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Wednesday, October 18

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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.

Rice meets with South Korean leaders

Seoul (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in South Korea Thursday for talks with the nation's leaders following a nuclear test earlier this month in North Korea

During her visit to Seoul, Rice's mission will be the same as it was in Japan a day earlier:

-- To reassure another ally that the United States will live up to security and defense agreements.

-- Press for full implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 and its sanctions.

-- To make clear that the road is open for North Korea to return to six-party talks.

On Friday, Rice will be in Beijing for talks that she said will include discussions on how best to implement a U.N resolution passed on Saturday, which includes an inspection regime to ensure compliance with other provisions, such as those barring trade of nuclear technology and high-end military equipment. (Posted 1:50 a.m.)

Rice arrives in Seoul for talks on North Korea

SEOUL (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Seoul Thursday on the second leg of her three-nation trip to shore up implementation of U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea and reassure allies in the region.

The visit came as a senior Bush administration official said China has shown a dramatic shift in its posture toward North Korea and the country's nuclear program.

According to the official, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan is in Pyongyang to send a "very strong" message to North Korea, regarding compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, which was passed Saturday following an Oct. 9 nuclear test by the North.

Asked about the possibility of a possible second nuclear test by Pyongyang, the official said, "The North Koreans have 365 excuses to do ridiculous things. It's not in their interest to do so."

The official also said no one is looking for the collapse of the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il through the sanctions. (Posted 1:45 a.m.)

U.S. soldier dies in Anbar province

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier was killed in western Iraqi Wednesday, a U.S. military statement said on Thursday.

According to the military, the soldier was assigned to the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division and died from "wounds sustained due to enemy action" during operations in expansive Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

Also on Wednesday, a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier died when his patrol was hit with small arms fire south of Baghdad.

Since the start of the war, the U.S. military has suffered 2,784 fatalities in Iraq. Ten U.S. servicemembers were killed on Tuesday alone. (Posted 11:14 p.m.)

Bush: North Korea risks 'grave consequence' if it tries to sell nukes

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- North Korea will face a "grave consequence" if it tries to sell any of the nuclear weapons it is believed to have developed, and its leadership "would be held to account" if it did so, President Bush said Wednesday.

"If we get intelligence that they're about to transfer a nuclear weapon, we would stop the transfer, and we would deal with the ships or the airplane that was dealing with taking the material to somebody," Bush told ABC News in an interview aired Wednesday evening.

Bush also told the network that he would not be "patient forever" with the Iraqi government as it struggles against sectarian violence and an insurgency against American troops there, but recognizes it faces a difficult task.

Asked what he would do if North Korea transferred nuclear weapons to Iran or to the al Qaeda terrorist network, he said, "They'd be held to account." (Posted 8:55 p.m.)

Wounded rapper arraigned on weapons charges after N.Y. shooting

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The rapper known as Fabolous, whose legal name is John Jackson, was arraigned Wednesday on multiple weapons charges, according the Manhattan district attorney's office.

Manhattan district attorney spokesperson Barbara Thompson said Jackson's next court appearance is Friday Oct. 20.

Jackson, was shot in the right thigh on Tuesday at 12:30 a.m. at a Manhattan parking garage after leaving a restaurant owned by hip-hop producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, police said. The Brooklyn native is best known for his hits "Breathe" and "Can't Deny it." (Posted 8:37 p.m.)

Foley lawyer: Ex-congressman's alleged molester has left U.S.

MIAMI (CNN) -- The yet-unnamed priest that disgraced Florida congressman Mark Foley has alleged he was molested by as a youth has left the country, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Gerald Richman told reporters Tuesday that Foley would provide the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami with the name of the priest. But in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, he said the ex-lawmaker would give the name to the state's attorney in his hometown of Palm Beach instead -- and that the clergyman "to the best of our knowledge and belief no longer resides in the United States."

No further details were released, and a spokesman for State's Attorney Barry Krischer said his office had not seen the name Wednesday afternoon. (Posted 7:18 p.m.)

7 funeral home directors charged in tissue-harvesting ring

By CNN's Mythili Rao

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A criminal case against four men accused of orchestrating the theft and illegal sale of dead people's body parts has expanded to include indictments of seven funeral home directors and three funeral homes, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes announced Wednesday in Brooklyn.

In February, Michael Mastromarino, Joseph Nicelli, Lee Crucetta and Christopher Aldorasi were charged with and plead not guilty to claims they conspired to obtain bones, skin and other body parts from dead people without the permission of their family members. They were alleged to have then sold the tissue for use in transplants and other surgeries.

Hynes told reporters that the original 122-count indictment has been superseded by a new indictment that wraps in seven funeral home directors with operations in various New York-metro area locations.

The directors admitted their involvement in the illegal body snatching ring, pleaded guilty and turned over their mortuary licenses, according to Hynes. (Posted 7:14 p.m.)

NY mayor's car stolen

From CNN's Chris Kokenes

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A household employee of Mayor Michael Bloomberg was attacked Wednesday morning in Hackensack, N.J., when two thieves carjacked the man and drove away in the mayor's 2001 Lexus.

Hackensack Police continue the search for two suspects -- one man and one woman. They have distributed a composite sketch of the male suspect.

Hackensack Police identified the mayor's employee as 62-year-old Gradimir Bosnjak. Police say he was running errands in Hackensack shortly before 9 a.m. when he was attacked. (Posted 7:13 p.m.)

Marines order 3 to stand trial in Hamandiya killing

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine general has ordered three Marines to stand trial on murder charges in the April killing of an Iraqi man outside Baghdad, the service announced Wednesday.

Cpl. Trent Thomas, Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson and Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington are among a group of seven Marines and a Navy medic who have been held at Camp Pendleton since June in connection with the killing of Hasham Ibrahim Awad, 52, in the town of Hamandiya, west of Baghdad. They face possible life sentences if convicted of murder.

Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the chief of Marine forces in the Middle East, ordered the courts-martial after reviewing each case, the Marines announced in a statement from the San Diego-area base. No trial dates have been set. (Posted 6:14 p.m.)

More than 125 child porn arrests nationwide

(CNN) -- More than 125 people were arrested Wednesday on charges of subscribing to a Web site that depicted children as young as infants engaged in sexual activities with adults, federal officials said.

"Today, we are taking steps against child pornography," U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie told reporters in Newark.

Fourteen of the suspects appeared Wednesday afternoon before a magistrate judge in Newark.

The arrests stem from Operation Emissary, which immigration and customs officials launched in New Jersey and extended to more than 21 other states.

It focused on a Web site that offered subscribers access to child porn videos and pictures, Christie and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special-Agent-in-Charge Kyle Hutchins said in a written statement. (Posted 5:28 p.m.)

DHS advises NFL about uncorroborated threat against stadiums

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Department of Homeland Security has sent an advisory to the National Football League and local officials advising of a possible, uncorroborated threat against some NFL stadiums.

The threat, posted on a Web site, alleges that dirty bombs could be used this weekend against seven stadiums -- in Miami, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland. The bombs were to be delivered by truck, the posting said.

But, DHS said, the posting is not considered credible, and the information was being shared only in an abundance of caution so that league officials and others could determine what steps they want to take. (Posted 4:21 p.m.)

4 soldiers face courts-martial in killings of 3 Iraqi detainees

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (CNN) -- Four U.S. soldiers face courts-martial for their alleged roles in the deaths of three Iraqi detainees during an operation in Salaheddin province, the military said Wednesday.

The soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team are accused of shooting the prisoners on May 9 and then inaccurately reporting that they did so as the detainees fled.

The four cases are categorized as non-capital, which means if convicted, the soldiers could face life in prison without parole and a dishonorable discharge. A date has not been set for the courts-martial, which will be held at Fort Campbell.

Staff Sgt. Raymond Girouard, Spc. William Hunsaker, Spc. Juston Graber and Pfc. Corey Clagett are each charged with premeditated murder, attempted premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. (Posted 4:10 p.m.)

'Important questions' still open in Foley probe, congressman says

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Louisiana congressman who warned House leaders in 2005 about Rep. Mark Foley's e-mail to a teenage boy from his district questioned Wednesday who else knew about Foley's behavior before the six-term Florida Republican resigned in disgrace.

Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., spent about three hours before the House ethics panel investigating Foley's contacts with teenage pages and how the chamber's Republican leadership handled concerns about Foley.

"We told them what we know, when we knew it, and what we did about it, and we are looking forward and hoping that the committee will talk to others," Alexander said. "It's quite apparent from some of the reports out there that there are many people that know what we know and have known it for a lot longer period of time than we've known." (Posted 3:43 p.m.)

4 U.S. soldiers face courts-martial in slayings of Iraqi family, daughter's rape

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- The commander of the 101st Airborne Division has ruled that courts-martial should be held for four U.S. soldiers accused of raping and killing a 14-year-old girl and slaying her sister and their parents in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, according to military officials.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Turner made the decision after reviewing the Article 32 report of investigation and receiving recommendations from the investigating officer, the appointing authority who directed the investigation and his staff judge advocate, according to a written statement.

Two of the men face capital charges, and would be eligible for the death penalty, if convicted. The other two could face life in prison without parole. (Posted 3:20 p.m.)

78 charged with bankruptcy fraud in federal sweep

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Bankruptcy fraud charges have been filed against 78 people in a federal operation aimed at protecting the integrity of the nation's bankruptcy system, the Justice Department and FBI announced Wednesday.

Authorities said the nationwide sweep culminated Wednesday with arrests stemming from 18 cases of bankruptcy fraud and related counts.

Those charged include nine lawyers, two bankruptcy petition preparers and a former police officer. The cases involved concealment of more than $3 million in assets, use of false identities and forged documents, and fraudulent receipt of government loans and benefits, officials said.

The culmination of "Operation Truth or Consequences" coincided with the anniversary of new bankruptcy laws aimed at combating fraud. --From Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 1:20 p.m.)

More than 2 dozen arrested, more than $16.5 million in cash, drugs seized

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Authorities have arrested 26 people, seized more than $10 million in cash and impounded more than $6.5 million worth of cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the culmination of an international drug and money laundering investigation, Justice Department and law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

Arrests occurred in New York and Florida in the United States and in Bogota and Cali in Colombia, the officials said.

The investigation -- Operation Plata Sucia -- involved agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the New York Police Department, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York and law enforcement agencies in Colombia and Britain, they said.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York, prosecutors allege that those arrested participated in an informal currency exchange in which they went to "peso brokers" with their profits and traded those funds for Colombian currency. Colombian businessmen allegedly use the brokers to purchase cheap U.S. dollars outside that country's banking system. --From CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn (Posted 11:55 a.m.)

Survey: Majority thinks American Dream no longer within reach for most

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Most U.S. citizens feel the American Dream is slipping away, and only 44 percent of them believe the next generation will live better than their parents, according to results from a CNN survey released Wednesday.

As the Nov. 7 midterm elections loom, survey participants also were asked about the level of interest members of Congress show toward their constituents, how familiar they are with the problems of average Americans and how much they cater to special interests.

Respondents gave higher marks to their own congressional representatives and senators compared to members as a whole.

Opinions of congressional members have declined on all questions compared to the January 2006 survey.

Opinion Research Corp. interviewed 1,012 Americans by phone Friday through Sunday. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on half samples it is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. (Posted 11:40 a.m.)

Al-Sadr, al-Sistani meet with Iraq PM

NAJAF, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's two highest-profile and influential Shiite clerics met Wednesday with the country's prime minister in an effort to grapple with raging violence partly fueled by Sunni-Shiite revenge killings and to ponder an international Muslim group's initiative to quell the hostility.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who long has been the country's most powerful and prestigious Shiite cleric, and Muqtada al-Sadr, an anti-U.S. fiery upstart who has amassed significant grass-roots political support across Iraq's Shiite heartland, huddled in the southern city of Najaf, where al-Sistani is based. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki joined them.

"We are moving on all the levels which have a leverage on the political and social status in order to find a powerful atmosphere to convey the real message that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government want and which represents Iraq's interests," al-Maliki said after the meeting. (Posted 11:15 a.m.)

Dow tops 12,000

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Dow Jones industrials jumped past the 12,000 mark for the first time in history Wednesday as a tame reading on inflation, surprisingly solid housing numbers and strong earnings pushed stocks higher.

The 30-share Dow climbed about 0.8 percent about half an hour into the session, pushing the world's most widely watched stock market gauge into record territory.

In the second half hour of trading the Dow slipped back below the 12,000 mark. (Posted 10:32 a.m.)

Iraqi Ministry: about 54,000 displaced families in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The war and escalating sectarian violence in Iraq have displaced nearly 54,000 families, Iraq's Ministry of Displaced Persons and Immigration announced Wednesday.

According to a statement from the ministry, the number of families forcibly displaced has reached 53,788, primarily because of a "the deteriorating security situation in Baghdad."

The chairman of the Iraqi Red Crescent, Dr. Said Ismail Hakki, told CNN the average Iraqi family consists of eight to 10 members, meaning at least 500,000 Iraqis have been displaced since the Samarra bombing on February 22 -- an attack on a Shiite mosque that has spurred sectarian violence with minority Sunni Muslims.

According to Hakki, at least 100,000 children are among the displaced. He also said about a fifth of the total has come during the last four weeks. (Posted 8:58 a.m.)

Sources: Anfal trial chief prosecutor's brother killed

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The brother of the chief prosecutor in the Anfal trial was killed in Baghdad on Monday, court officials told CNN Wednesday.

The prosecutor is Munqith al-Faroun, who has been in court this week in the proceedings against former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants.

The Iraqi High Tribunal could not provide more details about the killing and the slain relative.

The Anfal campaign was a government military operation in Iraq's Kurdish region in 1988. The defendants are on trial for alleged crimes committed against the populace during that period.

Safety for jurists and lawyers has been a major concern of the defendants and their attorneys.

The brother-in-law of the chief judge was killed late last month, and three defense lawyers in the Dujail trial have been slain. The Dujail trial is the first trial Hussein has faced, and a verdict is expected in early November. --CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report. (Posted 8:57 a.m.)

NATO says air support in Afghan operation apparently caused civilian casualties

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- NATO forces carried out an operation in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday night that apparently caused civilian casualties, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

The operation was in Kandahar province, where ISAF troops such as those from Canada have been in the forefront of the fight against Taliban militants.

"The operation's purpose was to detain individuals involved in the recent improvised explosive device attacks in Panjwayi.

"Close air support was used in support of the operation, and it is believed that the air attack caused several civilian casualties along with an unknown number of insurgent casualties."

It is not known whether the casualties included only deaths, only injuries or both. (Posted 8:55 a.m.)

9 U.S. soldiers, 1 Marine die in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- In a deadly day of violence, 10 U.S. servicemembers died in Iraq on Tuesday, the U.S. Military announced Wednesday.

Four Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack west of Baghdad Tuesday morning at about 6:50 a.m.

Less than three hours later, another Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier died after his patrol was hit with small-arms fire in northern Baghdad.

Tuesday afternoon, a sixth Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier was killed about 1:10 p.m. when his vehicle was hit by an improvised-explosive device, also north of the capital.

In Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, three Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were killed as the "result of enemy action" during military operations.

In Anbar province, west of Baghdad, one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Tuesday from wounds "due to enemy action."

As of Wednesday, the U.S. military death toll stood at 65 for October and 600 for the entirety of 2006. Since the start of the war, the U.S. military has suffered 2,780 fatalities in Iraq. (Posted 5:22 a.m.)

Rice: United States and Japan alliance 'stronger than ever'

TOKYO (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is meeting with Japanese leaders Wednesday as the world awaited a possible second nuclear test by North Korea.

At a news conference with Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Rice reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Tokyo and the region. The United States has security agreements with Japan and South Korea.

"The United States has the will and the ability to meet the full range of its deterrent and security commitments to Japan," Rice said. She also echoed President Bush's earlier comments that Pyongyang will be held accountable "should it transfer nuclear materials or weapons to other states or to non-state actors." (Posted 5:14 a.m.)

Tamil rebels attack naval base in Galle

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Government forces battled Tamil Tiger rebels Wednesday after they attacked Sri Lanka's Dakshina naval base in the southern port city of Galle, naval sources said.

Two sailors were killed in heavy fighting, and 12 were wounded, authorities said.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said the situation was under control and appealed for calm during a television address. The Government declared an immediate curfew, asking citizens to stay off the streets.

"There were threats on them and we introduced the local curfew as a precautionary measure," a police official said.

Navy officials said five boats loaded with rebel suicide teams staged their attack shortly after dawn. At least two of the Tamil boats detonated near naval vessels, damaging a patrol craft, as well as coastal patrol boats. --From Journalist Iqbal Athas (Posted 2:44 a.m.)

North Korea may be preparing for 2nd nuclear test

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The intelligence community has observed potential preparations for a nuclear test at at least three sites in North Korea, a U.S. intelligence analyst told CNN Tuesday, but it's not known what the reclusive communist nation may do at any of them.

Earlier, an official with access to intelligence information said that activity at one site is looking very similar to activity seen at the site of the Oct. 9 nuclear test just before that explosion was detonated.

The official said buildings and other structures are being fabricated at this second site, possibly in an effort to hide their activities from spy satellites flying overhead.

There are also reports of statements from senior North Korean military officials saying that the government intends to conduct multiple tests, the official said.

Activity is also being seen at the site of the confirmed nuclear test, the official told CNN. It's not clear if that activity is cleanup, maintenance or just wrapping up the testing there.

NBC reported Tuesday that Beijing had been informed of additional underground nuclear tests, however later in the day a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told CNN, "We have not received any notice from North Korea regarding this issue." --From CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon (Posted 1:07 a.m.)


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