A Chinese delicacy moved closer to extinction Tuesday in California as the state Senate passed a bill banning the sale of shark fins.
The Senate voted 25 to 9 to ban the possession, sale or trade of the key ingredient in shark fin soup. The bill will go to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for approval.
Shark fins are often acquired through the controversial practice of finning, in which a shark's fins are cut off and the rest of its body is tossed into the ocean. California, home to 1.1 million Chinese-Americans, is one of the largest importers of shark fins outside Asia.
Supporters of the bill hailed the vote as an important step toward protecting an increasingly rare species.
"This hugely important victory in the California Legislature comes not a moment too soon," said Leila Monroe, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"With sharks being killed by the tens of millions every year just for their fins, scientists, many Asian Pacific-American leaders and jurisdictions around the country and world agree: The very best way to protect sharks from disappearing from our oceans forever is to ban the sale and trade of shark fins."
Critics said the bill unfairly targeted the Chinese-American community because it only restricts the sale of shark fins, which are used almost exclusively in Chinese cuisine. The bill does not apply to other shark products like oil or meat.
"I think what is most insidious about this particular bill is that it sends a very bad message, not only to us in California but to the rest of the world, that discrimination against Chinese-Americans is OK," Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Lawmakers on Tuesday also approved a second bill that added several key provisions, including an exemption for taxidermists to possess shark fins and giving restaurants more time to use up what they have of the ingredient, the Los Angeles Times reported.
It is unclear what position Brown might take. He has not publicly stated whether he supports the bill.
[5:47 p.m. ET] Former Tropical Storm Lee left at least four people dead as it crossed Southern states.
In Gwinnett County, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, firefighters said Tuesday they found the body of a man who drowned in a rain-swollen creek near Norcross. He was one of two men who were trying to walk across the creek Monday "when a sudden gush of rushing water swept them over into the middle of the creek," the Gwinnett Fire Department said.
The creek was estimated to be 8 to 10 feet deep near the spillway where the two were swept away. The first man held onto the second but eventually lost his grip. He was washed downstream as well but managed to escape the water.
In Baldwin County, Alabama, police said they no longer believe a missing 16-year-old boy is alive. The teen was last seen on a beach near Gulf Shores on Sunday, said sheriff's spokesman Maj. Anthony Lowery. Lowery said Tuesday hopes of him coming to shore have faded.
A flooding death was also reported in rural northeast Mississippi, where one person drowned after floodwaters swept away a vehicle in Tishomingo County, emergency officials said.
In addition, a woman died in Chattanooga, Tennessee, early Tuesday. A woman went outside about 12:30 a.m. to move her vehicle and was struck by a tree, said police Sgt. Jerri Weary. About 30,000 people in the area were without power as of Tuesday morning, Weary said, and several roads were closed because of flooding.
As of 5 p.m. ET, the center of what remained of former Tropical Storm Lee was located about 115 miles northwest of Atlanta and was nearly stationary, the National Weather Service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said Tuesday.
Winds of up to 30 mph may accompany the rain.
Comment of the day:
“What did you expect? Live video coverage at a Dallas restaurant starring ‘George W. Bush’ dancing in jubilation atop a dining table? - Jeff Frank ( R – Ohio )™ Leave no stone unturned.
On the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, the documentary "George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview" will air on National Geographic.
In an interview for the documentary, according to documentarian Peter Schnall, former President George W. Bush says he experienced no pleasure when he heard about the death of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader responsible for orchestrating the deadly terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He also recalls his initial reaction to news about the attack and how it changed his presidency.
But should former President Bush feel some pleasure about bin Laden’s death? And what about his initial reaction to the attacks? CNN.com readers had strong opinions and plenty of them, some defended the former president and others said they still resent him for going to war with Iraq.
Southerner01 said, “Gotta love you Bush-haters. I respect him for the fact that he's not happy that we had to kill bin Laden. I personally felt no joy from it, just relief. Bin Laden was a monster. He did need to die. But it is an equally monstrous person who feels elation over it.”
MrLudd responded, “Well, I agree with your basic statements, except where it applies to Bush. Bush has proven himself over his political history to not give a flying fig about human life... especially non-whites and non-Americans. I don't buy for one split second that Bush doesn't feel elation over this because of any moral or ethical stance. More likely he doesn't feel joy of any kind over it mostly because he wasn't involved in killing him... and someone else got the credit.”
factChecker2 responded, “Bush bragged about the executions in Texas. Just saying.”
Guest12234 responded, “Bush is not happy that bin Laden was killed because he nor the GOP can claim credit for the kill. Hell not even Obama nor the Democrats should get credit. The credit should go towards the service men and women that were associated with the mission. If Bush had the respect for human life that you claim then he wouldn't have invaded Iraq as quickly as he did, and he certainly would've acted quicker with regards to Katrina.”
amembername responded, “It would be a totally different story for him if he actually caught him instead of giving up. I guarantee he would have absolutely no guilt for doing it. Maybe he should have ordered the troops to actually pursue him instead of trying to resolve his daddy's prior grudge with Hussein?”
figmo said, “There have been many books on this topic and whether you are right or left, it's hard to escape the conclusion from all that's been written that Bush did fine immediately after 9/11 but failed miserably thereafter. He was over his head and manipulated but Cheney/Rumsfeld. The cost to this country has been mind-numbing. Except for the unrestricted greed turned loose during the Reagan era, most of our problems today can be traced back to Bush's total mishandling of domestic and foreign policy. It's shocking and very disturbing that he got elected the first time but the second is beyond comprehension although this election, like the first, may have been stolen. Stolen elections or not, that half the voters still supported Bush the second time is very, very disturbing.”
sju36 responded, “As a Democrat, I honestly don't detest George W. Bush. In fact, I'd like to have a beer with the man. I feel more sorry for him: the man was simply not qualified to be president. He was entirely manipulated by the real, cynical villains in the picture, including Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld.”
MrLudd responded, “He did ‘fine’ basically by doing very little. He yelled into a megaphone from a heap of rubble and then did the one thing I can find in his presidency that wasn't a failure... he discouraged anti-Muslim violence and prejudice because of 9-11.”
bluesharp said, “He put us so far upside down going after the WRONG people after 9/11 – and never got close to capturing or killing Bin Laden – why should he feel good about it? I do remember him strutting across the deck of an aircraft carrier after launching the most useless war in modern history - yeah, mission accomplished, George, mission accomplished.” FULL POSTFULL STORY
[Updated at 4:18 p.m.]
[Updated at 4:18 p.m.] Five of the nine people who were shot Tuesday were members of the National Guard, a spokesperson told CNN affiliate KRNV. Two were killed and the other three are being treated in area hospitals.
[Updated at 2:18 p.m.] At least two of the victims killed at a shooting in a Carson City, Nevada, IHOP restaurant were military members who were wearing their uniforms, Chuck Allen with the Nevada Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
Police were still looking into the shooter's possible motive, Allen said, but officials were taking precautions in case military personnel were specifically targeted.
"When you have people in uniform randomly targeted ... we take that seriously," Allen said.
Heightened security measures are in effect in military bases in northern Nevada, affiliate KRNV reported, citing a National Guard spokesperson. The restaurant is located about three miles from Nevada National Guard headquarters, so it would not be unusual for service members to be eating there, the spokesperson added.
[Updated at 2:10 p.m.] Three people were killed and six others were wounded Tuesday in a shooting at a Carson City, Nevada, IHOP restaurant, police said.
Those six victims did not include the shooter, who police said turned a gun on himself.
It "appears its going to be difficult for him to survive," Ken Furlong with the Carson City's Sheriff's Office said about the gunman.
"He was still breathing," he added.
Furlong said that currently the situation appears to be contained to the one strip mall.
"Right now it appears as though there was one shooter," Furlong said. "There does not appear to be safety concerns outside of this area."
Furlong confirmed reports that a semi-automatic weapon was used during the shooting. Some of the victims "appeared to be military folks," he said.
Officials are still investigating any possible motive.
Thanks to you, the Green clan is still cranking out cars in Lansing, Michigan.
CNN introduced you in November 2008 to 10 members of the family who had provided a collective 300 years of service to General Motors and the United Auto Workers union. GM's future was hanging in the balance as the federal government weighed whether to save the automaker with an infusion of billions of taxpayer dollars.
"We're not asking to be bailed out, we're asking for a loan," Mike Green, the president of UAW Local 652, said at the time. "We're not asking for a handout, we're asking for a hand up."
The $50 billion loan was approved, a new version of GM emerged, the taxpayers recouped their money, and the extended Green family kept working.
"I think the government made one of the best investments it ever made," Green, now 50, told CNN this week. "I'd like to thank the American public for having faith in an American company."
Green has been re-elected as president of UAW Local 652, his sister Cindy DeLau continues to work on assembly line ergonomic improvements, and his son Rollin, 26, is "hanging in" at GM's Delta Plant, just west of Lansing, despite having been laid off a couple of times in the last three years.
Painful concessions by the UAW were part of the survival plan, Mike Green noted.
"Because of the sacrifices of the membership, we made it through," he said.
Not only did GM survive, but it's bringing 600 to 700 more jobs to Lansing next year when production starts for a new Cadillac product.
"It's been good for Lansing," Green said. "We appreciate that GM is bringing work here. That's what we do here. You bring it, we'll build it."
It was a very bloody Labor Day weekend in New York. Forty-eight people were shot, including two law enforcement officers and a woman who was sitting with her daughter on a Brooklyn building stoop. The officers survived; three people have died.
The high number of shootings has captured headlines and led some to wonder whether there's some specific explanation for the violence.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there is, and he said Tuesday that lawmakers in the nation's capital ought to do something to better control gun violence. New York state reportedly had some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but Bloomberg wants Washington's help. He spoke outside a hospital where the officers were being treated.
"This is a national problem requiring national leadership," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But at the moment, neither end of Pennsylvania Avenue has the courage to take basic steps that would save lives."
Jon M. Shane, an assistant professor at one of America's most highly regarded policing think tanks, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the numbers alone. Shane spent 20 years with the police department in Newark, New Jersey, which has consistently ranked as one of the most violent cities in the United States.
"I would caution against chalking this up to violence that is going to happen over any holiday weekend," Shane said, adding that thorough analysis of each Labor Day weekend shooting should be done to extrapolate concrete explanations that go beyond the particulars of each incident. One would need to research possible motives in each case and investigate suspects' backgrounds and their possible criminal affiliations. Previous crimes at the locations should be weighed from every angle.
In short, 48 shootings sounds like a lot, but drawing any large conclusions, or linking them to a larger trend, will take time.
Wildlife authorities in the Philippines say they have captured a 21-foot-long, 2,370-pound saltwater crocodile, thought to be the largest creature of its kind now in captivity.
The croc was captured in Agusan del Sur marsh on the southern Philippine island of Mindinao, according to a report on GMA News. Hunters had been trying to capture it for 21 days, the report said. It was finally captured on Saturday by a team of about 30 men who used meat to bait it and an eight millimeter metal cable to snare it, according to an Agence-France Presse report on ABS.CBN News.
Edwin Cox Elorde, mayor of the remote town of Bunawan near where the croc was caught, said the reptile will become the star of a nature park there, according to the AFP report.
The previous largest crocodile in captivity is an 18-footer in Australia, according to Guinness World Records.
When it comes to college football, everyone's got an opinion. Usually it centers on a quarterback or a blown call, but for the opening week of the 2011-12 season, the biggest uproar is about ... fashion?
There's no fury like a fierce fan's reaction to a slam on their team's colors or, apparently, changes to their squad's uniforms. Opening weekend is usually a chance for teams to make a statement about being ranked too low - or not at all - but this year, several teams are making a fashion statement.
Perhaps football is learning a lesson from tennis stars like Maria Sharapova or Venus and Serena Williams, whose custom getups have often drawn more attention than their backhands. Or perhaps football is looking to expand its demographic by making opening weekend about, "But what will they wear?"
You have to start with the Oregon Ducks, who know a thing or two about being criticized for uniforms, especially when they look like tennis balls.
This year, you might say the Ducks were the most tame of those who changed up their looks.
The team is known for its flashy outfits, but even though that neon yellowish-green remains an accessory, they looked more like a combat unit this weekend. And that's a compliment. Oregon - guided by a famous alum, Nike founder Phil Knight - paved the way for new designs, but it also paved the way for making a better team, and apparently setting a fashion trend (though there were some real bad decisions made in many cases).
This year, it appears the biggest uproar is coming from Maryland fans or anyone watching Monday's Maryland-Miami game on TV.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who served as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sworn in Tuesday as the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Petraeus - sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden at the White House - succeeds Leon Panetta, who is now the secretary of defense.
At a ceremony marking his retirement from the military last week, Petraeus said his journey with the military was not coming to an end, even though he and his wife were "about to begin an exciting new journey with another extraordinary organization."FULL STORY
There are bad drivers. There are "beary" bad drivers and then there are kid drivers. You read that correctly - children getting behind the wheel and hitting the roadway years before they're legally allowed to do so. You've gotta watch these tiny drivers get behind the wheel and see what happens next.
Two Libyan convoys have passed through Niger this week, officials there said Tuesday - fueling renewed speculation about the whereabouts of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
One convoy was on its way Tuesday to Niger's capital, Niamey, said a Nigerien military captain.
Another convoy reached Niamey a day earlier, a Nigerien Interior Ministry official said. That convoy included six high-ranking Libyan officials close to Gadhafi, including Gen. Mansour Daw, the source said. Daw is said to be the head of the Revolutionary Guard and is responsible for the security of Gadhafi and his family.
The sources did not want to be identified because neither is authorized to speak to the media.
Abdallah Kenshil, chief negotiator for Libya's National Transitional Council, said Tuesday a convoy left the pro-Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid three days ago.
"We believe that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi was part of that convoy," Kenshil said, referring to a Gadhafi son who vehemently defended his father's regime.
NATO said Tuesday that while it "continuously receives reports" about weapons, vehicles and even convoys of vehicles moving throughout Libya, "we do not discuss the intelligence and surveillance information we collect."
"To be clear, our mission is to protect the civilian population in Libya, not to track and target thousands of fleeing former regime leaders, mercenaries, military commanders and internally displaced people," a NATO official said in an e-mailed statement.FULL STORY
News Corp. executive James Murdoch must have known that illegal phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper was not confined to the single journalist who was imprisoned for it, a former lawyer for the newspaper testified Tuesday.
Tom Crone, who was legal manager of the paper, said Murdoch would only have given Crone authority to settle a lawsuit against News of the World if he had understood that there had been more illegal eavesdropping.
Crone was one of four former executives grilled by British lawmakers as they try to determine whether Murdoch misled them about the scale of illegal eavesdropping at News of the World.FULL STORY
As the sun set on an airport hotel parking lot in Austin, Texas, Roger Cosby needed to tell his story.
He had just witnessed a sight that many Texans are battling - a devastating wildfire.
The state's largest blaze, a massive, uncontained fire in Bastrop County near Austin, has scorched some 25,000 acres, destroyed at least 470 homes and forced about 5,000 residents to evacuate.
That wildfire on Sunday was near the house Cosby shares with his companion of nine years, Cindy Boyd.
Cosby was taking a nap, while Boyd was working in their shop, making decorative plates.
Then Boyd smelled smoke.
"Roger, we have to go now, we have to go now," Cosby recalls Boyd saying as she woke him.
The Bastrop home that Boyd has lived in for 26 years was on fire.
Katia weakened to a Category 3 hurricane early Tuesday morning, but it still churned in the Atlantic Ocean and threatened to unleash dangerous rip currents, forecasters said.
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Katia was about 400 miles (645 kilometers) south of Bermuda and carried maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph), according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. It was moving northwest at about 10 mph (17 kph).
The storm is expected to avoid the United States. The front moving the remnants of Tropical Depression Lee up the East Coast is actually anticipated to help keep Katia offshore, according to CNN's weather bureau.FULL STORY
The summer break is over in Washington, as Senate and House lawmakers return to Capitol Hill and get back to work. CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest from Congress.
Today's programming highlights...
8:30 am ET - Bloomberg talks post-9/11 New York - NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg discusses the city's response to the 9/11 attacks and its years of rebuilding and renewal.
Three things you need to know today.
Petraeus at CIA: Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who served as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, assumes his new role Tuesday: director of the CIA.
Petraeus succeeds Leon Panetta, who is now the U.S. secretary of defense.
At a ceremony marking his retirement from the military last week, Petraeus said his journey with the military was not coming to an end, even though he and his wife were "about to begin an exciting new journey with another extraordinary organization."
President Barack Obama has cited Petraeus' experience in working with the CIA on counterinsurgency efforts in the field as a reason for his nomination as the agency's director.
Alleged hate crime: The family of James Craig Anderson, a man who was beaten and then run over in a Jackson, Mississippi, motel parking lot, will hold a news conference Tuesday morning.
The family's announcement will come the same day that a pre-trial hearing is scheduled for one of the teens accused in Anderson's death.
Prosecutors have said the killing of Anderson, who was a black man, was racially motivated.
The killing - which sparked national attention after CNN obtained and aired exclusive surveillance video that shows the attack as it took place - is also being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
Anderson, 49, was first beaten by the group of teens as he stood in a motel parking lot early on the morning of June 26, according to some of the teens who were interviewed by police.
After the beating, a group of teens drove a large Ford pickup truck over Anderson, according to witnesses and officials. Anderson died from his injuries later the same day.
UK phone hacking: British lawmakers will grill former newspaper executives Tuesday as they try to determine whether top News Corp. executive James Murdoch misled them about the scale of illegal eavesdropping at News of the World.
Murdoch, the son of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, has repeatedly told lawmakers that an investigation showed no evidence of widespread phone hacking at News of the World.
But the former editor of the paper has disputed James Murdoch's account, and will testify before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Colin Myler will be joined by Tom Crone, a former top lawyer for the paper.
Former top human resources officer Daniel Cloke and ex-legal affairs director Jonathan Chapman are also due to testify.