February 18th, 2008
08:04 AM ET

Morning Buzz 2/18/08

Another new week, another round of voting, and no closer to a Democratic nominee for president. And on the other side, please don't leave us Mike Huckabee...  this election is too much fun.

But it's the voting in Pakistan that grabs the headlines today.  They won't elect a president, but the results will have a long-term impact for the next President of the United States.

Top Stories

Voting in Pakistan met with violence
Pakistanis went to the polls Monday in violence-dogged parliamentary elections that could prove pivotal for Washington ally President Pervez Musharraf as he struggles to exert his authority over a nuclear-armed nation in turmoil.

Death toll in Afghanistan’s weekend blast tops 100
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a large crowd gathered at a dogfighting event just outside this city in southern Afghanistan, killing about 80 people and wounding more than 90 others in the country’s worst single bombing since 2001.

Tornados hit South; Icy weather affects Midwest
Severe weather howled through much of the nation Sunday, producing damaging tornadoes in the South that injured nearly 30 people and treating winter-weary parts of the Midwest to freezing rain, snow and flooding.

Nancy Reagan hospitalized after fall
Former first lady Nancy Reagan was taken to a suburban Los Angeles hospital "as a precaution" Sunday after a fall at her home, an aide said. The 86-year-old Reagan will remain overnight for observation at a hospital in Santa Monica, California,

Billionaire dad of Diana's beau to testify 
The father of Princess Diana's boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, testified Monday for the first time at the inquest into their deaths more than a decade ago, maintaining the couple were the victims of a murder plot and alleging a wide conspiracy to cover it up.

Rice demands 'real power sharing' in Kenya
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Kenya to support efforts to reach political reconciliation, said Kenya's opposing factions must form a "grand coalition" that provides "real power sharing." Sec. Rice, who arrived in Nairobi for a brief visit Monday morning, told reporters she would "emphasize the positive" when meeting with President Kibaki and Odinga.

Raw Politics

Clinton's Ties To Texas Run Long and Deep
In Texas, Sen. Barack Obama cannot replicate Sen. Hillary Clinton's ties overnight. His advisers believe they can overcome many of her built-in advantages, enough at least to emerge with a close split in delegates under the state's convoluted rimary-caucus system, by tapping into a new generation of Texans who have no connections to the Clintons and by arguing that the senator from Illinois would be the stronger general-election candidate. But as was the case in the run-up to Super Tuesday, his advisers say he will be in a race against the clock.

For McCain, a Choice on a Role for Bush
Senator John McCain’s campaign advisers will ask the White House to deploy President Bush for major Republican fund-raising, but they do not want the president to appear too often at his side, top aides to Mr. McCain said Sunday.

Wooing superdelegates all the way to convention
With the Democratic presidential race tied to a complex delegate system, the Clinton and Obama camps went after each other Sunday over "superdelegates." Obama leads in the overall delegate count and among pledged delegates, who are assigned based on primaries and caucuses. Clinton has more superdelegates supporting her, and the overall count is close. Neither is expected to have enough pledged delegates to win the nomination before the party's convention in August.

Huckabee's persistence frustrates some in GOP
With the Republican nomination effectively out of reach, Mike Huckabee continues to campaign nationwide in an apparent pursuit of other goals even as he insists that John McCain does not yet have a lock on the GOP prize.

Crime & Punishment

University shooter's girlfriend: 'I couldn't believe it'
The girlfriend of the gunman who killed five people and then himself at Northern Illinois University last Thursday told CNN there was "no indication he was planning something." Jessica Baty said her boyfriend, Steven Kazmierczak, gave no warning of the shooting rampage at NIU. Baty, 28, said she dated Steven Kazmierczak off and on for two years and had most recently been living with him.

Police: Dead student victim of serial rapist
A 19-year-old college student missing since she was abducted nearly a month ago was strangled by a serial rapist who has attacked at least two other women and may strike again, Reno police said Saturday.

Psychological tests ordered for meat cleaver attack suspect
A man accused of butchering a Manhattan therapist rambled and appeared agitated during his arraignment Sunday before the judge ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Keeping Them Honest

At Odds Again on Wiretapping
The skeptics said it would never happen, but six and a half years after 9/11, congressional Democrats have stood their ground against President Bush in a debate pitting civil liberties against national security.

Your Steak, Sir — Medium, Rare or Cloned?
Safe as it may be, there's another problem about cloned meat that the FDA approval hasn't taken into account: the unscientific "ick" factor. Though cattle are often reproduced artificially — using in vitro fertilization, for example — and though cloning is just another form of reproduction as far as scientists are concerned, the public is somewhat less phlegmatic about the technology.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Lawyer: Britney Spears's Civil Rights Violated
The man who claims to be Britney Spears's new lawyer says that the pop star is being "deprived of her Constitutional rights" and tells PEOPLE he is seeking a "return to normalcy" when it comes to Spears's living and legal situations.

Beef Recall Largest in U.S. History
A slaughterhouse that has been accused of mistreating cows agreed Sunday to recall 143 million pounds of beef in what federal officials called the largest beef recall in U.S. history. The amount of beef – 143 million pounds – is roughly enough for two hamburgers for each man, woman and child in the United States.

Study Finds Cancer Diagnosis Linked to Insurance
A nationwide study has found that the uninsured and those covered by Medicaid are more likely than those with private insurance to receive a diagnosis of cancer in late stages, often diminishing their chances of survival.

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