Elizabeth Taylor tributes – Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, is remembered not only for her beauty and her acting career, but also for her early AIDS activism and her sometimes overlooked time as a glamorous political wife in Washington. Recently retired CNN interviewer Larry King called his friend Taylor "a helluva woman."
Obama returns home to criticism over Libya – President Barack Obama is back in the White House after his five-day trip to Latin America. Waiting for him on his return was a letter from House Speaker John Boehner that criticizes the administration's handling of the situation in Libya. "Military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," Boehner wrote. Other conservatives also criticized the conduct of the attacks, as did liberals in Congress: "We will fight in Congress to ensure the United States does not become embroiled in yet another destabilizing military quagmire in Libya with no clear exit plan or diplomatic strategy for peace," a group of them said.
Japan disaster – The level of radioactive iodine in Tokyo's water has dropped significantly, the city says, and Japan's top OB/GYN group says it's OK for pregnant and nursing women to drink it. However, Russia, Hong Kong, the United States and others are restricting Japanese food imports. Meanwhile, damage-control work has resumed at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where black smoke had forced workers out on Wednesday.
Conrad Murray prosecution – Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of giving the late pop singer Michael Jackson a fatal dose of anesthesia. Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened in Los Angeles County Superior Court. They will be given extended questionnaires about their knowledge of the case and other issues. The trial is slated to begin May 9.
Space shuttle Endeavour – The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday in Houston ahead of next month's final mission for the spacecraft. Mark Kelly, husband of wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will command the mission, set for launch April 19 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the international space station and the final mission for Endeavour, as the shuttle program ends this year.
Six people were killed and 14 others wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, when a gunman opened fire in front of a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, authorities said. The congresswoman had been hosting a meeting with constituents Saturday morning when the attack began.
Here are the latest developments as confirmed by CNN:
[Updated 9:45 p.m.] Suspect Jared Lee Loughner tried to buy ammunition at a Wal-Mart a few weeks back but was turned down because of his behavior, a law enforcement source said. He then successfully bought it at a different Wal-Mart, according to the source.
[Updated 9:16 p.m.] A woman credited with wrestling an ammunition magazine from the suspect says she didn't have time to think about what she was doing. "(The suspect) pulled the magazine out of his pants pocket and it dropped onto the sidewalk. And before he could reach it, I got it," Patricia Maisch said.
[Updated 7:49 p.m.] Suspect Jared Lee Loughner was rejected by the Army for military service after failing a drug test in 2008, according to an administration official.
[Updated 7:43 p.m.] The U.S. Supreme Court says it will observe the moment of silence that President Barack Obama called for at 11 a.m. ET Monday. To accommodate this, the court will convene 10 minutes early, at 9:50 a.m. ET, so that the day's first argument before the court will be completed by 11 a.m.
[Updated 7:36 p.m.] House Democrats and Republicans participated in a rare bipartisan conference call Sunday to discuss the condition of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as well as security concerns for members of Congress.
[Updated 6:33 p.m.] According to a federal agent's affidavit, U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was killed in the shooting, came to the Tucson from Phoenix to discuss the volume of federal cases in Arizona with Giffords.
[Updated 6:28 p.m.] The FBI has confirmed that investigators have found, questioned and cleared a man they had sought as a "person of interest" after the killings. The man was cab driver who dropped suspect Jared Lee Loughner off at the Safeway where Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" event was being held, a law enforcement official previously said.
[Updated 6:24 p.m.] Veteran federal public defender Judy Clarke, who has experience in several high-profile cases including those of "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski and convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, was appointed to defend suspect Jared Lee Loughner, a federal judicial source said.
[Updated 6:01 p.m.] Calls to 911 following Saturday's shooting - released Sunday by the Pima County Sheriff's Office - paint a patchy picture of the scene.
[Updated 4:56 p.m.] Investigators found papers bearing the words "my assassination" and "Giffords" in a safe in the home of shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner, according to a complaint filed against him in federal court.
[Updated 3:56 p.m.] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is the only person wounded in Saturday's shooting who is still in critical condition, doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson said. Three are in serious condition, six are in fair condition, and one has been released, they said.
– Officers of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League issued a statement condemning the attack: "During her years in the statehouse, Rep. Giffords served on the ADL Arizona Regional Board. Her affiliation with ADL, which monitors and exposes hate and extremist groups, contributed to her awareness of the nexus between hate ideology and violence. It is a testament to her dedication to her constituents that despite past threats against her, Rep. Giffords has always been so accessible to the people she represents. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims and their families."
[Updated 3:33 p.m.] Investigators have identified and ruled out the "person of interest" they were seeking in connection with the shooting, a law enforcement official said Sunday.
[Updated 3:30 p.m.] Federal authorities have charged Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old suspect in Saturday's Arizona massacre, with first-degree murder, attempted murder and attempting to kill a member of Congress, according to court documents. Read the charges here.
[Updated at 3:25 p.m.] President Barack Obama called for a moment of silence to be held at 11 a.m. ET Monday and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff.
"I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives," the president said in a news release. "It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart."
[Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET] Law enforcement investigators were speaking with a second person in the Arizona Safeway shootings case, a law enforcement official told CNN. It is not clear whether this individual is the same person police had sought via the release of a surveillance image from overnight. It is also unknown at this time what connection this individual may have to the investigation.
[Updated at 1:38 p.m. ET] A dark-haired man seen in a picture distributed by authorities apparently "may not have been involved at all, but we still need to verify that," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Sunday.
[Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET] Precautions are in place to ensure the security of public officials after the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman, although authorities are aware of no specific threat against them, FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters Sunday.
[Updated at 1:12 p.m. ET] The suspect in the Saturday shootings of 20 people at a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store is in federal custody, FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters. Formal charges are expected against Jared Lee Loughner Sunday afternoon, he said.
[Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona is "able to communicate" with people, and the gunshot wound she sustained Saturday did not cross from one hemisphere of the brain to the other, doctors at Tucson's University Medical Center said Sunday.
[Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET] President Obama spoke by phone late Saturday to Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically injured in a mass shooting, a senior White House official said. The official told CNN that Obama "expressed his deep concern and full support" for the family in the wake of the tragedy.
[Updated at 8:49 a.m. ET] House Speaker John Boehner has asked that flags on the House side of the Capitol be flown at half-staff in the wake of the shooting in Arizona, marking the death of Gabe Zimmerman, who was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' director of community outreach. "An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve," Boehner said Sunday. "Such acts of violence have no place in our society. These tragic events remind us that all of us, in our roles in service to our fellow citizens, comes with a risk. This inhuman act should not and will not deter us from our calling to represent our constituents and to fulfill our oaths of office. No act, no matter how heinous, must be allowed to stop us from our duty," Boehner said.
– Authorities executed search warrants late Saturday night on a car and a residence where suspect Jared Lee Loughner lived with his parents, a law enforcement source said.
– The law enforcement source said that Loughner's parents appeared to be cooperating with authorities, but the source did not know to what extent.
– Loughner, however, was still not cooperating. He had earlier invoked his right against self-incrimination.
– The sheriff's office said early Sunday that the correct name of one of the victims who died in the shooting is Dorothy Morris.
– The Pima County Sheriff's Department is expected to hold another news conference at 11 a.m. Sunday (1 p.m. ET).
– The University Medical Center in Tucson will offer a patient condition update at 10 a.m. Sunday (12 p.m. ET).
– As of 3:45 a.m. Sunday, Giffords remained in critical condition, said Darci Slaten, spokeswoman for the medical center. Of the nine other shooting victims taken to that hospital, four others were in critical condition and five were in serious condition.
– Early Sunday morning, the sheriff's office released a surveillance camera photo of a male between 40 and 50 years old who is "possibly associated with the suspect." The dark-haired man was last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark blue jacket, and was seen at the location where the shooting occurred.
– At 2 p.m. Sunday, a caucus conference call has been scheduled for House Democrats and their spouses to get an update on the shooting, two congressional sources said.
– At 8:30 a.m., Speaker of the House John Boehner will address the media in West Chester, Ohio, about the shooting.
Veteran Rep. John Boehner of Ohio became the 61st speaker of the House of Representatives Wednesday as Republicans officially took charge of the chamber for the first time in four years and dramatically changed Washington's political landscape.
Democrats maintained control of the Senate for the new 112th Congress, but with a reduced majority.FULL STORY
Who won the lottery? – That question seems to be on everyone's mind after it was announced that two tickets, one sold in Idaho and another in Washington state, matched all six numbers in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing.
Early Wednesday nearly every Google trend dealt with the lottery. Now all people want to know is who are the two lucky people who will split the $355 million jackpot. So far, lottery officials haven't identified them. But once they do, their names are likely to become well-known.
Congress goes back to work – The new Congress convenes Wednesday, and the initial focus for Republicans, fresh off their 2010 midterm election victories, will start off symbolic, with the legislative meat to be served later.
Incoming House Speaker John Boehner wants all his friends to see him get sworn in on Wednesday - Facebook friends that is.
For the first time ever, Congress will be broadcast live on Facebook. Boehner announced that beginning at noon on Wednesday, people can go on the popular social media website for live coverage of the first day's floor proceedings and his first speech as Speaker of the House.
The incoming speaker will direct people to visit the "Pledge to America" Facebook page to view the transition to the GOP-controlled House.
"This kind of streaming and real-time interaction is not only unprecedented for the House, it's helping to set the tone for a new majority that will continue to find new ways to listen to and better represent the American people," said Nick Schaper, Boehner's director of digital media.FULL STORY
Incoming House Speaker John Boehner shared his thoughts about President Obama, his humble upbringing, his political style, and even his skin color and emotions on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.
“Everybody who knows me knows that I get emotional about certain things,” the Ohio Republican said. And he demonstrated what moved him to tears. When it came to the topic of the American dream, Boehner choked up. “There are some things that are very difficult to talk about,” he said. “Family, kids, I can’t go to a school anymore. … Can’t talk about it.”
Why? Because it’s important to make sure that kids “have a shot at the American dream, like I did,” he said with a sob.
Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about Boehner tearing up on election night (pictured above) in November. In an interview with The New York Times, Pelosi said, “You know what? He is known to cry. He cries sometimes when we’re having a debate on bills.”
The Florida Democrat hasn’t even taken office, but she is already gearing up for a fight over an age-old U.S. House rule.
Wilson is a connoisseur of hats, especially sequined cowboy ones, and she doesn’t take kindly to being told that the House doesn’t cotton to its members rocking Stetsons in its chamber.
“It's sexist,” Wilson told The Miami Herald. “It dates back to when men wore hats, and we know that men don't wear hats indoors, but women wear hats indoors. Hats are what I wear. People get excited when they see the hats. Once you get accustomed to it, it's just me. Some people wear wigs or high heel shoes or big earrings or pins. This is just me.”
Wilson had to take off her hat for her official congressional picture, a ruling she said she plans to appeal.
The odds are against the flamboyant freshman, according to PolitiFact. The hat ban has been in place since 1837, and was upheld during the 1970s when Rep. Bella Abzug pushed to sport her trademark broad-rimmed hats.
It will likely take a full House vote to overturn the rule, PolitiFact reported.
But Wilson does not seem deterred. Though she recently said she doesn’t know how many hats she owns, she told the Tampa Bay Times last year that she owns about 300, some of which are custom-dyed to match her suits.
Though it would be unreasonable to expect a photo gallery of all the hats, which take up an entire room in her house, the Miami New Times is showcasing 25 of its favorites.
Road to 2012 – Wednesday belongs to Republicans. The GOP knocked Democrats out of at least 10 governorships on Tuesday and grabbed the majority in the House by winning at least 60 seats. That means John Boehner is likely to be the next speaker of the House, and President Obama called to congratulate him. Democrats held on to power in the Senate, with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada beating Tea Party-backed candidate Sharron Angle. The day brought victory for some other Tea Party-backed candidates, but the winning group did not include Christine O'Donnell, who lost to Democrat Chris Coons in the contest for the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden.
But what everyone is really talking about is two years away. The race to 2012 begins today.
Jobs – The victorious vibes are already transitioning into pressure to deliver. Voters are concerned about the economy, and the burden is on those elected Tuesday to deal with it. According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, employers announced nearly 38,000 job cuts last month. In a separate report, payroll processor ADP says private-sector jobs increased by 43,000 in October. Economists are predicting steady growth, which could improve Obama's chances of holding onto his job.
Shipping and terror – With the new focus on safety in package shipments, Greece suspended air shipments of all mail and packages for 48 hours due to parcel bombs mailed from Athens this week. Packages were sent on Tuesday to the leaders of Germany and Italy. At least nine other bombs were sent to embassies in Athens. Authorities in Europe are scrambling to safeguard the public. One aviation chief is calling for a complete security overhaul within the industry.
In a phone call with Rep. John Boehner, incoming Speaker of the House of Representatives, after Tuesday's election results were in, President Obama said he was "looking forward to working with him and the Republicans to find common ground, move the country forward and get things done for the American people," the White House announced in a press release Tuesday night.
Here's Boehner's account of the phone call, according to his press office:
"President Obama called Leader Boehner at midnight to congratulate him. They had a brief but pleasant conversation. Leader Boehner said he's always been straightforward and honest with the president in the past, and said that's the way he'll continue to be with the president in the future. They discussed working together to focus on the top priorities of the American people, which Boehner has identified as creating jobs and cutting spending. "That's what they expect," Boehner said. He thanked the president for the call."