Overheard on CNN.com: Alas, no laser beams on hybrid sharks
The hybrid shark contains DNA from both the Australian blacktip shark and the common blacktip shark, researchers say.
January 2nd, 2012
06:51 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Alas, no laser beams on hybrid sharks

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.

"Oh great, next thing you know sharks will be walking on land and snapping peoples heads off."
–Rick

Researchers say they've found 57 animals that are a cross between two genetically different but closely related species of shark off the coast of Australia. Scientists say it may be an indication the creatures are adapting to climate change.

Scientists: Dozens of hybrid sharks found off Australia

Climate change is a bit controversial, and it always gets people talking. Many readers said they didn't believe that climate is the reason why hybrid sharks are being found, and some found the research flawed. There were also some who defended the study. FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Climate change • Environment • Overheard on CNN.com • Science • Sharks
As candidates tout jobs plans, Iowa town teeters
The old Maytag site in Newton, Iowa, was a big talking point four years ago. This year, politicians have been silent about it.
January 2nd, 2012
04:43 PM ET

As candidates tout jobs plans, Iowa town teeters

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast about a small Iowa town holding it together:

Michelle Doland throws big plastic bags filled with empty soda and beer cans into the back of a semi-trailer. The 37-year-old single mother of two girls works some days at Newton’s can and bottle redemption center.

That’s on top of her other part-time jobs, so many she has trouble remembering them all.

“I also work for the post office - I deliver mail out in the country. I also work for the Bus Barn, so I drive a school bus,” Doland says. “I also work for Mercy (Hospital) in Des Moines - I teach CPR and first aid. And I also deliver the Newton Daily News route, and an advertising (circular) route.”

It’s a way to keep the lifestyle she once had as a painter at the Maytag plant in Newton. Its closing in 2007 was a focal point of comments by Republican and Democratic presidential candidates before the Iowa caucuses four years ago.

Now, the candidates hit Newton, a town of 15,000 and Jasper County seat, not mentioning the Maytag closing, which came after the struggling company was bought by Whirlpool. The manufacturing jobs that had held Newton together for more than 100 years were consolidated in Ohio and Mexico.

Michelle Doland tosses plastic bags filled with cans into the back of a semi-trailer.

Mayor Charles "Chaz" Allen says his small city has recovered about a third of the jobs lost since Maytag was going full-tilt. But it has been difficult replacing unionized wages, which for Michelle Doland amounted to $22 per hour when the assembly line shut down.
Now, she works the part-time jobs to maintain the middle-class lifestyle she and her girls enjoyed before the washing machine plant had its last cycle.

Top-tier candidates target each other on eve of Iowa caucuses

Allen says he’s frustrated by candidates’ commercials and interviews in which they say, in effect “I can create jobs,” with whatever economic plan they are offering.

“I think ‘I’ is the key word there,” Allen says. “They approach this as ‘I.’ (But) there’s 535 other people (senators and representatives) they have to work this through. I, as mayor, can’t do anything except pick the floating holidays and the trick-or-treat night,” he adds, punching his voice with each mention of the first-person singular.

“I have to work through the city council to produce something that works," Allen says. "But the ‘I’ word frustrates me to a point because there are 535 elected officials in Washington, D.C., that I have to work through, if I was president of the United States.”

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: Americans' struggle to turn fatness into fitness
First lady Michelle Obama has been in the forefront of promoting healthier eating habits for Americans.
January 2nd, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Americans' struggle to turn fatness into fitness

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.

Day two of 2012 has begun, and people everywhere are starting to dig into those New Year's resolutions. Of course, many want to lose weight. In a timely opinion piece, CNN contributor David Frum says our current way of life dooms us to our fatness, and he commends first lady Michelle Obama for trying to do something about it. Our readers had a bunch of theories of their own.

Why we're getting fatter and what to do about it

Readers debated the role of diet, exercise and personal responsibility in the struggle to win the battle of the bulge. Many said the problem lies with people themselves.

getreal67: "I agree with part of the article. Americans are getting fatter because they eat more and exercise less. But fixing the problem has nothing to do with redesigning cities or societies. It has everything to do with redesigning one's lifestyle. Some discipline and a treadmill or exercise bike in a basement with a fan blowing is all you need. But instead Americans will continue to spend billions on worthless 'snake oil' trying to find the magic bullet (which by the way does not exist)."

Some shared winning weight-loss strategies. FULL POST

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Filed under: Health • Nutrition • Overheard on CNN.com
Body found is suspect in Mount Rainier shooting, police say
Police confirmed Monday that a body found in the snow is Benjamin Colton Barnes, the suspect in two shootings in Washington.
January 2nd, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Body found is suspect in Mount Rainier shooting, police say

[6:28 p.m. ET]:  National park officials said Monday afternoon that the man found dead in Mount Rainier National Park is Benjamin Colton Barnes, the man suspected of shooting and killing park ranger Margaret Anderson the previous day.

Washington authorities had said there was a strong probability that a male body found in the snow Monday is the person of interest wanted in the shooting death of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County, Washington, Sheriff's office said it would take several hours before authorities could confirm the identification.

The discovery came after a manhunt in snow-covered and wooded terrain for the man, whom authorities had sought for questioning in the fatal New Year's Day shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson.

The bloodshed began with what the spokesman called "a normal traffic stop" around 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET) Sunday. But the suspect didn't heed a request to pull over, prompting a ranger to radio ahead requesting assistance.

Anderson, 34, responded to that call and set up her patrol vehicle as a roadblock.

"When he (the shooter) arrived at that spot, he got out (of his car) and fatally shot her," said Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Lee Taylor.

The suspect then ran into the spacious national park, whose border is about 50 miles southeast of Seattle. The park - the centerpiece being the 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, which is considered an active volcano - comprises 235,625 acres in the Cascade Range.

The man was also wanted in connection with a shooting Sunday in the Seattle suburb of Skyway that left four people wounded, CNN affiliates reported, citing the King County Sheriff's Department.

Read the complete story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
Ax Monday: NFL's Rams, Tampa Bay coaches fired
Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris watches from the sidelines Sunday during his team's 45-24 loss to the Falcons.
January 2nd, 2012
02:10 PM ET

Ax Monday: NFL's Rams, Tampa Bay coaches fired

One day after the conclusion of the NFL regular season, league owners got their turn to even the score in some ways. The St. Louis Rams dumped head coach Steve Spagnuolo and General Manager Billy Devaney on Monday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers canned head coach Raheem Morris.

And the ax may continue to fall, according to news reports around the league. Several coaches have been on the proverbial hot seat in recent months. On Monday, Tampa Bay and St. Louis stopped fumbling around.

On the team’s website, Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke thanked the engineers of the team’s 2-14 season “for their dedication to the St. Louis Rams organization over the past several seasons.

"No one individual is to blame for this disappointing season and we all must hold ourselves accountable,” he said. “However, we believe it's in the best interest of the St. Louis Rams to make these changes as we continue our quest to build a team that consistently competes for playoffs and championships."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Football • Peyton Manning • Pro football • Sports • Uncategorized • World
January 2nd, 2012
09:15 AM ET

Killing continues in Syria, Arab League says

Syrian tanks have withdrawn from residential areas in cities, but there are still snipers out, the head of the Arab League said Monday.

"There is still gunfire, there are still snipers and we hope that all that will disappear," Nabil el-Araby told reporters, adding: "There is gunfire from various directions which makes it hard to tell who is shooting.

"There is no doubt that killing is ongoing but I can't pinpoint the numbers," he said.

Tanks remain on the outskirts of cities, he said after an advance team of Arab League monitors returned from the violence-wracked country and began preparing an initial report.

Arab League observers went into Syria in December after the United Nations estimated that 5,000 people had been killed since March in an uprising against the government.

President Bashar al-Assad's government says it is cracking down on armed terrorists.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria
January 2nd, 2012
08:47 AM ET

Islamist militants in Nigeria warn Christians to leave north within 3 days

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to leave the area amid a rising tide of violence there.

A Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, also said late Sunday that Boko Haram fighters are ready to confront soldiers sent to the area under a state of emergency declared in parts of four states by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday.

"We will confront them squarely to protect our brothers," Abul Qaqa said during a telephone call with local media. He also called on Muslims living in southern Nigeria to "come back to the north because we have evidence they will be attacked."

Recent weeks have seen an escalation in clashes between Boko Haram and security forces in the north-eastern states of Borno and Yobe, as well as attacks on churches and assassinations. Nearly 30 people were killed on Christmas Day at a Catholic church near the federal capital, Abuja - a sign that Boko Haram is prepared to strike beyond its heartland.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Africa • Nigeria
January 2nd, 2012
08:38 AM ET

South Sudan gains control of town where ethnic tensions flared, official says

KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) - South Sudan's government has gained control of a remote town that had been under attack by fighters from a rival tribe, the nation's information minister said Monday.

Some of the thousands who fled into the bush have begun to return to Pibor, said Barnaba Benjamin, South Sudan's minister of information and broadcasting.

Earlier Monday, a military official said roughly 4,000 army and police reinforcements were on the way to Pibor after weekend attacks.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Africa • World
January 2nd, 2012
07:48 AM ET

Monday's live events

The Iowa caucuses are now just one day away, and CNN.com Live is your home for all of the results and reactions from the Hawkeye State.

Today's programming highlights...

9:10 am ET - Romney rallies supporters - GOP candidate Mitt Romney will hold a series of rallies for supporters across Iowa today, beginning in Davenport.  Romney will also be in Dubuque at 12:50 pm ET,  Marion at 5:10 pm ET and Clive at 9:40 pm ET.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
Powerball tickets to double in price
Powerball drawings are on Wednesday and Saturdays.
January 2nd, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Powerball tickets to double in price

Lottery players, your chance for millions is about to cost you twice as much.

The Multi-State Lottery Association, which administers the Powerball game, says the price of a single ticket will double to $2 beginning January 15.

"After 20 years at the same price and after watching scratch ticket sales take off with $2, $3, $5, $10, $20, and even $50 tickets, we are going to make the big jump," the association says on its website.

When the price increases, jackpots will start at $40 million, up from $20 million now, and will increase twice as fast, lottery officials say. The average jackpot is predicted to be $255 million, nearly double the current $141 million. The lottery association hopes that will increase sales.

"We know that most folks play for the big jackpots and this game will have more of those more often," it says on its website.

Officials say the odds of winning the jackpot will decrease slightly as the number of red balls, or powerballs, will decrease from 39 to 35.

They also say the pricier game should produce more millionaires, as second prize – for matching the five white balls without the powerball – increases from $200,000 to $1 million.

The Power Play option, which doubles all prizes except the jackpot, will remain, for an additional dollar on the ticket purchase, according to the lottery's website.

Powerball drawings are at 10:59 p.m. ET Wednesdays and Saturdays. Powerball is available in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Officials say the cost of a single ticket for the MegaMillions game, drawn on Tuesday and Fridays, will remain at $1. Forty states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in MegaMillions.
oklahoma lottery

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Filed under: Gambling • Lotto
January 2nd, 2012
07:37 AM ET

Iran test-fires missile in Strait of Hormuz exercises

Iran test-fired a long-range, shore-to-sea missile on Monday, the final day of its naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, state-run media reported.

The Ghader missile was fired during the "power" stage of the maneuvers, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. The test was successful, and the missile hit its intended targets, according to the report.

"A large number of the long-range surface-to-sea Ghader missiles have already been delivered to the Iranian Armed Forces," IRNA said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Iran
January 2nd, 2012
06:44 AM ET

Man detained in Southern California arson investigation

[Updated 6:44 a.m. ET] A man has been detained for questioning in a suspected arson spree in the Los Angeles area, police said Monday. It's unclear if it's the same man seen in a surveillance video released by authorities.

[Posted 4:16 a.m. ET] Los Angeles authorities released surveillance video showing a man they want to speak to in connection to a spate of wildfires in and around the city.

Michael Moriarty, a commander in the Los Angeles police department's detectives bureau, called the man on the video a "person of interest" in the investigation.

"We have video of this individual in two instances" directly tied to recent fires, he said Sunday night.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
January 2nd, 2012
06:27 AM ET

Authorities: 17 people die from toxic moonshine in southern India

Seventeen people died after drinking a toxic, illegal home-brewed liquor over the New Years weekend in southern India, authorities said Monday.
At least 18 people were also poisoned by what authorities have described as contaminated moonshine in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district, P.V.S. Ramkrishna, the district police chief, said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: World
January 2nd, 2012
06:24 AM ET

Arab League to strengthen Syria mission, official says

Arab League monitors remain in Syria, and more are on the way, a top official with the Arab body said, despite a call by an Arab League advisor to pull the observers out.
An advance team of monitors returned to Cairo on Sunday after 10 days in the violence-wracked country, but the main body of observers remains in Syria, said the official, who asked not to be named discussing diplomatic business.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: World
January 2nd, 2012
04:14 AM ET

Authorities identify 'person of interest' in park ranger's shooting

A massive manhunt was under way early Monday for a man wanted for questioning in the shooting death of a park ranger and a shooting  that left four injured in  Washington state.
Federal and local authorities described Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, as a "person of interest" in the shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson at Mount Rainier National Park on New Year's Day.
He is believed to be heavily armed and wearing body armor, according to authorities who scoured the rough park terrain looking for him.
"This is probably somebody who is experienced with the outdoors," Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer told CNN affiliates KOMO and KIRO of Seattle.
Barnes is also wanted in connection with a shooting Sunday in the Seattle suburb of Skyway that left four people wounded, the affiliates reported, citing the King County Sheriff's Department.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
January 2nd, 2012
04:10 AM ET

GOP candidates reveal late strategies on eve of Iowa caucuses

Several storylines emerged Monday on the last full day of campaigning before Tuesday's Iowa caucuses.
Front-runner Mitt Romney is trying to tamp down an upstart threat from Rick Santorum. Santorum was trying to shoulder past Ron Paul, who has been running a close second to Romney but now has Santorum nipping at his heels.
Paul is calling his rivals' attempts to discredit his foreign policy and other views as desperation and demagoguery.
Rick Perry is to trying to keep Santorum from pulling away from a three-way tie with him and Newt Gingrich by questioning Santorum's voting record on earmarks in the Senate.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Politics • U.S.