July 5th, 2010
10:51 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Activists scurry to save mother from stoning: A veteran Iranian human rights activist has warned that Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities.

Cold case: Child snatched, slain in 2009: Nevaeh Buchanan was 5 when she was kidnapped on May 24 last year; her body was found in a shallow grave in Michigan on June 4. A year later, no one has been charged with abducting and killing her.

Chess icon's body exhumed in paternity case:  The body of chess legend Bobby Fischer was exhumed Monday in Iceland to settle a paternity question, law enforcement officials have told CNN. His body was reburied shortly after DNA samples were taken, the officials said.

Former hot dog eating champ arrested: He didn't compete for the hot dog eating title this year, but he did cause a scene at the contest. Takeru Kobayashi was arrested at Coney Island after his rival, Joey Chestnut, won the annual Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Blistering heat expected in Northeast: A heat wave of historic proportions could strike some Northeastern states as forecasters warn of prolonged triple-digit temperatures that could trigger "a dangerous situation," the National Weather Service advised Monday.

Filed under: Most Popular
July 5th, 2010
08:26 PM ET

Doctor: Released Lockerbie bomber could live much longer

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi in Libya in 2009.

A British cancer expert who said the man convicted in the 1988 plane bombing over Scotland had about three months to live before the prisoner's release last year now says the Libyan could survive another decade or more.

Dr. Karol Sikora told The Sunday Times that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi – whom Scotland's government released on compassionate grounds in August after being diagnosed with prostate cancer - could live another 10 or even 20 years.

Scotland's justice secretary said last year that the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber was made after medical reports showed he had terminal cancer and perhaps three months to live.

"It's embarrassing that [al Megrahi has] gone on for so long," Sikora told The Sunday Times for a report published this week.


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Filed under: Justice • Libya • Terrorism • United Kingdom
July 5th, 2010
04:28 PM ET

Authorities: Tar balls near Galveston linked to Gulf spill

Texas authorities have traced a small number of tar balls that reached the shore near Galveston to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a state government spokesman said Monday.

Also Monday, a foundation that monitors Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain said tar balls believed to be from the undersea gusher in the Gulf have reached the shores of that lake.

Researchers have estimated that between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) of oil have been gushing from a BP oil well into the Gulf daily since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.

Read the full CNN.com story

July 5th, 2010
04:23 PM ET

P.M. Security Brief: A night in Lahore

Four years ago, I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful and historic Data Darbar shrine, close to the ancient walled city in Lahore, Pakistan. It was a sweltering night in August, but there were thousands of people, men and women and children, within its walls. It was so crowded that you could only shuffle slowly in the prevailing direction of the foot traffic. At the same time, it was remarkably serene, bathed in the light of thousands of candles. The Quran was recited constantly. It was a mystical experience.

That night, security precautions around the mosque were, at best, modest. It is not an easy place to protect, with several entrances and a constant throng of visitors. But in 2006,  Lahore  had seen little of the scourge of terrorism that was beginning to plague other parts of the country. FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 5th, 2010
03:51 PM ET

Tar balls hit Lake Pontchartrain shores

Tar balls believed to be from the undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico have reached the shores of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain, a foundation that monitors the watershed reported Monday.

The affected area covers a stretch of up to five miles near the city of Slidell, east of New Orleans, said Anne Rheams, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. She estimated the amount of oil that has reached the lake at less than 100 barrels, and there was no sign of impact to wildlife as of Monday.

"They are about the size of a silver dollar, maybe a little bigger, kind of dispersed in long intervals. It's not as dense as it could be, so we're thankful for that," Rheams said.

Researchers have estimated that between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) of oil have been gushing from a BP oil well into the Gulf daily since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.

Read the full CNN.com story

July 5th, 2010
02:05 PM ET

Roger Federer ranked third - lowest since 2003

[Updated at 4:04 p.m.] Roger Federer dropped to No. 3 in the world tennis rankings after his quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon - his lowest ranking in seven years.

Since 2003, Federer had been in either the first or second spot in the ATP rankings.

The second place ranking now belongs to Novak Djokovic. Federer lost his quarterfinal match at Wimbledon to Tomas Berdych, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final.


July 5th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Military plane crashes in Romania, killing 10

A military plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Tuzla Romania Airport in southeastern Romania, killing 10 people and injuring three more, a Romanian Ministry of Defense spokesman said Monday.

Four crew members and nine military divers were on board for parachute training when the AN2 crashed around 5:40 p.m. local time, he said.

The three survivors have been recovered and taken to the hospital, said the spokesman.

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Filed under: Romania
July 5th, 2010
01:14 PM ET

For sale: Jam infused with Princess Diana's hair

Bompas and Parr is selling milk jam, which the label touts as being infused with a speck of Princess Diana's hair.

Sam Bompas wants breakfast to be fun, a chance to start the day with food to fuel the body and stimulate the mind - and get some intriguing conversations started. What better way to do that than with a spread of Milk Jam infused with a speck of Princess Diana's hair. Yes, you read that right, Princess Di's hair.

If you're thinking that doesn't whet your appetite, he has a few alternatives: How about a jam of absinthe and pineapple with sand from the Great Pyramids or plum and oak jam with wood from the British warship The Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Bompas isn't kidding about trying to sell you on jam with Lady Di's hair. But he is trying to get your attention - and is it ever working.

Word of the jam that may include the golden locks of the beloved has spread globally online - with instant reactions ranging from stomach-inducing nausea, outrage of a publicity stunt or just straight confusion. Long term, Bompas hopes the public will be appreciating his creations as works of art.

Which, ironically, is how all this got started.


July 5th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

Security Brief: The military family

Gen. Petraeus, with his wife Holly behind him, answers questions during his confirmation hearing.

Holly Petraeus sat behind her husband in the committee hearing room wearing a white suit, sharply detailed with stitching around the collar. Her shoulder-length hair and clear rimmed glasses gave her the air of a woman who took the task at hand seriously. On this day, her task at hand was to support her husband as he sat for confirmation hearings in his bid to become the next leader of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

Senator Carl Levin opened the hearing by acknowledging not the work and sacrifice of General David Petraeus, the incoming commander of the Afghanistan effort, but the sacrifice of his wife in supporting the incredible demands of her husband's service since 9/11.

"Your wife, Holly is with you this morning, and so we all want to thank her personally for her commitment, and her sacrifices along the way," said Levin. "I must tell you general that her understanding of what you're doing, of your patriotic duty as you are now doing again, taking over command in Afghanistan, her understanding, support of that is truly inspiring. We thank her. We profoundly thank you, Mrs. Petraeus." FULL POST

July 5th, 2010
10:56 AM ET

A.M. Security Brief

Legend has it that a senior U.S. official was asked a couple of years ago which worried him more: Iraq or Afghanistan. "Pakistan," came the immediate answer. As commander of U.S. central command, Gen. David Petraeus certainly paid plenty of attention to the shifting security situation in Pakistan, and the threat from disparate Islamist groups there.

He would mesmerize audiences with his encyclopedic knowledge of obscure groups in even more obscure corners of Pakistan, with multicolored Powerpoints. Now that he has "demoted" himself to take direct charge in Afghanistan, he will see at firsthand the cross-border terror dynamic.

Even as al Qaeda has been weakened – according to U.S. officials - other groups in Pakistan have expanded their horizons: Lashkar e Taiba, the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network to name but a few.

Previously confined to the mountainous tribal territories, the Pakistani Taliban has expanded its presence in Punjab, the country’s bread-basket and most important province. The Afghan Taliban has a long-established presence in Quetta, the volatile capital of Baluchistan. Then there are a myriad of groups comprising foreign fighters, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, made some revealing comments about this terror landscape last week. Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Adm. Mullen described Pakistan as “a country now very much under siege from terrorists, internally.”


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Filed under: Pakistan • Security Brief
July 5th, 2010
09:05 AM ET

On the Radar: Oil skimming, Michael Steele, pirate hijacking

Gulf oil disaster - Initial results from test runs of a ship billed as the world's largest oil skimming vessel could come back Monday after a weekend spent plowing the seas atop the undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. If the test is successful, the massive vessel could play a key role in efforts to clean up the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Pirate hijacking - Pirates have hijacked a Marshall Islands-flagged ship in the southern Red Sea, the European Union Naval Force Somalia said Monday. The MT Motivator, a chemical tanker loaded with oil and a crew of 18 Filipino nationals, told authorities it was under small-arms fire from pirates in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area Sunday, the naval force said.


July 5th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Floyd Landis

The disgraced U.S. cyclist, stripped of his Tour de France win, is the subject of a new look at allegations of doping in the sport as this year's race gets under way.

Landis' chief target of accusation is, again, seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, who steadfastly denies ever using performance-enhancing drugs or other methods such as blood doping.

The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy article Friday based on a set of interviews with Landis and other bicycle racers, offering a portrait of Armstrong that the 38-year-old riding in his last Tour is sure to resent.

"Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago," Armstrong said. "We have a person who has been under oath several times with a completely different version, written a book with a completely different version, someone that took money. He said he has no proof. It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."

The Wall Street Journal: Blood brothers

Guy Aoki

The founding president of the Los Angeles-based Media Action Network for Asian Americans has had enough. For the first time its 18-year history, the organization is urging a movie boycott, The Boston Globe reports.

At issue is M. Night Shyamalan's casting of Caucasian actors in his film adaptation of "The Last Airbender."

In the anime-style TV series that inspired the film, the lead characters appeared to be East Asian or Native American, according to the Globe.

The paper reports that Asian-American activists are angered by what they see as the latest example of a Hollywood tradition called "whitewashing" - casting white actors in roles of minority characters.

"This was a great opportunity to create new Asian-American stars," Aoki told the newspaper. "When you have ready-made material that has Asian or Asian-American people in it, and they still cast white people in it, that's the last straw."

The Boston Globe: 'Airbender' reopens race debate

Media Action Network for Asian Americans website

Kathy Roth-Douquet

As the Senate considers and the public debates the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, Roth-Douquet is especially qualified to discuss the relationship between Ivy League schools and the military, including recruiting activity.

A lawyer, a former Clinton administration and Pentagon appointee, the self-described nice Jewish girl had no interest in the military until she married a Marine Corps officer.

Roth-Douquet is co-author of "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service - and How it Hurts Our Country." She also was a founder of Blue Star Families for Obama, which morphed into the nonpartisan Blue Star Families, active on military family issues. She has been among Michelle Obama's guides into the world of military families.

Roth-Douquet, herself a Princeton University grad, has written and spoken at the "Ivies" about the relationship between those schools and the military.

YouTube: 'Ivies and the Military'

Kathy Roth-Douquet's website

Tristan Dyer

The Army veteran's documentary about substance abuse among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is part of a 10-part series airing on public television stations around the country.

Each episode of the series "In Their Boots" is "a documentary about how America's servicemen and women, their families, and our communities have been profoundly changed by our nation's campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to the project's website.

The series is produced by the Brave New Foundation, which commissioned films from five veterans.

After five years in the Army, including one year at Camp Taji in Iraq, Dyer enrolled in the visual journalism program at the Brooks Institute of Photography. His film combines personal accounts of veterans affected by addiction with stop-motion animation.

'In Their Boots': Meet the filmmakers

CNN 'AC360°' blog: In their boots

Olivia S. Mitchell

The economist said she thinks that House Minority Leader John Boehner's proposal to raise the eligibility age for Social Security to 70 does not go far enough.

"As Americans live longer and fewer young workers are around to tax so the government can pay retiree benefits, the system is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Revenues fell below benefit costs this year with the economic crisis, as more people retired early and fewer workers were paying in benefits. So the Social Security system urgently needs reform," Mitchell told MarketWatch.

Mitchell is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, executive director of the Pension Research Council and director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research.

"I wouldn't stop at age 70," Mitchell told MarketWatch. "I'd suggest we do what Sweden and other countries have already done, which is to index the retirement age thereafter to future changes in life expectancy."

According to Mitchell, in the 1930s, when 65 was set as the normal retirement age, life expectancy for those aged 65 was 77. Today, life expectancy for those aged 65 is 82, MarketWatch reported.

MarketWatch: Fix Social Security by hiking retirement age

Wharton University faculty profile

Filed under: Most Intriguing People
July 5th, 2010
08:08 AM ET

Monday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - BP webcam of Gulf oil disaster

CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.

Filed under: On CNN.com today
July 5th, 2010
06:48 AM ET

Pirates hijack ship with 18 onboard

Pirates have hijacked a Marshall Islands-flagged ship with 18 Filipino nationals onboard in the southern Red Sea, the European Union Naval Force Somalia said Monday.

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Filed under: World
July 5th, 2010
06:09 AM ET

World update: 12 held over Pakistan suicide bombings

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

Arrests over bombings - Pakistani authorities say they have arrested 12 people in connection with suicide bomb attacks that killed 50 and injured more than 200 at a Lahore shrine last week.

Poland vote - Interim President Bronislaw Komorowski holds a 5 percentage-point lead in Poland's runoff election with 95 percent of the votes counted, the national election commission says.