The Nation and World in Brief

2 killed at missionary center in Colo.


A gunman shot four staff members at a missionary training center near Denver early Sunday, killing two, after being told he couldn't spend the night. About 12 hours later and 65 miles away in Colorado Springs, a gunman fatally shot a parishioner at a megachurch and wounded four other people before a guard killed him, police said.

One of the hospitalized victims from the second attack died Sunday at about 10:10 p.m., said Amy Sufak, a spokeswoman for Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs.

The police chief in Arvada, a suburb about 15 miles west of Denver where the mission workers were shot, said the shootings may be related to those in Colorado Springs but declined to elaborate. No one had been captured in the Arvada shootings, authorities said.

Early Monday, authorities were searching a home in suburban Englewood, about 15 miles south of Denver, that they said could be related to the Colorado Springs shooting case. Results of that search were not immediately known.

"Colorado Springs has identified its suspect, and we're there to see whether their suspect and ours are the same," said Arvada Deputy Police Chief Gary Creagor.

Mortar shells hit Baghdad prison


Mortar shells slammed into an Interior Ministry prison today, killing at least seven inmates and wounding 23, officials said. A major oil refinery came under fire elsewhere in the capital, sending up billowing black smoke.

The mortar rounds hit a prison made up of several cell blocks, each containing prisoners accused of terrorism-related crimes or civil offenses, police said.

Police said American troops sealed off the area and were investigating the bombardment, which took place about 6:30 a.m. The U.S. military said it had no immediate information, and Iraqi Interior Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

A hospital official said the inmates were still asleep when the mortars hit, one landing directly on a cell and two others nearby.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a rocket or a mortar shell hit an oil refinery on Monday, police and an Oil Ministry spokesman said. The U.S. military confirmed an attack in the area.

4 killed in crash of Afghan helicopter

KABUL, Afghanistan &

An Afghan army helicopter crashed in central Afghanistan today because of bad weather, killing four people, officials said.

The Mi-17 helicopter went down near a field in Salar district of Wardak province, where the weather was foggy, the defense ministry said in a statement.

At least four people were killed, said Wardak provincial police chief Zafaruddin, who goes by only one name. The authorities recovered three bodies from the burning wreckage, he said.

Two helicopters were traveling from Kabul toward western Afghanistan when one of them crashed, Zafaruddin said.

The crash happened a day after U.S.-led coalition troops conducted an airstrike and subsequent operation targeting Taliban weapon smugglers in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, leaving several militants dead and two civilians wounded, the coalition said in a statement.

"" The Associated Press

Ice storm in Plains and Midwest grounds airliners, knocks out power and is blamed for 6 deaths


An ice storm slickened roads and sidewalks, grounded hundreds of flights, and cut power to tens of thousands Sunday in a swath from the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes as even colder weather threatened.

The wintry weather was expected to continue through midweek, and ice storm warnings stretched from Texas to Pennsylvania.

"Tomorrow may be even more of a dilemma than today because we're going to get even a little bit more colder," said John Pike, a meteorologist in the Weather Service's office in Norman, Okla.

Six traffic deaths were blamed on icy roads in Oklahoma. Roads along much of the state were considered slick and hazardous by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, with two sections of Interstate 40 being closed temporarily.

More than 130,000 customers lost power in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas, utilities reported.

Suicide bomber strikes bus carrying children at Pakistan military base, at least 5 wounded

KAMRA, Pakistan &

A suicide car bomber struck near a bus carrying children of Pakistani air force employees to school at a northern army base Monday, the military said. At least five children were wounded.

The bomber sped toward the bus and detonated his explosive yards away from it, said Tariq Hanif, the police chief in Kamra, where the army base is located.

"The bus driver has told us that he tried his best to avoid a crash on seeing the suspected speeding car approaching toward him," Hanif said.

Police said the children were all under 12. They were in stable condition, said army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad. The bus driver and a guard were also injured.

"This barbaric attack shows how cruel the terrorists are," Arshad said.

Gore, UN panel to accept Nobel Peace Prize for raising alarm over global warming

OSLO, Norway &

Al Gore said the Nobel Peace Prize he accepts Monday already has helped draw the world's attention to global warming and he expressed optimism that growing public pressure would push governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The former vice president shares the prize with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will be represented at Monday's award ceremony by its leader, Rajendra Pachauri.

A day before accepting the prize, Gore said reducing greenhouse gases was essential to fighting the "planetary emergency" of global warming. "That phrase may sound shrill to some ears but it is accurate," he said.

"It is a question of the survival of our civilization," Gore told reporters at the Nobel Institute in downtown Oslo. "CO2 increases anywhere are a threat to the future of civilization everywhere."

Gore and Pachauri receive the award at a gala ceremony in Oslo's city hall before Norwegian royalty, leaders and invited guests. The other Nobel awards &

in medicine, chemistry, physics, literature and economics &

were to be presented at a separate ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

Republican candidates soften anti-illegal immigration rhetoric at debate


The Republican presidential candidates sought to embrace Hispanics in a Spanish language debate Sunday, striving to mark common ground with a growing voter bloc while softening the anti-illegal immigration rhetoric that has marked their past encounters.

The candidates avoided the harsh exchanges and name-calling of their most recent debate, while still emphasizing the need for border security and an end to illegal immigration. The polite debate came less than four weeks before the first votes are cast in Iowa and amid a topsy-turvy race in which former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has bolted to the lead in the state.

Only Sen. John McCain warned that harsh immigration views voiced by some Republicans have driven Hispanics away from the party. The Arizona senator has stood apart from most of his Republican rivals because he supported changing immigration laws and creating a path for citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"I think some of the rhetoric that many Hispanics hear about illegal immigration makes some of them believe that we are not in favor of or seek the support of Hispanic citizens in this country," he said.

Univision, the Spanish language television network, and the University of Miami hosted the debate. The questions were posed in Spanish by Univision anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas and simultaneously translated into English for the candidates. Their responses were then simultaneously translated into Spanish for broadcast.

Idled workers rally for resumption of talks as Hollywood strike heads into sixth week


The Hollywood strike is rewriting the holidays for idled workers.

With her income pinched, script supervisor Petra Jorgensen canceled an annual trip to Europe to see relatives. Set decorator Laura Richarz is bypassing pricey malls and fashioning gifts at home &

framing photos, sewing a shirt for her niece.

With the holidays under way and the strike entering a sixth week, "It's going to be bleak for a lot of families," said Jorgensen, who's living off her savings.

The two were among hundreds of out-of-work employees and their supporters who marched down Hollywood Boulevard Sunday to call for a resumption of talks to settle the strike, which has sidelined many prime-time and late-night TV shows. Negotiations collapsed Friday between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, with the sides pointing fingers at each other.

The march Sunday was intended to draw attention to the financial plight of workaday Hollywood &

those employees whose jobs depend on ongoing productions, from caterers to set builders to hair stylists. With shows silenced, they too are struggling.

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