May 13th, 2010
11:33 PM ET

Suspicious vehicle causes brief scare in NYC

A suspicious vehicle with two gas canisters caused a brief scare in New York City late Thursday, police said.


May 13th, 2010
10:43 PM ET

Stocks slump as investors step back

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks slump as investors step back after three days of growth

Stocks slumped Thursday, with the Dow losing 114 points as investors stepped back after propelling markets 5 percent higher earlier this week.

The dollar strengthened versus the euro, dragging down dollar-traded oil,
gold prices and stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 114 points, or 1%. The S&P 500 index lost 14 points, or 1.2% and the Nasdaq composite lost 30 points, or 1.3%.

Stocks rallied Monday and Wednesday as investors moved away from worries about Europe's debt crisis spreading and instead opted to scoop up issues hit in last week's massive sell off. Tuesday brought some selling, but it wasn't enough to take away from the week's gains. 

After such an advance, stocks were adrift through most of Thursday, before turning lower near the close.

Oil slips on increased supply

Oil prices slid in global trading Thursday as investors continued reacting to growing U.S. inventories reported by the government and concerns of economic instability in Europe.

Crude for June delivery slipped $1.25, or about 1.65%, to settle at $74.40  a barrel Thursday. Gasoline prices at the pump fell for the seventh day in a row, slipping to $2.890 a gallon from $2.896 the day before, according to a survey by motorist group AAA.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed oil supplies last week grew more than expected across all three major categories: crude, gasoline and distillates. One stockpile in particular, in Cushing, Oklahoma, grew to a record high 37 million barrels.

Euro suffers on austerity concerns

The dollar turned higher against the euro and pound Thursday, as investors turned back to long-term debt problems in Europe and mulled major budget cuts in several countries.

The dollar rose 0.7% against the euro to $1.2522 and plunged 1.5% versus the pound to $1.4598. The U.S. currency was down 0.5% against the Japanese yen at ¥92.73.

The euro had soared Monday on the announcement of a nearly $1 trillion European rescue package. But by Thursday, investors had turned back to long-term problems in the zone and worried whether countries' major budget cuts would be enough to fix their debt issues.

Treasurys edge higher ahead of auction

Treasurys were mostly higher Thursday ahead of a $16 billion auction of 30-year notes. 

The benchmark 10-year note was the one exception, falling 29/32 to 99-17/32 and yielding 3.56 percent. Bond prices and yields more in opposite directions.

 The 30-year bond rose 10/32 to 102-22/32, pushing the yield down to 4.46 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. The 2-year note climbed 8/32 to 100-9/32 with a 0.86 percent yield. The 5-year note edged up to 101-2/32, yielding 2.28 percent. reporters Alexandra Twin, Julianne Pepitone, Blake Ellis and Annalyn Censky contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy
May 13th, 2010
09:34 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories during the last 24 hours, according to Newspulse.

Girls perform 'Single Ladies' dance: There's an uproar over 7-year-olds dancing provocatively to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" at the World of Dance competition.

60 years old and no retirement savings: Even at 60, you can still build a nest egg large enough to make a material difference in your retirement lifestyle.

Underwater video of the oil leak: Video shows oil and gas stream from the larger of two existing leaks on the riser of the Deepwater Horizon well on May 11.

Red Shirt leader shot in Thai protests: Violence erupted during anti-government protests in Thailand Thursday as one demonstrator was killed and a key protest leader was shot in the head during a media interview.

Pictures too sexy for Miss USA? Two former Miss USA contestants have a spirited debate on CNN's Larry King Live over the new Miss USA lingerie photo shoot.

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Filed under: Most Popular
May 13th, 2010
07:34 PM ET

Vermont diocese settles lawsuits alleging clergy abuse

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, announced Thursday it has settled 26 clergy abuse lawsuits dating back to the 1970s for $17.6 million.

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Filed under: Religion • Vermont
May 13th, 2010
05:56 PM ET

Venezuelan opposition leader freed from jail until trial

A leading opposition politician in Venezuela who had been jailed after criticizing leftist President Hugo Chavez was freed Thursday until his trial on charges of public instigation to commit a crime and spreading false information.

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Filed under: Venezuela
May 13th, 2010
04:36 PM ET

Bomb explodes near Greek prison

A bomb exploded Thursday night near a prison in Athens, Greece, police said.

Only one slight injury was reported.

The bomb was placed outside the Zalaxias supermarket about 660 feet (200 meters) from the Korydallos prison, authorities said.

Warning calls had been made around 9:50 p.m. - 27 minutes before the explosion - to the Eleftherotypia daily newspaper and Alter television station, police said, and authorities evacuated the area.

A 22-year-old woman was injured slightly by broken glass from the door of her first-floor home, police said.

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Filed under: Greece
May 13th, 2010
02:58 PM ET

Obama to submit nuclear arms treaty to Senate

President Barack Obama will send the recently signed nuclear arms reduction deal to the Senate for ratification Thursday, according to a summary of a phone conversation between Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev released by the White House.


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Filed under: Barack Obama • National security
May 13th, 2010
02:33 PM ET

Protesters turn violent outside Iranian embassies in Sweden, Denmark

Protesters in Sweden and Denmark on Thursday assaulted Iran's embassies as demonstrations there turned violent.

Demonstrators at the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, pelted the building with rocks and Molotov cocktails on Thursday, police said.


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Filed under: Denmark • Iran • Sweden
May 13th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

Domestic violence charge against Tito Ortiz dropped

Tito Ortiz will not face charges after an arrest following a fight with his girlfriend Jenna Jameson.

Ultimate fighter Tito Ortiz will not be prosecuted on a domestic violence charge stemming from an argument last month with his girlfriend, former porn star Jenna Jameson, a prosecution spokeswoman said Thursday.

Ortiz, 35, was arrested at his Huntington Beach, California, home April 26 after Jameson's father called police as the couple argued.


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Filed under: Justice • Showbiz
May 13th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Security Brief: Chasing Taliban’s overflowing coffers, cash couriers

The U.S. is waging a fight against the Taliban cash flow from illegal drugs like opium and the cash couriers who help prevent a paper trail.

Editor's note: This is the second of a three-part blog series on terrorist finances. In Part 1 we examined al Qaeda’s challenging financial situation. In Part 2 we'll examine at the Taliban’s money trail and in Part 3 we'll look at international coooperation (or sometimes the lack-thereof) in tracking terrorist financing. Bookmark our Security Brief section and check back Friday for Part 3.

With its columns and colonnades, the U.S. Treasury is one of the grandest buildings in Washington. But a handful of its staff are currently working in less salubrious surroundings. They’ve been dispatched to Kabul in an effort to stifle the Afghan Taliban’s cash-flow. Their mission: to detect money laundering schemes, investigate offshore accounts and cell-phone transfer, and try to rein in Afghanistan’s huge “informal” banking sector.

It is an uphill task. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates the Taliban’s revenues from illicit drugs alone last year at $150 million. U.N. sources say that insurgents (a wider definition than the Taliban) made between $450 and $600 million out of the opiate business between 2005 and 2008. But it may be much more. The U.N. estimates the “narco-profits” made in Afghanistan at $2.8 billion. A huge sum is unaccounted for.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Pakistan • Security Brief • Taliban • Terrorism
May 13th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

Source: Search warrants tied to Shahzad financing

Authorities executed search warrants relating to Faisal Shahzad's finances.

[Updated at 1:05 p.m.] A federal law enforcement tells Susan Candiotti that the FBI has also conducted search warrants related to the ongoing Times Square investigation at two locations on Eastern Long Island in Suffolk County, NY.

Suffolk County Police spokesman Tim Motz told CNN that officers from that department are assisting the FBI in the execution of these warrants. There have been no arrests.

[Updated at 12:19 p.m.] A third person has been arrested on immigration charges in Thursday's raids in the Northeast, a U.S. official told CNN.

[Updated at 12:08 p.m.] Prompt Printing, a printing shop in Camden, New Jersey, is among the targets of Thursday's raids by federal agents stemming from the investigation into this month's failed car bombing in Times Square, a federal law enforcement source said.

A federal source also says a home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey was raided and that it is believed to be the home of the print shop's owner. 

[Updated at 11:41 a.m.] A source close to the investigation says the raids carried out this morning were focused on a system of “cash couriers” who bring money into the United States from overseas. Some of that money is thought to be made available to finance operations like the abortive Times Square attack. The source says the warrants for Thursday’s raids came as a result of the investigation into the Times Square incident, but it has not been determined conclusively if the alleged courier system under investigation is tied to that plot.

The source says two individuals have been under surveillance at least since Wednesday, but could not confirm that they were the individuals arrested today. The source says there is no direct evidence linking those under surveillance to the courier system, but they are being investigated for possible links. The source adds that Faisal Shahzad continues to provide information to investigators. FULL POST

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Filed under: Times Square Car Bomb
May 13th, 2010
12:16 PM ET

Thai protester shot, killed during violent clashes with police

An anti-government protester throws a rock at Thai riot police.

[Updated at 12:13 p.m.] An anti-government protester was shot and killed Thursday as a tense standoff continued on the streets of Bangkok.

Gunfire rang through the streets as the situation became increasingly volatile.

Earlier, the leader of the Red Shirt movement, Seh Daeng, was shot in the head while being interviewed, according to a journalist who witnessed the shooting. He was in critical condition.

iReport: Are you there? Send photos, videos

What are the Thai protests about?

Read full story

[Updated at 10:50 a.m.] Video footage taken just after the shooting in Bangkok showed the leader of anti-government protests lying on the ground, dressed in camouflage, as frantic protesters attempted to move him and get help.


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Filed under: Thailand
May 13th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Making a mountain to stop the oil

See this island? It wasn't here yesterday.

The Louisiana National Guard poured in tons of sand and rock to fill a 700 foot gap in a barrier island to stop the oil from reaching the estuaries.


May 13th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Gas rig sinks off coast of Venezuela, government says

Venezuelan government officials said Thursday they are investigating why a natural gas rig sank off the nation's coast in the early morning hours, the state-run energy company said.


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Filed under: Venezuela
May 13th, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Sports Update: LeBron James appears more MIA than MVP

Many critics have said LeBron James' performance tonight could have a large impact on his future as a free agent.

After playing one of the worst games of his career Tuesday while passively settling for jump shots as his Cavaliers were surrendering their home-court advantage in an unfathomable 120-88 Game 5 loss to the Celtics, the league MVP must now galvanize Cleveland to win Game 6.

So writes’s Ian Thomsen of LeBron James, the Cleveland star who looked more MIA than MVP two days ago in Cleveland. Given James can be a free agent this summer and potentially change the course of two franchises, the game in Boston tonight has unlimited implications for the futures of many in the league. It is the five-star highlight for sports fans tonight, an absolute must-watch game.

-Cavaliers at Celtics (8 p.m., ESPN)
Over the past 24 hours James has faced a level of criticism unlike any he has seen in his athletic life. Even NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar weighed in, saying James would have benefited from college and would have arrived in the NBA with "very polished" skills.

This particular Cleveland team was built to win a title and a second-round loss would be frankly inexcusable. It will also create even more of a cottage industry for speculation on what James will do as this summer as he becomes a free agent after the 2010 NBA playoffs.

For now he and his teammates have more immediate concerns: How do they stop the Celtics at home in an elimination game?

"When you look at Cleveland, you know you've got to stop LeBron," Celtics star Paul Pierce told following Game 5. "With us, we've got four or five guys who can lead using scoring, from me, Rondo, Ray, KG. You never know where it's going to come from and that's what makes us so dangerous."


May 13th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

New Zealand P.M. criticized for comparing tribe to cannibals

John Key made a joke at a dinner that one Maori tribe may have made him the main course.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was facing heavy criticism Thursday after making a cannibalistic comment about a Maori tribe for the second time in a week.

Key angered the Tuhoe, a tribe of Maori, on Monday after ruling out turning over part of a national park to the tribe as part of a treaty settlement, according to a Radio New Zealand report.

On Tuesday, during a dinner meeting with another Maori tribe, the Ngati Porou, Key said he was glad he was with them instead of with the Tuhoe, who would have made him the main course. He repeated the remark as a joke during a meeting with tourism officials in Auckland on Thursday.


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Filed under: New Zealand
May 13th, 2010
09:20 AM ET

Number of Dutch dead rises in Libya plane crash

Seventy Dutch passengers were among the 103 people killed in Wednesday's plane crash in Libya, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Thursday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Air travel • Libya
May 13th, 2010
09:05 AM ET

On the Radar: Ethnic studies ban, lettuce recall, oil spill

Arizona ethnic studies - Fresh on the heels of a new immigration law that has led to calls to boycott her state, Arizona's governor has signed a bill banning ethnic studies classes that "promote resentment" of other racial groups. Gov. Jan Brewer approved the measure without public statement Tuesday, according to state legislative records. The new law forbids elementary or secondary schools to teach classes that are "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group" and advocate "the overthrow of the United States government" or "resentment toward a race or class of people." The author of the Arizona law and a state representative who voted against the bill talk to CNN about its impact.

Lettuce recall - An outbreak of food-borne illness related to romaine lettuce has spread to Tennessee in addition to New York, Ohio and Michigan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The number of confirmed illnesses has risen from 19 to 23 in an outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from a single processing facility, the CDC says.


May 13th, 2010
08:25 AM ET

Thursday's live video events

9:30 am ET - Wall Street reform debate - Senate lawmakers discuss proposed financial regulation reform legislation and other issues of the day.

10:00 am ET - Justice Department oversight hearing - Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on the state of the Department of Justice.


Filed under: On today
May 13th, 2010
07:57 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Ed Reyes

The Los Angeles, California, City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a boycott of Arizona-based businesses and governments unless the state repeals a new law giving police the power to question a detainee's immigration status. The city's legislative analyst reported that Los Angeles currently has $56 million in contracts with companies headquartered in Arizona.

According to The Los Angeles Times, during their debate on the resolution, council members compared Arizona's legislative behavior to Nazi Germany and the beginning of the Holocaust, as well as the internment and deportation of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

"Los Angeles is the second-largest city in this country, an immigrant city, an international city. It needs to have its voice heard," said Councilman Reyes, a resolution sponsor. "As an American, I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport. If I come across an officer who's having a bad day and feels that the picture on my ID is not me, I can be ... deported, no questions asked. That is not American."

CNN This Just In: Los Angeles passes Arizona boycott over immigration law

Los Angeles Times: L.A. council bans most official travel to Arizona

John Legend

The singer-songwriter-pianist is helping to raise funds for Gulf Coast fishing families and environmentalists facing the challenges of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Legend and many other top artists will perform May 14–16 at the Hangout Beach Music and Arts Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Along with Legend will be such performers as Zac Brown Band, Alison Krauss, The Black Crowes, and Jakob Dylan.

Legend, the winner of six Grammy awards, is also scheduled to appear at the Gulf Aid benefit concert in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Sunday.

Hangout Festival website

John Legend website

Robert MacLean

An administrative judge has ruled that the Transportation Security Administration was within its rights when it fired the federal air marshal for leaking sensitive information to the media.

MacLean was fired in 2006, two years after he told an MSNBC reporter that the agency planned to remove air marshals from flights that required costly overnight hotels. The disclosure embarrassed the agency, coming only days after the government had sent out a warning about planned terror attacks on U.S. aircraft.

MacLean said he will appeal the administrative judge's decision and that he hopes for a suspension, not termination, as the appropriate punishment for his actions. He told CNN in 2009 that he never had to make an arrest in five years flying missions as an air marshal.

"It was a well-paying job with enormous responsibility, yet extremely tedious and mundane," he said. "You did the same thing every day, there was nothing new. You sat in your seat and prayed that nobody would set off an IED or ambush you mid-flight."

CNN This Just In: Judge upholds firing of federal air marshal

Maryam Ali

The 16-year-old sophomore at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia, wants to race with her school's crew team.

In a moving Washington Post profile, reporter Annie Gowen describes the challenges facing Ali - asthma, overweight, lives in subsidized housing - and how tough it was to pay for her $260 uniform and the team's $750 fees. And because she's not strong enough to row with others, her coach found her a separate boat to practice in.

Ali, who is African-American in a sport dominated by white competitive rowers, told the newspaper that her goal is to get in a race before the end of the season.

"I just want to do the best I can ... and be an important part of the team," she said.

Washington Post: Rower confronts class barriers with spot on crew team

Piers Sellers

The British-born NASA astronaut is taking a small piece of Sir Isaac Newton's famous apple tree into space on Friday on his trip to the International Space Station.

According to the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the mathematician and physicist saw an apple fall in his orchard at some time during 1665 or 1666. Newton then hypothesized that the same gravitational force that made the apple fall also governed the motion of the moon.

London's Guardian newspaper reports that Sellers, who has dual UK-U.S. citizenship, said he will let the slice from Newton's tree float around in the Atlantis shuttle.

"While it's up there, it will be experiencing no gravity, so if it had an apple on it, the apple wouldn't fall. ... Sir Isaac would have loved to see this, assuming he wasn't spacesick, as it would have proved his first law of motion to be correct."

The Guardian: Isaac Newton's apple tree to experience zero gravity

Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences: Newton's life

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