The number of states reporting high levels of influenza activity has dropped, but flu activity still remains "elevated" in most of the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
Twenty-four states and New York City are reporting high levels of influenza activity as of the week ending January 5 – down from 29 states the previous week, the CDC's Dr. Thomas Frieden said.
"It may be decreasing in some areas, but that's hard to predict ... influenza activity ebbs and flows," Frieden said.
A worldwide Jewish rights organization is pushing Hungarian authorities to prosecute a man it claims is a Nazi war criminal, recently discovered in Budapest, Hungary, who allegedly sent more than 15,000 Jews to Auschwitz in the spring of 1944.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center found Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary as part of its "Last Chance" project, said Efraim Zuroff, director of the center's Israel office.
The center cooperated with British tabloid The Sun to photograph Csizsik-Csatary, who reportedly is 97, and ask him questions, Zuroff said. "We're the ones who found him; they're the ones who photographed him."FULL STORY
New documents, audio and video have been released in the case against George Zimmerman who is charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Below are updates on statements Zimmerman made to police, made public as part of discovery, which have been released by his defense team.
[Updated at 8:14 a.m. ET] Zimmerman told police that at some point during the exchange with Martin he began hitting his head into the sidewalk.
"When he started doing that, I slid into the grass to try to get out from under him ... I'm still yelling for help," Zimmerman told investigators.
Martin, he said, put his hand over Zimmerman's mouth and nose and told him, "You're going to die tonight."
"When I slid, my jacket and my shirt came up, and when he said, 'You're going to die tonight,' I felt his hand go down my side, and I thought he was going for my firearm, so I grabbed it immediately, and as he banged my head again, I just pulled out my firearm and shot him."
When he did, he said Martin, who had been on top of him, fell away and said, "All right. You got it. You got it."
Zimmerman claimed in the interview he was driving to the grocery store February 26 when he saw Martin walking in his neighborhood. He said he pulled over and called a police non-emergency number "to report a suspicious person."
He noted there had been some burglaries in the area, prompting him to start a neighborhood watch program. He said he had never seen Martin before, and thought it was odd that although it was raining, "he was just walking casually, not like he was trying to get out of the rain."
As he spoke to the dispatcher, he said Martin circled his vehicle, but he "lost visual of him" and got out of the vehicle to find him. The dispatcher, he said, told him "we don't need you to do that," and he was heading back to the vehicle when Martin jumped out, asking him, "What the f-'s your problem?"
He said he told Martin, "I don't have a problem," but the youth replied, "Now you have a problem," and attacked him. He said he fell backward after being punched in the nose, and "he was wailing on my head."
Zimmerman told police he yelled for help repeatedly, and heard one man say he was going to call 911.
"I screamed 'Help me' probably 50 times, as loud as I could," he said.
[Posted at 7:50 a.m. ET] In an initial interview with police following the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman described a life-and-death struggle that began when the youth "jumped out from the bushes."
Zimmerman said Martin punched him repeatedly in the face. "I started screaming for help. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe."
He said Martin "grabbed my head and started hitting it in the sidewalk."
The audio of the Zimmerman's first interview with police investigators was made public late Wednesday as part of the discovery items released by his defense team.
Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in Martin's February 26 shooting death. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, but Martin's family and civil rights activists from across the country claim that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, racially profiled Martin and ignored a 911 dispatcher's advice not to follow him.FULL STORY
Syrian security forces have summarily executed at least 101 people, including civilians, since late 2011 in attacks on cities and towns, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Monday.
The report "documents the involvement of Syrian forces and pro-government shabeeha militias in summary and extrajudicial executions of defecting soldiers, opposition fighters and opposition supporters, as well as civilians who appeared to have had no part in the confrontation with the authorities other than being residents of opposition strongholds," according to the human rights organization.
The 25-page report, "In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Goverment Militias," was based on more than 30 interviews with witnesses to the executions, Human Rights Watch said.
While it was not possible to verify the exact numbers of victims of such executions, the organization said it had documented 12 cases in Idlib and Homs governorates involving at least 101 victims since December 2011. Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of other incidents, but only included in its report incidents where eyewitnesses were interviewed.FULL STORY
[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] Davy Jones, whose charming grin and British accent won the hearts of millions of fans on the 1960s television series "The Monkees," died Wednesday, according to the Martin County, Florida, sheriff's office. He was 66.
A witness told authorities he was with Jones in Indiantown, Florida, when Jones "began to complain of not feeling well and having trouble breathing," the sheriff's office said in a statement.
Jones was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.
A Martin County law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said Jones apparently suffered a heart attack.FULL STORY
An American man who was held in Aruba for nearly four months in connection with the disappearance of his traveling companion insisted Thursday he had nothing to do with her vanishing, but said it will "weigh heavily on me for a very long time."
"I feel as if a person I cared about, a companion ... has disappeared on my watch," Gary Giordano said on ABC's "Good Morning America" in his first interview since being released from custody in Aruba earlier this week.
Giordano, 50, had been held in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner of Maryland, who was last seen August 2. Giordano told authorities the two were snorkeling when he signaled to Gardner to swim back. When he reached the beach, he told police, Gardner was nowhere to be found and has not been seen since.FULL STORY
Editor's note: Opening statements in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of pop icon Michael Jackson, were given in a California courtroom on Tuesday. Prosecutors contend that Murray's use of the surgical anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid led to Jackson's death. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Murray could spend four years in a California prison and lose his medical license.
Below, you'll find a running account of the opening statements. Also, a full report of the opening statements is available.
[Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET] Here are some final notes about the defense's opening statements, which finished about 20 minutes ago:
"We believe the evidence will tell you this: that Michael Jackson wanted to sleep for 10 hours ... needed to sleep, needed to succeed (at his upcoming concert series), and his doctor would not give him propofol, the drug he needed," defense attorney Ed Chernoff said.
Earlier, Chernoff told the jury that Jackson had taken an extra dose of propofol when Murray left the room where Jackson was trying to sleep. This, along with an overdose of a sedative that Chernoff says Jackson took without Murray's knowledge, killed Jackson instantly, according to Chernoff.
Before Murray left the room, Murray – who Chernoff said was trying to wean Jackson off propofol – administered to Jackson 25 milligrams of the drug, but only after Jackson begged for it after 10 hours of restlessness, Chernoff said. That amount of propofol would have dissipated – and would have had no clinical effects – by the time Murray left, Chernoff said.
"The whole thing is tragic, but the evidence is not going to show that Dr. Murray did it," he said. "Dr. Murray is an imperfect man, but in this criminal court we believe he is not guilty."
"We will ask you to acquit him," Chernoff added.
[Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET] The defense has finished its opening statements.
[Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET] The defense's opening statements have resumed following a lunch break.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff said that the 25 milligrams of propofol that he said Murray gave Jackson on the day of his death would have dissipated within 10 minutes, and that should have happened by the time Murray left the room.
Science will prove that Jackson had to have taken more propofol when Murray left the room.
"The science will prove that there had to have been more propofol delivered, provided, taken by Michael Jackson after the period of time (Murray) left that room," Chernoff said.
Chernoff said the defense's theory is that the extra delivery of that propofol "was through Michael Jackson himself."
Earlier, Chernoff said that an extra dose of propofol that he said Jackson took while Murray was out of the room, combined with an extra dose of a sedative that Chernoff said Jackson had taken without Murray's knowledge, killed Jackson.
Editor's note: For more on the jury's finding that Casey Anthony is not guilty in daughter Caylee's death read our full story here.
[Updated at 8:20 p.m.] From the moment word came that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, online networking sites were flooded with a cascade of amateur commentary. A few big names, including Kim Kardashian, joined the fray. Most condemned the verdict – "no justice for Caylee" was a common comment – which comes after years of the case serving as fodder for cable news, tabloids and the like.
[Updated at 7:55 p.m.] Mourners of Caylee Anthony want you to turn your porch lights on tonight in honor of the slain 2-year-old.
The Facebook event, "Porch lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony," urges people "all over the world" to start participating at "9 pm in your own time zone."
Already, 546,610 have said they're attending, and some say their lights are already on.
[Updated at 7:20 p.m.] Alternate juror Russell Huekler said he agrees with the jury's verdict "wholeheartedly" and surmised that Caylee Anthony's death was a "horrific accident" gone awry.
"The prosecution did not prove their case," said Huekler, who sat through the entire case but did not get to deliberate the charges.
Prosecutors failed to answer the question of how Caylee died, he said.
From the testimony, Huekler said he drew the conclusion that "it was probably a horrific accident" that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, covered up.
"Unfortunately it did snowball and got away from them," Huekler said. "It was such a horrific accident that they didn't know how to deal with it. The family appeared to be very dysufintional and instead of admitting there was an accident, they chose to hide it, for whatever reason."
[Updated at 5:08 p.m.] Attorney Mark Lippman issued a statement on behalf of Lee, George and Cindy Anthony:
While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.
Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.
The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.
The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.
Casey Anthony's actions, particularly those in the 31 days after her 2-year-old daughter went missing and before police were notified, speak volumes about her guilt, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick told jurors in Casey Anthony's capital murder trial Monday.
Burdick reminded the jury that she went through each one of those days in her opening argument as the trial began, asking "Where is Caylee?"
"The question is no longer 'Where is Caylee?' We know where Caylee Marie Anthony is," Burdick said. "The question is no longer 'What happened to Caylee Marie Anthony?' We know what happened to Caylee."
But Casey Anthony's actions and responses "answer for you the only real question left at this stage of the proceedings, and that is who killed Caylee Anthony," Burdick said.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations later in the day on whether Casey Anthony is guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.FULL STORY
As Casey Anthony alternately cried, glared and shook her head, prosecutors in her capital murder trial told jurors Sunday that evidence in the case points to only one conclusion - that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
"When you have a child, that child becomes your life," prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the seven-woman, five-man jury. "This case is about the clash between that responsibility, and the expectations that go with it, and the life that Casey Anthony wanted to have."
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations later Sunday to decide if Anthony, 25, is guilty of killing her daughter. She is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police. If convicted of first-degree murder, Anthony could receive the death penalty. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and denies harming her daughter. Read the full story and review what defense attorneys have said during the trial.
Casey Anthony, charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter in 2008, underwent examinations by three psychologists over the weekend after her defense team filed a motion to determine her competency to proceed, the judge in her trial said Monday.
All three psychologists found Anthony competent, Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry said out of the jury's presence. Their reports will be sealed, he said. It was implied - but not expressly stated - that the motion was the reason for the abrupt recess Perry called on Saturday.
The resumption of the trial Monday was delayed for more than a half-hour as attorneys huddled in Perry's chambers.
Saturday had been planned as an extended weekend work day in the trial. But Perry ordered a recess over the sudden emergence of what one analyst said must be a major issue.
"Obviously it's big, and obviously it's troublesome and obviously it's something that can't be disclosed," HLN legal analyst Linda Kenney Baden said.
Perry emerged from his chambers Saturday morning after nearly an hour of discussion with lawyers both inside and outside the courtroom to announce the day's planned testimony would be canceled.
Adhesive in the shape of a heart was found on a corner of a piece of duct tape that was covering the mouth portion of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony's skeletal remains, an FBI latent print examiner testified Monday in the capital murder trial of the girl's mother, Casey Anthony.
Elizabeth Fontaine explained the find to jurors by asking them to think about when they remove an adhesive bandage from their skin and some of the adhesive remains in the shape of the bandage. Instead of a bandage, however, the outline was the shape of a heart, she said, and about the size of a dime.
Although it has not been mentioned in testimony, court documents in the case have stated that a sheet of heart-shaped stickers with some missing were found by police executing a search warrant at the Anthony home. A photograph of a page of stickers, found in a search of the home the day after Caylee's remains were found, was admitted into evidence in the trial Saturday.
A line of investigators and forensic experts have been called to the stand by prosecutors in an effort to prove their theory that Anthony, 25, killed her daughter by knocking her out with chloroform and putting duct tape over her nose and mouth. They allege the Orlando woman then put the body in black garbage bags and stored it in her trunk before dumping it in woods near her home. The skeletal remains were found in December 11, 2008. Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008, but her disappearance was not reported until July 15, 2008, after Anthony's mother demanded answers about the little girl's whereabouts.
Anthony faces seven counts in her daughter's death, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading investigators. If convicted, she could face the death penalty. She has pleaded not guilty. Her attorneys have said Caylee was not killed but rather that she drowned in the family pool shortly after her family last reported seeing her and that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked when they discovered the body and covered up her death. George Anthony rejected that scenario in his testimony the first week of the trial.
The trial is ahead of schedule, Orange County, Florida, Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. told jurors as they took a break for lunch. Prosecutors have one more witness to present, who will not be available until Tuesday afternoon, they said. The defense anticipated beginning its case Thursday but is trying to accelerate that process and begin Wednesday, the judge said.FULL STORY
Casey Anthony's brother testified Wednesday about a "combative" confrontation between his mother and sister on the night of July 15, just before his 2-year-old niece Caylee's disappearance a month earlier was reported to police.
Lee Anthony told jurors in his sister's capital murder trial he arrived at his parents' house after being contacted by his father and asked to go. He said shortly after he arrived about 8 p.m., his mother Cindy Anthony came home, with his sister in tow.
The two were arguing about Caylee's whereabouts, Lee Anthony said. At that point, according to Cindy Anthony's previous testimony, she had not seen her daughter or granddaughter for weeks. She testified she found her daughter only after contacting a friend and being led to the home of Casey Anthony's then-boyfriend.
Casey Anthony kept insisting the little girl was with her nanny, Lee Anthony said, and could be picked up the next day. She maintained Caylee was already asleep by that point and she didn't want to disturb her or disrupt her routine.
Lee Anthony told jurors he offered to go get Caylee or have his roommate do it. "There was, in my mind, no excuse why anybody couldn't go get Caylee," he testified.
A short recess was called as Lee Anthony recounted the confrontation. According to Cindy Anthony's testimony, her daughter eventually broke down and told her brother Caylee had been missing for a month and that the nanny had kidnapped her, which prompted Cindy Anthony to call police.
Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts in Caylee's death, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.
On Tuesday, a former friend of Casey Anthony's testified that she was growing more frustrated with her parents around the time Caylee was last seen on June 16.
Prominent Georgia televangelist Bishop Eddie Long has denied claims outlined in a suit filed in September which accuses him of coercing four young male congregants into sexual relationships. Read details about the suits.
According to court documents filed in DeKalb County, Georgia, Long denied each man's claim. However, Long said he provided cars to the young men so they would have transportation to school and work. The bishop also provided housing when the men needed it, according to the documents.
A preacher at New Birth Missionary Baptist, a megachurch outside Atlanta, Long had earlier vowed that he would "fight" accusations against him. The suits say Long traveled with the young men to locations in the United States and abroad and shared a hotel room and engaged in sexual contact with them, including massaging, masturbation or oral sex. FULL STORY
[Updated at 1:39 p.m.]
The so-called "barefoot bandit," Colton Harris-Moore, pleaded guilty in
a Bahamian court Tuesday to a charge of illegally landing a plane, and was sentenced to three months in jail or a $300 fine, police said.
A deportation order was also entered, said police spokeswoman Sgt.
[Posted at 11:43 a.m.] A teenage fugitive known as the "barefoot bandit" was set to be
arraigned Tuesday before the Bahamas chief magistrate on a variety of charges, authorities said.
Colton Harris-Moore, 19, faces charges including a weapons charge, said Royal Bahamas Police Force spokeswoman Sgt. Chrislyn Skippings. She said she was awaiting court documents to find out the specific charges.
Harris-Moore is set to appear at 12 p.m. ET before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez. At that hearing, the charges against him will be read, Skippings said.
Harris-Moore was taken into custody on Harbour Island in the Bahamas
early Sunday. He is sought in a string of home and airport break-ins along with thefts of vehicles. He faces charges in Washington state in the theft of an aircraft, and police have said they believe he stole a plane in Indiana and flew it to the Bahamas, where it was found off Abaco Island.
The teen has been on the run since he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Washington, in 2008. The FBI had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
"At this point, we're not aware of any requests from the U.S. government or any government for extradition of the young man," said Quincy Parker, spokesman for the Bahamas embassy in Washington. Such a request must be made, he said. "That's how it works. It's not a matter of police force to police force."
A huge oil spill oozing toward the Gulf Coast on Thursday threatens hundreds of species of wildlife, some in their prime breeding season, environmental organizations said.
A Prince George's County, Maryland, police officer has been suspended and prosecutors are investigating an incident - caught on video - in which a University of Maryland student was beaten by officers wielding nightsticks, officials said Tuesday.
For nearly 11 years, the family of Nelta Jacques has awaited word on her fate, as well as that of her two daughters, ages 5 and 7.