Gotta Watch: Extreme kayakers plunge down waterfalls
A kayaker competes in the 15th annual Green River race.
December 16th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Extreme kayakers plunge down waterfalls

This is kayaking like you’ve never seen it before. Some “extreme kayakers” are dropping down waterfalls and racing down rapids. You’ve Gotta Watch them perform death-defying stunts. We’ll let you decide whether they’re cool or crazy.

Free-falling feat – Extreme kayaker Isaac Levinson recently rode down Alabama's 90-foot Noccalula Falls, upsetting park officials. He says he decided to do this stunt “because it’s there.” Hear him tell about his wild ride and watch a helmet-cam video of the fall.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Sports • Washington state
Amanda Knox arrives in Seattle
Amanda Knox said being with her family was the "most important thing to me right now."
October 4th, 2011
09:00 PM ET

Amanda Knox arrives in Seattle

[5:42 p.m. PT, 8:42 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox told cheering supporters Tuesday night, "What's important for me is just to say thank you to everyone who has believed in me, supported me and my family." Knox, who was released from an Italian prison Monday after being cleared of murder charges, made very brief remarks after her arrival at the Seattle airport.

[5:31 p.m. PT, 8:31 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox, released from an Italian prison Monday after being cleared of murder charges, has arrived in her hometown of Seattle.

Knox to be welcomed home with "open arms"

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Filed under: Amanda Knox • Italy • Washington state
October 3rd, 2011
05:10 PM ET

Live blog: Amanda Knox to go free after jury overturns murder conviction

For further updates please read the full CNN Wire story here.

[Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET] Business mogul Donald Trump told CNN’s Erin Burnett he hoped that Amanda Knox would somehow be able to rebound and make some “dividends” off her ordeal. “I”ve been supporting the family. I’ve been helping the family and will continue to help them,” he said.

“For her to have spent four years in a terrible jail is just outrageous,” he said. "I don’t think they [the Knox family] can leave [Italy] quick enough. She went to Italy to learn the language. Well, she learned the language,” he said.

[Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda, a member of the Italian parliament who became an advocate for Knox, said she was  "incredibly happy" upon leaving prison. He said Knox will leave Tuesday for Seattle, her hometown.

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Filed under: Amanda Knox • Crime • Italy • U.S. • Washington state
October 3rd, 2011
07:30 AM ET

Amanda Knox pleads for her freedom as murder appeal ends

Nearly four years after she was arrested on suspicion of having killed her roommate in this picturesque Italian university town, Amanda Knox got one last chance Monday to persuade a jury she didn't do it.

"People always ask who is Amanda Knox? I am the same person I was four years ago. But I have lost a friend. I have lost my faith in Italian police. I am paying with my life for something I have not done. Four years ago I didn't know what suffering was," Knox said, delivering her statement in Italian.

"I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal," she added. "I was not there."

Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito are fighting to be acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. Prosecutors have called for the pair's sentences - of 26 and 25 years, respectively - to be increased to life.

The case is now in the hands of two judges and six jurors, who retired together within minutes of Knox's statement to consider their ruling.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the killing and related crimes in December 2009. Their appeal has focused largely on DNA evidence found on a knife and on a bra clasp belonging to the victim.

Knox's words capped a dramatic week of closing arguments by the host of lawyers battling over the outcome, from the lawyer for a man falsely accused of the crime, who called Knox "Lucifer-like, demonic, Satanic," to the Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno, who insisted that like the buxom cartoon temptress Jessica Rabbit in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Knox is not bad, just "drawn that way."

Knox told the court she always wanted justice for Kercher, her roommate at the university.

"I am innocent. Raffaele is innocent," she said.

At the conclusion of her statement, Knox put her hands on her face and wept.  Before Knox addressed the court, Sollecito asked the court to set Amanda and him free.

Sollecito described the original investigation, the trial and the jailing as "living in a nightmare."

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Filed under: Amanda Knox • Crime • Italy • U.S. • Washington state
On the Radar: 787 delivery, Palestinian statehood, Washington Monument
A 787 painted in ANA colors lands in Japan after a July test flight.
September 26th, 2011
06:01 AM ET

On the Radar: 787 delivery, Palestinian statehood, Washington Monument

Three things you need to know today

ANA Dreamliner: Boeing delivers its first 787 Dreamliner today, handing over the airliner to All Nippon Airways at a ceremony at Boeing's facility in Everett, Washington.

You can follow the events live on Boeing's website beginning at noon ET, 9 a.m. Pacific.

The plane is the first commercial airliner to be made mostly of carbon composites or super durable plastic. Those materials mean a lighter plane that Boeing says could use 20% less fuel than conventional airliners, making way for a more environmentally-friendly and cost effective aircraft option for airlines.

So far, according to Boeing, the manufacturer has more than 800 orders for the 787 Dreamliner, which has a list price of about $200 million each.

The interior of the plane also sports a variety of upgrades. Gone are traditional plane window shades. Instead, a button on the window allows passengers to gradually darken their surroundings.

All Nippon Airways has ordered 55 Dreamliners.

Palestinian statehood: The historic Palestinian bid for statehood goes before the United Nations Security Council Monday, where it looks set for a largely symbolic debate in the face of a promised American veto.

Lebanon's Nawaf Salam, the Security Council president for this month, said he circulated the letter of application to all 15 members of the Security Council last week.

While a U.S. veto would block the bid for full U.N. membership, the General Assembly could still vote to upgrade the status of Palestinians, who currently hold the status of non-voting observer "entity."

The body could change that status to permanent observer "state," identical to the Vatican's standing at the United Nations.

Washington Monument: National Park Service officials will hold a news conference Monday afternoon to offer details on damaged sustained by the Washington Monument during the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23.

The service has been working with an engineering firm to determine the extent of the damage and what it will cost to fix it.

The monument has been closed to the public since the earthquake.

Tacoma teachers ending 8-day strike, district says
Teachers in Tacoma, Washington, hold picket signs outside a school last week.
September 22nd, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Tacoma teachers ending 8-day strike, district says

Teachers in Tacoma, Washington, have voted to end their eight-day strike, meaning classes will resume Friday for 28,000 students, Tacoma school district spokesman Dan Voelpel said.

A lawsuit that the school district had filed against the teachers' union will be dropped, Voelpel said.

A tentative agreement was reached Wednesday. Contract talks between the school district and union hadfractured over teacher pay, class size and how educators are transferred between schools.

In the deal that teachers accepted Thursday, according to Voelpel, class sizes will remain the same (the union had pushed for smaller class sizes); teachers will not face a pay cut (the district to cut pay by 1.35%); and a joint committee appointed by the district and union will determine how teachers are transferred.

Across Washington, state services cuts are in the works after the governor's office last week said the state is expected to collect $1.4 billion less in revenue between now and June 2013 than previously forecast.

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Gotta Watch: Location, location, location
A Florida city busted a dog owner who dyed her pooch's paws pink.
August 15th, 2011
10:42 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Location, location, location

Money Magazine has released its 2011 list of America's 100 best places to live. In today's Gotta Watch, we're checking the map and looking at a few other cities you may - or may not - want to consider.

Buford, Wyoming's party of one – Whether it's about winning debates at town meetings, the length of his commute or how long it would take to meet the entire population, Don Sammons knows all the jokes. And he should. He's the sole resident of Wyoming's oldest town.

Lynwood, Washington's men in tights –  If safety is at the top of your list, you may want to consider Lynwood, Washington. The city's police force gets a little extra help from a merry band of crime fighters.

Jacksonville, Florida's pet peeve - If you want a city that supports all forms of creative expression, even when it involves the family pet, you may want to drive on past Jacksonville, Florida. Just ask this woman, who was busted for painting her pooch.

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Filed under: Animals • Art • Crime • Dogs • Florida • Gotta Watch • U.S. • Uncategorized • Washington state • Wyoming
August 1st, 2011
08:06 AM ET

FBI working new lead in D.B. Cooper hijacking case

It's been nearly four decades since a man calling himself Dan Cooper jumped out the back of Northwest Orient Flight 305, somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Nevada, carrying a parachute and some $200,000 in pilfered money.

It's not known where Cooper landed, or if he even survived the jump. But the case lives on in infamy, what the FBI calls "one of the great unsolved mysteries" in the agency's history.

The FBI "reignited" the case in 2007, releasing for the first time a number of pictures and information on the case. Now, agents are working a new lead and looking at a new suspect in the 1971 hijacking.

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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
July 24th, 2011
11:05 PM ET

After girl's death, selfless act lives on

[Updated July 25, 4:25 p.m.] For her 9th birthday last month, Rachel Beckwith told people that instead of giving her presents, they should donate to a charity providing clean water to families in developing nations.

The Seattle-area girl came up with $220, short of her $300 goal.  She figured she’d try to raise more money next year.

Then came the crash.

Rachel died Saturday, taken off life support at a Seattle hospital three days after she and six other people were injured in a 14-vehicle pileup on Interstate 90 near her home in Bellevue, Washington, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.

But before her death, as word of Wednesday’s crash spread, so did news about Rachel’s fundraising wish. Her church took to Facebook, Twitter and its own website to promote her cause.

As of Monday afternoon, Rachel’s online fundraising page for the nonprofit group "charity: water" had landed more than $130,000 in donations, from more than 2,400 donors.

"Rest in peace knowing that your wish is helping people in ways that you could have never imagined," one contributor wrote on the campaign site.

Ryan Meeks, one of Rachel's pastors, said that "life is coming out of this death, with Rachel's generosity."

"It's inspired many, and it’s been amazing over the last 24 hours," Meeks told CNN's Don Lemon on "CNN Newsroom" Saturday night.

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Filed under: Charity • Washington state
Several wounded in shooting at Seattle-area car show
July 23rd, 2011
08:06 PM ET

Several wounded in shooting at Seattle-area car show

As many as eight people were wounded in a shooting at a low-rider car show outside a Kent, Washington, strip mall late Saturday afternoon, according to a King County fire and rescue dispatcher.

"We have a ton of medical staff on the scene and are transporting people to local hospitals," the dispatcher said.

A witness who works at a business near the shooting site told CNN affiliate KOMO that she heard about 10 shots.

"I saw a lot of people running everywhere, running across the street, then the cops showed up," the witness, Trish Harvey, said.

The site, near Pacific Highway, is a few miles south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
July 2nd, 2011
08:35 AM ET

Seattle police make cold-case arrest

A 71-year-old Seattle man living under an assumed name at a retirement community in Washington has been arrested in connection with the 1957 kidnapping and murder of an Illinois girl, authorities said Friday.

Maria Ridulph, 7, disappeared while playing near her home in the town of Sycamore, west of Chicago.

Her story captured national headlines and the attention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, according to news accounts published at the time.

Federal agents joined local and state law enforcement authorities as well as the community in the search for the girl, whose remains were found four months later by a couple walking in the woods, the news reports said.

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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
June 17th, 2011
04:43 PM ET

'Barefoot Bandit' pleads guilty to seven federal charges

Colton Harris-Moore, whom authorities have dubbed the Barefoot Bandit, pleaded guilty Friday to several federal charges stemming from actions that led to his dramatic July 2010 capture in the Bahamas.

Harris-Moore gained notoriety and earned his nickname for allegedly leading police on a two-year manhunt while eluding capture in stolen boats, cars and planes, often while barefoot.

Dressed in a khaki prison uniform at the hearing Friday, Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to seven counts, including stealing an airplane, piloting an airplane without a license, burglarizing a bank and possessing a firearm as a fugitive. He faces additional charges in Washington state.

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Filed under: Barefoot Bandit • Crime • Justice • Washington state
Dam releases are killing hundreds of thousands of fish, farmers say
Fish farmers say nitrogen gas generated by the Grand Coulee Dam’s increased water flow is killing their crop downstream.
May 27th, 2011
11:04 AM ET

Dam releases are killing hundreds of thousands of fish, farmers say

Hundreds of thousands of fish in the Columbia River are dying from the bends.

That's the layman's explanation. Here's the detailed one.

A large winter snow melt is forcing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia in Washington state, to increase water flows through the dam. The turbulent water is releasing gases, including nitrogen gas, which is what causes the bends in scuba divers when they surface too quickly. Gas levels have been more than 130% of normal recently, the Seattle Times reports.

"We've easily got hundreds of thousands of dead fish," Bill Clark told the Seattle paper. He works for Pacific Aquaculture, which farms steelhead trout in nets in the river.

Pacific Aquaculture's parent company, Pacific Seafood, says it is losing 100,000 fish a day from the 2.7 million still living on the farm in the river 20 miles south of the Grand Coulee, according to a report on SeattlePI.com.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Fish • Washington state
On The Radar: Northeast snow; last prison of its kind; jobless report
Snow is Greenfield, Massachusetts, was expected in January, but scenes like this could be repeated across the Northeast today.
April 1st, 2011
06:16 AM ET

On The Radar: Northeast snow; last prison of its kind; jobless report

Winter storm: It's no April Fool's Day joke - parts of the Northeast could get more than a foot of snow Friday as a nor'easter roars into the region.

The National Weather service has issued winter storm warnings for areas of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. As much as 14 inches of heavy, wet snow is possible in some areas, forecasters say.

Snow will stick to trees and power lines and,  with wind gusts of up to 30 mph, makes at least some power outages likely, the weather service said.

Island prison closes: McNeil Island Corrections Center in Washington state, the last island prison in the United States, closes on Friday.

The prison, which once housed more than 1,200 inmates, has been in use for more than a century, but its island location makes maintaining too costly, officials said.

Statue honors Tucson girl: A statue of an angel in honor of the youngest victim of January's mass shooting will be unveiled in Tucson, Arizona, on Friday.

Christina Green was born on September 11, 2001, and died on January 8 in the Tucson shooting rampage, which left six dead and 13 wounded, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The 9-foot, 11-inch statue incorporates steel from the Pentagon and World Trade Center. The rocks at the base are from the crash site of Flight 93. The statue will live at the Little League field where Christina played baseball.

Jobs report: The Labor Department on Friday releases its monthly jobs report for March. A CNNMoney survey of 18 economists forecasts an addition of 180,000 jobs in March, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.9%.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported 388,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week, CNNMoney reported.

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Filed under: Arizona • Economy • Jobs • On the Radar • Washington state • Weather • Winter weather
March 23rd, 2011
07:48 PM ET

Suspect in MLK parade bombing pleads not guilty

A man accused of attempting to set off a bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Washington, has pleaded not guilty, an FBI spokesman said Wednesday.

Kevin Harpham pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device, FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Frank Harrill said.

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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
Monday's intriguing people
Coach Tad Boyle reacts during a game against the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament on Friday.
March 14th, 2011
10:42 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Tad Boyle

The head coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes basketball team is trying to comprehend why his team did not make the field of 68 in the NCAA tournament while trying to motivate his guys to begin play in the post-season National Invitation Tournament. Boyle was hosting a watch party at his house that was featured on the CBS broadcast that announced the brackets, and the nation saw stunned and disappointed faces as Colorado's players and coaches realized they would not be playing in the tournament.  "I had no words to console them," Boyle said afterward. "I thought we were in." He wasn't the only one.
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Suspect in Spokane's King Day bomb probe detained
The bomb found along a parade route on Martin Luther King Jr. day was set up to be detonated remotely.
March 9th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Suspect in Spokane's King Day bomb probe detained

Authorities have a suspect in custody in connection with a backpack bomb found in January along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Washington, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby for the Eastern District of Washington.

Ormsby told CNN that Kevin William Harpham, 36, of Colville, Washington, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. PT on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered device.

The suspect was apprehended away from his home, which is in a rural part of Washington state near Colville, a law enforcement source told CNN.

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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
Gotta Watch: Baby Darth unmasked; Beijing underground; robber says please
Volkswagen's new ad icon Max Page also stars in ABC's "The Young and the Restless"
February 7th, 2011
10:23 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Baby Darth unmasked; Beijing underground; robber says please

The force of advertising be with you - The pint-sized Darth Vadar who appears in a Volkswagen commercial is now a big star after his Super Bowl debut. And just when you thought the little guy can't get any cuter, he takes his mask off and reveals he is overcoming a congenital heart condition. I think I just heard the country sigh a collective "Awwww."

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Filed under: China • Football • Gotta Watch • Pro football • Sports • TV • Uncategorized • Washington state
Tough times for men and women in blue
Law enforcement officials hug each other Monday before a memorial service for two slain Miami-Dade police officers.
January 24th, 2011
01:51 PM ET

Tough times for men and women in blue

As police in Florida prepared for the funeral of two Miami-Dade County police officers gunned down in the line of duty, shots rang out Monday in St. Petersburg, on the other side of the state. Two other officers fell dead and a federal marshal was wounded. Follow updates on CNN and affiliate WFTS-TV.

On any given day, such violence against police officers would be disturbing. But the fatalities capped a particularly violent 24 hours in the United States for the men and women in blue. Eleven police officers were shot.

“It is a very disturbing trend for all of us,” said Hal Johnson, general counsel for the Florida Police Benevolent Association. “Florida has never seen a streak like this. I don’t think anybody has.”

It is natural to search for answers, Johnson said, even if there aren’t any. The shootings do not appear to be related, and the motives may never be known. Declaring it to be open season against police officers seems dangerously simplistic, he added.

He sees the shootings more as acts of desperation.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida • Indiana • Michigan • Washington state
2 killed, 2 cops hurt in shootout outside Walmart
The shooting happened outside a Port Orchard, Washington, Walmart after sheriff's deputies responded to a call about a suspicious person, authorities said.
January 23rd, 2011
10:47 PM ET

2 killed, 2 cops hurt in shootout outside Walmart

Two people were shot dead and two sheriff's deputies were wounded late Sunday afternoon outside a Walmart store in western Washington state, a Kitsap County Sheriff's spokesman said.

Three sheriff's deputies responded to the scene around 3:45 p.m. Sunday after getting a call about a suspicious person "from a bystander who had concerns about a person inside the store," Deputy Scott Wilson said.

The deputies approached one man outside the store's south entrance, but - rather than responding verbally - he ran from the scene, turned around to face the deputies and began shooting.

"(The deputies) called to him and said, 'Hey, we need to talk to you,'" said Wilson. "He turned around and shot at them, and they returned fire."

The male shooter was shot and later pronounced dead in the Walmart parking lot. As of Sunday night, authorities had not released his name, age or other details about him.

A young female - thought to be a teenager, said Wilson - also was shot, with emergency personnel then transporting her to Tacoma General Hospital. She eventually died from her wounds.

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