December 5th, 2010
10:05 PM ET

Military chaplains debate role without 'don't ask'

As Congress debates the repeal of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, military chaplains are doing their own soul-searching.

About 3,000 chaplains currently serve in the military, endorsed by a multitude of faiths, including Christian, Jewish and Muslim denominations. It's a unique culture where chaplains of various beliefs serve alongside one another counseling and caring for an equally diverse congregation of armed service members.

"Some of the most intense and sharpest divergence of views about Don't Ask, Don't Tell exists among the chaplains," states the Pentagon report, released last week, on the potential impact of repealing the policy. The report concludes that allowing openly gay or lesbian troops to serve in the military would have little lasting impact on the U.S. armed forces.

Among the issues raised by chaplains, according to the report, is whether a change in policy would hinder ministers' religious expression, particularly for those faiths that consider homosexuality immoral.

"Chaplains who aren't able to proclaim what they believe is true about this issue ... means that the soldier then, the airman, the sailor, the guardian, the Marine aren't able to get the full opportunity to hear religious faiths," retired Army Chaplain Brigadier Gen. Douglas Lee tells CNN.

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Police: Missing Alabama siblings believed killed
December 5th, 2010
09:59 PM ET

Police: Missing Alabama siblings believed killed

Police in Mobile, Alabama, said Sunday they are "actively searching" for the bodies of two young children believed killed by their father and stepmother.

Authorities began investigating a missing persons report on Jonathan DeBlase, 3, and his older sister Natalie, 4, on November 19. However, the children have not been seen since late June, said Officer Christopher Levy, spokesman for Mobile police.

The children's father, John Joseph DeBlase, 27, was arrested Friday. He faces two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of abuse of a corpse, Mobile police said in a statement. Stepmother Heather Keaton was arrested earlier in Louisville, Kentucky, and faces two counts of willful abuse and neglect of a child, police said.

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Filed under: Alabama • Crime • Missing Children
Shark kills German woman off Egypt's coast
December 5th, 2010
09:50 PM ET

Shark kills German woman off Egypt's coast

A German woman died Sunday after being attacked by a shark in waters off Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in an area where three snorkelers were injured and two sharks were caught last week, officials said.

Egypt's tourism ministry has decided to close the Sharm el-Sheikh beach until the shark responsible for Sunday's attack is found, according to the nation's Interior Ministry.

Jochen Van Lysebettens, general operations manager of the Red Sea Diving College in Sharm el-Sheikh, said employees at the Hyatt Regency resort told him the attack happened about noon (5 a.m. ET) in a protected swim area off the resort. Van Lysebettens has three dive-instruction operations in the area, including one at the Hyatt Regency.

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
December 5th, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Last week's worse-than-expected U.S. jobs report may cast a shadow over lawmakers this week as they negotiate issues such as extensions of tax cuts and unemployment benefits. Here's a look at some of the stories we plan to follow this week:

Will lame-duck Congress strike deal on taxes?

Time is running out for the current U.S. Congress to make headway on a number of issues, including whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Congressional leaders are expected to continue negotiations this week, and top senators from both parties indicated Sunday that a deal was likely on temporarily extending the tax cuts for all Americans, along with an extension of benefits for the longtime unemployed. However, Republicans have warned they are unlikely to budge in their opposition to other Democratic priorities, such as a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

President Barack Obama is expected to weigh in on the economy on Monday, when he will give a talk after touring a biotech classroom at a community college in North Carolina. His remarks on the economy will give him a chance to react to last week's news that the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent.

What next from WikiLeaks?

WikiLeaks' slow-motion release of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables is entering its second week as the website fights off attempts to take it off the Internet. The site so far has released hundreds of what it says will be more than 250,000 documents. The released documents have touched on, among other things, sharp U.S. criticism of Afghanistan's government; intense mistrust between the United States and Pakistan; blunt assessments of the extent of corruption in Russia; and unflattering descriptions of allied leaders like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whom one 2009 cable described as "a complete mess." The United States is conducting a criminal investigation into the disclosures.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
December 5th, 2010
02:38 PM ET

Tow vessel pulling disabled freighter to reach Alaskan harbor Tuesday

Rescuers towing a giant disabled freighter in frigid Alaskan waters were attempting to avoid bad weather on Sunday, a move that will delay its arrival in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the Coast Guard said.

The Tor Viking II vessel, towing the Golden Seas freighter, had "moved south a little bit" to avoid 20-foot seas and 30-knot winds, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr said. The Tor Viking II's captain made the decision to loop below the Aleutian Islands, he said. The freighter is not expected to arrive in Dutch Harbor until Tuesday afternoon, he said Sunday.

The 738-foot Golden Seas suffered engine problems Friday morning and was chugging along at only 3 knots (3.5 mph). On Saturday night, the Tor Viking II vessel reached the Golden Seas and began towing it toward Dutch Harbor, a journey of about 275 miles, Warr said.

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Filed under: Alaska
December 5th, 2010
10:50 AM ET

British lawmaker denies aide is a Russian spy

An aide to a British lawmaker has been arrested and is facing expulsion from the country, the member of Parliament said Sunday, but he denied that she is a secret agent.

"She is not a Russian spy," Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock said Sunday of his aide Katia Zatuliveter.

She was detained Thursday, he said. The arrest did not become public until Sunday.

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Filed under: Russia • United Kingdom
December 5th, 2010
10:31 AM ET

Officials: Firefighters making progress on Israel blaze

The "major sources" of a deadly Israeli wildfire have been extinguished, police said Sunday, as the Israeli cabinet approved a plan to speed aid to those affected.

The cabinet's vote, at a special meeting near the area affected by the fire, came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged haste.

"I do not want delays," Netanyahu said. "I do not want bureaucracy. I want processes to be shortened. I want quick solutions. I want all of the people - within days - to be able to return to their homes or to alternative
housing, until the reconstruction work is finished."

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Filed under: Fire • Israel
December 5th, 2010
04:56 AM ET

Report: Iran now able to process its own raw uranium

Iran now produces everything it needs for the nuclear fuel cycle, making its nuclear program self-sufficient, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization told state media Sunday.

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