Faced with the daunting task of restoring services and order to flooded New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin (D) called for all those who didn't leave before hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast to be evacuated. The first of nearly 25,000 refugees being sheltered at the Superdome, where living conditions grew untenable, were transported in buses to the Astrodome in Houston, 350 miles away. On Thursday, Texas agreed to house an additional 25,000 refugees in San Antonio. New Orleans may not be functional for two or three months and residents won't be allowed back into their homes for at least a month or two, said the mayor, who ordered virtually the entire police force to concentrate on fighting looting and other crime, which have hampered evacuation efforts. In other developments:
• Elite SEAL water-rescue teams continued plucking residents from rooftops in the last of the "golden 72 hours" rescuers say is crucial to saving lives.
• Carnival Cruise Lines said the federal government has contacted the company and that it intends to explore the possibility of using cruise ships as emergency shelters.
• The Corps of Engineers said it was having trouble getting huge sandbags and highway barriers to the site of a failed floodwall because the city's waterways were blocked by loose barges, boats, and large debris.
• Several telethons were announced to help hurricane victims. One will air on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC at 8 p.m. Friday.
The head of a radical Islamic prison gang and three others were indicted Wednesday in Los Angeles on federal charges of planning terrorist attacks against US military facilities, the Israeli Consulate, and other LA-area targets. Prosecutors contend the plot was orchestrated at the behest of Kevin James, an inmate at the California State Prison-Sacramento.
Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Castro militant accused of entering the country illegally, withdrew his request in El Paso, Texas, for US asylum, and his lawyers said they will focus instead on trying to prevent his deportation to Venezuela. Attorneys for the US and Posada have agreed that he should not be deported to Cuba.
After a 26-day vigil outside of President Bush's Texas ranch, antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan has hit the road with a three-week "Bring Them Home Now" bus tour, which will make stops in 25 states. Sheehan, the mother of a solder who died in Iraq, is credited with igniting the antiwar movement.