Federal agents are looking into possible links between dead Boston Marathon bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and a Canadian boxer-turned-jihadist killed by Russian troops in 2012, a source being briefed on the investigation said Monday.
William Plotnikov and six others died in a firefight with Russian forces in the southwestern republic of Dagestan in July 2012, while Tsarnaev was visiting the region, the source said. The 23-year-old Plotnikov was born in Russia, but his family moved to Canada when he was a teenager.
The source said Plotnikov's body was prepared for burial by a local imam on July 14. Tsarnaev flew out of Dagestan two days later, arriving in New York on July 17. Investigators are looking into the possibility he left because of Plotnikov's death, the source said.
Authorities including bomb experts searched an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, and removed items, after two deadly bombs struck the Boston Marathon. But investigators remained mum about just how the search may be linked to the bombing investigation.
A law enforcement official said the search was not a suggestion that police may have a suspect. At this point there is no suspect and no leading theory on motive, the official said.FULL STORY
The United Nations will probe Syria's claim that rebels may have used chemical weapons in the country, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday.
Opposition groups, meanwhile, have insisted that the Syrian regime itself used such weapons.
Syria asked for a U.N. investigation of its claim, and Ban said he has a mandate to consider such a request from any member state. So the U.N. probe will focus on the government's allegation.FULL STORY
A "rat-like animal" just might be the reason for power outages at a critical Japanese nuclear facility this week.
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant suspects such a critter of causing a short circuit in a switchboard that led to a power outage, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.FULL STORY
A month after one of its ships was crippled in the Gulf of Mexico, Carnival Cruise Lines is dealing with another ship problem, this time at port in the Caribbean.
The Carnival Dream suffered a generator failure while docked at Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Although power has been restored and facilities are functioning again, the ship still can't leave its port. Passengers say that for a time on Wednesday, some toilets stopped working and no one was allowed to leave even though the ship was docked.
Carnival says it is working to fly all passengers on one of its cruises back to Florida.FULL STORY
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned Tuesday as questions arose over a company for which she previously consulted.
In a two-sentence resignation letter delivered to Gov. Rick Scott, Carroll said it was an "honor to have served."
The resignation came a day after some people were arrested "for racketeering and money laundering charges in connection with Allied Veterans of the World's illegal gambling companies," Scott's chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth said. Carroll consulted for Allied Veterans while serving in the state House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010.FULL STORY
The parents of a transgender girl rejected a central argument Thursday from the school that won't allow their child to use the girl's restroom.
"They're punishing a 6-year-old for something that hasn't happened and may not happen," said Kathryn Mathis, mother of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, who was born with a boy's body but identifies as a girl. Mathis and her husband Jeremy, sitting alongside their daughter, spoke with CNN's "Starting Point."
The Colorado school, in a December letter to the parents, said that "as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls' restroom."
A legal fund has field suit on the family's behalf, putting Colorado's anti-discrimination law to a new test.FULL STORY
[Updated 10:30 a.m. ET] Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his South Africa home early Thursday.
Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year. Check our full story for the latest.
[Updated 8:03 a.m. ET] The suspect will appear in court Friday rather than today because the public prosecutor needs time to prepare the case, police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale told CNN.
The state will oppose bail, police spokeswoman Denise Beukes told reporters.
[Posted 2:45 a.m.] A woman was found fatally shot in the upscale Pretoria home of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, police said Thursday.
The victim was model Reeva Steenkamp, according to Capacity Relations, the agency that represents her. Steenkamp was Pistorius' girlfriend.
Police said they have arrested a 26-year-old man – the same age as Pistorius – in connection with the shooting, and that he will appear in Pretoria magistrate court sometime Thursday.
Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year.
Police said Pistorius was cooperating with them.FULL STORY
A scandal over horsemeat found in frozen beef products is spiraling across Europe as several governments launch investigations and a company involved says it has determined who "the villain" is.
The police probes and legal maneuvers responding to the discovery are quickly becoming a tangled web - much like the complex supply chain of the meat products themselves.
Swedish food producer Findus has been a focus of the uproar since it announced Thursday that it had withdrawn its lasagna from UK stores as a precaution. The products were pulled Monday after French supplier Comigel raised concerns about the type of meat that was used, Findus Sweden said.
But Findus is only one of several companies that receives products from Comigel. Others inculde Axfood, Coop, and ICA, all of which announced they have pulled certain meat products from the shelves due to the possibility they contain horsemeat.
Comigel has not responded to CNN's repeated requests for comment.FULL STORY
Vice President Joe Biden appears to be taking his boss's demand for a quick recommendation on gun violence seriously.
Biden said Thursday that he will give recommendations to President Barack Obama by Tuesday on how to reduce gun violence in the United States. Biden is heading a task force that is meeting with numerous groups this week, including some for and some against stricter gun controls.
Obama, following a shooting that killed 20 children and six women at a Connecticut elementary school in December, had set a January deadline for the recommendations. Read more about the task force here.
[Update 3:57 p.m.] U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has assured lawmakers that the House will vote on $60 billion in aid related to Superstorm Sandy by January 15, a group of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
[Initial post, 2:22 p.m.] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he doesn't know why House Speaker John Boehner didn't allow a vote on a $60 billion aid package to help Superstorm Sandy victims Tuesday or Wednesday, but he's steamed about it.
"There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering" of Sandy victims, and that's Boehner and the House Republican leadership, Christie told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
“Shame on you. Shame on Congress,” Christie, a Republican, said.
Across the country, a sudden shift is taking place.
Bobbie Cleave, a retired teacher in Utah, has put off plans to get a badly needed car. Brian Chandler, a data manager in metro Atlanta, is delaying buying a house, despite needing space for his second child due any day now. Retired police officer Richard Huffman of Michigan may ditch plans to re-enter the work force.
And several families CNN spoke with said they're shrinking the gift pile beneath the Christmas tree.
As the nation approaches the so-called "fiscal cliff," people are taking steps to cushion their families from the plunge.
To them, the threat to the nation's economy requires preparation - particularly with President Barack Obama warning that going off the cliff could cost the average family of four more than $2,000.
But some say the fears are just hype.http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/05/us/fiscal-cliff-americans/index.html
Police were ambushed and dozens were slaughtered. Now the military is being sent in.
Kenya's National Security Council, chaired by President Mwai Kibaki, said today that soldiers will join a police-led operation in the Samburu region. But it will take some time to have "actual boots on the ground," said Col. Cyrus Oguna, spokesman for the Kenya Defense Forces.
Over the weekend, 38 officers were killed by heavily armed cattle rustlers, according to injured police reservists who were on the scene. Local media reports put the number killed at between 37 and 42. Many others were injured.
The police were part of an operation to recover cattle belonging to the Samburu tribe that had been stolen by the Turkana tribe, officials said. A large group of Turkana fired on police in a valley.
The Turkana and Samburu have been staging raids to steal each other's livestock for many years.
Ahmed al-Ja'abari, head of Hamas' military wing, was killed Wednesday in Gaza by an Israeli "surgical" strike, the Israeli military announced.
A spokesman for the Hamas-run government in Gaza confirmed that al-Ja'abari was killed in an Israeli strike. "Israel is announcing the war in Gaza and Israel will carry the responsibility for killing Ahmed Jabri," Tahar Eanono said in a written message.
Militants in Gaza have been firing dozens of rockets into southern Israel, and Israel has struck back.
The Israeli military tweeted earlier today:
IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) November 14, 2012
An Iranian air force helicopter crashed Wednesday, killing all 10 people on board, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
"The helicopter was carrying five people who had been injured earlier in a road accident, as well as four crew members and one medic," a medical official was quoted as saying.
The five passengers worked for the Ministry of Education, another official said.
The crash took place near a hospital in the holy city of Mashad.
A jury in Houston has found Jessica Tata guilty of murder in the deaths of four children in a fire.
Tata's carelessness led to the fire at her home day care in 2011 and she then fled – with seven children trapped inside, evidence showed. Three children were injured but survived.
CNN affiliate KTRK reports that Tata could face up to 99 years in prison.
After the fire in February last year, Tata fled to Nigeria. The U.S. Marshals Service named her one of its most wanted fugitives. The service said it worked "with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to bring Tata to justice."
She was arrested in Nigeria and brought back in less than a month.
Editor's Note: Work began Tuesday to exhume the body of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat amid an investigation of his 2004 death.
[Update 8:48 a.m.] The process of removing the marble tombstone on Arafat's grave to allow for exhumation of the body is under way, a Palestinian source said. The glass surrounding the mausoleum has been removed.
Radical cleric Abu Qatada was released from jail on bail today, following a successful appeal Monday against deportation from the United Kingdom to face terror charges in Jordan.
It's the latest stage in a long-running battle over British efforts to deport the man accused of funding terrorist groups and said to have inspired one of the 9/11 hijackers.
[Update 1:55 p.m.] Kevin Clash has issued a statement saying,"I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation."
[Posted 12:23 p.m.] The puppeteer who voices Elmo - one of the most adored children's characters in the world - is taking time off from Sesame Street after denying he had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.
Sesame Street Workshop says it found the allegation against Kevin Clash "unsubstantiated," and granted him leave as he takes "actions to protect his reputation."