Emanuel lights nation's menorah

WASHINGTON - White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel lit the National Menorah yesterday in celebration of Hanukkah.

The ceremony marked the 30th anniversary of the first National Menorah lighting in 1979. President Jimmy Carter attended that ceremony.

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Second Temple in Jerusalem nearly 2,200 years ago after its desecration by the Syrian-Greeks. The eight-day festival began Friday night.

Emanuel, who is Jewish, was the guest of honor at the lighting on the Ellipse in front of the White House. He stood in a cherry picker to light it in front of more than 1,000 onlookers on a cold, rainy day. - AP

Florida toddler is killed by dog

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Authorities said a Rottweiler attacked and killed a Florida toddler when the boy reached to pick up a cookie he had dropped.

Kevin Doll of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said yesterday that 20-month-old Dallas Walters was at an aunt's home during a party Saturday night. Doll said the dog attacked Dallas when the boy dropped a cookie and went to grab it.

Family members at the party managed to pry the dog off the child and then took him to a hospital. The boy later died.

Doll said the incident was still under investigation but appeared to be a "tragic accident." - AP

Utah police seek public's help

SALT LAKE CITY - Police appealed for the public's help yesterday as they searched for a Utah woman who hasn't been seen for a full week. Twenty-eight-year-old Susan Powell was reported missing from a Salt Lake City suburb in a case that police call suspicious.

She left behind two children and a husband, who said he doesn't know what happened to her.

West Valley City Police Capt. Tom McLachlan said at least eight detectives worked the case yesterday. Detectives appealed for the public's help.

They plan to conduct another interview early this week with husband Josh Powell, who told police he left his wife and took their boys, ages 2 and 4, on a camping trip about midnight Dec. 6 in subfreezing temperatures. - AP

Elsewhere:

Heavy rain tapered off, skies cleared, and residents of 44 evacuated homes in the Los Angeles area foothills started returning home yesterday, a day after they fled because of fears that the rains would cause mudslides.

A power failure stranded about 300 passengers for a couple of hours early yesterday aboard three monorail trains at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Bo Jones of the Reedy Creek Fire Department said no one was injured.