May 12th, 2011
11:07 PM ET

Blasts kill at least 70 in northwest Pakistan

Twin explosions targeting recruits at a military training facility in northwest Pakistan killed at least 70 people and injured 30 others, police said.

One of the explosions was a suicide blast, while the other was a planted bomb, according to Nisar Khan Murrawat, the police chief of the Charsadda district. Some 65 of the dead are believed to be military recruits, the police chief said.

The back to back explosions Friday morning took place shortly after scores of recruits left the Shabqadar Fort, a training facility in the district of Charsadda, said Jahan Zeb Khan, a senior police officer.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Pakistan • World
Gates: SEALs who killed bin Laden concerned for their safety
May 12th, 2011
09:59 PM ET

Gates: SEALs who killed bin Laden concerned for their safety

The Department of Defense is looking into ways to "pump up the security" for the team of Navy SEALs who helped kill Osama bin Laden after the commandos expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

Gates made the comment in response to a question at a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. A Marine asked what measures were being taken to protect "the identities and the lives" of the SEALs involved in the takedown of bin Laden in Pakistan a week ago, as well as other troops deployed in the region, from the threat of retaliation.

"We are very concerned about the security of our families of your families and our troops, and also these elite units that are engaged in things like that. And without getting into any details ... I would tell you that when I met with the team last Thursday, they expressed a concern about that, and particularly with respect to their families," Gates told the audience.

"Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day."

Gates' comments offered the first insight into the mindset of the team members since they carried out the risky operation.

SEALs, short for Sea, Air and Land teams, are known as "quiet professionals." They keep a low profile because of the classified nature of their tactical operations.

The team, known as SEAL Team 6, is widely believed to have returned to American soil. But the unit is covered with such a degree of secrecy that the military won't confirm its presence.

The Marine's question underscored sentiment among military and intelligence communities that identification of the team signified an unprecedented breach of confidentiality.

Gates acknowledged the threat of retaliation against Team 6 and troops deployed in the region.

"There is an awareness that the threat of retaliation is increased because of the attacks because of the action against bin Laden," he said. "The one thing I would tell you, though, is that I think there has been a consistent and effective effort to protect the identities of those who participated in the raid, and I think that has to continue."

A Pentagon spokesman later cautioned against interpreting Gates' response "as a criticism of any particular person or office."

"He was indeed voicing his concern about the breakdown in operational security after the killing of Bin Laden," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Geoff Morrell said. "Anonymous sources revealing secret information about the tactics, training, and equipment of covert forces put at risk our ability to successfully mount similar missions in the future."

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy
Stocks rise with commodities
May 12th, 2011
07:33 PM ET

Stocks rise with commodities

Some highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks followed commodities Thursday, rebounding from their lows to end higher in the afternoon.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 66 points, or 0.5%, the S&P 500 rose 7 points, or 0.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 18 points, or 0.6%. Earlier in the session, all three indexes were down as much as 0.7%.

Stocks had started the day in sell mode, weighed down by lower commodity prices and a dour outlook from Cisco Systems. But the momentum shifted midday as commodities erased earlier losses and the dollar pulled back against the euro.

FULL POST

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Overheard on CNN.com: Shrinking Big Oil
Sen. Orrin Hatch called the oil- and gas-company bill a "dog and pony" show that would never pass.
May 12th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Shrinking Big Oil

Comment of the Day:

"Why is everyone unhappy? You all voted these oil drenched Repubs into office, didn't you? Don't complain now. There is always a price to pay for failing to heed the 'fool me once' warning. Pay up and shut your mouths. Fill that big ole tank up and just smile."– john1450

Big Oil execs hit back on tax proposal

Big Oil showdown on Capitol Hill

Saying they could not control rising prices at the pump, oil company executives fought a Senate bill to eliminate tax breaks for the "big five" oil and gas companies. Savings from the bill would be used to pay down the deficit. Executives admitted the tax breaks were not needed for exploration but said the subsidies are similar to those enjoyed by other industries.

Many CNN.com readers were outraged that oil executives would fight the proposed bill. Others expressed anxiety that oil companies would merely pass on any additional costs to Americans at the gas pumps. And some supported the oil companies.

Brian222 said, "I am amazed by both the sense of entitlement and the complete disconnect of CEOs. No one owes you a profit nor a bonus and there is no reason to use tax payer dollars to increase your already large profit margins." AZJames replied, "The dollars they are using are their own dollars. The subsidies they are using just allow them to offset their costs with profits. It reduces the amount of tax money they pay. No different that any other manufacturer still left in the USA."

FULL POST

Mountaineer calls wife from top of Mount Everest
Briton Kenton Cool called his wife from Mount Everest.
May 12th, 2011
11:59 AM ET

Mountaineer calls wife from top of Mount Everest

As if his name weren't impressive enough. British mountaineer Kenton Cool summited Mount Everest for the ninth time on Thursday and called his wife on his cell phone - from the top, according to the BBC and other reports. The network interviewed Cool a day after he returned from his adventure.

Last year, 3G signal coverage became available on Everest.

Cool claimed to be the first to tweet from the mountain as well, but there's talk that that might not be the case, Wired magazine writes.

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Filed under: Mount Everest • Nepal
Gotta Watch: Crazy prom antics
iReporter Martrese White, left, shared her prom picture. She came up with the design for the dress and crafted her accessories.
May 12th, 2011
11:38 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Crazy prom antics

It's that time of year again - the annual high school rite of passage know as prom season. That means crafty dresses, unusual dates, creative proposals and questionable fashions that are sure to haunt you in a decade. So get into the prom spirit; check out these prom antics and share your prom pictures.

Prom proposal gone wrong – What began as a thoughtful gesture ended in a prom ban. When a student presented his prom proposal by writing it out on a school building, his date was flattered, but the administration wasn’t amused. It banned him from the dance.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Dance • Gotta Watch • iReport • U.S.
Sports Update: Celtics feel the Heat, Bulls to chase Hawks
The Celtics lost to the Heat by 10 points.
May 12th, 2011
11:36 AM ET

Sports Update: Celtics feel the Heat, Bulls to chase Hawks

The Celtics weren't going down without a fight but the boys from Boston could do little in the final minutes of Game 5 to stave off a 10-point run by LeBron James. The Celtics were sent packing in a 97-87 loss. But was the Heat's commanding victory more a result of Miami's skill or Boston's bad luck? SI.com's Ian Thomsen writes that blaming the Heat's win on an injury-riddled Celtics squad would do a disservice to both teams. "Had Rondo been healthy, would the Celtics be looking forward to a Game 6 at home?" Thomsen writes. "It is neither an excuse the Celtics were offering nor one that is fair to the Heat, who come together in a short time with teammates who struggled to complement one another. The Celtics didn't collapse at the sight of them, or the sight of their own injury report. Their stubbornness gave meaning to Miami's victory."

While Doc Rivers' squad may join the powerhouse Lakers and Spurs on the sidelines for the remainder of the NBA playoffs, speculation is heating up about who the Heat has moved to the forefront.

Up tonight:

Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks The Bulls will take the court at Philips Arena for their Game 6 showdown with the Atlanta Hawks. Chicago leads the series 3-2.

By The Numbers

$1 million - Fine received by the Fiesta Bowl in the aftermath of a recent scandal involving apparently illegal campaign contributions from various staffers and inappropriate spending by the former CEO.

3 - Number of races Daytona 500 champ Trevor Bayne has missed after an unknown illness sidelined him. Bayne is expected to return May 22 at the Nationwide Series' race in Iowa.

56 - Number of regular season games won by the Boston Celtics. Coach Doc Rivers recently said that he "probably" will return to coach Boston again next season.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • Sports
Thursday's intriguing people
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara won the conviction of a Wall Street hedge fund manager this week.
May 12th, 2011
10:46 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Preet Bharara

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York announced Wednesday that a jury had found billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud in one of the most high-profile insider trading prosecutions in a decade. Known for his tough campaign against insider trading, Bharara once worked for Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.

Tiffany Smalley

When she receives her college diploma later this month, the Harvard University student of Native American descent will be the first Wampanoag to graduate from the school since 1665. Smalley will join two of her ancestors, Joel Iacommes and Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the sons of Wampanoag tribal leaders who entered Harvard in 1661. At this year's commencement ceremony, the university will grant a posthumous degree to Iacommes, who was killed in a shipwreck just before graduation. Almost 350 years later, Smalley will accept the diploma on his behalf.

Adam Foster

The 30-year-old engineer from upstate New York is accused of stealing handcuffs in Dubai and has been detained there for four months. Foster went to the United Arab Emirates in January on a business trip. He was arrested after reportedly keeping a pair of handcuffs that he found on the ground. According to Foster's Facebook page, he was whipped, beaten and forced to confess to stealing handcuffs from police. He now faces two to seven years in prison in the UAE.

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Filed under: Crime • Dubai • Education • Most Intriguing People
May 12th, 2011
08:43 AM ET

Opposition claims rebels are in control of Misrata

All of the besieged Libyan city of Misrata has been "liberated," an opposition spokesman said Thursday.

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the Transitional National Council, made the announcement to reporters in Benghazi. The claim comes a day after council spokesmen sparred with a Libyan government spokesman over who was in control of the Misrata airport.

Meanwhile, at least two people were killed Thursday when four rockets struck Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound, a government spokesman told CNN. After the blasts, which could be heard in the center of Tripoli, sirens blared and at least two emergency vehicles sped toward the Bab al-Aziziya compound.

The Libya government took journalists near the site of the blast and smoke could be seen still rising from the compound. The bodies of at least two men were shown to reporters at a nearby hospital, and hospital officials said more victims were on the way.

Government officials said 27 people affected by the strike were also brought to the hospital. Most seemed to be suffering from smoke inhalation. The Libyan government said another attack on the same compound April 30 had killed Gadhafi's son Saif al-Arab Gadhafi and three of the leader's grandchildren. Libyan state television reported Thursday the North Korean embassy in Tripoli was damaged in a NATO airstrike.

On Wednesday, Shamsiddin Abdulmolah of the Transitional National Council said the airport in the southern part of Misrata had fallen to "revolutionaries" after opposition fighters in nearby Zlaitin joined their counterparts there.

But government spokesman Musa Ibrahim said government forces were in control of the airport and the seaport in Misrata. He said rebel forces had been there "for (a) short time and left."

FULL STORY
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Gotta Watch: Rare leg surgery; death-defying stunt; save date for 'Bridesmaids'
May 12th, 2011
08:40 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Rare leg surgery; death-defying stunt; save date for 'Bridesmaids'

Many of you have seen our Gotta Watch blog in the mornings. Well, there is so much great video out there that we've decided to continue the tradition in the evenings.  Here are two of the top videos from Wednesday (totaling more than 100,000 clicks each so far), as well as a CNN.com original.

A backwards leg is better than none -  A rare surgery is the only way  a 13-year-old Ohio boy with cancer could play baseball, again.  His leg surgery required doctors to rotate his leg 180 degrees.  Here's a warning, this video is probably not for the faint of heart.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Celebrity • Gotta Watch • iReport • Movies • TV
Source: 2 men arrested in synagogue attack plot
May 12th, 2011
08:38 AM ET

Source: 2 men arrested in synagogue attack plot

Two men suspected of planning an attack on a Manhattan synagogue were arrested by New York City police Wednesday night, a law enforcement source told CNN Thursday.

The men were arrested in a police sting as they attempted to purchase three or four guns and a grenade that they intended to use in an attack against a synagogue, according to the source.

The threat was "on the radar screen for a few months," long before the killing of al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the source said.

The men, who are of North African descent, have not yet been publicly named, the source said. One is said to have an extensive criminal record, including drug and weapons charges.

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Filed under: Crime • New York
Dangle off Canada's tallest building for $175
An artist's rendering shows how the CN Tower's EdgeWalk will look.
May 12th, 2011
07:43 AM ET

Dangle off Canada's tallest building for $175

Extreme adventurers, there's a new heart-stopping experience to be had.

On June 1, the CN Tower in Toronto will begin selling tickets to EdgeWalk, a newly constructed 5-foot ledge that encircles the top of the 116-story tower. For $175 a person, groups of six to eight people at a time will be encouraged to walk along the ledge, their limbs unencumbered, with the help of specially trained CN Tower guides. They can even lean 4 inches over the edge, Jack Robinson, the CN Tower's COO, told CNN.com. Walks will begin August 1.

"It will be a thrilling experience!" he said, adding that EdgeWalk has been three years in the planning with an entire year devoted to safety measures.

"We have passed every single and solitary health and safety test out there," Robinson said.

Here's how it will work:

Participants will have to take a breathalyzer test and be checked for anything out of the ordinary. If you're acting abnormally, or the staff suspects you're a loose cannon, you'll be turned away regardless of whether you've paid. If you pass those tests, you'll be fitted for a special harness and shoes.  Items like eyeglasses will be tethered to your person. All walkers must meet height and weight requirements.

The harness is connected to an overhead safety rail which is connected to a trolley system. Specially trained guides will encourage groups to "push their personal limits, allowing those who dare to lean back over Toronto, with nothing but air beneath them," according to a CN press release.

The walk itself will last about 30 minutes. From start to finish, the experience will last an hour and a half.

Adrenaline junkies who dare to try EdgeWalk will be rewarded with incredible views of Lake Ontario.

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Filed under: Canada
Thursday's live video events
May 12th, 2011
07:36 AM ET

Thursday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the flooding along the Mississippi River.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Jury selection continues in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Casey Anthony • Congress • Crime • District of Columbia • Energy • Florida • Michigan • On CNN.com today • Politics • U.S. • World
Elderly Nazi guard sentenced to prison
John Demjanjuk, known as Ivan the Terrible, was found guilty of killing tens of thousands of Jews.
May 12th, 2011
07:10 AM ET

Elderly Nazi guard sentenced to prison

John Demjanjuk was found guilty Thursday of involvement in tens of thousands of murders by a court in Germany, capping a 25-year international legal saga over whether he was a Nazi camp guard during World War II. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

German prosecutors accused the 91-year-old former Ohio auto worker of being a guard at the notorious Nazi death camp of Sobibor in Poland. His defense team argued that he was a prisoner of war who was forced to do what the Nazis wanted. FULL STORY

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Filed under: Germany
On the Radar: La. flooding, Japan reactor, bin Laden pics, Peace Corps rapes
Gerald Gaudat builds a makeshift levee wall around his home in Stephenville, Louisiana.
May 12th, 2011
06:55 AM ET

On the Radar: La. flooding, Japan reactor, bin Laden pics, Peace Corps rapes

Louisiana flooding - The state is bracing for the worst flooding it has seen in decades. Gov. Bobby Jindal told residents in the southeastern part of the state that they should leave their homes ahead of the anticipated opening of a spillway designed to divert the impending crest around the Crescent City. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Spillway and send a torrent of water down the Atchafalaya River, Jindal said. The people are banding together, and trying to get through the disaster as they have in the past. The Corps predicts the opening threshold will be reached sometime between Saturday and Tuesday.The floodwaters that have inundated tens of thousands of acres of Missouri farmland and lapped at downtown Memphis, Tennessee, are now on a steady, soggy march through Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Look at photos of the flooding and learn about what is causing it and how engineers are trying to mitigate it. Are you there? Tell CNN.com's Open Story about your experience.

Japan nuclear reactor –A low water level in a reactor building at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan may have exposed fuel rods and caused them to melt, the owner of the facility says. Tokyo Electric Power Co. blamed the incident on a faulty gauge that monitors the water level in the pressure vessel in the No. 1 reactor building. Once the gauge was reset, workers discovered Thursday that the water level had dropped more than three feet (1 meter) below the fuel rods that need to be cooled by water to keep them from melting. The earthquake and tsunami in March in Japan has devastated the country.

Congress sees bin Laden pics - More members of Congress are seeing photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse. Republican Sen. James Inhofe told CNN that he saw about 15 photos of bin Laden's body. Most images were taken in the Pakistani compound where the al Qaeda leader was killed and three photos were taken on a naval vessel from which bin Laden was buried at sea after the May 2 U.S. commando raid. "Pretty gruesome," Inhofe said.

Peace Corps rapes - Several former Peace Corps volunteers say they were raped during their assignments overseas. Director Aaron Williams says the agency's culture of "blaming the victim" has to end. More than 1,000 sexual assaults have been reported since the year 2000.

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Filed under: On the Radar