Los Angeles Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa scored a decisive victory over Mayor James Hahn to become the city's first Hispanic mayor since the city was a dusty outpost on the Western frontier in 1872. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Villaraigosa had 59 percent of the vote. The new mayor-elect must find solutions to the problems he pointed out during the campaign: gang crime, a lack of affordable housing, and worsening traffic congestion. A high school dropout, Villaraigosa turned his life around to become speaker of the California Assembly and then a member of the Los Angeles City Council. Hahn is the first LA mayor in 32 years bounced from office.

Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Castro exile accused of masterminding a deadly 1976 airliner bombing, was seized Tuesday by federal agents in Miami. He'd been in hiding in the city for two months and had petitioned for asylum. The situation placed pressure on the Bush administration, which has taken a hard-line policy against Cuba's regime. Fidel Castro, who accuses the US of a double standard in the war on terror, led a huge protest Tuesday in Havana, urging Posada's arrest. A former CIA operative and Venezuelan security official, Posada denied any involvement in the airliner bombing in an interview with the Miami Herald earlier this week but refused to speak about other attacks.The Homeland Security Department has 48 hours to determine Posada's immigration status.

The Senate was to begin a showdown Wednesday over President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, with the majority Republicans threatening to change Senate rules in a move that could shift the balance of power between Congress and the White House. It was uncertain whether Bush's fellow Republicans had the votes to prevail or if a group of largely moderate lawmakers could find a last-ditch compromise.

The FBI on Wednesday said a grenade found amid the crowd during last week's speech by President Bush in the former Soviet republic of Georgia was capable of exploding. The statement contradicted initial reports by Georgian officials. No arrests have been made.

Sabrina Harman, the US Army reservist convicted of attaching wires to an Iraqi prisoner in a photographed scene that outraged the international community, was sentenced Tuesday at Fort Hood, Texas, to six months in prison. The prosecution had sought a three-year sentence. Harman will also receive a bad conduct discharge.

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