May 18th, 2007

Two Journalists Working For ABC In Iraq Killed

Two Iraqi journalists working for ABC News were ambushed and killed as they drove home from work, the television network announced Friday.

The attack took place Thursday afternoon when unknown assailants attacked the car carrying cameraman Alaa Uldeen Aziz, 33, and soundman Saif Laith Yousuf, 26, from the network's Baghdad bureau, ABC News President David Westin said in a statement posted on the ABC News Web site.

War Candidate McCain Didn't Show Up For 10 Out Of 14 Latest Iraq Votes

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the only presidential candidate in Congress to have missed a major vote on the Iraq war this year, and his absences are not sitting well with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Liz Oxhorn, a spokeswoman for Reid, told The Hill, "Sen. McCain has spent considerable time defending the president on Iraq and catering to the Republican base on immigration, but has only managed to show up for four of the last 14 Iraq votes and parachute into [yesterday's] immigration press conference at the last minute. Who is the real John McCain?"

Giuliani's Wife Got $125,000 Salary To 'Help' Him With Speeches

Being Mrs. Rudy Giuliani can't be easy, but at least it pays well - about $10,000 a month.

A day after the former mayor disclosed in federal filings that he considers his third wife, Judith, a salaried employee, sources said he has paid her about $125,000 a year for speechwriting help - since before they were married.

47 Palestinians Killed In Six Days Of Infighting And Gunfire Exchange With Israel

Israeli planes pounded Hamas targets and rival Palestinian factions exchanged bursts of automatic weapons fire outside Gaza City's Islamic University on Friday, as a volatile mix of Israeli strikes and Palestinian infighting plunged Gaza deeper into chaos.

Five Palestinians were killed in a single airstrike by Israel. Israel said the strike was in response to Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel -- a campaign that persisted on Friday with Hamas firing three rockets at the town of Sderot. Three people in the town were injured by shrapnel and several others were treated for shock.

Heche's Ex Claims She's "Delusional" In Court Papers

Anne Heche's soon-to-be-ex-hubby claims that he's worried the actress isn't psychologically capable of caring for their son, and says she refuses to see a shrink!

In court papers filed earlier this month in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Coley Laffoon is asking a judge for joint custody of the couple's 5-year-old son Homer, but claims that Anne's "bizarre and delusional behavior" and "poor parenting skills" could be a problem.

Deep-Sea Explorers Find $500M Loot In Colonial Shipwreck

Deep-sea explorers said Friday they have mined what could be the richest shipwreck treasure in history, bringing home 17 tons of colonial-era silver and gold coins from an undisclosed site in the Atlantic Ocean. Estimated value: $500 million.

A jet chartered by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration landed in the United States recently with hundreds of plastic containers brimming with coins raised from the ocean floor, Odyssey co-chairman Greg Stemm said. The more than 500,000 pieces are expected to fetch an average of $1,000 each from collectors and investors.

Microsoft To Buy Online Ad Company For Approximately $6 Billion

Microsoft Corp. said Friday it will buy online advertising firm aQuantive Inc. for about $6 billion in cash, paying a premium to catch up with major ad deals by its competitors over the last six weeks. Shares of aQuantive soared more than 77 percent.

It is the largest acquisition in the software company's history, said Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, in a conference call following the announcement.

Anderson Booed By Paparazzi At Cannes

Photographers at the Cannes Film Festival booed Pamela Anderson after she showed up late for a photo session Friday and only stuck around to pose for a few minutes.

Anderson was in town to promote her new movie, "Blonde and Blonder." Earlier in the day, she had complained to AP Television News about the paparazzi, saying that Cannes was "a frenzy, it's crazy, it's silly."

White House To Congress: Bush Way Or The Highway For Iraq

Democratic congressional leaders on Friday offered their first major concessions in a fight with
President Bush over a spending bill for Iraq, but the White House turned them down.

In a closed-door meeting with Bush's top aides on Capitol Hill, Democrats said they'd strip billions of dollars in domestic spending out of a war spending that Bush opposed if the president would accept a timetable to pull combat troops out of Iraq. As part of the deal, Democrats said they would allow the president to waive compliance with a deadline for troop withdrawals.

False Tips Slow Searches For Missing Soldiers

The stories have come in by the dozens.

One man swore that he had personally buried two Americans. As soldiers quickly began digging, another man came up and asked why they were unearthing his cousin.

Other Iraqis have said they saw the Americans walking, encircled by their captors, and still more have fingered people who they thought might have something to do with the ambush on Saturday that killed four American soldiers and one Iraqi.

Myers Says "Shrek" Recording Sessions Drove Him To Create Imaginary Friends

"It does at times feel like you're either a goal judge in hockey or in the witness protection program," Myers said of the process, in which actors all record their dialogue separately. They also are videotaped so facial expressions and gestures can be incorporated into the presentation of their characters, which are animated afterward to fit the voices.

"The most you get through the glass (from the director) is ... 'That was great. Let's try another one,' " he recalled of his studio work. "So I started to develop imaginary friends."

US Nuke Official: I Was A Government Assassin

Federal nuclear watchdogs and members of Congress are seeking answers after a former security director at a western Michigan nuclear plant gave a bizarre series of interviews to Esquire magazine in which he claimed to be a hired assassin.

William E. Clark, who until recently was security chief at the Palisades nuclear power plant near South Haven on Lake Michigan, told the magazine for an article in its June edition that he had worked as a government assassin, killing people in Vietnam, New Orleans and Iraq.

Period-Suppression Pill Likely Coming To US Pharmacies

Women looking for a simple way to avoid their menstrual period could soon have access the first birth control pill designed to let women suppress monthly bleeding indefinitely.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expect to announce approval Tuesday for Lybrel, a drug from Wyeth which would be the first pill to be taken continuously.

"Barbie Bandits" Went To Wrong Bank First: "Stuff We Did Was Pretty Ignorant"

One of two young women charged with robbing a bank while laughing and wearing sunglasses says she didn't worry about the crime's consequences because "we had an inside man."

In an interview aired Friday on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America," Heather Johnston said she didn't consider how the February 27 crime might terrify other bank customers because the teller was in on the plan.

House Democrats Join Senate For Gonzales No-Confidence Vote

Rep. Artur Davis, a Democrat from Mobile, said Friday he is pushing for a "no confidence" vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Davis and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., both former federal prosecutors, said they would introduce the symbolic resolution urging Gonzales' resignation on Monday. Two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California, said earlier this week they would offer a similar resolution stating that Gonzales was too weakened to remain on the job.

New York Subway Revamp Will Cost As Much As $2 Billion More Than Planned

New York's mass transit agency said on Friday it was probing whether revamping subway stations and other upgrades will cost $500 million to $2 billion more than planned, though this work does not even include its mega-projects, such as the new Second Avenue subway.

"Maybe some of this stuff has been a little gold-plated," Elliot Sander, executive director, of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said at an Assembly hearing.

Trump To NBC: You Can't Fire Me, I Quit

Donald Trump, whose low-rated reality show "The Apprentice" was left off the new prime-time schedule unveiled this week by NBC, says the network can't fire him -- he quits.

The real estate mogul issued a statement on Friday saying he has informed the U.S. television network he is "moving on from 'The Apprentice' to a major new TV venture," though he declined to elaborate.

Anti-Evolution Kansan Runs Unopposed For National Schools Post

The National Association of State Boards of Education will elect officers in July, and for one office, president-elect, there is only one candidate: a member of the Kansas school board who supported its efforts against the teaching of evolution.

Scientists who have been active in the nation's evolution debate say they want to thwart his candidacy, but it is not clear that they can.

Owner Murdoch Told NY Post Writers To Not Be Critical Of China

The item also raised anew long-heard allegations that Rupert Murdoch, The Post's owner, had directed the Page Six writers to avoid items that could be seen as critical of China, where he was trying to do business.

The 675-word item was the latest twist in the long-running dispute involving Jared Paul Stern, a former freelance contributor to Page Six. He was suspended in April 2006 amid allegations that he had demanded money for favorable coverage -- allegations that the authorities later declined to prosecute.

Thousands Of Fleeing Iraqis Flock To Sweden For Refuge

This is life adrift. More than 2 million Iraqis have fled their homeland since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Most are living in Syria, Jordan and other Middle Eastern nations. Now, a growing number are heading toward Europe, especially Sweden, which for decades has offered refugees and asylum seekers government aid and generous family reunification plans. Nearly 9,000 Iraqis, more than half of all those who arrived in Europe from the war-torn country in 2006, moved to Sweden. European officials estimate that as many as 40,000 more Iraqis may reach the continent this year.

Since the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the U.S. has taken in 466 Iraqi refugees. Washington has been reluctant to accept them for fear doing so would run counter to U.S. policy to one day return them to a secure Iraq. There have also been concerns about mistakenly granting asylum to militants. Increased violence in Iraq and criticism by human rights groups, however, appeared to have prompted the White House to announce in February that the U.S. would accept up to 7,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of this year.

Immigration Deal Puts '08 Candidates On The Spot

The bipartisan immigration proposal being taken up by Congress is putting pressure on the leading presidential candidates to take a position on the issue, which could set them up for confrontations with influential constituencies within the two parties.

After the announcement of the bipartisan plan on Thursday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Democrat, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is one of the Republican frontrunners, were initially noncommittal. Both suggested on Friday that they were open to supporting it, but only with major revisions to some of its main components.