April 4th, 2012
09:37 PM ET

Mary J. Blige on pulled Burger King ad: It wasn’t finished

Mary J. Blige says a recently pulled Burger King advertisement that featured her was “unfinished” and didn’t follow the parameters to which the R&B superstar agreed.

The clip, which Burger King released on YouTube before taking it down this week amid a public backlash, is part of a series of celebrity ads showcasing the fast-food chain’s new menu options.

In Blige’s spot, the nine-time Grammy winner promotes the new Crispy Chicken Snack Wraps. Wearing a short wig, leather jacket and shades, she rocks to the beat of her own song, “Don’t Mind,” off her latest album, “My Life II… The Journey Continues.”

FULL STORY
April 4th, 2012
08:38 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Where does racism start, and what can be done about it?

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.

Against the backdrop of the Trayvon Martin case, CNN is taking a look at race in America. We asked readers to post short video comments answering the question of whether racism still exists and where it comes from, in response to the commissioned study about children and race.

"AC 360°" study: African-American children more optimistic on race than whites

CNN.com readers had a lot to say about the study. We got a number of fascinating responses that branched in three distinct directions.

1. We need to look at the black community's leadership

Jerome Almon of Detroit says he used to be a political science lecturer. He says the black community needs new leadership and is not served well by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons and Spike Lee. He said he believes these men should be viewed with more skepticism.

"How do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton make a living?" He asked. "You see them after a tragedy takes place." FULL POST

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Filed under: iReport • Overheard on CNN.com • Race • Trayvon Martin • U.S.
Ex-New Orleans cops get prison time in Danziger Bridge shootings
The shootings happened on Danziger Bridge six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when Hurricane Katrina hit.
April 4th, 2012
07:44 PM ET

Ex-New Orleans cops get prison time in Danziger Bridge shootings

A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

The shootings occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt imposed the stiffest sentence on former officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term for his involvement in shooting two of the victims. Former sergeants Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius got 40 years for their roles in the incident, while ex-officer Robert Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years.

The lightest term went to former detective sergeant Arthur Kaufman, who was sentenced to six years for attempting to cover up what the officers had done, according to the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans.

The men were accused of opening fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, Faulcon shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to the Justice Department.

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Filed under: Crime • Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana
Houston autopsy: Assistant found her face-down in tub
April 4th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Houston autopsy: Assistant found her face-down in tub

The full autopsy report on the death of Whitney Houston said the singer was found by an assistant "lying face down in the bathtub filled with water."

The Los Angeles County coroner ruled Houston's February 11 death an accidental drowning, the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use" as contributing factors, according to an initial autopsy report released last month.

Houston, 48, was found submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton, where she was a guest the weekend of the Grammy Awards. The report includes details on the amount of cocaine and other drugs in her body at the time of her death.

Authorities had said that police and fire officials were called to Houston's room at the Beverly Hilton after her unconscious body was found in the bathtub, just hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy party at the hotel.

Houston won six Grammys and sold 170 million albums, singles and videos over her career.

In recent years, the singer's accomplishments were overtaken by her struggles with drug addiction.

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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
April 4th, 2012
04:56 PM ET

Suspect in Oakland college shooting charged with murder

A Korean-American man suspected in a mass shooting this week at Oikos University in Oakland, California, was charged Wednesday with seven counts of murder with special circumstances and three counts of attempted murder, according to the Alameda County district attorney.

One Goh will be arraigned at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court.

"The enormity and devastation of these crimes is unprecedented in Alameda County," the district attorney said in a statement.

Seven people were killed in Monday's shooting at Oikos University. Authorities said Goh was upset he had been expelled from the small college in Oakland that caters primarily to the Korean-American Christian community.

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Filed under: California • Crime
Low-scoring hoops player drops 113 in game
Mohammad El Akkari's tally on Tuesday was 105 points more than his season average.
April 4th, 2012
04:46 PM ET

Low-scoring hoops player drops 113 in game

Mohammad El Akkari isn't exactly his basketball club’s usual No. 1 scoring option. He averaged 7.6 points in the first 23 games of the Lebanese Division A League Final 8 season.

On Tuesday, he appears to have made an argument for taking a few more shots.

Akkari, a guard playing for Moutahed of Tripoli, scored 113 points - including 32 three-pointers, and only one free throw - in his team’s 173-141 win against Bejjeh, according to FIBA Asia.

He is the first player to score more than 100 points in an official game in any of the leagues under the umbrella of Asia’s basketball governing body.

Akkari shot 32-for-59 (54%) from behind the 3-point arc, and an overall 40-for-69 from the field.

“Thank God for this performance. I think it’s all a result of my practice,” Akkari said after the game, according to FIBA Asia. “I also want to thank my coach for letting me play that long and all my teammates for helping.”

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Filed under: Basketball • Lebanon • Sports
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 4 others charged in 9/11 attack
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, shown in a photo obtained in 2003, is charged with terrorism and murder, among other things.
April 4th, 2012
12:49 PM ET

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 4 others charged in 9/11 attack

The United States on Wednesday announced charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and four others accused of involvement in the plot.

"If convicted, the five accused could be sentenced to death," the Defense Department said in a statement.

Along with Mohammed, the others are Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

The charges allege that the five are "responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Shanksville, Pa., resulting in the killing of 2,976 people," the statement said.

The five accused are charged with "terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war. The convening authority has referred all charges to a joint trial."

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Filed under: September 11 • Terrorism
Texas tornadoes captured on-camera
A funnel cloud touches down in Texas.
April 4th, 2012
12:29 PM ET

Texas tornadoes captured on-camera

Rescuers are searching the Dallas area for survivors a day after at least half a dozen tornadoes touched down in north Texas. The pictures of destruction are harrowing, but so far, the Dallas and Arlington mayors say there are no reports of deaths. This appears even more astounding as tornado victims submit videos of the twisters and the damage. Here’s a look at some of the powerful videos that CNN has received.

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Big rigs are tossed like toys

Listen to CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers' awestruck description as he watches video of tractor-trailers getting thrown hundreds of feet into the air in a Dallas County tornado.

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Tornado near an elementary school

Storm chaser Jason McLaughlin knew that there was something different about these two tornadoes. Hear his emotional reaction as he watches a funnel cloud come close to an elementary school.

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Twister moves through a neighborhood

In Lancaster, Texas, a man begs God to let the tornado spare his house as it flies over his neighborhood. Watch to see what path the tornado takes.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Tornadoes • Weather
April 4th, 2012
11:22 AM ET

U.S.-Afghanistan close on 'night raids' deal

Afghanistan and the United States may soon reach a deal over night raids by U.S. and Afghan Special Forces on local dwellings that would increase Afghan control over and participation in the controversial operations.

Night raids are deeply unpopular among Afghans, but U.S. officials say they are vital to NATO's operation against insurgents.

One Afghan official stressed the deal would mean night raids complied with Afghan laws. A U.S. official insisted any compromise would not impede NATO's effectiveness.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
April 4th, 2012
10:53 AM ET

Bomb kills top Somali sports officials

A bomb blast rocked Somalia's newly reopened national theater in the capital city Wednesday, killing two top sports officials.

Witnesses reported other casualties, but it was unclear how many.

Said Mohamed Mugambe, head of the Somali football federation, and Somali Olympic committee chief Adan Hagi Yabarow Wish were killed in the attack, a hospital official told CNN.

The bomb went off during a celebration for the first anniversary of Somali national television in Mogadishu, according to witnesses. Screaming people fled the theater and ambulance sirens filled the air.

The African Union Mission in Somalia said the device had been detonated by a female suicide bomber who blended in with the crowd gathered for the occasion.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Africa • Somalia • Terrorism
April 4th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Dallas mayor: It's a 'miracle' nobody died in tornadoes

Tractor-trailers weighing tens of thousands of pounds flew through the air. Roofs were ripped off homes, and other houses were left in complete tatters.

Yet no deaths have been reported after devastating tornadoes worked their way through the Dallas-Forth Worth and Arlington areas of Texas.

"It looks like the Dallas-Fort Worth area really dodged a bullet," Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings told CNN. "I mean we've got hundreds and hundreds of homes destroyed but amazingly no fatalities."

Between six and 13 tornadoes may have touched down Tuesday in north Texas, the National Weather Service in Dallas-Fort Worth said. The number is an estimate pending a survey and damage assessment.

Rawlings said that as he looked at footage of tractor-trailers tossed about like lightweight toys, he was struck by how lucky it was nobody died.

"(Those) tractor-trailers were put into the back of homes and those homes were flattened," he said. "It was amazing nobody was in that home."

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Filed under: Texas • Tornadoes
Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40-0 season, championship
Baylor's Brittney Griner cuts down the net after the Lady Bears thrashed Notre Dame 80-61 on Tuesday night.
April 4th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40-0 season, championship

If she hadn't made the point already that she and the Baylor Lady Bears were the queens of women's hoops, Brittney Griner left no doubts Tuesday night.

With their 80-61 win over Notre Dame, the Bears did the unprecedented, winning 40 straight games in a season and planting themselves firmly in the debate over which is the best women's college team ever. In a game that was close before the Bears shredded the Fighting Irish 46-33 in the second half, Griner filled the stat sheet as she's done all season.

Playing all but one minute, the Naismith Trophy winner tallied 26 points, 13 boards and five blocks. Oh, and she tossed in an assist for good measure. Her shooting percentage in the second half? A lights-out 89%.

While all the talk after the men's championship revolved around the next level - who's going to the pros, who's staying for another year - Griner, a junior, has insisted she will forgo making upwards of $1 million, a fortune in women's hoops, to play for the Lady Bears her senior season. Yes, even if Baylor won the championship game, she has said.

The Lady Bears' performance made them only the 10th women's team to run the table since 1972, when the tournament era began.

Now, undefeated seasons in women's hoops aren't the shooting stars they are in the men's game. The Connecticut Huskies' women's team went 39-0 in 2002, 2009 and 2010, whereas the last men's team to run the table was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Sports • Texas • U.S.
April 4th, 2012
09:46 AM ET

Several reported injured after flight hits turbulence

Several people were reported injured on a United Airlines flight that encountered turbulence over Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Wednesday, said Lynn Lunsford of the Federal Aviation Administration.

United Flight 1727 was flying from Tampa, Florida, to Houston, Texas, he said.

The pilot said there were several injuries, Lunsford said. Medical crews were tending to the injured after the plane landed safely.

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Filed under: Air travel • Travel
April 4th, 2012
07:47 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

Mitt Romney won three primaries last night, but the race to the Republican presidential nomination may not be over.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 am ET - Easter Prayer Breakfast - President Obama welcomes Christian leaders from across the country to the White House for a special prayer breakfast.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Elections • Politics • Republican Party