March 14th, 2013
09:36 AM ET

Police: Suspect in N.Y. shootings dead

A long standoff following a deadly upstate shooting spree is over, and the suspect is dead, police say.

Kurt R. Myers, 64, was dead after he and an FBI tactical team fired shots in a building where Myers was hiding, New York State Police spokesman Lt. Jack Keller said.

Myers is suspected of killing four people and injuring two others in a 10-minute shooting spree in Herkimer County, New York, on Wednesday morning, state police said.

FULL STORY
March 13th, 2013
06:25 PM ET

Argentina's Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis

[Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET] That will wrap up our live blog of Francis' debut. For more coverage, check out the links above and read our full story.

[Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET] When Pope Francis is formally installed in a Mass later this month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be there, leading the U.S. delegation to the event.

Biden is the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president.

Meanwhile, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has congratulated Pope Francis a native Argentine and expressed hope that he will work toward justice, equality and peace for all.

As we noted earlier, the new pope has clashed with the Argentine government over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.

A photo from earlier tonight: People react as newly elected Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica.

[Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET] We know a little more about what Pope Francis will be doing tomorrow: He and the cardinals will hold a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 5 p.m. local time (noon ET), Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

[Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET] A Vatican spokesman says Francis will be a reformer, and will call the church "back to basics."

"He knows the Curia, he's been extremely critical of the mess here," the Rev. Tom Rosica said, referring to the Vatican bureaucracy.

[Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET] Here's something that a pope has never had the chance to do before today: Shortly after Francis was elected, he placed a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who has been staying at a papal retreat at Italy's Castel Gandolfo since he resigned February 28.

Benedict, 85, was the first pope to resign in hundreds of years.

News of the phone call came from the Rev. Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

[Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET] We've just been given confirmation about which Francis the new pope is honoring in his choice of name.

The new pope took the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

Also, the new pope should be known as Pope Francis, not Pope Francis I, Rosica said.

[Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at what might be next for Pope Francis:

Before Francis was elected, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the new pope will “very probably” say Mass this Sunday at St. Peter’s and do the traditional Angelus blessing, Lombardi said before the election.

It will take several days before there is an installation Mass, because it will take time for world leaders to arrive, Lombardi had said.

[Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama has weighed in.

Obama offered his prayers and "warm wishes" Wednesday to newly elected Pope Francis. Obama called him "a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us," and also said his election as "the first pope from the Americas ... speaks to the strength and vitality of (that) region."

[Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET] The pope's election has caught the attention of the Internet crowd, to put it lightly. Facebook says that its users' top terms about 70 minutes ago were:

1) Pope; 2) Jorge Bergoglio; 3) Vatican; 4) White smoke; 5) Cardinal; 6) Catholic; 7) Decision; and 8) Papal.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] Latin Americans in St. Peter's Square are thrilled.

"As a youth, and as a Catholic student, and as a Mexican, I am absolutely overwhelmed with emotion (at) the fact that we have a new pope that will represent that part of the (world)," a woman from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, told CNN. "That is something very exciting. I feel that Mexico has been a country that has suffered a lot, and so has Latin America, but it is a people that has always put trust in God, so it is absolutely wonderful to represent our part of the world this time around."

Beside her, a woman from Mexico City said her heart jumped when she heard the announcement that a pope had been picked.

"I'm so excited," she said. "It's a reason of being proud tonight, because Latin America is a very important Catholic area and now it's going to be totally represented here, so I'm so proud and I'm so happy today. ... It's going to help a lot, a Latin American pope, it's going to help. It's going to rebuild many things, and it's a new start."

Check out more Latin American reaction here.

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at some reaction to Francis' election. Here's what Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York by some accounts a pre-conclave contender for the papacy had to say, shortly after he participated in the conclave:

“Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside," Dolan said in a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.”

And the Church of England, the country's official church denomination, offered a prayer Wednesday for the newly elected pope.

"Guide him by by your spirit, give him grace to lead people in prayer and zeal, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, your son our Lord," the prayer read.

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] CNN Vatican expert John Allen has reported previously, for the National Catholic Reporter, that the new pope may have been the runner-up in the 2005 election that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger become Benedict XVI. Allen noted that there's no official account of that election it is officially secret, after all but various reports had Bergoglio coming in second in 2005.

Pope Francis asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square to pray for him. "Before I give you a blessing, I ask you for a favor - I want you to bless me," he said.

[Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET] Choosing the name Francis is powerful and ground-breaking, CNN Vatican expert John Allen says.

As noted earlier, this is the first Pope Francis. Also, the name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.

Allen described the name of Pope Francis as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."

"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism" such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem "irrepeatable that there can be only one Francis," Allen added.

Read more about the new name, from CNN's Michael Martinez.

FULL POST

March 13th, 2013
07:33 AM ET

Vote for pope resumes after lunch

Will the Roman Catholic Church's cardinals elect a pope today, the first full day of their conclave? If so, they'll have to make it happen in their afternoon session.

Black smoke rose from the chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning, indicating that the cardinals' first two votes of the day were inconclusive. The cardinals also didn't come to a conclusion on Tuesday evening, which was their first vote.

They will have two more opportunities to vote on Wednesday afternoon, after they have lunch.

We have a number of features to inform you about the process. Our full story on Wednesday's activities can be found here. But also check out:

Wednesday's conclave schedule

Video: Millions bet on pope

How a pope is chosen

The contenders

Video: Papal conclave 101

Cover-up claims disturb conclave

March 12th, 2013
02:47 PM ET

No new pope on conclave's first day

[Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET] In a not-so-surprising result, there will be no new pope tonight.

Black smoke has risen from a chimney over the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, indicating that no one collected enough votes Tuesday to be elected the successor to the retired Pope Benedict XVI. The Roman Catholic Church's cardinals held their first vote in the chapel today.

The cardinals will vote again tomorrow.

[Updated at 12:46 p.m. ET] The process of selecting a new pope of the Roman Catholic church has begun.

The 115 cardinal-electors have gathered in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and the doors to the chapel have closed, marking the beginning of today's election session.

This session is scheduled to last two hours, assuming no pope is chosen before then. The cardinals would then go at it again tomorrow.

[Updated at 7:43 a.m. ET] The wait is nearly over: It's time for the cardinals to get down to the business of choosing a pope.

The Catholic Church's cardinals are set to begin their secret election, or conclave, in Vatican City on Tuesday. The process to choose a successor to the retired Benedict XVI could take days.

We have a number of features to inform you about the process. Our full story on Tuesday's activities can be found here. But also check out:

How a pope is chosen

The contenders

Video: Papal conclave 101

Cover-up claims disturb conclave

Scenes from Pope Benedict XVI's last day
March 8th, 2013
11:57 AM ET

Cardinals set pope election date

The Catholic cardinals gathered in Rome voted Friday to begin the secret election, or conclave, to elect a new pope next Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican said.

The 115 cardinal-electors taking part in the conclave will enter the closed-door process after a morning Mass, the Vatican said. Only those younger than 80 are eligible to vote.

FULL STORY
March 7th, 2013
07:30 PM ET

Chavez's body to be displayed 'like Lenin'

The body of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will eventually displayed publicly "just like Lenin (and) Mao Zedong," the country's interim leader said on state-run TV Thursday.

"The body of our leader will be embalmed, and it will ... be surrounded by crystal glass forever, present forever, and always with his people," Nicolas Maduro said.

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Filed under: Venezuela
March 6th, 2013
04:44 PM ET

Hero or villain? The many ways to see Chavez

Hugo Chavez was as colorful as he was polarizing. Celebrating his 10th year in power four years ago, he held a jewel-encrusted sword of his hero, 19th-century revolutionary Simon Bolivar, and reminded a Caracas crowd what he was about.

"There is no other path to redemption for the human being than socialism," the Venezuelan president said, flanked by like-minded Latin American leaders helping him mark his anniversary.

After his death on Tuesday, detractors and fans had plenty to say about his fiery character and leftist pursuits, and it's hard to remember they're talking about the same guy.

He wrecked Venezuela's economy and trounced on democratic institutions and people's liberties, some say. He improved the lives of the poor and rightly stood up against "imperialist" nations, say others.

One of the more interesting tributes came from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared on his Farsi-language presidential website that Chavez was a great leader who will "resurrect" along with Jesus.

How many different ways can people look at Chavez? Here are a few:

FULL POST

March 1st, 2013
10:24 AM ET

Glitch with SpaceX supply flight appears fixed

[Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET] SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo capsule suffered a temporary glitch with its thrusters after it achieved orbit Friday a development that will delay its arrival at the International Space Station, NASA said.

The Dragon, launched Friday morning atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, had been expected to dock with the space station on Saturday to resupply the station's crew.

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Filed under: Space • Technology
March 1st, 2013
07:13 AM ET

Church's cardinals to start meeting Monday

The events that will lead to the election of a new pope are starting to take shape.

The Catholic Church's cardinals will start general congregations meetings that precede a conclave to elect a new pope on Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Vatican (3:30 a.m. ET), with a second session set for later that day, according to a letter issued Friday by the dean of the College of Cardinals.

Setting a date for the conclave to elect the new pope will be among the items on the agenda. The previous pope, Benedict XVI, resigned Thursday.

Possible papal contenders

February 28th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Benedict: I'm 'simply a pilgrim' now

  • Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, takes effect at 2 p.m. ET (8 p.m. in Rome)
  • Benedict now in papal retreat 15 miles from Vatican; tells crowd he's starting the last part of his pilgrimage on Earth
  • Benedict, 85, met with cardinals Thursday morning, pledges his "unconditional obedience" to the next pope
  • Updates below; full story here; see CNN Mexico's coverage in Spanish

[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET] Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended 10 minutes ago, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.

[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.

FULL POST

February 27th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Complaint filed in transgender child's case

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
Justice Department joins Armstrong suit
February 22nd, 2013
01:21 PM ET

Justice Department joins Armstrong suit

The U.S. Department of Justice has joined a whistle-blower lawsuit against cyclist Lance Armstrong that was originally filed by a former teammate, an attorney for Armstrong said Friday.

Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test, filed a suit in 2010 against their former team, which was sponsored the U.S. Postal Service.

The lawsuit accused the team's former management of defrauding the government of millions of dollars because the team management knew about team members' drug use and didn't do anything.

FULL STORY
Oscar Pistorius granted bail
February 22nd, 2013
10:40 AM ET

Oscar Pistorius granted bail

  • Bail for Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius set at 1 million South African rand (about $112,000).
  • Magistrate: State failed to show Pistorius is a flight risk, or that he would be a danger to society, or that his release would cause a public disturbance.
  • Pistorius charged with premeditated murder in February 14 shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, 29. Pistorius claims he thought she was an intruder.
  • Live updates below. Also, read the full story.

[Updated 10:40 a.m. ET] So, that's about it from the Pretoria courtroom. To sum up: A magistrate granted bail to Pistorius after giving a roughly 90-minute speech in which he covered the history and law of South African bail, summarized the case, criticized the police investigation and expressed skepticism about Pistorius' account.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair said the former chief investigator in the case, Hilton Botha, had made "several errors and concessions" during his testimony this week, and said prosecutors had failed to prove that Pistorius was a flight risk or had a propensity toward violence.

Pistorius will be free pending trial, as long as he meets the conditions listed below.

[Updated 10:35 a.m. ET] Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, has told reporters the following on the behalf of the Pistorius family:

"We are in mourning over the death of Reeva, with her family. We also grateful for the ... magistrate to come to the conclusion, and for our legal team that has delivered extremely professional and legal (services) that led to the decision to give him bail today.

"As a family we know that Oscar’s version of what happened at that tragic night, and we know that that is the truth, and that will prevail in the coming court cases."

FULL POST

February 21st, 2013
05:36 PM ET

3 dead after Las Vegas Strip shooting, crash

[Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET] Police have just released what they believe led to this morning's shooting and fiery crash that left three people dead on the Las Vegas Strip.

It began with a dispute in the valet area of the Aria hotel, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie told reporters moments ago, citing witnesses.

After the altercation, the participants drove north on Las Vegas Boulevard in two vehicles a black Range Rover Sport and a Maserati and someone from the Range Rover fired into the Maserati, killing the driver and wounding a passenger.

The Maserati then continued into an intersection with Flamengo Road near the Caesars Palace and Flamingo casinos and struck a taxi, causing a chain of crashes that involved four other vehicles.

Two people inside the taxi died. Three other people in the crashes suffered minor injuries, Gillespie said. Check out the full story for more details.

[Posted at 12:58 p.m. ET] Three people are dead and at least three others wounded after a shooting and fiery car crash that shook the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday morning, police say.

The incident began about 4:20 a.m. when someone in an SUV stopped at a stoplight on Las Vegas Boulevard near Caesars Palace and a number of other casinos fired into a Maserati that also had stopped at the light, Las Vegas police said.

The Maserati moved into the intersection with Flamingo Road and collided with a taxi, starting a chain of crashes that involved four other vehicles, police said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Crime • Las Vegas • Nevada
Peterson gets 38 years for ex-wife's death
February 21st, 2013
04:52 PM ET

Peterson gets 38 years for ex-wife's death

Former Chicago-area police sergeant Drew Peterson was sentenced Thursday to 38 years in prison with credit for nearly four years in jail for the 2004 murder of his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio, a prosecution spokesman in Illinois said.

Peterson plans to appeal the sentence, one of this lawyers said.

Peterson was convicted of murder last September. Savio Peterson's third wife was found dead in her dry, clean bathtub on March 1, 2004

The headline-grabbing case did not arise until after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in October 2007. It was during the search for Stacy Peterson who has not been found that investigators said they would look again into Savio's death, which was initially ruled an accidental drowning.

In February 2008, authorities altered their judgment and ruled Savio's death a homicide. Peterson was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

FULL STORY
Armstrong won't cooperate with USADA probe
February 20th, 2013
03:02 PM ET

Armstrong won't cooperate with USADA probe

Former cyclist Lance Armstrong will not cooperate with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's investigation of performance enhancing drug use in the sport, an Armstrong attorney said Wednesday.

USADA had given Armstrong who publicly admitted such drug use last month until Wednesday to decide whether he would cooperate under oath with investigators as part of a possible path to altering his USADA-imposed lifetime competition ban.

"Lance will not participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95% of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction," Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said in a written statement Wednesday.

FULL STORY
February 19th, 2013
04:43 PM ET

Suspect in airplane baby slapping surrenders

An Idaho man accused of uttering a racial slur and slapping a crying 19-month-old boy on a Delta Air Lines flight has surrendered to federal authorities.

Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, turned himself in to federal officials in Idaho on Tuesday morning, the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta said.

Hundley was recently charged with assaulting a minor in the February 8 incident. According to court documents, Hundley, during a flight to Atlanta, allegedly told the baby's mother to "shut that (N-word) baby up."

He then turned around and slapped the child in the face with an open hand, according to the documents.

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Filed under: Crime • Idaho
Police: Man kills 3, self in shooting spree
A man, believed to be the shooter, lies dead in the street near an Orange County sheriff's vehicle in Villa Park, California.
February 19th, 2013
04:09 PM ET

Police: Man kills 3, self in shooting spree

[Updated at 8:26 p.m. ET] In the middle of a shooting spree that killed three people and unleashed terror on Southern California motorists Tuesday morning, Ali Syed told one of his carjacking victims to walk away, police say.

"Mr. Syed ... said, 'I don't want to hurt you, I killed somebody. Today's my last day. Give me your keys,'" Tustin Police Chief Scott Jordan told reporters.

According to preliminary accounts from police, Syed, 20, didn't intentionally spare another target.

Police say they believe Syed, a part-time college student, fatally shot a woman at his family's Ladera Ranch home before killing two other people - including a senior citizen executed outside his vehicle - and wounding three others as he fired a shotgun at Orange County motorists on the Costa Mesa Freeway and committed three carjackings.

The spree ended when Syed died after he turned his gun on himself as police approached on a road north of Tustin, authorities say.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: California • Crime
Danica Patrick to start first at Daytona
Danica Patrick speaks to reporters after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
February 17th, 2013
03:45 PM ET

Danica Patrick to start first at Daytona

Danica Patrick became the first woman to win pole position in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series history, posting the top qualifying time for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

Her lap of 45.817 seconds at a top speed of 196.434 mph means she'll start in the front row in the February 24 race, alongside Jeff Gordon.

Two previous pole positions earned by women in NASCAR came in the Nationwide Series. Those were earned by Patrick last year at Daytona, and Shawna Robinson in 1994 in Atlanta, according to NASCAR.

Patrick, 30, is in her first full year as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. Last year she made 10 Sprint Cup starts.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Auto racing • Florida • NASCAR • Sports
Feds lay out funds misuse case against Jesse Jackson Jr.
February 15th, 2013
04:05 PM ET

Feds lay out funds misuse case against Jesse Jackson Jr.

[Updated 8:20 p.m: To clarify the nature of the filed court document]

Federal prosecutors Friday filed felony charges against former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., alleging the illegal misuse of about $750,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and gifts.

PDF: See federal charges

The formal charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and mail and wire fraud, were made public in federal court only days after Jackson had signed a plea deal with prosecutors who were investigating potential financial improprieties.

After the charges were filed Friday, Jackson issued a statement accepting responsibility for making mistakes and bad decisions. He did not dispute prosecutors' allegations.

[Original post, 4:05 p.m.]

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and a co-conspirator have admitted to concealing about $750,000 in campaign funds for their personal use, according to a plea deal filed in federal court Friday.

PDF: See plea deal

Jackson, D-Illinois, admitted to conspiracy and other charges related to the misappropriated campaign funds, according to the court documents.

CNN reported last week that Jackson had signed a plea deal with prosecutors investigating potential financial improprieties, but the details of the alleged improprieties weren't then available.

Jackson, who represented Illinois' 2nd Congressional District beginning in 1995, resigned in late November after winning election to a tenth term in the House. He had not been seen in Washington or his district since last spring, and his office slowly revealed that he was receiving treatment for a mood disorder, depression and gastrointestinal issues at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Politics
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