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Monday, May 14

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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.

Killer tornado claims 11th life

(CNN) -- The monster tornado that ripped through the western Kansas town of Greensburg early this month has claimed an 11th life, a hospital official told CNN.

According to Larry Traffas with the Pratt Regional Medical Center, Harold Schmidt -- a resident of Greensburg, who was injured in the May 4 storm -- died Monday evening. No other details were immediately available.

The F5 tornado -- highest on the Fujita Scale of tornado intensity -- plowed through the town, destroying an estimated 95 percent of the community of 1,600.

Another tornado killed two others in Kansas the same night. (Posted 2:20 a.m.)

World Bank panel: Wolfowitz broke staff rules in flap with girlfriend

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An internal panel concludes World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz violated staff rules in arranging a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend and questions whether he can still provide leadership to the bank, according to documents released Monday.

The special ad hoc committee looked into allegations Wolfowitz broke conflict of interest rules dealing with his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, who left the World Bank when Wolfowitz took over the top spot in 2005.

The committee said, according to its report released Monday evening the bank's web site, that the bank is suffering a "crisis in leadership." The executive board of the organization needs to consider whether Wolfowitz "will be able to provide the leadership needed" to effectively carry out mission of the World Bank, the report said.

Riza was transferred to a State Department foundation after Wolfowitz took over at the bank. She receives a government salary of almost $194,000 a year, tax free.

-- From CNN's Elise Labott and Zain Verjee at the State Department (Posted 8:41 p.m.)

Government ready to show Padilla planned violent jihad

MIAMI (CNN) -- Onetime "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla was part of a south Florida terrorist cell that gave material support to al Qaeda by sending money, equipment and people for terrorist training, a federal prosecutor said Monday as Padilla's trial got under way.

Padilla was originally accused of planning to set off radioactive bombs in the United States, but the current charges are not related to those accusations. Instead, he and two co-defendants face charges of planning a violent jihad overseas.

The government's case against the 36-year-old Brooklyn native will include witnesses, documents and wiretaps, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Frazier, who previewed the case in an opening statement.

Attorneys for Padilla said he never intended to join al Qaeda or aid the terrorist group in any way and that the Muslim convert actually hoped to become an cleric. In his opening statement, Padilla attorney Anthony Natale said the prosecution's case lacked "hard evidence." (Posted 7:02 p.m.)

Cease-fire resumes between Palestinian factions

(CNN) -- A cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah has been restored, a Palestinian government spokesman said Monday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya have issued orders to security forces from Fatah and Hamas respectively to withdraw from the streets, Hamad said. (Posted 6:52 p.m.)

Florida fire jumps fire line; evacuations ordered

LAKE CITY, Fla. (CNN) -- Columbia County ordered evacuations Monday about three miles east of U.S. Hwy. 441 after the 100,000-plus-acre Bugaboo fire in northern Florida jumped a fire line and spread west, according to county spokesman Harvey Campbell.

Campbell said "several hundred" families in a sparsely populated area were being evacuated from the area as a precaution, since high winds are still pushing the fire.

"We're hitting it very hard with everything we have," said Florida Division of Forestry spokeswoman Annaleasa Winter. "The good news is the other side of the fire, we've made significant progress. About 50 percent of the fire is under good control. It's just this western side ... unfortunately that's the way the wind is blowing."

"If we can just get through this evening and tomorrow then things should begin to calm down on Wednesday," she said. (Posted 6:20 p.m.)

No. 2 official at Justice resigns

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, has resigned, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced Monday.

McNulty cited personal reasons for his resignation, which he said will be effective at an unspecified date in late summer.

"The financial realities of college-age children and two decades of public service lead me to a long overdue transition in my career," he wrote.

His resignation comes amid a controversy over the department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year, a move that has sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill. He was one of the key figures in meetings and discussions about the shakeup, and investigators from the House and Senate Judiciary committees grilled him for more than eight hours in April. (Posted 5:48 p.m.)

Senate majority leader seeks 2 votes on Iraq war funding

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top Democrat in the Senate has made a significant chess move that could clear the way for Iraq funding negotiations this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Monday that he is moving two major Iraq votes into an unrelated water bill, a decision that could give him some breathing room as the Senate decides on Iraq funding this week.

Congress is under a deadline to pass billions in war funding by Memorial Day, but a Senate debate over attaching timelines could add more delay. By taking the controversial timeline debate out of the funding fight Reid could pass a simpler Senate bill and quickly move into negotiations with the House. That's where the final funding bill could be sculpted.

At the same time, by moving the timeline measures into the water bill debate, Reid gives war opponents another vote to end to the Iraq war. --By CNN Radio's Lisa Goddard (Posted 5:18 p.m.)

Minnesota wildfire about 20% contained

(CNN) -- Firefighters from more than 20 states have trekked to northeast Minnesota to help battle a wildfire that has burned more than 59,600 acres on the border with Canada, the state said Monday.

Angela Smith, Minnesota fire information officer, said 950 firefighters are on the scene, and 28 crews are working on the Minnesota side, where state officials estimate 34,000 acres have been burned.

She said the Ham Lake fire grew about 5,000 acres over the weekend, mostly in Canada and along the Granite River in Minnesota. Weekend thunderstorms helped by dropping about one-tenth inch of rain.

The fire was 20 percent contained as of Monday afternoon, Smith said, but more than 200 residences and 20 commercial buildings remain in the fire's projected path. (Posted 4:06 p.m.)

5 U.S. servicemembers killed in Baghdad attacks; Danish soldier killed in Basra

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Three U.S. soldiers and one U.S. airman were killed Monday in Iraq in three incidents, the U.S. military said.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed and four were wounded when their dismounted patrol was attacked by small arms fire southeast of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. Another U.S. soldier was killed and four were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in the northeast part of the capital.

A Marine was killed while conducting combat operations in Iraq's restive Anbar province, and one airman was killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated in southern Baghdad.

In addition, a U.S. soldier died early Monday of non-battle-related causes, the military said.

Also, a Danish soldier was killed in an attack Monday in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, a Danish military spokesman said. Five Danish soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were wounded in the attack. (Posted 3:46 p.m.)

Damaged cruise ship limps toward Alaskan port

(CNN) -- A U.S.-flagged cruise ship is en route to Juneau, Alaska, on its own power but still flooding after it ran aground off the southeastern coast just after midnight.

All of the 206 passengers aboard the Empress of the North were evacuated Monday morning but some of the crew members remain on the ship for its transit. The ship's owner, Majestic America cruise lines, declined to say in a press conference how many crew members were still aboard.

An oil tank was breached, but there is no pollution in the water, officials said.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mark Guillory said the Coast Guard was trying to decide where to send the ship for an investigation into why it hit rocks in the island-dotted Alaska coastal area, where it had been in the second day of a seven-day cruise from Juneau. (Posted 3:12 p.m.)

Bush orders draft regulations to cut oil use, greenhouse emissions

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With average gasoline prices topping $3 a gallon, President Bush ordered government agencies to begin drafting regulations to cut U.S. oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions Monday.

In a brief statement from the White House Rose Garden, Bush said he has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Energy to come up with new ways to reduce oil consumption and cut into carbon emissions blamed for an increase in global temperatures.

He set a goal of having the new rules ready by the end of 2008, just before he leaves office.

"This is a complicated legal and technical matter, and it's going to take time to fully resolve," he said. "Yet it is important to move forward." (Posted 3:04 p.m.)

White House downplays symbolism generated by planned Iran meeting

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House downplayed Monday the announcement made over the weekend that U.S. and Iranian officials will meet in Baghdad within a few weeks to discuss issues involving Iraq.

"U.S. policy has always been the same, which is to use the diplomatic pressure available to you to encourage good behavior on the part of the Iranians," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters.

"Why? Because it is in everybody's interest that they step away from a nuclear program and reintegrate themselves into the broader community of nations.

"To do so, they will need to step back from terrorist activities, or supporting terror activities, including in Iraq, but also to step away from nuclear activities that are seen as a threat by everybody in the region." (Posted 1:59 p.m.)

Sources: U.S. soldier killed in ambush after security meeting near Afghan-Pakistan border

(CNN) -- A U.S. soldier operating under NATO's command was killed Monday when gunfire erupted as they left a meeting on the Afghan-Pakistan border, U.S. military sources told CNN.

In a press release, NATO said one soldier was killed and four others -- two service members and two civilians -- were wounded in the attack carried out by "unknown assailants."

NATO did not release the soldiers' nationalities, pending notification of next of kin. U.S. military sources said American soldiers were also among the wounded, although it is not clear how many.

Pakistan's government is investigating the incident, NATO said. (Posted 1:52 p.m.)

Justices reject claims of poor death penalty representation from Arizona killer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court once again divided 5-4 on an important death penalty case, with a majority of conservative justices Monday rejecting an Arizona killer's claims his legal team did not do enough to keep him off death row.

Jeffrey Landrigan refused to allow his attorneys to present "mitigating evidence" at sentencing that could have spared him lethal injection, then later claimed on appeal his legal team should have realized the defendant was not mentally culpable to make such decisions.

The high court concluded an Arizona trial judge made a "reasonable" determination that Landrigan's refusal to allow the evidence should have been respected. --From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears (Posted 1"02 p.m.)

Iraqi police, civilians killed in attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attacks in Baghdad and Baquba on Monday left 12 Iraqi civilians and police dead and 24 wounded, according to police and government officials.

A mortar attack on the Za'afaraniya neighborhood in southeastern Baghdad killed at least three people and wounded nine, an Interior Ministry official said.

Around 1 p.m. (5 a.m. ET), a parked car bomb detonated along Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, killing three people and wounding seven, the official said.

One police officer was among the dead, and three police officers were among the wounded.

About five minutes later, another parked car bomb exploded in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Karada, killing three civilians and wounding five, the official said.

In Baquba, north of Baghdad in Diyala province, a roadside bomb struck an Iraqi police patrol, killing three police officers and wounding three civilians, a police official said. (Posted 12:14 p.m.)

One-day gasoline boycott wouldn't work, experts say

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It's easy to hate Big Oil. Gasoline prices are at record highs, over $3 a gallon. Oil companies have so much cash they can't figure out where to spend it.

So when an e-mail arrives urging people to buy no gas on May 15 -- saying it would take nearly $3 billion away from oil companies "for just one day" and promising a 30 cent a gallon drop in gas prices "overnight" -- it's awfully tempting to go along, savoring that bit of guilty pleasure knowing you're sticking it to Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP or what ever oil company sells gas on your block.

Don't be fooled.

"A one-day boycott makes no sense whatsoever," said Tyson Slocum, energy program director at Public Citizen, a national consumer advocacy organization. "You're not reducing consumption, you're just buying on a different day." --From CNNMoney.com's Steve Hargreaves (Posted 11:57 a.m.)

Online sales expected to rise 19 percent; clothing sales top electronics

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As more American consumers forgo crowed malls for the convenience of online shopping, total Internet-related sales are forecast to jump 19.1 percent to $174.5 billion in 2007, excluding travel, according to a new industry report Monday.

The "State of Retailing Online 2007" report from the National Retail Federation and Shop.org said total online sales this year, including travel, are expected to increase 18 percent to $259.1 billion. Online sales last year rose 29 percent to about $146.4 billion, excluding travel, and represented 6 percent of overall retail sales in 2006.

Moreover, the report said, last year marked the first time Americans spent more online for clothes than on computers. (Posted 11:42 a.m.)

Gun control group: U.S. gun background check system still not working

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The nation's firearms background check system, designed to prevent guns from being sold to people not authorized by law to have them, is still "deeply flawed," is full of loopholes and is not working properly, according to a new report by a Washington gun control advocacy group.

The result, the group alleges, is that thousands of people who are supposed to be stopped from purchasing a gun can easily buy one, in violation of the nation's current laws.

The report, "Missing Records: Holes in Background Check System Allow Illegal Buyers to Get Guns," was released by Americans for Gun Safety.

It found that the nation's background check system -- known as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System -- is in some ways better and more accurate than it was five years ago, when the group first released a report on it.

But in numerous areas where people should be stopped from being able to purchase a gun, the background check system is still plagued with problems, the group charged. --From CNN Senior Investigative Producer Scott Bronstein (Posted 11:04 a.m.)

Islamic State of Iraq warns U.S. military to halt search for missing soldiers

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The Islamic State of Iraq -- a Sunni insurgent coalition that includes al Qaeda in Iraq -- issued a statement Monday warning the U.S. military to call off its search for three missing American soldiers.

"Your soldiers are in our hands. If you want your soldiers' safety, do not search for them," the Internet posting said.

The soldiers went missing after an ambush Saturday on their military convoy in a volatile region south of Baghdad.

Four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi soldier were killed in the attack outside Mahmoudiya. (Posted 9:50 a.m.)

Attacks continue in Baghdad as media banned from coverage

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Insurgents launched attacks on several Baghdad neighborhoods on Monday, killing nine and wounding 21, while reporters in Iraq have been banned from covering the aftermath of bombings.

Over the weekend, Iraq's interior ministry banned the media from showing the aftermath of bombing attacks.

It is an effort by Iraq's government to control some news outlets that are trying to ignite sectarian tensions by showing "the blood of the people," government spokesman Ali Dabbagh told CNN's Hugh Riminton.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military reported more success in its ongoing military raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq leadership.

Coalition forces detained 11 "suspected terrorists" on Monday, including "one individual suspected of conspiring directly with al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders." (Posted 9:50 a.m.)

Cerberus to buy controlling interest in Chrysler

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (CNN) -- DaimlerChrysler has agreed to sell controlling interest of its Chrysler division to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 billion, a statement from DaimlerChrysler Communications said Monday.

In the deal, Cerberus will control about 80 percent the new company, Chrysler Holding, with DaimlerChryler to retain the remaining 20 percent.

"We are confident that this transaction will create a standalone Chrysler that is financially stronger, with a winning combination of people, industry know-how, operational expertise and spirit of innovation that will accelerate the company's recovery, and help us regain our position as a competitive industry leader," said Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda.

LaSorda said there are no job cuts planned as part of the deal with Cerberus.(Posted 5:30 a.m.)

Bird flu kills 76th person in Indonesia

JAKARTA (CNN) -- An Indonesian woman has died from bird flu, bringing the country's confirmed death toll from the virus to 76, Indonesia's Health Ministry said Monday

The the 26-year-old pregnant woman from Sumatra died Saturday. Tests by health officials confirmed she was infected with the H5N1 strain of avian flu. (Posted 3:45 a.m.)

Senior Supreme Court official killed in his home; general strike takes hold in Pakistan

(CNN) -- Gunmen early Monday shot and killed a senior Pakistan Supreme Court official in his house in Islamabad, police said. An investigation into the death of Hammad Raza has been launched.

The killing came as a general strike took hold across Pakistan as opposition party members pressed their protest against President Pervez Musharraf and his decision to suspend the country's chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Shop owners from Islamabad to Lahore to Karachi shuttered their stores following a weekend in which political clashes in the southern port city of Karachi left 42 people dead and the Pakistani government gave its paramilitary forces the authority to shoot on sight.

All of Pakistan's civil and higher courts remain closed across Pakistan because of an ongoing boycott by the country's lawyers in reaction to the Chaudhry's suspension. (Posted 3:20 a.m.)

Gaza cease-fire is short-lived

(CNN) -- An Egyptian-brokered truce ended within hours early Monday when shooting resumed between rival Hamas and Fatah gunmen, leaving two gunmen dead and 10 wounded, Palestinian security sources said. Violence between the factions left four dead on Sunday.

According to the sources, the gunbattle broke out near the Fatah intelligence headquarters in northern Gaza City. The dead were the bodyguards of a local Fatah leader.

In protest of the ongoing violence in Gaza, Palestinian Interior minister Hani al-Qawasmi resigned Monday, one of his assistants told CNN. According to the assistant, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accepted al-Qawasmi's resignation.

Hamas and Fatah officials had told reporters Monday that they would begin observing a cease-fire at 1 a.m. (6 p.m. Sunday ET), but the truce never made it to daybreak. (Posted 3:20 a.m.)


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