18 Dead in Record

Phoenix Heat Wave

PHOENIX -- A record heat wave has led to the deaths of 18 people, most of them homeless, leaving officials scrambling to provide water and shelter to the city's transient population.

For the first time in years, homeless shelters opened their doors during the day to offer respite from the blistering sun, which has delivered above-average temperatures every day since June 29. Police began distributing thousands of water bottles donated by grocery stores, and city officials set up tents for shade downtown.

Four more bodies were found Wednesday. Fourteen of the victims were thought to be homeless. Authorities did not know whether a man found by the side of a road Sunday had a permanent residence. The other three victims were elderly women, police said.

In all of last year, the state Department of Health Services documented 34 heat-related deaths among Arizona residents. The number of illegal immigrants killed by heat-related illnesses while trying to cross the desert are counted separately.

Maricopa County, including Phoenix and its suburbs, has a homeless population of 10,000 to 12,000 people, city officials said.

CIA Contractor Seeks

Dismissal of Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Attorneys for CIA contractor David A. Passaro, who was accused of beating an Afghan prisoner in 2003, asked a judge to dismiss the charges, saying the government should not be allowed to prosecute him in civilian court.

Passaro was the first civilian to face prisoner abuse charges stemming from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has denied any role in the death of Abdul Wali, and alleges the military made him a scapegoat after the Abu Ghraib scandal. He faces as much as 40 years in prison if convicted.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle did not immediately rule.

* The conviction of former Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi may not be the end of the case. Ben Chaney, the brother of victim James Chaney, is weighing the possibility of exhuming the body to recover bullets that might show whether more shooters were involved -- and could still be alive to prosecute. The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., reported Wednesday that a man who bought two guns from a suspect in the deaths of Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman is willing to allow ballistics tests on the weapons.

* NEW YORK -- Cell phone service was restored late Tuesday in the Lincoln and Holland tunnels after being shut down because of security concerns after the July 7 bombings in London killed more than 50 people.

* TOWOAC, Colo. -- Fire crews battled two blazes near Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado and braced for the possibility that lightning could spark new blazes. Temperatures in the high 90s were forecast, along with thunderstorms.

* OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- A mock plane crash put real CSI experts to the test at the National Forensic Academy as crime novelist and benefactor Patricia Cornwell watched from her private helicopter. The final exam for the 16 crime scene investigators may have been the first reenactment of its kind for professional crime solvers.

-- From News Services