A malfunctioning launch control center for a portion of the nation's nuclear missiles remained offline Wednesday as investigations continued into a weekend computer problem that disrupted communications with more than 10 percent of America's land-based nuclear missiles.
Early indications are that Saturday's disruption to one of the launch control centers linked to Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming lasted longer than an hour, Lt. Col. John Thomas told CNN. The problem appears to be very similar to glitches at two other nuclear missile sites in the late 1990s.
The United States currently has 450 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in its nuclear arsenal. The 50 Minuteman III missiles involved in Saturday's incident are all currently at "normal operating capability," said Thomas, the director of Public Affairs for the Air Force's Global Strike Command. But while those missiles are typically controlled by five underground launch control centers, only four are currently online, he added.
The fifth control center remains offline and is believed to be the source of a computer hardware problem that caused a communications disruption Saturday. It has been electronically isolated from the launch system while the problem is investigated and solved, Thomas said.
A look at the day's business news headlines:
Stocks falter on questions about Fed stimulus
Stocks closed mixed Wednesday, with technology shares posting small gains, as investors lowered their expectations for an aggressive move by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy.
After falling over 130 points earlier in the day, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 43 points, or 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 slid 3 points, or 0.3 percent. But the Nasdaq (COMP) gained 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to close above 2,500 points.
Sheen back to work - WebPulse is trying to get today's post out quickly in case Charlie Sheen comes in the newsroom and tries to throw our computer across the room. Man! Everyone is reading about the actor who allegedly trashed his room at New York's Plaza Hotel. He was found drunk early Tuesday morning and was taken to a hospital, a source told People.
The incident was a bad reaction to medication, according to Mark Burg, Sheen's rep. Burg added that the "Two and A Half Men" star is heading back to work this week, and looking forward to it.
"Charlie will be working this week doing a cameo role, playing himself, in a small movie as a favor to a friend and has every intention of going back to work on 'Two and a Half Men' on Tuesday," Burg told People.
A Big Question – A Marie Claire writer is apologizing for writing a column earlier this week titled "Should 'Fatties' Get a Room?" Maura Kelly, who is now saying she suffered from anorexia, mused: "I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything." Outrage, outrage, everywhere. Magazine readers responded with 28,000 e-mails. The blogosphere lit up. Kelly was apparently writing in response to CNN.com's Lisa Respers France article this week about a new television show featuring overweight people. Respers France explains what she thinks of Kelly's column.
Should it be socially acceptable to make fun of fat people? Respers France asks. We say no. That's what Charlie Sheen is for.
(Pow!) New 'Batman' named – A group of creatives pow-wow in a Hollywood office.
Cool Person Number 1: What should we call the next "Batman" movie?
Cool Person Number 2: "'Batman vs. the World?' "Dude, Where's My Leather Unitard?" "Oh, Michael Keaton, Where Art Thou?"
Cool Person Number 1: No. It shall be called "Dark Knight...Rises."
And, scene. That's the big news from the superhero movie franchise front, according to an LA Times interview with director Christopher Nolan. Bam! Wham! Boom! Eh, yeah, we suppose.
A longtime resident and caretaker of the famed Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, can keep living there while a legal dispute is settled over his residency at the historic landmark.
“I’m tickled to death,” 83-year-old Joe Patten said Wednesday of the agreement to let him stay in his apartment in the Fox, the renowned entertainment venue where he has lived since 1979.
"It's wonderful. I was hoping it would turn out like this," Patten said, smiling broadly.
Patten, whom supporters have dubbed the “Phantom of the Fox,” sued the nonprofit Atlanta Landmark, Inc., the owner of the Fox, and President Woody White, in October, requesting they be prohibited from evicting him from his apartment.
A Virginia man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly attempting to help others he thought were members of al Qaeda in planning multiple bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington, D.C., area, the Department of Justice said.
The race will be her 86th marathon, her spokesman Bruce Pfaff said. "She's a ball of energy," he said. "Running helps her focus."
The Republican even squeezed a marathon into her schedule the same day she voted on the health care reform bill. "A staff person met her at the finish to take her to vote and then she showered," he said.
Schmidt has run as many five marathons a year, typically logging 6 miles a day before going to work. On trips overseas, including to Afghanistan, she's run with military personnel, said Pfaff.
In the midterm elections November 2, Schmidt is running against Democrat Surya Yalamanchili - who said he is not running the marathon.
The marathon begins in Arlington, Virginia, and winds into Washington, passing the Jefferson Memorial and the National Mall and numerous monuments. It ends at the Marine Corps National War Memorial.
Registered runners include a variety of Capitol Hill workers, said race spokeswoman Tami Faram.
Celebrity chef Art Smith, a favorite of Oprah, is also slated to compete. Mexican runner Ruben Garcia Gomez is expected to do well - likely finishing in around 2 hours and 22 minutes, and the returning women's champion, Muliye Gurme of Ethiopia, is predicted to finish in about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
A system that was pushing ferocious storm cells in a track from Alabama to the mid-Atlantic states brought tornado warnings, watches and delays at Atlanta's airport, a vital national hub.
A tornado warning was in effect Wednesday afternoon near Sylacauga and Alexander City in Alabama, according to the National Weather Service. A watch was in effect at midday Wednesday for north Georgia, including metro Atlanta. Some flights heading into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were being delayed by as much as 90 minutes.
Delays also were reported at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Philadelphia International Airport; and Newark International Airport.
At least 282 people were killed by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck off Indonesia and a subsequent tsunami, and 411 people remain missing, Indonesia's Antara state news agency reported Wednesday.
Rescuers and aid workers were struggling to reach the victims in the remote, hard-hit Mentawai Islands region of Indonesia.
"It's very difficult" to reach the region either by boat or road, said Andrew Judge, CEO of the nonprofit SurfAid International.
At least one team, from the Indonesian Red Cross, had to turn back because of high seas. The organization was set to try again Wednesday, taking some 400 body bags, said spokeswoman Aulia Arriani. The trip takes 10 hours in good conditions, according to aid agencies.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Another big game, another postseason showdown, another pitching duel ...
Yes, I know, we all have. But this time, the World Series is on the line as the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers take the diamond for Game 1 of "The Series No One Saw Coming," as SI.com's Joe Sheehan puts it. Game time is 7:57 p.m. ET on FOX.
The first game of the best-of-seven series pits two of baseball's most dominant pitchers against one another in the Rangers' Cliff Lee (3-0, 0.75 ERA this postseason) and the Giants' Tim Lincecum (2-1, 1.93). Both hurlers have been historically lights-out during the playoffs and propelled their teams to this stage. And while the match-up might seem as attractive as a Game 1 gets, SI.com's Joe Posnanski provides a postseason history lesson and points out that just about everything in baseball has happened before.
A fishing ship whose crew had to be rescued from a fire is limping to port in the United Kingdom, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency told CNN Wednesday.
Ninety-eight crew members were rescued from the Athena early Wednesday, while 13 remain on board to keep the fire under control and pilot the ship to port, the agency's Claire Johns said.
The Vega is accompanying the ship to Falmouth, England, where both ships are due Thursday night, she said. The rescued crew members are aboard the Vega.
The 31-year-old actress from “She’s All That” is the latest voice in a chorus of complaints about how the media’s use of Photoshop is damaging to young women’s self-worth.
Cook has several allies in her fight, including the Creative Coalition, Girl Scouts of America, National Association of Broadcasters, Emmy Award winner Alfre Woodard and actresses Geena Davis and Teri Polo. The Creative Coalition recently released a PSA on the issue, featuring Cook.
Cook told Fox News recently that she battled her own body demons in 1995 after completing filming of “The Baby-Sitters Club.” Then 15, the actress put on 10 pounds over the course of the shoot and went too far to “try and get healthy,” she said.
“It breaks my heart to be part of an industry and part of a machine that really pushes out these images and propagates these really terrible standards that are false,” Cook told Fox.
This isn’t the first time she’s delved into advocacy. A few years back she did a memorable public service announcement in which she smashed up a kitchen with a frying pan to demonstrate heroin’s effects on the brain. She's also no stranger to sexy photo shoots.
A press release from the Creative Coalition cites a national survey from this year in which 90 percent of girls said the fashion industry put pressure on them to be thin – this, despite the realization by many respondents that models are too skinny, unrealistic or unhealthy.
Cook wants young women to Google “Photoshop tutorial” to better understand how images are manipulated.
“Nothing that you see is real, even if you look at what looks like a candid photo of someone, anything can be done. It is false advertising, and false advertising is a crime so why isn't this a crime?” she told Fox.
Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter, Katherine, made headlines with her first book, “Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty.”
“You don’t have to look like you’re on a billboard to feel beautiful,” the 20-year-old first daughter of California said.
Death toll in Indonesia quake, tsunami – The death toll from a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that struck off Indonesia has risen to 272, officials said. Another 412 are missing after the Monday quake, which triggered a tsunami. It's unclear how many are dead or injured because information is still trickling in from remote parts of Indonesia, a country of myriad islands. There were reports of some villages being "flattened," according to the disaster management center in West Sumatra.
Massive storm system heads east – The eastern third of the U.S. can expect another blustery day as severe storms stretch from the South to Delaware, the National Weather Service said. Wind could affect air traffic in the upper Midwest and sections of the Ohio Valley. Several states, including North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Indiana, are cleaning up after storms this week spawned 24 possible tornadoes. Watch video from inside a tornado.
Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.
But the study also shows that conservation efforts are working. The findings show that the loss of biodiversity would be at least 20 percent higher without worldwide conservation efforts.
Today, “Be A Hero” for animals.
– Check out CNN’s list of conservation organizations that are working to protect wildlife habitat, and learn what you can do. Whether you care about sharks, tigers or frogs, there is a nonprofit dedicated to saving them.
– Donate $5 to one of the groups or sign up for one of their newsletters to learn more about what they are doing to stop species extinction.
– Make plans to visit a wildlife park, zoo or aquarium, and see what animals need protecting. Find one in your area at The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Then tell us what you did, in the comments below, on iReport or on Twitter using the hashtag #BeAHero.
The same gun was used in two of three recent shootings targeting military buildings in and near Washington, including the Pentagon, reports CNN's Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.
Last week, shots were fired at the Pentagon, just two days after shots were fired at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. Ballistics tests revealed both shootings involved a single weapon, the FBI said.
Authorities are investigating shots fired Monday night or early morning Tuesday at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia.
Former Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner died Wednesday of a heart attack, state media reported. Kirchner, 60, was president from 2003-2007 and was the husband of current President Cristina Fernandez.
He died shortly before 10 a.m. at his summer residence in El Calafate, a small town in southern Argentina, according to the official Telam news agency. Fernandez was with Kirchner when he died at a hospital, the state media reported. FULL STORY
10:00 am ET - TARP hearing – The Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program holds a hearing on the impact of the foreclosure “robo-signing” scandal.
11:50 am ET - Whitman campaigns in San Diego - California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman campaigns at an eBay power-selling internet store in San Diego.
An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on the stories we're following on Wednesday:
Airport security checks - The chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, has described some airport security checks as “completely redundant” and has said that the UK should stop “kowtowing” to U.S. security demands.
France strikes - The Pension Reform Bill will eventually become law today as the final vote is taken this afternoon local time.