October 17th, 2012
04:16 PM ET

George McGovern, 90, on life support in hospice

[Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET] Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern was on life support and "no longer responsive" on Wednesday, two days after he was admitted to a hospice, his family said.

The 90-year-old former U.S. senator from South Dakota was admitted to hospice in Sioux Falls on Monday "with a combination of medical conditions, due to age, that have worsened over recent months," according to a statement from his family.

McGovern is known in part for his unsuccessful 1972 campaign for president as the Democratic nominee against incumbent Republican Richard Nixon.

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Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York
The Federal Reserve Bank in New York was the apparent target of a terror plot, officials said Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York

Editor's note: Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, federal officials said. Authorities say he attempted to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb. Below are major developments as we received them. Read the full story here.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Bangladesh, is accused of planning a terrorist bombing in New York.

[Posted at 6:06 p.m. ET] Nafis, wearing street clothes and represented by a public defender, was arraigned a little while ago during a five-minute hearing in a New York courtroom. No bail application has been made. Prosecutors will have 30 days to officially indict him.

The public defender said she would not comment to reporters. Nafis will be held for now at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, U.S. attorneys say.

[Posted at 4:18 p.m. ET] Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department, released the following statement on the alleged plot:

"Whether al -Qaeda operatives like (2003 Brooklyn Bridge suspect) Iyman Faris or those inspired by them like (2011 suspect in bomb-making case) Jose Pimentel, terrorists have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field. We're up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center.

After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understanding if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford.

Vigilance is our watchword now and into the foreseeable future. That's why we have over 1,000 police officers assigned to counter-terrorism duties every day, and why we built the Domain Awareness System. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and FBI agents of the Joint Terrorist Task Force for the work they did in the case and in other ways every day to help New York City safe from terrorists."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch from the Eastern District of New York made the following statement regarding the alleged terror plot attack:

"As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan.

The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy. He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement.

We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur. We are committed to protecting the safety of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands who work in New York’s financial district.

I would like to thank our partners at the FBI, NYPD, the other agencies who participate in the JTTF, and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, for their hard work on this important investigation. I would also like to thank the security teams at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange for their assistance."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] Nafis appeared to have had a back-up plan.

He met an undercover agent that supplied him with what he thought were explosives on Wednesday morning. After meeting up, they both traveled in a van to a warehouse, the Justice Department said.

That’s apparently when Nafis told the agent he had a "Plan B."

If Nafis felt his attack was about to be thwarted by cops, he would invoke the back-up plan, which involved a suicide bombing operation, the criminal complaint alleges.

When the pair arrived at the warehouse, Nafis began putting together what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside the van. Then they drove together to the target: The New York Federal Reserve Bank. As they drove, he armed the purported by putting together the detonator and the explosives, the criminal complaint says.

The van was then parked next to the bank. The pair went to a nearby hotel, where Nafis apparently recorded a video statement meant to be shown to the American public in connection with the attack.

"We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," he said, according to the criminal complaint.

He then tried, several times unsuccessfully, to detonate the device, which was actually inert explosives.

Nafis was then arrested.

A good portion of the sting operation was caught on tape, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

[Posted at 3:59 p.m. ET] The plot came to light as an FBI undercover agent posed as an al-Qaeda facilitator, federal authorities say.

Nafis asked the undercover agent for 50-pound bags of what he thought were explosives, and then worked on putting together an explosive device, according to prosecutors.

"Nafis purchased components for the bomb’s detonator and conducted surveillance for his attack on multiple occasions in New York City’s financial district in lower Manhattan," a Justice Department press release describing the criminal complaint said. “Throughout his interactions with the undercover agent, Nafis repeatedly asserted that the plan was his own and was the reason he had come to the United States."

[Posted at 3:56 p.m. ET] We now have some more detail about the plot to blow up the reserve bank from a press release that breaks down the criminal complaint filed against Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis:

The Bangladeshi national allegedly came to the United States in January to carry out a terror attack on U.S. soil and said he had overseas connections to al-Qaeda. As he attempted to recruit others to join his cell, he tried to recruit someone who turned out to be an FBI source, the criminal complaint says.

Nafis initially had a few targets in mind, according to the complaint, including  "a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange." In the end, Nafis settled on the New York Federal Reserve Bank, federal officials said.

"In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al-Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to 'destroy America' and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy," the Justice Department press release said. "In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from 'our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children."

The "explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

[Posted at 3:41 p.m. ET] Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan, the Department of Justice and a U.S. attorney's office said in a press release.

He will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the press release said.

[Posted at 3: 40 p.m. ET] A man has been arrested for planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The man was arrested as part of a string operation conducted by the FBI and NYPD as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a federal law enforcement source said.

"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences," FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan said in a statement. "It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant‚Äôs ‚Äėaccomplices‚Äô were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism."

Four more deaths in meningitis outbreak
The fungus Exserohilum has been implicated in the current outbreak of fungal meningitis.
October 17th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Four more deaths in meningitis outbreak

The number of people who have died from a 15-state outbreak of noncontagious fungal meningitis has risen to 19, up four from Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.

The cases have been linked to injections of a contaminated steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center. Some 14,000 people may have received the injections, the CDC estimated last week.

The number of fungal meningitis cases associated with the injections has risen to 245 12 more than Tuesday, the CDC says. Two people also have contracted peripheral joint infections; neither has died, according to the CDC.

Members of Congress are involved in an investigation of the outbreak.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by an infection, frequently with bacteria or a virus, but it can also be caused by less common pathogens, such as fungi in this case, according to the CDC.  Fungal meningitis is very rare and, unlike viral and bacterial meningitis, is not contagious.

Sixty-one cases have been reported in Tennessee, with 48 in Michigan, 37 in Virginia and 32 in Indiana. Cases also have been reported in Florida (13); Idaho (one); Illinois (one); Maryland (16); Minnesota (seven); New Hampshire (six); New Jersey (12); North Carolina (two); Ohio (nine); Pennsylvania (one); and Texas (one).

October 16, 2012: FDA warns patients to be vigilant about drugs from compounding center

Lance Armstrong stepping down from Livestrong charity
October 17th, 2012
03:01 PM ET

Lance Armstrong stepping down from Livestrong charity

Editor's note: Controversial American cyclist Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman from his Livestrong cancer charity. The announcement comes a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it had uncovered overwhelming evidence of Armstrong's involvement in a sophisticated doping program. For more information read our full story here.

[Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET] Lance Armstrong is about to lose another sponsorship.

The controversial cyclist will lose his contract with Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of Budweiser, at the end of the year.

 "We have decided not to renew our relationship with Lance Armstrong when our current contract expires at the end of 2012," Paul Chibe, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Anheuser-Busch said in astatement. "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its cycling and running events."

[Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET] Nike will take Lance Armstrong’s name off their Nike campus fitness center in Beaverton, Oregon, spokeswoman Mary Remuzz tells CNN.

[Updated at 9:26 a.m. ET] While Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of his charity he is remaining positive about his continued involvement with regard to helping those with cancer.

"My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change," Armstrong said. "We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community. We will remain active advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer. And we look forward to an exciting weekend of activities marking the 15th anniversary of the foundation's creation."

Armstrong will continue to help without the backing of his partners at Nike. Fifteen days ago he posted on his Facebook page:

"Had a great coupla days in Portland working with my great partners Nike. Awesome to see the show of support on livestrongday. 16 yrs!" he wrote. "Headed back 2 Austin now 2 celebrate with family/friends. There were days I never thought I'd see 2012. Blessed to be this side of the grass."

As of this update, the status had 10,911 "likes." Armstrong's most recent tweet, from five days ago, praised the work of Livestrong.

[Updated at 8:52 a.m. ET] Lance Armstrong's commitment to helping others with cancer has been a big reason the Livestrong was able to raise so much money over the years, Doug Ulman, President and CEO of the charity said in a statement.

"Long before he became a household name, Lance Armstrong created a foundation to serve others facing the same fears and challenges he struggled to overcome as a result of his cancer diagnosis. Today, thanks to Lance's leadership, that foundation has had the privilege of raising close to $500 million to serve people affected by cancer.

Lance has made this foundation and its cause - aiding people whose lives have been touched by this disease - his life's work. His leadership in the cancer community has spurred immeasurable progress and it has been a great privilege to work shoulder to shoulder with him on a daily basis during his chairmanship.

We are grateful to Jeff Garvey for assuming the responsibilities of chairman. Jeff has been a guiding presence for Livestrong for 15 years and we look forward to a seamless transition under his leadership and a continued strong focus on our core values and mission.

Lance's devotion to serving others whose lives were irrevocably changed by cancer, as his was, is unsurpassable. We are incredibly proud of his record as an advocate and philanthropist and are deeply grateful that Lance and his family will continue to be actively involved with the Foundation's advocacy and service work. We look forward to celebrating 15 years of progress with Lance and his family this weekend and recommitting ourselves to the work of the cancer community for the years ahead."

[Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET] Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong charity "to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career," according to a statement posted to the group's website.

Armstrong added that he will still devote his life to the work of the foundation and remain advocates for cancer survivors.

The controversial cyclist's full statement was posted on the Livestrong website:

"In 1996, as my cancer treatment was drawing to an end, I created a foundation to serve people affected by cancer. It has been a great privilege to help grow it from a dream into an organization that today has served 2.5 million people and helped spur a cultural shift in how the world views cancer survivors. This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart.

I am deeply grateful to the people of the foundation who have done such hard and excellent work over the last 15 years, building tangible and effective ways to improve the lives of cancer survivors. And I am deeply humbled by the support our foundation has received from so many people throughout the world - survivors, world leaders, business leaders and of course, the cancer community itself. We turn to this community frequently for guidance and collaboration to achieve our shared goals. They are unfailingly generous with their wisdom and counsel and I can never thank them enough.

I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation's chairman for the last five years and its mission and success are my top priorities. Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.

My duties will transfer to Vice Chairman Jeff Garvey who will serve as chairman. Jeff's guidance and wisdom have been critical to shaping the foundation's work since its earliest days. Jeff was this organization's founding chairman and I have full confidence that under his leadership, the foundation will continue expanding its ability to serve cancer survivors.

My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change. We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community. We will remain active advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer. And we look forward to an exciting weekend of activities marking the 15th anniversary of the foundation's creation."

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Uruguay poised to legalize abortion
The Uruguayan Senate passes a law legalizing abortion in Montevideo on Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
01:55 PM ET

Uruguay poised to legalize abortion

Uruguay's senate passed a bill Wednesday that would legalize abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Leftist President Jose Mujica has said he will sign the bill into law, which will make it the latest in a number of laws in the region that go against the grain of the traditionally very Catholic, socially conservative Latin America.

Most countries in Latin America allow abortion only in cases of rape, incest, to save a woman's life, or when a fetus is malformed. Uruguay would become just the second Latin American country where abortion is legal on request.

The bill sparked heated debate in the South American country. The senate passed the bill by a 17-14 vote. The  lower legislative house in August passed it by a 50-49 vote after a 16-hour session.

August 2012: Uruguay takes step to legalize abortion

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Suspect in Saudi ambassador assassination plot pleads guilty
Mansour Arbabsiar says he conspired with members of the Iranian military to plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
October 17th, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Suspect in Saudi ambassador assassination plot pleads guilty

Manssor Arbabsiar once denied that he participated in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Now he says he did.

Arbabsiar, a 57-year-old Iranian-American man from Texas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington, D.C., restaurant while Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined there.

Arbabsiar, who was arrested in September 2011 after an undercover informant's tip to authorities, said in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday that he conspired with members of the Iranian military in the formulation of the plot. The admission comes nearly a year after he pleaded not guilty.

Federal authorities say Arbabsiar and cohorts hired someone they thought was a cartel contact to assassinate the ambassador, but the contact was an undercover government informant who kept in contact with Arbabsiar until there was enough evidence for his arrest, according to federal court documents.

Timeline: Alleged plot to kill Saudi ambassador

Arbabsiar is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year dismissed allegations that Iran was connected to the plot.

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George Zimmerman trial set for June 10, defense attorney says
October 17th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

George Zimmerman trial set for June 10, defense attorney says

George Zimmerman will go on trial June 10 for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman's lawyer said Wednesday.

The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with second-degree murder.  Zimmerman has claimed self-defense in the February 26 shooting, saying Martin charged him after the two exchanged words, knocked him to the ground and banged his head repeatedly against a concrete sidewalk.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal and killed him, even though the teenager was doing nothing wrong.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.

Martin's death sparked nationwide protests and inflamed public passions over race relations and gun control, as well as Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.

More details emerge in Trayvon Martin investigation

What happened that night?

New documents shed light on Trayvon Martin killing'

FBI analysis - Zimmerman's 911 call (pdf - strong language)

In Session's Jean Casarez contributed to this report.

Raid, grenades, gunfire: Three dead in Kenyan tourist city
A Kenyan police officer guards the house where the attack took place.
October 17th, 2012
09:38 AM ET

Raid, grenades, gunfire: Three dead in Kenyan tourist city

Police knocked on the door in the middle of the night, giving whoever was inside a chance to open it.  But the anti-terrorism squad had come prepared for a raid.

When the militant suspect inside refused to let them in, the officers broke down the door - and were met by a grenade flying straight at them.

The blast injured three officers and killed a suspected criminal who had led them to the home in Mombasa, Kenya's second-largest city and a popular tourist destination.  Police had arrested the suspect earlier, and got him to take them to what he said was a home containing an illegal weapons cache, according to regional police chief Aggrey Adoli.

As the grenade exploded, police began shooting into the doorway, killing the suspected militant who had hurled the explosive at them.

As he fell, he dropped a second grenade he'd been holding. That blast injured five policemen - one of whom who later died due to his injuries.

Inside the house, police recovered two more grenades, a pistol, and 15 rounds of ammunition, Adoli said.

The suspects - both the one who took police to the home and the one who pitched the grenade at them - had no identity cards, Adoli said.¬† "We cannot rule out that they are enemies from Al-Shabaab who were planning an attack following the fall of Kismayo‚ÄĚ in neighboring Somalia, he added.

The al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab is trying to overthrow the Somali government, and has also been blamed for violence in Kenya.

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October 17th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

U.S. Embassy in Stockholm evacuated after suspicious envelope found

[Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET] The all-clear has now been given and staffers have begun to return to the building, CNN affiliate TV4 said.

[Posted at 7:32 a.m. ET] The U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, was evacuated Wednesday after the discovery of a suspicious envelope with white powder inside, Stockholm police said.

Police are moving the envelope to a secure location for examination, Stockholm police spokesman Albin Navery said.

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

Report: Libyan militias executed dozens, possibly including Gadhafi
October 17th, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Report: Libyan militias executed dozens, possibly including Gadhafi

Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi may not have been killed in crossfire during his capture, but instead executed along with 66 others, including one of his sons, according to a new report.

Human Rights Watch says new evidence it collected about what happened one year ago "implicates Misrata-based militias in the apparent execution of dozens of detainees" after Gadhafi's death.

In an extensive report, "Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte," the human rights group says Libyan authorities have failed to follow through on a vow to investigate the death of Gadhafi, his son Mutassim, and dozens of others in rebel custody.

"Among the most powerful new evidence is a mobile phone video clip filmed by opposition militia members that shows a large group of captured convoy members in detention, being cursed at and abused. Human Rights Watch used hospital morgue photos to establish that at least 17 of the detainees visible in the phone video were later executed at the Mahari Hotel," the group says.

A Human Rights Watch research team visited the site of the final battle between Gadhafi's convoy and opposition forces, and interviewed officers in opposition militias as well as surviving members of the convoy.

"Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Moammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch.

CNN's timeline of Gadhafi's final moments notes that as rebel forces were putting him into a vehicle, a firefight erupted and, caught in the crossfire, Gadhafi was shot in the head.  He died moments before arriving at a hospital, according to then-interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril.

Human Rights Watch says video footage showed Gadhafi was "captured alive but bleeding heavily from a head wound, believed to have been caused by shrapnel from a grenade thrown by his own guards that exploded in their midst, killing his defense minister, Abu Bakr Younis."  In the footage, Gadhafi is "severely beaten by opposition forces and stabbed with a bayonet in his buttocks, causing more injuries and bleeding. By the time he is filmed being loaded into an ambulance half-naked, he appears lifeless."

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October 17th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney face off October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida, in their third and final debate of the election season.  Watch CNN.com Live for all your election coverage.

Today's programming highlights...

11:30 am ET - Ryan in Ohio - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan at a campaign rally at a school in Berea, Ohio.

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Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics
October 17th, 2012
02:16 AM ET

Suicide attack on army base wounds 30 Afghan soldiers

A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden truck into the wall of a joint NATO-Afghan army base Tuesday, wounding 30 Afghan soldiers, officials said.

The base at Paktia province also came under indirect fire after the attack, said Lt. Junior Grade Amy Hession of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

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2 U.S. sailors arrested in Japan over rape allegations
Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima answers questions at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
02:11 AM ET

2 U.S. sailors arrested in Japan over rape allegations

Japanese police have arrested two U.S. sailors over accusations that they raped a woman on the island of Okinawa, where the American military presence has generated long-simmering resentment.

Police in Okinawa identified the detained service members as U.S. Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and Petty Officer Skyler Dozier Walker of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas.

The two men, both 23, are alleged to have raped a Japanese woman in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving her with an injury to her neck, police said. They were taken into custody later that day.

Tensions over the American military presence on Okinawa have boiled over before. Many residents were incensed by the rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl in 1995 by three U.S. military personnel. And allegations that a Marine raped a 14-year-old girl caused a furor in 2008, although the girl decided not to pursue charges.

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