The day's most popular stories
February 25th, 2011
10:50 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

'Two and a Half Men' cut after Sheen rant: Actor Charlie Sheen on Friday declared "we are at war" following canceled production of the hit CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" and his impending loss of $1.2 million.

Libyan crackdown 'escalating alarmingly,' UN says: As clashes in the Libyan capital continued Friday between government security forces and anti-regime protesters, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters.

Surgery saves girl's face from rare disorder: The line in the middle of Christine Honeycutt's forehead was barely noticeable at first. It was a faint gray smudge, just a half-inch long from top to bottom.

Three adopted kids horribly abused, sheriff says: Three adopted children who allegedly suffered burns and were forced to eat pet food lived in "inhumane conditions" and might never fully recover, an Oklahoma sheriff said.

4 children dead in Kentucky floods: The bodies of four children swept away in a creek swollen by storm waters in western Kentucky were recovered Friday morning, local authorities said.

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Filed under: Charlie Sheen • Crime • Health • Libya • Showbiz
50 people in 50 days: Teen never shows up for work after school
February 25th, 2011
09:12 PM ET

50 people in 50 days: Teen never shows up for work after school

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 30th case, and it will be shown Friday at 9 p.m. on HLN.

The morning of May 4, 2007, Kara Kopetsky decided to walk to school in Belton, Missouri, instead of having her mom drive her. Later that morning, she called her mom and asked her to bring a book for one of her classes that she had forgotten at home. She also asked her mom to wash her work clothes because she had to work after school. Her mother dropped off the book, and Kara retrieved it. But what happened next remains a mystery.

Kara did not come home from school and did not show up for work. The last call on her cell phone was about 10:30 a.m. Since then, police say, the cell phone has been shut off or the battery has run down. There has been no activity on her bank account, and nothing is missing from her house.

Someone reported seeing Kara on May 17 at a gas station in Louisburg, Kansas, with an unidentified man, but the sighting could not be confirmed because the video surveillance system was not working. Since then, the trail has run cold. An $80,000 reward has been offered for information leading to her whereabouts.

Lawmaker recommends 'all work, no play' strategy for Wis. senators who fled state
Protestors demonstrate in Wisconsin's capitol rotunda on Friday against a bill that would restrict collective bargaining for most government workers.
February 25th, 2011
08:49 PM ET

Lawmaker recommends 'all work, no play' strategy for Wis. senators who fled state

For all you Wisconsin senators in hiding, some advice from another lawmaker who's been there: Keep working and avoid the hotel bar.

At least that's the strategy Texas Rep. Pete Gallego and some 50 other Democratic representatives adopted in 2003, when they boarded a bus and fled to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to block a Republican-drawn redistricting plan that would cost them five seats in Congress.

The proposal, backed by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, eventually passed, despite their efforts. But the stunt proved fruitful in other respects, Gallego says, as a bonding experience for the lawmakers and an opportunity for them to reassess their goals.

"A lot of us hadn't been on a bus trip since high school. We spent most of the time together, working and eating together, so a lot of members became close friends," says Gallego, who has represented Texas' District 74, the state's largest district, stretching nearly 39,000 square miles, since 1991.

The 14 Democratic senators from Wisconsin have fled to neighboring Illinois to prevent a quorum from voting on a bill that would strip most state workers of the bulk of their collective-bargaining rights.

But if their stay in Rockford, Illinois a northern Illinois city which is attempting to capitalize on the lawmakers' presence with an "escape to Rockford" tourism campaign that uses Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen to lure visitors to its "hideaway hotspots" at "runaway rates" resembles the Texas lawmakers' experience in Oklahoma, the senators will spend most of their time in a hotel conference room rather than enjoying the city's microbreweries and farm-to-table fine dining.

"We knew we had to be prepared for the worst things people would say about us. If someone says you're not doing your job, we elected you to be our representative in Austin and you're not there, if you're going to put career at risk, you want to be to explain in detail why you did what we did, and we spent a lot of time just on that," he said.

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Filed under: Illinois • Politics • Wisconsin
N. Africa, Mideast unrest: Hundreds flee Libya as Obama orders sanctions
A U.S. ferry carrying about 300 people, including 168 Americans, arrived Friday night in Malta from Libya.
February 25th, 2011
08:46 PM ET

N. Africa, Mideast unrest: Hundreds flee Libya as Obama orders sanctions

Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our story explaining the roots of the unrest in each country and full coverage of the situation in Libya. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport.

Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:

[LIBYA, 8:46 p.m. ET, 3:46 a.m. local] U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that sanctions against Libya will target the government while protecting the people.

"We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights and a government that is responsive to their aspirations," he said in a statement. "Their human dignity cannot be denied."

[MAURITANIA, 6:21 p.m. ET, 11:21 p.m. local] A rare demonstration took place Friday in the streets of Mauritania after hundreds of protesters gathered, calling for social and political change, a journalist says.

The call to action started last week on Facebook, which is said to be very popular in Mauritania, said the journalist. Young protesters were surrounded by police during several hours of peaceful demonstrations in the capital city of Nouakchott, according to reports.

[LIBYA, 4:02 p.m. ET, 11:02 p.m. local] Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Libya's ambassador to the United Nations, on Friday recommended targeted sanctions against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, members of his family and his supporters responsible for killing civilians in the North African country.

"It's not a crime to say, I want to be free," Shalgham said, adding that the targeting of people expressing discontent with Gadhafi's rule "cannot continue."

[LIBYA, 3:41 p.m. ET, 10:41 p.m. local] Members of the U.N. Human Rights Council recommend setting up an inquiry into allegations of abuse and rights violations in Libya, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Friday afternoon. There was also a recommendation to suspend Libya from the council.

Ban pointed to what he called a "growing crisis of refugees and displaced persons" in Libya. He estimated that 22,000 had fled through Tunisia in recent weeks and another 15,000 through Egypt, adding that "larger numbers are, in fact, trapped and unable to leave" for fears of their safety.

"We anticipate the situation to worsen," Ban said.

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Filed under: Africa • Algeria • Bahrain • Egypt • Libya • Protest • Tunisia • World • Yemen
Dollars & Sense: Gas prices continue to surge; trade junk for cash
There is no working prototype of digital drawing pad NoteSlate, but the idea of it attracting lots of attention.
February 25th, 2011
05:55 PM ET

Dollars & Sense: Gas prices continue to surge; trade junk for cash

A roundup of today's CNNMoney news

Washington’s budget follies: Congress may soon pass a fifth short-term funding bill in as many months just to keep Washington operating for another two to four weeks. On top of that, government agencies may also be asked to cut up to $4 billion in as-yet-unnamed programs during that period. Meanwhile, the government is getting ready for a shutdown.

'Most expensive February ever' for gas: Gasoline prices have increased nearly 12 cents a gallon this week. And analysts expect prices to increase in the next few days following a sharp rise in the price of crude oil. But what's really going on with gas prices?

A Pennsylvania town on the brink (video): Braddock used to be a thriving industrial town of 20,000. Today, its population is closer to 2,700. A massive marketing tie-up with Levi's is helping prop up the community, but the economy remains fragile.

Trade in your old junk for cash: The old sofa in your living room, the pile of sports equipment in the garage, the outgrown baby gear, the used electronics are all worth cash lots of it.

$99 iPad rival deal Not quite real, not quite fake: NoteSlate, a digital drawing pad, or at least the idea of one, is burning a hole in the blogosphere, despite not having been created yet.

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Filed under: Budget • Dollars & Sense • Economy • Politics • Technology
Wisconsin law requires teaching of history of organized labor
Protesters rally against a bill that would cut public workers' collective bargaining rights.
February 25th, 2011
01:39 PM ET

Wisconsin law requires teaching of history of organized labor

Public school teachers have been among the loudest voices protesting inside and outside the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison over Gov. Scott Walker's proposals for dealing with the state’s budget problems - specifically his legislation to limit public workers' collective bargaining rights.

Here’s a piece of irony: Wisconsin law requires that public school students be taught the history of organized labor. The kids certainly are getting a real-time lesson in the subject.

Some teachers who left their classrooms and hit the bricks in defense of their ability to organize and negotiate contracts likely are those who teach the history of the labor movement to students in those same classrooms.

Wisconsin Assembly Bill 172, passed by Democrat-controlled state legislature, was signed into law by then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, in December 2009.

The law requires teachers to include instruction in “the history of organized labor and the collective bargaining process.”

The state’s Department of Public Instruction website reads: “Wisconsin has long been a leader in labor rights. The Progressive Movement, which had its beginnings in our state, led to laws limiting child labor and safety in the workplace. Unions such as the AFL-CIO and Teamsters allow us to enjoy an eight-hour work week and vacation time. In fact, it has been argued by some historians that the history of the United States itself could be a history of labor.”  The DPI site notes that the law made Wisconsin the first state in the nation to include the history of organized labor as part of state standards for teaching social studies.

Teachers are referred to websites for the Educational Communications Board Surf Report on Labor History, Wisconsin Historical Society Labor Collections and Wisconsin Labor History Society.

The Wisconsin Labor History Society offers teachers outlines to help them present the subject. “Workers and unions helped to make our nation great and to create our standard of living, with top wages and benefits for all workers. There were many struggles facing workers in reaching these goals. This presentation will discuss some of those struggles and identify the major gains of early workers and their unions. ...

Today, the United States is the richest country on earth. By most standards, U.S. earnings permit the vast majority of us to enjoy the highest standards of living. Most families have cars, sometimes two or three, televisions, refrigerators and their children have access to boom boxes, CDs, computers and cell phones.”

Back in April 2009, when then-historical society President Kenneth Germanson testified before the state legislature in support of the bill, he recounted the contributions by organized labor to American society. “But who is aware of this today?” Germanson asked. “Very few persons, and it’s a result of an education system that has overlooked a key part of American history. It’s precisely this omission that AB 172 seeks to overcome.”

Some politically conservative blogs are now calling to repeal AB 172.

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Filed under: Education • History • Labor • Politics • Protest • Wisconsin
Gotta Watch: Oscars edition
Anne Hathaway and James Franco talk about the hosting the 83rd Academy Awards.
February 25th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Oscars edition

And your hosts are... – Are they nervous? Who is funnier? We'll let them tell you.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Gotta Watch • Movies • Showbiz
Snow could fall on Hollywood sign
The Hollywood sign is at 1,600 feet, well above Saturday's forecast snow level.
February 25th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Snow could fall on Hollywood sign

Will the red carpet be covered in white for Sunday's Academy Awards in Hollywood?

Forecasters are calling for the snow level to drop to 500 feet as a winter storm sweeps over Southern California this weekend, CNN affiliate KTLA-TV in Los Angeles reports.

That might not bring the white stuff to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, but it could leave a dusting on the famous Hollywood sign, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The sign on Mount Lee is at 1,600 feet, well above the predicted snow level. Forecasters say the snow level will be at 1,000 feet during the worst of the storm Saturday afternoon, but "some convective showers could push snow down to 500 feet," according to the KTLA report.

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Filed under: California • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
Friday's intriguing people
In addition to Charlie Sheen, producer Chuck Lorre has worked with Roseanne Barr, Cybill Shepherd and Brett Butler.
February 25th, 2011
09:53 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Chuck Lorre

The “Two and a Half Men” creator has not hesitated to provoke troubled actor Charlie Sheen. According to Zap2it Columnist Rick Porter, Lorre recently used vanity cards displayed at the end of the CBS program to comment on the actor’s behavior. After the February 14 program aired, Lorre’s closing remarks read: “I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. … I don’t do drugs. I don’t have crazy, reckless sex with strangers. If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed.” Sheen is not Lorre’s first headache. He’s worked with Roseanne Barr, Cybill Shepherd, and in the mid-90s he created “Grace Under Fire,” starring Brett Butler, who had substance abuse issues.
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Filed under: Art • Charlie Sheen • Economy • Jobs • Most Intriguing People • Movies • New York • Showbiz • Technology • TV • Twitter • U.S. • United Kingdom
February 25th, 2011
08:32 AM ET

American who fled Libya: "It was like a tsunami hit Tripoli"

Americans are fleeing Libya as unrest in the country continues. CNN's T.J. Holmes speaks to George Sayar and Cyrus Sany, who just returned to the United States from Libya.

The men described a chaotic scene. "Me and my colleague finally made it out after three hours of kicking and shoving and kicking," Sayar says. Sany described taking six hours to get from the parking lot to the airport ticket counter.


Filed under: Libya • TV-American Morning
Starving eagles fall from sky in Canada
Bald eagles in British Columbia are starving, wildlife experts say.
February 25th, 2011
08:07 AM ET

Starving eagles fall from sky in Canada

Bald eagles are falling from the sky dead of starvation, wildlife experts in western Canada say.

Eagles that depend on late fall salmon runs to provide enough fat to get them through the winter are starving on account of poor runs last year, Maj Birch, manager of a bird rescue facility, told the Victoria Times Colonist.

The Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society shelter in British Columbia has treated about 20 birds this year, Birch said.

"This is the most we have ever had," Birch told the Times Colonist. "Many of them are downed before they are brought in. They are on the ground and they're too weak to fly away.

"Some of them are actually falling out of the sky. One of them slid off a roof yesterday."

Thousands of hungry eagles are flocking around landfills, competing with seagulls and often being poisoned by the scraps and rats they find there, biologists told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

A herring run due to occur in early March should provide relief for birds that can hold out that long, Birch told the Campbell River Mirror.

"Then everybody will have a feast," she told the paper.

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Filed under: Animals • Canada • Eagles • Environment
Friday's live video events
February 25th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the crisis in Libya.

Today's programming highlights...

Ongoing coverage - Conflict in Middle East and North Africa

12:00 pm ET - Unionized workers rally in New Jersey - The budget dispute in Wisconsin continues to be a major issue nationwide.  Today, members of the Communications Workers of America hold a solidarity rally in support of the Wisconsin union protests in Trenton, New Jersey.

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Filed under: On CNN.com today
Robots race around room in full marathon
Robots race around an indoor track in Osaka, Japan.
February 25th, 2011
07:23 AM ET

Robots race around room in full marathon

Five robots are racing around a room in Osaka, Japan, in what organizers call the world's first robot marathon.

The robots, entered by companies and universities, will complete a 26.2-mile marathon course by making 423 circuits of a track in a room in Osaka, CNET reports.

Robots that fall over will have to get back up on their own, but human pit crews can recharge batteries, according to CNET. Toughness rather than speed will determine a winner among the foot-tall robots, the report says.

The event, dubbed Robomarafull, is organized by robot maker Vstone and local government officials.

Do you want to watch? The event is being streamed live on Ustream.

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Filed under: Japan • Technology
Wisconsin Assembly OKs union-weakening bill, moves to Senate
A protestor pickets outside of Wisconsin’s Capitol, where the state assembly passed a bill removing many workers’ bargaining rights.
February 25th, 2011
03:15 AM ET

Wisconsin Assembly OKs union-weakening bill, moves to Senate

The Wisconsin state Assembly passed a Republican bill Friday that strips most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, but the fight over the bill seems far from over.

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Filed under: Wisconsin
3 children dead, 1 missing after being swept away in Kentucky creek
The bodies of three of four children who were swept away in a creek were recovered, authorities said.
February 25th, 2011
01:27 AM ET

3 children dead, 1 missing after being swept away in Kentucky creek

The bodies of three of four children who were swept away in a creek swollen by storm waters were recovered early Friday morning, authorities in Kentucky said.

The children were traveling with their family in a horse-drawn carriage on a flooded street in Graves County when the carriage flipped over Thursday evening, said Jerry Beasley, a Kentucky State Police spokesman.

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Filed under: Kentucky