Top National News Right Now - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Top National News Right Now

Baghdad, Iraq-AP -- Secretary of State Colin Powell says the U-S isn't hanging around in Iraq just for the heck of it.

Powell says "it's necessary to stay with" the task of forming a new government and helping the Iraqi people regain their independence.

Powell said at a news conference in Baghdad that the worst thing that could happen would be for the U-S to push the process too fast and see it fail. But he says the U-S goal is still to put an "Iraqi face on things" as quickly as possible.

Meantime, Powell says he's seeing good things in Iraq -- but he's still concerned about security. He says international terrorists have moved into the nation and are causing problems.

(Washington-AP) -- A new poll shows there isn't much public support for President Bush's request for more money for Afghanistan and Iraq.

An A-B-C News Washington Post poll says six in ten people oppose the additional 87 (b) billion dollars Bush wants -- on top of the 79 (b) billion dollars Congress already approved.

Almost nine in ten people said they're concerned the U-S is going to get bogged down in a long peacekeeping mission in Iraq. That's up from three-fourths who thought the same thing last month.

Despite those numbers, President Bush's job approval rating remained mostly steady, at 58 percent.

(Jerusalem-AP) -- Palestinians have taken to the streets across the West Bank and Gaza Strip today -- after a top Israeli official said killing Yasser Arafat is an option for Israel.

Hundreds of Arafat's supporters streamed into his devastated West Bank compound for the fourth straight day -- vowing to protect their leader.

The protests came after Israeli's vice prime minister told Israel Radio that killing Arafat is an option -- along with expelling him or keeping him in a siege that will isolate him from the world.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz (shah-OOL' moh-FAHZ') outlined a list of demands for any new Palestinian government.

Speaking at the weekly Israeli Cabinet meeting, Mofaz reportedly said Israel won't cooperate with any government that carries out Arafat's orders. He also reiterated the Palestinians must clamp down on terrorist groups saying, "if they don't, we will."

(Miami-AP) -- It's looking "more and more likely" that Hurricane Isabel will make landfall somewhere between North Carolina and New Jersey in the next four to five days.

So says hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Stewart says he expects little or no significant weakening until after landfall.

At 5 p-m, Eastern time, Isabel had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and was centered about 900 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Some folks already are preparing for the worst.

John Byrnes of Wilmington, North Carolina, visited a home improvement store to augment his hurricane-proofing supplies. He bought more plywood, two-by-fours, and enough screws to barricade his home, his in-laws' home and a downtown law office.

A steady stream of customers made their way to a lumber store in Georgetown, South Carolina, despite the high price of plywood. And emergency officials in Washington, D-C, are trying to get more sandbags.

Then, said the director of the Emergency Management Agency, "we're going to pray."

(Compton, California-AP) -- Venus and Serena Williams' agent says the family is en route to California, following word that an older sister has been shot to death.

Agent Carlos Fleming says Serena Williams had been in Toronto to film an appearance on a cable T-V drama.

Police say 31-year-old Yetunde (yeh-TUHN'-dee) Price was shot to death early this morning following a confrontation in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies say Price was sitting with a man in an S-U-V, when they somehow became involved in a confrontation with local residents. A neighbor says he heard about a dozen gunshots.

Sheriff's deputies searching for three people believed to be involved in the shooting surrounded a house in Compton early today -- but it turned out to be empty.

Price was one of five Williams sisters and used her mother's maiden name. She worked as a personal assistant to her famous sisters.

(Los Angeles-AP) -- A Texas man will undergo a psychological evaluation -- after disturbing a United Airlines flight by pacing the aisle and reading loudly from the Bible.

Passengers aboard the Honolulu-to-Los Angeles flight subdued 36-year-old Brian Eager of Austin and duct-taped him. No air marshal was involved, as had been earlier reported.

Police say no one was injured. Eager was handed over to authorities after the plane landed at Los Angeles International Airport today. He could be charged with interfering with a flight crew.

The F-B_I says Eager is being held for 72 hours to undergo a psychological examination.

Passengers and a federal immigration and customs agent who was traveling for personal reasons helped restrain Eager, but he managed to slip out of handcuffs.

(Stockholm, Sweden-AP) -- The votes have all been counted and Swedes have decisively rejected converting to the euro.

More than 56 percent opposed converting to the currency of a unified Europe.

Supporters of the euro hoped the tide had turned in their favor after the stabbing death last week of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, a euro supporter.

Opponents argued that adopting the euro would put their cradle-to-grave welfare state too much under the control of the rest of Europe, with its economic and sometimes political turmoil.

The vote was a blow to the common currency and European integration, and a boost to euro opponents in Britain and Denmark, which still use their own currencies.

(Cancun, Mexico-AP) -- World Trade Organization trade talks in Cancun, Mexico, have collapsed.

Delegates say the talks, designed to change the face of farming around the world, fell apart amid differences between rich and poor nations.

A Kenyan delegate said, "The differences were very wide, and it was impossible to close the gap."

Developing nations saw the talks as a way to end rich countries' agricultural subsidies that make it hard for them to compete in a global economy.

European nations and Japan were intent on pushing four new issues that many poor countries saw as a distraction.

It's the second failure for the W-T-O in four years. In 1999, talks in Seattle collapsed amid violent street protests and divisions between rich and poor nations.

Argentina's trade secretary says delegates will have to try again, but that's not likely before 2005 at the earliest.

(Philadelphia-AP) -- Post Nine-Eleven anti-terror laws are meant to stop terrorists, but they're increasingly being used against common criminals.

The Justice Department says it has used authority given to it by the U-S-A Patriot Act to crack down on currency smugglers and seize money hidden overseas by alleged bookies, con artists and drug dealers.

The law has also been applied to people who commit drug offenses -- substantially upping their prison terms.

Civil liberties and legal defense groups are bothered by the string of cases, and say the government soon will be routinely using the anti-terror laws against run-of-the-mill lawbreakers.

But prosecutors aren't apologizing. This week, Attorney General John Ashcroft completed a 16-city tour -- defending the Patriot Act as key to preventing a repeat of Nine-Eleven.

The law, passed two months after September eleventh, erased many restrictions that had barred the government from spying on its citizens.

(Los Angeles-AP) -- Is the love gone between Ben and Jen?

Media reports say Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are splitsville. The couple had postponed their wedding, which was to have happened this weekend.

Now, People magazine says Affleck dumped Lopez, after having "second thoughts."

Citing unidentified "sources close to the couple," People says Affleck initiated the breakup with Lopez, who was "devastated" and "in tears."

A representative for Affleck, declined to comment on the breakup rumor. Lopez's publicist told People he believed the couple was still together, but had not spoken to Lopez in several days.

The pair had reportedly planned to wed today at a mansion estate near Santa Barbara. But they postponed the ceremony Wednesday, citing excessive media attention.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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