October 15th, 2012
02:21 PM ET

Syria says it is not using cluster bombs

Syria says it is not using cluster bombs against rebels inside the country

The Syrian government issued a strong denial after Human Rights Watch accused them of using Russian-made cluster bombs, a claim that country quickly shot down this weekend.

Now Syrian military officials are denying the report too, saying they do not own or use the bombs, which are meant to cause widespread damage by exploding in mid-air into several smaller bombs. Human Rights Watch said they based their conclusion on videos and witness accounts.

The use of deadly cluster bombs has been a lightning rod issue as well as the focus of a treaty. More than 70 countries have signed a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs; neither Syria nor the United States is among them.


Filed under: Syria
October 15th, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Scotland's choice: Should they stay or should they go?

Might the UK soon be a little less United?

A new agreement will pave the way for Scotland to vote (but likely not until 2014) on its independence and whether to break away from London control.

It may be a bit early to say whether the referendum will be passed, but we do know how some Scots  feel about the issue.

Sean Connery's vote would be yes. He may portrayed one of the British government's most faithful servants as 007, but the actor has long been an ardent nationalist. He's one of  the Scots that's helped launched the campaign "Yes Scotland" to "build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland."

But has it worked so far? Not exactly. A survey released last week by TNS-BMRB showed that only 28% of Scots favor leaving the United Kingdom.

While it may be early to gauge the pulse of Scotland on a vote for independence, we definitely know how Prime Minister David Cameron feels about the issue. He tweeted this earlier Monday:

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Supporters rally behind Malala
October 15th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Pakistani teen shot by Taliban lands in UK for treatment

Malala Yousufzai will soon be at a hospital to getting the specialized treatment she needs after being shot in the head at point-blank range by the Taliban.

A plane with the schoolgirl and her immediate family has just landed in the UK and they are now making their way by ambulance to a British facility specializing in care for children with severe injuries.

The focus is now on Malala getting that very specific care she needs.

Malala is expected to be in hospital "weeks if not months," according David Rosser, executive medical director of Birmingham University Hospitals, where the teen will  get care.

We first learned about the young activist's story, which has captured the attention of people the world over, after she was targeted because of her efforts to defend the right of girls to go to school where she lives, the Taliban-heavy Swat Valley.

We'll make sure to let you know any updates on her condition. For now, you can read a bit about why Yousufzai's story has struck such a chord with us and our readers.

Gordon Brown: Millions face Malala's fight

Amanpour: The Malalas you'll never meet

Opinion: One girl's courage in the face of Taliban cowardice

FULL STORY
October 15th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Giant Florida eyeball belonged to a swordfish, state says

It looks like the big blue eyeball found on a Florida beach last week was cut out of a swordfish hauled in by a deep-sea angler, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Monday.

A beachcomber found the softball-sized eyeball on the sand in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, speculating that perhaps it came from a squid.

But experts who examined the eyeball made their call of swordfish based on the its size (softball), color (blue) and structure (presumably swordfishy), according to a statement from Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the agency's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

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Filed under: Florida • U.S.
Port Authority to cruise ship captain: 'Get on board, damn it'
There were 32 people killed in Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.
October 15th, 2012
10:07 AM ET

Port Authority to cruise ship captain: 'Get on board, damn it'

The captain of an Italian cruise ship that wrecked in January, killing 32 people, entered court Monday to hear evidence against him as a dozen survivors looked on.

It was the first time that passengers who made it through the Costa Concordia disaster saw Francesco Schettino face-to-face.

He faces allegations of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, abandoning ship, failing to report an accident to the coast guard and destroying a natural habitat, a prosecutor said earlier this year. The ship struck rocks and turned on its side off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13.

Schettino was released from house arrest in July.

Below are several transcripts of recordings between authorities and the captain published following the disaster and translated by CNN's Hada Messia. They give insight into the mindset of the captain as well as rescuers. The first calls came in right after midnight.

Livorno Port Authorities: "Concordia, we ask you if all is OK there."

Concordia: "All is well."

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Port authority: "Concordia, We ask you if all is well there."

Concordia: "All is well. It is only a technical failure."

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Port authority: "How many people are on board?"

Schettino: "Two-three hundred"

Port authority: "How come so few people? Are you on board?’

Schettino: "No, I’m not on board because the ship is keeling. We’ve abandoned it."

Port authority: "What? You’ve abandoned the ship?"

Schettino: "No. What abandon? I’m here."
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October 15th, 2012
09:46 AM ET

Captain in Italian shipwreck disaster faces survivors in court

The captain of an Italian cruise ship that wrecked in January, killing 32 people, entered court Monday to hear evidence against him as a dozen survivors looked on.

It was the first time that passengers who made it through the Costa Concordia disaster saw Francesco Schettino face-to-face.

He faces allegations of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, abandoning ship, failing to report an accident to the coast guard and destroying a natural habitat, a prosecutor said earlier this year. The ship struck rocks and turned on its side off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13.

Schettino was released from house arrest in July. He was fired last week by the Costa Crociere parent company, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

FULL STORY
October 15th, 2012
07:17 AM ET

Nobel Prize for economics awarded to two U.S. economists

Alvin E. Roth of Harvard University and Lloyd Shapley of UCLA have been awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Monday.

The economics prize is the sixth and final of the annual awards that spotlight the world's top scholars and peacemakers.

The economics award was not among the original prizes created in 1895 by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel to honor work in physics, medicine, chemistry, literature and peace. It was added as a category in 1969 by the

Swedish central bank in memory of the industrialist.

As such, the economics prize is given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences - following the same principles used to determine the other Nobel Prize winners, according to the Nobel committee.

The monetary award that accompanies the Nobel Prize was lowered by the foundation this year by 20% from 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.5 million) to 8 million kronor ($1.2 million) because of the turbulence that hit the financial markets.

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Filed under: Nobel
October 15th, 2012
05:12 AM ET

'Girl Can't Help It,' Salahi says yes to Journey axeman's proposal

It was a case of rock 'n' roll romance as Journey guitarist Neal Schon proposed to one-time White House party crasher and reality TV star Michaele Salahi on stage Sunday night in Baltimore, her manager said.

Salahi accepted the proposal with "Open Arms," according to Gina Rodriguez.

Their relationship began under a cloud in September 2011 when the "Real Housewives of D.C." star was reported missing by her then-husband of nearly eight years Tareq Salahi.

"It is our belief ... Michaele Salahi may have been kidnapped or abducted and is being held under duress and forced to tell persons, including authorities, she is OK," Rodriguez, who managed Tareq Salahi at the time, said.

But instead, the reality show personality had traveled to Memphis, where Journey was performing, to be with Schon, a representative with Scoop Marketing, Schon's management company, told CNN.

She told a sheriff's deputy that she was "with a good friend and was where she wanted to be," Warren County, Virginia, Sheriff Danny McEathron said in a statement.

A short time later, Tareq Salahi filed for divorce.

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Filed under: U.S.
October 15th, 2012
05:09 AM ET

Rebel leaders, Filipino officials sign landmark peace deal

Filipino government officials and Muslim rebel leaders signed a landmark peace deal Monday aimed at ending a long-running insurgency in the nation's troubled south.

The provisional accord paves the way for a new autonomous region to be administered by Muslims in Mindanao, according to President Benigno Aquino III, who met with the rebels at the presidential palace in Manila.

"Today, we sign a framework agreement that can finally seal a genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao," Aquino said in a speech.

The deal sets up mechanisms to tackle issues such as power structure and revenues in the southern region, which will be named Bangsamoro. The new region is expected to replace the current one by 2016, when the president's term ends, according to officials.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has fought for decades to set up an independent Islamic state in southern Philippines, having been blamed for a host of attacks and skirmishes that have left tens of thousands dead.

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Filed under: World
October 15th, 2012
05:07 AM ET

Tropical Storm Rafael strengthens, heads toward Bermuda

Tropical Storm Rafael churned in the central Atlantic early Monday as it approached hurricane strength, forecasters said.

Maximum sustained winds increased to 70 mph late Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm was centered about 260 miles (420 km) north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was swirling north-northwest at 10 mph.

"Some additional strengthening is forecast ... and Rafael could become a hurricane on Monday," the hurricane center said.

A projection map shows Rafael headed toward Bermuda later this week.

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Filed under: Weather • World