The day's most popular stories
Memphis, Tennessee, was dressed in blues and white Wednesday afternoon.
February 9th, 2011
10:47 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Winter storm takes aim at Southeast: A winter storm approaches the U.S. Southeast, barely a week after another record-setting weather system pummeled the Plains and Midwest.

Lindsay Lohan remains free on bond: Actress Lindsay Lohan, facing a new felony grand theft charge, will remain free on bond after a Los Angeles judge Wednesday revoked her probation in a previous case.

Hawaii pilot spots badly injured whale: A humpback whale with an apparently broken back has been spotted in waters near Hawaii, a newspaper reports.

Apple iPad 2 now in production: Apple's production partners are already hard at work on the new model of iPad, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Giffords partly regains speaking ability:  U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head suffered January 8, is regaining part of her ability to speak and recently asked for toast while having breakfast, staffers said Wednesday.


Filed under: Most Popular
Snow strands motorists, slows Globetrotters
Weather conditions were tricky for drivers on some Arkansas highways on Wednesday.
February 9th, 2011
08:58 PM ET

Snow strands motorists, slows Globetrotters

Wednesday's snow and frigid temperatures in parts of the central and southern United States were a cold slap in the face for states still trying to recover from last week's unusually strong snowstorm.

Here's how people in some of Wednesday's snow-hit states were dealing with the latest round of storms:

ARKANSAS

With northwestern Arkansas receiving up to 25 inches of snow Wednesday and the Little Rock area getting around 5 to 8 inches, police and Arkansas National Guard troops were busy trying to help motorists who became stranded on highways.

In northwestern Arkansas' Benton County, Gary McLennan spent part of Wednesday morning digging out his wife's SUV from a ditch the vehicle had entered, he told CNN affiliate KFSM. He said he previously had tried to persuade his wife not to go to work.

"I said, 'OK, you go, but don't call me when you get in the ditch because we will be on Channel 5 News,' that's the truth," McLennan said. "And I get a call saying, 'I made it to the gate.' She calls again, 'I made it to the Walmart,' and then she calls and says, I'm in the ditch,' and I said, 'OK.' "

Multiple media outlets reported jackknifed tractor-trailers on the state's highways. The storm caused many highway motorists to pause at rest stops. Among those taking a break Wednesday were the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, whose bus driver pulled over while trying to drive the club from Little Rock to a Wednesday night game in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Filed under: Arkansas • Oklahoma • Texas • Weather • Winter weather
50 people in 50 days: Boys visit father, never return home
Tanner, Alexander and Andrew Skelton have been missing since Thanksgiving.
February 9th, 2011
08:18 PM ET

50 people in 50 days: Boys visit father, never return home

Editor's note: Nancy Grace's new show on HLN, "Nancy Grace: America's Missing," is dedicated to finding 50 people in 50 days. As part of the effort, which relies heavily on audience participation, CNN.com's news blog This Just In will feature the stories of the missing.

This is the 18th case, and it aired on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on HLN.

The Skelton brothers left their mother's home in Morenci, Michigan, on Thanksgiving Day for a custodial visit with their father and never returned.

Alexander, 7, Andrew, 9 and 5-year-old Tanner, are still missing, and police say the case has turned into a homicide investigation.

Their father, John Skelton, allegedly first told police he left the three boys with a woman, whom he identified as Joann Taylor, the morning before he tried to take his own life - in part to ensure that they did not witness his suicide attempt, police said. Skelton said Taylor was supposed to return the boys to their mother at their home in Morenci, a southern Michigan town of about 2,400 people about 40 miles west-northwest of Toledo, Ohio, on November 26, Weeks said. But the boys never arrived, and authorities said earlier they aren't certain she even exists.

John Skelton, now charged with 3 counts of parental kidnapping, says he would never hurt his children. His latest story is that he gave the boys to a group called United Foster Outreach and Underground Sanctuaries, but no such group was found to exist.


Filed under: Crime • Missing Children • TV-Nancy Grace
Rep. Christopher Lee resigns amid reports that he tried to meet women on Craigslist
February 9th, 2011
06:05 PM ET

Rep. Christopher Lee resigns amid reports that he tried to meet women on Craigslist

Rep. Christopher Lee , a New York Republican, has resigned after reports surfaced that the married congressman was trying to meet women on Craigslist, a GOP source told CNN.

Lee acknowledged making "profound mistakes" and said his decision to step down was voluntary.

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness," he said in a statement.

"The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."

The allegations were first reported Wednesday afternoon on Gawker.

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Filed under: Craigslist • New York • Politics
February 9th, 2011
05:16 PM ET

Saudi Arabia considers matching U.S. military aid to Egypt

To alleviate U.S. pressure on the Egyptian army, Saudi Arabia would consider matching the estimated $1.5 billion the United States provides Egypt in military aid each year if Washington decides to cut its aid to the troubled North African nation, an Arab diplomat says.

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Filed under: Egypt • Saudi Arabia
Lindsay Lohan pleads not guilty to jewelry theft
February 9th, 2011
05:05 PM ET

Lindsay Lohan pleads not guilty to jewelry theft

Actress Lindsay Lohan pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony grand theft charge based on allegations that she stole a necklace allegedly from a California jewelry store last month.

Lohan waived her right to a preliminary hearing. A February 23 hearing on the case was scheduled "in an attempt to resolve the case,"  Los Angeles County Judge Keith Schwartz said.

After the hearing, Lohan, who is free on bond, took to Twitter to respond to a message a concerned-sounding tweet from HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Pinsky on Wednesday afternoon had tweeted the following: "I [am] mortified how @Lindsaylohan is getting attacked when she is so fragile and just establishing her sobriety. Not at all what she needs."

Lohan responded via Twitter: "@drdrew thank you for your support.. I appreciate it."

Pinsky's new show airs nightly on HLN beginning this spring.

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Filed under: Crime • Lindsay Lohan
Activist Ghonim not on Google business in Egypt
Egyptian authorities released Wael Ghonim on Monday after holding him for 10 days.
February 9th, 2011
04:04 PM ET

Activist Ghonim not on Google business in Egypt

Wael Ghonim, the man who administered the Facebook page credited for kicking off the Egypt protests on January 25, was on leave from his job at Google in Dubai when he went to Egypt to participate in the demonstrations.

Ghonim, who now refers to himself as an Egyptian activist, describes himself as “Head of Marketing – Middle East & North Africa at Google” on his LinkedIn.com profile.

His identity as a Google employee has helped bring attention to his role in the protests, but he was not in Egypt on business.

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Filed under: Egypt • World
Baseball player "kinda lucky" after coach gives him kidney
Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter gave a kidney to player Kevin Jordan this week.
February 9th, 2011
03:50 PM ET

Baseball player "kinda lucky" after coach gives him kidney

Wake Forest University freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan said he feels "100 percent" better Wednesday, just a few days after a kidney transplant. His coach, who gave Jordan his new kidney, said he feels well enough to go out and coach a game.

"I have a strong sense of family," Tom Walter said, sitting next to Jordan, on CNN Wednesday. "When we recruit these guys, we talk about family and making a sacrifice for each other and believing something greater than the individual. This is a decision that most everybody would make for a family member."

Jordan has a rare immune condition that causes blood vessel damage. He had struggled to keep up with demands of homework and athletics at Wake Forest last semester while enduring hours per day of dialysis. But the teenager became sicker in recent weeks.

In late January, Walter announced to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons that he planned to give a kidney to a freshman who had not even played in a game yet. Walter explained that he stepped in after learning that none of Jordan's relatives matched the athlete's rare blood type.

"I would have been disappointed if I hadn't been [a match]," Walter said.

The stunned players broke out in applause, the coach recalled.

Jordan could have gone to the minor leagues after high school in Columbus, Georgia. He was picked by the New York Yankees in the 19th round of the 2010 amateur draft. But Wake Forest seemed like a better choice, both for its baseball program and academics, he said.

On Wednesday, Jordan laughed. The decision to go to college actually "preserved a little bit of life," he said.

Walter "may not think he's a hero, but he's definitely a hero to my parents, my family and me," Jordan said.

The coach said he doesn't feel like a hero. "I just did the right thing," Walter said.

Jordan will spend next semester at home recovering. Walter said he felt good enough to get back to coaching. Wake Forest plays its first game of the season next week.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
White House calls on Egypt to take specific steps
February 9th, 2011
03:06 PM ET

White House calls on Egypt to take specific steps

President Barack Obama's spokesman on Wednesday called for specific steps the Egyptian government needs to take to satisfy the demands of protesters convulsing the country.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called for expanding the negotiations with opposition groups, lifting the state of emergency and making constitutional changes to bring about democratic elections.

"We think more has to be done, and more importantly, I think the people of Egypt think more has to be done," Gibbs told reporters.

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Filed under: Egypt
240-point game breaks record for girls high school basketball
February 9th, 2011
03:05 PM ET

240-point game breaks record for girls high school basketball

Girls high school basketball in Iowa sure ain't what it used to be.

In the state where girls used to play six-on-six and only forwards were allowed to shoot, two teams combined Monday night for an astonishing 240 points.

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck Rebels outlasted the West Marshall Trojans 122-118 in a double-overtime barn burner.

By contrast, another girls high school game in Iowa the same night featured a final score of 27-26, the Times-Republican newspaper reported.

The 240 total points is a national record for a high school girls basketball game, smashing the old record of 222 set in a 113-109 win by Booneville, Mississippi's Thrasher High School over Wheeler in 2004, according to the National High School Sports Record Book.

The two teams scored at a rate of six points per minute in the 40-minute game. It was tied at 98 at the end of regulation and at 108 after the first four-minute overtime, according to the Times-Republican.

The Rebels' Paige Thompson scored 10 of her 20 points in the second overtime to ice it for the home team.

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Filed under: Basketball • Iowa • Sports
Wounded congresswoman speaks
February 9th, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Wounded congresswoman speaks

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head January 8, is regaining part of her ability to speak, her spokesman said Wednesday. C.J. Karamargin would not divulge what Giffords has said, other than saying she asked for toast.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Gabrielle Giffords • Politics • Texas
OK to remove fewer lymph nodes, breast cancer study finds
Mastectomy patients need not lose all their nearby lymph nodes, a new study suggests.
February 9th, 2011
12:30 PM ET

OK to remove fewer lymph nodes, breast cancer study finds

Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in the United States. If it hasn't touched your family or friends, it could. This morning, there's new information that many of the women affected might not have needed painful, unnecessary surgery to remove the entirety of a patient's lymph nodes.

American Morning's Kiran Chetry spoke with Dr. Monica Morrow, a surgical oncologist with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the author of this new study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association." Morrow explains why this is good news for women.


Filed under: Health • TV-American Morning
SI.com: NFL makes new offer to fans shut out of Super Bowl
Fans react angrily after being told their tickets would not get them seats inside the stadium for the Super Bowl.
February 9th, 2011
12:17 PM ET

SI.com: NFL makes new offer to fans shut out of Super Bowl

Imagine traveling thousands of miles, shelling out even more dollars and getting to the Super Bowl, arguably the biggest day of your life as a fan, only to find out that you don't have a seat.

That's exactly what happened to roughly 400 fans at Super Bowl XLV. Now, the NFL is sweetening its offer after robbing the group of its Super Bowl experience.

The 400 fans were forced to give up their seats at last week's Super Bowl after fire marshals deemed a section of Cowboys Stadium incomplete and uninhabitable. The decision was made just hours before kickoff and left a large cluster of die-hard fans displaced and displeased.

The NFL originally offered to give ticket holders a refund of $2,400 - or three times face value of their tickets - but the fans' complaints grew louder and the NFL was forced to up the ante.

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Filed under: Baseball • College basketball • NBA • Pro football • Sports
Hawaii pilot spots badly injured whale
Birds in Paradise owner-flight instructor Gerry Charlebois photographed this mortally injured humpback whale off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
February 9th, 2011
12:06 PM ET

Hawaii pilot spots badly injured whale

A humpback whale with an apparently broken back has been spotted in waters near Hawaii, a newspaper reports.

Gerry Charlebois, who takes student pilot/tourists for coastal excursions in ultralight aircraft, spotted the injured whale from the air Monday in shallow water near Kauai.

"He wasn't moving his fluke and was just staying near the surface and sort of limping down the coast," he said. "It's kind of sad to see a full adult whale in that condition. ... It's definitely something he's not recovering from."

"This is one of the most disturbing sights I've ever experienced while photographing whales," Charlebois, the owner of Birds in Paradise Flight School, told The Garden Island Newspaper. "It was freaky. The whale was bent in half. Obviously some kind of blunt force trauma on the side. The poor guy was in trouble."

A large boat or ship must have struck the whale, which hasn't been seen since Monday, he said. Humpbacks normally are pretty agile, so this one may have been old or sick an unable to move out of a ship's way, he said.

Birds in Paradise manager Kirk Johnson said Charlebois and others on the flight first thought they'd seen an albino whale, but when they came around to take another look, they could see that it was discolored instead.

Ed Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary on Maui told the paper the whale appeared to be in poor health - emaciated, shedding skin and surrounded by parasites - and there is no established method for euthanizing a large whale.

These big whales tend to die slowly, Charlebois said. When they do, they sink to the bottom until decomposition gases make them float to the surface, where they attract large numbers of hungry sharks, he said.

"It's amazing to see these 15-foot sharks all feeding on a whale," Charlebois said. "You don't want to be snorkeling around there. You don't want to be in that neighborhood."

Charlebois said he and his three other pilots would look for signs of the injured whale again today.

About 2,000 humpback whales live in the waters off Alaska, and many of them migrate to Hawaii's warm waters between November and May, according to Earthtrust.org. Whale watching is a major part of Hawaii's tourism industry. Adult humpbacks range in size from 35 to 48 feet, and weigh about 1 ton per foot.

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • Hawaii • Whales
Wednesday's intriguing people
Extraordinarily heavy security surrounds Abu Bakar Bashir's terrorism trial in Jakarta, Indonesia.
February 9th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Abu Bakar Bashir

More than 1,200 police will be at the ready as radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir goes on trial on terrorism charges Thursday in Jakarta, according to reports from Indonesia.

Hundreds of the cleric's supporters were expected to rally outside the court Thursday, but only a few will be allowed inside the courtroom, the Jakarta Post reported.

Bashir, 72, faces charges including funding and inciting others to terrorism and planning and attempting acts of terrorism. Under Indonesia's anti-terrorism law, some of these charges carry the maximum penalty of death, according to a statement by the attorney general's office.

The charges stem from the discovery in February 2010 of a camp in Indonesia's Aceh province that was allegedly training agents for terrorist attacks on Western targets in Jakarta.

Bashir has been through two previous terrorism trials, over the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed more than 200 people and the 2003 JW Marriott bomb attack in Jakarta that left a dozen dead.

The courts found him guilty of relatively minor charges in the Bali case. He was released in June 2006 after serving 25 months in jail.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Indonesia • Michigan • Shuttle • Space • Terrorism
Gotta Watch: Cliff rescue; Facebook back story; Dr. Donation; Conan
Rescuers save an injured man after he fell 300 feet from a cliff.
February 9th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Cliff rescue; Facebook back story; Dr. Donation; Conan

If you fall down, I will lift you up – It certainly doesn't feel great to start your day with a 300 foot fall, but thankfully one California man had luck and some of the hardest working men in rescue on his side. In this harrowing video the man is discovered, examined, strapped up and shipped out. All in a day's work.

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On the Radar: Muslim Brotherhood speaks, Lohan trouble, more snow
Anti-Mubarak protesters near the parliament building in Cairo Wednesday.
February 9th, 2011
10:23 AM ET

On the Radar: Muslim Brotherhood speaks, Lohan trouble, more snow

Muslim Brotherhood speaks - After more than two weeks, protests to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are still going strong. At the same time, a controversial Islamist umbrella group in the country is saying that it wants to promote democracy and will not offer a presidential candidate. The Muslim Brotherhood said through its media office in Cairo that it wants to "participate, not dominate." The group has attracted much attention because some have expressed fear that it would hijack Egypt's pro-democracy movement. Influential political figures across the world have raised concerns over the group. Others have argued that the Brotherhood should have a seat at the table and be recognized as a legitimate party. What is the Muslim Brotherhood? Why did the protests begin?

Phasing out Fannie and Freddie - The Obama administration says it will explain later this week how it plans to phase out housing financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The publicly traded companies represent major liability for taxpayers who are on the hook for billions of dollars in federal aid Fannie and Freddie received. But getting rid of them could raise borrowing costs for homeowners and further weaken an already fragile housing market.

Lohan charges coming? Prosecutors are expected to formally charge actress Lindsay Lohan with felony grand theft related to a necklace allegedly taken from a California jewelry store in January. The charge comes five weeks after Lohan was released from court-ordered drug rehabilitation and less than three weeks before a judge said he might free her from supervised probation from a 2007 drunken driving conviction.

More snow – Another huge snow storm is slamming Oklahoma and working its way into the Deep South. It snowed in Dallas on Wednesday morning. That city is predicted to get at least 4 inches.

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Filed under: Egypt • Islam • Lindsay Lohan • On the Radar • Religion • Weather • Winter weather
Wednesday's live video events
February 9th, 2011
07:43 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing live coverage of the events unfolding in Egypt.

Today's programming highlights...

Ongoing coverage - Crisis in Egypt

10:00 am ET - Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill - When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks, people listen and Wall Street reacts.  Expect more of the same when Bernanke discusses the state of the U.S. economy before the House Budget Committee.

FULL POST


Filed under: On CNN.com today
February 9th, 2011
06:18 AM ET

Oil tanker hijacked off Oman

An oil tanker was hijacked on Wednesday in the North Arabian Sea, the European Union Naval Force said.

The Greek ship Irene S.L. was boarded by armed men around midday 200 miles off the coast of Oman in the Indian Ocean, according to the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry. The ship was carrying 266,000 tons of crude oil and 25 crew members, George Tsapras, press officer for the ministry, told CNN.

Neither the ministry nor the ship's management company, Enesel S.A., has successfully communicated with the ship since the hijacking.

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Filed under: Crime • Energy • Oman • World