Bush continues to laud Mukasey

WASHINGTON - After two Democratic senators agreed to back his attorney general designate, President Bush on Saturday worked to seal the confirmation of Michael Mukasey.

'He is a man of character, and he had been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike for his honesty, intellect, fairness and independence,' Bush said following a week of ups and downs in getting Mukasey confirmed amid a debate over waterboarding, which simulates drowning and is widely viewed as torture.

The retired judge has refused to say whether he considers the practice an illegal interrogation technique.

Bush used his weekly radio address to nudge Mukasey's nomination to the finish line, a day after Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., gave him a nod. Their backing virtually assured that the Senate Judiciary Committee would recommend his confirmation to the full Senate when it votes next Tuesday.

W. Va. protesters demand hate crime charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Hundreds of people marched through the state capital on Saturday to urge prosecutors to add hate crime charges against six white people charged in the beating, torture and sexual assault of a 20-year-old black woman.

Authorities say the accused, three men and three women, held Megan Williams captive for days at a rural trailer - sexually assaulting her, beating her and forcing her to eat human and animal feces.

Hundreds attend student's funeral

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio - Hundreds of people crowded into a church in a Cleveland suburb Saturday to remember a woman who was among seven college students killed in a North Carolina beach house fire.

At the service in The Federated Church-United Church of Christ, Allison Walden, 19, was remembered for her energy, cheer and commitment to her studies at the University of South Carolina, the Rev. Mark Simone said.

'There was lots of laughter and lots of tears,' Simone said.'

Massive pileup along freeway

FRESNO, Calif. - More than 100 cars and trucks crashed on a fog-shrouded freeway Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more, the California Highway Patrol said.

Eighteen big rigs were involved in the massive pileup on Highway 99 just south of Fresno as patches of dense fog obscured visibility on the heavily traveled roadway, CHP officials said.