December 4th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

Truck with radioactive material stolen

A pair of thieves in Mexico may have stolen more than they bargained for when they targeted a truck this week.

The stolen vehicle was carrying a delicate cargo - a radioactive element used for medical purposes, but one that can be used to make a so-called dirty bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced the theft Wednesday.

Mexican authorities told the IAEA that the truck, which was transporting the cobalt-60 teletherapy source from a hospital in Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center, was stolen Monday in Tepojaco, near Mexico City.

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Filed under: Mexico • World
April 11th, 2013
11:13 AM ET

No bond yet for parents who took kids to Cuba

The couple accused of abducting their sons and sailing to Cuba will remain jailed without bond through the weekend, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

The judge also appointed a public defender to represent Josh and Sharyn Hakken after they said they wouldn't be able to pay for a lawyer on their own.

They will return to court Monday for a pretrial detention hearing, the judge ruled.

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Filed under: Crime • Cuba • Florida
April 10th, 2013
06:38 AM ET

Fugitives return from Cuba with kids

An American couple who allegedly kidnapped their two sons and sailed to Havana last week sat in a Florida jail Wednesday after Cuba hastily handed them over to U.S. officials.

Cuban authorities turned over the family of four to the U.S. State Department and the FBI after CNN found them in Havana on Tuesday.

They arrived in Florida early Wednesday, where the two boys ages 2 and 4 will get a medical exam, according to Sheriff David Gee of Hillsborough County.

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Father allegedly snatches boys, flees to Cuba
Cole, left, and Chase Hakken were allegedly abducted last week from their grandmother's Florida home.
April 9th, 2013
05:42 PM ET

Father allegedly snatches boys, flees to Cuba

The Cuban government said Tuesday it plans to hand over members of the Hakken family to U.S. authorities, shortly after a CNN reporter in Havana spotted the man who allegedly snatched his two sons from their grandmother's Florida home.

Josh Hakken confirmed his identity when approached at the Hemingway Marina in Havana, but he didn't say more. The two boys are OK, said a woman matching the description of his wife, and she left it at that.

The couple lost custody of their children last year. Last week, they allegedly took the children in Tampa and headed toward Cuba.

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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:

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After Chavez: Venezuela in transition
March 6th, 2013
10:40 AM ET

Venezuelans bid farewell to Chavez

The political outcome in the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's death remains uncertain, but in plazas across the country Wednesday, his followers made it clear they support a continuation of his policies.

Chavez put social programs at the center of his government, and his most fervent supporters credit him with providing their livelihood.

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Filed under: Hugo Chavez • Politics • Venezuela • World
Venezuela accuses enemies of Chavez plot
March 5th, 2013
01:50 PM ET

Venezuela accuses enemies of Chavez plot

[Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET] These are "the most difficult moments we have experienced" regarding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's health since his December 11 cancer surgery, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised address Tuesday.

His remarks came after Maduro accused Venezuela's domestic and foreign enemies of "attacking" Chavez, who has publicly battled cancer since 2011. Maduro also said Venezuela has expelled a U.S. Embassy attache who he said was seeking military support for a plot against the government.

Read more about Maduro's address here.

[Updated at 1:46 p.m. ET] Venezuela accused the domestic and foreign enemies of Venezuela of somehow infecting ailing President Hugo Chavez and expelled a U.S. Embassy attache who it said was seeking military support for a plot against the government, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday.

David Del Monaco, an Air Force attache for the U.S. Embassy, had been expelled Tuesday "for being implicated in conspiratorial plan, the information ministry said.

Some day, he told the press in a lengthy statement, there will be "scientific proof" that Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, was somehow infected by outsiders. He also called Venezuela's political right-wing an "oligarchy" and an "enemy of the nation."

[Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET] Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday that eventually there will be "scientific proof" that President Hugo Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, was infected by outsiders.

In an address shown on Venezuelan TV, Maduro also said Venezuela has expelled a U.S. Embassy attache who was seeking military support for a plot against the government.

[Posted at 12:35 p.m. ET] Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro is meeting with the country's top officials after the nation's information minister reported that the condition of President Hugo Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, has worsened, state TV said Tuesday.

Chavez first announced he had cancer in 2011. He spent more than two months in treatment in Cuba recently, returning to Venezuela two weeks ago.

Since Chavez underwent surgery on December 11, government accounts about his health have been vague.

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March 3rd, 2013
12:03 AM ET

Chavez rumors persist; so do denials

Once again, rumors of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's impending death have swept through social media in recent days, fueled by a report that the ailing leader had moved to a presidential residence to live his last days.

The government's vagueness and secrecy regarding Chavez has created a hunger - both in and outside of Venezuela - for reliable information about the president's health.

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Filed under: Venezuela • World
Chavez temporarily having trouble speaking, Venezuelan official says
Chavez acknowledges supporters on the streets of Caracas in February of last year.
February 15th, 2013
10:53 AM ET

Chavez temporarily having trouble speaking, Venezuelan official says

[Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is temporarily having difficulty speaking following a procedure in which doctors inserted a tracheal tube, Venezuela's communications minister said Friday.

Chavez is going through a difficult recovery period following his recent cancer surgery, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said at a news conference. Villegas displayed a picture of Chavez in his hospital bed surrounded by his children.

Chavez hasn't appeared in public or on national television since he went to Cuba for cancer surgery in December.

Biden: U.S. open to direct Iran talks
"There has to be an agenda," Biden said in Germany. "We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise."
February 2nd, 2013
07:18 AM ET

Biden: U.S. open to direct Iran talks

Under the right conditions, the United States is willing to hold talks with the Iranian government, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday.

The United States "would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership," he said during a speech at the Munich Security Conference.

The two nations are at odds, primarily over Iran's nuclear program, but there is a standing offer for talks, and "there has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to," Biden said. "We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise."

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with Ithe semi-official Fars news agency that he hopes new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will contribute to softening Washington's policies towards Iran and that Kerry "would at least rectify part of the U.S. government's anti-Iranian stance and policies."

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Filed under: Iraq • Politics • U.S.
Court: Venezuela's Chavez will keep presidency, oath or not
Chavez salutes to an audience in Caracas in November 2011. Chavez has undergone cancer treatment in Cuba, beginning in 2011.
January 9th, 2013
12:24 PM ET

Court: Venezuela's Chavez will keep presidency, oath or not

Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez will not lose his position even if he is not sworn in on Thursday for a new term, the country's Supreme Court said Wednesday, reaffirming the position of the government.

Chavez can be sworn in at a later date in front of the court, it said. It also ruled that he is on a permitted leave, and that there is not a permanent absence, which would have triggered new elections under the constitution.

Officials said yesterday that medical treatment in Cuba will keep Chavez from being sworn in for his new term this week. The 58-year-old Venezuelan president has been treated for cancer in Cuba for the past month.

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Filed under: Venezuela
November 17th, 2012
09:12 AM ET

ESPN: Mike Ditka OK after stroke

Legendary professional football coach and ESPN analyst Mike Ditka is recovering from a stroke he suffered Friday, the sports network said.

Ditka, 73, will not be on ESPN's football shows this weekend, the network said. But Ditka "wanted everyone to know he's OK," ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman said via Twitter.

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Filed under: Football • Pro football
No federal criminal charges against ex-coach Fine, feds say
Syracuse fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine in November 2011.
November 9th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

No federal criminal charges against ex-coach Fine, feds say

Federal criminal charges will not be filed against former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernard "Bernie" Fine, who was accused of sexually abusing children, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced Friday.

A yearlong investigation of Fine "revealed insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal charges," according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of New York. As a result, the office is closing its investigation, it said.

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At least 48 dead after 7.4-magnitude quake off Mexico-Guatemala border
November 7th, 2012
09:28 PM ET

At least 48 dead after 7.4-magnitude quake off Mexico-Guatemala border

Editor's note: A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Wednesday off the coast of Guatemala, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Guatemalan officials say at least 48 people died and about 125,000 people were without power. The quake, centered about 15 miles from the coastal city of Champerico at a depth of 26 miles, was felt throughout Central America and as far north as Mexico City. Below are updates:

[Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET] At least 48 people were killed as a result of the earthquake, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said.

[Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET] The death toll in the Guatemalan quake has risen to at least 29, said David de Leon, a spokesman for the country's disaster relief agency.

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November 3rd, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Cuomo: New York addressing power outages, gas shortage

Restoring electricity to all New Yorkers remains the top priority for the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

He is pushing utilities to do everything they can to respond to the power outage, and threatened action against those electric companies that weren't prepared for the emergency. "If they weren't prepared, the state will hold them accountable," Cuomo said.

As of Saturday, power had been restored to 60% of those who had lost it, he said.

In contrast, the governor had praise for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which he said has restored 80% of subway services in New York City. "Not only did they try hard, but they got it done," he said.

The gas shortage that created long lines at stations is also being addressed. Eight million gallons of fuel have been delivered to gas stations, and 28 million additional gallons will be delivered over the next two days, he said.

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Filed under: New York
October 26th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

How Sandy was dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’

Naming tropical storms has been common practice for decades, in no small part because it helps meteorologists raise awareness and helps the media and the public keep track. Popular culture might give other names to extraordinarily powerful or inconvenient storms tropical or not such as 1991’s “Perfect Storm," which had Hurricane Grace as one of its ingredients, and the 2010 “Snowmageddon.”

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Volunteer killed at Creflo Dollar's Georgia megachurch, police say
Police are looking for a gunman after the shooting at the Georgia megachurch of televangelist Creflo Dollar.
October 24th, 2012
04:27 PM ET

Volunteer killed at Creflo Dollar's Georgia megachurch, police say

Editor's note: A former employee of televangelist Creflo Dollar's Atlanta-area megachurch is suspected of fatally shooting one of the church's volunteer staff members as the volunteer was leading a prayer service there Wednesday morning, police say. The suspect, Floyd Palmer, 52, was arrested hours later at an Atlanta mall, the U.S. Marshals Service told CNN. Below are developments as they come in; for more on the shooting and Dollar's church, check out this story, and CNN affiliates WXIA, WSB and WGCL.

[Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET] The suspect in the shooting, Floyd Palmer, 52, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Atlanta's Lenox Square mall, the U.S. Marshals Service says.

Earlier, police said Palmer was an former employee of World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia, where the shooting happened Wednesday morning during a prayer service.

Floyd Palmer

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Church masterpiece 'restored' as Mr. Bean would do it
Pictures provided by the Center for Borja Studies show the original version of the painting Ecce Homo, by 19th-century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, from left, the deteriorated version the center recently documented, and the version "restored" by a parishioner.
August 23rd, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Church masterpiece 'restored' as Mr. Bean would do it

The efforts of an elderly parishioner to restore a 120-year-old fresco on a column inside a Spanish church have some wondering if a Mr. Bean movie was the inspiration for the effort.

The fresco, titled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), is a depiction of Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns. It was painted on a wall of the Sanctuary of Mercy at Borja, near Zaragoza, Spain, by artist Elias Garcia Martinez more than a century ago.

Its troubling "restoration" occurred after the local Center for Borja Studies received the donation of a canvas done by Garcia from one his granddaughters who lives nearby, according to the center's blog.

Center staff noted that the only other known work by Garcia in the area was Ecce Homo, went to the church to photograph the fresco, and realized it was in bad shape.

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Filed under: Art • Spain
August 14th, 2012
01:26 PM ET

Mom: Texas shooter had mental health issues

The gunman who killed two others before police ended his life in a shootout near Texas A&M University had been battling mental health issues on and off for years, his mother said.

Police say Thomas Caffall, known to his family as "Tres," killed a constable and a bystander and injured four others before police fatally shot him.

His mother, Linda Weaver, said the family became worried after Caffall quit his job in January and announced that he would never work again.

"We had been very concerned about him," Weaver told CNN.

Caffall had withdrawn from the family, and the fear was that he might attempt suicide, his mother said.

But she never imagined that her son would hurt anyone else, or that his end would come so violently.

"Losing a child is a parent's worst nightmare. This is worse," she said.

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Filed under: Crime • Texas
April 10th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Marlins suspend manager Guillen for 5 games; he apologizes for Castro comments

The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games, effective immediately, on Tuesday, just before Guillen apologized for recent comments praising Cuba's Fidel Castro.

Guillen sparked a firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected  Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen said in the article. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there."

Guillen apologized during a press conference Tuesday, first speaking in Spanish, saying that he had "betrayed a Latin community" and that he was speaking to "ask for forgiveness with my heart in my hand."

But, he said, he originally spoke of Castro in Spanish and "the translation to English was a bit confusing."

In response to questions in English on Tuesday, Guillen said he was "very stupid" to make comments outside of baseball.

"Politics has nothing to do with sports," Guillen said.

"This is the biggest mistake so far in my life," he said.

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