April 21st, 2010
01:09 PM ET

Security Brief: The difficulties of training Afghan police

A U.S. Army adviser trains Afghan national policemen in Kandahar.

Yar Mohammed is a police chief in Kandahar and his "in-tray" is overflowing. Besides commanding fledgling recruits to the force - and trying to convince more to join, he is a prime target, as is anyone in a position of authority - for the Taliban. And he has to deal with the perennial curse of corruption within his own force.

He tells visiting U.S. soldiers that when he sends new recruits to submit their paperwork, they often have to pay a fee - in cash. There should not be any fee, but this is Afghanistan.

Tales of corruption abound - Afghans going through the Western training courses tell their trainers how they never get their full salary because their senior officers take a cut first.

The latest program to improve the professionalism of Afghan police is an eight-week course overseen by international trainers. It's basic - after all, while many express a desire to protect their people, some recruits are illiterate.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • World
April 21st, 2010
01:02 PM ET

Camera captures rhino that is near extinction

A Sumatran rhino, which is near extinction, was photographed in Borneo.

A remote camera in the Malaysian section of Borneo has photographed a Sumatran rhino, a species near extinction, the World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia announced on Wednesday.

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April 21st, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Sports Update: NBA, UEFA, NHL head towards finish line

There’s no shortage of sports on Wednesday’s docket, with the NBA and NHL playoffs heating up, Major League Baseball in full swing and the UEFA Champions League careening toward the finish line (all times Eastern).

‚Äď Bayern Munich vs. Olympique Lyonnais (2:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel): Yesterday, Inter Milan staked a commanding 3-1 lead in the opening leg of their Champions League semifinal tie against Barcelona. Today, Germany‚Äôs Bayern and France‚Äôs Lyon try to do the same in the other first leg. The return legs are played next week, with the one-off final slated for May 22 in Madrid.

‚Äď Sabres vs. Bruins (7 p.m., Versus): Underdog Boston holds a two-games-to-one lead over Buffalo despite conceding the first goal in all three games. Can the Bruins take a stranglehold of the first-round series Wednesday, or will Buffalo rally to even the series?

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April 21st, 2010
12:45 PM ET

Velshi: Rigs are some of the safest places

CNN's Ali Velshi was on a rig once when it was evacuated.

As someone who has been around the oil industry, been on a rig and even been evacuated from one during an emergency, I know about the safety issues on rigs and how they are handled.

An explosion on a rig is a rare occurrence because fires don't generally start on rigs and are easily and quickly contained when they do.  But this time there was one - and at least 11 people are missing and seven are critically injured after an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

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April 21st, 2010
12:42 PM ET

Balloon hoax dad must pay restitution

The man who pulled a hoax by saying his 6-year-old son was drifting over Colorado in a balloon must pay $37,000 in restitution, a judged ordered.

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Filed under: Justice • U.S.
April 21st, 2010
12:17 PM ET

Police want help identifying possible serial killer victims

Alcala was a contestant on a 1978 episode of "The Dating Game."

Police investigating former "Dating Game" contestant Rodney Alcala are hoping to figure out whether photographs found in a storage unit of his are possibly additional victims.

Alcala, 66, was convicted in February of kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old girl and

raping and murdering four Los Angeles County women in the 1970s and later sentenced to die for the crimes.

Police discovered dozens of photographs of women and children in a storage unit he kept in Seattle, Washington. The locker also contained earrings belonging to one of his victims, according to the Orange Countydistrict attorney's office.

Now police are asking for the public's help in determining whether any of the people in the photographs are other victims of Alcala's.

See photos of the women and children (PDF)

Anyone with information about any of the photos should call the tips hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

April 21st, 2010
11:33 AM ET

U.S. military: Senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader killed

Iraqi security forces killed a suspected senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq during an operation in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

On Monday Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said two of the most wanted terrorist figures in Iraq had been killed in a joint Iraqi-U.S. operation.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq – an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq – were killed in a security operation in al-Tharthar, north of Baghdad, al-Maliki said.

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April 21st, 2010
10:47 AM ET

UK's Cameron hit by egg on campaign trail

British Conservative party leader David Cameron was hit by an egg thrown by a young man on the campaign trail Wednesday.

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April 21st, 2010
09:41 AM ET

Pope speaks out on sex abuse scandal

Pope Benedict XVI was "deeply affected" by a meeting with victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, he said Wednesday, in his first public comments on the scandal in more than a month.

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April 21st, 2010
09:31 AM ET

On the Radar: Immigration, Supreme Court, Facebook

 

A new bill passed in Arizona is stirring up an immigration debate across the country.

Arizona immigration policy - Now that Arizona lawmakers have passed what's considered among the toughest immigration legislation in the country, other states are watching to see whether they should follow in its footsteps or stand back. Arizona's bill orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.

CNN.com's columnists also will tackle the issue. An opinion piece from Julian Zelizer says it's a national travesty that both parties have failed to take on immigration reform, leaving the door open for more states to pass restrictive, Draconian immigration laws similar to the Arizona legislation. And there are pro and con pieces on the issue: one from Arizona state Rep. Russ Jones, who voted for the legislation, and another from Stephen Lemons, a Phoenix New Times blogger who says, "Arizona is a tinder box, and SB 1070 is a keg of gasoline."

Supreme Court replacement - President Obama is expected to meet with Republican and Democratic leaders at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday to discuss a successor for retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Reporters will follow the latest developments and bring you any comments from lawmakers afterward, and CNN will bring you a news conference live following the meeting.

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April 21st, 2010
08:27 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

9:30 am ET - Wall Street reform markup hearing - The Senate Agricultural Committee marks up the bill on Wall Street reform.

10:00 am ET - Pentagon briefing on Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi military leaders brief reporters on the current situation in Iraq.

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Filed under: On CNN.com today
April 21st, 2010
08:12 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Helen Ruhl

The 4th Infantry Division soldier on Wednesday will receive the Bronze Star Medal with Valor at Fort Carson, Colorado.

A press representative at Fort Carson told CNN that Cpl. Ruhl, a combat medic from Vero Beach, Florida, served in eastern Afghanistan. On the evening of September 24, 2009, her convoy was attacked.

"Wounded, and disregarding her own safety, Ruhl applied tourniquets to an injured comrade, examined her team, and supervised the application of life-saving medical treatment while laying down suppressive fire."

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April 21st, 2010
07:55 AM ET

Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch dead

Longtime International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch died of cardiac arrest Wednesday at the age of 89, the hospital in Barcelona said.

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April 21st, 2010
07:47 AM ET

Workers missing after oil rig explosion in Gulf of Mexico

[Updated at 7:47 a.m.] The company that owns the rig that exploded, Transocean Ltd., said most crew members are safe.

"A substantial majority of the 126 member crew is safe but some crew members remain unaccounted for at this time," the company said in a statement.

The company describes itself as the "world's largest offshore drilling contractor and the leading provider of drilling management services worldwide" and says it has 140 offshore drilling units.

[Posted at 7:04 a.m.] At least 11 people were missing and seven were critically injured after an explosion on an offshore oil rig 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

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Filed under: Louisiana • U.S.
April 21st, 2010
07:46 AM ET

Report: Piracy incidents down but outlaws' reach spreads

Piracy incidents are dropping worldwide, but the hijackers are expanding their area of operation, the International Maritime Bureau said in a report issued on Wednesday.

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April 21st, 2010
05:43 AM ET

Congressional group to support Day of Prayer

Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus will hold a news conference in Washington D.C. Wednesday to respond to a recent federal judge ruling that struck down the National Day of Prayer.

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April 21st, 2010
05:35 AM ET

World update: Airports across Europe reopening

Passengers started arriving at London's Heathrow Airport on Tuesday evening.

An update from London on international stories we expect to develop through the day on Wednesday:

Flights resuming - Airports across Europe are reopening, six days after ash from an Icelandic volcano forced the shutdown of airspace and stranded thousands of passengers around the world. Airspace over the UK, Norway, Belgium, and Ireland is open again, and German and Danish airspace is expected to reopen fully later in the day. Read latest travel updates

Poland elections - Poland will hold elections on June 20 to elect a successor to Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash earlier this month.  Elections were originally scheduled for the fall.

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April 21st, 2010
02:50 AM ET

Civil rights leader to be buried Wednesday in Memphis

With the Tennessee House canceling its activities so lawmakers can attend the funeral, civil rights icon Benjamin L. Hooks will be buried Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee,  his hometown.

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April 21st, 2010
01:40 AM ET

Obama to hold meeting on Supreme Court pick

President Obama is expected to meet with key Republican and Democratic leaders Wednesday to discuss a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Supreme Court • U.S. • Uncategorized
April 21st, 2010
12:50 AM ET

Haiti quake victims to receive knock-off goods

Seven truckloads of confiscated counterfeit designer duds and shoes - Ed Hardy, Nike and Diesel among the imitation brands - are headed to earthquake victims in Haiti.

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