Suspected terrorists killed in shootout with police in Bali
Indonesian counter-terrorism police personnel look for clues at a bungalow after the shoot-out on the island of Bali.
March 18th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Suspected terrorists killed in shootout with police in Bali

Five suspected terrorists were killed Sunday in a shootout with police in Bali, a spokesman for Indonesia's National Police said Monday.

The suspects were planning to rob several jewelry stores to help fund their alleged terror plots, and planned on making at least two thefts Sunday night, said Senior Commander Boy Rafli Amar of the National Police.

Indonesia's counter-terrorism police, who had been following the suspects for a month, conducted two raids on hotels in the Denpasar area of Bali on Sunday night. Gunfire was exchanged before the suspected terrorists were killed, Amar said. Two guns and ammunition were recovered from the two sites, he said.

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Filed under: Indonesia • Terrorism
Ahead of the curve: The next seven days
March 18th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next seven days

Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:

Illinois primary

One of the larger delegate prizes is up for grabs in Tuesday's Illinois primary. The four Republican candidates will slug it out for the state's 54 delegates to the party's national convention in July.

Flagging frontrunner Mitt Romney on Sunday called himself the "economic heavyweight" in the field, while referring to closest competitor Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama as "lightweights."

For his part, Santorum took to CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" to slap at Romney's inability to put his competitors away despite vast financial resources: "When you have this amount of resources and this amount of advantage, (yet) you can't manage and deliver the mail and win this nomination, that shows a real weakness in his ability to be able to govern," Santorum said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been concentrating on the March 24 Louisiana primary, including a tour of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans on Friday.  “With both Santorum and me, (Romney is) now confused as to who he is attacking. It's his only technique," Gingrich said. "I tell people he's like a 4-foot-8 guy who wants to play center and his only technique is to shrink the others, which I think bodes very badly for a general election."

The fourth man in the race, Rep. Ron Paul, is far behind in the delegate count and spent more money than he took in during February. Paul’s self-reported spending of $3.54 million outpaced his fundraising of $3.27 million, and he ended the month with $1.36 million in the bank. His campaign reported carrying no debt.

Queen to make rare speech

Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to deliver a speech to both houses of Parliament on Tuesday. It is expected to be the only time she will publicly acknowledge her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the beginning of her reign. (Plenty of others are talking about it, though, including soccer megastar David Beckham.)

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March 18th, 2012
06:42 PM ET

Overcrowding at Coptic pope's viewing leads to 3 deaths, dozens of injuries

Overcrowding inside a cathedral where Coptic Christians had gathered to pay last respects to their pope caused a stampede that left three people dead and more than 50 injured, a health official said.

Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who led the Coptic community for more than four decades, died Saturday. He was 88.

On Sunday, thousands of Christians paid their respects to him at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo where his body went on display in an elaborate golden crown and red and golden robes. The mass of people inside the cathedral prompted the stampede, according to Deputy Health Minister Hisham Sheeha, who said three were killed and 52 injured, most suffering from lack of oxygen and low blood pressure.

Shenouda's funeral will be held early this week and is expected to bring millions of Christians onto the streets of Egypt at a time when tensions with the Muslim majority are high.

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Filed under: Egypt
March 18th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

British journalists freed in Libya

Two British journalists captured by a Libyan militia in late February have been freed, the British government announced Sunday.

Gareth Montgomery-Johnson and Nicholas Davies "are well" after being turned over to British diplomats "and look forward to being reunited with their families soon," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement announcing their release.

The Saraya Swehli militia accused the journalists, who work mainly for Iran's state-run Press TV, of lacking proper immigration paperwork. But it turned the men over to the central government in Tripoli last week, paving the way for their return.

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Filed under: Libya • United Kingdom
March 18th, 2012
06:20 AM ET

More questions than answers in account of American's abduction in Iraq

The murky abduction account of an American, who nobody appeared to know was missing in Iraq until he resurfaced, is raising questions about everything from his name to the circumstances surrounding his reported kidnapping.

A Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced Saturday in a bizarre, pre-taped news conference that it was releasing U.S. soldier Randy Michaels, who one Sadrist lawmaker said was captured in battle nine months earlier.

The man did not identify himself, though he said he was a former soldier who was working as a civilian when he was abducted.

But U.S. officials say all missing soldiers have been accounted for and no civilian was recently reported missing, and even the man's ex-wife said she didn't know he had been kidnapped.

On Sunday, adding to the mystery, the U.S. Embassy declined to identify the American or discuss details surrounding the reported abduction.

"We cannot disclose any further information at this moment regarding this case because of privacy practices," embassy spokesman Michael McClellan said.

But a U.S. official who had knowledge of the man and had seen the video told CNN he was Rand Michael Hultz, a former Army soldier who served in Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion and later returned as an "entrepreneur."

The account by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of the case, is supported by interviews the man gave to an Iraqi television stations in 2010 where he identified himself as Hultz and detailed his business ventures.

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Filed under: Iraq • U.S. • World
March 18th, 2012
04:15 AM ET

Gunmen kill American in Yemen

Gunmen shot dead an American citizen in the Yemeni city of Taez on Sunday, two defense ministry officials said.

Two men in a motorcycle fired eight shots at the teacher who was on his way to work at a Swedish language center, the officials said.

The victim's full name was not immediately available.

"We are investigating the killing as this is the first of its kind against a western national in Taiz," one of the officials said. Neither wanted to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Filed under: World
March 18th, 2012
04:13 AM ET

Syrian regime staged deadly attacks in Damascus, rebel captain says

A Syrian rebel leader vehemently refuted the government's claim that so-called "terrorists" - not the regime itself - launched a series of explosions in Damascus that killed dozens.

"This is the regime's game. This is how they play their dirty tricks. They carry out these types of explosions from time to time to get more international support and compassion," Capt. Ammar al-Wawi of the rebel Syrian Free Army said Sunday. "They are desperately trying to prove to the world that they are fighting against armed gangs, but the reality is they are the ones who are doing all the killings."

Two explosions rocked parts of Damascus on Saturday, including Syrian government facilities, state-run media reported.

The Syrian Arab News Agency said 27 people were killed after two "booby-trapped" cars exploded in crowded areas in the capital. The blasts also injured 140 people and caused serious damage to surrounding buildings, SANA said.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
March 18th, 2012
03:42 AM ET

Brazil bars Chevron execs from leaving over spill

A federal court in Brazil has issued an order barring 17 executives from U.S. oil giant Chevron and Transocean Ltd. from leaving the country while it mulls criminal charges against them for an oil spill last year.

Among the 17 who were ordered Saturday by a federal judge in Rio de Janeiro to give up their passports is an American: George Buck, the chief operating officer of Chevron's Brazil division.

Kurt Glaubitz, a Chevron spokeman, said the company has not received a formal notification of the order.

"Any legal decision will be abided by the company and its employees," he said. "We will defend the company and its employees."

The oil spill occurred in deep water off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in November.

The next month, Brazilian federal prosecutors filed a suit against Chevron and oil rig operator Transocean for 20 billion reais, about $11 billion.

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Filed under: U.S. • World