WikiLeaks rival plans Monday launch
December 12th, 2010
11:38 PM ET

WikiLeaks rival plans Monday launch

Arguing that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has "weakened the organization," a newly organized rival to the website known for leaking official secrets says it will launch Monday.

The founders of Openleaks.org say they are former WikiLeaks members unhappy with the way WikiLeaks is being run under Assange.

"It has weakened the organization," one of those founders, Daniel Domscheit-Berg says in a documentary airing Sunday night on Swedish television network SVT. He said WikiLeaks has become "too much focused on one person, and one person is always much weaker than an organization."

In an e-mail to CNN, Domscheit-Berg said the group hopes to launch its site Monday.

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Filed under: WikiLeaks
Mark Madoff's death ruled a suicide
December 12th, 2010
11:09 PM ET

Mark Madoff's death ruled a suicide

The death of Mark Madoff, the son of convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, was ruled a suicide by the New York City medical examiner's officer on Sunday, a day after the victim's body was discovered hanging from a ceiling pipe in his SoHo apartment.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner, said the autopsy was completed around 1 p.m. Sunday. Borakove said medical examiners will conduct toxicology and tissue tests on the body. The result, she said, will not be made public unless Madoff's next of kin asks for the case file.

Madoff killed himself two years to the day after his father was arrested for swindling $50 billion from investors in the largest Ponzi-scheme in U.S. history.

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Filed under: New York
At least 4 dead after ship sinks in Antarctic Ocean
December 12th, 2010
11:05 PM ET

At least 4 dead after ship sinks in Antarctic Ocean

A South Korean fishing vessel sank Monday in frigid ocean waters about 1,000 nautical miles north of McMurdo Station in Antarctica, killing at least 4 people while at least 20 were rescued, according to maritime officials.

A time-sensitive search was under way for another 17 people who were missing, said Maritime New Zealand spokesman Ross Henderson. While the ship sank in the Southern Hemisphere's late spring, water temperatures are just 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit), meaning crew members likely could only survive no more than 10 minutes before succumbing to hypothermia, authorities said.

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Filed under: South Korea
Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
December 12th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Will Congress this week pass the tax deal that he and Republicans struck? After getting major push-backs from members of his own party, Obama will face a tough time trying to sell the deal - which includes a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans - before the Bush cuts expire at the end of the year. Here's a look at this and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:

Obama fighting for tax package

Though House Democrats revolted against the deal last week, Obama appears ready to show he's serious about seeing it through. On Wednesday, the president is expected to meet with business leaders to try to win their support for the plan, which also calls for extended unemployment benefits, tax breaks and a payroll tax holiday intended to bolster a sluggish recovery from economic recession.

House Democrats said last week they opposed the package because it would extend the lower Bush-era tax rates for millionaires. They want to extend the current lower tax rates only for those earning up to $200,000 a year, or families earning $250,000, while letting rates for higher incomes return to 1990s levels. With the tax cuts expiring at the end of the year, and Republicans able to block any legislation in the Senate, Obama and Democrats face a fast-approaching deadline to reach a deal or see tax bills increase for everyone.

One of the House Democrats’ leaders, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, said Sunday his party will allow a vote on the deal but will try to change it, especially an estate tax provision they believe is beneficial to the wealthy. White House senior adviser David Axelrod, meanwhile, ruled out any major changes to the tax package, saying although the White House would like to limit the extended tax cuts to working-class Americans, it is more important to provide certainty on tax bills and unemployment benefits.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
6 killed in Afghanistan attack were Americans
December 12th, 2010
06:18 PM ET

6 killed in Afghanistan attack were Americans

The six troops who died after an insurgent attack in southern
Afghanistan on Sunday were Americans, a U.S. military source says.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
Metrodome roof collapses; NFL game moved
December 12th, 2010
01:18 PM ET

Metrodome roof collapses; NFL game moved

[12:18 p.m. ET] The New York Giants-Minnesota Vikings game will take place Monday at 7:20 p.m. at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, the NFL said in a statement Sunday. The game was moved after the roof of the Vikings' Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsed due to heavy snow. FULL POST

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.
Trapped showboat passengers escorted to safety
December 12th, 2010
01:02 PM ET

Trapped showboat passengers escorted to safety

After a rough night spent wrapped in tablecloths and dozing on floors, stranded showboat passengers began walking to safety from their disabled vessel via a 30-foot plank, a spokeswoman for the company that owns the boat said Sunday.

The process of safely escorting to shore the 567 passengers and 76 crew members aboard the Showboat Branson Belle –stuck in a remote area of Missouri's Table Rock Lake since Saturday afternoon - was expected to take about three hours, said Lisa Rau, a spokeswoman for Herschend Family Entertainment.

The incident left hundreds of passengers trapped on a boat with no sleeping accommodations.

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Filed under: Missouri
Swedish officials condemn 'terrorism' blasts in shopping district
December 12th, 2010
12:44 PM ET

Swedish officials condemn 'terrorism' blasts in shopping district

A pair of explosions in central Stockholm, Sweden, was "an act of terrorism," a Swedish police official said Sunday.

Two explosions occurred within minutes of each other Saturday in the district full of Christmas shoppers, Swedish authorities said.

A Swedish news agency and police said they received e-mailed threats 10 minutes before the explosions, which killed one person and injured two others.

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Filed under: Sweden • Terrorism
Critically ill Holbrooke 'fighting' after aortic surgery
December 12th, 2010
12:19 PM ET

Critically ill Holbrooke 'fighting' after aortic surgery

U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke remains critically ill at George Washington University Hospital after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, senior White House adviser David Axelrod said Sunday.

Appearing on the CNN program "State of the Union," Axelrod called Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, "a very tough person" who was "fighting" the heart problem.

"Many people would have succumbed," Axelrod said of the rupture.

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Filed under: Health Care • Richard Holbrooke • State Department
Scientists create computer-programmable bacteria
December 12th, 2010
10:59 AM ET

Scientists create computer-programmable bacteria

In research that further bridges the biological and digital world, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have created bacteria that can be programmed like a computer.

Researchers built "logic gates" – the building blocks of a circuit – out of genes and put them into E. coli bacteria strains. The logic gates mimic digital processing and form the basis of computational communication between cells, according to synthetic biologist Christopher A. Voigt.

While the cells' logic operations are still resigned to simple functions, Voigt said the research lays the groundwork for cellular communication similar to computers.

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Filed under: Science
December 12th, 2010
03:20 AM ET

At least 8 killed in China fireworks blast

Eight people were killed and six others were injured in eastern China after an explosion that authorities said was caused by fireworks stored indoors, state media reported Sunday.

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Filed under: China