COLUMBUS, Ohio

Shooting linked to 23 other Ohio attacks

The day after the chief investigator said authorities were
closing in on a serial highway shooter, a man stood in plain view
on an overpass and fired a handgun at cars below. He then walked to
his car and slipped into traffic.

Ballistics testing has confirmed that the Saturday morning
shooting was the 24th in a series in the Columbus area,
investigators said yesterday. No one was injured in that
shooting.

The bullet recovered from the battery of a sport utility vehicle
struck on Interstate 70 matches eight others recovered during the
investigation, including the one that killed a woman in November,
according to a news release. The others have been linked by factors
including location and circumstances.

Experts said the shooter is becoming bolder after evading
capture for three months, when authorities first established a
pattern in the shootings.

“He’s sending a message to police:
‘You’re not as close as you think you are. I can shoot
in broad daylight, and you still won’t find me,’
” said Jack Levin, a criminologist and director of the
Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University.

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Police capture No. 41 on Iraqi fugitive list

A special Iraqi police unit arrested a senior Baath Party leader
on the U.S. military’s most-wanted list during a raid
yesterday on his home in a Baghdad suburb.

The capture of Mohammed Zimam Abdul Razaq leaves only 10 top
figures still at large from the list of 55 issued after the Saddam
Hussein regime fell. Abdul Razaq was No. 41, and the four of spades
in the military’s “deck of cards” of top
fugitives.

Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Kadhum Ibrahim touted the arrest
as evidence that the still-rebuilding Iraqi police force “can
be depended upon in the fight against terrorism” —
looking to give his troops a boost a day after police in the
turbulent city of Fallujah were overwhelmed by dozens of gunmen in
one of the best organized guerrilla attacks yet.

U.S. officials gave conflicting reports yesterday on whether
foreign fighters or Saddam loyalists carried out the bold, daytime
assault on the Fallujah police station.

At least 25 people, mostly police, were killed in the raid, more
than 30 people were wounded and the attackers freed dozens of
prisoners at the station. The assault raised questions about
whether Iraqi security forces are ready to take the front line
against the insurgency when the United States hands over power to
the Iraqis on June 30.

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Calif. leaders debate budget crisis plans

California is quickly running out of cash and bracing for acute
financial pain following three years of political procrastination
and budget bungling.

Now voters must decide if it makes more sense to approve a $15
billion bailout bond that might extend the misery for a decade or
more, or suffer it more intensely through temporary tax increases
and deep spending cuts.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to convince voters the
bitter medicine should be dispensed gradually — that paying
back the bailout bond over the next nine to 14 years is the most
humane way for California to rehabilitate itself.

His opponents say California will be making a terrible mistake
if it shoulders long-term debt to solve short-term problems. In
either case, it’s clear the time has come for California to
balance its checkbook.

 

SEOUL, South Korea

S. Korea to deploy 3,000 troops in Iraq

Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed “deep
appreciation” to South Korea’s foreign minister in a
phone call yesterday for the parliament’s decision to send
3,000 troops to Iraq, the government said.

South Korea’s National Assembly on Friday approved the
deployment, the third-largest contribution to coalition forces
after the United States and Britain.

South Korea already has 465 medics and engineers in the southern
Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. More South Korean troops are expected in
the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk before the end of April. The
deployment — likely to include special forces commandos and
marines — will be responsible for security and reconstruction
in the area.

 

MOUNTAIN IRON, Minn.

Chinese orders boost Minn. mining region

Trainload after trainload of iron pellets rumble out of town,
usually on their way to a U.S. steelmaker. But China’s
exploding steel demand has created a new market for U.S. ore and
brought jobs back to Minnesota’s struggling Iron Range, the
center of U.S. iron ore mining.

U.S. Steel’s Minntac plant here is firing up an idled ore
production line to meet a 650,000 metric ton order by Shandong
Taishan Iron and Steel Co. And in nearby Eveleth, Laiwu Steel
bought a 30 percent stake in what had been a shuttered ore plant,
under a partnership with Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.

The move put 385 people back to work in Eveleth, which had
suffered layoffs at the mine and other companies.

—Compiled from Daily Wire Reports

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