Good Samaritan guidelines drafted in a China province aim to make it easier for bystanders to come to the aid of the distressed, the China Daily reports.
The rules are expected to encourage citizens who are inclined to assist people in need and stifle fears of litigation. Public opinions were being solicited Tuesday in the Shenzhen special economic zone in China’s Guangdong province, the paper said.
“Finally, we are reassured to help others without taking a picture or shooting a video to record the scene first,” a public servant surnamed Hu was quoted as saying.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
iReporter Byron Thomas is a proud Southerner and says he should have the right to hang a Confederate flag in his dorm room at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort.
He's also black.
That might seem like a contradiction, but Thomas says he doesn't think the flag is a racist symbol. "Only an ignorant person can make it racist," he told CNN.
Thomas shared his opinion in a video on CNN iReport and it sparked an interesting conversation.
Many commenters defended Thomas' freedom of speech, but others argued that you can't ignore the flag's history.
Cruddy11: "I see the Confederate flag in the same way I see the swastika. At one time it was an Indian symbol of peace if I recall correctly. Now it embodies evil and genocide. The Confederate flag represented the South and its views on slavery. As a black person or African American, I find it offensive."
But uscitizen1tx argued that the Confederacy wasn't the only guilty party in the slave trade.
"If you want to identify a symbol of slavery you should look to the American flag. It is under that flag and the U.S. Constitution that the deplorable act of slavery was codified."
"I was born and raised in Texas and the Confederate flag is offensive to me,"ImagineIt wrote.
I'll congratulate GoGreen58 who has never witnessed any kind of racism. Good for him. He lives a blessed life. But, I have been witness and subjected to much racism over the years. It's disgusting. It's humiliating. It fills you with anger. And, it makes you feel completely inadequate.
The Confederate flag, however you want to justify the use of it, symbolizes America's past with slavery, Jim Crow laws, and issues with racism (especially in the South).
Like it or not, it does.
Thedon216: I understand your point of view on what you believe. But if it offends others then you should also respect that. Some things are not meant to be forgotten. I live in the North but was born in Miami. I look at that flag and think of the many people black and white who fought against that flag, just so you and I could speak like we are today.
But molinechuck says you can't live your life in fear of offending other people.
"In my neighborhood there is an Irish flag, Mexican Flag, Canadian flag, and one I cannot identify. Who cares? Let the guy fly whatever flag he wants. If people are so insecure, self-centered, or self-righteous that they are "offended" by a Confederate flag it is their problem. People choose what they are offended by and we should not live our lives accommodating other people's insecurities."
What's your take? Join the conversation below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.
A panel of psychiatrists this week found Norwegian Anders Breivik, the man accused of killing 77 people in a terrorist rampage, to be insane and suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia."
Breivik took months to plan the July attacks in Oslo and at a youth camp on nearby Utoya Island. He orchestrated complicated financial transactions to obtain chemicals used to make bombs detonated at Oslo governmental buildings. He went through great lengths to ensure family, friends, police and even his landlord did not discover his plot.
Breivik spent hours each day working on a political manifesto that, while rambling and self-involved, still presented a cohesive set of principles. He described himself as trying to start a war that would ultimately rid Europe of Islamists and other groups to which he objected.
Despite the planning, his political manifesto and Breivik's own stated rationality, psychiatrists determined he was insane. While that finding could be overturned, it places Breivik on a legal path where it's possible he may never serve jail time.
He has pleaded not guilty but admits carrying out the attacks, the judge handling his case has said. At his trial in April, Breivik will have the opportunity to present evidence, police said.
Many Norwegians are questioning the psychiatrists' conclusion and say they are angry that Breivik may not spend time in a prison.
Listen to a CNN Radio report on the matter here:
Former politician and Norwegian writer Aslak Sira Myhre more bluntly told Britain's The Guardian, "As the terrorist of Oslo is declared insane, the Norwegian faith in our judicial system is challenged."
But the biggest outcry has come from the families of victims and the survivors of Breivik's attacks. If the insanity finding is allowed to stand, he would receive a hearing every three years. Norwegian law mandates these hearings, meaning many victims would be forced to relive the horrific events of July 22.
"That's not good for victims," Andeneas says. "And it's not very good for Norway as we try to move beyond these crimes."
You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on or to the podcast here.
Matt Garrett of Boston, Massachusetts, and a group of friends decided to go fishing off the coast of North Carolina over the Thanksgiving weekend and things were going swimmingly.
“It was our second time fishing. We went fishing the day before,” Garrett said, adding that he intended to enjoy a day of leisure. “I brought my golf clubs and fishing rods,” he said.
But as they navigated about 25 miles off Wrightsville Beach, something fishy happened.
"Everything was biting (at first), then all of a sudden nothing was biting at all. We knew something was up,” he said.
“Off in a distance we saw two big fins sticking up in the water. We thought it was a couple Atlantic Sunfish or two dolphins. As the two fins approached a little closer, we noticed it was a giant shark."
A great white shark.
Garrett said, "It was all amazement, seeing such a large living creature. It also doesn't seem real. It was very surreal!"
The shark T-boned the boat, turned around and slapped the boat with its tail, Garrett said.
Capturing it all on his iPhone 4S, Garrett said, “It didn't sink in until later that this was so significant," he said.
Paul Barrington of the NC Aquarium confirmed to CNN affiliate WECT that it was indeed a great white shark, a rarity for North Carolina waters, but not unheard of.
Barrington told WECT the shark was likely just being nosey. Garrett figured as much. "He nudged us with his nose and turned around and slapped the boat with his tail," he told the station.
Asked if he ever got out golfing, Garrett said, “I got out for nine holes and I assure you it wasn’t nearly as exciting.”
As a journalist, the goal is to never become part of the story. The same goes for reporters and anchors.. deliver the news, but do not become the news. This becomes impossible when the studio you’re working at has other plans in store. From overhead fires to false alarms, you Gotta Watch these studio slip-ups.
False fire alarm- A journalist who's taken on world leaders and reported from battlefields may have had his toughest assignment yet. During last night's "NBC Nightly News" broadcast, anchor Brian Williams was live in the studio when the fire alarm kept going off. What's most impressive, the veteran anchorman wasn't even fazed.
Editor's note: The U.S. Federal Reserve, acting with other nations' central banks, took steps Wednesday to support the global financial system with a coordinated plan to lower prices on dollar liquidity swaps beginning on December 5 and extending these swap arrangements to February 1, 2013. CNN's international business correspondent Richard Quest takes a look at how big of a help the plan is and what more might need to be done to ease the eurozone crisis.
It is time for a reality check on what was announced Wednesday morning.
In the highly complex world of banking, this move to ease access to dollars is the equivalent of adding oil and grease to the wheels of the system. The banks are lending and borrowing from each other on an hourly basis, frequently in foreign currencies. In recent weeks, it has been more difficult to get hold of currencies as a crisis of confidence takes its toll.
The so-called swap lines (where one central bank borrows foreign currency from another) have been around since May 2010. Today they have eased the price at which that money is lent to banks, and they have made it easier to borrow across the range of currencies. For instance, a bank in Frankfurt, Germany, needing yen can get it more quickly; the Swiss can get dollars; and the Japanese can get euros and so on.
Velshi: Banks' move a coordinated effort to help Europe buy time
This will all make it easier for banks to get on with the daily business of lending between each other – it greases the wheels – but it does not address the fundamental problems of the eurozone.
I don't see any moral hazard issue (a term in economic theory for a situation where there's an incentive to share a risk) in this announcement. They are not saying the banks are too big to fail – they are saying the system is too fragile to seize up. It is a sensible, moderate and proportionate response. What is lacking from the Europeans is a credible, long-term solution to the crisis. And from the Americans, a long-term solution to the debt debacle. Only when these are solved will there be the remote possibility of business as normal.
Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said Wednesday that we are entering a critical period of 10 days to complete and conclude the crisis response of the European Union – its very own 10 Days of Christmas.
Business 360: 10 days to solve the euro - but how?
And each day I will write about what the gift or groan is for that day.
Start the clock.
Britain has closed its embassy in Iran and evacuated all its staff from that country following the attack on the British embassy in Tehran Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.
Iran has also been ordered to close its embassy in London, with its staff given 48 hours to leave, Hague said in a strongly worded statement to the U.K. Parliament.
Protesters stormed Britain's embassy and a separate compound Tuesday in Iran's capital, sparking outrage in the United Kingdom.
"This is a breach of international responsibilities of which any nation should be ashamed," Hague said.
Editor's note: The U.S. Federal Reserve, acting with other nations' central banks, took steps Wednesday to support the global financial system with a coordinated plan to lower prices on dollar liquidity swaps beginning on December 5, and extending these swap arrangements to February 1, 2013. CNN's chief business correspondent Ali Velshi takes a look at why they may have made the move and how it can help the struggling European banks temporarily.
This major coordinated global move was undertaken because a global credit freeze – the likes of which we haven't seen since just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in Sept of 2008 – was looking entirely possible.
By way of background, the cost (or rate) for European banks to borrow dollars from other European banks has skyrocketed since May and, in some cases, banks haven't been able to borrow for short periods (overnight to three months) at all.
Under international banking rules, banks must end each day with a certain reserve. As a matter of course, they lend each other money through a largely automated system on a nightly basis to cover any short-term shortfalls. Increasingly, with fears that over-leveraged banks could have a "run on the bank" and the lending bank might not be repaid, banks are hesitant to make short-term loans to other banks. If they do, it's at a premium rate.
The net follow-on effect is that under-capitalized banks stop offering short-term credit facilities to their clients. (Think of how clothing purchases are financed: Retailers don't pay cash to suppliers – a bank pays the suppliers, then gets cash from the retailer as sales are made.) As clients find it more difficult to raise much-needed daily operating cash from banks, they need to immediately slash cash expenditures. Generally, the easiest way to do that is to lay people off.
In an attempt to stave off the consequences of a global credit freeze, the Federal Reserve, in coordination with major central banks, has created a credit line available to those central banks, whereby they can borrow dollars at reduced interest rates for periods of three months. The central banks, in turn, can lend to commercial banks in their respective countries. This is meant to reduce the cost of short-term borrowing for troubled European banks and to give them immediate access to dollars.
This was done immediately after the collapse of Lehman Brothers as well, to alleviate the consequences of banks being largely unwilling to lend to other banks, even for short periods, for fear that the borrowing banks could fail.
This is a serious development that doesn't solve an underlying problem of bank instability. It buys time for banks to try to find solid footing for themselves.
Quest: Banks' move helps but doesn't address fundamental eurozone problems
And, in case you were wondering, it is an instance of the creation of "moral hazard" - a term in economic theory for a situation where there's an incentive to share a risk - as the central banks have jointly decided that some shaky European banks may be "too big to fail."
Police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia dismantled tents and arrested Occupy protesters who refused to leave city areas early Wednesday.
Los Angeles police moved in at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday (3:30 a.m. ET). About an hour later, the City Hall lawn was cleared and closed for cleanup. About 200 people were arrested in the operation, utilizing some 1,400 officers, said Police Chief Charlie Beck. The Los Angeles encampment, which has been in place for some 60 days, had become the largest remaining one after police raided New York's Zuccotti Park on November 15 and dismantled the nearly two-month-old camp.
In Philadelphia, CNN affiliate WPVI reported about 40 protesters were arrested following a clash with police.
World pressure on the Syrian regime escalated Wednesday as Turkey announced tough economic sanctions and a leading U.N. body announced a Friday meeting on the human rights situation.
In Saudi Arabia, the Organization of Islamic Conference, a worldwide alliance of Muslim nations, met on Wednesday to discuss the bloodshed in Syria, whose government has been widely condemned for its fierce crackdown against protesters.
"Collective punishment methods, besieging cities, bombing mosques, using excessive violence against peaceful demonstrators and killing tens of people every day pointing weapons to their own people with army units following armed gangs such as shabiha are the manifestations of the Syrian administration's lack of understanding of legitimacy," said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who announced a series of sanctions against Syria.
The presidential election may be 11 months away, but that doesn't mean CNN.com Live is taking it easy. We are your home for the latest news from the campaign trail.
Today's programming highlights...
8:00 am ET - Gingrich town hall - GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich holds a town hall-style meeting at a restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Nigerian senate has passed a bill banning same-sex marriages, defying a threat from Britain to withhold aid from nations violating gay rights.
The bill by Africa's most populous nation calls for a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality. Anyone who aids or "abets" same-sex unions faces 10 years in prison, a provision that could target rights groups.
It goes to the nation's House of Representatives for a vote before President Goodluck Jonathan can sign it into law.
"It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else - including friends, families and colleagues - who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria," Amnesty International said in a statement.
The bill passed Tuesday comes nearly a month after British prime minister, David Cameron, threatened to withhold aid from nations violating gays rights, sparking outrage in Africa where leaders interpreted it as "colonial" display of power.
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries based on remnants of sodomy laws introduced during the British colonial era and perpetuated by cultural beliefs.
Punishments across the continent range from fines to years in prison.
"This is something we raise continually and ... we're also saying that British aid should have more strings attached in terms of 'do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity or do you persecute people for their sexuality?" Cameron said in a statement.
"We don't think that's acceptable. So look, this is an issue where we want movement, we're pushing for movement, we're prepared to put some money behind what we believe."
Soon after his remarks earlier this month, a flurry of African governments released defiant statements accusing him of undermining their sovereignty and culture.
Hundreds of Los Angeles police officers dismantled tents and arrested protesters who had camped out on the City Hall lawn for two months.
Police moved in at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday (3:30 a.m. ET). About an hour later, the park was cleared and closed for cleanup
Officers took several protesters into custody, but authorities did not immediately provide an exact figure.
"It's gone fairly peacefully," police spokeswoman Mitzie Grasso said.
During the raid, more than a dozen protesters sat in a tight circle in the middle of the park with their arms linked. Some cried. Some wore masks.
Officers in riot gear and armed with batons closed off streets around City Hall. They used bullhorns to warn the scores of agitated Occupy LA protesters to disperse.
"This has been declared to be an unlawful assembly. You have seven minutes to gather your belongings and decide to leave," one officer said.
A white police truck drove through the center of the park, announcing orders to disperse in English and Spanish.
Some campers left willingly. One carried a skateboard under one arm and what looked like a rolled-up sleeping bag in the other.
Officers were met with profanity but no violence.
"This is what a police state looks like!" some of the protesters chanted.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the police action was "a measured approach to enforcing the park closure."
On Sunday, he gave the group a 12:01 a.m. Monday deadline to take down their camp, saying "an encampment on City Hall grounds is simply not sustainable indefinitely."
(CNN) - Penn State will hold a town hall forum Wednesday where students can ask questions about the child sex scandal that has shaken the campus.
University President Rodney Erickson and several campus students organizations will host the event Wednesday night.
"We all have questions," representatives of three campus groups wrote in a statement about the forum. " President Erickson is committed to making this healing process a community effort. As the University moves forward, there is a critical need for the student body and administration to have a dialogue about our plan for the future."
Authorities continue to investigate claims against Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach accused of sexually abusing boys over a 14-year period.
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo arrived Wednesday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague to stand trial for his role in his country's post-election violence that killed thousands.
"Mr. Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the territory of Côte d'Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011," the court said in a statement.
He was flown out of the northern city of Khorogo, where he had been under house arrest, on an airplane of the Ivorian government Tuesday evening, said his adviser, Toussaint Alain.
Alain called it an illegal transfer. "The international court has taken an illegal action. This is a political decision rather than a decision of justice," Alain said.
The action comes a week before parliamentary elections. Three political parties in an umbrella coalition (CNRD) with Gbagbo's Front Populaire Ivorien issued a statement saying they would boycott the elections as a result of Gbagbo's transfer.
Last month, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, arrived in Ivory Coast to meet with government and opposition leaders and began an inquiry into the West African nation's post-election violence.
In his application to the judges for authorization to investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, Moreno-Ocampo cited sources who said at least 3,000 people were killed, 72 people disappeared and 520 others were subject to arbitrary arrest and detentions since the November 28, 2010
The Obama administration appealed Tuesday a federal judge's decision to block a law that would have made tobacco companies include graphic pictures and messages showing the dangers of smoking on cigarette packages.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon made a decision on the law in early November. He cited First Amendment rights against unconstitutionally compelled speech as a factor in his 29-page decision.
"This case poses a constitutional challenge to a bold new tact (sic) by the Congress, and the FDA, in their obvious and continuing efforts to minimize, if not eradicate, tobacco use in the United States," Leon concluded at the time.
He said the tobacco companies had shown: a substantial likelihood of success; that allowing the labeling requirements to proceed would cause them to "suffer irreparable harm"; that "neither the Government, nor the public, will suffer any comparable injury as a result of the relief sought"; and that the public's "interest in the protection of its First Amendment rights against unconstitutionally compelled speech would be furthered."
The 36 proposed images include a man exhaling smoke through a hole in his throat; diseased lungs next to healthy lungs; a mouth bearing what appear to be cancerous lesions; a bare-chested male cadaver with chest staples down his torso.
On the day he shot President Ronald Reagan, 25-year-old John Hinckley Jr. left in his hotel room a letter addressed to young actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was infatuated. The letter began:
"Dear Jodie. There is a definite possibility I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan."
But on March 30, 1981, Hinckley survived. His gun empty after he fired six shots at the president in less than two seconds, Hinckley was tackled by police and Secret Service agents. He was rushed away and all but disappeared into custody for the past three decades.
On Wednesday, a federal judge will begin a week and half of hearings on whether Hinckley eventually should be released from the mental hospital where he has been a patient since his 1982 trial ended in a jury verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Doctors at St. Elizabeth Hospital, a federal mental facility in Washington, have petitioned the court for approval to grant Hinckley convalescent leave if all goes well in series of extended visits to his mother's home.
Hinckley is now 56, his hair turning gray. In the last court hearing two years ago, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman acknowledged hospital doctors' testimony that his mental problems were in remission.
The court has steadily granted Hinckley greater freedoms over the years.
(CNN) - After a long lockout, the National Basketball Association will open its doors Thursday for voluntary workouts.
The move comes after last week's announcement that the players and owners had reached a tentative deal to end the league's months-long lockout.
The season, that was scheduled to have begun November 1, will now start Christmas Day.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday for Robert Champion, a Florida university drum major who died this month in what officials have called a hazing-related incident.
The services at a church in Lithonia, Georgia, come two days after Champion's family said they will sue the school "to get answers."
"We are concerned about the culture of cover-up, that hazing has been covered up at the Band FAMU for generations," the family's lawyer Chris Chestnut said Monday, referring to the marching band at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University.
The medical examiner has not issued a report on the cause of death of the 26-year-old student. But, Chestnut said, the facts that have emerged to date "point to the fact that hazing was a cause of Robert Champion's death, and it was under FAMU's watch."
"He loved the band - so much, I always called him Mr. Band," Champion's mother, Pam Champion, told reporters of her son. "That was his life."
At a news conference with reporters Monday, she recalled the phone call she received informing her of her son's death.
The call came shortly after her son had called to say he was coming home for Thanksgiving. "I thought it was some kind of mean joke. ... Maybe it's the wrong kid, maybe it's somebody else."
Champion became ill at an Orlando hotel after a game on November 20. He reportedly threw up in the parking lot and started complaining of not being able to breathe, authorities said.
Champion was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Video has surfaced of Houston police officers shooting an armed man in a downtown park.
Police said 21-year-old Joshua Anthony Twohig was armed with a rifle and fired several shots inside Tranquility Park near an area where Occupy Houston protesters were gathered on November 21.
Houston police said they shot Twohig after attempts were made to have him drop his weapon. He suffered several gunshot wounds and was transported to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. Twohig is charged with aggravated assault against a public servant.
Bicycle officers A. Cantos and H. Lam said they were on patrol when they heard gunshots and saw Twohig standing on a bridge near the park's fountains and pond holding a weapon. When the officers approached the scene and told Twohig to drop his rifle, they said he fired his weapon into the pond and then gestered as if he was intending to commit suicide. Police said Twohig then screamed "shoot me, shoot me" toward the officers.
At about this point, police said a witness began recording video of the incident, which CNN obtained from a Houston TV station.
The video shows Twohig dressed in a suit holding a gun to his head. Officers are heard on the video shouting commands to Twohig before they shot him.
CNN affiliate KTRK reports it spoke with Twohig's family after the incident. They did not want to comment about the shooting and told KTRK not to contact them again. KTRK said the name of an attorney for Twohig has not been released at this point.
"We don't know his motives - that being said, he was not a member of the Occupy movement that we know of," Occupy Houston protester Dustin Phipps told KTRK.
"I'm glad that the gentleman did not point his gun at all these innocent people here," witness David Loeser told KTRK.
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