October 18th, 2012
02:33 PM ET

Timeline: Same-sex marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear two challenges to state and federal laws dealing with the recognition of gay and lesbian couples to legally wed.

Oral arguments will likely be held in March, with a ruling expected by late June.

One appeal to be heard involves the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their own state. The second is a challenge to California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved referendum that took away the right of same-sex marriage that previously had been approved by state courts.

Currently, Maryland, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Minnesota voters also rejected an effort to ban such unions through a constitutional amendment.

Five states Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island currently allow civil unions that provide rights similar to marriage.

Here is a timeline showing the progression of same-sex marriage across the country.

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August 24th, 2012
12:32 PM ET

Fast facts on Lance Armstrong

Famed cyclist Lance Armstrong could lose his seven Tour de France titles after giving up his fight against charges leveled by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

But there's a question of whether the agency has authority in the case and whether international agencies might have to weigh in before Armstrong would face the prospect of losing his titles.

In addition to catching up on his legal battle and the latest on a possible lifetime ban, read more about Armstrong and follow a timeline leading up to this week's events.

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August 24th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

What to know about the Empire State Building

Eleven people were shot outside the Empire State Building on Friday, leaving two dead, including the gunman, New York officials said.

New York police said they shot and killed the gunman.

Authorities converged on the building about 9 a.m. after reports of gunfire.

The Empire State Building is one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world and one of New York's best-known tourist attractions.

Each year, about 4 million people visit the building's two observation decks. At more than 1,453 feet tall, the landmark building reaches more than a quarter-mile into the sky.

"There's always a focus and concentration on the building," said retired police officer Lou Palumbo. "That building gets special attention."

Learn more about the Empire State Building below.

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Fast facts: 2011 Tucson shooting
August 7th, 2012
06:12 PM ET

Fast facts: 2011 Tucson shooting

Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in last year's mass shooting outside an Arizona supermarket in Tucson that killed six persons and wounded then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty. Here are the fast facts about the case:

What happened

  • January 8, 2011: Six people are killed and 13 wounded at a "Congress on Your Corner" event sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, at a  grocery store. Giffords is shot in the head but survives.
  •  January 9, 2011: Suspect Jared Lee Loughner is charged in federal court with five counts: the attempted assassination of a member of Congress; the murders of Gabe Zimmerman and Judge John Roll; and the attempted murders of Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.
  •  August 7, 2012: Loughner pleads guilty to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.

Jared Lee Loughner

  • Born September 10, 1988
  • 2006: Loughner drops out of high school after his junior year, reportedly after being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.
  • 2007:  Loughner is arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but the charges are dismissed.
  • 2007: Loughner meets Giffords at a community event. He develops a fixation on the congresswoman after he is unsatisfied with her answer to his question.
  • 2008: Tries to enlist in the Army but is rejected after failing a drug test.
  • 2010: Loughner is suspended from Pima Community College after displaying erratic behavior. He is told he can't return to campus unless he presents a doctor's note saying he is not a danger to himself or others. He voluntarily withdraws from the school.

A timeline of events:

  • November 30, 2010 - 22-year-old Jared Loughner purchases a 9mm pistol at a Tucson area gun store.
  • January 8, 2011 – About two and a half hours before the shootings, he is stopped by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer for running a red light and is let go with a verbal warning.
  • January 8, 2011 – About 30 minutes before the shootings, Loughner takes a cab from a convenience store to the Safeway grocery store where Giffords' event is being held.
  • January 8, 2011 – (10:10 a.m.) –  Loughner allegedly opens fire on a crowd of people at the Giffords event. Six people are killed and 13 wounded. As Loughner attempts to reload his pistol, he is tackled and disarmed by several bystanders.
  • January 9, 2011 – Loughner is formally charged with five counts in federal court: the attempted assassination of a member of Congress; the murders of Gabe Zimmerman and Judge John Roll; and the attempted murders of Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.
  • January 10, 2011 – Loughner faces his first court appearance to formally hear the charges against him.
  • January 19, 2011 – A federal grand jury in Arizona indicts Loughner.
  • January 24, 2011 – Loughner pleads not guilty to all charges against him.
  • February 11, 2011 – Prosecutors file a procedural motion to dismiss two murder charges against Loughner, though they intend to refile the charges under a superseding indictment.
  • March 4, 2012 – Federal prosecutors file an additional 49 federal charges against Loughner.
  • March 9, 2011 – U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns enters "not guilty" pleas on behalf of  Loughner on 49 counts, including murder and attempted murder.
  • March 22, 2011 –  Burns orders Loughner to undergo a mental evaluation in Springfield, Missouri, no later than April 29.
  • May 25, 2011 –  Burns rules that Loughner is not competent to stand trial.
  • May 27, 2011 – Loughner arrives at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.
  • June 29, 2011 – Burns sides with prison doctors and rejects a motion from defense attorneys to stop Loughner's forced medication.
  • July 7, 2011 – Before a federal appeals panel, the defense argues that forcing Loughner to take mind-altering psychotropic drugs violates his rights.
  • July 12, 2011 – The federal court rules Loughner has not been convicted of a crime, therefore he has the right to refuse to take anti-psychotic medication.
  • July 22, 2011 – A federal appeals panel reverses the July 12 decision and orders that authorities can force Loughner to take anti-psychotic medication. Prosecutors had argued that his mental state is deteriorating and he is suicidal.
  • August 31, 2011 – An appeals court in San Francisco hears arguments from Loughner's lawyers to try to end the forcible medication. They argue that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to refuse mental treatment when the government's primary goal is to make suspects competent enough to be convicted and possibly sentenced to death.
  • September 28, 2011 – Judge Burns extends Loughner's treatment at a Missouri medical treatment facility for four more months, at which time Loughner's competency will be re-evaluated.
  •  January 8, 2012 –  Giffords attends a vigil in Tucson marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting. She leads the crowd of thousands in the Pledge of Allegiance and later lights a memorial candle for the six people killed.
  • January 25, 2012 – In front of the U.S. House of Representatives, Giffords resigns from office via statement read by U.S. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
  • August 7, 2012  – Burns determines that Loughner is competent to stand trial in a federal court in Tucson. Loughner pleads guilty to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.
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A look back at Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal said he was a once-famous novelist who was relegated to going on TV because people "seldom read anymore."
August 1st, 2012
02:13 AM ET

A look back at Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal, an eclectic author who chronicled major cultural shifts in the United States in books, essays and plays, has died at his Los Angeles home. He was 86. Here's a quick look back on his life:

* Birth date: October 3, 1925

* Birth place: West Point, New York

* Birth name: Eugene Luther Vidal, Jr.

* Parents: Eugene,aviator and educator, and Nina (Gore) Vidal

* Education: Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, 1943

* Military service: U.S. Army, July 1943 – February 1946, Warrant Officer

Other Facts:

* Grandfather T. P. Gore helped write the state constitution of Oklahoma and was one of the first senators elected to represent the state.

* Began writing under the name Gore Vidal in high school, taking Gore after his maternal grandfather.

* At different times, both Vidal and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were the stepchildren of Hugh Auchincloss. He was married to Nina Gore Vidal first, then to Janet Bouvier, Jackie O's mother.

* Ran for Congress twice and lost.

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Top five Friday the 13th incidents
July 13th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Top five Friday the 13th incidents

Whether you're just a little more cautious today because of various Friday the 13th superstitions, historically, the day hasn't always turned out to be, well, normal.

Here's our wrapup of the top five worst Friday the 13ths.

In 1939, the Black Friday brush fires began in Australia. The fires ended January 20. They left 71 people dead, 1,000 people injured and 3,000 homeless.

In October 1972, the Andes flight disaster left 16 survivors after two months.

In January 1989, the Friday the 13th virus struck hundreds of IBM computers in Britain.

In 1996, Tupac Shakur died September 13 of gunshot wounds sustained a week earlier.

And in January, the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on the island of Giglio, Italy, killing at least 30.

Today, as part of our coverage, CNN Radio's new Soundwaves blog is also featuring a podcast about tempting fate on this date, as well as a little history of how the superstition came to be. It also questions the kind of experiences people have had on this rare day.

The Belief Blog also has a breakdown, written by Connecticut College professor Stuart Vyse, exploring why exactly we fear Friday the 13th and how superstitions manifest themselves.

It's also National French Fry Day, so do with that what you will.

Let us know how your Friday the 13th goes, and what superstitions you have in the comments below.

Some things you may not have known about Ernest Borgnine
Academy-award-winner Ernest Borgnine died Sunday. He was 95.
July 8th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Some things you may not have known about Ernest Borgnine

Film and television actor Ernest Borgnine, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lovelorn butcher in 1955's "Marty," has died at 95, his manager said Sunday. Here are some selected tidbits from CNN's library about the life and times of the actor:

His personal life

– He was born Ermes Effron Borgnine on January 24, 1917, in Hamden, Connecticut.

– He had a quite a few divorces before his fifth and final marriage: Tova Traesnaes (February 24, 1973, to present). Donna Rancourt (June 30, 1965, to July 17, 1972). Ethel Merman (June 27, 1964, to May 25, 1965). Katy Jurado (December 31, 1959, to June 3, 1964). Rhoda Kemins (September 2, 1949, to August 29, 1958).

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July 7th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Ringo Starr on peace, love and turning 72

Dancing and playing drums on stage for 55 years has been kind to musician Ringo Starr. On Saturday he turned 72, and as Starr has advocated for the past five years, he encourages everyone to pursue "peace and love" on "the seventh of the seventh" this July.

It's a lifestyle he advocates in the first track on his new album, "Ringo 2012," called "Anthem," which Starr identifies as an anthem for peace and love.

One of two living members of the Beatles and winner of nine Grammy Awards, Starr is on the road touring with the All Starr band. The band, formed in 1989, features a rotation of celebrity musicians. The current grouping is the 13th version of the band.

"Everybody has to have a hit to be in the band," he told CNN. "We have a very cool lineup, and it's a diverse lineup. But when you put it all together, it works, and I don’t know that when it starts."

The All Starr Band includes Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie from Santana, Steve Lukather from Toto, Richard Page from Mr. Mister with saxophonist Mark Rivera and drummer Gregg Bissonette.

With friends such as these, the show's set lists are rolling out hits like "Rosanna," "Broken Wings," "Hello It's Me," and "Black Magic Woman," in addition to Starr's hits on his own and with The Beatles. The tour also includes promoting his 17th solo studio recording, "Ringo 2012."

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July 6th, 2012
09:00 PM ET

What's going on at Wimbledon this weekend

History was made on Saturday when American Serena Williams defeated Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, to win the 2012 Wimbledon's women's singles final. This is Williams' seventh finals appearance for the Grand Slam tournament, and her fifth Wimbledon win.

Williams and her sister, Venus, also defeated the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the women's doubles final. The sisters have five singles titles each, and now, five doubles titles.

In the men's doubles final, Briton Jonathan Marray and Denmark's Frederik Nielsen beat Sweden's Robert Lindstedt and Romania's Horia Tecau. Marray's victory gave Britain its first men's doubles champion since 1936 and according to the Wimbledon blog, Nielsen is the first Danish player to win a Grand Slam title, ever.

"Oh my God I can't even describe..." Williams said after her singles win, according to the Wimbledon live blog. "I thank Jehovah for letting me get this far. I almost didn't make it , two years ago I was in hospital... It's so worth is and I'm so happy. I never dreamt of being here again. You just never give up."

Williams was in the hospital recovering from a pulmonary embolism 18 months ago.

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Serena Williams wins 2012 Wimbledon

Serena Williams wins her 5th Wimbledon singles title, beating Agnieszka Radwanska CNN's Amanda Davies reports.

When asked if age 30 is the new 20, Williams replied, ""Oh my God, of course. Hello? I've been saying it all week: mentally I'm kind of 12, 13. I've always wanted everything Venus has had so... I had to copy you again, sorry!"

Radwanska was noticeably disappointed about losing out on her chance to snag her first Grand Slam tournament win.

"I'm still shaking so much, so I think I have the best two weeks of my life you know?" Radwanska said. "Of course she played too good today. I already have great memories from 2005 when I won junior Wimbledon. I think it was not my day today but I will just try next year and we'll see. Thank you very much for the support. Thank you so much."

The men's doubles match proved to be historic. Nielsen is the first Danish man to make the Wimbledon finals since 1955, when his grandfather played in the singles final. Marray was the first British man to play in the men's doubles final since 1960.

"We can't believe it. It's tough to sink in. I don't know what to say," Marray said afterwards.

On Sunday, Andy Murray will go head to head with Roger Federer in the men's singles final.

The last time a Briton reached the Wimbledon men's singles final, the photos taken of the event were in black and white.

On Friday, Andy Murray became the first one in 74 years. Now, he’s up against six-time champion Roger Federer for the final on Sunday. No matter who wins, history will be made. If Murray wins, during this year of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, you can bet the pubs will be full on Sunday night. If Federer wins, he will join American Pete Sampras and Briton William Renshaw atop the list of all-time men's singles champions.

The Wimbledon finals bring all of the drama to resounding conclusion, in crushing defeat or resounding victory, for two women and two men.

Perhaps you dine on strawberries and cream every summer in your best white outfit in honor of the international event. Or you’re just tuning in to see if Murray makes it in one of those gripping human-interest sports stories viewers like to seize on.

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July 4th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Celebrating Independence Day in every way

Summer fare will sizzle on the grill and fireworks will light the night sky as America celebrates its 236th Independence Day on Wednesday.

And in Coney Island, someone will attempt to wolf down the most hot dogs, with buns, in 10 minutes for prize money and the Mustard Belt in the yearly Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

This year, hot dog-eating records smashed

CNN is featuring a wealth of star-spangled content today, so be sure to check out our coverage:

Our series on American Exceptionalism kicked off over the weekend with rich, provocative stories that speak to myriad interests:

The power of American Exceptionalism

2012 winner must unite America on ideals

Photos: Faces of citizenship

America may not be perfect, but we love it anyway

Nationality, identity and the Pledge of Allegiance

Travel: Where to find exceptional America

Dual nationals: When one passport isn't enough

iReport: Naturalized citizens explain why they're American by choice

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July 3rd, 2012
01:36 PM ET

Andy Griffith: A life remembered

Actor Andy Griffith, the friendly face who played across people's living rooms as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" and Ben Matlock on "Matlock," has died at the age of 86, Sheriff J.D. "Doug" Doughtie of Dare County, North Carolina, said Tuesday.

Did he bring a smile to your face or warmth to your heart? Did you get to meet him? Share your images of you meeting Griffith or send us a fan video with your ode to the actor on CNN iReport. The best stories could be part of CNN's coverage.

Here's a look at Griffith's timeline and body of work:

Personal:

■ Name: Andrew Samuel Griffith

■ Birth date: June 1, 1926

■ Birth place: Mount Airy, North Carolina

■ Parents: Carl Lee, a carpenter, and Geneva (Nunn) Griffith

■ Marriages: Cindi (Knight) Griffith (1983 – present)

Solica Cassuto (1973 – 1981, divorced)

Barbara Edwards (1949 – 1972, divorced)

■ Children: Adopted with Edwards: Andrew Samuel Jr. (1957 – 1996)

Dixie Nan (1960)

■ Education: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, B.A., 1949

■ 1960 – 1968: Star of "The Andy Griffith Show" as Sheriff Andy Taylor

■ 1986 – 1995: Plays seersucker suit-wearing lawyer Ben Matlock in "Matlock"

■ Emmy, Grammy and People's Choice Award winner

Other Facts:

■ The town Mayberry in "The Andy Griffith Show" is based on Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith's hometown.

■ In 1983, Griffith is stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome and is partially paralyzed, but mostly recovers after rehabilitation.

■ In 2000, he suffers a heart attack and undergoes quadruple bypass surgery.

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What to know about Eric Holder
June 27th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

What to know about Eric Holder

The U.S. House will proceed with a vote Thursday on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Holder has been cited for withholding documents in the "Operation Fast and Furious" weapons operation.

Fast and Furious was a federal operation that involved agents' allowing illegal sales of guns believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to track the sellers and purchasers, but things went awry when weapons found at murder scenes were traced back to the program.

Fast and Furious: By the numbers

As the proceedings continue with Holder, here's a bit of background on his time as Attorney General, as well as a timeline of the events involving Fast and Furious. (For an in-depth breakdown, you can also read more about the Fast and Furious investigation, which started with an agent's death.):

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June 22nd, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Timeline of allegations in Sandusky case

Jerry Sandusky, 68, a former coach with the Penn State football program, was convicted June 22 on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys. One of his attorneys has announced plans to appeal. The timeline below is taken from a grand jury report (PDF).

1994-1997 – Sandusky allegedly engages in inappropriate conduct with three boys he met separately through the Second Mile program, a charity for at-risk kids that he founded. One boy was 7 or 8, another was 10, and the third was 12 or 13 at the time.

1998 Penn State police and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare investigate an incident in which the mother of an 11-year-old boy reports Sandusky had showered with her son.

June 1, 1998 Sandusky is interviewed and admits showering naked with the boy, saying it was wrong and promising not to do it again. The district attorney advises investigators that no charges will be filed, and the university police chief instructs that the case be closed.

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June 17th, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Timeline: Rodney King from 1991 – 2012

Rodney King was thrust into the public spotlight when a camera captured him being brutally beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991. Four officers involved were acquitted, sparking infamous riots that shut down the city of Los Angeles and created a national controversy.

King was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday. Here is a look back on his life and legacy.

What happened

March 3, 1991 – Rodney King is beaten by LAPD officers after a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County. George Holliday videotapes the beating from his apartment balcony.

March 4, 1991 – Holliday delivers the tape to local television station, KTLA.

March 7, 1991 – Rodney King is released without being charged.

March 15, 1991 – Police Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno are indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection with the beating.

May 10, 1991 – A grand jury refuses to indict 17 officers who stood by at the King beating and did nothing.

November 26, 1991 – Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg orders the trial of the four officers charged in the King beating to be moved to Simi Valley.

April 29 1992 – The four white LAPD officers are acquitted of beating King. Riots start at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles. Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, is pulled from his truck and beaten. A news helicopter captures the beating on videotape. California Gov. Pete Wilson declares a state of emergency and calls in National Guard troops.

April 30- May 4, 1992 – Dusk to dawn curfews are enforced in the City and County of Los Angeles.

May 1, 1992 – Rodney King makes an emotional plea for calm, stating, "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?"

August 4, 1992 – A federal grand jury returns indictments against Koon, Powell, Wind, and Briseno on the charge of violating the civil rights of Rodney King.

February 25, 1993 – The trial of the officers begins.

April 16, 1993 – The federal jury convicts Koon and Powell on one charge of violating King's civil rights. Wind and Briseno are found not guilty. No disturbances follow the verdict.

August 4, 1993 – U.S. District Judge John Davies sentences both Koon and Officer Laurence M. Powell to 30 months in prison for violating King's civil rights. Powell is found guilty of violating King's constitutional right to be free from an arrest made with "unreasonable force." Ranking officer Koon is convicted of permitting the civil rights violation to occur.

April 19, 1994 – The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles awards King $3.8 million in compensatory damages in a civil lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. King had demanded $56 million, or $1 million for every blow struck by the officers.

June 1, 1994 – Rodney King is awarded $0 in punitive damages in a civil trial against the police officers. He had asked for $15 million.

April 2012 – Rodney King's autobiography, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along," is published.

June 17, 2012 – Rodney King is found dead in his pool in Los Angeles. There are no preliminary signs of foul play, police say, and no obvious injuries on King's body. Police say they are conducting a drowning investigation.

By the numbers

– Fifty-five people died in the Los Angeles riots. 2,000 were injured.

– More than 1,00 buildings were destroyed or damaged causing an estimated loss  of $1 billion.

Photos: Rodney King and the LA Riots

– More than 3,000 disaster loan applications were filed.

– Government assistance awarded totaled $900 million.

– The Holliday video shows King being struck by police batons more than 50 times. More than 20 officers were present at the scene, most from the LAPD.

– Rodney King suffered 11 fractures and other injuries due to the beating.

– More than 9,800 National Guard troops were dispatched to restore order.

– The highest troop presence was on the night of May 3. There were 1,100 Marines, 600 Army soldiers, and 6,500 National Guard troops on patrol.

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Facts on immigration in the United States
A section of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border at Imperial Beach, California.
June 15th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Facts on immigration in the United States

The Obama administration said Friday that it will stop deporting illegal immigrants younger than 30 if they were brought to the United States as children and meet certain other requirements. (See Department of Homeland Security's explanation of the new policy)

Below are a few facts about immigration in the United States:

– The number of illegal immigrants in the United States was estimated at 11.5 million in 2011, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

– The illegal immigrant population grew by 27% between 2000 and 2009, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

– Sixty-three percent of the illegal immigrant population (approximately 6.8 million) entered the United States before 2000. (DHS)

– Fifty-eight percent of the illegal immigrant population is from Mexico. (Pew)

– Twenty-four percent of illegal immigrants reside in California; 16% reside in Texas. (DHS)

And here are recent developments relating to immigration in the United States:

– 2008: The Department of Homeland Security apprehended 792,000 foreign nationals. Eighty-eight percent of those arrested were natives of Mexico. Immigration and Customs Enforcement apprehended 379,000 people. (DHS)

– 2008: The Department of Homeland Security removed 359,000 illegal immigrants from the United States. Of those, 69% were repatriated to Mexico; 8% were repatriated to Honduras; 7.7% were repatriated to Guatemala. (DHS)

– 2008: More than 810,000 illegal immigrants accepted offers to return to their home countries without being forcibly removed. (DHS)

– 2008: The Department of Homeland Security removed 97,100 criminals who were also illegal immigrants. Of those, 36% had been convicted of drug-related crimes. (DHS)

– 2009: The number of children born to at least one unauthorized-immigrant parent was 350,000. These made up 8% of all U.S. births. (Pew)

– 2010: The total number of unauthorized immigrants in the nation's labor force in United States is 8 million. They made up 5.2% of the labor force in 2010. (Pew)

– 2010: About 1.04 million people received legal permanent resident status. Of those, 139,120 were born in Mexico, 70,863 were born in China, and 58,173 were born in the Philippines (DHS).

– 2011: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants from the United States, the largest number in the agency's history. Of those, 216,698 (nearly 55%) had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. (ICE)

– April 23, 2012: The Pew Hispanic Center announced that net migration from Mexico to the United States had stopped and possibly even reversed. The center noted that from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States, and about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the United States to Mexico.

Related stories:

Immigration shift sparks reaction from both sides

Photos: Putting a face on the immigration debate

Time: Family photos of an undocumented immigrant

CNN Money: On the rise - immigrant entrepreneurs

CNN Money: I'm a successful entrepreneur but might get deported

WSB: Teen to file paperwork fighting deportation

Immigration lessons for the U.S. from around the world

Does this affect you? Share with us on iReport

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June 13th, 2012
11:07 AM ET

Who is JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon?

The CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co., James Dimon, is testifying before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Wednesday after a $2 billion trading loss in early May.

He told Congress that the massive loss can be blamed on traders misunderstanding the bets they placed and insufficient risk controls, according to CNN Money.

Dimon, who is also chairman of the nation's largest bank, was invited to speak before the committee in May. The hearings are investigating the loss from a regulatory angle. JP Morgan made its multibillion-dollar blunder due to "negative carry trades," according to CNN Money. FULL POST

June 11th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

As northern Colorado blaze grows, a look at the dangers of wildfires

A sprawling wildfire in northern Colorado nearly doubled in size again Monday, spewing plumes of smoke and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

The fire grew to 36,930 acres, authorities said Monday. It had been estimated at 20,000 acres Sunday night.

The Red Cross, Humane Society and other aid groups mobilized to help evacuees while at least 400 firefighters, aided by air tankers and helicopters from as far away as Canada battled the fire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colorado.

As wildfire season flares up, here's a look at how some of these dangerous events start and how much damage they've caused in the past:

About Wildfires:

    • Wildfires are sometimes called "wildland fires."

 

    • Wildfires can originate from a dropped match, cigarette embers, campfires, exhaust sparks from a train, or arson.

 

    • Many wildland fires are ignited by lightning.

 

    • There are no official rules, but the first responders usually name a fire after a meadow, creek, city, or type of plant they see.

 

    • Wind, temperature, and humidity all influence wildfires. Strong winds push flames toward new fuel sources. Wind can pick up and transfer burning embers and sparks, starting "spot fires."

 

    • During the day, sunlight heats the ground and warm air rises, allowing hot air currents to travel up sloped landscapes. At night, the ground cools and air currents travel down the slopes.

 

    • Humidity dampens fuel, slowing the spread of flames. Humidity is greater at night, so fires usually burn less intensely then.

 

    • Large fires can create their own winds and weather, increasing their flow of oxygen.

 

    • A really large fire can generate hurricane-force winds, up to 120 mph. The high temperatures preheat fuels in the fire's path, preparing them to burn more readily.

 

A look at the number of past fires, damage caused

Year                                       Number of fires                  Acres burned          

2000                                       92,250                                        7,393,493

2001                                       84,079                                        3,570,911

2002                                       73,457                                        7,184,712

2003                                       63,629                                        3,960,842

2004                                       65,461                                        8,097,880*

2005                                       66,753                                        8,689,389

2006                                       96,385                                        9,873,745

2007                                      85,705                                        9,328,045

2008                                      78,979                                        5,292,468

2009                                      78,792                                        5,921,786

2010                                      71,971                                        3,422,724

* 2004 fires and acres do not include state lands for North Carolina

Source: The National Interagency Fire Center

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Filed under: Colorado • Fire
June 11th, 2012
10:53 AM ET

Jerry Sandusky trial: All you need to know about allegations, how case unfolded

The trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with child rape, is now under way.

Sandusky, 68, has been under house arrest since being charged with sexually abusing 10 boys for at least 15 years. Prosecutors allege that he met some of his accusers through Second Mile, a charity he created for underprivileged children. In interviews after his arrest, Sandusky acknowledged showering and "horsing around" with boys but denied being sexually attracted to them. Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts related to child sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A jury of five men and seven women, along with four alternates, was selected last week. Half of the 16 jurors and alternates have ties to Penn State, including one retired professor and one current professor, three graduates, two employees and one current student, showing the prominence of the university in the local community.

Many Sandusky jurors have Penn State ties 

Here's a look at some the key players, pertinent facts about the case and how it all unraveled:

Who is Jerry Sandusky?

Birth date:  January 26, 1944

Birth place: Washington, Pennsylvania

Birth name:    Gerald Arthur Sandusky

Marriage: Dorothy "Dottie" (Gross) Sandusky (1966 – present)

Children:  (all adopted) E.J. (male), Kara, Jon, Jeff, Ray, Matt, Sandusky also fostered several children.

HLN: A closer look at Jerry Sandusky's family

Occupation:   Retired assistant football coach at Penn State for 32 years, including 23 years as defensive coordinator.

The Second Mile

Founded in 1977 in State College, Pennsylvania, by Jerry Sandusky.

Initially began as a group foster home for troubled boys but grew into a non-profit organization that "helps young people to achieve their potential as individuals and community members." Annually provides services to more than 100,000 children from all counties in Pennsylvania.

A grand jury report says Sandusky molested young boys after developing close relationships with them through The Second Mile. David Woodle, acting CEO of the organization, said the group was "sorrowful and horrified" and is concerned most about the alleged victims and their families.

Major players

Tim Curley – Former Penn State athletic director; charged with one count of felony perjury and one count of failure to report abuse allegations.

Mike McQueary – Penn State receivers coach who allegedly witnessed the rape of a young boy by Jerry Sandusky in a Penn State locker room in 2002; placed on administrative leave.

Jerry Sandusky - Founder of The Second Mile and retired Penn State assistant football coach; accused of sexually abusing young boys he met through the non-profit organization over a period of at least 15 years.

Gary Schultz – Former vice president for finance and business at Penn State; charged with one count of felony perjury and one count of failure to report abuse allegations.

Graham Spanier – Former president of Penn State.

The documents

Read the criminal complaint against Sandusky (PDF)

Read the grand jury findings in the case (PDF) [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT]

Read the  second grand jury presentment against Sandusky (PDF)

Read the civil complaint lawsuit filed against Sandusky (PDF)

Read the transcript of hearing in case against Curley, Schultz (PDF) [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT]

Timeline of specific stories of abuse, accusations

1994 – 1997 – Sandusky allegedly engages in inappropriate conduct with three different boys he met separately through The Second Mile program. One boy was 7 or 8, another was 10, and the third was 12 or 13 at the time.

1998 – Penn State police and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare investigate an incident in which the mother of an 11-year-old boy reports that Sandusky had showered with her son.

June 1, 1998  – Sandusky is interviewed and admits showering naked with the boy, saying it was wrong and promising not to do it again. The district attorney advises investigators that no charges will be filed and the university police chief instructs that the case be closed.

2000 – Sandusky allegedly showers with a young boy and tries to touch his genitals during overnight stays at the coach's home, according to the now 24-year-old man's testimony.

2000 – James Calhoun, a janitor at Penn State, tells his supervisor and another janitor that he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in the Lasch Building showers. No one reports the incident to university officials or law enforcement.

March 2, 2002 – Graduate assistant Mike McQueary tells Coach Joe Paterno that on March 1, 2002, he witnessed the rape of a 10-year-old boy by Jerry Sandusky in the LaschBuilding showers at Penn State.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • Justice
June 7th, 2012
02:26 PM ET

High stakes, long race at Triple Crown's Belmont

This Saturday, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I'll Have Another is looking to win horse racing's first Triple Crown victory in 34 years at the Belmont Stakes. And for the first time in three races, oddsmakers say the horse is actually favored to win at odds of 4-5, according to the New York Racing Association.

I'll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez have come from behind to earn close, dramatic finishes in the previous two races in this year's Triple Crown, surprising nearly everyone, according to the Daily Racing Form.

The horse was "lightly raced" and only competed in two prep races leading up to the Derby. He competed in the shadow of  Bodemeister, who was predicted to win the Kentucky Derby.

Bodemeister also set a "sizzling pace" at Preakness that I'll Have Another surprisingly beat by digging in and surging ahead. But with Bodemeister not running in the Belmont, the Form says I'll Have Another is the best horse that will enter a starting gate on Saturday.

In fact, I'll Have Another's only disappointing appearance was at Saratoga for the Hopeful Stakes in September 2011. The track became a "quagmire" due to heavy rains and the horse suffered because of it, DRF reported.

While I'll Have Another isn't expected to beat 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat's world record time for a 1.5 mile race on dirt, a Belmont win could cement legend status for the horse.

"That's the measuring stick for a champion," Daily Racing Forum's Dan Illman said. FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • horses • New York • Race • Sports • U.S.
June 6th, 2012
09:03 AM ET

D-Day: Take a moment to remember

It was 68 years ago today that D-Day, one of the most decisive battles, marked the beginning of the end for World War II. On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops swept up the fortified beaches of Normandy, France, helping to defeat the Nazi regime in Europe.

But it was not without great loss. Nearly 10,000 troops were killed or wounded. It is the largest seaborne invasion in history.

The invasion's code name was Operation Overlord, commanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wanted the troops to land in Normandy because it was west of where the German troops and artillery were gathered.

The invasion was initially planned for June 5, 1944, but rough seas forced a postponement. Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword were used as code names for the landing beaches.

D-Day itself is code, as well: D-Day and H-Hour stand for the secret time/day an operation is scheduled to begin. FULL POST

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Filed under: France • History • Military • U.S. • Veterans
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