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16 climbers stranded in Quezon mountain rescued by AFP

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Written on 7:21 PM by yahoo

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16 climbers stranded in Quezon mountain rescued by AFP


Article posted January 27, 2008 - 04:58 PM
Government forces rescued 16 employees of an advertising firm who were stranded from their trekking in Mt. Sto Cristobal in Dolores town in Quezon since Saturday, the military’s Southern Luzon Command reported Sunday.

Solcom spokesman Maj. Randolph Cabangbang said two of the rescued mountaineers, identified as Eric Sanchez, 36, of Las Piñas City, and Mhogs Angeles, 30, of Pasay
City
, were injured and have been taken to Solcom Hospital in Lucena City.

Cabangbang could not say when the 16 employees of the advertising firm Pencil Incorporated climbed the mountain but said one of the mountaineers sent a text message to an Air Force officer-friend last Saturday to report that they have been stranded.

The message was later relayed to the 202nd Brigade, which immediately organized a team led by the 740th Combat Group. The search and rescue team was dispatched around 1 a.m. Sunday, said 202nd Brigade spokesman Capt. Peter Garceniego Jr.

Around 10 a.m., Garceniego said 10 of the mountaineers were found by soldiers. They were
Sanchez, Angeles, Sam Kabiling, Jeremy Reyes, Teri Binambang, Jean Aparis, Alex Madrona, Coy Roxas, Jaime Magpayo and Arnold Garchitorena.

About an hour later, Garceniego said soldiers found six others who were at a “shouting distance" from the 10 mountaineers earlier recovered. The six are Michael Nisperos, Ian Belmonte, Oliver John Gomez, Resus Belmonte, Tady Diaz and Reg Romanilios.

Garceniego said the two injured were airlifted by an Air Force helicopter to the
Solcom Hospital despite bad weather.



5M dead as Congo peace deal signed

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Written on 10:03 AM by yahoo

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(CNN) -- The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and armed groups in the country signed a deal Wednesday to end years of fighting in the country's east, according to Peter Kessler, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Rebel soldiers loyal to renegade general Laurent Nkunda pictured in December near Goma

He had no details about the scope of the agreement. The signing ended a more than two-week-long conference between the two sides in the eastern city of Goma.

The news comes on the heels of a new report by the International Rescue Committee which said that the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Congo had taken the lives of some 5.4 million people since 1998, and that 45,000 people continue to die there every month.

IRC President George Rupp said the loss of life is equivalent to the entire population of Denmark, or the state of Colorado, dying within a decade.

Even with the country's violence, the IRC found that most of the deaths were from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malnutrition.

Nearly half the deaths were among children younger than five, even though they are only 19 percent of the population, the IRC said.

The group said the national rate of mortality is nearly 60 percent higher than the average in the sub-Saharan region.

The IRC's regional director said a peace deal -- even if it covers only the east of the country -- would have a wider impact.

"The significance is huge in the sense that the troubles in North Kivu have really been a major source of instability not only for the people in North Kivu itself, but for people in the surrounding region as well," said Alyoscia D'Onofrio, who spoke to CNN from Bukavu, in South Kivu province, which borders Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

D'Onofrio said a peace deal would signal that the Congolese government can take control of security even in restive areas like the east. That in turn would improve regional security, since conflict in the east has tended to draw in neighboring states, he said.

from cnn



D.A.: Death penalty out if Marine arrested in Mexico

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Written on 1:22 AM by yahoo

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(CNN) -- Suspected killer Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean is most likely in Mexico, authorities said, and the prosecutor said he has agreed not to seek the death penalty if Laurean is arrested in that country.

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Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, wanted for murder, may have fled to his native Mexico.

Onslow County, North Carolina, District Attorney Dewey Hudson told CNN that he was shown "strongly compelling evidence" compiled by federal authorities that shows Laurean is in Mexico.

Hudson said he has asked through the State Department that Laurean be arrested if he is found in Mexico. But, he said, he had "no other option" but to take the death penalty off the table if Laurean is found there.

Mexico has a longstanding record of refusing to extradite suspects to the United States if they face a possible death sentence if convicted.

"I had to agree not to seek the death penalty," Hudson told CNN. "My hands were tied if I wanted to bring him here to face murder charges."

"It was very frustrating and disappointing," Hudson added.

Laurean has been charged with murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. Her charred remains were found January 11 in a fire pit in Laurean's backyard.

Investigators found the body after Laurean's wife came forward with a note her husband had written saying he had buried Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant, after she slit her own throat during an argument.

Hudson said Laurean apparently entered his native Mexico only days after leaving behind that note.

Hudson would not elaborate on the evidence suggesting Laurean is in Mexico, which he said he viewed Friday. The FBI would not comment on what evidence it might have that Laurean is across the border.

"We strongly suspect, but have not confirmed, he is in Mexico," FBI spokesman Newsom Summerlin.

Summerlin said the FBI plans to circulate in Mexico either matchbooks or business cards with Laurean's photo. The Marine's wanted poster is on the FBI's Most Wanted List with a $25,000 reward.

Police believe Lauterbach was killed December 14, the same day she bought a bus ticket for travel for the following day. But in the note provided to police by Laurean's wife, the corporal claimed Lauterbach killed herself December 15.

Police said an autopsy revealed the pregnant Marine was killed by a blow to the head. Police said they are analyzing a possible murder weapon provided by an undisclosed witness. A spokesman told CNN it could several weeks to determine whether it was used to kill Lauterbach.

Laurean's wife told police about the note January 11, a day after she said Laurean told her what allegedly happened and following a meeting with a lawyer. Police describe her as a cooperating witness.

Lauterbach was scheduled to testify last month at a military hearing after accusing Laurean of raping her last spring.

On Monday, the Onslow County sheriff's office released new photographs of the fire pit in Lauren's backyard taken just before Lauterbach's body was discovered January 11. Police said some neighbors reported seeing a group of Marines having a Christmas Day barbecue in Laurean's backyard.

Police also released photographs that show Laurean's living room and garage with paint cans. Investigators said they found blood in more than one room of Laurean's home, some of which was covered by fresh paint.

The sheriff's office said it has documented evidence Laurean bought paint, concrete blocks and a wheelbarrow at a home improvement store December 16. In a store surveillance video, Laurean is seen walking into the store with another man, who has not been identified.

Investigators are also awaiting the results of DNA paternity tests, which they said could take weeks, to tell whether Laurean was the father of Lauterbach's unborn child.

Romney tries to break into winner's circle in Michigan

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Written on 10:25 AM by yahoo

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(CNN) -- Having settled for second place in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Republican Mitt Romney is hoping Michigan primary voters give him his first major victory as they head to the polls Tuesday.

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Mitt Romney signs an autograph for a young supporter after a rally Tuesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


According to recent polls of the state's Republican primary voters, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has a narrow lead over Arizona Sen. John McCain.

While Romney did win the much-overlooked Wyoming caucuses on January 5, some political analysts have said Michigan is a must-win for Romney, whose father was governor of the state in the 1960s.

"This is a big day. ... This is the day that is going to change, I believe, the politics in the nation as we get ready to select our nominee," Romney told supporters during a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tuesday. "I think Michigan is going to vote for Romney again. I am planning on it."

While Romney said the state was "not do or die," the Michigan native said he "would like to see Michigan in the win column."

"We are going all the way through February. But I can tell you, it is very important to me," Romney said Monday.

On the eve of the state's primary, the GOP presidential front-runners pledged to help turn around Michigan's struggling economy in a last-minute effort to win over voters.

On Monday, Romney, McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee toured the Detroit Auto Show, highlighting the economic problems of the struggling auto industry.

Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country -- 7.4 percent, compared with 5 percent nationally -- and the top-tier Republicans have vowed to make the revival of Michigan's economy a top priority.

Special coverage on CNN & CNN.com
On CNN TV: CNN's Lou Dobbs looks at the challenges facing the middle class in "Independents Day." On CNN.com: Anchored, real-time coverage of the Michigan primary results.
Tonight, 8 ET

"I want to bring Michigan back," Romney said Monday. "I'm not willing to sit back and say, 'Too bad for Michigan. Too bad for the car industry. Too bad for the people who've lost their jobs; they're gone forever.'

"That's not the kind of pessimism I think that'll make Michigan strong again. I will not rest, if I'm president of the United States, until Michigan is brought back."

While speaking to the Detroit Economic Club on later on Monday, Romney told business leaders, "What Michigan is feeling will be felt by the entire nation unless we win the economic battle here."

"Michigan is a bit like the canary in the mineshaft. What's hurting Michigan," he continued, "will imperil the entire nation's economy."

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Romney also blasted a new energy bill that raised the fuel efficiency standards for cars to 35 miles per gallon, saying it was an "anvil" that will weigh down the domestic auto industry.

"All of the vehicles that you're making now are outmoded. You're going to have to build new engines, new transmissions, new axles. All of these things have to be changed at the cost of tens of billions of dollars. Good luck. Now, it's a benefit to the entire nation paid for by one industry that's already in trouble," Romney said.

During the first nine days of January, the Romney campaign spent more than $2 million in advertisements on television and radio in Michigan, compared with McCain's $359,000 and Huckabee's $39,000.
Romney's campaign also announced it was pulling paid media in other early-voting states and focusing its remaining resources in Michigan.

McCain is hoping to re-create his 2000 victory in Michigan when he beat then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush by convincing independents and even Democrats to vote for him in the GOP primary.

Michigan's decision to move its primary to January 15 infuriated Democratic Party officials who were trying to slow the "front loading" of the primary process.

As punishment, party officials voted to strip Michigan of its delegates. In a show of solidarity with the party, the top-tier Democratic presidential candidates, except for Sen. Hillary Clinton, asked that their names be removed from the ballot.

Since the Democratic primary has been turned into an almost meaningless contest, McCain could benefit, as there is no party registration in Michigan, and registered voters can cast their ballots in any primary. That means Democrats and Independents may play a far greater role in Tuesday's GOP primary than they usually would.

McCain told voters Monday he thought focusing on "green technology" could revive Michigan's economy, saying that switching to alternative fuel sources is also an issue of national security.

"We are sending $400 billion of your dollars a year to oil-producing countries and look at those countries. They're not our friends," McCain said in Kalamazoo. "Some of that money's going to end up in the hands of terrorist organizations."

The senator from Arizona also said it's unrealistic to think all jobs can be restored, and he instead focuses on the retraining of workers.

"I would be ashamed to tell the people of Michigan or South Carolina that all of these jobs are coming back. I won the New Hampshire primary because I told people the truth: what they wanted to hear, what they didn't want to hear. These people know that a lot of these jobs aren't coming back," McCain said over the weekend.

Romney and McCain had some fierce exchanges before the New Hampshire primary, and the two camps continue to spar as they battle for votes in Michigan and South Carolina -- which holds its primary on January 19.

While in Kalamazoo, Michigan, McCain defended a mailing sent out in South Carolina that attacks Romney's record, saying it was not "negative campaigning" but a defensive measure.

"Now, we won't go tit-for-tat, but we will respond, and we will make clear that this kind of negative campaigning didn't work for him in Iowa when he attacked Gov. Huckabee, didn't work in New Hampshire when his campaign attacked me, and I don't think it's going to work in Michigan where he's attacking me, and it won't work in South Carolina," McCain said.

Huckabee hadn't campaigned in Michigan until last week, but just as in the Iowa caucuses, a grass-roots network of conservative Christian activists and "fair tax" proponents could keep him in contention for the top spot.
Huckabee said Monday he would help Michigan's unemployment rate by enforcing "fair" trade agreements with China and other nations that export into the United States and by cutting regulations on business.

"I think we can bring a lot of these jobs back," Huckabee said, "but part of it starts that our free-trade agreements have to be fair trade agreements. They're not. The Chinese dump products on us that have lead in them. Some of the products they have aren't safe. We aren't enforcing our trade agreements in a manner in which we should so there's an unfair competition."

The former Baptist preacher again is emphasizing a populist economic message, saying it's time to "reset" the Republican Party.

"We've lost our soul," Huckabee said. "It's time that we regain it, remind ourselves what made us a strong party, strong national defense, conservative fiscal policies. But it's also a commitment to those issues of the family and the working class people of this country who are the bread and butter every day of this nation's economy."

Recent polls show Romney with a narrow lead over McCain in Michigan.

Twenty-eight percent of people likely to vote in Tuesday's GOP primary said they supported Romney, compared with 26 percent for McCain, according to an average of four polls.

Huckabee is third with 17 percent, followed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee with 5 percent each, according to the polls' average.

The latest results are calculated by averaging four polls conducted after the New Hampshire primary: American Research Group, McClatchy/MSNBC/Mason-Dixon, Detroit Free Press/Local 4, and Detroit News/WXYZ-Action News.

The polls had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 to 5 percentage points

China blogger beaten to death

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Written on 10:42 AM by yahoo

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(CNN) -- Authorities have fired an official in central China after city inspectors beat to death a man who filmed their confrontation with villagers, China's Xinhua news agency reports.

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Officers in helmets face off with residents of Wanba village in Tianmen, central China's Hubei province.

The killing has sparked outrage in China, with thousands expressing outrage in Chinese Internet chat rooms, often the only outlet for public criticism of the government.

The incident has also alarmed advocates of press freedom, who say municipal authorities had no right to attack a man for simply filming them.

Police have detained 24 municipal inspectors and are investigating more than 100 in the death of Wei Wenhua, a 41-year-old construction company executive, Xinhua reported on Friday.

The swift action by officials reflects concerns that the incident could spark larger protests against authorities, whose heavy-handed approach often arouses resentment.

On Monday Wei happened on a confrontation in the central Chinese province of Hubei between city inspectors and villagers protesting over the dumping of waste near their homes.

A scuffle developed when residents tried to prevent trucks from unloading the rubbish, Xinhua said.

When Wei took out his cell phone to record the protest, more than 50 municipal inspectors turned on him, attacking him for five minutes, Xinhua said. Wei was dead on arrival at a Tianmen hospital, the report said.

Qi Zhengjun, chief of the urban administration bureau in the city of Tianmen, lost his job over the incident, Xinhua reported Friday.

The beating was condemned online. "It's no longer news that urban administrators enforce the law with violence," said an editorial on the news Web site Northeast News, according to The Associated Press.

"But now someone has been beaten to death on site. It has brought us not surprise, but unspeakable anger."

Chen Yizhong, a columnist on Xinhua's Web site, asked why violence by city inspectors is allowed to continue. "Cities need administration, but urban administrators need to be governed by law first," he wrote.

An international press freedom group, Reporters Without Borders, protested the killing.

"Wei is the first 'citizen journalist' to die in China because of what he was trying to film," the group said in a statement.

"He was beaten to death for doing something which is becoming more and more common and which was a way to expose law-enforcement officers who keep on overstepping their limits."
by cnn

New Mexico Gov. Richardson drops out of '08 race

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Written on 1:03 PM by yahoo

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SANTA FE, New Mexico (CNN) -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday after fourth-place showings in the campaign's first contests.

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A party strategist says "The numbers are the reason" for Richardson's departure -- a lack of votes and money.

"It is with great pride, understanding and acceptance that I am ending my campaign for president of the United States," Richardson said during a news conference in the Capitol rotunda in Santa Fe. "You know, it's been an exhilarating and humbling year, an experience I will treasure and I will never forget."

"We made our case for a foreign policy with principles and realism, of rebuilding alliances through diplomacy and unflagging support for democracy. We made our case for rebuilding our country with the laser-like focus on economic growth. ..." he said. "And we made our case for bringing people together, as I've done for my entire life -- Democrats, independents, Republicans, citizens, community groups -- to break the gridlock in Washington and get things done for the American people."

When making his announcement, Richardson declined to endorse any candidate.

Richardson will appear in CNN's "Situation Room" at 4 pm ET.

Richardson, who served as United Nations ambassador and energy secretary in the Clinton administration, drew 5 percent of the vote in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

He received 2 percent in last week's Iowa caucuses, far behind leading Democratic senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

"The numbers are the reason -- not enough votes and not enough money," a Democratic strategist involved in the campaign told CNN.

However, "He enjoyed it and believes he made a contribution," the strategist said.

As of September, Richardson had raised about $19 million during his White House bid and had spent about $13 million of that, according to Federal Election Commission records.

A year-end report is due at the end of January.

In New Hampshire on Tuesday night, Richardson was looking ahead to the Nevada caucuses on January 19.

"We head out West, and the fight goes on," he told a crowd of cheering supporters. "And we will continue to raise the issue of getting all our troops out of Iraq, and America becoming a clean-energy nation, and getting rid of No Child Left Behind."

from cnn

ri Lankan government minister was killed

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Written on 11:34 PM by yahoo

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- A Sri Lankan government minister was killed Tuesday after a roadside bomb struck his convoy, police said. Five others were injured.

D.M. Dassanayake, a non-cabinet minister for nation building, died at a hospital following the explosion in Ja-ela, a suburb between the capital Colombo and the island's international airport.

Police said Tamil rebels were behind the attack. If so, the assault is the latest salvo in the intensifying violence between the two sides since the government announced last week that it was walking away from a nearly six-year long truce.

The government claims it has killed at least 60 rebels in the last six days. The numbers are difficult to verify because both sides tend to exaggerate the casualty count. The government also does not allow media access to the areas where they are fighting the rebels unless it is on guided tours.

Sri Lanka's decision to pull out of an internationally brokered peace agreement goes into effect January 16. By the agreement's terms, each side was required to give two weeks' notice if either planned on withdrawing.

Even before the announcement, the cease-fire -- brokered by Norway in 2002 -- had existed in name only because the two sides had resumed fighting two years ago.

Sri Lanka's armed forces commanders declared on New Year's Eve that they would crush the rebels this year. They claimed that the rebels had violated the agreement repeatedly, rendering it "non-functioning."

The two sides have engaged in a brutal civil war since 1983. The rebels, formally called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, want an independent homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east of the island-nation, located south of India. They cite decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

About 65,000 people died before the two sides reached the 2002 truce.

First votes counted in New Hampshire primary

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Written on 11:24 PM by yahoo

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DIXVILLE NOTCH, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Citizens went to the polls in two small New Hampshire towns just after midnight Tuesday to cast the first ballots in a 2008 presidential primary.

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Rick Erwin tallies the nation's first primary votes in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

In Dixville Notch, they gave Sen. John McCain an early lead in the GOP race and Sen. Barack Obama a lead in the Democratic contest.

McCain garnered four votes, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with two and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with one.

Obama, fresh off a victory in the Iowa caucuses, took seven votes. Former Sen. John Edwards won two votes, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got one.

Sen. Hillary Clinton drew no votes among the 10 Democrats casting ballots in Dixville Notch, a hamlet of about 75 people near the Canadian border.

In Hart's Location, population 42, Obama received nine votes, Clinton three and Edwards one, The Associated Press reported. On the GOP side, McCain received six, Mike Huckabee five, Ron Paul four and Romney one.

For the rest of the state, most polls open at 6 a.m.; the last close at 8 p.m.

Leading up to the primary, the top contenders were scrambling to nail down supporters among an electorate notorious for its independence.

Obama worked to turn an apparent boost in the polls after the Iowa caucuses into a second victory over his leading rivals, Clinton and Edwards. And McCain expressed confidence that he would win the day's Republican primary, a contest he won during his first White House bid eight years ago.

"We are going to prove that you can't buy an election in the state of New Hampshire -- and we are also going to prove that negative attack ads don't work either," he said Monday in a jab at Romney, his leading rival.

Romney has poured $8 million into television ads in the Granite State, outspending McCain 2-to-1, according to figures from TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, CNN's consultant on television campaign advertising.

But a CNN/WMUR poll of likely voters released Monday night showed McCain leading Romney by a margin of 31 to 26 percentage points.

Change was the buzzword on all the candidates' lips Monday. Speaking in Nashua, Romney emphasized his experience in business and in shaking up the 2002 Winter Olympic effort rather than his experience in public office.

"If there has ever been a time we need a change in Washington, it's now," Romney said. "Because in my experience, what I've heard as I travel this country is that Washington is broken."

Romney also spent heavily in Iowa, only to be beaten by Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor won Iowa with extensive support from evangelical Christian voters, but was running third in more secular, libertarian New Hampshire with 13 percent, Monday's poll found.

"If we come in anywhere in the third or fourth spot, we are going to be doing great," he said on CNN Monday.

New Hampshire's independent voters, who make up about 40 percent of the state's electorate, could throw a surprise into the primaries, however.

McCain's 2000 victory came on the backs of a strong independent turnout in the GOP primary, but a CNN-WMUR poll Sunday found independent voters split almost evenly between the parties this year.

And more than 20 percent of respondents on both sides said they either had not yet made up their minds or are still open to changing their minds before voting.

Among Democrats, Monday's poll found Obama riding a 9-point lead over Clinton, 39 percent to 30 percent. Edwards, who edged out Clinton for second place in Iowa, ran third with 16 percent.

Obama's theme of "hope" has drawn crowds, but also criticism from rivals who suggest he will be too soft to deliver the change he promises. The first-term Illinois senator defended his message Monday, telling a crowd in Rochester that hope "is not blind optimism."

"Hope's the opposite of that," he said. "Hope's not ignoring the challenges and obstacles that stand in your way, it's about confronting them."

Meanwhile, he said, "The real gamble would be to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expecting a different result."

Clinton has tried to turn the tide by emphasizing her record as a "change agent," as a senator and as first lady. She fought tears as she described the stakes in the campaign at a forum with uncommitted voters in Portsmouth, calling it "one of the most important elections America has ever faced."

"This is very personal for me -- it's not just political, it's not just public," she said in response to a question about the stress of the campaign. "I see what's happening, and we have to reverse it."

Edwards, meanwhile, sharpened his criticism of Clinton, blasting her for taking money from the pharmaceutical and defense interests the former trial lawyer routinely excoriates on the stump.

"What has been happening in America is it is big corporate businesses and big multinational corporations that have entirely too much influence on the policy," he told CNN.

Richardson, who was polling fourth among Democrats at 7 percent, said he has set his sights on the remaining undecided voters.

"With Bill Richardson, you get change and you get experience," the former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary told CNN. "You have to have experience to change things. I have a record."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also remain in the Democratic field.

Among the Republican pack, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has virtually abandoned New Hampshire, while Giuliani has limited his campaigning in early states to focus on the Florida primary later in the month and the February 5 "Super Tuesday" contests.

Paul, an anti-war Texas congressman and onetime Libertarian Party presidential nominee, was drawing 10 percent support in Monday's poll, and a growing number of independents have told pollsters they are considering voting for him.

"The big trouble that we have over the last year was you know, getting our message out," Paul told CNN. "And now, the money is flowing in, the money comes in faster than we can spend it. Because when people hear this message, they get so excited about it."

from cnn

U.S. military: Iraqi soldier killed U.S. troops

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Written on 4:49 AM by yahoo

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two U.S. soldiers who died last month in Iraq were apparently shot to death by an Iraqi soldier during a combined U.S. and Iraqi Army operation, the U.S. military said.

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A man receives treatment at a hospital in Baquba on Saturday after being injured by a roadside bomb.

"For reasons that are as yet unknown, at least one Iraqi Army soldier allegedly opened fire killing Capt. Rowdy Inman and Sgt. Benjamin Portell, both of whom were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment," the military said in a statement released Saturday.

Three other U.S. soldiers and a civilian interpreter were wounded in the attack, the military said.

The incident happened on December 26 in northern Iraq's Ninewah province as the U.S. Army and the Iraqi Army were working together "to establish a combat outpost," the military said.

"The Iraqi soldier who allegedly opened fire, fled the scene but was identified by other Iraqi Army personnel and was then apprehended," the military said.

The military said two Iraqi soldiers were being held in connection with the incident.

When the deaths of Cpt. Inman and Sgt. Portell were announced last month, the military made no mention of how they were killed other than that they died "from wounds received from small-arms fire during operations."

Several roadside bombs killed at least seven and wounded 12 people in Iraq, while five bullet-riddled bodies were found in Baghdad Saturday morning, according to Iraqi officials.

The deadliest attack happened about 50 miles northeast of Baquba in the town of Saadiya when a roadside bomb destroyed a minibus loaded with men, women and children, according to Baquba police. Six people on the bus died and three were hurt, police said.

One civilian died and three were wounded by a roadside bombing in the Othmaniya neighborhood in southwestern Baquba Saturday, police said.

A second bomb exploded nearby just minutes later, wounding two members of Baquba's Awakening Council who arrived to help the first bombing victims, police said.

Four Iraqi civilians were hurt by a roadside bomb that exploded near an Iraqi police patrol in Adhamiya, a Sunni area in northern Baghdad, Saturday morning, according to an Interior Ministry official.

Members of a local Awakening Council found the bodies of five people who were shot to death in southern Baghdad's Dora district Saturday morning, the official said. Their identities were not immediately known, he said
by cnn

Justice Department to investigate destruction of CIA tapes

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Written on 1:15 PM by yahoo

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal prosecutors will investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes showing agents interrogating terrorism suspects, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Wednesday.

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Lawyers for several Guantanamo detainees say the government has defied orders to preserve evidence.

Prosecutors and FBI agents will try to determine whether any laws were broken after a preliminary inquiry found enough evidence to pursue possible criminal charges.

The CIA admitted last month to videotaping the questioning of al Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002.

The tapes reportedly showed rough interrogation techniques, including the use of "waterboarding," which simulates drowning.

Mukasey said he has appointed John Durham, a prosecutor from the U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut, to lead the investigation.

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the CIA is located, typically would investigate, but Mukasey said he tapped Durham because federal prosecutors in the Virginia district already are probing the intelligence community.

The CIA "will of course cooperate fully with this investigation as it has with the others into this matter," said Mark Mansfield, a spokesman for the agency.

CIA Director Michael Hayden said the tapes were destroyed in 2005 because national security could have been compromised by revealing the identities of the interrogators.

The administration argues that the tapes of the two interrogations were technically not covered by a judge's order to preserve "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay" because Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were not held at Guantanamo at the time of the order.

But lawyers for several other Guantanamo prisoners fighting their detention in federal courts said the government defied similar orders to preserve evidence that could clear their clients of wrongdoing.
form cnn

Bloody violence grips Kenya

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Written on 2:44 AM by yahoo

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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Gangs of young men armed with machetes are roaming the streets in Kenya as post-election violence threatens to engulf the country. Horrific attacks are being reported, including the torching of a church where people who had sought refuge were burned alive.

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Police officers detain an opposition supporter on Monday during riots at the Kibera slum in Nairobi.
At least 148 people have been killed and about 75,000 have fled their homes since President Mwai Kibaki won a narrow victory, according to Kenyan government officials. The Associated Press reported that a higher number -- about 275 -- had died since Saturday.

Much of the violence is between supporters of Kibaki, from the majority Kikuyu tribe, and backers of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is from the Luo tribe.

Ghanaian President John Kufuor, the head of the African Union, was due to arrive in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to act as a mediator, a spokeswoman for the African Union told The Associated Press. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Milliband have also appealed for calm.

The ethnic violence, previously rare in Kenya, is reminiscent of the strife that led to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

In a particularly disturbing incident, a mob appears to have burned a church filled with Kenyans seeking refuge from the violence.

The Red Cross told AP that at least 50 were burned to death at the church, some of them children.

As many as 200 people were at the church, about 185 miles northwest of Nairobi, KTN reporter Tony Biwott told CNN.

Biwott said he had counted at least 15 charred bodies, including children, in the burned church and an adjacent field.

"I'm sure there were more than 15 but I couldn't count the ones who were ashes," he said in a phone interview.

The wounded sustained gunshot wounds, burns and cuts from a panga, a machete-like weapon, the Red Cross said.

Kenya's national police commissioner has said an investigation into the incident is under way and expressed shock that the violence had occurred in a church.

Police and political backers of opposition leader Odinga began clashing about four days ago as Odinga narrowly lost Kenya's presidential election to Kibaki.

Violence broke out in several cities as frustration mounted during the slow hand-count of the ballots.

Kibaki was re-elected with 51.3 percent of the vote, to 48.7 percent for Odinga.

"What we now witness is a cold and calculated plan to organize and engage in massacres," government spokesman Alfred Mutua said.

In an article published Wednesday in The Herald, Kenya's oldest newspaper, the head of the country's electoral commission, Samuel Kivuitu, was quoted as saying that he did not know who had won the election. Kivuitu said he had been pressured to announce the results, AP reported.

Bringing in the New Year, Kibaki -- who rarely speaks to the press -- urged calm to the nation.

"It now is a time for healing and reconciliation amongst all Kenyans," he said.

Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju said the government is committed to taking control.

"If the tear gas doesn't work then unfortunately they have to use live bullets," he told CNN. "The president has been sworn in, the elections are over, the Kenyans have to accept the results, the opposition has to accept the results."

Tuesday, international observers said the balloting fell short of international standards for democratic elections.

Alexander Lambsdorff, the head of the EU Election Observation Mission in Kenya, cited discrepancies in vote counts, election observers being turned away from polling places and observers being refused entrance to the electoral commission vote-counting room.

The United States has withheld congratulations for Kibaki, citing concerns over voting problems.

In a joint statement, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Milliband said there were "independent reports of serious irregularities in the counting process" and urged Kenya's political leaders to call for a cessation of violence by their followers.

"We call on all political leaders to engage in a spirit of compromise that puts the democratic interests of Kenya first... and we pledge the diplomatic and political efforts of our two countries to support reconciliation and national unity at this vital time for Kenya and the region," the statement said.

The government said Tuesday it would not allow any political rallies in the aftermath of the controversial election outcome.

Odinga's opposition Orange Democratic Movement had scheduled rallies for Tuesday, raising fears of more violence.

Mutua said there was no intention to impose a state of emergency or curfew at this point, and said police are handling the violence well and with "extreme restraint."

However, he warned that police restraint would not last forever. Kenya has enjoyed relative calm over recent decades even as war and chronic political violence have wracked neighboring countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.
from cnn

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