April 9th, 2012
09:30 PM ET

CNN prime time: Rare look at bin Laden widows, Syrian deadline looms

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First look at bin Laden's widows

Video has surfaced from Pakistan showing Osama bin Laden's widows in house detention. CNN's Nic Robertson reports.

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Martin family lawyer on grand jury

A lawyer for the family of Trayvon Martin talks about the state attorney's decision not to bring the case to the grand jury.

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Rice: Blood is on hands of China, Russia

Ambassador Susan Rice stresses the need for China and Russia to use their influence to put an end to Syrian violence.

April 9th, 2012
07:27 PM ET

USS Enterprise heads to Persian Gulf

The carrier group is heading to the Gulf and our CNN national security experts note that this is a typical Navy maneuver that happens as carrier groups rotate to new positions around the globe.

This is the final deployment for the Enterprise, which will be inactivated and eventually decommissioned, according to a Navy press release.

This does come at a time that relations with Iran are fraying. We called the Navy today to ask if there is any connection. They did not get back to us right away. If they do, we will update this.

Do you know anything about the mission of the carrier group? Do you have a view on U.S.-Iran relations? Comment below.


Filed under: Iran • Military • U.S. Navy
April 9th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Ozzie Guillen to fly home to Miami to address Fidel Castro backlash

Ozzie Guillen has a knack for controversial statements and it's easy to treat his bombast as Ozzie being Ozzie, but his latest words on his respect for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro aren't going away - not in Miami.

Guillen, who took over the Miami Marlins this season after eight years with the Chicago White Sox, announced he was flying back to Miami after the Phillies game tonight to hold a press conference about the remarks, according to The Miami Herald.

“I was planning to do something Friday, but (Tuesday) we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face-to-face,” Guillen told the paper. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball-club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

He said he hasn't been able to sleep for three days because of the controversy and he wanted to speak to the media and people of Miami in person, rather than via a statement.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. ... Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen sparked the firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

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Filed under: Baseball • Cuba • Fidel Castro • Florida • Protest • Sports • U.S. • World
NFL denies Saints appeal of bounty program suspensions
Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talks with players during Super Bowl XLIV.
April 9th, 2012
01:17 PM ET

NFL denies Saints appeal of bounty program suspensions

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld his decision to suspend members of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff over the team's bounty program, but left open the possibility for reductions in fines if they "embrace the opportunity" to help develop and implement player safety programs.

The NFL announced last month that they suspended former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely and Saints head coach Sean Payton for one year because of the team's bounty program.

The Saints also will be fined $500,000 and will forfeit their second-round selections in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts, the league said. In addition, the league is suspending Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season, and Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six regular-season games, the NFL said in a statement.

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement when he announced the initial suspensions. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”

The NFL reported this year that the Saints paid defensive players a bounty for injuring opponents as well as making interceptions and fumble recoveries during the 2009-2011 seasons. The program involved as many as 27 players and at least one assistant coach, the league concluded following an investigation.

The league said the program was administered by then-defensive coordinator Williams  who now holds the same position with the St. Louis Rams  with the knowledge of other coaches. Players regularly contributed cash to a pool, which may have topped $50,000 at its peak.

The players were paid $1,500 for a "knockout," when an opposing player was not able to return to the game, and $1,000 for a "cart-off," when an opposing player had to be carried off the field. In some cases, particular players on the opposing team were targeted, the NFL said.

After the program was reported on, Payton and Loomis said they took "full responsibility" for the practice, which they said "happened under our watch."

Read more:

Players react with disgust to Gregg Williams ordering Saints to target 49ers' heads, knees

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Filed under: Football • Sports
Special prosecutor will not use grand jury in Trayvon Martin investigation
April 9th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

Special prosecutor will not use grand jury in Trayvon Martin investigation

[Updated at 12:11 p.m. ET] State Attorney Angela Corey, appointed as a special prosecutor in the February shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has decided against sending the case to a grand jury, her office said Monday.

"The decision should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case," Corey's office said in a statement.

The grand jury, set to convene on Tuesday, was previously scheduled by the former prosecutor.

Corey previously said she has not used grand jury's in cases like this and added that from the time she was appointed she said she may not need a grand jury.

The decision about whether or not to charge George Zimmerman in the case now rests with prosecutors.

"At this time, the investigation continues and there will be no further comment from this office," in the statement.

The decision means that the timetable for any possible charges remains up in the air.

"We had hoped she had enough evidence without the need to convene a grand jury,” Ben Crump, the attorney for the Martin family said about Corey. “The family is trying to have patience and faith through all of this."

Crump said they are hoping for charges and an arrest as soon as possible.

"We know we want that day to come,” Crump said. “We want a very public trial so the evidence can come out and show people that the justice system works for everybody."

Crump added that he believed the evidence that has come out has “made it clear” that charges should be filed, without the need of a grand jury.

George Zimmerman's new attorney, Hal Uhrig, told CNN that he was "not surprised" by the announcement.

Uhrig said he doesn't know what her ultimate decision will be but that the move to go without a grand jury is a "courageous move on her part."

Martin ventured out from his father's fiancee's home in Sanford to get a snack at a nearby convenience store. As he walked home with a bag of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea, he was shot and killed by Zimmerman.

Sanford police questioned Zimmerman and released him without charges.

From there, the case has evolved into opposing allegations from Zimmerman's supporters, Martin's family and authorities.

Zimmerman says he killed Martin in self-defense after the teen punched him and slammed his head on the sidewalk, according to an Orlando Sentinel report that was later confirmed by Sanford police.

The case  has triggered a nationwide debate about Florida's "stand your ground" law - which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury - and race in America.

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Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
April 9th, 2012
11:24 AM ET

Costa Rican diplomat kidnapped in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) - Authorities are investigating the kidnapping of a Costa Rican diplomat in Venezuela, officials said Monday.

Guillermo Cholele, an official at the Costa Rican Embassy in Caracas, was kidnapped when he was on his way home Sunday night, Costa Rica's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A call to the diplomat's home requested money in exchange for his release and said Cholele was in good condition, the ministry said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Costa Rica • Venezuela • World
Judge orders Tulsa murder suspects held on more than $9 million bond each
Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, were arrested Sunday in connection with shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
April 9th, 2012
10:39 AM ET

Judge orders Tulsa murder suspects held on more than $9 million bond each

A judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma has ordered two men suspected in a string of weekend shootings that left three people dead held in lieu of $9,160,000 bond each.

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, are charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill in connection with last week's shootings, which also wounded two people. Authorities are working to determine whether the violence that left three people dead was racially motivated.

More on the case:

Will Tulsa shootings be considered a hate crime?

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Filed under: Crime • Oklahoma
April 9th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

2 Philadelphia firefighters killed in wall collapse

Two Philadelphia firefighters died early Monday and three others were injured when the wall of a building collapsed as they battled a five-alarm fire, officials said.

The collapse occurred about 5:50 a.m. as the five were inside a furniture store, said Deputy Fire Commissioner Ernest Hargett Jr.

Four of the firefighters were trapped inside, he said, but the fifth was able to get free. Firefighters were forced to move brick and timber by hand and cut through some materials to rescue the others, Hargett said.

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Filed under: Fire • Pennsylvania
April 9th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Will Tulsa shootings be considered a hate crime?

Police, officials and residents are horrified by the shooting deaths of three African-American men, allegedly by two white men, in a predominantly black area in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But authorities will not say whether they believe the shootings were a hate crime.

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, are charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill in connection with last week's shootings, which also wounded two people.

A day before the shootings, a post on England's Facebook page said it was the second anniversary of his father's death "at the hands of a f**king n****r." CNN's Jason Carroll reported that officials are looking into the posting, which may indicate that he never got over the fact that his father was killed by a black man.

A post in which England said it was time to get ready for another funeral is also under investigation.

But Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson said that if the shootings are shown to be racially motivated and the suspects are not charged with a hate crime, the community will be upset.

"They're going to be shocked, surprised," he added.

Henderson said he has dealt with civil rights issues for a long time. And Tulsa has a history with racial tensions, which is perhaps why residents were so afraid after the killings. The city of about 400,000 was the scene of a 1921 race riot - considered one of the worst in the nation - that destroyed the famed Greenwood District, a wealthy enclave known as the black Wall Street.

"(For seven years, I was) NAACP president in this town, and I think I know pretty much a hate crime when I see it," Henderson said, adding that he thought this was a clear hate crime.

Others say that is all in the past, and Tulsa is not the town it was before. They hope this crime doesn't change the perspective on the town, which the mayor said has made great strides.

There remains a strong a sense of community outrage, given the nature of the killings and the city's history. Still, police said they would not go so far as to officially declare the murders a hate crime.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • Oklahoma
April 9th, 2012
09:37 AM ET

Report: More than 100 executed by Syrian authorities

Syrian security forces have summarily executed at least 101 people, including civilians, since late 2011 in attacks on cities and towns, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Monday.

The report "documents the involvement of Syrian forces and pro-government shabeeha militias in summary and extrajudicial executions of defecting soldiers, opposition fighters and opposition supporters, as well as civilians who appeared to have had no part in the confrontation with the authorities other than being residents of opposition strongholds," according to the human rights organization.

The 25-page report, "In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Goverment Militias," was based on more than 30 interviews with witnesses to the executions, Human Rights Watch said.

While it was not possible to verify the exact numbers of victims of such executions, the organization said it had documented 12 cases in Idlib and Homs governorates involving at least 101 victims since December 2011. Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of other incidents, but only included in its report incidents where eyewitnesses were interviewed.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Human rights • Syria
April 9th, 2012
07:51 AM ET

Monday's live events

Some experts say the race to the Republican presidential nomination is pretty much over, while others caution that there's still time.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights:

10:30 am ET - White House Easter Egg Roll - Thousands of people will join President Obama and the first lady for the traditional Easter Egg Roll on the White House South Lawn.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • On CNN.com today • Politics
Jury selection begins for man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's relatives
April 9th, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Jury selection begins for man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's relatives

More than three years after singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were killed, jury selection will begin Monday in the trial of the man charged with the crimes.

William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia, is accused of fatally shooting Hudson's mother and brother inside their Chicago home in 2008. The body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found three days later inside an abandoned vehicle.

Balfour, who was also Julian's stepfather, has also been charged with one count of home invasion.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Showbiz • U.S.
April 9th, 2012
03:53 AM ET

Militants, troops die in al Qaeda attack in Yemen

At least 21 people died in four hours of clashes between suspected al Qaeda militants and government forces in southern Yemen on Monday, security officials said.

The firefight erupted after militants hit an army barracks in the Loder district of Abyan province in an assault that included heavy artillery, according to the officials.

The dead included 12 militants, seven soldiers and two members of pro-government tribes, they said.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
April 9th, 2012
01:35 AM ET

Suspects in deadly Tulsa shootings to make first court appearance

TULSA, Oklahoma (CNN) - Two white men accused in a spate of shootings in predominantly black neighborhoods of Tulsa, Oklahoma, will make their first court appearance Monday, as authorities work to determine whether the violence that left three people dead was racially motivated.

Authorities are digging into the backgrounds of Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, who are charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill in connection with last week's shootings that also wounded two people.

The pair was arrested early Sunday after a series of tips that led investigators to England's burned pickup, a vehicle that matched a description reported at the crime scenes, according to their arrest reports.

Local and federal authorities stopped short of categorizing the violence as a hate crime.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Uncategorized
April 9th, 2012
12:47 AM ET

Woman accuses Lindsay Lohan of nightclub battery

A woman filed a battery complaint against Lindsay Lohan on Saturday, accusing the actress of shoving her at a West Hollywood nightclub two nights earlier, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's official.

"It's just an allegation," Sgt. Chris Bowman said. "It's been received by our detectives."

A detective will check the validity of the complaint, Bowman said.

If the allegation had been made last month, before Lohan was released from the strict rules of supervised probation, it might have had more serious implications for her. Any arrest then could become a probation violation leading to jail time.

Lohan publicist Steve Honig questioned why the woman waited until Saturday to go to the sheriff department's West Hollywood Station to file a complaint.

"You have to wonder about someone who calls the media before the police," Honig said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Lindsay Lohan • U.S.