July 16th, 2010
10:58 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Obama trip brings rest, relaxation and rebuke: President Obama and his family arrived Friday for a weekend getaway in Maine, drawing criticism for stepping out of the Oval Office during a critical moment in the Gulf of Mexico's oil crisis.

Erin Andrews sues stalker, hotels: Sports reporter Erin Andrews has filed a lawsuit alleging the hotels where a peephole stalker secretly videotaped her were negligent.


July 16th, 2010
10:46 PM ET

Prices for treasurys rise as stocks slump

A look at the day's business news:

Week's stock gains erased

Stocks slumped Friday after financial firms Bank of America and Citigroup reported weaker quarterly revenue and a plunge in consumer sentiment revived concerns about the economic outlook.

A flat reading on consumer prices was also in play, suggesting weak consumer demand and little inflationary pressure.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 261 points, or 2.5 percent. The S&P 500 (SPX) index slid 32 points, or 2.9 percent and the Nasdaq(COMP) composite shed 70 points, or 3.1 percent.

The sell-off wiped out the gains for the week, which had been between 1.7 percent and 2.3 percent through Thursday's close.

Treasurys post weekly gain

Prices for U.S. Treasurys rose Friday as investors responded to mixed corporate results and a report that said inflation remains subdued.

The benchmark 10-year note was up 17/32 to 104-28/32 and its yield fell to 2.93 percent from 3.05 percent late Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 2-year note gained 1/32 to 100-2/32 and its yield was 0.59 percent, while the 5-year note rose 13/32 to 104-24/32 with a yield of 1.67 percent. The 30-year bond rose 25/32 to 107-19/32 and its yield was 3.94 percent.

Friday's advance caps a weekly gain for the Treasury market. Prices eased earlier in the week as optimism about the second-quarter corporate results period stoked demand for stocks. But investors shied away from more risky assets later in the week as concerns about the economy overshadowed positive earnings reports.

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Filed under: Economy
July 16th, 2010
09:09 PM ET

Federal agents sweep 5 cities in takedown for Medicare fraud

Federal agents charged 94 people in five cities Friday with defrauding Medicare, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies said in a joint statement.

It is the largest health care fraud takedown since the creation of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force three years ago. The defendants include doctors, health care company owners and executives, the statement said. FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • Justice
July 16th, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Police in Turkey detain 29 in operation targeting al Qaeda

Police in Turkey detained 29 people in an operation targeting the al Qaeda terror network, Turkey's semi-official Anatolian news agency reported on Friday, citing authorities. The operation, organized by police in Adana two months ago, detained the people in the provinces of Adana, Istanbul, Antalya, and Canakkale and brought them to Adana.

Special operations police were searching for two more people.

Suspects brought to police headquarters in Adana shouted "Allahu Akbar," "they are accusing us because we are Muslims" and "infidels." During searches of houses and offices, police found a gun, documents, CDs, DVDs,  computers and hard discs

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 16th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

Treasury designates Anwar al-Awlaki key leader of AQAP

From U.S. Treasury Department – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated Anwar al-Awlaki, a key leader for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a Yemen-based terrorist group. Awlaki was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for supporting acts of terrorism and for acting for or on behalf of AQAP. Since its inception in January 2009, AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks against Saudi, Korean, Yemeni and U.S. targets. Executive Order 13224 freezes any assets Awlaki has under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with him.

“Anwar al-Aulaqi has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey. “He has involved himself in every aspect of the supply chain of terrorism - fundraising for terrorist groups, recruiting and training operatives, and planning and ordering attacks on innocents.”


Filed under: Security Brief
July 16th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

Apple offers free cases for iPhone 4 reception problem

After a presentation saying the iPhone 4's reception problems have been "blown way out of proportion," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Friday that all owners will receive free bumper cases to fix the issue.

People who already paid for a case, which reduces interference, will get a refund, Jobs said.

"We're not perfect; phones aren't perfect," Jobs said. "We want to make all our users happy."

The iPhone 4 broke Apple sales records after its release on June 24, drawing positive reviews from tech bloggers and almost religious fervor from Apple fanatics who lined up for hours to get their hands on one.

It has sold more than 3 million units, Jobs said Friday, and has been the most successful product launch in Apple history. He maintained that, despite the reception issue, the phone remains "our best product ever."

"It's not like Apple has had its head in the sand on this," Jobs said. "It's only been 22 days."


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Filed under: Apple • Technology
July 16th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Afghan-bound oil tankers torched by militants

Four tankers carrying oil for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan were attacked and set on fire by militants in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Friday, police told CNN.

Gunmen fired on six oil tankers that were parked outside a restaurant along a major highway, said Bolan district police official Deedar Magsi. Four of the tankers caught fire, Magsi said.

Journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report

Filed under: Security Brief
July 16th, 2010
10:55 AM ET

Gulf Dispatch: Diving through oil at critical relief time

Editor's note: Philippe Cousteau Jr. is the grandson of legendary ocean explorer and filmmaker Jacques Yves Cousteau. Philippe heads the nonprofit organization EarthEcho International (www.earthecho.org). Philippe, who has been working in this field for years, is an advocate for the people and the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. During the oil crisis, he has visited the area and learned first hand the impact the disaster has had on the ecosystem and on the people who have been affected by the catastrophe. Read more about Philippe's background.

It was 7:00 a.m. and the heat and humidity were already rising in the bayou as marsh grasses raced passed us.

On this trip to southern Louisiana, I was accompanied by a good friend and executive vice president of the Ocean Conservancy, Denny Kelso. I am on the board of the Ocean Conservancy and proud of the work we have done as the oldest nationally focused ocean conservation organization in the country.

Philippe Cousteau Jr. and Denny Kelso, executive vice president of the Ocean Conservancy, examine oiled marshes in Louisiana.

Getting the chance to work with Denny is always a privilege because, aside from being a longtime leader in the conservation field, he was also commissioner for the environment of the state of Alaska during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and he has a wealth of knowledge like no other.

As we entered the 85th day of the oil spill Denny’s familiar refrain was wringing true… “We have to start thinking about restoration now…we can’t wait.”

We had come with CNN International to film oil encroaching into the fragile marsh, dive through the oil and talk about the need for restoration now.

We slowed the boat as we reached our destination. Black oil coated the shoreline of these fragile marshes and already the grass was dying. As we gear up for the fall bird migration, this was a worrisome sight to say the least.

This oiled marsh was a perfect example of just how serious this oil spill is as it moves into a new stage, and it reminds us of how vigilant we have to be in our response and how critical it is to get it right the first time.


July 16th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

Netanyahu, U.S. envoy meet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell met on Friday to advance direct talks next month with the Palestinians, the prime minister's office said.

Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas haven't been talking directly.

They have been communicating only through Mitchell, who serves as a go-between for negotiations. Netanyahu has told Israeli Cabinet officials that he is ready to meet with Abbas at any time.

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Filed under: Israel • Middle East • U.S.
July 16th, 2010
10:35 AM ET

Thousands remain displaced after Kyrgyz violence

Around 75,000 people from Kyrgyzstan remain displaced a month after the eruption of ethnic violence in the country's south, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday.

People fled their homes in the region because of sectarian violence between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz, some heading into neighboring Uzbekistan and others finding shelter elsewhere in Kyrgyzstan.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said 400,000 people were uprooted at one point.

Some of the displaced were afraid to return to their homes. Others had to find other shelter because their homes were destroyed.

The agency said that Osh and Jalal-Abad, two cities where major violence flared, are now calm. However, the mood in the country is uneasy.

"Thousands continue to be affected by uncertain security, problems arising from the wide loss of personal documents, and a shortage of shelter," the agency said.

"There are nonetheless scores of police checkpoints, and the two cities remain under night-time curfew. This in turn is presenting difficulties for people without personal papers, and there are frequent allegations of police harassment," it said.

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 16th, 2010
10:33 AM ET

NATO-led, Afghan troops kill key Taliban commanders

A Taliban commander responsible for bringing foreign fighters from Iran into Afghanistan was killed by local and international troops, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Friday.

The incident took place during a raid on an insurgent training camp on Thursday in Farah province, in the west, the NATO-led force said. The Taliban leader was identified as Mullah Akhtar.

The NATO-led command also reported a "precision" strike against another Taliban commander in the northern province of Kunduz. The NATO-led force said the Kunduz police chief reported the commander was killed in the strike, but Afghan and coalition forces are still gathering information to confirm the report.

That Taliban leader, who was not identified, "openly claimed responsibility for the July 2 vehicle-borne IED attack on a US AID station near the Ariana hotel in Kunduz which killed two civilians and wounded seven more," the NATO-led command said on Thursday.

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 16th, 2010
10:22 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Paul AllenPaul Allen

The Microsoft Corp. co-founder has pledged to give away most of his fortune to charity. "[M]y philanthropic efforts will continue after my lifetime," Allen said in a statement Thursday. "I've planned for many years now that the majority of my estate will be left to philanthropy."

Allen's commitment comes as two of America's richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, have invited fellow billionaires to give half their wealth to charity. The unusual initiative is being promoted through the website GivingPledge.org and is aimed at members of the Forbes 400, a list of the richest Americans.

Allen has donated more than $1 billion through personal giving and his foundation. The 57-year-old billionaire was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in November 2009, more than 25 years after he was treated for Hodgkin's disease, a spokesman at his company Vulcan Inc. said at the time.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Gates in the mid-1970s, was that company's chief technologist until he left in 1983, the year he was treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to the website for his Paul G. Allen Family Foundations. In March, Allen ranked 37th on the Forbes list of the world's billionaires. His net worth was $13.5 billion, according to the magazine.

Allen once said, "When it comes to helping out, I don't believe in doing it for the media attention. My goal is to support the organizations that need help."

CNN: Microsoft co-founder pledges to donate majority of fortune

The Giving Pledge


July 16th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

British government: Release of Lockerbie bomber a mistake

It was a mistake to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, Britain's ambassador to the United States said Friday.

The British government believes it was wrong to let al Megrahi out of prison and return home to Libya in August 2009, Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald said in a statement. The government at the time also felt the same way, he said.

The decision to release al Megrahi, however, was up to the devolved Scottish executive and the British government therefore had no power to stop it, Sheinwald said.

The ambassador's statement came a day after the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced it will hold a hearing July 29 to examine al Megrahi's release.


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Filed under: Libya • National security • Terrorism • United Kingdom
July 16th, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Rising pressure on BP well cap a positive sign

Pressure was rising Friday as BP continued testing its breached Gulf of Mexico well with no evidence so far that other leaks exist, said BP's Senior Vice President Kent Wells.

Wells said pressure was up to 6,700 psi (pounds per square inch) inside the well's capping stack. BP was looking for an optimal 8,000 psi, which would indicate that no oil was being forced out through a leak and that the well was undamaged and able to withstand the pressure of the cap.

The "well integrity test" began Thursday after two days of delays, first as government scientists scrutinized testing procedures and then as BP replaced a leaking piece of equipment known as a choke line.


July 16th, 2010
09:38 AM ET

On the Radar: Gulf spill, iPhone 4, 'barefoot bandit'

Gulf oil spill capped ... so far - For the first time in nearly three months, oil has stopped flowing into the Gulf of Mexico as BP proceeds with a highly anticipated test designed to measure pressure within its ruptured oil well.

The move is being lauded as a positive step, accompanied by a strong note of caution that the cutoff is simply part of the test, as BP and government experts assess how the well is holding up. The test got under way Thursday after two days of delays, first as government scientists scrutinized testing procedures and then as BP replaced a leaking piece of equipment known as a choke line.

iPhone 4 - After a decade of hit products that made Apple the cutting-edge darling of the mobile and computing world, the rollout of the iPhone 4 has been an atypical and ugly scratch on the company's glowing image. On Friday, Steve Jobs and his Cupertino, California-based company hope to set things right at a news conference expected to address the drumbeat of complaints, and bad press, about the iPhone 4's antenna. What is said at that event, analysts say, will go a long way toward determining whether the tailspin ends now or continues for weeks or maybe months.


July 16th, 2010
08:11 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - BP webcam of Gulf oil disaster

9:30 am ET - NYSE opening bell - Wall Street begins its trading day.

10:00 am ET - Obamas head to Maine - President Obama and his family depart from Andrews Air Force Base for a weekend trip to Maine.

2:00 pm ET - Replacing Robert Byrd announcement - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is expected to announce his pick to replace the late Robert Byrd in the U.S. Senate.

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

Filed under: On CNN.com today
July 16th, 2010
05:29 AM ET

3.6-magnitude quake rattles D.C. area

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake struck near the Gaithersburg, Maryland, area just after 5 a.m. ET Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The center of the quake was about 20 miles northwest of Washington, the USGS said.

"It was really loud, like a plane flying really low. I had never felt anything like it," said Anne Ngunjiri, 30, of Gaithersburg. "I was jolted out of bed. All my neighbors woke up. After it passed, I thought it could be an earthquake, and lay in bed hoping there were no aftershocks."

Judy Rudolph, 64, said she was writing e-mails in bed in Rockville, Maryland, when her house started to shake. "My first reaction was the noise.... I thought it was an explosion," she said. She said she'd never felt anything like it in her 31 years living there.

The last earthquake in Maryland occurred on October 8, 2007, according to the USGS website. It was a 1.7-magnitude quake about 5 miles northwest of Baltimore.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
July 16th, 2010
05:23 AM ET

World Update: Iraqi hotel blaze kills 29

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

Iraq blaze: Women, children and foreigners were among 29 people killed in a fire Thursday night at the Soma hotel in the city of Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, police and health officials said. Read more

Explosion in Mexican border town: Three people were killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday night, including two police officers and a paramedic, authorities said. A federal police spokesman said the blast was caused by either a grenade or a car bomb. Read more

UK troops claim: A man claiming to be the Afghan soldier who killed three British troops this week contacted the BBC to say he acted alone, the British broadcaster has reported. Read more