February 14th, 2013
09:39 PM ET

Fifth-grade boys' plot to kill a classmate thwarted

Two fifth-grade boys armed with a stolen semi-automatic gun, ammunition clip and knife plotted to kill a classmate in Washington state but were thwarted when another student informed a school employee, authorities said Thursday.

The two boys, who told police they considered the girl rude and annoying, won't be tried as adults and will be in court next Wednesday for a capacity hearing, said Tim Rasmussen, the Stevens County prosecuting attorney.

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February 14th, 2013
09:38 PM ET

U.S. OKs Penguin-Random House merger

Antitrust lawyers at the Justice Department Thursday paved the way for the proposed merger of publishers Random House and Penguin, which would create the biggest book publisher in the world, according to the parent companies.

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Crippled cruise ship slowly limping toward shore
February 14th, 2013
08:04 PM ET

Crippled cruise ship slowly limping toward shore

  • Tugboats towing crippled Carnival Triumph from Gulf of Mexico to Alabama port
  • Passenger to CNN by phone: "Just get us out of here."
  • More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members living in squalid conditions since fire knocked out power on Sunday.
  • Ship expected in Mobile, Alabama, Thursday night or early Friday.
  • Get updates below; watch live; read our full story here; read: passengers, family vent online
  • Are you aboard? Share your story

[Updated at 8:04 p.m. ET] Triumph passenger Sylvester Davis, backing up what other passengers have said today, told CNN by phone that the ship was cleaner today.

“It got a lot better once the notification went out that the (National Transportation Safety Board) and the Coast Guard was coming on board," Davis said. "They spent a lot of time cleaning up, and it's sort of frustrating because it doesn't look like now the way it’s been looking and the way we've been living.”

[Updated at 7:36 p.m. ET] We've received video, taken Sunday morning, showing smoke from the fire that knocked out the ship's power. The video was sent to us by passenger Megan Clemons-Foxall.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET] The end of the trip is near: The ship is about 17 miles from the dock. We're anticipating an arrival between 10 p.m. ET and midnight ET.

It won't be over immediately for the crew and passengers. Because more than 4,000 people are aboard, and there's just one working elevator, Carnival anticipates it'll take about four or five hours to get everyone off the ship.

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Filed under: Travel
Body identified as Dorner's, police say
February 14th, 2013
06:52 PM ET

Body identified as Dorner's, police say

Medical examiners have confirmed that the charred body found in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, California, is that of Christopher Dorner, the rogue ex-cop wanted in a string of killings around the Los Angeles area, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced Thursday.

Identification was made through dental records, sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said. The cause of death wasn't immediately released.

Police say they tracked Dorner to a cabin south of Big Bear Lake, California, on Tuesday, leading to a shootout that killed one deputy. A SWAT team eventually stormed the cabin Tuesday evening, leading to a fire in which authorities now say Dorner died.

Authorities say Dorner launched a guerrilla war against the Los Angeles Police Department over what he considered his unfair dismissal in 2009. Police say they believe Dorner killed four people including two law enforcement officers since February 3.

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Filed under: California • Crime
Republicans stall Hagel nomination
February 14th, 2013
05:22 PM ET

Republicans stall Hagel nomination

It appears a Senate vote on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel will be delayed for more than a week.

The Senate Thursday afternoon failed to garner enough votes to stop a filibuster against Hagel (pictured). Fifty-eight senators voted to move forward with the nomination, while 40 voted to hold it up. One senator, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, announced present, and Republican Sen. David Vitter missed the vote.

Sixty votes were needed to move the nomination forward. Senate Republicans initiated the filibuster over questions about Hagel's finances, as well as remaining tension between some Republican senators and the White House over the September terror attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

However, Republicans signaled they'd be willing to allow the nomination to proceed after recess, when only a simply majority of 51 votes are required to end a filibuster. The Senate is not in session next week.

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February 14th, 2013
04:59 PM ET

Illinois Senate passes same-sex marriage measure

The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, voting 34-21.

The state House will consider it next. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has indicated that he would sign the bill.

Illinois would be the 10th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage, according to Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Illinois • Same-sex marriage
Lautenberg won't seek re-election in 2014
February 14th, 2013
04:18 PM ET

Lautenberg won't seek re-election in 2014

Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who has served five terms in the U.S. Senate since 1982, will not seek re-election next year when his term expires, the senator said in a statement Thursday.

Lautenberg, 89, returned to the Senate in mid-January after missing key votes over a weeks-long absence due to a cold which "turned into the flu, turned into a severe case of bronchitis with fluid in the chest," he said last month.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker formed a Senate campaign committee last month to explore a run for the seat while a Quinnipiac University poll released around the same time found Booker would lead Lautenberg 51% to 30% in a head-to-head matchup.

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Filed under: New Jersey • Politics
February 14th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Oscar Pistorius charged with murder in death of model girlfriend

[Updated 10:30 a.m. ET] Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his South Africa home early Thursday.

Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year. Check our full story for the latest.

[Updated 8:03 a.m. ET] The suspect will appear in court Friday rather than today because the public prosecutor needs time to prepare the case, police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale told CNN.

The state will oppose bail, police spokeswoman Denise Beukes told reporters.

[Posted 2:45 a.m.] A woman was found fatally shot in the upscale Pretoria home of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, police said Thursday.

The victim was model Reeva Steenkamp, according to Capacity Relations, the agency that represents her. Steenkamp was Pistorius' girlfriend.

Police said they have arrested a 26-year-old man the same age as Pistorius in connection with the shooting, and that he will appear in Pretoria magistrate court sometime Thursday.

Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year.

Police said Pistorius was cooperating with them.

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February 14th, 2013
10:00 AM ET

7 slain in Pakistan bombing

A suicide bomber in northwestern Pakistan rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a military checkpoint on Thursday and killed seven people, police said.

The bomber targeted paramilitary forces and soldiers, senior police official Shaukat Ali Shah said. Four civilians, including two women, were among the dead. Eight others were injured.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Ex-girlfiend: Dorner was stressed out, bottled up
February 14th, 2013
07:57 AM ET

Ex-girlfiend: Dorner was stressed out, bottled up

An ex-girlfriend of slain murder suspect Christopher Dorner said the former L.A. policeman worked in a pressure cooker and she was afraid he would target her after she heard he was the object of a manhunt.

"It was very scary, and, you know, I made a decision to speak out because if anything had happened to me, I'd want my family to at least have an idea about maybe who it was," Arianna Williams told CNN on Thursday.

Authorities say Dorner launched a guerrilla war against the Los Angeles Police Department over what he considered his unfair dismissal in 2009. He allegedly fatally shot four people and was killed in a fire at a cabin in Big Bear Lake, California, when he was cornered after a manhunt.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
February 14th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

Thursday's live events

President Obama and Congress look to avert $85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts scheduled for March 1.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the sequestration crisis.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - Sequestration threat hearing - Three Cabinet secretaries and others will testify before a Senate committee on how the threatened spending cuts would affect their departments.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Congress • Economy • On CNN.com today • Politics
Arrival time for stricken cruise ship moved back
February 14th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

Arrival time for stricken cruise ship moved back

The Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that had been marooned in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to arrive in Mobile, Alabama, between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET Thursday, according to an official briefed on plans for the recovery of the vessel.

On Wednesday, the plan was for the vessel to arrive in the early Thursday afternoon, but rough waves overnight has slowed the recovery.

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Filed under: Alabama • Travel • U.S.
Teen dies as crowds protest in Bahrain on 2nd anniversary of uprising
Protesters run for cover from tear gas following an anti-government rally to demand political reforms on Tuesday.
February 14th, 2013
05:44 AM ET

Teen dies as crowds protest in Bahrain on 2nd anniversary of uprising

A teen died in clashes in Bahrain as protesters hit the streets Thursday on the two-year anniversary of a failed uprising in the nation, authorities said.

Authorities are investigating the Thursday morning death of a 16-year-old teen and trying to determine how it occurred, according to a government statement.

Al-Wefaq, Bahrain's main Shiite opposition party, said the teen was killed when he was hit by bird pellets shot by Bahraini security forces.

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Filed under: World
100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say
Tibetans-in-exile hold a candlelight vigil following the self-immolation attempt by a monk in Kathmandu on February 13, 2013.
February 14th, 2013
05:42 AM ET

100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say

The number of Tibetans in China who have set themselves on fire to protest Beijing's rule has reached 100, according to Tibetan advocacy groups.

Lobsang Namgyal, a 37-year-old former monk, set himself on fire earlier this month in Aba prefecture, known in Tibetan as Ngaba, an ethnically Tibetan area of the Chinese province of Sichuan, according to Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy group.

"This grim milestone should be a source of shame to the Chinese authorities who are responsible and to the world leaders who have yet to show any leadership in response to the ongoing crisis in Tibet," said Stephanie Brigden, the director of Free Tibet.

Self-immolation has become a desperate form of protest in recent years for ethnic Tibetans unhappy with Chinese rule, and it shows no sign of abating.

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Filed under: China • Nepal • Tibet • World
Passengers count hours on 'floating petri dish' of a cruise ship as it limps to shore
February 14th, 2013
03:54 AM ET

Passengers count hours on 'floating petri dish' of a cruise ship as it limps to shore

Squalid, smelly and steamy, the crippled cruise ship Carnival Triumph limped toward port on Thursday, its passengers and crew looking forward to a breath of fresh air.

The laborious slog through the Gulf of Mexico tested not only the senses of the thousands on board, but their patience as well.

Towed by three tugboats, the ship is on track to arrive at terminal in Mobile, Alabama, around 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

The Triumph was expected to navigate the "safety fairway," or the corridor into Mobile Bay, late Wednesday night, bringing it around 10 a.m. Thursday to the point where a pilot from the Port of Mobile will board the ship and guide it to dock, the same official said.

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Filed under: Travel • U.S.
February 14th, 2013
01:22 AM ET

Illinois Senate to vote on same-sex marriage bill on Valentine's Day

The Illinois Senate will vote Thursday Valentine's Day on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

Because Democrats have supermajority control of the General Assembly, the measure is expected to be approved. After the Senate vote, the measure would be considered by the House.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has indicated he would sign the bill.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Gender • U.S.