20% of Detroit in the dark, paper says
Many of Detroit's light poles are antiquated, making quick fixes nearly impossible because of the costs, city officials say.
October 19th, 2011
06:03 PM ET

20% of Detroit in the dark, paper says

About 20% of Detroit is without working street lights, and in some areas up to 50%, the Detroit News reports.

A combination of problems, including an aging infrastructure, a shrinking city budget and criminal activity - both real and perceived - have made public lighting a problem, officials say.

“I know you heard that 50% of the city is in the dark. I wouldn’t say that high, but it is a great number,” City Councilman James Tate told CNN Wednesday. “And I don’t care what side (of town) you’re talking about - east, west, more affluent - you see lights out everywhere."

Strapped for cash like most cities, Detroit officials are trying novel - and controversial - ways to fix the longstanding issue:  The Detroit Works Project proposed by Major David Bing would shift the city’s resources to the more vibrant neighborhoods, prioritizing working lights, water systems and trash pickup to areas that are heavily invested. On the other hand, blighted areas – huge swaths of the city  - would be divested of resources in a bid to encourage residents to move out of those parts of the city.

“What it does is try to encourage density in certain areas of the city,” Tate said, “because in these areas that have pretty much no one on the block now the challenge is if you have one person who lives there, you’ve got to provide the services, all of them, garbage collection, water, lighting,” he said.

Another plan would have the lighting department privatized.

In any case, city leaders are angry. This past summer, several leading clergy members took Wall Street to task over contributing to blight by letting foreclosed properties fall into disrepair.

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Filed under: Michigan • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: Vegas GOP debate was ugly
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was cut off numerous times during Tuesday night's debate.
October 19th, 2011
03:47 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Vegas GOP debate was ugly

Comment of the day:

“It will be hard to elect candidates that look like bickering children.” - Armon

GOP debate gets heated

With CNN’s Anderson Cooper moderating, the GOP presidential candidates took their gloves of Tuesday night in a presidential debate in Las Vegas. Trading jabs and, at times, speaking over one and other, they mainly attacked Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, “Romneycare” and Mitt Romney's employment of illegal immigrants.

Their attack-first, ask-questions-latter tone didn’t impress many CNN.com readers.

jweller13 said, “This shouting match being called a ‘debate’ is debatable.”

confuztruf said, “The lady really scared me. It was as if she was in another realm or world and someone was asking her questions other than the ones being asked to her on the present stage. And I'm pretty sure that whatever world she was in she was getting standing ovations for answering those questions.”

AItaira said, “Who won the debate? Obama.”

Isocyanide said, “Vote Cain! With each 9-9-9 deal we get free bread sticks and a 2-L of Coke Zero!”

libsrinsane responded, “And a man with experience, unlike the one in the white house now!”

Cityman said, “Romney showed another side to the smooth, always tempered, well trained puppet of the LDS. He was terrible in this debate. The Boston Globe published an article today on the truth about Romney's Illegal help. He knew but didn't fire the firm until the Globe exposed him for a second time. And, the firm was doing landscaping for the son who couldn't go to Iraq because he was serving his country by helping ‘Dad’ become President. Those were Romney's words in 2008.”

james1095 said, “Yawn. Wake me up when it's time to vote. All of the candidates are going to be fighting tooth and nail, and saying whatever they think people want to hear in order to get them elected. Unless they magically learn to have a civilized and truthful debate, it's a waste of our time.”

FULL POST

October 19th, 2011
01:12 PM ET

All but two animals accounted for, sheriff says

[Updated 3:31 p.m. ET] A grey wolf and a monkey were still on the loose 19 hours after authorities began hunting down animals released from a farm outside Zanesville, Ohio, a local sheriff told reporters Wednesday.

"We have 48 animals that are dead and those were animals that were released or got out of dens," said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. Authorities were able to save six animals, which are being transported to the Columbus zoo, he said.

The animals were among 56 exotic animals released Tuesday from Terry Thompson's farm outside Zanesville.

Thompson, 62, was found dead and authorities were waiting on the results of an autopsy, Lutz said. But he added that preliminary investigations indicated Thompson released his animals and then died from a self-inflicted wound. He had pried open cages and left the farm's fences open.

Animals that had to be put down around the owner's 78-area property in eastern Ohio include 18 tigers, nine lions, six black bears, three mountain lions and two baboons, Lutz said.

Flashing signs on the highways in eastern Ohio warned motorists Wednesday: "Caution. Exotic animals."

Schools shuttered and some frightened residents said they were keeping to their homes as sheriff's deputies hunted lions, tigers, leopards and grizzly bears that escaped from a preserve after the death of the owner.

Lutz said his deputies, who found themselves in a volatile situation, had to shoot some of the animals at close range. A Bengal tiger was put down after it got agitated from a tranquilizer shot.

"We are not talking about your normal everyday house cat or dog," Lutz said. "These are 300-pound Bengal tigers that we have had to put down. "When we got here, obviously, public safety was my number one concern. We could not have animals running loose in this county."

See CNN's latest coverage
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Filed under: Animals • Justice • Leopards • Monkeys • Mountain lions • Ohio • U.S.
October 19th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

Central American rains a reminder of Mitch

The death toll from recent rain and flooding in Central America rose to at least 91 Wednesday as the deluge rivaled what the region witnessed during the deadly Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The deadliness of the current disaster is much smaller than Mitch - which killed some 11,000 people - but the large amounts of rain are causing similar damage: washed out bridges, landslides, flooding and river overflows.

"We think of hurricanes as the thing that causes the most damage, but you can have rains that are just as damaging without the hurricane," Herman Rosa Chavez, El Salvador's minister of the environment and natural resources, told CNN.

Already, the rain in El Salvador has tripled the average rainfall for the month of October.

Gauges in the country were registering recent rainfall as high as 55 inches. In comparison, Hurricane Mitch dumped between 50 and 70 inches of rain in the Central American region.

"This phenomenon is of great magnitude," Rosa Chavez said.

A vital difference between the death toll now and in 1998 is that during Mitch, the rainfall came in a matter of a few days. This time, the precipitation has come over a period of more than a week.

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Filed under: Costa Rica • El Salvador • Flooding • Guatemala • Honduras • Nicaragua • Weather
Overheard on CNN.com: Disgust over animal killings
After exotic animals were released from their cages, authorities in Eastern Ohio had to respond to a dangerous situation.
October 19th, 2011
12:42 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Disgust over animal killings

Comment of the morning:

“Terribly sad in every way. I'm trying to convince myself these magnificent animals are maybe better off than new lives in different cages. Very upsetting.” - StaciBinore

Eastern Ohio reacts to loose, dangerous animals

Officials say Terry Thompson, 62, released nearly 50 exotic animals from his preserve in Ohio — including lions and bears — before dying from a self-inflicted wound. Most of the escaped animals were put down, and authorities are still looking for the few that haven’t been accounted for.

The story shocked and upset many CNN.com readers who wanted to know why the animals hadn’t been tranquilized rather than shot. Others wanted to know how Thompson, who had recently been released from prison for possessing illegal firearms, had been allowed to own so many exotic animals.

intheaspens said, “How sad that the animals have to suffer because of one stupid human.”

reticular responded, “It isn't because of just one stupid human; this guy wouldn't have been able to do this in most other states. The Ohio legislature deserves most of the blame for this. They've condoned this kind of stupidity for decades.”

FULL POST

Gotta Watch: Political debate smackdowns
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the Republican presidential debate airing on CNN, October 18, 2011.
October 19th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Political debate smackdowns

A political debate isn't a good one without a few awkward and fiery moments. Tuesday night's Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas was certainly no exception.  The candidates clashed over all kinds of hot button issues like taxes and health care.  In today's Gotta Watch, we wanted to feature some of our best political debate smackdowns, starting with arguably the most heated exchange from the Vegas debate between Mitt Romney and Gov. Rick Perry.

Gloves come off – It's a really awkward exchange that includes a lot of yelling, bickering and even a condescending pat on the shoulder. Watch what ensues after Gov. Rick Perry accuses Mitt Romney of hiring illegal immigrants.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Elections • Gotta Watch • Immigration • Las Vegas • Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party • Tea Party • U.S.
Senators push for tobacco ban on players during World Series
San Francisco Giants player Mark DeRosa takes a pinch of smokeless tobacco during warmups.
October 19th, 2011
10:09 AM ET

Senators push for tobacco ban on players during World Series

A group of senators is urging Major League Baseball to use the World Series as a chance to step up and change a fairly recognizable scene at baseball stadiums: a group of players in the dugout chomping on chew and spitting tobacco juice.

Not only is it unhealthy, the senators said, but it sends the wrong message to children who look up to the players.

Baseball's smokeless tobacco problem

"An expected 15 million viewers, including many children, will tune in to watch the first game of the series," Sen. Dick Durbin and other senators said in a letter to the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products."

It's a scene that's caught often on TV, as a camera pans the field during batting practice or the dugout during the game: Some players chew gum, others spit out sunflower seed shells, and others spit out tobacco juice. With the first game of the World Series set for Wednesday night, the senators are trying to use that national platform to urge players to opt for the sunflower seeds rather than the tobacco.

Sens. Durbin, Frank Lautenberg, Richard Blumenthal and Tom Harkin, who is the Senate Health Committee chairman, said the World Series is such a big stage that it would be a good opportunity to right a wrong as well as set a good example.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
October 19th, 2011
08:03 AM ET

Police: More alleged victims found in Philly captives case

A woman rescued from a boiler room in a Philadelphia apartment building says she had two children while she was held against her will, police said Tuesday, another development in the bizarre case.

The woman, Tamara Breeden, is one of four mentally disabled adults rescued from the boiler room over the weekend, and authorities have located 10 others who may be victims in the case, said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The four people, three men and a woman ranging in age from 29 to 41, were found locked in the room with no food and only a bucket for a toilet, police said. The pitch-black, 15-foot-by-6-foot space houses what police described as a boiler used to heat the building. A penetrating stench of urine and feces still hung in the chamber days after the discovery.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • Pennsylvania
October 19th, 2011
07:53 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

CNN.com Live is your home for gavel-to-gavel coverage of Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial.

Today's programming highlights...

10:30 am ET - Obama promotes hiring veterans - President Obama and the first lady promote the hiring of U.S. military veterans at an event in Hampton, Virginia.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Conrad Murray • Crime • Politics
October 19th, 2011
07:30 AM ET

More than 700 dead as flooding hits southeast Asian countries

At least 745 people have died in flooding in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines since July, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said.

Thailand has been hit the hardest, with 315 people killed in that time frame, officials said.

Monsoon rains across Thailand have affected millions of people in 61 of its provinces, the country's Flood Relief Operation Command reported.

Cambodia, meanwhile, reported 247 dead since July.

– CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Cambodia • Flooding • Laos • Philippines • Thailand • Vietnam • Weather
October 19th, 2011
04:17 AM ET

Truth Squad: Fact checking the GOP debate

CNN's Truth Squad fact-checked some of the claims made at Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.

We'll take a look at some of the questions posed to the candidates, then share with you how they answered the question. The topics include whether Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan include a value-added tax, did Mitt Romney hire illegal immigrants a year after a newspaper report, Michele Bachmann's claims that the Obama administration try to repeal part of its own health care plan and whether Rick Perry's energy plan can create over a million jobs.

FULL POST

FULL STORY

Filed under: Politics • Republican Party
October 19th, 2011
03:48 AM ET

Multiple deaths feared in attack in Turkey

Multiple casualties were reported from an early Wednesday morning attack in southeastern Turkey, officials said.

Rockets were launched at security forces and military sites in the town of Cukurca, an official with the provincial governor's office and Turkish President Abdullah Gul said.

Neither gave a death toll in the attack but CNN Turk reported that at least 24 people were killed.

Gul blamed terrorism when he spoke about the attack during a televised address.

"Our determination is certain. Those who think that democratic improvements in Turkey are achieved as a result of terrorism are making a big mistake," Gul said. "It is our decision to continue the struggle against terrorism without giving any concessions."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Middle East • Turkey • World
October 19th, 2011
01:58 AM ET

Police: More alleged victims found in Philly captives case

One of the women rescued from a boiler room in a Philadelphia apartment building says she had two children while she was held against her will, police said Tuesday in another development in the bizarre case.

The woman is one of four mentally disabled adults rescued from the boiler room over the weekend and authorities have located 10 others who may be victims in the case, said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The four people - three men and a woman ranging in age from 29 to 41 - were found locked in the room, with no food and only a bucket for a toilet, police said.

The pitch-black, 15-foot-by-6-foot space housed what police described as a boiler used to heat the building. A penetrating stench of urine and feces still hung in the chamber days after the discovery.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
October 19th, 2011
01:37 AM ET

Schools closed as exotic animals prowl Ohio

Officials in eastern Ohio declared schools closed Wednesday as sheriff's deputies equipped with night vision attempted to hunt down dozens of exotic animals - including bears, lions, tigers and cheetahs - who escaped from a preserve following the death of its owner.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said deputies, armed with shotguns, were patrolling areas in pickup trucks early Wednesday morning.

"There are still thought to be several dangerous animals on the loose, creating a public safety threat."

In nearby Licking County, Sheriff Randy Thorp said he has activated the county SWAT team "who will be equipped with night vision and the necessary weapons to deal with any encounters with such animals."

The menagerie of about 48 animals on the loose also includes wolves, giraffes and camels.

Deputies shot dead about two dozen of them Tuesday.

Schools in at least four districts were declared closed for Wednesday, as authorities asked residents to stay inside until the rest of the animals were rounded up or killed.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Animals • Bears • Camels • Tigers • U.S.