Rebuilding a legacy
August 31st, 2012
10:19 PM ET

Penn State scandal: Where things stand

The Penn State football team started its first season since former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

The Nittany Lions' home game against Ohio University also will be the first time since 1966 that the team starts a season without Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, who died in January, two months after the board of trustees fired him for allegedly failing to take his knowledge of the scandal to appropriate authorities.

Though Sandusky was convicted in June, many parts of the Sandusky matter have not been resolved. Here is where things stand in the scandal:

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Filed under: College football • Courts • Crime • Football • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Justice • Lawsuit • Penn State • Pennsylvania
August 31st, 2012
05:43 PM ET

Comments: Clint Eastwood's 'empty chair' speech roasts Hollywood politics

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here, you'll see highlights from some of today's conversation.

It seems like everyone has been talking about Clint Eastwood's surprise speech at the Republican National Convention, during which he addressed an "invisible Barack Obama" sitting in an empty chair. The speech got an interesting reaction and even spawned its own meme, termed "eastwooding." Readers have mixed emotions about the speech, and about Hollywood politics. But for some, Eastwood's words were a refreshing inversion of what they see as Tinseltown's typical perspectives.

Eastwood, the empty chair and the speech everyone's talking about

Two iReporters expressed support for Eastwood. Rick Huffman of St. Joseph, Michigan, shared a video of his own not-so-empty chair with a gun holster at its side and a cowboy hat on top. When asked about the impact of the speech, he gave a simple answer.

"The chair? Not much," he wrote. "His presence? Speaks volumes to the people."

Commenter gapperguy responded to him, "It is only coming under fire by liberals. The Republican base loved it."

Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, said Eastwood was "bringing down the house," and he received many supportive comments as well.

k3vsDad: "This is a new side to a man known for his dramatic roles. His timing and comedic take was dead on. Eastwood  had the conventioneers eating out of his hand as he pointed out elected  officials work for the people and the people are the bosses. Eastwood  got loud cheers and applause when remarking it was time to let Obama go  because he wasn't doing the job."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Comments • Politics • Republican Party
August 31st, 2012
02:50 PM ET

$337M Powerball winner plans to keep it real

Donald Lawson intends to do the typical lottery-winner stuff: Retire, take care of his family, travel, get a new place to live.

But the 44-year-old Michigan man insists his $337 million Powerball prize the third-largest in Powerball history, and seventh-largest jackpot in U.S. history won’t change him.

“I’m a millionaire now, but I’ll still go to McDonald’s,” Lawson told reporters Friday at the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing, where he came forward to collect on the August 15 drawing. “I don’t like filet mignon or lobster. I like the simple life, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

Lawson, of Lapeer, was the sole winner of the August 15 prize. He chose the lump-sum cash option, which gives him $224.6 million, before tax, at once.

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Filed under: Lotto • Michigan
August 31st, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Child-sized shoes with bone found on Canadian beach

Three shoes, two of them child-sized, containing bone and a "meat-like" substance have been found on a Canadian beach, police in Victoria, British Columbia, report.

A tourist walking along the beach found the first of the shoes Thursday evening, a child-sized one with a bone sticking out of it, according to a Victoria police statement. The tourist called cops, and a search of the beach turned up the other two shoes.

"We don't know right now whether they have washed up or were in the water for a while, whether they were just placed there. That is something our forensic team is going to look at," police Constable Mike Russell is quoted as saying by CNN affiliate CBC.

The shoes were turned over to the coroner to determine whether the "meat-like" material was from a human and, if it is, a possible identification of the remains, the police statement said.

"Once this determination is made, it will help guide the investigation. This examination is predicted to take days to weeks to complete," the statement said.

The shoes are the latest in a string of such finds on British Columbia beaches. The CBC reports that there have been a dozen in the past five years, and DNA matches have found several of those to be suicide cases.

At least one of those cases turned out to be a hoax. In 2008, the British Columbia Coroners Service said someone had placed a "skeletonized animal paw" in a sock and athletic shoe packed with seaweed.

Police said it's too early to determine whether there is any link between the shoes found Thursday and any of the previous cases.

Dismembered remains from woman, 41

Woman's torso found in Niagara River

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Filed under: Canada • Crime
Millions of dollars in maple syrup stolen
As much as 80% of the world's maple syrup comes from Quebec.
August 31st, 2012
12:44 PM ET

Millions of dollars in maple syrup stolen

Talk about sticky-fingered thieves. They've struck in Quebec, snatching millions of dollars worth of maple syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, between Montreal and Quebec City.

Up to 10 million pounds of syrup was in the warehouse, according to a statement from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which bills itself as keeper of  the global strategic maple syrup reserve.

Officials could not say exactly how much of the product was stolen, but a Quebec police official told The Globe and Mail it was a substantial quantity.

“We know that it’s millions of dollars that was stolen,” Sgt. Richard Gagné is quoted as saying. “It’s a very large amount.”

The 10 million pounds of syrup that was in the warehouse is worth more than $30 million, according to the federation statement.

The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check of the warehouse, which "had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly," federation president Serge Beaulieu said in the statement.

The barrels that originally contained the syrup were empty, meaning it was somehow transferred to some other kind of containers to complete the theft, the federation said.

The warehouse where the theft occurred was being used to temporarily store the sweet stuff while a new facility was being prepared.

As much as 80% of the world's maple syrup comes from Quebec, the federation said.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Canada • Crime • Food
August 31st, 2012
10:10 AM ET

Man kills 2 co-workers, then self in N.J. supermarket

A 23-year-old gunman killed two co-workers at a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge, New Jersey, on Friday before shooting himself dead, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan.

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Filed under: Crime • New Jersey
August 31st, 2012
10:06 AM ET

7.6 quake hits off Philippines

[Updated 10:06 a.m. ET] People in eastern areas of the Philippine island of Mindanao should evacuate to higher ground after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami warning, an official of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said, according to the Philippine News Agency.

"Residents living (in) these areas facing the Pacific Ocean are advised to evacuate to higher places," he said, citing the areas of Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental as particularly vulnerable.

[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET] A tsunami warning has been lifted for Japan, Taiwan and several Pacific islands, but a warning remains for Indonesia and the Philippines, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's tsunami center said Friday.

[Updated 9:50 a.m. ET] The U.S. Geological Survey has revised the magnitude of an earthquake that struck off the coast of the Philippines to 7.6, down from an initial reporting of 7.9, the agency said Friday.

[Posted 9:01 a.m. ET] An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 has struck off the coast of the Philippines, the U.S. Geological Survey said Friday.

The quake prompted a tsunami warning for parts of Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and other areas, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the tsunami warning center said.

The quake, which was about 20 miles deep, struck just before 8:50 p.m., the agency said. Its center was about 65 miles southeast of the town of Guiuan, in the Philippine province of East Samar.

Ed Serrano, the head of security at the Marco Polo Hotel in the city of Davao, about 250 miles south of Guiuan, said he felt the ground shake.

"The quake was very strong and the hotel guests were panicking. Most of them went outside," he said. "But now the situation is under control and we are waiting for official reports on how strong the quake was."

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters • Philippines
August 31st, 2012
07:39 AM ET

Friday's live events

The storm formerly known as Hurricane Isaac continues to trek northward as the U.S. Gulf Coast starts to recover.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the storm.

Today's programming highlights...

Ongoing coverage - Isaac tracker and briefings

10:00 am ET - Romney and Ryan's RNC farewell - GOP presidential ticket Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan appear at an RNC "farewell victory rally" in Lakeland, Florida.  They will late participate in a "victory" rally in Richmond, Virginia, at 2:00 pm ET.

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Filed under: Elections • Hurricane Isaac • Hurricanes • On CNN.com today • Politics • Tropical weather • Weather
August 30th, 2012
10:21 PM ET

Isaac works its way up Mississippi River

[Updated 4:15 a.m. Friday] Isaac, now a tropical depression is working its way up the Mississippi River Valley, bringing heavy rain and the threat of flash floods to the area. A tornado watch remains in effect for much of Mississippi. Parts of Arkansas and Mississippi are under flash flood watches and warnings, according to the National Weather Service.

[Updated 10:35 p.m. ET] And finally ...

[Updated 10:21 p.m. ET] The folks who catch the shrimp we enjoy on our tables are a tough lot, a breed apart. Not a few of them rode out Isaac on their boats.

[Updated 10:09 p.m. ET] Electric utility Entergy says it will bring its Waterford 3 nuclear plant back online over the coming days. The plant, 25 miles from New Orleans, was shut down Tuesday as a precaution as Tropical Storm Isaac approached. About 41 percent of all homes in Entergy's Louisiana service area were without power as of late afternoon.

[Update 10:01 p.m. ET] Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport received its first post-Isaac incoming flight this evening, from Aspen, Colorado, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office says.

[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] The Salvation Army says it has provided more than 8,000 meals, 7,000 drinks, 6,000 snacks, and emotional and spiritual care to nearly 600 individuals along the Gulf Coast during the storm period.

[Updated 9:44 p.m. ET] New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted a message of support for the folks back home while the Saints prepared for a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville:

[Updated 8:39 p.m.] Storm surge and high winds pushed several pleasure boats out of Mississippi's Pass Christian Harbor, leaving vessels high and dry on streets and in parking lots, CNN affiliate WLOX reports.

"I'd say in one word, it's a mess," Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott told WLOX. "We had 215 boats in the harbor, and all but six or seven got out. As you can see, three are in the road, and that is a big problem."

Boat owners were under orders to remove their vessels from the harbor before the storm struck. McDermott wants to have a word with those who didn't.

"I'm personally taking it upon myself to talk with these boat owners," he said. "I'm personally doing it."

FULL POST

Read CNN's full coverage of Hurricane Isaac
August 30th, 2012
08:27 PM ET

Jury finds Florida teen guilty of impersonating a physician assistant

A Florida jury found a teenager guilty Thursday of impersonating a physician assistant and practicing medicine without a license.

Matthew Scheidt spent some two weeks posing as a professional at the Osceola Regional Medical Center in August 2011. He was just 17 at the time.

Scheidt told investigators he went to the hospital last year to get a badge for his job as a clerk at a doctor's office across the street. But he said someone botched the paperwork.

He was charged with two counts of impersonating a physician assistant and three counts of practicing medicine without a license. He was found guilty on four of the five counts, excluding one count of practicing medicine without a license.

Scheidt is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14. Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

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Filed under: Courts • Justice
Tennis pro Andy Roddick to retire after U.S. Open
August 30th, 2012
08:20 PM ET

Tennis pro Andy Roddick to retire after U.S. Open

Tennis pro Andy Roddick will retire after the U.S. Open tournament, a spokesman for the International Tennis Federation said Thursday.

Roddick, who turned 30 years old on Thursday, will compete in the tourney and is the last American man to win the U.S. Open, in 2003.

"Andy has been an outstanding ambassador for our sport and our country, always carrying himself with the character and class that define a champion," said U.S. Tennis Association board chairman Jon Vegosen. "In addition to representing the U.S. on the world stage, he was a Davis Cup stalwart and standout."


Filed under: Sports • Tennis
Clinton embarks on wide-ranging Asia trip
August 30th, 2012
07:57 PM ET

Clinton embarks on wide-ranging Asia trip

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was heading to Asia on Thursday for a wide-ranging trip that will take her from the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean to China and Russia farther north.

The State Department says the week-and-a-half-long trip is intended to emphasize a strong, long-term U.S. focus on the entire Asia-Pacific region.

"It is a very long, very diverse trip, but the concurrent themes that run through this is a strong, determined effort on the part of the United States to underscore our rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific region, to make clear that we're here to stay, that we are engaged on an array of issues - strategic, political, commercial," a senior State Department official told reporters ahead of the trip.

"It spans not just Asia, not just Northeast Asia but Southeast Asia and, increasingly, the Pacific," the official said.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Politics
Family of Marine imprisoned in Iran plead for his release
August 30th, 2012
07:43 PM ET

Family of Marine imprisoned in Iran plead for his release

Relatives of a former U.S. Marine jailed in Iran for allegedly spying for the CIA say they are pleading with the leaders of the Islamic Republic to show mercy and set Amir Mirzaei Hekmati free.

"I just want to ask President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, these two are our only hope. These two can bring Amir home," pleaded Behnaz Hekmati, Amir's mother.

"We just want (him) to come home, I think one year is enough. If you want to punish us, if you want to punish Amir, for whatever reason he is there, just one year is enough. Please let him come home," his mother added.

With reluctance and much apprehension, the Hekmati family opened their home to CNN and sat down for an exclusive interview, their first since Hekmati was arrested on August 29, 2011.

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Filed under: Iran • Marines
Hip hop manager Chris Lighty found dead
August 30th, 2012
07:40 PM ET

Hip hop manager Chris Lighty found dead

Chris Lighty, who managed several of hip hop's biggest artists, apparently shot himself to death in his Bronx, New York, apartment Thursday morning, a New York police spokesman said.

Lighty, 44, was found with a gunshot wound to his head and a semi-automatic firearm next to his body at 11:30 a.m., the police spokesman said.

While the death appears to be a suicide, police investigators will wait until the medical examiner's report before closing their investigation, the spokesman said.

Lighty founded Violator Records & Management, which counts Mariah Carey, Soulja Boy, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and Diddy among their artist.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Showbiz
August 30th, 2012
07:38 PM ET

Justice Department won't prosecute CIA interrogators in two prisoner deaths

The Justice Department on Thursday closed its criminal investigation of the deaths of two prisoners in CIA custody, ending a controversial investigation that Attorney General Eric Holder had approved more than a year ago.

The investigation, conducted by veteran Justice prosecutor John Durham, examined alleged CIA interrogation abuses in connection with prisoner deaths at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and at a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2002.

If the probe had led to criminal charges against CIA officers or contractors, it could have ignited a firestorm of objections by Republican lawmakers and the national security community.

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Filed under: Justice
August 30th, 2012
07:36 PM ET

Grandmother pleads guilty in New York drug ring case

A little grandmother has pleaded guilty for her role in a big New York drug ring.

Doris Smith, 71, was arrested in February with 34 other defendants in a drug ring bust in Harlem, according to an indictment from the New York County District Attorney's Office. She was charged with conspiracy, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance.

She pleaded guilty to the two felony counts of conspiracy and criminal possession Wednesday, according to court documents.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice
Allegations of widespread cheating in government class probed at Harvard
August 30th, 2012
07:29 PM ET

Allegations of widespread cheating in government class probed at Harvard

Harvard University is investigating allegations that almost half the students in an undergraduate class last spring may have plagiarized or "inappropriately collaborated" on their final exams, the school announced Thursday.

Following an initial investigation, Harvard's administrative board, which enforces academic regulations, undertook "a comprehensive review of the more than 250 take-home final exams" submitted at the end of a course, the school said in a statement.

The Harvard Crimson, the school's flagship student-run newspaper, identified the class in which the cheating allegedly occurred as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.

A document on the website of Harvard's registrar's office says the class had 279 students.

"We take academic integrity very seriously because it goes to the heart of our educational mission," said Michael D. Smith, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, in a written statement.

FULL POST

August 30th, 2012
07:25 PM ET

New Jersey man charged with sexually abusing sleeping woman on plane

A New Jersey man was indicted Thursday for allegedly sexually abusing a woman who was asleep on an airplane, the U.S. District Attorney's Office said.

Bawer Aksal was detained on August 21 upon his arrival in Newark, New Jersey. According to the indictment, he was seated next to a woman in a window seat on a United Airlines flight from Phoenix to Newark.

"While the plane was in the air, the woman - who did not know Aksal - fell asleep with a jacket across her legs. She awoke to find Aksal's hands inside her shirt and shorts as he asked her to kiss him," according to a news release from the District Attorney's Office in New Jersey.

The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur on American airplane flights, as such events are outside the jurisdiction of any state. If convicted, Aksal faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine, the news release said.

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Filed under: Crime
August 30th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Comments: 'Who at this stage hasn't figured out who they want to vote for?'

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here are some comments from Thursday.

As the Republican National Convention nears its end in Tampa, Florida, readers are buzzing about politics. Conversation about Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, has been dominating the site after his prime-time speech Wednesday night. Readers talked about what impact Ryan might have on undecided voters and speculated about how many people are having trouble making a decision.

Ryan's speech gives undecided voters mild nudge toward Romney

Many readers opposed Ryan's speech, questioning some of his comments, while others said listeners should give the candidates a chance. CNN published a fact check about a portion of the presentation afterward.

Cedric: "In other words, Ryan's speech full of outright lies failed to move the needle. It is easy to deliver a good speech when you can make up the facts to support your narrative."

jp2123: "I don't understand why people don't even try to listen to the points the candidates make. Just because they are not Democrats? Seriously, I'm independent, leaning toward (Mitt) Romney after listening to some of the speeches (even though I'm waiting for Romney's speech). But people complaining about Romney cutting taxes for the wealthy and increasing taxes on the middle class? When did he say this? I have yet to hear them say, or have any indication that that's what he is planning on doing. Wish people were more concerned about the candidates and the issues than on the political parties. Take it as it is, and stop judging someone just because the ones that came before him did something. Listen to both candidates, and their ideology and their idea of America. And vote for who represents you the best, not based on the media or popularity. I think the scariest thing is that I know so many young and adult people who will vote for (President Barack) Obama without taking a look at Romney just because Obama is the popular one, and is painted in the media as the good guy and Republicans as the bad guys."

Is anyone even undecided at this point?

Hyco: "Undecided voters? Really? Who at this stage hasn't figured out who they want to vote for? They either care nothing about the election or have an IQ around 75 and have problems deciding which hand is best to eat with."

Some readers took jabs at teleprompter usage during the convention.

Spikel1: "It's funny for all the talk of Obama's teleprompters, they've been getting much usage at the convention."

Mara Tam: "Amen! So far no media types mentioned this. All of them using them evil machines!"

killingly: "Well the orator in chief shouldn't need them by now."

Do you vote for a particular candidate or simply against another? FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Politics • Republican Party
Jerry Sandusky brick removed from State College walkway
The brick bearing Jerry Sandusky's was removed on Thursday after photos posted online sparked complaints.
August 30th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Jerry Sandusky brick removed from State College walkway

A brick bearing Jerry Sandusky's name and that of his Second Mile charity has been removed from a walkway in downtown State College, Pennsylvania.

The brick is one of nearly 3,000 along Centennial Walkway in the downtown part of campus. The bricks bear the names of many notable figures from Penn State, including former President Graham Spanier and his wife as well as other alumni.

The Sandusky brick had gone mostly unnoticed as students passed through McAllister Alley, not far from the school's Old Main building, until it was noticed on Wednesday by the student-run independent Penn State blog Onward State and photographed by others, including a CNN journalist in State College.

The photo prompted calls for it to be pulled up, considering the school had torn down a statue of legendary former coach Joe Paterno in the wake of a scandal that has left Sandusky jailed for sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years. The school had no authority to remove the brick, many mentioned, since it wasn't on Penn State property.

Pat Daugherty, owner of the Tavern, a restaurant located along the walkway, said he received a call from State College Borough Manager Thomas J. Fountaine II on Thursday morning saying he had received calls after the photos circulated online.

"We honestly were not aware the brick was there until a day or two ago," Fountaine said.

He said it took a couple days to figure out whether officials could remove the brick, because ownership of the pedestrian walkway was unclear, but it wasn't specifically borough property.

That's when Fountaine called Daughterty, who offered to remove the brick.

"There was some vandalism that was occurring as well," Fountaine said. "Because of that and other issues, we thought it was appropriate to remove it."

Daugherty said he would probably return the brick to the borough because somebody had probably paid to have it put there during the school's centennial celebration.

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