Overheard on CNN.com: Paula Deen's diabetes, chocolate slavery, food stamps
Food Network host Paula Deen created a bit of controversy when she revealed she's had type 2 diabetes for three years.
January 20th, 2012
07:28 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Paula Deen's diabetes, chocolate slavery, food stamps

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.

Some of the biggest talkers in the news this week have been stories revolving around food that might make you look at your menu a little differently.

Paula Deen, change your diet

Lots of our readers have been talking about Paula Deen's type 2 diabetes revelation. The popular foodie has had the disease for three years, and is now a paid spokesperson for a diabetes medication. Andrew Weil issued her a challenge to change her eating. Some folks were outraged. Here's what one disenchanted fan said:

NekoMouser: "You know, I used to get Paula's back. I'm from the South and I love Southern cooking. I just love it in some moderation now that I'm older. However, to know not only that this sort of diet has actually made her sick, but that she hid that sickness for three years (while still pimping this diet to her fans) UNTIL she could ink a deal to profit off selling drugs to help treat the illness she's also helping to create ... there is something diabolically twisted about that. It's like doing cigarette ads while secretly having lung cancer and only coming out once you get a lucrative cancer treatment spokesperson job ... while still selling cigarettes, too. It's the profiting at both ends that is so wrong."

Some comments came in defending Deen:

looney0tunes: "I watch Paula Deen's show on the Food Network. She always mentions that she doesn't eat like that every day and suggests to eat in moderation. Leave Paula alone."

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Filed under: Food • Overheard on CNN.com
Spy tattles on Ravens’ Flacco for skateboarding
Joe Flacco's Baltimore Ravens will play the New England Patriots on Sunday for a trip to the 2012 Super Bowl.
January 20th, 2012
04:24 PM ET

Spy tattles on Ravens’ Flacco for skateboarding

Someone in Joe Flacco’s neighborhood really wants him to stay healthy and get to the Super Bowl.

Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback who is preparing to face the New England Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game, told the NFL Network on Wednesday that someone called his team to tattle on him for some risky behavior.

That behavior: A little turn on a skateboard at home.

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Filed under: Football • Maryland • Pro football • Sports
Nude Iranian movie star ignites firestorm
Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani's photo has spurred thousands of reactions on Facebook.
January 20th, 2012
04:03 PM ET

Nude Iranian movie star ignites firestorm

A photo and video of a famous Iranian actress baring her breasts have gone viral this week, igniting a fiery debate among Iranians.

Golshifteh Farahani appears topless, cupping her breasts, in a photo in the French magazine Madame Le Figaro. Also, a video apparently made by a French film academy, features the actress looking directly into a camera as she disrobes. She stands with her breasts uncovered. Soon after the images hit the Web, reaction was swift inside Iran, where Farahani gained fame in state-sponsored movies that forbid the mere touching of hands.

"The fate of an actress, who left her own country and joined Hollywood, has been nothing but immorality," the semi-official Fars News Agency wrote this week. "The actress who once played the role of caring and decent mothers of Iran has now auctioned off her modesty and honor in front of the Western cameras."

Farahani reportedly moved to France shortly after making history in the Iranian film industry by being the first Iranian to star in a Western film. In 2008, she played a nurse in "Body of Lies" with Leonardo DiCaprio.

It's unclear if the actress currently lives in France. Her agency in Paris declined a CNN interview request as Facebook, Twitter and blogs lit up with incendiary remarks about her. Some say Farahani has betrayed Islam and Iran for revealing her body. Other posters are supportive. They cheer her boldness and defend her right to self-expression.

Several Facebook pages have popped up in recent days with notes encouraging visitors to re-post the photo and video. A wall post Thursday appeared on a Facebook page that appears to belong to the actress. The message, carrying Farahani's name, says, "We have to open our mind!!"

Among other comments on Facebook:

"She is really brave, and I am proud of her. She shows what she believes in and it has nothing to do with others."

FULL POST

January 20th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Gingrich's fiery rebuttal makes debate night more memorable

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.

Emotions ran high during CNN's GOP debate Thursday night in South Carolina. Readers posted more than 10,000 comments. One topic dominated them all: Newt Gingrich's feisty reaction to a question about an ex-wife's allegations from the moderator, CNN's John King. Let's take a look at what people are saying as the dust settles:

Gingrich delivers showstopper at beginning of South Carolina debate

The following commenter was proud of Gingrich during that moment:

therealoc: "I stood up and cheered when Newt Gingrich responded that the media has protected (President Barack) Obama and has been after every conservative. Where was CNN in 2008 when there was ample opportunity to research the past life of John Edwards and Barack Obama?"

Another said Gingrich shouldn't receive too much praise.

Donaldbain: "Let's be clear here. Gingrich's response was by no means a 'showstopper.' It was an angry response by someone who knows he is guilty. The 'anger response' is used to make people stop asking questions. He didn't answer the question and berated the moderator for asking it. It is called obfuscating, something he is good at. He has no business trying to stand for president, and he knows it."

Omekongo Dibinga of Washington was among the CNN iReporters who shared their views on video. Dibinga said he doesn't support Gingrich's stances but felt such a personal question was inappropriate. FULL POST

Singing legend Etta James dies at 73
Etta James has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.
January 20th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Singing legend Etta James dies at 73

Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as "The Wallflower," "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and the wedding favorite "At Last," has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.

She died from complications from leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side, De Leon said.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 Wednesday.

" This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world," De Leon said. "She was a true original who could sing it all – her music defied category.

"I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always."

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Filed under: Celebrity • Music • Showbiz
NFL's St. Louis Rams to play 3 home games in London, England
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford passes against the Seattle Seahawks in November.
January 20th, 2012
11:54 AM ET

NFL's St. Louis Rams to play 3 home games in London, England

The NFL's St. Louis Rams will have a second home in London, England, for the next three seasons.

The league announced Friday that the Rams will play regular-season home games in the British capital in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Their first opponent will be the New England Patriots on October 28.

“This is a tremendous honor for our franchise, the city of St. Louis and our fans throughout the world,” Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke said in a statement.

We’ve seen first-hand the increased popularity of the NFL not only in London but throughout Europe. To play a role in that growth over the next three years will be incredible and is a testament to the many good things happening not only in the NFL but also in the St. Louis Rams organization,” said Kroenke, who is also a director of London's Arsenal Football Club.

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Filed under: Football • Pro football • Sports • United Kingdom
Body parts found in Hollywood hills identified
The head, hands and feet were found Tuesday, not far from the Hollywood sign.
January 20th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

Body parts found in Hollywood hills identified

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has identified the man whose severed head, hands and feet were found in the Hollywood hills this week, but his name isn't being released, Deputy Chief Coroner Ed Winter said.

The body parts were found Tuesday, when two people noticed their dogs dragging a plastic grocery bag with the head inside from a bush near a dirt trail, police said.

Winter said this week that the head is that of a man between 40 and 60 years old, with salt-and-pepper-colored hair.

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Filed under: California
Supreme Court rejects court-drawn Texas redistricting map
January 20th, 2012
10:41 AM ET

Supreme Court rejects court-drawn Texas redistricting map

The Supreme Court has tossed out the Texas redistricting map for congressional and legislative seats drawn up a federal court, giving a partial victory to GOP lawmakers.

At issue were competing maps for the Texas state legislature and Congress – created first by Republican lawmakers that favored their political base and later by a federal judicial panel to give minorities greater voting power.

The map drawn by the federal judicial panel had been imposed after Democrats and minority groups in Texas challenged the Republican lawmakers' plan, which Texas' GOP-led state legislature approved.

New tumors found on brain of baseball great Gary Carter
Gary Carter is pictured during his 1986 World Series-winning season with the New York Mets.
January 20th, 2012
10:32 AM ET

New tumors found on brain of baseball great Gary Carter

Doctors have found new tumors on the brain of baseball Hall of Famer Gary Carter, his daughter wrote in an online journal Thursday.

Last May, Carter, 57, was diagnosed with inoperable brain tumors and began radiation treatments. The new tumors were found after Carter underwent an MRI test after falling during a visit to his doctor's office last week, his daughter, Kimmy Bloemers, wrote in the journal.

The MRI images were examined by Carter's doctors at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, who informed the family Thursday of the findings.

"There are now several new spots/tumors on my dad's brain. I write these words with tears because I am so sad for my dad," the journal post reads.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
Rescuers halt search as Italy cruise ship moves
The Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, Italy, on Thursday.
January 20th, 2012
10:10 AM ET

Rescuers halt search as Italy cruise ship moves

Rescue workers have suspended their search of the Costa Concordia after the cruise ship moved, making it too risky for divers to operate, the Italian Coast Guard said Friday.

Sensors on board the vessel measured movement, Massimo Maccheroni, of the Coast Guard general command, told CNN.

"When this happens all rescue forces have to leave the ship, (so as) not to put their lives in danger," he said.

The authorities are now assessing their options. One possibility being considered is an attempt to anchor the vessel to the rocks off Giglio island using chains.

But, warned Maccheroni, "It's very difficult. The Concordia weighs 110,000 tons and it's like a 300 meter-high skyscraper in an horizontal position."

Italian authorities are considering when to call off the search for survivors and start the recovery operation, which would mean salvage workers can start emptying the ship's huge fuel tanks.
At least 11 people are known to have died in the disaster, and 21 are still missing, according to the Italian Crisis Unit.
A week after the ship ran aground off the Tuscan coast

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Filed under: Italy • Travel
January 20th, 2012
09:33 AM ET

Syria seethes as protests persist

Syria smoldered Friday as anti-government demonstrators poured into the streets and the Arab League mulled an extension of its monitoring mission.

Protesters focused their attention on political prisoners and demanded the release of detainees. At least 10 people were slain in clashes Friday, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition activist group.

For more than 10 months, Syria has been in the throes of an anti-government public uprising and a brutal security crackdown against protesters. The United Nations last month estimated well over 5,000 deaths since mid-March. Opposition groups estimate more than 6,000 people have died.

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Filed under: Syria
January 20th, 2012
08:03 AM ET

Malawian women protest after attacks for wearing pants, miniskirts

Malawian women protested Friday to demand an end to attacks on those who were stripped naked on the streets for wearing pants, leggings and miniskirts, instead of dresses.

Street vendors accused women of defying cultural norms and attacked them this week in Lilongwe and Blantyre, two of the nation's largest cosmopolitan centers.

"They beat them up and stripped them naked, claiming they did not follow the tradition," said Seodi White, a rights activist and protest organizer. "Attacking women in trousers is an outrage. We are a democracy, they're taking us back to the dark ages."

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Filed under: World
January 20th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Friday's live events

The South Carolina GOP presidential primary is just one day away, and CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest political news and views from the Palmetto State.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - Candidates address SRLC - GOP hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul will speak before the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
Gotta Watch: When animals steal the spotlight
WJW's P.J. Ziegler interviews a Ohio cow about the comforts of a waterbed.
January 20th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

Gotta Watch: When animals steal the spotlight

If CNN affiliate WJW showed us anything, it’s that animals can easily captivate any audience. After a day of hard news from around the globe or in the political arena, sometimes you just want a cow on a waterbed, right? But luckily for their reporter, these farm animals didn’t turn on him and ruin his live shot. The same can’t be said for some journalists who found out the hard way that animals love to steal the spotlight. Laugh all you want at these videos but heed their warning: humans aren’t the only ones who crave attention.

Friendly dog overwhelms reporter — Poor Randene Neill. All she wanted to do was help out a few shelter dogs in need of a good home. Of course, she didn’t realize her friendly gesture would be taken too enthusiastically. While Neill tries to speak with the shelter owner, Ginger the dog ignores modern conventions of restraint and lavishes her love on the reporter the only way she knows how: licking.

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Filed under: Animals • Camels • Dogs • Gotta Watch • Snakes
January 20th, 2012
04:53 AM ET

Critics to attend Penn State board meeting

Members of a Penn State alumni group who opposed how longtime football coach Joe Paterno was fired will question the university's Board of Trustees when it meets Friday.

The meeting is the first by the board since Paterno's controversial firing in November.

The all-time winningest football coach in NCAA Division I history was fired amid the outcry over the handling of accusations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who faces more than 50 counts involving sexual acts with 10 boys since 1994. He has pleaded not guilty.

Paterno was alerted of his being fired during a phone call from Steve Garban, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports • U.S.
January 20th, 2012
02:34 AM ET

South Korea to allow food aid to North for first time since Kim's death

The South Korean government on Friday approved the first shipment of food aid to North Korea since the death of dictator Kim Jong Il last month.

The South Korean Unification Ministry has given the green light to the sending on January 27 of 180 tons of flour to elementary schools and day care centers by the Korea Peace Foundation, Kim Hyung-suk, a ministry spokesman, said at a briefing.

North Korea has agreed to receive the shipment, according to the ministry.

Pyongyang announced Kim's death on December 19, setting off speculation about the stability of the reclusive state and its possible consequences for the broader region. Kim's youngest son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, has replaced him as the regime's "supreme leader."

The country's dysfunctional economy, hurt by failed policies and international sanctions, has resulted in famines and widespread malnutrition during the past two decades. Other countries and international organizations have repeatedly stepped in with food aid, most recently to alleviate chronic malnutrition among the most vulnerable groups.

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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong Un • North Korea • South Korea
January 20th, 2012
02:05 AM ET

Report: Israeli forces arrest Palestinian parliamentary speaker

Israeli forces arrested Palestinian parliamentary speaker Aziz Dweik near the West Bank on Thursday night, the official Palestinian news agency reported.

Dweik was arrested at a checkpoint while on his way to the West Bank city of Hebron, according to WAFA, the official Palestinian Authority news agency.

The Hamas-supported speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council was handcuffed, blindfolded and detained for two hours before he was officially arrested and taken to an undisclosed location, according to the news agency.

CNN could not immediately get a response from Israeli authorities. The news agency did not say the reason for his arrest.

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Filed under: World
January 20th, 2012
02:03 AM ET

Fed websites back online after Anonymous attack

Most of the websites shutdown by a hackers group were up and running early Friday including the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and some entertainment sites targeted after one of the federal government's largest anti-piracy crackdowns.

"Hacktivist" collective Anonymous on Thursday took credit for taking down the sites of the FBI, the Justice Department and some major entertainment companies after the arrests of leaders of Megaupload.com and shut down the popular hub for illegal media downloads.

Hours after the announcement of the arrests some of Megaupload's fans turned the table on the feds knocking the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI websites offline.

Both sites appeared to be back up early Friday. A law enforcement official told CNN the FBI was investigating.

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Filed under: U.S.
January 20th, 2012
12:59 AM ET

Truth Squad: 4 checks on Thursday's GOP debate

CNN examines statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's CNN Southern Republican Debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rick Santorum on President Obama's budget cuts

The statement: "We have the president of the United States who said he is going to cut veterans benefits, cut our military, at a time when these folks are four, five, six, seven tours, coming back, in and out of jobs, sacrificing everything for this country.  And the president of the United States can't cut one penny out of the social welfare system and he wants to cut a trillion dollars out of our military and hit our veterans, and that's disgusting."

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