October 25th, 2010
10:54 PM ET

Stocks rally to 6-month highs

A look at the day's business news headlines:

Strong gains for stocks

Stocks climbed to 6-month highs Monday after a report on housing sales came in much better than expected.

 

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Filed under: Economy
October 25th, 2010
10:15 PM ET

'Blackout in a can' blamed in student illnesses

Nine Central Washington University students hospitalized this month after an off-campus party were sickened by "Four Loko," a caffeinated malt liquor also known as "blackout in a can," according to a police investigation.

Investigators concluded that none of the students were drugged or given alcohol without their knowledge and no sexual assaults occurred, according to a school statement.

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Filed under: Washington state
October 25th, 2010
10:04 PM ET

Stepmother joins police on search for missing N.C. girl

The stepmother of a missing 10-year-old North Carolina girl joined police as they searched for the girl's body Monday, the same day the girl's father landed behind bars.

Elisa Baker, who police said last week admitted to writing a fake ransom note a day after the girl's disappearance was reported, was taken by police to a search site near a home she lived in three years ago, according to CNN affiliate WSOC.

Earlier on Monday, shortly after 3 a.m., Adam Troy Baker was arrested in Catawba County on eight charges, including five counts of submitting worthless checks and three counts of failing to appear in court.

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Filed under: Missing Children • North Carolina
October 25th, 2010
07:21 PM ET

Nobel laureates call for 2010 peace prize winner's release

A group of Nobel laureates sent a letter Monday to the leaders of the G-20, requesting their help in calling for the release of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident.

Liu is serving an 11-year prison term after repeatedly calling for human rights and democratization. His wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest after the Nobel Committee announced her husband as the winner earlier this month.

The letter - signed by 15 Nobel laureates, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu - urged the leaders while at next month's G-20 summit to "personally impress upon Chinese President Hu Jintao that the release of Dr. Liu would not only be welcome, but is necessary."

They also called on them to ask the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from her house arrest and "enable her to communicate freely with whomever she wishes." Since her house arrest, Liu Xia's communication with the outside world has largely been cut off, prompting protests from human rights organizations.

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Filed under: China • Nobel
October 25th, 2010
07:19 PM ET

'Hiccup Girl' charged with murder

A Florida teenager made famous for her extensive bout with hiccups faces first-degree murder charges after meeting a man online and allegedly luring him to a vacant home, where he was robbed of between $50 and $60 and killed, police said.

Jennifer Mee, 19, was arrested and charged Sunday - as were two men, Laron Raiford and Lamont Newton - hours after Shannon Griffin was found dead. He had been shot several times.

The victim "friended" Mee on a social networking site last week and the two exchanged messages in subsequent days, according to St. Petersburg, Florida, police. Authorities do not believe Mee or Griffin, a Wal-Mart employee who had recently moved to Florida from the Gulf Coast, knew each other prior to their online encounter.

After telling family members around 10 p.m. that he was heading out to meet a woman, Griffin rode his scooter to a vacant home where he had his first face-to-face encounter with Mee, police said. Mee led Griffin around to the back, where Raiford and Newton were armed and waiting, according to police.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida • Hiccup girl
October 25th, 2010
06:59 PM ET

Jury picked in trial of 'ninjas' accused of killing Florida couple

Eleven women and two men have been selected to hear the case of the alleged ringleader of a group of "ninjas" who shot and killed a Florida couple known for adopting special-needs children.

The jury, which includes one alternate, was selected Monday in the trial of Leonard Gonzalez Jr. Prosecutors said that he and six others put on black masks and dressed as ninjas before creeping into the Beulah, Florida, home of Melanie and Byrd Billings on July 9, 2009.

Opening statements are set for Tuesday morning in Escambia County Circuit Court in Pensacola, and the trial is expected to last three to four days. Gonzalez, 35, could be sentenced to death if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Florida • Home invasion • Justice
October 25th, 2010
01:45 PM ET

WikiLeaks, what's happened since Friday

If you missed the big WikiLeaks story that broke late Friday and continued through the weekend, here's a wrap-up:

Around 5 p.m. ET Friday, the controversial whistle-blower, famed for its July release of thousands of secret Afghanistan war documents, published nearly 400,000 secret documents about the Iraq war.

Some Iraqis said the timing of the leak was political, while others said the information was not surprising and its publication could cause even more tension in the country than already exists.

WikiLeaks enigmatic director Julian Assange, whose critics have said has become the central focus of the story, got upset over a few questions CNN asked him and walked out of a CNN interview on Friday. The New York Times profiled him on Sunday.

Assange insisted that the content of the leak should be the sole focus of any story, and stressed that the documents revealed that there were thousands more innocent Iraqis killed than previously thought. Human Rights Watch called for an investigation.

At about the same time Friday that WikiLeaks published the documents, the New York Times, England's Guardian newspaper and Germany's Der Spiegel published their own reports. The news outlets had early access to the material.

The Times focused on Iran's involvement in the war and civilian deaths. The Guardian reported about the "mistreatment of helpless prisoners by Iraqi security forces included beatings, electrocution and rape." Der Spiegel's elaborate interactive "The Atlas of Horror" explained much of the 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 hosted a live blog to get reaction after the leak, but the long-term fallout from it remains to be seen.

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Filed under: Iraq • WikiLeaks
October 25th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

STANLEY McCHRYSTAL

The ousted commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan appeared before an audience at the Daily Beast's Innovation Summit on Friday in New Orleans.

The former Army general addressed a range of issues ranging from Wikileaks and civilian deaths in war to Afghanistan and the U.S. relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“I think it's sad,” McChrystal said regarding Wikileaks, calling the website's release of classified documents illegal and a "threat to comrades."

“I think that a level of responsibility towards our people needs to be balanced with any argument for a need or right to know. “

McChrystal also spoke about the Afghan people's perception of the U.S. saying that despite technological strength, the U.S. appeared  "cavalier" in the way it carried out operations that led to civilians being killed.

“It wasn't something that we could simply say, 'War's difficult, people get killed, and you have to accept that ,' ” he said.  "... I don't think we were being cavalier, but their perception was that way.”

ALLEN IVERSON

With no team to call home stateside, hoopster Allen Iverson is taking his services overseas, according to published reports.

Sources have told Yahoo! Sports that the onetime all-star signed a two-year, $4 million contract with Besiktas in the Turkish basketball league. He could join the team, one of Turkey's best, before its November 6 game against Bornova, Yahoo! reported.

Seref Yalcin, an executive board member for the team, told the Turkish daily Hurriyet that he planned to have a final face-to-face meeting with Iverson on Friday and that he expected the 35-year-old point guard to arrive in Istanbul in 10 days.

Iverson, also known as "A.I." or "The Answer," spent 14 years in the NBA and racked up an impressive resume. In addition to being named an all-star 10 times, Iverson averaged 27.1 points a game, one of the top averages in NBA history. He also was co-captain and leading scorer for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.

Iverson's career has been riddled with controversial moments and observers have long said his inability to find work in the NBA may have as much to do with his personality as it does with his age or performance on the court.

October 25th, 2010
01:25 PM ET

Prison record of convicted killer reviewed in penalty phase of trial

Stephen Hayes, convicted of killing three members of a Connecticut family, was written up in 24 disciplinary reports during a stretch in state prison, the jury was told as the penalty phase of Hayes' trial resumed Monday morning.

Fred Levesque, former director of offender classification and population management for the state Department of Correction, said the 24 disciplinary reports included one for hoarding medication, a charge to which Hayes voluntarily pleaded guilty.

But when the defense asked Levesque if he had any knowledge of whether Hayes was a threat to the general population, he answered "no."

Hayes, 47, was convicted this month of 16 of the 17 charges against him - including nine counts of murder and capital murder and four counts of kidnapping - in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit.

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Filed under: Connecticut • Courts • Crime • Death Penalty • Home invasion • Justice
October 25th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

No sure bets in NFL as Cowboys look to beat Giants

Tony Romo and the Cowboys will hope to capitalize on the current anything-can-happen NFL trend when they play their rival tonight.

The take away from this NFL season so far? Nothing’s guaranteed. Whether you’re talking about the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints losing by 13 to the 1-5 Browns or the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens getting routed by the winless Bills, there are clearly no sure bets heading into Week 8.

SI.com’s Don Banks says that while in other seasons fans may have been able to easily distinguish between certifiable winners and losers, that isn’t the case this year. Anything can happen, with powerhouses tumbling to seemingly inferior teams and underdogs railroading their competition.

But regardless of the chaos this season, there is one team that has remained on Banks’ radar, but not necessarily for the right reasons: That’s the Chicago Bears. The 3-0 Bears have been generally disastrous, with the team’s loss to Washington being among its worst moments. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw four interceptions all to cornerback DeAngelo Hall, and of course to add insult to injury, Cutler was also sacked four times. So what can the Bears do? Simple, Mike Martz and company need to give Cutler more time, otherwise they’ll continue to be disappointed.

Though we have a few days until World Series and NBA regular season action gets underway, we have a heated match-up between the Giants and Cowboys to look forward to:

New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (8:30 p.m., ET) – It’s no secret that the boys from Dallas have been struggling this season, especially after a devastating loss to the Vikings last week. The Cowboys will once again face some stiff competition against the 4-2 Giants when they take to their home turf tonight.

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Filed under: Sports
October 25th, 2010
12:23 PM ET

Missionaries work to help contain cholera outbreak in Haiti

Missionaries from Tennessee are doing their part to help contain an outbreak of cholera that already has killed more than 250 people in Haiti.

"People are aware now; fears are there, but they don't know enough to understand the dangers," Andrea Brewer said Monday.

Brewer and her husband Mike, missionaries with Reach Haiti, an organization from Tennessee, are holding clinics in Croix des Bouquet, a northern suburb of Port-au-Prince, to try to teach people how to avoid the disease.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Haiti • Tennessee • U.S.
October 25th, 2010
12:19 PM ET

Trial begins in Chandra Levy murder case

Opening statements began Monday in the trial of a man charged in the 2001 killing of Washington intern Chandra Levy.

Authorities believe Ingmar Guandique attacked Levy, 24, as she jogged in a park and then killed her.

In her opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines told the jury that the prosecution will rely in part on the testimony of two other women who were attacked in the same park just weeks after Levy.

Those two managed to escape, but Levy was "running into a dream, into a nightmare," Haines said, "because she's never coming out of the park."

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Filed under: Chandra Levy • Courts • Crime • District of Columbia • Justice • U.S.
October 25th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

7.5-magnitude quake strikes off Indonesian coast

[Updated at 11:16 a.m.] An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

A local tsunami watch was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center after the quake struck at 9:42 p.m. local time.

Its epicenter was located 240 km (149 miles) south of Padang at a depth of 33 km (20.5 miles), according to USGS. There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Indonesia
October 25th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

iReport challenge: #BeAHero for your sanity

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

Could meditation make us nicer?

Researchers at Emory University have been studying how an ancient Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice may help reduce stress, improve the immune system's response to stress, and even make us more compassionate. Preliminary results of the study were presented to the Dalai Lama at the Compassion Meditation Conference last week.

The Chart and Belief blogs are focusing on various aspects of meditation this week, starting with a primer on how to do it.

Today's "Be A Hero" challenge is simple:

Wherever you are, sometime today, take five minutes to focus on your breathing.Even if you're not in a quiet place, try not to think about anything except your breath for as many breaths as you can. You don't have to change  your breathing - just be aware of how it feels.

Let us know how it went in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #BeAHero, or send us an iReport. For those of you who have been meditating for a long time, we'd love to hear if you have experienced long-term benefits.

October 25th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Newspaper won't print gay marriage announcements

Greg Gould and Aurelio Tine say they just wanted to share their wedding plans.

So they went one of the largest papers in New Hampshire, where gay marriage is legal and generally accepted, to work up a wedding announcement.

But the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Manchester paper known for its conservative viewpoints, refused to print it, a decision that has sparked anger from the couple and lit up the Twittersphere and the Web.

"I was really disappointed because the Union Leader is a big voice in the state of New Hampshire, and they seem to be so out of touch," Gould told CNN affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester.

The newspaper, however, issued a statement saying that printing the announcement would be "hypocritical" given its previous practices.

“This newspaper has never published wedding or engagement announcements from homosexual couples," Publisher Joe McQuaid said. "It would be hypocritical of us to do so, given our belief that marriage is and needs to remain a social and civil structure between men and women and our opposition to the recent state law legalizing gay marriage.”

In its full statement, printed online, the paper said firmly that it is not "anti-gay" and because of press freedoms can choose to print - or not print - whatever it wants.

FULL POST

October 25th, 2010
10:08 AM ET

Gitmo detainee pleads guilty to terror charges

Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to all charges against him Monday, a Canadian diplomat said, in the first military commission trial there since Barack Obama became president.

Khadr pleaded guilty to the five terrorism charges he was facing, Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for the Canadian Foreign Ministry, told CNN.

She declined to make further comment.

"This matter is between Mr. Khadr and the U.S. government and we will not have further comment on this today," she said.

Khadr was 15 when he allegedly threw a grenade during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer.  Khadr could have faced a maximum life sentence.

A military commission began in August but was stopped in the first week due to the illness of Khadr's military lawyer. It's the first such commission conducted during the Obama administration.

– CNN's Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report.

Clinton involved as US, Canada discuss Guantanamo detainee plea deal

October 25th, 2010
09:55 AM ET

On the Radar: Haiti's cholera outbreak, Chandra Levy

Haiti's cholera outbreak – It should be possible to keep an outbreak of cholera out of Haiti's capital, but the deadly disease remains a major risk, an international aid worker told CNN on Monday.

The fast-moving outbreak of the disease, which can kill a person in hours, has claimed at least 253 lives on the impoverished island nation, which has yet to recover from January's massive earthquake. Another 3,015 cases have been reported, according to Haiti's Health Ministry.

Swimmer dies during race – U.S. Swimming Federation authorities expect to receive the body of Fran Crippen Monday. The star open-water swimmer died Saturday during the last leg of the Marathon Swimming World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Justice • On the Radar
October 25th, 2010
09:29 AM ET

NPR CEO sorry for how she handled Juan Williams firing

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller sent an e-mail to employees apologizing for the way she handled the firing of Juan Williams after his comments on Fox News' Bill O'Reilly show about Muslims, but also insisted she believes the company still made the right call.

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.

NPR posted the e-mail on their news blog, "The Two-Way." It reads:

"Dear Colleagues,

"I want to apologize to you for not doing a better job of handling the termination of our relationship with Juan Williams. While we stand firmly behind that decision, I regret that we did not take the time to better prepare our messaging and to provide you with the tools to cope with the fallout from this episode. As I’m telling our Member stations in a separate memo today, I also regret that this happened when the staff and volunteers of many stations were deeply engaged in pledge drives.

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October 25th, 2010
09:08 AM ET

Witness: Riding out tornado in car 'a very scary feeling'

Eric Myers, Emergency Management Coordinator for Navarro County, Texas, captured a tornado in progress.

He spoke to CNN’s American Morning about what he saw as he rode out the storm in his car while filming the twister destroy everything in its path.

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Filed under: Texas • Tornadoes
October 25th, 2010
07:41 AM ET

Cholera kills more than 250 Haitians

Cholera has killed hundreds and sickened thousands more.

CNN's John Roberts spoke to Jason Erb from the relief group, International Medical Corps, in Saint Marc, Haiti, where a fast-moving outbreak has spread. Many Haitians are still living in sprawling tent cities after January's devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

UN: Cholera cases in Haiti's capital are a 'worrying development'

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Health • TV-American Morning
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