July 11th, 2012
04:51 PM ET

Mash-up: Hot weather, dunked horse

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 it hot on this planet, or is it just me?

This year's - and this decade's - weather extremes have heated up the debate over climate change, aka global warming. NOAA reports that nine of the 10 warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000. But does that indicate climate change, or is it just a normal variation? There is a relationship between the two, says Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.

As we change the climate, we're shifting the odds for extreme weather. Increasingly, we are loading the dice towards these very damaging kinds of extremes.

In Maryland, it even looks hot

CNN iReporter Janie Lambert is sweating it out at home in Maryland, where record heat and nasty storms are making it a decidedly uncomfortable summer. She shot a series of pictures, including the one below, Tuesday evening. "The images just say hot, sultry and humid," she told CNN. "The heat and humidity just smack you in the face. It is nauseating to be out for five minutes. I am so looking forward to fall!"

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
FAMU president resigns amid hazing scandal
James Ammons has resigned as president of Florida A&M University, effective this fall.
July 11th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

FAMU president resigns amid hazing scandal

The president of Florida A&M University announced his resignation Wednesday, more than seven months after the drum major for the university band died following a hazing incident.

James H. Ammons said in a statement he is leaving the post he has held for five years, effective this fall.

"After considerable thought, introspection and conversations with my family, I have decided to resign from my position as president in order to initiate my retirement on October 11, 2012," he wrote in a letter to the chairman of the school's board of trustees.

Ammons said he would remain as a tenured professor on the faculty.

The resignation comes after the November 19 death of Robert Champion, 26. Champion died within an hour of being badly beaten during a hazing incident on a band bus following a football game in Orlando, Florida. The ritual, called "Crossing Bus C," is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle while being assaulted by senior members, according to some university band members.

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Filed under: Education • Florida
Navy's new gender-neutral carriers won't have urinals
This is a Navy illustration of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the first of the Ford class of carriers.
July 11th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Navy's new gender-neutral carriers won't have urinals

[Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET] The U.S. Navy's new class of carriers will be the first to go without urinals, a decision made in part to give the service flexibility in accommodating female sailors, the Navy says.

The change heralded by the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers starting with the namesake carrier due in late 2015 is one of a number of new features meant to improve sailors' quality of life and reduce maintenance costs, Capt. Chris Meyer said Wednesday.

Omitting urinals lets the Navy easily switch the designation of any restroom or head, in naval parlance from male to female, or vice versa, helping the ship adapt to changing crew compositions over time, Meyer said.

The Navy could designate a urinal-fitted area to women, of course, but the urinals would be a waste of space. Making the areas more gender-neutral is a relatively new consideration for the service, with most of its current carriers commissioned before it began deploying women on combat ships in 1994.

But it wasn't the only reason for the move.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy
July 11th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Syrian ambassador to Iraq defects, opposition says

Syria's ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf al-Fares, has defected from the Syrian government, two opposition Syrian National Council members told CNN Wednesday.

Al-Fares is the highest-ranking diplomat to defect since the uprising against the al-Assad regime began last year.

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Filed under: Syria
July 11th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Wednesday'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...

10:30 am ET - Romney talks to NAACP - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney takes his campaign to Houston, where he will address the 103rd NAACP National Convention.

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Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics
July 11th, 2012
03:22 AM ET

Family readies home for August return of Aimee Copeland

When Aimee Copeland, a 24-year-old Georgia woman who lost parts of four limbs to a flesh-eating bacteria, returns home from rehab next month, she'll find it much different and much bigger than when she left in May.

A nearly 2,000 square foot addition will nearly double the size of the Copeland family home in Snellville, Georgia, east of Atlanta, and be equipped for her special needs.

The renovation plans include access ramps, an elevator to the home's second floor, an exercise room Aimee will use to continue her recovery, guide rails in the bathroom, and a separate wash sink Aimee can use to clean her prosthetics.

The family calls it "Aimee's Wing."

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Filed under: U.S.
July 11th, 2012
01:09 AM ET

Mix of pathogens caused mystery illness in Cambodia, doctors say

The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Cambodian Ministry of Health, will conclude that a combination of pathogens is to blame for the mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of more than 60 children in Cambodia, medical doctors familiar with the investigation told CNN on Wednesday.

The pathogens include enterovirus 71, streptococcus suis and dengue, the medical sources said. Additionally, the inappropriate use of steroids, which can suppress the immune system, worsened the illness in a majority of the patients, they said.

The sources did not want to be identified because the results of the health organization's investigation have not yet been made public.

Dr. Beat Richner, head of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals - which cared for 66 patients affected by the illness, 64 of whom died - said that no new patients had been seen there since last Saturday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also expected to advise health care workers to refrain from using steroids in patients with signs and symptoms of the infection, which include severe fever, encephalitis, and breathing difficulties.

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Filed under: Cambodia • World
July 11th, 2012
01:07 AM ET

Thai-American jailed for insulting monarchy receives royal pardon

Thailand has pardoned a Thai-born American who was sentenced last year to 2 1/2 years in prison for insulting the monarchy, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Joe W. Gordon, whose Thai name is Lerpong Wichaicommart, was released Tuesday after receiving a royal pardon from the king, his lawyer said.

Gordon's case is one of several that provoked criticism from human rights advocates over Thailand's controversial laws that punish defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family. U.S. authorities had also expressed concern about his imprisonment.

The charge of writing and posting articles insulting the monarchy under the Southeast Asian country's lese majeste laws can yield a sentence as high as 20 years in prison in the Buddhist country, where the king is highly revered.

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Filed under: Thailand • World