Senators agree on filibuster reform measures
January 24th, 2013
10:28 PM ET

Senators agree on filibuster reform measures

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate overwhelmingly agreed late Thursday on language reforming filibusters, passing the measures agreed to earlier in the day by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

The two leaders proposed to their caucuses earlier a list of reforms to curb the use of filibusters and streamline other procedures in order to speed up floor action. The measures required the support of each party's caucus.

The proposal allows for two paths that could be used to begin debate on legislation, avoiding filibusters designed to prevent debate from actually taking place.

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Filed under: Congress • Politics
Spanish newspaper prints, retracts fake photo of ailing Hugo Chavez
Venezuelan Minister of Comunication Ernesto Villegas speaks at the news conference in Caracas on Thursday.
January 24th, 2013
08:09 PM ET

Spanish newspaper prints, retracts fake photo of ailing Hugo Chavez

Early editions of Spain's leading newspaper Thursday displayed a large front-page photo claiming to be an "unprecedented" and "exclusive" look at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's medical treatment in Cuba.

But the intubated man lying in a hospital bed shown in the photo wasn't Chavez, the newspaper soon discovered, and began backtracking.

El Pais took down the photo, which was on the newspaper's website for about 30 minutes, and also recalled the early editions of its newspaper from newsstands.

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Filed under: Cuba • Hugo Chavez • Spain • Venezuela
Nothing ruled out as NTSB studies Dreamliner battery
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all U.S. Dreamliners this month, and other nations followed suit.
January 24th, 2013
07:21 PM ET

Nothing ruled out as NTSB studies Dreamliner battery

As Boeing and airline officials sought to assure travelers of the overall safety of the world's newest jetliner, federal safety officials Thursday painted a graphic picture of a disaster averted, displaying the charred remnants of a battery that "spewed molten electrolytes" from its container shortly after landing in Boston earlier this month.

"This is an unprecedented event," National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said of back-to-back battery incidents aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the United States and Japan.

"We do not expect to see fire events on board aircrafts. This is a very serious safety concern," she said.

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Filed under: Air travel • FAA • Travel
Apple stock plunges 12%
January 24th, 2013
04:22 PM ET

Apple stock plunges 12%

The world's most valuable publicly traded company took a hit on the stock market Thursday.

Shares of Apple plunged more than 12% Thursday, to $450.50, as investors grew skeptical about the iPhone maker's growth prospects, CNNMoney reports.

Apple's stock has been on a steady decline for months, with shares falling more than 35% from their all-time intraday high of $705, which was reached Sept. 21, 2012.

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Filed under: Apple • Business • Economy • Technology
FAMU pledges reforms after hazing report
Florida A&M University student and band member Robert Champion, 26, died in November 2011.
January 24th, 2013
02:43 PM ET

FAMU pledges reforms after hazing report

Florida A&M University is undertaking reforms to address hazing on and off campus, according to a written response the school released after a scathing report that alleged it had done too little.

The Florida Board of Governors, which manages the state's universities, put out the report after drum major Robert Champion died following a beating he took in November 2011 aboard a school bus after a football game in Orlando, Florida.

The hazing was part of a ritual known as "Crossing Bus C," in which pledges attempt to run down the bus aisle while being punched, kicked and assaulted by more senior members of the school's famed marching band.

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Filed under: Florida
January 24th, 2013
02:25 PM ET

UK, Germany, Netherlands warn citizens to leave Benghazi

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] The governments of Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are advising their citizens to avoid the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Britain says there is a "specific, imminent threat to Westerners" in Benghazi and is advising its citizens there to leave immediately. The German Foreign Office also cites what it says is a specific threat.

The British Foreign Office also warns against any travel to the area, in a statement on its website.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli posted a statement on its website saying it knows of no specific threats to U.S. citizens in Benghazi, but it advises against all travel to the city.

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Filed under: Libya • United Kingdom
U.S. defense chief says women may serve in combat
January 24th, 2013
01:43 PM ET

U.S. defense chief says women may serve in combat

The U.S. military will end its longstanding policy of excluding women from combat and open front-line units to female servicemembers, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally announced Thursday.

"The fact is, they have become an integral part of our ability to perform our mission, and for more than a decade of war they have demonstrated courage and skill and patriotism," Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.

Panetta said women will be integrated into combat units "expeditiously" but without hurting the effectiveness or morale of the armed forces.

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American sentenced to 35 years for role in Mumbai terror attacks
In a courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley pleads guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2010.
January 24th, 2013
01:25 PM ET

American sentenced to 35 years for role in Mumbai terror attacks

[Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET] A federal judge in Chicago on Thursday sentenced Chicagoan David Headley to 35 years in prison for his role in the deadly 2008 siege in Mumbai, India that killed more than 160 individuals including six U.S. citizens.

[Posted at 04:07 a.m. ET] American David Headley is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge in Illinois today for his role in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

Headley, 52, has admitted conducting advance surveillance for the attacks that killed 160 people.

Although he could receive life in prison, the Justice Department is recommending that a federal judge sentence him to 30 to 35 years because he cooperated with U.S. authorities after his arrest.

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Filed under: Justice • Terrorism • U.S. • World
January 24th, 2013
01:14 PM ET

Female war veteran: I'd like to see women as Navy SEALs

One of the U.S. servicewomen who sued the Defense Department over its policy against women in combat says she hopes a pending reversal allows some women to enter special-force units like the Navy SEALs.

Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt said Thursday she doesn't know yet whether Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's reported decision to open combat jobs to female troops renders her lawsuit moot.

“We're still in a wait-and-see pattern and cautiously optimistic" about Panetta's decision, Hunt told CNN's Ashleigh Banfield on Thursday morning.

Hunt, who was awarded the Purple Heart after an explosive device injured her in Iraq, said that "women have been demonstrating for the past 11 years during these conflicts that they are able and willing to execute the missions that are put before them."

A senior defense official told CNN that even with Panetta's decision, branches may decide that certain jobs still will be off-limits to women. Hunt said she hopes that women will be allowed even in special-force units such as the Navy SEALs, which have especially tough physical standards.

“I definitely think that women have the capability to put forth the effort to accomplish any mission that the military sets before them and take full advantage of any opportunity that the military gives them, so I’d definitely be excited to see those career paths opened up to my female counterparts,” Hunt said.

Ban on women in military combat roles ending
Ex-troops: Decision is long overdue
Readers skirmish over women in battle

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U.S. Air Force has flown 7 Mali cargo missions
U.S. military personnel stow a French armored vehicle aboard a C-17 aircraft at the Istres military airport in France on Thursday prior to take off for Mali.
January 24th, 2013
12:59 PM ET

U.S. Air Force has flown 7 Mali cargo missions

The U.S. Air Force has now flown seven C-17 missions into Mali, carrying 200 passengers, mainly French troops, and 168 tons of equipment, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Robert Firman said Thursday.

Meanwhile, discussions over the U.S. providing refueling services for French aircraft continue, a defense official tells CNN, saying such missions are likely to be approved in the coming days.

French forces are aiding the Malian military in fighting an Islamist insurgency in Mali.

Broken limbs, torn lives in Mali

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Filed under: France • Mali • U.S. Air Force
January 24th, 2013
11:15 AM ET

Watch live: Feinstein proposes banning 100+ firearms

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is offering details on her proposal to federally ban some assault weapons, as well as ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

You can watch the announcement in Washington live on CNN.com.

Her measure is designed “to help end the mass shootings that have devastated families” and communities, she said. The proposal comes about a month after a shooting that killed 20 children and six women at a Connecticut elementary school.

Feinstein, while making the announcement, also is displaying examples of weapons that would be banned. Her measure would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles, as well as limiting magazines to 10 rounds or less. Not all of the weapons in the bill meet the technical definition of assault weapons.

The measure would not cover weapons already owned before it passed, as well as other hunting, sporting, antique, manually operated and disabled weapons.

Watch Kerry's confirmation hearing live
Sen. John Kerry attends President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington on Monday.
January 24th, 2013
10:48 AM ET

Watch Kerry's confirmation hearing live

Sen. John Kerry's bid to get Senate approval for his nomination to secretary of state is officially under way.

Kerry, D-Massachusetts, is testifying at his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he happens to chair. The longtime senator could sail to an easy confirmation, as politicians from both parties expressed optimism he would win approval.

If he is confirmed, he said at the start of the hearing, he will "look forward to continuing to work particularly closely" with members of the committee, which he has chaired for the last four years.

You can watch the Senate hearing live on CNN.com.

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Jobless claims fall to another 5-year low
January 24th, 2013
09:11 AM ET

Jobless claims fall to another 5-year low

The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits is hovering at its lowest level in five years, after falling for a second week in a row.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 last week to 330,000, down from 335,000 the previous week. That's the lowest level since January 2008. It's unclear why claims have fallen so dramatically in recent weeks. For more on this story, go to CNNMoney here.

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Filed under: Economy • U.S.
Chelsea star apologizes for kicking ball boy
Chelsea's Eden Hazard kicked a ball boy late in Wednesday's game against Swansea City.
January 24th, 2013
09:07 AM ET

Chelsea star apologizes for kicking ball boy

Eden Hazard, a star for England's Chelsea soccer team, has apologized for kicking a ball boy during a match in Wales on Wednesday, Chelsea says on its website.

The incident happened in Chelsea's Capitol One Cup semifinal game at Swansea City when the ball went out of bounds late in the game with Chelsea needing two goals to force overtime.

"The boy put his whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologize.

'The ball boy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologized and the boy apologized as well, and it is over. Sorry," the Chelsea website report quoted Hazard as saying.

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Filed under: Soccer • Sports
January 24th, 2013
08:32 AM ET

Man charged with murder in Philadelphia doctor's death

Authorities have charged a Levittown, Pennsylvania, man in the death of a doctor whose bound body had been set on fire in her home, a law enforcement source told CNN on Thursday.

Jason Smith has been charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and other charges, according to Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia district attorney's office.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
January 24th, 2013
07:49 AM ET

Thursday's live events

President Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address before Congress on February 12.  Watch CNN.com Live for all your political coverage.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - Secretary of State nomination hearing - After Hillary Clinton's grilling on Capitol Hill, you would think no one would want her job as secretary of state.  But Sen. John Kerry does, and he will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • On CNN.com today • Politics
John Kerry faces hearing for secretary of state post, armed with bipartisan support
January 24th, 2013
03:55 AM ET

John Kerry faces hearing for secretary of state post, armed with bipartisan support

Nine years after his presidential bid ended in defeat, John Kerry's political career might take a major turn Thursday during his hearing to become the next secretary of state.

The longtime senator from Massachusetts could sail to an easy confirmation, as politicians from both parties expressed optimism he would win approval.

"Over these many years, John's earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world. He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job-training," President Barack Obama said when he nominated Kerry last month.

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Readers sue Lance Armstrong for book refund
January 24th, 2013
03:02 AM ET

Readers sue Lance Armstrong for book refund

A class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California this week accuses cyclist Lance Armstrong and his book publishers of peddling fiction as fact.

The lawsuit mentions two of Armstrong's books, "Every Second Counts" and "It's Not About the Bike." It accuses the cyclist and his publishers of fraud and false advertising.

The suit says the books were sold "based upon the false belief that they were true and honest works of nonfiction when, in fact, Defendants knew or should have known that these books were works of fiction."

After years of vehemently denying that he used drugs to boost his performance during his record seven Tour de France wins, Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey last week that he lied.

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.
January 24th, 2013
02:56 AM ET

Frigid cold sets sight on the South, may bring ice below Mason-Dixon Line

The same brutal arctic cold front that's delivered sub-zero temperatures across the upper Midwest and Northeast is forecast to bring ice and freezing rain to the South and Mid-Atlantic states Friday.

Southern cities like Atlanta are not prepared for wintry weather because it comes so seldom. Southern drivers have little experience driving on the stuff.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather