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The CNN Wire: Saturday, Sep. 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 Time.

Noose found at Long Island police department

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A noose was found hanging in the locker room of a police department on Long Island, according to the police chief.

Hempstead Police Chief Joseph Wing told CNN a member of the cleaning staff found the noose Friday. Other evidence was also found and is being analyzed, police said. The incident remains under investigation. (Posted 10:20 p.m.)

Girl assaulted on tape found safe

(CNN) -- A 3-year-old girl shown on a four-year-old videotape being sexually assaulted in Las Vegas has been found and is safe, the Nye County Sheriff's Department said Friday.

A former Las Vegas animal trainer who was a friend of the girl's family is being sought in the case, according to Sheriff Tony De Meo. "She's OK; the mother has cooperated with us," said De Meo. "We believe that the mother was not aware of anything that went on with this young girl." The girl's name is Madison, officials said.

Chester Arthur Stiles, 37, a resident of Pahrump, Nev., has been identified as a suspect. Stiles was not related to the girl, but had a "several-tiered friend connection" to her family, said Nye County Sheriff's Det. David Boruchowitz. Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett said someone who is close to Stiles told investigators that he is a "survivalist type" who always carries a weapon.

Nevadan Darren Tuck recently gave police the videotape, saying he found it in the desert, De Meo said. Police said he had had the tape at least since May 2007 prior to handing it over to authorities. He is being sought on a parole violation for failure to pay child support, but police -- who want to question him further -- have been unable to locate him. (Posted 9:21 p.m.)

More than 290 bodies found so far this month in Baghdad BAGHDAD

(CNN) -- Police found nine bodies across the Iraqi capital over the past 48 hours, an official with the Interior Ministry told CNN Saturday. That brings the total number of bodies found so far this month to 296.

In August, there were 428 bodies found. (Posted 4:04 p.m.)

Iranian parliament condemns CIA, U.S. Army as terrorists, IRNA reports

(CNN) -- The Iranian parliament Saturday condemned the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Army as terrorist organizations, IRNA, the country's state-run news agency, reported.

"We, the representatives of great Iranian great nation condemn the aggressions by the U.S. Army, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and call on the United Nations to intervene in the global problem of U.S. prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret jails in other countries," IRNA reported, quoting a statement from Iranian lawmakers.

The CIA and the U.S. Army "trained terrorists and supported terrorism and they themselves are terrorists," the parliament said, according to IRNA. It also denounced the U.S. Army as "an army of occupation."

The Iranian parliament said the condemnation was based on "known and accepted" standards of terrorism from international regulations, including the U.N. charter.

Of the condemnation, Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, said, "There are some things that don't even deserve comment. This is one."

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said he was declining comment "on non-binding resolutions passed by parliaments in countries with dubious records on human rights, democracy and that are state sponsors of terror." (Posted 2:49 p.m.)

U.N. envoy to Myanmar arrives for peace talks

(CNN) -- United Nations envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari arrived in the secretive Asian nation of Myanmar Saturday for talks with senior government officials aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to ongoing clashes between the military's ruling junta and pro-democracy activists, a Western diplomat told CNN.

Shari Villarosa, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, told CNN by phone that Gambari -- who was taken to the capital of Naypyitaw -- hopes to speak to Senior General Than Shwe "to tell him directly about the international outrage over what has happened and will urge him to talk with various people and try to resolve the problems peacefully."

"He brings the good offices of the United Nations, the secretary-general's blessing, and he can offer suggestions on ways forward that may not have crossed the general's mind," Villarosa added.

However, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe in Washington said the United States was concerned that Gambari "was swiftly moved" to Naypyitaw, "far from population centers" and the people of Myanmar. "

We urge the junta to allow him access to all those he wishes to meet with, including religious leaders as well as Ang San Suu Kyi," Johndroe said.

Gambari's arrival comes on the heels of a week filled with tension and violence. An outpouring of citizen protesters has been met with increasing force at the hands of government security guards acting to crush demonstrations. Although streets that previously saw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators remained mainly quiet Saturday, there were pockets of protests held in Yangon, the country's biggest city. (Posted 2:26 p.m.)

Topps recalls 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Topps Meat Company Saturday expanded a recall issued four days ago to 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products, one of the largest meat recalls in the country's history.

In a statement, the Elizabeth, N.J.-based company said the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, a bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea and cramps, as well as other complications.

A statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 25 illnesses are under investigation in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The ground beef products being recalled have a "sell by date" or a "best if used by date" between Sept. 25, 2007 and Sept. 25, 2008, Topps' statement said. The packages also have the marking "Est. 9748" inside the USDA mark of inspection. (Posted 1:45 p.m.)

Iranian parliament condemns CIA, U.S. Army as terrorists, IRNA reports

(CNN) -- The Iranian parliament Saturday condemned the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Army as terrorist organizations, IRNA, the country's state-run news agency reported.

"We, the representatives of great Iranian great nation condemn the aggressions by the U.S. Army, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and call on the United Nations to intervene in the global problem of U.S. prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret jails in other countries," IRNA reported, quoting a statement from Iranian lawmakers.

The Iranian parliament also decried the CIA's and U.S. Army's involvement in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, U.S. involvement in the Balkans, Vietnam and the U.S. support of Israel.

A CIA spokesman said the statements did not deserve a comment.

The move was in apparent retaliation for the U.S. Senate's Wednesday resolution requesting that the United States designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or Quds Force, as a foreign terrorist organization.

Washington and U.S. military leaders have accused Iran of training and equipping insurgents in Iraq. (Posted 2:24 p.m.)

Gingrich decides not to run for president

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Two days after hinting he would make a run for the White House, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided Saturday he would not run for president, his spokesman told CNN.

Rick Tyler said Gingrich realized he couldn't legally run a political action committee -- his American Solutions group -- and form an exploratory committee to run for president at the same time.

"He will continue to bring the American people solutions to the challenges America faces through American Solutions, not as a candidate for president," Tyler said in a phone interview.

Thursday, Gingrich told supporters in Marietta, Ga., that if they pledge at least $30 million to his campaign over a three-week period starting Monday and ending Oct. 21, he will compete for the nomination. Tyler said the assessment of whether or not Gingrich supporters could raise the money never began. (Posted 1:12 p.m.)

Bush blasts Congress for not passing spending bills before fiscal year ends

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush lambasted Congress Saturday for not passing spending bills before the fiscal year ended, and signed emergency legislation to keep the government running for the next seven weeks.

"Congress failed in its most basic responsibility: to pass the spending bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the government," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The president also warned again that he would veto congressional plans to expand state-administered children's health programs, calling the increase in funding and coverage of State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, "irresponsible."

But he praised a component of the emergency spending bill that keeps the program running until a compromise is reached.

The program provides federal money to states to provide health insurance coverage for children, and is set to expire Sunday, the end of the fiscal year.

In the Democratic weekly address, 12-year-old Graeme Frost talked about his experience with SCHIP when he and his sister were severely injured in a car accident three years ago.

"The hospital bills were huge," Frost, of Baltimore, said. "We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the SCHIP program."

"I just hope the president will listen to my story and help other kids be as lucky as me." (Posted 1:10 p.m.)

U.S. soldier acquitted of murdering Iraqi civilians

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A military panel acquitted a U.S. soldier Friday of murdering two Iraqi civilians but charged him with placing a command wire on one of the bodies, according to a military statement released Saturday.

Sgt. Jorge Sandoval, of Laredo, Texas, had been charged with murdering two men on April 27 and May 11, the military said. Additionally, he was charged with placing a command wire on the body of the civilian killed on April 27, placing an AK-47 rifle on the body civilian killed on May 11 and with "failing to ensure humane treatment of the victim while he was being detained," the military said.

He was acquitted on all charges except for placing the wire on the April 27 body. A command wire is a device used to remotely detonate an explosive device.

For that conviction, Sandoval is expected to face between six months to five years in prison, according to the military. (Posted 11:12 a.m.)

2 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two U.S. soldiers were killed by enemy gunfire in separate attacks in Iraq Saturday, the military said.

One Task Force Lightning soldier was killed in Iraq's Diyala province, and the other, a Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldier, was killed during a small arms fire attack in southern Baghdad Saturday, a statement from the Multi-National Corps-Iraq said.

The deaths brings to 3,803 the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since the war began. (Posted 10:53 a.m.)

Explosion rocks capital of Maldives, at least 12 injured

(CNN) -- An explosion in the Maldives' capital of Male Saturday injured at least 12 people, Maldives officials and the British Foreign Office confirmed to CNN.

Two of those injured in the 1:30 p.m. blast (4:30 a.m. ET) were British tourists, the Foreign Office said.

Maldives Minister of Tourism, Dr. Mahamood Shougee told CNN the British tourists suffered significant burns in the explosion but were in stable condition in the hospital. Two Japanese tourists and eight Chinese people were also injured, but less seriously, Shougee said.

He told CNN the explosive was a small, homemade device. It detonated in a park area that houses the country's national museum, he added.

Police are investigating the blast, but Shougee said "it is too early to comment or speculate who might have done it."

"It is a sad day for the Maldives. The government is resolved to find the culprit and make sure this doesn't happen again." (Posted 11:14 a.m.)

Suspect believed to be link between al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq captured

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A man believed to be "the key communications link between senior leaders of al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq" was captured Friday near the Iraqi city of Samarra, a U.S. military statement said Saturday.

The man "is also alleged to be responsible for the movement of numerous suicide bombers into Iraq," the statement from Multi-National Force Iraq said.

Nine other terrorists were also captured in the same raid, after coalition forces acting on intelligence descended on a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq meeting southwest of Samarra.

South of Baghdad, a suspect allegedly with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader Abu Usama al-Tunisi -- who was captured Sept. 25 -- was taken into custody by coalition forces, a coalition statement said.

The man is also believed to be "an associate of foreign terrorist facilitators in the southern belt," the statement said. Another man captured Saturday in operations southwest of Tarmiyah is an associate of an al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader operating north of Baghdad who is also believed to be responsible for "foreign terrorist facilitation, kidnapping and weapons trafficking in the country." (Posted 10:21 a.m.)

U.N. envoy to Myanmar arrives for peace talks

(CNN) -- United Nations envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari arrived in the secretive Asian nation of Myanmar Saturday for talks with senior government officials aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to ongoing clashes between the military's ruling junta and pro-democracy activists, a Western diplomat told CNN.

Shari Villarosa, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, told CNN by phone that Gambari -- who will soon arrive in the capital of Naypyidaw -- hopes to speak to Senior General Than Shwe "to tell him directly about the international outrage over what has happened and will urge him to talk with various people and try to resolve the problems peacefully."

"He brings the good offices of the United Nations, the secretary-general's blessing, and he can offer suggestions on ways forward that may not have crossed the general's mind," Villarosa added.

His arrival comes on the heels of a week filled with tension and violence. An outpouring of citizen protesters has been met with increasing force at the hands of government security guards acting to crush demonstrations. (Posted 10:14 a.m.)

U.S. soldier killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier was killed in Iraq's Diyala province Saturday by enemy gunfire, a statement from the Multi-National Division said.

The death brings to 3,802 the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since the war began. (Posted 10:12 a.m.)

Explosion rocks capital of Maldives, at least 12 injured

(CNN) -- An explosion in the Maldives' capital of Male Saturday has injured at least 12 people, Maldives officials and the British Foreign Office confirmed to CNN.

Two of those injured in the 1:30 p.m. blast (4:30 a.m. ET) were British tourists, the Foreign Office said. (Posted 10:11 a.m.)

At least 5 killed in violence across Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least five people were killed in various incidents of violence across Iraq in the past two days, local authorities reported.

Saturday, at least three Iraqi policemen were killed when a car bomb detonated at a checkpoint for the town of al-Hamdaniya, about 19 miles or 30 km northeast of Mosul, a Mosul police spokesman said.

In Mosul, Sheikh Qassim Ghanem al-Jbouri, the Imam of al-Huda Mosque in that city, was shot dead by unknown gunmen outside his house, according to Nineveh police operations. Al-Jbouri was also a member of the "Fatwa (edicts) committee" of the Sunni Endowment.

Friday night, an Iraqi journalist was killed when a mortar slammed into his home in eastern Mosul, Nineveh police operations said. Abdel Khaleq al-Naser was a local newspaper reporter and a member of the Iraqi Journalists Association. (Posted 9:32 a.m.)

U.N. envoy to Myanmar arrives for peace talks

(CNN) -- United Nations envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in the secretive Asian nation Saturday for talks with senior Myanmar government officials aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to ongoing clashes between the military's ruling junta and pro-democracy activists, a Western diplomat told CNN.

His arrival comes on the heels of a week filled with tension and violence. An outpouring of citizen protesters has been met with increasing force at the hands of government security guards acting to crush demonstrations. (Posted 7:52 a.m.)

Pakistan's election commission approves Musharraf's nomination

ISLAMABAD (CNN ) -- Pakistan's election commission on Saturday accepted President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's nomination to run in next week's presidential elections as riots between police and anti-Musharraf protesters erupted outside the commission's building.

Pakistan's Supreme Court cleared the way for the commission's action on Friday by rejecting petitions that attempted to prevent Musharraf from seeking re-election, effectively allowing him to run in next week's elections for another five-year term.

Displeased with the decision, scores of journalists and anti-Musharraf lawyers led demonstrations Saturday that eventually turned violent.

Wielding riot batons and tear gas, police cracked down on crowds massed outside the Supreme Court and the nearby election commission office in Islamabad. (Posted 7:41 a.m.)

Army bus bombing kills 27, hurts 29 in Kabul

(CNN) -- A bomb ripped through an Afghan national army bus in the capital city of Kabul, killing at least 27 people and injuring 29 others Saturday morning, Interior Ministry spokesman Zmarai Bashary told CNN.

Most of the dead and wounded were soldiers, but civilians were also among the casualties, he said.

No group has has taken responsibility for the attack, Bashary said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the attack "an act of extreme cowardice."

"No doubt someone that did this was against people, against humanity, definitely against Islam," Karzai said. "A man who calls himself Muslin would not blow up innocent people in the month of Ramadan." (Posted 5:33 a.m.)

Lull in citizen protests ahead of U.N. envoy visit to Myanmar

(CNN) -- A heavy military presence in the streets of Myanmar Saturday overshadowed an expected visit slated later in the day by United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

Diplomatic pressure on the secretive Asian nation has been building all week as the country's ruling military junta increasingly used force to crush an outpouring of citizen protests.

The U.N. said Gambari was scheduled to arrive in Yangon -- the country's biggest city -- on Saturday, a day after his arrival in Singapore.

He is expected to meet with senior Myanmar government officials to urge the peaceful resolution of ongoing demonstrations led by pro-democracy activists.

The Bush administration has backed his mission. (Posted 3:20 a.m.)

Girl assaulted on tape found safe

(CNN) -- A 3-year-old girl shown on a four-year-old videotape being sexually assaulted in Las Vegas has been found and is safe, the Nye County Sheriff's Department said Friday.

A former Las Vegas animal trainer who was a friend of the girl's family is being sought in the case, according to Sheriff Tony De Meo.

"She's OK; the mother has cooperated with us," said Sheriff Tony De Meo. "We believe that the mother was not aware of anything that went on with this young girl. It was very sad for her to find this out."

The girl's name is Madison, officials said.

Nevadan Darren Tuck recently gave police the videotape, saying he found it in the desert, De Meo said. Police said he had had the tape at least since May 2007 prior to handing it over to authorities. He is being sought on a parole violation for failure to pay child support.

Tuck, who also allegedly showed the tape to others prior to giving it to police, faces a possible 10 years to life sentence for exhibiting pornography and another one to six years for possession of child pornography, said De Meo.

Chester Arthur Stiles, 37, a resident of Pahrump, Nev., has been identified as a suspect. Stiles was not related to the girl, but had a "several-tiered friend connection" to her family, said Nye County Sheriff's Det. David Boruchowitz. (Posted 11:12 p.m.) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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