Believe it: Tebow works another miracle in Denver
No. 15 Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards for the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
January 8th, 2012
11:00 PM ET

Believe it: Tebow works another miracle in Denver

The astounding story of Tim Tebow added another chapter Sunday as the controversial quarterback led his Denver Broncos to a stunning 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL wildcard playoff game.

On the first play from scrimmage in overtime, Tebow heaved a pass 18 yards to receiver Demaryius Thomas, who stiff-armed Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and sprinted down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown.

The Broncos led 20-6 at halftime, but the Steelers - led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 289 yards passing - clawed their way back to tie the game at 23 with time running down in regulation. Neither team could get close enough for a winning field goal, and the contest moved into overtime.

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Filed under: Pro football • Sports • Tim Tebow
January 8th, 2012
07:41 PM ET

Ahmadinejad arrives in Venezuela

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela on Sunday, his first stop on a four-nation trip to Latin America meant to strengthen ties between Iran and the region.

He arrived about 6:30 p.m. ET, and was met at the airport by Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua.

Ahmadinejad walked off the plane and down a red carpet, flanked by officials in white uniforms, images on state television showed.

It's no coincidence that Venezuela is Ahmadinejad's first stop. Despite their cultural differences, Venezuela and Iran have found significant common ground: both are among the world's top crude oil exporters, and their leaders have become strong allies united by a fierce opposition to what they view as U.S. imperialism.

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Filed under: Iran • Venezuela
Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 8th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans on covering this week:

Polls show Romney ahead as New Hampshire prepares to vote

A slimmer field of GOP presidential candidates is fighting for votes in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, the second contest of the 2012 nomination calendar.

Mitt Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, had a double-digit lead in Granite State polls less than a week after he pulled out an eight-vote victory over former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses.

Six major candidates are still in play, with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota having suspended her campaign after a poor showing in Iowa.

Romney, Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman will be looking for traction in New Hampshire ahead of a January 21 primary in South Carolina.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
Truth Squad: Fact-checking Sunday's GOP debate
Jon Huntsman, left, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul participate in Sunday's debate in New Hampshire.
January 8th, 2012
03:51 PM ET

Truth Squad: Fact-checking Sunday's GOP debate

CNN's Truth Squad fact-checked some of the claims made at Sunday's Republican presidential debate in Concord, New Hampshire. We'll take a look at some of the questions posed to the candidates, then share with you how they answered the question.

Santorum: Obama blocked funding for abstinence programs

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said President Barack Obama blocks federal funding for abstinence-focused programs. His comment repeated a similar statement during a January 2 speech in Iowa.

The statement: "In fact, he (Obama) has required programs not to talk about marriage, not to talk about abstinence, if - in order to get federal funds."

The verdict: False

Read why here

Romney claims big job creation in Massachusetts

Mitt Romney said more jobs were created in Massachusetts while he was governor than have been created in the United States since Obama has been president.

The statement: "We created more jobs in Massachusetts than Barack Obama's created in the entire country."

The verdict: True, but incomplete

Read why here

Gingrich: EPA out of touch with reality

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the Environmental Protection Agency considered regulations that would punish farmers for allowing dust from their fields to blow onto other farmers' fields.

The statement: "They were worried that the plowing of a cornfield would leave dust to go to another farmer's cornfield. ... They were planning to issue a regulation. In Arizona, they went in on the dust regulation and suggested to them that maybe if they watered down the earth, they wouldn't have these dust storms in the middle of the year. And people said to them, 'You know, the reason it's called a desert is there's no water.' Now this is an agency out of touch with reality, which I believe is incorrigible, and you need a new agency that is practical, has common sense, uses economic factors and, in the case [of] pollution, actually incentives change, doesn't just punish it."

The verdict: False

Read why here

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • U.S.
January 8th, 2012
03:39 PM ET

1 dead, 9 injured in Chicago high-rise fire

One person died and nine others, including two firefighters, were injured in a fire early Sunday in a Chicago high-rise, according to the city's fire department.

The body of the 32-year-old resident, who lived on the 12th floor, was found in an open elevator, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

The elevator had superheated air, which could have been up to 1,000 degrees "at head level where she was," Langford said.

Firefighters received a call just after 2 a.m. Sunday about a fire on the 12th floor of the building. In the apartment where the fire broke out, the resident left the door open hoping their pets would escape, which caused the hallway to fill with smoke and fire, he said.

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Filed under: Fire • Illinois
January 8th, 2012
03:36 PM ET

U.N. refugee chief: 'Stand by South Sudan'

South Sudan is facing a "huge humanitarian crisis" that requires support from the international community, the United Nations' refugee chief said Sunday.

Nearly 80,000 refugees have entered the nation from neighboring Sudan, where fighting has flared in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said. And ethnic conflicts in South Sudan have displaced thousands, he said.

"My appeal is for the international community to stand by South Sudan and to support this country that became a sovereign state just six months ago to be able to cope with the challenges," Guterres told CNN in an interview via Skype from South Sudan.

Last weekend, some 6,000 armed men from the Lou Nuer tribe marched on an area of South Sudan's Jonglei state, which is home to the rival Murle tribe, attacking the town of Pibor.

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Filed under: South Sudan • United Nations
January 8th, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Papa John's apologizes for receipt's racial slur

Papa John's Pizza fired a cashier at one of its New York restaurants and apologized to an Asian-American customer for a receipt that identified her as "lady chinky eyes."

"We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issued in New York," the company said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Saturday.

Minhee Cho, a communications manager at nonprofit investigative journalism group ProPublica, posted a photo of the receipt on her Twitter account Saturday morning and by the afternoon it was picked up by a local newspaper.

Along with the receipt, Cho tweeted "just FYI my name isn't 'lady chinky eyes.'"

The receipt had been viewed online almost 200,000 times by Sunday afternoon, according to the counter on the Twitpic page.

Cho did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment, but her boss did.

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Filed under: New York • Race • U.S.
January 8th, 2012
10:33 AM ET

U.S. expels Venezuelan consul in Miami

Venezuela's consul general in Miami has been declared to be persona non grata and must leave the United States, a State Department official said Sunday.

The official declined to comment on specific details behind the decision to expel Consul General Livia Acosta Noguera.

Acosta must depart the United States by Tuesday, the official said.

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Filed under: Venezuela
January 8th, 2012
08:44 AM ET

Mexican authorities: Former goalkeeper worked for kidnapping gang

Mexican authorities have arrested a former soccer star whom they accuse of using his social status to help a kidnapping gang track down information about potential victims, officials said.

Omar Ortiz, known as "The Cat," played for the Rayados de Monterrey before the Mexican Football League suspended him in April 2010 after he allegedly tested positive for steroid use.

A security spokesman in Nuevo Leon state said Saturday that the former goalkeeper had been working with a kidnapping gang for more than a year.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 8th, 2012
05:34 AM ET

Subway riders to drop pants as part of global event

Train commuters in major cities worldwide will get a little cheeky Sunday as part of the annual No Pants Subway Ride that ... well ... is exactly what it says.

Pranksters will converge at train stations donned in shirts, shoes and no pants.

The only requirement is to act nonchalant - read, listen to your iPod, chat with your fellow riders - as you go about your normal business without any pants.

Dozens of major cities including London, New York, Washington, Mexico City and Tel Aviv, will take part in the rides, according to organizers Improv Everywhere.

Improv Everywhere started the No Pants Subway Ride in New York in 2002, according to its website.

The New York City-based group boasts of causing "scenes of chaos and joy" in public places.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
January 8th, 2012
04:59 AM ET

Tense Syria awaits outcome of Arab League meeting

Arab League officials are expected to meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss their Syria mission amid escalating tension and a growing international outcry over the unrest that has killed thousands.

"The option of suspending the monitors' mission is not on the table and the mission will continue as more Arab nations are sending experts to join the mission," the League said Sunday ahead of the meeting. "Tens of monitors arrived from Jordan to Syria yesterday to increase the number on the ground now to 153 monitors in all areas of Syria. "

A senior Arab League official said the group may ask the United Nations for help with the Syrian mission, but not for troops.

The official said the help would be in "training and capacity building." He did not want to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Early Sunday morning, clashes between government security forces and army defectors killed at least 11 in the village of Basr al-Harir in Daraa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based opposition group with contacts throughout the country.

The brutal Syrian government crackdown began in mid-March in Daraa. And last week, human rights groups asked the Arab League to initiate action against President Bashar al-Assad's regime. They accused Syria of failing to comply with efforts to end the 10-month-long crackdown.

The Arab League is on a fact-finding mission in the nation, part of a larger initiative to end security forces' attacks on peaceful protesters. Death estimates range between 5,000 to 6,000.

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Filed under: Syria • World
January 8th, 2012
03:48 AM ET

Dozens of soldiers on lockdown over missing military equipment

Nearly 100 soldiers are confined to a Washington base following a report of missing sensitive military equipment, including scopes and night lasers, a spokesman said Sunday.

Soldiers in the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division unit can have day visits but must sleep at the base at night, said Maj. Chris Ophardt, a spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
Truth Squad: Fact checking the GOP debate
January 8th, 2012
02:28 AM ET

Truth Squad: Fact checking the GOP debate

CNN's Truth Squad fact-checked some of the claims made at Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire. We'll take a look at some of the questions posed to the candidates, then share with you how they answered the question.

Paul: Santorum voted to raise debt limit

Rep. Ron Paul challenged Sen. Rick Santorum's voting record on raising the federal government's debt limit.

The statement: "He's a big government, big spending individual because, you know, he preached to the fact he wanted a balanced budget amendment, but voted to raise the debt five times." - Ron Paul.

The verdict: True

Read why

Did President Obama call Iran elections legitimate?

Sen. Rick Santorum said that President Barack Obama "tacitly supported" the results of the disputed Iranian elections.

The statement: "He tacitly supported the results of the election. (President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad announced right after the election polls were closed, he won with 60-some percent of the vote and the president said that sounds like a legitimate election."- Rick Santorum.

The verdict: False

Read why

Was Gingrich eligible for the draft?

Rep. Ron Paul challenged Newt Gingrich on whether or not he asked for a deferment during the Vietnam War. "I think people who don't serve when they could and they get three or four or even five deferments aren't - they have no right to send our kids off to war and not be even against the wars we have," Ron Paul said.

The statement: "The fact is, I never asked for deferment. I was married with a child. It was never a question." – Newt Gingrich

The verdict: True, but incomplete

Read why

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • U.S.
January 8th, 2012
12:19 AM ET

Linguists name 'occupy' as 2011's word of the year

The linguists have spoken and they have decided - "Occupy" is 2011's word of the year.

Members of the American Dialect Society came out in record numbers to vote Friday night at the organization's annual conference, held this year in Portland, Oregon.

"Occupy" won a runoff vote by a whopping majority, earning more votes than "FOMO" (an acronym for "Fear of Missing Out," describing anxiety over being inundated by the information on social media) and "the 99%," (those held to be at a financial or political disadvantage to the top moneymakers, the one-percenters).

Occupy joins previous year's winners, "app," "tweet," and "bailout."

"It's a very old word, but over the course of just a few months it took on another life and moved in new and unexpected directions, thanks to a national and global movement," Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee for the American Dialect Society, said in a statement.

The Occupy Wall Street movement began in September in Lower Manhattan, before spreading to communities around the country and the world as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth and other issues.

Founded in 1889, the American Dialect Society is made up of "academics, linguists, anyone involved in the specialization of language," according to Grant Barrett, the society's vice president.

Barrett, who also co-hosts "A Way with Words," a public radio program about language, said the annual conference provides an opportunity for linguistics professionals and graduate students to share information and research.

But Barrett says the word of the year vote, now in its 22nd year is, "light-hearted and whimsical."

Nominations for the word of the year are submitted by society members in attendance at the annual conference, but can also be submitted by the community at large.

"Occupy" may have taken top honors, but several other words and phrases received recognition.

"Mellencamp," a woman who has aged out of being a "cougar" (after John Cougar Mellencamp), and "kardash," a unit of measurement consisting of 72 days, after the short-lived marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, were both recognized in the "Most Creative" category.

Barrett said many of the nominated words that have significance now likely won't stand the test of time.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
January 8th, 2012
12:14 AM ET

Indian family protection law central to emotional custody battle

For the first few moments of her life, Veronica was with her birth mother.

For the next two years, she was with her adoptive parents.

And for the last week, the toddler has been with her biological father, over 1,000 miles away from the only home she'd ever known.

It's been a long, complicated journey for young Veronica - one made possible by a federal law meant "to protect the best interests of Indian children" that, in the process, has tugged at the heartstrings of all involved.

The story began in 2009, when Veronica's biological mother and father, Dusten Brown, signed a legal document agreeing to put the girl up for adoption. Brown's attorney, Shannon Jones, says that her client signed the waiver but didn't quite understand it.

Soon after the girl was born, Brown - a U.S. Army soldier - headed off on a 1-year deployment.

It was then that the baby moved on as well, to the Charleston, South Carolina, home of Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

It was an open adoption, family friend Jessica Munday said. That meant the girl's birth mother could and did maintain a relationship with the girl.

But Brown, the biological father, wasn't on board. Four months after Veronica's birth, he began legal proceedings seeking custody of her.

"My client has been fighting for custody of his daughter since shortly after her birth," Shannon Jones, Brown's Charleston-based lawyer, said by e-mail. "He loves this child with all his heart."

Brown appeared to win that battle late last year. On New Year's Eve, he arrived in South Carolina, picked up Veronica from her adoptive parents, and headed west to his home in Oklahoma.

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Filed under: Justice • World
January 8th, 2012
12:13 AM ET

Musharraf to address rally, expected to announce when he will return to Pakistan

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will address supporters at a rally in the southern city of Karachi on Sunday via a video link, and announce exactly when he plans to return to his home country, a party spokesman said.

Musharraf, who resigned in 2008, is expected to fly into Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates later this month, accompanied by up to 500 supporters, said Jawed Siddiqi, spokesman for the former president's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party.

Siddiqi said Musharraf will return to Pakistan between January 27 and 31, but the exact date will be announced at the rally, after which normal campaigning will begin.

Elections are set to take place in Pakistan next year; Musharraf intends to run.

The former president's expected return, however, could be complicated. He may face the possibility of arrest, Siddiqi said, stemming from the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

"President Musharraf told me that although the possibility of arrest is there - there is no way of knowing what will happen, and how dangerous the situation is, until one jumps into the situation head first," he said.

When asked about the risk of arrest, Musharraf's attorney, Chaudry Faisal, said the threat is politically motivated and has no legal bearing. An arrest warrant has been issued for Musharraf, in connection with Bhutto's assassination, but that warrant is being challenged in court, the attorney said.

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Filed under: Pakistan • World
January 8th, 2012
12:11 AM ET

Iran's president looks to Latin America as global sanctions grow

Beef from Brazil is on Iranian dinner tables. An Iranian-built hospital treats patients near Bolivia's capital. Iranian-funded factories dot the Venezuelan countryside.

Iran has forged hundreds of agreements with Latin American nations and pledged billions of dollars to fund them.

More deals could be in store this week as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad embarks on a trip that starts in Venezuela on Sunday and includes stops in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba.

Well before the Iranian leader's arrival in Caracas, his plans for a Latin America tour grabbed global attention as tensions grow between many Western powers and Iran over the nation's nuclear program.

"As the regime feels increasing pressure, it is desperate for friends and flailing around in interesting places to find new friends," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Friday.

But analysts say Ahmadinejad's visit is the latest step in a longstanding, calculated effort to shore up support in the region.

As Iran strives to improve its image, get around stiffening sanctions, dampen America's global influence and secure a stronger foothold in the United States' backyard, relationships with Latin American countries have become increasingly important.

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Filed under: Iran • U.S. • World
January 8th, 2012
12:08 AM ET

Giffords to attend vigil marking one year since shooting rampage

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will attend events Sunday marking the anniversary of a shooting rampage that left six people dead in southern Arizona.

The Democrat was the target of the January 8, 2011, mass shooting in the parking lot of a Tucson supermarket during a constituent meet-and-greet. Prosecutors accuse Jared Loughner, 23, of the attack that also injured 13 people.

Giffords is still recovering from the head shooting. She has made few public appearances since the incident with a few notable exceptions such as casting a vote raising the federal debt ceiling and an interview with ABC.

She has been undergoing intensive rehabilitation in Houston, but has returned to Tucson four times since the shooting, according to her office.

Last week, Giffords returned to Arizona for memorial events that included unveiling a plaque in memory of Gabe Zimmerman, one of her aides shot in the rampage, and visiting a trailhead named in Zimmerman's honor, according to pictures on her Facebook page.

Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut and Navy captain Mark Kelly, will take part in a vigil on the University of Arizona campus.

"Congresswoman Giffords wanted to be back in Tucson for this very emotional weekend," Pia Carusone, her chief of staff, said in a statement. "She felt it was important to be in her hometown with her family, staff members and a few close friends."

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Rabbi Stephanie Aaron and Dr. Peter Rhee, one of Giffords doctors, will also participate in Sunday's event. The emcee will be Ron Barber, Giffords' district director who was shot and wounded in last year's incident.

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Filed under: U.S.