The French finance minister is a front-runner to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. If chosen, Lagarde will be the first woman to run the IMF. Known for being direct, she is one of Europe's most prominent figures in the world of international finance.
â€śShe is enormously impressive, politically astute and a strong personality. At finance meetings all over the world, she is treated practically like a rock star," former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff told The New York Times.
CNNâ€™s Peter Bergen has reported that al-Adel, wanted by the FBI in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya,Â is now the interim leader of al Qaeda, following the death of Osama bin Laden.Â Noman Benotman, a former militant, told Bergen that Saif al-Adel has been chosen "caretaker" leader. Meanwhile, The News International, a Pakistani newspaper, reported Tuesday that a Yemeni clerk named Muhammad Mustafa Yamni is slated to be the new al Qaeda chief, with al-Adel focusing on operations.
Al-Adel, who is in his early 50s, is among the FBIâ€™s most wanted, with a $5 million bounty on his head. He is an Islamic jihadist who served in the Egyptian special forces.Â Yamni is living somewhere in Africa, reports said.
The U.S. government hits its credit limit of $14.3 trillion Monday, and the U.S. Treasury secretary will begin scrambling to find cash to float the government until August 2. While budget negotiations are being led by Vice President Joseph Biden, Geithner estimates that at least $2 trillion is needed to keep the government running. NPR's Jacob Goldstein estimates that to balance the budget, taxes will have to be raised or spending will need to be cut. By itself, spending would need to be cut by 40 percent, which is equivalent to "every penny" of discretionary spending, including the defense budget, Goldstein said.
For about 44 of the past 55 years, a man named Richard Daley has been mayor of Chicago. Richard J. Daley was mayor for more than two decades. And his son, Richard M. Daley, is now stepping down after 22 years in office. Heâ€™ll be succeeded Monday by former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
A new book by Neil Steinberg about the Daley legacy has been published with excerpts appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Daleys have their political finesse and Democratic Party ties. More offbeat, Steinberg said, is the Daleys' "genius for mangling the English language.â€ť
â€śThere are even crooked reporters,â€ť the first Daley said when faced with a police scandal, â€śand I can spit on some of them right here!â€ť â€śScrutiny?â€ť the second Daley said about news coverage of his brother. â€śWhat else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Give me a break, go scrutinize yourself. I get scrootened every day, donâ€™t worry, from each and every one of you. It doesnâ€™t bother me.â€ť
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York announced Wednesday that a jury had found billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud in one of the most high-profile insider trading prosecutions in a decade. Known for his tough campaign against insider trading, Bharara once worked for Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.
When she receives her college diploma later this month, the Harvard University student of Native American descent will be the first Wampanoag to graduate from the school since 1665. Smalley will join two of her ancestors, Joel Iacommes and Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the sons of Wampanoag tribal leaders who entered Harvard in 1661. At this year's commencement ceremony, the university will grant a posthumous degree to Iacommes, who was killed in a shipwreck just before graduation. Almost 350 years later, Smalley will accept the diploma on his behalf.
The 30-year-old engineer from upstate New York is accused of stealing handcuffs in Dubai and has been detained there for four months. Foster went to the United Arab Emirates in January on a business trip. He was arrested after reportedly keeping a pair of handcuffs that he found on the ground. According to Foster's Facebook page, he was whipped, beaten and forced to confess to stealing handcuffs from police. He now faces two to seven years in prison in the UAE.
The hip-hop performer and mainstream movie actor with a longtime reputation for his star power and socially conscious lyrics will be among a number of artists appearing with first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday at a White House event honoring poetry. Conservatives including Karl Rove, Sean Hannity and Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are lambasting the invitation based on Common's 2007 performance on HBO's "Def Poetry," which is now posted on YouTube.
In "Letter to the Law," Common rapped about government corruption and police abuse in the inner city. He also criticized President George W. Bush's involvement in Iraq. "Burn a Bush 'cos for peace he no push no button," the artist said. "Killing over oil and grease/ no weapons of destruction."
Palin was the first to bring the clip national attention when she sent a Twitter message linking to a story about the poetry in the right-leaning website The Daily Caller. "Oh lovely, White House," Palin said.
By Tuesday night, Rove, Bush's top adviser turned Fox News commentator, was on the record calling Common "a thug." Hannity used his Fox program to accuse Common of previous drug use and promiscuity. Common has appeared in films such as "Terminator Salvation," "Date Night" and, most recently, "Just Wright" with Queen Latifah. He also starred in a Gap ad, "Peace, Love, the Gap."
The 61-year old retired construction supervisor lives in Bogota, Tennessee, aÂ small farming community aboutÂ seven miles from the Mississippi River. Hayes isn't budging from the flooding, even as his two-room trailer is more than 5 feet off the ground. "There's the possibility the trailer could shift, could turn. Could flip over," Hayes tells CNN's Patrick Oppmann, standing on the small porch to the trailer. "Then again, I am not worried about that because I will get out."
The half-American, half-Syrian journalist who lives in Damascus has been gaining attention internationally for her blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus." Abdullah says her blogÂ is an "out Syrian lesbian's thoughts on life, the universe and so on."
After repeated threats by the Syrian government, Abdullah has gone underground. "I have no desire to be a martyr, even to my own cause so I will do what I can to stay free," she posted last week.
Â Abdullah is still blogging from her new location. Her most recent post appeared Tuesday morning.
The Human Rights Campaign issued aÂ video adÂ featuring the hockey player supportingÂ same-sex marriage for New Yorkers. In the spot, the New York Rangers winger says that committed adults should have a right to marry the one they love.
Though he isn't gay, he lived in West Hollywood in California and Chelsea in New York, respectively, while playing for the Los Angeles Kings and Rangers. Many of his friends are gay, he said in an interview.
Few are surprised Avery, one of the most intimidating players in the NHL, would lend his voice. When asked about gay players in the NHL in February, Avery told the Toronto Sun, â€śI'll stand beside him in the dressing room while he tells his teammates he is gay. Maybe if Sean Avery is there, they would have less of a problem with it."
Â The comedian went digital Friday with the launch of his own website featuring his standup routines. JerrySeinfeld.com will be the home for video of nearly every recorded comedy performance given by Seinfeld - more than 1,000 clips.Â He toldÂ The New York TimesÂ that being able to relay original ideas to an audience is one advantage of putting his content on the Web. "Why would I talk to a TV executive at this point, and ask them what they think? If I have this idea for a TV show, I can just put it up on the internet."
The Hampton University president and his wife are donating $1 million of their own money to the school in order to raise salaries for its teaching staff. The raise will be effective at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. The money will be used as an incentive for faculty members who receive grants, publish research articles or provide significant service to the university.
The former Navy SEAL oversaw the operation that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, according to the Washington Post. McRaven is described as a square-jawed Texan and one of the most experienced terrorism hunters in the U.S. government.
He has spent years tracking bin Laden, and much of the past two months were devoted to extensive preparations involving the Navy SEALs' elite Team 6. McRaven apparently oversaw the operation from the Joint Operations Center in Bagram, Afghanistan.
TheÂ Pittsburgh SteelersÂ running back is in hot water after he made some controversial statements about Osama bin Laden's death via Twitter.
"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..." Mendenhall tweeted Monday, referencing bin Laden.
Steelers President Art Rooney II released a statement Tuesday, published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, condemning Mendenhall's remarks, ESPN reports.
"I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments," Rooney said. "The entire Steelers organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon."
The 12-year-old from Abbottabad, Pakistan, was Osama bin Ladenâ€™s neighbor and regularly visited the al Qaeda leaderâ€™s family, reports the London Evening Standard. Zarar described the security of the compound, as well as the family members he met, in an interview with Sky News. Bin Ladenâ€™s family included two wives: one who spoke Arabic and one who spoke Urdu. There were three children, a girl and two boys, Ahmed said. The family gave him two rabbits, he added.
The man who killed Osama bin Laden
Heâ€™s the most iconic person you will never know, according to the Washington Postâ€™s Manuel Roig-Franzia. This week, the Post offered a composite of the "humble warrior" who killed the worldâ€™s most-wanted terrorist.
He is a "tactical athlete." Ripped, with a lot of upper-body strength, gnarled hands, long arms and a flat tummy, said Richard Marcinko, a Navy SEAL veteran and a founder of the elite Team 6, which reportedly led the attack. One minute, the professional is mowing his lawn. The next, he is on assignment â€” and thereâ€™s no crew cut. â€śHeâ€™s bearded, rough-looking,â€ť Marcinko said. â€śYou donâ€™t want to stick out.â€ť
The SEAL is probably between 26 and 33 years old, Marcinko said: young enough to be meet the physical demands but highly experienced in counterterrorism. He is a man; there are no female SEALS. He is also probably white, though the SEALs have diversified recently, Marcinko added.
The shooter also keeps tabs on his actions, said Stew Smith, another SEAL interviewed. Smith recently met with five other SEALs who could account for 250 terrorist kills between them. Still, this is THE kill, and his colleagues know it. â€śThis is playing the Super Bowl and getting the Oscar in one breath,â€ť Marcinko said. â€śHe wants credit â€” but only among his peers.â€ť
The CIAâ€™s former counterterrorism czar told Time magazine that the intelligence that led authorities to Osama bin Laden's compound was obtained by using "enhanced interrogation techniques" on both Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Abu Faraj al Libbi. The tactics included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and "other techniques," said Rodriguez, who is writing a book.Â Abu Faraj was not waterboarded, Rodriguez told Time in his first public interview.
An Obama administration official has denied Rodriguez's assertion that "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used.
â€śThere is no way that information obtained by (enhanced interrogation techniques) was the decisive intelligence that led us directly to bin Laden,â€ť National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said. â€śIt took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound and reach a judgment that bin Laden was likely to be living there.â€ť
Pakistan's former president appeared on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360Â°" on Monday evening, offering a curious, if not contradictory account of hisÂ views on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts in recent years. A key ally in the U.S. war on terror until his ouster in 2008, Musharraf said heâ€™d always known that bin Laden was in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. That remark drew protests from host Anderson Cooper who insisted that Musharraf always denied thatÂ his countryÂ was harboring the terrorist.
â€śAnyone who said (bin Ladenâ€™s) in Pakistan also didn't have the intelligence (to prove it)," Musharraf said. â€ś(Bin Laden being in Pakistan) was not based on any intelligence. It was guesswork."
Musharraf then blamed intelligence sources for the fact that bin Laden was in an urban area, so close to the Pakistan Military Academy and the capital of Islamabad - not in an Afghan cave, as many had speculated. Second-guessing Pakistanâ€™s cooperationÂ in the war on terror only destroys trust between Pakistan and the U.S., he said.
Musharraf finished the interview by saying thatÂ while eliminating bin Laden is a good thing for "peace-loving people,"Â having the U.S. military enter Pakistan doesnâ€™t go â€świth Pakistan's sensitivities.â€ť
â€śWe cannot indicate in any form that we are willing to compromise on our sovereignty like that,â€ť he said.
In 1997, the Peruvian fashion photographer snapped Princess Diana in various gowns at her home in Kensington Palace. The gowns were to be sold at a charity auction, and the photos were to be part of the program. Diana, who did not know Testino personally, was so enchanted by his work that she chose him instead of an official royal photographer for the project.
When the portraits appeared in the July 1997 issue ofÂ Vanity Fair, they were praised for their portrayal of the princess as stylish, confident and playful. A month later, Diana was dead and the portraits would become the last enduring images of the most photographed woman in the world.
Buckingham Palace on Thursday released the official portrait of Dianaâ€™s son, Prince William, and bride-to-be Kate Middleton, as photographed by Testino. This is the second time Testino has photographed the couple since their engagement. The black-and-white images are fresh, classic and sophisticated. Diana would not have had it any other way.
She enrolled in her first college course in 1992, when her boss said heâ€™d reward her for getting an education. At the time, Vitzhum was a working mom with children ages 6 and 8 years old. As NPR reports, Vitzhum had no intention of getting a degree. Then, her father stepped in and made her promise to finish, even if she didn't finish until she was 50.
After 19 years of college, the 48-year-old will be a marshal Friday at Iowa State Universityâ€™s graduation ceremony. Sheâ€™ll graduate summa cum laude with a degree in accounting.
"I've been doing this so long, I don't think I'll know how not to do it," Vitzhum told Iowa State Universityâ€™s news service. "It almost gives me anxiety to not know what I'm doing this summer."
She lives on a fixed income and cannot travel to Texas to visit her terminally ill son. Yet when Brison, 81, found more than $2,800 in cash in the parking lot of her Chicago-based doctorâ€™s office this month, she didnâ€™t even think of keeping it.
After she turned the money in to local police, a retired city worker named Lester Franklin contacted her. Heâ€™d dropped the money, had been contacted by police and wanted to give her a $500 reward.
Brison will use the money to fly to Texas to see her dying son. â€śI believe in the Book,â€ť Franklin told the Chicago Sun-Times this week. â€śIf you do good, something good happens to you.â€ť
Fans of "The Office" will gather at the set one last time as the buffoonish Michael Scott appears in his final episode Thursday evening. NPR offered a summary Thursday of the actor's greatest lines as the lovable boss from hell:
â€śEverybody likes new inventions â€” new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections, and computers are about trying to murder you in a lake.â€ť
â€śTo run an office, you need men and women. You know why? Because you need to have that crazy sexual tension to keep things interesting.â€ť
â€śThere is honor in losing, which is, we all know, completely ridiculous. But there is, however, honor in making a loser feel better.â€ť
â€śWould I rather be feared or loved? Easy â€” both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.â€ť
The CIA director will beÂ President Barack Obama'sÂ nominee to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary, a senior defense official and another U.S. official said Wednesday.
Panetta will be named as a nominee for U.S. defense secretary, CNN has confirmed.Â Gen. David Petraeus,Â the top U.S. commander inÂ Afghanistan, will be tapped asÂ Panetta's replacement at the CIA, a senior defense official said.
Panetta is a prolific public servant. For 14 years, he was a U.S. congressman from California, ultimately becoming chairman of the House Budget committee. He later was director of the Office of Management and Budget andÂ then President Bill Clinton's chief of staff. Early in his career, the Santa Clara University alum was an aide to a U.S. senator and an assistant in the governmentâ€™s civil rights unit in the 1960s. Panetta won a an Army Commendation Medal while serving as an Army intelligence officer from 1964-1966.
The former U.S. Solicitor General during the George W. Bush administration has resigned from his post at the Atlanta-based law firm of King and Spalding. According to NPR, Clement resigned as a partner at the firm after King and Spalding decided not to represent the House Republicans in their legal effort to support the Defense of Marriage Act. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced that it would not defend the constitutionality of the law, which speaks against gay marriage. On Monday the law firm withdrew from the case and Clement resigned. "I resign out of the firm belief" that a lawyer should not abandon his client "because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters," Clement said in a statement.
The Rutgers football player who was paralyzed in an October 2010 game at MeadowlandsÂ Stadium in New Jersey gave his first interview yesterday to journalists, insisting that he will some day walk again. LeGrand, a 20-year-old 6-2, 275-pound junior, broke his C3Â and C4Â vertebrae during a play against Army. While he uses a power chair that he guides with his mouth, LeGrand said that he's regained sensation in his body and can move his shoulder slightly. He lives with his mother in New Jersey, does therapy three times weekly and takes two classes via Skype. His sunny attitude is what contributes to his success, his mother told the New York Daily News. "He knows, 'Maybe playing football is something I'm not supposed to do,' " she said. "'I'm supposed to do something bigger than that.'"
The Japanese figure skaterÂ will defend her 2010 world championship title Tuesday in Moscow, rather than in Japan as originally scheduled. The 2011 World Figure Skating Championships were slated to begin March 21st in Tokyo, but Japan's earthquake on March 11 forced the International Skating Union to delay and relocate the competition. The Japanese athletes and coaches all wear stickers on their jackets that read "Rebirth Japan. We are always with you." Joining AsadaÂ will be TakahikoÂ Kuzuka, Japan country's men's champion. He leads the men's competition going into Wednesday's short program by nearly 30 points.
The U.S. Olympic Track Gold Medalist announced earlier this month that he wouldÂ seek a seat in the New Jersey State Senate. In today's Philadelphia Inquirer, Lewis said that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tried to dissuade Lewis from running hours before the announcement. The conversation with the governor came after several days of talks with Christie's staff, Lewis said. Staff members threatened that if Lewis decided to run, an athletic program he wanted to start would be scuttled. Christie's office is downplaying the accusations as a "silly" misinterpretation.
The Federal Reserve's board convenes on Tuesday with Chairman Bernanke taking an unprecedented risk. On Wednesday, he'll hold the first-ever press conference by a Fed Chairman. The entire worldâ€”particularly the Fed itselfâ€”will assess every word, the Wall Street Journal's David Wessel told NPR this morning. Bernanke feels this transparency is needed, given the public mistrust after the financial crisis. At the same time, the slightest misstep by Bernanke would cause a market tumble, said Wessel adding that this move will change the role of fed chair forever. Charisma will now be a required skill set for any future Federal Reserve chair, he said. Read Time magazine's intimate portrait of Bernanke, who was Man of the Year in 2009.
PRINCE SALMAN bin HAMAD Al-KHALIFA
Bahrain's Crown Prince is sending his regrets to Britain's Prince William, stating that he must decline an invite to the royal wedding due to unrest in his country. The decision was delayed until the last minute, Prince Salman wrote, because he'd hoped violence would have subsided. There have been accounts of human rights violations across Bahrain. Go here for more on the latest from Bahrain.
Four members of the group for former world leaders announced in Beijing this morning that they will travel to North Korea in hopes of restoring dialogue between that country and South Korea. Former President Jimmy Carter, Finland's Martti Ahtisaari, Ireland's Mary Robinson, and the former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland are traveling to Pyongyang at the invitation of Kim John Il's government, Carter said. North Korea's critically low food supply and South Korea will be discussed. "Clearly there is a great level of mistrust and suspicion between North and South Korea," Ahtisaari said. "But the stakes are too high to allow this standoff to continue."
The actor/director (pictured) has given his first interview since a 2010 audio recording was released with him verbally assailing Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his young daughter. The interview appeared late Thursday night on Deadline.com.
Gibson was funny, abashed and even melancholy â€”"Just Mel being Mel," reporter Allison Hope Weiner said. He took responsibility for his recent actions; played down charges of racism; and reconciled with the legal and social consequences he's facing to avoid humiliating his family. He accepted those who have ostracized him in the industry and thanked people like Whoopi Goldberg who publicly supported him.
Gibson also spoke frankly about the future of his public life. While his appearance in "The Beaver," directed by ally Jodie Foster and releasing May 6, is considered one of the best of his career, Gibson will spend most of his time writing. "I don't care if I don't act anymore," he said.
The veteran war photographer, admired internationally for years covering conflicts, particularly the Afghanistan war, was killed in Libya by a rocket-propelled grenade this week. He was reporting in Misrata, the epicenter of the country's civil war. Journalist Chris Hondros was also killed. Listen to Hetherington describe what covering the Afghan war was like, and view his photographs, here. CNN's Peter Bergen wrote a personal remembrance of the journalist Thursday, describing him as humble and modest, an artist without airs. While he and Bergen were embedded with a group of Marines in Afghanistan, he said, Hetherington never mentioned that he had studied literature at Oxford University. Hetherington's film "Restrepo," about what it feels like to be a soldier, was nominated for an Oscar this year. "He felt a great affinity for these soldiers," Bergen told CNN. "He was a wonderful human being, and a very thoughtful one."
The Rock Hill, South Carolina, sociology professor received hate mail after urging her gay students to "act straight" after a mob attack on a local gay teen. In a WBTV interview, James was first quoted as saying: "I've got to let my students know [about the attack], so that when they're out and about in Rock Hill, that they, you know, act straight." These comments, which James insisted were out of context, sparked outrage. WBTV officials have agreed. This week, the network clarified the story and published James' entire comments. "My first thought was, you know, 'I've got to let my students know,' so that when they're out and about in Rock Hill, that they, you know, act straight," she said. "And that's a sad lesson in 2011 to be teaching young people. I mean, [homosexuality has] been off the books as a mental illness since 1973."
He has owned the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2004 and now stands to have it sold out from underneath him. On Wednesday, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the league will take over the Dodgers and name a trustee to oversee it amid the team's financial struggles. It is the third setback for McCourt in the past year. His high-profile divorce from co-owner Jamie McCourt centered on the team's ownership. Also, last month, Dodgers security was called into question when a San Francisco Giants fan â€” and father of two â€” was severely beaten by men in Dodgers attire in the Dodgers Stadium parking lot.
Viewers were shocked when the American Idol prospect was ousted from the top 10 last month. Last night, it was announced that the singer will appear on ABCâ€™s â€śDancing with the Starsâ€ť on Tuesday.
The same day that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced she'd veto that state's "birther bill," her counterpart in Louisiana said he wouldÂ sign similar legislationÂ into law. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Louisiana bill requires candidates to qualify for a federal election in that state by providing an original or certified copy of a birth certificate. "I don't purport to be a 'birther,'" said the bill's co-author, Rep. Alan Seabaugh of Shreveport. "This is from the standpoint of cleaning up an area of the law where there appears to be a gap."
On Monday, the running world marveled at the performance of 29-year-old Kenyan George MutaiÂ for his record-setting time of 2:03.02 at the Boston Marathon. Tuesday morning that same community, and much of the world, is remembering Grete Waitz. In 1978, Waitz ran her first New York City Marathon, and shattered the existing women's world record by two minutes (2:32.30). The Norwegian went on to win eight more New York City Marathons. Her image appears on the current New York Marathon medals and many consider herÂ the greatest champion the event has ever had. Waitz died of cancer this morning in Oslo, Norway, the Washington Post reported. She was 57.
The former Newsweek correspondent and veteran independent journalist used his blog Monday to defend "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson, whose truthfulness was called into question in an online article by Jon Krakauer and a "60 Minutes" segment Sunday night.
Glick said he witnessed Mortenson's hands-on work with his Central Asia Institute in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1998. On Monday, Glick called Krakauer's article,Â "Three Cups of Deceit", an online assassination of the controversial writer/humanitarian. Glick also charged that the "60 Minutes" segment lacked "basic elements of fairness, balance, perspective, insight and context."
Mortenson has likely blurred the lines of reality in his book, Glick acknowledged. Also, Mortenson is "probably ill-suited to run a $20 million-a-year nonprofit," Glick wrote. Yet Mortenson's "bridge building" to the Islamic world has been immeasurable, he wrote. Mortenson's travels to and investment in the isolated region, as well as his awareness campaigns, have done much more good than harm, Glick said. "The same cannot be said for a lot of NGOs doing development work around the world, " he added,Â "much less our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The four supporting cast members of the TV program "Happy Days" charge that the show's owner, CBS, has failed to pay royalties on merchandising items bearing their likenesses since the show's 1974 debut. A CNN/CNNMoney.com investigation reveals that the cast membersÂ - along with the estate of the late actor Tom Bosley - have not received payment for such items, particularly casino slot machines developed in 2008. "Someone came up to me and said, 'You must be cleaning up on those casinos,'" Ross said, describing howÂ she first learned of the games. "He said, 'If you get five Marions, you get the jackpot."'