February 28th, 2012
11:49 PM ET

3 missing after Coast Guard helicopter crashes off Alabama coast

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crashed Tuesday night in Mobile Bay in Alabama while on a training mission, the Coast Guard said.

Authorities rescued one passenger and were searching for three others, CNN affiliate WKRG reported.

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Filed under: Alabama
February 28th, 2012
02:45 PM ET

Portion of 9/11 remains dumped in landfill, report says

Unidentified human remains of people who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania eventually wound up in a landfill, the Defense Department said in a report Tuesday.

Parts of the cremated remains were handed over to a biomedical waste contractor and inadvertently dumped, the report said.

The September 11, 2001 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and in the hijacking and crash of a commercial jet in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The Pentagon report explored the handling of human remains at a U.S. military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

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Filed under: September 11 • Terrorism
February 28th, 2012
12:56 PM ET

French court overturns Armenian genocide denial law

A new French law making it a crime to publicly deny the Ottoman Empire's genocide of Armenians a century ago was ruled unconstitutional Tuesday by France's Constitutional Council.

The measure, which triggered condemnation from modern Turkey, was given final passage by the French Senate and signed into law by President Nicolas Sarkozy last month.

Sarkozy's office immediately issued a statement calling for a new version of the law "taking into account the decision of the Constitutional Council."

"The president believes that genocide denial is intolerable and must be punished in this regard," the statement said.

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Filed under: Armenia • France
February 28th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Violence ripples across Iraq, leaves 8 dead

A series of attacks across the Iraqi capital left seven people dead and nine wounded Tuesday, while another attack killed a local leader and wounded his guard in Fallujah.

Police say four young men, all family members, were found shot dead in Baghdad's eastern district of Sadr City, considered a stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the country's influential Ahrar party. His political bloc recently joined with former rival and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, forging a tenuous political alliance in spite of persistent violence throughout the capital.

A juvenile detention center worker was also shot dead by gunmen in Baghdad's southeastern al-Ameen neighborhood, police said. And roadside bombs in two different Baghdad neighborhoods left at least one other person dead and wounded eight others.

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Filed under: Iraq • World
February 28th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

Syrian official insists regime cares about civilians as 60 more die

As carnage mounted in the streets of Syria on Tuesday, government officials also continued their war of words.

No regime cares more about the Syrian people than its government, Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said. "We are not happy to see brothers killing each other," he said. His words flew in the face of opposition activists and world leaders who say thousands have died in a sustained onslaught by Syrian forces.

At least 60 people, including three women and two children, were killed across Syria on Tuesday alone, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.

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Filed under: Syria
February 28th, 2012
10:10 AM ET

London police lent horse to Murdoch exec Rebekah Brooks

London's Metropolitan Police lent a retired horse to Rebekah Brooks when she was an executive at Rupert Murdoch's News International, her spokesman and the police said Tuesday.

The revelation was met with incredulity and scorn amid investigations into the potentially corrupt relationship between the police and the press in Britain.

The news immediately prompted the creation of a Twitter account, RebekahsHorse, that began churning out puns including: "My PR has set me up a brief twitter question and answer session later this afternoon. Hope I don't stirrup any trouble."

The BBC unintentionally added to the gag by putting a reporter named Fiona Trott on the story, her colleague Chris Mason tweeted.

But along with the guffaws, the news ramped up pressure even further on Murdoch's empire as it is battered by investigations into police bribery, phone hacking and e-mail hacking.

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Filed under: Crime • News of the World • Rupert Murdoch • United Kingdom
'My Friend Dahmer' looks at serial killer as a troubled high school student
John Backderf's graphic novel about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's high school years will be released Thursday.
February 28th, 2012
08:41 AM ET

'My Friend Dahmer' looks at serial killer as a troubled high school student

Readers of alternative weeklies nationwide are probably familiar with the work of cartoonist John Backderf - a.k.a. Derf - who has been serving up his twisted take on contemporary culture since 1990 in "The City" comic strip. But before his work graced T-shirts and album covers and earned him the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, he was a kid from rural Ohio who happened to be friends with Jeffrey Dahmer before he became one of the country's most notorious serial killers.

Now, 21 years after Dahmer's arrest, Backderf is telling the story of Dahmer's  high school years in a graphic novel, "My Friend Dahmer," which is being released Thursday.

Backderf was 12 years old when he met Dahmer in the seventh grade. By high school, Backderf and his "band nerd friends" had welcomed Dahmer into their group as the oddball joker who made them laugh. They parted ways before graduating from Revere High School, and Backderf never heard from Dahmer again.

Dahmer was arrested in 1991 in Wisconsin after a would-be victim narrowly escaped from his home. He was found guilty at trial of 15 counts of murder in Wisconsin and pleaded guilty to killing one person in Ohio. He was bludgeoned to death in 1994 by a fellow inmate in a Wisconsin prison. In the aftermath, Backderf began to reflect upon how the young man he knew had become a despicable rapist, murderer and cannibal, and the work that would lead to "My Friend Dahmer," Backderf's third graphic novel, began.

The 55-year-old veteran cartoonist spoke with CNN.com about signs of trouble in Dahmer and possible missed opportunities to set the budding killer on a different path. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

CNN: How did you become friends with Jeffrey Dahmer?

John Backderf: The usual way kids become friends. We sat together in the cafeteria, he was my lab partner, which is pretty strange looking back on it. He didn’t have a lot of friends and he wasn’t one of my close friends, but we sort of adopted him as high school wore on because he amused us with his bizarre antics. He became a mascot for our group of friends. He was obviously pretty damaged from the get-go, but not to the extreme that we’d see later in life. He did not relate to people the way other people do.

CNN: How so?

Backderf: Early on, he would fake epileptic fits and spastic movements in the halls, bleat like a sheep. It sounds horrible now, but keep in mind we’re talking about 14- and 15-year-old boys who are idiots by nature, and he amused us. Later on, he started drinking heavily, at 8 in the morning he would reek of booze, which was disturbing, but now we know he was self-medicating to deal with everything going on his life. He was trying to quiet the noises in his head. There was strange behavior going on, but he was a smart guy and he just made us laugh. That’s really the bottom line.

CNN: What was he like?

Backderf: He was a real quiet guy. A lot of people portray him as this weakling who was picked on, but he was a big guy. He worked out with weights, and he was built like a linebacker. He was occasionally picked on a little by the jocks, but even they got wary of him. He kind of moved through the school without raising any notice from teachers. I don’t think any of the adults noticed him, despite how shocking his behavior was. He was able to sink into the shadows, but we noticed him in the way that kids often see things adults don’t see.

It didn’t surprise me that he became a serial killer, but he wasn’t my first choice from our class. When I heard the news that a classmate was accused of being a serial killer, Dahmer was my second guess in terms of classmates.

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Filed under: Crime
February 28th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

The race to the Republican presidential nomination continues tonight with the Arizona and Michigan primaries.  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 - Rutgers cyber-bullying trial - The trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of bullying his roommate, who later committed suicide, continues in New Jersey.

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Filed under: Crime • Elections • Justice • Politics • Republican Party
February 28th, 2012
05:36 AM ET

Wounded photographer out of Syria, activist says

British photographer Paul Conroy, who was wounded in an attack in Syria that left two other journalists dead last week, has been smuggled out of the country and is now safe in Lebanon, activist Wissam Tarif said Tuesday.

There is no word on the fate of wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier, or of the bodies of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, who were killed in Homs.

Syrian activists "suffered and risked their lives" over the course of six nights to smuggle Conroy to a safe house in Lebanon, said Tarif, of the activist network Avaaz.

"Syrian activists wanted to help their friends who have been so bravely telling the story of the carnage in Homs," he said.

An additional 40 wounded people were smuggled out of the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, he said.

Colvin and Ochlik, both award-winning journalists, were killed on Wednesday.

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Filed under: Syria • World
February 28th, 2012
04:54 AM ET

Syrian official: No one dying from hunger, sickness even as deaths mount

While carnage mounts in the streets of Syria, the war of words rages on as well.

"We are not happy to see brothers killing each other," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said, insisting that no regime cares more about the Syrian people than his government.

The foreign minister told reporters no one is dying in Syria because of hunger or sickness, and said that despite an "economic international boycott," his government is providing all necessary services.

His words fly in the face of opposition activists and world leaders who say the regime's sustained slaughter has killed thousands.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
February 28th, 2012
04:08 AM ET

Lawyer: Suspect in Ohio school shooting 'distraught,' 'remorseful'

A teenager suspected of spraying an Ohio high school cafeteria with bullets - killing one student and wounding four - is distraught and remorseful, his lawyer said.

Authorities have yet to name the teen shooter arrested in the Monday morning attack at Chardon High School. But many students, some of whom said they were steps away from the suspect when the bullets flew, described the shooter as a withdrawn boy named T.J. Lane.

Lawyer Bob Farinacci, speaking for Lane's family, said late Monday night that the 17-year-old was "extremely remorseful."

"Very, very scared and extremely remorseful," he told CNN affiliate WKYC.

"He is a very confused young man right now," Farinacci added. "He's very confused. He is very upset. Um, he's very distraught...himself. This is a very scary circumstance that I don't think he could have possibly even foreseen himself in the middle of."

There will be no school Tuesday in Chardon where parents and children struggle to understand how the inexplicable actions of a quiet teen upended the calm of the small suburban Cleveland community.

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Filed under: Justice • Ohio • U.S.
February 28th, 2012
02:26 AM ET

Fire, rain makes for bizarre Daytona 500

For a sport where speed is king, NASCAR's Daytona 500 this year was one long waiting game.

First, rain led race officials to pull the plug Sunday - the first time in Daytona 500's history. Then, continuing showers led them to re-reschedule the start from noon to Monday evening.

When the race finally got underway, a massive fire with 40 laps to go red-flagged it for a couple more hours, pushing the race into a third day.

In the end, Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line about 1 a.m. Tuesday, claming the 54th running of "The Great American Race."

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.
February 28th, 2012
12:18 AM ET

More than delegates at stake in Arizona, Michigan primaries

n an election cycle that's seen more than its fair share of ups and downs, crucial primaries Tuesday in Arizona and especially Michigan could add a lot more drama to the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Fifty-nine delegates are up for grabs when both states vote. But much more than that, momentum that could alter the state of the race is at stake.

"Mitt Romney's ferocious campaign against Santorum in Michigan is pivot point of the campaign," GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos said.

Romney was born in Michigan and his father served as governor of the state in the 1960s. Many political pundits say losing the state could seriously sting Romney's bid for the nomination.

The most recent polls indicate it's all tied up in Michigan between the former Massachusetts governor and his top rival, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

The latest survey to suggest a dead heat: An American Research Group survey released Monday, which indicated that 36% of likely Michigan GOP primary voters were backing Santorum, with 35% supporting Romney, 15% backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and 8% supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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Filed under: Michigan • Politics • U.S.