Suit filed over corpse in rooftop cistern
February 28th, 2013
06:16 PM ET

Suit filed over corpse in rooftop cistern

Two former guests have filed suit against the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, where the body of a 21-year-old woman was found in mid-February in a rooftop water tank.

Steve and Gloria Cott filed suit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Elisa Lam's decomposing body floated inside a water tank for as long as 19 days while guests used water from it to brushed their teeth, bathe and drink.

The hotel did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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Filed under: California • Courts • Justice • Los Angeles • Uncategorized
Las Vegas suspect is caught
February 28th, 2013
05:18 PM ET

Las Vegas suspect is caught

Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 26, the suspect in a shooting and crash that left three people dead last week in Las Vegas, has been arrested in Los Angeles, the FBI said Thursday.

FBI spokeswoman Lourdes Arocho said Harris was apprehended by the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department Fugitive Task Force at noon (3 p.m. ET) in the North Hollywood section of the city.

Harris, who police said has an extensive criminal history, was considered armed and dangerous.

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Filed under: California • Justice • Las Vegas • Los Angeles • Nevada
February 28th, 2013
04:38 PM ET

Sheriff: Mississippi man faces murder charge

Lawrence Reed faces a murder charge in the death of Marco McMillian, a mayoral candidate in Clarksdale, Mississippi, according to the Coahoma County Sheriff's Office.

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Filed under: Crime • Mississippi • Politics
Cowboy actor Dale Robertson dead at 89
Actor Dale Robertson died Tuesday. He was 89.
February 28th, 2013
04:05 PM ET

Cowboy actor Dale Robertson dead at 89

Dale Robertson learned that he had Stage 4 cancer just last week, while he was being treated for pneumonia.

Robertson, whose horse expertise, Oklahoma roots and handsome looks helped him win cowboy roles in 1950s and '60s, died this week at age 89, his wife said Thursday.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Showbiz • TV
February 28th, 2013
03:28 PM ET

Somali leader wants amnesty for boy pirates

Somalia's president intends to offer partial amnesty to boys involved with pirate groups, a move designed to curb attacks on shipping off the Horn of Africa, his office says.

"We have been negotiating with pirates indirectly through the elders to see if we can organize a partial amnesty for the young boys lured in this criminal activity," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a statement released by his office Thursday.

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Filed under: Somalia
February 28th, 2013
02:57 PM ET

Floating restaurant sinks in Baghdad, 5 die

At least five people died Thursday when a floating restaurant sank in the Tigris River in central Baghdad, police said.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East
Obama's same-sex marriage decision expected
Prop 8 and another appeal over the federal Defense of Marriage Act will produce blockbuster rulings from the justices in coming months.
February 28th, 2013
02:48 PM ET

Obama's same-sex marriage decision expected

President Barack Obama faces a monumental choice today over whether to put the force of his office behind the idea that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

Government sources say the Justice Department will by day's end articulate a legal position in the so-called Proposition 8 case, a ban by California voters over same-sex marriage that is now being challenged in the Supreme Court.

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February 28th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Benedict: I'm 'simply a pilgrim' now

  • Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, takes effect at 2 p.m. ET (8 p.m. in Rome)
  • Benedict now in papal retreat 15 miles from Vatican; tells crowd he's starting the last part of his pilgrimage on Earth
  • Benedict, 85, met with cardinals Thursday morning, pledges his "unconditional obedience" to the next pope
  • Updates below; full story here; see CNN Mexico's coverage in Spanish

[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET] Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended 10 minutes ago, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.

[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.

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Manning pleads guilty to 11 charges
Pfc. Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
February 28th, 2013
01:35 PM ET

Manning pleads guilty to 11 charges

[Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET] Pfc. Bradley Manning, after pleading guilty to half of the 22 charges against him in a case of document leaks to WikiLeaks, has explained in court why and how he leaked classified material.

In an hourlong statement in court, he said he passed on what "upset" or "disturbed" him but nothing he thought would harm the United States if it became public.

[Posted at 12:48 p.m. ET] Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to half of the 22 charges against him, but not the major one, in what the government says is the largest leak of classified documents in the nation's history.

The Army intelligence analyst is accused of stealing thousands of classified documents while serving in Iraq. The material was then published online by WikiLeaks.

The group, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information through its website, has never confirmed that Manning was the source of its information.

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February 28th, 2013
10:04 AM ET

Parents: School punishing transgender child

The parents of a transgender girl rejected a central argument Thursday from the school that won't allow their child to use the girl's restroom.

"They're punishing a 6-year-old for something that hasn't happened and may not happen," said Kathryn Mathis, mother of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, who was born with a boy's body but identifies as a girl.  Mathis and her husband Jeremy, sitting alongside their daughter, spoke with CNN's "Starting Point."

The Colorado school, in a December letter to the parents, said that "as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls' restroom."

A legal fund has field suit on the family's behalf, putting Colorado's anti-discrimination law to a new test.

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Filed under: Colorado
February 28th, 2013
10:03 AM ET

Strong quake reported in Pacific

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake has been reported in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of far eastern Russia, the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday.

The location is near the Kuril Islands, more than 50 miles southeast of Ozernovskiy, Russia.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Russia
February 28th, 2013
08:54 AM ET

Vatican: Phone taps might have been OK'd

Vatican magistrates may have authorized the tapping of two or three telephone lines during the investigation into leaks from the pope's private apartments, a Vatican spokesman said Thursday.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi was responding to a report in the Italian weekly magazine Panorama claiming that there had been a large-scale wiretapping and surveillance operation during the investigation. He denied there had been "a massive" operation on the scale reported by the magazine, saying there was "no foundation" for the article.

If there was any wiretapping or surveillance, "it's a very small process," Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica said. Both spokesmen denied that the operation had been ordered by the three cardinals commissioned to write a report into the scandal, saying that if it had happened, it was ordered by magistrates.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Italy • Religion
February 28th, 2013
07:40 AM ET

Thursday's live events

$85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts will happen unless President Obama and Congress reach a deal by tomorrow.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on this story.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - State of the U.S. economy hearing - The threat of forced budget cuts will likely be discussed when the Joint Economic Committee meets to discuss the health of the U.S. economy.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Congress • Dollars & Sense • Economy • On CNN.com today • Politics
February 28th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

U.S. giving $60M more to Syrian opposition

The United States will provide an additional $60 million in assistance to the Syrian opposition over the coming months, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday.

Kerry announced the aid after he met with Syria's national opposition coalition leader, Moaz Al-Khatib in Rome.

The funds will enable the opposition group to help local councils and communities in liberated areas expand the delivery of basic goods and essential services.

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Filed under: John Kerry • Syria
February 28th, 2013
04:58 AM ET

Report: Fukushima's health impact limited

The lifetime risk of contracting certain types of cancer rose only slightly for a small group of people, due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Otherwise, any increase in human disease in the wake of the partial meltdown triggered by the March 2011 tsunami is "likely to remain below detectable levels," according to the report.

People exposed in childhood in towns close to the Daiichi power plant are slightly more likely to contract leukemia, breast or thyroid cancer in the course of their lives than the general population, the WHO said.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Health • Japan
February 28th, 2013
03:51 AM ET

Snowstorm lingers in Maine, New Hampshire

It was a winter weather tale as old as, well, modern time: car vs. the snow plow.

"There's our friend and our nemesis, the plow. Ugh," said David Bradley, whose car was buried Wednesday by a plow clearing streets in Toronto, Canada.

Forty-five minutes later, he was still trying to dig out his car from a fierce snowstorm that paralyzed parts of the United States and Canada, leaving hundreds of thousands with out power and stranding thousands more.

Similar scenes were playing from Wisconsin to Michigan, from Kansas to Texas, as thousands began digging out from a storm that began last Sunday as a blizzard in the Great Plains.

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Filed under: Maine • New Hampshire • Weather • Winter weather
Woman no longer sought in Las Vegas shooting
Las Vegas police named Ammar Harris as a suspect in a shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, which resulted in a crash. Three people were killed.
February 28th, 2013
03:05 AM ET

Woman no longer sought in Las Vegas shooting

Police are no longer looking for a woman in connection with a fatal shooting and crash that left three people dead on the Las Vegas Strip.

"Yenesis Alfonso, also known as Tineesha Howard, is no longer considered to be a missing person and is no longer a person of interest" in the homicide investigation, Las Vegas police said in a statement late Wednesday.

The 22-year-old was never named as a suspect, but detectives wanted to talk to her in connection with the case. The police statement says the investigation is ongoing.

Police didn't say why she was no longer considered a person of interest.

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Filed under: Crime • Las Vegas • Nevada
February 28th, 2013
02:24 AM ET

Benedict XVI enters last day as pope

When night falls Thursday over Vatican City, there will be no pope in residence.

After nearly eight tumultuous years at the head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Benedict XVI has made the almost unprecedented decision to stand down.

That resignation, which takes effect at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET), opens up the prospect of unforeseen opportunities and challenges for the Roman Catholic Church.

As Benedict closes the door behind him, many are wondering whether a new pontiff will choose to lead the church in a different direction - and can lift it out of the mire of scandal that has bogged down this pope's time in office.

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Filed under: World
February 28th, 2013
02:23 AM ET

Australian police make record meth seizure

It all started with a simple phone call.

But the result, Australian police say, is by far their largest seizure of methamphetamine - as much as $450 million (438 million Australian dollars) worth of the destructive drug, shipped from southern China and caught in Sydney.

Police have arrested three men in the operation - an Australian, a Singaporean and a Hong Kong citizen - and say they believe the bust has thrown a major international crime syndicate into disarray. More arrests could follow, they add.

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Filed under: Crime • Uncategorized • World