Charges against Strauss-Kahn to be dropped, accuser's attorney says
Strauss-Kahn had been indicted on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in his luxury New York City hotel suite in May.
August 22nd, 2011
03:37 PM ET

Charges against Strauss-Kahn to be dropped, accuser's attorney says

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will no longer face criminal charges related to allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel housekeeper, the housekeeper's attorney said Monday after meeting with prosecutors.

Prosecutors had raised questions about the accuser's credibility.

Kenneth Thompson made the announcement hours after filing a motion asking a judge to halt proceedings in the case and appoint a special prosecutor.

"Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case," Thompson said. "He has not only turned his back on this innocent victim, but he has also turned back on the forensic, medical and other evidence in this case."

There was no immediate reaction from the office of District Attorney Vance on Thompson's claim, and the office earlier declined to comment on the motion. A status hearing for the case is scheduled for Tuesday.

Strauss-Kahn was indicted on charges that he sexually assaulted the woman in his luxury New York City hotel suite in May. His attorneys insist any sexual encounter was consensual. Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On July 1, a judge freed Strauss-Kahn from house arrest after prosecutors told the court that his accuser admitted she had lied about the specifics of her whereabouts after the incident and, in the past, in the details of an asylum application and information on tax forms. Prosecutors said she admitted lying on the asylum application about having been a victim of a gang rape, even providing details of an attack – and later admitting it never happened.

The accuser and her attorneys had said she was attacked by Strauss-Kahn, and that her case should go to trial.

FULL STORY
Attorney for Strauss-Kahn accuser seeks special prosecutor
August 22nd, 2011
01:31 PM ET

Attorney for Strauss-Kahn accuser seeks special prosecutor

An attorney for the hotel maid who accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault filed a motion Monday asking a judge to halt proceedings in the case and appoint a special prosecutor.

The move comes hours before Nafissatou Diallo and her attorney, Kenneth Thompson, are scheduled to meet with prosecutors. Thompson said Sunday that he believes prosecutors intend to announce at that meeting they will drop charges against Strauss-Kahn.

"We're calling for a special prosecutor to prevent Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from irreparably damaging Ms. Diallo's right to have her criminal case go to trial, " Thompson said.

The motion cites allegations of "abuse of confidence, unfair treatment and bias and prejudices," by Vance that make him unfit to try the case. Vance's office declined to comment on the motion.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Dominique Strauss-Kahn • France • New York • U.S. • World
Digits: Libya by the numbers
Libyans take to the streets of Benghazi late Sunday to celebrate the rebel advance on Tripoli.
August 22nd, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Digits: Libya by the numbers

18 – Countries in the Middle East and Africa with widespread anti-government protests in the Arab Spring.

3 – Days after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that calls go out on Facebook for peaceful demonstrations in Libya against leader Moammar Gadhafi.

162 – Days between Mubarak’s fall (February 11, 2011) and Libyan rebel forces entering Tripoli (August 21, 2011)

42 – Years Moammar Gadhafi has been the leader of Libya.

6,597,960 – Population of Libya estimate as of July 2011

3 – Sons of Moammar Gadhafi who are reportedly in custody of rebel forces as of August 22, 2011

10 – Total number of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons and daughters

1970 and 1973 – The United Nations Security Council Resolutions that authorize “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.

19,977 – Number of NATO sorties that have been conducted since March 31, 2011 to August 22, 2011.

3 – Volumes of Moammar Gadhafi’s Green Book, where he outlines his philosophical views

5 – Times Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has delivered official remarks about Libya in 2011 to date.

31 – Members of the Libyan National Transitional Council that represent cities across the country.

1959 – Year oil was discovered in Libya.

1,542,000 barrels per day – Amount of oil exported daily from Libya (2007 est.)

1,704,000 barrels per day – Amount of oil exported daily from the United States (2008 est.)

25% – Percentage of Libyan’s GDP that is earned from the oil sector

Post by:
Filed under: Libya • World
August 22nd, 2011
10:59 AM ET

Coroner denies 7th death in Indiana stage collapse

[Update: 10:59 a.m. ET] A 24-year-old woman who sustained injuries in a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair this month remained on life support Monday, according to the Marion County Coroner's Office. Indiana police initially said Monday that Meagan Toothman had died.

[10:23 a.m. ET] A seventh person has died as a result of injuries sustained in the stage collapse that occurred at the Indiana State Fair on August 13, Indiana State Police say. The victim is identified as 24-year-old Meagan Toothman. She died just before midnight on Sunday.

Post by:
Filed under: Indiana • Music • Showbiz
Gotta Watch: Libya's backstory
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been in power 42 years.
August 22nd, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Libya's backstory

More than four decades of Moammar Gadhafi's rule may be nearing an end as rebels appear to have his regime on the verge of collapse. The embattled Libyan leader's detractors have faced off against his regime since January, but Libya's tensions pre-date the Arab Spring uprisings. Today, Gotta Watch looks at Libya's long-running, tense relations with the U.S.,  Gadhafi's family and its link to some A-list pop stars.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Gotta Watch • Libya • Music • NATO • Protest • Showbiz • U.S.
August 22nd, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Gadhafi regime 'crumbling' as rebels battle for Tripoli

Six months after a ragtag group of poorly trained rebels set out to topple the Libyan regime, the fighters appeared Monday to be on the brink of ending Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

With three of the Libyan leader's sons in their custody, rebel forces were battling Gadhafi forces on his home turf, Tripoli.

"A great majority of the capital of Tripoli is under freedom fighters' control," said Guma El-Gamaty, the Britain-based coordinator for the rebels' National Transitional Council.

"The real moment of victory is when Gadhafi is captured," NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said a news conference in Benghazi, long a rebel stronghold in the conflict.

But Gadhafi's whereabouts were unknown.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Arab unrest: developments • Libya • NATO • World
August 22nd, 2011
09:35 AM ET

Tentative Middle East cease-fire seems to be holding

A tentative cease-fire between the different militant factions in Gaza and Israel seemed to be holding on Monday.

A Hamas official said Sunday that the different factions had agreed to join a truce which, according to them, went into effect on Sunday at 9 p.m. local time. The Popular Resistance Committee, which refused to join the cease-fire Sunday, said in a news conference on Monday that "they have agreed to a temporary cease-fire for the sake of our people".

Since 9 p.m. hours on Sunday around 14 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, the last one landing at 8 a.m., according to the Israel Defense Forces. As of 8 a.m. local time the Israeli military reports no rockets .

The last Israeli airstrike in Gaza was on Sunday night when the IDF targeted a rocket launching device.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Palestinians
August 22nd, 2011
08:40 AM ET

Irene hits Puerto Rico, becomes a hurricane

Irene strengthened into the first hurricane of 2011 early Monday, dumping heavy rain on Puerto Rico as it moved towards the Dominican Republic and Haiti, with Florida a distant potential target.

The storm was forecast to drop up to 10 inches of rain on much of the Caribbean, from Puerto Rico to the Turks and Caicos. In some areas, the National Hurricane Center said, 20 inches of rain could fall.

As of 7 a.m. Monday, the storm and its 75 mph sustained winds were located north of Puerto Rico, moving northwest at about 14 mph. It was expected to reach the Dominican Republic on Monday afternoon.

A hurricane warning was in effect for parts of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the central Bahamas. Tropical storm warnings were up for the U.S and British Virgin Islands, the south coast of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the southeastern Bahamas.

The storm could cause dangerous flash floods and mudslides in the mountainous terrain of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Hurricane Center warned.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Hurricanes • U.S. • World
August 22nd, 2011
07:48 AM ET

Monday's live video events

The situation in Libya continues to change by the minute.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on the situation in the country.

Today's programming highlights...

Ongoing coverage - Uprising in Libya

FULL POST


Filed under: Libya • World
On the Radar: MLK memorial, battle for Libya, Hurricane Irene
A live camera feed from the MLKMemorial.org site shows the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr.
August 22nd, 2011
06:45 AM ET

On the Radar: MLK memorial, battle for Libya, Hurricane Irene

Three things you need to know today.

MLK Memorial - Members of the media will get a first hand look at the new MLK memorial during a special  preview Monday between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

"The composition of the memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love," according to the memorial's site. "The semicircular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site, engages the Tidal Basin and frames views to the water."

The memorial will be near the Roosevelt Memorial and give viewers a direct line of sight to the Lincoln Memorial.

"The approved site creates a visual "line of leadership" from the Lincoln Memorial, which honors the President who protected the United States from internal strife, and where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech; to the Jefferson Memorial, which honors the President who helped create the United States as the author of the Declaration of Independence," the site says.

FULL POST

August 22nd, 2011
05:09 AM ET

Irene becomes hurricane over Puerto Rico

Irene strengthened over Puerto Rico early Monday morning, becoming the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season.

Post by:
Filed under: Hurricanes • Tropical weather • Weather
Fight for Libya
August 22nd, 2011
01:20 AM ET

Live blog: Gadhafi son reappears in Tripoli

As Libyan rebels fought to consolidate their hold on Tripoli on Monday and early Tuesday, reports emerged that two sons of Libya's longtime leader were free despite earlier reports that rebels had captured them.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, appeared to reporters in a convoy of armored Land Cruisers in Tripoli on Tuesday morning, more than a day after rebels claimed they had captured him. Hours earlier, Libya's ambassador to the United States said that one of Moammar Gadhafi's other sons, Mohammed Gadhafi, had escaped.

Fighting continued Monday between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli, the latest installment of battles in a months-long uprising in Libya. Here are the latest developments:

[Updated at 11:39 p.m. ET, 5:39 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] Three surface-to-surface missiles were fired within Libya on Monday evening, NATO said in a statement. The alliance said it was not aware of damages or casualties.
The missiles were fired from the area of Sirte, the hometown of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Initial reports indicate they landed in the coastal area of Misrata, "most likely at sea or on the shore," NATO said.

"The use of such missiles presents a direct threat to innocent people. Although the surface-to-surface missiles in (Gadhafi's) arsenal are highly inaccurate, and are not designed to hit a specific target, they are a weapon of terror. Their use against an urban or industrial area is utterly irresponsible," NATO said.

[Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET, 4:20 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] CNN's Matthew Chance talks about his encounter with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi a few hours ago:

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/08/22/exp.piers.matthew.chance.cnn"%5D

[Updated at 8:56 p.m. ET, 2:56 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] CNN's Matthew Chance has posted a picture that he took of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi during Saif's brief visit to the Rixos Hotel on Tuesday morning.

Chance also reports that electricity returned to the  hotel about 10 minutes after Saif's visit. The building, where about 35 international journalists are staying, had been without power for hours.

It's not yet known how many people have been killed or injured in Tripoli since rebels began fighting forces loyal to Gadhafi in the capital over the weekend.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/08/22/sot.saif.gadhafi.rebels.cnn"%5D

[Updated at 8:22 p.m. ET, 2:22 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] More information about tonight's appearance in Tripoli of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who rebels claimed was captured on Sunday:

Video showed Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and a top official in his regime, shaking hands and greeting supporters overnight while leaning outside of a car in his armored convoy on the streets of Tripoli. He told reporters that supporters of his father Moammar Gadhafi's government "have broken the spines of those rats and those gangsters" - referring to rebel fighters who entered the capital over the weekend.

He said that on Tuesday the government's forces "will reassure the people that things are fine in Tripoli."

Asked about his being wanted by the International Criminal Court - which has issued a warrant for his arrest for his alleged participation in "crimes against humanity" - Saif al-Islam Gadhafi said, "To hell with the ICC."

Rebels had claimed that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and two of his brothers were captured on Sunday and Monday. But Saif is free, and one of the other two, Mohammed Gadhafi, was reported to have escaped Monday, according to the Libyan ambassador to the United States.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/08/22/saif.tripoli.streets.cnn"%5D

[Updated at 8:06 p.m. ET, 2:06 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] More from Saif al-Islam Gadhafi's appearance outside Tripoli's Rixos Hotel, more than a day after rebels reported they captured him: Saif said that word about his supposed detention was a rebel trick, CNN's Matthew Chance reports.

Chance, who is with about 35 other journalists at the hotel, said an armored Land Cruiser pulled up to the hotel, and people were saying that Saif was inside. "It was just about to drive off, so I went up to it and I knocked on the window and said, 'Dr. Saif, Dr. Saif, can you open the door? We want to ... make sure it's you," Chance said.

"He opened the door, turned the lights on inside the back of this armored land cruiser, and it was indeed him. He was bearded, he looked quite thin. ... He told me that his father, Col. Gadhafi, remained in Tripoli. He said the whole family are in Tripoli."

Chance has posted this account of his encounter with Saif on Twitter: "Saif Gadhafi told me that he had been travelling around Tripoli in an armored convoy the whole time."

Earlier, Libya's ambassador to the United States told CNN that another of Gadhafi's sons, Mohammad Gadhafi, had escaped from rebel custody. The circumstances of the escape were unclear, said Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali, an NTC representative.

Rebels had said Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and Mohammad Gadhafi were among three of Moammar Gadhafi's sons that they had captured since Sunday.

[Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET, 1:40 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] Moammar Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi - who reportedly was captured by rebel forces on Sunday - made an appearance at Tripoli's Rixos Hotel early Tuesday, CNN's Matthew Chance reports.

Saif appeared outside the hotel - one of the remaining hold-outs for Gadhafi loyalists - in a convoy of armored Land Cruisers. Chance said he spoke to Saif briefly and took a photo of him.

Saif said his father and the rest of the family were in Tripoli, and that the rebels had been "lured into a trap."

There was no immediate explanation from the National Transitional Council, the rebel leadership that had announced he was in custody on Sunday.

Earlier, Libya's ambassador to the United States told CNN that another of Gadhafi's sons, Mohammad Gadhafi, had escaped from rebel custody. The circumstances of the escape were unclear, said Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali, an NTC representative.

[Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET, 12:35 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] CNN's Matthew Chance reports says he and the roughly 35 other journalists in Tripoli's Rixos Hotel - where they are essentially trapped, with Gadhafi loyalists refusing to let them leave as fighting rages outside - are running out of ways to keep in contact with people elsewhere, including their own employers.

The hotel lost power hours ago, and the journalists - who have corralled themselves in the dark in a lobby on one of the upper floors - are running out of battery power for their phones and other equipment. Chance, whose own phones are dead, talked to CNN with a satellite phone lent by a Chinese television crew.

Gunfire could still be heard outside the hotel, which is abandoned besides the journalists and gunmen loyal to Gadhafi. Fighting also appeared to happening around Gadhafi's compound near the hotel, Chance said.

The journalists have found some canned food and bottled water in the hotel's storerooms and kitchen. "Hopefully we can ... negotiate some kind of exit from this hotel, because really we don't feel we're getting much in terms of an overall picture of what's happening in Tripoli."

He said they're trying to stay away from the gunmen in the hotel, some of whom were cocking their guns and telling the reporters that they're NATO spies.

[Updated at 6:21 p.m. ET, 12:21 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] Gadhafi's forces fired at least three missiles at the rebel-held city of Misrata, east of Tripoli, on Monday evening, the NATO alliance reported. NATO said it had no reports of damage or injuries, but called the launches a "direct threat to innocent people."

"Although the surface-to-surface missiles in Gadhafi's arsenal are highly inaccurate, and are not designed to hit a specific target, they are a weapon of terror," NATO said. "Their use against an urban or industrial area is utterly irresponsible."

[Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET, 11:50 p.m. in Libya] Mohammed Gadhafi - one of the three sons of the longtime Libyan leader who had been captured by rebel forces - has escaped, Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali told CNN.

The ambassador told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that after rebels found Mohammad Gadhafi at his home, he was allowed to stay there at his request. Later, Mohammad Gadhafi was "hijacked" by a different group, "maybe Gadhafi's forces," the ambassador said.

"We don't know the story how he was taken out from his house," he said.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/08/22/exp.tsr.aujali.gadhafi.son.escaped.cnn"%5D

[Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET, 11:02 p.m. in Libya] With rebels apparently on the verge of taking Tripoli, politicians in the United States and the United Kingdom are demanding that they extradite convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi when the rebels establish control over the country, CNN's Tim Lister reports.

There has been no formal response from the rebels' National Transitional Council, but one of its representatives has previously suggested that any decision on al-Megrahi's future would have to wait for an elected government in Libya. On the NTC's own timetable that would be almost two years away.

Al-Megrahi was released from the jail on compassionate grounds in 2009 after serving eight years of a 27-year sentence for his involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland. He is suffering from prostate cancer and at the time of his release was given just three months to live. But two years later he is still alive and was last known to be living in Tripoli, now largely under rebel control.

FULL POST