NFL checking 'do you like girls' allegation
Nick Kasa plays for Colorado against Stanford last November. Kasa says an NFL team asked him an inappropriate question.
February 27th, 2013
08:38 PM ET

NFL checking 'do you like girls' allegation

The National Football League is investigating whether draft prospect Nick Kasa was questioned about his sexual orientation during a recent skills audition for NFL scouts and coaches, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Kasa, who played tight end at the University of Colorado, told CNN earlier Wednesday that during the audition, he was asked: "Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?"

"Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline," said Greg Aiello of the NFL.

League policy states that teams "neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process," Aiello said. "In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation."

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Filed under: Football • Pro football • Sports
Aide: CIA director vote to be held Tuesday
The Senate Intelligence Committee vote on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director is expected to take place Tuesday.
February 27th, 2013
06:50 PM ET

Aide: CIA director vote to be held Tuesday

The Senate Intelligence Committee vote on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director is expected to take place Tuesday, a congressional aide said. The vote had originally been planned for Thursday.

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Filed under: Politics
Jack Lew approved as Treasury secretary
The Senate has approved Jack Lew, 57, as Treasury secretary.
February 27th, 2013
06:13 PM ET

Jack Lew approved as Treasury secretary

The Senate voted on Wednesday to confirm Jack Lew as U.S. Treasury secretary. Lew, 57, most recently served as the White House chief-of-staff.

As a former budget director for Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton, Lew has overseen budget talks in times of deficits and also surpluses.

As the secretary of the Treasury, Lew will run U.S. domestic financial policy and is charged with collecting federal taxes and managing public debt, among other duties.

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Filed under: Economy • Politics
Police seek Coaster Carolina killer
Police respond to a shooting at a Coastal Carolina University dorm on Tuesday night.
February 27th, 2013
03:48 PM ET

Police seek Coaster Carolina killer

Coastal Carolina University students returned to class Wednesday, a day after someone killed a student at a campus dormitory.

Police still do not have a suspect or even a description of one, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

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February 27th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Complaint filed in transgender child's case

A civil rights complaint is being filed on behalf of a transgendered child barred by her Colorado school district from using girls' restrooms, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

The complaint to a Colorado civil rights agency, on behalf of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, will be the first to challenge a restriction on a transgender person's bathroom use under Colorado's anti-discrimination laws, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund told reporters in Denver.

First-grader Coy, who was born with male sex organs but identifies herself as female, had been allowed to use her school's girls' bathrooms until school officials barred her from doing so after winter break, her family says.

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Classical pianist Van Cliburn dead at 78
Van Cliburn, whose 1958 victory in a major Moscow competition swelled U.S. pride when it was near a Cold War low, died Wednesday.
February 27th, 2013
12:32 PM ET

Classical pianist Van Cliburn dead at 78

Van Cliburn, a classical pianist honored by a New York ticker-tape parade for winning a major Moscow competition in 1958, died Wednesday after a battle with bone cancer, his publicist said.

"He died peacefully in his Fort Worth, Texas, home ... surrounded by loved ones," spokeswoman Mary Lou Falcone said.

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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Texas
Bobby Brown ordered to jail for DUI
Nobby Brown performs in Newark, New Jersey, on February 19, 2012.
February 27th, 2013
11:18 AM ET

Bobby Brown ordered to jail for DUI

After two drunken driving convictions in a year, singer Bobby Brown is going to jail for 55 days.

Brown, 44, has been ordered to report to Los Angeles County jail on March 20 after he pleaded guilty to charges including driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, according to city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan.

Brown's most recent arrest came in October, when he was pulled over on Ventura Boulevard. His license had been suspended because of an earlier drunken driving charge from an April arrest.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Showbiz
Obama, lawmakers may discuss cuts Friday
February 27th, 2013
09:56 AM ET

Obama, lawmakers may discuss cuts Friday

Congressional leaders have been invited to the White House on Friday, the day forced federal spending cuts are scheduled to start taking effect, according to a senior Republican aide.

The aide told CNN that Republicans do not anticipate the meeting to be anything more than optics - an effort, the aide said, by President Barack Obama to show he is at least talking to Congress on the day the cuts are supposed to kick in.

But the aide added it wasn't clear what was on the president's agenda.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Politics
Hagel sworn in as defense secretary
New U.S. defense secretary Chuck Hagel took the oath of office Wednesday morning at the Pentagon.
February 27th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Hagel sworn in as defense secretary

One day after winning a bruising nomination battle, Chuck Hagel is in charge of the Pentagon.

Hagel, the former Republican U.S. senator from Nebraska, was sworn in as secretary of defense Wednesday morning. He took the oath in a private ceremony at the Pentagon on his first day at work and will make remarks to service members and civilian employees of the department later Wednesday morning.

The Senate confirmed him Tuesday following a long battle with Republican senators who opposed some of his previous statements and positions.

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Filed under: Military • Pentagon • Politics
February 27th, 2013
07:43 AM ET

Fire reported at London hotel

[Updated at 8:20 a.m. ET] A fire broke out Wednesday in a central London hotel, a local fire brigade said.

Part of the Royal Court Apartments' fifth floor was in flames. Dozens of firefighters are at the scene trying to put the blaze under control.

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Filed under: United Kingdom
February 27th, 2013
07:42 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

$85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts will take place if President Obama and Congress can't reach a deal by March 1.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on this story.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - Assault weapons ban legislation briefing - The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on proposed legislation that, if signed into law, would ban the sale and manufacturing of dozens of firearms.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Congress • Dollars & Sense • Economy • Gun Control • On CNN.com today • Politics
February 27th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

Reports: Dead, injured in Switzerland shooting

[Updated at 9:14 a.m. ET] A gunman killed two people and himself, and injured seven other people, in Wednesday's shooting at a lumber plant near Lucerne, Switzerland, local media reported.

[Updated at 6:34 a.m. ET] Several people were killed in a shooting at a wood manufacturing factory on the outskirts of the central Swiss city of Lucerne on Wednesday, police said. Several others were wounded.

Rescuers flew four critically wounded people to two area hospitals, according to air rescue spokeswoman Karine Hoerhager.

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February 27th, 2013
05:03 AM ET

Japan minister sees no end to whaling

Japan will never stop its annual hunt for whales, a government minister has reportedly said, amid recent clashes on the high seas between environmental activists and Japanese whaling ships.

"I don't think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan," Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said in an interview with the French news service Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.

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Filed under: Animals • Japan • Whales • wildlife
17 shot dead in Afghanistan
An ISAF soldier stands at the scene of an attack against a bus carrying Afghan army personnel in Kabul on Wednesday.
February 27th, 2013
05:01 AM ET

17 shot dead in Afghanistan

Militants shot dead 17 people, including 10 Afghan police officers, as the victims slept early Wednesday morning, officials said.

In addition to the officers at a police outpost in Ghazni province, seven of their friends and relatives who were spending the night were also killed, provincial Gov. Musa Khan Akbarzada said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
Snowstorm loses steam, but still packs a punch
February 27th, 2013
04:53 AM ET

Snowstorm loses steam, but still packs a punch

Cabin fever can breed creativity.

Snowed in and separated from her husband on their 19th anniversary, military wife Martha Bond got out the pots and pans and fashioned a wedding cake out of the fresh snow that fell in her Andover, Kansas, yard, just outside of Wichita.

Her husband, Cliff Bond, is currently deployed. She texted him a photo.

"We had two weddings. We got married on February 26 and then the 5th of March, so this is marking the beginning of wedding week," she said. "I want to see if the cake will last that long without melting."

The worst of a brutal winter storm may be over for many, but plenty of residents of the Great Plains and Kansas are still coping with its effects.

Ice and falling branches downed power lines that are still to be prepared. And the heavy, wet snow made getting around difficult, whether by car or by foot.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
February 27th, 2013
04:14 AM ET

Thousands bid farewell to pope

[Updated at 6:59 a.m. ET] In his final general audience, Pope Benedict XVI told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square about his own spiritual journey through eight years as pontiff.

Dressed all in white and looking serene, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics called for a renewal of faith.

As he finished, cheers erupted from the crowd in the square - acknowledged by Benedict, who is steeping down tomorrow, with an open-armed embrace.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Christian • Religion
February 27th, 2013
04:05 AM ET

Egypt balloon inquiry could take 2 weeks

It could take a while to learn the cause of a hot air balloon explosion that killed 19 people in Egypt this week.

An official investigation into Tuesday's accident - the world's deadliest hot air balloon accident in at least 20 years - could take two weeks, the governor of Luxor province said Wednesday.

Preliminary investigations confirmed no foul play was involved when gas canisters aboard the balloon exploded, causing it to plummet about 1,000 feet (300 meters) to the ground, Gov. Ezzat Saad said.

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Transgendered girl files complaint after ban
February 27th, 2013
03:29 AM ET

Transgendered girl files complaint after ban

Just like she did during the first half of the school year, first grader Coy Mathis wants to use the girls' restroom at her Colorado elementary school. But school officials won't let her.

The reason? Coy is transgendered, born with male sex organs but a child who identifies herself as female.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S.
February 27th, 2013
02:34 AM ET

Iran, P5+1 conclude second round of talks

Diplomats emerged Wednesday from an unusually secretive round of talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program with a joint announcement to hold a follow-up meeting within weeks.

In a joint statement after the meeting in Kazakhstan, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, announced that technical experts would meet in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 18.

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Filed under: Iran • Nuclear
February 27th, 2013
02:08 AM ET

Fire kills 18 in India

A fire that swept through a six-story building in the east Indian city of Kolkata killed at least 18 people early Wednesday morning, authorities said.

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