Stocks end week on a high
The Congress Of Racial Equality on Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday at the opening bell.
January 14th, 2011
10:02 PM ET

Stocks end week on a high

U.S. stocks ended moderately higher Friday, as investors shrugged off lackluster economic data and shifted focus to next week's avalanche of corporate reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each gained more than 0.7%.

The Dow and the S&P posted their seventh straight week of gains. That's the longest streak for the Dow since the two months of consecutive gains that ended in April 2010.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
Father: Organs of youngest Tucson victim donated to 'little girl in Boston'
January 14th, 2011
09:57 PM ET

Father: Organs of youngest Tucson victim donated to 'little girl in Boston'

The father of Christina Green, the youngest of six people killed January 8 at U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' meet-and-greet outside an Arizona supermarket, told CNN Friday that some of his daughter's organs "went to a little girl in Boston."

"It was very poignant to find out. That's what Christina was all about," John Green said. "It's a blessing."

Asked whether he and his wife would like to meet the girl who received the organ one day if she were willing, John Green said, "Oh yes, and I'd give her a big hug."

On Thursday, Christina's family, friends, classmates and hundreds of mourners filled St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Tucson for a funeral, all of them passing under a giant American flag that was recovered in the aftermath of the terror attacks in New York on September 11, 2001 - the day Christina was born.

Dozens of mourners paid their respects by standing outside the church, which was at capacity.

Representatives from professional baseball also were in attendance. Green was the daughter of a Major League Baseball scout and the granddaughter of former baseball manager Dallas Green.

The girl's father was the only speaker. Before the tearful crowd, he spoke directly to his departed daughter: "Christina-Taylor Green," he began, "I can't tell you how much we all miss you."

 "I think you have affected the whole country," John Green said.

 Pink and white flowers, along with pink bows, adorned the church. The University of Arizona choir sang "Ave Maria." Family friend Katy Martin sang Billy Joel's "Lullaby." "Goodnight, my Angel, time to close your eyes," the song began.

Christina, 9,  had recently been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School, and a neighbor, impressed with Christina's civic interest, took her to the event to meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

 Tucson resident Jared Lee Loughner, 22, is facing federal charges in the January 8 attack.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Gabrielle Giffords
Homeless outreach mission 'in limbo' after Houston shuts it down over food permit
January 14th, 2011
06:25 PM ET

Homeless outreach mission 'in limbo' after Houston shuts it down over food permit

Bobby Herring said the homeless outreach program he and his wife run is in jeopardy after health officials in Houston shut it down because the operation didn't have a permit to serve food.

As MLK Day, typically a big day for outreach programs, approaches, Herring, a  missionary and Christian rapper, said bureaucratic red tape has caused his program, Feed a Friend, to languish after 15 months of serving hot meals to the area homeless.

"It’s not us against them (health officials)," Herring said. "All we want is a solution to get back in action. We’re definitely not trying to start a fire, but I can't get the health department to call us back so we’re kind of in limbo."

Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department, told CNN that the Herrings have not pursued a permit to serve food, at least not through the proper channels. "The Houston Health Department has had no interactions with the Herrings," she said in an e-mail Friday.

Herring and his wife, Amanda, have been down to the city's Health Department and have left messages with an official who has yet to call them back, Herring told CNN in a phone interview Friday.

Herring said he was told his operation would have to pay $17 a day for a permit, similar to event vendors.

"They (the homeless) are hungry. It’s freezing in Houston now, and the city doesn’t have to deal with it," he said. "The thing is,  I think it’s sad that in order to give food to the homeless, we have to have a permit."

Herring said the homeless outreach program, which is part of his Eyes On Me nonprofit, had served food across from a jail for about a year when officers approached him, saying, they had "a better spot," he said. They moved him to a city park, closer to the city's homeless, but now under the jurisdiction of a park ranger. Two weeks ago, two police officers accompanied by a park ranger told him he couldn't serve food any longer.

At issue, both the city and the Herrings say, is how the food is prepared and where it comes from.

"It is our understanding that they are preparing food in individual homes rather than in licensed kitchens which have features that reduce the possibility of food-borne illness," Barton said.

Herring said it would be a logistical nightmare for his program, which operates with a core group of about 15 people, to get different kitchens certified on a weekly basis. "We get volunteers to cook in their homes," he said.

Herring said about 75 people benefit from the daily free meals that the program provides.

"We started off in November 2009. At the job of my wife, who I was dating at the time, there was an auction at the end of the year and there would be so much food left. She asked (her employer), 'Could I take this downtown?' and she did it for two weeks," he said. "And she asked God, 'If you provide the food, I'll continue the service, and God did," Herring said.

Herring said he's gotten volunteers to donate their time, food and kitchens. "There's no government funding or church funding. It’s purely organic," he said.

It is that organic quality that Houston health officials are wary of, according to Barton.

"The Houston Food Ordinance applies the same standards of food preparation and service for free food and purchased food," Barton said. "We do not have different standards of sanitation and food protection for poor people than those for people with money."

"We don't have meetings. We don't have a strategy. We're not experienced in this," Herring said. "It's just out of love."

"The Houston Health Department is pursuing an ordinance which would apply to public feeding operations like the one operated by the Herrings," Barton said. "This ordinance would require a no-fee registration of feeding operations for the poor. The Health Department would provide, at no cost, training for a certified food manager."

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Filed under: Food • Texas
100 dead in stampede near Indian temple
January 14th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

100 dead in stampede near Indian temple

One hundred people died and 14 were injured during a stampede near a religious temple in southern India, the home secretary of Kerala state said.
– From CNN's Sumnin Udas

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Filed under: India • World
Dollars & Sense: $3,000 average tax refunds; world’s fastest electric car
People wait to file taxes in New York on April 15. The IRS doled out $328 billion in refunds last year.
January 14th, 2011
05:05 PM ET

Dollars & Sense: $3,000 average tax refunds; world’s fastest electric car

A roundup of today's CNNMoney news:

Average tax refund in 2010: $3,003: The IRS doled out refunds totaling $328 billion in 2010, a nearly 3% rise from 2009. The jump was one of the biggest in years, thanks in part to several tax credits.

Spending fast: I paid off $18,000 in a year: This freelance photographer set out to cut her debt by spending ONLY on necessities. That meant no more eating out, no more movies, no more shopping. It was tough … but it worked.

The world's fastest electric car (video): Venturi Motors, in collaboration with Ohio State University, set a world record for fastest electric car.

Autoworkers get fat profit-sharing bonuses: GM, Ford and Chrysler want to tie new labor contracts to profits, vehicle quality and other performance measures, rather than straight wage increases. That could bode well for autoworkers.

California insurer bows to 59% rate hike backlash: A week after announcing that it would increase premiums by as much as 59%, Blue Shield of California has hired an outside expert to review its move, promising to make refunds to its policy holders, with interest, if the new rates are found to be excessive.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Business • Dollars & Sense • Economy
U.S. to ease some Cuba travel restrictions
January 14th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

U.S. to ease some Cuba travel restrictions

The United States will loosen restrictions on Cuba, allowing greater leeway for religious and educational trips to the communist island and letting U.S. citizens send up to $500 in remittances every three months to any Cuban who is not connected with the government, a top White House official said Friday.

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Filed under: Cuba • Politics • U.S.
Schools' plans for MLK holiday prompt objections
Kids got to play in the snow this week in Charlotte, North Carolina, but it's back to school on Monday, holiday or no holiday.
January 14th, 2011
04:58 PM ET

Schools' plans for MLK holiday prompt objections

Some school districts in the South are making up for  days missed because of this week's snow and ice by requiring students to attend class on Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, a decision that does not sit well with some parents and community leaders.

The issue is especially sensitive in King's home state of Georgia, where administrators in two rural districts  - Fannin and Gilmer counties - have canceled the school holiday.

"We have eight days that we've missed, and we're just in the 14th day of January," Fannin Superintendent Mark Henson said. "Here in the North Georgia mountains, history proves we have a lot of snow in January and February and sometimes into early March."

Both districts are considering canceling Presidents Day (February 21) and part or all of spring break as well, the administrators said.

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Clinton calls on China to embrace responsibilities of its rise
January 14th, 2011
02:59 PM ET

Clinton calls on China to embrace responsibilities of its rise

China must assume the responsibilities of being a 21st-century world power, rather than basing policies on its own self-interest, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday.

In a firm but optimistic speech at the State Department, Clinton praised improved ties with China, stressing the Obama administration wanted a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive" relationship.

She acknowledged the relationship is at a "critical juncture," noting many tensions remain on economic and security issues, which are certain to feature prominently when President Barack Obama hosts Chinese President Hu Jintao for a state visit in Washington next week.

"You cannot build a relationship on aspirations alone," she said, "It is up to both of us to more consistently translate positive words into effective cooperation."

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Filed under: China • Hillary Clinton • U.S.
Friday's intriguing people
Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum is defending the Army's use of a test about spirituality.
January 14th, 2011
02:02 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum

The Army's director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness has been defending a new test being used by her arm of the military to try to gauge why suicide and stress rates are growing and why some soldiers cope with war better than others. The problem is the subject of the test: spiritual fitness.

Naturally, religion is always a hotbed of debate, and in the military, it's no different. Cornum says that spirituality is being gauged because the Army has seen that soldiers who are more spiritual are more resilient.

"Researchers have found that spiritual people have decreased odds of attempting suicide, and that spiritual fitness has a positive impact on quality of life, on coping and on mental health," Cornum told NPR.

She also told NPR the test has no impact on anyone's career and the soldier is the only one who sees the results, but that isn't stopping some soldiers from being up in arms about it. According to NPR, during the test, you must answer yes or no to some of the following questions: "In difficult times, I pray or meditate"; "I believe that in some way, my life is closely connected to all of humanity"; "I am a spiritual person"; or "I often find comfort in my religion and spiritual beliefs."

Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told NPR he may sue over the test. Cornum insists she and the Army are just trying to figure out ways to help soldiers. After all, she knows what it's like facing trauma on the battlefield.  She was captured by Iraqi forces in 1991 during the Gulf War when she agreed to go into the Persian Gulf as a flight surgeon. After her chopper was shot down, she was one of only three survivors, though as the helicopter went down, she assumed she was going to die, she told Stars and Stripes.

She was molested by a soldier, had her wedding ring taken, and was stripped of many things. But she said in the end, it changed how she viewed life and what she would try to do for the military. She wrote a book, "She Went To War: The Rhonda Cornum Story,” which was a large success. And now, she uses her experiences to try to stem suicide rates and depression. And that has put her back in the spotlight.

"I think, 'Yes, I know this horrible thing happened [to me], but I’m a better doctor — I will be more empathetic because I have been injured and afraid,' " she told Stars and Stripes.

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SI.com: Cam Newton and his decision to go pro
Cam Newton celebrates after Auburn won the BCS national championship.
January 14th, 2011
01:42 PM ET

SI.com: Cam Newton and his decision to go pro

After winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship this season, Cam Newton had little left to accomplish his senior year at Auburn. Which is why he’s going pro.

The Tigers star quarterback will aspire to be an NFL first-round pick next after announcing his decision Thursday to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Newton put together one of the greatest seasons in college football history this year, capped off with a 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS title game Monday.

Many expected Newton to declare for the draft after leading the Tigers to a 14-0 season and their first national championship since 1957. The quarterback spent just one season on Auburn’s campus, but said it was a “difficult” decision nonetheless to leave the school and go from playing football on Saturdays to Sundays.

"It's been a blessing for me to be a part of something so great," Newton said. "Any time you win games it's a big deal, but for this school to win a BCS national championship, what a way to make people happy. Auburn is a special place that I can call home."

In addition to his play this season – which earned the Heisman, broke a handful of SEC records and garnered a slew of national accolades – Newton also received plenty of press after reports claimed his father, Cecil, asked for a pay-for-play plan from Mississippi State when shopping around his son’s recruitment.

The reports clouded Newton’s otherwise flawless season and led him to be ineligible for a day. But the NCAA reinstated him almost immediately and ultimately deemed Newton’s father to be guilty of wrongdoing, not Cam.

Nevertheless, money will no longer be an issue for Newton, who is likely to earn plenty of it in the NFL. At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Newton boasts an incredible combination of speed, strength and accuracy. He rushed for an SEC-record 1,409 yards and 21 touchdowns and passed for additional 2,589 yards and 28 TDs this season. He also became the first SEC player to run for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 in the same year. In an early mock draft, SI.com’s Andrew Perloff has Newton going No. 16 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but with many QB-needy teams the Heisman winner could go even higher.

Newton isn’t the only Tiger expected to announce his NFL intentions this week. Star defensive tackle and Lombardi Award-winner Nick Fairley is likely to announce his decision to go pro today. While Newton stole most of the headlines this season, some experts predict Fairley going as high as No. 1 in the 2011 Draft.

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Report: Chinese man sent to prison for life over tolls gets new trial
A man's two trucks avoided more than half a million dollars in tolls, records cited by Xinhua show.
January 14th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Report: Chinese man sent to prison for life over tolls gets new trial

A Chinese man has been granted a new trial after being sent to prison for life for evading hundreds of thousands of dollars in expressway tolls, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reports.

Shi Jianfeng of Henan province was convicted of fraud this week for using fake military license plates and ID to avoid paying 3.68 million yuan (US $557,000) in tolls, according to Xinhua.

He's getting a new trial because others may be involved, said Liu Penghua, director of the political department of the Pingdingshan Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

"Shi said during an inquiry Thursday night he was manipulated by a relative," Liu said, according to Xinhua.

Shi's sand and gravel trucks avoided tolls 2,362 times in a nine-month period, according to tollbooth records cited by Xinhua. The average toll each time would have been 1,558 yuan ($236), it said.

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Filed under: China • Crime • Justice
A state of emergency in crisis-ridden Tunisia
A demonstrator throws a rock at police, who deployed troops and tear gas to disperse protests in Tunis on Friday.
January 14th, 2011
12:46 PM ET

A state of emergency in crisis-ridden Tunisia

Tunisia's president - whose country has been embattled by weeks of street protests over poor living conditions and repression of rights - has dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency, state TV said Friday.

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who announced concessions to meet some grievances the day before in a nationally televised TV address, made the moves in reaction to the instability in the North African country.

Officials said the reason for the emergency declaration is to protect Tunisians and their private property. People are not allowed on the street from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

People in gatherings of three or more will be arrested or they will be fired on if they try to run away and can't be stopped.

Ben Ali also will call for parliamentary elections within six months. The government sacking comes days after the president dumped the interior minister and fired a couple of aides.

Earlier Friday, police, wielding batons and firing tear gas, dispersed demonstrators, a show of force that aggravated a peaceful gathering in the capital.

Security forces were seen brutally beating protesters, and the demonstrators fled amid the security show of force. Fires were seen in the center of Tunis and downtown, and smoke was coming from a couple of locations.

The unrest underscores concerns among Tunisians and in the international community that security forces have been badly overreacting to peaceful gatherings

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Filed under: Tunisia
Man arrested in Mexico in 2009 abduction of 3-year-old Briant Rodriguez
Israel Ledesma Moreno is seen in an FBI poster.
January 14th, 2011
12:29 PM ET

Man arrested in Mexico in 2009 abduction of 3-year-old Briant Rodriguez

Mexican authorities have arrested a man sought in connection with the 2009 kidnapping of a 3-year-old boy from his home in San Bernardino, California.

Israel Ledesma Moreno, 29, was arrested in Guadalajara on Thursday night on a provisional warrant after FBI agents in Riverside, California, working with Mexican authorities developed information leading to his whereabouts, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Moreno was one of two men charged in Briant Rodriguez' abduction at gunpoint on May 3, 2009. Two armed men burst into the boy's San Bernardino home and tied up his family before taking him, a small amount of money and some items from the home, the FBI said at the time. His abduction triggered an Amber Alert and set off a nationwide search as his family pleaded for his safe return. Two weeks later, the boy was found wandering the streets of Mexicali, Mexico, malnourished and his full head of hair completely shaven. He was returned to his family in California.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Mexico
Gotta Watch: Cooper blasts oil report; briefing room faceoff; striking gold; in "The Room"
Anderson Cooper balks at his oil report mention.
January 14th, 2011
11:19 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Cooper blasts oil report; briefing room faceoff; striking gold; in "The Room"

BP Oil Spill makes Rediculist: CNN's Anderson Cooper takes a jab at the Gulf Oil spill report and defends his reporting in the gulf.

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Husband: Giffords' breathing tube may be removed Friday
Rep. Giffords husband said in his first interview since the shooting that his wife is making good progress.
January 14th, 2011
10:51 AM ET

Husband: Giffords' breathing tube may be removed Friday

Doctors could remove the breathing tube for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Friday as she continues on her "miracle" journey to recovery after an assassination attempt and mass shooting, her husband said.

Though the congresswoman had been shot in the head less than a week ago, she continues to make progress, her husband and doctors told CNN.

Her husband, Mark Kelly, told Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, that his wife is aware to some degree of what is going on around her. It was Kelly's first interview since the tragedy.

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Filed under: Arizona • Barack Obama • Gabrielle Giffords • Health • TV-Sanjay Gupta MD
Lots of talk about civility, but what do we actually know?
Protestors on opposite sides of the fight against the proposed mosque near the World Trade Center site fight about their views.
January 14th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Lots of talk about civility, but what do we actually know?

This week, the country has echoed with thoughts about whether or not the tone in politics these days has created a hostile issue. The opinions on extreme speech are one thing. Looking at the actual evidence of what's happening in society (or not) is another.

In part three of our series on this issue, CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins looks at the recent tone in the U.S. and asks an expert in extreme speech how something like general hostility could possibly be measured.

Arizona State Professor Steve Corman responds that in society as a whole, it's difficult, but he points to new ways researchers are picking up on trends.

We also ask, are people who are prone to violence usually triggered by specific issues and words that matter to them or by the tone of speech in general?

Corman's answer: "It's more the manner in which debate is conducted than, I would say, the issues."

Click here to listen to part three:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast.

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Filed under: Politics • Protest • U.S.
On the Radar: Arizona shooting, diplomacy, RNC and Steele, flood toll
Doctors say they see signs that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' condition is improving. Judge John Roll will be mourned Friday.
January 14th, 2011
10:10 AM ET

On the Radar: Arizona shooting, diplomacy, RNC and Steele, flood toll

Aftermath in Tucson Doctors could remove the breathing tube for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Friday as she continues on her "miracle" journey to recovery after an assassination attempt and mass shooting, her husband said.

Giffords was shot in the head less than a week ago, but she is making progress, her husband and doctors told CNN. Her husband, Mark Kelly, told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that his wife is aware to some degree of what is going on around her and has the ability to move her arms and legs.

Meanwhile, a funeral Mass will be held Friday for U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was one of six people killed Saturday in the Tucson, Arizona, rampage. Media reports say more than 100 judges will attend the funeral, and security will be tight.

CNN is covering other angles in the Arizona case, including how suspect Jared Loughner "creeped out" classmates, the investigation into a bag with ammo thought to be Loughner's, whether a hero nearly shot the wrong person in the middle of the chaos and whether it is too easy to blame Arizona when looking at the tragedy.

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What an independent Southern Sudan could mean for rest of Africa
A woman votes for the referendum on whether Southern Sudan should become an independent nation.
January 14th, 2011
09:26 AM ET

What an independent Southern Sudan could mean for rest of Africa

It is the most important global story in the world right now and chances are... you aren't paying attention to it.

Africa's largest nation, Sudan, has been war-torn for almost the entirety of its post colonial history. Factions in the northern and southern regions of the country have been clashing for years and the south may soon be on the verge of taking an historic step towards independence.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, former President Jimmy Carter and one-time sexiest man alive, George Clooney, are helping the effort to get the historic decision to a peaceful vote and resolution.

Kristof joins American Morning today to explain the situation in Sudan and clarify why a secession of the South would be an optimistic future for the region.

Pope John Paul II: Is he on the fast-track to sainthood?
There is some debate as to whether Pope John Paul II's path to possible sainthood has been quicker than others.
January 14th, 2011
08:21 AM ET

Pope John Paul II: Is he on the fast-track to sainthood?

The late Pope John Paul II is one miracle away from sainthood.

CNN's Senior Vatican Correspondent John Allen reports that a beatification ceremony for the late Pope will take place on May 1. This morning, Pope Benedict XVI credited his predecessor with performing a miracle which is the final requirement for beatification. Sainthood, however, would require that he be credited with performing two miracles.

But today's move does not come without controversy. As Allen explains to Kiran Chetry, some Catholics have expressed disapproval that the late Pope seems to be on the fast-track to sainthood.

Friday's live video events
President Barack Obama and other leaders and diplomats will attend the funeral service for diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who died last month.
January 14th, 2011
07:53 AM ET

Friday's live video events

As parts of the Eastern United States thaw out from heavy snow and ice, CNN.com Live keeps you up to date with the latest news and information.

Today's programming highlights...

9:20 am ET - GOP Hispanic leadership conference - A new Republican Hispanic group co-chaired by former Florida governor Jeb Bush holds its inaugural meeting.  Speakers include Jeb Bush and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

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Filed under: On CNN.com today
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