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Sunday, October 29

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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.

Pakistani military: militant training camp destroyed; unknown number of militants killed

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Security forces on Monday destroyed a militant training camp in the Bajore tribal district in northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghan border, according to an army spokesman.

"Several miscreants have been killed, however, the body count is yet to be known," Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, an army spokesman, said.

According to an intelligence source, 70 to 80 militants were in the compound when it was targeted by security forces backed by helicopter gunships. (Posted 2:35 a.m.)

Iraqi police, coalition forces apprehend bomb-making suspects

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi police, working with U.S.-led coalition advisers, captured nine suspected members of a bomb-making cell in Kut, a U.S. military statement released Monday said.

According to the military, Sunday's raid also netted "a cache of weapons, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and components for making IEDs, which target Iraqi security forces and civilians."

Kut is located about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. (Posted 2:15 a.m.)

Death of U.S. Marine marks 100th military fatality for October

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine died Sunday in Iraq's sprawling Anbar province, a U.S. military statement released Monday said.

According to the military, the Marine, assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, died from "injuries sustained due to enemy action" in the province west of Baghdad.

With the death, 100 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq during the month of October -- the fourth highest since the war began in March 2003. Since the start of fighting, there have been 2,813 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq. (Posted 1:25 a.m.)

Roadside bomb kills at least 26, wounds 60

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least 26 people were killed and 60 wounded when a bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad Monday morning, Baghdad emergency police said.

The blast ripped through Mudhfar Square, near the bustling Jamila market, in the capital's Sadr City neighborhood around 7:50 a.m. The area is a spot where day laborers gather.

Authorities believe the bomb was left beside a trash container in a plastic bag.

In a similar attack in May, a car bomb exploded in Jamila market, killing five people and wounding 15.

Sadr City is a densely populated Shiite slum. (Posted 1:50 a.m.)

Outcry from Gallaudet students is heard as presidential appointment withdrawn

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The board of trustees at Gallaudet University announced Sunday that it has withdrawn the appointment of Jane K. Fernandes as president of Gallaudet University, the prestigious school for the deaf.

In a statement posted on the school's Web site, the board members said they made the announcement "with much regret and pain."

Fernandes is to give up her position as president-designate and will not replace the current president, I. King Jordan, on Jan. 1, as had been planned. "The struggle during the past several months has been very painful for all of us," Jordan said in a written statement. "I am deeply troubled by the divisions among us and by the anger that overtook reason, respect, and civility. (Posted: 10:04 p.m.)

Top Republican lavishes praise on embattled secretary of defense

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nine days before an election in which the war in Iraq has emerged as a central, contentious issue, the House majority leader gave a strong endorsement Sunday to the nation's embattled secretary of defense.

"I think Donald Rumsfeld is the best thing that's happened to the Pentagon in 25 years," Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC's "This Week." "This Pentagon and our military needs a transformation. And I think Donald Rumsfeld's the only man in America who knows where the bodies are buried at the Pentagon, has enough experience to help transform that institution."

Rumsfeld's handling of the U.S.-led invasion and its aftermath has elicited calls for his resignation from Democrats and some Republicans. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Ohioans should consider Boehner's support for the secretary when casting their ballots. "This is a referendum on the war and the incompetency of the Bush administration," Rangel told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." (Posted: 10:02 p.m.)

Calif. wildfire 85 percent contained; full containment expected Monday night

BEAUMONT, Calif. (CNN) -- Authorities credited calmer winds Sunday for helping firefighters contain 85 percent of a Southern California wildfire that has killed four firefighters and incinerated dozens of buildings.

A spokesman for the California Department of Forestry predicted full containment would be achieved by Monday night. The more sanguine outlook led officials to send 300 firefighters home, leaving 2,000 for what could be the final day's effort. The cost of the four-day firefighting effort was put at $8.3 million. (Posted: 10 p.m.)

Trial on terrorism charges slated to begin Monday for 6 Algerian men

MADRID (CNN) -- A trial on terrorism charges is set to begin Monday for six Algerian men, one of whom is charged in an alleged failed plot to attack a U.S.-Spanish military base in southern Spain, their defense lawyer told CNN. The prosecution seeks a combined 132 years in prison for the six.

All are charged with belonging to an Islamic terrorist group, possession of explosives and document forgery, said their lawyer, Sebastian Salellas. The trial before a three-judge panel is expected to start at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) under tight security at the National Court in central Madrid. (Posted: 6:25 p.m.)

Runner in Marine Corps Marathon dies

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A male runner collapsed Sunday during the Marine Corps Marathon and died, U.S. Park Police said. The runner was taken by helicopter to Washington Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Some 34,000 runners participated in the 31st annual 26.2-mile event, which started and ended in Arlington, Va. (Posted: 6:22 p.m.)

Lynne Cheney's 1981 novel featuring lesbian love affair a difficult get

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- While Lynne Cheney deflects talk of sexual content in her novel "Sisters," a 25-year-old book that resurfaced in the news Friday and has stirred up controversy, Americans will have a hard time judging for themselves. The few copies available are selling for hundreds of dollars each.

The novel, featuring a lesbian love affair, was brought up Friday amid a vicious Senate race in Virginia. Soon a Democratic committee and Cheney herself -- in an interview on CNN -- were weighing in.

Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, convinced the publisher not to reissue the book in 2004 during the presidential election. Her attorney told the media at the time that Cheney "did not think the book was her best work."

Cheney's biography on the White House Web site says she is the author or co-author of nine books, and it lists six of them, but not Sisters. -- From CNN's Joshua Levs (Posted 2:30 p.m.)

Hussein, lawyer accuse Bush of political timing

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- With verdicts in Saddam Hussein's first trial set to be announced next Sunday, the former Iraqi leader and one of his lawyers each wrote letters accusing President Bush of scheduling the verdicts so they would influence U.S. midterm congressional elections just two days later.

U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad dismissed the charge, saying the United States is not involved in court decisions.

Defense lawyers will end their boycotts of both of Hussein's trials this week, according to Khalil al-Dulaimi, Hussein's chief defense lawyer.

Al-Dulaimi said defense lawyers will return to court Monday when proceedings resume in the Anfal trial and the defense team in the Dujail trial will be back in court for the verdicts on Nov. 5. (Posted 2:25 p.m.)

Gunmen kidnap, kill 13 police adacemy employees in Basra

BASRA, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents Sunday kidnapped and killed 13 police academy employees in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, an interior ministry spokesman said.

The gunmen nabbed the employees for the academy in the Hai al-Muhandiseen neighborhood as they left work Sunday afternoon, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karin Khalaf said.

Their bodies were later discovered in a nearby area, the spokesman said.

Some of the employees worked as translators for the police acadamy.-- From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Baghdad (Posted 1:12 p.m.)

Plane crashes shortly after take-off from Nigerian airport; 97 feared dead

ABUJA, Nigeria (CNN) -- A Nigerian airliner carrying 104 people crashed Sunday near the Abuja airport shortly after take-off and burst into flames, airport and government officials told CNN.

The Boeing 737, operated by Nigerian airline ADC, was still on fire at the edge of the runway hours after it crashed around noon (6 a.m. ET).

Seven people survived the crash and the remaining passengers are feared dead, although there has been no official confirmation of deaths from the airline or the government.

According to ADC's Web site, Flight 53 was scheduled to take off from the Nigerian capital Abuja at 10:35 a.m. (4:35 a.m. ET) and land in the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto (prono: SOH-kuh-toh) an hour later.

The spiritual leader of Nigeria's 70 million Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Mohammadu Maccido, was among those killed in the crash, according to a senior source with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's office.

Nigeria has a spotty air safety record, more than 11 crashes since 1995, killing over 500 people. (Posted 2:34 p.m.)

Calif. wildfire 70 percent contained; full containment expected Tuesday

BEAUMONT, Calif. (CNN) -- Aided by calmer winds, firefighters Sunday reported further progress in containing a raging Southern California wildfire that has claimed the lives of four firefighters, and officials said full containment is expected in the coming days.

The Esperanza fire was 70 percent contained as of 7 a.m. (10 a.m. ET) Sunday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Web site. Full containment was expected as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the department said.

The fire, which authorities believe was deliberately set, has charred 40,450 acres. It has destroyed 34 homes and 20 outbuildings, the department said, and continued to threaten 500 homes -- mainly in the Twin Pines and Poppet Flats areas, which are under mandatory evacuations. Nearly 2,900 firefighters and other personnel were battling the blaze, which began Thursday morning and spread quickly.

The blaze, southeast of Palm Springs, was also fatal Thursday, killing the four firefighters and critically burning a fifth. (Posted 11 a.m.)

Hussein claims in letter Nov. 5 verdict is 'propaganda' to influence U.S. election

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- In a letter to the chief judge presiding over his trial for crimes against humanity in Dujail, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein claims the Nov. 5 scheduling of a verdict in the case is an attempt to sway U.S. midterm elections by painting his conviction as a victory for the Bush administration.

"The propaganda machines will phrase the news as Bush achieving his strategic goal of the invasion by accomplishing this goal (conviction) or in any phrase that achieves the purpose he desires," Hussein wrote in the letter, dated Oct. 22, to chief judge Raouf Rasheed Abdul Rahman.

Hussein tells Rahman that if those are his reasons for scheduling the verdict on Nov. 5, "then postpone the verdict to another date." He goes on to say, however, that "it's OK if the current date will be a session dedicated to hearing closing arguments from defense attorneys and so-called defendants."

Hussein and seven co-defendants are accused of crimes against humanity for a bloody crackdown against Shiite Muslims in Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein in that town, north of Baghdad. If found guilty, Hussein and the other defendants face possible execution. (Posted 9:30 a.m.)

Gunmen kill 7 and wound 2 in violence around Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen Sunday killed a total of 7 people in attacks on civilians and Iraqi police in the Iraqi capital and Diyala province, officials said.

Gunmen killed two Iraqi police in an attack on their patrol in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Waziriya on Sunday morning, Baghdad emergency police said.

North of the capital in Baquba, gunmen killed two Iraqi police officers when they attacked their patrol Sunday morning, a Diyala Joint Coordination Center official said.

South of Baquba gunmen shot and killed the headmaster of a primary school as he was returning home Sunday afternoon, the official said.

North of Baquba in Muqdadiya, two civilians were killed and two others were wounded by gunmen, the official said. (Posted 7:43 a.m.)

Israeli attorney general recommends president step aside before indictment hearing

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz recommended Sunday that President Moshe Katzav temporarily step aside from his position in the wake of multiple allegations against him, Mazuz's office said.

The attorney general is currently considering indicting the president on a number of charges, the most serious of which an allegation of rape.

The Ministry of Justice said in a statement "the president should take the step of declaring temporary incapacitation until a final decision is made on the indictment in the court hearing on the matter." -- From CNN's Avivit Dalgoshen (Posted 7:12 a.m.)

Gunmen in Iraq fired upon PM's convoy, al-Maliki not present during attack

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen fired upon Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's convoy, wounding one guard, in one of the capital's southern suburbs Sunday evening, an Iraqi government spokesman said.

Al-Maliki was not present in the convoy, however, which was traveling in Baghdad's Rasheed district, the spokesman said.

After the incident the U.S. military and Iraqi forces conducted a search for those responsible.

They detained one person and confiscated two weapons, U.S. military sources said.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense has launched an investigation into the incident.

--From CNN's Erin McLaughlin, John Roberts and Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 5:01 a.m.)

Coalition forces: 17 insurgents killed after trying to stop troops from arresting 3 terrorists

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- U.S.-led coalition aircraft killed 17 insurgents armed with machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades after they launched an attack meant to thwart ground troops from arresting "suspected terrorists" north of the Iraqi capital in Balad Sunday, according to a statement issued by Multi-National Corps - Iraq.

The coalition convoy was attacked by an armed gang twice while traveling on their route and after "positive identification of the enemy" aircraft fired upon the insurgents with "precision fires," the statement said.

Troops killed four militants in the first attack and 13 in the second ambush.

No coalition forces were wounded in either attack. (Posted 4:11 a.m.)

1 NATO soldier, about 70 insurgents killed in Afghanistan firefight

(CNN) -- One NATO soldier and about 70 insurgents were killed in southern Afghanistan when fighting broke out Saturday between insurgents and Afghan troops and NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), officials said.

ISAF and Afghan forces came under fire from between 100 and 150 insurgents near an ISAF operating base in the Chora Valley, north of Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province, ISAF said in a statement.

"In a firefight lasting several hours, the insurgents were engaged by ISAF and ANA (Afghan National Army) small arms fire, attack helicopters and close air support," the statement said.

The NATO soldier, whose nationality was not released, was killed "on the spot" in a bomb strike, ISAF spokesman Maj. Vincent Tassel told CNN Sunday. Nine soldiers and two civilians were also wounded in the clashes. They were later hospitalized. (Posted 3:35 a.m.)

Bangladesh's president in talks with major party leaders to name leader of interim government

From Journalist Tasneem Khalil in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CNN) -- Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed huddled with the four major political parties in the country Sunday in attempts to name a new leader for the interim government after the original man chosen for the job withdrew amid deadly rioting over his appointment the day before, a presidential palace spokesman said.

If the president feels the handover will take more time he may allow the current government to stay 15 more days, his office said.

Fierce clashes between political protesters and riot police have left at least 19 people dead and more than 500 wounded in the past two days, according to unofficial police estimates in Dhaka. Police and paramilitary forces are reportedly unable to completely control the riots in many parts of the country as uncertainty over who will be named the next caretaker persists.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice K.M. Hasan was set to be sworn in as caretaker leader Saturday after current Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia's five-year mandate ended on Friday. However, Hasan issued a press statement Sunday saying he was unwilling to take the responsibility of the chief of the caretaker government. He did not elaborate why. (Posted 2:41 a.m.)

Hussein lawyer to Bush: Iraqi strife will worsen with Dujail conviction

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The chief lawyer for Saddam Hussein warned President Bush in a letter Saturday that if his client is found guilty in the Dujail trial, there will be more strife in Iraq and the region.

Attorney Khalil al-Dulaimi pressed for the release of Hussein and his seven co-defendants, who are expected to face a verdict Nov. 5, two days before the U.S. midterm elections. The lawyer accuses Bush of strategically arranging the verdict to be announced before the balloting.

Hussein and the other defendants are accused of crimes against humanity for a bloody crackdown against Shiite Muslims in Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein in that town, north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The defendants face possible execution if found guilty.

The letter from al-Dulaimi, dated Saturday, was e-mailed to CNN's Baghdad bureau. Al-Dulaimi told CNN it was sent to the U.S. leader through the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan. (Posted 1:22 a.m.)



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