Kasparov won't run for president




MOSCOW &

Kremlin critic and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov will not run in Russia's presidential election after authorities repeatedly blocked supporters' efforts to hold a nominating conference, his spokeswoman said today.




Under election law, today is the last day that potential candidates for the March 2 vote have to hold such conferences.




A spokeswoman for the broad-based opposition coalition that Kasparov heads told The Associated Press that organizers have been unable to find an auditorium or hall in Moscow where activists could gather and vote to put forth Kasparov as a candidate.




Spokeswoman Marina Litvinovich accused the government of pressuring landlords to not rent to the coalition, Other Russia.




"Authorities put up as many obstacles as possible to stop us. That's it," she said.




Senate to vote on new energy bill




WASHINGTON &

Democratic leaders anticipated a close vote as the Senate prepared to consider an energy bill that supporters say will mark a new direction and move the country away from gas-guzzling cars and toward greater reliance on nonfossil fuels.




The legislation, similar to a package of energy proposals passed a week ago by the House, repeals billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies, requires a 40 percent boost in automobile fuel efficiency and a massive increase in the use of ethanol as a motor fuel.




Some of the details were still being worked out late Wednesday as Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada mapped out strategy to overcome a certain GOP filibuster against the bill's $21.8 billion tax package, including repeal of $13.5 billion in tax breaks enjoyed by the five largest oil companies.




Democrats, who may lose one or two of their own in the voting, will need significant support from the GOP Senate ranks to get the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican procedural roadblocks.




The revenues would be used to give tax and other incentives to develop clean and renewable energy such as wind and solar energy, coal plants that capture their carbon dioxide emissions, and ethanol made from cellulosic feedstocks such as prairie grasses and wood chips.




Musharraf to end emergency rule




ISLAMABAD, Pakistan &

President Pervez Musharraf will lift Pakistan's state of emergency only after changing the constitution to ensure he cannot be hauled before a court, a senior official said today, as lawyers held more protests against the retired general.




Musharraf purged the judiciary, jailed thousands of opponents and silenced television news channels after he suspended the constitution and declared emergency rule on Nov. 3.




The U.S.-backed leader said he acted to prevent political chaos and give authorities a freer hand against Islamic militants, though critics accuse him of a last-ditch power grab before the previous Supreme Court could declare his continued rule illegal.




Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum told The Associated Press that the president, who has acknowledged that he breached the constitution, will amend the charter to protect his decisions from legal challenges.




Qayyum said government legal experts were finalizing the changes and that they would be announced before Musharraf lifts the emergency on Saturday, but provided no details.




Suspect arrested in bus stop shooting




LAS VEGAS &

An 18-year-old man was arrested in a shooting at a school bus stop that injured six young people, police said.




Nicco Tatum was arrested Wednesday in Denver after authorities received a tip that he was headed to Chicago on a bus, police Capt. Kirk Primas said. Tatum is expected to be booked on six counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon and six counts of battery with a deadly weapon.




Police were still searching for a second suspect.




"" The Associated Press




Six people were wounded Tuesday at a bus stop a few miles from Mojave High School in North Las Vegas. At least one teen remained hospitalized Wednesday.




Alejandro Rios, 18, who was shot in the torso, was upgraded from critical to serious condition, University Medical Center spokeswoman Cheryl Persinger said. A 17-year-old male also hospitalized had been listed in serious condition late Tuesday, but an update was not available because he has chosen to keep his information private, Persinger said.




Clinton adviser says Obama's drug history could hurt in November if he's Democratic nominee




CONCORD, N.H. &

A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama's admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate.




Obama's campaign said the Clinton people were getting desperate. Clinton's campaign tried to distance itself from the remarks Wednesday, and the adviser said later he regretted making them.




Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman of Clinton's front-runner campaign, raised the issue during an interview with The Washington Post, posted on washingtonpost.com.




Shaheen, an attorney and veteran organizer, said much of Obama's background is unknown and could be a problem in November 2008 if he is the Democratic nominee. He said Republicans would work hard to discover new aspects of Obama's admittedly spotty youth.




"It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" said Shaheen, whose wife, Jeanne, is the state's former governor and is running for the U.S. Senate next year.




Ike Turner, rock pioneer and ex-husband of Tina Turner, dies in San Diego at age 76




SAN DIEGO &

Ike Turner managed to rehabilitate his image somewhat in the past few years, touring around the globe and drawing acclaim that included his first solo Grammy earlier this year.




But the 76-year-old's prodigious musical legacy was forever tarnished by his image as the drug-addicted, brutally abusive former husband of Tina Turner.




Turner, known with his ex-wife for such songs as "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Proud Mary," died Wednesday at his suburban home. No cause of death was immediately given.




In interviews toward the end of his life, Turner acknowledged many mistakes, but said he still carried himself with pride.




"I know what I am in my heart. And I know regardless of what I've done, good and bad, it took it all to make me what I am today," he once told The Associated Press.




'Blood,' 'No Country' aim for awards leverage with likely Golden Globe nominations




BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. &

Hollywood's awards season kicks off before clear front-runners have emerged, though Golden Globe voters have no shortage of fine films and performances to choose from when nominations are announced this morning.




Among big contenders were the crime saga "No Country for Old Men" and the historical drama "There Will Be Blood." Both have been anointed by major critics groups.




The Golden Globes, the second-biggest film honors after the Academy Awards, has a category for best comedy or musical along with best drama, so Johnny Depp's bloody musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" could get an Oscar boost today.




Days before the Globe nominations, Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men" was picked by the New York Film Critics Circle as the year's best film, while Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" earned the same honor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.




Both groups picked "There Will Be Blood" star Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor, while the New York critics gave their supporting-actor prize to Javier Bardem for "No Country for Old Men."