4 bystanders killed in suicide bombing

KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) – A suicide truck bomb exploded at the office of a U.S.-allied Kurdish political party in this northern oil center Thursday, killing four bystanders and wounding about 30 – including children.

It was the second car-bombing in as many days against Iraqis cooperating with the U.S.-led occupation. Elsewhere, a pro-U.S. politician was assassinated in the southern city of Basra, his party said Thursday.

Oil workers held hostage in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Ethnic militants reportedly armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades were holding 14 ChevronTexaco oil workers hostage aboard two ocean platforms off southeastern Nigeria, company officials said Thursday.

Four other workers were released by their captors late Wednesday, company spokesman Deji Haastrup said. All the captives were Nigerian nationals.

Congress approves contact-lens rules

WASHINGTON (AP) – People who wear contact lenses will be able to shop for the best price under legislation the Senate approved Thursday that gives them a right to their prescriptions.

Since 1978, eyeglass wearers have had the right to get their prescriptions from eye care providers, but in many states that right has not been extended to people with contact lenses. Under the legislation, eye doctors would be required to provide people who wear contact lenses with their prescriptions.

Overtime rules delay spending bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawmakers fashioning a massive spending bill to fund dozens of government agencies remained deadlocked Thursday over whether to block President Bush from moving ahead with new rules for overtime pay.

The House and Senate passed separate temporary funding bills that would have to be reconciled today to keep the government agencies running while negotiators search for a solution to the problem.

Jurors see video _of convicted sniper

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) – Jurors deciding the fate of sniper John Allen Muhammad saw a softer side of the convicted murderer Thursday, watching a home movie in which he plays with his children and encourages them to take their first steps. But prosecutors said “that person no longer exists.”

The jury was to begin deliberating today on whether Muhammad should live or die for masterminding the Washington-area sniper spree last year.