Man arrested in 1979 Etan Patz case
Etan Patz went missing on May 25, 1979.
May 24th, 2012
07:19 PM ET

Man arrested in 1979 Etan Patz case

[Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET] Pedro Hernandez, a former Manhattan stock clerk who once lived in the same neighborhood as Etan Patz, was arrested Thursday in the boy's death, more than three decades after the 6-year-old went missing, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.

Kelly told reporters that Hernandez claims he lured Patz from a bus stop to the store where Hernandez worked with the promise of a soft drink, and then led the boy to the store's basement and choked him. Hernandez told investigators that he then put the body in a plastic bag and put it with trash, Kelly said.

Authorities were tipped off to Hernandez by someone who knew him, and whom Hernandez had confided in, a law enforcement source said.

In her book detailing the investigation, author Lisa Cohen describes the plan Etan had the day he went missing. Just prior to his disappearance, according to the book, Patz told his parents that he planned to stop at a store to buy a soda with a dollar that he'd earned by helping a neighborhood carpenter. It's not clear which store he meant.

Patz's disappearance helped spawn a national movement to raise awareness of missing children, which involved a then-novel approach of splashing an image of the child's face across thousands of milk cartons.

[Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET] New York's police commissioner is scheduled to address reporters at 7 p.m. ET about the case of Etan Patz, whose 1979 disappearance raised national awareness of missing children, according to a police statement.

Pedro Hernandez, a former Manhattan store owner, is expected to be the focus of the news conference after he claimed he strangled Patz, who was 6 when he disappeared.

[Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET] A former Manhattan bodega owner named Pedro Hernandez claims he strangled 6-year-old Etan Patz, whose 1979 disappearance raised national awareness of missing children, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

Police were tipped off to Hernandez by someone who knew him, and whom Hernandez had confided in, the source said.

Earlier Thursday, police in New York said they had a man in custody who implicated himself in Patz's disappearance. A law enforcement source said that the man's claims were being treated with "a healthy dose of skepticism."

[Initial post] Investigators in New York have a man in custody who has implicated himself in the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz, Commissioner Ray Kelly of the New York Police Department said Thursday.

Authorities plan to divulge more details Thursday, Kelly said in a statement.

Patz's disappearance received national attention and, along with other high-profile cases, helped trigger a national movement that focuses on missing children.

Etan went missing on May 25, 1979, a block from his home in the New York neighborhood of SoHo. It was the first time he had walked to his school bus stop by himself.

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24 hours through the lens
May 24th, 2012
05:41 PM ET

CNN Mash-up: Sights, serial slayer, servant

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.

Memorial Day traveling? Get pics like these!

We ask iReporters to share images from around the world as part of our Travel Photo of the Day series. Here are a few we've recently featured:

Sossusvlei, Namibia
A sand dune dramatically rises above the savanna at dawn in this photo by Sandra Hayden.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
This photo by John Vogel shows the colorful, majestic Doi Suthep Temple, which overlooks the city of Chiang Mai.

Seattle, Washington
Biju Chandroth shot this stunning, long-exposure image of downtown Seattle at night.

Luxor, Egypt
The temples, hieroglyphics, and statues of ancient Egypt are just as magnificent as ever in these photos by Jessica Smelser.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Get up close and personal with a sea turtle in this gorgeous underwater shot by Matt Swinden.

Middle Cove, Newfoundland
Sobhana Venkatesan shot these lovely photos of bluish icebergs floating off the coast of Newfoundland.

Lisse, Netherlands
The enormous Keukenhof Garden in Holland dazzles visitors with tulips in every color of the rainbow. Nadine Hamad captured the spectrum in these images.

Cocoa Beach, Florida
Holy lightning! Johnathon McCauley shot these dramatic photos from his balcony on Patrick Air Force Base during a thunderstorm.

Dogs show off their muscles

A minister is organizing a new kind of competition for dogs: bodybuilding. The contest, which includes a sort of canine tractor pull, is a healthy outlet for dogs that might otherwise be used for fighting, the minister tells CNN affiliate WXIN.

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
Overheard on CNN.com: What's prison for?
May 24th, 2012
04:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What's prison for?

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.

Norway's Bastoy Prison seems almost idyllic. Inmates have almost everything they could possibly want on the lush, 1-square-mile island except for their freedom.

CNN.com commenters had mixed reactions to the story. Some agreed that getting inmates ready for life after prison is the most important thing - even if it means giving them jobs and spa-like living conditions. Others said Bastoy fails at a prison's most important job, which they said is punishing and deterring crime.

Welcome to the world's nicest prison

intventor121 "Caging of the offender serves a two fold purpose. 1. Takes away the "liberty" of the offender. 2. Protects the rest of society. I can't think of any other purposes for prison can you?

yellownumb5 "Rehabilitate the offender into a productive member of society rather than pay to house them and release them with no prospects or reform only to offend again.

Some commenters argued that Norway's low crime rate suggests that the system is working

max555544333 "I personally think the approach sounds nuts, but I'm no expert on crime and criminals. You don't really need any expertise to see that the U.S. system doesn't work."

Civildiscors "If you think this isn't harsh enough, or punishment enough, and it's rewarding the criminal, look again. If you value humanity and human beings, you will see that they are worth rehabilitating, treating and being given a chance to prove themselves worthy. If you don't value human life, you will say 'just kill them to save taxpayers money,' as if money is more valuable than people. And if that's your philosophy on life, you are surely doomed."

Scooter111 "Norway has a very low crime rate. Whatever works for them. You are twice as likely to be the victim of a violent crime in our state of Oregon and 4 times more likely in Texas. The goal of any justice system is to keep the non-criminal population safe. So Norway is doing a pretty good job, better than we are."

Others, like Goose66 said that focusing on rehabilitation misses the point:

"It may 'work,' but what about basic fairness. Is it fair to pay to house and feed outlaws in a resort-style environment, where they can fish and eat without working, while law abiding citizens toil away everyday and can't afford to buy food or a cottage of their own? When did fairness go out the window?"

RPTX "I'm sorry. While I'm all for lenient sentences for drugs, white collar crimes, and theft, as a parent I could not fathom someone strangling my daughter and getting a 10-year sentence on some resort island. I don't care how "enlightened" Norway seems to be, that is not fair to victims and their families. Period!"

mathews0723 "Where is the punishment? You stay in a dorm and get to call your parents? Sounds like college to me. I wonder what the murder victims' families think about the way the criminals are being treated. I am not a super vengeful person but I do think they should live without some of the extra perks. Geez."

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. You can also use your web cam to record your response on CNN iReport. Just click on the blue button below and record your response.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.


Filed under: Norway • Overheard on CNN.com • Prisons
Ohio school-shooting suspect to be tried as adult
T.J. Lane is accused of shooting students in the Chardon High School cafeteria in February.
May 24th, 2012
12:28 PM ET

Ohio school-shooting suspect to be tried as adult

A 17-year-old accused of killing three students and injuring others during a shooting at an Ohio high school this year will be tried as an adult, Geauga County Judge Timothy Grendell has ruled.

T.J. Lane is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two of attempted aggravated murder and one of felonious assault in connection with February shooting at Chardon High School, about 30 miles east of Cleveland.

Authorities said Lane opened fire on students in Chardon High School's cafeteria.

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Filed under: Cleveland • Courts • Crime • Justice • Ohio
NOAA predicts 4-8 Atlantic hurricanes
A satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Irene on August 25, 2011, in the Caribbean Sea.
May 24th, 2012
11:34 AM ET

NOAA predicts 4-8 Atlantic hurricanes

[Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET] A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1, although it got off to an early start this year, with Tropical Storm Alberto moving through the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast last week.

NOAA also said it predicts a near-normal season for the Eastern Pacific, estimating a 70% chance of 12 to 18 named storms with five to nine hurricanes, of which two to five would be major for that area. The Eastern Pacific's season is May 15 to November 30.

A major hurricane, designated as Category 3 or greater, has winds of well above 100 mph. The weakest hurricanes have top sustained winds of at least 74 mph, and named storms have top winds of at least 39 mph.

NOAA officials said uncertainty over whether the El Nino weather pattern will form made it difficult to be more precise in predicting the Atlantic storm season.

"If (El Nino) develops by late summer to early fall ... conditions could be less conducive for hurricane formation and intensification during the peak months (August to October) of the season, possibly shifting the activity toward the lower end of the predicted range,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The forecasts do not predict how many of the storms will reach land.

Thursday's predictions came as a strengthening Hurricane Bud, churning in the Pacific, appeared poised to bring heavy rain to coastal southwestern Mexico.

It is extremely rare for an Eastern Pacific hurricane to affect the U.S. mainland, though some do have an influence on Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Alberto broke up in the Atlantic this week and another tropical depression was causing heavy rainfall in southern Florida, Bell said. However, he said the early storms were no harbinger of a more active season than normal.

For the Atlantic, a normal season would produce 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year saw 19 named storms in the Atlantic.

The Eastern Pacific's average season produces 15 named storms, with eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

FEMA's hurricane preparedness tips

Could you survive an extreme weather disaster?

April 5, 2012: Expect fewer hurricanes this year

Experiencing severe weather? Share with us on CNN iReport.

May 24th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Thursday'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...

8:45 am ET - Romney goes to school - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at a charter school in Philadelphia.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Mitt Romney • On CNN.com today • Politics
Myanmar's Suu Kyi to visit Thailand next week in first trip abroad in decades
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the opening of a National League for Democracy office in Yangon Monday
May 24th, 2012
01:24 AM ET

Myanmar's Suu Kyi to visit Thailand next week in first trip abroad in decades

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will make her first trip outside the country in more than two decades when she visits Thailand next week to attend a regional conference, a spokesman for her party said Thursday.

Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy campaigner who endured years of house arrest under Myanmar's military rulers, will travel to the Thai capital of Bangkok on Monday where she will participate in the World Economic Forum on East Asia, said Nyan Win, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy.

The visit to Bangkok comes ahead of a longer trip to Europe next month during which Suu Kyi will make a series of key addresses, including the acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize that she was prevented from collecting in 1991 because she was in detention.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
May 24th, 2012
01:03 AM ET

Ex-nanny sues Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone's former nanny filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing the actress of violating labor laws and making derogatory comments about her ethnicity.

Stone called it "an absurd lawsuit" with "made-up and fabricated" claims, filed by "a disgruntled ex-employee who is obviously looking to get money any way she can."

Erlinda Elemen, who is Filipino, worked as a live-in nanny for the actress for more than four years, until she was fired in February 2011, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court Wednesday said.

Elemen claims she was fired because she refused to give back overtime pay that Stone told her she did not deserve.

FULL STORY

Filed under: U.S.
May 24th, 2012
01:01 AM ET

North Korea ready to carry out nuclear test at any moment, Seoul says

North Korea appears to be ready to carry out a nuclear test whenever leaders of the reclusive state give the green light, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said Thursday.

The comment follows an analysis of recent commercial satellite images by the defense publication IHS Janes, which suggested activity was being ramped up at North Korea's nuclear test site.

Mining carts and excavation equipment at the tunneling area of the North's Punggye-ri site can be seen in satellite images taken by Digital Globe and GeoEye in the past month. Earth and debris are being removed from the tunnel in the largest quantities seen so far, according to the Janes assessment.

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Filed under: World