May 19th, 2011
06:24 PM ET

As flooding spreads, debate rages over price of manipulating Mother Nature

The river gives and the river takes away.

Which is perhaps why those who see the impact firsthand continue to look for solutions, hoping that something can be saved.

But whether manipulating the system to battle Mother Nature is worth the price - environmentally and financially - is a hot topic near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Yazoo River, which drains into the Mississippi River, continues to put pressure on the levee system with backwater flooding spreading.  The South Delta often is inundated during heavy rains, and a flood like this one is overwhelming.

In this area, where the Mississippi is cresting, residents see a means of controlling the river, and they believe their state is getting a raw deal.

In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency vetoed Mississippi's plan to build the world's largest hydraulic pumping station where the Delta drains into the Yazoo, which in turn drains into the Mississippi. It was authorized as part of the Flood Control Act of 1941, but Congress didn't fully fund it. Several attempts to get it done have failed and the EPA veto appears to be the final hammer blow, with the EPA contending the project didn't meet all the requirements to proceed under the Clean Water Act.

Locals blame bureaucracy and lobbyists, and say a poor state is getting the shaft. They see Louisiana with all its pumping stations and feel slighted. But critics of Mississippi's plan say it would cost too much for too few people and that it would destroy wetlands.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Will they ever get good jobs?
May 19th, 2011
06:11 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Will they ever get good jobs?

Comments of the Day:

"I'm a 2008 Economics graduate and I've had to change my career goals three times. Despite my bad luck, I've got my head up and am still charging hard. Bottom line is grit your teeth, eat lead, spit bullets, punch a grizzly, keep going through hell." - bravodelta

"We, the recent college graduates, are going to be the strongest, wisest and most determined generation this world has seen in a very long time." – HawaiianCane

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May 19th, 2011
04:14 PM ET

Family legacy threatened to be swept away by floods

Howard Jones' family has been in the lumber business in Natchez, Mississippi, a charming town on the eastern banks of the mighty Mississippi River, for five generations. Now the swollen river was threatening to sweep away their operation and the family’s legacy.

Jones was covered in sweat and dirt, and after about 10 minutes, I was too. The JM Jones Lumber Co. is a dry, dusty place to work. Fine, powdery sand constantly sloughs off the bluff above it, wafting its way down into the yard where it mixes with sawdust. My boots and pant legs, our vehicles and equipment, were coated in it. Odd really, as there has never been so much water so close.

Just three weeks ago, Jones received warning that the river would go to 60 feet or higher. The lumber yard is right on the banks - well below the bluff above it that serves as a natural levee -  so they were forced to suspend operations and go into the levee building business.

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New York jury indicts Strauss-Kahn on seven counts; court grants bail
Dominque Strauss-Kahn was indicted on seven counts in New York on Thursday, the same day he was granted bail.
May 19th, 2011
03:41 PM ET

New York jury indicts Strauss-Kahn on seven counts; court grants bail

[Updated at 3:59 p.m. ET] Strauss-Kahn has been granted bail on several conditions.

He must post a $1 million cash bail, surrender his travel documents and agree to home detention. He must also post a $5 million cash bond.

Strauss-Kahn had previously been held without bail at New York's Rikers Island prison.

[Posted at 3:41 p.m. ET] A grand jury in New York has voted to indict former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on seven criminal charges.

The charges are two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, sexual abuse in the third degree, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, attempt to commit rape in the first degree and forcible touching.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested earlier this month and charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault on a 32-year-old housekeeping employee at a luxury suite in a Manhattan hotel.

Read CNN's full coverage of the Strauss-Kahn indictment and bail hearing
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Comparisons to Chernobyl slammed as images of Japan tsunami emerge
Tokyo Electric Power Co. released images Thursday of the devastating tsunami rolling toward its nuclear plant.
May 19th, 2011
01:22 PM ET

Comparisons to Chernobyl slammed as images of Japan tsunami emerge

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. has released dramatic tsunami images on its website, as a nuclear expert slammed comparisons between the Japan nuclear disaster and Chernobyl.

The photos, which are available on TEPCO's website, show the tsunami that crippled the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant barreling toward the facility before inundating it with water.

The news came as the power company continued to issue press releases reporting radiation in the groundwater and seawater around the plant. It also came two days after the company said it learned that a pressure vessel in reactor No. 1 may be leaking and that the reactor's fuel rods almost melted completely hours after the tsunami hit.

A U.S. physicist said, if accurate, the revelations would indicate a "very, very bad accident" that would be difficult to clean up.

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Gotta Watch: Comics take on Arnold
Since revealing he had an affair that resulted in a child, Arnold Schwarzenegger has become a hot topic and punchline for comedians.
May 19th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Comics take on Arnold

The fallout from the revelation of Arnold Schwarzenegger's extramarital affair and the child he had with a household staffer has provided comedic fodder for celebrities. From "images" of Schwarzenegger's son to an old Hollywood view on infidelity, you've gotta watch how these jokesters tackle Ah-nald and his spectacular controversy.
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SI.com: Miami heats up against the Bulls to tie series
The Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem dunks against the Chicago Bulls' Keith Bogans.
May 19th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

SI.com: Miami heats up against the Bulls to tie series

The Heat certainly aren't going down without a fight - and they proved that Wednesday night in a 85-75 victory over the Bulls. In the first few minutes of Game 2, the Heat seemed to have learned little from their first Eastern Conference final loss. But then came Udonis Haslem.

As SI.com's Ian Thomsen explains, Haslem wasn't a sure-fire answer to what was shaping up as a repeat performance of the Heat's Game 1 loss.

"Was he [ready]? No one could be sure," Thomsen writes of Haslem. "Not until he began to change the game, shouldering it and levering it and bodying up against the season-long trends that the Bulls had created and finally compelling them to swing the other way. Miami's 85-75 Game 2 victory Wednesday was won on the boards, in the paint and in transition, which is where Haslem used to thrive, and where he thrived now again. And not a game too late for the Heat."

But when all was said and done, Haslem's 13 points, five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in the course of 23 minutes - combined with LeBron James' 29 points and Dwyane Wade's 24 - proved to be a critical factor in the Heat's victory. With the series tied 1-1, expect Sunday's Game 3 match-up at American Airlines Center to be a hard-fought battle between Miami and Chicago.

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FBI: We want Unabomber's DNA in 1982 laced-Tylenol case
Ted Kaczynski, the convicted killer known as the Unabomber, is escorted from court after being sentenced to life in jail in 1998.
May 19th, 2011
10:30 AM ET

FBI: We want Unabomber's DNA in 1982 laced-Tylenol case

Authorities want to take DNA samples from "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski in connection with their investigation into the 1982 incident in which seven people died after taking Tylenol capsules laced with potassium cyanide, according to the FBI office in Chicago.

"As part of the re-examination of the 1982 Tylenol poisonings, the FBI attempted to secure DNA from numerous individuals, including Ted Kaczynski," said Cynthia Yates, FBI spokeswoman. "To date, Kaczynski has declined to voluntarily provide samples."

However, in a handwritten motion filed in federal court aimed at stopping the online auction of possessions taken from his Montana cabin in 1996, Kaczynski writes that he did agree - with a condition - to provide the sample.

Kaczynski, 68, killed three people and wounded 23 others in a string of bombings from 1978 to 1995. The FBI dubbed him the "Unabomber" because of his early targets - universities and airlines. He was arrested in 1996, pleaded guilty in 1998 and is now serving a life term in the federal "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado.

On April 27, Kaczynski writes in the motion filed May 9, prison officials told him that "the Chicago office of the FBI wanted a sample of my DNA to compare with some partial DNA profiles connected with a 1982 event in which someone put potassium cyanide in Tylenol. The officers said the FBI was prepared to get a court order to compel me to provide the DNA sample, but wanted to know whether I would provide the sample voluntarily."

Kaczynski said he asked for time to think about it, and said he later sent a written response to prison officials saying he would provide the sample voluntarily "if the FBI would satisfy a certain condition that is not relevant here."

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Thursday's intriguing people
May 19th, 2011
09:22 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Christine Lagarde

The French finance minister is a front-runner to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. If chosen, Lagarde will be the first woman to run the IMF. Known for being direct, she is one of Europe's most prominent figures in the world of international finance.

“She is enormously impressive, politically astute and a strong personality. At finance meetings all over the world, she is treated practically like a rock star," former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff told The New York Times.

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First-time jobless benefit claims decline again
May 19th, 2011
09:02 AM ET

First-time jobless benefit claims decline again

The number of Americans filing for their first week of unemployment benefits dropped sharply for the second straight week.

In the week ended May 14, 409,000 Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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Thursday's live video events
May 19th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Thursday's live video events

President Obama will address the nation on U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and CNN.com Live will carry his remarks when they happen.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Jury selection in Anthony's trial ended abruptly Wednesday, and speculation is growing as to why.  Court is scheduled to resume this morning.

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IMF head Strauss-Kahn to resign
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, resigned Wednesday, the organization said.
May 19th, 2011
12:45 AM ET

IMF head Strauss-Kahn to resign

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund,  has tendered his resignation, the organization said.

Calls have been mounting for Strauss-Kahn's resignation since he was arrested on charges he sexually assaulted a maid in his hotel room.

"It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of Managing Director of the IMF," Strauss-Kahn said in his resignation letter Wednesday to the IMF.

"I think at this time first of my wife - whom I love more than anything - of my children, of my family, of my friends."

Strauss-Kahn is being held at the Rikers Island jail complex without bail.

Counsel for Strauss-Kahn filed a new appeal on Wednesday seeking his release on bail from Rikers Island.

"We respectfully submit that the following bail conditions ... eliminate any concern that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would or could leave this court's jurisdiction," wrote lawyer Shawn P. Naunton. He then said the International Monetary Fund chief had agreed to post $1 million in cash, to be confined to home detention in Manhattan with electronic monitoring, and to turn over his U.N. travel document. The appeal noted that the Frenchman has already surrendered his passport.

A source close to the Strauss-Kahn defense told CNN's Jeffrey Toobin that a deal is in the works that could result in his being freed on bail as early as Thursday. The deal is tentative and could still fall through, but the defense was optimistic that Strauss-Kahn could be released soon.

Strauss-Kahn's bail appeal to the state Supreme Court will be heard Thursday. It adds conditions that were not in the appeal turned down Monday by a criminal court judge and describes the accused as "a loving husband and father, and a highly regarded international diplomat, lawyer, politician, economist and professor, with no prior criminal record."

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Filed under: Crime • France • New York