It looks like we're inching closer to filling out President Barack Obama's new cabinet.
Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan will be nominated by Obama to be the next director of the CIA, according to a senior administration official.
The announcement is expected Monday afternoon at the same time the president nominates former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense.
Ticker: Hagel in for a fight, GOP says
Hagel's views shaped by Vietnam
Who is Chuck Hagel?
Obama's Cabinet: Who's in, who's out?
A Mississippi man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal hate crime charge in connection with a group of young men and teenagers that carried out racial attacks against African-Americans in 2011.
Joseph Dominick, 21, from Brandon, entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Mississippi, to one count of conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes.
Dominick and others began in the spring of 2011 to harass and assault African-Americans in Jackson and the surrounding area, according to the FBI.
In one case, Dominick was part of a group that used a sling shot to hurl metal ball bearings at several African-Americans, a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice said. The young men also threw glass beer bottles at African-Americans, the news release said.
On June 25, 2011, Dominick attended a party in Puckett, about 45 minutes from Jackson, where members of the group discussed going to the Mississippi capital to find African-Americans to harass, authorities said. While seven white men went in two trucks that night to Jackson, Dominick wasn't among them.
James Craig Anderson, 47, a black man, died after he was beaten and run over in the early morning hours of June 26, 2011. The truck was driven by Deryl Dedmon, a member of the group, prosecutors said.
Abby Swansiger was a little nervous about heading back to school for the first time since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, so she asked her mom to come with her.
Sarah Swansiger said that things went off without a hitch in her daughter's kindergarten class, and everyone was making sure parents and kids felt comfortable at their new school.
"Honestly, it was like the first day of school," Swansiger said, noting there were a few things that were different. "There were counselors; there were therapy dogs. There was a little bit of anxiety, but everyone was ready to get back in the swing of things."
It appears House Speaker John Boehner was right - he had no reason to worry about being re-elected to his post this year.
There were certainly rumbles and grumbling after furor that there was no vote on Sandy aid during the fiscal cliff. That prompted some GOP members to speak out with extremely harsh words about Boehner. That anger was quickly defused after Boehner promised a vote would take place on that aid this Friday.
A few republicans chose to at least make a symbolic statement during today's vote: either by not voting for Boehner or nominating someone else. (One member nominated Colin Powell. Yes, non-members can actually serve if they have enough votes.)
Still, with the votes from 220 members, Boehner will again lead the House and the Republican majority.
Read more about some of the drama that has surrounded Boehner lately:
Christie: Boehner wouldn't take my calls
Republicans pledge to back Boehner, reversing earlier outrage
Christie hammers Boehner by name for Sandy funding delay
Boehner's f-bomb for Reid
It is a new day on Capitol Hill and a new session.
And along with a slew of items to deal with there are some important changes going on: specifically your new lawmakers. This year sees more women and more Latinos in our chambers than ever.
And right now, happening live on CNN, Vice President Joe Biden is swearing in those that will become new senators.
A first step towards normalcy and a first step towards healing. That's what parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School are hoping for today as they drop their kids off at school for the first time since an unimaginable tragedy.
Many things will be different for these kids. They won't be attending Sandy Hook Elementary, which police say remains part of an ongoing investigation into Adam Lanza, the gunman who also killed his mother before opening fire at the school and killing 20 children and six adults.
Instead the children are expected to travel to Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby town of Monroe, where a green-and-white banner greeting the children hangs on a fence. There will also be other familiar items to welcome the kids: furniture and rugs like the ones in their old school. And then there are the security changes: more cameras and locks.
All of those are steps officials across the state of Connecticut have helped make happen in hopes of making school a welcoming place for these children again.
Five men accused of gang-raping a 23-year-old Indian woman on a New Dehli bus have been formally charged with rape, murder and kidnapping, senior police official Suman Nalwa told CNN.
The attack on the woman, who died from severe injuries last week, has appalled and enraged many Indians, prompting widespread debate over the way the country handles sexual assaults and the treatment of women in Indian society. The trial is expected to begin this week.
iReport: What's your reaction to how India handles sexual assaults?
Misogyny in India: We are all guilty
Opinion: End culture of rape in 2013
[Update, 6:31 p.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was discharged Wednesday evening from New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she'd been admitted Sunday because of a blood clot, the State Department said.
"Her medical team advised her that she is making good progress on all fronts, and they are confident she will make a full recovery," the department said. "She's eager to get back to the office, and we will keep you updated on her schedule as it becomes clearer in the coming days. Both she and her family would like to express their appreciation for the excellent care she received from the doctors, nurses and staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center.
[Update, 5:50 p.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office hasn't issued a statement saying that she had been released from New York Presbyterian Hospital.
CNN staff outside the hospital had seen Clinton, her husband and daughter get into a van outside the hospital on Wednesday.
[Initial post, 4:13 p.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has left New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to CNN staff at the scene.
Clinton had been admitted Sunday due to a blood clot that was discovered during a follow-up exam related to a concussion she suffered last month.
The son of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been found dead in Malibu, California, according to a spokesman for the team.
Scott Sterling, 32, was reported dead at 12:42 a.m. PT on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.
Sheriff's officers and the coroner's office believe he died of an "apparent drug overdose," according to a press release.
He was discovered by officers who were sent to the home and later pronounced dead by paramedics.
Donald and Shelly Sterling issued a statement later Wednesday in which they thanked supporters for their sympathy and asked for privacy as they mourn their son.
"Our son Scott has fought a long and valiant battle against Type 1 Diabetes. His death is a terrible tragedy, the effects of which will be felt forever by our family and all those who knew and loved him," the statement said.
Clippers President Andy Roeser offered condolences to the family in a news release.
"Today the thoughts and prayers of our organization go out to Donald T. and Shelly Sterling and their children Chris and Joanna, in the wake of this tragic loss. Scott was a friend to many in the Clippers' family and he will be greatly missed."
NBA Commissioner David Stern also expressed sympathy.
"On behalf of the NBA family, we extend our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Donald and Shelly Sterling on the loss of their son Scott," he said in a statement.
At least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said on Wednesday, based on an analysis conducted by the U.N. Human Rights Office.
Here are some of the stories behind those numbers.
Dozens of people were killed and wounded after a Syrian government air raid at a fuel station in a Damascus suburb, the Local Coordination Committee of Syria reported.
There is no firm death toll at the moment, according to the Syria-based opposition activist network, but we'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.
You may have a few new options if you need to borrow a car for a weekend: Avis is acquiring Zipcar.
The price tag for the purchase is $500 million. But the traditional car rental company hopes it will be money well spent.
Because Zipcar currently doesn't have enough cars to satisfy customer demand on the weekend, Avis is hoping to step in and beef up the number of options for customers.
You can read more about the deal at CNNMoney.com.
It seems we're not much closer to a deal on the fiscal cliff.
The finger-pointing and the one-liners from both sides continues as we wait to see if we'll get a vote from the House after the Democrat-led Senate passed a bill that would put off budget cuts for two months and preserve Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000.
And since I refuse to talk anymore about who is kicking a can down a road or any tired sports metaphors I’m just going to give you the latest quotes from both camps this afternoon as they try and sort this out.
The Senate did its part, so will the House follow suit today and pass a fiscal cliff package?
So far, the answer is, we really don't know.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office says there's no decision yet on whether the House will vote today on the fiscal cliff deal passed by the Senate.
The deal, which passed the Democratic-controlled Senate in an overwhelming 89-8 vote in the middle of the night, would maintain tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000. Technically, it would reinstate cuts that expired at midnight.
The bill temporarily extends certain tax breaks, such as the one for college tuition, while making new tax rates permanent.
It would mark the first time in two decades that tax rates jump for the wealthiest Americans - giving some bragging rights to President Barack Obama, who has long insisted on such a move.
But it also leaves him breaking a promise. The president had vowed to raise tax rates for the top-earning 2% of Americans, including those with household income above $250,000.
You can follow the latest developments on the fiscal cliff deal on our Political Ticker blog.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that she is leaving her post after the State of the Union Address, according to a release on the Agency's website.
Her statement in full is below:
I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: “There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.” As the President said earlier this year when he addressed EPA’s employees, “You help make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are safe. You help protect the environment not just for our children but their children. And you keep us moving toward energy independence…We have made historic progress on all these fronts.” So, I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference.
You can read more on our Political Ticker blog.
[Updated at 10:01 a.m. ET] Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ordered to a military hospital after a report conducted by doctors stated that he had fractures in three of his ribs after he slipped in a prison hospital
bathroom this month, his lawyer Farid El Deeb told CNN.
[Posted at 8:19 a.m. ET] Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is serving a life sentence in a Cairo prison, is being transferred to a military hospital for medical treatment, state-run TV reported Thursday.
Egypt's state prosecutor ordered the transfer. An update of Mubarak's health was not given.
Mubarak suffered a head injury and a bruised chest when he slipped in a prison hospital bathroom this month. The 84-year-old is serving a life sentence in Cairo's Tora prison for his role in the killing of pro-reform demonstrators during Egypt's recent revolution.
An outpouring of support and gifts for Newtown, Connecticut, in the wake of a mass shooting has forced the town to ask for a temporary halt in donations.
"Our hearts are warmed by the outpouring of love and support from all corners of our country and world," Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra said. "We are struggling now to manage the overwhelming volume of gifts and ask that sympathy and kindness to our community be expressed by donating such items to needy children and families in other communities in the name of those killed in Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14.
"Thank you for understanding our message of appreciation and our need to now defer gifts to others in need."
The town has received worldwide support after Adam Lanza opened fire on Sandy Hook Elementary school, killing 20 children, six school employees and his own mother before taking his life.
People can still donate through the Sandy Hook Donations Fund, maintained through United Way of Western Connecticut.
A message from beyond: Peace in Newtown
Glimpses of normalcy amid reminders of horror
Candles and tears: Portrait of a grieving town
Strangers inspired to honor Newtown victims
[Updated at 1:16 p.m. ET] At least 100 homes and business were damaged in the city of Mobile, Alabama with an additional 20 to 25 structures damaged just outside of the city, an Alabama Emergency Management official said.
Eleven other counties are reporting structural damage, however August did not have exact numbers.
Pike County, south of Montgomery, reported that one adult male was severely injured by the storm, however the extent of his injures were not known.
[Posted at 9:27 a.m. ET] At least 215,000 power customers are without power in the Gulf Cost region due to a weather system that moved thru the region yesterday and overnight, according to local power companies
[Posted at 9:17 a.m. ET] Major Chris Heathscott, spokesman for the Arkansas National Guard, says they have deployed resources for ambulance support in Pulaski and Faulkner counties.
Fourteen personnel, and seven ambulances are providing ambulance support in the region. Heathscott, says that the area has had 6-8" of snow. Little Rock is in Pulaski County.
The shooter who ambushed and killed two upstate New York firefighters Monday left a note behind indicating his intentions, police said Tuesday.
"I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like doing best - killing people," the 3-page typewritten note said.
New York town's 'Firefighter of the Year' shot dead responding to blaze
Authorities haven't given a motive for the latest violence, which left two firefighters dead and two other firefighters and an off-duty police officer from a nearby town wounded after they responded to the call of a fire.
And they can't ask the shooter, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head around 11 a.m., about six hours after first calls about the fire came in.
Investigators believe the suspect, William Spengler, 62, set the original fire, then likely set himself up on a berm with a clear view of the scene and started shooting.
N.Y. man who shot dead 2 firefighters killed grandmother in 1980
In chilling audio heard over the scanner, a West Webster Fire Department firefighter reported "multiple firemen shot" - including himself, with wounds to his lower back and lower leg - and "shots still being fired."
For several hours after that Monday, the threat of gunfire stopped firefighters from battling the blaze and forced police SWAT teams to evacuate 33 people in the neighborhood of small, waterfront homes.
Eventually, seven houses were "totally destroyed" by the fire. Although the fires were under control as of 2:30 p.m. ET, by then authorities still hadn't been able to get in any of the homes. Pickering said it's possible more victims could be inside.
Gunmen in northern Nigeria attacked a church's Christmas Eve services, killing six people and setting the building on fire, police said.
A pastor was slain in the incident, police said.
It was the latest strike against Christians in the region. More than 30 people died in a wave of Christmas Day attacks in the north last year, blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that has targeted Christians and Muslims it considered insufficiently Islamist.
"Suspected members of the group have bombed or opened fire on worshipers in at least 18 churches across eight northern and central states since 2010. In Maiduguri, the group also forced Christian men to convert to Islam on penalty of death," Human Rights Watch said in an October report.
It is not immediately known if the group was behind the latest attack.
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