Warhol piece among high-priced art stolen in Detroit
A 3-foot-by-3-foot silkscreen Andy Warhol used to make "Flowers" prints was stolen last month, the FBI says.
May 22nd, 2012
08:11 PM ET

Warhol piece among high-priced art stolen in Detroit

FBI agents are trying to determine who stole 19 pieces of high-priced art, including an Andy Warhol silkscreen, from a Detroit business.

The art worth millions of dollars, according to CNN affiliate WDIV was taken between April 27 and April 29 from a business owned by an art collector in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, the FBI said Tuesday. The agency didn't name the business or the owner.

The collection includes a 1960s silkscreen that Warhol used to make “Flowers” prints, according to the FBI.  The other pieces of art, including paintings and drawings, were done by Larry Rivers, Francesco Clemente, Philip Taaffe, Joseph Beuys and Peter Schuyff.

Investigators suspect that the thief or thieves “may have already crossed state lines, if not left the country, in an effort to sell them,”  FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet said.

“We’re putting a message out to art dealers, pawn shop owners, and anyone dealing in art to be aware of it,” Shaykhet said.

The art was neither locked up nor on display, the FBI said.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for the pieces’ recovery. They have been entered into the FBI’s national stolen art database.

Up to $6 billion worth of art is stolen each year, according to the FBI.

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Filed under: Art • Crime • Michigan
Gotta Watch: Unconventional weddings
A twister touches down near a Kansas wedding.
May 22nd, 2012
07:41 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Unconventional weddings

Saying "I do" under unusual circumstances – Most wedding ceremonies are predictable and filled with special traditions and customs. However, we've found a few unconventional weddings off the beaten path, and they are worth a look!

See how a tornado, mermaids and one man's surprise plot played a role in these weddings.

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Tornado touches down during wedding

Caleb and Candra Pence exchanged vows as a tornado touched down near their outdoor wedding ceremony in Harper, Kansas.

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This underwater wedding has mermaids

Two couples in China held their wedding ceremonies underwater in an aquarium.

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Unsuspecting woman gets surprise wedding

One woman was shocked when her boyfriend surprised her with a proposal, immediately followed by their wedding.

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Filed under: Canada • China • Gotta Watch • Kansas • Nature • Tornadoes
Stellar week for SpaceX founder Elon Musk
SpaceX founder Elon Musk
May 22nd, 2012
05:46 PM ET

Stellar week for SpaceX founder Elon Musk

It’s officially a stellar week for Elon Musk, the billionaire engineer behind SpaceX, the company that made history Tuesday launching the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.


The rocket, originally set to hit the stratosphere Saturday, might have taken to the sky a few days late, but the excitement Musk expressed on Twitter about the launch extends a victory streak that also includes more earthly passions.

On Monday, Musk tweeted that Tesla – the luxury electric car company he co-founded in Silicon Valley - had reached a “major milestone” by completing crash testing and gaining approval for sale to the public.

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Filed under: Science • Space • Technology
May 22nd, 2012
05:21 PM ET

Mash-up: Eclipse, dolphin, gay-baiting

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.

Devilish sight in the heavens

We know you can't get enough of Sunday's annular solar eclipse. CNN iReporter Angela J. Wright was shooting photos of the eclipse in Yucca Valley, California, about 10 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, when it took on this eerie configuration.  "I was so excited I had to keep my self calm," she said.  "I'd never seen anything like it before!"

Stuck baby dolphin rescued

Marine life experts from Sea World in Orlando, Florida, rescued a 5-day-old bottlenose dolphin that was stranded in a mangrove on Three Sisters Island, reports CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13, which has pictures and video of the cute little guy.

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
Florida mother fired 18 shots at kids before killing self, medical examiner says
Tonya Thomas shot her four children to death before killing herself, police in Florida say.
May 22nd, 2012
04:52 PM ET

Florida mother fired 18 shots at kids before killing self, medical examiner says

[Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET] The Florida woman who killed her four children before committing suicide last week used jacketed hollow-point bullets fired at very close range, no more than 2 feet away, according to the Brevard County District Medical Examiner.

Medical Examiner Sajid Qaiser said Tonya Thomas, 33, fired a Taurus .38-caliber gun, hitting her children 18 times before taking her own life. Most of the wounds on Pebbles Johnson, 17; Jaxs Johnson, 15; Jazzlyn Johnson, 13; and Joel Johnson, 12, were on the fronts of their bodies, indicating they were shot as their mother faced them, Qaiser said.

Qaiser said none of the children or their mother had major defensive wounds, indicating that there was no significant struggle before or during the shootings. Thomas then placed the gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger, killing herself.

Qaiser said he noticed changes in Thomas' liver and ordered toxicology screens on Thomas and all of her children. The full autopsy will not be released until those results come back, which could take several weeks, Qaiser said.

"I know everyone thirsty to know why (the children) were not able to escape out of the house, how come one person shot their children so many times," he said. "But we don't have all of the information yet."

Jazzlyn was shot the most, seven times. The gunshots perforated her lung three times as well as her spleen, pancreas, stomach and spine, Qaiser said.

Joel was shot five times. Jaxs took three bullets in his chest.

“Many of the shots were taken at contact range," Qaiser said. "You can tell from the wounds and the clothing that the muzzle of the gun was pressed against the clothing, the body."

Pebbles was also shot three times.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?
This photo, submitted by iReporter Chelsie Kozera, shows a Mount Everest base camp.
May 22nd, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?

What is being called a "deadly traffic jam" of climbers ascending Mount Everest might be a factor in the death of four people descending the world's tallest mountain.

The news came amidst the celebration of a landmark climb for Tamae Watanabe of Japan, who, at 73 years old, became the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest on Saturday morning. She broke her own 10-year-old record.

Bad weather has also been blamed. Sandra Leduc, a Canadian woman who is climbing Mount Everest, has been tweeting about the storms. She saw lightning in the distance and tweeted that the peak winds were roaring at 100 kph.

She also tweeted that two or three hours from the summit, her sherpa wanted the team to descend immediately, because it was the worst weather he had ever seen. The very low temperatures appear to have affected a regulator she was using, which also has an effect on her oxygen supply.

What is altitude sickness?

But her most chilling tweet referred to those who did not survive their trek.

Michael Harley also made an observation that many are considering, perhaps for the first time.

Six people have died on Mount Everest this year, but it's not the disaster faced by climbers in 1996, the deadliest year to date for the mountain, with 16 deaths. On May 10, 1996, 10 teams were stranded by a storm and white-out conditions, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero.

Adventurer Bear Grylls, who was one of the youngest climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, shared his perspective on the tragedy.

Readers had much to say about the dangers of the climb versus the rewards. We received more than 1,500 comments on CNN.com.

Madhu: "Everest: Earth's highest graveyard."

daddy2010: "At least they died doing what they enjoy. Better than dying in a cubicle on Friday and having no one find the body till Monday."

darcechoke: "This is why I don't climb Mt. Everest. Well, this and the fact that I get winded climbing a flight of stairs."

Isocyanide: "Everest is the Disneyland of mountain climbing. Standing in line for hours and hours for the ride a million other people have taken."

Some talked not only about the dangers but about the bodies, the expenses involved and the waste left behind. The following commenter suggested a deposit to cover recovery expenses.

Unit34AHunt: "Everest has in excess of 200 known corpsicles, and massive heaps of discarded trash. Seems properly respectful of this earth to clear out all that detritus rather than allowing it to accumulate. 'They died doing what they love?' Tell it to the corpses of the ones who begged not to be left behind as they froze to death."

djfl00d: "Going up after dead bodies or trash means you bring less with you, which means you won't be carrying what you need to survive, and there's another dead body to go after."

For many, the sherpas who accompany climbers on some treks are indispensable.

MrsColumbo: "I hiked to Everest Base Camp in 95. The Sherpa's are unbelievable. They leave after you with your heavy pack, run by you get there ahead of you and have camp set up. It is not them who get paid the big bucks to take you to the top, it is the companies that sponsor them. You will not meet a nicer group of people than the Nepalese Sherpas."

Others were quite saddened by the news.

smc77: "I feel for these people and their families. I hike mountains, nowhere near this challenging, and have turned back when I thought the risk was too great. I can only imagine the draw to complete this goal, the costs (planning, physical, financial) involved, and the disappointment one must ponder when making the go / turn-back decision. I hope that all can take solace in knowing they died doing something they enjoyed and was important in their lives."

Would you climb Mt. Everest? What do these attempts say about humanity? Comment below and tell us what you think.

You can also sound off on video via CNN iReport.

May 22nd, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Controversial Zuma painting defaced on-camera

The African National Congress wanted to go to court to force a South African gallery to remove a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

The ANC got its wish, but it was two vandals, not a judge, who granted it.

Local station eNews Channel was at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg with cameras rolling when one man calmly approached the portrait, called "The Spear," and painted red crosses over the face and genitals.

Next came another man who smeared black paint over most of the image.

Watch the video above to see the vandals attack, see the violent arrest and hear the stunned reaction of the reporter as it all unfolds.

Opinions on "The Spear" are divided. CNN's "Open Mic" gave some South Africans a chance to vent. Watch below to hear what they're saying. Which side do you support?

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Filed under: Africa • Art • South Africa • Uncategorized • World
May 22nd, 2012
03:58 PM ET

Girl grew from online punishment, mom says

When ReShonda Tate Billingsley let her daughter open an Instagram account, the Houston novelist made clear to her what would be appropriate to post to the picture-sharing site.

So the mother wasn’t impressed when she saw a couple of weeks ago that the 12-year-old took a picture of herself with unopened alcohol bottle from her father’s bar and posted it with the caption, “Wish I could drink this vodka.”

Billingsley decided the online faux pas should also be punished online.

She not only temporarily banned her daughter from Instagram, the mom took a picture of her daughter holding a sign announcing her punishment (but not showing most of her face). She posted it to her daughter’s Instagram account to chastise her and to the mother’s own public Facebook page, hoping to persuade other parents to monitor their kids’ online activity.

“Since I want to post photos of me holding liquor, I am obviously not ready for social media and will be taking a hiatus until I learn what I should and should not post. Bye-bye,” the sign read.

Within hours, more than 10,000 people shared Billingsley’s Facebook post, and hundreds of others shared it on Twitter. She says she didn’t expect so much attention, but she thinks it’s made the lesson more effective.

“She saw how this picture has gone viral, but … now she sees that if it had been the picture of vodka that went viral, it could have ruined her life,” Billingsley said Tuesday. “It’s vodka today, but it could be underwear five years from now if this isn’t nipped in the bud (and she doesn’t learn) the consequences of posting on social media.”

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Filed under: Social media • Technology • Texas
May 22nd, 2012
02:07 PM ET

World's tallest tower opens to thousands of visitors in Tokyo

Tens of thousands of visitors flocked to the Tokyo Skytree on Tuesday, trying to be among the first people to get a view of the Japanese capital from the world's tallest tower.

The Skytree rises 634 meters (2,080 feet) above Tokyo. It was certified as the world's tallest tower by Guinness World Records on November 17, according to the Skytree's website.

Guinness lists the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 828 meters (2,716 feet 6 inches), as the world's tallest building.

The distinction is that Burj Khalifa is an occupied building. The Skytree is a broadcast structure, with digital transmissions for Tokyo media beamed from it. Its towering height doubles the coverage that was previously available, as it enables signals to get past the countless other skyscrapers in the Japanese capital, according to the Skytree website.

People showing up for trips up the Skytree were beaming with pride and excitement Tuesday, according to local news reports.

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Filed under: Architecture • Japan
May 22nd, 2012
12:56 PM ET

Were Cory Booker's comments a slip of the tongue or a slick political move?

It's not like Newark Mayor Cory Booker to say the wrong thing to the media.

He's a media darling, who was talked about as the man likely to be the first black president before Barack Obama was elected to the White House. Since Obama has taken office, Booker has been a go-to for the president's camp.

But many say he went "off-script" during an interview on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. They say Booker swerved from the Obama campaign's script attacking GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's former private equity firm Bain Capital when he called Democratic attacks "nauseating." Booker said he was not going "to sit here and indict private equity."

His comments caught many off guard,  including the White House.

Which has led some people to this question: Was it a political gaffe or a strategic move?

Since his first remarks, Booker has been on an apology tour of sorts. He went on MSNBC to clarify, saying his comments were taken out of context and were being used for cynical political gain by Republicans seeking to portray Democrats as fractured. And he's also taken to social media to declare his support for Obama, tweeting repeatedly to clarify his support for the president along with the hashtag #IStandWithObama.

It is no surprise that Booker would take to Twitter to amplify his message. He has long been a social media maestro. But in this case, has he taken it too far?

Some mocked  his flurry of #IStandWithObama posts, joking that it appeared he was in detention with Bart Simpson and stuck writing on a virtual blackboard to make up for his mistakes.

But The Star-Ledger,  his local paper, says Booker's remarks shouldn't shock anyone.

"Booker’s independence from Democrats should come as little surprise," reporter Steve Strunsky wrote. "Before Sunday’s 'Meet the Press,' the most recent of his frequent appearances on the small screen was in a video last week with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who endorsed Romney in 2012 and is often mentioned as a possible running mate."

He is talking about a viral video in which the pair spoof Booker's heroic actions of the past and joke about Christie's potential to be a vice-presidential nominee.

"Booker's chummy relationship with Christie isn't just about doing work for the people of Newark, it's also likely a strategic move based on his own personal ambition," Zerlina Maxwell, a writer for The Grio, wrote in an article that asked if the pair were too close for comfort. "Booker's last office will certainly not be as the mayor of Newark. His bright future could be as a Senator and a bipartisan track record in a mixed bag state like New Jersey certainly enhances his credentials."

Salon took Booker to task, calling him the "surrogate from hell" and looking at what exactly Booker had to gain from his exchange on "Meet the Press."

"It wouldn’t be surprising if Booker has already heard from the White House, and surely he’s now in for a world of abuse from Obama supporters. But that hardly means he made a mistake, at least in terms of his own ambition," the article said. "Financial support from Wall Street and, more broadly speaking, the investor class has been key to Booker’s rise, and remains key to his future dreams."

Does that mean Booker is looking to switch sides? Not necessarily. A bit of distance? Perhaps. But it's also worth noting that Booker hasn't been a fan of labels when it comes to politics, often saying that he doesn't think everything should be thought of in strict terms of Republican versus Democrat.

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US Airways jetliner diverted on flight over Atlantic
The US Airways jetliner landed in Bangor, Maine.
May 22nd, 2012
12:17 PM ET

US Airways jetliner diverted on flight over Atlantic

A US Airways jetliner en route from Paris to Charlotte, North Carolina, has been diverted to Bangor, Maine, for a "security issue," airline spokesman Andrew Christie told CNN.

A Transportation Safety Administration statement said the plane has landed safely in Bangor.

"TSA is aware of reports of a passenger who exhibited suspicious behavior during flight. Out of an abundance of caution the flight was diverted to BGR where it was met by law enforcement," the statement said.

A US Airways spokesperson said there 179 passengers and nine crew aboard the flight.

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Filed under: Aviation
May 22nd, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Man survives plunge over Niagara Falls; 2nd attempt reported Tuesday

A man survived a 180-foot plunge over Niagara Falls on Monday, becoming only the fourth person to do so without any protective devices, according to news reports.

The man, who has not been identified, climbed over a retaining wall above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls before jumping into the Niagara River and being swept over the falls, according to a report from CNN affiliate CTV.

Thought to be around 40 years old, the man sustained injuries including several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and gashes to his head and shoulders, according to a report in the Buffalo News.

He was pulled to safety by emergency crews on the Canadian side of the river after collapsing in waist-deep water, according to a report from CNN affiliate WGRZ in Buffalo.

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Filed under: Canada • Niagara Falls
May 22nd, 2012
07:43 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

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.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • On CNN.com today • Politics
U.S. officials: Ambassador Crocker to step down from Afghan post
U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker initialed a framework outlining future relations between the United States and Afghanistan.
May 22nd, 2012
03:25 AM ET

U.S. officials: Ambassador Crocker to step down from Afghan post

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, is expected to step down this summer after a year in the job, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN early Tuesday.

Crocker was appointed to the post in Kabul on July 25 of last year. The relatively short length of his service in the Afghan capital is no surprise. In recent history, American ambassadors have served similar terms.

This is not Crocker's first stint in Kabul. After the Taliban were forced out of power, Crocker was given the task in 2002 of reopening the U.S. Embassy in the city, according to his State Department biography.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
May 22nd, 2012
03:22 AM ET

Arrest made in missing California teen case

A 21-year-old man was arrested in connection with the two-month-old disappearance of a California teen, authorities said.

Antolin Garcia-Torres, of Morgan Hill, was arrested and faces charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of 15-year-old Sierra LaMar, said the Santa Clara Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department gave no more information on the case and said more details will be released at a news conference Tuesday morning.

LaMar was last seen at her mother's Morgan Hill home on March 16, authorities have said.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
May 22nd, 2012
03:16 AM ET

Malaysian court charges opposition leader Anwar over street protest

A Malaysian court on Tuesday charged opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in relation to his role in a street protest last month calling for electoral reform at which the police fired tear gas at demonstrators.

The charges create uncertainty about the part Anwar will be able to play in elections expected to be called later this year, just months after a court found him not guilty of sodomizing a former male political aide.

The April 28 protest, organized by a loose coalition of opposition groups known as Bersih, spilled into Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, prompting the police to move in and arrest hundreds of demonstrators. The police had obtained a court order forbidding protesters from entering the square.

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Filed under: World