July 19th, 2012
11:31 PM ET

Penn State board member resigns over Sandusky scandal

Steve Garban resigned Thursday from the Penn State Board of Trustees, becoming the first board member to step down following the release of a scathing report that found it was part of the failure that allowed a longtime sexual predator to prey on boys at the school.

Garban's resignation follows last week's release of an internal review conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh that found Penn State's most powerful leader showed "total and consistent disregard" for child sex abuse victims and covered up attack's by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

"After absorbing the findings of the Freeh Report last week, the Board of Trustees accepted responsibility for the failures of governance that took place on our watch. Following the release of the report, you also asked each member of the Board to evaluate our individual paths forward," Garban wrote in his resignation letter to board chairwoman Karen Peetz.

"It is clear to me that my presence on the Board has become a distraction and an impediment to your efforts to move forward and continue the Board's most important work."

Garban served as chairman of the Board of Trustees when the scandal broke and stepped down following Sandusky's arrest.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
Gotta Watch: Fast food fondlers
Some Burger King employees lost their jobs over this photo that went viral.
July 19th, 2012
06:52 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Fast food fondlers

Fast food service may not be considered “fine dining” but customers who frequent such establishments expect a certain level of sanitation. Unfortunately, in some cases that trust is misplaced.  Check out these videos of fast food workers with less than healthy manners.  Do their punishments fit their crimes?

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Fast food workers fired over food safety

Affiliate WKYC reports on the reaction to a viral photo of a Burger King employee stomping on store lettuce.

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2009: Domino's food tampering video

In 2009, two Domino's employees were arrested for filming as they allegedly tampering with food. Affiliate WCNC reports.

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2008: Employees bathe in store sink

In 2008, KFC fired multiple employees who photographed themselves bathing in the store's sink. Affiliate KOVR reports.

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Filed under: California • Fast Food • Food • Gotta Watch • North Carolina • Ohio • U.S.
24 hours through the lens
July 19th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Mash-up: Working moms, blessed rain, Chick-Fil-A

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.

Drought could give booze a kick

OK, now this drought is getting serious. As the heat and lack of rain cause grain crops to wither, the price of corn, wheat, barley and rye goes up. Eventually, that could mean the price of your favorite alcoholic beverage may rise too, Iowa distiller Ryan Burchett tells CNN affiliate WQAD. Something must be done!

For those of you who may have forgotten ...

This is what rain looks and sounds like. CNN iReporter Paul Markgraff says the rain in this video, shot Wednesday, is the first his Wisconsin town has seen since June 1. He says the storm took down some trees and power lines. 'The wind was blowing the rain so hard it was coming down sideways and sheeting off the roofs and onto driveways," he said. "It lasted maybe half an hour, calmed down for a bit and started right back up later in the night."

Forget 'War of the Worlds' and 'Independence Day'

FULL POST

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
Drought sends 'mighty Mississippi' river levels near record lows
An aerial photo of the Mississippi river shows sandy areas where water had been before the drought. The river's levels are now nearing record lows.
July 19th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Drought sends 'mighty Mississippi' river levels near record lows

The "mighty Mississippi" has lost some of its might with the season's epic drought taking its toll on river levels, which are falling to near historic lows.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will spend nearly $7 million dredging in an attempt to keep ports operational and keep the river open for barge traffic in the coming weeks. River levels in Memphis have dropped to within three feet of their historic lows from the 1988 drought.

In just one year, the river has gone through extreme fluctuation. Last May, it was within a foot of its record-high crest because of massive flooding, and today it's 55 feet lower and experiencing historic lows due to drought.

Dramatic images taken from NASA’s Terra satellite show the swollen river in late April of last year compared with images from early July this year. The expanse of the water was over 3 miles wide in parts of Missouri and Arkansas as levees were blown up in order to help protect the town of Cairo, Illinois from flood waters. The image taken July 2012 this year shows a much different story with the river less than a half mile wide in spots.

NASA’s Terra satellite shows the Mississippi River late April 2011 compared with images from early July 2012.

New data from U.S. Drought Monitor issued Thursday shows the drought has worsened in the past week, and now ranks as the second worst drought in U.S. history over the lower 48 since records began in 1895.

Nearly 64% of the contiguous United States is now in moderate to exceptional drought, second only to the summer of 1934, the height of the dust bowl era. Nearly 40% of the corn crop is now considered in poor or very poor condition, and this went up a sharp 8% in only a week.

During the 2012 crop year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. And on Monday the USDA designated 39 additional counties in eight states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

A dozen states on Thursday were under some sort of heat advisory or warning, many of them over the worst-hit drought areas. The heat wave is expected to last through much of the weekend, which means conditions will likely continue to worsen over the coming weeks.

And the Army Corps said that the shrinking of the Mississippi means that saltwater is beginning to work its way upriver, which could threaten some water supplies.

WQAD: Heat kills hundreds of Asian carp in local lake

That's not unprecedented, and there's no current threat to water supplies, but officials are prepared to start building an underwater barrier to block the denser saltwater from moving further upstream, Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett said Friday. The Corps last had to do that in 1999, he said.

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A's stance on marriage
How do you feel about Chick-fil-A and its president's views on same-sex marriage? Share your comments below.
July 19th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A's stance on marriage

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.

"Guilty as charged" was the response from Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage. There was a social-media uproar about Cathy's statements, but many of CNN.com's readers expressed support for his right to say and believe what he wants.

Chick-fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage causing a social storm

Omekongo Dibinga, an iReporter from Washington, was one of those voices. He says the Chick-fil-A exec "did nothing wrong."

"We shouldn't be surprised that an organization that sticks to its Christian principles would have issues with gay marriage," Dibinga says, adding, "We can't get into this mentality of thinking that everybody who is against gay marriage is homophobic in some way, shape or form."

A lot of our readers had similar things to say.

Dan: "I'm gay. I don't care. If I ceased buying products from companies that did things I didn't like, then I'd be Amish. I don't make political choices when I eat out (though, for the record, I actually don't like CFA's food or any fast food for that matter). I go out to eat to fill my belly."

But a few readers were not happy with Chick-fil-A. FULL POST

July 19th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

Former Egyptian VP Suleiman dies, officials say

Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian vice president under Hosni Mubarak who announced the president’s resignation to the world, has died in a U.S. hospital, officials said Thursday.

He was 76.

An Egyptian official who asked to remain unnamed because he wasn’t authorized to talk with the media said the former spy chief had cancer and traveled to Germany for medical reasons before for heading to a medical center in Cleveland on Monday.

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Filed under: Uncategorized • World
July 19th, 2012
02:18 PM ET

Feds raid NJ capital's city hall one day after searching mayor's home

Federal agents raided City Hall in New Jersey's capital on Thursday, one day after they swarmed the home of the city's mayor, as well as those of his brother and a campaign supporter.

"The FBI is executing search warrants at various offices at Trenton City Hall, pursuant to an ongoing investigation," FBI Public Affairs Officer Barbara Woodruff said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
Should Make-A-Wish trip go to child who beat cancer?
July 19th, 2012
01:40 PM ET

Should Make-A-Wish trip go to child who beat cancer?

The Disney World dreams of a 4-year-old Ohio girl who’s recovering from leukemia are looking better this week after plans for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to pay for the trip were scrapped.

The girl, McKenna May, completed intensive treatment in June for the cancer she was diagnosed with more than two years ago. It was that treatment that prevented her from going to Disney when the Make-A-Wish trip was first discussed in January 2011, McKenna’s grandmother, Lori Helppie, said Thursday.

But McKenna is now on once-a-month aftercare visits that would allow time for her to make the trip to the Magic Kingdom, her mother, Whitney Hughes, told CNN.

However, McKenna’s father, William May of Toledo, Ohio, who was never married to Hughes, says Make-A-Wish’s money would be better spent on terminally ill children who will never get to experience Disney otherwise since his daughter is free of cancer.

He’s refusing to sign paperwork that would allow the foundation to pay for McKenna’s trip.

“There’s children out there that deserve a trip like this that will never get to experience it,” May, 28, told CNN Thursday. “My daughter can go when she’s older and can remember it. I’ll pay for it.”

FULL POST

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Filed under: Charity • Health • Ohio
July 19th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Russia, China veto sanctions on Syria

Russia and China vetoed a new U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday that would have imposed new sanctions on the Syrian regime.

Western countries have been pushing for a resolution that threatens sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad if government forces don't stop attacks.

However, Russia has opposed any international effort that would blame, punish or change the leadership of the Syrian government. Russia and China have vetoed two previous draft resolutions in the U.N. Security Council, leading to accusations that Russia is protecting the Syrian regime.

The resolution also calls for renewing the 300-member U.N. observer mission for 45 days after it was suspended because of violence.

Russia has put forward its own draft, which "strongly urges all parties in Syria to cease immediately all armed violence in all its forms."

U.S. President Barack Obama called his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to discuss the Syrian situation, the White House said in a statement Wednesday.

"They noted the differences our governments have had on Syria, but agreed to have their teams continue to work toward a solution," it said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: China • Russia • Syria • United Nations
July 19th, 2012
10:31 AM ET

Israeli PM: Bus attack 'perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy'

An attack on a bus in Bulgaria which killed five Israelis was "perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

He urged world powers to expose Iran as "the premier terrorist-supporting state that it is," following Wednesday's apparent suicide attack. Iran denies israel's claims.

The bus bombing, which claimed the lives of five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, was likely carried out by a male suicide attacker with a fake Michigan driver's license, Bulgaria's interior minister said Thursday.

Israel was quick to point the finger at Iran or an Islamist militant group over the attack, which occurred Wednesday in a parking lot outside Burgas Airport in Bulgaria. Tensions between Israelis and Tehran have been escalating in recent months.

Explainer: Explosion comes amid growing tension

But the Iranian embassy in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, dismissed Israeli suggestions that Tehran was involved as "unsubstantiated" and said the claim was politically motivated.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Uncategorized
July 19th, 2012
09:09 AM ET

Is Greenpeace's prank on Shell oil a 'scam'?

By Thom Patterson, CNN

(CNN) - If there's an official ranking for snarkiness, Greenpeace and the Yes Lab have got to be near the top this summer. Their snarky social media mash-up takes Greenpeace's campaign against Shell Arctic drilling to a whole new level.

It's a fake Shell website that encourages supporters to create ads that mock Shell's offshore drilling effort and to sign an anti-drilling petition.

Greenpeace teamed up with Yes Lab in June to create the fake website.

No matter which side you favor regarding offshore Alaska oil drilling, watching this fight is just plain fascinating.  Just make sure you get out of the way when the fur starts flying.

The Greenpeace/Yes Lab social media campaign clearly points to a strategy to succeed in a cacophonous Internet where it's increasingly harder to be heard and credibility is often called into question.

Although Shell is none too happy, calling the campaign a "scam," Greenpeace says it has received no legal action from Shell nor threats of legal action.

Here's a sample of these mocking fake Shell ads:

FULL POST

July 19th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

Chick-fil-A's gay marriage stance causing a social storm

The fact that Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values is no secret. The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.

But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.

"Guilty as charged," Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.

"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy is quoted as saying.

Strong feelings of support and disagreement have followed, making Chick-fil-A the top Google trend on Thursday morning as the company's Facebook and Twitter pages were burning up with arguments.

"Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," Duke Richards wrote on Facebook.

"Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!" read a post by Blake Brown.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"I am truly ashamed of the recent admittance from Mr Cathy about your bigoted company practices. I hate the fact that my money was used for this. I will never support your company (and) will make sure anyone I know does not either," Mikell Kirbis wrote on Facebook. "While I'm not a Christian I know that hate is not in God's plan nor (is) ignorantly picking sections of the Bible to brandish. Good bye and I hope either you change your ways or close down."

But the support for the company was just as vehement.

"Just wanted to say I'm proud that you stand firm in your beliefs. You knew the risks, and still took the plunge. May God bless this company with abundance. Never back down!" said a Facebook post from David Jones.

"Thank you for standing up for what you believe. The truth is not hate. It's just the truth," wrote Sharon R Boyd.

"I love the values that this restaurant stands for and will support it every dang chance I get! Pay no attention to the morons spewing hate!" read a post from Raymond Joy.

Does religion influence what you buy? Share your view on CNN iReport.

FULL POST

July 19th, 2012
05:49 AM ET

U.N. Security Council to vote on new resolution as clashes rage in Syria

Syrian rebels clashed with government forces in the capital Thursday as the United Nations Security Council prepared to vote on a new resolution aimed at ending the escalating violence in the nation.

International envoy Kofi Annan requested the delay of the vote to Thursday.

He underscored the need for a decisive joint action on the vote to help end the bloodshed that has raged in Syria for nearly 17 months.

Western countries are pushing for a resolution that threatens sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad if government forces don't stop attacks.

However, Russia has opposed any international effort that would blame, punish or change the leadership of the Syrian government. Russia and China have vetoed two previous draft resolutions in the U.N. Security Council, leading to accusations that Russia is protecting the Syrian regime.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
Report: Egypt ex-intelligence chief Suleiman dies in U.S.
July 19th, 2012
05:34 AM ET

Report: Egypt ex-intelligence chief Suleiman dies in U.S.

Omar Suleiman, the former head of Egypt's intelligence services who also served as vice president under Hosni Mubarak, has died in a hospital in the United States, the state-run MENA news agency reported Thursday.

In April, Suleiman announced he was running for president of Egypt, but eventually was disqualified from running.

Omar Suleiman served as vice president under Mubarak before his ouster.
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Filed under: Egypt
July 19th, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Federal judge clears way for new Tennessee mosque to open for Ramadan

A federal judge ordered a Tennessee county to conduct a final inspection of a new mosque, clearing the way for worshippers to possibly begin using the building in time for the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell is the latest development in a two-year battle over the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, near Nashville, that has been marked by legal challenges and anti-Muslim sentiment.

"If the building complies with applicable codes and regulations, the County shall issue, on or before July 19, 2012, the certificate of occupancy," Campbell wrote Wednesday in his order granting a temporary restraining order against the county.

Campbell's ruling effectively set aside a ruling by a county judge in June that reversed a planning commission's approval of the Islamic Center's expansion because of what he said was insufficient public notice.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Justice • U.S.
July 19th, 2012
03:09 AM ET

Bulgarian bus bombing the work of suicide bomber, minister says

A bombing on a bus with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was likely carried out by a suicide attacker, the nation's interior minister said Thursday.

The attack occurred Wednesday in a parking lot outside Burgas Airport in Bulgaria.

"From what we could see on the video cameras ... we identified a person who served as a suicide bomber in this terror attack," Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told Bulgarian National TV.

Another person died from the blast overnight, he said, bringing the death toll to eight. The dead are six Israelis, a Bulgarian bus driver and the suicide bomber.

Thirty-two people remain hospitalized.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
July 19th, 2012
01:32 AM ET

In interview, Zimmerman gives shooting account, expresses regret

George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer at the center of a national firestorm over racial profiling, crime and gun rights, gave his first television interview on Wednesday, saying he had to act after Trayvon Martin said "you are going to die tonight" and reached for Zimmerman's gun holster.

Zimmerman sat for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity and expressed his regrets to the parents of Martin, 17.

He said he is neither a racist nor a murderer.

Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin in what he says was self-defense. Martin was unarmed when he was killed in February while walking back to his father's girlfriend's house in a gated residential area of Sanford, Florida.

The watch volunteer said he can't now second-guess what happened.

"I feel it was all God's plan," Zimmerman said Wednesday.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.