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In the Nation

Palin's church holds services

WASILLA, Alaska - Members of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's church gathered in high spirits at a middle school yesterday, two days after their building was badly damaged by a fire that authorities are investigating as arson.

Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, did not attend the services because she was in Juneau preparing to propose a state budget, said her spokesman, Bill McAllister.

The congregation realizes the church is more than the building, said John Doak, associate pastor at Wasilla Bible Church. "The definition of the church is the body of Christ, made up of God's people," Doak said after the hourlong service.

Damage to the 21/2-year-old building is estimated at $1 million. The blaze was set at the main entrance Friday night while a small group, including two children, was inside. No one was injured.

- AP

Photos released in Ore. bombing

PORTLAND, Ore. - Cell phones might have been used in a bomb blast that killed two officers who had carried the device into a bank in Woodburn, Ore., investigators said yesterday as they released surveillance photos of a "person of interest."

Marion County Sheriff Russ Isham said the man in the photos, who has not been identified, may have experience in welding and electronics. The photos, apparently taken with a security camera, show a man in his 30s with an average build. He has a beard and dark hair.

The sheriff's office did not have an explanation yesterday for why the officers took the bomb into the bank after it was found outside. Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell remained hospitalized in critical condition. Killed were Woodburn Police Capt. Tom Tennant and State Police Senior Trooper William Hakim.

- AP

Televangelist Schuller resigns

LOS ANGELES - The Rev. Robert A. Schuller, ousted in October as the preacher of the long-running Christian television program

Hour of Power

, has resigned as senior pastor at the Crystal Cathedral and plans to open his own ministry.

Church founder Robert H. Schuller removed his son as the sole preacher on the 39-year-old TV show after the younger Schuller, three years into the job, refused to rotate his role with other pastors, the church said.

The younger Schuller was given the chance to remain as a Crystal Cathedral pastor - a role his father said he expected him to keep - but left the Garden Grove, Calif., church in late November. The younger Schuller, who recently returned from a speaking engagement in Brazil, declined to be interviewed.

- Los Angeles Times


Steep discounts

on clothes, toys and electronics enticed shoppers to stores this weekend but they are making fewer purchases leading into the final stretch of the holiday season. Based on early reports from analysts and malls, sales results were generally mixed to moderately down even as store traffic appeared strong.

The Coast Guard

called off its search Saturday for two remaining crew members from a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico that killed three others. The helicopter had been headed Thursday to an oil platform off the Texas coast.