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The CNN Wire: Thursday, Oct. 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.

Copperfield's warehouse raid veiled in mystery

(CNN) -- A Las Vegas warehouse owned by illusionist David Copperfield was searched by FBI agents who were investigating a case based in Seattle Thursday night, according to an FBI spokesman.

Very little information has been made public about the raid and it is not immediately clear if Copperfield is a target of the probe.

A lawyer for Copperfield said he was aware of the investigation and that Copperfield has been contacted by the FBI. FBI Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said no other information could be made public on the probe. (Posted 1:14 a.m.)

Thai police arrest Canadian man sought in Internet child sex abuse case

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- A teacher from Canada suspected of sexually abusing young boys in photographs posted on the Internet has been arrested in Thailand, Thai police said.

Christopher Paul Neil was taken into custody in Nakhon Ratchafima, a town about 130 miles northeast of Bangkok, where he was allegedly attempting to contact underage boys, police said.

Interpol, the international police agency that issued a worldwide appeal for information in the case last week, said the suspect had been working as an English teacher in South Korea and flew from Seoul to Bangkok last Thursday. From CNN's Matthew Chance in Bangkok (Posted 12:26 a.m.)

Authorities: 124 dead in suicide bombing near former PM's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 124 people were killed and more than 320 injured around midnight Thursday in a suicide bombing near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, according to hospital and police sources.

Bhutto and those with her were uninjured, and her companions said she reached her family home safely. Video footage showed her exiting the bullet- and blast-proof vehicle after the blasts.

Authorities believe the suicide bomber was on foot and threw a grenade to attract attention before setting of the second, major blast, Karachi police chief Azhar Farooqi told CNN. The bomber is believed to have acted alone.

Police do not think a car bomb was involved, he said. Nearby cars that were burned were affected by the blast, but police do not believe a bomb was inside the car. (Posted 10:41 p.m.)

EU leaders approve new treaty despite calls for referendum in member states

(CNN) -- European leaders on Thursday approved a new treaty that will reshape the European Union's institutions and streamline decision-making, in spite of opinion polls showing the majority of people in the main member states believe the treaty should be put to national votes.

The treaty was approved on the first day of a two-day summit in Lisbon, Portugal. It is the would-be successor to a proposed EU constitution that was scrapped in 2005 after it was rejected by voters in two European countries.

Socrates said a proposal presented to the Polish delegation and accepted allowed the resolution of a stalemate and paved the way for agreement on the treaty.

The treaty changes voting procedures, increases the role of the European parliament and includes a charter of fundamental rights. (Posted 9:39 p.m.)

Angry mob symbol of Pakistan's polarization over Bhutto

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- A mob of people angry at a deadly suicide bombing targeting the convoy of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto burned a gas station, torched tires and blocked roads on the outskirts of Karachi, authorities said, prompting officers to go in and clear roads.

Bhutto was unhurt in the bombing, which killed more than 120 people and wounded more than 300. Members of her Pakistan People's Party said after the bombing they considered it an assassination attempt against Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan Thursday after an eight-year, self-imposed exile.

Bhutto told CNN just before returning to her homeland that she was aware of the risks and knew some people wished her harm, but "I'm prepared to take them." She did, however, tell CNN Wednesday that she wrote Musharraf a letter naming those she feared would make an attempt on her life.

Threats against her, she said, were made by "certain people who have gained a lot through dictatorship. They have presided over the rise of extremism, they have created safe havens in the tribal areas of Pakistan for the Taliban and other militants and they fear my return."

The blast and the impromptu demonstration underscored the polarization Bhutto causes in her homeland. (Posted 8:47 p.m.)

Impotence drugs may increase risk for sudden hearing loss

By CNN Medical Producer Miriam Falco in Atlanta

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Men taking any of the three erectile dysfunction drugs -- Viagra, Levitra or Cialis -- or the blood pressure medication Revatio may be at increased risk for sudden hearing loss, prompting Food and Drug Administration officials to require label changes by the manufacturer.

Revatio has the same active ingredient as the other drugs.

The FDA is now requiring the drug labels "to display more prominently the potential risk of sudden hearing," according to the agency's Web site.

The FDA also recommended that men taking one of the ED drugs and experiencing hearing loss should immediately stop taking the drug and see their physician.

However, patients taking Revatio and experiencing hearing loss should not discontinue taking this drug, according to the FDA, because that could have life-threatening consequences. Those patients are urged to see their physicians immediately. (Posted 7:31 p.m.)

Authorities: 124 dead in suicide bombing near former PM's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 124 people were killed and more than 320 injured around midnight Thursday in a suicide bombing near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, according to hospital and police sources.

Bhutto, and those with her were uninjured, and her companions said she reached her family home safely. Video footage showed her exiting the bullet- and blast-proof vehicle after the blasts. She apparently was inside it, rather than on the roof of the vehicle, at the time of the blasts. (Posted 7:16 p.m.)

DNA co-discoverer apologizes for comments on black intelligence

LONDON (CNN) -- Nobel laureate biologist Jim Watson apologized "unreservedly" Thursday evening for asserting in a newspaper interview that black people were not as intelligent as white people, saying he was "mortified" by the comments attributed to him.

"I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said," Watson said during an appearance at the Royal Society in London. "I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways that they have."

"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."

Watson, 79, an American who won the 1962 Nobel prize for his role in discovery the double-helix structure of DNA, told the Sunday Times that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really." (Posted 7:15 p.m.)

Authorities: 93 dead in at least one blast near former PM's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 93 people were killed and more than 150 were injured around midnight Thursday in a suicide bombing near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, according to hospital and police sources.

Bhutto and those with her were uninjured, and her companions said she reached her family home safely. Video footage showed her exiting the vehicle after the blasts. She apparently was standing behind bullet-proof glass.

"I can see body parts strewn all over the road," said CNN's Dan Rivers, at the scene. "There are dead bodies everywhere. ... It is a large-scale attack, by the looks of things." There were conflicting reports on whether there were one or two blasts and whether the bomb was in a car.

"Although the truck that Benazir Bhutto was riding on was surrounded by police cars, so the suicide bomber could not get onto the truck and could not get anywhere near it, so he blew himself up and that has caused many casualties, mostly among the policemen who were riding beside the truck, Tariq Azim Khan, Pakistani information minister, told CNN. (Posted 5:43 p.m.)

Authorities: 78 dead in at least one blast near former PM's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 78 people were killed and 80 injured Thursday night in one or two explosions near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, officials and police sources told CNN. (Posted 5:10 p.m.)

Dodd to put 'hold' on FISA bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said Thursday he will place a "hold" on legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act currently moving through the Senate.

The bill is due to be voted out of the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday afternoon, but Dodd's move would block the measure from reaching a floor vote.

"The president has no right to secretly eavesdrop on the conversations and activities of law abiding American citizens and anyone who has aided and abetted him in these illegal activities should be held accountable," Dodd, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a written statement.

Dodd opposes a provision in the bill that would give retroactive immunity to telephone companies that may have illegally helped the government with the warrantless wiretap program. (Posted 5:07 p.m.)

Authorities: 48 dead in at least one blast near former PM's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 48 people were killed and 80 injured Thursday night in one or two explosions near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, officials and police sources told CNN. (Posted 4:48 p.m.)

Authorities: 45 dead in 2 blasts near Bhutto's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 45 people were killed and 80 injured Thursday night in two explosions near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, officials and police sources told CNN. (Posted 4:32 p.m.)

Crude oil prices end above $89 for first time

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices finished at an all-time high above $89 a barrel Thursday, while the cost of a gallon of gasoline jerked higher.

Light, sweet crude for the November contract jumped $2.07 to settle at $89.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, shattering the previous record of $87.61 a barrel reached two days earlier.

During the day, crude prices got as high as $89.55 a barrel, another record.

Prices at the pump have been slow to respond to rising crude prices recently, but that may be changing. On Thursday, gas prices gained nearly 2 cents to a national average of $2.79 a gallon for regular-grade gasoline, according to AAA. They are up 4 cents since Monday. --By CNNMoney's Dave Ellis (Posted 4:18 p.m.)

Authorities: 35 dead in 2 blasts near Bhutto's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 35 people were killed Thursday night in two explosions near a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, police sources told CNN.

Bhutto and those with her were uninjured, and her companions said she reached her destination safely.

"I can see body parts strewn all over the road," said CNN's Dan Rivers, at the scene. "There are dead bodies everywhere. ... It is a large-scale attack, by the looks of things."

Video footage showed a chaotic scene after the explosions, with crowds of people trying to flee as emergency vehicles jammed streets. Other footage showed injured victims writhing on a road, awaiting medical attention, and at least one fire apparently sparked by the blasts. (Posted 4:01 p.m.)

Authorities: 2 blasts near Bhutto's convoy

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Two explosions occurred Thursday night near the motorcade of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned earlier in the day after eight years of self-imposed exile, but she was uninjured, police sources told CNN.

Pakistan officials said at least 30 people are dead. (Posted 3:45 p.m.)

Mood changes as Mukasey's answers on torture policy fail to satisfy Democrats

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The refusal of attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey to directly disavow waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques frustrated Senate Democrats as the mood soured perceptibly during the second day of confirmation hearings Thursday.

"I sense a difference," said the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Under tough questioning on torture policy Thursday, the retired judge repeated his view that torture is unconstitutional, but he would not categorically declare any specific techniques to be prohibited.

"I don't think I can discuss techniques," Mukasey told the committee, as skeptical Democrats pressed on. --From CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 3:13 p.m.)

Brownback to drop out of GOP presidential race

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Sam Brownback will bow out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination Friday in his home state of Kansas, a source on Capitol Hill and another involved in the Brownback campaign told CNN Thursday.

The campaign source said that the Brownback campaign has less than $100,000 in the bank and few prospects of improving fund-raising given the senator's moribund poll standings.

The Capitol Hill source said he knew of no plans for Brownback to endorse another candidate, but noted the senator has said he would support the eventual GOP nominee.

In the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll on the Republican race, released Tuesday, Brownback was the choice of 1 percent of those polled. --From CNN Chief National Correspondent John King (Posted 2:59 p.m.)

Tornado strikes Pensacola

(CNN) -- A tornado accompanied by heavy thunderstorms and gusty winds skipped across Pensacola, Fla., Thursday, damaging a church with an attached day care center and snapping power lines and trees in the Gulf Coast community.

Four or five people were taken to hospitals in the Pensacola area, said Glenn Austin, a spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

"Here at the sheriff's office, we were evacuated down to the basement at one point," Austin said.

He said the tornado moved roughly from southwest to northeast Pensacola, with the biggest apparent damage in the southwest, where older suburbs are located. It caused damage to downtown buildings, and to Cordova Mall and Pensacola Junior College northeast of downtown. It spared Pensacola High School.

House Dems fail to override president's veto on children's health care bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Failing to garner a two-thirds majority, the Democrat-led House Thursday was unable to override President Bush's veto of a plan to expand the state-run Children's Health Insurance Program.

The vote was 273-156, 13 short of the two-thirds majority needed, even though 44 Republicans sided with the Democrats for the measure.

House Democratic leaders have vowed to continue the fight to get some kind of legislation passed on the issue.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was adamant the plan -- which would provide $35 billion for children's health care and which supporters say will cover 10 million children -- would not be scaled back. (Posted 1:37 p.m.)

Tornado damages Pensacola church

(CNN) -- A tornado accompanied by heavy thunderstorms and gusty winds touched down in Pensacola, Fla., Thursday, damaging a church with an attached day care center, and snapping power lines and trees in the Gulf Coast community.

Four or five people were taken to hospitals in the Pensacola area, said Glenn Austin, a spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

The day care center, attached to the Greater Little Rock Baptist Church, "took a direct hit," Austin said, but the children already had been moved to another location because of the tornado warning. (Posted 1:16 p.m.)

Drug-resistant staph infection raises concerns in U.S. schools

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A potentially lethal drug-resistant strain of staph bacteria -- which appears to cause more deaths in the United States each year than AIDS, according to new data -- has been spreading through the nation's schools, causing a rash of frightening infections and at least one death.

In Bedford, Va., Staunton River High School was closed after one of its students, 17-year-old Ashton Bonds, died of an infection caused by a methicillin-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus Monday. On Wednesday, school officials in Connecticut confirmed that one student at Weston High School and one at Newton High School had been diagnosed with MRSA. In Rockville, Md., at least 13 Montgomery County school students have been diagnosed with MRSA.

Other cases have been reported in Ohio, Michigan and other states, and school officials throughout the country have been taking preventative measures to keep the bacteria at bay.

"We cannot continue to shut schools down," said Bedford County School spokesperson Ryan Edwards. "We're going to have to preach hygiene, preach cleanliness and have our students take all the precautions themselves." --By CNN's Mythili Rao (Posted 12:19 p.m.)

Britney Spears loses visitation rights with her children

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Singer Britney Spears' visitation rights with her children were suspended Thursday until she complies with court orders in her custody battle with her ex-husband Kevin Federline.

"Petitioner's (Spears') visitation with the minor children is suspended pending the petitioner's compliance with court orders," according to an order entered in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Court spokesman Allan Parachini said the order was signed Wednesday by the court commissioner handling her custody case. (Posted 12:03 p.m.)

Iraqi government spokesman: 'Chemical Ali' to be executed in 'coming days'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Iraqi government's spokesman, visiting the White House on Thursday, told reporters that the Saddam Hussein-era henchman known as "Chemical Ali" will be executed "in the coming days."

Ali Hassan al-Majeed, nicknamed "Chemical Ali," was sentenced to death by hanging for his role in the Anfal campaign -- an Iraqi Army offensive in the 1980s that killed up to 100,000 people in the country's Kurdish region, said the spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh. (Posted 11:49 a.m.)

Attorney: French president and wife have divorced

PARIS (CNN) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Cecilia, have divorced by mutual consent, the couple's attorney told a French radio network.

"A judge heard it, and the judge pronounced the divorce," Michele Cahen told Europe 1 radio. Europe 1 reported the divorce was finalized on Monday.

Cahen said all matters dealing with finances and custody of the couple's five children -- four from previous marriages -- have been resolved.

"There is no problem. It went very well, there was not the least bit of trouble," Cahen said. (Posted 11:47 a.m.)

4 Iraqis wounded in shooting by people in convoy carrying Westerners

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Kirkuk's police chief said four civilians were wounded in northern Iraq by people in a convoy carrying Westerners.

The chief, Maj. Gen. Torhan Yusuf, told CNN that it was not yet clear whether the convoy was guarded by a private security detail or some other group.

He said people in a convoy of sport-utility vehicles carrying the Westerners fired on a taxi around 10 a.m.

A Kurdish journalist was among the four wounded. Two of the civilians were slightly wounded and one is in critical condition. (Posted 11:38 a.m.)

Airport screeners failed to find most fake bombs smuggled through checkpoints, prompting TSA to alter protocols

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Airport screeners failed to find most of the fake bombs being smuggled by plain-clothed investigators through checkpoints at airports in Chicago and Los Angeles from late 2005 until last fall, the Transportation Security Administration confirmed to CNN Thursday.

Investigators successfully smuggled 75 percent of the fake bombs through checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport, and 60 percent through Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to a report obtained by USA Today. In tests at San Francisco International Airport, where a private company conducts inspections, only 20 percent of the contraband made it through.

The TSA confirmed the results to CNN but said the tests, conducted in fiscal year 2006, prompted the agency to change its protocols. The TSA, taking a cue from the experiences in San Francisco, now conducts continual testing, which has led to improvements at airports across the country, the agency said.

TSA now conducts 2,500 tests a day nationwide, said TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe. "There are tests literally in every lane, every shift, every day," she said, adding that there has been an overall improvement in performance. --From CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve (Posted 11:33 a.m.)

Putin calls on U.S. to set date for withdrawal in 'pointless' Iraq war

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian president Vladimir Putin called on the United States to set a date for withdrawal from Iraq, saying the U.S. military campaign had become a "pointless" battle against the Iraqi people.

Putin used a live Russian TV and radio broadcast to round on U.S. policy in Iraq, which he claimed was aimed in part at seizing oil reserves.

The Russian leader's latest broadside against U.S. foreign policy came during his annual question-and-answer session with the Russian people where Russian citizens are invited to call in questions.

He also repeated his warning against U.S. efforts to put elements of a missile defense system in eastern Europe and confirmed his plans to step down from the presidency next year. (Posted 11:32 a.m.)

1 dead, 4 wounded in Baghdad bombs

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A police officer was killed and four people were wounded when two roadside bombs detonated in central Baghdad on Thursday afternoon, Iraq's Interior Ministry said.

The bombs, which exploded nearly simultaneously, went off as a police patrol drove past Baghdad's National Theater. Two of the wounded were police and two were civilians. --From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh (Posted 10:44 a.m.)

BBC cuts 1,800 jobs, staff expected to strike

LONDON (CNN) -- The British Broadcasting Corporation has announced massive job cuts, saying it plans to sack around 1,800 of its staff.

The BBC said Thursday it also plans to sell off BBC Television Centre, the corporation's landmark headquarters in west London, as part of efforts to plug a $4 billion budget deficit.

In a statement released on its Web site, the broadcaster said it will reduce its original output by 10 percent to focus on fewer, higher quality programs.

A total of 2,500 positions will go, with the BBC hoping to manage those with natural turnover and the creation of around 700 new posts. Many of the cuts will come in the areas of current affairs and news, with the elimination of redundancies caused by merging the BBC's television, radio and Internet operations in an attempt to adapt to the new digital media age. (Posted 10:30 a.m.)

Racist comments by Nobel-winning scientist spark controversy

LONDON (CNN) -- A British museum has canceled a lecture by Dr. James Watson, co-founder of the DNA double helix, after he claimed in a recent newspaper interview that black people are less intelligent than whites.

Watson, who won the 1962 Nobel prize for his part in discovering the structure of DNA, provoked a storm of criticism after his comments were published in the Sunday Times.

The eminent biologist told the British newspaper he is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours -- whereas all the testing says not really."

Watson, 79, had been due to give a lecture at London's Science Museum on Friday but the museum canceled his appearance, saying his comments had "gone beyond the point of acceptable debate." (Posted 10:06 a.m.)

Thousands greet Pakistan's former premier on her arrival in homeland

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Vowing to help return democracy to Pakistan, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto ended eight years of self-imposed exile and returned Thursday to her native country, where she was greeted by a massive crowd of supporters.

Shortly after arriving in the southern port city of Karachi, Bhutto entered the bustling city streets in an armored motorcade for protection against the crush of supporters celebrating her arrival.

Bhutto said she was "emotionally overwhelmed" by the welcome, but she wasted no time addressing the political situation in Pakistan.

Minutes after her arrival at Karachi International Airport, Bhutto called for a return to democracy to repair Pakistan's tarnished image as a haven for terrorists.

"The people that you see outside are the real image of Pakistan," she told reporters. "If we get democracy, this is the face of Pakistan the world will see, not the face of extremists who have thrived under dictatorships." (Posted 9:27 a.m.)

Mukasey promises independence from politics; says torture is not legal

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey made it clear to senators considering his nomination Wednesday that he would be independent of the White House and politics and would make legal decisions based "on facts and law, not by interests and motives."

Mukasey, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would resign from office if ever faced with a presidential order he believed was unconstitutional.

"I would try to talk him out of it -- or leave," he said.

Mukasey said he does not believe the president has legal authority to approve torture techniques for use on terror suspects, something former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to say. Mukasey disavowed a memo written by former Justice official Jay Bybee that had justified certain harsh techniques. (Posted 8:50 a.m.)

BBC cuts 1,800 jobs, staff expected to strike

LONDON (CNN) -- The British Broadcasting Corporation has announced massive job cuts, saying it planned to sack around 1,800 of its staff.

The BBC said Thursday it also planned to sell off BBC Television Centre, the corporation's landmark headquarters in west London, as part of efforts to plug a $4 billion budget deficit. (Posted 8:50 a.m.)

Children's health care plan heads to veto showdown

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congress and President Bush are headed to a showdown with no sign of compromise on a popular children's health care bill .

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to override Bush's veto of a plan expanding the state-run Children's Health Insurance Program.

Though Democrats have pounded Republicans over the issue for two weeks, House GOP leaders predict they will have the votes needed to uphold the veto.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday, "We are still in this fight." (Posted 8:48 a.m.)

French president and wife to separate, office says

PARIS (CNN) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia are separating by mutual consent, the president's office confirmed Thursday.

The announcement from Elysee Palace follows weeks of speculation and rumors that the couple's marriage of 11 years was in trouble. The office said the couple would be making no further statements.

Cecilia Sarkozy has been increasingly absent from her husband's side since he came to power in May. -- From CNN Correspondent Jim Bittermann (Posted 8:48 a.m.)

Air Force expected to recommend firings, punishments over nuclear warhead incident

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Air Force is expected to recommend the firing and disciplining of a number of service members involved in the mistaken flight of nuclear warheads across the country in August, according to a military official familiar with the investigation.

The source asked did not want to be identified because not everyone involved has been informed.

The just concluded investigation into the August 29 incident is expected to recommend the firing of at least five Air Force service personnel, disciplinary action of others and criminal charges are being considered for failure to follow safety and security procedures, according to the source.

The squadron commander in charge of handling munitions at Minot Air Force Base was relieved of duty soon after the incident. -- From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr (Posted 8:48 a.m.)

EU leaders to approve new treaty despite calls for a referendum in member states

LONDON (CNN) -- European leaders are pushing ahead with plans for a new treaty that would reshape the European Union's institutions despite opinion polls showing that a vast majority of people in the main member states believe the treaty should be put to national votes.

The treaty is expected to be approved during a two-day summit, which starts on Thursday in Portugal. It is the would-be successor to the proposed EU constitution that was scrapped after it was rejected by voters in two European countries in 2005.

The new treaty would change voting procedures, increase the role of the European parliament and include a charter of fundamental rights. (Posted 7:15 a.m.)

Vice President Tariq Hashimi says visit to Turkey 'ended in good results'

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An Iraqi vice president said Thursday that the meetings he held earlier this week with Turkish leaders about the tensions along the Iraq-Turkey border "ended in good results," according to a statement released by his office.

Tariq al-Hashimi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents and a top Sunni Arab leader, met in Ankara with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babagan to lessen the possibility of a Turkish incursion against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Turkey's parliament on Wednesday voted to give its military authorization to conduct cross-border actions against separatists from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK. (Posted 6:53 a.m.)

Strikes cripple France, pose challenge for government

PARIS (CNN) -- France's public transportation network came to a halt Thursday as public sector workers staged a series of strikes in what is seen as the first big test for President Nicolas Sarkozy's government.

Subways, buses and regional trains were all out of service, leading to traffic jams as commuters used their cars to get to work. Airlines were operating as usual, but some flights were delayed because employees were having trouble getting to work.

Many Parisians took advantage of the capital's free bicycle program and used bikes to get around. Others hopped on scooters or strapped on Rollerblades, and some workers simply took the day off altogether.

The walkout began Wednesday night and was expected to last 24 hours, but the backlog of services could mean the effects of the strike last much longer. (Posted 5:40 a.m.)

Pakistan's former premier arrives in homeland

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto landed at Karachi International Airport Thursday as throngs of supporters pulsed through the city streets to welcome her.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be on the tarmac and to know that there are people waiting out there," Bhutto told CNN by phone just after landing. "I'm, going to go to the (airport) lounge and wait for the journalists to clear their luggage, and then we're going to go in a truck on a tour of the city to acknowledge the crowds that have gathered and go to the grave of the founder of Pakistan."

Her arrival ends eight years of self-imposed exile and comes amid threats against her life, which she told CNN was the result of "the rise of extremism" and a "fear" of her return.

Video from the southern port city showed streets packed with tens of thousands of supporters waving banners. (Posted 5:40 a.m.)

Vice President Tariq Hashimi says visit to Turkey 'ended in good results'

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq's vice president said Thursday that the meetings he held earlier this week with Turkish leaders about the tensions along the Iraq-Turkey border "ended in good results," his office said in a statement.

Tariq al-Hashimi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents and a top Sunni Arab leader, met in Ankara with the President of the Turkish Republic Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babagan to lessen the possibility of a Turkish incursion against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Turkey's parliament on Wednesday voted to give its military authorization to conduct cross-border actions against separatists from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK.

That group, which operates largely in southeastern Turkey, has undertaken actions against Turkey from northern Iraq, and Turkey is intent on stopping that activity. (Posted 5:10 a.m.)

Thunderstorms in Oklahoma destroy, damage mobile homes; at least 5 injured

(CNN) -- At least five people were injured Wednesday night when a powerful line of thunderstorms rolled through northeastern Oklahoma, emergency medical services said.

The "violent thunderstorm damaged about 25 mobile homes and travel trailers in a mobile home park between Oologah and the Washington County line," a statement from the Oologah-Talala Emergency Medical Services District said.

None of the injuries was believed to be life threatening, officials said. Trees and power lines were down throughout the area.

Although at least one mobile home was destroyed, Rogers County Emergency Management director Bob Anderson said a full damage assessment could not be conducted until daylight.

Oologah is about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa. (Posted 4:55 a.m.)

Insurgents attack patrol near Kandahar; 9 service members injured

(CNN) -- Insurgents in southern Afghanistan attacked a coalition reconnaissance patrol on Wednesday and wounded nine of the service members, the U.S.-led coalition said on Thursday.

The incident occurred near Kandahar and the service members were seriously injured.

The insurgents, wielding heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms, assaulted the patrol from two positions above the road the soldiers were on.

Troops returned fire with small arms. (Posted 4:25 a.m.)

Local Iraqi politician detained, accused of facilitating terrorist attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi security forces on Wednesday detained a local politician in Diwaniya, who is suspected of facilitating terrorist attacks, a U.S. military statement released Thursday said.

The suspect, a provincial council member, is accused of using his government position to support criminal terrorists in the area, according to the military.

"The detainee is also believed to meet regularly with terrorist leaders and has been helping them obtain weapons and financial support to conduct vicious attacks against innocent civilians and Iraqi and Coalition Forces," the statement said.

"He has allegedly used his influence as a government official to release militants from jail and has additionally helped these terrorists obtain jobs in the Iraqi Police and Facilities Protection Service." (Posted 4:15 a.m.)

Pakistan's former premier leaves for homeland as promised

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Defying death threats and fulfilling her promise to the people, Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was en route home Thursday, ending eight years of self-imposed exile.

Video showed teeming throngs of people in the streets of Karachi hours ahead of her arrival from Dubai.

Bhutto, the first woman ever to lead an Islamic nation, hopes to secure a third term as prime minister after January elections.

Her return home was made possible by Pakistan's embattled military president Pervez Musharraf, who agreed to drop corruption charges against her as part of his own bid to stay in power. (Posted 3:15 a.m.)

Congressional sources: Hastert to announce resignation

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will resign his congressional seat rather than serve out the rest of his term, two GOP congressional sources told CNN Wednesday evening.

Over the summer the Illinois Republican had said he would not seek re-election in the state's 14th District. Both sources said Hastert would make an announcement "soon" but probably not on Thursday.

"I think he is just done with being a member of Congress," a GOP aide said of Hastert, who has just over a year remaining in his term.

Hastert, 65, is the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history, holding the post from Jan. 1999 to Nov. 2006. (Posted 1:45 a.m.)

Massachusetts governor to back Obama's '08 bid

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president at an event next week in Boston, an aide to the Illinois Democrat tells CNN.

Patrick is the first black governor of Massachusetts, and his decision to back Obama comes at a critical time as the Democratic presidential contenders are all competing for the support of African-Americans.

The battle for this important voting bloc is particularly competitive between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. Last week, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, a civil rights legend, endorsed Clinton's presidential bid.

Patrick served in the Justice Department under former President Bill Clinton, the husband of Sen. Clinton. In addition to being prominent black political leaders, Obama and Patrick share a top political strategist. David Axelrod helped Patrick win election last year, and is a senior strategist on the Obama presidential campaign. (Posted 11 p.m.) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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