June 20th, 2011
11:01 PM ET

Stocks rise as investors grapple with Greece

Some highlights from the day's business news:

U.S. stocks managed decent gains Monday, even as investors remained cautious about Greece's debt crisis.

After slipping about 0.3% in the opening minutes, the major indexes turned higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 76 points, or 0.6%.

Financial stocks JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America were the biggest laggards, while DuPont and Caterpillar led the gains.

The S&P 500 rose 7 points, or 0.5%, and the Nasdaq composite rose 13 points, or 0.5%. Biogen Idec was the best performer on both indexes, with shares rising more than 4%.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Business • Economy
If N.Y. bill passes, over 11% of Americans would be eligible for same-sex marriage
Opponents of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York gathered in the state capitol building Monday.
June 20th, 2011
10:41 PM ET

If N.Y. bill passes, over 11% of Americans would be eligible for same-sex marriage

Should New York become the sixth state to grant same-sex marriage licenses, it would more than double the U.S. population eligible to enter such a union.

Five states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire - and the District of Columbia currently grant same-sex marriage licenses. The combined population of those states and D.C. is 15,712,015, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2010.

The New York state Senate passed the same-sex marriage bill on Friday. It will go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

With the official U.S. population at 308,745,538, that means 5.08% of the population of America is eligible - upon meeting a state's age and other legal requirements - to marry a person of the same sex.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: New York • Same-sex marriage
June 20th, 2011
09:11 PM ET

Rescuers free 3 men trapped in Kentucky coal mine

Three men trapped who were trapped Monday in a Kentucky coal mine were rescued on Monday night, a state government spokesman said.

The miners were brought to the surface in Bell County at 8:22 p.m., Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman Dick Brown said. All three are in good shape and were being taken to a local hospital for evaluation and to be reunited with their families.

Communications had been established with the miners earlier Monday after they were trapped behind water in the Jellico No. 1 mine, U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere said in a statement.

All day, emergency responders were speaking with the men every 15 minutes. Responders, meanwhile, used four pumps to remove water from the mine, according to Louviere.

The mine flooded after heavy overnight rain made a diversion ditch fail, filling the mine and trapping the miners 600 feet away from the entrance, according to a statement released by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Kentucky
June 20th, 2011
07:16 PM ET

Russian jet crash kills 44, authorities say

[Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET] At least 44 people died as a result of a Russian jetliner's crash onto a highway outside Petrozavodsk in northwestern Russia late Monday, emergency management officials said.

The jet had 43 passengers and a crew of nine when it took off Monday night from Moscow for Petrozavodsk, about 950 kilometers (600 miles) to the north, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said survivors, including one child, were taken to hospitals.

Controllers lost contact with the twin-engine Tupolev-134 at about 11:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. ET), and it crashed onto a highway outside Besovets, near the Petrozavodsk airport, the ministry reported. Andrianova said the jet broke into several pieces and caught fire after the crash, and that nearly 140 rescue workers, doctors and police officers were on the scene.

FULL STORY
Post by: ,
Filed under: Air travel • Russia
June 20th, 2011
06:52 PM ET

Source: Obama to give speech on Afghanistan drawdown Wednesday

President Barack Obama will give a speech on the United States' planned drawdown of troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, a senior administration official said Monday.

The news came hours after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama had yet to make a final decision on the size and scope of the troop withdrawal, but would do so "soon."

An estimated 100,000 U.S. troops are serving in Afghanistan, some 30,000 of which are part of a surge ordered in late 2009 in a bid to control the rising violence.

Obama has said those troops would begin coming home in July, and he recently indicated the number would be "significant."

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan
Mubarak sicker with cancer, his lawyer says
June 20th, 2011
05:53 PM ET

Mubarak sicker with cancer, his lawyer says

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's health is deteriorating as he struggles with complications from stomach cancer, his lawyer said Monday.

Mubarak has been held in a hospital in the resort community of Sharm el-Sheikh since mid-April after complaining of heart palpitations. Egyptian prosecutors said earlier this month that the former leader is too ill for transfer to a prison hospital in Tora, concluding that the hospital cannot accommodate Mubarak's needs.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Egypt • World
Overheard on CNN.com: More kids do have food allergies
B.J. Hom, center, died of an allergic reaction in 2008. His brothers Brandon, left, and Steven also have susceptibility to allergies.
June 20th, 2011
05:52 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: More kids do have food allergies

Comment of the Day:

"Epi-pens should be right next to fire extinguishers and automatic defibrillators in every restaurant and public building." - JohnOBX

Study: Food allergies more common, more severe among children

If it seems more U.S. children are suffering from food allergies, they are, a new study in the journal Pediatrics reports. The study reaffirms earlier ones showing emergency-room visits have more than doubled for allergic reactions. Other studies suggest that too much cleanliness and too little exposure to allergens may be causes.

Why are food allergies on the rise?

o0hBoy said, "The solution to this problem is counter-intuitive, but people need to expose their toddlers to more germs. Allergies are an immune deficiency due to children not being exposed often enough to, well, basically dirt. Those who develop allergies are the ones who are more sheltered, raised by parents who keep their homes too sanitary."

NotAsecret said, "Newborns need to be brought to a farm, forest, and beach early on in life and be allowed to crawl in the mud, leaves, sand and sun. Hyper protection of seemingly normal children is one of many things to blame."

FULL POST

June 20th, 2011
05:14 PM ET

Weiner's resignation is official Tuesday

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation from the House of Representatives will be official Tuesday, according to a statement from his office.

Weiner, D-New York, announced his resignation Thursday in a press conference, but his letter of resignation will be read in a meeting of the House on Tuesday.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Anthony Weiner • Politics • U.S.
June 20th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Experts: Taliban talks will be tough

A day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States is in preliminary talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan to quell the violence, experts say don't expect miracle results.

Michael O'Hanlon, a national security expert at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, said negotiating with "Taliban Central" will be difficult, especially because of the hard-core ideology espoused by Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and the powerful Haqqani network.

An effective strategy the U.S. and its allies can employ is reaching out to local insurgents, O'Hanlon said.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban • Uncategorized • World
Ousted Tunisian strongman convicted of corruption charges
June 20th, 2011
04:34 PM ET

Ousted Tunisian strongman convicted of corruption charges

A Tunisian court sentenced ousted President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife to 35 years in prison in absentia on Monday after a one-day trial on corruption charges.

Ben Ali (pictured) and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, have been living in exile in Saudi Arabia since the January revolt that ended his 23-year rule and touched off a wave of uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East. In addition to the prison term, the court imposed a fine of 91 million dinars ($65 million).

The trial began Monday morning in a packed courtroom in Tunis, and a verdict and sentence were handed down Monday night. Ben Ali and Trabelsi were represented by a team of court-appointed Tunisian lawyers.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Tunisia
June 20th, 2011
03:10 PM ET

Rescue plan under way for beleaguered Detroit Public Schools

When fewer than one in six children in your state are ready for college upon high school graduation, and the school system in your state's largest city is failing both financially and educationally, it's time for drastic actions - such as a longer school day and year, a more challenging curriculum, dramatically more resources and funding for classrooms, greater parental input and more accountability for school principals and staff.

"Today, we change the game. We must change the game," Roy Roberts, the executive committee chairman of Michigan's newly-minted Educational Achievement System, said on Monday. "It's not about blaming the past, or our teachers or educators, who in nearly all cases are trying their level best to get the job done, in some cases under trying situations. We have great people working in broken systems."

Help is on the way for the debt-ridden, underperforming Detroit Public School System. Gov. Rick Snyder, R-MI launched the Educational Achievement System, a new partnership between DPS and Eastern Michigan University, at a press conference with Roberts at one of Detroit's success stories, Renaissance High School. The new authority will oversee a "statewide school district with a focus on improvement of underperforming schools," Roberts said. It's designed to help the bottom 5% of schools improve both student performance and the effective use of school funds.

During the 2011-2012 school year, underperforming schools will be tasked with trying to improve within the Detroit system, but those that fail will be moved into the Educational Achievement System for 2012-2013, Roberts said. If and when schools improve, they will be allowed to return to their local district, if they wish, or they could stay under the auspices of the Educational Achievement System, Roberts said.

Gov. Snyder said he hopes to expand the program throughout Michigan.

"If you look at it statewide, only 16% of our kids are college-ready and that's absolutely unacceptable," the governor said. "We need to focus on a new way of doing things, and how we can do that more effectively. For Detroit to be successful, it depends on successful schools. For Michigan to be successful, it depends on a successful Detroit, so we're all in this together and we're going to make this happen as a team."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Michigan
June 20th, 2011
01:40 PM ET

Sudanese troops to withdraw from disputed region under deal

Representatives of Sudan and Southern Sudan have signed an agreement calling for the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese troops from the disputed Abyei region.

The agreement, signed in Addis Ababa, Ethopia, also calls for the deployment of a brigade of that country's troops to serve as peacekeepers.

The agreement calls for joint adminstration of the area by Sudan and Southern Sudan, which is scheduled to become an independent country in three weeks.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Sudan
ATF director expected to resign amid Mexico gun controversy
June 20th, 2011
01:27 PM ET

ATF director expected to resign amid Mexico gun controversy

The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms is expected to resign amid the ongoing controversy over the "Fast and Furious" operation, two senior federal law enforcement sources told CNN.

Straw buyers were allowed to illegally purchase large numbers of weapons in the operation, some of which ended up in the hands of cartels in Mexico.

Acting Director Kenneth Melson may resign in the next day or two, the sources said.

Attorney General Eric Holder will meet Tuesday with Andrew Traver, head of the ATF field office in Chicago about potentially serving as acting director of the ATF to replace Melson.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Uncategorized
June 20th, 2011
01:19 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.

GPS: Corruption and the Arab spring

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

SYRIA

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday offered vague promises of reform and clear threats against protesters. The Syrian leader said he was "working on getting the military back to their barracks as soon as possible" but also warned that the government would "work on tracking down everyone who shed blood or plotted in shedding the blood of the Syrian people, and we will hold them accountable." He raised the possibility of amending the country's constitution and referred to the need for a "national dialogue" - but made clear that his government would not engage in one-on-one talks with the opposition.

– Human rights activist Malath Aumran claimed that security forces attacked people at Aleppo University and arrested more than 50 students, some of whom were protesting against the Assad speech. CNN could not independently confirm the report.

– The European Union Monday condemned "in the strongest possible terms the worsening violence in Syria." The EU appealed to Syrian authorities to "put an immediate end to arbitrary arrests and intimidations, release all those arrested in connection with protests, as well as other political prisoners who remain in detention despite the recent amnesty."

– Syria's state news agency on Monday claimed a mass grave in Jisr al-Shugur - where thousands of people have fled a Syrian military offensive - contained "bodies of the martyrs of security forces and police who were assassinated by the armed terrorist gangs." The state news agency said a large cache of weapons had been discovered in the town, which is situated near the Turkish border.

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.

FULL POST

SI.com: Welcome back, Jack; also, college baseball and Phelps falls
Manager Jack McKeon stepped down as the Marlins' skipper in 2005. SI.com reports he is back at the helm.
June 20th, 2011
01:09 PM ET

SI.com: Welcome back, Jack; also, college baseball and Phelps falls

Welcome back to Miami, Jack McKeon. On Sunday, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned just before the team was to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Marlins had kicked off June with a 1-17 mark and a nine-game losing streak (10 with their 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay).

SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that McKeon, who helped the team claim the 2003 World Series title, was offered the job. But what prompted Rodriguez to make an abrupt exit? Given a one-year contract with low pay under an owner notorious for axing managers, Rodriguez's exit might not be all that surprising.

"Rodriguez was 78-85 as manager since taking over for Fredi Gonzalez in late June 2010," SI.com's Joe Lemire wrote. "One has to imagine that, if Rodriguez had a longer-term contract or if he worked in a more stable environment, he might have stuck around longer before turning in his resignation."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Baseball • Florida • Sports • U.S.
Eight more U.S. counties named to White House drug-trafficking list
The White House says High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas help coordinate police efforts to combat drug use and production.
June 20th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Eight more U.S. counties named to White House drug-trafficking list

New York's, Washington's and Atlanta's federally designated drug-trafficking zones just got a little bigger.

They're called High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, to be exact, and they're designed to regionally coordinate law enforcement efforts to tackle issues such as drug production, distribution, chronic use and money laundering. Local, state and federal agencies operating in HIDTAs receive extra equipment, technology and other resources to combat drug trafficking.

Approximately 16% of the nation's counties - encompassing a whopping 60% of the population - fall within one of the 28 HIDTAs, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

You can now add the following to the list: Orange County, New York; Mendocino County, California; Porter County, Indiana; Harford County, Maryland; Lexington and Richland counties, South Carolina; and Putnam and Mercer counties, West Virginia.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Barack Obama • California • Crime • Drug violence • Drugs • Indiana • Maryland • New York • Politics • South Carolina • U.S. • West Virginia
Monday's intriguing people
June 20th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Rory McIlroy

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland became the U.S. Open's second youngest champion since World War II when he ran away from the competition over the weekend, posting the lowest four-day total in U.S. Open history, besting Tiger Woods' record set in 2000.

McIlroy's feat is even more impressive after he had a well-documented collapse on the final day of the Masters, costing him the coveted green jacket, which is given to the winner of the famed golf tournament. As one of the games biggest tweeters, McIlroy was noticeably absent the week leading up to the U.S. Open. However, on Sunday, he tweeted a photo of the U.S. Open trophy as well as two words that sum up the weekend: #winning #bounceback.

FULL POST

In Louisiana, Corps closes last bays at Bonnet Carre Spillway
The corps began releasing water through the spillway after heavy rains last month.
June 20th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

In Louisiana, Corps closes last bays at Bonnet Carre Spillway

The Army Corps of Engineers on Monday closed the last floodgates on Louisiana's Bonnet Carre Spillway, which was opened May 9 to prevent the Mississippi River from flooding New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

"The water's down to an acceptable level," Corps spokeswoman Rachel Rodi told CNN Monday. The threshold for water diversion is 15 and rising, according to computer models, she said.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Louisiana • Weather
Toobin: High Court addressed only class size, not discrimination, in Wal-Mart suit
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a class-action lawsuit involving hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs was simply too large.
June 20th, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Toobin: High Court addressed only class size, not discrimination, in Wal-Mart suit

The Supreme Court on Monday put the brakes on a massive job discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart.  The suit was the largest class-action suit in U.S. history and, says Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, therein lies the problem.

Toobin, who was in the courtroom for opening arguments in March, spoke on "CNN Newsroom" after the high court's ruling was announced.  He shared his initial impressions of the ruling and noted that he was still reading the "complicated" decision.

He said the class-action status potentially involving hundreds of thousands of female workers was too large.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Justice • Lawsuit • Supreme Court • U.S.
June 20th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

NATO: Airstrike targeted high-level Gadhafi command site

NATO confirmed Monday that it carried out an airstrike against a high-level command and control site associated with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime - an airstrike the Libyan government alleges killed 15 people, among them three children.

NATO said the airstrike near Zawiya followed information-gathering through reconnaissance. The target was "directly involved in coordinated and systematic attacks" against the Libyan people, a NATO statement said.

Earlier, NATO had denied the government's accusations, saying it was not operating in the area at the time. Later, it said it was investigating the allegations.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Libya
« older posts