Cheney gets ovation; Whittington goes home

Sunday, February 19, 2006

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Vice President Dick Cheney ended a troubling week among friends, receiving a rousing ovation from state legislators in his first public appearance since accidentally shooting a lawyer while quail hunting. Dr. David Blanchard, chief of emergency care at the hospital Whittington was taken to, said Harry Whittington was lucky to have survived the shooting. Whittington was being released Friday because of "his excellent health," Blanchard said. Whittington returned to his home in Austin late Friday afternoon.

Bush, other officials tour to tout energy package

WASHINGTON -- Record-high gasoline prices have dropped, yet there are fears another surge is around the corner. Larger heating bills this winter are still socking it to American wallets. Amid those anxieties, President Bush is making it "energy week" in his administration, and he and top Cabinet officials plan to crisscross the country to tout a package of energy initiatives highlighted in last month's State of the Union address.

Thousands lack power after storm in Northeast

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Thousands still lacked power across the Northeast on Saturday as temperatures fell following a storm with hurricane-force wind gusts that was blamed for four deaths. On Friday, wind of more than 60 mph buffeted the Rochester area, the weather service said. Utility officials in upstate New York said crews would work through the weekend to restore power to 160,000 customers. More than 40,000 homes and businesses had no electricity in New Hampshire, and more than 35,000 homes and businesses lacked power Saturday in Maine. Vermont had about 12,000 customers without power, and some 1,800 customers were blacked out in Massachusetts. In Michigan, about 52,000 customers were still without power Saturday.

Hamas-dominated parliament sworn in

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- A new parliament dominated by Hamas was sworn in Saturday, with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asking the Islamic militant group to form the next government but imploring them to honor existing peace deals and take the path of negotiations. Hamas leaders rejected Abbas' calls, but signaled a willingness to compromise. Hooked up via video conferencing because Israel wouldn't let them travel between the West Bank and Gaza, the new Palestinian lawmakers in the two territories took their oath of office collectively.

At least 15 people killed in Nigerian Muslim protests

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Nigerian Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday in violence that left at least 15 people dead, police and a resident said. Troops and police reinforcements have been deployed to restore order in the city of Maiduguri, where 15 Christian churches were burned, said Nigerian police spokesman Haz Iwendi. Chima Ezeoke, a Maiduguri resident, said the protesters attacked and looted shops in the city owned by minority Christians, most of them with origins in the country's south. "Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters," Ezeoke said.

-- From wire reports

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