August 10th, 2012
11:21 PM ET

Romney to reveal VP pick Saturday, campaign says

Mitt Romney’s campaign has announced that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate will reveal his vice presidential nominee Saturday at a campaign event in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Politics
August 10th, 2012
08:03 PM ET

Army general is military's first openly gay flag officer

The U.S. military has its first openly gay flag officer with the promotion of Tammy Smith to the rank of Army brigadier general on Friday.

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith

Smith received her stars in a private ceremony at the Women's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, according to a press release from the Service Members Legal Defense Network, an organization promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the U.S. military.

Friday was also the first day she publicly acknowledged her sexuality, according to a report from Stars and Stripes, and that acknowledgement comes less than a year after the military ended the "don't ask, don't tell" policy under which an active-duty service member faced punishment or discharge if he or she admitted being homosexual.

“I don’t think I need to be focused on that," Stripes quoted Smith as saying. "What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”

Smith is serving as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve in Washington. She is a 26-year veteran of the Army and has served in Afghanistan, Panama and Costa Rica as well as stateside assignments.

“It is indeed a new era in America’s military when our most accomplished leaders are able to recognize who they are and serve the country they love at the same time," Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement.

Smith's spouse is Tracey Hepner, director of operations for the Military Partners and Families Coaliton, an advocacy and support organization for LGBT members of the military.

Hepner presented Smith with her stars at Friday's ceremony.

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Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell • Gay and lesbian • Military • U.S. Army
August 10th, 2012
07:24 PM ET

'Impressive' Curiosity landing only 1.5 miles off, NASA says

Early data shows the Mars rover Curiosity landed with amazing accuracy this week, coming down about 1.5 miles from its target after a 350-million-mile journey, NASA scientists said Friday, perhaps giving planners more confidence about landing spacecraft in tight spaces in the future.

The $2.6 billion rover is on a two-year mission to determine whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting life. It landed Monday and will spend the next four days installing operational software that will give it full movement and analytic capabilities, scientists said at a news conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Curiosity missed its target entry point into Mars' atmosphere by about only one mile, and most everything in its complicated descent and landing operations - a spectacle popularly known as the "seven minutes of terror" - happened on time, including the deployment of the largest-ever supersonic parachute and the heat shield separation.

"From all the data we've received so far, we flew this right down the middle, and it's incredible to work on a plan for (years) and then have things happen ... according to plan," said Steve Sell, who was involved in the powered descent phase.

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Filed under: Mars • Science • Space
August 10th, 2012
07:21 PM ET

How long for women's soccer's latest honeymoon?

Thursday was another banner moment for U.S. women's soccer: A fourth gold medal in five Olympics; waves of fans tweeting their delight at Team USA defeating Japan 2-1; an Olympic women's soccer record 80,203 people, many of them waving U.S. flags, watching at London's Wembley Stadium.

"It's a dream come true," Atlanta resident Lauren Becker, 29, told the Baltimore Sun about seeing the match at Wembley. "I feel like I won gold just being here."

Still unknown, though, is how this kind of euphoria from the world stage will translate into long-term support at home, where yet another women's professional soccer league apparently is in the works.

The Boston Breakers, a survivor of the recently disbanded Women's Professional Soccer league, said that it and three other former WPS teams intend to create a league starting in 2013.

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Filed under: Olympics
LSU: Heisman hopeful Mathieu, aka 'Honey Badger,' dismissed for breaking team rules
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu speaks to the media before the BCS championship in January.
August 10th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

LSU: Heisman hopeful Mathieu, aka 'Honey Badger,' dismissed for breaking team rules

It's been said that Honey Badger don't care, but what may be more accurate is that Honey Badger don't play - at least not for the LSU Tigers.

The team, which played in last year's national college football championship game, announced this afternoon that their top player and arguably the nation's best cornerback, Tyrann Mathieu, has been dismissed for violating team policy.

“This is a very difficult day for our team,” head coach Les Miles said. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences."

Miles added, “It’s hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”

LSU did not say which team rule Mathieu broke. The 20-year-old All-American ran into trouble last year when he and two other players violated the team's drug policy. ESPN reported at the time that the trio tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

Mathieu and the others were suspended for their team's game against Auburn.

Despite missing the game, Mathieu was still a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to college football's best player, as a sophomore. In addition to winning the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player, he came in fifth in Heisman voting with 34 first-place votes and was the only defensive player among 10 finalists.

According to LSU, the Columbus, Ohio, native who attended high school in New Orleans, has registered 133 tackles - 16 for a loss - in 26 games for the Tigers. He also has four picks, 11 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries, as well as four touchdowns, two on punt returns and two on fumble returns.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Mathieu got his nickname for his fearlessness on the gridiron. Honey badgers are known to scrap with animals many times their size, including lions, and even tangle (successfully) with poisonous snakes.

Said the Dallas Cowboys' Morris Claiborne, a former teammate of Mathieu's: "Tyrann deserved the nickname ... because the honey badger takes what it wants, and Tyrann takes what he wants on the field," ESPN reported today in a profile.

The sports network had to add an editor's note, saying, "This story was published prior to Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal from LSU's football program on August 10."

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Filed under: College football • Football • Louisiana • Sports • U.S.
August 10th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Friday'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...

10:00 am ET - Sikh temple shooting wake and memorial service - Attorney General Eric Holder will make remarks at a wake and memorial service for the six victims of Sunday's Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.

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Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics • U.S. • Wisconsin
August 10th, 2012
04:24 AM ET

Hackers attack Australian spy agency website

Australia's national intelligence agency acknowledged Friday that its public website may have encountered problems after hackers said they had subjected it to a sustained campaign of cyber attacks.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization "is aware that there may have been some technical issues with its public website," a spokesman for the organization said.

But the site "does not host any classified information and any disruption would not represent a risk to ASIO's business," the spokesman added, using the agency's abbreviated name.

The hackers, who appeared to have links to the loose collective Anonymous, said they had been launching attacks on the ASIO site and those of other Australian government agencies over the past few days, according to Twitter accounts under the names Anonymous Australia and OperationAustralia.

The ASIO site "has been down for some time now, And will be for the rest of the day!" OperationAustralia tweeted Friday morning, Sydney time. The site appeared to be functioning normally about seven hours later.

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Filed under: World
August 10th, 2012
01:55 AM ET

U.S. in first effort to clean up Agent Orange in Vietnam

The United States has pitched in for the first time to clean up part of the toxic legacy left by the millions of gallons of the chemical compound code named Agent Orange that it dumped on Vietnam during the war there in the 1960s and '70s.

The U.S. military used Agent Orange, also known as dioxin, to kill trees and plants that blocked visibility from the air during the Vietnam War. But the chemical, which can cause cancer and birth defects, also harmed humans and left areas of Vietnam contaminated.

In an effort to start addressing this noxious remnant of the war, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, along with partnering organizations, are treating a contaminated zone at the airport of the central Vietnamese city of Danang.

Workers will dig up soil, stockpile it, and treat it using high temperatures that break down the dioxin.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
August 10th, 2012
01:52 AM ET

Officials: Suicide bomb blast kills US aid worker, 3 US troops in Afghanistan

A suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan's volatile Kunar province has killed a U.S. foreign service officer and three senior American military leaders, officials said late Thursday.

Killed in the explosion on Wednesday was Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin the senior enlisted soldier of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado, the Department of Defense said.

Also killed in the blast were Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, New York, and Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Georgia, the Defense Department said.

Kennedy served on the brigade staff, while Gray was a flight commander attached as a liaison to the brigade, according to their respective service records.

Griffith, 45, of Laramie, Colorado, was the brigade's senior ranking non-commissioned officer, the Defense Department said.

An American USAID Foreign Service Officer, Ragaei Abdelfattah, and an Afghan interpreter were also killed, the State Department said.

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Filed under: U.S. • World