July 23rd, 2010
10:02 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to Newspulse.

Florida woman involved in love triangle guilty of murder: A 20-year-old Florida woman involved in a love triangle was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder for fatally stabbing her romantic rival in a fight 15 months ago. Rachel Wade convulsed in sobs as the foreman of the six-person jury read the verdict, which carries a sentence of 20 1/2 years to life in prison.

We're running out of internet addresses: Don't worry, we've got plenty of domains (Thisthatandyada-yada-yada.com will still be available) but Internet Protocol, or IP addresses - the numbers assigned to all the devices we use to connect to the internet, may be gone in less than a year. So says the blog ReadWriteWeb, which attributes it all to the fact that the internet is changing and evolving so quickly - with so many new gadgets connecting - that we're running out of numbers to assign to all of these Web-enabled electronics.

D.C. school system fires 241 teachers: The District of Columbia public school system announced Friday that it is letting 226 employees go for poor performance under the education assessment system IMPACT. Another 76 employees will be terminated because of licensing issues, Chancellor Michelle Rhee said in a news release. Of the 302 employees who are losing their jobs, 241 are teachers, she said.

Texas state board says arson investigators used flawed science: A Texas state board said Friday that arson investigators used flawed science but were not negligent in an investigation that led to a controversial 2004 execution.  Cameron Todd Willingham was executed 13 years after a fire killed his three daughters. Prosecutors argued that Willingham deliberately set the 1991 blaze - but three reviews of the evidence by outside experts have found the fire should not have been ruled arson.

Earthquakes strike waters south of Philippines: A series of four strong earthquakes spanning just over an hour struck the Philippines' Moro Gulf on Saturday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Three of the four earthquakes had magnitudes between 7.3 and 7.6; the other came in at a 5.4 magnitude. The first quake struck at 6:08 a.m. (6:08 p.m. ET Friday) and the fourth hit at 7:15 a.m. The last quake ran the deepest at 616  kilometers (382 miles).

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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Education • Jobs • Most Popular • Philippines
July 23rd, 2010
07:26 PM ET

Hugs and joy as Sherrod, farming family reunite

Redeemed former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod reunited Friday with the Georgia couple whose story  - albeit heavily edited to the point of slant - sparked a national firestorm on racial politics.

Roger and Eloise Spooner waited patiently as Sherrod approached them, arms outstretched. "I want the first hug," Roger playfully said as they embraced.


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Filed under: Civil Rights • On CNN.com today • Race
July 23rd, 2010
06:45 PM ET

Three 7-magnitude quakes strike off Philippines

Three earthquakes of greater than magnitude 7 struck the Philippines' Moro Gulf in just over an hour early Saturday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The first quake, magnitude 7.3, was recorded at 6:08 a.m. (5:08 p.m. ET Friday); the second, 7.6 magnitude at 6:51 a.m. (5:51 p.m. ET); the third, magnitude 7.4, at 7:15 a.m. (6:15 p.m. ET).

The USGS also recorded a 5.4-magnitude quake at 6:19 a.m. (5:19 p.m. ET)

The last quake ran the deepest at 616 (382 miles) kilometers.

The epicenters of the quakes were about 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the coastal city of Cotabato and roughly 950 kilometers (590 miles) southeast of Manila.

No tsunami warning was immediately issued for any of the quakes.

There were no reports of damage, said Rona Faeldin of the Philippines Coast Guard.

- CNN's Katy Byron contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Philippines
July 23rd, 2010
06:23 PM ET

Louisiana's invisible shield: wind shear

Bonnie is currently making its way across the Florida peninsula, and is set to enter the Gulf of Mexico on Friday night. When it does so, it will encounter some of the warmest waters the Gulf has ever seen – and in some places even warmer than the waters that Katrina crossed over in 2005. So what’s the difference between Bonnie and Katrina? It's all in the upper levels.

Over the past few days, CNN Hurricane Headquarters has been monitoring an area of low pressure at the top of the troposphere, which is the place where all the weather happens in Earth's atmosphere. Tropical cyclones (the generic term we use for tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) thrive in "low-wind" environmental conditions. This sounds counter-intuitive but it makes sense when you think about it. Strong winds in the environment where the tropical cyclone seed is trying to grow is going to rip it apart. We call this "wind shear," and it literally shears a storm apart. A tropical cyclone seed needs to plant its roots in weak winds and warm waters so it can build the vertical structure that it needs to churn into a hurricane.

The upper-level low that we have been monitoring is causing some strong wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico, and its why we didn’t see Bonnie strengthen when it was over the Bahamas, and it’s going to prevent strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico as well, assuming the wind shear sticks around. So even though the main ingredient for a strong hurricane is present (warm sea surface temperatures), we probably won’t see Bonnie strengthen much past 50 mph wind speeds.

The northern Gulf will still see relatively strong winds, especially over the Deepwater Horizon site, but it won’t be the worst case scenario: a major hurricane rolling into Louisiana with catastrophic impacts to the oil spill clean up effort.

And we shouldn’t take Louisiana’s Invisible Shield for granted though, because as the season rolls on, the wind shear tends to decrease. We can’t be sure the Gulf will be as lucky next time.

July 23rd, 2010
03:29 PM ET

NASA pieces together 'most accurate' map of Mars

A 90-mile-wide portion of the giant Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars seen at 100 meters (330 feet) per pixel.

After eight years of observations and compiling close to 21,000 images, NASA said Friday that it has constructed what it claims to be the most accurate global map Mars.

"The map lays the framework for global studies of properties such as the mineral composition and physical nature of the surface materials," said NASA scientist Jeffrey Plaut.

The map was put together from images from a camera that takes "pictures" by using infrared measurements of temperatures, called the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), aboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Using 10 filters, THEMIS can generate colored images.

The images were then smoothed, matched, blended and mapped to create a giant mosaic of the planet. The map allows users to zoom in as close enough so that the smallest surface details are 330 feet wide.

“While portions of Mars have been mapped at higher resolution, this map provides the most accurate view so far of the entire planet,” NASA said in a statement.

Researchers also tied the images to a mapping grid provided by the U.S. Geological Survey to increase the accuracy of the final map.

“This approach lets us remove all instrument distortion, so features on the ground are correctly located to within a few pixels and provide the best global map of Mars to date,” Philip Christensen, principal investigator for THEMIS and director of the Mars Space Flight Facility, said.

The Mars Odyssey was launched in April 2001 and reached the Red Planet in October 2001. Researchers at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility in Tempe and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have been compiling the map since THEMIS observations began in 2002.

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Filed under: Space • Technology
July 23rd, 2010
02:07 PM ET

Treasurys fall after European banks pass test

Treasury prices dipped Friday after regulators said most of Europe's major banks passed stress tests, easing worries about the euro zone economy.

What prices are doing: The benchmark 10-year note was down 7/32 to 104-18/32 and its yield rose to 2.96% from 2.93% late Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 30-year bond lost 17/32 to 106-27/32 and its yield was 3.98%, while the 2-year note fell less than 1/32 to 100-4/32 and its yield was 0.58%. The 5-year note slipped 3/32 to 100-27/32 with a yield of 1.7%.

Filed under: Business • Economy
July 23rd, 2010
01:40 PM ET

iReporters back off initial criticism of Shirley Sherrod

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be quick on the draw.

Animator Carter MacDowell, an iReporter from North Carolina, said President Obama wouldn't have had to pull his "apology gun" if the administration had gotten the whole story before firing USDA employee Shirley Sherrod. Watch MacDowell's iReport

Sherrod has been at the center of a fierce political debate since she was accused of being a racist after an edited video of a speech was posted on the internet.

Frequent iReporter Egberto Willies, an Obama supporter from Houston, Texas, initially said that Sherrod's comments were racist and that she had to be fired. He apologized later that day after he watched the entire speech.


July 23rd, 2010
12:56 PM ET

Journalist Daniel Schorr dies

Veteran broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr died at his home Friday morning, according to NPR. Schorr was 93.

Schorr, who began as a foreign newspaper correspondent in 1946, helped launch CNN as its senior Washington correspondent in 1980 after two decades with CBS.

NPR, which Schorr joined as senior news analyst in 1985, said he died peacefully after a short illness.

The host of NPR's Weekend Edition called Schorr "a fierce journalist."

"Nobody else in broadcast journalism - or perhaps any field - had as much experience and wisdom," Scott Simon said. "I am just glad that, after being known for so many years as a tough and uncompromising journalist, NPR listeners also got to know the Dan Schorr that was playful, funny and kind."

Schorr covered the rebuilding of Western Europe for the Christian Science Monitor starting in 1946. He later joined The New York Times.

He joined Edward R. Murrow's CBS news team as its Washington diplomatic correspondent in 1953.

Schorr resigned from CBS in 1976 after the network suspended him amid a controversy over the leaking of a secret U.S. intelligence report. Schorr refused to tell Congress the source of the document, citing his First Amendment protections.

Read the full story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Obituary • U.S.
July 23rd, 2010
12:42 PM ET

In California, 3 who drew high salaries resign from posts

Three officials in a Los Angeles suburb whose high salarie sparked statewide outrage will step down from their jobs, the city's mayor said Friday.

Oscar Hernandez, the mayor of Bell, California, said the City Council accepted the resignations of City Manager Robert Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, and Police Chief Randy Adams, who reportedly had a combined salary of more than $1.6 million. He added that the three will not get severance pay.

"Today, our city council took the quick and decisive action that is in the best interest of our city so that we may return our attention to delivering outstanding city services," the mayor said in a statement posted on the city clerk's website.


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Filed under: California • Politics
July 23rd, 2010
12:37 PM ET

Small plane crashes in Lake Michigan

[Update 1:48 p.m.] One person has been found alive and transported conscious to shore, the Coast Guard said. Four others remain missing.

Private boats are offering to assist in the search, the Coast Guard reported.

[Original post] The Coast Guard was searching for five people in Lake Michigan on Friday after a small plane went down, a petty officer said.

The incident happened about 10:15 a.m. near Ludington, Michigan, in the northwestern part of the lower peninsula, south of Traverse City, Michigan. Official's didn't know where the plane took off from or where it was going.

Petty Officer Sam Meintes said there were five people on board and said a Coast Guard boat and helicopter were taking part in the search.

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Filed under: Michigan • U.S.
July 23rd, 2010
12:35 PM ET

Relief well on hold as Bonnie forces Gulf evacuations

As Tropical Storm Bonnie approaches the Gulf of Mexico, several response vessels at the site of BP's ruptured well are in the process of being moved out of harm's way Friday, leaving the sealed well cap unattended for about 48 hours, federal officials said.

"We're all in agreement that we need to put this equipment where it can be best maintained and safe for following use," retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday.

Allen, who is leading the federal response to the spill, is still "haunted by the specter of flying over New Orleans on the 6th of September as a federal official, looking down on New Orleans, to a parking lot of buses that were flooded and not used for evacuation because they were not moved in time," he said in reference to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


July 23rd, 2010
12:31 PM ET

Al Jarreau hospitalized on tour

Singer Al Jarreau "became weak from the altitude" in the French Alps and was hospitalized Wednesday, forcing the jazz singer to cancel several shows in France, Germany and Azerbaijan over the next week, his publicist said.

Jarreau was admitted to an intensive care unit after he arrived in the resort town of Barcelonette in the southern French Alps, the publicist said in a written statement.

"He is now awake and his first question was to enquire about his wife, Susan, and his second question was to ask about his tour dates," the statement said. "He is always thinking about other people."

His condition was stabilized, but the doctor advised Jarreau to take a few days off of his tour to recover, it said.

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Filed under: France • Showbiz
July 23rd, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Oil ships packing up as storm approaches

Vessels in the Gulf of Mexico are pulling in equipment and stowing gear as they get ready to move out of the way of an approaching tropical storm, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday.

Safety of personnel and preservation of equipment are the priorities right now, Allen said.

"Booms and barges don't stop storm surge," Allen said. "Booms and barges become victims of storm surge and become incapacitated and can't be applied in oil spill response once the storm has passed."


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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill • U.S.
July 23rd, 2010
10:49 AM ET

Gulf dispatch: Time to tap power of teens

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). Philippe, who has been working in this field for years, is an advocate for the people and the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. During the oil crisis, he has visited the area and learned firsthand the impact the disaster has had on the ecosystem and on the people who have been affected by the catastrophe. Read more about Philippe's background.

If there is one consistent sentiment I have heard from people in the Gulf throughout the many trips I have made there, it is frustration.

As the greatest man-made environmental disaster in the country continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf, there is a sense of anger that the general populace has not been able to engage and be a meaningful part of the solution. Thousands of locals who feel a sense of ownership and love for these communities and are eager to act, are forced to watch helplessly as people with no real ties to the area are bused in to do the work. There is a rich tapestry of culture woven along the coast and a resilient people who have overcome some of the worst natural disasters in this country and emerged more determined than ever to rebuild their lives.

When Katrina, Gustav and other hurricanes ravaged the region, the storms passed in a few days and people could start restoring their lives. This oil spill keeps coming and coming and people are given little if anything to do and no group is being more neglected than youth.

I travel all over the country speaking to young people and I am always amazed at how engaged in environmental conservation they are. Of course they are the ones that will inherit the environmental disasters that we create now and thus one could argue that they have the most at stake.

We have countless youth across the country who understand the challenges we face and are just waiting to be empowered to participate. I have reported for news, filmed documentaries, written articles and blogs, testified to Congress on the need to invest in research and science as well as smart regulatory reform… but I argue that above all else we must also invest in education. FULL POST

July 23rd, 2010
10:36 AM ET

Bonnie crossing Florida toward Gulf

[Update 12:15 p.m.] Strong winds hit southern Florida late Friday morning as Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall near Biscayne Bay in southeastern Florida. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

The tropical storm watch for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast has been upgraded to a tropical storm warning.

The warning area now includes the northwestern Bahamas, the southeast coast of Florida, including the Keys, the west coast of Florida as far north as Englewood and from Destin, Florida, to Morgan City, Louisiana.


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Filed under: Florida • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • U.S. • Weather
July 23rd, 2010
10:13 AM ET

On the Radar: Bonnie, USDA, Comic-Con, royal jewels

Bonnie - Tropical Storm Bonnie is dumping heavy rain on South Florida, but the greater concern is how it might affect efforts to clean up the Gulf Coast oil slick. Thad Allen says it could interrupt work on relief wells and cleanup for as long as two weeks; he'll give a live update at 10:30 a.m. ET. CNN's Josh Rubin takes a poignant look at the treasures that Gulf Coast residents have had to sacrifice to stay afloat through the drawn-out crisis.

USDA - Shirley Sherrod got her conversation with President Obama, but Cheryl Cook, the Agriculture Department official who repeatedly called Sherrod to press her to resign, is maintaining a low profile. The dust-up over the Sherrod affair has frustrated White House hopes to highlight recent successes.

Ford - Things are looking up at Ford Motor Co., which reported its best quarterly results in six years, a $2.7 billion profit. In the same period a year earlier, it suffered a $638 million loss.

Comic-Con - Fantasy fanatics are swarming San Diego, California, and CNN is right there with them. Embedded iReporters are delivering the inside dope from every corner of the convention, while genre superstars J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon give insights on imagining parallel universes. Meanwhile, fans debate what belongs in the Comic-Con club and what doesn't.

Bling - An epic love story continues its 70-year run as Sotheby's announces it will auction several pieces of extremely valuable jewelry once owned by England's Duke and Duchess of Windso, the former King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. (In case you don't remember, Edward abdicated the British throne in 1936 to marry the American divorcee.)

Filed under: Business • Civil Rights • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • On the Radar
July 23rd, 2010
08:30 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Zack De La Rocha

The ever-outspoken "Rage Against the Machine" lead singer will reunite with the band after a 10-year hiatus to urge other artists to boycott performances in Arizona because of the state's immigration law.

The legislation is scheduled to go into effect July 29 and is being challenged by the Obama administration and the ACLU.

De La Rocha and other stars will perform Friday night at the Palladium in Los Angeles, California, under the banner "The Sound Strike Stop SB1070 Benefit Show." On The Sound Strike website, De La Rocha, who was born in Long Beach, California, said the concert is a necessary protest against a law which encourages racial profiling of the Latino community.

"SB1070 is part of an entire state campaign to criminalize an entire population," De La Rocha said. "I think its intent is to create a state of constant fear, constant intimidation and by using this legal wording of 'reasonable suspicion' [to] clearly open the door for the police and state agencies to go after people because they are Latino."

He added, "We as artists have to intervene."

The Sound Strike website


July 23rd, 2010
07:31 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - BP webcam of Gulf oil disaster

9:15 am ET - Rachel Wade murder trial - Closing arguments are expected in Clearwater, Florida, in the case of Rachel Wade, who is accused of killing another teenage girl in a dispute over a boy last year.

10:30 am ET - Gulf oil disaster briefing - Retired Coast Guard admiral and National Incident Commander Thad Allen briefs reporters on the Gulf oil disaster in New Orleans.

12:00 pm ET - Biden attends library dedication - Vice President Joe Biden delivers the keynote address for the dedication of the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library in South Carolina.

6:00 pm ET - McChrystal retirement ceremony - The U.S. Army holds a retirement ceremony for the former commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.

Filed under: On CNN.com today
July 23rd, 2010
05:52 AM ET

World update: North Korea vows 'physical response'

An update from London on some of the developing international stories we're following on Friday:

North Korea tension - North Korea says there will be a "physical response" in reaction to the planned joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

Israel weapons - Israel pledged to limit the use of munitions containing white phosphorus and make greater efforts to protect civilians during conflicts, in a report this week to the United Nations. Read the full story