Overheard on CNN.com: Twinkie apocalypse averted, for time being
Twinkie maker Hostess has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Our commenters shared memories and opinions about the treats.
January 12th, 2012
07:08 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Twinkie apocalypse averted, for time being

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.

Tallahassee: " There's a box of Twinkies in that grocery store. Not just any box of Twinkies, the last box of Twinkies that anyone will enjoy in the whole universe. Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go ... empty.'

IT HAS BEGUN!"

phfyrebyrd: "The same thought popped into my head when I heard the news. My condolences, Tallahassee. ;)

Whether wrapped in plastic or fried at fairs, the humble Twinkie is the elongated pastry that pleases. CNN.com's intrepid foodies have been following the story of Hostess Brands' Chapter 11 bankruptcy filling, er, filing, very closely. Commenters shared their memories and thoughts about these pastries and the impending zombie Twinkie apocalypse referenced above.

Stay gold, Twinkie the Kid. Stay gold.

An informal and highly unscientific poll attached to the bottom of this Eatocracy post showed that something like 27% of the clickers had not eaten a Twinkie in years. But many others found themselves yearning for years past.

eastcoaster: "Isn't it funny that Twinkies bring back this nostalgia for our long lost childhoods where we had no idea that what we ate (quite frequently) was likely to be harmful to us. It will be interesting to see just how this translates into medical/health headlines 30 years from now. Maybe we'll all be surprised with, 'Gen Xers are the most healthy generation despite the tremendous amount of junk food consumed in the in their early years!' Then we'll bring back the Twinkies..."

You get to growing up and all that stuff ... FULL POST

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Filed under: Business • Economy • Food • Nutrition • Overheard on CNN.com
Alaska fuel convoy back on track
The Coast Guard Cutter Healy, right, breaks ice around the Russian tanker Renda about 250 miles south of Nome on January 6.
January 12th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Alaska fuel convoy back on track

A Coast Guard icebreaker and a Russian tanker trying to resupply icebound Nome, Alaska, are once again advancing on the coastal town after a nearly two-day pause in the Bering Sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard's only operating Arctic icebreaker, the Cutter Healy, and the Russian fuel tanker Renda were about 67 nautical miles from Nome on Thursday morning, Lt. Veronica Colbath, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said.

The vessels had made virtually no progress for much of Tuesday and Wednesday, when they were about 100 nautical miles out, according to the Coast Guard. The pause was due in part because the Healy had to free the Renda from an ice ridge on Tuesday, the Alaska Dispatch reported.

Officials are tentatively hoping the ships, carrying 1.3 million gallons of fuel, will arrive at Nome this weekend, Colbath said.

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Marine urination video draws thousands of story comments
A video purporting to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies has sparked a huge conversation on CNN.com.
January 12th, 2012
03:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Marine urination video draws thousands of story comments

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. Due to the provocative nature of this story, comments on this post will be disabled at the end of the day.

The story of a video purporting to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies has generated thousands of fiery comments. Our readers were split between those who were outraged by this action on the deceased, and those who felt we should not be too quick to condemn the soldiers. One one hand, the commenters suggested we could be arming oppositional groups with fodder for anti-U.S. rhetoric. But there were many who said the video is a coarse reflection of the brutality of war and didn't want people to feel negatively about the military.

Shock, outrage over Marine urination video

We've seen a pretty even split of comments, with outrage and frustration expressed on all sides. Here's some of them. For example, this reader says this video, if real, shows an isolated event.

Dhamre: "A handful of young Marines did something really stupid and decided to film it. This isn't the defining moment of our history, or a reflection of all men and women in uniform."

Below is a sampling of some of the discussion we saw about whether the stresses of war help explain the Marines' actions.

Wilburchitow: "To all those who want to try and morally equivocate please stop. Yes we know the enemy has done far worse, but it is no excuse to partake in these types of actions. Our military is better than this and I know when found they will face justice!"

Allfight: "Maybe. But I hope they go very easy on them because they are doing a job that few can do let alone will do. They probably lost friends along the way. Like it or not. It's natural to hate someone that is trying to kill you. Anyone who says otherwise probably was never in that situation."

The following reader said she had lost a loved one in war, and felt the urination incident was an insult to the sacrifices the military makes. FULL POST

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Filed under: Marines • Military • Overheard on CNN.com
Freestyle ski champ still critical after surgery
Sarah Burke, 28, suffered serious injuries in a fall during training at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.
January 12th, 2012
01:33 PM ET

Freestyle ski champ still critical after surgery

A Canadian freestyle skier who was critically injured during practice in Utah this week had successful surgery Wednesday to repair a vertebral artery tear, which had caused bleeding in her skull, a statement released by her publicist said Thursday.

Sarah Burke, 29, still was in critical condition Thursday at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, two days after her fall during a training run at Park City Mountain Resort's superpipe, according to the statement.

The statement was the first to give details of Burke's injuries. The tear in Burke's artery in her neck, which supplies blood to the brain, caused an intracranial hemorrhage, the statement said.

"With injuries of this type, we need to observe the course of her brain function before making definitive pronouncements about Sarah’s prognosis for recovery," said Dr. William T. Couldwell, who performed Wednesday's surgery and is neurosurgery chair at University of Utah. "Our Neuro Critical Care team will be monitoring her condition and response continuously over the coming hours and days."

FULL POST

January 12th, 2012
01:33 PM ET

Bomb kills Afghan government official and his 2 sons

A terrorist attack in Afghanistan Thursday killed five people, including a government official and his two sons, officials said.

Haji Fazeludin Agha, chief of Panjwai district in southern Kandahar province, was killed, along with his two sons, ages 16 and 4, and two police officers, according to a statement by the presidential palace.

Another nine people were wounded, the statement said.

A bomber blew himself up in the attack on the Kandahar-Herat highway, the statement said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Afghanistan • World
January 12th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

What's behind the battle over Mississippi governor's pardons?

Editor's note: CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin weighs in to help explain the details of a battle brewing after former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour approved full pardons for nearly 200 people.

The announcement that outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour approved full pardons for nearly 200 people, including 14 murderers, has sparked an angry reaction.

Among those pardoned, four convicted murderers and a convicted armed robber have already been released. A judge issued a temporary injunction forbidding the release of any more prisoners Barbour pardoned or gave clemency to before leaving office this week. A circuit court judge issued an injunction, saying it appeared that some pardons, including those for four murderers, did not meet the state's requirement that pardon requests be published 30 days before they are granted.

We've asked CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin to help explain what Barbour did, the criticism he's drawn, and what his actions could mean for those pardoned and for the public.

Q: What is an unconditional pardon? Does it mean that you are fully cleared? Would a background check still reveal your record?

Toobin: A pardon is essentially equivalent to never having been charged at all. You are fully cleared. You can vote and buy guns and do anything else a nonconvict can.

The background check issue is more complicated. It probably varies by state, and by how thorough the checks are.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice • Mississippi
January 12th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

Shock, outrage over Marine urination video

Officials in the United States and Afghanistan expressed shock and outrage Thursday regarding a video purporting to show a U.S. Marine sniper team urinating on dead bodies, possibly in Afghanistan.

"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement. "I condemn it in the strongest possible terms."

Panetta said he has ordered the Marine Corps and International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John Allen "to immediately and fully investigate the incident."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Marines • Military
January 12th, 2012
07:28 AM ET

Thursday's live events

The New Hampshire primaries may have come and gone, but the candidates are now focusing their attention on South Carolina.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

7:50 am ET - Romney rally - GOP candidate Mitt Romney rallies supporters in Greer, South Carolina.  He then heads to Florida for a similar event at 12:00 pm ET.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
January 12th, 2012
05:32 AM ET

Severe weather leaves 5 injured in North Carolina

Authorities assessed the damage in North Carolina on Thursday after severe weather raked the area, injuring a number of people.

A limited state of emergency was in place for eastern Burke County where some 800 homes were without power after a suspected tornado hit the area, the board of commissioners said. Some homes got minor damage while others were destroyed.

At least five people were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known, county officials said.

Another suspected tornado hit neighboring Rutherford County, where a funnel cloud was spotted Wednesday afternoon. Emergency services reported structural damage and several injuries.

FULL STORY

Filed under: U.S. • Weather
January 12th, 2012
05:32 AM ET

Nigeria protests rage on as calls for accountability grow

Protests that started over a scrapped fuel subsidy expanded into a demand for government accountability as throngs of Nigerians of all classes took to the streets again Thursday in a rare form of solidarity.
Businesses including shops, banks and gas stations remained closed Thursday. Downtown Lagos, usually jam-packed on a regular day, was a ghost town as tires burned in the middle of the streets.
"People of all walks are coming out to protest," said Olumide Adeleye, 24, a Lagos entrepreneur. "There are young people and old people, people parking their Mercedes-Benzs and Land Rovers. People walking bare foot."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: World
January 12th, 2012
04:49 AM ET

Myanmar signs cease-fire with rebel group

The government of Myanmar has begun peace talks with a major rebel group, signing a cease-fire the Karen National Liberation Army on Thursday, Information Minister Soe Win said.

The move is in an apparent bid to resolve a conflict that has brewed for more than six decades.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has historically blamed the rebel group for waging attacks to destabilize the current military junta.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
January 12th, 2012
04:39 AM ET

Japan planning breast milk radiation tests

Some new mothers in Japan may soon be adding radiation testing of their breast milk to their list of health checkups.

Government officials say they are considering widespread testing of breast milk samples of new mothers in Fukushima Prefecture, home of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The details have yet to be finalized, according to a spokesman at the prefecture, who declined to give his name as is customary in Japan. But the spokesman said the prefecture is working out a plan to obtain samples of the breast milk from new mothers in the region.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
January 12th, 2012
04:37 AM ET

Syria opposition denies killing French journalist

Syrian security forces fired the shells that killed French journalist Gilles Jacquier on Wednesday, a Syrian opposition group said, rejecting claims that the France 2 TV journalist was killed by "armed terrorist" fire.

Jacquier, the first Western journalist to die in the 10-month-old uprising in Syria, was killed when a mortar shell struck the pro-government rally he was attending as part of a government-authorized tour of Homs, his network said.

Eight Syrians also died in the attack.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
Natalee Holloway declared legally dead
Beth Holloway founded the International Safe Travels Foundations after Natalee's disappearance.
January 12th, 2012
04:33 AM ET

Natalee Holloway declared legally dead

[Updated 3:03 p.m.] An Alabama judge Thursday signed an order declaring Natalee Holloway  officially dead.  The teenager disappeared on a trip to Aruba in 2005. Her body has not been found.

[Posted 4:33 a.m.]An Alabama judge will consider a request Thursday to have Natalee Holloway, the teen who went missing in Aruba in 2005, declared dead.

A probate judge may make the decision at a presumption of death hearing at a Birmingham courtroom Thursday afternoon.

Holloway vanished in 2005 while on a graduation trip to Aruba. No one has been charged in the case.

Holloway was 18 when she was last seen in the early hours of May 30, 2005, leaving an Oranjestad nightclub with Joran van der Sloot and two other men.

She was visiting the island with about 100 classmates to celebrate their graduation from Mountain Brook High School in suburban Birmingham.

Van der Sloot was detained twice in connection with Holloway's disappearance but never charged.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to all the charges against him in connection with the killing of a Peruvian woman in 2010.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • Natalee Holloway • U.S. • World
January 12th, 2012
04:32 AM ET

Corps says its investigating video, working to identify Marines

The Marine Corps distanced itself Thursday from a video purporting to show members of one of its sniper teams urinating on dead bodies in Afghanistan, even as military officials said they could not immediately verify its origin or authenticity.

"We are aware of the video. The hate in it does not represent the U.S. Marine Corps," said Col. Ricco Player, a spokesman for the Marines in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province. "An investigation has been initiated."

The story broke Wednesday when a number of websites including TMZ and YouTube posted a video showing four men dressed in Marine combat gear urinating on what appeared to be the dead bodies of three men on the ground in front of them.

One of the men says, "Have a great day, buddy." A voice asks, "You got it on the video?" to which another voice responds, "Yeah." Another jokes, "Golden, like a shower."

It was not clear who shot or posted the 39-second video, who the people pictured in it were or where it was shot, though a U.S. official said it was a "reasonable conclusion" it was filmed in Afghanistan.

The official, based in Afghanistan, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Afghanistan • World
January 12th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

Man fatally shoots prosecutor during sentencing

A man accused of killing the prosecutor in a Dachau courtroom during his sentencing will face a murder charge Thursday, German police said.

The 54-year-old was being sentenced Wednesday for "withholding and misappropriation of payroll monies" when he pulled out a pistol and opened fire, police statement.

The 31-year-old prosecuting attorney was struck several times and later died at a local hospital.

Two witnesses in the courtroom overpowered the shooter.

Dachau is located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Munich in the southern state of Bavaria

FULL STORY

Filed under: Crime • World
January 12th, 2012
03:41 AM ET

Ohio landlord wants commission to reconsider ruling on 'white only' sign

(CNN) - A landlord wants the Ohio Civil Rights Commission on Thursday to reconsider its finding that she violated the law by posting a "white only" sign at her swimming pool.

Jamie Hein has asked the commission to reverse its initial ruling that found she violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by putting up a sign that read "Public Swimming Pool, White Only" at her Cincinnati duplex.

The commission, meeting this week in Columbus, concluded last year that the sign "restricts the social contact between Caucasians and African Americans as well as reinforcing discrimination actions that are aimed at oppressing all 'people of color.'"

The case was brought by Michael Gunn, a white man who said had unrestricted access to the pool area for himself and his guests during the nearly two years he lived in the duplex, he said in a December interview.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 12th, 2012
03:28 AM ET

Ahmadinejad to end Latin American tour in Ecuador

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves Cuba for Ecuador on Thursday, on the final stop of his five-day Latin American tour.

While in Cuba, he called on developing countries to unite against "imperialism and capitalism."

"Why are the Iranian, Cuban and Latin American people punished by the United States?" he asked the audience attending his speech at the University of Havana. "Have we attacked them in some way? Have we asked for more than we are owed? Never, not once. We have only ever wanted justice."

Ahmadinejad did not directly mention a bomb attack that left an Iranian nuclear scientist dead in Tehran Wednesday.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: World
January 12th, 2012
03:09 AM ET

Taliban: Peace talks don't signal end to hostilities

Afghanistan's Taliban militants on Thursday cautioned that its recent support of peace talks doesn't mean that it will stop fighting or accept "the constitution of a stooge Kabul administration."

The group said that it's "utilizing its political wing alongside its military presence," while blaming media outlets who "distort realities."

The statement comes just over a week after it tentatively agreed to open an office in Qatar's capital city of Doha; a decision widely seen as an overture aimed at establishing an outside forum for political talks with NATO-led forces and the current Afghan administration, among others.

The move appeared to be the first time the Taliban - who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when they were ousted by a U.S.-led invasion - have offered peace talks without the condition of an American withdrawal.

Calling himself "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan spokesman," Zabiullah Mujaheed said the group has a "preliminary agreement with Qatar and other respective sides."

Still, it's unclear whether talks could ultimately foster a degree of peace in a country that's seen more than three decades of war.

The U.S. has insisted militants recognize the country's relatively new constitution, while the Taliban is asking for the release of prisoners from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for opening the office.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban • U.S. • World
January 12th, 2012
03:08 AM ET

Thai panel calls for overhaul of law forbidding royal insults

A Thai advisory panel has recommended an overhaul of the country's law that stipulates heavy sentences for insulting the royal family, according to a letter addressed to the prime minister seen Thursday by CNN.

The independent Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand said in the letter that the punishments should be less severe and "based more on popular sentiment." The commission has no power itself to change the law, but its views are respected in Thailand.

International groups like Human Rights Watch have repeatedly criticized Thailand's tough laws against defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family.

Last month, a Thai criminal court sentenced a Thai-born American to 2 1/2 years in prison for insulting the monarchy. The U.S. government said it was "troubled" by the case and criticized the sentence as too harsh.

The recent letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was dated December 30, but it was sent to CNN and other international news organizations Thursday.

In it, the commission supported the view of human rights organizations who say the lese-majeste law has been misused for political reasons.

The law should be changed, the letter said, otherwise "it may continue to be used as a political tool and will therefore obstruct reconciliation between people in our country."

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Filed under: Thailand
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