Bradley Manning's lawyer tries, and fails, to get charges dismissed
Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of providing classified information to WikiLeaks.
March 15th, 2012
05:13 PM ET

Bradley Manning's lawyer tries, and fails, to get charges dismissed

The U.S. Army soldier suspected of leaking a trove of classified military and diplomatic information to WikiLeaks cannot get a fair trial because prosecutors have failed to comply with the rules of court-martial, Bradley Manning's attorney said Thursday at a hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland. The hearing is the latest in the Manning case which is expected to go to military trial this year.

Read complete coverage of Manning

David Coombs, a private attorney whose fees have been paid by Manning supporters around the world, handed a military judge a motion to dismiss all 22 charges Manning is facing.

Coombs accused the government of not disclosing information, as required, that could be helpful in defending Manning. Prosecutors have said that the information can not be released because it is classified.

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Filed under: WikiLeaks
March 15th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Should smokers be targeted with educational ads?

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.

A federal campaign called "Tips from Former Smokers" is intended to educate Americans about the dangers of smoking. Readers talked about the ads, and they talked about smoking and other health issues.

CDC unveils graphic ads to combat smoking

Some debated whether smoking or obesity should be bigger health concerns.

trncell: "So when is the CDC going to put graphic pictures of open heart surgery on the doors of fast food restaurants? #1 killer in America: Heart disease. Your daily reminder."

iBod: "Heart Disease is often a result of smoking, as well, don't forget.....Not just the intake of food your body is already evolved to digest. That's not to say fast food is not a problem–it is for those who eat it maybe once or twice a week, every week of every year of their life. Smoking has a far greater impact on heart disease than fast food.

This reader said people are unfair to smokers.

KiM3695: "I am so sick of people and companies singling out cigarette smoking. Why not do some graphic ads about drinking? It's worse than smoking. Or put some ads out about fattening foods, since our country is the most overweight in the world. I am sick of this firestorm on adult tobacco users. Cigarettes are legal, people need to get over that."

But another wondered why people don't stop. FULL POST

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Filed under: Health • Overheard on CNN.com • Smoking
African elephant slaughter highest in more than two decades, experts say
Elephants killed by poachers in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park, near the border with Chad, are shown on February 23.
March 15th, 2012
12:11 PM ET

African elephant slaughter highest in more than two decades, experts say

Despite recent attempts by soldiers in Cameroon to stop the mass slaughter of elephants, poachers are continuing to kill the animals in record numbers, the World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.

Tons of tusks are being moved on camels and horses from Africa mostly to buyers willing to pay high prices in China and Thailand, said Tom Milliken, the director of the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic.

"Elephants represent an opportunity to gain money, and because there are ready buyers in most capital cities, the word is out there," Milliken said. "[There has been] an increased poaching assault like we haven't seen in two decades."

Poachers who recently killed at least 100 elephants in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park are reportedly from Chad and Sudan, the WWF said.

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Filed under: Africa • wildlife
March 15th, 2012
12:09 PM ET

Police: Man on motorycle kills 2 soldiers, wounds another in Montauban, France

[Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET] The three soldiers were at a commercial center when the man approached them, pulled a gun and started firing, police Cmdr. Charles Cauquil said.

The soldiers who were killed were 24 and 26, he said. The police and army are hunting the shooter, who fled the scene after the attack. The judiciary police in Toulouse have begun investigating the shooting, Cauquil said.

The three soldiers belonged to the 17th parachute regiment stationed in Montauban, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said. Montauban, capital of the Tarn-et-Garonne area, is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Toulouse.

[Posted at 11:41 a.m. ET] Two French soldiers were killed and a third was wounded when a man dressed in black and riding a motorcycle shot them in the southern French city of Montauban, city police Cmdr. Charles Cauquil said Thursday.

Read CNN's full coverage fo the shooting of three French soldiers
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Filed under: Crime • France • World
U.N. to join humanitarian mission in Syria this weekend
Syrians go about ther daily lives at Reyhanli Refugee Camp in Antakya this week.
March 15th, 2012
12:02 PM ET

U.N. to join humanitarian mission in Syria this weekend

A Syrian-led mission this weekend will "gather information on the overall humanitarian situation and observe first-hand the humanitarian conditions in various towns and cities," the United Nations' humanitarian chief said Thursday.

A U.N. team will be part of the mission. This comes as aid agencies call for "unhindered access" to deliver relief in Syria.

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Filed under: Human rights • Syria • United Nations • World
March 15th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Abramoff to Blagojevich: 'Keep your head down'

On the day former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich begins a 14-year prison sentence on a corruption conviction, he's getting some advice on life behind bars from someone who knows firsthand how hard it can be: Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff, a former Republican lobbyist, was the central figure in a corruption scandal that ultimately led to charges against numerous lobbyists and public officials. He served four years of a six-year sentence in federal prison.

In a poignant interview on CNN's "Starting Point," Abramoff offered a strategy to Blagojevich for surviving his incarceration. Watch the video to hear Abramoff's advice and reflections on his big regret the day he surrendered to authorities.

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Filed under: Crime • Jack Abramoff • Politics • Rod Blagojevich
From Anthony Davis' unibrow to the 'Boss Button': March Madness by the numbers
Anthony Davis is one of the tourney's most electrifying players. His Kentucky Wildcats are one of the most electrifying teams.
March 15th, 2012
11:25 AM ET

From Anthony Davis' unibrow to the 'Boss Button': March Madness by the numbers

March Madness is a time for numbers. The number one, for instance, represents the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats or, perhaps, the number of eyebrows that their star freshman forward, Anthony Davis, has.

You know you're good when you not only rock a unibrow with abandon, but your mom shows up to a game with a unibrow mask. Simply put, dude's a beast. If you want some more stunning numbers from the 6-foot-10 Davis, he averaged more than 14 points, 10 rebounds and almost five blocks per game during the season.

One more number: He celebrated a birthday Sunday. His 19th.

But the tournament is much bigger than one player, and there are several teams - especially in the loaded South region - that will be looking to take John Calipari's Wildcats down a notch.

The games tip off today at 12:15 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the tournament by the numbers, with big ups to Amy Roberts at the CNN Library for putting these together:

67 – Number of games in the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

68 – Number of teams invited to be in the tournament.

1 in 4,294,967,296Chances of creating the perfect bracket through the first round.

FULL POST

March 15th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Taliban to suspend diplomatic office in Qatar

The Afghan Taliban are suspending a diplomatic office in Qatar designed to allow them to hold talks with the United States, the group announced Thursday, following public anger about the killing of 16 people, allegedly by a U.S. soldier.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • World
March 15th, 2012
04:29 AM ET

CDC unveils graphic ads to combat smoking

Federal health officials are unveiling Thursday a $54 million national media campaign to get smokers to quit and prevent anyone else, especially children, from starting.

The campaign, called "Tips From Former Smokers," is intended to educate Americans about the dangers of smoking through the stories and graphic pictures of ex-smokers who have suffered severe health consequences of tobacco use.

The former smokers profiled have suffered ailments like stroke-related paralysis, limb amputation, lung removal and heart attack. One breathes through a stoma, a surgically created hole in the neck through which a person who has undergone larynx or voice box surgery can breathe.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Politics • U.S.
March 15th, 2012
04:26 AM ET

Afghan protesters demand U.S. soldier be tried in Afghanistan

Afghans took to the streets Thursday to demand a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 civilians be prosecuted in Afghanistan as word spread that the American military moved him out of the country.

The protest came as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, where the subject of the alleged killings and the recent burning of Qurans by U.S. troops was expected to top discussions.

Panetta was wrapping up a two-day trip, the first by a high-ranking American official since Sunday's killings in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Panetta's trip was scheduled before the attacks.

Protesters gathered in Qalat, a city near the two villages at the center of the rampage, in a demonstration organized by religious leaders, according to Muhammad Jan Rasuli, the deputy governor of the Zabul province.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
March 15th, 2012
04:24 AM ET

Swiss couple released in Pakistan

A Swiss couple - kidnapped in July while traveling in Pakistan's volatile southwestern Balochistan province - are free, military and Taliban officials said Thursday.

The husband and wife claimed they escaped from the Taliban when they reached a military checkpoint near Miranshah city in North Waziristan a volatile tribal region in northwest Pakistan, said Athar Abbas, a military spokesman. They were moved to Peshawar by helicopter early Thursday and are in good health, he said.

But a spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said they were released after a council of elders was convened.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World