Gabrielle Giffords arrives in Tucson for weekend visit to hometown
June 17th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Gabrielle Giffords arrives in Tucson for weekend visit to hometown

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords touched down in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, on Friday to see her family for the weekend, according to her congressional office.

"Gabrielle and Mark are looking forward to a beautiful weekend," her office posted on Twitter.

Giffords was released from TIRR Memorial Hermann in Texas this week to begin outpatient rehabilitation, and the visit is her first to Arizona since January, her office said in a statement.

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Overheard on CNN.com: No dad-bashing on Father's Day!
June 17th, 2011
05:22 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: No dad-bashing on Father's Day!

Comment of the Day:

"Funny, my Father's Day wish is to go the hell back to sleep when I wake the hell up that morning. Here's hoping I get my wish, because I'm usually waking the hell up and helping the kids with their breakfast, cleaning the hell out of the kitchen, vacuuming the hell out of the house and then sometime in the late afternoon drinking a hell of a beer."–BeerBrewerDa

A Father's Day wish: Dads, wake the hell up!

Stay-at-hom dad Jeff Pearlman gave some tips on enjoying the kids and helping around the house and apparently hit a nerve. Many CNN.com readers were furious at what they saw as being lectured right before Father's Day.

NewsEditor said, "As a father of two wonderful kids, I find this article completely insulting and about 30 years too late. Fathers today are involved with their kids’ lives more than ever before, despite the outdated and totally unfair custody laws that still exist in most states. I'll be making my kids' dinner and doing their laundry tonight, but it will be because I always do and not because my wife has to nag me about it, just like most men of my generation I know."

sensiblem said, "On Mother's Day, women get long flowery prose about how mothers are the sole reason for their kids' success. On Father's Day, men get berated for not being better parents. Yes, I get that there are a lot of people out there who grew up with distant or absent fathers. My father wasn't really around either. But as someone who is involved in his kids' lives, is it really too much to ask for people to lay off the 'deadbeat dad' stereotype and actually, ya know, appreciate fathers on Father's Day?"

mediaisajoke said, "This article is both pompous and presumptuous, and would have been better received had it not been written like a laundry list of chores left on the refrigerator by the wife. Also, a recent CNN article shows that more than 50% of modern males do more than their fair share in raising children, despite long workdays and household chores that need to be done. Every guy I know is a devoted dad who bends over backwards for his kids. Yes, I am a little riled up over this article; extrapolate from that what you will."

BeerBrewerDa asked, "Would it be so bad for us to get breakfast in bed or taken out to brunch? Mother's Day is all about flowery prose, as you say, and all of the enjoyable trappings that go along with that. How about throwing some of that our way? I wouldn't mind a card that says how awesome I am, as opposed to another one about farts and beer."

Saggy pants lead to passenger's arrest

Deshon Marman was returning home from a funeral when he boarded a US Airways Flight wearing saggy pants that showed his underwear. He refused to pull them up when asked by US Airways employees and was arrested by the captain for trespassing when he refused to leave the plane. Most CNN.com readers said Marman should have pulled up his pants.

MCHammBohn said, "We can debate if the captain should have ordered him off the plane in the first place. That's a reasonable debate. However, once the captain did issue the order, the passenger is legally obligated to comply. He didn't. That's criminal. Just because they don't tell you exactly what to wear does not mean they do not have a policy."

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June 17th, 2011
04:43 PM ET

'Barefoot Bandit' pleads guilty to seven federal charges

Colton Harris-Moore, whom authorities have dubbed the Barefoot Bandit, pleaded guilty Friday to several federal charges stemming from actions that led to his dramatic July 2010 capture in the Bahamas.

Harris-Moore gained notoriety and earned his nickname for allegedly leading police on a two-year manhunt while eluding capture in stolen boats, cars and planes, often while barefoot.

Dressed in a khaki prison uniform at the hearing Friday, Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to seven counts, including stealing an airplane, piloting an airplane without a license, burglarizing a bank and possessing a firearm as a fugitive. He faces additional charges in Washington state.

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Beetles buried to boost breeding
An American burying beetle perches on the wing of a dead bird. This species of beetle is endangered.
June 17th, 2011
02:45 PM ET

Beetles buried to boost breeding

What do you do with one of the world's most endangered insects? Throw it in a hole with a dead animal, of course.

That's exactly what about 35 scientists, foresters and volunteers did this week with 150 pairs of American burying beetles in Ohio's Wayne National Forest, said Bob Merz, director of the Center for American Burying Beetle Conservation at the St. Louis Zoo.

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • Insects • Missouri • Ohio • Rhode Island • Science
Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country
A screen grab from YouTube video shows smoke billowing during clashes between Syrian anti-government protesters and security forces in Syria.
June 17th, 2011
02:33 PM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

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 Abidine Ben Ali.

In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Starting a revolution with technology

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

Prayer and politics: How Friday became the Middle East's day of protest

SYRIA

Protests unfolded in several towns big and small across the country, including the Damascus area, Latakia, Homs and Hama, where thousands of people took to the streets, according to Rami Abdelrahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Abdelrahman said four people died in Homs and one in Deir El Zour during demonstrations in Syria. The Lebanese army said fighting over the Syrian issue in the Lebanese city of Tripoli left at least four dead.

Three Syrian security personnel were injured by "militants" in a Damascus suburb, the government's state-run TV said, the first report of violence on another tense Friday of mass protests erupting across the nation.

Rami Makhlouf, the powerful head of the Syriatel phone company and part of the regime's inner circle, has announced that he plans to quit his business and go into charity work. Makhlouf, who is the cousin and confidant of President Bashar al-Assad, is widely unpopular among protesters and is a symbol among many citizens of the regime.

Many Syrians fleeing the violence continued to pour across the Turkish border, with the number of refugees now more than 9,600.


In the Altinozu refugee camp across the restive Syrian border, actress Angelina Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, is visiting Syrian refugees in Turkey on Friday, a trip aimed at shining a spotlight on the plight of civilians in the country.

TIME.com: Syrian tends to refugees

Roots of Unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's Cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

Syrian crackdown 'revolting,' State Department spokeswoman says 
Opinion: What could shake Syria's regime

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Friday's intriguing people
Lupe Fiasco will appear on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" after host Bill O'Reilly called the rapper a "pinhead."
June 17th, 2011
11:40 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Lupe Fiasco

The Chicago rapper is reportedly appearing on an episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" to discuss his assertion that President Barack Obama is "the biggest terrorist." Fiasco was widely panned for making the remark during a CBS interview and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly joined the choir of critics this week.

He called the rapper a "pinhead" for the Obama remark and for denouncing the "foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists." O'Reilly further claimed that Fiasco could not defend the remark and that he had refused an invitation to appear on the show. Fiasco quickly set the record straight via Twitter: "Whoa! I got invited to the O'reilly factor and turned it down??? Thats news to me ... would NEVER turn down the opp to push billys buttons!"

Now come reports from BET and others that the rapper will appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" next week. Should be a fascinating chat.

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June 17th, 2011
10:38 AM ET

Police investigate suspicious vehicle near Pentagon

[Updated at 10:35 a.m.] Authorities closed commuter routes in the area around the Pentagon on Friday, snarling morning rush-hour traffic, after detaining a man acting suspiciously in Arlington National Cemetery and finding a car abandoned in bushes on the side of an area road.

No explosives or other suspicious material were found in the vehicle, a red 2011 Nissan, FBI Special Agent Brenda Heck told reporters. A backpack the detained man was carrying held bags of what Heck called a "non-explosive unknown material" that was being investigated, she said.

"There was not a device," said Heck, who specializes in counterterrorism but said her presence in the case was to represent the FBI in determining if any federal laws were violated.

Heck also said authorities believe the man, who was detained sometime after midnight, acted alone, and was thought to be in his mid-20s. She provided no further details of his identity or what he had told authorities.

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'Historic step' as U.N. group passes resolution supporting gay rights‎
People celebrate during a gay pride march this month in Strasbourg, France.
June 17th, 2011
10:13 AM ET

'Historic step' as U.N. group passes resolution supporting gay rights‎

In what the U.S. State Department is calling a "historic step," the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva passed a resolution Friday supporting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.

The resolution, introduced by South Africa, is the first-ever U.N. resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons.

It passed with 23 votes in favor, 19 opposed and three abstentions, amid strong criticism of South Africa by some African nations.

Suzanne Nossel, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, told CNN, "It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights and that that has to be accepted globally."

"It talks about the violence and discrimination that people of LGBT persuasion experience around the world," she said, "and that those issues ... need to be taken seriously. It calls for reporting on what's going on, where people are being discriminated against, the violence that is taking place, and it really puts the issue squarely on the U.N.'s agenda going forward."

Divided opinion continues among some countries about whether the time has come to take up gay rights in the U.N. forum, Nossel said, "so this resolution is really significant as far as gaining widespread support for doing just that."

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Saudi women get behind the wheel, challenge custom
Women get into the backseat of a vehicle in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on June 14, 2011.
June 17th, 2011
10:04 AM ET

Saudi women get behind the wheel, challenge custom

Saudi women have been encouraged to challenge the status quo and get behind the wheel Friday.

The initiative is called "Women2Drive," a campaign demanding the right for women to drive and travel freely in Saudi Arabia.

Though there are no traffic laws that make it illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, religious edicts are often interpreted as a ban against female drivers. One female motorist spent more than a week in custody in May, supporters said.

The day was expected to be a test of wills, and authority, between police and the campaign, which has been publicized by Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

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Gotta Watch: Infamous runaways
The nation anxiously watched as O.J. Simpson led police on a low-speed car chase in 1994.
June 17th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Infamous runaways

It may be the most memorable car chase ever. On June 17th, 1994, O.J. Simpson led California police on a low-speed chase down a Los Angeles highway. Viewers nationwide were glued to their televisions as they waited to see what would happen to the football great-turned-murder suspect.  The anniversary reminded us about other notable people who ran away from the law. You've gotta watch some of these infamous runaways.

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Jolie in Turkey to meet Syrian refugees
June 17th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Jolie in Turkey to meet Syrian refugees

Actress Angelina Jolie, a longtime goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, arrived in southern Turkey on Friday to visit Syrian refugees, a high-profile trip focusing attention on misery faced by ordinary citizens who have escaped violence in turbulent Syria.

Jolie, who is scheduled to visit the Altinozu refugee camp, arrived at the airport in Hatay and was greeted by officials, according to the state-run Anatolian Agency.

Hatay provincial officials had vans for the trip to Altinozu, and "toys unloaded from the plane were loaded to one of the vans in her convoy," the agency reported.

More than 9,600 Syrian men, women, and children have fled their country for Turkey to escape violence, including a military offensive in the Jisr al-Shugur area.

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Tension grips Syria on another Friday of protests
Syrian boys stand behind a fence at the Turkish Red Crescent camp Friday, 30 kilometers from the Syrian border.
June 17th, 2011
09:58 AM ET

Tension grips Syria on another Friday of protests

Three Syrian security personnel were injured by "militants" in a Damascus suburb, the government's state-run TV said, the first report of violence on another tense Friday of mass protests erupting across the nation.

The Syrian government has consistently blamed the protest casualties on "armed gangs" and the TV report said the injuries occurred when the perpetrators opened fire in Al-Qaboun, just outside the capital.

Protests unfolded in several towns big and small across the country, including the Damascus area, Latakia, Homs, and Hama, where thousands of people took to the streets, according to Rami Abdelrahman, of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Friday's live video events
June 17th, 2011
07:53 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Anthony Weiner may no longer be a congressman, but the fallout from his resignation over a sexting scandal continues to be the talk of Capitol Hill.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the scandal.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - The defense continues presenting its case in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.

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Filed under: Anthony Weiner • Casey Anthony • Crime • District of Columbia • Elections • Florida • Justice • Libya • Louisiana • On CNN.com today • Politics • Republican Party • U.S. • World
Gotta Watch: Superheroes
Ryan Reynolds is the latest actor to put on the green tights of "Green Lantern."
June 17th, 2011
07:13 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Superheroes

It’s the summer of the superhero. "Green Lantern" premieres today and it’s the latest in a list of films focused on people with supernatural powers. But superheroes aren’t just on the big screen; they exist in real life, too. You’ve gotta watch the superheroes in our midst.
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On the Radar: Friday without 'Friday,' solar groundbreaking, Saudi driving
Rebecca Black's 'Friday' video had gotten more than 170 million hits on YouTube.
June 17th, 2011
06:11 AM ET

On the Radar: Friday without 'Friday,' solar groundbreaking, Saudi driving

Three things you need to know today.

Where's 'Friday'?: This will be your first Friday in, well it seems like forever, that you can't kick off with a Rebecca Black "Friday" video fix from YouTube.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the clip, which had more than 167 million views, has been pulled.

“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Rebecca Black. Sorry about that” is what you'll read when you click on the link.

The website NME.com reports that the video was pulled in a dispute with Ark Music, which wrote the track's music.

Solar power plant: Friday is the official groundbreaking for what is billed as the world's largest solar energy facility.

The Blythe Solar Power Project is being constructed on 7,000 acres of public lands in the desert of Riverside County, California.

When it is completed, the solar power plant will produce electricity to power 300,000 single-family homes for a year, its backers say. Using the plant's solar-generated electricity rather than fossil fuels will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2 million tons a year.

During construction, the plant is expected to create 1,066 construction jobs and almost 300 permanent jobs.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joins other state and local officials for Friday's groundbreaking.

Saudi driving: Saudi women are being encouraged to challenge the status quo and get behind the wheel Friday.

Though there are no traffic laws that make it illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, religious edicts are often interpreted as a ban against female drivers.

The day is expected to be a test of wills - and authority - between police and the campaign, which has been publicized by Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

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Filed under: California • Celebrity • Energy • Environment • Music • Saudi Arabia • Showbiz • YouTube