January 30th, 2013
07:29 PM ET

Last Andrews Sister, Patty, dies at 94

Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters, died at her Northridge, California, home Wednesday, her publicist Alan Eichler said. She was 94.

The Andrews Sisters began singing on Minnesota radio stations in the 1920s, but after several years on the Vaudeville circuit they began a recording career that made them one of the most successful female groups ever.

The sisters performed with "Patty always singing the lead, Maxene the high harmony and LaVerne the low harmony, inventing a unique blend that came from their hearts, since none of the girls could read music," according to the official biography released by Eichler.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 30th, 2013
05:13 PM ET

State of emergency declared in 2 Georgia counties after tornado strikes

[Update 5:13 p.m. ET] The storm system has settled down from severe levels as it moves east into the Carolinas. Further updates on Wednesday's weather and its aftermath will appear at this link.

[Update 4:48 p.m. ET] All tornado warnings in the Southeast have expired, the National Weather Service says.

[Update 4:43 p.m. ET] Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in Bartow and Gordon counties, where a tornado caused heavy damage earlier today. The declaration makes state resources immediately available to the two counties, Deal said.

[Update 4:17 p.m. ET] Tornado warnings are currently in effect in these counties:

In Georgia: Crawford, Lamar, Lee, Monroe, Talbot, Taylor, Terrell, Upson
In South Carolina: Greenville, Oconee, Pickens
In North Carolina: Transylvania

[Updated 4:04 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until 9:30 p.m. for Transylvania County, North Carolina, as the storm system pushes east. The service said 3 to 4 inches of rain had already fallen in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, with an additional 1 to 2 inches - and perhaps 5 inches - expected through the evening.

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Filed under: Weather
January 30th, 2013
04:32 PM ET

Suspect sought in Phoenix office shooting

Phoenix police said Wednesday they were searching for a suspect in the shooting of three people in an office building.
One person was severely wounded, but none of the injuries was life-threatening, Phoenix Police Public Information Officer James Holmes said.
The building houses several medical-related business.
The suspect, a white man in his mid-60s, may have fled the scene in a white vehicle, according to Holmes, who cited witnesses.

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Filed under: Arizona • Gun violence
January 30th, 2013
04:28 PM ET

Mexican cult accused of forced labor

A cult operating in Mexico, along the U.S. border, is accused of kidnapping and forcing victims to work and have sex, the country's National Migration Institute said Wednesday.
Fourteen foreigners - accused by victims' relatives of demanding "tithes" from local followers - were detained, and at least some are in the process of being deported, said the federal attorney general's office, or PGR.
Three Mexican citizens are being held on suspicion of human trafficking, the PGR said.
Immigration authorities and police raided the Defenders of Christ group in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the migration institute said Tuesday night. Nuevo Laredo is across the border from its sister city, Laredo, Texas.
Six of the detained foreigners were Spanish, two Brazilian, two Bolivian, two Venezuelan, one Argentinean and one Ecuadorean.

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Filed under: Crime • Mexico
January 30th, 2013
04:24 PM ET

Parents: New York City boy handcuffed over $5 theft

The family of a 7-year-old Bronx boy is suing the city of New York and its police force for $250 million, claiming the child was falsely arrested and handcuffed over a $5 theft.
After being accused of stealing the money from a fellow student in November, the parents say, the boy was taken out of his third-grade class in the Bronx and detained by authorities.
The family filed the suit last week, but the incident came into the spotlight early Wednesday in New York when the boy's mother released a photo of the boy being handcuffed.
The court filing says the child was handcuffed by police, held for 10 hours and charged with two counts of robbery that were later dropped.
But the New York Police Department disputes those allegations, saying the claims are exaggerated.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 30th, 2013
04:18 PM ET

Teen who performed at inaugural events slain

A teen who performed at events around President Barack Obama's inauguration was shot to death in Chicago this week, and now her story has become part of the debate in Washington over gun violence nationwide.
The shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton came up in a U.S. Senate hearing and a White House press briefing Wednesday.
"She was an honor student and a majorette," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. Performing at inaugural events last week "was the highlight of her young, 15-year-old life," he said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 30th, 2013
10:03 AM ET

Reports: Cowan to get Kerry's Senate seat

Massachusetts Gov. Patrick will announce Willam Cowan as interim U.S. senator to fill the seat vacated by John Kerry, who was confirmed Tuesday as U.S. secretary of state, the Boston Globe and CNN affiliate WBZ are reporting.

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Filed under: Politics
January 30th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

Economy contracted last quarter, feds say

The U.S. economy contracted at 0.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, the government says.

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Filed under: Economy
Giffords will give opening statement in Congress gun hearing
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on stage at the Democratic National Convention.
January 30th, 2013
07:47 AM ET

Giffords will give opening statement in Congress gun hearing

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will give an opening statement today at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, according to two sources close to Giffords.

It is the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the Connecticut school massacre that left 26 people dead. A top NRA official plans to tell lawmakers Wednesday that new weapons restrictions are not a "serious solution" to the problem.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, will be one of five witnesses at the hearing. Giffords' husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will also testify.

The hearing comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama's legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence after the Newtown shootings, which left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter, Adam Lanza, also killed his mother and himself.

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January 30th, 2013
07:37 AM ET

Wednesday'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 of your political coverage.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - Gun violence hearing - Expect sparks to fly at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on America's gun violence crisis.  Among those testifying - former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, as well as the NRA's Wayne LaPierre.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Gun Control • On CNN.com today • Politics
January 30th, 2013
07:31 AM ET

NRA says it adds 500,000 members since Newtown

The National Rifle Association has gained about a half million members since the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting. The NRA now has more than 4.5 million members, Andrew Arulanandam with the NRA tells CNN.

Read the latest on the gun debate:

Profile: The face of the NRA

Why new laws could miss America's bigger gun problem

Violent mentally ill can buy guns

Masculinity, mental illness and guns: A lethal equation?

Want to know more? Do you think there can there be a solution to America's gun problems? Anderson Cooper looks at both sides of the debate in "Guns Under Fire: an AC360Âş Town Hall Special" Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

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Filed under: Gun Control
January 30th, 2013
03:59 AM ET

Raging floodwaters kill dozens in Mozambique

Torrential rains sent rivers raging through towns in Mozambique, ripping up homes and killing at least 36 people over the past few days.

Tens of thousands fleeing affected areas remain stranded without food and water as fears of a humanitarian crisis grow.

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Filed under: World
January 30th, 2013
03:40 AM ET

World leaders seek $1.5 billion in aid for afflicted Syrians

The United Nations and world leaders are trying to tackle the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria at a fundraising event in Kuwait on Wednesday.

The pledging conference will address major shortfalls in a $1.5 billion goal to help Syrian refugees and those afflicted inside the country, said the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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Filed under: World
Venezuela's Chavez getting better, official says
January 30th, 2013
02:30 AM ET

Venezuela's Chavez getting better, official says

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was gradually recovering and handling more presidential duties, a government official said Tuesday.

"He's constantly thinking, making decisions, in meetings he's been giving out orders," the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Jorge Arreaza, said on Venezuela state TV.

Chavez, 58, has not made a public appearance since undergoing a fourth cancer surgery in Havana more than a month ago.

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Filed under: World
January 30th, 2013
01:07 AM ET

South Korea to make new attempt to put satellite in orbit

South Korea says it plans to make a new attempt on Wednesday at launching a rocket intended to put a satellite in orbit, a feat it has failed to achieve on previous occasions.

The pressure on the South Korean rocket scientists has increased since the country's hostile neighbor, North Korea, carried out its own successful launch last month in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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Filed under: World
January 30th, 2013
12:29 AM ET

Iraqi men living in Kentucky go to prison for plot to help al Qaeda

Two Iraqi men, who were living in Kentucky, were slapped with long prison sentences this week after being convicted of a series of charges involving a plot to help al Qaeda.

"These two former Iraqi insurgents participated in terrorist activities overseas and attempted to continue providing material support to terrorists while they lived here in the United States," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco. "Both men are being held accountable."

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan were arrested last August in Bowling Green, Kentucky in a terror-related sting operation.

After arriving in the United States, the men were monitored by federal authorities. The men told an FBI undercover agent they wanted to provide weapons and explosives to al Qaeda in Iraq, court documents said.

In 2010 and early 2011, Hammadi and Alwan provided sniper rifles, C4 plastic explosives, and two Stinger missiles to a truck they believed would be shipped to al Qaeda in Iraq. Authorities say none of the weapons were ever shipped, and remained under control of the FBI.

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Filed under: U.S.