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Monday, October 16

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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.

US doesn't know if North Korea will test again

From CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. intelligence official said Monday that there has been "activity" at several North Korea sites, but added that it is not clear if the activity amounts to preparations for another nuclear test.

"We're not ruling that out," the official told CNN. But the intelligence is "ambiguous, and not conclusive," the official stressed.

The official, with access to classified U.S. intelligence, said he was "not aware of any evidence pointing to an imminent test."

"I wouldn't bet the mortgage on a second test," the official said. (Posted 8:40 p.m.)

2 more die in Buffalo snow storm

By CNN's Ekin Nasuhogullari

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Two more people died Monday in the aftermath of last week's snowstorm in Buffalo, N.Y., bringing the death toll to five, according to Dr. Anthony Billittier, Erie County Department of Health Commissioner.

Billittier said two elderly Buffalo residents died from carbon monoxide poisoning, a result of a poorly ventilated generator kept in their hallway.

The two-day snowstorm, which dropped about 22 inches of snow on Buffalo, was blamed for at least three other deaths. (Posted 7:53 p.m.)

FBI report shows hate crimes down in the U.S. but anti-Hispanic bias grows

From Justice Producer Terry Frieden

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hate crimes -- including bias based on race, religion, national origin and sexual orientation declined -- 6.3 percent last year, an FBI report said Friday. However, ethnic bias, particularly aimed at Hispanics, increased in 2005, the report said.

Hate crimes based on ethnicity or national origin grew only slightly in 2005 from 1,201 incidents to 1,228 incidents. But the percentage of such incidents targeting Hispanics jumped from 51 percent in 2004 to 59 percent in 2005. The remaining 41 percent were aimed at all other ethnic groups.

Blacks and Jews remain the most common targets of bias in the U.S., with the new figures largely unchanged from the previous year. (Posted 7:35 p.m.)

Guatemala, Venezuela battle for seat on U.N. Security Council

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. General Assembly picked four new non-permanent members of the Security Council on Monday, but members were split between Guatemala and Venezuelafor a fifth seat.

Ten rounds of voting failed to break the stalemate on picking a council member from the Latin American and Caribbean states. But after a tie in the sixth round, Guatemala was pulling ahead before the session adjourned, postponing further rounds of voting until Tuesday.

In that 10th round, Guatemala polled 110 votes while Venezuela picked up 77, with four abstentions. A nation needs a two-thirds majority -- 125 of the 192 votes in the General Assembly -- to be named to the Security Council. (Posted 7:09 p.m.)

Lawyer: former FDA chief to plead guilty to lying in conflict-of-interest case

From Senior Producer Carol Cratty

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The former head of the Food and Drug Administration plans to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of lying about owning stocks in businesses that are regulated by the agency, his lawyer said Monday.

Barbara Van Gelder, an attorney for Lester Crawford, said her client has agreed to pay a $50,000 fine and be placed on probation for a period of time to be determined by the judge.

Van Gelder said Crawford never intended to commit a crime, and blamed those who prepared his disclosure forms for including erroneous information and omitting information that should have been included. (Posted 6:52 p.m.)

Reid revises ethics forms over land-deal questions

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Monday he has revised his financial disclosure forms to clear up questions about a 2004 land deal reported to have netted him more than $1 million.

In the process, he disclosed two other land deals and repaid his campaign for contributions to a holiday fund for workers in the building where he keeps his Washington residence.

The Associated Press reported last week that Reid, D-Nev., no longer has a personal stake in land he originally purchased in 1998 after collecting a $1.1 million profit on its 2004 sale. Reid has blasted that report and called it "highly misleading" Monday, saying he had disclosed the land's purchase and sale -- but not its transfer to a limited liability corporation in 2001.

"As the amended forms make clear, this routine legal move in no way altered my actual ownership of the land," he said in a written statement. "In each disclosure form after 2001, I have added a note to clarify that the land already disclosed in detail on those forms was owned by me through the LLC." (Posted 6:25 p.m.)

Former President Ford released from hospital

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (CNN) -- Former President Gerald Ford was released Monday after being rehospitalized last week for medical tests, according to his chief of staff, Penny Circle.

In a brief written statement, she said Ford, 93, was released from Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and was "returning home to resume normal activities."

"President Ford, Mrs. Ford and the Ford family wish to thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes," the statement said. (Posted 6:05 p.m.)

DoD to resume anthrax vaccinations

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon announced Monday it is resuming a policy of requiring military personnel to be immunized against anthrax.

The Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program, which is to begin within 60 days, extends to "emergency-essential DoD civilians and contractors, based on defined geographic areas or roles," the Pentagon said in a written statement.

The mandatory vaccinations will be largely limited to military units working on homeland bioterrorism defense and to U.S. forces assigned to South Korea, the statement said.

"The anthrax vaccine will protect our troops from another threat -- a disease that will kill, caused by a bacteria that already has been used as a weapon in America, and that terrorists openly discuss," Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in the statement. (Posted 5:42 p.m.)

Poll: Iraq war takes toll on dealings with North Korea

(CNN) -- Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the Iraq war makes it harder to deal with a nuclear North Korea, according to a poll released Monday by CNN.

The poll indicated that while 21 percent believe the war in Iraq has no effect on dealings with the secretive communist nation, 72 percent think it does, in a negative way. Only 5 percent said the war makes it easier to deal with North Korea.

Support for a military response to North Korea has slipped since the beginning of the war with Iraq. Only 40 percent said they favor military action if diplomatic efforts fail, compared to 47 percent who answered affirmatively in January 2003.

Faith in those diplomatic efforts has also slipped, although 60 percent still believe economic and diplomatic means will resolve the conflict. In 2003, that number was 72 percent. (Posted 4:44 p.m.)

Former FDA chief charged with lying in conflict-of-interest case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The former head of the Food and Drug Administration is being charged with lying about owning stocks in businesses that are regulated by the FDA.

Lester Crawford is expected to appear before a magistrate judge Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Washington on charges of making a false writing and conflict of interest.

In an "information" document made public Monday, the Justice Department's fraud and corruption section contends Crawford and his wife held shares in Kimberly-Clark and Sysco despite claims those stocks had been sold. The court papers cite a December 2004 e-mail to an ethics official stating "Sysco and Kimberly-Clark have in fact been sold."

The legal document also alleges Crawford did not disclose income from exercising stock options in Embrex, an agricultural biotechnology firm also regulated by the FDA. --From Senior Producer Carol Cratty (Posted 4:24 p.m.)

Dow nears 12,000, falls back

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Dow Jones industrial average came within 3 points of the 12,000 mark Monday afternoon before falling back, but still closed at a record high for the seventh time in the last 10 sessions.

The Dow gained 0.2 percent and reached a record intraday high of 11,997.25, according to early tallies.

It ended with a 20-point gain, about 0.12 percent, at 11,980.60.

The broader S&P 500 gained about 0.3 percent, while the tech-laden Nasdaq composite inched up about 0.3 percent also. (Posted 4:12 p.m.)

Rice calls resolution 'clear message' to North Korea ahead of her trip to region

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday the U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea was a "clear message" that Pyongyang must "make a new set of calculations" about its nuclear endeavors.

"North Korea cannot endanger the world and then expect other nations to conduct business as usual in arms or missile parts," Rice told reporters. "It cannot destabilize the international system and then expect to exploit elaborate financial networks built for peaceful commerce."

She added, however, that there is a way out for the communist nation: Return to the six-party talks.

"If North Korea reverses course and embraces the path of cooperation, if it makes the strategic choice to dismantle its nuclear weapons completely, verifiably and irreversibly, an entirely new and better future would be open to it and to its people."

The secretary's comments came on the eve of her trip to Asia, where she'll meet with other parties in the six-way talks on how to implement the sanctions. (Posted 3:47 p.m.)

Poll: Support for war among Americans at all-time low

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A poll carried out for CNN over the weekend finds support among Americans for the war in Iraq at an all-time low, with just 34 percent saying they approve, and 64 percent saying they disapprove.

Women led the opposition, with seven in 10 saying they oppose the war and only 28 percent saying they favor it, the lowest support among women in any CNN poll taken since the invasion more than three years ago.

Support among men was at 40 percent to 58 percent opposed.

The telephone poll, carried out by Opinion Research Corporation, was carried out Friday through Sunday. Its sampling error was plus-or-minus 3 points. (Posted 2:39 p.m.)

Rice says Security Council will soon begin work on resolution against Iran

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that the U.N. Security Council will begin work this week on a resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran, another nuclear worry for the United States.

She told reporters at a briefing at the State Department that the weekend passage of a Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear activities should serve as a warning to Tehran.

"I expect the Security Council to begin work this week on an Iran sanctions resolution. So the Iranian government should consider the course that it is on, which could lead to simply to further isolation," Rice said.

"The Iranian government is watching and it can now see that the international community will respond to threats from nuclear proliferation," she added. (Posted 2:37 p.m.)

Civil rights attorney sentenced

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal district judge in Manhattan sentenced U.S. civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart to 28 months in prison Monday for helping terrorists and lying to the U.S. government.

Stewart, 67, was convicted in February 2005 after a jury found her and two co-defendants guilty of helping her client, radical Egyptian Cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, deliver messages to terrorists around the world, which violated a strict ban on any communication between Rahman and his followers.

Before her sentencing, Stewart, accompanied by more than 50 supporters, marched to federal court chanting, "Lynne Stewart must go free, no police state!" --By CNN's Deborah Brunswick (Posted 2:32 p.m.)

Atty. Gen. notes rise in violent crime, promises study, not funds

BOSTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday promised federal officials will study reasons for the current increase in violent crime, but stopped short of promising funds to cities battling major crime problems.

Gonzales noted crime remains at historically low levels nationally, but acknowledged homicides and other violent crimes are surging in particular cities.

"We need to find out why this is happening, and if there is an upward trend in violent crime, what we can do to reverse that trend in those cities," Gonzales said at a meeting in Boston of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The FBI reported this summer that violent crime in the United States increased 2.2 percent last year, and recent statistics provided by several cities indicate violence is continuing to increase in 2006. Despite the increases, overall violent crime nationwide last year remained lower than in any year except 2004.

In his speech to the nation's largest police organization, Gonzales said the Justice Department will try to help determine the root causes of violence in selected cities, identify successful strategies, and provide "best practices" that troubled cities can adopt. --From Justice Producer Terry Frieden in Washington (Posted 2:19 p.m.)

China inspecting trucks on border with North Korea

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Despite its ambassador to the United Nations proclaiming two days ago that it wouldn't conduct cargo inspections in shipments bound for North Korea, China now appears to be inspecting trucks on its border bound for the Communist country, a senior U.S. official said Monday.

Nicholas Burns, undersecretary for political affairs, told CNN's "American Morning" that the Chinese inspections are not the only measure being taken in light of the passage over the weekend of U.N. Security Council's Resolution 1718.

"Australia announced today it will prohibit all (North Korean) ships from entering Australian ports, Japan announced today new measures, and we have some indications that the Chinese are also stopping trucks and inspecting them across that 800-mile border," Burns said.

Hours after the resolution was passed on Saturday, Chinese Ambassador to the U.N. Wang Guangya told reporters that his country would not carry out such inspections. China is North Korea's biggest trading partner.

However, Wang said Monday that China will carry out inspections, but added, "inspections is different from interception and interdiction. I think in that area that different countries will do it in different ways." (Posted 1:42 p.m.)

U.S. soldiers, Marines killed in Iraq

TIKRIT, Iraq (CNN) -- Five U.S. soldiers and two Marines were killed in combat in Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said.

Two soldiers were killed during fighting in Salaheddin province, the military said Monday. The Task Force Lightning Soldiers were with the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

Two other soldiers died and two were wounded during fighting in Kirkuk, it said. Those soldiers were assigned to 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Earlier, officials announced the death of another U.S soldier serving with Multi-National Division - Baghdad, killed late Sunday when his vehicle was hit by an improvised-explosive device north of Baghdad.

Two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 also died Sunday during combat operations in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, the military said.

Since the start of the war, the U.S. military has suffered 2,770 fatalities in Iraq. (Posted 1:38 p.m.)

U.S. troops find more than 100 weapons caches as they forge into dangerous Yusufiya

YUSUFIYA, Iraq (CNN) -- As the U.S. military cautiously tries to establish a presence in the dangerous city of Yusufiya, troops have discovered more than 100 weapons caches in a two-week-old operation to clear the area.

Insurgents have had nearly free rein in the region south of Baghdad in the past two to three years.

Yusufiya is inside the "triangle of death," and is the site where two U.S. soldiers were kidnapped and slain by insurgents in June.

So far, Operation Commando Hunter has uncovered more than 100 weapons caches -- many buried in only 3 to 6 inches of dirt -- in a 6-kilometer area of fields and farmlands.

The discoveries have not come without a price: in two weeks, the battalion has lost four soldiers, while another 20 were wounded in attacks by insurgents. --From CNN's Arwa Damon, embedded with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Posted 1:20 p.m.)

Civilians, police killed in series of explosions, gun attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A violent weekend continued Monday as the day's explosions and gunfire killed 44 people and wounded 79 in widespread attacks in the capitol city and nearby towns, officials said.

In the latest attacks, two car bombs exploded about 5:20 p.m. in northeast Baghdad, killing 20 people and wounding 17, officials said.

The first bomb obliterated a tent packed with mourners at the funeral of a father of an Iraqi police officer. Among those killed and wounded were Iraqi police officers, an official with Qudous police station told CNN. The second car bomb exploded at the same time in an outdoor market just few hundreds meters away from the first one in Ur Shiite neighborhood, the official said. (Posted 12:52 p.m.)

Official damage assessment begins on Hawaiian islands after quake

KONA, Hawaii (CNN) -- As the sun rose over the Hawaiian islands Monday morning, crews fanned out to begin official damage assessments one day after a strong earthquake jolted the vacation paradise.

At the same time, the U.S. Geological Survey on Monday revised its magnitude measurement for the earthquake, putting it at 6.7 instead of 6.6.

That makes it equal to the strong quake that hit the state in 1983, injuring six people.

Lanny Nakano, an assistant civil defense administrator for Hawaii County, told CNN that local damage assessment teams will work with state civil defense crews and Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives, as well as officials with the Army Corps of Engineers to survey the havoc wreaked by the series of earthquakes that began early Sunday morning.

Most of the power has been restored on the island of Hawaii, Nakano said, but power is still out on most of Oahu. FEMA's Aaron Walker said Sunday water quality and sewage on the big island were matters of concern, as was the structural integrity of bridges in the state. (Postyed 12:37 p.m.)

Air samples confirm North Koreans conducted small nuclear test

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An analysis of air samples collected shortly after North Korea declared it had conducted an underground test of a nuclear device confirm the presence of radioactive debris, according to a statement from the office of the director of national intelligence. (Posted 11:32 a.m.)

Vehicle belonging to slain family found

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNN) -- A black Jeep Cherokee believed to have belonged to a family murdered last Friday along the Florida Turnpike was found Monday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department said.

The vehicle was found near train tracks in an industrial area of West Palm Beach around 8:45 a.m. ET. (Posted 10:51 a.m.)

Hawaii expecting more aftershocks

HONOLULU (CNN) -- Hawaii's big island, still trying to recover after being jolted by a strong earthquake, may feel aftershocks for weeks to come, officials said Monday.

The entire state was declared a disaster area Sunday after a series of quakes, including one that registered 6.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey .

The strongest earthquake to hit the islands in more than 20 years was followed by a series of sharp aftershocks Sunday morning. They jolted awake many people on the islands of Hawaii, terrifying residents and causing structural damage to buildings and widespread power outages, but resulting in no fatalities.

The initial quake, which had a magnitude of 6.6, struck at 7:07 a.m. (1:07 p.m. ET). It was centered 24 miles below the west coast of the Big Island, 157 miles southeast of Honolulu, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Seven minutes later, an aftershock measuring 5.8 struck 145 miles southeast of Honolulu at a depth of nearly 12 miles. Over the next seven hours, 53 aftershocks reverberated in the state, though none of them with a magnitude exceeding 4.4, the USGS said.

The quake did not strong trigger a tsunami. (Posted 8:13 a.m.)

Civilians, police killed north of Baquba

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Four people were killed and three were wounded when gunmen sprayed a crowd of people with bullets as they were waiting in a bus station in Khalis, a town about 20 km north of Baquba, Monday around 11 a.m., an official said.

Baquba is about 60 km north of Baghdad.

In a separate attack two hours earlier on a road between town of Khalis and Baquba, gunmen shot into a car killing two people, including an Iraqi police officer, and wounding a third, an official with Diyala joint coordination center said.

Also Monday morning in Baquba, three bullet-riddled bodies, including an Iraqi police officer, were found by police.

Another three people were killed later Monday by gunmen in Muqdadiya, another town about 40 km north of Baquba. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 7:53 a.m.)

Suicide attack kills at more than 90 Sri Lankan sailors

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- More than 90 Sri Lankan sailors were killed Monday afternoon when an explosives-laden truck rammed into their convoy, Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told CNN. "These men were all unarmed. This is a deliberate barbaric terrorist attack," he said.

The incident took place at Habarana, about 150 miles from Colombo in the central section of the island nation.

Naval personnel from the northeastern port city of Trincomalee were headed for leave. They were going to change buses at a transfer station with others who had just ended their leave.

Witnesses said bodies were strewn across the scene of the incident. A navy official accused Tamil Tiger rebels of carrying out the suicide attack. -- From Journalist Iqbal Athas (Posted 7:52 a.m.)

Suwayra car bomb kills at least 8, wounds 20

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least eight people were killed and 20 others were wounded when a car bomb exploded in a busy outdoor market in the town of Suwayra, Mayor Hussein al-Ghurabi said.

Hospital officials told CNN that nine people were killed and another 35 were wounded in the same attack.

Suwayra is predominantly Shiite and located about 37 miles (60 km) south of Baghdad. (Posted 4:45 a.m.)

Diplomats try to patch Sri Lankan peace process

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Fresh efforts began Monday to patch up an unraveling ceasefire in Sri Lanka as Japan, Norway and United States sent diplomats for a series of meetings with the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

Japan's special envoy to the peace process, Yasushi Akashi, arrived in Colombo Monday for talks with government and rebel leaders.

Scheduled to follow on Tuesday is Jon Hanssen Bauer, Norway's special envoy, and on Wednesday by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Richard Boucher.

Both Akashi and Bauer will meet with government and rebel leaders on the need to adhere to the Norwegian brokered ceasefire.

Boucher will only huddle with government leaders since the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. (Posted 4:20 a.m.)

Players recalled after failing blood-doping tests

NEW DELHI (CNN) -- Pakistani cricket authorities recalled two players, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, from a major international tournament Monday, after they tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The test results were confirmed by the Pakistan Cricket Board and a statement from the PCB was expected Monday afternoon.

Blood-doping tests were first introduced to the "gentleman's game" in 2003.

Pakistan is scheduled to play Sri Lanka on Tuesday in the 10-team Champions Trophy. (Posted 4:20 a.m.)

Famed Rock venue and NYC institution holds farewell show

NEW YORK (CNN) -- CBGBs, the legendary rock club long associated with the bands that spawned the punk-rock music scene, closed its doors early Monday morning after a farewell performance, featuring poet-musician Patti Smith.

The closing brought the demise of a New York institution after 33 years.

Wearing a black CBGB's cap and T-shirt, rose colored glasses and denim jeans, Hilly Kristal, 74, doesn't give the appearance of someone undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer. He was upbeat and ready for the last night knowing it would be chaos.

"It's a passion. If you have that that's what it's all about," Kristal said. (Posted 4:20 a.m.)

Schieffer: North Korea must do more than return to nuclear talks to end sanctions

TOKYO (CNN) -- U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer said North Korea will have to do more than simply return to six-party talks on its nuclear program in order to have U.N. sanctions lifted.

"You have to come to the six-party talks and agree on how you are going to implement the Sept. 19 agreement," he said Monday. "If that implementation could then be verified by the international community, I think you would see walking back from the sanctions regime."

Schieffer described North Korea's demand for bilateral talks with the United States as "more of an effort to divide friends and allies rather than to resolve the issue."

He also said the U.S. government is particularly concerned that North Korea may make its nuclear technology available to terrorist organizations.

The U.S. nuclear talks envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, is due to arrive in Japan Monday afternoon. He will meet with his Japanese counterpart, Kenichiro Sasae, later in the day. (Posted 2 a.m.)

Indonesia reports 54th bird flu fatality

JAKARTA (CNN) -- The latest bird flu victim in Indonesia, a 67-year-old woman, died Sunday in Bandung, West Java, the Indonesian Bird Flu Information Center reported Monday.

The woman is the 54th bird flu victim in the country and follows on the heels of Indonesia's 53rd fatality from the H5N1 stand of the deadly virus. An 11-year-old boy from South Jakarta died on Friday.

Both had been in contact with sick birds.

Indonesia has 17 confirmed cases of avian flu that were non-fatal. (Posted 12:30 a.m.)


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