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The CNN Wire: Tuesday Aug 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.

Suicide bombings in northern Iraq kill 200

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Suicide bombings in and near a northern Iraqi town that targeted a religious minority killed at least 200 people and wounded 200 others, Iraqi police said Wednesday.

The U.S. military said that Tuesday's bombings -- four at a crowded bus station in the Yazidi town of Qahtaniya and a fifth in the nearby town of al Jazeera -- destroyed 15 to 20 homes in the second community.

Qahtaniya is about 62 miles (100 km) west of the northern city of Mosul. Police officials said the blasts took place around 8 p.m.

The Yazidi sect is a mainly Kurdish minority, an ancient group that worships seven angels, in the form of peacocks, who are subordinate to the supreme god who created the universe. (Posted 2:45 a.m.)

Administration debates whether to designate all or part of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration is involved in intense discussions over naming all or part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "specially designated global terrorist" group, a senior State Department official told CNN.

If made, the designation would come in the form of an Executive Order from President Bush.

Such a move would allow the Treasury Department to go after the finances of the group and those who do business with it.

"It would basically declare open season on these guys," the official said, adding move is being taken for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) support for "all the bad actors" -- insurgents in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and other terrorist groups in the Middle East like Hezbollah and Hamas. (Posted 12:20 a.m.)

Rutgers player sues Imus over racially charged banter

NEW YORK (CNN) -- On the day Don Imus reached a settlement with his former employer over his April firing, one of the players on the Rutgers University women's basketball team who was subjected to Imus' racially charged comments filed a slander and defamation suit against the controversial radio personality.

In the suit filed in New York Supreme Court in the Bronx, Kia Vaughn, who plays center for the Big East champion Scarlet Knights, alleged that Imus' references to her and her teammates as "tough girls" and "nappy-headed 'ho's" were "false, defamatory, denigrating and slanderous."

"She would like to have her good name cleared," Vaughn's attorney, Richard Ancowitz, told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." "She never asked to be involved in this."

Vaughn's suit, which asks for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial, charged that Imus' comments "constituted unconscionable misogyny, racial profiling and degradation." The suit also dismissed Imus' apology to the team as "entirely self-serving" and designed only to save his show.

In addition to Imus, Vaughn's lawsuit also named as defendants his former producer and on-air partner, Bernard McGuirk; Viacom Inc. and its subsidiaries, CBS Radio and Westwood One Radio, which owned and aired Imus' program; and NBC Universal Inc. and its subsidiary, MSNBC, which simulcast the show on cable. (Posted 11:20 a.m.)

Defense attorneys: Padilla was Muslim scholar, not terrorist

MIAMI (CNN) -- Jose Padilla traveled to Egypt to study Arabic and study the Quran in hopes of becoming an imam or Islamic leader, not to train as an al Qaeda terrorist, his defense attorneys said Tuesday in closing arguments to jurors.

"Padilla's intent was to study and not murder," said attorney Michael Caruso. "This man is not guilty of the crime the government is accusing him with."

Padilla has been on trial for more than three months along with co-defendants Adham Hassoun and Kifan Jayyousi. Federal prosecutors have alleged he conspired to fund and support Islamic terrorism overseas. Defense attorneys earlier this month rested their case without calling witnesses to counter those allegations, saying prosecutors lack any hard evidence linking Padilla to terrorism.

Jurors will begin deliberations Wednesday in the case. (Posted 11:20 p.m.)

Hurricane in Pacific, tropical storm in Atlantic, depression in Gulf

(CNN) -- A state of emergency is in effect on the "Big Island" of Hawaii on Tuesday as Hurricane Flossie inches closer, poised to brush the island's southern coast later in the day and deliver dangerous winds, pounding surf and potentially flooding rain.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic basin, a tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Dean. By Friday, the system is expected to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2007 season, on a path toward the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.

And a tropical depression -- the fifth of the Atlantic season -- formed in the Gulf of Mexico late Tuesday, triggering tropical storm watches for parts of the Texas and Mexico coast. (Posted 11:15 p.m.)

Suicide bombings in northern Iraq kill as many as 175

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Suicide bombings in and near a northern Iraqi town Tuesday targeted a religious minority, killing at least 60 people -- and as many as 175 -- and wounding 150 to 200, officials said.

The U.S. military said that the bombings -- four at a crowded bus station in the Yazidi town of Qahtaniya and a fifth in the nearby town of al Jazeera -- killed at least 60 people, destroying 15 to 20 homes in Jazeera. More people were believed trapped beneath the debris in Jazeera, the military said.

Iraqi army officials said there were four blasts that killed at least 175 and wounded 200. Police officials said there were three bombings that killed at least 120 and wounded 150.

Qahtaniya is about 62 miles (100 km) west of the northern city of Mosul. Police officials said the blasts took place around 8 p.m.

The U.S. military dispatched troops to assist in evacuating the wounded and heavy equipment to help move debris. (Posted 9:16 p.m.()

Flossie menaces Hawaii; Tropical Storm Dean grows in Atlantic

(CNN) -- A state of emergency is in effect on the "Big Island" of Hawaii on Tuesday as Hurricane Flossie inches closer, poised to brush the island's southern coast later in the day and deliver dangerous winds, pounding surf and potentially flooding rain.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic basin, a tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Dean. By Friday, the system is expected to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2007 season, on a path toward the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.

At 2 p.m. in Hawaii (8 p.m. ET), Flossie, with maximum sustained winds of about 105 mph, was about 160 miles south of Hilo and 320 miles southeast of Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu. It was moving west-northwest at about 9 mph, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

Current forecasts have the center of Flossie passing to the south of the "big island" of Hawaii Tuesday afternoon and evening. (Posted 9:14 p.m.)

Government wins point in case against security guard

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal judge in Maryland said Tuesday the government can present evidence about the opinions and friendships of a former security guard at a U.S. air base charged with making a false statement on his application form.

Darrick Jackson is accused of lying in 2005 when asked if he ever used other names. Jackson is known at his mosque and in Web postings as Abdul-Jalil Mohammed. He has pleaded not guilty to the false statement charge.

Jackson, 37, was employed by a contractor as a security guard at entry gates of Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington. The base houses all the planes used by the president of the United States.

Prosecution court filings outline concern about Jackson's association with the outspoken imam of his mosque, Abdul Alim Musa. According to the documents, "The Imam has made stridently anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic messages that emphasize his conviction that America and Israel seek to destroy Islam and subjugate all Muslims." (Posted 6:04 p.m.)

Suicide bombings in northern Iraq kill as many as 175

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Suicide bombings in a northern Iraqi town Tuesday targeted a religious minority and left at least 120 people -- and as many as 175 -- dead and 150 to 200 wounded, officials in Ninewa province said.

Iraqi army officials said there were four blasts that killed at least 175 and wounded 200. Police officials, however, said there were three bombings that killed at least 120 and wounded 150.

The explosions took place in the Yazidi town of Qahtaniya, about 62 miles (100 km) west of the northern city of Mosul. Police officials said the blasts took place around 8 p.m.

The bombers targeted residential areas in the Ninewa province town, Qahtaniya and Mosul police said. (Posted 5:52 p.m.)

State Department finds up to 17 percent of diplomats at hardship posts may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Up to 17 percent of U.S. diplomats serving at dangerous posts worldwide may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, an internal State Department study found.

The results come from a survey of about 2,600 diplomats at "unaccompanied" posts, where spouses and dependents are not allowed for security reasons.

The survey found PTSD "is probably present in 2 percent of the respondents," according to a cable sent to embassies and consulates abroad.

"Another 15 percent of respondents possibly have this disorder but would require a more thorough examination to make a definitive diagnosis," the cable said. (Posted 5:45 p.m.)

Suicide bombings in northern Iraq kill 100

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A trio of suicide bombings in a northern Iraqi town Tuesday targeted a religious minority and left at least 100 people dead and 150 wounded, police officials said.

The blasts took place in the Yazidi town of Qahtaniya, about 62 miles (100 km) west of the northern city of Mosul. Officials said three bombers detonated three trucks laden with explosives in three locations around 8 p.m.

The bombers targeted residential areas in the town, Qahtaniya and Mosul police said.

Mosul police said U.S. military helicopters are helping to evacuate the wounded. Local television is asking for blood donations for the wounded. (Posted 5:08 p.m.)

Flossie menaces Hawaii

(CNN) -- A state of emergency is in effect on the big island of Hawaii Tuesday as powerful Hurricane Flossie moves ever closer with dangerous winds, pounding surf and potentially flooding rain.

At 8 a.m. in Hawaii (2 p.m. ET), Flossie, with maximum sustained winds of about 110 mph, was about 190 miles south-southeast of Hilo, moving west-northwest about 11 mph, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. Flossie had weakened to a Category 2 storm, forecasters said, and additional weakening is possible over the next 24 hours.

Current forecasts have the center of Flossie passing to the south of the "big island" of Hawaii during the day Tuesday.

"The big island will see the onset of tropical storm-force winds, 39 mph and higher, by mid-morning," the hurricane center said. "East to southeast winds of 40 to 50 mph with higher gusts are likely. ... Any shift in the forecast track toward the north, closer to the big island, will result in higher winds." (Posted 4:03 p.m.)

Woman who killed her preacher husband is set free

(CNN) -- After undergoing two months of treatment in a mental health facility, the Tennessee woman who last year fatally shot her preacher husband was released Wednesday, the lawyer for Mary Winkler told CNN Monday.

"She is out," Steve Farese said of his client. "She was released from a treatment facility where she was being treated for post-traumatic stress and mild depression."

Farese said earlier this week that his client would not talk to the news media because her battle to win custody of her three children is pending, as is a $2 million civil suit filed by the parents of Matthew Winkler. (Posted 3:12 p.m.)

Five U.S. troops die in helicopter crash in Iraq

CAMP FALLUJA, Iraq -- Five U.S. service members died Tuesday when a helicopter crashed in Iraq near Al Taqaddum Air Base in Anbar province, the military said.

The CH-47 Chinook helicopter went down while conducting a routine post-maintenance check flight. The crash is being investigated, and the names of the dead were not immediately released.

Anbar province is a Sunni and anti-American hotbed. (Posted 3:04 p.m.)

Underground video shows hustling rescuers, but progress is slow

HUNTINGTON, Utah (CNN) -- A third hole targeted toward where six coal miners are believed to be trapped for eight days could be completed by Wednesday night, giving rescuers another look inside the collapsed mine, rescue officials said.

Bob Murray, president and CEO of mine co-owner Murray Energy Group, recorded a video tour deep inside mine to show families how 134 miners are working around the clock on the tedious process of clearing coal rubble from the tunnel that blocks the entrance to the area where the trapped men were working.

"You can see some real hustle from our miners. They're working as fast as they possibly can," he said as he played the video for reporters Tuesday. Their pace has doubled in recent days as "mountain bumps" -- or what Murray claims are aftershocks from an earthquake -- have subsided, he said.

Having removed about 700 feet of rubble, they are still at least 1,200 feet from the area where the six miners are believed to have been working when collapse happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 6. (Posted 2:56 p.m.)

Imus reaches agreement with CBS over his firing

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former radio shock jock Don Imus has reached an agreement with former employer CBS over Imus' dismissal from his network radio show, both sides announced Tuesday. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Imus' inflammatory remarks in April about the Rutgers University women's basketball team caused a public outcry, calls for his resignation or firing, and, more than a week later, the cancellation of his show -- "Imus in the Morning -- by CBS Corp. and GE-owned cable network MSNBC.

Louis Briskman of CBS and attorney Martin Garbus issued a written statement saying, "Don Imus and CBS Radio have mutually agreed to settle claims that each had against the other regarding the Imus radio program on CBS. The terms of the settlement are confidential and will not be disclosed."

Garbus recently threatened a $120 million lawsuit against CBS Radio on behalf of Imus. He said his client was seeking "direct and indirect damages" related to the dismissal. (Posted 2:37 p.m.)

Deputy oil minister in Iraq, four other managers kidnapped

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen clad in army uniforms abducted five Oil Ministry officials from their Baghdad apartments Tuesday, the Interior Ministry told CNN.

Abdul Jabber al-Wagga, a deputy oil minister, and four general managers were kidnapped from their apartments in a ministry compound along Palestine Street in southeastern Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said.

At least 60 gunmen driving in 17 vehicles clashed with the guards of the compound and wounded five of them as they stormed the compound, which includes residential buildings, it said.

It is not known whether the gunmen were soldiers or insurgents who somehow obtained army uniforms. (Posted 1:24 p.m.)

Former Yankee shortstop, broadcaster Phil Rizzuto dead at 89

NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York Yankee shortstop and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto died Tuesday, a Yankee spokesman said. The cause of the baseball Hall-of-Famer's death was not revealed.

He would have turned 90 years old in September.

Beloved by a generation of Yankee fans, Rizzuto played 13 years for the Bronx Bombers in the 1940s and '50s, helping them to seven World Series victories in nine appearances.

After his playing days ended, Rizzuto spent 40 years as a Yankee broadcaster before stepping down in 1996. He was known by his catchphrase "Holy Cow!" (Posted 1:20 p.m.)

Polish soldier killed in Afghan conflict

(CNN) -- A Polish soldier was killed Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, the Polish Defense Ministry said. He is the first from the European nation to die in the Afghan conflict, according to a CNN count of NATO casualty figures.

Polish and Afghan soldiers were on patrol in the Gardez area when there was an exchange of fire with insurgents, the ministry said. The area is not far from the border with Pakistan.

Poland has had a strong military presence during the post-Saddam Hussein era. Twenty-one Polish soldiers have been killed in Iraq. (Posted 1:15 p.m.)

Buffalo 'bike path rapist' sentenced to 75 years to life in prison

(CNN) -- A Buffalo man known as the "bike path rapist" was sentenced Tuesday to 75 years to life in prison for killing three women, said Frank Clark, the Erie Count district attorney. That was the maximum sentence possible.

Altemio Sanchez, 49, a husband and father of two, pleaded guilty in May to second degree murder in the slayings of Linda Yalem, Majane Mazur and Joan Diver. He was arrested in January after police recovered DNA linking him to the murders.

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said Sanchez also has admitted that he committed between 12 and 15 cases of rape, some of which had been linked to a culprit who was dubbed the "bike path rapist." Although DNA links Sanchez to the rape victims, he will not be charged with any of those crimes because a New York state statute prohibits legal proceedings beyond five years from the time of a rape. (Posted 1:14 p.m.)

Car bomb targeting police in northern Iraqi city kills 1, wounds 5

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A car bomb in central Kirkuk on Tuesday targeted a police patrol, killing one officer and wounding five people, including three police officers, according to the city's police.

Kirkuk, located in Tameem province in northern Iraq, is about 240 km or 150 miles north of Baghdad. It is an oil-rich, ethnically diverse and volatile city, with large populations of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens jockeying for power. (Posted 12:10 p.m.)

U.S. military hopes education facility will provide new direction for Iraqi boys who help insurgents

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military has set up an education facility in Baghdad for the hundreds of Iraqi boys between the ages of 11 and 17 that it has in custody.

After reports Monday that the United States is holding more than 750 Iraqis in that age range, military officials on Tuesday said they will offer a media tour of the facility.

Officials said it provides basic education and has classroom spaces, a library, a medical treatment facility and four soccer/athletic fields. The juveniles are taken there every day by bus from their housing at Camp Cropper.

The goal of the site is to discourage the boys from embracing radical groups, the military said. Iraqi insurgents have been increasingly recruiting and using juveniles to place improvised explosive devices and to act as lookouts and spotters in attacks on coalition forces, it said. (Posted 12:02 p.m.)

Former NY Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto dies

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former New York Yankees shortstop and Hall-of-Famer Phil Rizzuto has died, a spokesman for the baseball team confirmed Tuesday.

Jason Zillo, director of media relations for the Yankees, had no further details. (Posted 11:16 a.m.)

Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills 1 Palestinian, sources tell CNN

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A Palestinian was killed Tuesday in an Israeli airstrike in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

The incident took place in Khan Younis in the south.

An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman confirmed the incident but provided no details. Palestinian medical sources said the victim was a man.

Four Palestinians were killed in early morning clashes with Israeli troops operating in the area, the sources said. (Posted 11:08 a.m.)

Mattel recalling more than 9 million toys; 2nd recall in 2 weeks

BETHESDA, Md. (CNN) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday that Mattel Inc. is voluntarily recalling more than 9 million of its toys because of hazards to children. It is Mattel's second major recall within two weeks of toys imported from China.

"The company has ordered that all products be pulled off retail shelves," said Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the commission.

Some of the recalled toys have magnets that can become dislodged and swallowed, and at least one has hazardous levels of lead in its paint.

"There is absolutely no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country. It is totally unacceptable, and it has to stop," Nord told reporters. (Posted 11:07 a.m.)

Sweden suspends commercial flights to, from Iraq

(CNN) -- Sweden's Civil Aviation Authority said Tuesday it has suspended the country's commercial flights to and from Iraq after a report last week that an aircraft en route to Stockholm was targeted by attackers.

Eva Marie Lofqvist, the agency's information officer, told CNN that the move was made Friday and will be in effect "until further notice."

Last Wednesday, a Nordic Airways flight carrying around 120 passengers was headed from Sulaimaniya in the northern Iraqi Kurdish region to the Swedish capital, Stockholm, when the incident occurred.

The pilot said he believed a weapon was fired at the craft but couldn't confirm what kind of projectile was used. (Posted 10:59 a.m.)

Tropical Storm Dean forms in Atlantic

(CNN) -- A tropical depression in the Atlantic basin has strengthened into Tropical Storm Dean, and is expected to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2007 season by Friday, as it proceeds on a path toward the Windward and Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

The center of Tropical Storm Dean was about 1,660 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Tuesday morning, racing almost due westward at about 23 mph, with maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Forecasters said the tropical storm is expected to reach hurricane strength, with winds of at least 74 mph, by the weekend as it reaches the Windward and Leeward Islands.

The current five-day forecast from the hurricane center has the storm at Category 2 strength, with sustained winds of at least 96 mph, by Saturday as the eye nears the Leeward Islands. However, because hurricanes often move in unpredictable fashion, the actual path a storm takes often varies widely from the long-range forecast. (Posted 10:51 a.m.)

Iraqi PM plans to hold political summit this week among squabbling factions

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq's prime minister plans to hold a political summit this week to bring together the divided factions in the country's government, beset in recent weeks and months by walkouts, boycott threats, and parliamentary inaction.

"We must look for solutions for the problems we are facing," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday.

"I've called the political leaders for a meeting to discuss the main issues in the political process, and possibly the first meeting may happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," he said.

Al-Maliki's government -- dominated by the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance bloc --wants an urgent meeting of the minds among ethnic and religious leaders in the Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish communities -- the largest entities in the diverse nation. (Posted 10:40 a.m.)

Iraq, Iran to build new oil pipelines

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq and Iran are planning to build two new oil pipelines, an Iraqi Oil Ministry official told CNN on Tuesday.

Agreements were signed by the oil ministers of both countries during last week's visit to Iran by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The official said that the costs of the project are still under study and he did not know when the project will be carried out.

But the development reflects the cordial relations with Iraq and its neighbor Iran, which has been heavily criticized by the United States -- Iraq's top ally in the war. (Posted 10:18 a.m.)

Safety commission will announce another major recall of toys made in China

BETHESDA, Md. (CNN) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is announcing Tuesday morning that a new series of Chinese-made toys from Mattel is being recalled.

On the list are Mattel's "Sarge" die cast toys from the Pixar Cars movie assortment will be recalled because of hazardous lead in the paint.

Other recall victims will be the Barbie Doll and Tanner, which the commission says pose hazards because of small, powerful magnets that can be swallowed. Other products are listed on Mattel's Web site.

Tuesday's products were produced by one contract manufacturer during a narrow time frame, Mattel said. (Posted 9:52 a.m.)

Flossie menaces Hawaii; potential hurricane grows in Atlantic

(CNN) -- A state of emergency is in effect on the big island of Hawaii Tuesday as powerful Hurricane Flossie moves ever closer with dangerous winds, pounding surf and potentially flooding rains.

Meanwhile, over in the Atlantic basin, forecasters are keeping a wary eye on a tropical depression that by Friday is expected to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2007 season, on a path toward the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

At 2 a.m. in Hawaii (8 a.m. ET), Flossie, with maximum sustained winds of about 110 mph, was about 240 miles southeast of Hilo, moving west-northwest about 14 mph, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. (Posted 9:23 a.m.)

Manager of Chinese toy factory targeted in massive recall commits suicide

BEIJING (CNN) -- The manager of a toy factory at the center of a huge recall hanged himself in one of the factory's warehouses over the weekend, Chinese government officials have confirmed.

An official with the Guangdong Public Security Department confirmed to CNN Monday that Zhang Shuhong took his own life at his factory in the city of Foshan, in the Guangdong province.

According to the government-run China Daily newspaper, police suspect Zhang committed suicide because of the decision by the "General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to ban his toy export business last week after 967,000 of the toys it had made were recalled" in the United States. (Posted 8:36 a.m.)

U.S. soldier killed in Baghdad fighting

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier was killed and three were wounded Tuesday in western Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

The soldiers, with Multi-National Division-Baghdad, were involved in combat operations at the time.

The deaths bring to 3,694 the number of U.S. military personnel who have died in the Iraq war. The number of U.S. troops killed in August now stands at 36. (Posted 8:35 a.m.)

Coalition forces target 'rogue' elements of Mehdi Army militia

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Coalition forces in Iraq have targeted fighters that have been linked to the Mehdi Army militia, the fighting force of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the U.S. military said.

Coalition troops Tuesday killed four insurgents and detained eight in a raid in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. Troops were targeting what it describes as "rogue" Mehdi Army militants that have "ties to illicit materials smuggled from Iran that have been used in extra-judicial killings."

Iraqi Special Operations troops that are advised by U.S. Special Forces have carried out "synchronized intelligence-driven operations" that led to the detention of 12 "rogue" Mehdi Army insurgents. (Posted 7:32 a.m.)

Massive offensive in Diyala announced

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military has announced a massive offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq militants in Diyala province -- now one of the major fronts in the war.

The Diyala offensive, dubbed Operation Lightning Hammer, began Monday. It includes about 16,000 U.S. and Iraqi forces who are targeting "al Qaeda elements" who have fled the provincial capital of Baquba amid the sustained push against them by the coalition, according to a military statement on Tuesday.

"Al Qaeda cells were disrupted and forced into hiding due to Operation Arrowhead Ripper in June and July," said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning and Multi-National Division North. "Our main goal with Lightning Hammer is to eliminate the terrorist organizations throughout MND-N and show them that they truly have no safe haven - especially in Diyala." (Posted 7:30 a.m.)

Suicide bombing partially collapses bridge north of Baghdad; 8 dead, 10 wounded

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least eight people were killed and 10 were hurt Tuesday when a suicide bomber driving a fuel tanker detonated on a bridge in the Taji area, north of Baghdad, an official with Iraq's Interior Ministry said.

The attack partially collapsed the bridge that links Baghdad to northern Iraq. At least five vehicles plunged off the structure. (Posted 6:50 a.m.)

3 soldiers killed by northern Iraqi blast

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Three U.S. soldiers died from injuries they incurred when an explosion went off near their vehicle in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

Another soldier was wounded in the blast, which took place Monday in Nineveh province, the military said. The three were from Task Force Lightning, which operates in northern Iraq.

The deaths bring to 3,693 the number of American servicemembers who have died in the Iraq war. The number of U.S. troops killed in August now stands at 34. (Posted 6:11 a.m.)

Suicide bombing partially collapses bridge north of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least two people were killed and five were wounded Tuesday when a suicide bomber driving a fuel tanker detonated on a bridge in the Taji area, north of Baghdad, an official with Iraq's Interior Ministry said.

The attack partially collapsed the bridge that links Baghdad to northern Iraq. At least five vehicles plunged off the structure. (Posted 6:05 a.m.)

Bomb derails train in northwestern Russia; criminal investigation launched

MOSCOW (CNN) -- The Russian Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation Tuesday after the derailment of a Russian express passenger train by an improvised bomb in the country's northwest.

"The incident happened near the village of Malaya Vishera in the Novgorod region north of Moscow," according to Russian Railways representative Natalya Olegovna Akafyeva. She said the derailment took place around 9:38 p.m. Monday.

Authorities said at least 60 people were injured in the incident, with around 25 still hospitalized. About 1,300 feet (400 meters) of track were destroyed when the train derailed.

Malaya Vishera is located about 300 miles (500 km) northeast of Moscow, or about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of St. Petersburg. (Posted 3:25 a.m.)

Israeli forces target Palestinian militants in southern Gaza

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli security forces pushed into southern Gaza overnight, targeting Palestinian militant operations near the town of Khan Younis, an Israel Defense Forces representative said Tuesday.

The Israeli incursion includes ground and air forces, according to IDF, and focuses on areas where militants have been firing rockets into Israel and digging border tunnels.

Palestinian medical sources said a Palestinian man was killed and five Palestinians were injured during clashes between armed Palestinians and Israeli troops. IDF said its forces fired at and hit an armed militant.

In addition, the Israeli air force launched three air strikes during the night on armed Palestinian militants, killing at least one man, according to the IDF. Palestinian security sources said the man was a member of the Hamas military wing. (Posted 3:15 a.m.)

Bomb derails train in northwestern Russia

MOSCOW (CNN) -- A Russian express train derailed in the country's northwest late Monday, after a bomb exploded on the tracks, a Russian Railways official said early Tuesday.

"The incident happened near village of Malaya Vishera in the Novgorod region north of Moscow," according to Natalya Olegovna Akafyeva. She said the derailment took place around 9:38 p.m.

According to Akafyeva, at least 38 people received injuries that required medical treatment at area hospitals.

Malaya Vishera is located about 300 miles (500 km) northeast of Moscow, or about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of St. Petersburg. (Posted 12:55 a.m.)

Bridge collapses in central China; at least 20 dead, 39 missing

BEIJING (CNN) -- A bridge under construction in central China's Hunan province collapsed Monday, killing at least 20 people and injuring 22, rescuers said Tuesday, according to China's Xinhua news agency. Another 39 people remained missing.

Xinhua reports that 123 workers were at the site when the structure went down.

The 1,050-foot (320-meter) bridge is in Fenghuang county and collapsed around 4:40 p.m., blocking the Fenghuang-Daxing highway. The cause of the collapse is under investigation. (Posted 12:55 a.m.)

Flossie menaces Hawaii; potential hurricane grows in Atlantic

(CNN) -- A state of emergency was declared on the big island of Hawaii Monday as powerful Hurricane Flossie moved ever closer with dangerous winds, pounding surf and potentially flooding rains.

Meanwhile, over in the Atlantic basin, forecasters are keeping a wary eye on a tropical depression that by Friday is expected to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2007 season, on a path toward the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

At 3 p.m. in Hawaii (9 p.m. ET), Flossie, with maximum sustained winds of about 125 mph winds, was about 360 miles southeast of Hilo, moving west-northwest about 15 mph, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

In the Atlantic, as of 11 p.m. ET, the center of the tropical depression that is expected to become Hurricane Dean was about 1,780 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, racing almost due westward at about 20 mph, with maximum sustained winds of about 35 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (Posted 12:55 a.m.) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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