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Monday, May 7

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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.

Roadside bomb kills three, wounds 5

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb exploded near a minibus in southeastern Baghdad Tuesday, killing three people and wounding five others, police said.

The attack in the Zafaraniya neighborhood took place around 8:30 a.m. (12:30 a.m. ET)

Separately, Iraq's Interior Ministry reported that 30 bodies were found in Baghdad on Monday, bringing the seven-day total to 153. (Posted 2:45 a.m.)

Castro ties attempted hijacking to case of anti-Castro militant freed on bond

HAVANA (CNN) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro blamed the United States for last week's attempted hijacking at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, in a newspaper article released to journalists Monday night.

In a rambling editorial appearing in Tuesday's edition of the official Communist Party newspaper Granma, the Cuban leader linked last month's release from a U.S. jail of anti-Castro militant and former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles to the deadly hijacking attempt by a pair of deserting Cuban soldiers.

Carriles was released on bond in April ahead of Friday's trial on immigration fraud charges.

Castro said the soldiers' attempt to commandeer a flight to the United States was a direct result of the "release of a monster of terror from prison," adding "The impunity and the material benefits with which violent actions against Cuba have been awarded for almost half a century encourage such actions."

The editorial by the ailing 80-year-old Cuban leader is the fifth to appear in the Communist daily in since late March. (Posted 1 a.m.)

Feds pledge to help Greensburg rebuild after devastating tornadoes

GREENSBURG, Kan. (CNN) -- Federal officials arrived Monday in southern Kansas to view the destruction caused by the weekend's tornado-packed storms, which killed 11 people in the area -- 9 of them in the tiny town of Greensburg alone.

Previously, officials said that ten people died in Greensburg, but authorities changed that number later in the day, saying they had apparently counted someone twice, said City Administrator Steve Hewitt.

Hewitt also said that a man reported to be a survivor found in the rubble had actually gone back into the town to retrieve some papers after the storm and was not rescued.

Another person died Friday night in Stafford County to the northeast, and one died Saturday night in a separate tornado-packing storm in Ottawa, Kan. (Posted 10:19 p.m.)

Source: World Bank panel finds Wolfowitz broke rules, no finding of 'bad faith'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An internal panel has concluded World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz violated staff rules in arranging a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend, according to a source close to the investigation who has seen the panel's unreleased report.

The special ad hoc committee was looking into allegations Wolfowitz broke conflict of interest rules dealing with his girlfriend Shaha Riza, who left the World Bank when Wolfowitz took over the top spot in 2005. The source told CNN that while Wolfowitz broke the bank's regulations, there was no finding of "bad faith" on his part.

The panel's findings could be released publicly as early as Tuesday.

-- From CNN State Dept. Producer Elise Labott (Posted 10:17 p.m.)

Top LAPD officers reassigned after immigration rally fracas

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A top Los Angeles police official has been demoted and his deputy reassigned after officers under their command attacked demonstrators at an immigration rally in MacArthur Park last week, the city's mayor and police chief said Monday.

Lee Carter, the deputy chief in charge of LAPD's central bureau, was demoted a grade to commander and put on paid leave, Police Chief William Bratton announced. Carter's second-in-command, Cmdr. Lou Gray, was moved out of that job "pending further reassignment by the chief," Bratton said.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered a "comprehensive, open review" of the incident after demonstrators and journalists raised allegations of excessive force. (Posted 8:40 p.m.)

Congress probes allegations of politicized hiring at Justice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional investigators are looking into new allegations a top official at the Justice Department illegally hired career lawyers based on their political affiliations in violation of federal law.

Investigators are focusing on Bradley Schlozman, a former top official in the department's Civil Rights Division, who recently returned to Washington after serving as interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo.

Ty Clevenger, a former Justice Department employee, told CNN that Schlozman ordered him to remove information identifying him as a Republican from his paperwork when he applied for a job. And Richard Ugelow, a former Justice lawyer, said the department has been hiring "people who have certain political persuasion and only a certain political persuasion" in recent years.

-- From CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena (Posted 7:24 p.m.)

Melamine risk to humans deemed 'very low'

(CNN) -- The risk to human health from eating pork or chicken from animals fed scraps that contained melamine and melamine-related compounds is "very low," according to an assessment issued Monday by scientists from five federal agencies.

Under the most extreme risk-assessment scenario -- in which all the solid food eaten in a day was assumed to have been contaminated with levels seen in animals -- the potential exposure was calculated to be 252 times lower than the dose considered safe, one of the scientists involved in that calculation told CNN.

"The purpose of this risk assessment was to examine the risk to the consumer if they consumed an animal that had been contaminated by inadvertently feeding it feed with melamine in it," said Bob Buchanan, senior science adviser for the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

The assessment was carried out by scientists from the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Posted 6:05 p.m.)

Feds pledge to help Greensburg rebuild after devastating tornadoes

GREENSBURG, Kan. (CNN) -- Federal officials arrived Monday in southern Kansas to view the destruction caused by the weekend's tornado-packed storms, which killed 12 people in the area -- 10 of them in the tiny town of Greensburg alone.

Previously, officials said that eight people died in Greensburg, but authorities found the bodies of two more victims there on Monday, said City Administrator Steve Hewitt.

Another person died Friday night in Stafford County to the northeast, and one died Saturday night in a separate tornado-packing storm in Ottawa, Kan.

"This is a total disaster," said U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. "It is a difficult thing to see and I'm sure a much more difficult thing to live through." (Posted 5:58 p.m.)

House Democrats looking at two-step process on Iraq war funding

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Democratic leaders are preparing a new version of the Iraq war funding bill that would pay for the war in two stages.

The first stage would give the Bush administration about half of the $95.5 billion it seeks for U.S. troops and military operations. Congress would vote on authorizing the second half of the funds in July, but only after it reviews a report from President Bush on a series of benchmarks measuring the Iraqi government's progress.

The new draft bill, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, was floated by House leaders last week as a way to appeal to the various factions in the House Democratic caucus. A vote on the bill could be scheduled as early as the end of this week.

Leaders hope to move swiftly in order to mesh the House proposal with the Senate's bill before the Memorial Day holiday. --From CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash (Posted 5:11 p.m.)

Dow matches record streak

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Dow Jones industrials ended at another all-time high Monday, closing with gains for the 24th out of 27 sessions -- a streak that matched an 80-year-old record on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 47.54 to 13,312.16, a gain of nearly 0.4 percent, after briefly hitting an intraday record of 13,317.69. It was the fifth straight record close for the average.

The 30-share Dow has now risen in 24 of the last 27 sessions, matching its longest bull run in history, last achieved in the summer of 1927, according to Dow Jones. That was a little more than two years before the crash that ushered in the Great Depression.

The broader S&P 500 index rose 3.42 to 1,509.04, about 0.3 percent, edging ever closer to its all-time high of 1,527.46. That record was hit in March 2000 at the tail end of the last rally, fueled by the 1990s tech boom.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell about 2 points after ending last week at a six-year high. (Posted 4:27 p.m.)

Blast kills 1 on Las Vegas Strip

(CNN) -- A explosive device went off early Monday in a parking garage of a casino-hotel on the Strip, killing one man, Las Vegas police said.

The man killed was an employee of a vendor inside the Luxor Casino-Hotel and not an employee of the facility itself, said Deputy Chief Ted Moody.

"It was a small device," he said. "We believe it was constructed in such a way to indicate it was intended to target a single individual victim, and it was successful in doing that, unfortunately."

A second person was present at the time of the blast -- about 4 a.m. MT -- but was uninjured and is cooperating with investigators, Moody said. (Posted 4:09 p.m.)

Poll: Bush job approval at 38 percent

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's job approval rating saw a slight improvement in the past month, but a solid majority of the country still disapproves of his performance in office, according to a CNN poll out Monday.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN, found 38 percent of the 1,028 Americans surveyed approved of the job Bush was doing. Another 61 percent said they disapproved.

The survey had a sampling error of 3 percentage points.

The latest approval figure is up slightly from the 36 percent Bush registered in an April CNN poll, and is his highest mark in the survey since mid-November. His approval rating has been mired in the 30 percent range for most of the past year. (Posted 4:08 p.m.)

With race just begun, Giuliani, McCain and Clinton, Obama in lead

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A year and a half before the 2008 presidential election, Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain are leading the Republican pack, and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are leading the Democrats, a poll said Monday.

Asked whom they would most likely support for the Republican nomination, 25 percent of people who identified themselves as Republicans or leaning Republican cited the former mayor of New York and 23 percent cited the senator from Arizona.

Among the Democrats, the senator from New York was cited by 41 percent versus 27 percent who said they favor her rival from Illinois. That's a significant boost for the former first lady over the 30 percent rating she got in a poll carried out April 10-12. (Posted 4:07 p.m.)

Justice Dept. clears the way for Goodling immunity, congressional testimony

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Justice Department on Monday cleared the way for its former liaison to the White House, Monica Goodling, to be granted immunity and to testify before a congressional committee investigating the controversial firing of several U.S. attorneys.

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the two Justice Department officials leading an internal investigation of the firings said they "will not raise an objection" to granting her immunity from possible prosecution.

Conyers said he would move "expeditiously to apply for the court order so that we can schedule a hearing promptly."

Goodling invoked the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself and insisted she would not testify without receiving a grant of immunity. --From Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 2:39 p.m.)

Senior U.S. commander shot, wounded while overseeing controversial security barrier in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A senior U.S. commander was wounded by a single gunshot while overseeing the construction of temporary concrete barriers in Baghdad last week, according to a U.S. military news release issued on Monday.

Col. Billy Don Farris -- commander of the 2nd "Falcon" Brigade Combat Team of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division -- was evacuated from the country for further treatment and is in stable condition, the military said.

The news release didn't give details on his injury. A military source told CNN on Sunday that Farris was "shot in the leg and will recover."

Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, commanding general of Multi-National Division-Baghdad and the 1st Cavalry Division, praised Farris for "the job his brigade has done in Baghdad's Adhamiya district," the release stated.

"He's a great leader," Fil said. (Posted 1:50 p.m.)

Tornado victim found alive

GREENSBURG, Kan. (CNN) -- Two days after a tornado destroyed this Kansas town, rescue crews found a survivor under the rubble, authorities said Monday.

"Last night, late evening, we did recover someone alive," said Ronald Knoefel with the Kansas Highway Patrol. "So we are very very happy with that. ... The search and rescue continues because we still have optimism that we're going to find more people alive."

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius earlier told CNN the rubble was so deep in some places that even trained dogs might be unable to pick up the scent of people who may be buried beneath.

Tornado-packing storms killed 10 people in Kansas over the weekend -- nine Friday night in the area around Greensburg and one in a new set of storms the next night in the northern town of Ottawa.

News of the survivor came as some of Greensburg's nearly 2,000 residents were allowed to re-enter the area and witness the flattened town that was once their community. Cars jammed the roads into town as police checked identification cards -- and reminded people they'd have to leave by 6 p.m., as part of the security measures implemented in the area. (Posted 1:04 p.m.)

Top Sunni: Make changes by next week or 'bye-bye' to political process

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq's top Sunni official has set a deadline of next week for pulling his entire Sunni bloc out of the government -- a potentially devastating blow to reconciliation efforts within Iraq. He also said he turned down an offer by President Bush to visit Washington until he can count more fully on U.S. help.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi made his comments in an interview with CNN's Nic Robertson. He said if key amendments to the Iraqi constitution are not made by May 15, he will step down and pull his 44 Sunni politicians out of the 275-member Iraqi parliament.

"If the constitution is not subject to major changes, definitely, I will tell my constituency frankly that I have made the mistake of my life when I put my endorsement to that national accord," he said.

Specifically, he wants guarantees in the constitution that the country won't be split into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish federal states, which he says would disadvantage Sunnis.

Al-Hashimi's cooperation with the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is widely seen as essential if there is to be a realistic chance of bridging the Shiite-Sunni divide in Iraq -- one of the key goals of the Bush administration. (Posted 1:02 p.m.)

Family members head to plane crash site in Cameroon

(CNN) -- Rescue crews that finally reached the site in Cameroon of a Kenya Airways plane confirmed Monday that none of the 114 people aboard survived.

Family members of some of the passengers and crew began arriving Monday in the Cameroon city of Douala, about 15 miles (25 km) northwest of the crash site, according to information from a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Kenya Airways Boeing 737 crashed shortly after taking off Saturday from Douala airport. Rescuers had to hack their way through heavy vegetation to reach the plan, which was submerged in a mangrove swamp surrounded by tall trees.

At least one family member from Kenya and two from India are in Douala and travel papers for another 19 next of kin of 15 passengers are being processed, officials said.

Views from the air showed debris of the plane scattered over a wide area. (Posted 12:42 p.m.)

Queen Elizabeth in Washington: Poll finds U.S. loves her, too

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The queen is loved, not only in Britain but in that nation's former North American colony.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday during her six-day U.S. visit finds that eight in 10 Americans have a favorable view of Queen Elizabeth II. This is despite the fact that four in 10 believe Britain would be better off without a royal family.

Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived at the White House on Monday morning, and will wrap up their visit with a white-tie dinner. The royal couple was greeted by President and Mrs. Bush and 7,000 guests.

Remarks by both Bush and the queen emphasized the long ties of history and friendship between the two countries. Both referred to the queen's attendance at the ceremony commemorating the 1607 landing at Jamestown, Virginia. It is the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in North America.

The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday with 1,028 Americans. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3 points.(Posted 11:52 a.m.)

New Jersey governor returns to work

(CNN) -- New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine returned to his office Monday morning, a week after being released from Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., where he spent nearly three weeks recovering from a near-fatal car accident.

At a morning press conference outside the governor's mansion in Trenton, the governor formally thanked everyone involved in his recovery and assured the public that he is feeling well enough to resume his gubernatorial duties.

"I feel strong enough to make sure that I can perform the constitutional roles," he said. "My focus will be on policy and legislation and the fundamentals of the agenda that we were doing before the accident." (Posted 11:37 a.m.)

Violence in Iraq on Monday claims 27 lives

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attacks in Iraq on Monday have killed 27 Iraqi civilians and police and wounded 32 others.

Monday's deadliest attack happened in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, when two bombings struck separate targets within minutes of each other, police said.

At least 13 people died and 35 were wounded in those attacks, Ramadi's police chief said. Police had initially reported a higher death toll that was incorrect.

In the town of Madaen, southeast of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed two civilians and wounded two, an Interior Ministry source told CNN. In central Baghdad, a roadside bomb detonated in Bab al-Muadham around 1:30 p.m., killing two civilians and wounding three, a police official said. Around the same time, a mortar round struck Bayaa in southwestern Baghdad, killing five and wounding two, the official said.

In Samarra, a roadside bomb struck an Iraqi army vehicle, killing five soldiers, a security official said. (Posted 10:40 a.m.)

U.S. soldier killed in Baghdad attack on Sunday

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military announced another soldier was killed in Iraq on Sunday, bringing the day's death toll for the U.S. military to 10.

The soldier died when insurgents fired on a Multi-National Division-Baghdad security patrol in western Baghdad, according to the U.S. military.

With the death, 26 American servicemembers have been killed in Iraq in the first week of May. All but one of the 10 U.S. soldiers who died on Sunday were killed in combat. (Posted, 10:40 a.m.)

Israeli airstrike hits car in Gaza

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israeli military carried out an airstrike Monday, hitting a car in northern Gaza that was carrying large amounts of ammunition, including Qassam rockets, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Palestinian security sources said four Islamic Jihad militants were traveling in the car after shooting rockets, and all four militants managed to escape.

According to Israeli daily, Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to "respond severely" to recent Qassam fire from Gaza.

The newspaper reported that a Qassam rocket on Monday hit a house in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, narrowly missing a school.

No one was seriously injured in the attack, according to Haaretz. (Posted 10:10 a.m.)

Imus attorney to file $120 million lawsuit against CBS Radio by next week

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Don Imus' attorney Monday described the former talk show host's pending $120 million lawsuit against his former employer, CBS Radio, as "very easy" and said he expects a jury to award him the full amount for wrongful termination.

"A jury will give him $120 million because CBS got what it wanted," Martin Garbus told CNN's "American Morning."

Garbus, who is considered to be one of the country's top trial lawyers, said he plans to file the lawsuit by next week. He said his client is seeking "direct and indirect damages" following his dismissal last month for making racial and sexual on-air comments about members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

Asked about Garbus' comments, a CBS Radio spokeswoman referred CNN to the company's statement issued last week.

"We terminated Mr. Imus for cause," the CBS Radio statement said. "Based on the comments in question and relevant contract terms, we believe that the termination was appropriate and CBS would expect to prevail in any attempt by Mr. Imus to recover money for his actions." (Posted 9:57 a.m.)

L.A. mayor says he and police chief will 'get to bottom' of what happened at immigration rally

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vowed a "comprehensive, open review" Monday of what happened between police and demonstrators at an immigration rally last Tuesday in the city's MacArthur Park.

Giving a vote of confidence to Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, Villaraigosa said he had immediately asked Bratton to investigate the incident and he and Bratton are working together to look into accusations of excessive force after police fired more than 200 rounds of rubber bullets and swung batons at participants and journalists covering the rally.

The mayor said he'd also asked for an investigation by the city's independent police commission.

Bratton announced that at least 60 officers have been taken off the street in connection with the incident's investigation. (Posted 9:40 a.m.)

Pakistan's top court suspends proceedings against top judge

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday suspended judicial proceedings against the country's top judge amid accusations that the five-member panel overseeing the case was biased against Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The Supreme Court has recommended that it oversee Chaudhry's case -- something that Chaudhry has requested through his lawyer.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf suspended Chaudhry on March 9, accusing him of misusing his powers.

Chaudhry was subsequently placed under house arrest -- outraging many Pakistanis and prompting massive protests by the country's attorneys who have boycotted the courts.

Chaudhry has since been released from house arrest. (Posted 6:38 a.m.)


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