Colorado investigators are in Decatur, Texas, Friday morning eager to examine evidence found in a black Cadillac whose driver might have been involved in the slaying of Colorado's prison system chief.
The driver was Evan Ebel, a former Colorado prison inmate, El Paso County, Colorado, Undersheriff Paula Presley confirmed to CNN Friday. He died Thursday evening after being shot at the end of a high-speed chase that followed the wounding of a deputy.
Ebel is the focus of the investigation into the shooting Tuesday of Colorado corrections chief Tom Clements, who was shot dead Tuesday evening as he opened the door of his rural Colorado home.FULL STORY
[Posted at 12:57 p.m. ET] While the investigation into the slaying of Colorado's prison chief is "wide open," a top law enforcement official told CNN that one case involving a Saudi national is being considered.
When asked if any cases have risen to the top in the search for who killed Tom Clements, El Paso County Undersheriff Paula Presley brought up a case involving Homaidan al-Turki.
"There has been, you know, one case in specific that has been mentioned, certainly that the media has mentioned, with al-Turki, who was denied transfer back to Saudi Arabia. And certainly that has been in the media in the last 24 hours," Presley said, referring to reports in both the Denver Post and CNN affiliate the Denver Channel. Read more about this case
[Posted at 11:25 a.m. ET] Colorado beefed up security at the governor's office and other statewide locations amid the search for the person who gunned down the state's prison chief at his home less than 48 hours earlier, law enforcement said.
Tom Clements was shot dead Tuesday night after opening the door at his home in Monument, about 50 miles south of Denver.
"We are looking at all potential tips, leads, threats that Mr. Clements may have had from anybody in that prison system," El Paso County Undersheriff Paula Presley told CNN on Thursday. "The investigation is wide open at this point."
[Posted at 10:19 a.m. ET] The executive director of Colorado's prison system was shot when he opened his door, according to a 911 caller that police have identified as a relative in the home.
El Paso County Sheriff's deputies arrived at Tom Clements' Black Forest home - about 20 miles outside Colorado Springs - to find the 58-year-old dead Tuesday night, said Lt. Jeff Kramer.
[Posted at 9:47 a.m. ET] The executive director of Colorado's prison system has been found dead in his home, and authorities believe someone killed him, a spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper said early Wednesday.
Tom Clements, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was found dead at his home in Black Forest, Colorado, spokesman Eric Brown said.FULL STORY
The first Vietnam veteran to be U.S. defense secretary is spending his first overseas trip on the job thanking soldiers and Marines.
At about 11 a.m. ET Friday, Chuck Hagel touched down in Kabul, Afghanistan. On the plane taking him there, he told reporters that the main reason for going was to thank the troops.FULL STORY
A civil rights complaint is being filed on behalf of a transgendered child barred by her Colorado school district from using girls' restrooms, an advocacy group said Wednesday.
The complaint to a Colorado civil rights agency, on behalf of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, will be the first to challenge a restriction on a transgender person's bathroom use under Colorado's anti-discrimination laws, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund told reporters in Denver.
First-grader Coy, who was born with male sex organs but identifies herself as female, had been allowed to use her school's girls' bathrooms until school officials barred her from doing so after winter break, her family says.FULL STORY
The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, voting 34-21.
The state House will consider it next. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has indicated that he would sign the bill.
Illinois would be the 10th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage, according to Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization.FULL STORY
The Boy Scouts of America is considering changing its longstanding policy against allowing openly gay members, according to a release from the organization.
The organization, which has 2.7 million members, is "potentially discussing" doing away with its policy after months of nationwide protest, including hundreds of angry Eagle scouts renouncing their hard-earned awards and mailing back their red-white-and-blue medals.
Many parents of Scouts across America found the national policy excluding gays confusing - and at odds with basic scouting ideals.
In the Scouts' release Monday, the group indicated that decisions on gay membership would be made at the local level. Each troop's charter organization would be able to decide "consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs."FULL STORY
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is headed back behind bars, but only for a few days.
The Michigan Department of Corrections charged him with 14 parole violations late Thursday and he'll spend the weekend in jail.
Kilpatrick agreed to report to the Detroit Reentry Center late Friday and will be released Monday, according to Corrections spokesman Russell Marlan.
Kilpatrick is currently on trial in a public corruption case in U.S. District Court. His release would allow him to be back in court next week.
It apparently takes more than a few good men, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. It takes all kinds of people to support military families, including same-sex spouses of service members.
CNN published a story this week about a woman married to a female lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg who believes she was rejected from an officers' spouse club because she's gay. Less than a day later, Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary advised Marine Corps legal staff such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-same spouses. If they do not, the clubs will be barred from meeting on any Marine Corps installation.
A woman who says she believes a private military spouses club excluded her because she’s gay says she’d still join the group if it reverses its decision.
“I would go tomorrow,” Ashley Broadway, the wife of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin on “CNN Newsroom” Tuesday afternoon. “Wherever we were stationed, I was a volunteer of some sort. Between my educational background, my volunteerism, my energy, my enthusiasm to help all military families, I would absolutely be elated to. If anything, I would like to be a part of the group so that they can see that my family is no different than their families.”
Broadway applied to the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses after she and Mack – who married in Washington, D.C. – moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Broadway says the club told her she couldn’t join because she doesn’t have military identification.
Pakistani police say they suspect two boys were responsible for the attack that nearly killed a Pakistani teenage girl internationally famous for campaigning for girls' education.
On October 9, Malala Yousufzai was on her school van in the Taliban-held Swat Valley when armed thugs stopped the vehicle and jumped on board. They demanded that other girls riding identify 15-year-old Malala. Then they shot two girls and fired at Malala, striking her in the head and neck.FULL STORY
Before he became U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens warned in a 2008 diplomatic cable of jihadist sentiment growing not far from Benghazi.
Stevens, who became ambassador to Libya this year, was killed this week in an attack that U.S. sources tell CNN was planned by a pro-al Qaeda group of extremists. While it is not definitively clear whether this group, or what group specifically, is behind the attack, it's clear that Stevens expressed concern about a radical movement fomenting in the port city of Derna.
In his 2008 missive Stevens, who at the time was U.S. deputy chief of mission in the North African nation, wrote about that "one Libyan interlocutor likened young men in Derna to Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly."
There is "frustration at the inability of eastern Libyans to effectively challenge" Moammar Gadhafi's regime, Stevens wrote.
That and "a concerted ideological campaign by returned Libyan fighters from earlier conflicts, have played important roles in Derna's development as a wellspring of Libyan foreign fighters in Iraq."
"Other factors include a dearth of social outlets for young people, local pride in Derna's history as a locus of fierce opposition to occupation, economic disenfranchisement among the town's young men. Depictions on satellite television of events in Iraq and Palestine fuel the widespread view that resistance to coalition forces is justified and necessary," Stevens wrote.
Stevens describes Derna: "The lower-middle class neighborhood, comprising poured concrete homes crowded along largely unpaved streets, sits on a hill overlooking the town ... A number of residents were on the streets; however, they were visibly more wary and less friendly than in other Libyan towns."
It’s already No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.
Like little kids with the latest Harry Potter sequel, Washington and the rest of the world will be eagerly thumbing through “No Easy Day” when it hits bookshelves Tuesday. The memoir of a Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 purports to tell the full story of how the globe’s most-wanted terrorist met his end.
Mentions of the book's author spiked on Twitter on Thursday morning, as did the term "Navy SEAL book." About 4,500 mentions were made by mid-morning. The book was mentioned more than 8,000 times on August 22, when news broke of its release.
Carl Carver tweeted, "This sort of thing is NOT healing relations in Middle East, predicted as the starting point of WWIII !"
"It seems like once a year since I graduated college I get super excited for a book release, this year No Easy Day by Mark Owen is that book," Drake Stahr tweeted.
The RangerUp fan page on Facebook, a popular spot for military folks, had a range of comments.
At least 57 members of an Islamist sect, including children, have been discovered living underground in the Republic of Tatarstan, according to Russian police.
Many of them have never even seen the sun, authorities said.
The sect members, which includes at least 19 children ages 1 to 17, were freed. They were found August 1 during a police raid performed as part of an ongoing investigation into militant groups in Tatarstan. The bunker, which appeared to be made of decrepit concrete blocks, has multiple levels below ground with tight-quartered cells that have no light, ventilation or heat.
The leader of the sect is reportedly Fayzrahman Satarov, an 83-year-old who pronounced himself a prophet destined to direct a caliphate, according to a report by Russia state TV channel Vesti.
Amid chants of defiance, police detained Satarov and some other members, and they are facing charges.
Russian media reports say his followers lived in isolation, refusing to recognize Russian laws or the authority of mainstream Muslim leaders in Tatastan.
The bunker is located near the city of Kazan in Tatarstan, about 500 miles from Moscow.
Tatarstan is majority Muslim and oil rich.
Shireen T. Hunter is a noted scholar on Islam and Russia, and is the director of the Carnegie Project on Reformist Islam at Georgetown University. She has visited Tatarstan and Kazan several times to do research.
It's important, she said, to keep in mind that little is known about the group and simply because the leader identifies himself as Islamist, there should not be immediate connections drawn between the group and Islam in the area as a whole.
"This could just be some 83-year-old who wants to control people," she said. "This may have nothing at all to do with radical or extreme Islam as we understand it. This man - creating a caliphate? How is he going to do that? This just doesn't seem like the modis operandi of a serious radical cell bent on challenging the government."
Kazan is a pleasant city with coffee and clothing shops, Hunter said. Some women wear hijabs, others don't. Some women work and other choose not to, she said. In recent years, many people have bought villas and other housing in Kazan.
It's conceivable to her that a group could live underground and go unnoticed for years.
"If I decided to live underground in Washington, D.C., I could do that, and so could other people," she said.
Health worker Tatiana Moroz told CNN that the children are in "satisfactory condition" and that they have been fed. Some were sent to the hospital for care.
"Upon receipt from the building, the children were in satisfactory condition," she said. "The children were all fed, although they were dirty. Upon receiving them, we washed them. They have undergone a full examination - all the Russian specialists have examined them, and taken all the analyses. [Friday] the full analyses will be finished and we will give our final conclusion about the condition of their health."
CNN's Matthew Chance contributed to this report.
As speculation goes into overdrive about whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will fall, it’s still unclear where his posh British-born wife is. Is she in England? in Syria? Is she with their three young children somewhere?
Asma al-Assad may be MIA but that didn’t stop her from inspiring, in a way, a taunting Twitter hashtag overnight.
#countriesbyvoguewriters took off after a former Vogue writer, Joan Juliet Buck, published an explainer piece in Newsweek on Monday. Buck is the author of a March 2011 piece about Asma al-Assad titled “A Rose in the Desert.” Many people attacked Buck for glamorizing the Syrian first couple and completely ignoring Syria’s history of human rights abuses.
The profile appeared in the print March 2011 version. Vogue apparently removed the story from its website later though it remains available on a pro-Assad site.
In June, Vogue's editor in chief Anna Wintour released a brief statement saying that the Syrian regime’s “priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue.
An American student is in critical condition after undergoing two operations after chimpanzees tore apart his body in front of tourists at a South African animal sanctuary, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday.
Andrew Oberle, a primatology student from University of Texas at San Antonio, was being treated at a Johannesburg hospital after two chimps attacked him Thursday, spokeswoman Robyn Baard said.
Oberle had been at the Jane Goodall Institute's Chimp Eden since May, according to Eugene Cussons, the facility's managing director. Oberle was at the sanctuary, near Nelspruit, South Africa, for the second time after training and volunteering there in 2010. His training included an explanation about "no-go" areas - spaces for animals where people are not supposed to go.
Witnesses to the attack said that Oberle went into a no-go area because he seemed to want to remove a stone close to one of the animals that could have been picked up and thrown around, Cussons told CNN.
Oberle crossed one barrier and approached a second one, which is a main fence with 24 strands of electrical wiring, Cussons said. Two male chimps grabbed Oberle and tried to drag him under the fence, but were not able to yank him into their enclosure.
Cussons said he estimates the attack lasted 15 minutes.
At some point, people tried to stop the chimps, and Cussons shot two rounds in the air to see if that might get them to retreat, he said. One of the chimps then charged at Cussons, he said. Cussons shot that chimp in the abdomen, he told CNN, and it seemed to shriek as a kind of signal to other chimps that there was a more powerful threat present. The chimps then backed off, he said.
Oberle was rescued and transported for medical care.
None of the 13 tourists - most of them from local areas – were harmed, officials said.
The chimp that was shot had an operation at the Johannesburg zoo to repair damage to his small and large intestines.
Hospital spokeswoman Baard declined to discuss the nature of Oberle's wounds. She said the student's parents had requested privacy, adding that they are "quite traumatized."
The sanctuary, which is featured in the Animal Planet program "Escape to Chimp Eden," remains closed and its staff is receiving counseling, executive director David Oosthuizen said.
There are no plans right now to euthanize the chimps involved in the attack, said Dries Pienaar, who is leading the investigation into the incident. He works for a parks agency that makes sure zoos, sanctuaries and breeding projects comply with the law. Pienaar told CNN that his preliminary findings are that human error is to blame, but he cautioned that his investigation is not complete and that he wants to interview Oberle. He hasn't spoken to all of the tourists yet, either.
Chimp Eden was established as a home for rescued chimpanzees. Many of the primates have suffered "horrible injuries and abuse from humans," according to the sanctuary.
Dave Salmoni, an expert in large predators for the television channel Animal Planet, said abused and captive chimpanzees can be particularly dangerous, likening the chimps to troubled prison inmates.
"Now this is a very nice prison, but it's a prison nonetheless," he said Monday. "And that's why you can see a lot of acting out behavior, and in some cases, with chimpanzees, they act out just because they can."
Oberle was passionate about studying chimpanzees, his friend Anthony Reimherr told CNN affiliate KXAN-TV. He said it was "intriguing" to listen to Oberle when he spoke about the animals.
"It's just something that he loved to do, and I think it's something that he'll always continue to do," Reimherr said.FULL STORY
More than a year after Vogue magazine published a gushing profile about the first lady of Syria, the magazine's editor in chief has released a statement condemning the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
A statement from Anna Wintour appeared Monday on Vogue.com.
"In 2010, we set up an interview with the Syrian leader's wife, Asma al-Assad, a Western-educated former banker and a woman with a reputation as a force for reform in the Middle East. Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society. Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue. The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable, and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms."
The profile of Asma al-Assad appeared in the print March 2011 version. Vogue apparently removed the story from its website later.
The piece called Asma al-Assad a "rose in the desert" and described her as "the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies." The British-born first lady was portrayed in the story as a progressive and modern woman who fought for the rights of children, the poor and those who are oppressed. Read CNN's story on Asma al-Assad and the Syrian uprising here.
The Vogue story came out as the al-Assad regime was cracking down violently on an uprising in the country. The United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the crisis erupted in March 2011. Opposition groups give estimates ranging from at least 12,000 to more than 14,000. Human Rights Watch reports that at least 1,176 children have been killed since February 2011.
In April, wives of top U.N. diplomats banded together to publicly call for Asma al-Assad to do something to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
The first lady has not been heard from since the violence began.
A famously viral and controversial video that turned an African warlord into a household name in February now has a sequel.
On Thursday morning, the San Diego-based organization Invisible Children released "Beyond Famous." Coming in at 19 minutes – about 10 minutes less than the group's first video – the sequel addresses media criticism of the first "Kony 2012" video, which caught fire on Twitter and was reportedly viewed on YouTube 100 million times. It also explains what politicians in Washington and in Africa have done in the past month since the original "Kony 2012" video.
The second video continues to advocate for the capture of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. Formed in the 1980s, the LRA is a sectarian military and religious group that operates in Uganda and South Sudan. As its leader, Kony recruited child soldiers and committed numerous atrocities include raping and maiming civilians, experts say. Kony is at large.
Ben Keesey, Invisible Children's executive director, told CNN the makers of the first video said they wanted to explain the plight of children affected by the LRA. The video hung its narrative on 30-something American filmmaker Jason Russell, his friendship with a young Ugandan boy who had escaped from the LRA, and Russell's young son, Gavin.
At one point in that video, Russell tells his son on camera that there are bad guys like Kony in the world. The child reacts as any child would – incredibly scared. Russell, who recently had a public meltdown, is not part of the sequel.
Critics blasted the video as overly simplistic.
"We made the first video intentionally for a young Western audience, and therefore it was a priority that the video keep their attention," Keesey told CNN on Thursday. "This (new) video goes deeper. I think people will respond."
The sequel opens with soundbites from critics of the first video. The voices of various pundits and media personalities say "simplified" a couple of times. Mid-sentence soundbites from journalists, several of them on CNN, round out the beginning of the video.
Keesey narrates, explaining the creation of the campaign, its progress and ongoing efforts to stop the LRA. Part two essentially rehashes what was in the first video, but Keesey notes that officials from the United States to Africa have spoken recently about their desire to stop Kony or have signed measures aimed at stopping him. He adds that the African Union recently announced plans to deploy 5,000 troops to hunt down Kony.
The United Nations, meanwhile, said in late March that attacks by Kony's army are increasing.
Israel has passed a law banning the use of underweight models in advertising. The legislation, known as the "Photoshop Law," also requires that agencies tell their audience if they've digitally altered pictures to make models look thinner.
"This is such a happy day for me, and it should be for everyone in the modeling business," said Israeli modeling agency owner Adi Barkan, who has been working in fashion for more than 30 years. He said he lobbied Knesset members for years to get a law like this passed.
"All over the world, 20 years ago, we saw girls who were skinny, but today we see girls who are too, too skinny," he said. "They are dying. The business only wants the skinny girls. So the girls, they stop eating. It's terrible. We must be more responsible and say to them that it doesn't have to be that way."
Despite recent attempts by soldiers in Cameroon to stop the mass slaughter of elephants, poachers are continuing to kill the animals in record numbers, the World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.
Tons of tusks are being moved on camels and horses from Africa mostly to buyers willing to pay high prices in China and Thailand, said Tom Milliken, the director of the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic.
"Elephants represent an opportunity to gain money, and because there are ready buyers in most capital cities, the word is out there," Milliken said. "[There has been] an increased poaching assault like we haven't seen in two decades."
Poachers who recently killed at least 100 elephants in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park are reportedly from Chad and Sudan, the WWF said.