24 hours through the lens
June 18th, 2012
05:56 PM ET

Mash-up: Pups, protest, patriotism, Sir Paul

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.

Hang 16, surf doggy

Plenty of dogs and people turned out for the seventh annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition last weekend in Imperial Beach, California. CNN iReporters Tony Perri and Chris Morrow were there to cover all the action, including the setting of a Guinness world record when 14 dogs stood on one surfboard.

Not nearly as much fun

Here's more activity in the water but without the mirth.

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
June 18th, 2012
04:34 PM ET

Uniformed Afghans attack NATO troops, killing 1, officials say

[Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET] Attackers in Afghan police uniforms gunned down a member of NATO's peacekeeping force in southern Afghanistan on Monday, the allied command in Kabul reported.

The International Security Assistance Force said the three gunmen "immediately fled the area and are currently being sought."

No other details were released by NATO, but a U.S. official in Washington told CNN the fatality was an American and that as many as eight or nine others were wounded.

Uniformed Afghans either insurgents in disguise, or members of the country's police or military have been behind numerous killings of U.S. and NATO troops this year. The incidents have fueled mutual distrust between Afghan and NATO forces in the now-decade-old conflict.

Clemens found not guilty in perjury trial
Former baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is joined by his wife, Debbie Clemens, at the U.S. District Court in Washington.
June 18th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Clemens found not guilty in perjury trial

[Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET] Famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty Monday of lying to Congress during an investigation of steroid use among major league players.

The case against Clemens involved one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. He was found not guilty on all counts.

"Mr. Clemens, you're free to go," Judge Reggie Walton said after the verdicts were read in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Close

Clemens on verdict: Time to be thankful

Roger Clemens thanks all those who defended him after a jury found him 'not guilty' of federal perjury charges.

Clemens wiped away tears as he hugged his sons in the courtroom following the verdicts.

He was not charged with illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs, but his denial of such use was part of the case against him.

Arguments in the trial concluded last week. Federal prosecutor Courtney Saleski, in closing arguments Tuesday, told the jury Clemens "wanted to protect his brand, he wanted to protect his livelihood," in denying the use of steroids during a 2008 investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into the problem.

The Clemens defense team disputed whether the government has made its case, telling the jury all the evidence came through a former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who the defense team said had incentive to lie.

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Official: Iraq envoy nominee withdraws amid controversy
June 18th, 2012
03:36 PM ET

Official: Iraq envoy nominee withdraws amid controversy

Brett McGurk, President Obama's pick to be the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, has withdrawn from consideration following revelations about questionable conduct, an administration official said Monday.

The personal conduct of McGurk (pictured) came under intense scrutiny since flirtatious e-mails exchanged with Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon were made public.

The e-mails appear to show that the two carried on an affair while they were stationed in Baghdad in 2008. They later married.

Chon recently resigned her position at the newspaper in the wake of the controversy.

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Filed under: Iraq • Politics
June 18th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

Obama says he, Putin agree political steps needed in Syria crisis

[Updated at 5:26 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the conflict in Syria and "agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war."

In comments to reporters after almost two hours of talks, Obama said he and Putin had "candid, thoughtful and through conversation" about various issues including Syria and Iran.

On Syria, Obama said he and Putin "pledged to work with other international actors including the United Nations" and its special envoy, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Obama and Putin are in Los Cabos, Mexico, for the two-day Group of 20 summit involving leaders of 20 of the world's leading economies.

The United Nations announced Saturday it was pulling back its unarmed monitors from Syria because escalating violence was  hampering the monitors' ability to observe and verify reports.

Syrian opposition groups say more than 13,000 people have been killed since President Bashar al-Assad's government started cracking down on anti-government protesters last year. The United Nations' latest estimate puts the death toll at more than 10,000. CNN cannot independently verify government and opposition claims of casualties because the Syrian government has restricted access by international journalists.

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Filed under: Russia • Syria
Somalia tops failed states index for fifth year
African Union soliders like these shown in Somalia this month are fighting Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab.
June 18th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Somalia tops failed states index for fifth year

Six African nations are in the top 10 of an annual failed-state index, including Somalia, which heads the list for the fifth straight year after continued struggles with lawlessness and piracy.

Somalia tops the 2012 Failed States Index because of “widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and well-publicized pirate attacks against foreign vessels,” the list’s compiler, Washington-based nonprofit Fund for Peace, said on its website Monday.

The group’s eighth annual list, which ranks instability risks of 177 nations based on 12 social, economic and political indicators, was published Monday by Foreign Policy magazine. Nations ranking high on the list aren’t necessarily failed states, but are facing enormous pressure stemming from factors such as uneven development, economic decline and human-rights issues, according to Fund for Peace.

The top 10 nations on the 2012 Failed States Index are:

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Filed under: Somalia • World
June 18th, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Suicide bombing kills 15 in Iraq

A suicide bomber blew up his explosive vest at a funeral procession in Iraq's Diyala province Monday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 41 others, police officials in Baquba said.

The bombing took place at a funeral procession in a neighborhood in central Baquba on Monday evening. Baquba is about 60 kilometers north of Baghdad.

 

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Filed under: Iraq
June 18th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

Saudi Arabia names new crown prince

Saudi Arabia named Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz to be crown prince Monday, the state news agency reported, putting him next in line to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom.

His appointment comes a day after burial services for Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, whose death was announced Saturday.

Salman, who was already defense minister, retains that post and becomes deputy prime minister as well, the Saudi Press Agency reported Monday, citing a royal order.

Nayef, a hard-line conservative credited with pushing back al Qaeda, also served as interior minister. He is being replaced by Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi Press Agency said.

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia
June 18th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

France's Hollande tightens grip on power with election win

New French President Francois Hollande tightened his grip on power Monday as the Interior Ministry confirmed that his Socialist party and its allies won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections Sunday.

Hollande allies claimed 314 seats in the 577-member National Assembly - the lower house of the French parliament - according to early confirmed results by the French Interior Ministry.

The results signal a clear French shift to the left, bolstering Hollande's position to push through an anti-austerity agenda after years of government budget cuts.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party experienced its biggest losses since 1981, winning just 229 seats.

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Filed under: France
June 18th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Boko Haram claims responsibility for Nigeria church bombings

A militant Islamist group claimed responsibility Monday for bombings the day before that the Nigerian Red Cross said left 50 people at three Christian churches in Nigeria.

Boko Haram said the attacks Sunday in the Nigerian cities of Zaria and Kaduna were retaliation on Christians for destroying mosques and, according to the group, turning others into "beer parlour and prostitution joints."

"Let them know that now it's the time for revenge God willing," the group said in a statement. "From now on, they either follow the right religion or there will be no peace for them."

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Filed under: Nigeria
June 18th, 2012
08:32 AM ET

Egyptian military holds on to power despite presidential vote

An Islamist backed by the Muslim Brotherhood declared victory as Egypt's first democratically elected president even as the country's military rulers issued a decree that virtually stripped the position of power.

The move by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces - the military rulers in control since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak - came Sunday at the conclusion of a two-day presidential runoff, adding to the political turmoil that raised questions about the stability of the fragile democracy.

Even with no constitution, no parliament and, possibly, no power, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi declared victory late Sunday over Ahmed Shafik, who was Egypt's last prime minister in the waning days of Mubarak's regime.

Shafik, though, refused to concede, saying votes were to still to be tallied in his stronghold districts, including portions of Cairo.

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Filed under: Egypt
June 18th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Monday'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...

10:25 am ET - Romney in Wisconsin - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with supporters in Janesville, Wisconsin.  He'll make similar stops in Dubuque, Iowa, at 2:30 pm ET and Davenport, Iowa, at 6:10 pm ET.

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Filed under: Elections • Mitt Romney • On CNN.com today • Politics
June 18th, 2012
04:23 AM ET

Colorado fire tops 56,000 acres, weather stays hot and windy

Firefighters in northern Colorado face another round of nightmare conditions on Monday as high temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty winds whip a blaze near Fort Collins.

The High Park Fire has consumed more than 56,000 acres so far, fire authorities said. It is about 45% contained. More than 1,700 personnel were battling the blaze.

"It just feels really dire. It's scary," resident Lupe Sandoval told CNN affiliate KUSA TV. "You feel bad for everybody."

The National Weather Service rates the fire risk in six Western states on Monday as "critical." Red flag warnings are posted across 10 states, warning of high winds, low humidity and warm temperatures.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
June 18th, 2012
04:18 AM ET

Greek right gets shot at forming government

Two elections, two interim prime ministers and 221 days since Greece last had an elected government, Greek President Karolas Papoulias will ask the leader of the center-right New Democracy party Monday to try to hammer out a coalition.

The pro-bailout New Democracy party claimed "a victory for all Europe" after topping Sunday's parliamentary elections, a vote seen as a referendum on the survival of the continent's common currency.

New Democracy's Antonis Samaras now finds himself facing a new round of coalition talks, six weeks after a previous election that failed to produce a government.

Sunday's results were substantially similar to the results of the vote in May, which left no party able to cobble together a working majority government.

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Filed under: Economy • Politics • World
June 18th, 2012
02:14 AM ET

Reports of terror surge after U.N. suspends monitoring mission in Syria

The elusive quest for peace in Syria is now crippled with recent setbacks, as a U.N. observer mission has suspended operations and attempts to rescue civilians trapped in violence have proved futile.

Chaos erupted once again Monday as regime forces shelled the southern town of Tafas, an opposition group said, prompting calls for residents to hunker down in lower floors of houses. The attack came after more than 80 tanks infiltrated the town in Daraa province, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.

Elsewhere in Daraa, warplanes hovered at a low altitude over the city of Daeel as powerful explosion rocked the city, the LCC said.

Violence in the country has escalated in recent days, exacerbating an already risky situation for the about 300 monitors, said Gen. Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria.

"Civilians continue to be trapped by the escalating violence in Syria," Mood said in a statement Sunday. "In Homs, attempts to extract civilians from the line of fire over the past week have been unsuccessful."

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
June 18th, 2012
01:42 AM ET

After week of graphic testimony, Sandusky set to present his defense

For the first week of his trial, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky often left the Pennsylvania courtroom with a smile - even after testimony from eight people accusing him, in emotional and graphic terms, of sexually abusing them as boys.

He should finally get a chance to present his case when the trial resumes this week, after a three-day break.

Prosecutors are expected to take care of some routine evidentiary matters Monday, then officially rest their case. After that happens, Sandusky's attorneys can call experts and witnesses of their own, including possibly letting the 68-year-old longtime Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator defend himself on 52 counts tied to what prosecutors say was his abuse of at least 10 boys in a 15-year span.

A main focus of the defense's strategy may be to poke holes at the prosecution's case thus far.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
June 18th, 2012
01:40 AM ET

G-20 summit looks to boost sluggish global economic recovery

Leaders from the world's largest industrialized and emerging economies kick off the G-20 summit in Mexico on Monday with the aim of boosting a sluggish global economic recovery.

Officially the summit will largely focus on one of the primary causes of the recovery's lethargy, a persistent weakness in the 17 countries that use the euro as their national currency.

Preparing for the meeting in the wake of parliamentary elections in Greece - arguably the most troubled country in the eurozone - White House officials expressed optimism that the new Greek government would remain committed to a solution that would keep the country in the European monetary union.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • U.S. • World
June 18th, 2012
01:37 AM ET

Webb Simpson wins U.S. Open

Young golfer Webb Simpson made a furious charge Sunday to win the U.S. Open, grabbing his fist major tournament victory.

Simpson had started the day four shots back of the lead but used a stretch where he carded four birdies in five holes midway through the final round to get to the top of the leaderboard.

Simpson shot a 68 Sunday to end the tournament at 1-over.

Surprisingly, that score was good enough to win as all the golfers struggled on the slick greens of San Francisco's Olympic Club and no one scored under par.

"It was a cool day. I had peace all day," said Webb, 26. "I prayed more the last three holes than I did all my life."

Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell were tied for the lead coming into play Sunday.

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.
June 18th, 2012
01:34 AM ET

Egyptian military holds on to power despite presidential vote

An Islamist backed by the Muslim Brotherhood declared victory as Egypt's first democratically elected president even as the country's military rulers issued a decree that virtually stripped the position of power.

The move by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces - the military rulers in control since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak - came Sunday at the conclusion of a two-day presidential runoff, adding to the political turmoil that raised questions about the stability of the fragile democracy.

The military council will release details of an interim constitutional declaration on Monday morning, said Maj. Mohamed Askar, the council's spokesman.

Under the declaration, Askar told CNN, the military council retains the power to make laws and budget decisions for the country until a new constitution can be written and a new parliament elected.

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Filed under: Politics • World