October 6th, 2010
09:11 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Man tells of chase that led to girl's freedom: Some may call it chance, but Victor Perez believes a higher power was involved Tuesday when he chased after a vehicle suspected of carrying an abducted 8-year-old girl in Fresno, California.

Family was 'destroyed by evil,' doctor says: For three weeks, Dr. William Petit went to a courtroom and re-lived the day he was attacked and his wife and daughters were killed in their Connecticut home.

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Filed under: Crime • Health • Most Popular • Politics
October 6th, 2010
09:07 PM ET

Atlanta Police dispute 'most dangerous neighborhoods' list

Four parts of Atlanta, Georgia, made a list of the country's most dangerous neighborhoods.

A report that placed four neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia, among the 25 most dangerous in the United States has not gone unnoticed by the Atlanta Police Department.

On Thursday, the department cast doubt on the methodology behind the "Top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods," and cautioned the public against taking the report at face value.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
October 6th, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Lawyers for Rutgers student caution against 'uninformed assumptions'

Lawyers for Rutgers University student Molly Wei said they welcomed an investigation into the suicide of freshman Tyler Clementi, saying it would clear her of charges she faces in connection with his death. 

"This is a tragic situation. But this tragedy has also unfairly led to rampant speculation and misinformation, which threaten to overwhelm the actual facts of the matter.  Those true facts will reveal that Molly Wei is innocent. Molly committed no crime. Her remarkable reputation is being unjustly tarnished by uninformed and incorrect assumptions," attorneys Rubin Sinins and Eric Kahn said in a statement Wednesday.

Wei, 18, and Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, have been charged with invasion of privacy. The pair allegedly placed a camera in Clementi's dorm room without his knowledge and streamed his sexual encounter with another man online, the Middlesex County, New Jersey, prosecutor's office said.

"Molly is a wonderful, caring and talented young woman with a bright future. That future is being threatened by unfounded attacks upon her character. This classic rush to judgment ignores Molly’s basic right to fairness and presumption of innocence. We can only hope, for everyone’s sake, that the truth will not be forever lost in the process. Neither Molly nor anyone else should be used to further the agenda of others," the attorneys said.

Read more on CNN.com.

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Filed under: Bullying • New Jersey
October 6th, 2010
07:42 PM ET

Phillies' Halladay no-hits Reds in playoff opener

 

Halladay no-hitter came in the first postseason start of his career.

Roy Halladay of the Phillies pitched the second no-hitter in Major League Baseball postseason history on Wednesday as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in their National League Division Series opener in Philadelphia.

Halladay, making his first postseason start in his 12-year career, struck out eight and walked one. He threw 104 pitches, 79 for strikes.  Read the boxscore at SI.com

The only blemish on his night was a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch to Jay Bruce in the Reds' half of the fifth inning.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
October 6th, 2010
06:30 PM ET

Ex-wife backs execution in Texas arson-murder case

Cameron Todd Willingham's ex-wife says he told her that he killed their daughters.

Did the state of Texas execute an innocent man? His ex-wife doesn't think so.

A judge is set to weigh claims of innocence next week on behalf of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed for setting a fire that killed his three daughters in 1991.

State District Judge Charles Baird granted a hearing request from Willingham's mother and sister on whether he was wrongfully convicted using flawed science. The family's petition, filed September 24 in Travis County, also asks the court to examine whether the state  failed to adequately consider potentially exculpatory evidence before putting Willingham to death in 2004.

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Filed under: Courts • Death Penalty • Texas
October 6th, 2010
03:13 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Lenny Dykstra

The Los Angeles Times today offered a tale of recessionary woes featuring former Major League Baseball outfielder Lenny Dykstra. The Southern California native helped the New York Mets win the World Series in the mid-80s and finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1996. During his MLB years, he earned more than $26 million. He watched his salary reportedly grow from $90,000 in 1986 to $6 million in his final year.

Post-baseball, Dykstra quickly developed himself into a financial "guru," the Times reported. He launched a magazine and formed a community of professional athletes focused on growing their wealth. He even wrote a column for Jim Cramer on thestreet.com. He threw phenomenal parties attended by wealthy athletes as well as Donald Trump.

In recent years, however, Dykstra has become what can only be described as a case study in "irrational exuberance." The Times discussed in detail the lavish spending habits, the ex-wives and poor stock choices. Dykstra was hit hard by the real estate bubble as well. An extravagant Southern California estate, purchased from Wayne Gretzky for approximately $17 million went into foreclosure this year.

Still, Dykstra seemed optimistic.

‚ÄúIf you mess with Nails,‚ÄĚ he told The Times, using his nickname, ‚Äúyou‚Äôre gonna get the Hammer.‚ÄĚ Financial author Randall Lane summed it up this way in The Times: "He is a perfect metaphor for what happened to many people, but he did it on a scale that was monumental."

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October 6th, 2010
03:12 PM ET

Green Beret awarded Medal of Honor

President Barack Obama on Wednesday awarded the Medal of Honor - the nation's highest military decoration - to Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, a Green Beret who died after willingly taking fire to protect U.S. and Afghan soldiers.

The citation read at a solemn White House ceremony in Washington, D.C., honored Miller for "conspicuous gallantry ... at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty" and "extraordinary acts of heroism" on January 25, 2008, when a patrol he led was ambushed in Afghanistan.

Miller killed at least 10 insurgents and wounded dozens more in repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire "in keeping with the highest traditions of military service," the citation said.

Miller is the seventh service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
October 6th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

Small plane crashes in Naperville, Illinois

A small plane has crashed on the roof of a gym in Naperville, Illinois, the fire department told CNN.

The Naperville Fire Department said the plane crashed on top of the XSport Fitness Center. There were some injuries reported, but it is not clear how many people were injured. Police and fire officials are on the scene.

October 6th, 2010
02:13 PM ET

For last shuttle mission, send your face up in space

CNN Miami Bureau Supervising Producer Kimberly Segal tried out Faces in Space and her photo will be headed up with STS 133 and STS 134.

People from all over the world are signing up to fly on one of the last two scheduled space shuttle missions.

No training is necessary to be a virtual member of the STS- 133 or STS-134 crew.

"The general public has supported us through all of this, the good times and the bad times and we wanted a way to have them be a part of the last scheduled mission," says NASA's Debbie Byerly.

Byerly came up with the idea that is known as Faces in Space.  Anyone can go to the website, where you are instructed to upload a picture.

"We're digitally sending them up on the orbiter and they will be there with the crew, and then they'll bring it back down," Byerly explains.

Once the mission is completed you can return to the site and print a certificate. The certificate is signed by the Commander and says that the participant took part in the space shuttle mission.

October 6th, 2010
01:56 PM ET

Justices hear case of anti-gay protests at military funerals

The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to find a constitutional balance between free speech and privacy in a case involving provocative anti-homosexual protests by a small church at the funeral of a soldier who died in Iraq.

Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the court, while inside, one of their members argued they had a right to promote what they called a broad-based message on public matters such as wars.

But the lawyer for the fallen Marine's father argued those protests were an invasion of privacy and an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"[Justice] Brandeis said the right to be let alone was the most important, and so he must have been thinking there could be a tort [lawsuit] there for interference with privacy," Justice Stephen Breyer noted Wednesday. "And emotional injury, deliberately inflicted, could be one... but I see that in some instances that could be abused to prevent somebody from getting out a public message, and therefore, I'm looking for a line."

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Filed under: U.S.
October 6th, 2010
01:30 PM ET

Huge solar plant to bring green jobs to Ohio

A huge solar power plant will be built on a former coal strip mine in Ohio, creating 300 permanent "green" manufacturing jobs and 300 construction jobs, Gov. Ted Strickland announced Tuesday.

New Harvest Ventures and Agile Energy will develop the 49.9-megawatt project, and American Electric Power has agreed to negotiate a deal to buy the power the plant produces for the next 20 years, Strickland's office said. That's enough energy to power 25,000 homes, AEP spokeswoman Terri Flora said.

Two Spanish companies, Prius Energy S.L. and Isofoton, have committed to build factories in Ohio to help create the 239,400-panel solar array, to be called Turning Point.

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Filed under: Energy • Jobs • Ohio • U.S.
October 6th, 2010
12:44 PM ET

Let the MLB playoff race begin

With baseball’s grueling 162-game schedule thankfully in our rearview mirrors, our pastime’s finest month commences today and promises the October action we have all been waiting for.

The MLB postseason kicks off with a tripleheader of division series games today with the fourth and final matchup, Braves-Giants, beginning tomorrow. Facing a best-of-five series format, managers tighten rotations, shuffle lineups and attempt to find any advantage imaginable to win these imperative games.

With so many variables affecting the outcome of these win-or-go-home games, SI.com’s Tom Verducci cuts to the chase and examines the ten most compelling questions surrounding baseball’s playoffs.

Here’s the slate of games for the first day of postseason action (all times Eastern):

Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays (1:30 p.m., TBS)
Two of baseball’s best lefthanders take the mound in a likely pitching duel between Texas’ Cliff Lee and Tampa Bay’s David Price. SI.com’s Albert Chen previews the AL battle.

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October 6th, 2010
12:19 PM ET

Report: At least two tornadoes hit Bellemont, Arizona

Seven people were injured by a tornado in Bellemont, Arizona on Wednesday morning.

[Updated at 1:44 p.m.] At least two tornadoes struck Wednesday near Flagstaff, Arizona, injuring seven people, derailing a train and damaging more than 100 homes, authorities said.

Several reports of two other tornadoes also came into the National Weather Center. Officials were looking at whether there was a total of four tornadoes, or just multiple reports of the same ones.

[Updated at 12:19 p.m.] The National Weather Service received an unconfirmed report of a tornado near Wing Mountain, northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona, on Wednesday morning at 5:20 am MST. If confirmed, this will be the fourth tornado to touch down in Arizona on Wednesday morning.

[Updated at 12:02pa.m.] A tornado has been reported near Flagstaff, Arizona, The National Weather Service reported.

The tornado was located at the mile marker 140 on Interstate 40, 16 miles west of Flagstaff at 8:43 am MST on Wednesday morning, the NWS reported.

This is the third tornado to touch down in Arizona on Wednesday morning. The other two tornadoes touched down in the community of Bellemont, northwest of Flagstaff, earlier this morning.

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Filed under: Arizona • Tornadoes • Weather
October 6th, 2010
12:05 PM ET

Dodo trophy goes to BP's Tony Hayward

Former BP CEO Tony Hayward gets the bird.

BP's former CEO has won a couple yachting trophies in his day. But displaying his latest trophy probably won't fly with him.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit organization, has given Hayward its 2010 Rubber Dodo Award. The award recognizes the person who the group says "has done the most to drive endangered species extinct."

According to the Center: "Under Hayward's leadership, BP secured the right to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico by submitting documents to the U.S. government falsely claiming that a major spill could not happen. It also submitted a false and ludicrous spill-response plan claiming it could capture spilling oil before the oil caused any environmental or economic damage."

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October 6th, 2010
11:12 AM ET

Key witness ruled out of terror trial over torture concerns

A key witness at the trial of the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in the United States cannot testify, a judge ruled Wednesday, because of concerns over torture.

The man on trial, Ahmed Ghailani, told the CIA about the witness while agents were interrogating him, and the government has asked the court to consider everything Ghailani said in CIA custody to have been coerced.

"In these circumstances, the Constitution does not permit (Hussain) Abebe to testify in this criminal trial," Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled Wednesday.

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Filed under: Terrorism
October 6th, 2010
10:12 AM ET

Report: Randy Moss traded to Vikings

Randy Moss is reportedly heading back to the Minnesota Vikings after a trade was reached with the New England Patriots.

Randy Moss is reportedly heading back to the city where he got his NFL start.

The Minnesota Vikings have apparently agreed to a trade with the New England Patriots in a deal that would pair up the wide receiver with quarterback Brett Favre.

In exchange for Moss, 33, the Vikings will give the Patriots a third-round draft pick, CNN affiliate KARE reported.

Moss was in the final season of a three-year, $27 million deal with the Patriots. KARE reported that the agreement reached would have him bringing in the top salary for receivers in the NFL - around $9 million to $10 million a year.

SI.com: Moss trade to Vikings done, source says

Moss trade rumors reached a fever pitch last night when ESPN's Bill Simmons (otherwise known as Sports Guy) tweeted what seemed like a random message: "Moss Vikings."

The message, Simmons quickly explained, was meant to be a direct message and not a public one. But, alas, his more than 1.25 million followers got the word, fanning the rumor flame.

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October 6th, 2010
09:54 AM ET

On the Radar: Supreme Court, bullies, midterm elections

Free speech rights at funerals The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a legal battle that pits the privacy rights of grieving families against the free speech rights of demonstrators.

In 2006, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested 300 feet from a funeral for Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Maryland, carrying signs reading "God hates you" and "Thank God for dead soldiers." Among the teachings of the Topeka, Kansas-based fundamentalist church founded by pastor Fred Phelps is the belief that the deaths of U.S. soldiers are God's punishment for "the sin of homosexuality." Read a profile of Phelps by following this link.

The Sweep – In this week's "The Sweep" CNN's Gloria Borger looks at the question: "How did it come to this?" Just two years ago, Borger writes, Democrats had what looked, in many ways, like a majority built to last a generation.¬† Time magazine asked, ‚ÄúAre the Republicans going extinct?‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs now clear the answer is no.

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October 6th, 2010
08:53 AM ET

White House denies Obama-Clinton ticket in the works

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is pouring cold water on the red-hot speculation - fueled by journalist Bob Woodward in a CNN interview - that President Barack Obama may create a so-called "dream ticket" of Obama-Clinton in his 2012 re-election battle.

"No one in the White House is discussing this as a possibility," Gibbs told CNN Wednesday morning.

The speculation that Obama may dump Vice President Joe Biden as his running mate and shift him over to the secretary of state job - moving current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the VP slot - was sparked by Woodward in an interview Tuesday night with CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.

"It's on the table," Woodward said on "John King, USA." "Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012."

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October 6th, 2010
08:51 AM ET

NBA Heat's super trio makes on-court debut

Miami Heat center Chris Bosh, left, sets a pick for forward LeBron James during a preseason game Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons.

The hype hit the hardwood Tuesday night as the Miami Heat played their first NBA preseason game since superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade on the team.

The Heat didn't disappoint, dominating the injury-plagued Detroit Pistons 105-89 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

Wade left the game after just three minutes because of a hamstring injury, but Bosh scored 20 points and James was good for 18.

Wade expects to return to play in two weeks, the Miami Herald reported. FULL POST

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Filed under: Florida • LeBron James • Sports
October 6th, 2010
07:42 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

9:00 am ET - Most Powerful Women Summit concludes –¬†Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among the speakers on the final day of ‚ÄúFortune‚ÄĚ magazine‚Äôs Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington.

1:45 pm ET - Medal of Honor ceremony –¬†President Obama will award Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller a posthumous Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Afghanistan.

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