September 8th, 2013
09:18 PM ET

NAACP leader Benjamin Jealous resigns, will leave in December

Benjamin Todd Jealous will step down as president of the NAACP after five years as president of the oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization, he announced Sunday.

"The NAACP has always been the largest civil rights organization in the streets, and today it is also the largest civil rights organization online, on mobile and at the ballot box too," Jealous said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon. "I am proud to leave the Association financially sound, sustainable, focused, and more powerful than ever."

Jealous, 40, was named president 2008 after working as a community organizer, a newspaper editor and Amnesty International official. He took over from Bruce Gordon, a retired telecommunications executive who clashed with the NAACP's governing board.

In announcing his resignation, he said he wanted to spend "a lot more time with my young family." Jealous and his wife, Lia, have two children, a 1-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.

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Filed under: Politics
August 13th, 2013
12:28 AM ET

Alaska serial killer tied to 11 deaths

Federal agents say they've now linked 11 killings to admitted serial killer Israel Keyes and are looking into possible ties to killings in other countries.

Keyes killed himself in December, about nine months after his arrest in the slaying of an Anchorage, Alaska, coffee barista. Police said he admitted to at least seven other slayings, from Vermont to Washington state, before his death.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the FBI office in Anchorage said agents have now added three more to that grim tally, based on his statements:

– a pale-skinned woman in an older car, "possibly having a wealthy grandmother"

– one in which the victim was posed to make it look like the death had been an accident

– one "in Texas or a surrounding state" that he had denied committing before his death.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
May 7th, 2013
07:55 AM ET

Cops find 3 women missing for years

Amanda Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland in 2003. It was the eve of her 17th birthday.

Georgina "Gina" DeJesus disappeared nearly a year later, in April 2004. She was 14.

Michele Knight vanished in 2002, at age 19, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

All three were found alive in a home in a Cleveland neighborhood Monday night, police announced in a development hailed as a miracle by their families.

"Help me, I am Amanda Berry," Berry told police in a frantic 911 call from a neighbor's house. "I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here, I'm free now."

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Filed under: Cleveland • Crime • Ohio
Miracles singer Bobby Rogers dies
Bobby Rogers, far left, poses with other members of the Miracles -- including frontman Smokey Robinson -- in the mid-1960s.
March 3rd, 2013
09:49 PM ET

Miracles singer Bobby Rogers dies

Bobby Rogers, an original member of Motown staple The Miracles, has died, the group's longtime front man Smokey Robinson announced Sunday. He was 73.

Robinson, Rogers and the rest of the Miracles were a cornerstone act for writer-producer Berry Gordy's infant Motown Records, putting songs such as "Shop Around," "Tracks of My Tears" and "The Tears of a Clown" on the R&B and pop charts throughout the 1960s. After Robinson left the group, the Miracles had a No. 1 hit with "Love Machine" in 1976.

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Filed under: Music
Georgia convict's stay of execution upheld
February 21st, 2013
12:47 PM ET

Georgia convict's stay of execution upheld

Two days after a last-hour reprieve, it appears condemned Georgia murderer Warren Lee Hill will be spared execution for at least a few more weeks.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a 30-day stay of execution for Hill (pictured), whose attorneys say he's mentally disabled.

Georgia had asked the justices to lift the stay, which was granted minutes before Hill had been scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. A federal appeals court in Atlanta halted the execution to give lawyers a month for written arguments on whether Hill should be spared under the federal ban on executions of the mentally disabled.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice • Supreme Court
February 13th, 2013
04:35 PM ET

Officer slain during Dorner manhunt laid to rest

A day after a man suspected to be renegade ex-cop Christopher Dorner died in a blazing mountain cabin, police from around the Los Angeles area and beyond gathered to bury an officer who authorities say Dorner killed.

A squad of bagpipers led Michael Crain's flag-draped casket through a cordon of blue uniforms into a church Wednesday in Riverside, the Los Angeles suburb where he served 11 years on the force.

Investigators say Crain was one of four people shot and killed by Dorner, a fired Los Angeles cop who launched a vendetta against his old department last week.

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Filed under: California • Crime
A month of outrage later, Senate to vote on Sandy relief
Debris from Superstorm Sandy is seen on a beach Thursday in Long Branch, New Jersey.
January 28th, 2013
12:22 AM ET

A month of outrage later, Senate to vote on Sandy relief

The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on more than $50 billion in aid to Northeastern states battered by October's Superstorm Sandy, four weeks after a delay that sparked bipartisan fury.

Sandy killed at least 113 people in the United States, flooded much of Lower Manhattan and Long Island and smashed New Jersey's seaside towns when it struck October 29. Officials in New York and New Jersey, the hardest-hit states, say tens of thousands of families are still displaced or lack adequate heat in weather like the Arctic blast that swept through the region last week.

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Filed under: Politics • Superstorm Sandy • U.S. • Weather
Shooting at Lone Star College
January 23rd, 2013
07:29 PM ET

'Stupidity' led to Texas shooting, sheriff says

The exact subject of the argument that led to a shooting a Houston-area community college hadn't been determined Wednesday, but Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said he had a general idea of the cause.

"Idiocy. Stupidity," Garcia told reporters. "We had individuals who did not care about putting other people in harm's way. It was a ridiculous, adolescent confrontation that occurred. But if we can make an example out of anyone, we will."

Pressed for details, Garcia added, "We're still clearing that up. But a confrontation occurred, and somebody thought, in their peanut-sized brain, that maybe a firearm on a campus would be the way to settle it."

Garcia's blunt assessment came a day after three people were wounded at Lone Star College. One of those shot, 22-year-old Carlton Berry, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and remains under guard at a hospital, Garcia said. The other two were still hospitalized as well, he said.

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Filed under: Crime • Gun violence • Texas
'Fireflies' to scope out space rocks for mining
Meteorites sit on a display table Tuesday at the Deep Space Industrie.
January 22nd, 2013
09:51 PM ET

'Fireflies' to scope out space rocks for mining

Space, it has been said, is big. Really big.

But big enough for two companies that want to mine near-Earth asteroids?

A venture announced Tuesday in California hopes so.

Deep Space Industries says it wants to start sending miniature scout probes, dubbed "Fireflies," on one-way missions to near-Earth asteroids as soon as 2015. Larger probes, "Dragonflies," that will bring back 50- to 100-pound samples from prospective targets could be on their way by 2016, company CEO David Gump told reporters.

The goal is to extract metals, water and compounds that can be used to make spacecraft fuel from the chunks of rock that float within about 50 million kilometers (31 million miles) of Earth. Gump said the ability to produce fuel in space would be a boon for NASA, as the U.S. space agency shifts its focus toward exploring deeper into the solar system.

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Filed under: Space
January 9th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Baseball writers elect no one to Hall of Fame

For only the eighth time in their annual elections and the first time since 1996, baseball writers have elected no player to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 2013 ballot marked the first year of eligibility for several players who have been named in the probes of performance-enhancing drug use in the Major Leagues, including all-time home-run champ Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens. Several of the voters said the results were a reflection of the sport's "steroid era."

Seven-time All-Star Craig Biggio came closest to induction, getting votes on 68.2% on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballots. To get inducted into the Hall of Fame, players need votes on 75% of ballots.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
Crews battle harsh weather
January 1st, 2013
07:27 PM ET

No leaks from grounded drill rig off Alaska, Coast Guard says

Coast Guard aircraft have found no sign of a spill from a Royal Dutch Shell oil drilling barge that ran aground off a southern Alaska island during a fierce winter storm, authorities reported Tuesday.

The 266-foot Kulluk "is sound. There is no sign of a breach of the hull. There is no sign of a release of any product," Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The rig a key part in Shell's controversial Arctic oil exploration project - ran aground off Sitkalidak Island, about 200 miles south of Anchorage, on Monday night.

The Kulluk had been working in the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska's North Slope, until October. It was being towed back to its winter home in Seattle when it ran into a severe storm off the Alaskan coast. The Coast Guard evacuated its 18-man crew Saturday night, and it drifted for 10 hours on Sunday after the tug that was towing it lost power.

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Filed under: Alaska
Beckham leaving L.A. Galaxy after six seasons
After a sterling career in Europe, David Beckham jumped to Major League Soccer and played six seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
November 19th, 2012
09:23 PM ET

Beckham leaving L.A. Galaxy after six seasons

Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham will be leaving the team after the MLS Cup game December 1, team officials announced Monday.

The famed British midfielder joined the Galaxy in 2007, raising the profile of Major League Soccer in the United States and helped lead the team to the league title in 2011. Monday's announcement comes ten months after he signed a new two-year contract with the team, turning his back on a number of offers from leading European clubs.

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Filed under: David Beckham • Soccer
February 23rd, 2012
01:40 AM ET

Truth Squad: Fact checking Wednesday's debate

CNN examines statements made by Republican presidential candidates during Wednesday night's CNN/Republican Party of Arizona debate in Mesa, Arizona.

Newt Gingrich criticized the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for characterizing Iran as a "rational actor" in international affairs and defending the possibility of preventing an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites

 The statement: "The fact is this is a dictator, Ahmadinejad, who has said he doesn't believe the Holocaust existed. This is a dictator who said he wants to eliminate Israel from the face of the Earth. This is a dictator who said he wants to drive the United States out of the Middle East. I'm inclined to believe dictators ... If you think a madman is about to have nuclear weapons, and you think that madman is going to use those nuclear weapons, then you have an absolute moral obligation to defend the lives of your people by eliminating the capacity to get nuclear weapons." FULL POST

February 22nd, 2012
12:22 AM ET

Radiation levels higher but safe off Fukushima Daiichi, scientists say

Fish and plankton collected from the Pacific Ocean near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contain elevated levels of radioactive materials, but below levels that pose a threat to public health, researchers reported Tuesday.

Levels of the long-lived nuclear waste cesium-137 were 1,000 times higher in seawater samples taken three months after the accident than they were before the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, said Nicholas Fisher, a marine science professor at New York's Stony Brook University. Zooplankton, which get carried by currents, collected in those waters had levels of cesium-137 and the shorter-lived cesium-134 that were on average 40 times higher than the surrounding water, he said. They also had much higher levels of a radioactive form of silver produced by nuclear reactions.

But the readings amounted to a fraction of the amount of radioactivity sea life is exposed to from naturally occurring potassium in seawater, Fisher said.

"The total radiation in the marine organisms that we collected from Fukushima is still less than the natural radiation background that the animals already had, and quite a bit less," he said. "It's about 20%."

The findings were among several reports on the Fukushima Daiichi accident that were presented at an ocean science conference in Salt Lake City held this week.

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Filed under: Japan • World
Russia says drillers reach long-buried Antarctic lake
A picture taken in January 2009 shows scientists of Russia's Vostok research station with a visiting Prince Albert II of Monaco (third from left).
February 8th, 2012
09:57 PM ET

Russia says drillers reach long-buried Antarctic lake

Russian scientists briefly pierced the two-mile-thick veil over a freshwater lake hidden beneath Antarctica's ice sheet for millions of years, polar researchers announced Wednesday.

Scientists hope samples of Lake Vostok, a body the size of Lake Ontario, will yield signs of previously undiscovered life and new clues about the history of the planet. The lake is believed to have been covered by ice for up to 30 million years.

Russian researchers completed the drilling effort Sunday, reaching the lake at a depth of 3,769 meters (2.3 miles) into the ice, the St. Petersburg-based Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute reported.

When the ice above the lake was breached, lake water was sucked up into the bore and froze, the Russians said. That will allow researchers to take samples back to the surface without contaminating the lake below, they said.

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Filed under: Environment • Nature • Russia • Science
January 20th, 2012
12:59 AM ET

Truth Squad: 4 checks on Thursday's GOP debate

CNN examines statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's CNN Southern Republican Debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rick Santorum on President Obama's budget cuts

The statement: "We have the president of the United States who said he is going to cut veterans benefits, cut our military, at a time when these folks are four, five, six, seven tours, coming back, in and out of jobs, sacrificing everything for this country.  And the president of the United States can't cut one penny out of the social welfare system and he wants to cut a trillion dollars out of our military and hit our veterans, and that's disgusting."

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January 17th, 2012
06:45 AM ET

Truth Squad: 3 checks on Monday's GOP debate

CNN examines three statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's Fox News-Wall Street Journal debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Romney on releasing his tax returns

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he probably would release a tax return in April - though he declined to commit - asserting that recent GOP nominees waited until tax season in election years.

Romney's statement about his tax return came after Texas Gov. Rick Perry pushed him to release his tax information, saying his was already out.

"Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money, and I think that's a fair thing," Perry said.

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June 30th, 2011
02:37 PM ET

Texas faces subdued July Fourth due to drought

The oohs and aahs of the Independence Day holiday will be more subdued this year in Texas, where months of severe drought have led to restrictions on fireworks across much of the state.

Not only are dozens of counties imposing restrictions on small-bore pyrotechnics like firecrackers and bottle rockets, but cities like San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo and Lubbock have canceled municipal Fourth of July displays because of the tinderbox conditions.

"Temperatures are in the triple digits, and we're not seeing any relief," Chris Angerer, the deputy chief of operations for the Lubbock fire department, said Thursday. Wildfires have already reached into the city limits and destroyed three homes, and months without significant rain have left grasslands brown and dry, looking "like the dead of winter."

Canceling the fireworks shows is "causing a little bit of a stir," said fire engineer Deborah Foster, a San Antonio fire spokeswoman. "But it's for the protection of the people of San Antonio. One errant spark and we could have a major grass fire."

Wildfires have scorched nearly 3.3 million acres of Texas since November, setting ablaze an area larger than the state of Connecticut. Authorities have banned outdoor fires in 235 of the state's 254 counties, a figure the Texas Forest Service called record-setting.

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Filed under: Weather
April 29th, 2010
06:11 PM ET

Gulf Coast braces for an oily mess

The Gulf Coast braced for a greasy and unwelcome tide Thursday as the region's largest oil spill in decades threatened the marshlands and beaches at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

"This Saturday is the first date we can go catch live bait," said Glenn Sanchez, who runs a marina in Hopedale, Louisiana. "If this was to happen, this could just devastate the whole of Louisiana."

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Filed under: Louisiana • U.S.
March 12th, 2010
11:44 AM ET

Do unemployment benefits keep Americans from new work?

With the average unemployed worker out of a job for nearly 20 weeks and nearly 40 percent of the unemployed out of a job for more than six months, Congress passed a short-term extension of unemployment benefits and other economic aid last week. The vote came after the $10 billion bill was held up by Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, who complained that the Democratic-led Congress should have found some way to pay for the measure rather than add the cost to the national debt.

Coming to Bunning's defense was Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, a fellow Republican. Extending workers' unemployment checks "is a disincentive for them to seek new work," Kyl said on the Senate floor March 1. "I am sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can't argue it is a job enhancer."

And former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, another Republican, said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that keeping benefits coming "keeps people from going and finding jobs."

"There's some studies that have been done that shows that people stay on unemployment compensation and they don't look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out," said DeLay, who resigned from Congress in 2006 and is awaiting trial on a money-laundering charge in his home state of Texas.  So, are people just kicking back, enjoying a couple of extra weeks of those unemployment checks? The CNN Fact Check desk decided to ask around.

Fact Check: Do unemployment benefits extend joblessness?

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