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News Wrap: Suicide Bomb Kills 17 at Russian Market

September 9, 2010 at 4:14 PM EDT

HARI SREENIVASAN: A powerful suicide bomb hit a Russian market today, killing at least 17 people. The bomb was packed with metal bars, bolts and ball bearings, and tore through the entrance to a busy market in North Ossetia.

More than 130 people were wounded. It was one of the worst attacks in years in the North Caucasus region, which has been gripped by violence from two separatist wars. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for today’s attack.

Jailed American hiker Sarah Shourd will be set free on Saturday. That word came from Iran’s envoy to the U.N. Mission today. Shourd told her mother in a phone call last month she has serious medical problems. She is one of three American hikers held prisoner in Iran for 13 months, after being arrested along the Iraqi border. It is common in the Islamic world to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan by releasing prisoners. A White House spokesman today repeated a call for Iran to release all of the Americans.

A wildfire raging in the rugged foothills of Colorado is now 30 percent contained. Fire officials said the four-day-old fire has already burned 10 square miles northwest of Boulder, and destroyed nearly 170 homes. High winds gusting up to 60 miles an hour were expected later, and fire officials cautioned that that could reverse any progress.

ROB BOZEMAN, field observer, Boulder Mountain Fire Protection District: The wind event tonight, we could be off to the races. All it takes is one spark outside, and that’s a new fire. And with the winds tonight, it could be off to the races. Not saying that it will. It takes a chain of events to get that to happen.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Local authorities also said all of the nine people reported missing earlier have now been accounted for.

The leftovers of Tropical Storm Hermine brought more flooding to parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Heavy rains in North and Central Texas killed two motorists and prompted more than 100 high-water rescues. And authorities said the death toll could increase. At least four people are still missing after being swept away in the San Antonio and Austin areas. Meanwhile, cleanup efforts were under way from several powerful tornadoes that touched down near Dallas and in southern Oklahoma.

Federal funding of stem cell research can go ahead, for now. That was the decision of a three-judge panel at a federal appeals court in Washington. The judges said they want more time to deal with issues in the government’s appeal. Funding for some stem cell research was put on hold last month when a district court ruled the research destroys human embryos.

The American Civil Liberties Union will ask the Supreme Court to review a case challenging a CIA program that flew terror suspects to secret prisons. Yesterday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw the case out, citing national security risks. It was filed by five terror suspects arrested just after 9/11 who claim they were flown around the world to secret prisons. The appeals court reinforced the power of the president to invoke the state secrets privilege to stop lawsuits involving national security.

More than 33,000 people died on the nation’s highways in 2009, but that number is almost 10 percent lower than 2008. The Department of Transportation said such low numbers have not been seen since the 1950s. Government and auto safety experts attributed the drop to better technology, more safety-conscious drivers, and tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws.

On Wall Street today, stocks rose on stronger-than-expected jobs data. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 28 points to close at 10415. The Nasdaq rose seven points to close at 2236.