September 14th, 2011
07:52 PM ET

Attacks target security offices in Yemen

[Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET ] Explosions rocked two government security offices Thursday morning in Aden, Yemen. The first explosion occurred at the city's political security headquarters, while the other was at al-Mualla police station, witnesses said.

No casualties were reported among security forces from either explosion, a security official at al-Mualla police station said. Explosives had been hidden behind the police station, the official said.

In all, at least four blasts were heard over the course of an hour in the city's al-Mansoora and Mualla districts.

Residents said that security forces fatally shot a child minutes after the explosions. "Police officers went on rooftops and started shooting," said Khaled Saleem, a resident of al-Mualla.

No immediate claim of responsibility was made, and speculation differed over who could have been behind the attacks.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Is there intelligent life on Earth?
The HARPS instrument has identified an Earth-like planet, shown in this artist's impression, orbiting star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela.
September 14th, 2011
06:03 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Is there intelligent life on Earth?

Comment of the Day:

"The search for intelligent life in the universe will not be found on this planet."–Yumi

16 'super-Earths' discovered

A mere 35 light years away ... lies planet HD 85512b. About 3.6 times Earth's mass, it might have liquid water under certain circumstances. Its existence was recently reported by the European Southern Observatory. Don't get too excited, said many CNN.com readers, traveling there may be a bad idea, even if we can.

Nate said, "We can't even accept differing opinions and way of life within our species. Discovering extraterrestrial life would probably be like Christopher Columbus discovering a new land inhabited by natives. We would wipe them out and then steal their land and resources." zrxgrim said, "Unless we're the natives in canoes and they're Columbus."

Vesstair said, "We might not be Columbus. Heck, we might not even be the natives. We might be the fur-bearing animals the trappers wanted."

FULL POST

September 14th, 2011
05:52 PM ET

Plane crashes in Angola, killing 17 people

[Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET] A military plane crashed during takeoff at an airport in Angola on Wednesday, killing 17 of the 23 people on board, an official from the Huambo province said.

Three generals from the nation's armed forces were among those killed in the crash in Huambo, state-run news agency Angop said. The official who spoke to CNN said that two women and two children were among the dead.

Among the six survivors were the pilot and co-pilot, according to the official.

The plane was scheduled to fly to Angola's capital, Luanda, the official said.

Military sources told Angop that they have yet to identify the victims and that there was no explanation for why the plane crashed.

– Journalist Youmna El-Tayara contributed to this report.

Oman envoy headed to Iran possibly to help free U.S. hikers
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal areaccused of spying and are currently being held in a Tehran prison.
September 14th, 2011
03:33 PM ET

Oman envoy headed to Iran possibly to help free U.S. hikers

An Omani official is en route to Iran to help negotiate the release of two American hikers who have been held for two years on accusations of spying, a western diplomat told CNN.

The official was flying from Oman to Tehran and would be there to help iron out any last-minute wrinkles regarding the possible release of Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, but it is not yet clear if the hostages are free to leave, the diplomat told CNN.

Oman helped secure the release of a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, in September 2010 after a judge allowed her to be released on bail because of her medical condition. Her bail was posted by Omani sources, a senior Obama administration official said at the time. Shroud said then that she hoped to see her fiance, Bauer, soon.

Earlier on Wednesday the Iranian Judiciary said it was considering a request for setting bail in the case of the two American hikers accused of spying.

The report, posted on Iran's Judiciary website, seemed to contradict a statement by the hikers' lawyer that bail was already set in the case.

Fattal and Bauer would be released from Tehran's Evin prison after a $500,000 bail is paid for each of them, their attorney, Masoud Shafiee, said Tuesday.

Fattal, Bauer and a third hiker, Shourd, were seized on July 31, 2009, after apparently straying across an unmarked border between Iraq and Iran. Iranian authorities arrested them, claiming they were spies and had entered the country illegally.

“If you remember last year around this time Sarah Shourd was released with help of Omani government," CNN Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott reported. "The Omanis sent a plane (and) an envoy there to get her out, and then flew out with her to Oman.”

The five things you need to know about the HPV debate
Gardasil is one of the FDA-approved vaccines to protect against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.
September 14th, 2011
02:18 PM ET

The five things you need to know about the HPV debate

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that parents have their middle-school-aged daughters vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease closely linked to cervical cancer.

The human papillomavirus is the most common STD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the second leading cause of female cancer mortality worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. There are currently two FDA-approved vaccines - Gardasil and Cervarix - to protect against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.  While each vaccine uses different substances to rev up the immune system, both are given as shots and must be received in three doses over a six-month period, according to the manufacturers.

That's nothing new.

1. So, why is there such a debate swirling around the issue? Well, politics.

You've probably seen headlines about the HPV vaccine for years now, so what's new? A bigger spotlight, essentially, and the vaccine has come up amid jockeying for the GOP presidential nomination.

The debate over the use of the HPV vaccine - and specifically how it is given and who can mandate it - became a hot topic after some tense exchanges during Monday’s CNN/Tea Party GOP debate.

GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann challenged one of her rivals for the Republican nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, on his 2007 executive order that would have required Texas schoolgirls to receive vaccinations against HPV. Bachmann suggested the governor acted for political reasons, noting that the maker of Gardasil - the only Food and Drug Administration-approved HPV vaccine at the time – contributed to his campaigns, and that his former chief of staff lobbies for the company. She also said the drugmaker, Merck & Co., stood to make millions of dollars because of the order.

Truth Squad: Was Bachmann's claim about Perry's mandate for political reasons true?

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Father asks Natalee Holloway be declared dead
Natalee Holloway disappeared on Aruba in 2005.
September 14th, 2011
01:11 PM ET

Father asks Natalee Holloway be declared dead

The father of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who vanished while on a graduation trip to Aruba in 2005, has asked a court to declare his daughter dead.

Dave Holloway filed a petition for the presumption of death of persons missing more than five years with Jefferson County Probate Court in Alabama on June, 21, chief clerk Jackie Rhodes confirmed to CNN.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime • Natalee Holloway
Police: Alleged Gumby bandit turns self in
Surveillance video shows Gumby at the counter of a San Diego-area 7-Eleven on September 5.
September 14th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

Police: Alleged Gumby bandit turns self in

Will Gumby end up in the pokey?

It's up to the San Diego County district attorney, San Diego police say. But they are confident they've got the character suspected in the attempted robbery of a 7-Eleven store early on September 5.

Police say this Gumby suit was turned in on Tuesday.

Surveillance video from the convenience store shows the human-sized figure, dressed as the beloved Claymation character, entering the store with his arms raised. He pounds on the counter and demands money from the clerk. Then he reaches into his pockets, presumably for a weapon, but only drops change on the floor. After trying to pick the coins up unsuccessfully (hint, hands like mittens) Gumby leaves, joining an accomplice who'd left the store earlier and was honking the horn of a waiting minivan.

San Diego Police Detective Gary Hassen said Wednesday that Jacob Kiss, 19, turned himself and a Gumby costume in to police on Tuesday. Also surrendering to police Tuesday was Jason Giramma, 19, who was not dressed as an orange horse, but who police allege was an accomplice in the 7-Eleven stickup.

Hassen said it was the human face of Giramma, rather than the widely recognized green mug of Gumby, that provided the big break in the case.

"We got the video out and we figured that somebody would recognize his accomplice," Hassan told CNN. Tips came in through Crimestoppers, he said, and the cops soon had their TV character. A call to Kiss followed.

"You and Gumby need to come in Tuesday morning. We'll sit down and have a polite conversation," Hassen said police told the suspect.

Hassen said the case has been turned over to the district attorney, who'll decide what course a possible prosecution could take.

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Filed under: California • Crime
September 14th, 2011
10:54 AM ET

Feds blame BP, other companies for 2010 Gulf spill

[Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET] BP, Transocean and Halliburton all share responsibility for the deadly explosion that resulted in the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to the final federal report on the matter released Wednesday.

The three companies "violated a number of federal offshore safety regulations," according to the report, which includes a series of recommendations for improving drilling safety.

An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig led to more than 200 million gallons of oil being released into the Gulf. Eleven people working on the rig died in the explosion, while 16 others were injured.

Besides the oil, hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemical dispersant went into the water. At the peak of the crisis, in June 2010, 37% of Gulf waters - a total of 88,522 square miles - were closed to fishing due to contamination.

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
September 14th, 2011
09:26 AM ET

Israeli FM warns against unilateral Palestinian move

The unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would have "dire consequences," Israel's foreign minister warned Wednesday, a day after Palestinians said they would take the proposal to the United Nations.

Avigdor Liberman did not elaborate in his comments on Israel Radio, but said previous Israeli concessions like the withdrawal from Gaza had not resulted in peace.

Frustrated with stalled negotiations with Israel, Palestinians plan to appeal to U.N. member states to recognize their territories as an independent country.

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Filed under: Israel • Palestinians
September 14th, 2011
09:22 AM ET

Heavy rains, floods kill 233, affect 5.5 million in Pakistan

Heavy rains and flooding have killed at least 233 people in Pakistan, a disaster agency spokesman said Wednesday, as a weather forecast calls for more rain over deluged parts of the country.

Seven people have died in the past 24 hours, said Irshad Bhatti, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority.

At least 5.5 million people have been affected by the flooding since August, said Zafar Iqbal Qadir, chairman of the disaster authority.

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Filed under: Pakistan
September 14th, 2011
09:14 AM ET

U.S. official 'encouraged' by progress in Libya

Libya's interim leadership gave residents in the pro-Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid a 48-hour notice to leave the city, as it sent reinforcements there and to the former regime's other remaining strongholds at Sirte and Sabha.

As the National Transitional Council sought to assert control over all its territory, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, arrived in Tripoli Wednesday to meet with Libya's new leaders.

Feltman met with NTC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil, as well as with civil society, women and youth non-governmental organizations.

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Filed under: Libya
September 14th, 2011
07:45 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

CNN.com Live is the place to be for all of the latest news and views from the 2012 presidential election.

Today's programming highlights...

10:25 am ET - Perry goes back to school - GOP presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry speaks to students on the campus of Liberty University in Virginia.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics
On the Radar: Possible N. Korea defectors, Minnesota fire, Thailand floods
A Japanese patrol craft tows a boat that allegedly carried nine North Koreans to Japanese waters.
September 14th, 2011
05:40 AM ET

On the Radar: Possible N. Korea defectors, Minnesota fire, Thailand floods

Three things you need to know today.

North Korea defectors: Nine possible North Korean defectors who sailed to Japan were moved to a refugee facility in the southern part of the country Wednesday afternoon, according to government officials.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujiwara said the nine people would be temporarily held at an immigration facility. Earlier in the day, Fujiwara disputed local reports that they would be sent to South Korea.

The small wooden boat carrying nine men, women and children onboard claiming they were from North Korea was spotted off Japan's western coast Tuesday morning.

A fisherman saw the boat drifting about 25 kilometers (15 miles) off the coast of Noto peninsula of Ishikawa prefecture and reported it to authorities.

It is rare for North Korean defectors to sail to Japan's coast. According to coast guard records, there have been only two other cases.

Minnesota fire: A wildfire in a northeast Minnesota woodland grew by nearly tenfold Tuesday, giving off a pall of smoke that stretched from the Canadian border to southern Wisconsin.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called in National Guard helicopters to assist firefighters as the Pagami Creek fire, in the remote Superior National Forest, spread from about 11,000 acres on Monday to more than 100,000 by Tuesday afternoon, said Doug Anderson, a spokesman for the firefighting effort.

The blaze started in mid-August after a lightning strike, but jumped about 16 miles eastward on Monday - "unprecedented for northern Minnesota," said Lisa Radosevich-Craig, another spokeswoman for the fire command.

No injuries were reported and no buildings had been destroyed, but 36 homes in the nearby community of Isabella were evacuated as a precaution, she said.

Thailand floods: Heavy rains  and flooding have killed at least 87 people in Thailand in recent months, local authorities said.

The deaths occurred between July 29 and September 12, according to the Interior Ministry.

Flooding is still affecting 16 provinces, with Phichit   in the north among the hardest-hit.

Twenty-three people died in  Phichit province, mostly from drowning, according to officials.