Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of California won the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday night by properly spelling guetapens, which means an ambush snare or trap.
Snigdha was the only contestant left standing after Stuti Mishra misspelled "schwarmerei" incorrectly in Round 12. When Snigdha correctly spelled the final word, the bee was hers.FULL STORY
State Rep. Mike Bost lost his temper on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives, flinging a copy of a new pension reform proposal in the air while screaming at the top of his lungs. His rant reminds us of other politicians famously screaming in front of the cameras, including former Democratic presidential candidate and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Republican Phil Davison of Ohio. Watch as these men passionately make their mark in the history books and viral video "stardom."
Illinois lawmaker Rep. Mike Bost gets passionate speaking about pensions. CNN's Lisa Sylvester has more.
Phil Davidson's impassioned speech for county treasurer has some calling the candidate "America's angriest politician."
Howard Dean never become president but the Democrat gained plenty of notoriety during a 2004 Iowa campaign event.
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.
The federal jury in the trial of former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, apparently had some difficulty coming to a decision, acquitting him on one count and remaining deadlocked on the other five. Readers talked about what that result means and whether Edwards' behavior should be considered criminal.
Most readers seemed to have less than favorable views of Edwards' behavior, but they didn't agree on whether justice is being served.
sarcastr0: "Being a slimy dirtbag doesn't equal being a criminal. That was known going in, and this just proved it. Thanks for wasting taxpayer money on a show trial that had no chance to get anywhere."
crzycatldy: "Face it folks, there is never justice for we the taxpayers when the defendant is a John Edwards. They will always get away with it and then apologize to the camera as if that makes it OK. Until we decide to take back this country...but I don't see that happening anytime soon as we've become spineless sheep."
One person speculated about what jurors were debating.
Sphy: "It seems pretty clear that there is at least one juror who understands that Edwards did not break the the letter of the law and at least one juror who wants to hang him for being a bad husband."
From a broader perspective, many expressed disappointment in the behavior of our leadership. Have we simply found another version of the nobles of yore? FULL POST
The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.
Is this the Shower of Splendora? To the list that includes Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich and Jesus on a tortilla, we can now add the image of Jesus in a moldy shower in Splendora, Texas, CNN affiliate KTRK reports. Do you see it?
In an act of cross-species acceptance that could be a lesson to us all, a dog in Horn Lake, Mississippi, is nursing a kitten her human family rescued. The 10-year-old dog has given birth to 37 puppies in her lifetime, CNN affiliate WMC reports, so what's one kitten in the mix?
Georgina Castanon tried to see Manhattanhenge - a phenomenon where the sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan's street grid - on Tuesday, but clouds foiled the photo shoot. But Wednesday evening, she and hundreds of other New York photographers were more successful. "We had beautiful light behind the clouds, and the orange glow reflected onto the buildings ... but that was it," she wrote on CNN iReport. "The sun was covered by the clouds but the experience of being with all these people was wonderful." Castanon still managed to grab a good shot:
[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] The judge in the John Edwards trial has declared a mistrial on all counts except for the one on which the jury found the former presidential candidate not guilty, CNN producers in the courtroom said Thursday.
The jury has been dismissed by the judge.
CNN Producer Ted Metzger said that the decision came after the jury sent a note saying they had exhausted all options. All of the lawyers read over the note, as did Edwards, who did not react.
When the judge read the final verdict and declared a mistrial on other charges, Edwards had an expression of relief but also pain that the trial might have to go on again, Metzger said.
[Updated at 4:24 p.m. ET] The jury in the John Edwards trial has found the former presidential candidate not guilty on count three of accepting illegal campaign contributions from heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2008.
The jury said it was deadlocked on the other charges.
That was the sole count the jury had earlier that they had reached a unanimous verdict on. The jury was still deadlocked on the other charges.
The Justice Department will now have to decide whether to try him again on the other charges.
[Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET] The judge in former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' federal corruption trial has ordered jurors to continue deliberations after they announced they had reached a verdict on only one of six counts.
The judge will soon issue an "Allen charge," which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.
[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] The prosecution has asked for the jury to go back in the jury room to deliberate. The defense has asked for a mistrial on the remaining counts.
The judge is taking a five minute recess on the matter. The judge has the option to issue an "Allen charge," which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.
[Posted at 2:53 p.m. ET] The jury in the John Edwards trial has only reached a unanimous decision on one charge against John Edwards.
The group of jurors said that as of this moment they could only agree on the charge of illegal campaign contributions from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. We do not know which way the jury decided on that count.
Edwards, a former Democratic U.S. senator and presidential candidate, was charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions, falsifying documents and conspiring to receive and conceal the contributions. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Jurors last week asked to review all the exhibits, indicating they were in it for the long haul.
Prosecutors said Edwards "knowingly and willingly" accepted almost $1 million from two wealthy donors to hide former mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy, then concealed the donations by filing false and misleading campaign disclosure reports.
Defense attorneys argued that Edwards was guilty of nothing but being a bad husband to his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2010. They also argued that former Edwards aide Andrew Young used the money for his own gain and to pay for Hunter's medical expenses to hide the affair from Edwards' wife.
Neither Edwards nor Hunter testified during the trial. The affair occurred as Edwards was gearing up for a second White House bid in 2008, and he knew his political ambitions depended on keeping his affair with Hunter a secret, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon told jurors in closing arguments.
Prosecutors argued that Edwards knowingly violated campaign finance laws by accepting the large contributions from Rachel Mellon and Fred Baron that went to support Hunter. Edwards "knew these rules well," Higdon said, and should have known that the contributions violated campaign finance laws.
Edwards accepted $725,000 from Mellon and more than $200,000 from Baron, prosecutors said. The money was used to pay for Hunter's living and medical expenses, travel and other costs to keep her out of sight while Edwards made his White House run, prosecutors say.FULL STORY
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, and Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004. He is accused of six counts stemming from allegations that he accepted illegal campaign contributions, falsified documents and conspired to receive and conceal the contributions. The maximum sentence if convicted on all six counts would be 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
* December 27, 2006: John Edwards announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He suspends his campaign on January 30, 2008.
* June 3, 2011: Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.
* Birth date: June 10, 1953
* Birth place: Seneca, South Carolina
* Birth name: Johnny Reid Edwards
* Parents: Wallace, a textile mill worker, and Catherine "Bobbie" Edwards
* Marriage: Elizabeth (Anania) Edwards (July 30, 1977 – December 7, 2010, her death)
* Children with Rielle Hunter: Frances Quinn Hunter, February 27, 2008
* Children with Elizabeth Edwards: Jack, 2000; Emma Claire, April 24, 1998; Cate, 1982; Wade, 1979 – 1996
* Education: North Carolina State University, B.S., 1974 (with honors)
* University of North Carolina, J.D, 1977 (with honors)
* Religion: Methodist
* Edwards had no previous political experience before winning the 1998 Senate election.
* He was the first person in his family to attend college.
* When a US Senator, he introduced legislation on the following issues:
Strengthening Criminal Justice System and Courts
* As a presidential candidate in the 2008 election, Edwards repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a documentary filmmaker. He admits the affair to ABC News on August 8, 2008.
* 1981 – Joins the Wade Smith Law Firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.
* 1993 – Starts his own law firm with partner David Kirby, concentrating on personal injury law.
* 1996 – Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Lawyers Weekly.
* 1998 – Receives 51.2% of the vote in general election to Republican Lauch Faircloth's (incumbent) 47% to win seat in the U.S. Senate.
* January 3, 1999 – Is sworn in as senator.
* June 29, 2001 – Edwards, along with Sen. John McCain, acts as chief sponsor of the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act.
* January 2, 2003 – Announces the formation of an presidential campaign exploratory committee with the FEC.
* September 16, 2003 – Formally announces his candidacy for president, in the town where he grew up, Robbins, NC.
* October 14, 2003 – Announces that he will not vote for the $87 billion Iraq aid package.
* January 19, 2004 – Takes 2nd place in the Iowa caucuses with 32% of the vote.
* February 3, 2004 – Wins the South Carolina Primary with 45% of the votes, 2nd in Oklahoma and Missouri.
* March 3, 2004 – Announces that he's dropping out of the race.
* July 6, 2004 – John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, names Edwards as his vice presidential running mate.
* November 3, 2004 – Ends vice presidential candidacy when Sen. John Kerry calls President Bush to concede the White House race, one day after the election.
* January 3, 2005 – Leaves the Senate when his term expires.
* February, 2005 – Becomes the Director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
* December 27, 2006 – John Edwards announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
* March 22, 2007 – Announces that his wife Elizabeth's cancer has returned, but he is continuing with his presidential campaign.
* January 30, 2008 – Edwards announces that he's suspending his race for the Democratic nomination. He declines to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
* February 27, 2008 – Frances Quinn Hunter is born. No father is listed on the birth certificate.
* May 14, 2008 – Edwards endorses Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for president.
* August 8, 2008 – In an interview with Nightline, Edwards admits to an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a woman hired to make documentary videos for his campaign. He denies he is the father of her young daughter, due to the timing of the affair, though he hasn't taken a paternity test.
* February 2009 – The Justice Department opens an investigation into Edwards's 2008 campaign finances.
* May 2009 – Elizabeth Edwards publishes a memoir, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities. She addresses the affair saying "I wanted him to drop out of the race, protect our family from this woman, from his act."
* August 6, 2009 – Rielle Hunter testifies in front of a grand jury investigating Edwards' campaign finances.
* January 21, 2010 – Admits he fathered a daughter, Quinn, with Rielle Hunter and has been providing financial support for her for the last year.
* January 27, 2010 – Separates from wife of more than 32 years.
* January 30, 2010 – The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down, by his former aide, Andrew A. Young, is published. Young claims campaign donation money from socialite Bunny Mellon was used to pay for Rielle Hunter's pregnancy expenses.
* December 2010 – A federal investigation into Edwards campaign finances includes grand jury appearances by Bunny Mellon's family. Mellon gave various checks totaling $700,000 to Edwards. The question is whether the money was a gift or should it have been declared campaign contributions. Her advanced age, 100, makes it unlikely Mellon herself will appear before the grand jury.
* December 7, 2010 – Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer.
* February 2011 – Bunny Mellon testifies on camera in the Edwards investigation. Her age makes it a possibility she would not be available in the event of a trial.
* February 8, 2011 – Edwards gives a deposition in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter against Andrew Young. Hunter is suing Young to reclaim materials that she says belong to her, including an alleged sex tape that involves Edwards.
* April 29, 2011 – A North Carolina judge rules that Edwards must testify more in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter against Andrew Young.
* June 3, 2011 – Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. Edwards pleads not guilty. "There's no question I've done wrong ... but I did not break the law."
* July 21, 2011 – The Federal Election Commission rules that Edwards must pay back $2.3 million to the U.S. Treasury. The money exceeds the matching funds from his 2008 campaign.
* August 24, 2011 – Edwards asks the court to delay his trial, which is scheduled to begin in October.
* December 22, 2011 – Edwards' attorneys ask to delay his criminal trial, saying Edwards has an unspecified medical issue.
* January 14, 2012 – Due to a critical heart condition Edwards' trial is postponed.
* April 12, 2012 – Jury selection begins in Edwards' trial.
* April 23, 2012 – Testimony begins in the trial.
* May 10, 2012 – The prosecution's case ends. Rielle Hunter was not called as a witness.
Four Trials, with John Auchard, 2003
Real Solutions for America, a 60 page campaign booklet, 2003
Sources: Congressional Quarterly, Biography Resource Center, John Edwards home page (no longer active).
A Southern California man exonerated last week on a decade-old rape conviction was looking ahead Thursday to try to relaunch a dream taken from him because of prison time he served in the case, the chance to play in the National Football League.
Brian Banks was a football standout at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and had been offered a scholarship to play at the University of Southern California when he was accused of rape.
Fearing a potentially long sentence, he followed the advice of his attorney and pleaded no contest to assaulting a classmate.
But he maintained his innocence throughout nearly six years of imprisonment, subsequent probation and registration as a sex offender.
And, according to the California Innocence Project, the woman later admitted that Banks had not kidnapped or raped her during a consensual encounter.
[Updated at 11:48 a.m. ET] Two American tourists kidnapped Thursday by gunmen in Egypt's Sinai region have not been freed, despite Egyptian authorities saying they had been. One of the two men, Brandon Kutz, told CNN they are still in custody, but that they are being treated "extremely well."
[Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET] Two American tourists kidnapped Thursday in Egypt's Sinai region have been released, an official in South Sinai said.
[Posted at 4:14 a.m. ET] Gunmen kidnapped two American tourists Thursday in Egypt's Sinai region and demanded the release of a man who was arrested a day earlier for drug possession, state-run Ahram newspaper said.
The tourists, both 31, were in a car headed to a hotel from the town of Dahab when they were stopped, the newspaper said.
The gunmen forced them out of the car and took them away, demanding the release of a man named Eid Suleiman Etaiwy, the report said.
Etaiwy was arrested Wednesday with "a large amount of drugs" on him, the report said.FULL STORY
The mother of Rudy Eugene, who was shot and killed by a police officer as he chewed the face off a homeless man in Miami, says her son was "a nice kid" who could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire.
"He was a good kid. He gave me a nice card on Mother’s Day. Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie. That was my son,” the mother, who asked that her name not be revealed, told CNN affliate WFOR.
Eugene, 31, was killed by a police officer on Saturday after an 18-minute attack on a homeless man, identified by police as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo. Video of the incident shows Eugene coming across Poppo on a sidewalk along Miami's MacArthur Causeway, stripping clothes off him and eventually chewing on his face.
Police said Poppo lost 75% of his face in the attack. He was in critical condition at a Miami hospital.
Eugene's mother said police didn't need to shoot her son.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples.
In the unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel agreed with a decision made by a lower court in 2010 that DOMA is unconstitutional on the basis that it interferes with an individual state's right to define marriage.
“Invalidating a federal statute is an unwelcome responsibility for federal judges; the elected Congress speaks for the entire nation, its judgment and good faith being entitled to utmost respect,’’ the ruling said. “But a lower federal court such as ours must follow its best understanding of governing precedent, knowing that in large matters the Supreme Court will correct mis-readings.”
At issue is whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry.
"If we are right in thinking that disparate impact on minority interests and federalism concerns both require somewhat more in this case than almost automatic deference to Congress' will, this statute fails that test," said the three-judge panel.
In the ruling, the judges said that they weighed various factors. While they noted that the law does discriminate against a group that has, like many others, faced oppression, they did not view the federal law as something fueled by anti-homosexual sentiment.
“As with the women, the poor and the mentally impaired, gays and lesbians have long been the subject of discrimination,’’ the ruling said. “In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA’s hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality. The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.’’
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley hailed the ruling by the appeals court.
“Today’s landmark ruling makes clear once again that DOMA is a discriminatory law for which there is no justification," she said in a press release. "It is unconstitutional for the federal government to create a system of first- and second-class marriages, and it does harm to families in Massachusetts every day. All Massachusetts couples should be afforded the same rights and protections under the law, and we hope that this decision will be the final step toward ensuring that equality for all.”
Last year President Obama announced that the Justice Department would no longer argue for the constitutionality of the ban on same-sex marriage.
"My Justice Department has said to the courts, we don't think the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional," the president said on "The View" earlier this month. "This is something that historically had been determined at the state level and part of my believing ultimately that civil unions weren't sufficient."
In an interview with ABC this month, Obama also officially expressed support for members of the same gender to legally wed.
"I've just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said in the interview.
Egypt's emergency law - which was in place for more than 30 years - has been lifted, a spokesman for the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said Thursday.
The unpopular and wide-ranging law became a focal point for demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago.
The emergency law gave authorities broad leeway to arrest citizens and hold them indefinitely without charges, according to Human Rights Watch. It was first enacted in 1958.
Although it was suspended during the rule of President Anwar Sadat, it had been in place since Mubarak took power in 1981, according to the group.
Abolishing the emergency law was on top of the lists of demands announced by pro-democracy protesters during the 2011 uprising.
The law was partially suspended by the country's military rulers early this year, but critics said that move didn't go far enough.FULL STORY
The Pakistani Taliban vowed on Thursday to kill Shakeel Afridi, the jailed Pakistani doctor accused of helping the CIA in the search for Osama bin Laden, a spokesman for the militant group told CNN.
"We will cut him into pieces when we find him," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told CNN by phone. "He spied for the U.S. to hunt down our hero Osama bin Laden."
Pakistani officials say Afridi is being held in a prison in the city of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan.FULL STORY
The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November. 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 - Florida real estate developer trial - Testimony continues in the trial of Adam Kaufman, who's charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife.
If New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, you won't be gulping down any 44-ounce Cokes at any of the Big Apple's eateries after March 2013.
Citing what he says is the contribution sugary beverages make to obesity in the U.S., Bloomberg says the buck, and the big Dr. Pepper, stops with him.
“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do,” Bloomberg told The New York Times.
His proposal would ban any the sale of any sugary beverage over 16 ounces in any of the city's restaurants, delis, movie theaters or even street carts, according to reports from New York.
The first private capsule to dock at the International Space Station will return to Earth Thursday, nine days after it took off on its historic mission.
The capsule, known as Dragon, was released by the space station's robotic arm at 5:35 a.m. ET. A thruster burn a minute later pushed the spacecraft away from its host, according to SpaceX, the private company that built and operates the Dragon.
On Sunday, Dragon delivered to the space station more than 1,000 pounds of cargo, including food, clothing, computer equipment and supplies for science experiments and has been reloaded with everything from trash to scientific research and experimental samples.
The capsule is scheduled to splash into the Pacific Ocean around 11:44 a.m. ET, several hundred miles west of California, according to NASA.
ter equipment and supplies for science experiments and has been reloaded with everything from trash to scientific research and experimental samples.
The capsule is scheduled to splash into the Pacific Ocean around 11:44 a.m. ET, several hundred miles west of California, according to NASA.FULL STORY
In what has been described as a humanitarian gesture, the Israeli government on Thursday began handing over the remains of 91 Palestinians killed in attacks against Israeli targets over the last four decades.
The remains, which had been interred in numbered graves by Israel, began arriving in the West Bank and Gaza early Thursday morning, reported WAFA, the Palestinian Authority-controlled news agency.
The remains of 79 Palestinians will be delivered to the seat of the Palestinian government in Ramallah, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will preside over an official funeral service.
The remaining 12 will be delivered to families in Gaza.
Among the returned will be the remains of seven Palestinians involved in a 1975 attack against The Savoy hotel in Tel Aviv.FULL STORY
The search continued Thursday for a porn actor suspected of dismembering his acquaintance, posting the video of the incident online and mailing the severed limbs to different locations in Ottawa, including to a political party's headquarters, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation.
Authorities are searching for Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, who they say is allegedly responsible for a human torso discovered in Montreal, thought to be linked to a human hand and foot that were separately mailed from Montreal to Ottawa.
Magnotta, also known as Eric Clinton Newman, is a Montreal resident who allegedly knew the victim, identified only as a white male, Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told reporters on Wednesday.
The suspect has no criminal background, and his image and information related to him were later recovered from a "very graphic" website, Lafreniere said.FULL STORY
The suspect in a string of fatal shootings in Seattle died Wednesday evening, several hours after he shot himself in the head at the end of a five-hour manhunt, police said.
Police did not immediately release his name.
Detectives believe the man was behind both the shootings at a coffeehouse in the city's University District and the death of a woman near downtown about a half-hour later, police said.
In all, the gunman shot six people. Five died and one was in critical condition.FULL STORY
Syrian forces shelled Houla early Thursday, opposition activists said, days after shadowy men went door-to-door in the town slaughtering entire families in their homes.
The attacks started shortly after United Nations observers left the town, said a local resident whom CNN is not naming for safety reasons.
Government troops fired dozens of mortars and rockets, killing two people, opposition activists said. An additional young boy was killed by sniper fire, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.FULL STORY
Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was found guilty of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate, heads to jail Thursday to begin a 30-day term.
A day earlier, Ravi apologized for spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, with a webcam.
"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on September 19, 2010, and September 21, 2010," Ravi said in a statement Wednesday.
Clementi, 18, killed himself by jumping off New York's George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River after learning Ravi had secretly recorded his intimate encounter with another man