August 17th, 2010
10:29 PM ET

Bees trap deputy inside car for 3 hours

Tuesday was anything but a routine day for Deputy Brandon Jenkins, who spent three hours in his patrol car after nearly 50,000 honeybees decided to park on it.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office officer had responded around 9:40 a.m. to a call of a person possibly being attacked by bees. He found a disabled truck on U.S. 64 a few miles east of Raleigh, North Carolina. Behind it was a trailer holding 60 boxes of bees.

The truck driver, who was headed for Rocky Mount, had been hauling the bees at night, when they are quiet and not apt to fly. He spent a couple hours after daybreak trying to get someone to tow the trailer and his truck.

That's when Jenkins, 31, pulled up 50 yards behind in his Dodge Charger. By then, the day was beginning to warm.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Bees • North Carolina
August 17th, 2010
10:25 PM ET

Mother of shooting suspect: My son was no monster

The mother of the man who gunned down eight of his colleagues at a beer distributor in Connecticut earlier this month says her son was "no monster," but a "gentle spirit" who had reached his limit after being racially harassed at work.

Omar Thornton, 34, called his mother, Lille Holliday, before fatally shooting himself, putting an end to the terrifying shooting spree that left eight people dead at Hartford Distributors in Manchester on August 3.

"He said, 'I just killed the five most racist people,' and I knew he wasn't playing because he don't talk like that," Holliday told CNN's Soledad O'Brien in an interview that aired Tuesday.

Holliday said when she looked at her caller ID and saw that the phone call was coming from her son's place of employment, "I just kind of lost it."

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Connecticut • Crime
August 17th, 2010
10:22 PM ET

Blagojevich guilty on 1 count; jury hung on 23

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty Tuesday of making false statements to the FBI, but escaped convictions on 23 other counts in a trial that is seen as at least a partial victory for Blagojevich.

The jury, which deliberated for 14 days, said it was hung on 23 counts against him and on the counts against the former governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich.

The former governor faced charges including racketeering, wire fraud, attempted extortion and bribery. A two-term Democrat, he was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Barack Obama before Obama was elected president.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Crime • Illinois • Rod Blagojevich
August 17th, 2010
09:12 PM ET

Schlessinger says she won't renew radio contract

Embattled radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN's "Larry King Live" she wants to "regain my First Amendment rights."

Schlessinger has been under fire for using the N-word repeatedly during a recent segment of her show.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Uncategorized
August 17th, 2010
06:53 PM ET

Pakistani mom: Take my baby; she'll have a better life

CNN reporter Sara Sidner sits in a car surrounded by children as she and a crew prepare to leave the flooded Sindh Province in Pakistan.

Sindh Province, Pakistan - The first things you notice are the flies. They form what looks like a buzzing black crust on children's lips, eyes and foreheads. The children are either too tired to keep brushing them away or too used to them to bother.

"We have terrible problem with flies," 50-year-old Khuda Jatoi says in Sindhi, the local language here. Everyone here is suffering from something. Still, the moment they see us, everyone scrambles to find a suitable place for us. Someone is trying to find a chair for us to sit down. Father Khuda Joti is insisting on giving us tea or sending someone to buy a cold drink. We are guests in his makeshift shelter, and he wants to give us the best of what he has. We cannot bring ourselves to take anything from him. He and his family have lost nearly everything they own.

They are victims of the worst floods Pakistan has ever seen, and yet they are trying to make us comfortable. That keeps happening everywhere we go. The day before, in a school-turned-clinic, a few ladies who had survived the floods handed me a "hair catcher" because they could see that I was sweating profusely, and they wanted to make me more comfortable. At the same time, the men kept fanning us with brightly colored hand fans. It makes me feel both ashamed about how much I have and don't appreciate, and inspired by the kindness that is clearly being extended with no expectation of anything in return.

When we ask about their troubles, the entire clan begins to talk at once. Suddenly we are surrounded by children, women, fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandfathers - all members of the large extended family. They have taken refuge in a small school that the family broke into and turned into an unofficial shelter. They have nowhere else to go.

"We were drowning in the water," one family member says. We couldn't hear much else as the sound of all those voices began to weave together in a suffocating quilt made of despair.

We tried to quiet everyone so that we could have a conversation. They told us their sorrows and spewed anger at authorities for giving too little too late.

Then, something happened that makes me cringe. One of the women in the crowd asked that I take the tiny baby girl I was cooing at. She said the baby would have a better life with me. I wasn't sure I heard her correctly until the actual mother of the baby girl said it. I stood there silent, my brain churning so furiously it was as if it was looking for the right answer to a test from the Almighty. How am I supposed to answer that question? What is the right answer? Is there a right answer?

There have been plenty of days in my line of work where I imagined gathering up all the suffering children and taking them with me - at least I would know that they would have food to eat and books to read. But I never really considered actually taking a baby from the arms of its mother, even if asked. In this case, the family has been so traumatized, I told myself it was just their fear and anxiety talking.

I left with only my notepad and camera in my hand and another of life's difficult questions swirling in my head.

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Filed under: Pakistan
August 17th, 2010
05:45 PM ET

Craigslist suspect wrote woman's name before dying

A suspect in a killing tied to the Craigslist website wrote his ex-fiancee's name in what appeared to be blood on the wall of his jail cell before dying "at his own hand," a Massachusetts prosecutor said Tuesday.

Philip Markoff was found dead in his jail cell in Boston on Sunday morning, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said. The evidence collected so far indicates the onetime medical student killed himself by cutting himself multiple times with a makeshift scalpel crafted from a pen and a piece of metal, Conley told reporters.

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Filed under: Craigslist • Crime • Justice • Massachusetts
August 17th, 2010
03:51 PM ET

Karzai to Afghan contractors: Join us or leave

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is upping the ante, if you will, by declaring that within four months, security firms operating in his country either become part of the Afghan National Police force or find something else to do.

It's a tough card to play in an environment where even the president is protected by private security firms and the Afghan National Police are trained by them.

The use of private security firms has mushroomed since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, and now, more than seven years later, the U.S. is still struggling with ways to manage and oversee the use of the thousands of contractors it employs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are about 110,000 private contractors working for the Department of Defense alone in Afghanistan, and that doesn't include the thousands more working for the Department of State or USAID. More than 24,000 of those contractors are armed and are providing security for convoys moving supplies throughout the country, protecting diplomats and even securing bases.

What we're seeing now is the political collision of U.S. needs in completing its objectives in Afghanistan and the Afghan president's needs in making clear that he has control of his own country.

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
03:16 PM ET

Aid money only trickling in for flood-ravaged Pakistan

The United Nations is asking countries and donors around the world to send urgent aid to the victims of the flooding in Pakistan, one-fifth of which is now under water.

The aid requested is only half the amount the world body asked for in the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake this year - but twice as many Pakistanis are in dire need of help.

The money poured in for survivors of Haiti's quake, but the funds are only slowly trickling in for people left homeless or ill in the wake of widespread flooding in the South Asian nation.

Is it because the earthquake was such a sudden shock, destroying huge chunks of cities and villages within a matter of 35 horrifying seconds while Pakistan's floods evolved over three weeks?

FULL STORY

August 17th, 2010
02:51 PM ET

Colombia survivors: A normal flight, then a crash on runway

Aires Airlines Flight 8250 was seconds away from landing at San Andres airport on a small island off the coast of Colombia. The pilot had turned on the seat belt sign and told passengers to stay in their seats. Passengers could see rain and lightning outside their small cabin windows, but nothing was amiss. Everything seemed calm. Normal. Routine.

Then a hard, violent crash as the Boeing 737-700 smacked into the runway. The plane started to break apart, and sparks flew as metal ground against concrete. Seats came loose from their moorings and tumbled about the cabin. Passengers could see the runway and the rainy predawn sky through the gaping holes left in the sheared fuselage. Some of them fell to the ground, still strapped into their seats.

Survivors of Monday's plane crash that left one person dead and more than 120 injured describe nearly two hours of normalcy followed by minutes of sheer terror.

"Everything was going well," Heriberto Rua told Radio Caracol. "When I felt something, it was the crash."

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Air travel • Colombia
August 17th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Pools of mud, tents, unsafe water after Pakistan floods

Our flight to Dera Ismail Khan took only about 45 minutes from Islamabad. The region, heavily affected by the Pakistan offensive against the Taliban last year, is now ravaged by the flood.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, was making a trip to the region, media in tow, to show that his party is in control of this massive disaster affecting millions.

As one of those members of the media, we had to adhere to the prime minister's schedule, which amounted to 15 minutes on the ground at the refugee
camp.

But even in that short time, the landscape told the story of the flood.

Stripped bare, the only color in the refugee camp was the darker shade of mud in the water pooling around the children. A boy hand pumped water from a tube well.

"Is that water clean?" I asked a member of the prime minister's office.

"Probably not," he said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
August 17th, 2010
01:50 PM ET

Rediscovered videotapes show 9/11 suspect being questioned

Two videos and an audiotape of a terrorism interrogation that were found by the CIA in 2007 show September 11 suspect Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a knowledgeable U.S. source told CNN on Tuesday.

On the tapes, Bin al-Shibh is seen sitting at a desk answering questions, according to the source, who said the tapes do not show any use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques such as waterboarding.

CNN reported several years ago that the tapes were found under a desk at the CIA.

An October 2007 letter from federal prosecutors to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema confirmed the existence of the tapes. However, the letter did not reveal the identity of the person being interrogated. FULL POST

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Filed under: Uncategorized
August 17th, 2010
01:38 PM ET

Sports Update: Bryce Harper signed, playoff preview game

The No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft is signed, sealed and delivered – though the process wasn’t without its drama.

Bryce Harper, the 17-year-old power-hitting phenom, reached a deal with the Washington Nationals just before Monday’s midnight deadline.

While the negotiations went down to the wire, SI.com’s Joe Lemire says not getting the deal done was just too much of a risk for both sides.

In the end, Harper received a $6.25 million bonus and $9.9 million in guaranteed money on a five-year deal, eclipsing the previous record for a position player (Mark Teixeira received $9.5 million in 2001).

There’s plenty of on-the-field action filling the sports docket on Tuesday with baseball, soccer and tennis. Here are a couple highlights (all times Eastern).

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
12:22 PM ET

Aid group preps for ‘second disaster’ in Pakistan

Many Pakistani streets and valleys are submerged in water, and in some areas you can't tell where the waterways end and the flooding begins.

In other locales, most of the structures are simple gone. Monsoon rains left about one-fifth of the country underwater, and children and adults wade through the filthy aftermath pleading for help.

Almost all the mud houses at Azakhel camp have been turned into clay.

Peter Biro of the International Rescue Committee, an aid agency, has surveyed the damage since relentless flooding two weeks ago washed over the country, destroying homes, taking lives and ruining entire villages.

"I was just walking down by the river and it’s completely devastated," Biro said. "Even the bigger houses are collapsing. The roofs are falling out. There are huge concrete slabs in the water and smaller houses are just gone. The poor houses have completely vanished."

In many of the areas struggling to cope with the floods, residents had already struggled with armed conflict in the area and were beginning to recover, Biro said.

That all changed with this month’s deluges.

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Police: South Carolina mother admits to suffocating children

Unemployed, single and apparently fed up with criticism from her mother, a 29-year-old Orangeburg, South Carolina, woman suffocated her two toddlers with her bare hands before strapping them into car seats and submerging her car in a river, authorities said Tuesday.

Shaquan Duley is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of her sons, ages 1 and 2, said Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams. She is set to appear in court Wednesday.

"She was a mother that was unemployed. She had no means of taking care of her children," Williams told reporters. "She lives with her mother and her mother was a very, I guess, firm individual. ... She often talked with her daughter about, I guess, maybe being more of a mother or being more reliable."

Mother and daughter argued the night before the children's bodies were found early Monday in Duley's Chrysler sedan, submerged in the Edisto River, he said.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: South Carolina
August 17th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Reports focus on lingering effects of Gulf oil spill

Two reports published Tuesday express concern about the lingering effects of oil spilled from the ruptured BP well into the Gulf of
Mexico.

A team from the Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia released a report that says nearly 80 percent of the oil that gushed from the well "has not been recovered and remains a threat to the ecosystem," the university said in a statement.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of South Florida have concluded that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill may have settled to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico further east than previously suspected - and at levels toxic to marine life. Their study is to be released Tuesday, as well, but CNN obtained a summary of the initial conclusions Monday night.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 17th, 2010
11:59 AM ET

Scientists: Toxic organisms, oil found on Gulf floor

John Paul says, at first, he couldn't believe his own scientific data showing toxic microscopic marine organisms in the Gulf of Mexico. He repeated the field test. A colleague did his own test. All the results came back the same: toxic.

It was the first time Paul and other University of South Florida scientists had made such a finding since they started investigating the environmental damage from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The preliminary results, the scientists believe, show that oil that has settled on the floor is contaminating small sea organisms.

Paul is a marine microbiologist with the University of South Florida. He and 13 other researchers were in the middle of a 10-day research mission that began August 6 in the Gulf of Mexico when they made the toxic discovery.

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Karzai issues decree disbanding private security firms

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree Tuesday disbanding all private security firms within four months.

The decree involves international and national private security companies and the security employees of those companies are able to join the Afghan national police with their weapons.

"In order to protect Afghan life and property, avoid corruption, security irregularities and the misuse of military weapons, ammunition and uniforms by the private security companies which have caused tragic incidents, and after the required assessment, I approve shutting down all private security companies within four months, including both domestic and foreign," the decree said.

"Employees of private security companies who wish to, and are eligible, can join the ANP (Afghan National Police) with their weapons and ammunition or without. After they register with the ANP,  the Ministry of Interior must commence the process of shutting down private security companies."

The decree said that ammunition belonging to private security companies but registered with the Ministry of the Interior should be transferred to Afghanistan's government. FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
August 17th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

John Jackson

He is overseeing the release of an education study that showed in the 2007-2008 school year, only 47 percent of African-American males attending high school in the U.S. actually graduated.

"Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males 2010" is a study on academic parity in the U.S. that was released today.

New York State reports the lowest average nationwide. Of the number of black men that attended high school in 2007-2008, only 25 percent graduated. New Jersey, meanwhile, showed the greatest improvement. Of the black males who attended high school, more than 65 percent received degrees.

The study by the Schott Foundation comes out every two years.

Jackson, 37, joined the Schott Foundation as CEO in 2007. He is a product of Chicago's Southside, and its public school system. It was during his time in the public schools there that he realized the disparity between blacks and whites in education.

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
09:28 AM ET

On the Radar: Toddler deaths, Obama's mosque issue, Prop 8

Children's deaths raise questions - In a case a sheriff says has "a stench of foul play," two children were found dead in a South Carolina river, and police have arrested their mother. Shaquan Duley, 29, faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident, authorities said.

Divers found the bodies of Duley's two sons, ages 1 and 2, in her Chrysler sedan in the Edisto River near a boat landing after state troopers responded to a report of a car accident early Monday. The bodies were sent to the coroner for autopsies. It wasn't immediately known whether Duley had retained an attorney.

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
07:37 AM ET

Tuesday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - BP webcam of Gulf oil disaster

9:00 am ET - Future of housing finance forum - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan moderate panel discussions on the critical issues surrounding housing finance reform.

FULL POST


Filed under: On CNN.com today
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