August 27th, 2010
09:47 PM ET

Stocks rally as investors bet on recovery

Stocks shake off recovery jitters
 
The economy is slowing, the Fed is cautious about the recovery and the world's biggest chipmaker is lowering its sales forecast. But stocks rallied more than 1 percent Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged 165 points, or 1.7 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 17 points, or 1.7 percent, and the Nasdaq composite rose 35 points, or 1.7 percent.

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Filed under: Economy
August 27th, 2010
09:14 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on CNN.com, according to NewsPulse.

Reality TV star testifies at actress' trial: The sham marriage trial of Mexican actress Fernanda Romero, under way in a Los Angeles federal court, offered more drama this week than the soap operas she is famous for.

Court rules police can put GPS trackers on cars: Law enforcement officers may secretly place a GPS device on a person's car without seeking a warrant from a judge, according to a recent federal appeals court ruling.

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Filed under: Christian • Courts • Crime • Death Penalty • Japan • Most Popular • Religion
Rescue efforts for Chilean miners
August 27th, 2010
03:08 PM ET

Crews have plan that could rescue Chile miners sooner

Crews in Chile working to rescue 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet under the earth since August 5 have come up with a "Plan B" to retrieve the miners and bring them to the surface more quickly, Chilean government representative Jimena Matos said Friday.

"Last night, a third probe reached where the miners are and that probe or the bore hole made by that probe could form the basis of our plan B," Andre Sougarret, the head of the rescue operation said Friday.

The 33 miners have been told "clearly," for the first time, that they will be stranded in the mine for 3 to 4 months, given the current rescue plan timetable, Andre Sougarret, the head of the rescue operation said Friday.

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Chilean miners stuck in a hot, damp, cramped dungeon

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Filed under: Chile • Mine accidents
August 27th, 2010
02:13 PM ET

Officials investigating massacre in Mexico disappear

The lead investigator and another official looking into the massacre of 72 immigrants whose bodies were found this week in northern Mexico are missing, President Felipe Calderon said Friday.

Calderon, who was giving a speech on drug violence, initially said the body of one of the men had been found. But he was handed a note few minutes later and corrected himself, saying the investigator was missing but there was no information about his death.

Mexican media reported Friday morning that two bodies had been found and that one of them belonged to the investigator.

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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Mexico • World
August 27th, 2010
12:13 PM ET

Terror suspect sang 'Complicated' on 'Canadian Idol'

Sher's appearance on Canadian Idol is splattered across YouTube.

Canadian terror plot suspect Khurram Syed Sher tried out for a spot on ‚ÄúCanadian Idol‚ÄĚ in 2008, telling the judges he came to Canada from Pakistan in 2005 and performing Avril Lavigne‚Äôs ‚ÄúComplicated‚ÄĚ when the judges voted for that over a Hilary Duff song.

Sher, who is actually a native Canadian, sings in a Pakistani accent while performing a series of strained dance moves, one of which is reminiscent of ice skating form. Which make sense when at the end of the performance a judge asks Sher if he considered being a comedian rather than a singer.

‚ÄúNot really, I like hockey,‚ÄĚ Sher replies.

YouTube: Watch the audition

That at least backs up what friends say about the London, Ontario, anatomical pathologist, who is a graduate of the McGill University Medical School, according to a report by CNN affiliate CTV.

"Friends say he's a fun-loving, hockey-loving guy who they can't believe been accused of being a terrorist," CTV's Roger Smith reported from Ottawa Friday.

According to CNN affiliate CBC, Sher traveled to Pakistan in 2006 to help with earthquake relief.

Sher was charged Friday with conspiracy to knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity, according to the CBC report.

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Filed under: Canada • Terrorism
August 27th, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Glenn Beck

His Restoring Honor celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., tomorrow has managed to draw protest from civil rights supporters, Christians and, of all people, members of the Tea Party. The Fox News host has been planning this event for months, yet Beck says divine intervention led to the booking of the gathering on August 28, the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. That speech also took place in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Civil rights advocates, including a Washington, D.C., City Council member and the Rev. Al Sharpton, are organizing counter-events to "Take the Dream Back," officials said. Meanwhile, a religious concert at the Kennedy Center organized by Beck, which will include former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, has drawn ire from Christian conservatives. Beck is a Mormon, part of a religion not considered by some evangelicals as true Christianity.

Finally, Tea Party advocates think that Beck is knocking the wind out of events they have scheduled for September. "I hope they have a wonderful time, but I just don't get why he's having this and why now," Andrew Ian Dodge, Maine coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, told NPR yesterday. He called the event "Beckapalooza."

NPR: Beck comes to D.C., controversy follows

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August 27th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Nationals star Strasburg could miss 2011 season

Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals pitching phenom whose debut in June electrified the country, has a torn ligament in his elbow and will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced this morning.

The surgery "probably" means he will miss all of this season and possibly the entire 2011 season.

Tommy John surgery is named for former major league pitcher Tommy John who first underwent the procedure in 1974. It involves replacing a ligament in the elbow with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Pitchers can return to top-form after the surgery. John won over 100 games after his operation, and Chris Carpenter recovered from the surgery to be the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals staff. He won 17 games last season, and he’s won 14 already this year.

Strasburg was baseball’s number one draft pick in 2009 and signed a record $15 million dollar contract. The hopes of the franchise which perennially finishes at or near the bottom of the standings ride in great part on his right arm. In his debut on June 9 in front of a sold-out stadium he beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and recorded 14 strikeouts.

The Washington Post has full coverage on today’s news and its impact on a region that was looking to Strasburg as its baseball savior.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
August 27th, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Sharp slowdown in economic growth, report says

The U.S. economy sputtered to a near stop in the second quarter, according to new estimates from the government released Friday, although the slowdown wasn't as bad as many had feared.

The nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure on the amount of spending by consumers, businesses and government, was revised sharply lower to an annual growth rate of 1.6% in the three months ending in June. The initial reading had been for a 2.4% growth rate in the period.

The report fed into growing fears that the nation could be at risk of a new economic downturn known as a double-dip recession, leading some economists to darken their outlook for the economy, upping estimates for another slowdown.

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Filed under: Economy • U.S.
August 27th, 2010
10:27 AM ET

NOAA: 4,281 square miles reopened for Louisiana fishing

The federal government has reopened 4,281 square miles of federal waters off the western coast of Louisiana to commercial and recreational fishing, according to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Louisiana
August 27th, 2010
10:19 AM ET

Japan reveals long-secretive execution process

Red tape marks the trap door through which an inmate falls as he or she is hanged.

Japan, one of the few industrialized countries with the death penalty, showed one of its execution chambers to the media for the first time Friday.

Reporters were shown the death chamber at the Tokyo Detention Facility, one of seven used across the country, according to a report in the Mainichi Daily News.

Pressing a button in another room releases the trap door.

The unprecedented media access was ordered by Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, who after witnessing the deaths of two condemned prisoners last month, said she wanted to have a national debate on capital punishment in Japan, Mainchi reported. Chiba has previously spoken against the death penalty.

Execution in Japan is carried out by hanging.

The chamber showed to the media on Friday had no noose suspended from the ceiling but showed a trap door outlined in red. The condemned fall to a room below the execution chamber where their deaths are confirmed.

Reporters were not shown that room out of "consideration for the inmates' family and wardens," according to the Mainichi report.

A room where inmates are told they are about to be executed and can meet with a chaplain.

They did see other areas involved in the execution process, including the room where a button is pushed to release the trap door, a room where the condemned can get religious last rites or an entry room where inmates are told they are about to be executed.

In an accompanying article in Mainichi, prison officials described Japan’s execution process, long shrouded in secrecy.

The two men executed on July 28, Ogata Hidenori, 33, and Shinozawa Kazuo, 59, were the first put to death since the August 2009 elections in Japan, according to Amnesty International. The organization says 107 prisoners remain on death row in Japan.

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Filed under: Death Penalty • Japan • Justice
August 27th, 2010
09:38 AM ET

Carter wins release of American from North Korea

Former President Jimmy Carter is expected to arrive in the United States Friday with a U.S. citizen who was imprisoned in North Korea after entering the isolated communist nation illegally in January, the Carter Center said here.

North Korea sentenced the American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, to eight years of hard labor and a fine of about $600,000 for illegally crossing its border with China and for an unspecified "hostile act."

"At the request of President Carter, and for humanitarian purposes, Mr. Gomes was granted amnesty by the chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong-Il," the Carter Center said in a statement. "It is expected that Mr. Gomes will be returned to Boston, Mass., early Friday afternoon, to be reunited with his mother and other members of his family."

The Gomes family plans to issue a statement about the release late Friday morning, said spokeswoman Thaleia Schlesinger.

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Filed under: North Korea • U.S.
August 27th, 2010
09:34 AM ET

On the Radar: Trapped miners, N. Korea release, GPS ruling

Trapped miners - The 33 men trapped in a Chile mine since August 5 sent a video message to their families Thursday expressing thanks for the efforts under way to free them and displaying occasional flashes of humor and patriotism.

Throughout the 25-minute, high-definition video, one miner guided the hand-held camera ahead of him, its path illuminated by the light on his mining helmet. The video views are grainy and sometimes out of focus. The footage shows the 50-square-meter living space occupied by the men since they were trapped 2,300 feet below ground. Some appear heavily bearded, all of them are stripped to the waist. A thermometer shows 29.5 degrees Celsius (85.1 F), a little cooler than officials had estimated.

Carter secures American's release - Former President Carter is expected to arrive Friday in the United States with an American citizen who was imprisoned in North Korea after entering it illegally in January, said the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

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August 27th, 2010
08:55 AM ET

In the shadow of the levees

When Sonya Hill opens the door of her rebuilt shotgun house in the Lower 9th Ward she faces a reminder of the devastation Katrina brought. Directly across from her house is the spot where the levee broke five years ago.

It has since been rebuilt and sits higher than before the storm. It is an impressive wall of gray concrete meant to offer protection from future storms, but for Sonya Hill it is a reminder of everything that can go wrong.

‚ÄúLooking at that wall, I‚Äôm thinking what if it breaks again? What if it breaks right in front of my door and I‚Äôm inside with my kids? I don‚Äôt feel safe back here if a hurricane comes through,‚ÄĚ she says.

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August 27th, 2010
08:13 AM ET

Friday's live video events

9:00 am ET - Gulf oil disaster hearing - Hearings continue in Houston on the circumstances surrounding the causes of the Gulf oil disaster.

2:00 pm ET - American freed from North Korea returns home - An American sentenced to eight years of hard labor in North Korea arrives in Boston after his release.  Former president Jimmy Carter, who helped free the man, will also be there.

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


Filed under: On CNN.com today
August 27th, 2010
06:03 AM ET

World update: Crisis talks fail to halt S. Africa strike

An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on the stories we're following on Friday:

South Africa strike - Crisis talks have failed to halt the public sector strike in South Africa with the education and healthcare systems continuing to be the hardest hit. CNN’s Robyn Curnow goes to visit a man in Soweto who cannot get hold of vital medication.

UK obesity - The number of obese people in England undergoing surgery in NHS hospitals to help them lose weight has increased ten-fold since 2000, according to a study published Friday. Weight-loss procedures rose from 238 in 2000 to 2,543 in 2007, while between April 2000 and March 2008 6,953 operations took place, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported. Obesity is fast beginning to challenge smoking as the greatest healthcare system cost in the UK.

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