The day's most popular stories
January 4th, 2011
10:37 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.

Falling birds likely died from massive trauma: Thousands of birds that fell from the sky just before midnight New Year's Eve in Arkansas likely died from massive trauma, according to a preliminary report.

Lindsay Lohan violated probation, police say: Though she is free to leave court-ordered rehab for substance abuse this week, actress Lindsay Lohan's legal issues could get more complicated after police in California said she violated her probation.

Son of former shah of Iran commits suicide: Alireza Pahlavi, son of the former shah of Iran, died Tuesday morning at his home in Boston, Massachusetts, a family spokesman said.

Enterprise captain to be relieved of command: The Navy captain who produced profanity- and slur-laden videos while second in charge of the USS Enterprise will be permanently relieved of his command of the ship.

Slain Filipino councilman caught killer in family photo: It's not uncommon for criminals to be caught on tape in the age of smartphones and pocket-sized cameras, but you don't often hear of someone photographing their own killer.

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Filed under: Animals • Crime • Iran • Lindsay Lohan • Military • Most Popular • U.S. Navy
Several bumblebee species in big trouble, U.S. study finds
January 4th, 2011
10:02 PM ET

Several bumblebee species in big trouble, U.S. study finds

Four U.S. species of bumblebees - an insect that plays an important role in crop pollination Рhave suffered a sharp decline in abundance and geographic range over the past few decades, a study says.

Their relative abundance, depending on the species, declined 88% to 96% in the last 20 to 30 years, and their geographic ranges have shrunk by 23% to 87%, according to the study led by University of Illinois entomology professor Sydney Cameron.

Though direct causes haven’t been confirmed, the study’s authors said declining bumblebee species are more likely than stable species to be infected with a certain parasite and are more likely to have lower genetic diversity.

The authors studied eight of North America’s 50 bumblebee species, and of those eight, "four ... are significantly in trouble," Cameron said in a University of Illinois press release. The study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"They could potentially recover; some of them might. But we only studied eight. This could be the tip of the iceberg," Cameron said.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Environment • Nature
Dow closes up 20 points
January 4th, 2011
08:56 PM ET

Dow closes up 20 points

Some highlights from the day's business news:

After rocky day, stocks end mixed

After a tumultuous day, U.S. stocks ended mixed Tuesday as investors mulled over reports on auto sales, factory orders and the Federal Reserve's December meeting.

Stocks struggled for direction all day. After losing as much as 0.3% mid-day, the Dow Jones industrial average ended the session up 20 points, closing at a fresh two-year high of 11,691.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was down 2 points, or 0.1%; and the Nasdaq fell 10 points, or 0.4%.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
Montel Williams cited for drug paraphernalia
January 4th, 2011
08:24 PM ET

Montel Williams cited for drug paraphernalia

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office in Wisconsin has confirmed that former talk show host Montel Williams was issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia at General Mitchell International Airport on Tuesday.

Williams was caught by TSA with a pipe commonly used for marijuana while going through a security checkpoint, a sheriff's spokesperson said.  He paid the citation of $484 and was released to resume his travel plans.

Williams suffers from multiple sclerosis and is a prominent advocate for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Showbiz • Wisconsin
Witness: Michael Jackson's doctor seemed not to know CPR
Conrad Murray attends hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial for Michael Jackson's death.
January 4th, 2011
07:33 PM ET

Witness: Michael Jackson's doctor seemed not to know CPR

Dr. Conrad Murray seemed not to know how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation as he waited for paramedics to arrive at Michael Jackson's house, a witness at Murray's preliminary hearing testified Tuesday.

Former Jackson security chief Faheem Muhammed said he and and guard Alberto Alvarez saw Murray crouched next to Jackson's bed "in a panicked state asking, 'Does anyone know CPR?'"

"I looked at Alberto because we knew Dr. Murray was a heart surgeon, so we were shocked," Muhammed said.

When defense lawyer Ed Chernoff asked if perhaps Murray was only asking for help because he was tired, Muhammed said "The way that he asked it is as if he didn't know CPR."

Read more about Tuesday's hearing
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Filed under: Conrad Murray • Crime • Michael Jackson
Obama staff shakeup may come as early as Friday
January 4th, 2011
07:15 PM ET

Obama staff shakeup may come as early as Friday

President Obama wants to move quickly on naming the next full-time White House chief of staff, according to two senior Democratic sources close to the process.

The president has narrowed the list down to a two-man race between current interim boss Pete Rouse and former Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley, said the sources, who noted a slew of staff moves could be announced as early as Friday.

FULL STORY
Police looking for University of New Mexico Hospital shooter
Someone shot a gun Tuesday at the University of New Mexico Hospital, but no one was injured, a spokeswoman said.
January 4th, 2011
06:32 PM ET

Police looking for University of New Mexico Hospital shooter

[Updated at 8 p.m. ET] A suspect fired his gun inside the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque Tuesday, but no one was injured, the university and police said.

Witnesses told officers that a female patient was with her child when the woman's boyfriend entered the room, police said. The couple began to argue.

At some point during the altercation, the suspect pulled out a small handgun and purposefully fired it, according to a statement from the Albuquerque Police Department.

He then fled. Video shows the man leaving the hospital about an hour later, said police, adding that the search for the suspect continues.

"They confirm one person was in the hospital and shot his gun inside the hallway, but no one was injured," said Cindy Foster, a spokeswoman for the UNM Health Sciences Center.

The university lifted a lockdown order it had previously issued for all personnel in the central and northern portions of the campus.

CNN affiliate KRQE reported that the incident began shortly after 3 p.m.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • New Mexico
Senate to consider filibuster changes
Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico is part of a group of Democrats who want to change rules dictating the use of filibusters.
January 4th, 2011
06:25 PM ET

Senate to consider filibuster changes

Senate Democrats anxious to reign in what they consider abuse of the filibuster by Senate Republicans will formally propose changes Wednesday to how and when senators can use the stalling tactic. 

However, Senate leaders will postpone votes on the proposals until late January at the earliest as they negotiate possible compromises to the politically contentious issue, according to Senate leadership aides from both parties.

Frustrated by Republicans’ escalating use of the filibuster to stall routine legislation and nominations, a group of Senate Democrats is trying to build support for a wide range of proposed changes that would curb the use of filibusters but not ban them entirely.

When the Senate convenes Wednesday, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico will introduce one or more proposed changes.  Typically, a Senate rule change requires a super majority of 67 yes votes, something that will be difficult for Democrats, with their narrow 53-seat majority, to achieve.  However, on the first legislative day of a new Congress, a simple majority of senators, just 51 votes, can approve new rules.

New York City draws 48.7 million tourists in 2010, breaks industry records
Crowds fill New York's Times Square during the Revlon Run/Walk For Women on May 1, 2010.
January 4th, 2011
06:03 PM ET

New York City draws 48.7 million tourists in 2010, breaks industry records

So much for an economic downturn.

New York City drew 48.7 million tourists in 2010, exceeding last year's total and surpassing projections, while adding more jobs and employing a record amount of New Yorkers in the hospitality industry, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday.

The number of tourists rose 6.8 percent from 2009, surpassing early projections of 47.5 million, putting the Big Apple on pace to meet its goal of attracting 50 million annual visitors by 2012, Bloomberg said. 

The hospitality industry also added 6,600 jobs in 2010, employing more New Yorkers in the industry than ever, the mayor said.

There's more: New York set records for hotel rooms added (7,000) and room nights sold (25.7 million).

“The strength of our tourism industry is one of the reasons New York City was less impacted by the national recession than other cities, and it continues to be one of the reasons we’re growing faster than other cities today," Bloomberg said at a press conference. 

"The industry employed more New Yorkers in 2010 than ever before, and the $31 billion visitors spent this year supported our restaurants, shops, hotels and cultural institutions. We‚Äôre constantly looking for ways to strengthen and diversify our economy, and growing our tourism industry is an important part of that work.‚ÄĚ

FULL STORY
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Filed under: New York • Travel
Boehner to livestream opening day of new Congress on Facebook
January 4th, 2011
04:15 PM ET

Boehner to livestream opening day of new Congress on Facebook

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner wants all his friends to see him get sworn in on Wednesday - Facebook friends that is.

For the first time ever, Congress will be broadcast live on Facebook. Boehner announced that beginning at noon on Wednesday, people can go on the popular social media website for live coverage of the first day's floor proceedings and his first speech as Speaker of the House.

The incoming speaker will direct people to visit the "Pledge to America" Facebook page to view the transition to the GOP-controlled House.

"This kind of streaming and real-time interaction is not only unprecedented for the House, it's helping to set the tone for a new majority that will continue to find new ways to listen to and better represent the American people," said Nick Schaper, Boehner's director of digital media.

FULL STORY
Son of Iran's former shah committed suicide, family says
Former shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his wife, Farah, are shown after leaving Iran in 1979. His son Alireza Pahlavi committed suicide, his family said Tuesday.
January 4th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

Son of Iran's former shah committed suicide, family says

Alireza Pahlavi committed suicide at his home in Boston, Massachusetts, a spokesman for the family of the former shah of Iran said Tuesday.

Pahlavi, 44, was a son of the former shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in 1979 and died the following year in exile in Cairo, Egypt.

"It is with immense grief that we would like to inform our compatriots of the passing away of Prince Alireza Pahlavi," the family website said.

– CNN's Azadeh Ansari contributed to this story.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Iran • Massachusetts
Slain Filipino councilman caught killer in family photo
The family of Reynaldo Dagsa provided a photo to police that reportedly shows the councilman's killer.
January 4th, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Slain Filipino councilman caught killer in family photo

It's not uncommon for criminals to be caught on tape in the age of smartphones and pocket-sized cameras, but you don't often hear of someone photographing their own murderer.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer and hundreds of other news outlets are reporting that Caloocan City Councilman Reynaldo Dagsa did just that on New Year's Day.

The photo, which was distributed to police and the media by the Dagsa family, shows Dagsa's wife, daughter and another relative posing for a photograph. A man in the background is standing behind the family and another man wearing a backward baseball cap is holding a handgun whose muzzle is illuminated by the camera's flash.

The family seems unaware of the gunman's presence. Presumably, the two shots that entered the councilman's chest and arm rang out just after his shutter snapped. Dagsa was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Inquirer reported that Caloocan Police Chief Jude Santos said the man holding the .45-caliber was arrested Monday in Manila. Santos, however, told CNN on Tuesday that the gunman was still at large and that police had arrested two other men.

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See CNN's full coverage of the Filipino councilman's assassination
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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Philippines
Innocent man jailed in Texas since 1979 now free
Cornelius Dupree Jr., left, and Innocence Project lawyer Nina Morrison talk to CNN after Dupree became a free man.
January 4th, 2011
01:43 PM ET

Innocent man jailed in Texas since 1979 now free

A Texas man imprisoned 30 years ago on aggravated robbery charges had his conviction overturned on Tuesday after DNA evidence exonerated him.

Dallas County Judge Don Adams overturned Cornelius Dupree Jr.’s conviction Tuesday, clearing his name officially.

"It's a joy to be free," Dupree, 51, said outside court.

Dupree has served more years in a Texas prison for a crime he did not commit than anyone else in the state who was later exonerated by DNA evidence. Only two other people exonerated by DNA have spent more time in prison in the entire country, the Innocence Project said. Texas has freed 41 wrongly convicted prisoners because of DNA testing since 2001, more than any other state.

Dupree told CNN after becoming a free man that he had "mixed emotions" about the hearing considering how long he had been incarcerated.

"I must admit there is a bit of anger, but there is also joy, and the joy overrides the anger," he told CNN. "I'm just so overwhelmed with the joy of being free."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice
Subway explorer reveals NYC's "Undercity"
Steve Duncan explores a tunnel in "Undercity"
January 4th, 2011
01:41 PM ET

Subway explorer reveals NYC's "Undercity"

Steve Duncan jokes that he's too old to be running through underground tunnels. But he loves it. He's risking arrest, injury or even death to explore hidden parts of New York's subway system and the people who live in its dank corridors. Duncan's curious obsession is documented in the 28-minute film "Undercity."

It's a jolt when the viewer first sees filmmaker Andrew Wonder and Duncan wait momentarily for a quiet, empty subway platform and then jump down onto the rails. Wearing gloves and a backpack and carrying a flashlight, Duncan tells Wonder that the main objective is to avoid getting killed. "It's always a gamble," he says.

The duo move swiftly, careful to not be seen. A train screams by, so close it's frightening. They duck so that no one inside the train spies them. If Duncan gets caught, he says, he'll probably face criminal trespassing and reckless endangerment charges. That's unfair, he thinks. The public has a right to see what lies under their city.

When he tried to climb Notre Dame in Paris, he tells Wonder, the police arrested him, but they understood why someone would want to explore a beautiful and complex landmark. "But in New York, nobody seems to understand why I want to see these amazing structures," he says. "It kinda makes me sad that there's so much suspicion around just appreciating the city."

Another scene is shot at 1 a.m. on a weekday. Duncan waits until he's sure no one is watching and pulls a crowbar from his bookbag. He pries open a manhole and climbs into a sewer beneath Canal Street, what was once an above-ground waterway. Duncan tells Wonder he only wants to show him the entrance, but he can't resist. The urban explorer looks out along the dark tunnel and says there's a brick archway if they walk down 50 feet. They shouldn't go, Duncan says, but he starts walking anyway, ducking under dripping glops of goo he calls "snotsticles." They meet a cast of characters seemingly dreamed up for a novel, including a woman who followed a stray cat into the underground 28 years ago and never left.

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Filed under: New York
Tuesday's intriguing people
Romeo Beckham, 8, is Britain's 26th-most-stylish "man," behind his father, who’s at No. 16, according to GQ magazine.
January 4th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Romeo Beckham

The 8-year-old son of soccer superstar David Beckham and former Spice Girl (Posh) Victoria Beckham is one of Britain’s most stylish men, according GQ magazine in the UK.

The youngster came in No. 26 in GQ’s annual ranking of Britain’s 50 most stylish men. That puts Romeo one spot in front of the recently engaged Prince William but 10 spots behind his L.A. Galaxy midfielder father.

GQ calls the Beckhams' middle child ‚Äúa frighteningly tuned-in (and well-connected) eight-year-old.‚ÄĚ Not shocking for a boy who last year signed a deal to design his own line of sunglasses.

Top on the list is ‚ÄúKick-Ass‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúNowhere Boy‚ÄĚ actor Aaron Johnson.

Other notables include Prince Harry at No. 5, British Prime Minister David Cameron at No. 20, singer Elton John at No. 21 and actor Daniel Day-Lewis at No. 50.

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Ex-boyfriend indicted for murder of swimsuit designer
Sylvie Cachay was found dead at a Manhattan hotel last month.
January 4th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Ex-boyfriend indicted for murder of swimsuit designer

The ex-boyfriend of swimsuit designer, Sylvie Cachay, who was found dead at an expensive Manhattan hotel last month, has been indicted on murder charges in her death, according to a statement from the Manhattan District Attorney's office Tuesday.

Nicholas Brooks, son of "You Light Up My Life" composer Joseph Brooks, had been initially charged with attempted murder and strangulation.

Cachay was found dead in the bathtub of an exclusive Manhattan hotel. She was strangled and drowned, the New York City medical examiner's office said. Cachay's body sustained bruising on the neck and bite marks, and was found clothed in the hotel room bathtub, police said.

An autopsy indicated that the designer suffered injuries that were consistent with neck compression, court records show. Cachay suffered internal hemorrhaging, injuries to her scalp and cuts to her lips and mouth, the documents said.

"Sylvie Cachay was one of those rare individuals who truly sparkled when she spoke," publicist Kate Godici said following her death. "She will be deeply and painfully missed, yet celebrated, honored and never forgotten."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime
Defense Official: Navy officer to be relieved of his command
Navy Capt. Owen Honors was second-in-command when the videos were shown.
January 4th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Defense Official: Navy officer to be relieved of his command

Navy Capt. Owen Honors, who produced profanity- and slur-laden videos while second in command of the USS Enterprise, has been relieved of his command of the ship, a senior defense official told CNN Tuesday.

Excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content were first published Saturday by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia.

The videos on the paper's website, reviewed by CNN, feature a man identified by two Navy officials and The Virginian-Pilot as Honors, who at the time was the executive officer, or second in command, of the aircraft carrier. He recently took command of the carrier, winning one of the most coveted assignments in the U.S. Navy, which has only 11 aircraft carriers.

Navy spokesman Cmdr. Chris Sims said the videos, which were shown to the crew of the Enterprise while on deployment supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, are "inappropriate."

Honors is shown cursing along with other members of his staff in an attempt to demonstrate humor, according to the videos.

Girl, 10, becomes youngest to discover supernova
Kathryn Aurora Gray spotted the new supernova on this image taken on New Year's Eve.
January 4th, 2011
11:04 AM ET

Girl, 10, becomes youngest to discover supernova

A 10-year-old Canadian girl will head back to school this month with a good case for some extra credit in science: She became the youngest person to discover a supernova during the holiday break.

Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick, spotted the exploding star, dubbed supernova 2010lt, on Monday from an image taken on New Year’s Eve by a telescope belonging to amateur astronomer David Lane in Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia. The exploding star is in the galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation of Camelopardalis.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) says Kathryn is the youngest person ever to discover a supernova.

"I was very excited to find one. Especially this quick," Kathryn said of her discovery, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

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Filed under: Space
Evacuations in Australia proceed as floodwaters rise
Emergency officials patrol a flooded highway in Rockhampton, Australia.
January 4th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Evacuations in Australia proceed as floodwaters rise

More evacuations were underway in the flood-ravaged Australian state of Queensland on Tuesday as waters continued to rise.

Relief teams continued rushing supplies into the eastern city of Rockhampton. In some of the state's more rural areas, farmers said they were scrambling to send tons of crops out before waters damaged them and flooding made their transport impossible.

Police said 10 people have died as a result of flooding since November 30 - many of them swept away by swift waters. An area the size of France and Germany combined has been affected.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Australia • Weather
Ivory Coast envoy still optimistic talks can succeed
Alassane Ouattara, left, who has been declared the winner of the presidential election, meets with African leaders.
January 4th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

Ivory Coast envoy still optimistic talks can succeed

Talks between Ivory Coast's political rivals and African mediators failed to break a political impasse although the Kenyan leader acting as a special envoy said Tuesday that he remains optimistic that bloodshed can still be avoided.

Alassane Ouattara, the president-elect, will not meet face-to-face with Laurent Gbagbo, the defiant self-declared president, until Gbagbo acknowledges electoral defeat.

"Ouattara has always been clear on this issue since the beginning. He can only meet with Gbagbo once he recognizes him as president," said Patrick Achi, Ouattara's spokesman.

However, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the envoy for the African Union, urged patience in resolving the crisis through negotiations.

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Filed under: Ivory Coast
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