U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014
January 8th, 2013
07:58 PM ET

U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014

The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.

The comments by Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security adviser, come as the Pentagon and White House mull over the number of troops that could be left in Afghanistan after 2014 to fight insurgents and train Afghan security forces.

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ESPN apologizes for Musburger comments on quarterback's girlfriend
Former Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb drew just as much attention as her boyfriend Monday night
January 8th, 2013
05:29 PM ET

ESPN apologizes for Musburger comments on quarterback's girlfriend

The attention that Brent Musburger gave to the girlfriend of Alabama's quarterback during last night's championship college football game apparently made ESPN a little uncomfortable.

ESPN on Tuesday afternoon apologized for the play-by-play man's gushing about Katherine Webb's beauty as the network showed her in the stands at the game Monday night.

"We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that," ESPN said.

CNN was not able to reach Musburger for comment through ESPN.

"Wow, I'm telling you, quarterbacks you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow!" Musburger said during one of his several in-game comments. Webb subsequently became an Internet sensation as Alabama trounced Notre Dame. Read more about Musburger's comments, the public's reaction, and the reaction from Webb herself.

Venezuela's Chavez won't be sworn in Thursday, official says
President Hugo Chavez waves a Venezuelan flag in Caracas on October 7 after receiving news of his re-election.
January 8th, 2013
04:26 PM ET

Venezuela's Chavez won't be sworn in Thursday, official says

[Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET] Medical treatment in Cuba will keep Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from being sworn in for a new term this week, a top official said Tuesday.

At the same time, supporters and opponents of Chavez who has been undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba for the past month are bracing for a legal battle over whether the inauguration can be postponed.

Venezuela's vice president said in a statement Tuesday that the inauguration would occur before the country's Supreme Court at a "later date," hours after the opposition called on the nation's top court to decide whether that's possible.

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January 8th, 2013
04:15 PM ET

Gay wife excluded from military club says she’d still join

A woman who says she believes a private military spouses club excluded her because she’s gay says she’d still join the group if it reverses its decision.

“I would go tomorrow,” Ashley Broadway, the wife of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin on “CNN Newsroom” Tuesday afternoon. “Wherever we were stationed, I was a volunteer of some sort. Between my educational background, my volunteerism, my energy, my enthusiasm to help all military families, I would absolutely be elated to. If anything, I would like to be a part of the group so that they can see that my family is no different than their families.”

Broadway applied to the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses after she and Mack who married in Washington, D.C. moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Broadway says the club told her she couldn’t join because she doesn’t have military identification.

Read more about Broadway's attempt to get into the club.

January 8th, 2013
03:14 PM ET

Saudi man disputes reports bride is 15

A 70-year-old man in Saudi Arabia who is the focus of outrage from human rights workers reportedly for marrying a 15-year-old girl says she's not a teenager, but a woman.

"She is not 15, as everybody claims," he told CNN on Tuesday. "She's 25 years old, and she's mature enough to make her own decisions. ... I was fooled by the girl's family."

The marriage came to light when the man complained to a local official after his new wife left him, saying the girl's family had taken her back and he'd been ripped off for a large dowry he paid.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no law that stipulates a minimum age for marriage, but human rights groups are objecting and promising to give her legal help if she is required to dispute the union in court.

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911 calls from theater shooting: Sobbing, gunfire, confusion
A sketch of defendant James Holmes in a Colorado court. A preliminary hearing is being held in his case this week.
January 8th, 2013
02:26 PM ET

911 calls from theater shooting: Sobbing, gunfire, confusion

Emergency phone calls from last July's Colorado movie theater shooting in a court hearing played by prosecutors in a court hearing this morning reveal some of the horror and confusion from that night.

Because the movie was still playing during the shooting and, in at least one call, the gunman was still stalking the theater, the calls are difficult to make out. In one, there's too much sound to make out what the caller was saying, but the gunshots were unmistakable: At least 30 gunshots in 27 seconds.

In another, a 13-year-old girl called to say her cousins had been shot. A 911 operator tried to lead the sobbing girl through performing CPR on one who was still breathing.

Tuesday's proceeding was a preliminary hearing for James Holmes, a 25-year-old former neuroscience graduate student accused of killing 12 people at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado.

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January 8th, 2013
01:15 PM ET

NRA sending representative to White House meetings on gun violence

The National Rifle Association will send a representative to the White House's meetings this week on gun violence, an NRA spokesman said Tuesday.

The group received an invitation late Friday, and "we are sending a rep to hear what they have to say," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.

Another major gun rights group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), will also participate in the meetings, which are slated for Wednesday and Thursday

Days after last month's shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, President Barack Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force that would give recommendations to prevent another mass shooting. The president gave the group a deadline of "no later than January."

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January 8th, 2013
01:00 PM ET

Lawyer in India rape case urges not-guilty pleas

[Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET] A lawyer who says he's representing three of the five men charged with raping and fatally beating a woman on a New Delhi bus a case that that prompted angry protests over the country's treatment of women said Tuesday that he has advised his clients to plead not guilty.

"So far they have agreed to my advice, but a clearer picture will emerge by tomorrow evening," the attorney, Manohar Lal Sharma, told CNN. "I fear they might come under pressure to change their mind."

Sharma said one of those he is representing is Ram Singh, the main suspect accused in the case. The other two are Mukesh Singh and Akshay Thakur, he said.

(Editor's note: The initial post incorrectly said that Sharma urged his clients to plead guilty.)

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January 8th, 2013
12:36 PM ET

Morgan on fiery Alex Jones interview: ‘Startling,’ ‘deluded’

Social media still is buzzing about last night’s explosive “Piers Morgan Live” interview with radio host Alex Jones. This morning, Morgan says the fiery exchange only helped his case for stricter gun control.

“I can’t think of a better advertisement for gun control than Alex Jones’ interview last night,” Morgan told “CNN Newsroom” late Tuesday morning. “It was startling, it was terrifying in parts, it was completely deluded. It was based on a premise of making Americans so fearful that they all rush out to buy even more guns.

“It showed no compassion whatsoever to the victims of gun shootings, and the kind of twisted way that he turned everything into this assault on the Second Amendment is exactly what the gun rights lobby people do. And it’s a lie. It cannot be allowed to continue.”

Jones, on Morgan’s show to talk about petition he started to deport Morgan back to the UK for expressing his views on gun control, warned that "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms." As of noon Tuesday, "Alex Jones" was trending on Twitter.

Read more about Jones' appearance on Morgan's show.

January 8th, 2013
11:59 AM ET

Chinese man pleads guilty in major pirated software case

A Chinese national accused of operating a website that distributed more than $100 million worth of pirated software has pleaded guilty in the case, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday morning.

The case involving Xiang Li, 36, of Chengdu, China, is "one of the most significant cases of copyright infringement ever uncovered — and dismantled — by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations," ICE said Tuesday.

The defendant, who operated Crack99.com, was arrested by undercover U.S. agents in Saipan in 2011 and pleaded guilty late Monday to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud, ICE said Tuesday.

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Civil rights leader's widow to give invocation at Obama's inaugration
In this 2009 photo, Myrlie Evers-Williams stands next to an expanded version of postage honoring her late husband, Medgar Evers.
January 8th, 2013
11:25 AM ET

Civil rights leader's widow to give invocation at Obama's inaugration

The widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers will deliver the invocation and benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration January 21, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Tuesday.

The committee said in a statement that the president was involved in selecting Myrlie Evers-Williams, an Atlanta pastor who is the widow of Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation and the Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of the Passion City Church, to deliver the benediction.

"I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States - especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement," she said in a statement from the inaugural committee. "It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era."

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High temperatures, strong winds create 'catastrophic' fire threat
January 8th, 2013
09:01 AM ET

High temperatures, strong winds create 'catastrophic' fire threat

Soaring temperatures and strong winds have combined to create a "catastrophic" fire threat across the southeast Australian state of New South Wales.

Residents have been warned to remain vigilant as temperatures rise towards a predicted high of 43 degrees (109 degrees Fahrenheit) in the state capital of Sydney.

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January 8th, 2013
08:57 AM ET

India: 2 soldiers killed in firefight with Pakistani troops

Two Indian soldiers died in a firefight Tuesday with Pakistan army troops in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Indian Army said in a statement, amid heightened tensions in the region. India said a group of Pakistani troops had crossed the Line of Control - the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region. A spokesman for the Pakistani military denied the report, calling it a "baseless allegation."

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January 8th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

9 suspected militants killed in drone strike in Pakistan

A drone strike on a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan early Tuesday killed nine suspected militants, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the drone fired four missiles at the hideout in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

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January 8th, 2013
07:42 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

President Obama will be sworn in for a second term in office on Monday, January 21.  CNN.com Live is your home for all your inauguration coverage.

Today's programming highlights...

12:30 pm ET - White House briefing - The debt ceiling and President Obama's Cabinet are expected to dominate Press Secretary Jay Carney's agenda with the White House press corps.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • On CNN.com today • Politics
New Winehouse death inquest gets same result
January 8th, 2013
06:39 AM ET

New Winehouse death inquest gets same result

A new investigation into the death of singer Amy Winehouse found that she died of accidental alcohol poisoning, authorities in the London borough of Camden announced Tuesday. It's the same result as the original investigation, but the earlier one had to be thrown out because the coroner did not have the right qualifications.

Winehouse died at the age of 27 on July 23, 2011.

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Giffords launches website to prevent gun violence
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords was one of 19 people shot at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011.
January 8th, 2013
04:08 AM ET

Giffords launches website to prevent gun violence

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have launched their own website that specifically encourages elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.

Below is a link to Giffords and Kelly's Website and Op-Ed

http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/

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Filed under: Crime • Gabrielle Giffords • Justice • U.S.
January 8th, 2013
03:55 AM ET

7 killed in Peru helicopter crash, including Americans

Seven people, including at least two Americans, were killed when a helicopter crashed and exploded in central Peru, authorities said.

The crash happened Monday afternoon after the chopper took off from the Pucallpa Airport, according to the Peruvian Corporation of Airports and Commercial Aviation.

Minutes after takeoff, communication with the pilot was lost, and a heavy smoke column could be seen in the distance from the control tower.

By early Tuesday morning, only three bodies had been recovered because the remains of the other four were in the melted wreckage of the chopper, Ucayali Region Police Chief Cesar Larrea said.

He said recovery efforts were suspended to due to the dark, swamp-like conditions and will resume during the day Tuesday.

Employees from the company using the chopper, Columbia Helicopters, identified the three recovered bodies as those of two Americans and a Peruvian, Ucayali public prosecutor Marco Ochoa said.

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Filed under: World
January 8th, 2013
03:52 AM ET

Is Alabama college football's new dynasty?

Shortly after Alabama's rout of Notre Dame there was one word that many on the field seemed not to want to broach.

Dynasty.

But why not? Alabama's 42 to 14 thrashing of Notre Dame in Monday night's BCS National Championship game was the Crimson Tide's second in a row. It is also Alabama's third national title in the last four years.

Isn't this a dynasty, a reporter asked Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, moments after he led his team to the win.

"You can call us whatever you want but this was a total team effort," McCarron said.

Alabama coach Nick Saban also shied away from the D- word, during a news conference after the game.

"I don't think words like dynasty are words that I have much interest in. That is for other people to speak about," Saban said.

And many on social media were.

"I really believe that this is, in my lifetime, the best dynasty that I've ever seen in college football," ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit tweeted about Alabama.

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.