May 3rd, 2013
02:49 PM ET

Houston airport shooter killed self, police say

The gunman who fired shots into the ceiling of a Houston airport on Thursday left behind a suicide note saying he had a "monster within" and he wanted police to stop him before he hurt others, police said Friday.

The man, identified as Carnell Marcus Moore, 29, of Beaumont, Texas, shot himself fatally in the temple as he was confronted by a Homeland Security officer at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday afternoon.

Moore had gone to the airport with the intention of suicide and left a note inside a suitcase he carried into the terminal, police officials said at news conference Friday morning.

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Filed under: Air travel • Texas • Travel
Bow cut from U.S. ship stranded on reef
A crane vessel lifts the bow of the USS Guardian on Wednesday. The ship has been trapped on a Philippine reef since January 17.
March 27th, 2013
08:41 AM ET

Bow cut from U.S. ship stranded on reef

The bow of a U.S. Navy warship that grounded on a Philippine reef in January was cut from the rest of the hull on Tuesday, lifted by a massive crane, and dropped on a waiting barge.

"The bow section of the USS Guardian was lifted out of the water around 2:45 p.m.," said Enrico Efren Evangelista, head of the Philippine coast guard Palawan District, according to the official Philippine News Agency.

The removal of the bow of the U.S. Navy minesweeper followed that of the ship's auxiliary engine room, a 200-ton piece that was removed a little more than an hour earlier.

With the removal of the two sections, about 900 tons of the formerly 1,300-ton warship remain on Tubbataha Reef, the news agency reported.

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Filed under: Military • Philippines • U.S. Navy
Political career of Hugo Chavez
March 6th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Five colorful quotes from Hugo Chavez

When Hugo Chavez won re-election as Venezuela's president last fall, we shared five of his most colorful quotes with you.

After his death Tuesday we thought it would be worth doing so again.

In 2006, appearing at the U.N. General Assembly after President George W. Bush spoke there a day earlier, he had this to say:

"The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today."

According to a CNN report, Chavez said, "As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.'"

That wasn't his first time equating things and Americans with mythical evil beings. In 2005, he criticized the U.S. tradition of Halloween for "putting fear into other nations, putting fear into their own people."

"Families go and begin to disguise their children as witches. This is contrary to our way," he said, according to a BBC report.

In 2011, he suggested the influence of capitalism extended well beyond Earth.

"I have always said, have heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but perhaps capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived, and finished that planet," he said on state TV, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Chavez has also had doubts about U.S. foreign policy intentions, including after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said on his weekly television show, according to a Reuters report. "They are occupying Haiti undercover.

"On top of that, you don't see them in the streets. Are they picking up bodies? ... Are they looking for the injured? You don't see them. I haven't seen them. Where are they?"

And late last year, he said the United States could be using cancer as a weapon against him and other South American leaders who had been stricken with it.

"It's very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America," he said in a speech to the military, according to a Bloomberg News report. "Would it be so strange that they've invented technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years?"

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Storm expected to bring blizzard conditions
February 19th, 2013
08:15 AM ET

Storm expected to bring blizzard conditions

A storm system in the U.S. West is expected to pose a triple threat to the country over the next three days, eventually bringing snow to the Southwest, a blizzard to the Central Plains, and severe storms to Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, according to CNN's weather unit.

Portions of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, especially those at higher elevations, face winter storm conditions over the next 24 hours.

Then, the National Weather Service says portions of Kansas and Nebraska could see more than a foot of snow by Thursday. Meanwhile, significant ice buildup could make travel treacherous in the southern Plains. The weather service advises postponing travel until after the storm passes if possible.

Additionally, areas farther south including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, could see severe thunderstorms with possibly strong tornadoes from this weather system, CNN's weather unit says.

Later on in the week, the storm system could dump up to six inches of rain on areas from Mississippi to Georgia.

Presidents of the United States
February 18th, 2013
10:02 AM ET

Uncle Sam says it's not Presidents Day

If you're off school or work Monday in observance of Presidents Day, you've got it all wrong, at least according to the federal government.

Federal offices are closed Monday because it's Washington's Birthday, a holiday to honor the first U.S. president, George Washington.

Confused? Here's what the National Archives says on its website:

"This holiday is designated as 'Washington's Birthday.' Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is Federal policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law."

Washington's actual birthday was February 22, and that's when the holiday was originally celebrated. However, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act , which designated the third Monday in February as Washington's Birthday, beginning in 1971.

The Presidents Day moniker evolved later, at least partly to honor Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday was February 12, but some hoped it could be a day to honor all presidents.

Of course, states, local governments and businesses are not bound to honor the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, so they can call Monday whatever holiday they like or not have one at all.

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Sailors from Civil War ironclad to get Arlington burial
Using facial reconstruction, the Navy showed last year what the two USS Monitor sailors may have looked like.
February 12th, 2013
01:49 PM ET

Sailors from Civil War ironclad to get Arlington burial

The remains of two U.S. Navy sailors, recovered in 2002 from the wreck of the service's first ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, the Navy said Tuesday.

"These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. "It's important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy."

The Monitor sank during a storm on New Year's Eve 1862 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with a loss of 16 sailors.

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Filed under: Civil War • History • Military • U.S. Navy
States declare emergencies ahead of major storm
A snowman is all smiles Friday on Boston Common.
February 8th, 2013
06:17 PM ET

States declare emergencies ahead of major storm

  • Potentially historic winter storm closes in on New England
  • Boston could get just under 2 feet; worst could hit from 5 p.m. Friday to Saturday morning
  • About 1 foot expected in New York City; heaviest snowfall there expected to start at 7 p.m. Friday
  • Check back here for the updates; full story here; see if storm affects where you live.

Up to 30 inches of snow. That's how much some predicted could be dumped on Boston by the time this blizzard was done - which would amount to a new all-time snowfall record for the Massachusetts city, one hardly unfamiliar with winter storms.

These kind of forecasts, throughout the Northeast, were matched by frequent calls by officials to hunker down. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut ordered cars off the roads. In Boston, that translated to largely empty streets - spare a few plows - on what would have been Friday rush hour.

That meant fewer people out to experience the elements - in the form of small, icy snowflakes blowing in winds that, in some places, gusted up to 60 mph. That intensity of snow, and wind, was expected to continue - if not get even stronger - into Saturday morning.

[Updated at 6:17 p.m.]  The storm has taken a toll on flights to and from the Northeast.

U.S. airlines have cancelled more than 4,700 flights that were to take off from Thursday to Sunday.

FULL POST

Iran's Qaher-313 fighter plane
February 8th, 2013
11:55 AM ET

Iran's newest warplane something from 'GI Joe?'

First it was monkeys in space (or not) and now it’s “GI Joe” fighter jets. Not the best of times for Iran’s aviation and aerospace programs, at least if you listen to the skeptics.

First there were doubts about Tehran’s claim it sent a monkey into space in late January.  After photos of two different monkeys that were aboard the alleged one-monkey space shot surfaced, Iran media said there was a photo mix-up and, yes, there was just one Iranian monkey in space.

Then this week Iran unveiled what it said was its new high-tech stealth fighter plane. The jet shown in pictures on the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the butt of jokes all week from aviation bloggers.

“This aircraft looks a lot like an old GI Joe toy,” wrote one blogger.

And from another, “This has to be a joke, right?”

Click through the gallery above to see the bloggers' comments and evidence in the photos.

Iran unveils "flying boats"

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Filed under: Aviation • Iran • Military
FBI shares last thoughts of a murder addict
February 7th, 2013
11:48 AM ET

FBI shares last thoughts of a murder addict

They are some of the last thoughts of a serial killer, found on blood-soaked, handwritten and often poetic notes in his Alaska jail cell after he took his own life.

"Speak soft in your ear so you know that it's true. You may have been free, you loved living your lie, fate had its own scheme, crushed like a bug you still die," Israel Keyes wrote.

Keyes killed himself in December. He was in custody in the killing of barista Samantha Koenig, 18, whom he abducted from a coffee stand in Anchorage, Alaska, last February. Koenig was one of at least eight people Keyes admitted to killing, but he may have taken other lives, police have said.

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End of the USS Guardian
February 1st, 2013
01:04 PM ET

Navy submits plan for dismantling stranded minesweeper

The U.S. Navy said today it has submitted a plan to the Philippine Coast Guard on how it wants to dismantle the stranded minesweeper USS Guardian.

The warship ran aground on a reef in the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef on Jan. 17. Waves have battered the vessel since.

Navy salvage experts determined the only way to safely move it off the environmentally sensitive reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was cut it into piece and lift those pieces off the reef with heavy cranes.

"Guardian is badly damaged and with the deteriorating integrity of the ship, the weight involved, and where it is grounded on the reef, dismantling in sections is the only supportable option," a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, Capt. Darryn James, said in a statement.

"We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment."

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Filed under: Philippines • World
Navy to cut up ship stranded on reef
The Guardian is shown on the Tubbataha Reef on January 19 in this aerial handout photo from the Philippine military.
January 31st, 2013
12:15 AM ET

Navy to cut up ship stranded on reef

A 224-foot-long U.S. warship will have to be cut into smaller pieces to get it off a Philippine reef where it grounded two weeks ago, Navy officials said Wednesday.

They said that's the only way to prevent further damage to the Tubbataha Reef, a Philippine national park and UNESCO World Heritage site, where the USS Guardian, an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, ran aground on January 17.

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NFL union chief asks league to allow worker's comp claims
January 29th, 2013
11:04 AM ET

NFL union chief asks league to allow worker's comp claims

The head of the National Football League Players Association says the league can take quick steps to help players' health by ending its opposition to the players' worker compensation cases.

DeMaurice Smith spoke CNN's Carol Costello in an exclusive interview on Tuesday after word that the union is giving $100 million to a Harvard Univeristy-led study on player health.

The study will take 10 years, but Smith said the league can start making things better for players now.

“We are asking the National Football League to stop fighting our players on their worker’s comp cases, which is the main way our players get health care for the injuries they suffer at work," Smith said.

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Hazardous smog over Beijing
January 29th, 2013
07:55 AM ET

Beijing choking on hazardous smog - again

Hazardous smog was covering Beijing on Tuesday, reducing visibility to less than 200 meters (200 yards) in parts of Chinese capital while forcing the cancellation of airline flights and the closure of highways, Chinese state media reported.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing reported that at 8 p.m. local time Tuesday air quality had been at hazardous levels for the past 24 hours, meaning that “everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low,” according to the embassy’s website.

Citizens were fed up with the hazardous air. The latest blanket of smog, which began to cover the eastern China area on Monday, is the fourth to menace the area since the beginning of the year.

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End of the USS Guardian
January 28th, 2013
08:03 AM ET

Seawater pumped into U.S. warship

The tanks of a U.S. Navy warship stuck on a Philippine reef have been pumped full of seawater to keep the vessel stable while salvage ships make their way to the site of the grounding, officials said Monday.

Navy-led salvage teams have also removed most of the materials from the minesweeper USS Guardian that could pose environmental problems for Tubbataha Reef, a Philippine national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those materials include paint, solvents and lubricants, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

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Schools must provide sports for students with disabilities, feds say
Education Secretary Arne Duncan clarified schools' sports and activities obligations for students with disabilities.
January 25th, 2013
12:34 PM ET

Schools must provide sports for students with disabilities, feds say

Schools must give students with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in extracurricular athletics, including varsity sports, the U.S. Department of Education said today. And if existing sports don't meet the needs of those students, schools must create additional athletic programs.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights pointed to a 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office that said disabled students were not getting equal opportunities to participate in sports, a right they were granted under the Rehabilitation Act, passed in 1973.

For more on this story, read CNN's Schools of Thought blog.

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End of the USS Guardian
January 25th, 2013
09:04 AM ET

Warship will have to be lifted off reef

The U.S Navy minesweeper that grounded on a Philippine reef last week has taken on water and sustained too much damage to be towed off, the Navy says.

"It's got hull penetrations in several places, and there is a significant amount of water inside the ship," Rear Adm. Tom Carney said at a briefing Thursday.

The Navy said it will use ship-borne cranes and heavy-lift vessels to lift the minesweeper, the USS Guardian, off the Tubbataha Reef.

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Filed under: Military • Philippines • U.S. Navy
January 24th, 2013
02:25 PM ET

UK, Germany, Netherlands warn citizens to leave Benghazi

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] The governments of Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are advising their citizens to avoid the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Britain says there is a "specific, imminent threat to Westerners" in Benghazi and is advising its citizens there to leave immediately. The German Foreign Office also cites what it says is a specific threat.

The British Foreign Office also warns against any travel to the area, in a statement on its website.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli posted a statement on its website saying it knows of no specific threats to U.S. citizens in Benghazi, but it advises against all travel to the city.

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Chelsea star apologizes for kicking ball boy
Chelsea's Eden Hazard kicked a ball boy late in Wednesday's game against Swansea City.
January 24th, 2013
09:07 AM ET

Chelsea star apologizes for kicking ball boy

Eden Hazard, a star for England's Chelsea soccer team, has apologized for kicking a ball boy during a match in Wales on Wednesday, Chelsea says on its website.

The incident happened in Chelsea's Capitol One Cup semifinal game at Swansea City when the ball went out of bounds late in the game with Chelsea needing two goals to force overtime.

"The boy put his whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologize.

'The ball boy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologized and the boy apologized as well, and it is over. Sorry," the Chelsea website report quoted Hazard as saying.

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Live blog: Clinton testifies before Senate on Benghazi attack
Secretary of State Clinton appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
January 23rd, 2013
12:13 PM ET

Live blog: Clinton testifies before Senate on Benghazi attack

[Updated 12:13 p.m. ET] CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, says he wasn't surprised that Clinton became emotional when she recalled calling the families of the two State Department personnel who died in Benghazi Ambassador Chris Stevens and computer expert Sean Smith.

"A lot of diplomatic people, we don’t perceive hem in this country as necessarily putting their lives at risk we think, oh, they work for the State Department, their job is not as dangerous. And it’s not true," Tapper said. "And people like Secretary Clinton have now learned that firsthand. … The other point to take is, from sources close to her, this really did take a very, very, strong emotional toll on her. In addition to an exhausting job, I think probably it’s all part and parcel of the exhaustion we’ve seen that she’s been suffering.”

[Updated 12:05 p.m. ET] CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, sums up the criticism that Clinton received from some Republicans on the Senate panel this morning:

"Republicans were focused on two areas of criticism. One, of course, (was) the fact that the administration specifically the United Nations Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice initially in the Sunday show appearances ... (gave the view that) this was not a terrorist attack, this was a spontaneous protest because of that anti-Islam video, which of course turns out not to have been the case.

"And a lot of senators Ron Johnson and John McCain especially focused on why were these talking points false. Specifically, Johnson said that Dr. Rice was purposefully misleading the American public. Dr. Rice, of course, has said she was not that she was merely using the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and that there was no effort to mislead. She was providing as much information as she knew at the time.

"The other area where there was significant criticism, of course, came from Sen. Rand Paul, who was talking about the lack of accountability how come nobody was fired? He said that if he had been president at the time ... he would have relieved Secretary Clinton of her job, specifically for not having read all of these cables from on the ground in Libya, of diplomatic personnel requesting more security in the months leading up to the attack."

[Updated 11:37 a.m. ET] This morning's hearing has concluded.

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Clinton's prepared remarks for congressional hearing on Libya
January 23rd, 2013
09:20 AM ET

Clinton's prepared remarks for congressional hearing on Libya

Here are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's prepared remarks for a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning:

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity.

The terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of four brave Americans - Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty - are part of a broader strategic challenge to the United States and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want to offer some context for this challenge and share what we’ve learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to honor our fallen colleagues and continue to champion America’s interests and values.

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