March 9th, 2011
11:29 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

7 children killed in Pennsylvania house: A fire has killed seven children at a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, authorities said.

How the human penis lost its spines: You've read the headline, and it probably made you giggle. Go ahead. Get it out of your system. Then take a deep breath and consider how evolution affected a few specific body parts.

Man gets 25 years to life for beheading wife: A former television executive was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Wednesday for the beheading death of his wife.

Website for those born this way: It started with a photograph. A little boy stands beaming in his plaid jumpsuit, hands on his hips and knee cocked just so.

Former Alice in Chains bassist found dead: Mike Starr, the former Alice in Chains bassist whose battle with drugs was chronicled on the reality TV show "Celebrity Rehab," was found dead in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Filed under: Most Popular
Dalai Lama to retire as political head of exiled movement
The Dalai Lama attends a ceremony Thursday in India, marking the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
March 9th, 2011
11:12 PM ET

Dalai Lama to retire as political head of exiled movement

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, announced Thursday his plan to retire as political head of the exiled movement, according to his website.

"Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people," he said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Tibet
Wisconsin vote gives rise to anger, satisfaction in social media sphere
The vote drew howls of outrage from outside the chamber, where pro-union demonstrators chanted "Shame" and "You lied to Wisconsin" as the bill passed.
March 9th, 2011
10:59 PM ET

Wisconsin vote gives rise to anger, satisfaction in social media sphere

Are you there? Share photos and video of the protests, or your views on the issue with the CNN iReport community.

"This is a date that will live in infamy."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's oft-quoted assessment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 surfaced on Twitter Wednesday night, as reaction to the Wisconsin Senate's vote to pass proposed restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees began to flood the social media site.

Accompanied by the hashtag, #AshWednesdayMassacre, the sentiment captured the anger and disbelief of many around the Wisconsin capitol - and in the Twitterverse - who feel that the Republicans manipulated the vote by stripping the budget bill of all things budget-related to get around the need for a quorum in the absence of 14 Democratic senators. The move, some believe, lays bare their true motive from the start: to gut the unions, pure and simple.

"Either #Wisconsin GOPers just violated the constitution, or Scott Walker lied," the pro-labor publication Mother Jones said in another oft-retweeted sentiment.

Not everyone's upset with the vote, which would bar public workers other than police and firefighters from bargaining collectively for anything other than wages, in what Walker and GOP lawmakers say will help close a $137 million budget shortfall.

"wisconsin gop reminds unions that collective bargaining is a privilege, not a right," brooksbayne tweeted.

Here's some more reaction to Wednesday's vote:

"Nothing says democracy like voting with no notice, preventing the public from observing, and locking the doors of the capitol" - mirerony.

"Still waiting for @BarackObama to stand the picket line as promised. This is class warfare of the worst kind." - ericming5

"Tonight #WI GOP showed their true aim: undermining workers' rights. I continue to stand in solidarity with #wiunion." - NancyPelosi

"Hey, Governor KOCH! Some of your shareholders, err, constituents aren't too happy right now. That's bad business." - mariannesp

"This is EXACTLY why we need collective bargaining. Would you trust these legislators to determine your working conditions?" - shankerblog

"Repubs freaked out abt czars, but claim rt 2 dissolve towns. wht planet did I wake up on? Planet Plutocrat?" - XicanaMama

"Furious beyond belief. What happens now? This can not be abided & will not be forgotten. It has only just begun." - HarryWaisbren

"Has anyone else noticed that the state of #Wisconsin looks like a clenched fist?" - Red_Ben89

"Apparently Gov. Walker is giving up democracy for Lent." - blissfulfun

"Since there don't appear to be any rules/laws in WI government now, let's skip the 1 year rule and recall Walker's ass right now." - AnnieRauh

"Hey, things happen. RT @TeresaKopec: I guess the Kochs got their money's worth. And the middle class just got kicked in the teeth." - umarsattar

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Filed under: Labor • Protest • Wisconsin
Bill cutting collective bargaining passes in Wisconsin
Republican Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald speaks to reporters following a session of the State Senate at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
March 9th, 2011
07:47 PM ET

Bill cutting collective bargaining passes in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Republican-led state Senate passed Gov. Scott Walker's proposed restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees Wednesday, getting around a Democratic walkout by stripping financial provisions from the "Budget Repair" bill.

"Tonight, the Senate will be passing the items in the Budget Repair Bill that we can with the 19 members who actually do show up and do their jobs," Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, the chamber's Republican majority leader, said in a statement announcing the move.

Senators were able to move ahead by voting only on the non-financial aspects of Walker's proposed bill, which requires fewer members for a quorum. But the move drew howls of outrage from outside the chamber, where pro-union demonstrators chanted "Shame, shame," as the bill passed.

Are you there? Share photos and video of the protests, or your views on the issue with the CNN iReport community.

- CNN's Ed Lavandera contributed to this report.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Politics • Wisconsin
50 people in 50 days: Girl vanished after mom left for meeting
March 9th, 2011
06:19 PM ET

50 people in 50 days: Girl vanished after mom left for meeting

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 38th case, and it will be shown Wednesday at 9 p.m. on HLN.

Andrea Durham's mother said she last saw the teen in their Florida apartment as the mother left to attend a meeting in February 1990.

Andrea, 13, was supposed to be vacuuming. When her mother returned two hours later, a vacuum cleaner was standing upright in the family room, but Andrea was gone - and her family hasn't seen her since.

Police said they found no signs of forced entry or foul play in the Fort Walton Beach apartment, and none of Andrea's personal items was missing.

ElBaradei says he will run for president of Egypt
Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced Wednesday he will run for president of Egypt.
March 9th, 2011
05:52 PM ET

ElBaradei says he will run for president of Egypt

Mohamed ElBaradei announced Wednesday he will run for president of Egypt.

The dissident reformist who served as director-general of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency from 1997 to 2009 announced his decision on ONTV, a privately owned Egyptian television channel.

He also called for the constitution to be scrapped and replaced. He said his campaign would focus on education and health care for all, especially the poor.

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Filed under: Egypt
50 people in 50 days: Teen failed to arrive at sister's Kentucky home
March 9th, 2011
05:43 PM ET

50 people in 50 days: Teen failed to arrive at sister's Kentucky 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 36th case, and it was shown Monday night on HLN.

Police say Paige Johnson, 17, disappeared last fall after leaving her Kentucky home with an acquaintance on the night of September 22.

The acquaintance, a 22-year-old man, says he spent a couple of hours with her at his home before dropping her off early in the morning in Covington, Kentucky, a few blocks from her sister's home, where she was supposed to stay, according to police.

Her sister reported her missing because Paige didn't arrive. The man has not been charged in the case.

Arizona shooting suspect arraigned on additional charges
Jared Lee Loughner, right, in an artist’s rendering, appears in a Tucson courtroom.
March 9th, 2011
05:15 PM ET

Arizona shooting suspect arraigned on additional charges

A federal judge Wednesday entered "not guilty" pleas on behalf of Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona man accused of fatally shooting six people and wounding 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Last Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a new indictment against Jared Lee Loughner in which he is charged on 49 counts - including murder and attempted murder - related to the shooting outside a Tucson supermarket in January.

Loughner, 22, entered the courtroom with a slight grin, the first time he's appeared in a Tucson courtroom. His bald head is now showing hair.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords
Dollars & Sense: Untapped U.S. oil; the NFL's moneymaking machine
March 9th, 2011
04:54 PM ET

Dollars & Sense: Untapped U.S. oil; the NFL's moneymaking machine

 A roundup of today's CNNMoney news:

Billions of barrels of untapped U.S. oil: In the grasslands of western North Dakota, one of the country's richest oil men is using a controversial gas drilling technology to develop what could be the biggest domestic oil discovery in the last 40 years.

Where gas prices hurt the most: Hey California, stop whining about $4 gas. As gas prices have surged 13% over the last month, Mississippi is feeling the worst pain at the pump.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Dollars & Sense
SI.com: At least we have the draft
Cam Newton isn't the quarterback that SI.com's Don Banks thinks will be taken first in next month's NFL draft.
March 9th, 2011
03:30 PM ET

SI.com: At least we have the draft

While the NFL and its players union are still at lengthy odds - most recently, over the transparency of financial information - next month's draft will still go on as scheduled and promises to improve several teams whether there is a season or not.

College pro days are being scouted and critiqued across the country while Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith and other NFL types are huddled in conference rooms trying to hash out a collective bargaining agreement so there can, in fact, be football this fall.

With the NFL Scouting Combine in our rear-view mirror as well as a host of workouts this past week, SI.com’s Don Banks delivers the third installment of his 2011 NFL Mock Draft. In it, Banks projects two quarterbacks are going in the top three, and has a QB going No. 1 overall that isn’t named Cam Newton, college football’s reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Banks also has a prized prospect slipping down in the draft after a mediocre showing earlier this week.

FULL POST

Suspect in Spokane's King Day bomb probe detained
The bomb found along a parade route on Martin Luther King Jr. day was set up to be detonated remotely.
March 9th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Suspect in Spokane's King Day bomb probe detained

Authorities have a suspect in custody in connection with a backpack bomb found in January along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Washington, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby for the Eastern District of Washington.

Ormsby told CNN that Kevin William Harpham, 36, of Colville, Washington, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. PT on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered device.

The suspect was apprehended away from his home, which is in a rural part of Washington state near Colville, a law enforcement source told CNN.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
6.3-magnitude quake hits Japan day after larger temblor
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Japan early Wednesday morning.
March 9th, 2011
02:36 PM ET

6.3-magnitude quake hits Japan day after larger temblor

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck in the early hours Thursday off the coast of the main Japanese island of Honshu, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

It hit near where a stronger earthquake rattled nerves but caused no major damage on Wednesday.

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Filed under: Japan
Illinois governor signs death penalty ban
March 9th, 2011
01:40 PM ET

Illinois governor signs death penalty ban

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday that he has signed legislation eliminating the death penalty in his state, more than 10 years after the state halted executions.

"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history," Quinn (pictured), a Democrat, told reporters in making the announcement.

Illinois conducted its last execution in 1999. Then-Gov. George Ryan halted executions in 2000, after a series of death row inmates were exonerated. Quinn said his review had convinced him that it was impossible to administer capital punishment without mistakes, and abolishing it was "the right and just thing."

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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Illinois • Justice
Hawaii wary of harmful vog from erupting volcano
Lava and gas pour from a fissure on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.
March 9th, 2011
01:39 PM ET

Hawaii wary of harmful vog from erupting volcano

Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano is emitting five times the lava and 25 times the sulfur dioxide gas as before a 1.5-mile-long fissure opened on the mountain over the weekend.

Although the lava, which is sometimes shooting as high as 245 feet, currently poses no threat to humans on Hawaii's Big Island, the sulfur dioxide gas could become a problem, reports CNN affiliate KHON in Honolulu.

Sulfur dioxide and sulfate aerosols that Kilauea is emitting at increased levels are two key ingredients in vog: a volcanic fog that can cause "headaches, breathing difficulties, increased susceptibility to respiratory ailments, watery eyes, and sore throat," according to the governor's office.

KHON reports that the state's current northeast tradewind pattern is keeping the irritating gas from populated areas, but any change in the tradewinds, especially if they diminish or shift to a more southerly pattern, could bring vog's harmful effects into play.

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Filed under: Hawaii • U.S. • Volcano
Voices of Wisconsin: Protesters stand firm against budget bill
Demonstrators sing union songs as they protest inside the state Capitol in Madison on Monday.
March 9th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Voices of Wisconsin: Protesters stand firm against budget bill

Protesters have been converging on the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, since mid-February to protest the governor’s budget bill. Their voices are angry, energetic, accusatory.

The bill, which proponents say reels in spending but critics say is an overt attempt at union-busting, prompted 14 Democratic state senators to leave the state so they wouldn’t be forced to vote on the bill.

Despite reports of progress in the negotiations, there are still several bones of contention. The original bill by Gov. Scott Walker requires all public workers but police officers and firefighters to increase contributions to their pension and health insurance, and it prohibits unions from collecting dues.

It also restricts the unions’ collective bargaining power, caps wages and requires annual votes for unions to remain certified, which critics say would be costly.

The crowds have thinned since the protests first began, but many remain adamant that Walker’s bill must be defeated. Here is what some of them are saying:

Barney Decker, retiree

The 58-year-old from Madison said he’s worn out from walking 5 or 6 miles a day during the last 12 days of the protests.

He accuses the statehouse of “bully politics” and said he doesn’t appreciate “the way they’re trying to change things, ram things down our throat without a chance of really seeing the bill.”

FULL POST

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Filed under: Economy • Gov. Scott Walker • Jobs • Politics • Protest • U.S. • Wisconsin
Rutgers wins while assistant coach’s son fights for his life
Rutgers battles against Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
March 9th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Rutgers wins while assistant coach’s son fights for his life

On paper, it looks like another NCAA conference tournament game, and not a very important one at that.

Rutgers, the 13th-ranked team in the Big East, beat 12th-ranked  Seton Hall in a first-round game in the conference tournament Tuesday in New York.

But with more than a hundred games still to be played during March Madness, it’s quite possible that no win will be more inspiring that the Scarlet Knights' 76-70 overtime victory.

FULL POST

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Filed under: College basketball • New Jersey • Sports
Japanese company announces breakthrough in carbon fiber technology
Teijin's concept vehicle has a carbon frame that weighs one-fifth of a conventional frame.
March 9th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Japanese company announces breakthrough in carbon fiber technology

A Japanese company on Wednesday said it has developed a process to make lightweight car frames at mass production speeds, a process that could make vehicles more efficient and save energy.

Teijin Limited said in a press release it can mold an automobile frame of carbon fiber reinforced plastic in under 60 seconds.

"The breakthrough overcomes one of the biggest challenges in the industry and represents a long stride toward the use of carbon fiber for the mass production of automobiles and other products," the company's statement said.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Japan • Technology
Wednesday's intriguing people
Bob Barker was a Navy fighter pilot in World War II.
March 9th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Bob Barker

The former host of "The Price is Right" and World War II veteran is donating $2 million to the Semper Fi Fund, which provides assistance to U.S. military veterans and their families.

Barker "is hoping that his donation and support for our young Veterans will inspire others to give and commit to making sure that not one young Marine, sailor, airman and soldier or their family members are in need during their long-term recoveries," the organization said in a statement.

Two years ago, the former Navy pilot donated $3 million to help the Defense Department build a center to treat brain injuries in military personnel.

He's also known for his support of animal-rights causes and used to sign off "The Price is Right" with the line, "Don't forget to have your pets spayed or neutered."

FULL POST

Gotta Watch: Mardi Gras; troops come home; your new favorite band
A cow and panda go to Mardi Gras. They weren't even the weirdest people there.
March 9th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Mardi Gras; troops come home; your new favorite band

Party Gras for Mardi Gras – New Orleans revelers let the good times roll with parties, parades and bands. Get your fill of Mardi Gras without the awful hangover.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Art • Gotta Watch • Military • Showbiz
On the Radar: Libya violence escalates; Muslim radicalization; rare earth elements
Refugees head toward Libya's border with Tunisia on Wednesday.
March 9th, 2011
10:03 AM ET

On the Radar: Libya violence escalates; Muslim radicalization; rare earth elements

Libya - Violence in Moammar Gadhafi's Libya was increasing Wednesday as forces loyal to the strongman unleashed bombs and artillery on makeshift rebel forces in the eastern oil city of Ras Lanuf. The latest fighting followed another defiant speech from Gadhafi that aired Tuesday night on state television, in which he again insisted that youths misled and drugged by al Qaeda were to blame for the fighting.

Peter King - The New York Republican congressman says he is determined to use his powerful post as House Homeland Security Committee chairman to hold a highly controversial hearing on what he has dubbed radicalization of Muslims in the United States. Dana Bash, CNN's senior congressional correspondent, profiles the man who says he thinks every day about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Rare earth elements - They are the elements which occupy those two orphaned rows at the bottom of the periodic table. They're essential for our cell phones, our computer hard drives, our HDTVs. And they are running short. China, which controls supplies of 97% of these materials, doesn't like sharing them with the West. And the only U.S. mine for rare earth elements went out of production after a radioactive waste accident in the 1990s. CNN's John Sutter looks at what rare earth elements mean to us.

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Filed under: Earth • Libya • Mining • National security • On the Radar • September 11 • Terrorism • World
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