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Saturday, May 12

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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 Time.

Afghan government: Top Taliban commander killed

(CNN) -- Top Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah Lang was killed Friday in a joint Afghan army-police operation launched in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province, government spokesman Khaleeq Ahmad told CNN on Sunday.

Ahmad said the operation was backed by NATO, which provided air support.

NATO could not immediately confirm the report.

"ISAF is aware of reports of the death of Mullah Dadullah Lang. We have no confirmation of this at this time," NATO spokesman Sgt. Russell Petcoff told CNN on Sunday.

The operation was launched Friday but the Afghan government's intelligence service confirmed it was Dadullah's body on Sunday, Ahmad said of the delay in reporting the death.

The body of Dadullah, which is in Kandahar, was not "badly damaged," Ahmad said, concluding he did not think the commander died in the NATO airstrike.

Dadullah was in charge of day-to-day military operations for the Taliban. His death comes in spring, which was when Dadullah told Britain's Channel Four he would launch an offensive against NATO-led coalition troops. He made that statement on March 1. (Posted 2:24 a.m.)

Suspect on FBI's Ten Most Wanted list arrested in Canada

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- One of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, charged with crimes against children, was captured in Montreal early Saturday, the FBI's Los Angeles office said late Saturday.

Law enforcement authorities in the Canadian city arrested Richard Steve Goldberg, 61, after the FBI received a tip from someone living in Canada, according to J. Stephen Tidwell, assistant FBI director in Los Angeles, and Anthony Batts, chief of the Long Beach Police Department.

Authorities in Long Beach sought Goldberg for allegedly engaging in sexual activities with several female children under the age of 10 from January through May of 2001.

Goldberg also faces federal charges that he produced images of these sex acts, which were later found on his computer.

He is being held on the immigration violation by Canadian authorities, and is to be in court Monday. It is anticipated that he will be extradited to the United States to face the California and federal charges. (Posted 10:59 p.m.)

Rain Sunday could help douse Florida, Georgia fire

(CNN) -- The National Weather Service extended a "dense smoke advisory" until 10 a.m. Sunday in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia as firefighters sought the upper hand in the weeklong Bugaboo Fire. Rain was expected Sunday afternoon.

Forecasters predicted a 50 percent chance of storms with north winds of only 5-10 mph. The chance of showers dropped to 40 percent Sunday night under partly cloudy skies. Cloudy conditions and fog were expected Sunday morning.

The next fire briefing was set for 10 a.m. Sunday.

Portions of Interstates 10 and 75 were closed to through traffic Saturday as visibility slipped below one-quarter mile, although the Florida Highway Patrol intermittently reopened sections Saturday afternoon as some smoke cleared. (Posted 9:05 p.m.)

1 dead, 16 wounded from bomb explosion in Turkish market

(CNN) -- One person died Saturday after a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded earlier in the day in a market in Turkey's port city of Izmir, hospital sources said.

Sixteen people were wounded. Information on who might be behind the blast was not immediately available. -- From CNN Turk (Posted 4:41 p.m.)

Pleas, anger in search for missing British girl in Portugal

LONDON (CNN) -- The anguished parents of Madeleine McCann, the British girl missing for more than a week after apparently being snatched from a Portuguese vacation resort, have made a fresh appeal for her return.

"Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling," said Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann.

Police say Madeleine, whose fourth birthday is Saturday, was abducted from her parents' resort apartment in Portugal's Algarve region. The McCanns had left their daughter in bed as they dined nearby.

The News of the World tabloid and a coalition of businessmen including Richard Branson have offered a reward of 2.5 million pounds, or nearly $5 million, for information leading to Madeleine's safe return, British media reported Saturday. (Posted 3:42 p.m.)

Iraq's Anfal trial adjourns till June 10

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The Anfal trial in Iraq has been adjourned until June 10, and it is possible there could be a verdict not long after it is reconvened, Chief Prosecutor Munquith al-Faroon told CNN.

Ali Hassan al-Majeed, nicknamed "Chemical Ali", and five co-defendants face charges in connection with an Iraqi Army offensive in the 1980s that killed up to 100,000 in the country's Kurdish region.

Interest in the trial waned among international media after former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, one of the defendants, was executed late in December. But the proceeding is still carried live on some local TV stations. (Posted 3:11 p.m.)

Large fire prompts Fla., Ga. interstate closures; officials warn of 'gridlock'

(CNN) -- Smoke from the Bugaboo Fire, which has burned more than 212,000 acres in Florida and Georgia, prompted authorities to close portions of two interstates Saturday, leading to what one official called "gridlock" and warnings for motorists to avoid the area if possible.

Interstate 75 was closed from Valdosta, Ga., south to Lake City, Fla., said Col. Chris Knight, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. That closure will be moved even further south to Ocala, Fla., he said.

And Interstate 10 was closed from Sanderson, Fla., eastward to Live Oak, Knight said.

"If you don't have to travel, we simply ask that you don't," he said. "It is gridlock. You will be sitting on the interstate." (Posted 2:56 p.m.)

Noted Sunni Arab figure in Mosul shot dead

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A noted Sunni Arab figure in Mosul was shot dead on Saturday while leaving a mosque, police in the northern Iraqi city told CNN.

He is Adib al-Chalabi, a well-known doctor, a writer for the Fata al-Iraq newspaper, and a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the most powerful Sunni Arab political party in Iraq.

He was shot while departing the Thou al-Noorain Sunni mosque in the al-Noor neighborhood of northern Mosul about 8 p.m. (Posted 2:21 p.m.)

17 bodies found dumped in Baghdad on Saturday

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Seventeen unidentified slain bodies were found dead across Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.

This brings the number of corpses found across Baghdad this month to 253.

Shot and tortured bodies have been a common sight every day on the streets of Baghdad since the attack on the Askariya Mosque in Samarra in Feb. 2006 -- an incident that sparked sectarian violence. (Posted 2:21 p.m.)

Protesters clash in southern Pakistan, 33 dead

(CNN) -- Police and hospital sources reported at least 33 people have been killed during massive clashes between pro-government supporters and opposition party members Saturday in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

Many of those killed were in support of the deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who arrived in Karachi earlier in the day, police said. The sources said 115 others have been injured.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf removed Chaudhry from his post on March 9, accusing him of misusing his powers. The dismissal has sparked widespread demonstrations.

Chaudhry was slated to address a bar association meeting in Karachi, but because of the upheaval was not able to leave the Karachi airport. He was flying back to Islamabad.

Musharraf, meanwhile, held his own public rally in Islamabad as a show of his strength. (Posted 1:17 p.m.)

Attackers strike U.S.-led force south of Baghdad: 5 killed, 3 missing

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- American troops were on the hunt in a volatile region south of Baghdad for three U.S.-led military personnel, who went missing after an early Saturday morning insurgent attack that killed five others in an eight-person force.

The U.S. military said attackers struck seven American soldiers and an Iraqi Army interpreter about 12 miles west of Mahmoudiya -- a city south of the capital in a region that has been nicknamed the Triangle of Death.

At least four U.S. troops were killed. In May so far, 40 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq. The number of U.S. military personnel killed during the Iraq war stands at 3,391. (Posted 12:35 p.m.)

Soldier in Iraq killed Friday

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier died in a roadside bombing south of Baghdad on Friday night, the U.S. military said Saturday.

An 89th Military Police Brigade soldier was badly wounded by an improvised explosive device at approximately 7:15 pm Friday, south of Iskandariya -- which is south of Baghdad in Babil province.

The soldier was evacuated for treatment at the coalition medical treatment facility at Forward Operating Base Kalsu but "later died of his wounds." (Posted 12:29 p.m.)

Powerful Shiite party reelects leader, changes name

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Members of one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite parties reelected its leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, on Saturday, Iraq's state TV al-Iraqiya reported.

In addition, party leader al-Hakim announced the party changed its name from The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq to the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq.

"The word revolution means change," he said. "It was our goal since the beginning to change the regime and replace it with a new democratic system." Since that has been done, he contended, there was "no need for the word revolution any more."

The Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq is also part of the Shiite-led ruling coalition called the United Iraqi Alliance. (Posted 6:18 a.m.)

Coalition and Afghan forces battle Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan

(CNN) -- Coalition forces killed one Taliban militant and detained two others after a gunbattle at a compound in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province early Saturday, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement.

The battle erupted as the forces advanced on a compound that "credible intelligence" linked to Taliban activity.

Troops were fired on by members inside the compound and returned fire, killing one. The other militants "surrendered and were not harmed," the statement said..

In a separate operation, coalition and Afghan National Police killed "a number of enemy fighters" in southern Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement Saturday.

According to the coalition, the forces were on patrol north of the volatile Sangin District Center in Helmand Province when they came to the aid of another coalition patrol under attack by Taliban fighters.

"They observed Taliban reinforcements preparing a second ambush site and requested close air support to destroy the enemy position," the statement said. (Posted 3:41 a.m.)

Bomb explosions in Baghdad kill 3, wound 10

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two Iraqi civilians were killed and five others were wounded when a parked car bomb detonated early Saturday east of Baghdad in Mada'en, the Interior Ministry said.

Friday evening the official said a roadside bomb explosion near a Shiite mosque in northeastern Baghdad killed one civilian and wounded five others.

Separately, the U.S. military announced Saturday that earlier in the week U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces interrupted "several insurgents" from planting roadside bombs in a southern Baghdad neighborhood.

In two separate incidents, soldiers killed two insurgents and arrested a third while patrolling in Doura neighborhood on Thursday.

The military also said during the patrol troops uncovered a sniper rifle with a scope, two AK-47s and a bundle of Iraqi cash in the trunk of an insurgent's car. (Posted 2:22 a.m.)



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