Lawmakers press FBI on Benghazi attack
A man holds a rifle outside the burning U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi in September 2012.
July 31st, 2013
10:48 PM ET

Lawmakers press FBI on Benghazi attack

A Republican lawmaker demanded Wednesday to know why investigators have not captured or killed any of the suspects in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, pointing out that CNN was able to find a man who some say was the ringleader in the assault that left the ambassador and three other Americans dead.

Eight GOP lawmakers are asking that incoming FBI Director James Comey brief Congress within 30 days about the investigation. They say the administration's inquiry into the September 11, 2011, attacks in Libya has been "simply unacceptable," according to a draft letter obtained by CNN.

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Filed under: Libya • Politics
Police report: Zimmerman pulled over in Texas
George Zimmerman has been largely out of the public spotlight since his acquittal earlier this month.
July 31st, 2013
05:02 PM ET

Police report: Zimmerman pulled over in Texas

George Zimmerman - who was acquitted earlier this month on murder charges tied to Trayvon Martin's death - was stopped this weekend for a traffic violation in North Texas, according to a report from the Forney, Texas, police department.

The incident happened shortly after noon Sunday, when an officer pulled over Zimmerman's 2008 gray Honda for what was described only as a traffic stop.

He was given a verbal warning, police said.

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Filed under: Florida • Texas • Trayvon Martin
U.N. off to Syria to probe chemical weapons
A Syrian man dons a homemade gas mask to guard against chemical weapons attacks in Latakia province.
July 31st, 2013
04:46 PM ET

U.N. off to Syria to probe chemical weapons

U.N. inspectors will travel to Syria "as soon as possible" to investigate three reports of chemical weapons use, a U.N. spokesperson said Wednesday.

The announcement of the upcoming visit followed talks last week between Syria's government and a U.N. representative for disarmament affairs, according to the U.N. statement.

Syria has been embroiled in a bloody civil war for more than two years, during which more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions have been displaced or become refugees in other countries, according to the United Nations.

Amid the fighting, there have been numerous allegations that chemical weapons have been used.

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July 17th, 2013
09:08 AM ET

Tainted school lunch kills 22 kids

At least 22 schoolchildren died in northeastern India after eating free school lunches that contained a poison, a state official said.

More than 25 others have been hospitalized in Bihar state, said Education Minister P.K. Shahi, after ingesting an insecticide that was in the food.

The poison was organophosphorous, a chemical that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is commonly used in agriculture.

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Filed under: Education • India
July 17th, 2013
09:04 AM ET

Cuba: It's our weapons on N.K. ship

It was a mystery that Panama's president said his country was struggling to solve.

What was the massive military equipment hidden under hundreds of thousands of sacks of brown sugar on a North Korean boat? Where did it come from? And where was it going before investigators seized the vessel near the Panama Canal?

Hours after Panama said it would ask U.S. and British officials for help solving the puzzle, Cuba gave an answer Tuesday night.

In addition to 10,000 tons of sugar, Cuba's Foreign Ministry said, the shipment contained "240 metric tons of obsolete defensive weapons" sent to North Korea "to be repaired and returned to Cuba."

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Filed under: Cuba • North Korea • Panama
July 17th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Discord, details flow after Zimmerman trial

The George Zimmerman murder trial is over, but details from the case continue to emerge at a dizzying pace.

Several jurors have spoken out after the verdict. The prosecution's key witness has been offered a full ride to college. And Attorney General Eric Holder blasted "stand your ground" laws but gave no hint about whether Zimmerman will face civil rights charges.

Here's the latest on the Zimmerman trial aftermath:

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Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
Egypt coup: Some shocked, some elated
A man with his face painted in Egyptian colors celebrates in Tahrir Square.
July 4th, 2013
12:19 AM ET

Egypt coup: Some shocked, some elated

  • Today, Egypt swore in an interim president, Adly Mansour
  • Deposed President Mohamed Morsy remains under house arrest
  • The Muslim Brotherhood says Morsy is cut off from communications
  • Tahrir Square is quiet, and some protesters are making plans to clean up the trash there
  • Refresh this page for the latest news we're seeing and hearing. Catch up with our full story here.

[Update 7:00 a.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. in Egypt] ...250...the number of arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood members in connection with killings in front of MB headquarters, which came under attack days ago.  Egypt's new prosecutor general, who Morsy had deposed, issued the warrants.

Muslim Brotherhood headquarters after they were attack.

[Updated at 6:50 a.m. ET, 12:50 p.m. in Egypt] Bahrain's King al-Khalifa, who has had to deal with his own popular uprising, enthusiastically congratulated interim President Adly Mansour "on taking over the reins of power in Egypt at this important time in history."  Iran's state-run Mehr News Agency gave Morsy a kick over his religious orientation on his way out: "Sunni Morsi immediately turned into a critical figure against the Iranian Shia government and has not allowed Iran to appoint an ambassador in Cairo."

[Updated at 5:28 a.m. ET, 11:28 a.m. in Egypt] Mansour says the Egyptian people have empowered him to "amend and correct" the revolution.

[Updated at 5:28 a.m. ET, 11:28 a.m. in Egypt] Who is interim President Adly Mansour?  His low-key demeanor might be the very reason the military picked him, analysts say. CNN's Faith Karimi explains.

[Updated at 5:11 a.m. ET, 11:11 a.m. in Egypt] Mansour appears before Egypt's assembly, prepares to speak.

[Updated at 5:11 a.m. ET, 11:11 a.m. in Egypt] Did Morsy's personal style rub Egyptians the wrong way and contribute to his downfall? Read this portrait of the deposed president by CNN's Laura Smith-Spark.

Also, "coup" or no "coup?" CNN's Christian Amanpour does not mince words:

[Updated at 4:50 a.m. ET, 10:50 a.m. in Egypt] Reactions have been pouring in from world leaders. Most of them are along the same lines: carefully formulated, and express respect for the will of the Egyptian people. Among the countries that have sent in reactions are Morocco, Jordan ....

[Updated at 4:38 a.m. ET, 10:38 a.m. in Egypt] CNN's Ian Lee reporting in front of the high court: This is the same place, where Mosry was installed just a year ago.

[Updated at 4:34 a.m. ET, 10:34 a.m. in Egypt] Mansour remains chief justice, as well, Egyptian state TV reports.

[Updated at 4:28 a.m. ET, 10:28 a.m. in Egypt]  Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour was sworn in in Cairo.

[Updated at 4:16 a.m. ET, 10:16 a.m. in Egypt] Two leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested today, Egytian state radio reports. The former speaker of parliament and a member of the party's executive office were taken to Cairo's Torah prison.

[Updated at 4:10 a.m. ET, 10:10 a.m. in Egypt] Today, the European Union called on Egypt to go down the path of democracy, human rights and non-violence.  Its head of foreign affairs and security, Catherine Ashton, said:

"I welcome the peaceful manner in which most demonstrations have been conducted thus far, but I find continuing cases of sexual abuse of female protesters deeply troubling. I urge all sides to show restraint.... Confrontation cannot be a solution."

[Updated at 3:53 a.m. ET, 9:53 a.m. in Egypt]  Egypt's military has arrested Morsy and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It shut down pro-MB broadcasters and raided al Jazeera's Cairo office after it aired a statement by the deposed president.  Then army leaders say today that the military will protect Islamists from attacks and intimidation, state-run Nile TV reports.  And they say they will not shut any factions out of political life.  That brings up an interesting question:

[Updated at 2:52 a.m. ET, 8:52 a.m. in Egypt] Human Rights Watch weighs in on what the Muslim Brotherhood should do next:

[Updated at 2:41 a.m. ET, 8:41 a.m. in Egypt] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is concerned about stability in Egypt but also respects the will of the people. He hopes Egypt will exit the current crisis stronger.

[Updated at 2:28 a.m. ET, 8:28 a.m. in Egypt]  Health officials say 32 people were killed in clashes in Egypt yesterday.

[Updated at 2:10 a.m. ET, 8:10 a.m. in Egypt] This is a statement from the UAE, which says it is "following with satisfaction" the developments in Egypt. In the UAE, the Muslim Brotherhood is a banned organization.

"H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that the UAE has full confidence that the great people of Egypt will be able to overcome the current difficult moments that the country is experiencing in order to reach a safe and prosperous future. ...

"His Highness added that the great Egyptian army proves, once again, that it is the strong shield and the protector that guarantees that the country is a land of institutions and law that embraces all the components of the Egyptian people."

[Updated at 1:52 a.m. ET, 7:52 a.m. in Egypt] Instagram has put together a collection of the best photos and videos by its users.  View here. 

(from @AishaalShabrawy)

[Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET, 7:45 a.m. in Egypt] Morsy deprived the opposition of a political process, activist Ahmed El Hawary told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "We don't have - we didn't have any outlets or anyway to be heard unless we go down to the streets and chant our demands, and even though, he ignored us."

[Updated at 1:27 a.m. ET, 7:27 a.m. in Egypt] A popular image on the photo social media site Imgur, allegedly from Egypt.

[Updated at 12:19 a.m. ET Thursday, 6:19 a.m. in Egypt] Welcome to Thursday's Egypt live blog.  With Mohamed Morsy out of power, some of his opponents are making plans to clean up Tahrir Square, while his supporters say they will protest until he is reinstated as president.  CNN's Ben Wedeman, a veteran journalist, who was long based in Cairo, warns that there will likely be no calm after the storm of recent protests.

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Morsy arrested, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman says
Fireworks light the Cairo sky Wednesday as opponents of the now-ousted President Mohamed Morsy celebrate in Tahrir Square.
July 3rd, 2013
10:19 PM ET

Morsy arrested, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman says

  • Egypt's top military leader announces Wednesday night that President Mohamed Morsy has been removed from power
  • Head of Egypt's constitutional court will be temporary president until new constitution is drawn up and new elections can be held
  • The military demanded that Morsy share power with opponents after anti-government protests
  • Morsy, elected last year, refused to comply; mass protests continue to support him
  • Refresh this page for the latest news we're seeing and hearing. Catch up with our full story here.

[Updated at 11:52 p.m. ET, 5:52 a.m. in Egypt] Some 40 anti-Morsy protesters are planning to meet with cleaning equipment to polish up their former protest campground, Tahrir Square.  They have invited over 2,000 people to join them on Facebook. 

[Updated at 11:03 p.m. ET, 5:30 a.m. in Egypt] CNN's Jake Tapper outlines some fine points of Obama's reaction to the Egyptian military's actions:

President Obama’s statement Wednesday evening about the Egyptian military’s seizure of power from President Mohamed Morsy is as telling for what he doesn’t say as for what he does: he doesn’t mention the word “coup.” He doesn’t call upon the Egyptian military to restore power to the “democratically elected civilian government,” but rather to a“democratically elected civilian government” - in other words, it need not be Morsy’s.

The thinking of the president and senior Obama administration officials, according to a knowledgeable source, is that while the administration is not explicitly supporting the removal of Morsy from power - it expressly did not support the move - it is seeking to now push the Egyptian military in a direction.

If the Obama administration were to use the word “coup.” that would have legal ramifications that would result in the end of U.S. aid. If White House officials were to pull the plug completely, they would be removing themselves from the picture altogether.

[Updated at 10:19 p.m. ET, 4:19 a.m. in Egypt] CNN's Ben Wedeman, who spent time at a pro-Morsy rally in Cairo on Wednesday evening, reported he spoke to one protester who said he felt demonstrators would stay there "until Mohamed Morsy is once again president of Egypt."

Wedeman recalled the exchange early Thursday after leaving the pro-Morsy rally to go to the larger gathering at Cairo's Tahrir Square, where people still were celebrating Morsy's ouster.

Wedeman said that although much focus is on the joy and excitement at Tahrir Square, "there's a significant portion of the Egyptian population (although) I wouldn’t suggest it’s a majority who are very upset at what has happened."

Wedeman, a CNN senior international correspondent who'd previously served as CNN's Cairo bureau chief, said it appeared the overall mood in Egypt would be different than 2011, when then-President Hosni Mubarak was deposed. In 2011, Wedeman said, Mubarak's supporters kept a low profile for months.

"There's not going to be that quiet after the storm this time around," Wedeman said.

[Updated at 10:06 p.m. ET, 4:06 a.m. in Egypt] Get ready for an extremist backlash to Morsy's ouster, says Mohammed Ayoob, Michigan State University professor emeritus of international relations.

"The major lesson that Islamists in the Middle East are likely to learn from this episode is that they will not be allowed to exercise power no matter how many compromises they make in both the domestic and foreign policy arenas," Ayoob wrote for a CNN.com opinion piece. "This is likely to push a substantial portion of mainstream Islamists into the arms of the extremists who reject democracy and ideological compromise."

CNN's Ben Wedeman, reporting from Cairo, also said there's a danger that some members of the Muslim Brotherhood will break from the main group and "challenge (Egypt's new leaders) with violence."

They may take the attitude of "we tried to play the game, our leaders were jailed, our media have been shut down ... so we’re going to destroy the system," said Wedeman, who is a CNN senior international correspondent and had previously been CNN's Cairo bureau chief.

[Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET, 3:23 a.m. in Egypt] U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has echoed Obama's call for a quick return to civilian rule. He appealed for "calm, non-violence, dialogue and restraint."

[Updated at 8:24 p.m. ET, 2:24 a.m. in Egypt] More about arrests in Egypt, from CNN's interview with Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad:

Morsy was arrested by presidential guards at their headquarters, and is being "cut off" from the world, El-Haddad told CNN. "They cut all his access, all his calls. No one is meeting him," the spokesman said.

Members of Morsy's presidential team also were arrested, El-Haddad said.

The head of Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party and the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood also were arrested, according to El-Haddad.

El-Haddad told CNN he understands that hundreds of names have been put on an "arrest list," but "I can't confirm any arrests apart from these."

[Updated at 8:03 p.m. ET, 2:03 a.m. in Egypt] Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad just confirmed his account of Morsy's arrest to CNN by phone.

Presidential guards arrested Morsy at the guards' headquarters, El-Haddad told CNN. He described it as "house arrest." He added that Morsy's presidential team was "entirely put under arrest as well."

[Updated at 7:42 p.m. ET, 1:42 a.m. in Egypt] Morsy is "under house arrest," as are most members of the presidential team, according to a post on Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad's Twitter account.

Reuters also reported Morsy is being held by authorities, citing the Muslim Brotherhood and a security source.

[Updated at 7:27 p.m. ET, 1:27 a.m. in Egypt] At least eight people were killed and 343 were wounded in clashes across Egypt on Wednesday, the day the Egyptian military announced it had ousted Mohamed Morsy as president, according to the state-run al-Ahram news agency, citing the Health Ministry.

[Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET, 1:07 a.m. in Egypt] Egypt's military reportedly is attempting a massive roundup of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that helped propel Morsy to power a year ago.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 300 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an operation to arrest them is under way, according to the state-run Ahram newspaper website on Thursday, which cited an unnamed security source.

Egyptian security forces also have arrested the Muslim Brotherhood's political party leader, Saad el-Katatni, and its deputy, Rashad Al-Bayoumi, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed military source.

[Updated at 6:57 p.m. ET, 12:57 a.m. in Egypt] U.S. President Barack Obama, in his first public statement on Morsy's ouster, says the United States is "deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution," and that he has "directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the government of Egypt."

Obama also called on the Egyptian military "to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters."

Here is the full statement, released moments ago by the White House:

"As I have said since the Egyptian revolution, the United States supports a set of core principles, including opposition to violence, protection of universal human rights, and reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law. Since the current unrest in Egypt began, we have called on all parties to work together to address the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people, in accordance with the democratic process, and without recourse to violence or the use of force.

"The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the government of Egypt.

"The United States continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties secular and religious, civilian and military. During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts. Moreover, the goal of any political process should be a government that respects the rights of all people, majority and minority; that institutionalizes the checks and balances upon which democracy depends; and that places the interests of the people above party or faction. The voices of all those who have protested peacefully must be heard including those who welcomed today’s developments, and those who have supported President Morsy. In the interim, I urge all sides to avoid violence and come together to ensure the lasting restoration of Egypt’s democracy.

"No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve. The longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds."

The White House Flickr feed released this photo of Obama discussing Egypt with members of his national security team in the White House Situation Room.

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July 1st, 2013
11:42 PM ET

Snowden rips Obama administration

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks says it has submitted asylum requests to 19 more countries for Edward Snowden, the ex-National Security Agency computer contractor who has admitted leaking details of U.S. surveillance programs to reporters.

The countries include Russia, where Snowden has been holed up at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23. The rest are scattered from South America to several European Union countries, India and China.

"The documents outline the risks of persecution Mr. Snowden faces in the United States and have started to be delivered by the Russian consulate to the relevant embassies in Moscow," WikiLeaks, which has been assisting Snowden's effort to find a haven from U.S. espionage charges, said in a statement issued early Tuesday.

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July 1st, 2013
11:41 PM ET

Loss of 19 firefighters 'unbearable'

They were part of an elite squad confronting wildfires on the front line, setting up barriers to stop the spreading destruction. But in their unpredictable world, it doesn't take much to turn a situation deadly.

In this case, a wind shift and other factors caused a central Arizona fire, which now spans 8,400 acres, to become erratic, said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.

Though the deaths are under investigation, the inferno appears to have proved too much, even for the shelters the 19 firefighters carried as a last-ditch survival tool.

"The fuels were very dry, the relative humidity was low, the wind was coming out of the south. It turned around on us because of monsoon action," Reichling told CNN affiliate KNXV. "That's what caused the deaths.

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Filed under: Arizona
July 1st, 2013
11:39 PM ET

Egypt's military gives Morsy ultimatum

Just don't call it a coup.

Appearing to throw its weight behind an opposition that swarmed Cairo's Tahrir Square, the Egyptian military told the country's civilian government it has until Wednesday evening to "meet the demands of the people" or it will step in to restore order. In a statement carried nationwide on radio and television, the military called the 48-hour ultimatum "a final chance to shoulder the burden of a historic moment in our country."

But a military spokesman said late Monday that the culture of the armed forces - which dominated the country for decades - "doesn't allow it to adopt the policy of military coups." The statement was meant to push all factions toward quick solutions and a national consensus, and the armed forces aren't looking to be part of the political or ruling circles, the spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said in written statement.

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Filed under: Egypt