'Deeply flawed' Armstrong admits using performance-enhancing drugs
Oprah Winfrey speaks with Lance Armstrong about the controversy surrounding his cycling career on Monday in Austin, Texas.
January 17th, 2013
10:38 PM ET

'Deeply flawed' Armstrong admits using performance-enhancing drugs

Calling himself "deeply flawed," now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says he used an array of performance enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles followed by years of often angry denials.

"This is too late, it's too late for probably most people. And that's my fault," he said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that was aired Thursday night. "(This was) one big lie, that I repeated a lot of times."

Armstrong admitted using testosterone and human growth hormone, as well as EPO a hormone naturally produced by human kidneys to stimulate red blood cell production, which increases the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to muscles, improving recovery and endurance.

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Filed under: Cycling • Lance Armstrong • Sports
January 17th, 2013
07:46 PM ET

British PM: Prepare for possible bad news in Algeria hostage crisis

  • Algerian military has freed four foreign hostages at a BP gas plant in Algeria, according to Algerian media; a fifth hostage also is free, Irish government says
  • Some American hostages also have been freed, but others are still unaccounted for, U.S. officials say
  • Reports: Hostage-takers claimed to be holding more than 40 people; Algerian Press Service says two hostages killed Wednesday

[Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET] Although an Algerian military raid against the hostage-takers wrapped up on Thursday, a senior U.S. official stresses that more military operations could be coming.

"There are still hostages, and there are still terrorists," the official said, according to CNN's Elise Labott. "So tomorrow is another day."

[Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET] British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned his compatriots to prepare for "bad news ahead" related to kidnapping of dozens of hostages at a BP gas plant in Algeria.

"It is a fluid situation, it is ongoing," Cameron told the Reuters news agency. "But I think we should be prepared for the possibility of further bad news, very difficult news, in this extremely difficult situation."

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Filed under: Algeria • Mali • World
Gov. Christie calls NRA ad 'reprehensible'
January 17th, 2013
06:56 PM ET

Gov. Christie calls NRA ad 'reprehensible'

Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey skewered the National Rifle Association Thursday for referencing the president's children in a political attack commercial.

Speaking in a press conference, the outspoken governor decried the move as "reprehensible" and argued the group lost some credibility by making the ad.

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Filed under: Chris Christie • Gun Control • Politics
After more than 2 decades, U.S. recognizes Somalia
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Thursday in Washington.
January 17th, 2013
04:29 PM ET

After more than 2 decades, U.S. recognizes Somalia

For the first time in more than two decades, the United States has granted official recognition to the Somali government in Mogadishu.

"There is still a long way to go and many challenges to confront, but we have seen a new foundation for that better future being laid," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday in a joint news conference with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who stood beaming at her side.

Clinton praised Somalia's actions in reducing the level of extremism since she took office in January 2009, when "(militant Islamist group) Al Shabaab controlled most of Mogadishu and south and central Somalia, and looked like it would gain more territory."

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January 17th, 2013
04:15 PM ET

Dow, S&P close at 5-year highs

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 have closed at five-year highs, boosted by positive data on housing and employment.

The Dow finished at 13,596.02 on Thursday, up 84.79 points from Wednesday. The S&P 500 was at 1,480.93, up 8.3 points from the previous day.

The Nasdaq, like the Dow and the S&P 500, also rose about 0.6% on Thursday, ending at 3,136.00, up 18.46 points from Wednesday.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
'Dear Abby' founder dies at 94
Pauline Phillips, right, and daughter Jeanne Phillips are honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 2001.
January 17th, 2013
02:20 PM ET

'Dear Abby' founder dies at 94

Pauline Phillips, better known to millions of newspaper readers for decades as the Dear Abby advice columnist, has died after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease, her family said Thursday.

She died Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at age 94.

Phillips, who wrote under the name of Abigail Van Buren, was the twin sister of Esther Pauline Lederer, also known as the advice columnist Ann Landers. Lederer died in June 2002 at the age of 83.

In 2001, Phillips acknowledged that her daughter Jeanne Phillips co-wrote the "Dear Abby" column with her. Jeanne Phillips took the column over in August 2002, when the family announced that her mother had Alzheimer's.

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Filed under: Obituary
U.S. attorney: We acted reasonably in Swartz case
Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz fought for Web freedoms but faced charges that he illegally downloaded online documents.
January 17th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

U.S. attorney: We acted reasonably in Swartz case

A federal prosecutor is pushing back against a claim by the grieving family of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that "prosecutorial overreach" was a factor in his suicide, saying her office acted "fairly and responsibly."

News of the death of Swartz, 26, last Friday sent shock waves through the hacker community and the larger online world. His family and partner issued a statement saying that federal charges filed over allegations that he stole millions of online documents mostly scholarly papers from MIT through the university's computer network contributed to Swartz's decision to take his own life.

But the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, disputed their account of events in a statement released Thursday, while expressing her sympathy "as a parent and a sister" for their loss.

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Filed under: Courts • Technology
Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony date set
January 17th, 2013
11:48 AM ET

Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony date set

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on last year's terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, before the Senate Foreign Relations committee on January 23. Clinton will also appear on the same day before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Senate committee has announced.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in September 11 attack.

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Filed under: Politics • Terrorism
The Buzz: When Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o collide
January 17th, 2013
10:03 AM ET

The Buzz: When Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o collide

What will your co-workers be talking about this morning? Here's a roundup of some of this morning's big social conversations.

Just hours before Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah is scheduled to air, the International Olympics Committee has asked Armstrong to return the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games. Lance has not publicly tweeted since January 8 and so far has not issued a response. But that isn't keeping everyone from talking about him.

And speaking of sports stars and possible untruths...

Even if you're not a college football fan, there are many things to consider about the Manti Te'o hoax. In short, the Notre Dame football star claims he was the victim of an elaborate online hoax in which a woman he formed an emotional attachment to turned out not to exist. But there is speculation he was in on it and may have used it to increase his brand value.

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Olympic Committee asks Armstrong to return his 2000 bronze medal
Lance Armstrong is seen with his bronze medal in 2000.
January 17th, 2013
08:13 AM ET

Olympic Committee asks Armstrong to return his 2000 bronze medal

The International Olympic Committee has stripped Armstrong of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, an IOC spokesman said Thursday. The committee has told Armstrong to return it.

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January 17th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

Thursday's live events

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...

10:00 am ET - U.S. economic forecast briefing - Spending and the debt ceiling remain a hot topic of discussion in Washington, but what do these fears mean for the U.S. economy?  Leading bank economists discuss the matter this morning.

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Filed under: Economy • On CNN.com today • Politics
Algeria hostage takers demand passage to Libya
January 17th, 2013
06:38 AM ET

Algeria hostage takers demand passage to Libya

Islamist militants who seized Westerners at an Algerian gas plant are demanding a safe passage to nearby Libya, authorities said, as fallout from the French offensive in Mali reverberates globally.

Media in the region reported that the attackers issued a news release demanding an end to "brutal aggression on our people in Mali" and cited "blatant intervention of the French crusader forces in Mali."

In the news release, the militants said they carried out the operation in Algeria because it allowed French forces to use its air space in attacking Islamist militants in Mali.

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Filed under: Algeria • Libya • Mali