September 15th, 2010
10:48 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.com.

Kate Gosselin reveals the truth about new body: She flaunted her body after (eight!) babies on the last season of "Dancing with the Stars." But it turns out Kate Gosselin was just getting warmed up.

Technique, phone call cited in plane crash: A personal phone conversation by an air traffic controller likely contributed to the cause of a deadly midair collision over the Hudson River last year, the The National Transportation Safety Board said.

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Filed under: Crime • Most Popular • Showbiz • Technology
September 15th, 2010
09:23 PM ET

Craigslist says no plans to resume sex ads in U.S.

Craigslist has "no plans" to resume running adult services ads that contribute to child sex trafficking in the United States, an official with the online advertising site told a House panel Wednesday.

However, the erotic services ads remain available to Americans on the company's foreign sites, including its Canadian site, acknowledged William "Clint" Powell, the director of customer service and law enforcement relations at Craigslist.

Powell's remarks to a House Judiciary subcommittee responded to testimony that the internet has greatly expanded child prostitution and child sex trafficking. In particular, witnesses cited online advertising sites such as Craigslist and backpage.com as facilitating the ability of people to hire child prostitutes.

In late August, attorneys general in 17 U.S. states banded together to urge Craigslist to discontinue its adult services.

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Filed under: Child safety • Craigslist
September 15th, 2010
09:18 PM ET

Sources: Obama to sidestep Senate in appointing Warren

President Barack Obama plans to name Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to help set up a new consumer protection agency created under the Wall Street reform bill, according to sources who spoke on condition of not being identified by name.

A Democratic official said Wednesday that Warren's title would be assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In her role, Warren would report directly to Obama and to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner while leading the administration's work in starting up the new bureau, the official said.

In addition, a senior administration official said Obama will name Warren to the advisory position this week.

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Filed under: Politics
September 15th, 2010
07:59 PM ET

Stocks rise as Japan gives dollar a boost

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

Stocks end higher on dollar moves

Stocks surged in the last half hour of trading to close higher Wednesday, tracking the U.S. dollar's strength after Japan moved to rein in the surging yen.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 10,572.73. The Nasdaq added 12 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 2,301.32, and the S&P 500 ticked up 4 points, or 0.4 percent, to settle at 1,125.07.

Energy and technology shares had been lower earlier in the session, dragging down the broader indexes, but they turned mixed in the last hour of trade. Housing shares remained mostly lower.

Foreign exchange rates were in the spotlight after the Japanese government's first jump into the currency market since 2004. The yen rose to a fresh 15-year high against the dollar Tuesday, prompting recently re-elected Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to announce the nation will sell yen and buy dollars. The move boosted the dollar Wednesday.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
September 15th, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Held in an Iranian prison: One man's story

Roozbeh Mirebrahimi was an blogger and political editor for a pro-reformist newspaper in Iran. In 2004 he was arrested as hardliners conducted a sweep of reformist sympathizers

Sarah Shourd, 32, was waiting with her mother in Muscat, Oman, Wednesday to travel back home to the United States after being released on bail the day before from a Tehran prison. Fellow Americans Shane Bauer, 28, who is Shourd's fiance, and their friend, Josh Fattal, 28, remain in jail there.

The three Americans were detained after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region in July 2009. Iran accused the three of spying, a charge the United States and the hikers have denied.

For more than a year they have been held in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. The prison is known for the harsh conditions - something the hikers' family members have worried about. As the story continues to develop, we wondered what conditions are like in Iranian facilities.

CNN Radio wanted to learn more so they spoke with Roozbeh Mirebrahimi who was a blogger and political editor for a pro-reformist newspaper in Iran. In 2004 he was arrested as hardliners conducted a sweep of reformist sympathizers. He spent two months in solitary confinement during which he says he was beaten and psychologically tortured. He was held under accusations he was working for the West, insulting the supreme leader, belonging to an illegal anti-government organization and having sex outside of his marriage.

Mirebrahimi, who now lives in New York City, opened up to CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum about his horrific experience.

Click below to listen to his story:


You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports' podcast on iTunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Iran
September 15th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Cuba complains restrictions unchanged under Obama

Cuba accused U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday of failing to keep his promise of a new start with the communist island, saying that far from easing the U.S. trade embargo, his administration has tightened some restrictions.

"The president has fallen far short of the expectations created by his speeches," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said at a news conference.

"The blockade has not changed a bit," he said, referring to the nearly 50-year-old embargo. "In fact, they have strengthened it when it comes to executing fines."

The comments came a day after a U.S. State Department official warned that Cuba's imprisonment of an American contractor is an "obstacle" to "certain measures" that Washington could take to improve bilateral relations.

Asked about the comment, Rodriguez declined to say anything on the case, but said the embargo is a unilateral action and "should be lifted unilaterally."

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Filed under: Cuba
September 15th, 2010
03:37 PM ET

WebPulse: Agatha Christie, Twitter and Gaga's meat dress

Lady Gaga's meat dress is continuing to dominate Web chatter days after the MTV Video Music Awards.

Here's a look at some of the stories that are trending and popular on Twitter, Google and other news and social media sites.

Today's WebPulse is sort of like a wedding: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

For the old - the real, real, old - we turn to Agatha Christie. Well, she would have been old, 120 in fact, if she were still alive today to celebrate her birthday. Google's UK homepage is celebrating the birthday with the ultimate tribute – a Google Doodle all her own – and fans around the world are talking about her best works.

And while we celebrate the best of the queen of crime novels, we look forward towards the big changes to what's being dubbed #newtwitter. Twitter's 145 million users will soon be able to embed photos and video clips into their 140-character-long tweets, the company announced on Tuesday as it unveiled one of its first major revamps. And while the features are slowly being rolled out and not everyone has access to them yet, that's not stopping those 145 million people from weighing in on the changes.

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September 15th, 2010
02:52 PM ET

Man found dead in Los Angeles airport bathroom

[Updated, 7:42 p.m.] The Los Angeles County coroner's office is investigating the man's death "as a possible suicide," according to Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Mary Grady.

[Original post] A dead man was found in one of the restrooms at the Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the airport said in statement.

Police were notified after a custodian alerted authorities that he found a body in one of the bathrooms in terminal 3 of the airport at 7:45 a.m. PT

"Airport Police in the terminal responded immediately and notified LAPD, which has jurisdiction in this incident," Airport spokesman Albert Rodriguez said in a statement. "Airport Operations as well as TSA screening operations have been unaffected by this incident. No other information is currently available."

CNN affiliate KTLA reported the man was found with hands bound and a bag over his head.

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Filed under: Justice
September 15th, 2010
01:26 PM ET

State AG sues officials in California salary scandal

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California has sued eight city officials in Bell, California, charging "fraud, civil conspiracy, waste of public funds and breach of fiduciary duty," his office said Wednesday.

City officials in Bell sparked outraged when people learned of their high salaries.

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Filed under: California
September 15th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

BP's Hayward: Oil spill wasn't because of cost-cutting

Outgoing BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward denied Wednesday that cost-saving was the reason his company put only one blowout preventer on the well that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, leading to one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.

"There was no decision of that sort that was taken to save money," he said.

He said the blowout preventer that failed "should have functioned" and the industry needs to understand why it did not.

If it had worked as it was designed to, the consequences of the April explosion on the Deepwater Horizon "could have been very different," said top BP executive Bernard Looney.

Hayward insisted that the company encourages staff to speak up, saying BP focused on "creating the right environment so that people feel they can raise their hand and speak up with respect to safety."

The BP executives were testifying before a British parliamentary committee investigating the implications of the Gulf oil disaster on deepwater drilling.

FULL STORY

September 15th, 2010
01:12 PM ET

Tropical Storm Karl moves over Yucatan; Atlantic hurricanes churn

Tropical Storm Karl moved inland over the southeast coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the west coast of the Yucatan from Ciudad del Carmen northward to Celestun.

At 11 a.m. ET, Karl had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95kph) and it was traveling west at 14 mph (22 kph), a storm becomes a hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph.

The storm was 10 miles (15 km) northeast of Chetumal, Mexico, and 175 miles (280km) east-southeast of Campeche, Mexico.

"Karl is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and northern Guatemala with isolated maxiumum amounts of eight inches," the center said.

The Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile, sported a pair of hurricanes - both far from land.

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Filed under: Hurricanes • Mexico • Tropical weather • Weather • World
September 15th, 2010
11:57 AM ET

Longtime NBC newsman Edwin Newman has died

Edwin Newman, the longtime NBC newsman and expert on the English language, has died, NBC said Wednesday.

Newman, 91, served in many capacities for NBC, as an anchor, a news reporter, a commentator, a moderator and a host.

He was particularly well-known for his writings, including those about language. They include "Strictly Speaking: Will America Be the Death of English?" and "A Civil Tongue."

“For decades America got its news from NBC’s Edwin Newman. He was one of our nation’s preeminent journalists, an authoritative figure on grammar and the English language, a true professional and always the gentleman," President of NBC News Steve Capus said in a statement. "He brought dignity and great perspective to an endless array of historic news events. He set a standard for decades to come, at NBC News and throughout this profession. Edwin will be missed as a journalist, and as a respected member of the NBC News family.”

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Filed under: Uncategorized
September 15th, 2010
11:56 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Sen. Jim. DeMint

The South Carolina Republican is either the most influential conservative outside of Sarah Palin or "leader on the fringe," depending on who's describing him.

DeMint has repeatedly broken with the GOP establishment to help conservative candidates secure primary victories. His Senate Conservative Fund supported Christine O'Donnell, who won the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware on Tuesday, and Carl Paladino, who will now face Democrat Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor of New York.

Politico reported Tuesday that DeMint had transferred $250,000 from his own re-election fund to the Florida Republican Party. DeMint has supported Marco Rubio's campaign in Florida for the U.S. Senate.

Some of DeMint's moves have upset mainstream Republicans. An unnamed source told CNN Tuesday night that DeMint was boosting Democrats' chances of victory in November.

The Conservative Senate Fund's Matt Hoskins came to DeMint's defense: "Perhaps the real reason some unnamed leadership aides are upset is that these Republicans actually have principles."

CNN Political Ticker: DeMint's operation fires back

Politico: DeMint transfers $250K to Florida GOP

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September 15th, 2010
09:51 AM ET

Hiker's mom: 'Its our turn to have our kids back with us'

Cindy Hickey, left, and Laura Fattal ask for Iran to release their sons from a Tehran prison.

The mothers of two U.S. men still being held in Iran told CNN they are hopeful their sons will soon be able to join recently released detainee Sarah Shourd and enjoy their freedom too.

"What we really want of course is there release," Laura Fattal said on CNN's American Morning. "We're so happy Sarah's home - but its our turn to have our kids back with us."

Laura Fattal appeared on CNN with Cindy Hicky to appeal to Iran to release their two sons who have been detained for more than a year. They spoke out a day after Sarah Shourd was released from Iran and reunited with her mother in Muscat, Oman after Iranian authorities released her from a Tehran prison where she had been held for 14 months.

The three Americans were detained after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Iran accused the three of spying, a charge the United States and the hikers have denied.

Shourd, 32, left behind fellow Americans Shane Bauer, 28, who is her fiance, and their friend, Josh Fattal, 28.

Laura Fattal made a plea to Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toelease the two men to end a situation that she says should have been avoided from the beginning

"Iran knows they have three innocent hikers, one of which they released," Fattal told CNN.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran
September 15th, 2010
09:17 AM ET

On the Radar: Tea Party, Gulf oil, BP, Tropical Storm Karl

Tea Party victories – The Tea Party movement basked in the glow of victory Wednesday after its favorites won two primary elections the night before over more mainstream Republicans, demonstrating again the clout of the political right.

Now the question is whether the right-wing candidates can also defeat Democratic rivals in November's congressional elections, when the stakes are higher and the full electorate is deciding.  The result highlighted the last major day of primary voting before the upcoming election in just under seven weeks. We take a look at the result and impact of the big races in Delaware, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C. and New York, as well as why the wins meant a big night for Sarah Palin.

And our columnists and analysts weigh on why Christine O'Donnell's win is good for Dems, why midterms matter, and what these races mean for the general election in November.

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September 15th, 2010
08:39 AM ET

Hurricane season already more active, could get worse

A NASA satellite shows Hurricane Igor churning in the Atlantic on September 14.

[Updated at 9:54 a.m.] The 2010 hurricane season is about half over and it’s already produced the same number of storms than what we would typically see in an average season.

With Karl now on the list, that makes 11 named storms, five hurricanes, Alex, Danielle, Earl, Igor and Julia, and of those, four have been major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater.

An average season brings 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. It's scary to think there could be many more on the way.

Thankfully no major direct hits so far this season, as the winds have been steering the stronger hurricanes close to the united states, but not onto the coastline. The Bermuda High over the Central Atlantic steers storms across the ocean has had a frequent “weak spot” allowing storms to curve to the north.

But the powerful storms have been kicking up huge waves, making for dangerous beach conditions off and on along the eastern seaboard.  Two systems did impact Texas - Tropical Storm Hermine entered the state through Mexico and brought major flooding and Tropical Depression 2 came ashore on South Padre Island, Texas. Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall in Florida on July 23rd with winds of 40 mph.

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September 15th, 2010
07:32 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

8:00 am ET - Porteous impeachment hearing - The impeachment trial of U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Porteous enters its third day on Capitol Hill.

10:30 am ET - 9/11 first responders rally – 9/11 first responders and survivors call on Congress to pass health care and compensation legislation for first responders.

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Filed under: On CNN.com today
September 15th, 2010
05:29 AM ET

World update: Britain gears up for pope's visit

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

Pope visits UK - A day ahead of the pope’s visit to the UK, a group of victims who suffered abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy is holding a news conference in Central London.  We also have an interview with the Archbishop of Westminster.  Meanwhile, a UK ad for ice-cream depicting a pregnant nun has been banned in the run-up to the pope’s visit in case it causes offence to Roman Catholics.

Somalia violence - It’s been a brutal summer in Somalia. The al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group Al Shabab controls most of the country. The embattled and U.N.-backed government controls only pockets of the capital. Defending the government are AMISOM - African Union troops from Uganda and Burundi. But in Mogadishu the line between defense and offense is rarely clear.  A war with no end in sight.  We have an exclusive report from Jane Ferguson.

Hayward grilling - BP’s outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward is to appear before the UK parliament’s Energy and Climate Select Committee today as part of an inquiry into deep water drilling in the UK.  Jim Boulden will be reporting live.

France reforms - France’s National Assembly is due to vote today on President Nicolas Sarkozy's  controversial retirement reform proposals which would see the retirement age rise to 62.

Lego trademark - The Lego group has lost an 11-year legal battle to register its eight-stud brick as a trademark, after a ruling by the European Court of Justice. Max Foster is on the story.