USA

Former Enron executive Michael Kopper pleaded guilty to two counts in federal court in Houston Wednesday, the first from the bankrupt energy trader to do so in what may prove a turning point in the government investigation. In a deal with prosecutors, Kopper (above) acknowledged guilt in money- laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He agreed to cooperate with investigators and to turn over $12 million in ill-gotten assets. As a top aide to ex-chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, Kopper has detailed knowledge of the complex off-balance-sheet partnerships allegedly used by Enron to inflate earnings and hide debts.

The FBI issued a global alert for a new suspect linked to the Sept. 11 hijackers. A bulletin sent out late Tuesday asked law-enforcement agencies to detain or provide information on Saud Al-Rasheed, a Saudi national. His whereabouts are unknown, the FBI said, adding that he should be considered "armed and dangerous." While reviewing terrorist-related materials retrieved overseas, the FBI reportedly found Al-Rasheed's passport photo along with images of several of the hijackers on a computer CD-ROM.

Networks CNN and CBS acknowledged paying for videos of Al Qaeda poison-gas experiments broadcast this week by the TV news rivals. After an earlier denial, CNN said it paid about $30,000 for excerpts of 64 tapes found in Afghanistan. A CBS official said that network paid a "very nominal, very standard" fee, but declined to specify the amount. The networks offered few specifics on the acquisitions, citing concerns for the safety of staffers and sources, but said they were certain the funds did not go to the terrorist group.

Two US House members from Georgia – one Republican, one Democrat – lost their respective bids for reelection in Tuesday's primary vote. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) was easily defeated by Denise Majette, a former state judge, in a race that pitted McKinney's pro-Arab views against Majette's strong support from pro-Israel donors. Rep. Bob Barr, who helped lead impeachment proceedings against ex-President Clinton, was defeated by a fellow GOP conservative, Rep. John Linder. Both primary victors are expected to win in November.

Nichole Timmons was to be reunited with her family after being found in Nevada Tuesday, more than 300 miles from her Riverside, Calif., home. A suspect, Glenn Park, was arrested on kidnapping charges. He was identified as an ex-babysitter who'd recently been fired. Police found his truck five hours after an "Amber alert" was posted, the third success in two weeks for the rapid-response system for missing children.

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