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Wednesday, April 18

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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.

FBI searches home of California GOP congressman relating to wife's business

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI executed a search warrant Wednesday at the Oakton, Va., home of Rep. John T. Doolittle, R-Calif., pertaining to his wife's business, Doolittle's attorney said in a statement.

"The search was limited to financial documents related to Mrs. Doolittle's company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, Inc., and not to Congressman Doolittle," said attorney David Barger. "Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, we will have no further comment."

Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions is a consulting firm with Julie Doolittle as the sole employee. Through the company, she has worked for disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a lobbying firm and as a fundraiser for the congressman, according to media reports.

Doolittle issued a statement saying his wife had been cooperating with federal authorities for nearly three years "and that cooperation is expected to continue in the future." (Posted 10:02 p.m.)

Peace Corps worker found dead in Philippines

(CNN) -- A U.S. aid worker was found dead Wednesday near in the Philippines, the Peace Corps announced.

Authorities had been searching for Julia Campbell, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer last seen on Easter Sunday in the town of Banaue in Ifugao province, said embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop. Campbell had planned to hike alone on April 8 in a hilly region near Batad, Lussenhop said. The area, about 160 miles north of Manila, is famed for its mountain rice terraces and pine forests. The communist New People's Army also operates in the region, Lussenhop said. (Posted 7:29 p.m.)

Va. Tech student in good condition after surgery; 12 still hospitalized

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- One of the 12 patients still hospitalized as a result of Monday's mass shooting at Virginia Tech was listed in good condition Wednesday after undergoing surgery on his gunshot wounds, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN.

The student, whom authorities have not identified publicly, underwent surgery at New River Valley Hospital near Radford after suffering three gunshot wounds, hospital spokeswoman Deb Sydnor said. Another student was in good condition, and a third was discharged Wednesday.

New River Valley is one of the four hospitals treating students wounded in the shooting spree that killed 32 students and faculty members. The other hospitals are Montgomery Regional in Blacksburg, Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem and Roanoke Memorial in Roanoke. (Posted 7:11 p.m.)

Judge ruled Va. Tech shooter 'imminent danger to himself' in 2005

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- A Virginia magistrate in December 2005 deemed Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui "an imminent danger to himself because of mental illness" and ordered outpatient treatment for the disturbed young man, according to court documents filed at the time.

Cho, who killed 30 people in one building on campus Monday before taking his own life, was evaluated at a mental health facility after a student rejected his attempts at establishing contact with her, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum told reporters Wednesday.

Before the shooting at Norris Hall, Cho is believed to have killed two other students at a dormitory across the campus. (Posted 7:08 p.m.)

Troops to get 1 day off a month for serving extra time in a war zone

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. troops spending more than the standard 12 months deployed away from their home base will be given an additional day off for every extra month of deployment, according to a new Pentagon policy.

As troops are deployed longer in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon officials said they want to recognize the troop's hard work by giving them additional time off, which would improve their "quality of life."

The new policy was announced at a briefing for the press at the Pentagon Wednesday.

Officials said they did not want to offer troops more money because they would prefer them taking time off and resting rather than being paid for fighting, like a mercenary military.

The military has been criticized for creating a military that will only serve if monetary incentives are right. With troops stretched thin because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has had to consistently offer more monetary incentives for recruiting and retaining troops, including increased pay for working in a combat zone. --From CNN Pentagon Producer Mike Mount (Posted 6:15 p.m.)

White House Iraq meeting 'basis for future conversations,' Pelosi says

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic congressional leaders said a Wednesday meeting with President Bush left hope of breaking the impasse over a war-spending bill that calls for an American withdrawal from Iraq, but Republicans said the conference produced no progress.

"I thought the president was clear with the Democrats what he would and wouldn't do," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "And he clearly isn't going to sign a bill that handcuffs our troops and adds these tens of billions of dollars worth of unnecessary spending that's part of this bill."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday's meeting will be "the basis for future conversations."

"Each side was very clear with its position," she said. "But that doesn't mean that that's the end of the conversation." Asked if that meant Bush was open to negotiation, she said, "Well, it's not a no." (Posted 5:49 p.m.)

Shooter deemed to have presented 'an imminent danger to himself'

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- Virginia Tech shooter Cho Sueng-Hui was deemed to have presented "an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness," according to court documents from December 2005.

But Special Justice Paul M. Barnett, who filled out the certification and order for involuntary admission to a mental health facility, checked the box that said: "The alternatives to involuntary hospitalization and treatment were investigated and deemed suitable."

Barnett ordered Cho to follow "recommended treatments" on an outpatient basis. Those recommendations were not specified.

Left unchecked in the order from General District Court in the commonwealth of Virginia was a statement that said: "Presents an imminent danger to others as a result of mental illness."

In another part of the form, Cho was described as "mentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents an imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self, and is incapable of volunteering or unwilling to volunteer for treatment." (Posted 5:21 p.m.)

Virginia Tech gunman evaluated for mental illness in 2005

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- The student blamed for killing 30 people in one building on the Virginia Tech campus Monday before taking his own life was evaluated at a mental health facility in 2005 after a student rejected his attempts at establishing contact with her and authorities were told he might be suicidal, Wendell Flinchum, the Virginia Tech police chief, told reporters Wednesday.

During the previous month, another female student had complained to police about Cho Seung-Hui's telephone and in-person contacts with her that she described as annoying, he said. She declined to press charges, Flinchum added.

The next morning, officers discussed the matter with Cho and received a call later that day from an acquaintance who said that he might be suicidal, he said.

Officers met again with Cho "and talked with him at length," Flinchum said. Cho was asked to speak to a counselor and was evaluated by Access, an independent mental health facility in the area. "A temporary detention order was obtained and he was taken to a mental health facility" on Dec. 13, 2005, Flinchum said. (Posted 5:21 p.m.)

Dow caps comeback with record close

NEW YORK ( -- The Dow industrials jumped to a record high Wednesday as solid earnings from a number of blue-chip companies helped the index complete a remarkable comeback after the big February selloff.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed nearly 31 points and ended above 12,800 for the first time. The previous record closing high was 12,786.64 set on Feb. 20. The 30-share Dow also hit a new trading high during the session of 12,838.46, breaking the old high also set Feb. 20.

The rally capped a big turnaround for the Dow, which tumbled 416 points on Feb. 27, its biggest loss in five and a half years, on worries about slowing economic growth and market volatility abroad. (Posted 4:40 p.m.)

Iraqi army commander arrested after Baghdad bombings

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An Iraqi army brigade commander was arrested Wednesday night after a string of bombings that killed more than 180 people around Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office announced.

A statement from al-Maliki's office said the officer was removed because of "the weakness of security measures put in place to protect civilians in Sadriya," the central Baghdad marketplace where more than 120 people died in a single bombing.

The marketplace attack was the worst of at least six bombings across Baghdad -- a particularly violent day in a bloody capital city enduring sectarian warfare and an aggressive government crackdown against insurgents.

The officer, whose name was not immediately released, was in command of the 2nd Brigade of the Iraqi army's 2nd Division, and will face an investigative committee looking into the bombings. (Posted 3:48 p.m.)

Officials, groups react to Supreme Court's decision on abortion procedure

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Reaction was swift and varied Wednesday to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision upholding a federal law banning a controversial abortion procedure. Here are some samples:

President Bush: "I am pleased that the Supreme Court upheld a law that prohibits the abhorrent procedure of partial-birth abortion. Today's decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people's representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America."

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: "The practice of partial-birth abortion is gruesome and barbaric, and opposed by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Its prohibition is well-deserved in a civilized society. Today's Supreme Court decision reaffirms not only the sanctity of life, but the integrity of a legislative process that allows the American people to make laws and decisions through their elected representatives."

Planned Parenthood Federation of America attorney Eve Gartner, who argued one of the appeals before the justices: "This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety. Today the court took away an important option for doctors who seek to provide the best and safest care to their patients. This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health-care decisions for them."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California: "Today's decision brings home in clear terms the impact of President Bush's Supreme Court choices. As a result of today's ruling, the health of women who have dangerous pregnancies is now in deep jeopardy. Women who are in need of this banned procedure will be denied it, even if they risk losing their fertility, becoming paralyzed, or sustaining organ damage." (Posted 3:01 p.m.)

Bombers strike in Baghdad, 182 killed

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Insurgent bombers launched a series of attacks across Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 182 people and wounding scores -- a particularly violent day in a bloody capital city enduring sectarian warfare and an aggressive government crackdown against insurgents.

The Interior Ministry issued this update Wednesday on the violence:

-- 124 dead, 152 wounded in Sadriya market in central Baghdad;

-- 35 dead, 55 wounded in a suicide car bomb explosion near an Iraqi Army checkpoint at one of the entrances to Sadr City, the Iraqi Army said;

-- 11 civilians killed and 13 wounded when a parked car bomb detonated in central Baghdad's Karrada district, near a hospital and a market;

-- Four police officers killed and six civilians wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded at an Iraqi police checkpoint in southern Baghdad;

-- Four people were killed and eight were wounded by a bomber targeting a police patrol near a checkpoint in Saidiya, in southwestern Baghdad. Two of those killed were police and the other two were civilians;

-- Four civilians killed and nine wounded when a bomb planted in a minibus detonated in Rusafi Square, a busy intersection in central Baghdad. (Posted 2:56 p.m.)

Pelosi: Dems have 'strong hand' in war funding fight with Bush

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic congressional leaders have a "strong hand" in their standoff with President Bush over Iraq war funds despite Bush's threat to veto calls for a withdrawal of U.S. troops, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.

"The American people, a majority in both houses of the Congress, large numbers of generals, the Iraq Study Group, have all said that we must work together to wind down this war," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters ahead of a Wednesday afternoon meeting at the White House.

But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush won't back off his demand that Congress drop timetables for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq from a $123 billion war-spending bill. Though the White House characterizes the requested funds as being urgently needed, Bush has vowed to veto any bill with a pullout date attached.

Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and the Republican minority leaders from both houses were at the White House for Wednesday afternoon's meeting. As they arrived, the shouts of anti-war demonstrators could be heard outside the presidential mansion. (Posted 2:36 p.m.)

Gonzales to face grilling Thursday

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In what some lawmakers call a make-or-break session, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is expected to face a grilling Thursday during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

The session was delayed from its original date, Tuesday, after the shooting at Virginia Tech.

In his prepared testimony, which was released Sunday in advance of his expected appearance, Gonzales says he has "nothing to hide" and "never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people about my role in this matter."

He has been undergoing intensive preparations for the appearance, including practice question-and-answer sessions, and is expected to come under tough questioning from members of both parties who say they will push for details.

"The attorney general needs to give specific details," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said in a press conference Wednesday. "The burden is on the attorney general" to show, for example, why these specific prosecutors were singled out for ouster. --From CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn (Posted 2:25 p.m.)

Bush threatens economic sanctions against Sudan over Darfur

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Wednesday threatened specific economic sanctions against Sudan to stop the mistreatment of innocent civilians in that nation's war-torn Darfur region, and said tougher measures would be considered if those don't work.

"Brutal treatment of innocent civilians in Darfur is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable to Americans, it's unacceptable to the United Nations, at least that's what they've said," said Bush, speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. "The status quo must not continue." Bush said Sudan's president, Omar Bashir, must start making peace and stop flouting the international community.

If Sudanese President Omar Bashir doesn't cooperate with the United Nations and allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Darfur, Bush said, various economic steps will be taken, including:

-- "The Department of Treasury will tighten U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan. This new effort will allow the United States to enforce more aggressively existing sanctions against Sudan's government by blocking any of its dollar transactions within the U.S. financial system."

-- Twenty-nine companies "owned or controlled" by Sudan will be placed on the department's list of "specially designated nationals. This designation will bar these companies from the U.S. financial system and make it a crime for American companies and individuals to willfully do business with them." (Posted 12:21 p.m.)

Shooter picked up gun from pawnbroker

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- More than two months before Cho Seung-Hui went on his deadly shooting spree, he picked up a gun from a pawnbroker located across the street from campus, the store owner said Wednesday.

Cho had bought a Walther P-22 semi-automatic pistol from an out-of-state dealer but picked it up Feb. 9 from JND Pawnbrokers because, under Virginia law, a licensed firearm dealer must carry out an instant background check before delivering the firearm, and it must be delivered in person.

Cho walked out of the store with the weapon, pawnbroker Joe Dowdy told CNN. In such cases, the intermediary is paid a small transaction fee -- typically $20 to $40.

The owner said he recalls the transaction as a routine one; nothing about Cho struck him as out of the ordinary. --From CNN's Drew Griffin (Posted 12:09 p.m.)

FDA expands pet food recall to include products with rice protein

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration expanded the deadly nationwide pet food recall Wednesday to include products containing rice protein laced with melamine, a toxic agent.

After consumer complaints to Natural Balance of Pacoima, Calif., reporting kidney failure in several cats and dogs after eating the company's venison products, the company issued the nationwide recall of its venison and brown rice canned and bagged dog foods and treats, and venison and green pea dry cat food, the FDA said.

Also on Wednesday, Menu Foods, the company that recalled more than 60 million cans and pouches of wet cat and dog food on March 15, added one of its Natural Life brand products to its recall list and added two product dates to eight of its already recalled pet foods.

Before Wednesday's announcement, FDA officials attributed pet illness and deaths to recalled pet food with wheat gluten found to contain melamine, a component of fertilizers and plastic utensils.

The FDA has officially tallied just 16 animal deaths related to the wheat gluten-pet food recall, while other organizations have put the death toll in the thousands. --By CNN's Katy Byron (Posted 11:32 a.m.)

Deaths of 3 men in Turkey could be linked to Bible distribution

(CNN) -- Police found two bodies with their throats cut Wednesday -- one of them a German national -- at a company that publishes and distributes books in Malatya, Turkey, Gov. Halil Ibrahim Dasoz said.

A third man whose throat was cut was taken to a hospital, where he died a few hours later.

The attack might have been connected to previous complaints that the company was distributing Bibles in the predominantly Muslim country, the governor indicated.

Four men were taken into custody inside the building, and a fifth jumped from a window and was captured outside. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries. All five are possible suspects, the governor said. --From CNN's Talia Kayali (Posted 11:14 a.m.)

Iraq refugee conference ends amid 'humanitarian spirit' to confront problem

(CNN) -- A two-day U.N. conference on the plight of Iraqis displaced from their homes ended "with agreement on the urgent need to aid" nearly 4 million refugees and internally displaced people.

"There was truly a humanitarian spirit that allowed us to work together, to work together in a committed way for the same purpose -- the people we care for, the Iraqis displaced inside and outside Iraq," said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, who chaired the conference.

He made remarks at a news conference at the end of the conference and they were posted in a statement on the UNHCR Web site. There were 450 conference delegates from 60 countries. They were from governments, international groups, and non-governmental organizations.

Guterres noted that people at the conference realized the need to stop the displacement while at the same time providing the people in need humanitarian aid.

He also said that attendees believe the world community must aid neighboring countries, such as Syria and Jordan, whose resources are strained because they have absorbed many refugees. Syria hosts 1.2 million Iraqis and Jordan about 750,000. (Posted 10:55 a.m.)

Late filers swamp TurboTax

NEW YORK ( -- A flood of last-minute tax filers swamped Intuit Inc.'s e-filing system early Tuesday, causing long delays for taxpayers trying to check that their electronic returns had been submitted successfully.

Intuit, which makes the popular TurboTax and ProSeries tax software, posted a message on its TurboTax web site advising filers to return to the site after 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to check the status of their returns. "We are experiencing high volume with customers checking on the status of their electronically filed returns," the company said in a written statement.

A spokesperson for the company was not immediately available for comment. Intuit has said that this year more people waited to file their returns closer to the April deadline. TurboTax generates about 25 percent of Intuit's revenue.

A spokesman for the IRS said tax payers will not be penalized if they are unable to get their returns filed on time because of technical difficulties with TurboTax. (Posted 10:26 a.m.)

Supreme Court upholds law limiting controversial abortion procedure

WASHINGTON (CNN) --The Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a controversial congressional law banning a specific abortion procedure critics call "partial birth," a ruling that could portend enormous social, legal, and political implications for the divisive issue.

The sharply divided 5-4 ruling could prove historic, and offer a possible signal of the new Roberts court's willingness to someday revisit the basic right to abortion guaranteed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case.

At issue now is the constitutionality of a federal law banning a type of abortion typically performed by doctors in the middle to late second trimester. The legal sticking point was that the law lacked a "health exception" for a woman who might suffer serious medical complications, something the justices have said in the past is necessary when considering abortion restrictions. (Posted 10:21 a.m.)

Police surround another building on Va. Tech campus after 'unfounded' threat

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- Police officers carrying rifles and wearing flak jackets responded to what turned out to be an "unfounded" threat Wednesday near the engineering building in which 31 people died Monday in the nation's deadliest shooting spree.

A Virginia state police officer told CNN "there was an unusual event at Burruss Hall, we responded, it was unfounded, and that's all we're going to say." (Posted 9:51 a.m.)

6 insurgents killed, more than 40 detained in Iraq raids

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Coalition raids in and around the Iraqi cities of Falluja, Taji, and Mosul on Wednesday led to the killings of six insurgents and the detention of more than 40, the U.S. military said.

Troops raided several buildings in a rural area northeast of Falluja, killing five suspected terrorists, wounding four more and capturing another 30 terror suspects, according to the U.S. military. Falluja is located in Anbar province

"Coalition forces raided a group of buildings known to be used by terrorists and found explosive materials in one of the buildings," the military statement said. "A helicopter used precision-guided munitions to strike the contents of the building. Secondary explosions at the site confirmed the material inside was explosive."

Four of the insurgents were taken to military medical facilities to be treated for wounds, the military said. Although some women and children were present, none of them were injured, according to the military.

An "armed terrorist" was killed and five insurgents were detained west of Taji -- which is near Baghdad. And in Mosul, in northern Iraq, troops detained "three suspected terrorists with ties to the al Qaeda in Iraq network." (Posted 7:33 a.m.)

Iraqi security forces take over security responsibility in southern province

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi police and soldiers on Wednesday formally took over security responsibility in the entire southern Iraqi province of Maysan, a British military spokesman told CNN.

Lt. Col. Kevin Stratford-Wright said the only exception would be border security, saying that's still under the responsibility of the coalition forces. Maysan shares a long border with Iran and is in Iraq's Shiite heartland.

British and Iraqi forces held a handover ceremony.

In August, British troops transferred security to Iraqi forces in Maysan's capital of Amara, but those troops patrolled the rest of the province.

Two months later, deadly violence erupted there between police and members of the Mehdi Army, the militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The British military command, which covers southern Iraq, is based in the city of Basra. --From CNN's Carolina Sanchez (Post 7:32 a.m.)

Coalition: 5 'suspected al Qaeda associates' detained in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL (CNN) -- Five "suspected al Qaeda associates" were detained by Afghan and coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, the coalition command said.

The arrests were made in an "early morning operation in the Chaparhar District of Nangarhar province" on the basis of "credible intelligence."

"The Afghan and coalition forces requested a peaceful surrender, entered the compound and secured the area without incident. No shots were fired and there were no serious injuries reported." (Posted 7:31 a.m.)

Iran considering participation in May conference

TEHRAN (CNN) -- Iran is considering whether it intends to participate in the upcoming Iraqi neighbors conference in Egypt, Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki -- who is visiting Damascus -- was quoted as saying on Tuesday night that "we are studying the case. We still have time."

The conference is to include Iraq's other neighbors -- Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria, and other countries -- such as the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia. It will be held May 3-4 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Last month, there had been a regional security conference in Baghdad that was attended by representatives of the six neighbors, including Iran, and other countries, including the United States.(Posted 7:30 a.m.)

Poetry prof: "There was something mean about this boy"

BLACKBURG, Va. (CNN) -- Cho Seung-Hui, the student blamed for the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, had "a really mean streak" that prompted Virginia Tech professor Nikki Giovanni to threaten to resign unless he was removed from her poetry class in 2005, the nationally-known poet said.

Although he officially remained on her class roll, the head of the English Department responded to Giovanni's demand by arranging to teach him one-on-one for the rest of that semester, Giovanni said.

Giovanni, in an interview on CNN's American Morning Wednesday, said two of her students dropped out of the class because Cho was "taking photographs of us, we don't know what he's doing."

"He was a very intimidating student to my other students," Giovanni said. She said she wrote a letter to English Department head Lucinda Roy asking that Cho be removed from the class.

"I was willing to resign before I was going to continue with him," she said.

Giovanni said at the start of each class there would be a "ritual" in which she would have to ask Cho to take off his sunglasses and cap.

She said what scared her, and prompted her to ask for campus security to keep a watch on her, was the poetry he wrote for the class.

"He was writing just weird things," she said. "It was terrible. It was not bad poetry, it was intimidating."

She said when she told him to stop writing such poems, he argued back.

"He said 'you can't make me' and I said 'yes, I can," she said.

Her memory of his time in her class was so strong that when she first learned someone had gone on a shooting rampage on campus, she immediately suspected it was Cho.

"I would have been shocked it wasn't," Giovanni said.

"There was something mean about this boy," she said. "It was the meanness that bothered me. It was a really mean streak." (Posted 7:29 a.m.)

School bus crash kills 18 Egyptian students

CAIRO (CNN) -- A head-on collision between a school bus and a truck killed 18 students and injured eight others on a road south of Cairo Wednesday morning, according to Egypt's interior ministry and the Middle East News Agency.

The wreck happened on the highway connecting Cairo with the city of Assuit, the news agency said.

The injured were taken to Atfeeh Hospital in southern Giza, a ministry official said. (Posted 5:48 a.m.)

China steel plant accident kills 32

BEIJING (CNN) -- Molten steel fell from a blast furnace onto workers at a northeast China steel plant Wednesday morning, killing 32 people and injuring two, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

The steel workers were gathered for a meeting in a break room in at 7:45 a.m. when the steel ladle holding the tons of molten metal collapsed, showering the steel onto them, Xinhua reported.

The accident happened at the Qinghe Special Steel Corporation in Tieling City in Liaoning Province, the report said. (Posted 5:45 a.m.)

Roommates: Virginia Tech shooter was a loner, stalker and had imaginary girlfriend

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- The two students who roomed this school year with Cho Seung-Hui, the student blamed for the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, described him as a quiet loner, who had an imaginary girlfriend and stalked college coeds.

CNN's Gary Tuchman interviewed the pair, John and Andy, on Tuesday. They did not want their last names used in connection with the story.

The three young men shared a dorm room on the Virginia Tech campus and first met each other in the fall.

"He was pretty quiet, really clean, not one you can complain about, really, to start off with," said John.

"I thought he was just really quiet and shy. I didn't think he was weird initially," added Andy. "Just, some people are shier than others."

The quirks of their new roommate became more apparent in the coming weeks.

"We tried to hang out with him at first ... introduced him to our friends and stuff," according to Andy. "And ... he never opened up, just never talked to us, and went about his day by himself. Never saw anyone come visit him."

John said Cho would go out late at night and ride his bike around for hours before coming back to the dorm.

During a party, Andy said, the normally quiet Cho confessed to having an imaginary girlfriend, who was a supermodel. (Posted 4:15 a.m.)

South Koreans react to news Virginia Tech shooter is Seoul native

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- South Koreans expressed shock Wednesday as new details revealed that the Virginia Tech shooter was born and lived for eight years in Seoul.

Concern about the incident in South Korea reached the highest level of the government.

President Roh Moo-hyun convened an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the matter with his aides and figure out further steps to ease the situation.

During an afternoon news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Roh offered the government's third expression of sympathy.

"Our people and I are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events that happened at Virginia Tech," Roh said. "We offer our most sincere condolences to the wounded and the families of the victims, as well as the American people."

The shootings have been headline news in the country which sends more students to the United States than any other country in the world -- more than 90,000 according to the U.S. Embassy here.

But many South Koreans woke up Wednesday to the new revelation that the Virginia Tech shooter is in fact South Korean born and lived here until he was eight years old. (Posted 4:05 a.m.)

Candlelight vigil brightens night at Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CNN) -- Virginia Tech students gathered by the thousands in the heart of their campus Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil to send a message of unity, determination and pride after the horror, sorrow and carnage of Monday's senseless shooting rampage.

"Hokies, Hokies, Hokies," the students assembed on Tech's drill field chanted, holding their lit candles aloft against the chilly Virginia night.

Even as the university community paused Tuesday to mourn and remember their dead and wounded, new details emerged about Cho Seung-Hui, the student responsible for the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, including graphic writings by the 23-year-old English major that set off alarm bells among the faculty. (Posted 9:55 p.m.)

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