NCAA bans Ohio State football from postseason for violations
The Ohio State Buckeyes were penalized by the NCAA for violations.
December 20th, 2011
03:05 PM ET

NCAA bans Ohio State football from postseason for violations

Earlier this year, Ohio State said it was vacating all 12 of its victories from the 2010 football season and placing itself on two years' probation in the wake of a scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job.

Tressel resigned after being fined $250,000 and suspended for lying to NCAA officials investigating allegations that his players had received special benefits from local businesses in Columbus, Ohio.

Several players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, allegedly swapped team and personal memorabilia and equipment for tattoos and other benefits. Tressel became aware of the transactions, which violate NCAA rules, but did not report them on a form all coaches are required to submit.

In addition to the postseason ban, the NCAA imposed penalties of additional scholarship reductions, three years of probation, the forfeiture of almost $340,000 and all of its victories for the 2010 season.

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Filed under: College football • Ohio
California lawmaker seeks repeal of his state's Dream Act
The law, starting in 2013, will allow children of illegal immigrants to receive state funds to attend schools like UCLA.
December 20th, 2011
02:37 PM ET

California lawmaker seeks repeal of his state's Dream Act

A Republican California Assemblyman is trying to repeal his state's Dream Act, which would give children of illegal immigrants who have graduated high school access to state college grants starting in 2013.

In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California Dream Act, which would set aside up to $65 million for the children of illegal immigrants who qualify. The legislation differs from a proposed federal bill called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors or DREAM Act, which would give children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship through military service or college education.

‚ÄúThis is absolute sheer insanity,‚ÄĚ said Tim Donnelly, the California Assemblyman. ‚ÄúNobody is as nuts as California."

Donnelly is trying to gather enough signatures on a petition to get a repeal of the law on the November ballot before the legislation goes into effect in 2013.

He said his opposition is based on economics. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre broke,‚ÄĚ Donnelly said.

Click the audio player to hear more from CNN Radio's Jim Roope:

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Overheard on CNN.com: Congress' lack of action sparks anger
December 20th, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Congress' lack of action sparks anger

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.

Congress showed little sign of resolving its partisan standoff Tuesday over the payroll tax cut extension as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure expressing disapproval of a Senate plan, and leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate insisted they won't go along with a new House proposal.

The House motion, passed in a virtual party-line 229-193 vote, called for the dispute to be immediately taken up by a House-Senate conference committee - something already ruled out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

House Republicans on Tuesday passed a motion calling for further negotiations on the payroll tax cut, disagreeing with a Senate measure that called for a two-month extension. Only Republicans supported the motion in the 229-193 vote.

The Senate voted 89-10 in favor of a two-month tax-cut extension Saturday - a fallback plan designed to give both sides more time to negotiate - but that short-term compromise has slammed into a conservative roadblock in the House, where rank-and-file Republicans are fuming over the short-term nature of the plan, among other things.

As the clock ticks down, nobody appears willing to bend and neither side seems to know how to break the logjam.

The latest political drama follows what seems like a year of endless debt talks and regular episodes of near-government shutdowns, and some people are simply fed up with Congress. We take a look at the frustration with government that people are sharing on both CNN.com and around the Web.

Some users commented they felt lawmakers from both parties are to blame and they planned to hold them accountable. They said that Americans have the power to vote out incumbents if they can't get anything done to help the people of this country.

us2us: "Who do these people represent? Answer: Themselves."

marjoreemae: "It's a shame responsible people will not come together and fix what's wrong with our country. I vote not to pay these individuals. It's time we have a real voice in our government."

gadzooks: "I do hereby call for the resignation of every member of Congress."

hv19006: "I'm just not voting for any of the incumbents in the next election. They have all proved they can't get the job done, both the Senate and the House, both the Democrats and the Republicans."

FULL POST

December 20th, 2011
11:49 AM ET

Women march in Cairo to protest violence

Egypt's capital remained engulfed in tension on Tuesday, as security forces and protesters clashed and demonstrators at a "Million Women" march railed against the regime and assaults on citizens.

Security forces wielding batons, firearms and tear gas attacked defiant protesters Tuesday on the fifth consecutive day of clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square, witnesses told CNN.

Sherif Barakat, a businessman, heard machine gun fire early in the morning and saw the unrest from the balcony of his home above Tahrir Square. He saw security forces charge, firing tear gas and beating people with batons.

"Both sides exchanged rock-pelting until the military withdrew," he said. "They kept the protesters at bay far from the epicenter of the clashes at Sheikh Rihan Street close to the Ministry of Interior for two hours until they reinforced the cement wall erected two days back with more blocks, then they withdrew."

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Iraq VP denies allegations
December 20th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

Iraq VP denies allegations

Tariq al-Hashimi, Iraq's Sunni vice president, disputes the government's charges that he organized a death squad targeting government and military officials, saying the false claims are politically motivated and he has never and will never be involved in violence.

"Today it is al-Hashimi, tomorrow it will be someone else," al-Hashimi told reporters Tuesday in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil, where he discussed a warrant issued for his arrest by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government.

Iraqiya, the Sunni-backed but cross-sectarian political bloc to which al-Hashimi belongs, has accused al-Maliki of consolidating power, saying the Shiite-backed political leader has refused to give up control of Iraq's Interior and Defense ministries.

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Man found guilty in murder of UNC student body president
Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. was found guilty of first-degree murder.
December 20th, 2011
11:18 AM ET

Man found guilty in murder of UNC student body president

A jury has found a man guilty in the 2008 murder of  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson.

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree armed robbery, felonious larceny, and felonious possession of stolen goods.

An autopsy report showed that Carson, an honors student, had multiple gunshot wounds when she was found lying on a Chapel Hill street. The autopsy report listed six gunshot wounds but said two of the wounds were probably from the same bullet.

Court documents released in the North Carolina case said Carson was taken from her apartment and forced to provide her abductors with ATM access to her bank account before she was shot to death in the early hours of March 5.

A grand jury indicted Demario James Atwater on October 27, 2009 on federal charges of carjacking resulting in death, carrying and using firearms in relation to carjacking, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a short-barreled shotgun not properly registered to him. He also faces state first-degree murder charges in Orange County, North Carolina, along with Lovette.

The informant said the two men drove Carson to an ATM, obtained her PIN from her and then shot her. The witness told police that Atwater said the two got about $1,400 from Carson's account. Bank records show that was approximately the amount taken from the account over a two-day period, the documents said.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has said he also will seek the death penalty against Atwater. Authorities cannot seek the death penalty against Lovette because he was 17 at the time of the slaying.

The Athens, Georgia, native was a pre-medicine student double-majoring in political science and biology. She was a recipient of the university's prestigious Morehead Scholarship and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, according to UNC.

December 20th, 2011
11:09 AM ET

The day North Korea revealed its 'hidden prince'

Editor's Note: CNN producer Adam Reiss traveled to North Korea with Alina Cho in October 2010 for an elaborate celebration for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and what would become the official introduction of his son, Kim Jong-Un. Reiss looks back at their rare trip inside the country.

We had been pushing hard for years to gain access to North Korea to report on life inside the secretive country when we finally got the call in October 2010 that we would be able to visit. We had less than 24 hours to get the proper visas and credentials for what was being billed as several of the largest military parades and mass games in North Korean history.

Alina Cho first visited the county in 2008 with the New York Philharmonic, which had been invited to play an historic concert there. Thrilled by the rare access, she was determined to go again. As a producer with CNN, I was looking forward to what would be an unforgettable trip to this hermit nation.

Our government minders were on hand as we arrived at Pyongyang airport, and they followed us everywhere we went. They told us who we could and could not talk to, and where we were allowed to shoot. One of the minders was the same one Alina had on her previous trip, and the rapport and familiarity certainly were beneficial.

We were whisked to Pyongyang’s largest stadium for a magnificent display of color and pageantry, as thousands of North Korean performers staged a show for the benefit of their "dear leader" Kim Jong-Il and his heir apparent Kim Jong-Un. It was an unofficial and elaborate coming out party for the hidden prince, the first glimpse of him in action after being named a four-star general.

It truly was a sight to behold as they danced and moved to synchronized music and lights. Security for each event was extremely tight, with every single item in our possession thoroughly searched. We noticed even foreign dignitaries were having their cigarette packs searched.

Archive: North Korea's leader, presumptive heir attend huge parade

When we reached the city, Alina said she was struck by the traffic lights on the streets which she had not seen on her last visit. There were even traffic attendants directing what few cars were on the roads. In addition, more North Koreans were speaking into cell phones. Only domestic calls are allowed, but nevertheless it was amazing to see.

“It was simply jaw-dropping to see this, common in western society," she remembers. "But here it was a huge leap forward."

FULL POST

Gotta Watch: Candidates making fun of themselves
December 20th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Candidates making fun of themselves

There's nothing better than politicians who are secure enough to make fun of themselves, especially this winter when tensions are high among the Republican presidential candidates. "The Late Show with David Letterman" seems to be a popular place to let the rest of the country know that they don't take themselves too seriously.

'It's a hairpiece' – Monday night, Mitt Romney visited Letterman to share the top ten things "he'd like to say with the American people."

Brain freeze –¬†In November, Rick Perry stopped by "The Late Show" to share his top ten excuses for his now-infamous brain freeze.

The 9-9-9 plan - Before Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign, he took advice from Letterman on his 9-9-9 plan.

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Filed under: Herman Cain • Mitt Romney • Politics • Rick Perry • Uncategorized
December 20th, 2011
09:41 AM ET

News International: Murdoch newspapers settle with phone hacking accusers

Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has settled with seven people who accused his newspapers of phone hacking, its parent company News International announced Tuesday.

The claimants included James Hewitt, a former lover of Diana, Princess of Wales.

December 20th, 2011
09:11 AM ET

Lori Berenson arrives in U.S. after 16 years

Lori Berenson, the American activist convicted of aiding terrorists in Peru, arrived in the United States Tuesday morning for the first time since her 1995 arrest.

Berenson arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport just past 7:30 a.m. An hour later, she emerged from the terminal pushing a luggage cart and with her 2-1/2-year-old son at her side.

She exited the terminal without saying a word to reporters and boarded a waiting sedan with her mother and drove off.

A previous attempt by Berenson, currently on parole, to visit the United States for the holidays was foiled Friday because she lacked some paperwork.

She will spend the holidays with her family in New York.

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Filed under: Peru
December 20th, 2011
09:01 AM ET

Putin registered as candidate for Russian president

Russian election authorities officially registered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday as a candidate for president in next year's election, they announced on their website.

Putin will represent his United Russia party, the Central Election Commission said.

The move is the latest step toward Putin's reclaiming the presidency after switching to the prime minister's office because of a law barring him from serving more than two consecutive terms as president.

Russia's third-richest man, the billionaire New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, announced this month that he will run against Putin for president.

Many ordinary Russians suspect the Kremlin put Prokhorov up to it to give the impression the contest is fair.

FULL STORY
December 20th, 2011
04:46 AM ET

South Korea expresses sympathy to North Korean people

The South Korean government expressed its sympathy to the people of North Korea following the death of Kim Jong Il, South Korea's unification minister said Tuesday.

In a televised press conference, Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik also said Seoul will not send a government delegation to North Korea. However, the South will allow bereaved family members of the late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and the late Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Mong-hun to visit the North in return for a visit by North Korean delegates to the funerals of the two South Korean figures.

In addition, the South Korean government asked church groups to refrain from lighting Christmas trees near the demilitarized zone between the two countries due to the North's mourning period. The Christmas trees have been deemed a symbol of psychological warfare, and North Korea threatened in the past to retaliate if the South lights the trees.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un, the son and successor of the recently deceased North Korean leader –viewed his father's body in Pyongyang on Tuesday, state-run media said, as the world watched for clues on how the leadership transition will play out in the insular dictatorship.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong Un • North Korea • South Korea • World
December 20th, 2011
04:24 AM ET

American general returns military flag from Iraq to U.S.

The American general who oversaw the withdrawal of tens of thousands of troops from Iraq returns to the United States on Tuesday, carrying the military flag that flew over the Iraqi capital.

The simple act is a long-standing military tradition that signifies the end of a mission.
There is little simple, though, about this act.

When Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III returns the United States Forces-Iraq command flag to U.S. soil, it will mark the formal conclusion of the military mission in Iraq.
Austin, who lowered the command flag in Baghdad last week, will be met at Andrews Air Force Base by President Barack Obama, according to White House and Pentagon officials.

The return of Austin and the flag will be commemorated with a ceremony attended by Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the officials said.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
December 20th, 2011
02:52 AM ET

Blizzard pummels West, Midwest

Travel through the southern Rockies into the central Plains "will be dangerous, if not impossible" early Tuesday, forecasters predicted, as a large winter weather system blasts parts of the West and Midwest.

Early Tuesday morning, blizzard warnings stretched from northeast New Mexico to southeast Colorado, western Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle and far northern Texas, according to the National Weather Service.

"Blizzard conditions with wind chill temperatures below zero are expected," the agency said.
Winter storm warnings stretched farther across New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas.

"A large area of 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected from northeastern New Mexico into Kansas, with isolated areas of around one foot possible by Tuesday evening," the National Weather Service said.

In addition, blustery winds of 25 to 50 mph will be possible.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
December 20th, 2011
12:58 AM ET

Lights out! Football game in San Francisco hit by power outages

San Francisco's Candlestick Park was in need of, well, candles after two power outages stalled Monday night's football game between the 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

An initial power outage struck the park shortly before the start of the game, delaying the opening kickoff, football officials said. The second delay hit early in the second quarter, briefly delaying the game, they said.

"Right now, we believe the power outage occurred because of a blown transformer. We have all our available personnel working to confirm that," Steve Weakland, a spokesman for the 49ers, said in a written statement.

"There are more questions than answers; we have asked PG&E to assure us and the NFL that this will not reoccur.  We will continue to update you as we learn more. "

The delays in the game seemed to not hinder the 49ers as they walloped the Steelers in route to a 20-3 victory.

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.