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Sunday, November 26

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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.

Iraq lifts Baghdad curfew, airport reopens; Iraqi president slated to meet Monday with Iran's Ahmadinejad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Imposed after a string of deadly attacks in the capital's Sadr City neighborhood last week, Iraq's government lifted a curfew and reopened Baghdad International Airport Monday.

Delayed by the tight security, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was expected to fly to Tehran later in the day to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The meeting, intended in part to discuss Iran's role in creating a more stable Iraq, had been planned for Saturday.

Without being specific, Talabani's office told CNN the president will be cleared to leave for Tehran when the curfew ends.

More than 200 people were killed in Sadr City on Thursday, the single worst attack since the war began. (Posted 2 a.m.)

At least 36 die in crash of Iranian military plane

TEHRAN (CNN) -- An Iranian military plane crashed in Tehran Monday morning, state-run IRINN television reported, killing 36 people and injuring two others.

According to the network, an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) "plane flying from Tehran to Shiraz crashed soon after takeoff from Mehrabad Airport."

The aircraft, an Antonov-74, went down around 7:30 a.m. (11 p.m. ET Sunday) and is a light transport airplane designed to carry passengers or cargo, depending on its configuration. (Posted 1:05 a.m.)

Honolulu police officer dies after Bush motorcade crash

(CNN) -- A Honolulu police officer hurt in a collision with a vehicle in President Bush's motorcade last week has died of his injuries, the Honolulu Police Department announced Sunday.

Officer Steve Favela suffered severe internal injuries in the crash, and Hawaiian authorities had requested blood donations to help save him.

"When I received the phone call that Steve had passed away, quite frankly, my heart just sank to the guts of my stomach," said Honolulu police Capt. Frank Fujii. "He's going to be missed by everyone."

Bush stopped in Hawaii on Tuesday en route back to Washington after a trip to Asia. During his stopover, he met with U.S. troops in Honolulu, where the U.S. Pacific Command is based.

In a statement from the White House, Bush said he and first lady Laura Bush were "deeply saddened" by Favela's death.

"We send our condolences to his wife, Barbara, his entire family, and his fellow law enforcement officers. We pray that God will comfort them and that their friends and loved ones will sustain them in this difficult time," the first couple said. (Posted 12:35 a.m.)

Chief: Cops found pot in 92-year-old's home after shootout

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Investigators found a small amount of marijuana in the home of a 92-year-old woman killed during a shootout with police who raided her home last week, Atlanta's police chief said Sunday.

But Chief Richard Pennington said his department would review its use of "no-knock" search warrants after the shootout, which left three police officers wounded and neighbors questioning whether investigators raided the right home.

Pennington said Sunday that an informant made a drug buy at the the home of Kathryn Johnston and showed the drugs to police officers. The officers then went and got a no-knock search warrant.

Though police said the officers identified themselves at the outset of the raid and wore body armor with the word "POLICE" on it, Johnston opened fire on the officers as they worked to break through her burglar bars and wooden door to get inside. (Posted 10:05 p.m.)

Hawaii police officer dies after Bush motorcade crash

(CNN) -- A Honolulu police officer hurt in a collision with a vehicle in President Bush's motorcade last week has died of his injuries, the Honolulu Police Department announced Sunday.

Officer Steve Favela suffered severe internal injuries in the crash, and Hawaiian authorities had requested blood donations to help save him. A Honolulu police dispatcher confirmed Favela's death Sunday afternoon.

Bush stopped in Hawaii on Tuesday en route back to Washington after a trip to Asia. During his stopover, he met with U.S. troops in Honolulu, where the U.S. Pacific Command is based. (Posted 8 p.m.)

GOP senator: Time for U.S. to leave Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A leading Republican senator called Sunday for American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq, declaring that a U.S. pullout is needed to head off "an impending disaster" in the nearly 4-year-old war.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel wrote in Sunday's edition of The Washington Post that the war will end without either victory or defeat for the United States. He urged President Bush to use the upcoming report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to begin laying the groundwork for a "phased withdrawal" of U.S. troops.

"If the president fails to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for this blunder -- one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead," he wrote.

Hagel served in Vietnam as an infantry sergeant and is now the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Though he voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq, he has been an increasingly outspoken critic of the Bush administration's management of the conflict. (Posted 7:25 p.m.)

Officers in New York police shooting put on leave

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Five officers involved in the fatal weekend shooting of a man hours before he was to have been married and the wounding of two other men have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, a source close to the inquiry told CNN Sunday.

Community leaders demanded to know why officers fired as many as 50 rounds at the unarmed group of men as they were leaving the victim's bachelor party early Saturday. The groom, 23-year-old Sean Bell, was pronounced dead Saturday after being shot four times; two friends were shot multiple times, and one remained in critical condition Sunday.

Police said the men's car hit an undercover police officer and rammed an unmarked police minivan during the incident. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said five of the seven officers involved in the incident fired a total of 50 rounds, with 31 shots coming from a single officer.

Police said said they suspected that one of the men may have had a gun, but no weapon was found inside their vehicle. (Posted 7:15 p.m.)

Richards goes on Jackson's radio show to apologize for racist rant

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Embattled comedian Michael Richards said Sunday on the Rev. Jesse Jackson's radio show that he was "shattered" by his racial rant in a Los Angeles comedy club more than a week ago.

"I have been trying to get to the source of where that anger comes from," Richards said. "It's the first time for me that it came out, it's a first time for me, to talk to an African-American like that."

The comedian is known best for his role as Jerry Seinfeld's oddball neighbor Kramer on the NBC hit show "Seinfeld," which ran from 1990 to 1998. His appearance was part of a public-relations blitz to control the fallout from his Nov. 17 outburst at a group of African-American hecklers at the Laugh Factory.

In a nearly three-minute tirade, Richards repeatedly used racial slurs and made a reference to lynching, according to a video clip the celebrity gossip Web site TMZ.com obtained from an audience member. TMZ.com is a subsidiary of Time Warner, as is CNN. (Posted 7 p.m.)

Survey: Big-spending young adults boost holiday sales

(CNN) -- The nation's youth were largely responsible for a 19 percent increase in the average shopper's spending over the last weekend, according to a national survey issued Sunday by the National Retail Federation, a trade group.

According to the online survey of 3,090 people, the average shopper 18 to 24 years of age spent or was planning to spend an average of $532.54 over the weekend, which was defined as Thursday through Sunday. That's a 116 percent increase over last year's average total of $247.42 for that same demographic.

"That's not a typo," said Scott Krugman, a spokesman for the trade group. He said "doorbuster specials" at many stores attracted young shoppers.

"I think it really has to do with what was up for grabs," Krugman said. (Posted 5:30 p.m.)

Iraqi president slated to meet Monday with Iranian counterpart

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Unable to leave Baghdad amid tight security, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is expected to fly to Tehran on Monday to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian news agencies reported Sunday.

The meeting, intended in part to discuss Iran's role in creating a more stable Iraq, had been planned for for Saturday, but a strict curfew and Baghdad's airport closure forced a delay.

Without being specific, Talabani's office told CNN the president will be cleared to leave for Tehran when the curfew ends. According to Iran's semi-official FARS news agency, the curfew will be lifted at 6 a.m. Monday (Sunday 10 p.m. ET).

Iraq restored diplomatic relations with its neighbor Syria on Tuesday during a visit to Baghdad by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. The two countries severed relations in 1982, when Damascus sided with Iran in its war with Iraq in the 1980s.

The United States has refused to negotiate with Iran and Syria about helping to bring stability to Iraq, blaming both Tehran and Damascus for indirecting supporting insurgent groups in Iraq. (Posted 3:08 p.m.)

Widespread looting abates in eastern Chad

(CNN) -- Widespread looting that had occurred over the weekend abated Sunday in Abeche, Chad as government forces imposed order on the eastern city, a base for dozens of international aid agencies, a U.N. official said.

"The situation at the moment in the city of Abeche is really quiet," Claire Bourgeois, head of operations for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in eastern Chad, told CNN in a telephone interview.

Government troops entered the city early Sunday and reinforcements arrived in the afternoon, she said.

Still, the streets of the city were largely empty on Sunday, an indication that few residents trusted that the calm would prevail, she added.

Sunday's calm came a day after widespread unrest in the city, with looters targeting buildings housing administrative services for agencies that provide aid to refugees from Sudan and elsewhere in Chad, she said in a telephone interview. (Posted 2:03 p.m.)

7 Iraqi police kidnapped from checkpoint; 2 escape

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A dozen gunmen Sunday attacked an Iraqi police checkpoint north of Baghdad, seizing seven Iraqi police officers -- including the senior officer stationed at the checkpoint -- an official with Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center told CNN.

Two Iraqi policemen who were wounded in the attack managed to escape from the kidnappers, the official said.

The attack happened around 5 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) in Dujail, a mostly Shiite town about 30 miles (50 km) north of Baghdad.

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was recently convicted and sentenced to death for a brutal crackdown on Dujail in the 1980s.

About 40 miles (65 km) east of Dujail, dozens of gunmen raided the town of Kanaan late Saturday, kidnapping at least 20 men from Sunni and Shiite tribes, an official with Diyala Joint Coordination Center told CNN.

The town is populated by several Sunni and Shiite tribes, something that has become less common in Iraq amid attacks and counter-attacks between the two Muslim denominations. (Posted 1 p.m.)

Resolving Palestinian-Israeli conflict central to peace in Mideast, Jordanian king says

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is central to resolving the insurgency in Iraq and other Middle East trouble spots, King Abdullah II of Jordan said Sunday.

The Jordanian leader linked the Israeli-Palestinian problem to two other "potential flash points" in the region: the political unrest in Lebanon and the war in Iraq, and said the United States needs to look at Iraq in the context of these other conflicts.

"We're juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region, whether it's the Palestinians, that of Lebanon, or of Iraq."

"They're all extremely important," he said. "But the emotional impact that the Israeli-Palestinian problem has on the ground can be translated to the insecurity and the frustrations throughout the Middle East and the Arab world."

King Abdullah will host a meeting on Thursday between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. (Posted 11:05 a.m.)

Insurgents near Sadr City fire mortars on U.S. military post in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Militants just outside Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood Sunday fired at least two mortar rounds at a U.S. military post in eastern Baghdad, setting the post on fire, according to Iraqi police and U.S. military.

Hours after the attack, a plume of black smoke could be seen rising into the evening sky.

Citing security reasons, a U.S. military spokesman would not confirm the "effectiveness" of the attack but said the rounds originated just outside Sadr City, a stronghold of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia.

The spokesman said the attack happened around 2:45 p.m. (6:45 a.m. ET).

Baghdad is under a stiff curfew after sectarian tensions escalated following an attack in Sadr City on Thursday, in which more 200 Iraqis were killed.

The attack has been characterized as the single worst attack in Iraq since the war began. (Posted 9:33 a.m.)

Prominent Sunni lawmaker's home attacked; no injuries

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two mortar rounds landed near the western Baghdad home of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni lawmaker and a member of Iraqi parliament, police said.

No one was hurt in the attack, which comes two days after one of al-Dulaimi's guards was arrested by U.S.-led forces, suspected of being a member of al Qaeda in Iraq.

The U.S.-led coalition said the guard was part of an alleged bombing plot against Baghdad's seat of power, the Green Zone.

According to the U.S. military, the plot was in the final stages of planning when coalition forces arrested the guard at al-Dulaimi's home on Friday. (Posted 9:10 a.m.)

Hamas says Palestinian factions behind cease-fire '100 percent'

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad Sunday insisted that all Palestinian factions are "100 percent" behind the cease-fire with Israel in Gaza, despite reports that militants fired rockets after the cessation took effect.

"All of them now, without exception, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Fatah and other factions, they decided to respect the agreement and also to be committed 100 percent to this agreement," Hamad told CNN.

Hamad denied reports that Palestinian militants fired several rockets into Israel after cease-fire took effect.

"Hamas fired missiles before 6 o'clock, which is the time of the beginning of the cease-fire and they have released a statement (at) 7 o'clock," he said.

"We have contact with all factions now, especially from the prime minister (Ismail Haniyeh) and he asked to stop firing missiles from Gaza."

That is in contrast to a leaflet that Hamas' militant wing issued earlier in the day, claiming it fired four rockets on Israel after 6 a.m.

The Islamic Jihad militant group also claimed responsibility for firing three rockets right after 6 a.m., and another two rockets at 9:30 a.m. as revenge for Israeli raids on West Bank towns. (Posted 8:20 a.m.)

Suicide bomb attack kills 5; U.S. military nets 11 suspected terrorists

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An Iraqi police officer and four civilians were killed in a car bomb explosion targeting an Iraqi police checkpoint near an outdoor market south of Baghdad Sunday, a Hilla police official said.

Twenty-three others were wounded in the blast, which happened about 40 miles (70 km) south of the capital in Haswa.

In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen shot to death an employee of state-run Al-Iraqiya satellite TV station as she was leaving her house to go to work Sunday morning, Mosul police said.

Five Mosul University students were wounded when militants launched a mortar round that landed inside the university's compound center Sunday afternoon, police said.

The U.S. military on Sunday said coalition forces killed four insurgents and captured 11 suspected terrorists during a morning raid targeting al Qaeda in Iraq members in the Diyala province near Baquba.

One of the terrorists detained was discovered hiding in a house dressed as a woman pretending to nurse a baby. (Posted 8:20 a.m.)

Iraqi president's trip to Iran delayed

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- In the Iraqi capital, President Jalal Talabani was grounded by an airport closure and strict curfew, forcing him to again delay a trip to Tehran to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's semi-official news agency FARS reported Sunday.

FARS said the curfew will be lifted Monday at 6 a.m. (Sunday 10 p.m. ET).

A stiff curfew went into effect after sectarian tensions escalated following the Sadr City attack on Thursday, in which more 200 Iraqis were killed.

Iran's role in creating a more stable Iraq will be one of the talking points during the meeting. (Posted 8:20 a.m.)

2 Marines, 1 soldier killed while fighting in Iraq Saturday

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two U.S. Marines and a Task Force Lightning Soldier were killed Saturday in various operations throughout Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday.

One Marine died from "wounds sustained due to enemy action" while serving in Iraq's volatile Anbar province.

Another Marine died when a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives at a checkpoint northwest of Khalidiya in Anbar province, the military said. Another Marine was wounded during the incident.

Khalidiya is northwest of Falluja.

The military did not release which task force they were assigned to but both were part of Multi-National Team West.

In Diyala province a soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle he was riding in. Two other soldiers were wounded in the incident.

This brings the number of U.S. troop deaths in the Iraq war to 2,876. (Posted 7:46 a.m.)

Palestinian factions will meet to brainstorm about including West Bank into cease-fire

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- After the Israeli-Gaza cease-fire was broken Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordered security forces to deploy near the border to enforce the agreement, sources in Abbas' office told CNN.

Abbas also organized for Palestinian factions -- who previously negotiated the cease-fire agreement -- to meet, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters Sunday.

Discussions on including a cease-fire in the West Bank will be among talking points aimed at making "progress towards a full settlement between Israel and the Palestinians," Olmert said.

The current agreement only covers Gaza and not the West Bank. (Posted 7:45 a.m.)

NATO: 1 soldier and 50 insurgents killed in volatile southern Afghanistan

(CNN) -- A NATO soldier and at least 50 Taliban militants were killed when joint NATO and Afghan soldiers clashed with insurgents in southern Afghanistan's Uruzgan province Saturday, the alliance said Sunday.

Fighting erupted after a large number of insurgents attacked the troops near Tarin Kowt. NATO troops returned fire and called in an airstrike.

"Initial battle damage assessment indicates that approximately 50 insurgents were killed in the attack. Regrettably, an ISAF soldier was also killed during the same incident," NATO's International Security Assistance Forces said.

In a separate incident Saturday, joint NATO-Afghan soldiers came under fire from another group of insurgents and called in an airstrike in Kandahar, the birthplace of the extremist Taliban movement

Five insurgents were killed and three NATO soldiers were wounded, a NATO statement said.

NATO does not release the nationalities of its casualties, but typically Canadian soldiers patrol Kandahar and Dutch and Australian soldiers patrol Uruzgan. (Posted 2:37 a.m.)

Disgruntled pizza delivery drivers wanting own union picket Domino's pizza

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (CNN) -- In a fight to have their own union, 15 pizza delivery drivers picketed outside a Domino's Pizza store in Louisville, Ky. Saturday, claiming they wanted fair compensation for gas mileage.

Domino's recently instituted a 11 percent cut in drivers' mileage compensation and added a $1 fee per delivery to pizza buyers to offset rising gas and labor costs. Union organizers argue the $1 fee cuts into their tips because people think it's going to the drivers.

Jim Sullivan, a former Domino's driver, said when he complained about the management's new policies and tried to organize a union he was fired.--From CNN Radio's Lee Garen (Posted 1:38 a.m.)


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