A 26-year-old female intern was killed Wednesday afternoon by an African lion inside a cage at an exotic cat sanctuary in California, authorities said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this critical time," said Dale Anderson, founder of Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap.
The lion, a 5-year-old, 350-pound cat named Cous Cous, was shot and killed, officials said.
A French soldier was killed during a clash with Islamist fighters early Wednesday in northern Mali, the French Defense Ministry said. Four French soldiers have been killed in Mali since the beginning of France's military intervention there in January.
Hugo Chavez was as colorful as he was polarizing. Celebrating his 10th year in power four years ago, he held a jewel-encrusted sword of his hero, 19th-century revolutionary Simon Bolivar, and reminded a Caracas crowd what he was about.
"There is no other path to redemption for the human being than socialism," the Venezuelan president said, flanked by like-minded Latin American leaders helping him mark his anniversary.
After his death on Tuesday, detractors and fans had plenty to say about his fiery character and leftist pursuits, and it's hard to remember they're talking about the same guy.
He wrecked Venezuela's economy and trounced on democratic institutions and people's liberties, some say. He improved the lives of the poor and rightly stood up against "imperialist" nations, say others.
One of the more interesting tributes came from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared on his Farsi-language presidential website that Chavez was a great leader who will "resurrect" along with Jesus.
How many different ways can people look at Chavez? Here are a few:
When Hugo Chavez won re-election as Venezuela's president last fall, we shared five of his most colorful quotes with you.
After his death Tuesday we thought it would be worth doing so again.
In 2006, appearing at the U.N. General Assembly after President George W. Bush spoke there a day earlier, he had this to say:
"The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today."
According to a CNN report, Chavez said, "As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.'"
That wasn't his first time equating things and Americans with mythical evil beings. In 2005, he criticized the U.S. tradition of Halloween for "putting fear into other nations, putting fear into their own people."
"Families go and begin to disguise their children as witches. This is contrary to our way," he said, according to a BBC report.
In 2011, he suggested the influence of capitalism extended well beyond Earth.
"I have always said, have heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but perhaps capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived, and finished that planet," he said on state TV, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Chavez has also had doubts about U.S. foreign policy intentions, including after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
"I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said on his weekly television show, according to a Reuters report. "They are occupying Haiti undercover.
"On top of that, you don't see them in the streets. Are they picking up bodies? ... Are they looking for the injured? You don't see them. I haven't seen them. Where are they?"
And late last year, he said the United States could be using cancer as a weapon against him and other South American leaders who had been stricken with it.
"It's very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America," he said in a speech to the military, according to a Bloomberg News report. "Would it be so strange that they've invented technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years?"
Gabrielle Giffords, a former congresswoman shot and wounded more than two years ago, urged support for background checks on Wednesday.
She and her husband, Mark Kelly, spoke at a gun control rally in Tucson, Arizona, the same place where an assailant shot her in the head.
Kelly said his newly formed gun-control organization is sending a letter to U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, urging them to support background-check legislation.
The political outcome in the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's death remains uncertain, but in plazas across the country Wednesday, his followers made it clear they support a continuation of his policies.
Chavez put social programs at the center of his government, and his most fervent supporters credit him with providing their livelihood.
A day after setting all-time closing and inter-day records, the Dow Jones industrial average has hit another high.
Just minutes into Wednesday's trading session, the Dow rose 47 points to 14,300, a new inter-day record. The previous inter-day record, set yesterday, was 14,286.37.
Related news from CNNMoney:
Another day, another record for Dow?
ADP: Private sector job growth remains 'sturdy'
Dow record? Who cares? The economy still stinks!
A snowstorm that set snowfall records in Chicago yesterday is now giving an unscheduled day off for nearly 1 million students in states to the east.
More than 905,000 public school students are not going to classes Wednesday because of the winter storm slamming the United States, according to school districts in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio.
The numbers are a reflection of major districts only, and do not include many smaller districts in the storm-affected area.
The storm could dump as many as 20 inches of snow west of the nation's capital. At least 93,406 customers were without power Wednesday morning in Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia, according to numbers provided by local power companies.
Read more about the storm
Radar: Track the storm
iReport.com: Snow in Dayton, Ohio
$85 billion in automatic across-the-board cuts became law last week, as President Obama and Congress struggle to find a solution to the crisis. Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on this story.
Today's programming highlights...
9:30 am ET - Justice Department oversight hearing - Attorney General Eric Holder may discuss spending cuts and drones when he testifies at an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Slowly but surely, the Catholic Church's cardinals are putting themselves in position to elect a new pope.
All but two of the 115 cardinals eligible to elect the new pope are now in Rome, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi announced Wednesday. One more is due to arrive this afternoon, and the last one on Thursday, he said.
No date has yet been proposed for the secret election, or conclave, to select the successor to former pontiff Benedict XVI, who resigned last week. For more on today's developments at the Vatican, read this story.
Interactive: A look at possible papal contenders
How is a new pope elected?
A group representing survivors of sexual abuse by priests on Wednesday named a "Dirty Dozen" list of cardinals it said would be the worst candidates for pope based on their handling of child sex abuse claims.
Their presence on the list is based "on their actions and/or public comment about child sex abuse and cover up in the church," the group said.
The list includes cardinals from several countries.
SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, said as it released the list Wednesday that its accusations were based on press reports, legal filings and victims' statements.
The cardinals on the list have not yet responded to the move by SNAP.
A small fire broke out Wednesday at a Madrid hospital where King Juan Carlos is recovering after surgery.
The 75-year-old king was on the other end of the La Milagrosa hospital and did not need to be moved, the royal household said. He has been recuperting after undergoing an operation for herniated discs.
A day after launching airstrikes and mortar shells in a remote part of the island of Borneo, Malaysian security forces searched house-to-house Wednesday for gunmen from the Philippines who infiltrated the area last month and clashed with police.
The group of Filipino men is believed to number between 100 and 300.
It arrived three weeks ago on the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah, on Borneo, demanding recognition as representatives of an old sultanate that once ruled the area.
British newspapers are abuzz with speculation that Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine is expecting a girl after a member of the public reported hearing what seemed to be a hint that a daughter is on the way.
The Duchess of Cambridge was talking to members of the public on a visit to the coastal town of Grimsby, in northeast England, on Tuesday when the apparent slip of the tongue was made.
Sandra Cook, 67, said, "The lady next to me gave her a teddy bear and I distinctly heard her say: 'Thank you, I will take that for my d...' Then she stopped herself."
Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted for alleged crimes against humanity and the son of the nation's founding father, was leading early Wednesday in Kenya's presidential election.
With a little more than 40% of the vote counted, Kenyatta was leading - 53% to 42% - over his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, according to the election commission website
Six inches of snow in Chicago. A foot or so plastering the Upper Midwest. And up 20 inches expected just west of Washington D.C.
Surely, there's a silver lining to these snow clouds though, right? Don't they bring much-neeed moisture to parched states?
Snow is very fluffy, and it takes up to a foot of it to squeeze out an inch of rain, meteorologists say.
The number of Syrians who fled the country since the civil war began almost two years ago reached 1 million on Wednesday, the U.N. refugee agency said.
That number represents about 5% of Syria's total population, with an average of almost 1,400 refugees crossing the border daily.
"With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "This tragedy has to be stopped."
The person who ordered the acid attack that disfigured the artistic director of Russia's illustrious Bolshoi Ballet is a leading dancer with the troupe, Pavel Dmitrichenko, Russian police said Wednesday.
The director, Sergei Filin, was coming home around midnight January 17 when an masked attacker flung concentrated acid at him on a Moscow street, the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Police detained three people in connection with the attack, and said that all of them have confessed.
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