The day's most popular stories
January 20th, 2011
10:41 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Kidnapped daughter finds mom 23 years later: In 1987, an anguished, trembling Joy White pleaded for someone to help her find her infant daughter. Now, 23 years later, White is crying tears of joy as the decades-long mystery of her missing daughter reached a happy ending.

Senior al Qaeda leader beheaded Daniel Pearl: Federal agents have backed up al Qaeda captive Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession in the killing of journalist Daniel Pearl by using photographs of the veins in his hands, according to report released Thursday.

FBI targets mob in major sweep: In one of the largest single-day operations against the Mafia in FBI history, federal agents working with local law enforcement fanned out across Italy, New York, New Jersey and Rhode island to arrest 127 people.

Borger on why America is tired of Palin: OK, you've got Palin fatigue. Not to worry. So does much of the country  The latest CNN poll shows that 56 percent of Americans view her unfavorably.

Some try 'iPod phone' to reduce cell bill: Brennan Stehling's phone looks just like an iPhone, but his bill is nothing like the ones most smartphone customers get in the mail each month.

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Filed under: Crime • Most Popular • Politics • Sarah Palin • Technology • Terrorism
10 questions for the U.S. drug czar
CNN's Rafael Romo talks with Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House’s National Office of Drug Control Policy.
January 20th, 2011
08:57 PM ET

10 questions for the U.S. drug czar

Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House’s National Office of Drug Control Policy, concluded Thursday a three-day visit to Colombia to assess the progress the South American country has made in its fight against drug trafficking and Marxist guerrillas. Under an agreement known as “Plan Colombia,” the United States has provided the country with more than seven billion dollars in aid in the last ten years.

CNN’s Rafael Romo sat down with Kerlikowske in the capital city of Bogota to talk about the United States’ role in tackling drug trafficking in Latin America.

Romo: Has Plan Colombia been worth it?

Kerlikowske: I think that the reduction in violence is very significant and is well noted by the citizens. I mean, [Colombia] is now a very viable country.

Q: Michael Shifter from the Inter-American Dialogue says that Plan Colombia has failed in reducing the production of drugs. Is that the case?

A: Cocaine consumption is down dramatically in the United States.  We have less of an appetite for cocaine. We use cocaine at far lower levels, particularly over the last four years. What we have seen is an increase in cocaine consumption in Europe.

Q: Are you really satisfied that the Colombian government is doing the best they can with the funding provided from the United States and that they’re not just telling you what you want to hear?

A: All my meetings with government officials here is clear that they’re doing everything possible to improve.

Q: What did Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tell you about the future of the binational relationship?

A: He knows all of the issues.  He recognizes the importance of the relationship. I think he also clearly understands the changing nature of drug trafficking, which is so much more international, less focused on a particular country.

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Filed under: Colombia • Drug violence • Drugs
Giffords to be flown to Houston rehabilitation hospital Friday
Giffords, 40, was one of 19 people shot January 8 at a political event outside a Tucson grocery store. Six of the 19 died; Giffords is the only victim still hospitalized.
January 20th, 2011
07:42 PM ET

Giffords to be flown to Houston rehabilitation hospital Friday

Accompanied by a veterans' motorcycle escort, Arizona U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords will be taken Friday from a Tucson hospital to a nearby Air Force base for a flight to Texas and the beginning of her extended recovery, according to the congresswoman's office.

Giffords, thus far, has made a remarkable recovery after being shot through the brain in a January 8 assassination attempt in Tucson, but doctors said she will require further rehabilitation.

According to her office, Giffords will leave Tucson's University Medical Center around 9:15 a.m. She will be taken in an ambulance to nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for the flight to Houston.

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Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Politics • Texas
Stocks close modestly lower
Worries about the potential downside of China's soaring GDP hung over the market Thursday.
January 20th, 2011
07:33 PM ET

Stocks close modestly lower

Some highlights from today's business news:

Stocks trim losses, close modestly lower

 U.S. stocks recovered from early weakness Thursday to close modestly lower as technology shares remained weak and worries about the downside of China's robust economy hung over the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 3 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 1,1822.8. The S&P 500 slid over 1 point to end at 1,280. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 21 points, or 0.7%, to close at 2,704.

After the market closed, Google reported quarterly earnings and sales that topped analysts' expectations and reshuffled its management. The search giant said Eric Schmidt is stepping down as chief executive, with cofounder Larry Page taking over in April.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
Dollars & Sense: 100 best companies; paying more for cell service
For the second straight year, software firm SAS is tops on Fortune's list of best companies for which to work.
January 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Dollars & Sense: 100 best companies; paying more for cell service

A roundup of today's CNNMoney news:

100 best companies to work for: From fat paychecks to sweet perks, these employers offer dream workplaces. If you work at tech powerhouse SAS - No. 1 on the list - you can get a haircut or car wash while you work. Check out Whole Foods’ hiring recipe and how Google hires Android developers.

U.S. companies fear Chinese New Year: During the 15-day holiday, hundreds of thousands of factories shut down, and that can cost a company millions of dollars in lost sales. Some companies are responding by shifting their suppliers back to the U.S.

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Filed under: Dollars & Sense
Eric Schmidt stepping down as Google CEO
January 20th, 2011
04:16 PM ET

Eric Schmidt stepping down as Google CEO

Eric Schmidt is stepping down as Google CEO, with co-founder Larry Page taking over day-to-day operations on April 4.

Schmidt, who joined Google in 2001, will stay on as executive chairman, focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership, the company said in a statement.

Internally, he will continue to act as an advisor to Page, who will lead product development and technology strategy , and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who will focus on strategic projects.

"As Google has grown, managing the business has become more complicated. So Larry, Sergey and I have been talking for a long time about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making—and over the holidays we decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured," Schmidt said in a statement.

The news comes on the same day Google announced its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2010 earnings. The company reported revenues of $8.44 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, an increase of 26% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

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Filed under: Google • Technology
Terrell Owens tackles a totally different big issue - Alzheimer's
Terrell Owens' grandmother, Alice, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1996.
January 20th, 2011
03:02 PM ET

Terrell Owens tackles a totally different big issue - Alzheimer's

He might be remembered as being one of the best wide receivers of the 2000's or as the star of Vh1's "The TO Show" but what NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens wants to be remembered as, is an advocate for Alzheimer's awareness.

Owens's grandmother, Alice, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1996 and since then Owens has been a vocal supporter of awareness.

One in eight people aged 65 and older (13%) have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to rise in the future. Terrell Owens talks about his cause with T.J. Holmes and Kiran Chetry.

George Clooney says he contracted malaria in Sudan
During an interview with Piers Morgan, George Clooney said he contracted malaria in Sudan.
January 20th, 2011
02:57 PM ET

George Clooney says he contracted malaria in Sudan

George Clooney contracted malaria while he was in Sudan during the recent election there, he told Piers Morgan during an interview scheduled to air Friday.

Clooney was in Sudan doing humanitarian work and watching elections on a historic referendum on independence for Southern Sudan.

"The truth of the matter is we are hoping it is one of many tools to continue to apply pressure, at the very least, to gather evidence that could be used at The Hague later if there are - if there are infringements or rules broken ... if anyone crosses across the border north or south," Clooney told Morgan.

It was during this recent work in Sudan that he contracted malaria. Malaria, which is spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes, can cause chills, flu-like symptoms, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice. It kills about 1 million people a year and is mostly limited to developing countries. Malaria has been nearly wiped out in the United States.

"I guess the mosquito in Juba looked at me and thought I was the bar," Clooney quipped.

While discussing the matter in a fairly jovial manner, Clooney said it was the second time he had gotten malaria.

"You don't think President Bashir has - has detached a detail of sickly, vengeful mosquitoes to target you whenever you arrive?" Morgan joked.

"Yeah," Clooney responded. "I think so."

Morgan broke the news in a tweet.

A few minutes later Morgan joked in another tweet abut Clooney's condition.

"Clooney malaria update: now have 24,563 offers to nurse him. But his rep says medication's worked and he's OK. Sorry, ladies," Morgan tweeted.

Piers Morgan's full interview with George Clooney and his father, Nick, will air Friday on CNN at 9 p.m. ET.

Clooney: 'Real excitement' for peace in Sudan

Video: Enough project aims to ease Sudan woes

Video: Clooney monitoring situation in Sudan

Stubborn nano-satellite finally pops out
The NanoSail-D's doors are supposed to open like blades on a ceiling fan, allowing a large polymer sail to pop out.
January 20th, 2011
02:34 PM ET

Stubborn nano-satellite finally pops out

A reluctant mini-satellite finally sprang from its mother ship this week, and NASA used amateur radio operators to help find it and check on its status.

The NanoSail-D was supposed to deploy from the Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, on December 6, but it just sat there for more than six weeks, refusing to come out of the barn.

Mission operators at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, kept the door open, hoping the NanoSatellite about the size of a loaf of bread would eventually emerge on its own, which it finally did on Wednesday.

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Filed under: Alabama • Science • Space
SI.com: Carmelo Anthony trade drama over - for now
Carmelo Anthony will not be headed to the New Jersey Nets.
January 20th, 2011
02:06 PM ET

SI.com: Carmelo Anthony trade drama over - for now

Looks like Carmelo Anthony will be sticking around Denver, at least a little longer.

After weeks of speculation and coming close to a 14-player, multimillion dollar deal between the Nets, Nuggets and Pistons, Nets team owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he was ending trade discussions.

"I am not happy with the way this deal has gone until now,” he said during a press conference Wednesday evening. “It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players. I believe that has cost us several games. I think the management of the team did a great job but there comes a time when the price is simply too expensive. I'm instructing our team to walk away from the deal and the meeting which was supposed to be held by our management tomorrow in Denver with Carmelo is hereby cancelled."

"The decision to walk away is my own decision. I'm not day-to-day with the team. Being one step removed from the day-to-day business gives me a clear understanding, a clear view of what was needed to be done."

But was Prokhorov’s decision to put the kibosh on the trade, a more calculated move than just putting an end to the drama? SI.com’s Chris Mannix thinks so. With rumors circulating that Anthony wasn’t interested in heading to New Jersey, Prokhorov’s announcement could have been a ploy to simply save face for his team. But according to officials who were aware of his impending bombshell, Prokhorov has had enough of the Nets-Carmelo madness and took swift action to bring it to a close.

So where does that leave ‘Melo? Free to make his way to the New York Knicks, that’s for sure. With the Knicks reportedly being Anthony’s top choice, they have become the frontrunners in the Carmelo trade saga. But both teams still have plenty details to hammer out before a trade is on the table.

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Filed under: Sports
Thursday's intriguing people
Peng Liyuan's fame as a singer in China may enhance or even overshadow her politician husband's image.
January 20th, 2011
01:32 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Peng Liyuan

The wife of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is "China's most dazzling folk singer," according to a profile in Newsweek.

Peng is arguably more famous than her husband. She has millions of fans, thanks to frequent appearances on China Central Television over many years. She is a major general in the People's Liberation Army and is China's AIDS ambassador to the United Nations.

When Xi succeeds Hu Jintao as president next year, as most observers expect, China's first couple "will approach the glamour of the Kennedy administration," Kent Ewing writes in Asia Times.

"China will have a first family that mixes fame and beauty with power and privilege," Ewing observes.

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Filed under: China • Gay and lesbian • Gaza • Israel • Most Intriguing People • Sarah Palin • Tea Party
Official: Two officers killed while serving federal warrant
Officers at a crime scene in Miami where two cops were shot while trying to serve a warrant.
January 20th, 2011
01:24 PM ET

Official: Two officers killed while serving federal warrant

[Updated at 1:24 p.m.] A second officer has died in Miami following a shoot-out with a suspect wanted on a homicide warrant, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said Thursday.

[Updated at 12:39 p.m.]
Miami-Dade police Commander Nancy Perez said at a news conference that one Miami-Dade police officer is dead, but the other is in surgery.

There were conflicting reports regarding the shooting of two officers who were trying to serve a warrant in Miami, Florida Thursday.

Earlier, an official said both officers had been killed.

WSVN: 2 officers shot and killed

[Posted at 12:16 p.m.] Two Miami police officers working for a federal task force were shot and killed while executing an arrest warrant in Miami Thursday morning, a federal law enforcement official said.

At least one person suspected of shooting the officers was also killed by police, the official said.

A third officer was wounded and was in stable condition in a hospital, the official said.

The slain officers were with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

– CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida
Tiger mom mauled: Author talks to TIME about controversial column
A column written by Amy Chua on "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" has sparked widespread controversy.
January 20th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Tiger mom mauled: Author talks to TIME about controversial column

Author and professor Amy Chua garnered a lot of attention following the release of her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" and her Wall Street Journal column "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior."

The piece in particular struck a chord with the American public - it has been read over a million times - as Chua seemed to take a jab at American parenting.

As she told Kiran Chetry last week on American Morning, Chua claims traditional Chinese parenting, which stresses discipline, hard work and perseverance, leads to successful and competitive children.

TIME magazine's latest issue out today puts the effectiveness of Chua's strict parenting methods to the test. However, though the merit of such methods is still up for debate as many take issue with Chua's somewhat harsh approach.

Kiran Chetry sits down with Annie Murphy Paul, contributor for TIME Magazine and author of "Origins," to discuss TIME's take on topic of parenting.

'America's Missing': Video a clue to why Jennifer Kesse never made it to work?
Jennifer Kesse, 24, was last seen on January 24, 2006.
January 20th, 2011
11:30 AM ET

'America's Missing': Video a clue to why Jennifer Kesse never made it to work?

Editor's note: HLN is airing a special "Nancy Grace: America’s Missing" with the goal of trying to find 50 people over the next 50 days.

Nancy Grace will take a look at several cases around the nation in hopes of  helping to solve them. This was the third case.

[Updated Thursday at 11:30 a.m.] Jennifer Kesse, 24, last spoke to her boyfriend at 10 p.m. on January 23, 2006 as she was getting ready for bed.

Police know that she left her condo apartment the next day at around 8 a.m., but never made it to work. She was reported missing by 3 p.m.

“It looked like she slept in her bed, she had two or three outfits laid out on her bed as if she was choosing an outfit to wear," her father Drew Kesse told Nancy Grace Wednesday night.  "The bathroom looked like someone got ready to work. The rest of the condo looked perfect. Honestly, it looked like a made came through.”

For police, the biggest clue lies in a piece of surveillance video. It shows someone who appears to be a man dropping off Jennifer’s black 4-door Chevy Malibu about a mile away from where she disappeared in Orlando, Florida.

About 5 years after her disappearance, police say they believe that person knows the most about what happened to Kesse.

For more information on Kesse, her description, and information to contact authorities, visit Nancy Grace's blog.

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Gotta Watch: fountain fumble; stinky jeans; Fox nixes Rivers; 'Conan' redux
A Reading, Pennsylvania, woman is upset that video of her falling into a mall fountain was posted online.
January 20th, 2011
11:19 AM ET

Gotta Watch: fountain fumble; stinky jeans; Fox nixes Rivers; 'Conan' redux

Video makes a splash – The woman who was caught on camera falling into a mall fountain while texting isn't too happy. Here, she explains how mortified she was when she found out the video went viral on Youtube.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch
On the Radar: Hu on the Hill, Arizona shooting, top workplaces, Ricky Gervais
Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama meet with Chinese and U.S. business leaders Thursday in Washington.
January 20th, 2011
11:10 AM ET

On the Radar: Hu on the Hill, Arizona shooting, top workplaces, Ricky Gervais

Hu in D.C. After a warm welcome at a White House state dinner, Chinese President Hu Jintao may get a chilly reception Thursday on Capitol Hill. Hu is scheduled to meet separately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner. Neither man attended Wednesday night's dinner in honor of the Chinese leader.

With economics issues on the forefront during Hu's visit, Time.com takes a look at whether U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner can stop a trade war between the U.S. and China and explores how China is beating the U.S. at capitalism. If you want to see more about the state dinner, check out a who's who of dinner guests, see the toast to friendship and dreams or look at CNN's full coverage of the visit.

Arizona shooting – The next phase in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery is to begin this week when she moves to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston. Her husband and doctors plan to give an update on her condition Thursday, a day after Giffords reportedly rose from her hospital bed to stand with assistance.

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Filed under: Arizona • Business • China • Economy • Gabrielle Giffords • Jobs • On the Radar • Showbiz • U.S.
Which cities have the worst traffic?
Commuters sit in traffic in Chicago, Illinois in Septeber 2010.
January 20th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Which cities have the worst traffic?

Drivers in the Chicago and Washington, D.C., metro areas spend the most time stuck in traffic, according to an annual analysis of the nation’s traffic trends.

Commuters in those two cities spent an average of 70 hours stuck in traffic in 2009, according to the 2010 Urban Mobility Report, published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Southern California – the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana metro area – was third with an average of 63 hours spent stuck in traffic.

Chicago commuters lost the most money to the delays, $1,738, according to the survey, while D.C. commuters wasted the most gas, 57 gallons each.

The top 10 cities for traffic delays in 2009:

1st - (tie) Chicago, Washington, D.C. – 70 hours
3rd - Southern California – 63 hours
4th - Houston – 58 hours
5th - San Francisco-Oakland – 49 hours
6th - (tie) Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston – 48 hours
8th - Atlanta, Seattle – 44 hours
10th - New York- Newark – 42 hours

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Filed under: U.S.
FBI arrests 100 organized crime members
Attorney General Eric Holder at a briefing Thursday on the arrests.
January 20th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

FBI arrests 100 organized crime members

Federal agents were conducting a series of raids targeting organized crime in the New York metropolitan area on Thursday morning, the FBI said.

More than 100 organized crime members are being arrested for various criminal charges, according to FBI spokesman Diego Rodriguez.

The specific charges and names of those arrested are expected to be announced in Brooklyn, New York by Attorney General Eric Holder's office at news a conference at 11:00 a.m. Thursday.

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Filed under: Crime • New York