Overheard on CNN.com: Oh boy, a new scandal!
June 2nd, 2011
06:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Oh boy, a new scandal!

Comment of the Day:

"That FOX and CNN are making so much of this is the obscenity. A picture of gray undies with a bulge? Please, I see more revealing images on Saturday morning cartoons. This country must be the laughingstock of the developed world. So puritanical and uptight. Get a life!!"–Jambo

Congressman says he did not post lewd photo on Twitter

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, pictured, D-New York, told CNN that he did not post a lewd photo apparently sent to a young woman from his Twitter account. Did he recognize himself or his underwear in the picture? He would not say.

Many CNN.com readers said the story was embarrassingly unimportant. Mascon, a Canadian, said, "I am always laughing at the reactions of the Americans, but this one really takes the cake. If his name was not Weiner it would never been in the news. I find nothing lewd about the picture. To thinking people, Weiner has handled it well; and to the others...who gives a crap??"

Androidicus said, "What, it's against the law to send photos of yourself in your underwear now?" Shinethelite said, "I haven't seen the picture but heard it was no big thing."

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Ground-penetrating radars searching for alleged Agent Orange buried in S. Korea
South Korean technicians help survey the area at Camp Carroll for Agent Orange using a ground-penetrating radar.
June 2nd, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Ground-penetrating radars searching for alleged Agent Orange buried in S. Korea

Ground-penetrating radar machines, which can search for objects up to 10 meters deep, are being used by the U.S. military on Camp Carroll military base in South Korea to check if supplies of Agent Orange was buried there.

Concern in the local community of Chilgok, 300 kms (186 miles) south of Seoul is clear.

Posters are draped over the railings surrounding the U.S. military base, all with the same message to the U.S. military: Start digging and start apologizing.

One lone protester at the gates of the base holds a placard that reads: “This land is not the graveyard of Agent Orange.”

Four U.S. veterans allege they were ordered to bury barrels of the toxic herbicide on the base in 1978 - allegations that have shocked South Korea.

"I'm very concerned," District Gov. Seho Jang told CNN. "It greatly affects the survival of the entire area and people.”

The U.S. military insists it has no records of Agent Orange ever being stored or disposed of on this base, but it says records do show 65 drums of herbicides, pesticides, solvents and other chemicals were buried on Camp Carroll in 1978.

The military says those drums were dug up again a year later and prepared for shipment, but that's where the trail goes cold.

The U.S. military says their No. 1 priority is to find out where those drums ended up.

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Filed under: Military • South Korea • U.S.
Nancy Garrido gets 36 years to life in Jaycee Dugard kidnapping
Phillip and Nancy Garrido abducted Jaycee Dugard when she was 11 years old.
June 2nd, 2011
01:15 PM ET

Nancy Garrido gets 36 years to life in Jaycee Dugard kidnapping

[Updated at 1:15 p.m.] Nancy Garrido was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison for her role in the kidnapping and sexual assault of Jaycee Dugard, Garrido's attorney said Thursday.

She and her husband, Phillip Garrido, held Dugard captive from the time the girl was 11 until she was 29.

Phillip Garrido also is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in an El Dorado County, California, court.

The married couple pleaded guilty in late April in El Dorado Superior Court to the kidnapping and sexual assault of Dugard, whom they held captive from age 11 until she was 29.

They abducted Dugard when she was 11, and held her in a hidden compound on their home's grounds in Antioch, California.

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Filed under: Crime • Jaycee Dugard
Latest developments: Middle East and North Africa unrest
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators call for the ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh during protests on Thursday.
June 2nd, 2011
01:07 PM ET

Latest developments: Middle East and North Africa unrest

[Updated at 1:07 p.m.] Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abedine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here's a look at what's next for the 'Arab Spring' and look at the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of unrest.

BAHRAIN

After state-of-emergency laws that had allowed for a crackdown on opposition leaders and journalists were lifted Wednesday it was thought to be an effort to signal an end to months of civil unrest.

As the state of emergency was lifted, protesters gathered across Bahrain, in locations including Aldiraz, Daih, Bani Jamrah, Karzakan, Abo Qowa, Duraz and Sitra, according to Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini human rights activist.

Rajab said peaceful protesters were attacked by security forces with tear gas and rubber bullets, causing injuries but no deaths. The demonstrations were dispersed soon after they started, he said.

On Tuesday, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa appealed for dialogue, saying that talks with opposition groups are scheduled to begin in July.

GPS: How radical are Bahrain's Shia?

Bahrain warns against state protests

Roots of Unrest:

Protesters initially took to the streets of Manama to demand reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy. But some are now calling for the removal of the royal family, which has led the Persian Gulf state since the 18th century. Young members of the country's Shiite Muslim majority have staged protests to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption, issues they say the country's Sunni rulers have done little to address.

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Thursday's intriguing people
Tareke Brhane, once a refugee, is an international humanitarian worker.
June 2nd, 2011
01:03 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Tareke Brhane

Six years ago, the native of Eritrea survived 10 days crossing the Sahara Desert, a failed trip to Italy by sea, and months in Libyan jails — including time in the notorious Kufra prison — before he finally found refuge in Italy. Today, he works for Save the Children on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, where he and other humanitarian workers have greeted an estimated 30,000 African refugees in the past three months. Brhane recalled his journey from refugee to humanitarian worker to CNN's Ivan Watson.

Richard Covino

The Boston paramedic is a lieutenant with Boston Emergency Medical Services and a full-time firefighter for the Massachusetts Port Authority, a double duty that caused his suspension from his positions. Now, he will head back to work after both agencies reinstated him. Before his April suspensions, Covino was working up to 100 hours a week and earning about $200,000 a year, according to the The Boston Globe. Last year, there were at least five occasions where he was paid for working both jobs at the same time. State officials say that although he has been reinstated to both roles now, Covino is no longer allowed to swap shifts, which made it possible for him to work so many hours.

Joshua Kaufman

An enterprising crime victim from Oakland, California, says he got his stolen laptop back with the help of Tumblr, Twitter and a photo-taking app. The day that his computer was stolen in March, Kaufman says, he told the Oakland Police Department and started tracking his laptop using Hidden, a program that identifies a computer's location and allows owners to secretly take pictures of users. Weeks passed, and Kaufman wasn't satisfied with the slow pace of the police investigation, so to get some attention, he set up an account on the blogging service Tumblr titled "This Guy Has My MacBook." There, he posted pictures of a man using his laptop. Kaufman also began to tweet about his predicament, which attracted media attention. Finally, on Tuesday, Oakland police reportedly told Kaufman they were on their way to apprehend a suspect. Kaufman used Twitter to give a play-by-play of his detective work, at one point tweeting, "ARRESTED! An Oakland police officer just called me to let me know that they arrested the guy in my photos! BOOYA!" Kaufman says he got his laptop back Wednesday.

Gotta Watch: Casey Anthony jail tapes
In 2008, Casey Anthony talks with her mother Cindy from jail.
June 2nd, 2011
12:24 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Casey Anthony jail tapes

The Casey Anthony trial could be one of the most dramatic court cases since the O.J. Simpson criminal proceedings. The gut-wrenching testimony and reaction from Casey's parents spurred interest in what they had to say back in 2008 when Caylee was still missing. Here are some telling moments from the trial and from jail conversations Casey had with her parents.

The drowning theory – In 2008, Casey Anthony brushes off what her mom says is a media allegation that Caylee drowned in a pool. She then goes on to assure her mom that she knows in her heart that Caylee is okay.

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Crime • Gotta Watch
Kansas governor eliminates state funding for arts
The Kansas Arts Commission's website notes that all programs and grant operations have been terminated.
June 2nd, 2011
12:11 PM ET

Kansas governor eliminates state funding for arts

Kansas has become the first state to have all its state funding for arts programs eliminated.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback used a line-item veto to cut public funding for the Kansas Arts Commission. The commission has been operating since 1966, a year after Congress set up the National Endowment for the Arts.

The commission's Web site announced the news starkly with the sentence:  "All Kansas Arts Commission programs and grant operations for Fiscal Year 2012 have been terminated effective immediately."

Brownback has been outspoken about his desire to make arts funding entirely private.

The conservative leader has pointed to Vermont as a state with a nonprofit arts agency that's privately funded. But Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Alexander L. Aldrich responded by writing an open letter to Brownback, noting that without state appropriations it would be unable to provide "underserved communities" with arts education or "accessibility services to hundreds of historic cultural venues that were built long before the passage of the (Americans With Disabilities Act), and a host of other grants that support our creative sector."

"... (E)very State SHOULD invest in the arts sector simply because it makes good economic sense," the letter also says.

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Filed under: Kansas • Politics
Plate icon to guide Americans to healthier eating
The new icon, MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to adopt healthier eating habits.
June 2nd, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Plate icon to guide Americans to healthier eating

The food pyramid has been dismantled in favor of a simple plate icon that urges Americans to eat a more plant-based diet.

One half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and lean protein on the other half, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Low-fat dairy on the side, such as a cup of skim milk or yogurt, is also suggested.

The new plate icon is designed to remind Americans to adopt healthier eating habits, in a time when more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.

"It's an opportunity for Americans to understand quickly how to have a balanced and nutritious meal," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "It's a constant reminder as you look at your own plate whether your portion sizes are right, whether you've got enough fruits and vegetables on that plate."

Vilsack, first lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin spoke at a Thursday press conference to unveil the new plate icon.

Obama has led a national campaign for healthier diets and more physical exercise, called Let's Move, which aims to reduce childhood obesity in the United States within a generation.

The goal of the new icon is to simplify nutritional information, Obama said.

"When it comes to eating, what's more useful than a plate?" she asked. "It's a quick simple way for all of us to be mindful of the foods we're eating."

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Filed under: Health • Nutrition
June 2nd, 2011
11:04 AM ET

SI.com: Biting during fight, last-minute goal highlight Stanley Cup game

It took 69 shots and more than two hours, but when all was said and done the Stanley Cup finals opener went to the Canucks, courtesy of a last-minute goal by Raffi Torres. Vancouver beat the Bruins 1-0 at home and as SI.com's Sarah Kwak explains, an improved third period paved the way for the Canucks Game 1 victory.

"In a cleaner third period, Vancouver seemed to play better without the interruptions and distractions that come with taking penalties,” Kwak writes. “The whistles were active early, and the animosity took no time to develop between the two teams that have met just three times in the last three years. Little history, but no lack of dramatics."

Perhaps the most dramatic moment of Game 1 came early during a post-first period brawl, when Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows was seen biting down on Bruins center Patrice Bergeron's finger. Burrows denied the incident, despite Bergeron sporting a bandage on his finger after the game.

Up tonight:

Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks (9:00 p.m., ET) – A torn tendon in his finger isn't expected to hinder Mavs' star Dirk Nowitzki when the team heads into Game 2 of the NBA Finals Thursday night. Miami leads the series 1-0.

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Chinese agency says European E. coli is new strain; Russia sets ban
June 2nd, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Chinese agency says European E. coli is new strain; Russia sets ban

Russia has announced a ban on fresh vegetable imports from the European Union in the wake of a deadly outbreak from a possibly new E. coli strain that has swept across parts of Europe.

It was a Chinese research institute blamed the outbreak on a new E. coli strain, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the strain has been seen before.

Scientists at the Beijing Genomic Institute said the outbreak of infection in Germany is caused by a new "super-toxic" E. coli strain.

The CDC said the strain is very rare and added that while it is not aware of any cases reported in the United States, it is aware of a few reports of the strain from other countries. Britain's Health Protection Agency has said that the strain suspected in the outbreak is "rare" and "seldom seen in the UK."

The outbreak is responsible for 15 deaths in Germany and one in Sweden, according to the World Health Organization, and has sickened more than 1,000 people in at least 10 countries.

Russia imposed the vegetable ban, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday, because "no one wants to get sick. It is a natural protective measure taken in response to events that are happening in Europe today."

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Soldier cited for holding off up to 30 Taliban by himself
Acting Sgt. Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles displays his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
June 2nd, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Soldier cited for holding off up to 30 Taliban by himself

Britain's newest hero is a Nepali.

Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday awarded Britain's second-highest award for bravery, the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, to Acting Sgt. Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

While stationed as a lone sentry at a checkpoint in Afghanistan's Helmand province on September 17, Pun fended off an attack by up to 30 Taliban fighters.

"There were many Taliban around me," Pun said in an interview with British Forces News. "I thought they are definitely going to kill me. ... I thought before they kill me I have to kill some of them."

During the 15-minute battle, Pun fired more than 400 rounds of ammunition, detonated 17 grenades and a mine and even threw his gun tripod at a Taliban fighter climbing toward his position, according to British Forces News.

"He was just about to climb up there and I hit (him) with my tripod and he fell down again," Pun told British Forces News.

Pun's actions saved the lives of three fellow soldiers at the checkpoint and were the "bravest seen in his battalion over two hard tours in Afghanistan," according to his medal citation.

Pun was not wounded in the firefight.

“That he survived unscathed is simply incredible," his medal citation says. “Throughout Dip’s actions he was under almost constant intense fire. Dip’s courage and gallantry were simply astonishing."

Pun, 31, joined the British military in 2000 and also has served in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Like other Gurkhas, Pun is from Nepal. The Gurkhas were incorporated into British forces after their fighting skill impressed the opposition British during the Nepal Wars of 1814 to 1816. As part of the peace treaty ending that conflict, Gurkhas were admitted into East India Company's army and then into the British military.

Gurkhas recruited solely in Nepal remain Nepalese citizens during their service. Gurkha unit officers are British.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Nepal • Queen Elizabeth II • United Kingdom • World
June 2nd, 2011
07:50 AM ET

Thursday's live video events

As another candidate throws his hat into the ring, remember that CNN.com Live is your home for the 2012 presidential election!

Today's programming highlights...

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

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June 2nd, 2011
06:03 AM ET

On the Radar: Dietary symbol, Garrido sentencing, civil unions

Three things you need to know today.

The food pyramid will be replaced

Dietary guidelines: First lady Michelle Obama and several other officials will unveil a new food icon Thursday to replace the food pyramid, the symbol that showed us what a healthy diet looks like.

The new symbol "will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food  choices," the White House said.

Obama will be joined by Agriculture  Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin during the event at the auditorium in the Department of Agriculture.

A statement released by the Department of Agriculture said the new icon will be "an easy-to-understand  visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits." An individual familiar with the new guidelines told CNN last week the new icon will be a plate.

The move is part of Obama's push to fight childhood obesity.

Garrido sentencing: Two decades after kidnapping Jaycee Dugard in front of her California home, Phillip and Nancy Garrido will be sentenced to life in prison Thursday.

The married couple pleaded guilty in late April in El Dorado Superior Court to the kidnapping and sexual assault of Dugard, whom they held captive from age 11 through age 29.

They abducted Dugard when she was 11, and held her in a hidden compound on their home's grounds in Antioch, California.

Dugard was snatched from the street in front of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California, in 1991. Authorities found her in 2009.

Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender on parole at the time of his arrest, is accused of fathering two daughters with Dugard during her captivity.

Illinois civil unions: Thirty couples will participate in civil union ceremonies Thursday in Chicago's Wrigley Square at Millennium Park as the city celebrates the first day such unions are allowed in Illinois.

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, allowing same-sex unions in the state, became law on Wednesday, allowing couples to obtain their licenses from a county clerk's office. Under Illinois law, couples must wait a day after obtaining their civil union licenses before the ceremonies may be performed.

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Filed under: Civil Rights • Courts • Food • Illinois • Jaycee Dugard • Justice