December 30th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

NGOs puzzled by Egyptian raids

A day after Egyptian police raided the offices of 10 nongovernmental organizations across the country, the groups remained in the dark about what the authorities were looking for.

"We asked them if there was something specific we could help them find," Julie Hughes, Egypt country director for the National Democratic Institute (NDI), told CNN Friday. "They refused to answer."

Two other U.S.-based agencies, Freedom House and the International Republican Institute (IRI), were also raided.

Police took laptops, desktops, video conferencing equipment, cell phones and other electronics, Hughes said. They also took between 15 and 20 boxes of documents.

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Filed under: Egypt
December 30th, 2011
07:51 AM ET

Turkish PM Erdogan regrets Kurdish civilian airstrike deaths

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that he regrets the deaths of 35 civilians in an airstrike in a Kurdish area on the border with Iraq late Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, he said, "It is an unfortunate outcome. It is a sad outcome."

Pledging a full investigation, he said those killed were smuggling cigarettes and fuel, with almost half of them below the age of 20.

Erdogan said Turkey's military had been monitoring the area because it was in constant use by terrorist groups and that security forces had become suspicious because of the size of the group and number of donkeys used.

The funerals of the victims, who all came from three villages in the Uludere area of Sirnak province, should now have been conducted, he said.

His words came a day after a senior member of a Kurdish separatist group urged Kurds to rise up against Turkish authorities over what he called a massacre.

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Filed under: Iraq • Turkey
December 30th, 2011
07:33 AM ET

Friday's live events

The Iowa caucuses are just four days away, and CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest political news from the Hawkeye State.

Today's programming highlights...

7:30 am ET - Huntsman on the campaign trail - While the other major GOP presidential candidates are in Iowa, Jon Huntsman continues campaigning in New Hampshire.  He addresses a Rotary meeting in Bow, New Hampshire.

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
December 30th, 2011
06:46 AM ET

Anti-government protesters rally in Syria

Large-scale anti-government protests and more violence unfolded across Syria Friday, with opposition groups calling on demonstrators to camp out in public squares until President Bashar al-Assad's regime is ousted.

The protests coincide with reports of increased violence against demonstrators by al-Assad's security forces, even as an Arab League fact-finding mission works to determine whether the Syrian government is abiding by a peace agreement to end a brutal crackdown on protesters.

As they have in their nearly 10 months of resistance, Syrian activists and opposition groups used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to urge thousands to evade al-Assad's forces and defy government-imposed curfews.

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December 30th, 2011
04:30 AM ET

Sudanese military aircraft crashes near airport, official says

A Sudanese military aircraft on a reconnaissance mission near El Obeid Airport crashed early Friday, the state-run SUNA news agency reported.

A search is underway for casualties from the crash, military spokesman Sawarmi Hassan Saad told SUNA.

There were no reported injuries on the ground, SUNA said.

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Filed under: World
December 30th, 2011
04:24 AM ET

Cyclone pummels eastern Indian coast, kills six

At least six people were killed after a cyclone pummeled India's southeastern coastline Friday, bringing high winds and rain, officials said.

Coastal districts in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and in the territory of Puducherry were on high alert as the cyclone approached.

The deaths were reported in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, where meteorologists reported winds gusting at between 75 and 87 miles per hour.

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Filed under: World
December 30th, 2011
04:15 AM ET

Bomb blast kills 2, wounds 3 in Pakistan, official says

A bomb blast killed two people and wounded three on Friday in northwest Pakistan's tribal region, a senior Pakistani government official said.

The bomb was planted on a road near the village of Dara Bazar in the Bajaur Agency, one of the seven districts that make up Pakistan's tribal region, said Islam Zeb, a senior administrator in the district.

The bomb was remotely detonated, Zeb said.

It was was not immediately clear who was targeted in the blast or who was killed.

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Filed under: Pakistan • World
December 30th, 2011
03:42 AM ET

'No chance' of 9/11 museum opening on time, New York mayor says

Work on the National September 11 Memorial Museum has been halted over a budgetary dispute, making it impossible to open on time, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
"There's no chance of it being open on time. Work has basically stopped," Bloomberg said during a press conference Thursday.
The museum was scheduled to open on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The Mayor blamed the holdup on "disagreements" with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is responsible for a portion of project's financing.

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Filed under: U.S. • Uncategorized
December 30th, 2011
02:04 AM ET

Two aid workers killed in Somalia capital

Two aid workers working to provide emergency medical relief in the Somalia capital of Mogadishu have been killed in a shooting at a Medecins Sans Frontieres compound, the agency said in a statement.

The workers were shot Thursday at a compound operated by MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, the non-profit aid agency said.

"The exact circumstances of the shooting are not yet clear. MSF's immediate priority is to take care of those most affected by this tragedy, in particular the families and colleagues of the victims," the statement said.

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Filed under: Somalia • World
December 30th, 2011
02:02 AM ET

North Korea says it won't deal with South Korean government

North Korea said Friday that it remained steadfast in its refusal to engage with the current South Korean government, dismissing the prospect of a shift in relations with Seoul after a dynastic succession in Pyongyang.

"We solemnly declare with confidence that the South Korean puppets and foolish politicians around the world should not expect any change" from North Korea, the country's National Defense Commission said in a statement reported by Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The statement came after two days of elaborate ceremonies in Pyongyang that honored Kim Jong Il, who died earlier this month, and underlined the rise of his son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, to the position of "supreme leader" of the secretive state.

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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • North Korea • Uncategorized • World
Eruption creates new island in Red Sea
December 29th, 2011
02:49 PM ET

Eruption creates new island in Red Sea

The Red Sea appears to have a tiny new island, courtesy of an underwater eruption.

The island essentially lava that cooled after breaking through the water's surface began forming this month between Yemen and Eritrea among the Zubair archipelago, a group of small islands that come from a submarine shield volcano, according to NASA and the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.

NASA’s Earth-Observing-1 satellite captured an image (above) showing the new mass with a plume perhaps volcanic ash and water vapor rising from it on December 23, NASA’s Earth Observatory website says. The island appeared to be less than one-third of a mile in diameter, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

The image came four days after local news reports said fishermen saw an eruption in the sea, with lava rising up to 90 feet in the air, according to NASA.

The shield volcano from which the Zubair islands stem (the largest of which is 5 kilometers long) last erupted in the 19th century, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

Wordwide, new islands emerge from volcanic eruptions about once every few years, and not all of them survive beyond three years, because waves can break them apart, GVP volcanologist Rick Wunderman said Thursday. It's not clear whether the new Red Sea island will last, but the material that emerges from the Red Sea typically is more structurally sound than other areas, Wunderman said.

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Filed under: Volcano • Yemen
Tsunami debris spotted along West Coast
Debris is littered along the Japanese coast months after a tsunami and earthquake struck the island nation.
December 29th, 2011
12:21 PM ET

Tsunami debris spotted along West Coast

Ten months after a tsunami devastated parts of Japan, some of the island nation’s debris has washed up on North American shores, according to news reports.

On Vancouver Island, B.C., The Sun newspaper reported that wreckage from Japan began appearing this month. "In or around Dec. 5th the first item or two of some consequence was found," Tofino Mayor Perry Schmunk told the newspaper. "Some lumber came ashore that had Japanese export stamps on it."

Two weeks ago, CNN affiliate KIRO in Seattle showed video footage of what it said was debris from the March 11 tsunami - at least 10 Japanese buoys - on the Washington coast. “That’s about as good as the evidence gets for first arrivals,” retired oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer told KIRO.

More reports of mundane Japanese items - such as bottles and toothbrushes - popping up along North American shores are beginning to emerge.

But that’s just the beginning, experts say.

Physicist Michio Kaku said Thursday that it is vital to understand the sheer size of the Japanese debris field in the Pacific Ocean.

“First, you have to understand the size and scope of this problem. The debris field from this Japanese tragedy is the size of the state of California,” he said.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Environment • Japan • U.S. • World
December 29th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

Suspect in soldier shooting pleads not guilty

A man accused of shooting and paralyzing a U.S. Army soldier at a homecoming party pleaded not guilty to all charges at his arraignment Thursday.

Ruben Jurado, 19, faces a charge of attempted murder in the shooting of Army Spc. Christopher Sullivan on Friday night at a homecoming party in Sullivan's native San Bernardino, California.

Jurado also faces four "special allegations involving premeditation and the use and discharge of a firearm, causing great bodily injury," said Christopher Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.

"Special allegations" can add to a convict's sentence in California.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Military • U.S. Army
December 29th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Former Argentina dictator gets second prison sentence

[Updated at 11:21 a.m. ET] Former Argentine dictator Gen. Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for crimes against humanity at a clandestine detention center during his rule. He was already serving a 25-year sentence from a previous trial.

He ruled Argentina from June 1982 until the nation's return to democracy in December 1983.

Argentina's 2nd Oral Federal Court handed down the ruling. The punishment stems from an investigation into a clandestine detention facility hidden inside a hospital during the country's military dictatorship.

Under his command, at least 22 people were kidnapped and taken to the center, known as the "Chalet at the Posadas Hospital," according to evidence in the case. Five of those were tortured during their detention, according to Argentina's judicial information center.

Bignone was previously sentenced in April 2010 to 25 years in prison for kidnapping and torturing 56 people.

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Two killed, dozens injured in 40-vehicle wreck in New Orleans
These vehicles were part of the wreck in eastern New Orleans on Thursday morning.
December 29th, 2011
09:49 AM ET

Two killed, dozens injured in 40-vehicle wreck in New Orleans

[Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET] Two people were killed and more than 50 others injured Thursday in a 40-vehicle pileup that shut down Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans, authorities said.

Both eastbound and westbound lanes were closed following the crashes, which began about 4 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET), said Garry Flot, New Orleans police spokesman. It was unknown how long the interstate would be closed, he said.

Twenty-two people were transported to hospitals with minor to critical injuries. Another 37 complained of minor injuries at the scene but refused medical care, Flot said.

One firefighter suffered a cut on his face while performing his duties at the scene, Flot said. He was taken to a local hospital for stitches.

WWL: Two killed in I-10 wreck in New Orleans

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December 29th, 2011
08:52 AM ET

2 French soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack

A soldier in the Afghan National Army uniform shot dead two French soldiers serving in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, the French Defense Ministry said.

The soldiers were there as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the two French soldiers had been deliberately fired on by an Afghan soldier present at their position in the Kapisa valley.

He condemned the attack as a "cowardly act" but reaffirmed France's commitment to helping the Afghan National Army develop and its confidence in the Afghan soldiers.

The "isolated incident" would not affect the process of eventually handing over responsibility for security to Afghan forces, the minister said in a statement, adding that his thoughts were with the families of those killed and their fellow service members.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • France • Military • World
December 29th, 2011
07:47 AM ET

Syrian security fires on protesters as monitors arrive, group says

Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in a Damascus suburb Thursday as Arab League monitors arrived, an opposition activist group said.

More than 20 demonstrators were injured in the Grand Mosque area of Douma as the observers arrived at the city's municipal building, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, another opposition activist network, said two people in Douma were among 10 killed in Syria on Thursday. It is not clear how and where those deaths occurred.

The incident comes as Arab League monitors worked in the opposition epicenter of Homs, arrived in the restive cities of Daraa, Idlib, and Hama, and visited the Damascus area.

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Filed under: Syria
December 29th, 2011
07:42 AM ET

Police: Texas gunman called 911

A clearer recording of a Christmas day 911 call from a Texas apartment where seven people were found dead revealed a man believed to be the gunman whispering, "I am shooting people," police said.

Grapevine, Texas, authorities replayed the audio Wednesday using a different software system than previously used while preparing to release a recording of the call to media outlets, police Lt. Todd Deating said in a statement.

Police responding to a 911 call initially thought to be an "open line" went to the Grapevine apartment and found the bodies of seven family members, who apparently had just finished opening gifts at a Christmas gathering. The estranged husband of one woman - Azizolah Yazdanpanah, 56 - is thought to be the gunman, authorities said. He was dressed as Santa Claus.

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Filed under: Crime • Texas
December 29th, 2011
07:39 AM ET

Thursday's live events

The Iowa caucuses are now just five days away.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest from the Hawkeye State and the race to the 2012 presidential election.

Today's programming highlights...

8:50 am ET - Romney talks to voters - GOP hopeful Mitt Romney talks jobs and the economy with voters in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  He'll also hold a rally in Ames, Iowa, at 6:30 pm ET.

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
Gotta Watch: Best viral videos of 2011
December 29th, 2011
07:03 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Best viral videos of 2011

We've posted a lot of videos on CNN.com this year, but the ones that seem to be the most popular are the viral videos. From the hilarious barking cat to the incredibly talented mini-Nicki Minaj, 2011 has been jam-packed with some incredibly amusing videos. In the spirit of the end of the year, we at Gotta Watch put together the four most-watched viral videos on CNN.com in 2011. Enjoy!

Rejection is funny - This video out of Missouri proves that laughing truly is contagious. A letter that would make most of us mad seems to have a very different effect on a little boy.

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Filed under: 2011 Year in Review • Animals • Dogs • Gotta Watch • Penguins • Sharks
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