The day's most popular stories
Well-wishers leave gifts outside Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, where U.S. Rep. Gabriel Giffords is being treated.
January 21st, 2011
11:09 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

U.S. deports Mexican singer Kalimba: Mexican pop singer Kalimba was deported from the United States to Mexico after U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested him for an immigration violation, state media reported.

Giffords' transfer "flawless," doctor says: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was successfully transferred Friday to a Houston hospital from Tucson, Arizona, and physicians said the brain-injured congresswoman was doing well.

Woman sought in connection with '87 abduction: Federal investigators have joined local and state law enforcement in an effort to track down and prosecute Ann Pettway, who is suspected in the 1987 abduction of Carlina Renae White, according to a law enforcement source.

Roger Ebert to show his facial prosthesis: Longtime film critic Roger Ebert, who lost much of his jaw to thyroid cancer, will show off his new face - thanks to a prosthesis - when his PBS show debuts this weekend.

Bin Laden message warns France: A speaker claiming to be terrorism mastermind Osama bin Laden warned in an audiotape aired Friday that the release of two French journalists abducted by militants hinges on France's military role in Afghanistan.

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Keith Olbermann, MSNBC part ways
January 21st, 2011
10:49 PM ET

Keith Olbermann, MSNBC part ways

Keith Olbermann is leaving MSNBC, the "Countdown" host announced on his show Friday night.

The liberal commentator told viewers he had been informed "this was going to be the last edition" of his show, but offered no further details.

NBC Universal confirmed the news in a statement Friday night.

"MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Olbermann made the announcement in his typical deadpan style, evoking scenes from the film "Network" and thanking viewers for keeping him on the air for eight years.

"In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative," Olbermann said before launching into a story about his exit from ESPN 13 years ago.

"As God as my witness, in the commercial break just before the emotional moment, the producer got into my earpiece and he said, 'um, can you cut it down to 15 seconds so we can get in this tennis result from Stuttgart,'" he said, half-smiling, pausing for composure.

"So I'm grateful I have a little more time to sign off here. Regardless this is the last edition of 'Countdown.'"

Olbermann began his career at NBC in 1997 as an anchor for NBC Sports. During that time he was also host of two MSNBC primetime news programs, “The Big Show,” and “White House In Crisis.”

He left the network amid a dust-up over his dissatisfaction with the network's coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He returned in 2003 as a substitute host on "Nachman" before launching "Countdown."

The prime-time host's departure comes two months after he was suspended for a couple of nights in November for violating the ethics policy of the cable network after Politico reported that he had donated to three Democrats seeking federal office.

The contributions violated an NBC policy that requires employees of the news organization to obtain permission ahead of any political donations or activities that could be deemed as a conflict of interest.

The announcement triggered immediate speculation over whether the coming takeover of NBC Universal by Comcast had anything to do with his departure. NBC has denied that the move had anything to do with the impending takeover, New York Times reporter Bill Carter told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Olbermann signed a four-year extension on his contract in 2008, Carter said, which will prevent him from appearing on television. He can still do radio and online appearances, he added.

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Treasuries seesaw as traders question pace of economic recovery
General Electric led gainers on Dow after the conglomerate reported a fourth-quarter profit that topped Wall Street forecasts.
January 21st, 2011
10:22 PM ET

Treasuries seesaw as traders question pace of economic recovery

A look at today's business news headlines:

Dow boosted by earnings, tech shares lag 
 
Stocks closed mixed Friday, with technology shares lagging the broader market, as investors weighed strong earnings from General Electric against a quarterly loss from Bank of America.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points, or 0.4%, to close at 11,872, the highest level since June 2008. The S&P 500 added 3 points, or 0.2%, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 15 points, or 0.5%.

For the week, the Dow gained 1.2%, while the S&P was flat. The Nasdaq lost about 1.7% over the last five trading days.

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Filed under: Economy
January 21st, 2011
07:06 PM ET

N.Y. juvenile justice counselor convicted of sex crimes against teens

A New York juvenile justice counselor was convicted Friday of sexually abusing two female teens in his care at the Manhattan Family Court building while they were in his care, district attorneys said.

“This defendant had a duty to guard and protect these teenagers,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said. “Instead, he abused the authority of his position to sexually assault girls in a situation where they were most vulnerable.”

Tony Simmons was found guilty of two felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, which occurred in 2005 and 2008. The remaining convictions were for misdemeanors of sexual abuse, according to the district attorney's office. He was acquitted of two counts of third-degree rape, an offense on the same felony level as a criminal sexual act.

Simmons, 47, faces four years in prison. Last year, he faced the prospect of 10 years of probation in exchange for his guilty plea. Public outcry ensued and the judge rescinded the offer after finding that Simmons had shown no remorse in interviews with the Probation Department, saying he had only accepted the plea to avoid prison time and that the acts had been consensual, according to CNN affiliate WABC.

As a juvenile justice counselor, Simmons' responsibilities included driving incarcerated juveniles to and from correctional facilities and Manhattan Family Court and supervising them while they waited to see a judge, attorney or probation officer, the district attorney's office said.

A young woman testified that when she was 16, Simmons slid his hand down her shorts as she awaited a court appearance in a holding area in Family Court, The New York Times reported. The two then kissed and she began to perform oral sex, stopping because she thought the girl in the adjacent room might have heard them.

In the other assault for which Mr. Simmons was convicted, prosecutors accused him of groping and kissing a 15-year-old girl in the kitchen of the holding area, the Times reported.

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Filed under: Crime • New York
Dollars & Sense: Happy workers and high gas prices
Anheuser-Busch and its Clydesdales are gearing up to be exclusive beer advertiser for the Super Bowl for the 23rd year.
January 21st, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Dollars & Sense: Happy workers and high gas prices

A roundup of today’s CNNMoney news:

I work for one of the Best Companies: From interesting assignments to big scholarships to stints abroad, meet 10 employees at the top 10 companies on Fortune's list.

Hasbro’s happy Monopoly makers: A behind-the-scenes tour of the Massachusetts factory where Hasbro makes its famous Monopoly game.

Pouring gas on an economic recovery: If you've been unable to dig out your car after one of the numerous snowstorms blanketing the country, you may not have noticed that the average price of gasoline nationwide has steadily crept up over the past few weeks. And prices might move even higher.

Anheuser-Bush unleashes the Clydesdales: The brewer will be the exclusive beer advertiser for the Super Bowl for the 23rd consecutive year. Take a sneak peek at this year’s ads.

Groupon regret? Unload those deals on Lifesta: Hate those wine-tasting classes? Don't need another nine yoga sessions at the studio on the other side of town? You can't return them, but you can sell them.

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Filed under: Dollars & Sense • Economy • Jobs • Pro football • Sports
Arizona restaurant catching flak over plan to serve lion tacos
An Arizona restaurateur has unleashed a storm of criticism for his plan to serve lion tacos next month.
January 21st, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Arizona restaurant catching flak over plan to serve lion tacos

Lion tacos.

Lion tacos?

Sorry, it’s tough to write this piece because I keep getting hung up on the juxtaposition of those two words. It sounds like something out “The Freshman.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson eatery will be serving up the kingly dish for one of its weekly exotic taco nights. Past efforts have included python, elk, kangaroo and turtle, the paper reported.

Give credit to owner Bryan Mazon, who was more than frank when asked the reasoning behind his decision to put the majestic animal on a tortilla.

“I'm doing the African lion to get my name out,” he said. “I've never tried it myself, but this one really caught my eye.”
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Filed under: Animals • Arizona • Facebook • Food
Norwegian boy fends off wolves with Creed song
Wolves, presumably like these but in Norway instead of Germany, may prefer joik or lokk music to American grunge rock.
January 21st, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Norwegian boy fends off wolves with Creed song

Luckily for Walter Eikrem, it does not appear Norwegian wolves care for Creed.

The 13-year-old was walking home from the school bus stop in the town of Rakkestdad this week when he noticed something on the hillside near his family’s farmhouse, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

At first he thought they were dogs, but he soon realized they were wolves four of them the magazine said, citing Norway’s TV2.

The boy, remembering that his mother had told him never to run from wolves, pulled the headphones out of his mobile phone and cranked up the volume on the tiny speakers.

He was listening to “Overcome” by Creed, an arguably Christian rock band, and apparently, the wolves were not fans.

(Initial reports indicated Walter shooed the wolves away with a Megadeth song, but the blog at Gibson guitars cleared up the confusion.)

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Filed under: Animals • Music • Norway • Technology
Giffords arrives in Houston for rehab treatment
January 21st, 2011
03:07 PM ET

Giffords arrives in Houston for rehab treatment

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has arrived at Memorial Hermann Hospital in
Houston, where she will receive additional treatment and rehabilitation for her
gunshot wound.

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Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Health • Texas
U.S. revokes visas of Haiti officials
January 21st, 2011
03:01 PM ET

U.S. revokes visas of Haiti officials

The United States is revoking the visas of some Haitian officials because of concern about election violations, P.J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, said Friday.

Crowley would not specify who was impacted, but a senior administration official said it involved "a couple dozen" people.

– From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

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Sole maker of execution drug says it's pulling out of market
States are seeking alternative chemicals for use in lethal injections.
January 21st, 2011
02:37 PM ET

Sole maker of execution drug says it's pulling out of market

The only U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, a chemical used in executions, said today it will stop making the product.

Hospira, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, said it never intended for its chemical to be used to kill people. It intended to start making sodium thiopental at a plant in Italy, but Italian authorities required the company to guarantee the chemical would not be used in executions, Hospira said on its website.

Capital punishment is outlawed in Italy and throughout Europe.

"Given the issues surrounding the product, including the government's requirements and challenges bringing the drug back to market, Hospira has decided to exit the market," the statement said.

"We regret that issues outside of our control forced Hospira's decision to exit the market, and that our many hospital customers who use the drug for its well-established medical benefits will not be able to obtain the product from Hospira."

Apart from executions, sodium thiopental is used as an anesthetic for brief surgical procedures and some kinds of hypnosis, according to rxlist.com.

Hospira suspended production of the drug in 2009, and many state prison systems have run out, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As a result, some states have turned to pentobarbital, a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize animals. An inmate in Oklahoma was executed in December with pentobarbital.

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Filed under: Death Penalty • Illinois • Italy • Justice
Acclaimed author Reynolds Price dies
Southern writer Reynolds Price was the recipient of numerous literary awards.
January 21st, 2011
01:25 PM ET

Acclaimed author Reynolds Price dies

Reynolds Price, a renowned Southern writer and a professor at Duke University for more than 50 years, has died.

Price died of cancer Thursday at age 77, the university announced.

"With a poet's deep appreciation for language, Reynolds Price taught generations of students to understand and love literature," Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said in a statement on the university's website.

"Reynolds was a part of the soul of Duke; he loved this university and always wanted to make it better. We can scarcely imagine Duke without Reynolds Price."

Price's 1962 book "A Long and Happy Life" received the William Faulkner Award for a notable first novel. His novel "Kate Vaiden" received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986.

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Filed under: Art • Literature • North Carolina • Obituary
Year of the Rabbit: Deadly start for impulse pet buys
A clerk holds a rabbit for sale at a Singapore shop.
January 21st, 2011
11:49 AM ET

Year of the Rabbit: Deadly start for impulse pet buys

Dead rabbits are showing up in Chinese mailboxes as pets ordered for the Year of the Rabbit aren’t surviving the shipping process, the Shanghai Daily reports.

The Year of the Rabbit commences on February 3 under the Chinese lunar calendar and bunnies are in demand to celebrate it. One online search showed more than 600 vendors selling rabbits at prices from 15 to 2,000 yuan ($2.25 to $300), Shanghai Daily reported.

But, the paper said, the rabbits can spend five days in shipment and many have suffocated or frozen to death in the small boxes in which they are sent.

At least one vendor had stopped shipments because of the deaths, the paper reported.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement from its Shanghai office on Friday urging people not to bring a rabbit into their home for the Chinese New Year.

"Rabbits aren't just cute and fluffy - they're high-maintenance animals who require significant resources, equipment, attention and veterinary care," PETA’s Maggie Chen said in a statement.

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Friday's intriguing people
Judd Apatow is challenging Twitter followers to come up with better jokes than Ricky Gervais.
January 21st, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Judd Apatow

Call it a gesture from one funnyman to another - whether you think he's taking a jab at him or not.  Apatow, the host of January 22′s Producers Guild of America Awards, seems to be piggybacking off the controversy of Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes hosting gig by calling out to his Twitter followers.

"If anyone has any jokes that they think are better than Ricky Gervais’ post here and I will read the winners and say your name at PGA Awards," he tweeted.

Apatow, who is known as the current king of comedic movies - his hits include "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up," "Anchorman," "Superbad" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" - knows he's fanning the flames of the debate and admits it won't be a great moment for his followers, since the PGA awards aren't televised.

Apatow appeared to be amused at some of Gervais' work ... but not at all of it.

"I thought Joan Rivers did a wonderful job hosting the Golden Globes tonight," one tweet said.

“Some excellent. Many insane. Most hateful of celebrities. Hard to be funny and not vicious," another said.

So, think you're funnier than Ricky Gervais or Judd Apatow? Have at it. Tweet him at @JuddApatow.

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Gotta Watch: Mega-waves; Rivers rips Hollywood; extreme parenting; Conan
A boat struggles against huge waves at a New Zealand port.
January 21st, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Mega-waves; Rivers rips Hollywood; extreme parenting; Conan

Swallowed in the sea - The recent rash of flooding in New Zealand has led to dangerously swollen rivers. When some local fishermen try to forge the intersection of a river and the sea they suddenly find themselves literally over their heads.

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Alarm at Eminem's house leads to grisly discovery
A shocking discovery was made at rapper Eminem's house.
January 21st, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Alarm at Eminem's house leads to grisly discovery

A deer apparently tried to leap the tall fence surrounding superstar rapper Eminem's house outside Detroit, and it didn't end well, local media are reporting.

The deer was impaled on the fence Wednesday night and died there, the Mojo in the Morning show on radio station WKQI-FM reported.

The deer set off an alarm at the house in Clinton Township, Michigan, and Eminem's brother took a photo, according to the show. (WARNING: Graphic photo.)

Wildlife officers removed the deer and took it to be butchered into meat for low-income families, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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On the Radar: Giffords' progress, Hu in Chicago, Google, phones on a plane
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' progress has been "remarkable," says her husband, Mark Kelly.
January 21st, 2011
10:19 AM ET

On the Radar: Giffords' progress, Hu in Chicago, Google, phones on a plane

Arizona shooting – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will travel to Texas on Friday to continue her recovery from a gunshot wound to the brain, her office said. An ambulance will take the Arizona congresswoman from University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Giffords then will be flown to Houston, where she will receive further treatment at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center,  her office said. Giffords was taken outside the hospital briefly Thursday. "We gave her some fresh air," a doctor said.

Hu's trip to U.S. – Chinese President Hu Jintao wraps up his U.S. visit Friday in Chicago, the hometown of his American counterpart, President Barack Obama.

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Filed under: Air travel • Arizona • China • Gabrielle Giffords • Google • Technology • Travel
Giffords arrives in Houston
An ambulance carrying U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is escorted by authorities.
January 21st, 2011
10:09 AM ET

Giffords arrives in Houston

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Friday left the Tucson hospital where she has been treated since a January 8 gunshot wound, traveling under police escort down streets lined with well-wishers.

Laying on a gurney, she then boarded an aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for a flight to Houston, Texas, where she is expected to continue her recovery. She arrived shortly after 1 p.m. CT.

Although previous reports had indicated she would move directly to a rehabilitation facility affiliated with Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, she will instead be taken to the hospital's trauma center for evaluation and treatment, said Dr. Dong Kim, a neurosurgeon at the hospital.

"She's not quite ready for rehabilitation yet," he said, citing concerns about ongoing medical issues. He declined to elaborate.

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Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Texas
Family of ill young fan to sell house, move to stay close to team
Zach Bennett is a small boy but a big fan of the Charlotte Checkers hockey team.
January 21st, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Family of ill young fan to sell house, move to stay close to team

Zach Bennett is 11 years old, and he's wild about ice hockey.

He and his family were season ticket holders for the minor-league Albany (New York) River Rats - until the team moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, last spring and changed their name to the Checkers.

Over the years, players and officials with the team had gotten to be friends with Zach, who has had numerous surgeries, including the amputation of both legs, to treat neurofibromatosis.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes debilitating tumors to grow on nerve tissue, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is incurable.

The separation from the team has been hard on Zach, whom players call Bug, but things are about to change.

Zach's parents, Randy and Danielle Bennett, have decided to sell their house in Albany and move to Charlotte, CNN affiliate WCNC-TV reports, and the team is helping them do it.

"We were contemplating it back and forth, and when the team said they were sold and they were headed down to Charlotte, that was kind of a no-brainer for us," Randy Bennett told WCNC.

Last week the Checkers flew the family to Charlotte, where team mascot Chubby met them at the airport. Zach and his sister Jenna ceremonially dropped the puck to start the team's annual Race Night charity game and sweater auction, which raised $20,000 to cover the family's moving expenses, according to the Checkers' website.

The planned move isn't only for hockey, of course.

For one thing, the family expects to be closer to medical facilities. They now drive about two hours to Springfield, Massachusetts, for Zach's appointments, according to the Albany Times-Union newspaper.

The weather will be easier to take, too.

"We hate the winter," Randy Bennett told the Times-Union. "How did we become a hockey family?"

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Filed under: Health • Hockey • New York • North Carolina • Sports
'America's Missing': Tionda and Diamond Bradley leave to play, never return
Tionda Z. Bradley, left, and Diamond Yvette Bradley were last seen on July 6, 2001.
January 21st, 2011
09:40 AM ET

'America's Missing': Tionda and Diamond Bradley leave to play, never return

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 fourth case.

[Updated Friday at 9:41 a.m.] Ten-year-old Tionda Z. Bradley and her sister, three-year-old Diamond Yvette Bradley were last seen on July 6, 2001 in Chicago, Illinois.

Their mother told police the girls were accustomed to being home along because she was a single mother and when she left that morning they were asleep on the couch, where it was comfortable in the summer.

But when she came home she found a note her oldest daughter wrote saying she was going to a store, then the school playground. They were last seen playing in the neighborhood, but nobody has ever seen or heard from them since.

"I believe that someone that was in close acquaintance with the mother of Tionda and Diamond took those children," Shelia Bradley-Smith, the girls' great-aunt told Nancy Grace. "The note, that was not the way Tionda spoke ... she was coached to write that note."

She also said there was a voicemail that said that "George was at the door."

An extensive search was launched by the girls' home, a nearby lake and even the cellar of the abandoned New Hope church - but they found no clues and the case remains unsolved.

For more information on the sisters, their description, and information to contact authorities, visit Nancy Grace's blog.

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Raw 'Skins': The drama and legal issues of MTV's new show
The cast of MTV's new show "Skins." The show has sparked controversy whether the "edgy" has gone too far.
January 21st, 2011
09:30 AM ET

Raw 'Skins': The drama and legal issues of MTV's new show

Brian Stetler, has reported on the controversy surrounding MTV's new drama 'Skins' and is a writer for the New York Times.

The series, based on the popular U.K. show of the same name, has been billed as "edgy" in how it tells the by now familiar story of foul-mouthed high school teens who spend a lot of time seeking sex and drugs.

Stetler speaks to CNN's Kiran Chetry about the investigations into child pornography the Justice Department and Congress are calling for.

Marquee blog: What's the verdict on 'Skins'?

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Filed under: Showbiz • TV • TV-American Morning
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