January 11th, 2012
11:03 PM ET

Moderate earthquake shakes northeastern Japan

A moderate earthquake rattled northeastern Japan Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported.

The 5.8 magnitude quake was centered about 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of Fukushima, the site of last year's historic 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"This earthquake poses no tsunami risk," the agency's website said.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Japan lies along the Pacific "ring of fire," an area of high seismic and volcanic activity stretching from New Zealand in the South Pacific up through Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coasts of North and South America.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
Overheard on CNN.com: U.S. companies too dependent on overseas manufacture?
Students protest in China in June 2010, displaying model effigies of workers who have committed suicide at Foxconn.
January 11th, 2012
07:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: U.S. companies too dependent on overseas manufacture?

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.

The issue of foreign labor, outsourcing and "buying American" bubbles up on CNN.com from time to time, and almost always leads to a fascinating discussion about the economics and ethics of overseas manufacture. Protests over pay (and a threat of mass suicide) at a plant that makes Microsoft's Xbox game systems re-ignited the debate over work conditions in foreign factories. Chinese contractor Foxconn, the plant owner, makes brand-name electronics for Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Microsoft.

Microsoft investigates mass suicide threat at China plant

Our readers wondered whether it would be possible to sustain the U.S. economy on entirely American-made goods. The most-liked comment started a huge discussion thread.

28Mamerican: "Here is a novel idea, manufacture products of American products in America."

Shown here are some of the replies, which themselves were quite a discussion. One of the most common things noted was that items would be a lot more expensive if they weren't made in China and other places overseas. FULL POST

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Filed under: Business • China • Economy • Jobs • Overheard on CNN.com • World
January 11th, 2012
07:40 PM ET

Mississippi judge blocks release of pardoned prisoners

A Mississippi judge has issued a temporary injunction that forbids the release of pardoned prisoners, a move that comes after outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour pardoned 199 people.

Of the 199 people that Barbour pardoned on his way out of office, 14 were convicted murderers. Several convicted murderers have already been released.

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Filed under: Crime • Mississippi
Failed space probe to fall to Earth in days, Russia says
The Phobos-Grunt probe, pictured here on October 18, failed to leave Earth orbit after its November 9 launch.
January 11th, 2012
06:24 PM ET

Failed space probe to fall to Earth in days, Russia says

A Russian probe that was supposed to reach one of Mars' moons but failed to escape Earth orbit is expected to fall to Earth between Saturday and Monday, Russia's space agency said.

It's too early to say where pieces of the unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe could fall. But on Sunday afternoon - the middle of the re-entry window - the nearly 15-ton probe is projected to be over the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles southwest of Indonesia, the Roscosmos space agency said Wednesday.

Twenty to 30 fragments, weighing a total of up to 440 pounds, could survive the heat of re-entry, Roscosmos said, according to the state-run Ria Novosti news agency.

The craft is carrying 7.5 tons of toxic fuel. That fuel is expected to burn up on re-entry, Ria Novosti reported, citing Roscosmos.

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Filed under: Mars • Russia • Space
Reports: Freestyle ski champ remains in coma after fall
Sarah Burke shows off her gold medal after winning the Women's Skiing Superpipe at Winter X Games in Colorado, in 2009.
January 11th, 2012
04:21 PM ET

Reports: Freestyle ski champ remains in coma after fall

[Updated at 4:21 p.m. ET] Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke remains in critical condition a day after suffering a serious fall during a training run in Park City, Utah, according to the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.

Local media reports said she had been in a coma in a Salt Lake City hospital.

“Sarah sustained serious injuries and remains intubated and sedated in critical condition,” Safdar Ansari, a neurointensivist with University of Utah Health Care, said in a statement released by the Canadian Freestyle organization.

Hospital officials declined to give further details on her condition.

Burke, 28, reportedly fell after completing a trick on the superpipe at the Park City Mountain Resort and "whiplashed" on to her side, officials said. The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association said they couldn't be sure exactly what happened just yet. A resort spokesman said she sustained a serious injury and was taken by helicopter to the University of Utah hospital in Salt Lake City.

The star's husband, Rory Bushfield, and other members of her family are with her in the hospital, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.

“Sarah is a very strong young woman and she will most certainly fight to recover,” Bushfield said in a statement.

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association said that it did not have any word on specifically what happened to cause the injury but that it was told Burke wasn't doing any new tricks or anything out of the ordinary at the time of the incident.

News of her injury was weighing heavily not just on her family and friends but on the entire industry, the association said.

“We’re a bit shell-shocked right now,” Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, told the Toronto Star. “It’s tough to read. The signs are dramatic and catastrophic, but it’s hard to gauge how dramatic and catastrophic. The same treatment and symptoms can be on a broad scale.”

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Dissecting political success of Romney, Paul
Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates received passionate evaluations from CNN.com readers after New Hampshire.
January 11th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Dissecting political success of Romney, Paul

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.

"What's going to be hilarious is when the defeated pretend to endorse the candidate they just got done slandering."
Austinstar

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains in the spotlight as the GOP front-runner after winning the New Hampshire primary. With 95% of precincts reporting, Romney received nearly 40% of the vote in Tuesday's balloting. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas picked up 23%, and former Utah Gov.  Jon Huntsman garnered 17%.

Romney received a lot of criticism from readers among them liberals, independents and Republicans who didn't vote for the politician. Still, a selection of some readers' remarks illustrates not only why Romney has been successful so far in this unusual GOP race but also why Paul has made a strong showing as well.

If you have thoughts on New Hampshire's outcome, be sure to share these views on video at CNN iReport as well as in the comments area below.

GOP race moves south after Romney wins New Hampshire

People who spoke in favor of Romney often talked about change.

Florida425: "I voted for President Obama last election, but I will be voting for Romney this time around. President Obama has had time to turn things around, and I haven’t seen enough to re-elect him. Go Mitt!"

FULL POST

D.C. moves to adjust divorce law for same-sex marriages
Same-sex marriages are recognized in only a handful of jurisdictions nationwide.
January 11th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

D.C. moves to adjust divorce law for same-sex marriages

The Washington City Council is on track to make it easier for same-sex couples who got married in the District of Columbia to get divorced.

D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson proposed the legislation after hearing reports that same-sex couples who wed in the District were being denied divorces after moving to jurisdictions that don't recognize same-sex marriages. The District of Columbia began allowing same-sex marriages in 2010. But those marriages are recognized in only a handful of places, meaning divorce proceedings can't be started in many places that haven't recognized the marriages in the first place.

"I received a number of reports from couples or attorneys about this impossible situation," Mendelson told the Washington Examiner.

Mendelson's bill removes a six-month waiting period during which someone seeking a divorce must reside in the District, provided the marriage occurred in the District in the first place.

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington has applauded Mendelson's bill.

"This bill fills a gap in the law created by our being ahead of the historical curve. None of us celebrates the dissolution of a marriage, but equality under the law must extend to every contingency. The lack of a clear legal mechanism for divorce can make an unhappy situation much worse for all involved," Rick Rosendall, the alliance's vice president for political affairs, said in a statement.

The bill was co-sponsored by seven other members of the 13-member council, meaning final passage is likely.

Approval by the mayor or an override of a veto is required, as is a 30-day congressional review period, before the measure can become law.

January 11th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Report: Rebels cleared in plane crash that sparked Rwandan genocide

The missile that brought down the plane carrying the president of Rwanda more than 17 years ago was fired from a camp controlled by his own ethnic group and not by Tutsi rebels, attorneys for the rebels said Wednesday.

The April 1994 crash of the plane near the capital, Kigali, and the death of then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, a member of the Hutu majority, was followed hours later by the start of mass killings. By the time they ended 100 days later, 800,000 people had died.

Most of the dead were members of the country's Tutsi minority, who were killed by Hutus.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: France • Rwanda
January 11th, 2012
11:36 AM ET

Mexico: 13,000 killed in drug violence in first 9 months of 2011

Nearly 13,000 people were killed in Mexico by suspected drug violence in the first three quarters of 2011, the country's federal attorney general's office said Wednesday.

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Filed under: Crime • Mexico
Report: Iran nuclear scientist killed in car bomb blast
Nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed in the blast, the state-run IRNA news agency said.
January 11th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Report: Iran nuclear scientist killed in car bomb blast

 A nuclear scientist was killed in a blast in Tehran on Wednesday morning, an Iranian news agency reported. It's the latest in a string of attacks that Iran has blamed on Israel.

A motorcyclist placed a magnetic bomb under Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's Peugeot 405, the state-run IRNA news agency said. The blast also wounded two others, IRNA said.

State television channel Press TV reported later Wednesday that Roshan's driver, named as Reza Qashqaei, had died in a hospital from his injuries.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned the attack and said it would not undermine Iran's resolve. "This is not the first time that arrogant powers adopt such futile measures," he said, according to Press TV.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Iran • Nuclear • World
Van der Sloot pleads guilty, says he is 'really sorry' for Peru woman's murder
Joran van der Sloot addresses the court and says he considers himself guilty of murder.
January 11th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Van der Sloot pleads guilty, says he is 'really sorry' for Peru woman's murder

Editor's note: Joran van der Sloot returned to a Peruvian courtroom on Wednesday, five days after requesting more time to "reflect" on what plea he will make in his murder trial in the death of Peruvian national Stephany Flores in 2010. Van der Sloot became well-known around the world after he was arrested twice, but never charged, in the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba.

[Updated at 11:00 a.m. ET] The court is now in recess. Joran van der Sloot has pleaded guilty to the murder of Stephany Flores. The next step will be his sentencing, which will take place on Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Van der Sloot walked over to his attorney, smiled and shook his hand as court was adjourned.

[Updated at 10:59 a.m. ET] A prosecutor is now arguing about the respect of the victim and how there needs to be reparation for the victim as well. “[Stephany Flores] had her life taken from her” with so much ahead of her.

Van der Sloot is hanging his head as they talk about Flores' lost life potential.

FULL POST

Coast Guard breaks ice for tanker
January 11th, 2012
08:52 AM ET

Ice stops progress of Alaska fuel convoy

The Coast Guard icebreaker and Russian fuel tanker trying to resupply icebound Nome, Alaska, made no progress on Tuesday, a Coast Guard spokesperson said early Wednesday.

Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis confirmed an online report from Alaska Dispatch that the Russian-flagged fuel tanker, the Renda, only advanced about 50 feet on Tuesday. That was in stark contrast to what the Renda and the icebreaker, the Coast Guard cutter Healy, did on Monday, when they battled through 50 miles of the ice-covered Bering Sea.

The ships are about 100 miles from Nome, a town of 3,600 on Alaska's western coast.

“Tough sledding. Healy is trying to free Renda right now from an ice ridge,” Carter Whalen, president of Alaska Marine Pilots, told Alaska Dispatch in an email. The pilot aboard the Renda, Pete Garay, confirmed the situation.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Alaska • U.S. Coast Guard • Weather • Winter weather
January 11th, 2012
08:47 AM ET

Pakistani defense secretary sacked

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fired his defense secretary Wednesday, a move that spiked tensions between the South Asian nation's civilian government and its all-powerful military.

The prime minister's spokesman confirmed to CNN the firing of Naeem Khalid Lodhi. State media reported that it was for "gross misconduct and illegal action."

The move came after Pakistan's military issued a statement warning of "grievous consequences" of a Gilani interview in The People's Daily Online of China. In it, the military said, Gilani accused the army's chief of staff and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency of violating the constitution.

"There can be no allegation more serious than what the honorable prime minister has leveled," the statement said. "This has very serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country."

The latest tension comes as Pakistan's Supreme Court investigates a controversial, unsigned memo allegedly drafted by the civilian leadership in which it asked the United States to help rein in the nation's powerful military.

The so-called Memogate scandal has unleashed waves of political intrigue in recent weeks, and the media has described a government on a collision course with its own army.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Pakistan • Uncategorized • World
January 11th, 2012
07:58 AM ET

Al-Assad revs up pro-regime rally

Syria's president turned up at a boisterous pro-government rally in Damascus Wednesday, exhorting his followers and again underscoring his view that the months of popular unrest in his nation are the result of a "conspiracy."

"We will triumph over this conspiracy," President Bashar al-Assad told a cheering, clapping and flag-waving throng.

"I will not say that the country is confronting a major conspiracy because you are here to stand up against it," he said. "These are the final phases of the conspiracy, and we will make sure that we will stand up victorious."

His appearance at the rally comes a day after al-Assad delivered a defiant televised speech Tuesday, strongly defending his government's reforms and blaming his country's unrest on "external conspiracies."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Syria
January 11th, 2012
07:39 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

The New Hampshire primaries have come and gone, but the race to the White House isn't close to being done.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - Newt Gingrich town hall - The Republican presidential candidates are now focusing on South Carolina, which holds its primary on January 21.  Newt Gingrich will participate in a town hall-style meeting in Rock Hill.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
January 11th, 2012
05:32 AM ET

Activists: Clashes between Syrian forces, defectors leave 4 dead

Four people were killed - including a defected first lieutenant - during clashes Wednesday between Syrian government forces and defectors, an opposition activist group said.

The clashes took place when government forces stormed a village in Hama, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The latest violence followed a particularly bloody day on Tuesday, when 38 people - including three children - were killed, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, which organizes and documents anti-government protests.

Reports of carnage mount every day despite the presence of observers from the Arab League in the country and international pressure for the Syrian regime to stop a 10-month crackdown on protesters. Opposition activists groups have said the number of deaths has topped 6,000.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
January 11th, 2012
05:22 AM ET

Nigerian unions blame president of using 'thugs' to quash protests

Two Nigerian trade unions accused the country's president of using "armed thugs" to attack protesters, and urged demonstrators to continue their nationwide strike against fuel prices on Wednesday and beyond.

"In a Mubarak-style response to the peoples' protests, the Jonathan administration brought into Abuja, thugs armed with various weapons including guns," the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria said in a joint statement late Tuesday night.

The unions were comparing President Goodluck Jonathan to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's alleged response to anti-government protests last year.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
January 11th, 2012
05:02 AM ET

Attack in Yemen kills security officer, wounds 7

A militant attack on a government vehicle in Yemen's business capital, Aden, Wednesday, killed a political security officer and injured seven others, three senior security officials said.

The incident happened as the intelligence officers were heading to work. The injured were taken to a government hospital.

Eyewitnesses told CNN that heavy artillery was used in the attack. Security officials blamed al Qaeda.

"This is not the first time intelligence officers were attacked in Aden," said a senior security official who is not authorized to talk to media. "At least 34 have been killed or injured since last September."

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
January 11th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

Officials yet to come across new information in Wood case

Nearly two months after reopening its investigation into the death of movie star Natalie Wood, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has yet to come across new information that changes the case.

"The investigation is not closed. It's possible we could yield new information that changes this case," said Steve Whitmore, a sheriff's department spokesman. "There are leads we're following up on and have to close them out before we say anything definitive. Sure there is possible new information that could come out that really changes everything."

Detectives continue to conduct interviews in the case, Whitmore said

Wood drowned in 1981 while boating off Catalina Island near the California coast.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Crime • U.S.
January 11th, 2012
04:02 AM ET

A rare glimpse inside pro- and anti-government protests in Syria

In a CNN exclusive, protesters supporting and denouncing President Bashar al-Assad give very different takes on the situation in Syria.

At a funeral for a man allegedly killed by government forces, a grief-stricken sister wails uncontrollably. "The situation is very bad," one mourner told CNN. "We want to be like you. We want to be free ... Bashar al-Assad is killing us only because we want to be like you."

But not far away, demonstrators at pro-government rallies celebrate al-Assad. "He is a peaceful president," one woman said. "He likes to see all religions get along. He's a peaceful man."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
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