Officials: French report about origin of cholera in Haiti inconclusive
December 7th, 2010
11:00 PM ET

Officials: French report about origin of cholera in Haiti inconclusive

A French doctor's report suggests that the strain of cholera ravaging Haiti may have originated with U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, but U.N. officials and others cautioned that the report was inconclusive.

The report by French epidemiologist Dr. Renaud Piarroux rules out a number of potential causes and points to the Nepalese soldiers as the most probable, said Vincenzo Pugliese, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Haiti, but it fails to deliver definitive proof.

"We have not dismissed the report but we have not accepted it completely," he said. "We remain open to investigating this, and we will get to the bottom of it."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Eric Mintz said research seeking the origin of the deadly outbreak - the death toll has now topped 2,000 since the first case was reported in mid-October - is being undertaken around the world.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Health • Uncategorized
December 7th, 2010
08:34 PM ET

Extension of Bush-era tax cuts produces mixed results

A look at today's headlines in business news:

Stocks give up gains, end mixed
 
Stocks ended mixed Tuesday, giving back earlier gains, as investor optimism over the extension of Bush-era tax cuts gave way to speculation about a widening federal probe into insider trading and a spike in Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 3 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 11,359. The S&P 500 ended little changed at 1,224, after climbing to a  2-year high during active trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,598.

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy • Taxes
Did Obama flip-flop on Bush-era tax cuts?
December 7th, 2010
07:15 PM ET

Did Obama flip-flop on Bush-era tax cuts?

U.S. President Barack Obama is going along with a plan that will extend Bush-era tax cuts to wealthiest Americans in exchange for extending jobless benefits for 13 months and lowering the payroll tax by two percentage points for a year.



Do you think the President went back on one of his campaign promises, or was this flip-flop forced? Leave your comment below!

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Politics
Readers remember Elizabeth Edwards for her grace under fire
December 7th, 2010
06:54 PM ET

Readers remember Elizabeth Edwards for her grace under fire

Elizabeth Edwards' death has prompted an outpouring of emotional responses from people whose lives have been touched by cancer and others who simply admired the grace with which she fought the disease.

Edwards died Tuesday morning in her Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home after a 6-year battle with breast cancer, her family said Tuesday afternoon. Edwards had announced on Monday that she had given up treatment after doctors told her it would be "unproductive."

Within minutes of posting news of her death, our blog was flooded with readers' tributes.

"Rest in Peace Elizabeth...your grace through so many difficult times will always be remembered! May your Children find solace in knowing many of us are grieving with them!" one reader said.

"I'm saddened to hear of Elizabeth's sudden passing. My mother also died from cancer at age 62 and its a loss that forever changes your life. I pray for all of the Edwards Family that they will find comfort and strength and peace during this difficult time. Life is soo precious and every day that we are given is a gift! Let us all remember that..." another said.

Share your memories, condolences on iReport

In life, Edwards had multiple roles, including political wife, best-selling author, attorney and advocate for health care reform. But to many readers, she was remembered as a role model.

"Elizabeth truly set an amazing example not only for her children, but also for us all. She showed us how to be strong in the face of overwhelming adversity. Elizabeth also taught many of us the meaning of dedication, not only to family but also to one's faith. She proved that it is possible to speak your mind and defend your honor and do so gracefully. She's put up an amazing fight in many areas of her life. May she rest in peace. My deepest condolences to her family on their loss," one reader said.

Another reader put it in fewer words: "We will miss you, Elizabeth. You were a source of strength and inspiration to all women who are fighting this horrible, cruel disease. I hope you found peace."

Many seemed to connect with Edwards on a personal level, be it as a cancer survivor, an embattled wife or grieving mother. Several comments referenced her son, Wade, who died in a car wreck in 1996.

"I imagine her son Wade was there to meet her and she is now surrounded with peace and love."

If readers had nothing but kind words for Edwards, the topic of her estranged husband, former presidential candidate John Edwards, provoked equally intense negative comments.

Some disparaged the former North Carolina senator for his affair with an aide that led to his separation from his wife. Most of those comments resulted in rebukes from others. ("For everyone wanting to post something negative about John Edwards, this is not about him. Don't cheapen her life and her death by mentioning their relationship.")

Then, there were those who chose to cast the marital strife as yet another example of Elizabeth Edwards' resilience and strength under fire.

"May she rest in peace. The woman handled politics, infidelity, cancer and death with poise and dignity."

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Filed under: Health
Elizabeth Edwards dies after battle with cancer
December 7th, 2010
05:22 PM ET

Elizabeth Edwards dies after battle with cancer

Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

Edwards, an attorney, author and health care advocate, died Tuesday morning in her Chapel Hill home surrounded by family.

"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family. We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life," her family said in a statement.

"On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family."

Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. In 2007 she announced the disease had spread to her ribs and hips, saying it was incurable but treatable.

On Monday, Edwards released a statement saying she had stopped treatment after doctors told her additional treatment would be "unproductive."

Her last book, "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities," went on sale in June.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Health
December 7th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Talks between the United States and Israel over settlement freeze end, official says

Talks between the United States and Israel over a settlement freeze have ended, a State Department official said Tuesday, and the U.S. has abandoned its efforts to secure a settlement freeze as a precondition to re-start talks.

"We have determined a moratorium extension at this time will not provide the best basis for direct negotiations," the official said.

The official called the decision to end talks a "joint determination" and
said the U.S. would be continuing to engage both parties on all core
issues in the effort to reach a settlement.

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Filed under: Israel • U.S.
Life.com: Pearl Harbor: December 7,1941
December 7th, 2010
03:49 PM ET

Pearl Harbor day: Looking back 'on a date which will live in infamy'

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 - "a date which will live in infamy," President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said at the time - was a defining moment in American and world history that led to the outbreak of World War II.

Japan effectively declared war on the United States on that day, in a move that many Americans - then and now - considered unprovoked. But Japan considered the attack inevitable for a number of political and economic reasons, making the conflict more complicated than generally acknowledged.

Images from Life.com commemorating the anniversary include a proposed draft of Roosevelt's "infamous" speech, scenes from Pearl Harbor on the day itself and America's reaction in the days to follow.

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Filed under: History • Japan • Military
Obama: Tax deal good for American people
December 7th, 2010
03:01 PM ET

Obama: Tax deal good for American people

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the pending increase in taxes for Americans forced a deal with Republicans to hold down rates for everyone, buying time for political battles on policy "without having the same casualties for the American people that are my No. 1 concern."

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Politics • Taxes
White House eating, serving, promoting Gulf seafood
December 7th, 2010
02:52 PM ET

White House eating, serving, promoting Gulf seafood

The White House is putting its menu where its mouth is.

President Obama and administration officials have said numerous times since the BP oil spill that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe and good to eat.

Now, White House chef Cris Comerford says on the executive mansion's blog that she's ordered 2,000 pounds of Gulf shrimp and crab to serve during the holiday season.

"I'm excited to use the power of food once again to honor not only the Gulf, but some very special guests," Comerford wrote.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Alabama • Barack Obama • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Louisiana • Military • Mississippi • Politics • U.S.
Global warming? Cool!, climatologist says
December 7th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

Global warming? Cool!, climatologist says

Global warming isn't such a bad thing, a leading Russian climatologist told a conference last week.

The effects of rising temperatures will save on heating, increase farm production and open northern sea channels, said Vladimir Klimenko of the Moscow Power Engineering Institute, according to a Moscow Times article.

On the downside, several Siberian and Far Eastern Russian cities will have to be rebuilt, Klimenko conceded in his report to Russian and German scholars at a conference sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, a German organization that supports scientific study.

Regardless, "the reduction of heating alone outweighs all the negative results [of global warming] by many times," Klimenko said, according to Moscow Times. If the savings are used wisely, "then something can be achieved," he said.

Shorter heating seasons will save Russia 3 billion tons of oil by 2050 and 17 billion tons by 2150, Klimenko said.

At the same time, the growing season will lengthen and more land will be available for farming as northern climates warm up, he said.

Russia's Arctic coast will be ice-free for 105 days by 2100, and the Barents and Pechora seas will be open to navigation year-round, he predicted.

Andrei Shmakin of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences told the Moscow Times that global warming will cause droughts in Russia's south, heavy snowfalls in Siberia and icebergs on the seas, negating any imagined benefits.

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Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Russia
December 7th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Kettle charity, Pacino's sober decisions, kids get 'Urkeled'

What's in your kettle? There are still quite a few days left in the holiday season, and Salvation Army bell-ringers are receiving generous but unusual donations. A few days ago, it was reported that a rare coin was anonymously placed in a kettle in Dallas, and in Pennsylvania, the organization received a diamond ring and wedding band wrapped in a dollar bill.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Education • Gotta Watch • Holidays • Movies • Pennsylvania • Showbiz • Texas
Tuesday's intriguing people
December 7th, 2010
12:49 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Navi Pillay

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says she has a good reason for not attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Friday’s ceremony coincides with Human Rights Day, and Pillay is scheduled to host a meeting with human rights defenders in Switzerland, spokesman Richard Colville told Foreign Policy.

Yang Jianli, another Chinese dissident who represents Liu before the Nobel committee, isn’t buying it. He called Pillay's decision not to attend “a clear and unequivocal abdication of her responsibilities as high commissioner.”

He also blasted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for failing to raise Liu’s case when he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao shortly after the Nobel committee’s announcement.

Though Yang claims that the U.N. is buckling to pressure from China, Colville said Pillay – a South African lawyer who got her start defending opponents of apartheid – simply couldn’t bow out of the Swiss event.

According to BBC, 19 countries including China will not attend the ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Forty-four will attend.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu told the BBC that China would not change because of “interference by a few clowns.”

China has mounted a campaign to dissuade nations from attending the ceremony and said through its state-run media that 100 countries back its stance. Xinhua further cited a professor as saying that Liu was a “Chinese criminal [who] challenged China’s judicial authority and interfered in China’s internal affairs."

The Nobel Committee, of course, sees it differently and applauds Liu’s calls for multi-party democracy and human rights reforms.

In other developments this week: Liu’s lawyers said they were prevented from appealing their client’s charges; they say they were also prevented from visiting Liu’s wife, who has been under house arrest since the Nobel announcement; and an Australian-based Chinese dissident was detained in Shanghai en route to Oslo, The Australian reported.

FULL POST

December 7th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

White House seeks Democrats' backing for tax deal

The White House was fighting Tuesday to persuade Democrats to support a compromise on taxes that President Barack Obama and Republican leaders have reached.

The overall compromise will cost between $600 and $800 billion over two years, according to CNN estimates.

At the heart of the deal: an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, which would keep income tax rates at their current levels for everyone, as Republicans have advocated. Obama and other Democrats had argued that tax rates should stay the same for most people but rise for people earning more than $200,000 a year and families making $250,000 or more a year.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Taxes • U.S.
What tax deal could mean for you
December 7th, 2010
12:07 PM ET

What tax deal could mean for you

The White House is working to get Democrats to support a last-minute deal on taxes that President Barack Obama hammered out with Republican leaders.

The compromise would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, keeping income tax rates at their current levels for everyone, as Republicans insisted. Obama and other Democrats wanted tax rates to rise only for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and for families making $250,000 or more a year.

If the deal goes through, here's what it will mean for you: FULL POST

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Filed under: Finance • Taxes
Assange ordered to jail while court decides on extradition
December 7th, 2010
10:51 AM ET

Assange ordered to jail while court decides on extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sent to jail Tuesday while a London court decides whether to order his extradition to Sweden.

The judge at the City of Westminster Magistrate's Court refused to grant Assange bail, despite several celebrities coming forward and offering to pay his surety.

Assange, who was in court with security guards on either side of him and his lawyer in front, must now stay in custody until December 14. It was not immediately clear if the court would decide on that date whether to release him.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Crime • Julian Assange • Justice • Sweden • United Kingdom • WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks founder Assange refuses extradition, denied bail
December 7th, 2010
10:05 AM ET

WikiLeaks founder Assange refuses extradition, denied bail

[Updated at 10:05 a.m.] Julian Assange has been refused bail by a U.K. court and remanded until December 14th.

[Updated at 9:46 a.m.] WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange refused in court Tuesday to give his consent to be extradited to Sweden.

[Posted at 8:32 a.m.] WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested Tuesday on a Swedish warrant, London's Metropolitan Police said.

Assange was arrested at a London police station at 9:30 a.m. and will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrate's Court at 2 p.m., police said. Swedish authorities had issued the warrant for Assange so they can talk to him about sex-crime allegations unrelated to WikiLeaks' recent disclosure of secret U.S. documents.

At court, Assange will be able to respond to the arrest warrant, and the court will then have roughly 21 days to decide whether to extradite him, said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Julian Assange • WikiLeaks
On the Radar: WikiLeaks founder arrested, tax deal reached, Elizabeth Edwards
December 7th, 2010
10:05 AM ET

On the Radar: WikiLeaks founder arrested, tax deal reached, Elizabeth Edwards

Assange arrested: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London on a Swedish warrant. Swedish authorities want to talk to him about sex-crime allegations unrelated to WikiLeaks' recent disclosure of secret U.S. documents. Assange has not been charged.

In court Tuesday, Assange will be able to respond to the arrest warrant, and the court will then have roughly 21 days to decide whether to extradite him, said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.

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Filed under: AIDS • Finance • Julian Assange • Mexico • On the Radar • Taxes • WikiLeaks
Craft will study weather on Venus
December 7th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

Craft will study weather on Venus

Japan's Akatsuki probe was to enter orbit around Venus on Tuesday to study the planet's weather.

The Japanese space agency had trouble re-establishing communication with the craft after it swung behind the planet, but that problem was resolved, Stephen Clark of Spaceflightnow.com reported.

The agency still hasn't determined whether the probe has settled into the proper orbit, according to Clark.

The spacecraft, which was launched six months ago, is to gather data on a Venusian wind pattern called super-rotation. These winds blow in the same direction the planet rotates but go 60 times faster, according to Takeshi Imamura, the mission's project scientist.

"Akatsuki will investigate why this mysterious phenomenon occurs," Imamura wrote on the website of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

The refrigerator-sized probe will also study the sulfuric acid that envelops the planet and will look for lightning.

Akatsuki's five cameras will build 3-D images and maps of Venus' atmosphere, the first time that's been done on any planet other than Earth, Imamura wrote.

A near-infrared camera will be able to peer through the murky atmosphere to get a glimpse of the planet's surface.

"In addition to studying meteorological phenomena, we might be able to see whether Venus has any active volcanoes," Imamura wrote.

Akatsuki, whose name means "dawn," will observe Venus for two years, according to JAXA.

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Filed under: Japan • Space
Former D.C. school chief: Advocacy plan 'not about a war' with teachers unions
December 7th, 2010
09:03 AM ET

Former D.C. school chief: Advocacy plan 'not about a war' with teachers unions

American Morning’s John Roberts talks to controversial education reformer Michelle Rhee about her billion dollar plans to form an advocacy group that she says will “shift the balance of power” in education.

Rhee explains how the group will encourage reform, why politics must be apart of the equation.

Rhee stepped down as chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools in October, after three-and-a-half years as head of the troubled school system. She talks with CNN about her work in D.C., where she closed two dozen failing schools, laid off hundreds of teachers, and brought private money into schools.

Controversial D.C. school reformer takes agenda national

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested, so now what?
December 7th, 2010
08:48 AM ET

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested, so now what?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London on a Swedish warrant regarding sex-crime allegations and will appear in court Tuesday.

But what does it all mean?

Executive Director of the International Bar Association Mark Ellis talks to American Morning’s John Roberts and Carol Costello about what the U.K. arrest means and whether this means Julian Assange may be one step closer to being extradited to the U.S.

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