Trapped man, 85, wrote goodbye note before rescue
Stuck in a car on a rural Texas road, Robert Porter wrote what he thought would be his final words to his family.
September 13th, 2011
09:37 PM ET

Trapped man, 85, wrote goodbye note before rescue

An elderly Texas man who was trapped in his car for two days wrote what he thought was a farewell message on the car's armrest, saying he wasn't trying to kill himself and suggesting the road he was on should be fixed.

Robert Porter, 85, drove his car down a steep rural road near his Kerrville home in central Texas early last week to look at a pond. He couldn’t get the two-wheel-drive vehicle back up the soft caliche road, and the car rolled off the path and became stuck near the bottom of a ravine, CNN affiliate KENS reported.

Porter, a World War II veteran who has a back injury and gets around with a wheeled walker, was without food and had only 8 ounces of water in a bottle. Knowing he could last only so long with temperatures in the 90s, he eventually grabbed a pen and started writing on his car’s center armrest.

“One thing I wrote, the very first, was, ‘This is an accident,’ underlined. Because I was afraid somebody might think I committed suicide,” Porter told KENS.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Texas
Update: Mexican students who survived drug violence thrive in America
Alejandro Caballero crossed the U.S.-Mexico border each day to attend high school. Now, he has a full scholarship at Iowa's Simpson College.
September 13th, 2011
06:51 PM ET

Update: Mexican students who survived drug violence thrive in America

Alejandro Caballero attends college in Iowa, nearly 1,000 miles away from his home and family in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It's his third year studying marketing communications at Simpson College, but he's been going to school in the United States for nearly eight.

Caballero, 20, began crossing the border from Juarez to El Paso, Texas, for school when he was 13. His mother dropped him off every day at the border in Juarez and he made the trip alone to El Paso for six years.

The experience taught him a valuable lesson about responsibility and independence, one that got him through high school and has earned him a full college scholarship three years in a row.

"I would get that feeling of now, after 8 a.m., when mom drops me off at the border, I'm independent. I can do whatever I want. I can go to school or skip school," he said. "Obviously I never did skip school, but it gave me that feeling of being independent, of realizing that I could make my own decisions, and I could make the right ones or the wrong ones."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Education • Juarez • Mexico
September 13th, 2011
05:48 PM ET

At least 1 injured in Arkansas courthouse shooting

At least one person was injured in a shooting late Tuesday afternoon at a courthouse in Crawford County, Arkansas, police said.

A suspect in the shooting is in custody and also is believed to have been shot, Van Buren police Detective Jonathan Wear said.

Read more from KHBS
Post by: ,
Filed under: Arkansas
September 13th, 2011
04:49 PM ET

Obama's push for jobs act will last months, officials say

High school students chanted "pass this bill" to a rousing speech Tuesday by President Barack Obama touting his $447 billion jobs plan, while senior administration officials said the push for Congress to approve the legislation would last months.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, meanwhile, opened the door to Obama's proposal getting passed in pieces, rather than as a single package.

"If Congress were to send a portion of the American Jobs Act, the president would, of course, not veto it," Carney told reporters. "He would sign it and then he would return to press the Congress to get the rest of the job done."

The plan unveiled last week and presented to Congress on Monday calls for targeted tax cuts, infrastructure spending and new job training assistance that would be paid for by ending tax loopholes for corporations and American families earning more than $250,000 a year.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Barack Obama • District of Columbia • Ohio • Politics
Overheard on CNN.com: Social Security is not an entitlement
September 13th, 2011
04:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Social Security is not an entitlement

Comments of the Day

Read my lips, "No more Texans."–DavenCA

"So a Mormon, a fundamentalist Christian and an airhead walk into a bar"–DoctorMumbai

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was apparently the candidate to beat in Monday night's first-ever CNN/Tea Party debate in Florida. Under attack were his positions on illegal immigration, Social Security, and the vaccination of Texas schoolgirls against human papillomavirus - a program Rep. Michele Bachmann suggested was politically motivated. CNN.com readers commented on the format and suggested their own debate winners.

Perry comes under fire at the CNN/Tea Party debate

Did Bachmann wound front-runner Perry at CNN/Tea Party Debate?

flyingram said, "Three cheers for Wolf Blitzer! I am not a fan of CNN, but let's give credit where it is due. Wolf Blitzer provided a model of what a professional moderator looks like. He was even-handed, avoided baiting questions and appeared to go out of his way to administer time/candidate response-management in a way that was fair to all of the GOP candidates."

FULL POST

Gotta Watch: To the rescue
In Utah, passers-by lifted a BMW, dragging an injured motorcyclist out, who had collided with the car.
September 13th, 2011
03:36 PM ET

Gotta Watch: To the rescue

The most popular video on CNN.com Tuesday showed a group of daring citizens who proved that, in the face of danger, the average person can become a modern-day hero. On a busy street in Utah, 21-year-old Brandon Wright crashed his motorcycle into a BMW, pinning him underneath the burning car. Seconds later, passers-by sprang into action, lifting the car and dragging him to safety. Last night, CNN's Piers Morgan spoke to three of the men who saved Wright and got an update on Wright's condition from his uncle.

In today's Gotta Watch, we take a look at other good Samaritans helping those in need as fear subsides and adrenaline takes over.

Close call in canal crash – Last summer, 17-year old Jasmine Gonzalez's Chevy Cobalt careened off a Florida interstate into a canal, trapping her inside. A couple saw it happen and rescued her using the only tool they could find.

'A complete team effort' – In 2009, a mother of two crashed her SUV into a tree. It caught fire, but as luck would have it, two off-duty firefighters were among a group of bystanders who helped save the day.

Subway Samaritan: 'I'm no hero' – Wesley Autry's subway rescue earned him an invitation to President Bush's 2007 State of the Union address. He was also named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people. Talk about good karma!


Filed under: Florida • Uncategorized • Utah • Wisconsin
September 13th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

N.C. senate approves putting same-sex marriage amendment on 2012 ballot

North Carolina will put an amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot in May after the state's House and Senate passed the measure.

The measure cleared the Senate by a vote of 30-16, according to Mark Johnson, spokesperson for governor's office. On Monday the House also passed the measure by a vote of 76-41.

Read the bill (PDF)

If the constitutional amendment is approved by voters during the primary in May, North Carolina would become the final state in the Southeast to add a constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage.

Proponents of the measure said they felt it was important that the amendment be added so that it would protect the state's policy on gay marriage. North Carolina currently has a ban on same-sex marriage, but legislators are seeking to protect that ban by chiseling it into their constitution.

“We think the people of this state – not judges, bureaucrats, or politicians – should define marriage, which I personally believe should be between one man and one woman," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement after the measure passed. "We look forward to eight months of healthy debate before voters decide this issue at the polls.”

The proposed constitutional amendment sparked anger from many Democrats in the legislature, who argued the Republicans were trying to push through the measure since they have control for the first time in 140 years.

Others argued the legislature should be focused on more pressing issues such as the economy or jobs.

That concern also came from North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.

“I’m focused on solving problems and creating jobs.  This partisan exercise does neither: Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, and this constitutional amendment would not create a single job. In fact, it could hurt existing North Carolina businesses - as Speaker Tillis himself acknowledged - and harm our ability to attract new businesses to invest and grow jobs here. “

FULL POST

California may send thousands of female prisoners home
Male prisoners are housed in a gymnasium in California's Chino State Prison last December. The state is under federal order to reduce prison crowding.
September 13th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

California may send thousands of female prisoners home

Thousands of women inmates from California prisons could soon be released to be reunited with their families under a program the state began implementing on Monday.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said offenders whose crimes were nonviolent, nonserious and not sexual, with less than two years remaining on their sentences, are eligible for the Alternative Custody Program, which was signed into law in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Approximately two-thirds of CDCR’s female inmates are mothers whose children are either with relatives or are in foster care,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said in a press release. “ACP is a step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration, as family involvement is one of the biggest indicators of an inmate’s rehabilitation.”

About 45% of the state's 10,000 female inmates may be eligible for the program, the CDCR said. It may be made available to male inmates in the future, the department said.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: California • Courts • Justice • Prisons
September 13th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

U.S.: Top two Mideast officials headed back to region

The top two American officials dealing with Middle East peace talks are headed back to the region, U.S. officials said Tuesday in a sign that flagging negotiations might be revived.

David Hale, the special envoy for Middle East peace, and Dennis Ross of the National Security Council are returning to the Mideast, the officials said.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for a number of months, and tensions between the two have escalated recently. On August 21, Richard Serry, the United Nations' special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, issued a statement saying he was concerned about the situation, "in particular the escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel."

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Middle East
Bobby Bowden reveals he had prostate cancer
September 13th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Bobby Bowden reveals he had prostate cancer

Retired Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden revealed Tuesday that he was secretly treated for prostate cancer in 2007 while he was still coaching.

"I wasn't ashamed of it," Bowden said in an appearance on CNN's "American Morning," explaining why he did not reveal the disease sooner. "I didn't want it to get out because I didn't want my opponents to use it against me."

He said other coaches would have used the information to steal recruits from the Florida State program that he led to two national championships, 12 conference championships and 28 consecutive bowl games on the way to amassing more than 300 wins. Bowden retired in 2009.

Bowden said he learned he had cancer after a routine examination by the Florida State team doctor, Kris Stowers. A few days after the exam, Stowers called and said a blood test had revealed a "little problem," said Bowden, who was 77 when he was diagnosed.

Stowers quickly arranged a clandestine visit to a urologist Bowden once coached.

In a USA Today interview, the doctor, Joe Camps, said he treated Bowden under an assumed identity in a midnight operation at a Florida hospital.

"But I am absolutely stunned this has remained secret for so long," the newspaper quoted Camps as saying.

Bowden had small radioactive pellets surgically implanted in his prostate to kill the cancer cells and is now cancer free, according to the USA Today story.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: College football • Health • Sports • Uncategorized
32 arrested for selling waste cooking oil as new
Chinese police inspect illegal cooking oil, better known as "gutter oil" seized during a crackdown in Beijing last year.
September 13th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

32 arrested for selling waste cooking oil as new

Thirty-two people have been arrested in China for selling cooking oil recovered from gutters behind restaurants, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.

China's Ministry of Public Security said it recovered more than 100 tons of the illegal so-called "gutter oil," the report said.

The arrests came after a six-month investigation that spanned 14 provinces, according to Xinhua.

The state-run China Daily, citing a report in the Beijing Times, said the oil comes from restaurant gutters, leftover pieces of pork and poultry fat. It is refined at illegal plants that remove impurities with calcium carbonate and neutralize acidity with alkali.

The oil then is repackaged and sold with customers unable to tell its origins, China Daily reported. Testing at state-run facilities showed some of the oil met safety guidelines, China Daily reported, citing the Beijing Times.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: China • Crime • Food
Gotta Watch: The end of 'Kate Plus 8'
TLC's "Kate Plus 8" series ended Monday night.
September 13th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Gotta Watch: The end of 'Kate Plus 8'

TLC's "Kate Plus 8" may not have been as epic as, say, "M*A*S*H" or "Seinfeld," but we certainly won't forget it. The six-year-old series, which was called "Jon and Kate Plus 8" until Kate Gosselin and her husband divorced and he was fired from the show, came to an end Monday night. Today, Gotta Watch looks back at Kate's advice to "Octomom" Nadia Suleman, the Gosselin's ugly custody war and Kate's short-lived stint on "Dancing With the Stars."

Advice to 'Octomom' – If you mention Kate Gosselin and Nadia Suleman in the same sentence nowadays, it may seem like a setup to a joke. But, not so long ago, we actually asked Gosselin what advice she'd give the so-called "Octomom" when Suleman's kids were born.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Dance • Showbiz • TV
3 police, 1 civilian killed in Taliban attacks in Kabul
September 13th, 2011
10:59 AM ET

3 police, 1 civilian killed in Taliban attacks in Kabul

[Update 10:59 a.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there were no reports of U.S. casualties in Tuesday's Taliban attacks in Kabul. The country "will take all necessary steps" to secure the area and keep personnel safe, Clinton said.

She said the "dedicated, brave men and women" from the United States who work for the Afghan people "will not be intimidated" by this cowardly act.

See a list of attacks on other U.S. diplomatic sites over the years.

[Update 10:56 a.m. ET] The Afghan Public Health ministry said one civilian was killed and at least 18 were wounded but none seriously in Tuesday's Taliban attacks in Kabul.

[Update 10:09 a.m. ET] Three police officers have been killed in a string of attacks by the Taliban in Kabul on Tuesday, police in the capital said.

[Update 9:37 a.m. ET] In a Twitter message, ISAF said a "suicide attacker was identified & killed by ANP before reaching target near Kabul airport," making reference to the Afghan National Police. There were no further details.

[Update 9:04 a.m. ET] The Afghan Interior Ministry said four suicide attackers entered the building site from which the attack on the U.S. Embassy and ISAF headquarters is being carried out. Two of them were killed and two were "resisting."

[Update 8:56 a.m. ET] What does today's Kabul violence say about U.S. chances for success in Afghanistan? TIME reports.

[Update 8:48  a.m. ET] An ISAF official said there are initial reports that some insurgent rounds hit the NATO base and caused minor damage.

[Update 8:29  a.m. ET] The U.S. Embassy issued an emergency message about the series of attacks across Kabul on Tuesday, saying "the situation is uncertain and ongoing.  There are media reports that many roads are closed in Kabul." It said appointments for visas or U.S. citizen services have been canceled for now and it said Americans in Afghanistan should monitor the websites of the embassy and the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs for the latest information.

FULL POST

September 13th, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Intelligence chiefs say al Qaeda is weaker, but still a threat

Al Qaeda is weakened and might be spreading out further, but remains a significant threat to the United States, the nation's top intelligence officials told a congressional committee Tuesday.

CIA Director David Petraeus, the former military commander in Afghanistan who made his first congressional appearance as a civilian at the rare joint hearing by the intelligence committees of the House and Senate, said al Qaeda was far weaker today than it was 10 years ago at the time of the 9/11 attacks due to the killing of Osama bin Laden and other successful attacks on leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to Petraeus, the "heavy losses to al Qaeda senior leadership appear to have created an important window of vulnerability for the core al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan," and the United States will need a "sustained focused effort" to exploit the opportunity.

"Some mid-level leaders and rank-and-file al Qaeda members may increasingly seek safe haven across the border in Afghanistan or decide to leave South Asia," Petraeus said, adding that "even in decline with its core leadership having sustained significant losses, al Qaeda and its affiliates still pose a very real threat that will require" continued U.S. focus and dedication "for quite a while."

He called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based affiliate, the most dangerous of the group's various "nodes."

At the hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also said that despite U.S. successes against al Qaeda, the group remains a threat.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Uncategorized
7 killed, more than 160 hurt in Argentina bus-train wreck
Wreckage from a train that collided with a bus is seen on Argentinian TV.
September 13th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

7 killed, more than 160 hurt in Argentina bus-train wreck

[Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET] At least 162 people were injured in the accident, said Dr. Alberto Crescenti, head of the Medical Attention Emergency System, or SAME.

It took hours to free the remaining victims from the wreck, authorities said.

The cause of the collision was being investigated. Argentina's Transportation Secretary offered one early detail on the condition of the railroad crossing.

"The railroad crossing bar was working fine," Juan Pablo Schiavi said. Officials will also review video from the trains in their investigation, he said.

[Updated at 8:09 a.m. ET] At least seven people died when two trains and a bus collided in Buenos Aires  Tuesday, police said.

"There are seven confirmed deaths. There are people in hospital now in very grave state, including children. They have severe injuries," said Fernando Sostre, spokesman for the Argentine Federal Police.

Images broadcast on Argentine television showed dozens of police, fire and rescue workers combing through twisted metal and wreckage. Ambulances were seen transporting the injured to local hospitals.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Argentina
September 13th, 2011
09:04 AM ET

Phone-hacking scandal's far-reaching tentacles

As the UK parliament's inquiry into News of the World phone-hacking scandal continues, there's a lot of back-and-forth going on with regards to who knew what was happening - and when.

Immediately after the major players testified in July, it appeared that a bit of a calm before the storm was on the horizon. Things went silent for a bit. But that's changed now as new allegations, arrests and concerns have brought about new questions and evidence in the case.

To start with, a former lawyer for News of the World testified that 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. 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.

That kind of testimony and other new pieces of evidence alleging widespread knowledge about phone-hacking practices have led to serious questions about testimony given to the UK parliament in July.

And it appears the parliament is acting on those concerns by recalling Former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton to testify, a spokesman for the panel said Tuesday.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is also "highly likely" to recall News International chief executive James Murdoch - who gave evidence before the parliamentary committee in July alongside his father Rupert - to face fresh questions from lawmakers, the spokesman said.

Since the scandal has been broken open more than a dozen people have been arrested. All are currently free on bail. Former News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks was arrested, becoming the highest-profile figure to be held over the scandal. Dow Jones' chief executive Les Hinton stepped down after working with News Corp. for 52 years.

The scandal has also forced the country's top police officer to resign, closed its best-selling newspaper, shuttered parts of the Murdoch empire and called Prime Minister David Cameron's judgment into question. Sean Hoare, a former News of the World employee, and one of the first journalists to go on the record and allege phone hacking at News of the World was found dead.

It's a lot to wrap your head around - and there are a lot of people and institutions greatly impacted by the scandal. So we're going to break it down and take a look at the key players under fire, the tentacles of Rupert Murdoch's operations, who's implicated, what the scandal could mean for all of them and where the whole scandal stands right now.

FULL POST

September 13th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

The CNN/Tea Party Debate may be a thing of the past, but that doesn't mean the race to 2012 has come to an end.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the 2012 presidential election.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 am ET - Terror threats hearing - David Petraeus testifies before a joint Congressional committee for the first time as CIA director.  He talks about threats from al Qaeda and other terror groups.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics
Phone-hacking inquiry to demand more testimony on News Corp. actions
Former News Corp. executive Les Hinton leaving the London home of News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch in July 2011.
September 13th, 2011
07:49 AM ET

Phone-hacking inquiry to demand more testimony on News Corp. actions

[Updated at 7:49 a.m. ET] Former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton is being recalled to testify before a parliamentary committee over a phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at the now defunct News of the World newspaper, a spokesman for the panel said Tuesday.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is also "highly likely" to recall News International chief executive James Murdoch - who gave evidence before the parliamentary committee in July alongside his father Rupert - to face fresh questions from lawmakers, the spokesman said.

A News Corp. spokesman told CNN James Murdoch was "happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have."

Hinton - one of Rupert Murdoch's longest-standing employees - resigned as head of News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit and publisher of The Wall Street Journal in July.

He was formerly chief executive of News International, the British arm of News Corp. which published News of the World.

 

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Media • News of the World • United Kingdom
Abuse victims accuse pope, Vatican officials of crimes against humanity
Pope Benedict XVI appears at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in Plebiscito square in Ancona, Italy, on Sunday.
September 13th, 2011
07:27 AM ET

Abuse victims accuse pope, Vatican officials of crimes against humanity

[Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET] Victims of abuse by Catholic priests asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials with crimes against humanity, a victims' group announced Tuesday.

The pope and other church leaders "tolerate and enable the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world," said the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a joint statement.

They filed more than 20,000 pages of documents with the international court in the Netherlands to support their charges, they said.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN he was aware of the filing but had no comment.

The International Criminal Court did not immediately respond to a CNN question about whether it believed it had jurisdiction to prosecute the pope.

But Barbara Dorris, the president of SNAP, said it was the natural venue for the case.

"We are convinced this is the proper jurisdiction," she told CNN. "Who else can investigate violent crimes of a global magnitude? The ICC was created to deal with widespread systematic violent crimes against humanity."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Church Abuse • Religion • Vatican
Iran to release U.S. hikers after they pay $500,000 bail each, attorney says
Hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal are shown in a picture release by state-run Iranian TV in February.
September 13th, 2011
06:03 AM ET

Iran to release U.S. hikers after they pay $500,000 bail each, attorney says

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, two American hikers accused of being spies in Iran, will be released from an Iranian prison after a $500,000 bail is paid for each of them, the two men's attorney said Tuesday.

The lawyer said he has spoken to the two men's family and the are trying to get the money quickly.

If the two men walk free this would be the end of an international tug-of-war between Iran and the United States that has stretched on for over two years.

More than two years ago, the two men along with Sarah Shourd - Bauer's fiancee - were hiking in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region along the Iranian border.

Iranian police arrested the three Americans, saying they illegally entered Iran. They were also charged with spying.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Hikers • Iran