Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o said Wednesday he was the victim of a "sick joke" that resulted in the creation of an inspirational story that had him overcoming the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend as the team marched toward the BCS National Championship Game.
His statement came after the sports website Deadspin published an article that called the girlfriend story a "hoax" and raised questions about whether she ever existed.
Jack Swarbrick, director of athletics at Notre Dame, told reporters Wednesday night that Te'o was the victim of an elaborate hoax. "And he will carry that with him for a while," Swarbrick said.FULL STORY
The president of the National Rifle Association is standing by the group's new controversial ad that has drawn fire for referencing the president's children, a rare move in a political attack.
David Keene told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that the ad is "not about them specifically," arguing the television commercial was more than just about President Barack Obama's children.FULL STORY
[Updated at 7:06 p.m. ET] A claim by hostage-takers in Algeria that they are holding seven Americans is inaccurate, with the real number thought to be as few as three, two U.S. officials said Wednesday.
[Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET] Islamic militants have released Algerian hostages – but not other hostages – whom the militants had taken at an Algerian gas field near the Libyan border, Algerian State TV has reported.
Foreign hostages – from Norway, Britain, the United States, France and Japan – still reportedly were being held.
Meanwhile, Algerian authorities have received demands from the militants, but the government will not negotiate, the Algerian Interior Minister said in an interview with state television.
[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] Americans are among the hostages that Islamists have taken at an Algerian gas field, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday. She wouldn't say how many people were taken.
North African media outlets report that more than 40 Westerners have been taken hostage by Islamists who are angry over Algiers' support for a French offensive in Mali.
At least one foreigner died and others were kidnapped in the attack on the In Amenas field near the Libyan border in the east, Algeria's Interior Ministry. Algerian media later reported a second person, a British national, was killed as well.
[Updated at 11:54 a.m. ET] At least one foreigner died, six people were injured and an undetermined number of people taken hostage in a terrorist attack on a gas field in eastern Algeria, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
[Initial post at 11:24] A gas field in Algeria was attacked Wednesday morning by "unidentified armed people," who are now occupying the site, BP said.
British nationals are caught up in the incident, the British Foreign Office said. Ireland's foreign minister says there are reports that an Irish citizen also is involved. The office of the French president refused to comment on reports that French citizens also are involved. The In Amenas field is operated by a joint venture of Sonatrach (the Algerian national oil company), BP and Statoil, BP said.FULL STORY
U.S. regulators have ordered airlines to ground all U.S.-registered Boeing 787 Dreamliners until a fire risk linked to batteries aboard the jetliners is fixed.
The move comes on the day that two Japanese airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, grounded their fleets of the 787 Dreamliner. That move came after an ANA 787 made an emergency landing in Japan after a battery alarm signal activated on the plane.
United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier flying Dreamliners. They have six.
"Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration that the batteries are safe and in compliance," the FAA said Wednesday evening.
The Dreamliner has been beset by a string of mechanical and other problems for months, including reports of an oil leak, a fuel leak, engine cracks and a damaged cockpit window. Also, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a January 7 battery fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston.FULL STORY
The Syrian government did not use chemical weapons against residents of Homs in a December attack, a U.S. State Department investigation shows, but did apparently misuse a riot-control gas in the incident, according to senior U.S. officials.
The investigation stemmed from allegations inside Syria about the use of chemical weapons during an attack on the city of Homs on December 23. The officials said the State Department launched a probe from its consulate in Istanbul after doctors and activists reported dozens of victims suffering from nervous system, respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments after inhaling the gas.
You can read more about this investigation here.
[Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET] The National Rifle Association of America has issued a statement responding to Obama's announcement:
"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to
protecting America's most valuable asset – our children.
"Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
[Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET] Senate Democratic leadership sources tell CNN that passing any new legislation will be extremely difficult because more than a dozen vulnerable Democrats from conservative states will probably resist much of what the president is pushing, according to CNN's Dana Bash.
These Democratic sources say the most likely legislation to pass will be strengthening background checks, since it is the least overt form of gun control and it also appeals to gun rights advocates' emphasis on keeping guns away from people with mental health and criminal problems.
[Updated at 12:42 p.m. ET] Reaction to Obama's announcement is starting to come in. From Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, whose state was the site of the December 14 school massacre that prompted Obama to examine gun control steps:
"In the hours after the worst of our fears were confirmed, in the midst of the grief and sorrow over the loss of 20 innocent children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there was one question on the minds of people across Connecticut and around the nation: How do we make sure this never happens again? Today the president took the critical first step toward answering that question. The common sense measures he proposed today are something that we should all be able to agree on, and I want to commend him and the vice president for their work on this issue."
From Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner:
"House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."
[Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET] The announcement is over, and Obama is signing the 23 executive actions. These actions are in addition to laws that Obama wants Congress to pass. Here, according to the White House, are the 23 executive actions that he and his administration will do:
1. "Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system."
2. "Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system."
3. "Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system."
4. "Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks."
German soccer giants Bayern Munich have pulled off a major coup by successfully courting arguably the most in-demand coach in the world - former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
One day after Guardiola had talked openly of his desire to manage in the English Premier League, Bayern announced the 41-year-old Catalan had agreed to coach the German club for three seasons from the start of the 2013/2014 campaign.FULL STORY
The cancer charity founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong has released a statement calling on him to be "completely truthful" about claims that he used banned substances.
The statement comes one day ahead of the expected airing of part of Armstrong’s much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey. In the taped interview, scheduled to air Thursday and Friday, Armstrong is said to have acknowledged using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
“This week, Lance came to the LIVESTRONG Foundation to talk to our team in person. He expressed his regret for the stress the team suffered in recent years as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career. He asked that they stay focused on serving people affected by cancer, something our team has always done excellently and will continue to do,” the statement posted on Livestrong.org said.
“We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community. We expect we will have more to say at that time. Regardless, we are charting a strong, independent course forward that is focused on helping people overcome financial, emotional and physical challenges related to cancer. Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel confident and optimistic about the Foundation’s future and welcome an end to speculation.”
Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the charity in 2012.
Germany will contribute two transport planes to the French-led military offensive against Islamist rebels in Mali, the German Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.
Italy also is ready for "a logistical support operation" in the West African nation, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said, according to the state-run ANSA news agency.
President Obama will be sworn in for a second term in office on Monday, January 21. Watch CNN.com Live for all your inauguration coverage.
Today's programming highlights...
11:45 am ET - Gun plan unveiled - President Obama and Vice President Biden will announce proposals aimed at preventing gun violence in the United States. Expect reaction to the proposals later in the day.
2:00 pm ET - 'Call to Action' hearing on gun violence - The school superintendent of Newtown, Connecticut, is expected to join lawmakers and others at a Capitol Hill hearing on what can be done to prevent future gun violence.
CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.
CNN's Gloria Borger reports that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has informed President Obama that he intends to step down from the U.S. Department of the Interior at the end of March.
Salazar expects to return to his ranch and family in Colorado.FULL STORY
A helicopter crashed into a construction crane atop a new luxury residential building in thick London fog Wednesday, killing two people and sparking a blaze when it plunged to the ground.
Nine others were injured in the crash that took place at the height of the morning rush hour in Vauxhall, south of the River Thames in central London.FULL STORY