A light magnitude 4.5 earthquake rattled northern California Wednesday evening, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
It's still unclear whether President Barack Obama had made up his mind before sitting down Wednesday with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the article," said a senior administration official, referring to a Rolling Stone magazine article containing comments from McChrystal and his staff that appear to mock top civilian officials, including the vice president.
"He [McChrystal] tried to explain the situation," the official said.
That senior administration official, who briefed reporters, gave this backstory: Once Obama accepted McChrystal's resignation, he wasted no time finding his replacement. After McChrystal walked out of the White House following his 30 minute face-to-face meeting with the president, the president immediately huddled with a team of advisors to decide who would replace McChrystal. FULL POST
Editor's note: Philippe Cousteau Jr. is the grandson of legendary ocean explorer and filmmaker Jacques Yves Cousteau. Philippe heads the nonprofit organization EarthEcho International (www.earthecho.org).
After a very successful telethon for "Larry King Live" — we raised almost $2 million — I boarded a red-eye and headed down to Florida. Unfortunately, tar balls are starting to wash up on the shore, the same kind I saw on the beaches of Alabama that now, three weeks later, have weathered oil and sheen washing up on the beaches and into the marsh. If recent history is any indication (and I hope I am wrong), the Gulf coast of Florida is next.
As part of my work here in the Gulf, I wanted to get ahead of the catastrophe and witness the beauty of these fragile environments before the oil spoiled them. My destination was Apalachicola Bay, a delta system that is among the most pristine and productive in the Gulf.
Beneath the insults that Gen. Stanley McChrystal hurled at practically everyone on President Obama's national security team lies an inherent tension in the counterinsurgency strategy he was trying to implement. McChrystal resigned today in the fallout of his comments.
COIN, the military term expressing the integration of civilian and military activities, follows the basic tenant that combat operations, no matter how crushing, won't be enough to defeat an insurgency. Even the military's counterinsurgency manual is entitled "Unity of Effort."
"Each depends on the other," the manual states. If one fails, the mission fails." FULL POST
[Updated at 10:35 p.m.] BP has successfully repositioned a containment cap over the underwater gusher in the Gulf of Mexico after it removed the device earlier in the day when an undersea robot struck it.
[Published at 7:04 p.m.] BP has begun efforts to reinstall a containment cap over the underwater oil gusher after it was removed out of caution when a remote-operated vehicle bumped into one of the cap's vents, a BP spokesman said Wednesday.
The cap had been removed earlier Wednesday.
A look at highlights from the day's business news:
Stocks end volatile session mixed
Stocks ended mixed Wednesday as investors struggled to balance the Federal Reserve's statement, a weak housing market report and a selloff in commodity prices amid the stronger euro.
The Dow Jones industrial average added a few points. The S&P 500 lost 3 points, or 0.3 percent, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 7 points, or 0.3 percent.
Juanita Castro Ruz, sister of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Cuban
President Raul Castro, is undergoing radiation treatment in Miami, Florida, for lung cancer, her spokeswoman told CNN.
[Updated at 11:04 p.m.] Here are the latest developments involving Gen. Stanley McChrystal, America's top commander in Afghanistan. He and his staff made comments in a Rolling Stone magazine article that appear to mock top civilian officials, including the vice president. The story, which is to appear in Friday's edition, was written by Michael Hastings.
- Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, said: "I think that there are lines you can't cross and I think there's responsibilities that you have to uphold as a senior commander."
"Somehow this got personal," Clark said. "It wasn't a policy issue. It was just personal. May have been some guys letting off steam or whatever, but when it got out in the press, it just - you can't do it."
"It's a tough position," Clark said. "When you're in a senior command position like that, it's very tough. The more you're isolated, the tougher it is. ... He's under a lot of stress. Sometimes stuff happens."
Clark said McChrystal's probable replacement, Gen. David Petraeus, is "a great
commander, but I don't know [if] he's a miracle worker."
- CNN.com has gathered opinions on the meanings and repurcussions of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's depature that you can read here. Also, find out why Fareed Zakaria calls the decision to replace him with Gen. David Petraeus a "masterstroke."
- The spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday that
"we will respect" President Obama's decision to name a new U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.
The spokesman, Waheed Omar, called Petraeus "an obvious choice" to take over from McChrystal, who resigned over controversial statements attributed to him in a magazine article. McChrystal "was a very trusted partner with the Afghan government and people," Omar said.
"Since his arrival, there was a lot of improvement in Afghanistan." Omar called the change "an internal U.S. government decision" and added, "We will respect this decision."
- Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the confirmation hearing on Gen. David Petraeus as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan will begin "no later than next Tuesday."
- British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed his government's support for the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan in a discussion Wednesday with President Obama about the change in command of U.S. and allied forces.
The White House informed Cameron's office of the decision to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus while Cameron was at his weekly audience with Queen Elizabeth.
A settlement has been approved for more than 10,000 people who claimed injuries from operations at the site of the World Trade Center towers after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Joran van der Sloot has filed a complaint with Peruvian police claiming that his constitutional rights and his right to a defense were violated after his arrest in connection with the killing of a Peruvian woman.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been indicted on 19 counts of federal fraud and tax charges, a spokesman for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan said Wednesday.
President Obama’s announcement that General Stanley McChrystal had resigned as Commander of ISAF and would be replaced by General David Petraeus brought a swift response from both U.S. allies and Capitol Hill.
The Afghan government was swift to applaud the appointment as providing continuity.
'General McChrystal and General Petreaus are from one group, they were part of implementing the recent strategy so we believe the mission will continue without fault' said General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, Spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry
‘Of all the choices that could have been made, we are happy to hear it is Petreaus who will continue the mission,” he said.
That sentiment was echoed by the NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said in a statement that the approach General McChrystal helped put in place is the right one. “The strategy continues to have NATO's support, and our forces will continue to carry it out,” Rasmussen said.
President Obama’s allies in Congress were also quick to praise General Petraeus’ appointment. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said pointedly that Petraeus would provide “tested diplomatic skill that is at the very center of a military strategy which hinges on progress in governance to sustain military gains.”
Kerry also made significant reference to the Marjah operation, where an allied offensive in February drove the Taliban out – only for the insurgents to slip back into the area, planting IEDs and intimidating the local population. “We’ve already seen in Marjah that impressive military gains cannot be maintained without effective local governance and Afghan ownership,” Kerry said.
One Republican took that skepticism a big step further. Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri), who serves on the Intelligence Committee said of Petraeus: “Even he can't win in Afghanistan if the president continues to insist on an arbitrary withdrawal date - a fact our enemies our counting on and our allies fear."
A source close to Gen. Stanley McChrystal provided the first account of what happened in Wednesday's White House meeting between the general and President Barack Obama.
According to the source, McChrystal briefly explained the magazine article at the center of the controversy and took responsibility, then offered his resignation. Obama accepted the resignation, the source said.
The president "had no intention of keeping him," according to the source.
In addition, the source said McChrystal will not return to Afghanistan. His team will go back to pack up on his behalf.
[Updated at 5:20 p.m.] U.S. Geological Survey has revised the earthquake's preliminary magnitude to 5.0. The USGS initially assigned it a preliminary magnitude of 5.5.
[Updated at 2:55 p.m.] There has been no major damage reported so far from an earthquake that hit Canada today, the city of Toronto said in a press release.
"In our initial assessment, there has been no major damage to City infrastructure. Further investigations are taking place to confirm," the statement said. "The Toronto Transit Commission and Transportation Services have reported that there has been no damage to their infrastructure or interruptions to service.
"The City’s Emergency Operations Centre is up and running in preparation for the G20 so the City is uniquely prepared to respond to the event. We will continue to monitor the situation and will report as necessary."
[Updated at 2:42 p.m.] Barre Campbell, a spokesman for the city of Ottawa, tells CNN that there are no reports of major damage in downtown Ottawa.Campbell said he witnessed self-evacuations of downtown buildings, but that people appear to be headed back into work buildings now.
[Updated at 11:07 p.m.] Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which unfolded after an explosion aboard the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20:
- BP on Wednesday night successfully repositioned a containment cap over the underwater gusher in the Gulf of Mexico after it removed the device earlier in the day when an undersea robot struck it.
- Obama administration lawyers on Wednesday night filed documents in federal court in New Orleans, Louisiana, signaling their intention to appeal Tuesday's ruling striking down a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. The administration also asked the court to delay lifting the ban until an appeals court reviews the case.
- The request for a stay until the appeal is heard later this summer will be considered by Judge Martin Feldman, who firmly struck down the drilling ban, declaring it "arbitrary and capricious" in his ruling Tuesday. He could rule on the government's request as early as Thursday, officials said.
Several shrimp boats troll the waters off the Florida panhandle – an odd sight these days, since fishing has been banned in the area.
But these vessels are not looking for shrimp: they are hunting oil on the surface of the water. And soon, these boats will be outfitted with a homemade contraption that can pick up tons of the stuff in just a few hours.
Football Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor was indicted Wednesday on charges of rape and endangering the welfare of a child, stemming from an alleged sexual rendezvous with a 16-year-old in May, a suburban New York prosecutor's office said.
The indictment includes one count of rape in the third degree, one count of criminal sexual acts in the third degree, two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of patronizing a prostitute in the third degree, according to the Rockland County district attorney's office.
Landon Donovan's goal in the 91st minute of U.S. game against Algeria qualified the team for the knockout round and gave them the win in Group C of the World Cup.
Donovan's dramatic goal in stoppage time gave the U.S. a 1-0 win and sent Algeria home from the tournament.
The U.S. had a number of disputed shots, ones that went wide, hit the post or were near goals in the first half of the game - and it seemed at times as though the U.S. fell short with each kick by just a bit and couldn't hit the back of the net.'
Bradley said he had some worries when the team couldn't come through on several close shots.
"Sometimes on nights like that you come up short but these guys kept going," U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said after the game.
Security forces in Afghanistan seized 11 tons of ammonium nitrate, the material used to make improvised explosive devices, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Wednesday.
The forces, working with NATO-led troops, found the material during a Monday night operation in Kabul.