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Thursday, September 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 Daylight.

Sources: Ney to plead guilty in corruption probe

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio has agreed to plead guilty to a pair of charges as part of a deal with the Justice Department in which he will cooperate with its ongoing influence peddling investigation, three sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Thursday.

Sources would not provide additional details of the expected plea deal, which one of the sources told CNN would be filed Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Washington.

A Republican source in Congress said Ney has informed colleagues of his intention to plea and enter an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Another source said Ney entered rehab earlier this week and is not expected to be in court Friday.

Ney, who had steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, has been under investigation for many months as part of the government probe into corruption and bribery by lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Posted 12 a.m.)

Helene moving northwest, forecast to reach Category 2 by Monday

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Helene slowly strengthened in the eastern Atlantic Thursday, with forecasters predicting the storm will become a powerful Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of more than 100 mph, by Monday.

The latest five-day forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Helene moving in a northwesterly direction toward Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast beyond. However, because of the erratic nature of hurricane movement, such long-range predictions can vary, and the storm is still so far away from land that long-term models don't yet indicate if it will pose any threat.

At 11 p.m., the center of Helene was located about 970 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at nearly 15 mph. The storm's maximum sustained winds were 45 mph.

The hurricane center forecast that Helene would intensify more slowly than previously thought because dry air was interfering with its circulation. However, forecasters said the storm was still expected to cross the 96 mph threshold to become a Category 2 storm as it moves northwest. (Posted 12 a.m.)

Attacks across Iraq kill 25, including 4 U.S. troops

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- More than 20 Iraqis and four U.S. troops were killed in a string of attacks across Iraq on Thursday, including two American soldiers who died when a truck bomb hit their position in western Baghdad.

In addition, authorities found the bodies of 49 people who were shot to death, with many of the bodies showing signs of torture -- a signature of the sectarian killings that have wracked the country since February.

In Thursday's deadliest attack, Iraqi police were hit by a car bomb in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood after a smaller blast near an orphanage drew them to the scene shortly before 11 a.m. (3 a.m. ET). The two explosions killed a total of nine people and wounded 26, police said. (Posted 7:59 p.m.)

FDA: Bagged spinach caused E. coli outbreak

(CNN) -- An outbreak of E. coli that has caused at least one death and spread to eight states has been traced to bagged spinach, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. (Posted 7:45 p.m.)

Police: Montreal college shooter killed himself

MONTREAL (CNN) -- Dawson College gunman Kimveer Gill killed himself with a shot to the head, Montreal police told CNN Thursday.

Police initially said Gill, who killed one person and wounded 19 others in a shooting rampage Wednesday at the Montreal school, was killed by police. But according to the preliminary autopsy report, police first shot Gill in the arm and the shooter followed up with a self-inflicted shot, which killed him, police said. (Posted 6:16 p.m.)

Helene moving northwest, forecast to reach Category 2 early Saturday

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Helene slowly strengthened in the eastern Atlantic Thursday, with forecasters predicting the storm will become a powerful Category 2 hurricane, with winds approaching 100 mph, by early Saturday.

The latest five-day forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Helene moving in a northwesterly direction toward Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast beyond. However, because of the erratic nature of hurricane movement, such long-range predictions can vary, and the storm is still so far away from land that long-term models don't yet indicate if it will pose any threat.

At 5 p.m., the center of Helene was located about 885 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at nearly 16 mph. The storm's maximum sustained winds were 45 mph. (Posted 5:30 p.m.)

Over White House objections, Senate committee backs terrorism bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday voted 15-9 to recommend a bill that would set up military courts to prosecute suspected terrorists without changing the U.S. reading of the Geneva Conventions, as the Bush administration wants.

Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Warner of Virginia, who is chairman of the committee, joined the committee's 11 Democrats in voting for the bill.

The vote came despite pleas from President Bush, who made a rare visit Thursday morning to Capitol Hill, and from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who wrote in a letter to Warner that the bill would make it impossible for the CIA to continue its interrogation practices with high-value terrorist suspects.

Human Rights Watch said the administration bill -- which was sent to the House floor by a 52-8 vote Wednesday in the House Armed Services Committee -- effectively legalizes the use of "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" now banned by Common Article 3. But John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, told reporters Wednesday that the administration's intent is simply to give "clarity" to Article 3. (Posted 5:10 p.m.)

Algerian terror group joins al Qaeda

(CNN) -- The Algerian militant Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) posted a statement Thursday on its Web site announcing that it has joined al Qaeda. The statement pledges the group's allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

In the statement, GSPC leader Abd al-Malek Droudkel, also known as Abu Musab Abdel-Wadoud, also urged other Islamist groups around the world to join forces to defeat the United States.

Bin Laden's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, initially announced GSPC's alliance with al Qaeda in a videotape released over the weekend.

"We ask God that it will be a bone in the throats of the Americans and French crusaders and their allies that would bring on them distress, trepidation and dejection in the hearts of the traitorous apostate sons of France," al-Zawahiri said. (Posted 4:39 p.m.)

Iranian dissident: Iran using lasers to enrich uranium

NEW YORK (CNN) -- An Iranian opposition figure accused Iran Thursday of operating a laser uranium enrichment program as part of the Islamic republic's plan to develop a forbidden nuclear weapons program, but a spokesman for an anti-nuclear-proliferation group cast doubt on the claim.

Dissident Alireza Jafarzadeh, president of Strategic Policy Consulting Inc., told reporters in New York that his information came from opposition sources, the same ones who announced a laser enrichment program in Iran in 2002.

The current operation, he told reporters, was set up in the same area near Tehran as the earlier program, of which the current program is a reincarnation.

But Paul Brannan, a research analyst with the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security, questioned Jafarzadeh's information, saying, "Why would Iran put a secret laser enrichment facility in the same place where it had it in the first place? To me, that just doesn't make a whole amount of sense." -- From CNN's Joe Vaccarello (Posted 4:34 p.m.)

House passes border fence bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House passed a bill Thursday to authorize a 700-mile fence along the U.S. border with Mexico. The vote was 283-138.

"Republicans really believe that we can have a virtually no-penetration border, and we're working to do it," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

"Today the House voted to enact the Secure Fence Act," he said. "... If we build it, they will no longer come -- illegally."

Hastert said the fence would be just the beginning -- the House intends to enact other legislation to add border patrol agents, more aerial surveillance and stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Still other legislation will target gangs, criminals and human smugglers, Republicans said. (Posted 4:04 p.m.)

Britain charges 2 arrested in London terror probe

LONDON (CNN) -- British authorities Thursday charged two men picked up as part of an investigation that prompted anti-terror raids earlier this month in south and east London, according to Scotland Yard.

Initially 14 men were arrested late on Sept. 1 and early on Sept. 2 on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terror. Since that time, 10 other men have been charged in connection with the investigation and two others have been released without charge.

The two charged Thursday are expected in court Friday morning. They were identified as Mohamed Hamid, 48; and Kibley Da Costa, 23.

Both are alleged to have provided training for potential terrorists, and Hamid is alleged to have solicited and encouraged others to participate in terrorist activities. (Posted 3:42 p.m.)

Ann Richards' body to lie in state in Texas

(CNN) -- The body of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards will lie in state in the State Capitol Rotunda in Austin, Texas, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, her family announced Thursday.

A public funeral will be held at noon Monday at the Frank Erwin Events Center. Burial will be private.

Richards, whose brassy, tough-talking persona and trademark white hair cut an indelible profile in Democratic politics, died Wednesday evening at her home in Austin, surrounded by her family, her spokesman, Bill Maddox said. She was 73. (Posted 3:32 p.m.)

Reporter for Arabic-language international newspaper released after 3-day detention in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An Iraqi journalist was released Thursday, three days after being arrested when soldiers searched her family's house, an official with the Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center told CNN.

The official gave no further details on the arrest and release of Kulshan al-Baiyati, 45, a reporter for al-Hayat, a London-based, Arabic-language international daily.

She was detained Monday in Tikrit -- Saddam Hussein's hometown.

An official with Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center told CNN her personal computer and car were confiscated. The official didn't say why she was arrested. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 3:05 p.m.)

Police spokesman calls Gill a 'deranged person,' says he had no connection to college

MONTREAL (CNN) -- The man who allegedly killed one woman and wounded 19 other people at a Montreal college on Wednesday had no criminal record but was apparently very disturbed, Quebec Provincial Police spokesman Lt. Frances Dore told CNN Thursday.

"He's a deranged person, that's for sure," Dore told CNN's Allan Chernoff.

Dore said Gill was unknown to police, but since the shooting authorities have been scrutinizing entries made by Gill on a Web site called "VampireFreaks.com," where the 25-year-old man posted several pictures of himself dressed in black posing with guns and "some kind of Rambo knife."

Police have "absolutely no motive right now" for the shootings, which occurred shortly after 1 p.m. at Dawson College.

"He had a car, got out of his car, took some guns from the trunk and went inside, killing people," Dore said. He was killed in a shootout with police, he said. (Posted 2:20 p.m.)

Truck bomb kills 2 U.S. soldiers, wounds 25 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A suicide truck bomb hit a U.S. Army outpost Thursday afternoon in western Baghdad, killing two American soldiers and leaving 25 wounded, the U.S. military reported.

One soldier was killed at the scene of the attack, while the second died of his wounds at a hospital, doctors at a U.S. combat hospital told CNN.

The attack appeared to have caught troops from the 4th Infantry Division off-guard, with some of them in sneakers instead of combat boots when they were brought to the hospital. The division's commander, Maj. Gen. J.D. Thurman, visited the wounded soon after the attack.

"The explosion caused debris to be scattered into a concentrated troop area," the military said in a written statement.

Six of the wounded had been returned to duty Thursday night, while 15 others suffered wounds the military described as "not serious." --From CNN's Cal Perry (Posted 2:12 p.m.)

Internet journal of alleged gunman paints a dark, disturbing picture

MONTREAL (CNN) -- The Internet journal apparently belonging to the 25-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed one woman and wounded at least 19 other people at a Montreal college paints a dark and disturbing picture of a person harboring hatred and depression.

The journal from "fatality666" contains daily musings on life. Each one lists his current mood and the music he's listening to.

Canadian media and other users of the site www.VampireFreaks.com identified user "fatality666" as Kimveer Gill. Quebec Provincial Police said Gill was the man who was shot and killed by police Wednesday after firing on people at Dawson College.

Just three hours before the shooting, "fatality666" wrote, "Whiskey in the morning, mmmmmm, mmmmmmmmm, good !!" and listed his mood as "no mood."

In two other postings earlier that morning, the writer described his mood as "crazy" and "postal." On Tuesday he said his mood was "dead." (Posted 1:46 p.m.)

Indian forces claim killing of top Kashmiri militant commander

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir (CNN) -- Indian security forces Thursday said they have killed a top Kashmiri militant commander blamed for the massacre of 13 Hindu villagers earlier this year.

An Indian special police officer and a village defense committee member also were killed in the operation in the Udhampur district of the Jammu region, security forces said.

Police are hailing the killing of Ijaz Ahmed as a major success against the militants.

Ahmed was a commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is labeled a terrorist group by the United States, Pakistan and India. Indian officials say he is responsible for the April 30 massacre of 13 Hindu villagers in Udhampur. (Posted 1:22 p.m.)

Attacks leave 23 dead in Iraq, including 3 soldiers

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A string of violent attacks across Iraq on Thursday left 23 people dead, including three U.S. soldiers, most of them in Baghdad, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

At a news briefing on Thursday, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell announced that sectarian violence in Baghdad has dropped overall, especially in the five neighborhoods where Iraqi and U.S. forces have launched Operation Together Forward.

But the level of violence in Baghdad still remains higher than before Feb. 22, when the Golden Mosque in Samarra was bombed, an incident that inflamed already smoldering Shiite-Sunni hostilities.

"(In) Baghdad at large, the number of execution-style murders, we have seen a creeping back up," Caldwell said. "And yesterday, as I think most of us realized, there was a spike in those numbers." (Posted 1:16 p.m.)

DOT: 10,000 lives/year could be saved with proposed anti-rollover regulations

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Standards proposed by the Department of Transportation Thursday that would require all new vehicles to include electronic anti-rollover technology could save more than 10,000 lives each year, making the technology "the greatest life-saving improvement since the safety belt," the DOT said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that installing "electronic stability control" (ESC) in cars and SUVs could also prevent up to 252,000 injuries yearly.

ESC is not new -- 29 percent of U.S.-manufactured vehicles made in 2006 are equipped with the automatic computer-controlled braking system -- but the NHTSA proposal would require all new vehicles to include it by 2010, according to the agency.

The agency estimates it would cost $111 per vehicle to install the ESC technology on vehicles already equipped with anti-lock brake systems. Manufacturers currently offer vehicles with ESC equipment on 36 makes, according to data provided by NHTSA. --From CNN's Katy Byron (Posted 11:59 a.m.)

Powell opposes amending Geneva Conventions

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has written a letter expressing strong opposition to his former boss' efforts to amend the Geneva Conventions.

"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Powell said Wednesday in a letter to Sen. John McCain, whose amendment last year opposed the use of torture.

"To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts," Powell wrote. "Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."

Powell's opposition was made public as President Bush made a rare visit to Capitol Hill, where he met with Republicans behind closed doors.

"I reminded them that the most important job is to protect the homeland," he told reporters. (Posted 10:58 a.m.)

2 U.S. soldiers die in Baghdad; another killed near Mosul

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two U.S. soldiers died Thursday in fighting around the Iraqi capital, and a third died Wednesday near the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said.

One soldier died when a U.S. military vehicle struck a roadside bomb just south of Baghdad around 10:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m. ET).

A second soldier died from wounds he received when his unit was hit by small-arms fire southeast of Baghdad, the military said. He died at 2:35 a.m.

Also, a soldier attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, was wounded by enemy fire Wednesday near Mosul and later died from his wounds, the military said.

With the deaths, 2,676 U.S. military personnel have died in the Iraq war. (Posted 10:53 a.m.)

Judge in Hussein trial assures him, 'You were not a dictator'

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- One day after the prosecutor in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial accused the judge of bias toward the defendant, the same judge assured Hussein on Thursday that he was "not a dictator" -- "It is the people around a person that make a dictator."

Chief Judge Adullah al-Almiri's comments came during the testimony of a 57-year-old Kurdish farmer, who testified that Saddam aggressively told him to "shut up" when he pleaded for the release of nine missing relatives.

"I wonder why this man wanted to meet with me, if I am a dictator?" Hussein asked the court.

The judge interrupted: "You are not a dictator. Not a dictator. You were not a dictator."

Hussein, bowing his head, replied, "At any rate, I thank you."

Al-Almiri then added, "It is the people around a person that make a dictator. That was not only the case with you specifically. It is all over the world."

The judge heard two witnesses before adjourning the trial until Monday.(Posted 9:45 a.m.)

Segway scooters recalled

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The device whose inventor claimed would change the way America moves has been voluntarily recalled by the company which makes it after reports of six injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Corporation (CPSC) announced Thursday.

Segway, Inc. of Bedford, N.H. is recalling its Segway Personal Transporter, also known as the Segway Human Transporter, because it can "unexpectedly apply reverse torque to the wheels, which can cause a rider to fall," a statement from the CPSC said.

The company has received reports of injuries to the head and wrist of six consumers, the statement said.

The recall involves 23,500 Segway transporters, including the PT i167, i170 and i180 models, the p133, XT, GT, and i2 models, as well as the e167 models.

Segway creator Dean Kamen drummed up much anticipation for the launch of his invention in December, 2001, saying it would transform the way people work and live. (Posted, 8:39 a.m.)

Key al Qaeda associate arrested in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- U.S. forces in Iraq recently detained over 70 suspected terrorists, including a key associate of Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, who is the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell did not identify the key associate but said he is "known to have directly participated in terrorist acts including kidnappings and executions."

He also played a "key operational role" in terrorist activities before and during the Falluja uprising in November 2004, Caldwell said.

Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, an explosives expert, succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as al Qaeda in Iraq's chief after U.S. forces killed him a few months ago.

Al-Masri, also know as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, was announced as al-Qaeda in Iraq's new leader on June 12 and received Osama bin Laden's endorsement in an audiotape from the al-Qaeda chief. (Posted 7:47 a.m.)

Roof collapses at Spanish airport; 3 hurt

MADRID (CNN) -- Twenty workers were trapped for a short time Thursday at Spain's Menorca airport when the roof of a metal building under construction collapsed, according to Marcelo Bordas, a spokesman for the island's Emergency Management Agency.

He said the initial call came in shortly after noon local time (6 a.m. ET). (Posted 7:28 a.m.)

Iranian president visits Cuba for meetings

HAVANA (CNN) -- Iran's controversial president arrived in Havana Thursday to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit and G15 meeting before flying to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The trip to Cuba is part of a whirlwind tri-nation tour that began Wednesday with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the African country Senegal.

His tour will then take him to Caracas, Venezuela where he will meet with his counterpart, Hugo Chavez.

Ahmadinejad will then attend the 61st annual session of the U.N. General Assembly from Sept. 18 to 27 in New York City where he is slated to address the members, IRNA reported. (Posted 6:35 a.m.)

Amnesty International: Hezbollah guilty of war crimes

LONDON (CNN) -- Amnesty International Thursday released a scathing report accusing Hezbollah of war crimes, during a month-long war with Israel.

"The scale of Hezbollah's attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used, and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians, make it all too clear that Hezbollah violated the laws of war," said Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan.

"The fact that Israel has also committed serious violations in no way justifies violations by Hezbollah. Civilians must not be made to pay the price for unlawful conduct on either side."

Amnesty International said its report is based on field research in Israel and Lebanon, as well as interviews with victims, official statements, and discussions with Israeli, Lebanese and Hezbollah officials. (Posted 6:35 a.m.)

Japanese authorities indict 4 Mitutoyo figures in alleged nuclear-related export case

TOKYO (CNN) -- Three Mitutoyo Corp. executives and one employee were indicted Thursday for violating foreign trade control law in 2001 by allegedly exporting two measuring devices that could be used for making nuclear weapons.

A statement from the Tokyo District Court said the Kawasaki-based company was not granted the required government authorization to export the two three-dimensional measuring devices that were shipped Singapore and Malaysia.

Those indicted could face with up to five years in prison and a fine of up $17,000. (Posted 5:40 a.m.)

Thai elections slip until November

BANGKOK (CNN) -- Thai elections will not be held on October 15 as previously proposed, election officials said Thursday.

No new date for the ballot has been set, but officials said elections will likely be held in mid to late November. (Posted 5:25 a.m.)

Muslim bomber guilty of killing 17 in 1993 Mumbai attacks

NEW DELHI (CNN) -- An Indian court found Mohammed Ghansar guilty of murder Thursday for his role in a string of bombings that blasted through the country's commercial capital, Mumbai, 13 years ago.

The attacks killed 257 people.

Ghansar, who could face the death penalty, was convicted of killing 17 people by planting a scooter rigged with explosives in a crowded marketplace. He has been held without bail since he was arrested shortly after the March 12, 1993 attacks.

In the expansive case involving 123 men and women, most of them Muslims, the judge will release verdicts over a series of weeks. (Posted 5:15 a.m.)

Poland to send up to 1,000 troops to Afghanistan

(CNN) -- Poland will send up to an additional 1,000 troops to bolster NATO forces in Afghanistan, Polish Defense Ministry Spokesman Leszek Laszczak said Thursday.

According to Laszczak, the soldiers will do a one year tour of duty, starting February 2007. He also said a Polish general will take become a deputy commander of the International Security Assistance Force.

Military commanders have called for reinforcements to try to quell the growing Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan. (Posted 3:45 a.m.)

Russian banker dies after shooting

MOSCOW (CNN) -- The deputy chairman of Russia's Central Bank died Thursday morning after being gunned down by two assailants the night before near a Moscow football stadium, a medical source told Russia's state-run Interfax news agency.

Andrei Kozlov was attacked near the capital's Spartak football arena around 9 p.m., Interfax reported. His driver was also killed.

A medical source told Interfax that Kozlov suffered severe wounds to the head, but was also hit in the chest and stomach.

The source said Kozlov arrived at the hospital unconscious and underwent surgery, but never regained consciousness. (Posted 2 a.m.)

Two journalists shot and killed in separate attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen shot and killed two Iraqi journalists in separate incidents this week, leading the international media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists to condemn the killings.

Baghdad emergency police officials said they discovered the body of Safaa Ismail Enad in eastern Baghdad riddled with bullets on Wednesday. He was a writer for al-Watan newspaper.

The New York-based CPJ said Enad was shot by two gunmen in a photo print shop after they entered the store and asked for him by name.

On Tuesday, another local journalist in Diyala province was ambushed and shot to death by gunmen while he was traveling between Baquba and Khalis, which is about 50 miles north of Baghdad, a Baquba police official said. (Posted 1:15 a.m.)

Tropical Storm Helene forms; Gordon becomes a major hurricane

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Helene formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean late Wednesday as Gordon became a major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Though Helene continues to move west, in the general direction of the Caribbean and the United States, it remains so far away from land that even long-term forecast models don't yet indicate whether it will pose any threat.

At 11 p.m., the center of the storm was about 565 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at nearly 22 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph.

Forecasters said the storm system will likely strengthen dramatically over the next three days, becoming a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 mph by Saturday. By Sunday, the hurricane will be Category 2, with winds of nearly 100 mph.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Gordon, which is churning in the Atlantic well away from land, strengthened Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds reaching 120 mph. Passing the 115 mph threshold makes it the first major hurricane of the 2006 season, indicating an intensity of Category 3 or higher. (Posted 11:20 p.m.)


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