February 13th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Italian magazine defends publishing royal vacation photos

The editor of an Italian magazine that published vacation photos of William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, defended the publication against widespread criticism.

"Chi" editor-in-chief Alfonso Signorini said the photos were not scandalous and "portray a couple in love in a happy moment while they are walking on the beach."

The photos of the duke and the pregnant, bikini-clad duchess were taken on a public beach and bought from an international agency, he said.

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Filed under: Prince William • United Kingdom
Syrian civil war in photos
February 13th, 2013
09:05 AM ET

U.N. refugee agency delivers aid to Syrians for only second time in two-year civil war

For only the second time in the nearly two-year Syrian civil war, the U.N. refugee agency completed an aid delivery to displaced people inside Syria, the group said Wednesday.

Seven trucks delivered blankets and tents near the Syrian-Turkish border in the country's northwest. A previous aid convoy to northern Syria at the end of January was the first of its kind, the U.N. agency said.

"These are complex operations and not without risk, but the humanitarian needs of the displaced civilians in these areas require action,‚ÄĚ said High Commissioner for Refugees Ant√≥nio Guterres. ‚ÄúThe moral imperative to help is clear."

Syria death toll probably at 70,000, U.N. human rights official says

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10 years of war in Afghanistan
February 13th, 2013
08:50 AM ET

Afghan president: We've wanted troop withdrawal 'for so long now'

Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed President Obama's announcement of a major troop withdrawal, saying "this is something Afghanistan has wanted for so long now."

The pullout, announced at the State of the Union on Tuesday, will help ensure "peace and full security," according to a statement released by Karzai's office Wednesday.

The United States will draw down 34,000 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan in a year's time, Obama said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. The current number stands at 66,000.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama
Victims suing BBC, Savile estate in sex abuse case
Jimmy Savile sports his Order of the British Empire medal after his 1972 investiture at Buckingham Palace in London.
February 13th, 2013
07:32 AM ET

Victims suing BBC, Savile estate in sex abuse case

Alleged sexual abuse victims of the late BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile are suing both the British broadcaster and the Savile estate, attorneys for the victims said Wednesday.

Police said in a report that Savile sexually abused hundreds of people and carried out more than 30 rapes.

Police: TV host Jimmy Savile exploited fame to abuse children on vast scale

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Filed under: United Kingdom
February 13th, 2013
07:29 AM ET

U.S. analyzing reports that Syrian government has moved chemical weapons

The United States and other countries near Syria are analyzing intelligence reports that the Bashar al-Assad government may have moved some of its chemical weapons in recent weeks, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

Over the last 10 days, the United States has been trying to ascertain the legitimacy of the reports but has been unable to make any firm conclusions, according to officials from a number of U.S. government agencies. The movement could be an attempt to consolidate storage because of deteriorating security across Syria, the official said.

President Obama to sign cybersecurity order
February 12th, 2013
10:57 AM ET

President Obama to sign cybersecurity order

President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Tuesday outlining standards that companies operating critical infrastructure should follow to protect from cyberattacks, a source informed of the planning told CNN.

The president is expected to discuss the order during tonight's State of the Union address, a source informed on the planning tells CNN.

Obama will release the order in detail on Wednesday, the source said.

The order will have an information sharing provision that will enable exchange of data between the private sector and government. The order does not include an enforcement mechanism. The administration still wants DHS to regulate critical infrastructure and Congress to pass more expansive legislation.

February 11th, 2013
03:59 PM ET

Military extends some benefits to same-sex partners

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced just days before leaving office that the Pentagon is extending some benefits to the same-sex partners of service members.

Same-sex partners who sign a military "Declaration of Domestic Partnership" form will be eligible for several benefits, including military identification cards as dependents.

This would allow them unescorted status on bases, access to commissaries, and the right to visit their partners in military hospitals.

They will also be able to receive many survivor benefits, including life insurance payments.

Northeast blizzard
February 11th, 2013
01:43 PM ET

Northeast digs out; storms hit Upper Midwest, South

A major winter storm whipped the Upper Midwest early Monday, just after a historic snowfall buried much of the Northeast.

The latest blizzard dumped 8 to 15 inches of snow across parts of seven states, but saved most of its fury for the Dakotas and Minnesota, the National Weather Service said.

Snow showers and blowing snow were expected to linger Monday across the area.

More than 1,000 miles away, residents of the Northeast spent the weekend digging out from a storm that dumped several feet of snow across the region.

In the Southeast, at least 15 tornadoes formed across southern Mississippi and Alabama Sunday afternoon as a cold front moved in. Major damage was caused by a tornado that struck Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Mobile, Alabama, National Weather Service Office was to begin conducting damage surveys Monday.

According to Storm Prediction Center reports, nearly 70 people were injured in Sunday's storms, with at least 61 of those in Hattiesburg.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
February 11th, 2013
11:15 AM ET

Will Benedict 'resign' or 'abdicate' as pope?

When Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would step down at the end of the month, an interesting debate sprang up: Do popes resign or abdicate?

Read the pope's letter

In English, the pope said he is renouncing his role at the end of the month "because of advanced age."  In some other languages, he uses the word "vacating."

This is a rare situation; the last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415.

But it turns out there is some specific language to help guide the linguistics of it all.

"Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone," according to laws that guide the church.

So according to those rules, the correct word to describe the pope's actions would be resignation.

But many people have been calling the pope’s announcement an abdication. That word normally applies in a royal context, when the person who leaves their position has an immediate successor in place.

In this case, the cardinals will vote on a new pope.

Papal resignation: What happens next

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3 killed in shooting at Delaware courthouse
February 11th, 2013
10:53 AM ET

3 killed in shooting at Delaware courthouse

[Updated at 10:53 a.m. ET] Two female shooting victims are dead after a gunman opened fire in a Delaware courthouse.

The suspected gunman also was killed during an exchange of gunfire with officers, Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack said. Two capitol police officers were injured in the incident. Their injuries are non-life-threatening.

[Posted at 9:03 a.m. ET] There has been a shooting at a courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, according to Wilmington Police spokesman Jamaine Crawford.

A constable was among those shot, Crawford said.

The shooting occurred this morning at the New Castle County Court of Common Pleas. The number of injured and the severity of their injuries were not immediately available.

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Filed under: Crime • Delaware • Justice
USPS ending Saturday delivery of letters, first-class mail
February 6th, 2013
08:15 AM ET

USPS ending Saturday delivery of letters, first-class mail

The U.S. Postal Service will end Saturday home delivery of letters and other first-class mail, but will still deliver packages, starting in August.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest from our CNNMoney.com colleagues as soon as we get it.

Opinion: Save the Postal Service from collapse

Goodbye, Postal Service?

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Filed under: Postal Service
Report: Protesters storm political offices after opposition leader assassinated in Tunis
Tunisians gather around an ambulance carrying opposition leader Chokri Belaid, who officials said was assasinated outside his home.
February 6th, 2013
07:13 AM ET

Report: Protesters storm political offices after opposition leader assassinated in Tunis

[Updated at 7:07 a.m. ET] Protesters stormed several offices of Tunisia's ruling political party Wednesday after a prominent opposition leader was assassinated outside his home in Tunis, Tunisian Interior Minister Ali Al-Areed told Tunisia State TV.

"I call everyone in Tunisia and our intellectual elite not to allow the chaos to takeover and we urge the security forces to track down these perpetrators and bring them to justice," he said.

The protests took place in offices of the party al Nahda across the country, he said.

[Posted at 5:13 a.m. ET] A Tunisian opposition figure was shot dead Wednesday morning outside his home in Tunis, Tunisian State TV reported.

Chokri Belaid, was a leader of the Popular Front coalition.

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Dell to be sold to founder, investment firm for $24.4 billion
February 5th, 2013
09:26 AM ET

Dell to be sold to founder, investment firm for $24.4 billion

Computer company Dell has agreed to be sold to founder Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake for about $24.4 billion.

Want to know more about what this means for the company? Our colleagues at CNNMoney.com break it down for you.

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Filed under: Technology
Gun background checks in January were second highest ever, FBI data shows
February 5th, 2013
08:39 AM ET

Gun background checks in January were second highest ever, FBI data shows

As the President continues to push for new gun control measures, new FBI data shows January was the second highest month on record for gun background checks.

FBI figures posted Tuesday show there were 2,495,400 background checks done through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System known as NICS. The number was more than a million higher than any previous January. The data does not indicate exactly how many weapons might have been purchased as some customers buy more than one gun at a time.

December was the number one record-setting month with 2,783,765 background checks.

The FBI does not comment on the data but makes it available on its website. But the figures typically show high numbers of background checks during the holiday shopping months of November and December. The background check numbers usually decline January. There also is often a spike in checks after dramatic incidents of gun violence. The NICS system was launched in November 1998 after being mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993.

Gun debate: Where is the middle ground?

Why new laws could miss America's bigger gun problem

The faces of America's gun debate

Gun Debate: Full Coverage

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Ahmadinejad jokes he'd volunteer to go to space
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks at a space monkey Monday on Iran's National Day of Space Technology in Tehran.
February 4th, 2013
01:47 PM ET

Ahmadinejad jokes he'd volunteer to go to space

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joked he is so serious about making sure Iran advances technologically that he'd volunteer to go to space for his country if needed.

"I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists,‚ÄĚ he said after meeting Monday with Iranian space scientists,¬†according¬†to the semi-official¬†Mehr News Agency.

The president's comments, made in jest, came a week after the state's semi-official Fars News Agency said Iran had "sent a monkey to the orbit, brought it back to the Earth and retrieved the animal and the relevant data successfully."


Malala's road to recovery
February 4th, 2013
11:17 AM ET

Malala speaks for first time on camera: 'God has given me this new life'

[Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET] We've just received video that shows Malala Yousufzai speaking for the first time on camera since she was shot.

"I'm getting better day by day," she said, citing the prayers of her supporters. "Because of these prayers God has given me this new life."

[Posted at 9:57 a.m. ET] Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban is doing very well after two operations over the weekend and will not require further surgery, her doctors said today.

"She has no long-lasting brain injuries ... the brain is healing very well," her neurosurgeon Anwen White told reporters in Birmingham, England.

Giffords will give opening statement in Congress gun hearing
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on stage at the Democratic National Convention.
January 30th, 2013
07:47 AM ET

Giffords will give opening statement in Congress gun hearing

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will give an opening statement today at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, according to two sources close to Giffords.

It is the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the Connecticut school massacre that left 26 people dead. A top NRA official plans to tell lawmakers Wednesday that new weapons restrictions are not a "serious solution" to the problem.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, will be one of five witnesses at the hearing. Giffords' husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will also testify.

The hearing comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama's legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence after the Newtown shootings, which left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter, Adam Lanza, also killed his mother and himself.

January 29th, 2013
03:27 PM ET

Obama lays out his plan to overhaul immigration

  • President Obama's comments follow announcement from bipartisan senators on their immigration plan
  • We'll listen and help explain the differences the president has with the bipartisan Senate group

[Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET] Politicians are beginning to weigh in with their views on Twitter.

Perhaps no surprise, but House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has high praise for Obama's announcement.

Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania hit on one of the specifics Obama spoke about: Business.


January 28th, 2013
08:37 AM ET

Three arrested in deadly Brazil nightclub fire

[Posted at 8:37 a.m. ET] Three people have now been arrested in connection with the deadly nightclub fire in Brazil, according to CNN affiliate Band News in Brazil.

The owner of the nightclub Elissandro Sphor, known as "Kiko", was arrested at a hospital in Cruz Alta, Brazil, according to Band News.

The media outlet also reported a vocalist from the band and a person in charge of stage safety for the band were arrested in Mata, Brazil.

[Posted at 8:25 a.m. ET] One of the club owners and a member of the band have been arrested in connection to the Brazil nightclub fire, CNN affiliate Band News in Brazil is reporting.

[Posted at 8:02 a.m. ET] The death toll in Sunday's nightclub fire in Brazil has risen to at least 233, officials say.

Panicked crowds pushed toward the exits as fire swept through the packed Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria. Many died of smoke inhalation, state-run Agencial Brasil reported. Others were trampled, a security guard told CNN affiliate Band News.

Owners say permits were OK | Did security guards block exits?  Did security guards block exits?

Party the 'last hurrah' before school  Party the 'last hurrah' before school | Photos | Staying safe

How it unfolded  How it unfolded | Opinion: We haven't learned from past

Rhode Island 'can't help but watch' |Timeline: Nightclub fires

January 28th, 2013
08:23 AM ET

Senators to hold press conference on immigration reform

It looks like immigration might be the next hot issue in Washington, D.C.

A bipartisan group of senators will hold a press conference today at 2:30 p.m. ET  "to provide a key update on their discussions on a
comprehensive immigration reform bill," according to a release from Sen. Marco Rubio office.

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