Comment of the day:
“How ironic that this story sits next to a story about Occupy Wall Street. Someone did not get the memo.” – BillyRyan
Citi raises checking account fees
Citi announced Wednesday that they are slapping customers with another fee — this time on midlevel checking accounts — for members who do not maintain minimum balances of $15,000 on their combined accounts.
And for CNN.com readers, the announcement seemed like the straw that broke the camel's back: they were livid and encouraged Citi clients to withdraw their funds. Others shared their positive experience with credit unions and said people should follow in their footsteps.
RogerBlatto said, “How completely arrogant and greedy can these banks get. They likely know that 99 percent of people cannot afford to keep $15K in cash in their accounts. So charge them $20 while you let the rich get a free ride? Maybe these Wall Street protesters have a point after all.”
tstorm9200 said, “Credit unions are about to explode in growth!”
What do you do with a rat-infested, stateless pirate fishing vessel? Blow it up to show off the firepower of the Coast Guard's newest, toughest cutters, a U.S. senator says.
Crew from the Coast Guard cutter Munro seized the Bangun Perkasa, which was not operating under a national flag, 2,600 miles off Alaska in September after it was suspected of engaging in fishing with drift nets on the high seas, according to the Coast Guard. Drift net fishing is illegal because the nets indiscriminately kill massive amounts of fish and other marine life such as endangered whales and turtles.
The vessel was found to have been using 10 miles of drift nets and had 22 tons of squid and 30 shark carcasses aboard, the Coast Guard said. The fishing boat and its crew of 22 were towed to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands.
And that's when the Coast Guard found evidence of rats on board.
Comment of the morning:
“I don't want to be a country of war anymore...” - Allisoncares
As America marks the 10th anniversary this week of the Afghanistan conflict, a study published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center demonstrates low-level support for the continued conflict — but strong support for U.S. troops.
Many CNN.com readers shared their frustration about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying that the costs have been too high. Other readers simply said the time to bring home troops is long overdue. And some readers said they still believe the wars were just.
minguey said, “All the health services those wars could have paid for. All the things we could have spent the money on like a crumbling infrastructure.... Just a few days ago CNN reported how the US military is GIVING AWAY most of its equipment in Iraq simply because it is cheaper to give it away than to bring it back home. MASSIVE waste, the lives of not only 4.5K US soldiers but an additional 1.2K soldiers from allies....and (according to the Armed Forces own report leaked by Wikileaks) 105K dead civilians.
Meanwhile, the jobs go to China, the richest get richer and we are infected with a Tea Bagger cancer that has poisoned the nation with the worst of the worst America has to offer.
Bring the boys and girls home, shut down the bases, save the CASH and start taking care of the OTHER WAR....the one on the poor, the unemployed and the future.”
LukeO27 said, “If we cared about American lives, we'd be putting trillions into preventative health care, not wars. Wars are about profits and power. Power for the government and profits for the Military Industrial Complex.”
(Correction: An early version of this post included a reference to a "Polish death camp." It should have said "a Nazi death camp in Poland." CNN regrets the error.)
German prosecutors have reopened hundreds of investigations into suspected Nazi death camp guards, according to the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization founded by a camp survivor.
"Though this is late in the game, and those who would be targeted are very old, this is tremendously important," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper. "This signals that there is a new generation of prosecutors who want to take a fresh and serious look, and it means that the larger German bureaucratic machine is paying attention to the importance of finding these criminals."
Germany is making a move now because of an unusual and opportune precedent established by the May 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, a guard at a death camp, Cooper explained. There was no direct evidence tying Demjanjuk to crimes, but prosecutors won a conviction on more than 28,000 counts of accessory to murder by demonstrating that he worked at the camp where deaths occurred.
Demjanjuk was deported from the United States in 2009 to stand trial in Germany, appearing in court wearing dark eyeglasses and a baseball hat. Demjanjuk has filed an appeal of his conviction. Because of his age and the unlikely flight risk he posed, he was freed but returned to prison in May, prompting German prison officials to search for a short-term nursing home for him.
The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a civil rights figure who helped lead efforts in Birmingham, Alabama, has died, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute said Wednesday.
Shuttlesworth is among the iconic figures honored in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. King once called Shuttlesworth "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South."
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against segregated busing in Montgomery, Alabama, Shuttlesworth rallied the membership of a group he established in May 1956 - the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights - and they challenged the practice of segregated busing in Birmingham.
Shuttlesworth also helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with King and other civil rights leaders.FULL STORY
The few hundred people camped out at Zuccotti Park in New York’s Financial District in an entrenched protest loosely focused on corporate greed and big business’s involvement in government will see their numbers bolstered by thousands this afternoon.
A half-dozen labor unions, including the local Transport Workers Union are joining Occupy Wall Street for a march through Lower Manhattan today. The demonstrators plan to leave their encampment and join the union members at Foley Square about a mile north of their location. Then, together, they’ll march back down to Zuccotti Park.
Listen to the full CNN Radio report here:
As the number of protesters grows the movement shows no signs of letting up. It has spread to several other cities across the country. An Occupy Philadelphia protest began this week.
The movement is leaderless and lacking an organizational structure. But that doesn’t mean it’s disorganized.
“We didn’t set up a clear set of goals to begin with because we felt we were trying to bring people together and start a conversation, and from that conversation … the goals and demands will become clear,” said Lorenzo Cerna, one of the volunteers working in Occupy Wall Street’s ad hoc media center.
The process for facilitating the conversation revolves around what the demonstrators call a General Assembly. It meets daily, sometimes twice a day, and anyone can stand up and voice an opinion. Those listening nearby then repeat what the speaker said, amplifying it so that everyone else can hear the message.
They’re trying to create a consensus around a clear objective through a group process.
“It takes some time. So we have to be patient,” Cerna said. “A lot of people want a specific thing to be said. But I think that specific thing will eventually be said.” As he looked at the diverse group of people around him he said, “This movement is very much about bringing people together and for getting people to start talking to each other and start working together.” In that regard, he believes Occupy Wall Street has been successful.
While they figure out what their goals are, they’ve organized different volunteer groups tasked with keeping the park clean, distributing food donated by people sympathetic to their cause, and dealing with medical and legal issues.
They even have their own internal security force, although, they didn’t want to be called security. They settled on the term "De-escalation." They call out people violating the group rules of no drugs and alcohol and respecting each other’s property.
While the people who make up Occupy Wall Street figure out how they want to focus their message, no one can say how long it will take and where this is all heading. As more people join the protest they get to have their opinions heard, too, drawing out the process.
At least 10,000 marchers shut down the center of the Greek capital Wednesday to protest the latest waves of austerity measures announced by the government.
The march accompanied a one-day strike in the public sector that shut down Athens International Airport, government ministries and schools. Hospitals operated on skeleton staffs, and some commuter rail services were closed.
The marchers shouted slogans against the government and the threesome overseeing Greece's $146 billion bailout: the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.
The protesters were unionized public sector workers, angry at the pay cuts they have suffered which, they say, amount to as much as 40% of take-home pay. The best paid 100,000 public sector workers will lose another 20% of their pay, the finance ministry recently announced.FULL STORY
More than a million hungry Somalis living in southern and central areas hit hard by war and drought will start seeing much needed food distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the agency said Wednesday.
The first round of distributions of beans, oil and rice is expected to reach 72,000 people in the pastoral Gedo region.
The Red Cross is also hoping to deliver seed and fertilizer to 240,000 farmers ahead of the planting season and ready to harvest by the start of 2012.
"The people are waiting for the rain to come in one or two weeks," said Yves van Loo, the Geneva-based agency's spokesman in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The distributions will take place deep in territory controlled by Al-Shabaab, an Islamist group with ties to al Qaeda that has waged war in order to establish a stricter form of Sharia, or Islamic law. The United States designates Al-Shabaab as foreign terrorist organization.
Van Loo said the aid is going out after negotiations with the militants.
"Not everybody can talk to them," he said. "Our neutrality has been respected."FULL STORY
New Zealand joined Australia on Wednesday in criticizing Japan's decision to resume whaling in Antarctic waters later this year and Tokyo's announcement that it will increase security for its whaling fleet.
"The Japanese government (is) making noises that have an ominous feel about them," New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said.
Michihiko Kano, Japan's fisheries minister, said at a news conference Tuesday that a patrol boat from the Fisheries Agency would accompany the Japanese whaling fleet when it heads for the Southern Ocean in December to "strengthen the protection given to the research whaling ships."
The addition of the patrol boat to the whaling fleet comes after last season's whale hunt in the Southern Ocean was cut short when anti-whaling activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society blocked strikes on the animals. Sea Shepherd said its actions saved 800 whales, and it promised last week to be back in force this season.
A Spanish judge has again indicted three U.S. soldiers in connection with the death of a Spanish TV cameraman in Iraq in 2003, according to a court order viewed by CNN Wednesday.
The long-running case stems from the death of the cameraman, Jose Couso in Baghdad in 2003. U.S. troops assaulted the Iraqi capital and directed tank fire against the Palestine Hotel, where journalists covering the war were staying.
The three U.S. soldiers were first indicted by the judge in 2007. The case was closed in 2008 but reopened last year after Couso's family appealed to Spain's Supreme Court.
The latest indictment, dated Tuesday but made public on Wednesday, alleges that the three U.S. troops were linked to U.S. tank fire directed against the hotel, where Couso was videotaping the battle. He died from his wounds shortly afterward.
The three, identified as Philip de Camp, Phillip Wolford and Thomas Gibson, were assigned to the U.S. 3rd Infantry, based in Fort Stewart, Georgia.FULL STORY
Two people have been killed and four wounded in a shooting at a California rock quarry, CNN affiliates report.
The shooting took place during a workplace meeting at Hanson Permanente quarry in Cupertino, California, CNN affiliate KGO-TV reported. An employee opened fire on others at the meeting, according to the report.
Reports differed on what has happened to the shooter. KGO said he is still in the quarry and making further threats.
CNN affiliate KTVU reported he had fled the quarry and a massive manhunt was under way involving several law enforcement agencies.
The four wounded were in critical condition, KTVU said.FULL STORY
Bahraini opposition leaders, many sentenced to life in prison, are 12 days into a hunger strike dedicated to gaining the release of "innocent women and girls" from jail, the son of one of the leaders told CNN Wednesday.
Dozens of activists have been jailed and sentenced to prison during recent political unrest, including Hassan Mushaimaa, the secretary-general of the banned opposition Haq group.
"We are really worried about his health," said his son, Mohamed Mushaimaa. "They won't let us talk with him very often." Phone calls are allowed every week, he said.FULL STORY
At the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles, there are no all-night lines, no fistfights, no Sharpie system like the one used by would-be spectators during Casey Anthony’s murder trial.
Trial-watching is a more orderly affair in L.A., which has a long history of sensational courtroom drama.
Spectators start showing up around 7 a.m., and it’s all over by 7:30. Unlike the Casey crowd, who were fighting over a hot ticket into the trial, these folks don’t brawl.
Why not? It’s not that Michael Jackson’s fans, who make up the vast majority of the would-be spectators, are peace-loving folks. They’re just as emotional about the case as the Casey clatchers were.
There’s just no point to acting out.
In Orlando, it was pretty much first come, first served for 50 courtroom seats, and conflict often arose over the varying definitions of “first.”
It got downright scary the night one woman showed up and started her own line, declaring herself No. 1. That did not go down well with the 50+ others who’d passed a Sharpie around to brand themselves with their numbers.
In Los Angeles, there are far fewer seats for the public, so you’d think the law of supply and demand would make the competition more intense. Ah, but L.A. has its lottery system. No matter when you show up, you’re given a ticket, and the other half is tossed in a bowl. The winning numbers are pulled out at random – so far six to nine a day.
If only they’d thought about that in Orlando, they might not have had to call the cops so many times.
“We’ve been doing this a while,” said one court spokeswoman, who offered a knowing smile and nod, but not her name.
Watch CNN.com Live for gavel-to-gavel coverage of Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - New York chopper crash briefing - National Transportation Board officials discuss their probe into Tuesday's fatal helicopter crash in New York's East River.
Three things you need to know today.
Texas fire: Firefighters in Bastrop County, Texas, continue to battle on Wednesday a blaze that sprang up Tuesday near where fire destroyed more than 1,500 homes in September.
About 1,000 acres were burning with multiple street evacuations, according to Sissy Jones, spokeswoman with the Bastrop County sheriff's office.
"We have had to evacuate 30 homes in the area," John Nichols, public information officer with the Texas Forest Service, told CNN. A highway in the area was closed because of the fire, he added.
The area that was burning is in the northeast portion of the county near the town of McDade, Texas. The cause of the fire was unknown, authorities said.
Wall Street protest: Labor unions were poised Wednesday to join the Occupy Wall Street protest as similar demonstrations were springing up outside New York City.
"These young people on Wall Street are giving voice to many of the problems that working people in America have been confronting over the last several years," Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which has 20,000 member in the New York area, told CNN.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 spokesman Jim Gannon said the Occupy Wall Street movement, which denounces social inequities in the financial system and draws inspiration from the Arab Spring revolutions in Africa and the Middle East, has advanced issues that unions typically support.
Meanwhile, a Twitter account called Occupy Boston mentions a city-wide college walkout there Wednesday. The Massachusetts Nurses Association says "hundreds" of the city's nurses will rally with the Occupy Boston protestors on Wednesday. The Nurses Association says the protest will be part of the opening day activities for a national nursing convention being held in Boston.
Halloween costumes: Charlie Sheen, the former star of TV's "Two and a Half Men" who was fired from the popular sitcom earlier this year, is the most popular Halloween costume for 2011, CNNMoney reports.
Top choices for women include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Snooki from the "Jersey Shore," the report says, citing figures from Spirit Halloween, the country's largest seasonal Halloween retailer.
As for kids' costumes, expect to be seeing a lot of Angry Birds on your doorstep on Halloween night, the report says.