September 21st, 2010
10:52 PM ET

Home invasion trial resumes with crime scene photos

William Petit testifies in the trial of the man accused of killing his wife and daughters.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing the wife and daughters of a Connecticut doctor and setting their home ablaze in a 2007 home invasion.

Steven Hayes is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, burglary and arson in the July 2007 deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley Petit, 17, and Michaela Petit, 11. Hayes and co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky - who will be tried separately - also are accused of beating and tying up Dr. William Petit and leaving him in the basement while they allegedly attacked his wife and daughters and ransacked the home before setting it on fire.

Hayes, who has pleaded not guilty, faces the death penalty. Public defender Thomas Ullman conceded in the defense opening statement that Hayes killed Hawke-Petit, but said that otherwise, much of what happened is still unclear.

“No one was supposed to be hurt,” he said. “What is known is that Steven Hayes kills and assaults Mrs. Petit… we concede much, but not all.”


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Filed under: Connecticut • Justice
September 21st, 2010
10:07 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.

Death of Denver Broncos wide receiver possibly a suicide: Authorities say Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley, who was found dead Monday afternoon in a Colorado home, appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lohan's probation revoked, warrant issued: A California judge revoked Lindsay Lohan's probation Monday and the actress was ordered to appear in court Friday, a court spokesman said.

Teacher who inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd name dies: Leonard Skinner, the gym teacher who inspired the name of the legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died.

Mom had 'feeling' something was wrong: Kylie McPeak, 6, was the picture of health up until a couple of years ago.

Men allege sexual coercion by pastor: Two Georgia men have filed a lawsuit claiming that a prominent Atlanta, Georgia, pastor coerced them into sex.

Filed under: Most Popular
September 21st, 2010
10:03 PM ET

Fed announcement on economic recovery causes stir

A look at the day's business headlines:

Stocks end mixed after Fed rally cools

Stocks ended the session mixed after giving up gains posted during a short-lived afternoon rally sparked by the Federal Reserve's signal that it will take any action necessary to support the recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 7 points, or 0.1 percent. Earlier, it had added as many as 79 points.

The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which had spiked about 0.5 percent, pulled back to finish 0.3 percent lower. The S&P lost 3 points and the Nasdaq slipped 7 points.

Stocks had been drifting lower for most of the session as investors awaited news from the Fed, which left interest rates unchanged near historic lows between 0 percent and 0.25 percent, where they have been since December 2008.

But investors looking for references to quantitative easing, the central
bank's recent policy of buying bonds to stimulate the economy, cheered after the Federal Reserve said it was "prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery."

Treasury yields fall after the Fed 
Treasury yields fell Tuesday, extending earlier declines, after the latest policy statement from the Federal Reserve raised bets the central bank could resume more aggressive purchases of U.S. bonds and notes later this year.

The central bank said that the economic recovery has slowed and that the pace of growth is likely to be modest in the near term. As expected, the Fed held its key interest rate at a historic lows between 0 percent and 0.25 percent, where it has been for two years.

While it did not announce any additional measures to aid the economy,
some investors viewed a change in the Fed's statement as an indication that the central bank is willing to resume buying Treasurys in earnest later this year. 

The yield on the 10-year note fell to 2.58 percent from 2.72 percent late Monday. The 30-year bond yield dropped to 3.79 percent, and the yield on the 5-year note slipped to 1.31 percent. The 2-year note's yield fell to a record low of 0.43 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

- reporters Julianne Pepitone and Ben Rooney contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy
September 21st, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Men allege sexual coercion by prominent Atlanta pastor

Two Georgia men have filed suit claiming that prominent Atlanta pastor Eddie Long coerced them into sex.

The suits, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex.

"Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," the suits allege.

Long is considered one of the nation's top black preachers. Long spokesman Art Franklin said Tuesday that "we categorically deny the allegations."


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Filed under: Church Abuse • Georgia
September 21st, 2010
07:43 PM ET

Official: Yemen launches fierce offensive against al Qaeda

Yemen has launched a wide-scale offensive against al Qaeda in the country's southeastern province, a government official said Tuesday.

The Yemeni government "dispatched forces backed by heavy weaponry, jets and choppers to surround a mountainous area," said the official, who asked for anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said the offensive was in response to a militant attack last week on a pipeline carrying liquefied natural gas. The official described the multibillion-dollar pipeline as a "lifeline of the region."

The official added that militants have occupied homes and barricaded themselves in. He challenged claims that 80,000 people had been displaced.


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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Yemen
September 21st, 2010
06:30 PM ET

Supreme Court rejects woman's death-row appeal

The  Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an appeal by Teresa Lewis to halt her execution in the state of Virginia. The execution is scheduled for Thursday night.

Lewis pleaded guilty to her role in the 2002 slayings of her husband and stepson in their rural home near Danville, about 145 miles from Richmond, Virginia. Two male co-conspirators - the triggermen - were given life in prison without parole.

Lewis and her lawyers had formally asked Gov. Bob McDonnell to spare her life, arguing she has an IQ that is borderline mentally retarded and that she was manipulated to commit the crimes by a dominant male co-defendant.

McDonnell on Friday rejected the request, and Lewis' lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court.


Filed under: Crime • Supreme Court • Virginia
September 21st, 2010
04:52 PM ET

FBI: Ft. Bliss gunman is retired Army sergeant

A retired Army sergeant is responsible for shooting two convenience store employees, killing one, Monday on the Fort Bliss military base in Texas, the FBI said Tuesday.

The man, identified as 63 year old Steven Kropf, of El Paso, Texas, was shot and killed by law enforcement on the base.

"It is not known whether the shooter had any relationship with either of his victims.  The motive for the shooting is still under investigation.  It has been determined this was an isolated criminal incident and not terrorism related," the FBI said in a statement released Tuesday.

The two female victims were brought to Beaumont Army Medical Center, where one was pronounced dead at the scene. She was identified as Bettina Maria Goins, 44, of El Paso, Texas.  The identity of the surviving victim will not be released due to privacy concerns, the FBI said.

Read the full story on

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Filed under: Crime
September 21st, 2010
03:22 PM ET

White House 'disappointed' with vote on 'don't ask, don't tell'

[Updated at 3:22 p.m.] The White House is "disappointed" at the Senate vote blocking the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, "but we'll keep trying," spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

[Posted at 3:04 p.m.] A defense bill that includes the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy failed to advance in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as Republicans closed ranks to keep the bill from coming up for debate.


The bill stalled on a 56-43 vote, four short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican-led filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, joined the opposition as a tactical move, allowing him to bring it up later.

Republicans stood united against the measure even though some GOP senators favor lifting the Pentagon's requirement that gays and lesbians keep their sexuality a secret. Republican opponents complained that Democratic leaders are limiting the debate and could have refused to allow GOP amendments to the broader National Defense Authorization Act, which included the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal provision.

GOP senators also disliked Reid's plan to add an immigration-related provision to the defense bill. Reid wants to tack on a measure that would provide a path to citizenship for students and soldiers who are children of illegal immigrants.

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Filed under: Military • Politics
September 21st, 2010
02:46 PM ET

Ex-city manager among 8 arrested in Bell, California

Robert Rizzo, former city manager of Bell, California, was making $787,638 a year.

Eight current and former Bell, California, city officials were arrested Tuesday in connection with a probe conducted by the Los Angeles County district attorney, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

High salaries paid to city officials sparked local outrage and national attention when they came to light in July. Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, Police Chief Randy Adams and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia resigned after media reports they were each making several hundred thousand dollars a year.

District Attorney Steve Cooley planned to speak to reporters about Bell on Tuesday afternoon.

Last week, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown sued eight current and former officials "to recover the excess salaries" that Bell officials were being paid. He also was pursuing a reduction of their pension benefits.

See CNN's full coverage


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Filed under: California • Crime • Economy
September 21st, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Where did waters part for Moses? Not where you think

An illustration based on new research shows how wind could have moved and split waters from two ancient basins.

The parting of the waters described in the book of Exodus that enabled Moses and the Israelites to escape the pharaoh's army is possible, computer simulations run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder show.

To test the theory that the biblical account may have depicted actual events, the researchers studied maps of the region, archaeological records and satellite measurements to find a topographical feature where such an event might have been possible. They settled on an area south of the Mediterranean Sea where some oceanographers say a branch of the Nile River drained into what was called the Lake of Tanis, a coastal lagoon 3,000 years ago.

The computer model shows a 63 mph east wind blowing across the area and its 6-feet-deep waters for 12 hours. In the scenario, the wind pushed back the waters into both the lake and the channel of the river, exposing a mud flat 2 to 2.5 miles long and 3 miles wide for four hours. As the winds died down, the waters quickly flowed back in and in theory would have drowned anyone on the mud flat.

“The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus,” said Carl Drews of NCAR, the lead author of the study published in the online journal PLoS ONE. (Read the full study)

“The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in.”

YouTube: Parting the waters, Part 1: The physics of a land bridge

Parting the waters, Part 2: Carl Drews on wind setdown research

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Filed under: Uncategorized
September 21st, 2010
02:04 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Kim Jong Un

North Korea’s Central News Agency has announced that the largest gathering of the country's main political party will take place September 28. The rare gathering is leading intelligence analysts to believe that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il may name his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, as his heir apparent — if not the next leader of North Korea altogether.

While the analysts were expecting such an announcement, what they don’t know is even more telling. Very little is known about Kim Jong Un, and few even know what he looks like.

In a report this month on National Public Radio, North Korea analyst Ken Gause gave an overview of the man known across the Demilitarized Zone as the “Brilliant Comrade.” Gause said that some details were provided by a book written under a pseudonym by — of all people — Kim Jong Il’s sushi chef. The book's title is “I was Kim Jong Il’s Cook.” Here are some details:

* Kim Jong Un is the son of a dancer who is either the “Dear Leader’s” third wife or his consort.
* He is approximately 27 or 28 years of age.
* He may have been educated at an English-speaking Swiss boarding school.
* Classmates say he likes skiing, Jean-Claude Van Damme films and Michael Jordan.
* He graduated from a North Korean military academy named for his grandfather.
* He became the Dear Leader’s No. 1 choice when his older brother, Kim Jong Nam, tried to sneak a trip to Tokyo Disneyland using a forged passport.

CNN: Rare N. Korean meeting set for September 28

NPR: A mystery man to lead North Korea?


September 21st, 2010
12:42 PM ET

Ahmadinejad blames capitalism for global woes

Attending a United Nations session on alleviating world poverty Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed capitalism for the world's woes.

"The demanding liberal capitalism and transnational corporations have caused the suffering of countless women, men and children in so many countries," Ahmadinejad said at a U.N. General Assembly session on the Millennium Development Goals.

"It is my firm belief that in the new millennium, we need to revert to the divine mindset, to our true nature for which man was created and, indeed, to the just and fair governance," he said.


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Filed under: Iran • United Nations
September 21st, 2010
11:44 AM ET

Student's 'DREAM,' last hope rests on Senate vote

Yahaira Carrillo and other students take part in news conference promoting the Dream Act.

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would be introducing the DREAM Act and a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as amendments to the defense authorization bill it sent shockwaves through political and immigration circles. Before those two additions can be voted on, the Senate must agree to close debate on the larger defense bill - something that may not happen.

GOP senators, in addition to frustrations with the possible “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, also dislike Reid's plan to add the DREAM act, an immigration-related provision to the defense bill.

The DREAM Act would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children. Under the bill, an individual would have to be of “good moral character” and either receive a college degree or complete at least two years of U.S. military service. Yahaira Carrillo is a college student who, while in high school, participated in Jr. ROTC, while dreaming of becoming a United States Marine.

“I wanted to be in uniform,” she told CNN, but she quit ROTC when a Captain-classmate warned that her undocumented status would bar her from joining the Marines.

The 25-year-old college senior is currently in deportation proceedings, but if the Dream Act became law she could earn U.S. citizenship.

“This is where I want to be.” Carrillo told CNN’s Dick Uliano. “I want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

Listen to Carillo's story here:

Or you can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports' podcast on iTunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Immigration • Politics
September 21st, 2010
11:09 AM ET

Florida cop, dispatchers fired for fake call - in name of love

A Fort Myers, Florida, police officer and two dispatchers were fired after an internal investigation determined that they made up a call to service - so the officer could sweet-talk his ex-girlfriend.

On August 9, officer Jason Moore called dispatcher Joeleen Jeffery and requested that they send his ex-girlfriend - also an officer - to a mall parking lot to check on a "suspicious person."

The call was recorded.

"The suspicious person is me," Moore told her.

"I'm putting that together," Jeffery responded.

When Jeffery got off the phone, she "speculated" to her colleagues that "maybe Officer Moore wanted to propose" to his ex-girlfriend, according to the internal investigation report.

Several officers responded to the mall thinking the call was real, the report says.


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Filed under: Florida
September 21st, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Vatican Bank investigated over money laundering allegations

Italian authorities are investigating the Vatican Bank over possible violations of money laundering regulations, the Bank of Italy told CNN Tuesday.

Another Italian bank alerted Bank of Italy investigators to two Vatican Bank transactions that did not appear to comply with anti-money laundering requirements, the Bank of Italy said.

When Bank of Italy investigators told legal authorities about the transactions, they were told that judicial authorities were already investigating the Vatican Bank, the Bank of Italy said.

The Vatican said Tuesday it is "perplexed and baffled" by the public prosecutor's actions, and that the Holy See aims for "complete transparency" in its financial operations.


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Filed under: Vatican
September 21st, 2010
10:06 AM ET

On the Radar: DADT vote, Ahmadinejad, chopper crash

'Don't ask, don't tell' vote - The outcome is too close to call for a key Senate vote Tuesday on whether to begin debate on legislation that includes a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The vote comes a day after pop star Lady Gaga spoke at a rally in Maine to pressure the state's two Republican senators - Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins - to join Democrats in overcoming an expected filibuster attempt.

Republicans appear united against the measure, including some GOP senators who favor lifting the Pentagon's requirement that gays and lesbians keep their sexuality a secret. The Republican opponents are upset that Democratic leaders have so far refused to allow GOP amendments to the broader National Defense Authorization Act that includes the "don't ask, don't tell" provision.

Iran's president at U.N. - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is among the world leaders scheduled to speak Tuesday at a United Nations summit on global goals to fight poverty, hunger and disease.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Iran • Military • On the Radar • World
September 21st, 2010
09:37 AM ET

9 U.S. service members dead in Afghan chopper crash

Nine U.S. service members in southern Afghanistan perished in a helicopter crash in what is now the deadliest year for coalition and U.S. forces since the battle against the Taliban started
nearly nine years ago.

The crash occurred in the Chopan district of Zabul province, one of the several turbulent southern regions where coalition and Afghan troops have been battling the tenacious militant group for years.

"There are no reports of enemy fire at the time the air craft went down," NATO's International Security Assistance Force told CNN. ISAF is investigating the incident.


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Filed under: Afghanistan
September 21st, 2010
09:33 AM ET

Rhino poaching ring busted

A total of 204 rhinos have reportedly been killed in South Africa this year.

Nine suspects in a major South African rhino poaching ring are due in court Wednesday after arrests Monday that targeted the leaders of a syndicate that sent the horns of the animals to the international black market, media reports said.

Among those arrested were two veterinarians who were believed to be the masterminds of the ring, according to a report from South Africa's Eyewitness News.

A game farmer and a dehorning specialist were also arrested Monday. Further arrests are expected, police said. "The arrest is a huge breakthrough. It came at the time when we are experiencing a huge outcry by our communities ... about rhino poaching," national police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told the South African Broadcasting Corp.


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Filed under: Africa
September 21st, 2010
09:04 AM ET

Alzheimer’s CEO: Disease as an epidemic, financial burden

A report out this morning calls Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia an epidemic and the financial burden is nothing short of crushing.

The costs associated will total well over $600 billion this year - one percent of the World’s gross domestic product. By 2030, those costs are projected to increase by 85 percent. Harry Johns, President & CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, joined CNN's "American Morning" to discuss the implications of the report and the growing difficulties in dealing with this disease.

Harry Johns: It's only going to increase [with] the aging of America and worldwide. Alzheimer's is not normal aging. As I know you realize, John, but it is the biggest risk factor of Alzheimer’s and going to drive the numbers substantially. Today, in America, we have an estimated 5.3 million people with the disease and that's going to go as high as 16 million by the middle of the century if we can't change the course of the disease.


September 21st, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Inglis on losing to Tea Party, where GOP went wrong

Christine O'Donnell’s surprise win in Delaware is sending shock waves through the GOP. O’Donnell is just one of several Tea Party success stories, which some say is threatening the existence of the moderate republican.

Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, who lost his primary in June to a Tea Party candidate, is now speaking out against the Republican Party. Inglis spoke to CNN's John Roberts on "American Morning" about where things may have gone wrong for himself and the rest of the GOP.

Bob Inglis: I don't think we build our party by distraction and we don't serve our country by division. The key here to pull together as Americans and to build on truth, especially to build a conservative movement, a credible conservative movement, build it on truth.

The truth is that the president is not a Muslim. He's - he was born in America. And he is not a socialist. He is left of center, I’m right of center. And, in fact, he might say very right of center. But that's okay. We can have a debate about real facts. We don't need to [be]making up things because as time goes on, that gets embarrassing when you're found out to have built something on false information and on scapegoats rather than solutions. The customer turns away and says you've got nothing for me because you're not delivering a solution.


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