Gotta Watch: Facing the flood; dodging jury duty; Gaga video game backlash
Opening the gates at the Morganza Spillway will spare New Orleans but wipe out small towns in south Louisiana.
May 13th, 2011
09:52 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Facing the flood; dodging jury duty; Gaga video game backlash

The rising Mississippi and the start of the Casey Anthony murder trial were two of the more popular stories of the week. However many of you were just as interested in Technology Writer Doug Gross' story on Lady Gaga and video games.

The fight against the Mississippi – Leaders in Louisiana are forced to choose between keeping Baton Rouge and New Orleans dry at the expense of people in towns like Stephenville and Morgan City. People in those small towns are going to come up on the short end, and are doing all they can to fight against the Mississippi.

The jury duty dodge – It's being dubbed as the "Trial of the Century," but apparently the only people excited about being there are the reporters. Potential jurors are coming up with every excuse imaginable to get out of serving in the Casey Anthony trial. Take a listen.

Doug Gross fires back – CNN Tech Writer Doug Gross has a few fans and few more enemies who didn't exactly go gaga over his latest article "Five more video games Lady Gaga should be in." Doug discusses some of the reader comments.

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Gotta Watch • Lady Gaga • Louisiana • Technology • Weather
May 13th, 2011
09:33 PM ET

Oysterman: BP left us vulnerable, flooding could be 'knockout blow'

[Updated at 9:33 p.m. ET Friday] Today Louisiana officials announced precautionary closures of two oyster harvesting areas that are receiving large amounts of freshwater intrusion from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway and from the Mississippi River.

[Posted at 12:10 p.m. ET Friday] As the massive flooding from the Mississippi heads towards the nation's richest oyster grounds, Mike Voisin feels that old familiar feeling.

He's seen the damage caused to the oyster business in Louisiana firsthand over the past six years. After Hurricane Rita and then Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana, the oyster business realized they needed protection.  A part-government, part-private insurance program gave them breathing room to recuperate.

But then the blows kept coming. One, after another, after another. Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav again battered the spirits and livelihoods of those who depend on their oyster crops.

So when Voisin, the seventh generation in his family's oyster processing business and the chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, saw his crop destroyed by Hurricane Gustav, he did what most Cajun country people did - rebuild. He knew he had a safety net - in the form of insurance - to hold him over.

But perhaps the final blow was the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster - because its destruction of oyster production meant he and others in the business were ineligible for insurance since the program was dismantled shortly after the disaster.

Gone was the exact thing they had worked hard to ensure - a protected livelihood.

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Let them eat cake
May 13th, 2011
06:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Let them eat cake

Comment of the Day:
“I don't eat dessert very often. But my cat can eat a whole watermelon.”–Timetraveler

Five reasons to eat dessert every day: Sally Camacho

Go ahead, eat dessert. Pastry chef Sally Camacho says it’s good for you and society: It makes you happy, it’s legal and it employs pastry chefs.

Ceecee said, “As a habit, I review the dessert menu before ordering my entree. I see the meal as the prelude to the main event, which is dessert. I'm always disappointed when restaurants don't have a good selection or the dessert ends up being some dried-out brownie or piece of cake that tastes like the freezer." Betty said, “Sometimes I skip the meal and only order desert for lunch or dinner! Key lime pie is my favorite!” Bee Dub said, "We eat dessert every day, at lunch and at dinner (in moderation). Then we brush our teeth."

rs1201 said, “You people are nuts. Have you ever heard of cholesterol, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity? My dessert is a light yogurt and I'm 5 ft 8" and weigh 118 lbs. I look at dessert and think: poison. That's exactly what you should all be doing. I hope you all realize that you will pay dearly for your indulgence as you get older. I plan to be a healthy old bag.”

Dan replied, “You definitely have the old bag part down already.“ MashaSobaka said, "Congratulations, you're underweight. I eat dessert when I want it and have a healthy weight. Here's the kicker: We're both going to die in the end." CMOO agreed, “At 5'8 and 118 you clearly have an eating disorder. “

JenA said, “Everything in moderation. You sound extreme in your stance on food. And the artificial sweeteners in your 'light yogurt' may also be unhealthy! I am a baker and in good shape. I don't have dessert every night, but I would feel deprived without things like homemade lemon meringue pie, chiffon cakes and chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven! Enjoy life; it doesn't last long!"

Some readers were concerned about ingredients. asper said, “I love desserts, but I wish more restaurants have sugar free/artificial sweetener options." pr161 replied, “Did you know that artificial sweeteners are what they actually feed pigs to make them eat more? Trust me, stay with the real thing.”

And let’s not forget desserts that are not sweet, but, well, aromatic.

Kip said, "I don't have a sweet tooth, but a good stinky cheese is fantastic!" Charlotte said, “Ditto!! Cheese! Olives! Yum!" MCPsaid, "I would gladly give up any sweets for a hunk of cheese!"

FULL POST

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew says battle with cancer 'coming to an end'
Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew is 11th in career home runs with 573.
May 13th, 2011
05:57 PM ET

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew says battle with cancer 'coming to an end'

Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew said Friday he is ending his treatment for esophageal cancer and entering hospice care.

"It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end," Killebrew, 74, said in a statement Friday, according to MLB.com.

Killebrew is 11th in career home runs, hitting 573 during his 22-year career with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, according to MLB.com. He was diagnosed with cancer late last year

"With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease. My illness has progressed beyond my doctors' expectation of cure."

Killebrew, who has spent the past decade promoting hospice care and its benefits, said he is "very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care" of a hospice.

"I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends. I thank you for the outpouring of concern, prayers and encouragement that you have shown me. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side."

Killebrew was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. He was the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player and an 11-time All-Star, playing in 13 games (two in 1959 and '61).


Filed under: Baseball • Health • Sports
Porn found in Osama bin Laden's compound
May 13th, 2011
04:09 PM ET

Porn found in Osama bin Laden's compound

Pornography was found in a raid of Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan last week that led to his death, a source familiar with the materials said.

The material was sexually explicit, the source said.

The source would not discuss exactly where it was found, what it was, or if it is believed to be the al Qaeda leader's or belonging to someone else living in the compound, like the two couriers or bin Laden’s son.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Osama bin Laden
Wife of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak suffers heart attack
May 13th, 2011
02:48 PM ET

Wife of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak suffers heart attack

Suzanne Mubarak, wife of toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, suffered a heart attack Friday after being questioned in a corruption probe, the manager of the Sharm el-Sheikh Hospital said.

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Filed under: Egypt
From Greenville, Missouri: Some good news out of flooding
The Greenville, Mississippi levees have become a meeting place, as a steady stream of people come to watch the water rise on May 13, 2011.
May 13th, 2011
02:02 PM ET

From Greenville, Missouri: Some good news out of flooding

There’s been very little good news coming out of the Mississippi River flooding. One bright spot has been the performance of decades old levees along the river, although that could change in the next few weeks as the swelling river bulges towards New Orleans.

Another bit of good news comes from Greenville Mississippi. There have been some homes in low-lying areas have been flooded. And, about a thousand people are out of work as riverboat casinos have been closed.

So where’s the good news?

The community has rallied together in the face of the floods, mainly because so many people are coming downtown to the levees to watch the waters rise.

The event has cut through racial and economic lines, as people spend hours catching up with neighbors and friends at the levees.

The Greenville, Mississippi levees have become a meeting place, as a steady stream of people come to watch the water rise on May 13, 2011. Some even hope all the traffic could spur a new interest in revitalizing downtown.

Click here for the entire interview:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Missouri • Weather
Friday's intriguing people
Richard M. Daley is stepping down as Chicago mayor after 22 years in office. A new book looks at his and his father’s lives.
May 13th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Richard M. Daley

For about 44 of the past 55 years, a man named Richard Daley has been mayor of Chicago. Richard J. Daley was mayor for more than two decades. And his son, Richard M. Daley, is now stepping down after 22 years in office. He’ll be succeeded Monday by former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

A new book by Neil Steinberg about the Daley legacy has been published with excerpts appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Daleys have their political finesse and Democratic Party ties. More offbeat, Steinberg said, is the Daleys' "genius for mangling the English language.”

“There are even crooked reporters,” the first Daley said when faced with a police scandal, “and I can spit on some of them right here!” “Scrutiny?” the second Daley said about news coverage of his brother. “What else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Give me a break, go scrutinize yourself. I get scrootened every day, don’t worry, from each and every one of you. It doesn’t bother me.”

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Official: George Mitchell, U.S. Middle East envoy, to resign
May 13th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Official: George Mitchell, U.S. Middle East envoy, to resign

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell is resigning as the Obama administration's Mideast envoy, a senior U.S. official told CNN Friday.

Mitchell, a former U.S. senator from Maine and prominent American diplomat, has served as President Barack Obama's point man in the region as the administration has tried to keep Arab-Israeli peace talks on track.

His resignation comes at a pivotal moment in the Arab world. Obama is scheduled to deliver an address next week on the "Arab Spring" - the uprisings that have shaken long-standing autocratic regimes across North Africa and the broader Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Obama and deliver an address to Congress next week.

Mitchell was among the president's first appointments. He was named Mideast envoy on January 22, 2009, two days after Obama took office.

Among other things, Mitchell also played a key role in Clinton-era negotiations regarding the status of Northern Ireland that resulted in the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

Mitchell has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including Israeli-Palestinian agreement on a two-state solution and normalization of relations between Israel and both Syria and Lebanon.

Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid
Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in this hideout compound in Pakistan.
May 13th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid

Members of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that attacked Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound were wearing helmet-mounted digital cameras that recorded the mission, a U.S. military official told CNN Friday.

The official described the digital recording as hazy and fast-moving, and subject to poor lighting in the rooms. The source also said it is hard to get clear images from the footage.

"This is not movie-quality stuff," the source said.

Gotta Watch: Reporter close-calls
A reporter gets an unexpected yank of the hair by a camel while she's on camera.
May 13th, 2011
11:01 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Reporter close-calls

Every now and then a video emerges that highlights the pitfalls of live reporting. The most recent occurrence includes a reporter from WWBT who becomes the unfortunate target of a camel. There are only so many things reporters and producers can control once the cameras are rolling . These videos show the handful of times when things don't quite go as planned.

Real angry birds – You can almost guarantee that when reporting anywhere near animals, they will somehow misbehave. Unfortunately, this reporter was the target of some angry pelicans.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Gotta Watch
30-foot whale smashes onto sailboat
The breaching whale left bits of blubber and a barnacle on the sailboat.
May 13th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

30-foot whale smashes onto sailboat

L'Orca lost out to L'Humpback on Thursday. Well, kinda.

L'Orca, a 38-foot sailboat out of Portland, Oregon, was participating in the Oregon International Offshore race in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning when a breaching humpback whale crashed down onto the vessel, crushing its mast and rigging and knocking it out of the race to Victoria, British Columbia.

The sailboat was about a half-hour into the race when the whale struck about 9:30 a.m.

"It looked to be a humpback whale, about 30 feet in length roughly. It hit the mast about halfway to three-quarters of the way up, and then proceeded to fall forward and on the starboard side of the boat. The mast came down as well as the forestay and all the rigging, and our tow rail and all our life lines on the starboard side of the boat were demolished, as well," crewmember Ryan Barnes, whose father owns L'Orca, said in a Coast Guard video.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Oregon • U.S. • Whales
Leopards, panthers, bear, other animals saved from luggage at Thai airport
A baby panther receives veterinary treatment after being rescued from luggage at a Bangkok airport Friday.
May 13th, 2011
09:13 AM ET

Leopards, panthers, bear, other animals saved from luggage at Thai airport

Thai police confiscated two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear, one macaque monkey and one marmoset from the luggage of a man as he tried to board a flight from Bangkok to Dubai on Friday, Thai authorities and an anti-trafficking group reported.

The animals were alive and received immediate veterinary care, according to the group, the FREELAND Foundation, which monitored the arrest.

The suspect, Noor Mahmoodr, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, was charged with possessing endangered wildlife and smuggling endangered wildlife, said Col. Kiattipong Khaosum-arng of the Thai nature crime police. Mahmoodr was released on bail pending trial, police said.

“We believe Mahmoodr has done this several times already, and there is a network involved in this case,” Kiattipong told CNN.

He said police received a tip that the smuggling attempt would happen Friday morning and were waiting at the airport to make an arrest.

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Filed under: Animals • Bears • Crime • Thailand • World
May 13th, 2011
08:26 AM ET

Ron Springs, former Dallas Cowboys player, dies after four years in coma

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ron Springs died after four years in a coma without regaining consciousness, the team announced on on its site.

He died of a heart attack Thursday, the team said.

Springs, 54, began his career at Ohio State and was drafted into the Cowboys in 1979, where he started alongside Tony Dorsett.

After his NFL career ended, he battled several health problems.

In 1990, doctors told him he had diabetes; in 2007, he got a kidney transplant; and later that year, he fell into a coma during an operation to remove a cyst.

"Ron's life will always be remembered by the joy and laughter that he brought to others and the courage and toughness he displayed until the end," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "Regardless of the circumstances, he always had a smile for everyone. The Dallas Cowboys have lost a wonderful member of our family, and we share our thoughts and prayers with his family."

Springs is survived by his wife, Adriane, and son Shawn Springs, who is a cornerback in the NFL, the statement said.

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Filed under: Football • Sports
Solar-powered plane making first international flight
The Solar Impulse takes off from Switzerland on Friday morning on its first international flight.
May 13th, 2011
08:12 AM ET

Solar-powered plane making first international flight

A solar-powered airplane was making its first international flight Friday, a 12-hour, 370-mile journey from Switzerland to Belgium.

Pilot André Borschberg left the experimental plane's base in Payerne, Switzerland, at 8:40 a.m. local time and will pass over portions of France and Luxembourg before landing at Zaventem Airport in Brussels, according to the mission's website, solarimpulse.com.

Last July, the plane successfully stayed aloft for 26 hours during a test flight.

Solar Impulse has a wingspan of more than 206 feet (63 meters) - the same as an Airbus A340 - and is nearly 72 feet (22 meters) long. It weighs about 3,500 pounds (1,600 kilograms) and has nearly 12,000 solar cells attached to its wings and horizontal stabilizers.

The plane is equipped with four electric engines and has a top speed of about 43 mph (70 kph).

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Filed under: Air travel • Aviation • Energy • Environment • Technology
On the Radar: Gas prices; town awaits flood; nuclear accident compensation
A Chicago BP station advertises regular gas for $4.799 a gallon earlier this month.
May 13th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

On the Radar: Gas prices; town awaits flood; nuclear accident compensation

Gas prices: The national average price of a gallon of regular gas dropped two-tenths of a cent overnight to $3.982, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The average price is virtually unchanged from a week ago and is about 13 cents below the record average price of $4.114, recorded on July 17, 2008.

But analysts fear pump prices could rise as Mississippi River floodwaters move downriver toward New Orleans.

"When we've had floodwaters in this part of Louisiana before, it has closed up to 12 refineries," Peter Beutel, an analyst with energy risk management firm Cameron Hanover, told CNNMoney. "The fear here is that we could see refineries close again." Beutel was referring to the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

How much of your paycheck is going to pay for gas? Check out CNNMoney's state-by-state look.

Town waits for flood: The small town of Butte La Rose, Louisiana, is waiting to learn if the Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Spillway to let waters from the swollen Mississippi River into the community of 800 homes.

Hundreds of people heard a dire prediction from Col. Ed Fleming of the Army Corps of Engineers at the town's firehouse.

"I'm telling you the depth of water from right here will be 15 feet," he told them.

Read what CNN's Ed Lavandera found in the Cajun community.

Nuclear accident compensation: Japan's government has announced that victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident will be getting financial compensation.

Some analysts say total compensation could amount to more than 10 trillion yen ($124 billion).

More than 78,000 people have been displaced by the disaster. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, has made a down payment on compensation of 1 million yen (about $12,000) per household to some families.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Economy • Energy • Japan • Louisiana • Natural Disasters
U.N.: Up to 850 dead in Syria crackdown
May 13th, 2011
06:18 AM ET

U.N.: Up to 850 dead in Syria crackdown

The months-long crackdown by Syrian security forces on anti-government protesters may have left as many as 850 people dead, a United Nations spokesman said Friday.

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Filed under: Syria • World