbollah officials gave CNN exclusive access into the southern suburbs of Beirut -- the area thought to house the organization's headquarters -- to show the damage inflicted on civilians there. They also wanted to show they do not house military stockpiles there, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

Robertson also noted that his tour of the area was hurried, and he could not definitively confirm the groups claims about what was and was not housed in the area. (Posted 6:52 p.m.)

Cruise ship returning to port with rudder problem

MIAMI (CNN) -- A Princess Cruise Lines ship suffered a steering problem in the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday and is returning to Port Canaveral for repairs, the U.S. Coast Guard told CNN.

The Crown Princess developed a problem with its rudder, which caused the ship to take a "heavy roll," listing hard to one side, the Coast Guard said.

It said there are injuries on board, but it wasn't clear how many were injured or how seriously.

As the ship sailed within 5 miles of Port Canaveral, the Coast Guard transported medics to it.

The ship cannot enter port until deemed safe by the Coast Guard, according to Petty Officer James Judge. "We have to make sure the ship is maneuverable and doesn't crash into anything or any other ship in port," he said. (Posted 5:54 p.m.)

Gonzales spars with senators on NSA surveillance, detainees ruling

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified Tuesday that President Bush had made the decision that prevented Justice Department lawyers from investigating the NSA's "terrorist surveillance program."

Under testy questioning from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Gonzales disclosed for the first time that the decision to refuse the necessary security clearances to the Justice investigators came from the White House.

"The president of the United States makes the decision about who is ultimately given access," Gonzales told Specter.

The explanation did not satisfy Specter, who noted that internal documents released by Gonzales showed "a large team" of leak investigators was given the same clearances that were denied to the Office of Professional Responsibility investigators seeking to examine the role of Justice lawyers in the the authorization and oversight of the warrantless electronic surveillance program. --From Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 5:47 p.m.)

Facing veto threat, Senate votes to loosen stem-cell rules

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate voted 63-37 Tuesday to loosen President Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, a move Bush has pledged to veto.

The measure, which the House of Representatives passed in May, would allow couples who have had embryos frozen for fertility treatments donate them to researchers rather than let them be destroyed. But neither chamber managed the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the veto the White House threatened to deliver.

"We have heard the announcement that a veto is imminent," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the bill's principal sponsor. "But with this strong showing today, it is my hope that President Bush will listen to 72 percent of the American people and 63 percent of the United States Senate and sign the bill."

Bush announced in August 2001 that his administration would allow federal funding only for research on about 60 stem-cell lines that existed at the time. Researchers have since found that many of those stem cell lines are contaminated and unusable for research. (Posted 5:16 p.m.)

Tropical Storm Beryl forms in Atlantic

MIAMI (CNN) -- Tropical Storm Beryl formed late Tuesday afternoon in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm's top sustained winds were 40 mph, just over the 39 mph threshold for a tropical storm, the NHC said.

At 5 p.m., Beryl, the second tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, was centered about 180 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, moving north near 6 mph. It was expected to turn to the northwest later Tuesday or Wednesday.

The NHC issued a tropical storm watch for the North Carolina coast from north of Cape Lookout to south of Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

3 charged in patients' deaths after Katrina

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- A doctor and two nurses were booked on second-degree murder charges Monday, accused of injecting four patients with lethal doses of drugs during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana's Attorney General Charles C. Foti said Tuesday.

"This is not euthanasia," Foti told reporters. "This is homicide."

Dr. Anna Pou, Lori L. Budo and Cheri Landry were arrested late Monday in connection with the deaths of patients at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center.

The three were booked and released around midnight on $100,000 bond, jail officials and court officials said. They each face four counts of principal to second-degree murder.

Foti said the alleged crimes occurred Sept. 1, three days after Hurricane Katrina hit the city. (Posted 4:41 p.m.)

U.S. boosts pace of Lebanon evacuations amid criticism

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States expects to evacuate more than 2,400 Americans from Lebanon by Thursday, most of them aboard two chartered ships, State Department and Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

About 350 of the estimated 25,000 American citizens in Lebanon had been flown to Cyprus from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut by nightfall Tuesday, Maura Harty, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, told reporters. She said "a dramatic ramp-up" is scheduled for Wednesday, when officials expect to fly 240 people out of the country and two ships capable of carrying a total of 2,200 are expected to dock in Beirut.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration came under fire at home for charging Americans for their transportation out of the strife-torn region. Congressional Democrats called for the repeal a law that requires the State Department to take payment or get a signed promissory note from evacuees.

But Harty said no American would be left behind "because they left their checkbook or credit card home." "We deal with getting people out of harm's way, and later we will deal with the bureaucracy and the requirements that the law requires us to make," she said. "I need to get people out of harm's way first." (Posted 4:16 p.m.)

U.S. using cruise ships, military warships to evacuate citizens

BEIRUT (CNN) -- A fleet of U.S. warships and several international cruiseliners are en route to Beirut Tuesday to evacuate American citizens from Lebanon amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes.

For the past couple of days, the U.S. military has flown the most vulnerable U.S. citizens to the nearby island of Cyprus, but other Americans wanting to flee the danger zone have been waiting for the United States to finalize its evacuation plan.

Some Americans were able to leave Tuesday on cruise ships and a French ferry, although an exact number was not clear.

The evacuation is expected to kick into high gear after the arrival of nine U.S. military ships and coalition ships from Britain, Spain and Italy. (Posted 3:03 p.m.)

Rice calls for cease-fire 'when conditions are conducive'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday there should be a cease-fire in the Middle East "when conditions are conducive to do so."

Rice made her comments to reporters after meeting at the State Department with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Adbul Gheit.

"We all want a cessation of violence, we all want the protection of civilians. We have to make certain that anything we do is going to be of lasting value. The Middle East has been through too many spasms of violence. We have to deal with underlying conditions so we can create sustainable conditions for political progress there."

Gheit was pithier in his comments: "A cease-fire is imperative and we have to keep working to that objective," he said. (Posted at 2:02 p.m.)

Bush to address NAACP for first time as president

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will address the NAACP's annual convention Thursday, the White House announced, making an appeal for racial unity in what will be his first appearance as president before the nation's oldest civil rights group.

Bush has had a tense relationship with the NAACP during his five and a half years in office. NAACP leaders have criticized both his social and economic policies and for his failure to meet with the organization.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday that Bush has a good relationship with the group's new president, Bruce Gordon, and sees "an opportunity to have a conversation." (Posted 1:45 p.m.)

U.S. government charges Americans to evacuate from Lebanon

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. State Department is charging American citizens trying to escape the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon for the cost of their transportation, a move that has come under fire from citizens and the top Democrat in the House of Representatives.

On the Web site for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut -- the same place where Americans in Lebanon are looking for information on how to leave the country -- a notice "reminds American citizens that the U.S. government does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need."

The State Department estimates there may be as many as 25,000 Americans in Lebanon. Many have been scrambling to get out after Israeli bombing attacks began last week following the Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday criticized the law calling for citizens to pay for their emergency transportation, saying that the government "has an obligation to get thousands of citizens out of harm's way."

"The immediate risk to American lives also means this is no time for quibbling over payment for evacuation," Pelosi said in a written statement. (Posted 1:16 p.m.)

Scattered outages interrupt air, train service in New York

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Scattered power outages in New York inconvenienced tens of thousands of travelers Tuesday as Con Edison struggled to meet high demand for power in the face of sweltering temperatures.

At LaGuardia Airport in Queens, hundreds of passengers became stranded at 8 a.m. Tuesday, when power outages interrupted security screening at the Marine Terminal and darkened part of the main terminal.

Delta Air Lines canceled flights in its shuttle operation to Washington and Boston, which is run out of the Marine Terminal on the airport's west side, said spokesman Anthony Black.

At the main terminal, hundreds of American Airlines passengers were stranded by power outages there, too. The airline canceled all its flights scheduled to depart from the airport until 5 p.m., and said its representatives were meeting with Con Ed representatives to determine the cause of the problem.

Straphangers also were inconvenienced. New York Transit Authority spokesman Charles Seaton said that, from about 9:30 a.m. until shortly before 11 a.m., service along the 1, 2, 3 and 5 subway lines was suspended. (Posted 12:47 p.m.)

U.N. report: More than 14,000 civilians killed in Iraq this year

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- More than 14,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq over the first half of this year, an ominous figure reflecting the fact that "killings, kidnappings and torture remain widespread" in the war-torn country, a United Nations report says.

Killings of civilians are on "an upward trend," with more than 5,800 deaths and more than 5,700 injuries reported in May and June alone, it says.

The report, a bimonthly document produced by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, covers May and June, and includes chilling casualty figures and ugly anecdotes from the insurgent and sectarian warfare that continues to rage despite the establishment of a national unity government and a security crackdown in Baghdad.

"Civilian casualties resulted mainly from bombings and drive-by shootings, from indiscriminate attacks, in neighborhood markets or petrol stations, or following armed clashes with the police and the security forces," the report says. "Civilians were also targeted or became unintended victims of insurgent or military actions." (Posted 12:39 p.m.)

Coalition: Plans under way to oust Taliban from two Helmand villages

(CNN) -- The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said Tuesday that "Taliban extremists" have seized two sparsely populated villages in southern Helmand province, near the Pakistan border.

Col. Thomas Collins, spokesman for the Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan, said the "areas of Garmser and Nawayi Barakazayi" are held by the militants, and operations to take control of them are being planned.

"Coalition forces do have them under observation. Decisive operations will begin soon; I cannot tell you when, for security reasons, but we will re-establish government authority in those areas soon," Collins said, according to remarks sent out in a command press statement.

The military says these safe havens are in areas where Afghan military forces lack a presence. The coalition has bolstered its troop level in southern Afghanistan in recent months. (Posted 10:44 a.m.)

Marketplace car bomb in Iraq kills at least 59

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least 59 people were killed and 130 were wounded Tuesday morning when a suicide car bomb detonated in a busy Kufa marketplace where day laborers gather, the Interior Ministry said.

The attack took place around 7:30 a.m. near a Shiite shrine.

Kufa is considered a holy place by Shiite Muslims and is just outside Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad. (Posted 10:40 a.m.)

Hezbollah fires volley of rockets into northern Israel; 1 dead

HAIFA, Israel (CNN) -- The sound of four explosions thundered across Haifa Tuesday afternoon, continuing a barrage of Hezbollah rocket fire from southern Lebanon that has peppered the coast of northern Israel.

At least one person was killed in Nahariya after a rocket directly hit a house, Israeli medical sources said. That brings the death toll in northern Israel to 25, including 13 civilians, since the cross-border violence began on July 12.

Further inland, several were wounded Tuesday when rockets struck Safed and the nearby town of Hatzor, the medical sources said. Another volley of rockets hit the port city of Haifa but Israeli officials said there was no damage or injuries.

There were no reports of casualties in the coastal town of Akko or in Karmiel, to the east, which were also hit by rockets, the medical sources said. -- From CNN's Paula Hancocks (Posted 10:37 a.m.)

World Bank president calls Africa a 'continent of opportunities;' promises to make it his priority

ABUJA, Nigeria (CNN) -- World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz Tuesday called Africa a "continent of opportunities" and said he will make it his priority in the coming years.

Wolfowitz's comments came on the second day of the Leon H. Sullivan Summit, which brings together Africans, African-Americans and business leaders to open up African countries for business opportunities.

The World Bank president said he's very impressed by the fact that 15 African countries have recorded a 4 percent growth each year for the past decade.

In particular, he cited Rwanda and Mozambique, saying those two countries surmounted some terrible obstacles -- namely the genocide in Rwanda and a famine and prolonged civil war in Mozambique -- to bring their economies back up. Oher African countries could learn from them, he said. --From CNN's Jeff Koinange (Posted 10:10 a.m.)

Mumbai stops to pay homage to victims of '7/11'

MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- The sprawling, bustling city of Mumbai stood still as millions of its residents observed two minutes of silence to mourn the victims of last week's deadly train attack.

Sirens wailed to commence the remembrance in Mumbai and other places across the country around the same time of day as Tuesday's well-coordinated evening rush-hour strike -- which killed 182 people and wounded hundreds. People in Mumbai and throughout India quietly stood at attention on the streets, assembled in their homes and sat in ashrams.

Some saluted, others lit candles, and many prayed as they contemplated the horror of the July 11 terror strike. Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was in Mumbai, India's financial capital formerly known as Bombay, to lead the two minutes of silence.

India's Anti-Terrorist Squad said that forensic reports have revealed that RDX, ammonium nitrate and fuel oil were used in making the seven bombs that exploded on Mumbai trains. RDX is one of the most powerful kinds of military explosives.

ATS chief K.P. Raghuvansi told reporters on Monday that the rarely-used combination of chemicals was confirmed in tests by the India's Forensic Science laboratory. He also said that timers were also found at the bomb sites. Indian security official have still not officially named any group responsible for either attack. (Posted 9:42 a.m.)

Iwo Jima expeditionary group to help with evacuations from Lebanon of U.S. citizens

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Iwo Jima expeditionary group is heading to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea to help with the evacuations of U.S. citizens from Lebanon, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. (Posted 9:13 a.m.)

Rice, Cheney to meet with Lebanese patriarch

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Patriarch Nassrallah Pierre Sfeir, the head of the influential Maronite Catholic Church and one of Lebanon's most senior religious figures, will meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday, Lebanese diplomatic sources and State Department officials said.

Sfeir will also meet with Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy National Security Adviser J.D. Crouch and will hold a mass for peace in Washington. As the most senior Christian leader in Lebanon,

Sfeir is considered a voice of tolerance in Lebanon and a unifying personality among Christians and Muslims in the country. Sfeir frequently meets with world leaders. He met last year with President Bush and most recently met with Rice when she traveled to Beirut in March.

Lebanese diplomatic sources said Sfeir, in the United States for a previously scheduled visit, traveled to Washington to increase awareness of the current humanitarian situation in Lebanon. He will also plead for U.S. help in asking Israel to avoid further civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure. (Posted 8:58 a.m.)

New casualty figures in Lebanon: 183 killed, 456 wounded

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Lebanese Internal Security Forces said Tuesday that 183 people have been killed and 456 wounded since the start of hostilities on July 12. (Posted 8:57 a.m.)

6 policemen killed in roadside bombing near Iraqi city of Kirkuk

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Tuesday killed six policemen, Kirkuk police said.

Another police officer was wounded in the incident, which occurred at 11:30 a.m. in Hawija. (Posted 8:11 a.m.)

Diplomat: Cruise ship arrives in Beirut to evacuate Americans

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A cruise ship Tuesday arrived in Beirut's port to evacuate American citizens amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told CNN's "American Morning."

Military sources told CNN's Barbara Starr a Greek cruise ship, The Orient Queen, had departed from Cyprus to Beirut, but it was unclear if it received clearance to go through the Israeli naval blockade.

Fewer than 70 of the 25,000 Americans thought to be in Lebanon had been evacuated from the country by Monday, but Burns denounced accusations that the U.S. government had acted slow in the wake of violence, which began seven days ago.

"We've had an air bridge from Cyprus to Beirut over the last couple of days, we've taken out elderly people and sick people and children," Burns said.

"We've also contracted with cruise ships to come in, there's one docked at the ports in Beirut right now, American citizens are boarding it. We've got another cruise ship coming in this evening that will take another 900 to 1,00 people out. "We've acted very fast .. there are over 25,000 Americans in Lebanon and 15,000 of those Americans have registered with the Embassy." (Posted 8:08 a.m.)

Israeli foreign minister calls for full implementation of U.N. resolution

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel and the international community share the common threat from "an axis of terror and hate; Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said at a Tuesday news conference.

As Israel's campaign against Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas entered a seventh day, Livni said "it is in our mutual interest to ensure the full implementation" of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559.

That resolution was adopted two years ago and "calls for withdrawing all foreign forces from Lebanon, holding free elections, disbanding all militias and extending government control over the whole country."

Livni called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, the end of shelling in Israeli cities and the prevention of Syria and Iran from re-arming Hezbollah in the future. She also called for the unconditional return of the three Israeli soldiers abducted by Islamic militants. (Posted 8:03 a.m.)

High-ranking militant tied to killing of two U.S. soldiers killed by Iraqi forces

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq said its security forces killed a senior al Qaeda in Iraq member the government says was responsible for the deaths of the two abducted U.S. soldiers near Yusufiya last month.

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, identified the militant as Diyar Ismail Mahmoud Abu-al-Afghani -- a Jordanian foreign fighter.

He was described as close to late al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and an aide to the current group's leader -- Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The man had been head of al Qaeda operations in Anbar at one time and recently was based in Yusufiya -- which is in Babil province.

Al-Rubaie, who said the operation that killed the militant took place in recent days, did not provide details on where, how and exactly when it occurred. Also, he didn't elaborate on whether al-Afghani directed the action or participated in the killings.

On June 16, Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker were manning a checkpoint when they came under enemy fire. They were abducted and later found dead. (Posted 8:02 a.m.)

Gunmen dressed in army uniforms rob Iraqi bank

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms stole 1.24 billion Iraqi dinars (about $675,000) from Rafidain Bank in western Baghdad early Tuesday afternoon, Iraqi emergency police told CNN. (Posted 6:12 a.m.)

Israel hits Lebanese army barracks, kills11 soldiers

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanese army barracks for a second straight night, killing at least 11 soldiers, army sources said.

The Jamhour army barracks east of Beirut were one of several targets hit by airstrikes early Tuesday, including sites in southern Beirut, as Israel's campaign against Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas entered a seventh day.

Six Lebanese soldiers died and 28 were wounded early Monday when Israel bombed an army post in Abdeh, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Beirut, the Lebanese military said.

The Israeli air force also hit two trucks during a pre-dawn bombing raid on the coastal town of Jbeil -- also known as Byblos -- about 20 miles north of Beirut, Lebanese police said. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Israel launched an extensive bombing campaign against Hezbollah on Wednesday after the Shiite Muslim militia abducted two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid into northern Israel.

Lebanon's government has demanded a cease-fire, but Israel insisted it would keep up the attacks until its kidnapped soldiers are freed. (posted 5:25 a.m.)

Toll toll rises from Java tsunami

JAKARTA (CNN) -- The death toll from a major earthquake off the southwest Java coast and the tsunami that followed climbed quickly Tuesday as the Indonesian Department of Social Affairs pegged the death toll at 305 people, with another 431 injured.

"We are mobilizing all our national and provincial resources to the area to handle the injured," said Dino Djalal, a spokesman for Indonesia's president.

The government agency also said 115 people were missing and more than 35,000 displaced, following the natural disaster. Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed.

Most of the deaths are believed to have been caused by the tsunami. Monday's quake generated waves up to 10 feet high.

Officials said the remaining victims likely died in the initial quake, as opposed to the aftershocks, or during the crowded rush for higher ground as the ocean waves approached, officials said. (posted 4:20 a.m.)

Bomb kills U.S. soldier south of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier from Multi-National Division-Baghdad died Monday at 4:55 p.m. from injuries received from a bomb explosion south of Baghdad, a military statement said.

The soldier's identity is been withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The death brings the number of U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq to 2,552. (posted 2:50 a.m.)

Marketplace car bomb kills at least 45

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least 45 people were killed and 60 others wounded Tuesday morning when a suicide car bomber detonated in a busy Kufa marketplace where day laborers gather, Iraqi police said.

The attack took place around 7:30 a.m. near a Shia shrine.

Kufa is considered a holy place by Shia Muslims and is just outside Najaf, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad. (posted 2:45 a.m.)

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