December 17th, 2011
11:40 PM ET

Florida A&M alumni group to discuss recommended suspension

The National Alumni Association of Florida A&M University will hold a press conference Sunday about Florida Gov. Rick Scott's recommendation to suspend the university's president.

The governor requested the suspension of James Ammons amid an investigation into various issues at the university - including the death of Robert Champion Jr., the 26-year-old Florida A&M student and drum major who died last month after a suspected hazing incident. Champion's death has been ruled a homicide.

Alumni association president Tommy Mitchell will also comment Sunday on hazing incidents "at other institutions that are not being reported in the national media nor resulted in the governor's intervention," according to a statement.

Orange County officials said in a statement that Champion died November 19 because of "hemorrhagic shock" - the result of excessive internal bleeding - "due to soft tissue hemorrhage, due to blunt force trauma sustained during a hazing incident." He died in Orlando, where his band had been playing.

No one has been charged in Champion's death. The Orange County Sheriff's Office released a statement Friday indicating that its detectives "have followed all appropriate protocols as if investigating a homicide" and suggesting that more action will be forthcoming.

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Filed under: Crime • Football • Justice • Sports • U.S.
December 17th, 2011
11:28 PM ET

Deadly Iraq war ends with exit of last U.S. troops

Early Sunday, as the sun ascended to the winter sky, the very last American convoy made its way down the main highway that connects Iraq and Kuwait.

The military called it its final "tactical road march." A series of 110 heavily armored, hulking trucks and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles carrying about 500 soldiers streamed slowly but steadily out of the combat zone.

A few minutes before 8 a.m., the metal gate behind the last MRAP closed. With it came to an end a deadly and divisive war that lasted almost nine years, its enormous cost calculated in blood and billions.

Some rushed to touch the gate, forever a symbol now of an emotional, landmark day. Some cheered with the Army's ultimate expression of affirmation: "Hooah!"

Once, when hundreds of thousands of Americans were in Iraq, the main highway was better known as Main Supply Route Tampa and soldiers trekked north towards Baghdad and beyond, never knowing what danger lurked on their path.

On this monumental day, the Texas-based 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division's main concern was how to avoid a traffic jam on their final journey in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Gaumer, 37, was on this road in August 2003. It was his first time at war. He was frightened.

There was not a lot of traffic at that time, he recalled. He remembered a lot of cheering by Iraqis, even though the situation was tense.

Sunday morning, the air was decidedly different.

"It's pretty historic," he said about the drive south, hoping he will not ever have to come back through this unforgiving terrain again.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East • World • World Update
December 17th, 2011
10:51 PM ET

Paroled American activist stopped from leaving Peru, her lawyer says

Lori Berenson was prevented from leaving Peru although a court has given the American activist permission to travel to the United States for the holidays, her lawyer told CNN en Espanol on Saturday.

Berenson and her 2-1/2-year-old son were stopped at the airport for reasons that were not immediately clear, said Anibal Apari.

He characterized the decision to block their leaving as "arbitrary," and said he wanted to get to the bottom of who gave the order.

Berenson was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement to attack the nation's congress and overthrow the government. Her sentence was reduced to 20 years on appeal.

She was released from Lima's Chorrillos Penitentiary in November 2010 after a Peruvian court granted her parole. As a parolee, Berenson must remain in Peru until at least 2015.

If she had been allowed to leave, it would have been the first time she left Peru in 16 years. Under the travel terms set by the Lima court, Berenson, 42, would have to return to Peru in early January

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Filed under: U.S. • World
December 17th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

2 dead, dozens more missing after boat sinks off Indonesian coast

At least two people are dead and as many as 170 missing after a wooden boat carrying migrants to the Australian territory of Christmas Island sunk off the coast of Indonesia, a rescue official said early Sunday.

The boat was carrying more than 200 people when it left Indonesia's East Java province, according to Angipp Satoto of the Indonesian search-and-rescue team. Nearly 90 people were rescued from the water, he said.

Indonesian authorities are working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in the rescue efforts, Satoto said.

Most of those aboard the ship were Indonesians. Others aboard were of Afghan, Iranian, Turkish, French and Saudi Arabian origin, Satoto said.

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Filed under: Australia • Indonesia
December 17th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Clashes leave 10 dead in Yemen

Clashes between government troops and suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen left at least 10 people dead Saturday, according to two senior security officials.

The dead included three soldiers and seven suspected militants, the officials said.

At least four government-armored vehicles were also destroyed in the violence, according to the officials.

The clashes took place in four different districts of Yemen's southern Abyan province in a sign that suspected militants have not been weakened by recent government raids.

Residents in Abyan said that troops conducted house-to-house searches and arrested two suspected militants.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Telecom • Yemen
December 17th, 2011
04:37 PM ET

NY remains are identified as those of Shannan Gilbert

A New York medical examiner's office said Saturday that a body discovered this week along a remote stretch of Long Island beach was that of Shannan Gilbert, the missing New Jersey woman whose disappearance led investigators to 10 sets of human remains and the hunt for a possible serial killer.

Gilbert, 24, vanished in May 2010 after visiting a client. Police say the Jersey City resident advertised for prostitution services on websites, such as Craigslist.

Her body was uncovered Tuesday in the wooded marshes of Suffolk County's Oak Beach. The cause of her death has not yet been determined, Suffolk County police said in a statement Saturday.

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Filed under: Crime • New York