51 dead from flooding in the Philippines
A man rides on a water buffalo in a flooded palm oil plantation on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao on January 4.
January 16th, 2011
09:36 PM ET

51 dead from flooding in the Philippines

Some 51 people are dead in the Philippines after weeks of intense rain caused severe flooding across the Asian nation, the country's national disaster agency said early Monday.

Rains continued to linger over much of the the island of Luzon, with land around the Visayan Sea and the eastern island of Mindanao also experiencing significant precipitation, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
Council said in a statement.

Those killed, ranging from ages 1 to 80, died from drowning, landslides or electrocution, according to the disaster agency.

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Filed under: Philippines • Weather
Top senators to sit together at State of the Union address
Sen. Charles Schumer, right, says sitting with Sen. Tom Coburn might help things be "a little bit more civil."
January 16th, 2011
09:16 PM ET

Top senators to sit together at State of the Union address

In a symbolic gesture toward more civil political discourse, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer and Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Sunday they will sit together at the upcoming State of the Union address.

Appearing on the NBC's "Meet the Press," Schumer and Coburn called for political debate based on issues and ideology, rather than motives and personal attacks, in the aftermath of the Tucson, Arizona, shootings last week that killed six people and critically injured Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Schumer acknowledged that sitting with Coburn for the president's annual speech to Congress would be symbolic, "but maybe it just sets a tone and everything gets a little bit more civil."

"We believe in discourse in America, we believe in strenuous discourse," said Schumer, who is from New York. "We don't sweep differences under the rug. Tom and I have real differences, but we can do it civilly."

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Filed under: Politics
January 16th, 2011
08:56 PM ET

Hospital: Giffords upgraded from critical to serious condition

[Updated at 8:56 p.m.] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, eight days after being shot through the brain at a public event.

"The congresswoman continues to do well," University Medical Center in Tucson said Sunday in a statement.

Giffords has been off the ventilator and breathing on her own, through a tracheotomy tube, since a surgical procedure on Saturday. A feeding tube was inserted as part of the same operation, which took place exactly one week after a bullet went in and out of her skull.

[Initial post, 12:26 p.m.] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition after a shooting at a January 8 public event, is moving both sides of her body and is able to breathe on her own, a fellow member of
Congress said Sunday.

"She's doing great," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York and a friend of the Arizona congresswoman, on NBC's "Meet The Press." Gillibrand said she spoke to Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, on Saturday night and that Giffords is "making progress every day."

Gillibrand told CBS' "Face the Nation" that Giffords is moving both sides of her body, and is "showing people that she can communicate well by, you know, holding our hands and moving her arms and legs and looking at us. So she's making great progress."

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Filed under: Arizona
'Baby Doc' Duvalier returns to Haiti
A March 1982 picture shows Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, then president of Haiti.
January 16th, 2011
07:39 PM ET

'Baby Doc' Duvalier returns to Haiti

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Haiti's former dictator, returned unexpectedly Sunday to the country after some 25 years in exile.

He arrived in the Haitian capital as the nation is grappling with a political crisis, sparked by fraud allegations in a presidential election. It was not immediately clear why the former leader returned.

Duvalier, wearing a dark suit and tie, greeted supporters at the busy Port-au-Prince airport. He had traveled with his wife.

The Duvalier family ruled Haiti for three decades starting in 1957, when Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was elected president. He later declared himself president for life. Whe he died in 1971, he was succeeded by his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

The younger Duvalier held onto power for 15 years before a revolt forced him to flee the country. He has been living in France

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 16th, 2011
07:04 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

This week, U.S. House members will be getting back to regular business  for the first time since the January 8 Arizona shootings that killed six and wounded 13, including one of their colleagues, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona. That regular business includes a vote on repealing the health care reform law.

Also in Washington, days after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S.-China relationship is at a critical juncture, President Barack Obama will be hosting Chinese President Hu Jintao for a state visit this week.

Here's a look at these issues and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:

Health care repeal debate to resume in Congress

House Republicans had intended to have the House vote on whether to repeal health care reform last week, but GOP leaders postponed the vote after the Arizona shootings. Debate could come Tuesday, with a vote on Wednesday.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
Troops battle ex-ruler's bodyguards in Tunisia
January 16th, 2011
02:37 PM ET

Troops battle ex-ruler's bodyguards in Tunisia

Tunisia's army clashed with armed gangs in the capital and remnants of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's personal guard Sunday as an opposition figure said leaders have agreed on a new
government.

Government troops appeared to have retaken the presidential palace in the seaside suburb of Carthage by Sunday evening, but sporadic gunfire continued around the neighborhood as night fell, said Mohamad Guiga, a nearby resident.

"It is a battle zone," Guiga told CNN by telephone from his home, about 1 kilometer away from the palace. "From time to time, we hear some shooting. The fire is very clear," he added.

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Berlusconi rejects teen sex accusation as 'mud'
January 16th, 2011
12:31 PM ET

Berlusconi rejects teen sex accusation as 'mud'

Allegations that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had sex with a teenage prostitute are "mud" thrown on him by political opponents who want to get rid of him, the scandal-prone politician said.

"But this time they've surpassed any limit," Berlusconi said in a statement. "The mud will fall on those who use justice as a political weapon."

The "judicial machination ... will not succeed in stopping us or in taking us away from our commitment to change the country. This time also they will not succeed," he said in the statement posted on his party's website
Saturday.

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Filed under: Italy
Suspect arrested in killing of N.J. officer
January 16th, 2011
09:31 AM ET

Suspect arrested in killing of N.J. officer

A 19-year-old man  has been arrested in the killing of a Lakewood, New Jersey, police officer, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

Jahmell Crockam has been charged with murder and the illegal possession of a firearm, according to Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.

Police officer Christopher Matlosz  was sitting in his patrol car when the shooting occurred Friday, Ford said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
NASA astronaut injured in bicycle accident
Mission Specialist Tim Kopra was injured in a bicycle accident Saturday.
January 16th, 2011
05:42 AM ET

NASA astronaut injured in bicycle accident

Injuries from a bicycle accident could change a NASA astronaut's duties on Space Shuttle Discovery, the agency said in a statement.

Mission Specialist Tim Kopra was injured in a bicycle accident Saturday, NASA said. The agency said he "will be OK," but did not release further details, citing medical privacy.

However, the agency said the impact the accident would have on Kopra's shuttle duties "is being evaluated."

He is scheduled to be on the Discovery mission to the International Space Station, slated for February 24.

Kopra was selected as an astronaut in 2000, has previously been aboard two shuttle missions and spent one tour of duty on the International Space Station.

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Filed under: Space • U.S.