[GRAPHIC=News 7 Mornin']
Today the clock runs out on a murder threat against an American hostage held captive in Saudi Arabia.
His friends and family pray together as they await word on his fate.
Brian Andrews reports.
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[IN Q=About 100-people... ]
[SUPER=03-Eagleswood Township, NJ; :00]
[SUPER=01-Angle Roork/Johnson's Niece; :17]
[SUPER=01-Nawaf Obeid/Saudi National Security Consultant; :56]
[SUPER=01-Brian Andrews/Reporting; 1:09]
[OUT Q=CBS News, Washington.]
About a hundred people gathered in the New Jersey town where Paul Johnson grew-up to join his daughter and niece for an emotional vigil.
They sang amazing grace.. waved american flags.. and prayed for Johnson's safe return.
((ANGLE ROORK, JOHNSON'S NIECE: I JUST WANT TO SAY ON BEHALF OF MY FAMILY, YOUR LOVE, YOUR PRAYERS, AND YOUR SUPPORT ARE APPRECIATED.))
Johnson has worked in Saudi Arabia for more than a decade. Saturday a group claiming to be the Saudi Arabian arm of al-Qaida kidnapped him. On Tuesday they posted this video on an islamic website.. vowing to kill the 49-year-old engineer.. unless the Saudi government releases al Qaida prisoners by today.
((NATS MASKED MAN rtv))
The masked man on the tape identified himself as the leader of al Qaeda in the kingdom... Abdel Aziz al Muqrin.
Saudi authorities say Muqrin is an experienced militant behind recent targeted attacks on Americans.
((NAWAF OBEID, SAUDI NATIONAL SECURITY CONSULTANT: HIS ULTIMATE GOAL IS OBVIOUSLY THE DESTRUCTION OF THE RELATIONSHIP SAUDI ARABIA HAS WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD.))
Saudi authorities insist they will not negotiate with terrorists. They have deployed more than 15-hundred security forces to search for Johnson.
((ANDREWS, REPORTING: THE F-B-I SENT A TEAM OF HOSTAGE SPECIALISTS TO HELP THE SAUDI S WITH THE SEARCH.. BUT A SENIOR SAUDI OFFICIAL SAID SO FAR THERE ARE FEW PROMISING LEADS. BRIAN ANDREWS CBS NEWS, WASHINGTON.))
The war in Iraq has claimed the life of another V-M-I graduate.
VMI says Army Major "Paul R. Sy-verson, the Third," was killed Wednesday near Camp Anaconda in Iraq.
Syverson grew up in Illinois and was a 1993 graduate of VMI.
He was assigned to the Fifth Special Forces Group and was no stranger to dangerous situations.
VMI says he was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his role in stopping a prison revolt in Afghanistan in 2001.
He was scheduled to return home from Iraq shortly.
Rescue crews have found the body of a man presumed drowned in flash flooding in Henry County.
Booker John Henry Hutson dissappeared Wednesday morning, after the car it's believed he was riding in, was washed away by a rain swollen stream on Meeks Road in southern Henry County.
The body was discovered 3-miles downstream near the route 87 bridge in North Carolina.
Police believe Hutson was with his ex-wife, 61 year old Louise Fuller, as they delivered newspapers.
Fuller was found dead at the scene.
B-B King, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson are among those expected to take part in Ray Charles' funeral today in Los Angeles.
[SUPER=03-Los Angeles, CA]
Hundreds of fans paid their respects to the music genius yesterday, filing by Charles' casket in the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Next to the casket was a baby grand piano, holding some of Charles' sheet music.
Three large photos of Charles hung above the coffin.
One floral display featured his initials: a giant R and C.
The 73-year-old Grammy winner, known for hits such as ``What'd I Say,'' and ``Georgia On My Mind,'' died last week from complications of liver cancer.
[TAPE#=04-25 TC 8:51]
The number of school bus accidents decreased statewide this year, but it seems the number in our area actually went up.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co./File Tape]
Take Roanoke County for example.
It typically has one or two accidents a year but this school year Roanoke County had five.
Transportation officials say they cannot pinpoint exactly why but say overall buses are safe, it's usually the other driver's fault.
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[IN Q=Four out of five]
((RICHARD FLORA/ROANOKE CO. SCHOOLS TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR: FOUR OUT OF FIVE WERE DRIVER ERROR, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED AND WE'RE NOT TALKING BRAND NEW DRIVERS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN AROUND SEVERAL YEARS.))
[SUPER=01-Richard Flora/Roanoke Co. Schools Transportation Dir.]
[OUT Q=several years]
Preliminary numbers provided by the state show that for this past school year, the bus driver was at fault in 48-percent of crashes.
In business news, A major tobacco company's ad campaign comes under fire.
Alexis Christoforous has that story and more in this morning's Marketwatch.
[SUPER=01-Alexis Christoforous/Reporting; :00]
[OUT Q=in New York, I'm AC.]
((Brown & Williamson Tobacco was ordered by a New York judge to curb an ad campaign for Kool cigarettes. The judge is also ordering Brown and Williamson to recall 79,000 cartons of special edition thematic packs of cigarettes. That's after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer complained the company was targeting children as customers.
Brown & Williamson was among the tobacco companies that agreed in 1998 to limit advertising, especially aimed at young people, as part of a $206 billion settlement with 46 states.
ON WALL STREET:
stocks posted modest losses - a jump in oil prices and a surge in producer prices last month stoked inflation worries
the dow dipped 2 points
while the nasdaq fell back 14 and a half.
The country that brought the world some its finest vodkas may soon sell cars that won't start if you've had one drink too many for the road.
Swedish car company Saab is considering offering with its cars a key fob with a built-in breath analyzer the size of a pin-head that would shut down the engine if the driver had more to drink than the legal limit.
The alcokey is still underdevelopment and would retail for about 300 hundred dollars.
FIND OUT MORE OR TRACK YOUR STOCKS AT CBS.MW.COM I'm AC.))
(tape tosses to stocks)
[WOOD ROGERS SPONSOR BOARD 5185 ESSC]
A baby is dead and her mother is now behind bars.
It started yesterday outside of Los Angeles after a routine traffic stop.
Police pulled over a woman in a blue car.
When an officer approached the car, 27-year-old Felicana Reyes jumped out saying she needed to be arrested.
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[SOT@:14 -police sound]
[IN Q=Upon approaching...]
(("Upon approaching the driver the woman stepped out of the car she was instructed to get back into the car, but she said, 'no I need to be arrested. I ran away from home and I have a dead child in the backseat.'))
[SUPER=01-Lt. Gil Carrillo/L.A. County Sheriff's Department]
[OUT Q=.... child in the backseat.]
Another child, a five-year-old girl was also found in the car.
She was unharmed.
The cause of the baby's death is unknown.
Virginia health officials are calling the state's tuberculosis rate cause for concern.
This week a 52-year old woman in Chesapeake died from the disease.
Health officials say the state's T-B rate declined for a number of years but has now leveled off.
[IN Q=WE HAVE PEOPLE IMMIGRANTS]
((DR. MARGARET TIPPLE/VA. DEPT OF HEALTH: WE HAVE PEOPLE IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND OTHERS COMING TO US FROM PARTS OF THE WORLD WHERE THERE IS A LOT OF TB THEY BRING THEIR TB WITH THEM AND SOMETIMES THEY GET SICK AFTER THEY GET HERE SO OUR INCREASING NEWCOMER POPULATION IS ADDING TO OUR CASES.))
[SUPER=01-Dr. Margaret Tipple/Virginia Department of Health]
[OUT Q=POPULATION IS ADDING TO OUR CASES.]
Health officials say the state usually sees over three-hundred cases of T-B each year.
Symptoms of tuberculosis include fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss.
Test results are in for the bear that was shot and killed inside Franklin Memorial Hospital Tuesday night.
[SUPER=03-Rocky Mount/Tuesday Night]
The Health Department tested the bear for rabies and the results came back negative.
Game officials on the scene Tuesday night said the bear looked healthy, but requested a rabies test anyway to be sure.
In these surveillance photos you can see the bear wandering the halls and a patron standing only a few feet from it.
Game officials have issued warnings about feeding bears because it may lead to more close encounters.
(Susan tosses to bump)
Stay with us...News 7 Mornin' will be right back.
In business news, Vaughn Furniture is laying off a hundred workers at plants in Stuart and Galax.
The company blames the cuts on foreign competition.
Meanwhile, the Virginia Employment Commission said yesterday the state is growing jobs at an outstanding rate.
The Commonwealth boasted nearly 90-thousand more jobs in April compared to the same month in 2003.
That puts Virginia's job growth rate well above the national average.
More than half of the new jobs were created in Northern Virginia.
The Roanoke and Danville areas saw just a few hundred new jobs.
The Lynchburg and Bristol areas actually lost a few hundred.
Now here's a look at your local stocks.
Flat gas revenues and aging highways are driving down V-DOT's road construction program by one billion dollars.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a six-point-three billion dollar budget yesterday.
That is a significant reduction from last year.
The majority of the state's transportation dollars will be spent on maintenance costs.
V-DOT officials say that leaves no room for new road projects.
[IN Q=THE PROJECTS THAT ARE UNDERWAY]
((TAMARA NEALE/VIRGINIA DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION: THE PROJECTS THAT ARE UNDERWAY WE WILL COMPLETE THOSE BUT BASICALLY ONCE THOSE PROJECTS ARE COMPLETED THERE WILL BE FEW SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS LEFT IN THE PROGRAM.))
[SUPER=01-Tamara Neale/Virginia Dept. of Transportation]
[OUT Q=IMPROVEMENTS LEFT IN THE PROGRAM.]
V-DOT officials say the widening of Interstate 81 will NOT be affected by the decision.
That project will continue as planned.
Blacksburg's Lyric Theatre is getting a face-lift.
Crews will be updating the stage lighting for live performances.
In the past, the theater's had to rent lighting equipment for its shows.
Improvements will also be made to the theater screen.
It will be moved and reconfigured, making the picture crisper for the movie going public.
The renovations will cost about 70-thousand dollars.
The theater will close on Friday June 25th and re-open Friday July 2nd.
(Susan tosses to Steve for Weekend Preview)