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Septuplets improving; dad thankful

Five of the septuplets born at Georgetown University Hospital on Thursday were breathing on their own Sunday _ and a sixth is expected to do so by today. In his first interview, the infants' father said Sunday night that he and his wife are especially joyful about the births because two of their children died in the past five years.

"God took two of them, and he gave us seven," said Fahad Qahtani, 29, father of the third known set of septuplets to survive birth. "We thank Him for it all the time."

Qahtani, a Saudi high school teacher studying at George Washington University, said he and his wife came to the United States three years ago, with hopes of saving the life of their youngest child, then 6 months old. The boy was on a waiting list in Pittsburgh for an organ transplant, he said.

But the child died before the transplant came.

Afterward, Qahtani decided to stay in the country to pursue his master's degree in the computer field. Always wishing for a large family _ ideally, 12 children _ Qahtani and his 28-year-old wife, whom he declined to name, kept trying for the large brood they imagined. When she had difficulty getting pregnant again, he said, they opted for fertility drugs _ and found themselves surprised by the number of eggs that became fertilized.

"We hope and we pray for them to get better," he said of the babies, whose weight ranged from 2 pounds to 2 pounds 7 ounces at birth. "We pray for them to be healthy." He said his wife is feeling well after the Cesarean section delivery at 11:25 p.m. Thursday. "She is so, so happy," he said.

The babies, named for members of the royal family in Saudi Arabia, are, in order of birth: son Bandar; daughter Hayfa; son Naife; son Shamma; daughter Abdalla; son Abdulaziz; son Sultan.

Qahtani said the family lost 6-month-old Salam, who needed small bowel transplant, in 1998. Two years earlier, they lost their 3-year-old daughter, Hadil, who needed a liver transplant. Late Sunday, it was unclear whether the medical traumas experienced by the Qahtanis' other children might indicate any problems for their newborns.

The couple also has a son who is 9.

"Washington Post's' Graham critical

BOISE, Idaho _ Katharine Graham, chairman of the executive committee of the Washington Post Co., was in critical condition Sunday at a hospital in Idaho after surgery that followed a fall.

Graham, 84, went to Sun Valley last week to attend a business conference and fell Saturday afternoon on a walkway outside a condominium, the newspaper said on its Internet site.

Graham was taken first to St. Luke's hospital in the Sun Valley area, and then by helicopter to the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where she was in intensive care late Sunday after surgery, St. Alphonsus spokeswoman Amy Miller. It was not immediately known what the surgery was for.

Graham took over the company in 1963 after the death of her husband.

In two decades, she built the paper her father had purchased at bankruptcy auction into a media empire that ranked on the Fortune 500 list by the time she turned it over to her son in 1993.

Arrest in Carnegie Deli murders

NEW YORK _ A two-month hunt for a shooter in a robbery and triple murder at a marijuana dealer's apartment above the Carnegie Deli ended Sunday with an arrest outside a Miami homeless shelter where the man was staying, police said.

Sean Salley, 29, of New York City was being held by authorities in Miami on Sunday evening. Charges were pending, but police said he likely would face three counts of murder and multiple counts of assault and weapons possession.

Salley was arrested just hours after the case was featured Saturday night on the Fox network's America's Most Wanted television program, which seeks the public's help in capturing criminals.

Five people were shot in the attack in the apartment above the famed restaurant. Police said Salley and another man planned to rob Jennifer Stahl, who was renting the apartment and dealing marijuana. Stahl, who was one of those killed, had bit parts in several movies, including Dirty Dancing.

Algerian arrested in bomb plot

NEW YORK _ A London-based Algerian has been arrested and charged by U.S. authorities with being one of the masterminds of a plot by Islamic terrorists to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium, federal authorities said Sunday.

Authorities also have linked the man, Abu Doha, to an alleged conspirator in a second millennium terrorist plot to detonate bombs at several sites in Jordan often visited by American and Israeli tourists, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent filed in support of Doha's arrest.

Doha, who was already in custody in London on immigrations violations, was charged in a sealed criminal complaint July 2 with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction to blow up an LAX terminal just before New Year's Day 2000 as part of a "jihad," or holy war, against the United States.

Doha emerged as a key figure in the LAX plot in the last few weeks, when convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam told federal authorities that he received "instruction" from Doha.

Campaign reform not dead yet

WASHINGTON _ The House will eventually vote on campaign finance legislation despite the roadblock last week that stalled the bill indefinitely, supporters predicted Sunday.

"We will have a vote, and I am confident of it," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

McCain was the co-sponsor of a similar bill that passed the Senate in April, and has worked closely with House proponents of campaign finance overhaul.

The measure would ban soft money, the unregulated millions pouring into political parties from corporations, unions and individuals, and restrict certain political ads in the final days of an election.

"We've got to cool this thing down, try to sit down together," McCain said on NBC's Meet the Press.

If there is no deal to assure a vote, supporters of campaign finance reform are exploring several ways of reviving the proposal.

"We're going to make sure we have a vote," Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., said on CNN's Late Edition.

Not ready to give up on whale

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. _ After failing in their fifth effort to sedate a right whale entangled in rope, rescuers say they are still not ready to give up.

Scientists returned home early Sunday, after a third day of frustrations.

Heavy nylon fishing rope entangled around the whale's jaw has caused a serious infection that veterinarians say is likely to eventually cause its death.

Rescuers said the whale's skin color had faded from black to almost completely white, indicating its condition had worsened.

A SPECIAL T-BALL GAME: Troy Eash of the District 8 Virginia Beach Little League Challengers hits the ball during a T-ball game on the South Lawn of the White House. Two teams of disabled children from Virginia took to the field on Sunday, the third installment in President Bush's summer series. Some of the players used wheelchairs or walkers. A few players were carried around the bases. Bush played his customary role, planting the first ball on the tee, declaring "play ball!" and then watching from the stands behind first base.