October 22nd, 2010
10:46 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours.

Air marshals flee Brazil to avoid charges: Two U.S. air marshals who were arrested after arresting the wife of a Brazilian judge on a flight to Rio de Janeiro  fled the country using alternate travel documents rather than face what they believed to be trumped-up charges, sources said.

138 dead after cholera outbreak in Haiti, UN says: The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Haiti has risen to more than 150 confirmed deaths, according to health officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

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Filed under: Most Popular
October 22nd, 2010
10:23 PM ET

Retracing Chandra Levy's steps

Editor's note: For more on this story, watch "Murder in the Capital: The death of Chandra Levy" Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.

It was creepy to think I was retracing what may have been the last steps taken by a beautiful, ambitious young woman, who became a murder victim on this very trail. The leaves were crunching under my feet as they hit the dirt jogging path, I tried to hold the small POV cam steady in my hand - I wanted to show viewers what Chandra Levy saw on her last day alive.

On May 1, 2001, investigators say, Chandra went for a run in this same section of the 1,700-plus-acre Rock Creek Park - it’s like the Central Park of Washington. I couldn’t help but notice, the trail is one of the most beautiful, yet most isolated, parts of Rock Creek.

As I jogged, I tried to imagine what Chandra looked like that day, her last. Confident, energetic, her unruly black hair bobbing in the wind, a Walkman strapped to her arm as she moved deeper and deeper into the woods. Chandra’s thoughts probably were absorbed in the end of her relationship with the man friends say she loved - the powerful congressman she believed would eventually leave his wife and career to be with her. She may have also been thinking about her move back to California, or maybe about that “surprise” she told her aunt she needed to tell her about in an answering machine message - a surprise that would never be revealed. I bet the last thing on Chandra’s mind was some killer hiding on the side of the trail, waiting for her.

I stopped jogging and stood still, examining the woods around me - Did the killer hide behind that tree trunk? Or that one? Ugh, I was creeping myself out! Then, I realized how quiet it was... Strangely quiet, considering how close the park is to such a major city. All I could hear was the leaves and branches rustling as they hit each other while swaying in the wind. It was so beautiful, so peaceful, so eerily quiet. That got me thinking ...

When I finished grabbing the shot I met back up with my crew to conduct an experiment to see how easy it was for Chandra to disappear on that trail. We placed a photographer near the start of the path, by the main road - the most likely place anyone would have been, had they been around the day Chandra was killed.

I followed the trail 200 yards into the woods. Then, the photographer at the entrance started rolling his camera.

From my position, I screamed "Help! Help!" at the top of my lungs several times, then jogged back to the photographer.

"Did you hear me, Did you hear me?” I asked.

He looked at me, surprised. "It didn’t sound anything like screaming. You sounded like a bird off in the distance.”

He put his headphones over my ears and replayed the tape. I heard two faint cries, my desperate screams had blended in with the sounds of nature. Immediately, I got chills on my arms. If no one could hear me, how would anyone have heard Chandra ... ?

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Filed under: Chandra Levy • Crime
October 22nd, 2010
08:29 PM ET

Hurricane watch in effect for Honduras ahead of Richard

A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning remained in effect Friday night for Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras border westward to Limon, Honduras and the Bay Islands.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane-force winds are possible, and is usually issued 48 hours in advance of tropical-storm-force winds.

Tropical Storm Richard was slowly beginning to shift toward the west on Friday morning after being nearly stationary in the southwestern Caribbean since it formed on Thursday.

Satellite imagery indicated that the storm was beginning to become more organized and strengthen. However, a hurricane hunter aircraft investigating the storm on Friday morning was unable to find stronger winds, so Richard remains a minimal tropical storm with sustained winds of 45 mph with higher gusts.

Richard is now moving slowly toward the west at 5 mph. A west-to-northwest motion at an increasing forward speed is expected over the next couple of days, the National Hurricane Center said. The current forecast track from the Hurricane Center shows Richard approaching the coast of northeastern Honduras late Saturday.

Richard is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of three to five inches over northern Honduras with isolated higher amounts of up to seven inches. Accumulations of this amount could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, forecasters said.

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Filed under: Honduras • Tropical weather • Weather
October 22nd, 2010
06:39 PM ET

Burned Florida teen sees accused attackers in court

Michael Brewer in his hospital bed at Jackson Memorial Hospital on November 23.

Lawyers for three Florida teens accused of setting another boy on fire rejected plea deals Friday.

For the first time in more than a year, Michael Brewer saw the three former friends who are accused of pouring alcohol over him and setting him on fire in a dispute over a video game and $40. He suffered burns on more than 65 percent of his body and was hospitalized for over two months after the attack in Deerfield Beach.

One by one, the three teens walked into the Broward County courtroom in orange jumpsuits and shackles Friday. No words were exchanged, and it’s unclear whether the defendants saw Brewer, who sat in the back with his family.

There had been an expectation that a plea deal was imminent, but it was not to be.

Instead, Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey R. Levenson scheduled a hearing for December 13, when he'll review the case's progress.

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Filed under: Justice
October 22nd, 2010
06:20 PM ET

Could this be President Obama's first iPad signature?

President Obama signed Sylvester Cann's iPad at a rally Thursday.

Sylvester Cann didn't think it would work. But he figured it was worth a try.

And, lo and behold, where others seeking President Obama's signature with a pen and paper had failed, Cann obtained the commander in chief's autograph on his iPad, in what's believed to be the first instance of the president signing an iPad for an autograph-seeker.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Technology
October 22nd, 2010
05:27 PM ET

Reports: Secret Iraq docs reveal 'war crimes'

The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and Germany's Der Spiegel have published what they say are secret documents about the Iraq war.

The whistleblower Web site WikiLeaks published Friday classified military documents from Iraq war. The release includes nearly 400,000 documents.

CNN was offered access to the documents in advance of the release but declined because of conditions that were attached to accepting the material.

The Guardian reports that the documents outline "torture, summary executions and war crimes."  The New York Times reports on Iran's alleged involvement in the war, in addition to several other angles. Der Spiegel introduces its report with this: "The field reports from soldiers cast a new light on the war - documenting in a unique way how the highly armed American military was helpless in the conflict for years."

A group of 120 Department of Defense experts has been poring over hundreds of thousands of "Significant Action Reports" that they expected to be posted to the WikiLeaks site. But even though the classified documents contain the names of Iraqi civilians who have cooperated with the United States, the Defense Department has not warned those Iraqis that their names may soon be posted online.

"We don't want to start notifying people and then find out that their names aren't in any of these documents that are released," Col. David Lapan, a top Pentagon spokesman, said Friday. "Why put people through the trouble and the concern for no reason?" READ FULL COVERAGE OF THE UNFOLDING WIKILEAKS STORY

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Filed under: Iraq
October 22nd, 2010
02:43 PM ET

Kudzu bugs stink up Georgia

Kudzu bugs -- an invasive Asian stink bug -- are multiplying rapidly in Georgia.

Atlanta thrives on tourism, but it's holding its nose at the arrival of a new group of visitors.

Northeast Georgia has been invaded by stink bugs from Asia that are feeding on the region's pervasive kudzu itself an invasive Asian species.

"It's a new invasive that appeared, to our recognition, last October," said Wayne Gardner, a professor of entomology at the University of Georgia's Griffin campus.

The insects called kudzu bugs were identified in eight Georgia counties in December. So far this year they've been spotted in 80 counties.

"In our office alone we've had over 30 calls about the bug," said Lynwood Blackmon, UGA agricultural extension agent for DeKalb County, which includes part of the east side of Atlanta and some of its eastern suburbs.

Last year DeKalb had two or three reports, he said.

"We're on the radar in terms of having the bug in this location," Blackmon said.

They've also been seen in one county in South Carolina and a few places in North Carolina, Gardner said.

Tennessee and Alabama probably will get the little stinkers soon, Gardner said, because the bugs have been observed in counties bordering those states.

UGA researchers are studying the DNA of specimens from China, Japan and Malaysia to try to determine where Georgia's invaders originated, he said. That information might help scientists figure out how they arrived in the U.S., he said.

The bugs, which look like boxy brown ladybugs, emit a foul-smelling secretion when threatened. Witnesses have reported being able to smell the stench from their cars while crews are cutting kudzu overgrowth along highways, Gardner said.

As the kudzu vines begin to lose their leaves for the fall, the bugs have been congregating on light-colored surfaces, especially the white parts of houses. Entomologists haven't figured out why since kudzu is green.

"They're looking for a place to hunker down for the winter and stay," Gardner said. "That could be in your attic or the debris around your home or whatever."

A basic insecticide for household pests will temporarily control the kudzu bugs around your home, but the best defense is good screening, Blackmon said. If they come inside, vacuum them up and toss the vacuum bag before it starts to stink, he advised.

In addition to kudzu, the bugs are feeding on soybean plants, though it's not yet clear whether they pose a significant threat to agriculture "and that would include our famous peanut," Gardner said.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Animals • Environment • Georgia • Nature • Science • U.S.
October 22nd, 2010
02:38 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Melissa Etheridge

The singer is vocalizing her support for California's Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana. She says she used medicinal marijuana while recovering from breast cancer. Etheridge told The Los Angeles Times that when she underwent chemotherapy, she was given a choice of 10 drugs with side effects or a "natural solution."

Etheridge, who described herself as a medicinal marijuana user, said, "I don't want to look like a criminal to my children anymore. I want them to know this is a choice that you make as a responsible adult."  

Etheridge attended a news conference in Hollywood alongside actors Danny Glover, Hal Sparks and others to announce their support for the initiative.

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October 22nd, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Women to begin serving on U.S. submarines

 

Women will serve on the USS Wyoming and three other U.S. Navy submarines.

Women will begin serving on four U.S. submarines in December 2011, the U.S. Navy announced Thursday.

Twenty-four are in training to be the first women to serve aboard U.S. submarines, the Navy's Submarine Group 10 said in a statement. The subs on which they will deploy are the USS Wyoming and USS Georgia, both homeported in Kings Bay, Georgia, and the USS Ohio and USS Maine, homeported in Bangor, Washington.

The Navy said it will not identify the women until they have completed their submarine training. The 24, chosen from graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, ROTC programs and Officer Candidate School, began their training in July, the military said.

Three women will serve aboard each sub at any one time, two as submarine officers and one as a supply officer. The subs have crews of 154. The Wyoming and Maine are ballistic-missile submarines and the Ohio and Georgia are armed with cruise missiles. Each of the submarines has two separate crews - known as the blue and gold crews - that rotate duty time so the subs can spend the maximum amount of time at sea.

The submarine force is the last of the Navy's surface forces to allow women to serve. They have served on noncombat surface ships since 1973 and combat surface ships since 1993.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress in February that the Navy would take steps to put women aboard submarines.

 

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Filed under: Military • U.S. • U.S. Navy
October 22nd, 2010
02:09 PM ET

NBA salary issues, Yankees-Rangers

The NFL isn’t the only professional sports league facing potential labor issues.

While football owners are on the cusp of locking out their players for the 2011 season, the NBA may be on the verge of doing the same thing if no collective bargaining agreement can be reached.

NBA commissioner David Stern stole headlines Thursday when he announced the league is aiming to cut player salaries by $750-800 million next season – or roughly a third of the players’ $2.1 billion annually earned through salary and benefits.

The league’s CBA is set to expire on June 30, and while some significant changes have long been expected, Stern’s estimate Thursday sent shockwaves through the sport and made a 2011 lockout seem like a realistic outcome.

The owners described their current predicament to the union as a “diseconomic situation,” claiming they are projected to lose a $350-400 million this season. Despite an increase in ticket sales, owners said a new CBA agreement is a necessity, as players currently earn 57 percent of the league’s basketball-related income.

In addition, CBSSports.com is reporting that the NBA is even considering contraction in attempt to make the league profitable to owners once again.

If an agreement cannot be reached before next fall, it would be the NBA’s first work stoppage since the 1998-1999 season. And with an NFL lockout possibly looming as well in 2011, it would be an untimely disagreement for the NBA, who is looking to establish itself as pro sports' No. 2 league behind the aforementioned NFL.

With decisions and deliberations still months away, here is the action to watch tonight (all times Eastern):

Orlando Magic at Miami Heat (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Two of the Eastern Conference’s best, and most star-studded, teams meet in a preseason battle of the Florida franchises. LeBron James scored 38 points in the Heat’s victory last night over the Atlanta Hawks.

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October 22nd, 2010
01:25 PM ET

Judge: Lindsay Lohan to stay in rehab until January

Actress Lindsay Lohan must remain in a drug rehabilitation program until January 3, 2011, instead of going to jail for violating her probation with a failed drug test, a judge ruled Friday.

If Lohan violates the rules of her rehab program or fails a drug test before her next court date on February 25, she will be sent to jail for 180 days, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden Fox told her.

Staying clean and sober until then would end Lohan's supervised probation and she can "put this long episode behind you," Fox said.

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Filed under: Lindsay Lohan • Showbiz
October 22nd, 2010
01:22 PM ET

No new trial for O.J. Simpson

The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday rejected former football player O.J. Simpson's request to overturn his convictions for kidnapping with a deadly weapon, robbery and other charges in 2008, but the court ordered a new trial for co-defendant Clarence Stewart.

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Filed under: Justice
October 22nd, 2010
12:34 PM ET

First panda birth in U.S. this year expected soon

Giant panda Lun Lun is pregnant, and officials at the Atlanta, Georgia, zoo say they are thrilled.

Animal and veterinary teams estimate that a birth could occur in 10 days to two weeks.

It would be the first panda birth in the U.S. this year. Memphis, San Diego and Washington, D.C., zoos also have pandas, but none has produced a baby panda this year.

Thirteen-year-old Lun Lun was artificially inseminated, and the father is Zoo Atlanta's Yang Yang. Lun Lun and 13-year-old Yang Yang have already given birth to two cubs - Mei Lan, a 4-year-old female who now lives in China, and a male, Xi Lan, 2, who resides at Zoo Atlanta.

The giant panda is an endangered species, so another birth is good news for the zoo and, of course, the species.

"We're absolutely excited about the news," said Rebecca Snyder, the curator of mammals at Zoo Atlanta. "Many times, zoo handlers are not aware that a panda is pregnant until after the birth, so to know ahead of time is a special treat."'

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Filed under: Animals • Georgia
October 22nd, 2010
12:13 PM ET

NOAA: Arctic changes are affecting climate elsewhere

Changes such as a decrease in sea ice have consequences elsewhere, the report says.

The Arctic's warming trend is beginning to affect the climate farther south, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this week in its annual Arctic Report Card.

"There is evidence that the effect of higher air temperatures in the lower Arctic atmosphere in fall is contributing to changes in the atmospheric circulation in both the Arctic and northern mid-latitudes," wrote the report's authors, a team of 69 international scientists.

Extreme cold and big snowfalls can be blamed on the Arctic changes, according to NOAA.

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Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Environment • Science • Weather
October 22nd, 2010
11:33 AM ET

iReport challenge: #BeAHero for the homeless

Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.

Today’s “Be A Hero” challenge comes from a story by CNN’s Christopher Dawson on ‘out-of-the-box’ shelter solutions for the homeless.

As Dawson writes, when the weather turns cold, there are always pleas from shelters for blankets and warm clothes to help homeless people.

But some iReporters have come up with less predictable ways to help the homeless.

Tina Hovsepian devised an origami-style shelter out of cardboard that can be easily folded and carried. Another group in California, Everyone Deserves a Roof, has come up with a four-wheel pushcart that transforms into a one-person tent at night.

Have you helped make a positive change in the lives of those who need shelter? Share your story about how you can be a hero for the homeless in the comments below, Tweet about it with the hashtag #BeAHero or submit an iReport to CNN’s Impact Your World.

October 22nd, 2010
11:17 AM ET

Juan Williams' remark aside, firing draws ire of left, right

The hullabaloo over the firing of ex-NPR news analyst Juan Williams is far bigger than right v. left.

Fox News has assailed NPR for its handling of the situation, calling it an assault on free speech and stoking GOP pundits and potential presidential candidates to demand that NPR's government funding be cut.

But it’s not only the right wing frowning on NPR’s decision. Though a handful have applauded the public radio station, journalists of every shade have come to his defense without condoning his comments. Williams said seeing people in Muslim dress on airplanes makes him nervous, and while plenty view his remark as silly or dangerous, few think he should have been axed.

“First of all, if I got on a plane and someone was in full Muslim attire, I would feel very safe because if you’re about to blow up that plane that’s not the way you’re going to be dressed,” Barbara Walters said Thursday on “The View,” where the controversy ostensibly started. “So if this is what you’re wearing, just as you might wear a cross or a Jewish star, fine. I think it’s a silly statement for Juan to be making.”

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Filed under: Air travel • Islam • September 11
October 22nd, 2010
10:32 AM ET

The man behind the 'It Gets Better' project

President Obama is the latest voice to join the fight against the Gay bullying. The President’s message is part of the “It Gets Better” project.

Columnist Dan Savage started the project and shared the message of the campaign with Kiran Chetry and John Roberts on American Morning:

October 22nd, 2010
10:15 AM ET

ANNOYING RIGHT? HAPPY CAPS LOCK DAY

One of thousands of Twitter status messages about CAPS LOCK DAY.

THERE'S NOTHING MOST TECH-SAVVY PEOPLE HATE MORE THAN SEEING THIS - THE ESSENTIAL SHOUTING OVER THE COMPUTER - THROUGH THE ENTIRE USE OF THE CAPS LOCK.

BUT APPARENTLY TODAY WE ARE TO CELEBRATE IT IN HONOR OF INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, WHICH  HAS ITS OWN WEBSITE, AND NOW ITS OWN TWITTER ACCOUNT (THOUGH THERE ARE ONLY A FEW POSTINGS.)

I HAVEN'T A CLUE AS TO WHY WE ARE WE CELEBRATING SOMETHING THAT DRIVES MOST PEOPLE CRAZY - AND TO A POINT WHERE IT'S A TRENDING TOPIC ON GOOGLE AND TWITTER. A QUICK SEARCH OF THE WEB SHOWS ME IT WAS JUST AN IDEA THAT HAPPENED IN 2000 AND HASN'T STOPPED SINCE.

I ALREADY CAN'T STAND LOOKING AT THIS POST IN ALL CAPS, IN THE SAME WAY I CAN'T STAND IT WHEN SOMEONE WHO'S NEVER TYPED AN E-MAIL BEFORE (THAT'S YOU, MANY MOMS AROUND THE WORLD) AND THEY TYPE IT IN MASSIVE 20-POINT, BRIGHT PINK, ALL CAPS FONTS. WE GET IT, YOU LOVE US. OR HATE US. OR WHATEVER YOU'RE TRYING TO CONVEY THAT YOU MUST SHOUT IT IN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION.  NOT TO MENTION, AS SOME PEOPLE NOTED, OBSERVING THE HOLIDAY BRINGS YOU PROBLEMS WITH YOUR PASSWORD.

so. with that. we at this just in, will scoff at the all caps, and go another route, marking this day of punctual sacrifice in a paradoxical ee cummings-esque style. (because that much caps lock, would even make me want to scream at me for typing this way.) so we say, forget the caps - completely.

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October 22nd, 2010
09:51 AM ET

British nuclear sub gets stuck off Scottish coast

A recently-christened British submarine foundered off the coast of a Scottish island when it got caught in rocks, the Ministry of Defense said Friday.

"We are aware of an incident involving one of our submarines off the Isle of Skye," a spokesman told CNN.

"This is a not a nuclear incident. We are responding to the incident and can confirm that there are no injuries to personnel and the submarine remains watertight. There is no indication of any environmental impact."

The sub is HMS Astute, described by the ministry as Britain's "most powerful attack submarine."

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Filed under: United Kingdom
October 22nd, 2010
09:46 AM ET

On the Radar: Typhoon Megi, Haiti's Cholera outbreak


Typhoon hits Taiwan Typhoon Megi advanced Friday in Asia, triggering rock slides that trapped more than 400 people in automobiles in Taiwan, officials said.

A tour bus was stuck on a cliff, with the driver and a passenger suspected still trapped inside, according to the Coast Guard Administration of Taiwan. It was not immediately clear whether they were injured or dead. Another tour bus, with 19 people aboard, was missing.

Soldiers were deployed to rescue those trapped, including about 200 visitors from China, said Cai Min, a spokesman for Taiwan's National Disaster Prevention and Protection Commission. More than two dozen travelers had been rescued by Friday afternoon, officials said.

Megi, which killed at least 11 people in the Philippines, is expected to reach southern China early Saturday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

Cholera outbreak in Haiti A fast-moving cholera outbreak north of the Haitian capital has killed at least 138 people, a U.N. official said Friday.

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