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The CNN Wire: Tuesday, Nov. 20

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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.

Saudi pipeline fire death toll at 40

CNN) -- A gas pipeline fire in eastern Saudi Arabia killed 40 workers and injured nine others, the state oil conglomerate, Saudi Aramco, said Tuesday.

Five of those killed in the Sunday incident were Saudi nationals employed by the company, while 35 were contractor employees, all but one from outside Saudi Arabia. The list of the non-Saudi workers killed included 18 Pakistanis, seven Bangladeshis, seven Indians, one South African and one Nepali, the company said.

The pipeline was about 18 miles (30 km) from the Hawiyah Gas Plant, and Saudi Aramco said the fire happened "where maintenance work for new tie-ins was being conducted" by a contractor for the company on the Haradh-Uthmaniyah gas pipeline. (Posted 10:46 p.m.)

Donda West's plastic surgeon walks off 'Larry King Live'

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams walked off the set of CNN's "Larry King Live" on Tuesday, saying he was honoring a request from the family of Donda West not to appear. Adams operated on West, the mother of hip-hop mogul Kanye West, the day before she died.

"I want to thank you for this opportunity," Adams told King. "Basically, I had come here to talk about things in the press that aren't accurate about me. "But I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for the West family. They asked me not to go on. And I've said from the very beginning, I don't have a side in this. They are my side, and I'm going to respect their wishes. I'm going to apologize to you because I think I'm taking up your air time, but I will not be on the show and I'm not going to discuss any of that. I'm going to honor their wishes."

When King asked Adams if he would ever answer questions regarding the West case, he said, "I will talk with them," meaning her family, and "When they are comfortable, then I will be comfortable. If they are never comfortable, then I will never be comfortable. They are what's important to me."

Asked whether he wanted to speak out, Adams said he did not, removed his earpiece and left the set. (Posted 9:57 p.m.)

U.S. announces plans for Mideast conference with Israeli, Arab officials

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A one-day Mideast peace conference in Maryland will launch a new push toward resolving the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, State Department officials announced Tuesday as it divulged long-awaited plans for next week's meeting.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received invitations to the summit, their offices announced Tuesday.

The meeting will feature "the launch of negotiations toward a two-state solution" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said David Welch, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Officials from a host of Arab states, U.S. allies and international organizations are also expected to attend the Nov. 27 conference at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

"This conference will signal international support for the courageous efforts of Prime Minister Olmert and Prime Minister Abbas and will serve as a launching point for negotiations with an eye towards establishing an Israeli and Palestinian state," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. (Posted 8:31 p.m.)

McClellan: Bush, Cheney involved in misleading media about Plame leak

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an upcoming book, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan says top administration officials -- including President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney -- were "involved" in his "unknowingly" passing along false information about the involvement of Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

Reacting to the release of an excerpt from McClellan's book, which was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the book's publisher, PublicAffairs, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, "The president has not misled his spokespeople, nor would he."

Amid a burgeoning controversy about the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's name, McClellan went to the White House podium in October 2003 and told reporters that Rove, the president's top political adviser, and Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, had not been involved.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes in his new book, "What Happened," which is scheduled to be released in April. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

The except did not detail what McClellan meant by the word "involved, " nor did it give any specifics about any actions taken by Bush, Cheney, Libby, Rove or then-Chief of Staff Andrew Card with regard to McClellan's dissemination of the false information. (Posted 8:35 p.m.)

Saudi ambassador confident 'justice will prevail' in rape case

(CNN) -- Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said Tuesday he's convinced "justice will prevail" in the case of a Saudi rape victim sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison, a sentence that has fueled international criticism.

The woman was punished for meeting with an unrelated male, a crime under the kingdom's strict Islamic law. The men convicted of taking part in the assault have been sentenced to two to nine years in prison, her lawyer said.

Apparently stung by the criticism of the woman's sentence, the Saudi Justice Ministry issued what it called a "clarification" of the case Tuesday. And in a statement issued to CNN, Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said, "This case is working its way through the legal process. I have no doubt that justice will prevail."

The case involves a 19-year-old married woman and an unrelated man who were abducted and raped by a group of seven men more than a year ago, according to Abdulrahman al-Lahim, the attorney who represented the woman in court. Al-Lahim told CNN his law license was revoked last week by a judge because he spoke to the Saudi-controlled media about the case. (Posted 7:14 p.m.)

Clinton, Obama campaigns spar over Obama foreign policy remark

(CNN) -- Trying to establish herself in the minds of voters as the more experienced candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton took a sharp dig Tuesday at her closest Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, over his remark that his "strongest" foreign policy experience came from living in Indonesia as a child.

"Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face," Clinton said in a speech to an audience in Iowa. "I think we need a president with more experience that that -- someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to and has confidence in."

Clinton also said she had "traveled the world on behalf of our country -- first in the White House with my husband and now as a senator. I've met with countless world leaders and know many of them personally."

Clinton's verbal broadside was a response to a comment Obama made Monday to an audience in Iowa that "probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia." (Posted 6:21 p.m.)

Jeffs to serve 10 years to life for accomplice-to-rape conviction

ST. GEORGE, Utah (CNN) -- A Utah judge Tuesday sentenced polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs to two consecutive prison terms of five years to life for his conviction on two counts of being an accomplice to rape, a court spokeswoman said.

Fifth District Judge Richard Shumate ordered that Jeffs be remanded immediately to the Utah State Prison near Salt Lake City, and fined him about $38,000. Jeffs will receive credit for time served, Shumate said. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will determine how long he actually spends behind bars.

Jeffs, 51, leader and "prophet" of the 10,000-member Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which openly practices polygamy in two towns straddling the Arizona-Utah state line, was convicted by a jury in September. He was accused of using his religious influence over his followers to coerce a 14-year-old girl into marriage with her 19-year-old cousin.

The girl, Elissa Wall, now 21, testified at Jeffs' trial that she repeatedly told Jeffs she did not want to be married and that she was uncomfortable with sexual advances from her husband, Allen Steed. (Posted 6:07 p.m.)

McClellan: Bush, Cheney involved in misleading media about Plame leak

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an upcoming book, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan says top administration officials -- including President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney -- were involved in his "unknowingly" passing along false information about the involvement of Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

Amid a burgeoning controversy about the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's name, McClellan went to the White House podium in October 2003 and told reporters that Rove, the president's top political adviser, and Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, had not been involved.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes in his new book, "What Happened," which is scheduled to be released in April. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

An excerpt from McClellan's book was posted on the Web site of the book's publisher, PublicAffairs. The portion of the book that has been released does not provide any specifics about McClellan's assertions as to how Bush, Cheney, Libby, Rove and then-Chief of Staff Andrew Card were involved in the dissemination of the false information. (Posted 5:25 p.m.)

Jeffs to serve 5 years to life for accomplice-to-rape conviction

ST. GEORGE, Utah (CNN) -- A Utah judge Tuesday sentenced polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs to consecutive prison terms of five years to life for his conviction on two counts of being an accomplice to rape, a court spokeswoman said. (Posted 5:16 p.m.)

House Democrats reject administration 'stories' on Iraq funds

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top House Democrat dismissed Pentagon warnings of mass layoffs and base closures as "a bunch of stories" Tuesday, insisting any new money for the war in Iraq must be tied to plans to end the conflict.

"The American people understand that in this war there is no sense to go to the well again and again and again and again," said Rep. David Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "It's time we stop asking that of them."

A Defense Department spokesman repeated the warnings Tuesday, telling reporters that "the department, and therefore the nation, is in an extraordinarily difficult position" after a $50 billion war spending bill stalled in the Senate last week. But Obey put the blame on Senate Republicans, who filibustered the spending bill because it would have required U.S. combat troops to begin leaving Iraq within 30 days.

"If the president wants that $50 billion released, all he has to do is call the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and ask him to stop blocking it. Phone number is 202-224-2541, in case anybody is interested," Obey said. (Posted 5:06 p.m.)

Justice considers replacement for controversial departing US attorney

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Justice Department officials said Tuesday the controversial U.S. attorney for Minnesota will remain in her post through the end of the year while they begin the process of finding a successor to lead the federal prosecutors in the Twin Cities.

Rachel Paulose, 34, described by colleagues as a superb lawyer with a hard-charging management style, has announced her resignation as U.S. attorney, saying she will return to Washington to work on Justice policy issues.

Justice Department officials said she will serve as legal counsel in the Office of Legal Policy but have no management responsibilities.

Paulose remains under investigation by the Office of Special Counsel for alleged violations of personnel practices, including possible retaliation against a whistle-blower, according to two government sources with knowledge of the case. --From Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 4:28 p.m.)

Fed sees economy slowing in 2008

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Reserve has cut its outlook for the growth of the U.S. economy for next year, the central bank revealed in an addendum to the minutes of its last meeting issued Tuesday.

The Fed indicated in an addendum to its minutes that it now expects the economy to grow at about a 1.8 percent to 2.5 percent rate next year, down from a forecast in June of 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent growth.

"I am surprised that their forecast for next year is as low as it is," said David Resler, chief economist of Nomura Securities International Inc. "The forecast is considerably weaker than it had been and that is the most significant development in this report."

The Fed's decision to cut a key interest rate last month was a "close call," according to the minutes from that meeting, but the lowered growth target for the economy in 2008 raises hopes that the Fed will cut rates again when it meets in December. --By CNNMoney.com's Paul R. La Monica (Posted 3:46 p.m.)

Iran, U.S. agree to new talks over Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The United States and Iran have agreed to hold new talks on security in war-ravaged Iraq, but no date for the talks has been set, officials in Washington, Baghdad and Tehran said Tuesday.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the expert-level talks will "help to establish security and stability in Iraq and to dispel the tensions in the region."

U.S. Embassy spokesman Philip Reeker said no date has been set for the expert-level session, which will follow three previous meetings between U.S. and Iranian officials in Baghdad. But Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said another round of the talks will occur in "the near future," according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

Previous rounds of talks between Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker were held in May, July and August, hosted by the Iraqi government. (Posted 3:25 p.m.)

Despite 'close call' on October rate cut, Fed's dimmed outlook may presage another cut

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Reserve's decision to cut a key interest rate last month was a "close call," according to minutes from that meeting released Tuesday. But the Fed also released a new economic outlook lowering its growth target for the economy in 2008, raising hopes that the Fed will cut rates again when it meets in December.

The Fed indicated in an addendum to its minutes that it now expects the economy to grow at about a 1.8 percent to 2.5 percent rate next year, down from a forecast in June of 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent growth.

"I am surprised that their forecast for next year is as low as it is," said David Resler, chief economist of Nomura Securities International Inc. "The forecast is considerably weaker than it had been and that is the most significant development in this report."

And while Resler said he does not think a rate cut at the Fed's next meeting on Dec. 11 is a foregone conclusion, he thinks it is more likely now given what the Fed thinks about the prospects for the economy in 2008. -- fROM CNNMoney.com's Paul R. La Monica (Posted 3:19 p.m.)

U.S. helicopter crashes southeast of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. helicopter crashed Tuesday southeast of Baghdad, a statement from Multi-National Force Iraq said.

There was no word on deaths or injuries in the brief statement, which said initial reports indicated the crash, near Salman Pak, was "not the result of enemy fire." (Posted 3:01 p.m.)

Human skin cells reprogrammed to act like stem cells

(CNN) -- In a pair of landmark studies, two groups of scientists announced Tuesday that they have reprogrammed human skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells, whose potential to mature into any other kind of cell in the body may ultimately prove key to curing a number of diseases.

Researchers have long considered research into embryonic stem cells as a promising avenue to replacing certain disease-damaged cells. But the destruction of embryos inherent in such work has raised a raft of ethical, legal and political questions. Tuesday's announcement may allow them to sidestep those concerns.

"This is the beginning of the end of the controversy," researcher James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told reporters in a conference call. Thomson, who wrote one of Tuesday's papers, developed the first human embryonic stem-cell line almost a decade ago.

Both papers reported a new, simple method that reprograms human skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. (Posted 2:58 p.m.)

Feds ask court to order Vick to keep nearly $1 million for dog care

(CNN) -- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday asked a federal court to order former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to keep on hand assets valued at $928,073.04, the estimated cost of caring for approximately 54 pit bulls found on his property when a dogfighting operation was busted last April.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson noted that Vick, in his plea agreement, agreed to pay "restitution for the full amount of the costs associated with the disposition of all dogs" in the case.

Vick agreed that those costs could include "the long-term care and/or the humane euthanasia of some or all of those animals," which were seized from the "Bad Newz Kennels" on his property in Surry County, Va.

The motion said that only a restraining order can ensure that Vick's assets are not placed beyond the reach of the government. (Posted 2:31 p.m.)

Saudi Justice Ministry explains actions in rape case under harsh spotlight of international media scrutiny

(CNN) -- The Saudi Justice Ministry -- apparently stung by international media scrutiny of its court system's handling of a rape case and the harsh punishment for the victim -- issued Tuesday what it called a "clarification" of the matter to explain how the case was handled and how the punishments for the woman and her attackers were decided.

The case involves a 19-year-old married woman and an unrelated man who were abducted and raped by a group of seven men more than a year ago, according to Abdulrahman al-Lahim, the attorney who represented the woman in court.

The Justice Ministry acknowledged in its statement Tuesday that the attorney is no longer on the case, saying he was punished by a disciplinary committee for lawyers because he "exhibited disrespectful behavior toward the court, objected to the rule of law and showed ignorance concerning court instructions and regulations."

It also said it welcomes constructive criticism and insisted that the parties' rights were preserved in the judicial process. "We would like to state that the system has ensured them the right to object to the ruling and to request an appeal, without resorting to sensationalism through the media that may not be fair or may not grant anyone any rights, and instead may negatively affect all the other parties involved in the case," the statement said. (Posted 1:27 p.m.)

Abbas, Olmert get invitation to Middle East peace summit in Maryland

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received invitations Tuesday to attend a summit in Annapolis, Maryland -- a meeting intended to relaunch the Middle East peace process.

Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the summit will begin on Nov. 27.

The United States has announced that the summit will be aimed at renewing the Middle East Peace process, but no details had been given.

At the State Department in Washington, spokesman Sean McCormack said he was not ready to announce a formal list of who had been invited, the date and an agenda; however he said the announcement would come soon. (Posted 1:26 p.m.)

High court to decide constitutional question over gun ownership

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the District of Columbia's sweeping ban on handgun ownership violates the Constitution's fundamental right to "keep and bear arms," setting the stage for a potentially monumental legal and political showdown just in time for the 2008 elections. The justices on Tuesday accepted the case for review, with oral arguments likely next February or March.

A ruling could come by late June.

At issue is one that has polarized judges and politicians for decades: Do the Second Amendment's 27 words bestow gun ownership as an individual right or do they bestow a collective one -- aimed at the civic responsibilities of state militias -- making it therefore subject to strict government regulation. --From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears (Posted 1:17 p.m.)

House appropriations chairs reject White House 'stories' on Iraq funding bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two House Democratic leaders pushed back aggressively Tuesday at the Bush administration's claims that the Pentagon will run out of money soon because Congress failed to pass a war funding bill before its two-week Thanksgiving recess.

"The Bush administration is promoting a lot of stories" about what would happen if Congress doesn't give it the money," House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis, said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

He pointed the finger at Senate Republicans, saying they blocked the Senate from passing a House bill that provided $50 billion some conditions, including a requirement that the president begin bringing U.S. troops home within 30 days. Obey maintained that the military has "plenty of funds" to get through February.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa, who chairs the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, detailed how the $460 billion in the Defense bill the president signed last week could pay for the military's needs. He referred to a report from the U.S. Army Budget Office detailing contingency plans to shut down military bases and furlough up to 150,000 civilian employees as a "political document." --From CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Ted Barrett (Posted 12:55 p.m.)

Abbas gets invitation to Middle East peace summit in Maryland, aide says

RAMALLAH (CNN) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an invitation Tuesday to attend a peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland, on Nov. 27, said his aide, Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

The United States has announced that the summit will be aimed at renewing the Middle East Peace process, but an exact date had not been given. (Posted 12:26 p.m.)

Suspect in failed London bomb plot sentenced to 33-year jail term

LONDON (CNN) -- The fifth suspect in a plot to bomb London's transport network has been handed a 33-year jail sentence, London's Metropolitan Police confirmed to CNN Tuesday.

Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 34, admitted to a charge of conspiracy to cause explosion in the failed attack that caused panic across the city, just two weeks after the London bombings in July 2005.

Asiedu, a Ghanaian national living in Britain illegally, was arrested after he gave himself up to police in the aftermath of the attacks.

Four other conspirators have already been sentenced to jail terms of at least 40 years after being convicted of conspiracy to murder. Asiedu was initially also accused of conspiracy to murder but that charge later was dropped. (Posted 12:19 p.m.)

Suspect in Italy murder released, lawyers confirm

ROME (CNN) -- Lawyers for one of the suspects in the killing of a 21-year-old British woman in Italy confirmed Tuesday that he had been released from police custody.

Patrick Lumumba, 38, a Congolese bar owner, was arrested by police in Perugia investigating the death of Meredith Kercher.

Investigators found the body of Kercher half-naked with a stab wound to the neck Nov. 2 at her home in Perugia, where she was studying as an exchange student at the city's university. (Posted 11:28 a.m.)

Bush delivers traditional pardon of turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Adhering to a tradition now entering its 60th year, President Bush on Tuesday delivered a full presidential pardon to the national Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House.

He also announced the names of the bird and its alternate, which were chosen by people who voted online. They will officially be called May and Flower, the president said.

"That's certainly better than the names the vice president suggested: Lunch and Dinner," Bush joked.

On a more serious note, the president reminded Americans they have much to be thankful for this holiday season. "This Thanksgiving we are grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all and millions more. We're grateful for citizens who reach out to those who struggle, from neighbors in need to the strangers they've never met," he said. (Posted 11:05 a.m.)

Holiday travelers taking to roads, sky

(CNN) -- Millions of Americans are up against high gas prices and a record-setting year for air travel delays as they join the bustle of Thanksgiving travelers.

Weather-related delays of more than an hour greeted travelers heading into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport early Tuesday, and fog in Houston was delaying some flights into George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

On Monday, a technical problem at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport and fog at Southern California airports had snarled operations.

More than 24 percent of airline flights through September arrived late, making 2007 the worst year for on-time performance since comparable data began being collected in 1995, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (Posted 10:34 a.m.)

Better data prompts major revision in number of people living with HIV

(CNN) -- The number of people around the world living with the virus that causes AIDS is actually nearly 7million fewer than previous estimates, according to figures released Tuesday by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

But while the lower numbers are encouraging, there is still work to be done in the areas of prevention and treatment, especially in in sub-Saharan Africa, where 68 percent of those infected with HIV live, the report showed.

Better information from more countries prompted the groups to revise the 2006 estimate of 39.5 million people living with HIV to 32.7 million, according to a statement from UNAIDS.

The single biggest factor in the reduction, the report said, was the "recent revision of estimates in India after an intensive reassessment of the epidemic in that country." (Posted 9:18 a.m.)

Housing permits fall to 14-year low; starts up slighly

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Housing permits fell to a 14-year low in October although housing starts edged up slightly, according to the government's latest reading on state of the batter home building market released Tuesday.

Permits, a less weather-impacted measure of building strength that is often taken as a sign of builders' confidence in the market, fell to an annual pace of 1.18 million from 1.26 million in September. It's the lowest seasonally adjusted level of permits in a month since July 1993.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast permits would slip to only a 1.2 million rate.

Starts edged up to an annual rate of 1.23 million from 1.19 million in September. Economists had also expected that number to fall to 1.18 million. (Posted 8:57 a.m.)

U.S. military: Raids in Iraq lead to killing, detention of insurgents

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military on Tuesday reported a series of recent raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq, with coalition troops killing five insurgents and detaining 11 suspects from late Sunday through Tuesday.

The operations occurred southwest of Baquba, in Rabiya, and the Samarra area. (Posted 8:24 a.m.)

Election date set as Musharraf heads for Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- As Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, arrived in Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit, his country's chief election commissioner announced that voting for Pakistan's national assembly and its four provincial assemblies will take place on Jan. 8.

Opposition parties, including those of former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, have not said if they will participate in the January elections. They've indicated they would boycott elections so long as the emergency declaration and suspension of the constitution ordered by Musharraf earlier this month remains in place.

Former cricket star and now opposition party leader Imran Khan launched a hunger strike from jail, saying it will continue until the Supreme Court justices fired by Musharraf shortly after the Nov. 3 emergency order are restored. Khan was jailed last week after he escaped house arrest.

In Karachi, police Tuesday cracked down on journalists protesting media curbs under the emergency declaration, according to eyewitnesses and police sources. More than 180 were arrested, and several were badly beaten up by the baton-wielding police -- including two journalists who were in critical condition -- the witnesses and sources said. (Posted 8 a.m.)

U.N. says 1 million people displaced in Somalia

(CNN) -- The U.N. refugee agency estimates the number of displaced people in the war-torn eastern African nation of Somalia "has risen sharply to a staggering 1 million."

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday that about 60 percent or some 600,000 people are thought to have fled from the capital of Mogadishu since February, with nearly 200,000 displaced in the past two weeks -- a flight from warfare that has left "entire neighbourhoods in the volatile capital empty." Previous fighting displaced about 400,000 others. (Posted 7:35 a.m.)

Police in Germany arrest fourth suspect in British student's death

BERLIN (CNN) -- A fourth suspect in the killing of a 21-year-old British woman in Italy has been arrested in Germany, Italian and German police confirmed Tuesday.

A spokesman for police in the western German town of Mainz, near Frankfurt, said Rudy Hermann Guede was arrested by chance after he was stopped for traveling on public transport without a ticket Tuesday morning.

The spokesman told CNN it was only after the suspect was taken in that they realized there was an international arrest warrant on his head.

Guede, 20, of Ivory Coast, was identified after police found a bloody fingerprint on a pillow at the scene of the crime. (Posted 7:32 a.m.)

Huge fire at South Africa refinery spreads black smoke, burns $18 million in fuel

(CNN) -- A refinery fire believed to have been caused by lightning spread a thick column of black smoke over the South African city of Durban and burned nearly $18 million worth of fuel, the refinery's spokesman said Tuesday.

In an interview with the South African Press Agency, spokesman Herb Payne said the 45-meter-high (147-foot-high) tank contained 7.5 million liters (1.65 million gallons) of fuel. He said management estimated 120 million Rand ($17.9 million) worth of fuel "went up in smoke," SAPA reported.

The fire started Monday evening during bad weather and created large amounts of black smoke which spread north in the wind, SAPA reported. Police advised nearby residents to stay indoors.

Payne said the fire had a minimal impact on production and that there was no impact on fuel supply to drivers. (Posted 7:33 a.m.)

5 killed in Baghdad attacks, including key government official

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attackers killed five people in Iraq's capital of Baghdad on Tuesday, including the director of the government's Geological Survey, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

Moussa Jaafar, the survey director, was headed to work when gunmen shot and killed him and another person in the vehicle, the ministry official . The driver was wounded in the incident, which occurred in a Shiite neighborhood in northwestern Baghdad.

The Interior Ministry official said two people were shot and killed in a Sunni neighborhood in western Baghdad, and one person was killed and six were wounded in a roadside bombing in a southwestern Shiite neighborhood. A roadside bombing wounded three people in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. (Posted 6:29 a.m.)

Israeli killed in West Bank; 4 Palestinians killed in Gaza

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An Israeli civilian was shot and killed late Monday while driving his vehicle west of the West Bank city of Nablus, an Israeli army spokesman said.

The spokesman said they believe the victim was shot either by a Palestinian sniper or in a drive-by shooting.

Elsewhere, two separate shooting incidents overnight left four Palestinian gunmen dead, the Israeli military said Tuesday.

In the first incident, just west of the Erez Crossing at the northern end of Gaza, Israeli soldiers spotted three Palestinians attempting to cross the security fence between Gaza and Israel, the military said. A gun battle ensued and two of the Palestinian gunmen were killed, the military said.

Shortly afterward, in southern Gaza, Israeli military personnel spotted four armed Palestinians making their way to the security fence, the military said. After a gun battle, two Palestinian gunmen were reported killed, the military said.

There were no reported Israeli military casualties in either Gaza incident. (Posted 6:27 a.m.)

Iranian FM: Another round of U.S., Iran talks to be held on Iraq in 'near future'

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iran's foreign minister on Tuesday said his country will engage in another round of talks with the United States in "the near future" on Iraq, according to an official Iranian news agency.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, speaking to reporters, was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency as saying that the Swiss Embassy in Iran "submitted a message from the U.S. government to Iran for holding a new round of talks on Iraq" and that Iran "has responded positively to the U.S. request."

The United States and Iran, long adversaries, do not have diplomatic relations, and the Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran.

This would be the fourth round of Iranian and U.S. talks , a process that began in the spring for the purpose of the countries mutually confronting security issues involving Iraq. Mottaki said "the exact date" of the next round is to be announced later.

The discussions -- which had been held on May 28, July 24 and Aug. 6 and hosted by the Iraqi government -- were attended by the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. (Posted 6:07 a.m.)

Police in Germany arrest fourth suspect in British student's death

ROME (CNN) -- A fourth suspect in the killing of a 21-year-old British woman in Italy has been arrested in Germany, Italian police confirmed Tuesday. Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, of Ivory Coast, was identified after police found a bloody fingerprint on a pillow at the scene of the crime.

Italian police told CNN that Guede had been apprehended this morning but refused to confirm where in Germany he had been stopped. According to media reports, the suspect was arrested in Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt, in western Germany.

Guede was in the same circle of friends as the three suspects already in custody, a source in Perugia's prosecutor's office said, adding that all four are now considered prime suspects in the murder.

Investigators found the body of Meredith Kercher half-naked with a stab wound to the neck Nov. 2 at her home in Perugia, where she was studying as an exchange student at the city's university. (Posted 5:50 a.m.)

German police shut school after school shooting threat

BERLIN (CNN) -- Police shut down a high school in northern Germany Tuesday after receiving a tip that a gunman planned a rampage there, a local police spokesman said.

The spokesman said the tip came from Finnish police who were investigating a fatal school shooting near Helsinki this month. The Finnish police were monitoring an Internet chatroom when two people in the chatroom said they overheard that a gunman planned a rampage at a school in the German town of Kaarst, near Duesseldorf, Kaarst police spokesman Ralf Kamphausen said. The threat was not concrete but police closed the school as a precaution, he said.

Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of a school shooting in Emsdetten, near Muenster in western Germany. In that attack, an 18-year-old former student shot and wounded six people before killing himself. (Posted 5:39 a.m.)

Civil servants join striking French transit workers

PARIS (CNN) -- A 24-hour walkout by French civil servants Tuesday coincided with the seventh straight day of crippling strikes by transit workers, putting further pressure on the French government to negotiate an end to the weeklong walkout.

The striking civil servants -- who include teachers, hospital workers, tax collectors, customs officials and post office staff -- planned a march Tuesday afternoon in Paris and other parts of the country.

The streets of Paris were already filled with traffic and pedestrians as commuters, unable to take the trains, resorted to other means to get to work. Cars competed for space with people on foot, bikes, scooters, and Rollerblades.

A dwindling number of transportation workers were supporting the open-ended walkout. The French railroad authority said just 25 percent of its workers were absent Tuesday and the rest were working, and the Paris subway authority said 19 percent of its staff were on strike. (Posted 5:37 a.m.)

Cabbie killed in Manhattan road rage attack

NEW YORK (CNN) -- An argument between a motorist and a cab driver ended with the cabbie pinned under a car and dying on Manhattan's Upper East Side early Tuesday, New York police said.

Investigators said they were not sure what started the road rage, but witnesses said the taxi driver jump out of his cab at the intersection of east 65th Street and Madison Avenue to confront the driver of a black 2005 Nissan Altima.

The driver accelerated to hit the cabbie, who was then pinned underneath the Altima, police said. A man and woman in the car jumped out and ran toward Central Park, witnesses and police said.

After the cab driver was removed from under the car, he was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital at Cornell, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Police have not yet named the couple who fled the scene and they have not been found. The name of the dead cab driver will not be made public until family is told. (Posted 5:35 a.m.)

Detained contractors in Iraq should be released soon, but guards may be held on charges

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi police detained 43 employees of a U.S. Defense Department contractor after a private security guard in their convoy wounded an Iraqi civilian on a Baghdad street Monday, a U.S. military spokesman said on Tuesday.

The detained workers -- employed by logistics and construction contractor ALMCO -- were from Fiji, India, Iraq, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, according to U.S. Army Maj. Winfield Danielson III. Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said his earlier statement that two were American proved to be wrong.

Danielson said the detained workers, except for those guards directly involved in the shooting, would be released soon. The Iraqi government would decide whether criminal charges would be filed, he said.

Al-Dabbagh said the security guards fired randomly as their convoy drove down the wrong side of a street in the Karrada district of central Baghdad. He said an Iraqi woman was wounded. (Posted 4:32 a.m.)

In Afghanistan, troops kill 'large group of insurgents'

(CNN) -- Afghan security forces and coalition troops on Tuesday killed a "large group of insurgents" in southern Afghanistan when they were ambushed during a reconnaissance patrol, the U.S.-led coalition said.

The ambush, described as "botched," occurred near Sarsina village in Uruzban province. "A large group of insurgents engaged the patrol with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades," the coalition said, and the troops returned fire with small arms and machine guns.

"The company-size group of insurgents attempted to out-maneuver the combined force and moved into a nearby structure and trench line forcing innocent Afghan citizens to flee the area. Moments later, the combined force fixed the insurgents in their position and several precision air strikes effectively eliminated the Taliban insurgents who were trying to reinforce the enemy positions." (Posted 4:30 a.m.)

Villagers dispute military chief's estimate of just 5,000 cyclone deaths

PATHARGHATA, Bangladesh (CNN) -- Five days after Cyclone Sidr, one of the worst storms to strike the impoverished country of Bangladesh in recent years, an overwhelming stench filled the air as rotting bodies and animal carcasses floated in pools of stagnant water around the coastal city of Patharghata, according to CNN's Cal Perry who arrived there Tuesday.

Villagers complained about lack of government help and suggested the official death toll estimates are far lower than the reality they see, Perry reported.

Despite grim assessments from relief workers arriving in previously unreached areas, Gen. Moeen Ahmad, the head of the Bangladesh military, estimated Tuesday that the number of people killed would not far exceed 5,000.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent chairman has said the death toll could reach 10,000. The last official death toll from Cyclone Sidr issued Monday was 3,114, but many areas of the South Asian nation remained unreached by relief workers. (Posted 3:38 a.m.)

Election date set as Musharraf heads for Saudi Arabia; Opposition ponders vote boycott, Khan launches hunger strike

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- As Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf left Pakistan for a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, his country's chief election commissioner announced that voting for Pakistan's national assembly and its four provincial assemblies will take place on Jan. 8.

Opposition parties, including those of former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, have not said if they will participate in the January elections. They've indicated they would boycott elections as long as the emergency declaration and suspension of the constitution ordered by Musharraf earlier this month remained in place.

Former cricket star and now opposition party leader Imran Khan launched a jail hunger strike which he said would continue until the Supreme Court justices fired by Musharraf Nov. 3 are restored. Khan was jailed last week after he escaped house arrest.

In Saudi Arabia, Musharraf will meet with King Abdullah and other senior officials "to discuss issues of mutual interest," Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said. (Posted 2:35 a.m.)

Genocide tribunal begins for Khmer Rouge defendants

PHNOM PENH (CNN) -- The first formal hearing of a U.N.-backed genocide tribunal opened in the Cambodian capital Tuesday with the goal of bringing to trial the five most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge on charges of crimes against humanity in connection with the Cambodian Communist movement's violent reign.

Kaing Guek Eav, allegedly the chief torturer of the regime, was the first of five defendants to appear before the panel for a pretrial hearing Tuesday.

More than two million people died during the party's efforts to transform Cambodia into an agrarian utopia before troops from neighboring Vietnam overthrew the regime. Remnants of the Khmer Rouge continued to battle Cambodia's government into the 1990s before fragmenting in the middle of the decade. (Posted 11:28 p.m.) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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