Atlanta teachers accused in cheating scandal told to resign or be fired
Atlanta Public School Superintendent Erroll Davis Jr. signed the letters.
July 15th, 2011
09:29 PM ET

Atlanta teachers accused in cheating scandal told to resign or be fired

The superintendent of the Atlanta Public School system has issued an ultimatum to 178 teachers implicated in one of the nation's largest school cheating scandals: resign or be fired.

Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis Jr. signed the letters, which were sent Thursday, to educators named in a report as either confessing to or being implicated in "testing improprieties," Atlanta Public School spokesman Keith Bromery said.

The letters gave teachers the opportunity to resign Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, Bromery said. If teachers don't
resign, the district plans to initiate termination proceedings.

Dozens of Atlanta public school educators falsified standardized tests or failed to address such misconduct in their schools, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said a week ago. He was unveiling the results of a state investigation that confirmed widespread cheating in city schools dating as far back as 2001.

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Filed under: Education • Georgia
July 15th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes off coast of Chile

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck offshore some 55 miles south-southwest of Valparaiso, Chile, on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake was felt in the capital, Santiago, 85 miles east of Valparaiso, CNN Chile reports. Parts of Santiago are without power; there are no immediate reports of damage.

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Filed under: Chile
Overheard: Teaching gay history is unnecessary
A new California law requires public schools teach about the contributions of homosexual, bisexual and transgender Americans.
July 15th, 2011
05:19 PM ET

Overheard: Teaching gay history is unnecessary

Comment of the Day:

“How is singling out one specific group or dividing history along sexual preferences treating people as equals?”—Bengali

 California governor signs bill requiring schools to teach gay history

On Thursday California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will require public schools in the state to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The bill will also require teachers to provide instruction on the role of people with disabilities.

CNN.com readers had a strong reaction to the new bill and while some said that they don’t think gay history should be taught separately in the classroom others disagreed.

Lynne113 said, “If gays want equal rights then treat them like everyone else, just say what they accomplished. There is no need to discuss their sexual orientation. You don't see heterosexual people demanding to state in history their sexual orientation.”

Taurus1353 asked, “Aren't LGBTs included in Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-American groups? What is the special treatment for? Don't LGBTs want to be treated the same? Is segregating themselves as a special class of people really a way to see them as the same as everyone else?”

Omniahumut disagreed. “Teaching history as it actually happened, especially as it pertains to CURRENT EVENTS, is important. Teaching about Gay History, includes both activists in favor of and against, Gay rights.”

VincentOMo said, “Let me teach you...Gay people have their own culture and history. They are separate from straight people... or were. Because society ostracized gay people, they found community and solace amongst themselves and formed their own culture.”

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Dow Jones CEO steps down
July 15th, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Dow Jones CEO steps down

Les Hinton has resigned as chief executive officer of Dow Jones & Co. in the wake of News Corp.'s phone-hacking scandal.

The resignation makes Hinton the second News Corp. executive to step down Friday. Rebekah Brooks stepped down as CEO of News International, the corporate parent of News of the World, earlier in the day.

The development also comes on the same day that media giant Rupert Murdoch began a campaign of contrition and reform, apologizing to the family of a murdered British teenager whose voicemail allegedly was hacked by staffers of a now-defunct newspaper he owned.

News of the World Staffers were accused of intercepting messages in search of news. They then allegedly deleted messages to keep Milly Dowler's mailbox from filling up, giving her family and friends false hope that the schoolgirl was still alive.

Some of the claims Brooks faces relate to the News of the World's alleged hacking, while she was editor, into Dowler's mobile phone account.

Who is Rebekah Brooks?

Police in the United Kingdom have identified almost 4,000 potential targets of phone hacking. There were also allegations that News Corp. reporters may have bribed law enforcement officers.

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Filed under: Media
North Africa and Middle East unrest, country by country
Ten people, mostly journalists, were injured Thursday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-regime and anti-government protesters in Jordan.
July 15th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

North Africa and Middle East unrest, 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 that has escalated into seemingly unending violence. Here are the latest developments and information about the roots of the unrest.

Jordan

Several hundred protesters marching through Amman on Friday were attacked by riot police, CNN's Arwa Damon said. A Jordanian security official said riot police were called in only after a group of loyalists clashed with the pro-reform protesters.

The protesters departed Al Hussein mosque on their way to Palm Tree Square, when they were surrounded by police along the way, Damon reported. Upon reaching the square, riot police charged the protesters, beating them with batons and using shields to push them back, she said.

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Filed under: Algeria • Jordan • Libya • Protest • Syria • Yemen
Pirates stifling climate research, scientists say
Pirates in the Indian Ocean hold the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel FV Tian hostage in 2008.
July 15th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

Pirates stifling climate research, scientists say

Pirates in the Indian Ocean are hijacking scientists' ability to collect data on climate change, researchers say.

Ann Thresher of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, in an e-mail interview Friday with CNN, said the threat of piracy has effectively shut off a critical portion of the Indian Ocean to research.

" This is affecting weather observations," Thresher said. "All data that feeds into measurements of climate change, ocean heat content, weather prediction and the prediction of ocean currents.”

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Filed under: Australia • Climate change • Environment • Pirates • Science • Weather
Tom Watson, 61, aces hole at Open
Tom Watson takes a jovial bow after shooting a hole-in-one Friday at the British Open.
July 15th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

Tom Watson, 61, aces hole at Open

Five-time British Open champion Tom Watson shot a hole-in-one Friday at the British Open in Kent, England.

The 61-year-old veteran aced the 178-yard, par-3 sixth hole at Royal St. George's Golf Club, Golf.com reported. The ball bounced once on the green and disappeared into the cup.

The crowd at the green roared its approval, and the fans at the sixth tee gave him a standing ovation. The beaming Watson responded with outstretched arms, followed by a deep, theatrical bow.

During the prime of his career, Watson won The Open Championship in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983. He finished second in the 2009 Open after leading much of the way.

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Filed under: Golf • Sports • United Kingdom
U.S. warships arrive in Vietnam
The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble is one of the U.S. ships visiting Vietnam.
July 15th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

U.S. warships arrive in Vietnam

Three U.S. Navy ships arrived Friday - as welcome guests - at the Vietnamese port of Da Nang.

The visit is part of a seven-day celebration of the 16th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two former enemies, the Navy said in a press release.

The 7th Fleet delegation consists of the guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon and USS Preble, the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard, additional sailors from the Logistics Group Western Pacific command, and a mobile diving and salvage team.

The Safeguard underwent repairs at a Vietnamese shipyard in 2009, the Navy said.

Territorial tensions have risen in recent weeks between Vietnam and China over the South China Sea, but the U.S. says the visit is a planned training mission focusing on "non-combatant events and skills exchanges in areas such as navigation and maintenance."

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen just ended a four-day visit to China on Wednesday.

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Filed under: China • Military • U.S. Navy • Vietnam
Snow leopards found in Afghanistan
About 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards are thought to live in Central Asia.
July 15th, 2011
10:11 AM ET

Snow leopards found in Afghanistan

Conservationists have discovered a healthy population of snow leopards in northeastern Afghanistan, the Wildlife Conservation Society reports.

Rangers trained by the society used camera traps to find the endangered cats at 16 locations in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, according to a study that appears in the June 29 issue of the Journal of Environmental Studies.

"This is a wonderful discovery - it shows that there is real hope for snow leopards in Afghanistan," said Peter Zahler, WCS deputy director for Asia programs. "Now our goal is to ensure that these magnificent animals have a secure future as a key part of Afghanistan's natural heritage."

The society estimates 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards remain in the wild across Central Asia.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has helped fund the study of the economic impact of wildlife and agriculture in Afghanistan, the New York-based society said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Animals • Science
Gotta Watch: It's a zoo out there
This pet pig is the source of controversy in a Texas neighborhood.
July 15th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Gotta Watch: It's a zoo out there

The news seems like it's just full of animals. When you read the headlines, it can feel like you're in a zoo. So we thought we'd give you a break with some animals you actually may enjoy. You've gotta watch these cuddly, charismatic and lucky creatures.
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Filed under: Animals • Dogs • Gotta Watch
On the Radar: Debt ceiling talks, hacking scandal, Carmageddon, bank tests
Top legislators in Washington are in tough negotiations with the Obama administration over raising the national debt limit.
July 15th, 2011
08:02 AM ET

On the Radar: Debt ceiling talks, hacking scandal, Carmageddon, bank tests

Debt ceiling talks pause

There are no formal negotiations planned for Friday to achieve a deficit reduction deal, but President Obama will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. ET to offer an update.

On Thursday, Democrats and Republicans met for the fifth time in five days.

A Republican aide familiar with Thursday's meeting at the White House said Obama told congressional leaders he expected them to consult with their caucuses and find agreement over the next 24 to 36 hours on how to proceed.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • On the Radar • Politics
July 15th, 2011
07:33 AM ET

Friday's live video events

President Obama will address the nation once again on America's debt ceiling crisis.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on this developing story.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - Casey Anthony defamation suit hearing - A hearing is held in a Florida court in regards to Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez's defamation suit against Casey Anthony.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Casey Anthony • Crime • Dollars & Sense • Economy • Politics