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News Wrap: Giffords May Soon Move to Rehabilitation

January 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

KWAME HOLMAN: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has had another surgery this time to remove bone fragments from her eye socket. Doctors in Tucson said the procedure went well, and Giffords is showing impressive progress in recovering from a gunshot wound to the head nine days ago.

On Sunday, her condition was upgraded from critical to serious. Today, her doctors said the next big milestone is moving on to rehabilitation.

DR. G. MICHAEL LEMOLE JR., Chief of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center: The day she leaves this hospital, that’s — that’s her graduation. Then she moves on to rehabilitation.

The family is looking at all their resources. They have the entire country available. It has to be in a place that is not only top-notch in terms of the ability to render care and rehabilitation, but also proximity to family is very important.

KWAME HOLMAN: Giffords’ doctors also confirmed that her husband, Mark Kelly, saw her smile. In an interview, Kelly also said his wife has been able to give him a back rub.

In Pakistan today, at least 19 people died in a minibus bombing in the volatile Northwest tribal region. The blast went off as the vehicle was traveling between the cities of Hangu and Kohat. Video showed little of the bus left beyond its wheels and undercarriage. At least 10 people were wounded in the attack.

The U.S. death toll in Iraq has grown by four. One soldier died today, and three others were killed over the weekend. Two of them were shot by an Iraqi soldier during training by U.S. troops in Mosul.

Supplies and aid began to make their way in to the victims of flooding and mudslides in Brazil. The death toll from the mudslides north of Rio de Janeiro grew to at least 642. Brazilian troops are setting up temporary bridges to get supplies into the area. Rescuers still are working to reach about 20 neighborhoods.

Today marked the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. In Atlanta, an annual memorial service was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the slain civil rights leader preached. And, in Washington, President Obama and the First Lady celebrated Dr. King’s spirit of service by taking part in a painting project at a city school.

The president encouraged Americans to give back to their communities, especially after the Tucson shootings.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: After a painful week, where so many of us were focused on tragedy, it’s good for us to remind ourselves of what this country is all about. This kind of service project is –is what’s best in us. And we’re — we’re thrilled with everybody who is participating.

KWAME HOLMAN: Dr. King is the only American who wasn’t a U.S. president to be honored with a federal holiday.

Those are some of the day’s major stories