July 28th, 2010
11:14 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Video catches alligator 'feeding frenzy': A voice heard on an amazing video of 300 feeding alligators says it all: "I ain't never seen so many gators in my life."

Judge blocks part of Arizona immigration law: A legal battle over a tough Arizona immigration law appeared certain after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday that blocked the most controversial parts of the law a day before it was to take effect.

NASCAR team owner hurt in plane crash: When NASCAR team owner Jack Roush crashed his plane at an Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport Tuesday night, the aircraft "cartwheeled" an undetermined number of times and ended up facing the opposite direction, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said Wednesday.

Missing teen thought to be with sex offender: A 19-year-old Kentucky woman who has been missing for more than a week is believed to be with a registered sex offender who has a history of kidnapping and unlawful confinement, authorities said.

No survivors in Pakistan plane crash: No one survived the crash of a Pakistani passenger plane that went down in the outskirts of the capital Islamabad Wednesday morning with 152 people on board, officials said.

Filed under: Most Popular
July 28th, 2010
10:11 PM ET

Putin gets patriotic with expelled Russian agents

What's a Russian prime minister to do when welcoming back 10 agents who were expelled by the United States? Sing a few patriotic songs with them, of course.

Ten agents whom the United States expelled this month after accusing them of spying recently met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. At the meeting, Putin joined the 10 in singing to live music, CNN confirmed Wednesday.

Among the songs they sang was "From Where the Motherland Begins," Putin told reporters, according to a transcript published on his website late last week.

"I am not kidding you. I am quite serious. And other songs of about the same content," Putin said.


July 28th, 2010
08:46 PM ET

Bear attacks leave one dead, two injured in Montana

Bear attacks on separate campsites in Montana left one person dead and two others injured Wednesday, according to wildlife officials.

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Filed under: Bears • Montana
July 28th, 2010
08:41 PM ET

Report concludes NY governor committed no crime

New York Gov. David Paterson should not face charges involving alleged attempts to cover up domestic violence claims against a former aide, a retired judge appointed to investigate Paterson's actions concluded in a report issued Wednesday.

Filed under: David Paterson • New York • Politics
July 28th, 2010
07:37 PM ET

Stocks, oil prices fall

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

Stocks fall on economic fears

Stocks fell Wednesday as a worse-than-expected report on durable goods orders and weaker quarterly results from Boeing and others added to concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 40 points, or 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 lost 8 points, or 0.7 percent. The Nasdaq composite lost 24 points, or 1 percent.


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Filed under: Economy
July 28th, 2010
07:20 PM ET

French couple held after bodies of 8 infants found

French national police Tuesday detained a couple after the bodies of eight newborn babies were found in northern France, some in a home and others in the garden of another home, the French Interior Ministry said.

Gendarmes found the remains in the town of Villers-au-Tertre.

Authorities scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning.

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Filed under: France • Justice • World
July 28th, 2010
06:36 PM ET

Shoulder-fired missiles a threat to US troops in Afghanistan

Among the 90,000 secret U.S. military documents posted on the internet this week by WikiLeaks are more than a dozen reports of possible attacks on Afghanistan coalition aircraft using heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles.

It was that type of missile that brought down numerous Soviet military aircraft when the Soviet Union tried to occupy Afghanistan in the 1980s.

But among all the reports, one day stands out: May 30, 2007.

In the first of three attacks on that day, an American CH-47 helicopter code named "Flipper" was, according to a leaked report, "engaged and struck with a missile." FULL POST

July 28th, 2010
06:29 PM ET

Leaks pose security concern for Afghans working with U.S.

U.S. military officials are assessing what damage could be done to intelligence contacts in Afghanistan after a number of names of local Afghans working with the U.S. military appeared on documents leaked by the WikiLeaks website, according to a U.S. military official.

A CNN review of the documents found numerous situational reports from troops in the field who name local individuals who either come forth with information or work with the military on a regular basis. References to such documents in this article are in only general terms.

The Pentagon has a team of military and civilian workers sorting through the tens of thousands of pages of documents on a 24-hour basis to see what fallout this may have for U.S. forces and those who worked with them, according to a U.S. military official who declined to be named because of the ongoing investigation. FULL POST

July 28th, 2010
06:14 PM ET

Justice Department reviewing reports of FBI test cheating

The Justice Department's office of inspector general has launched an investigation into whether large numbers of FBI agents may have improperly taken a test on guidelines for agents, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

During a congressional hearing Wednesday, Mueller was asked about reports hundreds of agents may have cheated on the exams, which focused on guidelines that limit surveillance, and he responded he did not know the precise number and is not certain the inspector general knows that number.

Mueller said the inspector general has told him about certain FBI offices where testing problems were "widespread, and it may be attributable to a lack of understanding and confusion about procedures." FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 28th, 2010
03:44 PM ET

Oklahoma county must pay up in Ten Commandments case

The Haskell County, Oklahoma, Commission has 10 years to pay
attorneys' fees of $199,000 after it was forced to remove an 8-foot-tall Ten
Commandments monument.

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Filed under: Oklahoma • Religion
July 28th, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Ansel Adams' grandson challenges negatives

Ansel Adams' grandson is unconvinced that several dozen glass plates found at a garage sale were photographic negatives created by the famed nature photographer.

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Filed under: Ansel Adams • Art
July 28th, 2010
02:09 PM ET

Toobin: What does Arizona immigration ruling mean?

A federal judge has granted an injunction blocking enforcement of parts of a controversial immigration law in Arizona that is scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton ruled the federal government "is likely to succeed" in its challenge of the legality of one of the most controversial sections of the Arizona law. That provision required police to "make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested" if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally.

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, spoke with T.J. Holmes on "CNN Newsroom" and offered his immediate reaction to the ruling and what it could mean for Arizona and other states.

What exactly did the judge rule?

The judge ruled that certain provisions are unconstitutional, but parts of the law she approved. The most controversial of which is the duty forced on law enforcement officers to determine if immigrants are people reasonably suspected of being illegal are in fact illegal. That has been struck down temporarily.

The judge said this - the requirement of law enforcement officials to essentially make all possibly illegal immigrants show their papers - is a violation of the separation of powers, a violation of federal sovereignty and federal control of immigration matters.

That argument was the one maintained by the Obama administration. Many civil rights groups argued it was simply discriminatory towards Hispanics.

The judge struck down the law on the ground that it was a violation of the federal control of immigration matters. That's why the controversial provision at least for the time being will not go into effect.

So what happens now?

Some of it will have to do with the legal strategy followed by the state of Arizona here. The state of Arizona could ask the judge to revisit the issue after more fact-finding. They could also go directly to the Court of Appeals - which is the next up in the federal court structure.

I think this is a case very much destined for United States Supreme Court. It is the kind of big issue relating to the responsibilities of state versus federal government on a very important matter, so it's likely, given how much attention this law received that other states will be passing similar laws. I think the Supreme Court will get involved probably next year. The issue that's up in the air is will the law be in effect while the appeals process goes forward? At the moment the answer is no - at least this one provision. But certainly an appeals process will begin. If not immediately, then soon.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
July 28th, 2010
01:23 PM ET

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits off coast of Oregon

The United States Geological Survey recorded a earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 off the coast of Oregon at 9:12 a.m. Wednesday, about 80 miles west-northwest of Barview, Oregon, and 197 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon.

The earthquake was about 6.2 miles (10 km) deep, making it a relatively shallow earthquake.

Lise Harwin, communications director for the Oregon Trail Chapter of the Red Cross, said the initial impact of the earthquake seemed minor. She said her agency has not been contacted for assistance.

No tsunami warning has been issued.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
July 28th, 2010
01:19 PM ET

Judge blocks part of controversial Arizona immigration law

A federal judge has blocked one of the most controversial sections of a tough Arizona immigration law, granting a preliminary injunction Wednesday that prevents police from questioning people about their immigration status.

That provision required police to "make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested" if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's ruling, in response to a motion filed by the federal government, came with scant hours to go before the law goes into effect.

Read the full ruling (PDF) | What does ruling mean?


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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
July 28th, 2010
12:52 PM ET

Tonga sends troops to Afghanistan ... for jobs

Tongan troops deployed to Afghanistan will come under the command of British forces.

The tiny Pacific nation of Tonga will be sending troops to Afghanistan later this year, in part to create jobs and address the islands’ unemployment problem.

A contingent of 55 Tongan soldiers is expected to begin service in Afghanistan in November, the first of 275 soldiers committed over a two-year period by the Tongan government, Matangi Tonga newspaper reported Wednesday.

The paper reported that Prime Minister Feleti Sevele had received a request from Britain and NATO for Tonga’s assistance in the fight against the Taliban.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Economy • Military
July 28th, 2010
10:48 AM ET

Pentagon: Leaked Afghan reports are not top-secret

American officials from the president down tried Tuesday to downplay the leak of tens of thousands of documents about the war in Afghanistan, a disclosure experts are calling the biggest leak since the Pentagon Papers about Vietnam.

Pentagon officials have not found anything top-secret among the documents, a Defense Department spokesman said.

"From what we have seen so far, the documents are at the 'secret' level," Col. David Lapan said. That's not a very high level of classification.

Lapan emphasized that the Pentagon has not looked at all of the more than 75,000 documents published on WikiLeaks.org on Sunday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Security Brief • WikiLeaks
July 28th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

100 days of the BP oil disaster: By the numbers

It's been 100 days since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, resulting in an oil spill that has become the nation's worst environmental disaster. Here's how the numbers stack up so far.


  • BP has spent more than $4 billion on response
  • $256 million paid to claimants
  • 82,567 payments have been made to claimants
  • Amount spent does not include the $20 billion escrow fund for claims, the $100 million going to the unemployed rig workers’ fund, or the $500 million establishing the Gulf Coast Research Institute


  • An estimated 3 to 5.2 million barrels discharged into the Gulf
  • 827,046 barrels collected or flared
  • 265,450 barrels flared in controlled surface burns
  • 825,525 barrels of oily liquid skimmed
  • 1,072,514 gallons of dispersants used


  • 24,800 people
  • 4,300 vessels
  • 800 skimmers
  • 114 aircraft
  • 3.41 million feet of boom deployed

CNN.com interactive of the oil disaster

July 28th, 2010
10:35 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

James Lee Witt

The Clinton administration’s FEMA director is slated to join BP to advise new CEO Bob Dudley on the company’s response to the oil disaster. Witt was appointed in June by Dudley to conduct an independent review.

Whether that report is complete is uncertain, but the Los Angeles Times now reports contract negotiations to hire Witt as a consultant are occurring.

From 1993-2000 Witt oversaw government response to the Oklahoma City bombing, the Northridge Earthquake, the devastating Midwest floods of the mid-1990s, and more than 300 other disasters. Since leaving government, he has advised Louisiana Post-Hurricane Katrina and recently traveled to Haiti with President Clinton.
Los Angeles Times: Gulf disaster a boon to Washington lobbying

ABCnews: BP Enlists Washington Elite to Help Image


July 28th, 2010
10:34 AM ET

WikiLeaks documents: What we've learned so far

U.S. Marines patrol southern Helmand province in Afghanistan.

Thousands of leaked classified documents published by WikiLeaks.org have given a rare glimpse into some operations on the ground in the Afghanistan war.

The firsthand accounts are the military's raw data on the war, including numbers killed, casualties, threat reports and the like, according to Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.org. CNN has been unable to confirm the documents are authentic. Our reporters are digging into the tens of thousands of documents to see what we can learn about the war, troop operations, insurgent attacks and tactical issues.

Here's what we've learned about so far:

Toll of enemy ambushes

Some of the leaked messages reveal a strategic pattern of hit-and-run ambushes by enemy forces operating in Afghanistan - attacks that the U.S.-led military coalition began to treat as routine occurrences.

The material details more than 530 separate incidents of ambush-style assaults. While likely only a fraction of the total number of such attacks, taken together they show that the U.S. and its coalition partners, along with a variety of Afghan military and security branches, were mostly helpless to prevent or anticipate them.


July 28th, 2010
10:22 AM ET

Pentagon focuses on 'main suspect' in Afghanistan leak

The Pentagon is focusing on jailed Army Pfc. Bradley Manning as the main suspect in the leak of tens of thousands of secret U.S. military documents related to the war in Afghanistan, a senior Pentagon official told CNN.

Manning, 22, is believed to have accessed a worldwide military classified Internet and e-mail system to download tens of thousands of documents, according to the official, who would not be identified because of the ongoing criminal investigation of the soldier.

The official said investigators now believe Manning logged into a system called the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, which essentially provides military members who have appropriate security clearances access to classified e-mails and the military's classified internet system. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Security Brief • WikiLeaks
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