The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment.
The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers.
It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected.FULL STORY
What is being called the nation's toughest anti-abortion measure was signed into law on Tuesday by North Dakota's governor. The law bans most abortions when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected, which is at about six weeks.
The law sets the stage for an almost guaranteed legal showdown, with proponents saying the law is intended to test the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal.
"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.FULL STORY
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.FULL STORY
North Dakota voters have - for now, at least - cleared the way for the University of North Dakotaâ€™s athletic teams to drop their controversial Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
North Dakotans voted 60.5% to 39.5% on Tuesday in favor of a referendum measure that essentially gives the school the power to drop the name, which it has sought to do to comply with an NCAA campaign targeting Native American nicknames.
â€śWe are appreciative that voters took the time to listen and to understand the issues and the importance of allowing the university to move forward,â€ť university President Robert O. Kelley said Wednesday.
But a years-long battle over the nickname might not be over, with supporters hoping to force another vote - this time calling for changing the state Constitution to mandate the nameâ€™s use - in November.
The issue stems from the NCAA's longstanding efforts to get most Native American nicknames and logos out of college athletics. In 2005, the NCAA ordered almost 20 schools whose nicknames and mascots it deemed "abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin" to either get Native American permission to use their names and likenesses or come up with new ones.
The NCAA said that schools continuing to use such nicknames without permission would, among other things, be prohibited from hosting NCAA championship events.
Editor's note: This post is part of theÂ Overheard on CNN.comÂ series, a regular featureÂ that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
There's a bit of controversy going on between the NCAA and the University of North Dakota over the school's mascot, the Fighting Sioux. Readers had strong responses to CNN's story.
Many of our commenters were supportive of the name, citing the Fighting Irish as an example of another use of cultural stereotype.
bronson2010: "This is ridiculous. The political correctness that has overtaken this country astounds me. What about the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Is that offensive? Perhaps to the Irish. I'm Irish and I support North Dakota with my heart and soul, even though when you think about it, this may be considered offensive since the Irish were stereotypically known for getting drunk and fighting. Time to grow a skin people. Or did I offend you?"
This former student says the name is OK. Several commenters said the use of the name Fighting Sioux is a compliment to the Native Americans in the area.
PhiDelt: "As a former student of the University of North Dakota, I am happy they are fighting to keep this name. It is a long and storied tradition at UND, and it does honor the Sioux of that area."
A few commenters said the word "Sioux" is not an actual name for the tribe.
N8iveThought: "What people don't understand is Sioux is not a Lakota, Nakota, or Dakota word. It is French for enemy/snake. It's insulting because it's not a name we call ourselves. I'm Oglala Lakota not Oglala Sioux. There is a difference there and we natives are the only ones who know it. It's like calling every white person in the United States French or jew or whatever may have it. Also there are many tribes that were called Sioux. There areÂ seven tribes in South Dakota alone that have been label Sioux. Which in turn are really not. We have the Cheyenne River, which consists of four bands (Itazico, O'ohenunpa, Minnecojou, and Si hasapa), Oglala, Sicungu, Yankton, Lower Brule, Sisseton Wahpeton, etc. Not to mention the tribes in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. So I think they'd have to get permission from all tribes to actually use the insulting name in question."
Some also mentioned the Minnesota Vikings. FULL POST
Minot and other North Dakota cities dealing with record flooding will continue to be threatened by the Souris River for days to come, even though the water is no longer rising along parts of the river, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander said Monday.
Although the river crested in Minot early Sunday morning, it has only dropped a fraction of an inch since leaving crews with the tense, around-the-clock job of constantly inspecting and shoring up emergency levees built to protect critical structures, said Lt. Col. Kendall Bergmann, deputy district engineer for the Corps' St. Paul District.
"We're 99% complete, but it's an ongoing fight," Bergmann said Monday.
The river had crested in Minot and appeared to be cresting in the downstream community of Velva, Bergmann said. The remaining communities along the U.S. portion of the river - which begins in Canada and loops back into that country downstream of Minot - do not appear threatened, he said.FULL STORY
Many residents of Minot, North Dakota, who evacuated ahead of rising floodwaters were approaching the water's edge on Sunday, hoping to catch a glimpse of their homes.
Most often, they are disappointed by what they see.
Officials have estimated up to 4,000 homes are flooded to some degree.FULL STORY
Lindsay Lohan ordered back to court - Lindsay Lohan allegedly failed a court-ordered alcohol test last week and will have to go before a judge for a probation violation hearing Thursday morning, according to a source close to the case. Lohan's failed test comes while the actress is confined to her Venice Beach, California, home after pleading guilty to stealing a necklace. The actress will appear before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner, the same judge who sentenced her, a prosecution spokeswoman said.
Fugitive captured - Accused Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger is expected to be arraigned Thursday in Los Angeles. Bulger was arrested Wednesday by the FBI Fugitive Task Force in Santa Monica, California, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. Bulger had been on the run since the mid-'90s after fleeing Boston as he was about to be arrested in connection with 19 killings, racketeering and other crimes. Bulger, 81, has been the subject of several books and was said to be the inspiration for the 2006 movie "The Departed."
[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] Sirens were sounding Wednesday in Minot, North Dakota, urging residents to evacuate in the face of major flooding.
The sirens came on the heels of news that water had begun flowing over the city's dikes, which are leaking in some places.
[Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET] Authorities have ordered the evacuation of some 12,000 people from the city of Minot, North Dakota, and surrounding areas because of expected record flooding, officials said Tuesday.
The swollen Souris River flows straight through the city and is expected to overwhelm area levees, said Cecily Fong, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services. Minot, located in the north central part of the state, is the fourth-largest city in North Dakota.
The evacuation order covers between a quarter and a third of the city's population, Fong said. Residents have until 6 p.m. CT Wednesday to leave their homes.FULL STORY
Hailstones covered a beach in Southern California over the weekend; tornadoes tore up a small town in Iowa; residents of Fargo, North Dakota, escaped a flood threat; and West Texas is battling the biggest wildfire outbreak in its history.
Yes, itâ€™s spring in America.
The crazy weather is expected to continue today, with record temperatures predicted along the East Coast. Highs will top 80 as far north as Philadelphia, and it will feel like summer in the South. But an advancing cold front will set off a line of potentially severe storms from Texas to the Great Lakes, according to the National Weather Service. That line will head east into the evening.
Residents of Newport Beach, California, were soaking in a Jacuzzi, enjoying an unseasonably cool night, when the skies opened up, CNN affiliate KTLA reports.
At first they thought they were being pelted by raindrops, but it stung. The hail-snow combo covered the sand with icy pellets - and was the first time many residents had seen snow on the beach.
Families of U.S. service members in JapanÂ who voluntarily leftÂ the countryÂ after the March 11 quake are entitled to as much $21,225 in living expenses for their first month back in the United States, according to Defense Department documents and officials.
That amount, based on one adult, one teenager and one child under 12 who chose to evacuate to Honolulu, decreases to about $11,000 in months two through six the family spends in a "safe haven," the place the family has chosen to spend their time away from Japan. Military families were given their choice of destinations in the continental United States, according Eileen M. Lainez of the Defense Press Office in Washington, but evacuation to Hawaii and Alaska was considered on a case-by-case basis. Civilian dependents were given their choice of destinations in the 50 states.
The amount varies by location and cost of living and could be considerably less. While the family could get $21,225 the first month for staying in Oahu, Hawaii, and almost $15,675 if it went to Santa Barbara, California, it would be authorized $9,225 for North Dakota or rural areas of North Carolina, for example, according to Defense Department figures.
Texas Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry has won his bid for re-election, CNN projects, beating Democrat Bill White.
New York Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has defeated Republican Carl Paladino in the race for governor, CNN projects. Democratic Gov. David Paterson is retiring.