Water trapped between levees
August 29th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Water trapped between levees

  • New Orleans mayor imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew
  • More than 817,000 without power across 5 states
  • Isaac's maximum sustained winds slip to 60 mph
  • Emergency crews rescue people stranded by floods

Refresh this page for the latest updates or read the full CNN story here.

[Updated 10:28 p.m. ET]

[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] Water that overtopped levees was trapped in Plaquemines Parish with nowhere to drain. Officials were considering intentionally breaching a levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said parish officials will go out at low tide to check the back levee - a second line of defense - at the town of Braithwaite and determine where to punch holes in it. It will be Saturday, at the earliest, before crews can cut the levee open, letting water flow out into the marsh.

[Updated 10 p.m. ET]

[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET]  New Orleans officials said there had been 12 incidents of looting. Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn't specify how many people were involved.

[Updated 9:48 p.m. ET] Lake Pontchartrain's water levels are "beginning to stabilize," St. Tammany Parish officials said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Water had spilled out from the lake and flooded low-lying areas of the parish.

Rescues continue in areas around the vast Louisiana lake, including Lewisburg, Guste Island, Lacombe and Slidell, the newspaper's website reported.

[Updated 9:29 p.m. ET] Joey Amann gathered family and friends into his home in Hancock County, Mississippi, to ride out the storm, he told CNN affiliate WALA.

"You know, we just figured we'd be safer in numbers. Since our house is eight feet off the ground, we figured we'd be safer there but the water just kept coming," Amann said.

"It was scary. I mean, I've never seen the water raise this fast on this road and I've been here all my life. It just came out of nowhere."

The group ended up being rescued by emergency personnel in boats.

Amann told the station he lost his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Thirty-six years I've lived here, and it's just devastating," he said. "Seven years ago, we were going through the same thing. No one thought it would be this bad, but it's worse than we anticipated."

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Penn State to give back trophies because of NCAA sanctions
Penn State's trophy for their win in the 2006 Orange Bowl game is one of several they will return because of NCAA sanctions.
August 29th, 2012
04:27 PM ET

Penn State to give back trophies because of NCAA sanctions

Penn State will have to return all of the football trophies they won during a 14-year span as a result of sanctions handed down by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for school's role in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, a school official said on Wednesday.

The move is another blow to the State College community, which has been plagued by the scandal for nine months.

Earlier this summer the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, banned the football program from bowl games for four years, stripped scholarships and vacated the team's wins from 1998 to 2011 following the Freeh Report, which issued a scathing statement about how much the university knew and when.

"Per the NCAA consent decree, all football team trophies won from 1998-2011 are to be returned to the awarding authority and we plan to do so," said Jeff Nelson, assistant athletic director of communications for football at Penn State.

Some of the trophies that the school will have to return include their bowl game wins. Penn State won the Outback Bowl in 1999 and 2007, the Alamo Bowl in 1999 and 2007, the Orange Bowl in 2006 and the Capital One Bowl in 2010.

While those residing in Happy Valley are still trying to resurrect their image in the wake of the scandal and show they still back their team, they do have one thing to smile about this week as they head into their first football game without famed coach Joe Paterno in more than four decades.

Their spirit has won them $10,000 for the school's general scholarship fund after they beat out more than 200 other schools in a voting campaign hosted on ESPN.com, according to a press release sent out by the school.

Penn State led the competition from start to end, the release said.

“We are elated to see this incredible expression of Penn State pride, spirit and support demonstrated by our students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends and fans in winning the Pledge Your Allegiance contest,” Roger Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association, said in a statement. “This national victory is what Nittany Nation is all about. We know Penn Staters everywhere will join us in celebrating by wearing their blue and white with great pride.”

August 29th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Taliban attack on Pakistan border checkpoint

Taliban militants attacked a Pakistani army checkpoint near the Afghan border Wednesday, killing eight Pakistani soldiers, according to military officials.

The battle at Surang Baba Ziarat village in the south Waziristan district killed 18 militants, Col. Nadeem Khan told CNN.

"The militants attacked the check post with heavy weapons last night and in response the soldiers fought the militants," Khan said. FULL POST

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Filed under: World
Waiting at 'the wall' for Isaac to hit
Soledad O'Brien walks along "the wall."
August 29th, 2012
07:51 AM ET

Waiting at 'the wall' for Isaac to hit

From CNN's Soledad O'Brien in New Orleans

The concrete is so clean on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal/Surge Barrier that it looks like they poured it yesterday. But the roiling clouds above it made it clear why its completion in May was critical. It's about to face its first test

They call it "the wall" - a two-mile long stretch of concrete that's designed to keep the waters of the Gulf from flooding into Lake Borgne then inundating New Orleans neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward, a surge that destroyed homes and left a trail of dead during Hurricane Katrina.

This massive post-Katrina effort by the Army Corps of Engineers with three 150-foot-wide gates began in 2009. At 10:30am on Tuesday, the two doors were closed for the first time in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac.

"It will keep water from coming from the Gulf of Mexico through Lake Borgne. Last time the surge went into Lake Borgne and into the heart of the city, " said Col. Edward Fleming of the US Army Corps of Engineers. "This wall is built to 26 feet high and we expect to see surges of eight to 10, maybe 15, feet."

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Filed under: Hurricane Isaac • Hurricanes • Louisiana • New Orleans • Weather
August 29th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on the U.S. Gulf Coast.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the storm's impact on the region.

Today's programming highlights...

Ongoing coverage - Hurricane Isaac tracker and briefings

8:30 am ET - GOP women's breakfast - Ann Romney and Janna Ryan will participate in a "Women for Mitt Romney" breakfast in Tampa.  Ann Romney will then attend a Latina coalition luncheon at 12:15 pm ET.

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August 29th, 2012
02:14 AM ET

Will.i.am premieres song - from Mars

Rapper will.i.am can boast of an accomplishment that is out of this world: His latest single premiered from Mars, making it the first song to debut on another planet.

The Black Eyed Peas singer wrote the song, "Reaching for the Stars," to mark the successful landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on the Red Planet this month.

A far cry from his regular hip-hop tunes, it features a 40-piece orchestra set to a futuristic beat.

The song is set to transcend time and cultures, he said.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
August 29th, 2012
02:11 AM ET

Indian Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Mumbai gunman

he Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence for Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, prosecution lawyer Gopal Subramaniam said.

A court sentenced Kasab, a Pakistani, to death in 2010 on charges of murder, conspiracy and waging war on India. The High Court of Mumbai upheld his conviction and sentence in February last year.

Authorities of the Mumbai prison where Kasab is being held then filed a plea on his behalf to the Supreme Court.

Now that his appeal has been rejected by India's highest court, the last avenue open to Kasab is to file a clemency petition with the president.

During the November 2008 assault on Mumbai, 10 heavily armed men attacked landmarks around the city, including the luxury Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the Victoria Terminus train station, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House.

More than 160 people were killed in the coordinated attacks that lasted three days.

Indian forces killed nine of the suspects, but Kasab, who was photographed holding an assault weapon during the violence, survived and was arrested.

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Filed under: India • World
August 29th, 2012
12:50 AM ET

Feds still hunting for ex FBI agent who vanished in Iran 2,000 days ago

Wednesday marks day 2,000 since retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared in Iran, and the State Department is urging Tehran to provide information on his whereabouts.

"Determining Mr. Levinson's whereabouts and reuniting him safely with his family continues to be a priority for the U.S. Government. The United States also continues to welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

An FBI reward of $1 million for information leading to Levinson's safe return still stands.

Levinson, who became a private investigator after retiring from the FBI, was working on a cigarette smuggling case when he disappeared more than five years ago while on a business trip on Iran's Kish island on March 8, 2007.

The State Department has consistently denied Levinson was working for the U.S. government and has unsuccessfully pressed Tehran for information.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S. • World