July 26th, 2010
10:27 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

10 best dressed celebrity brides of all time: Here's a look back at the 10 most iconic wedding dresses ever.

Jail source: Inmates are sick of Lohan: A relative of an inmate at the jail where actress Lindsay Lohan is being kept says that even though inmates don't get to see her, Lohan's presence is affecting their days.

Afghanistan says it's 'shocked' by leaked U.S. documents: The Afghan government said Monday it was "shocked" as it sifted through tens of thousands of leaked U.S. military and diplomatic reports on the war in Afghanistan that a whistleblower website posted a day earlier.

Khmer Rouger survivors angry over Duch jail sentence: A man who ran a notorious Cambodian torture prison where more than 14,000 people died during the Khmer Rouge regime was found guilty of war crimes Monday and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Despite the sentence, Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, will serve no more than 19 years.

Local officials: 1 of 2 abducted U.S. service members killed: One of two American service members who were abducted in Afghanistan on Friday has been killed, provincial government officials said Sunday.

Filed under: Most Popular
July 26th, 2010
06:13 PM ET

Stocks rally after better-than-expected housing report

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks rally on housing, FedEx

Stocks rallied Monday after FedEx's improved forecast and a better-than-expected housing market report tempered worries about the economic outlook.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 100 points, or 1 percent. The S&P 500 index rose 12 points, or 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 27 points, or 1.2 percent.

Both the Dow and Nasdaq are now positive for the year, while the S&P 500 stands roughly where it stood at the end of 2009. All three major gauges had rallied soundly through late April, sold off through the end of June and have recovered in July.


Filed under: Economy
July 26th, 2010
01:50 PM ET

WikiLeaks documents: Latest developments

Here are the latest developments regarding the website Wikileaks.org publishing alleged military and diplomatic documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan.


- President Barack Obama learned of the pending WikiLeaks posting of classified military documents last week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Gibbs said the public release of the documents was "a breach of federal law."

"Whenever you have the potential for names and operations and programs to be out there in the public domain, besides being against the law, it has the potential to be very harmful" to military personnel and others, Gibbs said.

- The United States' relationship with Pakistan is "not markedly changed" by information in classified military documents posted by WikiLeaks, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

- Classified military documents posted by WikiLeaks contained no major new revelations, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

"In terms of broad revelations, there aren't any that we see in these documents," Gibbs said.

However, Gibbs said the public posting of names of military personnel and their sources, as well as details of operations, could do harm.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • National security • Security Brief • U.S. • WikiLeaks
July 26th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

Boy walking days after 16 story plunge

Less than a week after falling 16 stories from an apartment balcony, a 15-year-old New Zealand boy was walking around a hospital Monday and was expected to be released later this week, according to news reports from New Zealand.

Jason Epps-Eades, who manages the Proximity Apartments in Manukau City, New Zealand, said the teen plunged through the roof of a parking structure before hitting the concrete below, Radio New Zealand reported, which may have broken his fall and saved his life.


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Filed under: New Zealand
July 26th, 2010
01:13 PM ET

Officials: 19 killed, 52 injured in Iraq car bombings

At least 19 people were killed and 52 were wounded in two car bomb explosions Monday on a road between Karbala and Najaf, Iraq interior ministry officials said.

Most of those killed and wounded were civilians.

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Filed under: Iraq
July 26th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

Serial killer in Philippines targets expats, their gadgets

Police in Philippines are on the hunt for a “gadget-obsessed” man suspected of murdering three foreigners in separate attacks in the northern city of Angeles.

The victims - an American, a Canadian and a Briton - were among nine alleged victims of 28-year-old Mark Dizon, The Philippine Star newspaper reported Monday.

"We are launching a massive manhunt against Dizon," the city police chief told ABS-CBN news station.

Dizon, a computer technician and reflexologist, is suspected of killing retired U.S. Air Force serviceman Albert Mitchell, 70, his wife, Janet Andrenada, 53, and their three domestic helpers last Thursday, the newspaper reported.


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Filed under: Philippines
July 26th, 2010
12:03 PM ET

What leaked documents are telling us about Afghan war

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to Larry King about the 90,000 documents his site recently made public reportedly detailing U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan.  Don’t miss 'Larry King Live' at 9 p.m. ET Monday on CNN.

[Update: 21:25] Ellsberg: 92,000 documents won't convey reason for Afghan War

The U.S. war in Afghanistan has been drawing comparisons to the Vietnam War for many years, and WikiLeaks' publication of more than 90,000 government documents about the war in Afghanistan will give more credence to that comparison. Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower responsible for leaking the U.S. government's top-secret study on the Vietnam War in 1971, says that like the Pentagon Papers, these documents will not justify the ongoing war.

"I think what the Pentagon Papers showed with 7,000 pages was that there was a lack of any good reason for doing what we were doing," Ellsberg told CNN. "My strong expectation is these 92,000 pages will not convey any good reason for the dying and killing and the enormous money we're spending over there in a time we cannot afford it."


[Update: 20:27] WikiLeaks shines spotlight on mysterious Task Force 373

U.S. military documents released by WikiLeaks show that a U.S. Special Forces unit in Afghanistan assigned to hunt down terrorists also was responsible for the deaths of civilians, Afghan police officers and, in one particularly bloody raid, seven children while they attended school.

The unit is called Task Force 373. It’s assigned to kill so-called “high value” targets or detain them without trial, often in night operations. The 373 follows a hit list of sorts, according to The New York Times and The Guardian newspaper in England.


[Update: 19:35] WikiLeaks documents show successes and failures of Afghan police and army

Training of and handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan police and military forces has been a central component of Afghanistan strategy during the last two administrations. Among the tens of thousands of documents published by WikiLeaks are a series of reports on the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. The reports chronicle successes and failures of both agencies from 2004-2009.  Although both agencies have had failures, a preliminary review of the documents suggests that the ANP has more problems than the ANA.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington DC, says that the mixed bag of results in the reports are apparent when reading raw military reporting and traffic. "If you had taken 90,000 documents from the Allied forces that invaded Normandy in 1944 until they reached V-E Day in 1945, you probably would have found the same kind of success stories and failures mixed together," Riedel told CNN.


[Original post] Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has published what it says are about 76,000 United States military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year.

The firsthand accounts are the military's own raw data on the war, including numbers killed, casualties, threat reports and the like, according to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, which published the material Sunday. On Monday Assange said the leaked reports from Afghanistan appear to contain "evidence of war crimes."

"This material does not leave anyone smelling like roses, especially the Taliban," he said, also implying that some U.S. troops had behaved improperly.

CNN has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents. The Department of Defense will not comment on them until the Pentagon has had a chance to look at them, a Defense official told CNN.

White House National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones, who was among those offering reaction to the large document document, issued a statement Sunday calling the documents' release "irresponsible."

"The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of
Americans and our partners at risk and threaten our national security," the statement said.

There's a whole lot of information in the documents and we're digging through them with you to get a sense of what's in them, what new information we're learning about the war in Afghanistan, and what the big takeaways are that you need to know about.

What are we learning from the documents?

WikiLeaks released the documents to The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel before any other media outlets, and they had a chance to look ahead of time. Each news organization concentrated on different angles, but here are some highlights:


The Guardian put together an interactive map using data from the WikiLeaks documents to show and detail what it deemed were several significant events from the logs for users to examine in greater detail.

The paper also dug into many other issues the WikiLeaks material offered information about including:

On Osama Bin Laden: The Guardian examined documents that allegedly link bin Laden to several incidents between 2004 and 2009.

- Osama Bin Laden reported to have issued orders to suicide bombers in Afghanistan
- Afghanistan war logs: Bin Laden instigates suicide attack against Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to U.S. report

On civilian casualties: Many of the documents deal with civilian casualties, whether from air strikes, at roadblocks or in other circumstances.

-Special forces wound two, kill six, including young girl, plus donkey and chickens

On Pakistan ties: Several documents that The Guardian highlights indicate the fingerprints of Pakistan's ISI spy agency on some Taliban activity.

-Pakistan's spies accused of arming Taliban ally with motorbikes for suicide attacks


July 26th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Stealth fighters, sub warfare focus of Korea exercises

The USS George Washington aircraft carrier participates in exercises with the Korean navy.

Anti-submarine exercises and flights from U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors were the focus Monday of the second day of the “Invincible Spirit” exercises by U.S. and South Korean forces, according to news reports from the Korean peninsula.

Four F-22s, the United States’ most advanced stealth fighter, flew missions over South Korea for the first time, said the commander of the U.S. 7th Air Force, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Remington, according to a report from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

"As with all of our combined air assets in theater, the F-22s stand ready to respond in the defense of the Republic of Korea," Remington said at Osan Air Base, according to Yonhap.

At sea, a group of 20 U.S. and South Korean vessels, led by the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, practiced anti-submarine warfare, according to a Voice of America report from the 97,000-ton carrier.

"Our intent is to improve defense capabilities in areas such as anti-submarine warfare, air defense and anti-surface warfare," the VOA report quoted Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd, commander of the George Washington’s strike group, as saying.


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Filed under: Military • South Korea • U.S.
July 26th, 2010
09:36 AM ET

Senators, Lockerbie bombing families hold news conference

[Update 18:09] Two U.S. senators ratcheted up the pressure on BP and British government officials Monday to provide answers to the questions now swirling around the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pam Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people.

Obama administration officials, meanwhile, took what was described as an "exceptional step" to make clear that they had strongly opposed al Megrahi's release.

A group of senators from New York and New Jersey have repeatedly voiced suspicions that Scottish authorities released al Megrahi as part of a deal allowing oil giant BP to drill off the Libyan coast. BP, a British corporation, is already dealing with a public relations nightmare as the company responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, is set to lead a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Thursday on the controversy surrounding al Megrahi's release. Several British officials have declined invitations to testify.


[Original post] A pair of U.S. senators and the families of Lockerbie bombing victims will hold a news conference Monday in Times Square ahead of this week's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the matter.

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey will chair Thursday's hearing on last year's release by Scotland of a Libyan man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pam Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York also is a member of the committee.

They were part of a group of four senators who met for 45 minutes last week with Prime Minister David Cameron, asking the British leader for an independent investigation into the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and any possible involvement by oil giant BP might have had. Sen. Charles
Schumer of New York and New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg also attended. All are Democrats.


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Filed under: Politics • Terrorism
July 26th, 2010
09:26 AM ET

BP: Resuming drilling of relief well could take days

It could take days before drilling resumes on the relief well that officials have said is the only way to permanently stop crude from flowing out of BP's ruptured well, the company said Monday.

The rig responsible for drilling the relief well returned to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill site after bad weather passed Saturday, and crews are "taking steps necessary to reconnect with the well and resume drilling operations," BP said in a statement. The company said those steps "are expected to take a number of days."

BP crews managed to temporarily cap the undersea well at the heart of the three-month-old disaster on June 15. But efforts to close off the gusher permanently by drilling a relief well were delayed by the storm, which forced the ships involved in the process to evacuate the area. Those ships have returned to the area since the storm, Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft told reporters Sunday night.


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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
July 26th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

BP says no decisions have been made on changing management

No final decision had been made regarding whether embattled CEO Tony Hayward will leave BP, the company said in a statement Monday morning.

"BP notes the press speculation over the weekend regarding potential changes to management and the charge for the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP confirms that no final decision has been made on these matters," the statement said.

The statement, which did not mention Hayward by name, said "any decisions will be announced as appropriate," noting that BP's board would meet Monday night ahead of the announcement of its second quarter earnings.


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Filed under: BP
July 26th, 2010
09:11 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Julian Assange

The former teen computer hacker who once broke into the Pentagon, and his community-based "media insurgency" known as WikiLeaks have released military documents about the U.S. war in Afghanistan that are so sensitive, the release is being likened to the 1970s publishing of the Pentagon Papers by The New York Times.

Assange, Australian by birth, operates WikiLeaks from Reykjavik, Iceland, according to a June profile in The New Yorker. The organization achieved global notoriety this year when it released a 38-minute video of U.S. forces opening fire on unarmed civilians - including two journalists - in Iraq.

WikiLeaks has released material related to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the "Climategate" e-mails and Sarah Palin's private e-mail.

According to New Yorker contributor-at-large Raffi Khatchadourian, WikiLeaks has no paid staff or office, and Assange travels so much he has no home. A team of about five people dedicate themselves full time to the effort, using code names and encrypted online chat services to protect their privacy. Additionally, a network of 100-plus volunteers support the effort, the magazine reports.

The New Yorker article details Assange's childhood, featuring a broken home, and a mother who, despite little money, bought him a Commodore 64 computer sometime after his 8th birthday.

In 1987, by age 16, Assange had become a sophisticated hacker known as "Mendax" (Greek for "nobly untruthful") and had joined with two other hackers to form the International Subversives. The group broke into systems throughout Europe and North America, including the Pentagon and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, according to The New York profile.

By 1991, he'd been arrested by Australian authorities and faced 31 counts of hacking and related crimes. Three years later, Assange pleaded guilty to multiple hacking charges and paid a relatively small sum, the magazine reports.

Later in his career, Assange wrote a book with Sulette Dreyfuss called "Underground" in which he established the rules of hacking: Don't damage computers and don't change information; just share it.

By 2006, the magazine reported, Assange had surrendered his hacking career. He formed WikiLeaks as a form of moral imperative, he said. The organization receives some 30 submissions from whistle-blowers daily, according to Khatchadourian.

The New Yorker: No Secrets: Julian Assange's mission for total transparency


July 26th, 2010
07:44 AM ET

Monday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - BP webcam of Gulf oil disaster

9:30 am ET - NYSE opening bell - Wall Street begins its trading day.

10:30 am ET - Pan Am bomber release briefing - Two U.S. senators and families of Pan Am Flight 103 victims brief reporters on this week’s Senate committee hearing on the release of the Pan Am bomber.

6:00 pm ET - ADA anniversary event - President Obama holds a White House event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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

Filed under: On CNN.com today
July 26th, 2010
05:29 AM ET

World update: Guilty verdict in Khmer Rouge genocide trial

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

Khmer Rouge verdict - A man who ran a notorious torture prison where more than 14,000 people died during the Khmer Rouge regime has been found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 35 years in prison in Cambodia. Read the full story

BP boss - No final decision had been made on whether embattled CEO Tony Haward will leave BP, the company said in a statement Monday morning. Read the full story