February 25th, 2012
04:22 PM ET

U.S. drone crashes in Pakistan

A U.S. drone crashed Saturday in Pakistan's tribal region, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

The cause of the crash was unknown, but a U.S. official denied reports that the drone had been shot down.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN that witnesses in North Waziristan reported the crash near the village of Machikhel. The Pakistanis had only these witness accounts to go by, and were working to verify the crash and its causes with its own sources, the officials said.

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Filed under: Pakistan • U.S.
February 25th, 2012
04:19 PM ET

Red Cross fails to negotiate more Homs evacuations

The Red Cross failed to reach a deal with Syrian authorities and opposition members Saturday for a break in fighting so wounded people could be evacuated from the besieged city of Homs, an agency spokesman said.

"There has been no evacuation from Homs today. We simply could not reach any kind of agreement," International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman Saleh Dabbakeh said from Damascus.

He said the ICRC will continue trying to negotiate for access.

The frustrated talks took place one day after Syrian forces agreed to a brief cease-fire in Homs to allow Red Crescent volunteer crews to evacuate seven wounded people, ICRC spokesman Hisham Hassan told CNN in a telephone interview. Twenty Syrian women and children, who were not hurt, were also evacuated, he said.

The ICRC has urged combatants to stop fighting for two hours each day to deliver humanitarian aid to Homs and other cities.

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Filed under: Syria
February 25th, 2012
07:13 AM ET

Syrian forces pound opposition centers amid calls for cease-fire

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces pounded resistance strongholds Saturday, the opposition said, raising questions about what immediate effect a plan by world powers to end the violence will have in the hardest-hit areas.

At least 33 people were killed Saturday across Syria, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition groups. Casualties included 17 people killed in the besieged city of Homs, the group said. The city at the center of resistance has endured more than three weeks of daily shelling.

Reports of renewed violence followed news Friday that dozens of countries agreed to increase pressure on al-Assad while laying groundwork for a political transition in Syria not unlike the international planning that preceded the fall of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi last year.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
February 25th, 2012
04:56 AM ET

King's son-in-law testifies in fraud scandal

The son-in-law of Spain's King Juan Carlos arrived in court to testify before a magistrate Saturday as a suspect in a fraud scandal that has created unprecedented problems for the popular royal family.

Inaki Urdangarin, who was granted the title of Duke of Palma when he married the king's youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, in 1997, is under investigation for allegedly diverting public funds that were earmarked for his foundation for private use.

Urdangarin, with a serious look on his face and flanked by his lawyer, stopped briefly to make a statement to a group of reporters who were allowed inside a court-designated security zone.

"I am here today to demonstrate my innocence," Urdangarin said. "During these years I have carried out my responsibilities and have made decisions in a correct manner and with total transparency. My intention today is to clear up the truth about the facts."

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Filed under: Royal family • Spain • World
February 25th, 2012
04:41 AM ET

Nelson Mandela admitted to hospital in South Africa

South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital Saturday following an abdominal complaint, the government said.

"Madiba has had a longstanding abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

The former president - affectionately known by his clan name Madiba - last appeared in public in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Despite his rare appearances, Mandela, 93, retains his popularity and is considered the founding father and hero of South Africa's democracy.

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Filed under: South Africa • World
February 25th, 2012
02:43 AM ET

Yemen swears in new president after Saleh's longtime rule

Yemen swore in its new president Saturday, cementing a power transfer deal reached in November to end months of protests and violence over outgoing leader Ali Abdullah Saleh's longtime rule.

Abdurabu Mansur Hadi - who served as Saleh's vice president and became acting president in November in an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council - was sworn in Saturday in front of Yemen's parliament. Members of the parliament erupted in applause.

Saleh, who led Yemen for 33 years, was wounded in a June assassination attempt at his presidential palace during battles between government troops and tribal fighters.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • World • Yemen
February 25th, 2012
02:38 AM ET

Freelance cameraman provides a rare glimpse into Homs, Syria

A freelance cameraman who visited Homs recently put together a video that provides a rare glimpse of life in the embattled city and an even rarer close-up of the opposition movement in Syria.

At the headquarters of the government secret police, the cameraman - who uses the name Mani to avoid retribution by the government if he returns - finds himself in the thick of a battle. Some 200 members of the Free Syrian Army, made of military defectors, are involved in the attack. They explode a bomb below a rooftop position, where government snipers are trapped.

Mani's camera follows opposition fighters as they enter the government building, where room-to-room and stairwell-to-stairwell fighting ensues.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
February 25th, 2012
02:26 AM ET

7 firefighters injured after 'fire ball' in Maryland house

Seven firefighters were hospitalized after a house fire in Riverdale, Maryland, authorities said.

The fire broke out at a one-story, vacant house shortly after 9 p.m. Friday, the Prince George's County Fire Department said Saturday.

"Preliminary reports indicate that firefighters had initiated an interior attack on the fire when a sudden rush of air, fanned by high winds, entered from the rear of the house either from a door or window being opened or broken out," the fire department said in a statement. "The sudden addition of a large amount of fresh air into the fire environment created a 'fire ball' inside, engulfing the firefighters."

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Filed under: Maryland • U.S.