October 16th, 2011
05:32 PM ET

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to have back surgery again

Saudi Arabia's 87-year-old ruler, King Abdullah, arrived Sunday at a Riyadh hospital to undergo his third back surgery within a year, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Surgeons were to tighten a binding connector around his third vertebra, the agency said.

Abdullah last had back surgery in December at New York's Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center for a herniated disc and a blood clot that were causing him back pain. He spent several weeks in Morocco undergoing physical therapy.

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia
Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
October 16th, 2011
04:49 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

As Occupy Wall Street-style rallies continue in the United States and spread across Europe and parts of the rest of the world, more protests are expected in Greece ahead of a Thursday vote by lawmakers on whether to approve major changes, including wage and pension cuts and tax hikes. Here is a look at this and other stories CNN plans to follow this week.

Protests expected ahead of Greek austerity vote

Greek lawmakers, trying to address a severe debt problem, are expected to vote Thursday on austerity measures that are unpopular with a large portion of the Greek public. Protests similar to previous demonstrations in that country this month are expected Wednesday at the latest.

Finance ministers with the Group of 20, meeting in Paris, pledged over the weekend to take "all necessary actions" to stabilize global markets and ensure that banks are well capitalized. But with debt crises spreading in Europe –  debt problems are prompting austerity plans in Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal - thousands across the continent spent part of the weekend to protest against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts.

GOP presidential candidates head west for debate

Most of the Republican U.S. presidential candidates will be in Las Vegas this week for a televised debate and to speak at a conference of GOP members from Western states, with one candidate boycotting the event.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
October 16th, 2011
04:16 PM ET

Park51 Islamic center owes $1.7 million, landlord says

Lower Manhattan's controversial Park51 Islamic center is now in a court battle with utility Consolidated Edison, which says the center owes it $1.7 million in a dispute over back rent.

In court papers, Park51 says it owes Con Edison only $881,000 and calls the utility's demand "grossly inflated." The center has filed suit against the company over a default notice it was issued in September, and a New York state judge has stayed any action until after a hearing in November.

In a statement to CNN on Sunday, Con Edison said it "remains hopeful" that it can work out an agreement with Park51, which leases part of its property from the utility. Park51's developers did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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Filed under: New York • September 11
October 16th, 2011
04:14 PM ET

Hollande appears to be French left choice to oppose Sarkozy

Francois Hollande appeared Sunday to be the French Socialist choice to face President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's presidential election.

His opponent in Sunday's runoff election congratulated Hollande.

"The Socialist primaries have made Mr. Hollande more legitimate and stronger to fight against the right," Martine Aubry told CNN affiliate BFM-TV.

Hollande had 58% of the votes and Aubry 42% in early counting.

The pair squared off after former favorite Dominique Strauss-Kahn was felled by accusations of attempted rape in both the United States and France.

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Filed under: Dominique Strauss-Kahn • Elections • France
October 16th, 2011
04:12 PM ET

Arab League holds emergency Syria debate

The Arab League, which held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday about the ongoing unrest in Syria, is considering suspending the country from the organization.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of six Gulf Arab states, is spearheading the motion, which would need two-thirds of the assembly vote to pass.

In his opening remarks, Syrian ambassador Yousef Ahmad blamed foreign influences for the unrest in his country. He specifically cited the influence of Arabic-language news groups, which he said are targeting Syria.

The Arab League meeting comes after more than seven months of protests against the government in Syria in which the United Nations says about 3,000 people have died.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Egypt • Syria
Photographer's image is basis for memorial
October 16th, 2011
02:04 PM ET

Photographer's image is basis for memorial

When Bob Fitch heard about plans for a Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, he thought he might get a call.

Fitch worked for several years with the civil rights movement as a photographer and captured many iconic images of King.

When the call came some ten years ago, Clay Carson was on the other end. The founding director of the MLK Research and Education Institute at Stanford University was part of a group working on a design submission for the monument. As the editor as King's papers, Carson knew the exact image he wanted for the monument.

The photograph, shot by Fitch in 1966, shows King standing in his office with a pen in his right hand, arms crossed. Carson felt the image shows a reflective man, striking the right tone for the monument his team conceived to encourage dialogue.

Carson's group eventually beat out 900 other submissions as the winning design.

But today both Carson and Fitch raise concerns about perceived differences between the initial vision and the finished monument. Some are superficial. In the photograph, King holds a pen in his right hand. In the statue, he holds no pen, but does hold a scroll in his left hand. On a more fundamental level, both Fitch and Carson question whether King would have wanted such a large monument and likeness.

Carson believes the issue of the pen came about due to a flipped negative that put the pen in King's left hand. The scroll replaced the pen so as not to be historically inaccurate. Several calls to the MLK National Memorial Project Foundation about the scroll went unanswered.

As to what King might have wanted to represent his legacy, Fitch says just the achievement of the monument is one to celebrate. Fitch says many people who worked in the movement, himself included, feel joyful that the "miracle of equity that he helped move forward for Afro-American people is honored in some way by the nation."

And for Carson the prominent placement of the monument, the first major monument on the National Mall honoring an African-American, fits with the grand vision of King.

For Carson, this moment brings back memories of another time on the mall, the famous March on Washington in 1963, where King laid out his grand vision. Said Carson: "Many of us who were there thought it was about getting civil rights legislation passed. But he was carrying on a dialogue with Jefferson about the meaning of the Declaration of Independence."

Now, standing in stone, the grand monument to the man and the movement seeks to continue this conversation. As Carson says, "Hopefully Americans black and white and many other races will be part of that discussion that is raised visually by the memorial: What do our nation's ideals really mean, how close are we to reaching those ideals and making them something other than words."

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Filed under: U.S.
October 16th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Kenya vows to hit Al-Shabaab across Somali border

By David McKenzie, CNN

Kenyan troops are pursuing suspected Islamic militants from al-Shabaab across the border into Somalia, Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told CNN Sunday.

The move marks a dramatic shift in security tactics for the east African powerhouse, which is evoking the United Nations charter allowing military action in self-defense against its largely lawless neighbor.

"If you are attacked by an enemy, you have the pursue that enemy through hot pursuit and to try hit wherever that enemy is," said Yusuf Haji, in a news conference aired on CNN affiliate NTV.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Kenya • Somalia
October 16th, 2011
09:56 AM ET

Janitor finds mentally disabled people chained in basement; 3 arrested

Three suspects accused of chaining mentally disabled people and stealing their Social Security checks were arrested in Philadelphia.

They were arrested Friday after a janitor doing checks at a building found four victims - a 29-year-old woman, and three men, ages 31, 35 and 31 - locked up in a basement boiler room at a Philadelphia residence, said Lt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman. The janitor released the four and called police.

Authorities believe the victims had been trapped in the tiny room for up to a week. Evers said they suffered from bed sores and "injuries that are very, very hard to describe."

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Filed under: Crime • Pennsylvania
October 16th, 2011
04:42 AM ET

Witnesses: Security forces fire on Yemen protesters

Yemeni security forces opened fired on demonstrators gathering for a planned march in Sanaa on Sunday, killing four people and injuring 37 others, according to a medic on the scene.
The reported violence comes a day after at least 10 people were killed and 38 others wounded in clashes in the capital, said Mohammed Al-Qubati, who works at a field hospital in Change Square, the center of the protests.
Molhim Saeed, another medic in Change Square, called Saturday "a sad day for the revolution."
"The marches were peaceful and the youth were unarmed. They refused to even fight back when they were being shot at," Saeed said.
There was no immediate comment from the government. Demonstrators have taken to the streets regularly to call for an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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Filed under: World • Yemen
October 16th, 2011
01:52 AM ET

More arrests as Occupy Wall Street protests enter 30th day

Protesters banged drums and chanted after police pushed them out of a New York park Sunday, marking the 30th day since the outcry over income disparities started.

Occupy Wall Street protesters spilled into nearby streets as riot police circled a fountain and stood guard at entrances leading to Washington Square Park.

Demonstrators wandered into the night, chanting.

"We are the 99%," they said. "This is what democracy looks like."

At least 14 people were arrested for violating the park's midnight curfew by sitting in a fountain with no water in it.

"It was a classic peaceful sit in," said Paul Browne, the deputy police commissioner.

The park protests came hours after thousands marched to the city's iconic Times Square on Saturday night, hoisting signs and chanting.

Forty-two people were arrested in Times Square, bringing the total number arrested in the city Saturday to 70, Browne said.

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Filed under: Economy • Justice • Occupy Wall Street • U.S. • World
October 16th, 2011
01:15 AM ET

Death toll from 2 months of lashing rain rises to 297 in Thailand

The death toll from the worst floods in half a century to hit Thailand continues to rise.

By early Sunday morning, the number stood at 297 from two months of lashing rain, with more than 8.5 million in 61 provinces affected by the rising waters, authorities said.

More rain was predicted for Sunday in some provinces and in the capital city, Bangkok.

In the ancient city of Ayutthara, one of the worst-hit regions, military trucks moved slowly down the main street, cutting through a constant river of water, passing out aid to those who can get close.

Anyone with a boat used it to transport aid or to help neighbors carry their possessions from flooded houses. Others used rubber tires of slabs of Styrofoam.

In Bangkok, crews worked feverishly, widening canals and strengthening flood barriers to protect the city.

"I have to say here that there is a lot of water coming to Bangkok but the situation not critical yet," said Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

The Bangkok suburb of Sam Kok is sandwiched between the overflowing Chao Phraya River and the 2.5-meter floodwalls that are so far successfully protecting the inner and commercial part of the capital. The water here has nowhere to go and levels are rising fast.

"In one or two days (flood waters) will pass through Bangkok, but the fact is that the impact of such flow would be less if the water was allowed to pass through, rather than concentrated in one area," the Flood Relief Operations Command said Sunday.

Floods are an annual occurrence in the country but it has been particularly acute this year.

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Filed under: Flooding • Thailand • Weather • World
October 16th, 2011
12:42 AM ET

A victory and a loss: Two incredible storylines play out in boxing

Two compelling storylines played out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles - one that produced a fairytale ending and the other that ended in a controversial call.

Dewey Bozella, a 52-year-old cruiserweight who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, won his professional boxing debut by a unanimous decision in a four-round match against Larry Hopkins.

But Bernard Hopkins, 46, failed in his attempt to become the oldest boxer to defend a world title when he lost to Chad Dawson early Sunday morning. Dawson won the fight by a technical knockout in the second round.

After Hopkins threw a right and leaned over Dawson, the latter threw him on to the canvas.

Hopkins landed on his left shoulder.

The referee did not call it a foul, and Dawson won the fight on a technical knockout.

The crowd erupted in boos.

Hopkins, who first became a world champion 16 years ago, made history in May when he was awarded a points victory over Canadian Jean Pascal to become the sport's oldest-ever holder of a global belt.

With the win in Montreal, Hopkins surpassed the record held by compatriot George Foreman.

But on Sunday morning, the World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion, was upstaged by a much younger opponent.

Dawson, currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the fourth-best light heavyweight in the world, is 29 - 17 years younger than the Pennsylvania-born Hopkins.

In the first fight of the night, Bozella won with a hard right to his opponent's jaw.

Bozella served time in New York's Sing Sing prison after he was found guilty of murder in 1983. His conviction was overturned two years ago.

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Filed under: Boxing • Sports • U.S. • World