May 28th, 2010
08:59 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Gary Coleman dies at 42: Former child star Gary Coleman rose to fame as wisecracking youngster Arnold Jackson on the TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" but grew up to grapple with a troubled adulthood. An earlier story about Coleman's hospitalization also was one of Friday's most popular stories.

BP resumes "top kill" procedure: BP resumed pumping heavyweight drilling mud Friday in its attempt to cap a breached oil well in what the company's top executive described as an "environmental catastrophe."

Self-described 'Crossbow Cannibal' charged with murder: A man charged with the murders of three women who worked as prostitutes in northern England called himself "the Crossbow Cannibal" when asked to give his name in court Friday, the court said.

Alicia Keys expecting baby: Grammy-winning R&B singer Alicia Keys is pregnant with her first child.

Filed under: Most Popular
May 28th, 2010
08:21 PM ET

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt part ways

Heidi Montag of "The Hills" has split from her husband and reality show co-star, Spencer Pratt, the celeb's spokeswoman told CNN.

For now, the split is a separation and not a divorce, Lexi Vonderlieth said.

“Yes the split is real," Vonderlieth said in an e-mail. "Like to say separation for now. As you can imagine it is crazy right now. She's trying to lay low the next couple days. What I can say is that it's a separation for now, not divorce.”

TMZ first reported the separation Friday afternoon.

The couple, known as "Speidi" among fans, entered the public eye on the hit MTV series "The Hills" and reportedly married in 2008.

- CNN's Brittany Kaplan contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Showbiz
May 28th, 2010
06:36 PM ET

Spain's credit rating ends dismal month, fuels fears over Europe debt crisis

A look at the day's business news:

Dow ends worst May in 70 years

Stocks cut losses but finished in the red Friday, ending a dismal month that saw the Dow Jones industrials suffer their worst May in 70 years, after a downgrade of Spain's debt reminded investors that Europe's economic woes continue.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 122 points, or 1.2 percent, after having been down as much as 186 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 index fell 14 points, or 1.2 percent, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 21 points, or 0.9 percent. 

Stocks were already weak before the ratings agency cut Spain's debt one
notch. While the cut still leaves the debt in investment grade territory, as
opposed to junk, it nonetheless managed to rattle investors in a thinly-traded session. 


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Filed under: Economy
May 28th, 2010
03:15 PM ET

Obama speaks about oil spill after tour of affected areas

President Obama addresses reporters after touring affected Gulf Coast areas.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.] Obama directs Gulf Coast residents to for resources on filing claims regarding damages from the spill, noting that doctors and scientists are stationed across the Gulf to monitor the health of residents.

Obama vowed to hold BP accountable for clean-up efforts and financial  compensation related to the underwater gusher but warned there are "no silver bullets" to stop the flow.

Watch Obama speak

But, he said he ultimately takes responsibility for solving this crisis: "I'm the president, and the buck stops with me."


May 28th, 2010
02:48 PM ET

Gary Coleman dead at 42

Actor Gary Coleman, who had suffered from intracranial brain bleeding and was on life support in the intensive care unit of a Utah hospital, has died, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday.

Family members and close friends were at his side when life support was terminated, Janet Frank said.


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Filed under: Showbiz
May 28th, 2010
12:43 PM ET

Sports Update: Holding off Dwight Howard, French Open

After a couple of yawn-inducing early rounds, the NBA playoffs have sizzled during the conference finals. Last night the Lakers won at the buzzer on a Ron Artest short follow of a Kobe Bryant miss. With Los Angeles leading 3-2 in the series, the teams move onto Phoenix for Game Six on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. That critical game is part of a fantastic weekend (all times Eastern) in sports that includes the French Open and the start of the Stanley Cup finals.

Magic at Celtics (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

Can the Celtics hold Dwight Howard off for one more win? Or will this latest spurt of growth from the league's most imposing big man push Orlando to the biggest playoff comeback in league history? That is the question's Ian Thomsen is asking on the eve of Game Six of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics got a huge break on Thursday when the NBA announced that center Kendrick Perkins would be eligible to play in Game 6. The NBA said that one of the two technical fouls Perkins received in Game 5 was rescinded, thus not prompting an automatic suspension for accumulating seven technicals in the playoffs.


May 28th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

Tanker collision spills oil onto Singapore wetlands

Workers shovel oil off of the Jawa wetlands on Friday in Singapore.

Louisiana isn’t the only place dealing with oil on its beaches and in its wetlands this weekend.

Singapore parks officials said Friday that oil spilled in the collision of a tanker with another ship on Tuesday had washed into the country’s Chek Jawa wetlands, according to a report in the Straits Times newspaper.


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Filed under: Singapore
May 28th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Let's talk about 'Sex' - and the Middle East

"Sex and the City 2" may visit the Mideast, but it won't be showing in all the theaters there.

There comes a time in every person’s life when they are faced with an embarrassing conversation about sex. In the Middle East, every conversation about sex is embarrassing - that is if sex is discussed at all. But the popularity of shows such as "Sex and the City," which people can see via U.S. channels by satellite, makes you wonder how much of that uncomfortable feeling around the subject of sex is innate and how much of it is imposed by a society that considers sex, religion and politics as taboo.

In some parts of the Middle East, men and women may like the characters of "Sex and the City" and even imitate their looks and lifestyle but to have a conversation about one’s sexuality is considered inappropriate. In an emergency, if a most basic health-related sex subject is to be opened, it forces people to lower their voices and even speak in code to minimize embarrassment.

More than 20 countries make up the Arab Middle East. Their traditions and customs are as varied and as colorful as their local dress, food and dialects. The contrast between the two extremes can be shocking and serves as a perfect example for the West to stop lumping every Arab under the umbrella of the “Arab World.”

Lebanon is a good example of the liberal pro-Western extreme, where a half-naked woman with Botox-injected lips can show off her silicon-filled breasts on the same street as another woman covered in a black abaya from head to toe.

On the other side of this extreme equation is Saudi Arabia, where a woman doesn’t even have the right to drive a car or even be present in a public place without being accompanied by a male “guardian.”

Abu Dhabi, one of seven emirates of the Gulf nation of the United Arab Emirates, won’t allow "Sex and the City 2" to be shown in its theaters, although the movie supposedly takes place in the emirate. The producers weren’t even allowed to film scenes in the UAE and ended up shooting most of the film in Morocco.


May 28th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

At least 80 killed in Lahore attacks

[Updated at 11:00 a.m.] At least 80 people have been killed in the Lahore, Pakistan, attacks, a senior government official said.

[Updated at 9:28 a.m.] At least 70 people have been killed and 78 have been injured in attacks in Lahore, Pakistan, a senior government official said.

[Posted at 7:58 a.m.] Bombing attacks in Pakistan targeting houses of worship for a persecuted religious minority have killed at least 25 people, officials said on Friday.

The strikes took place at two mosques in Lahore belonging to the Ahmadi religious group.

At least 20 people were killed at the Baitul Noor place of worship in the Model Town region after two attackers on motorbikes fired at the entrance of the building and tossed hand grenades, a rescue official told CNN.


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Filed under: Pakistan
May 28th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Man takes cue from 'UP,' floats across English Channel

The movie "UP" has sparked a renewed interest in the sport of cluster ballooning.

Remember "UP," the Pixar movie in which good ol’ cranky Carl hooks 20,000 helium-filled balloons to his house and floats away to South America?

It’s not as impossible as it looks.

American adventurer Jonathan R. Trappe strapped himself to a wicker chair – sans house – that was strung with 55 multicolored “chloroprene cloudbuster” balloons and successfully floated himself across the English Channel Friday morning.

Snipping off one eight-foot helium filled balloon at a time, Trappe, descended into a field in Dunkirk, northern France, after more than three hours in the air, according the UK’s Times newspaper.


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Filed under: Air travel • United Kingdom
May 28th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

Day 39: Latest Gulf oil spill updates

Oil comes ashore at the Grand Isle East State Park in Louisiana.

Here are the latest developments Thursday involving the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

[Updated at 10:49 a.m.] BP has measured "some success" with a risky procedure known as "top kill," which has never been tried before a mile under the ocean's surface, the company's top executive, Tony Hayward, said Friday.

[Posted at 10:00 a.m.]

The Cleanup

- President Barack Obama is traveling to Louisiana Friday to get a bird's-eye view of the devastation and the cleanup efforts.

- Engineers tried the "junk shot" method to try to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, finishing their attempt early Friday, BP's Chief Executive Tony Hayward said. The company plans to resume its "top kill" method, pumping heavy mud into the leak, later Friday, he said.


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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
May 28th, 2010
09:21 AM ET

Open letter to pope urges end to celibacy

About a dozen Italian women have posted an open letter to the pope on the internet in which they claim to have had intimate relationships with priests and urge the church to abolish celibacy for Catholic clergy.


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Filed under: Church Abuse • Vatican
May 28th, 2010
09:19 AM ET

At least three killed after volcano erupts in Guatemala

The death toll from the eruption of a volcano in Guatemala has risen to at least three people, an official said Friday.

Two villagers from El Bejucal and a reporter from CNN affiliate Noti 7 were killed as a result of Thursday's eruption of the Pacaya volcano, said David de Leon, a spokesman for the national disaster commission.


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Filed under: Guatemala
May 28th, 2010
09:10 AM ET

On the Radar: Oil spill, volcano, iPad going global

Gulf oil spill - President Obama is scheduled to visit Louisiana on Friday for the second time since an oil rig explosion sent a historic amount of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. He is set to arrive around 11 a.m. ET and make remarks around 1:30 p.m. ET. BP on Thursday attempted to cap the spill using the "top kill" method. But it was unclear how effective the procedure had been. On Friday, BP's top official, who previously had said the Gulf oil spill's environmental impact would be modest, upgraded his assessment to an "environmental catastrophe."

CNN reporters are digging deeper into the story and taking a look at the impact the oil spill is having on Memorial Day travel.'s John Sutter traveled to the Gulf to see the impact the oil spill is having environmentally. The impact on marshland and wildlife appears obvious, but the great unknown of this environmental disaster lies far below the water’s surface: How much oil is there, and what will its impact be?


May 28th, 2010
08:15 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Continuous coverage - Oil leak "top kill" operation - Live coverage of BP's efforts to stop the Gulf Coast oil leak.

9:00 am ET - Gulf Coast oil spill hearing - Day three of a Coast Guard/Minerals Management Service hearing on the Gulf Coast oil spill in Louisiana.


Filed under: On today
May 28th, 2010
07:54 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Rep. Charlie Melancon

The Louisiana Democrat lost his composure Thursday during a Capitol Hill hearing about the Gulf oil spill.

"Our culture is threatened. Our coastal economy is threatened. And everything that I know and love is at risk," Melancon, who represents many of the affected Louisiana shoreline areas, told his Capitol Hill colleagues.

Unable to finish reading his prepared statement, Melancon, who was born and raised in the area threatened by the spill, submitted his statement for the congressional record and then walked out of the hearing room as other lawmakers sought to comfort him.


May 28th, 2010
06:02 AM ET

World update: Authorities blame rebels for train deaths

An update from London on some of the international stories we expect to develop on Friday:

Rail crash kills dozens: At least 56 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage after two trains crashed in eastern India. Authorities are linking the incident to Maoist rebels. Full story

Beijing in Korea talks: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is in the South Korean capital Seoul as regional tensions mount between North and South Korea. Full story

Witnesses: Bodies burning in Jamaica: Security forces have burned bodies in a Kingston neighborhood ravaged by a failed attempt to arrest a suspected drug kingpin, say residents. Police have denied the claims. Full story


May 28th, 2010
03:46 AM ET

U.S. issues travel alert for South Africa

The State Department has issued a travel alert warning U.S. citizens in South Africa to be aware of increased terrorism risks during the World Cup, which starts June 11.


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Filed under: South Africa