September 29th, 2010
10:56 PM ET

Student's apparent suicide linked to webcast of sexual encounter

A Rutgers University student who apparently committed suicide was the unknowing target of an internet broadcast showing him in a sexual encounter, New Jersey authorities said Wednesday.

Two other Rutgers students have been charged with invasion of privacy after they allegedly placed a camera in 18-year-old Tyler Clementi's dorm room without his knowledge and then broadcast lementi's sexual enounter, according to the Middlesex County prosecutor's office.

"If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university's standards of decency and humanity," Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick said in a statement Wednesday.


September 29th, 2010
06:55 PM ET

Stocks stumble at the close

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

Stocks stumble at the close

U.S. stocks ended slightly lower Wednesday, as uneasiness about the global economy continued to hang over the market and a light economic calendar gave investors little reason to jump in.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 23 points, or 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 fell 3 points, or 0.3 percent, and the Nasdaq lost 3 points, or 0.1 percent.


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Filed under: Business • Economy
September 29th, 2010
06:15 PM ET

American balloonists missing during race over Europe

Two Americans competing in an international gas-balloon race were reported missing Tuesday morning, hours after their balloon crossed Italy and went over the Adriatic Sea.

Race officials said they lost contact with the balloon of Richard Abruzzo of New Mexico and Dr. Carol Rymer Davis of Colorado, competing in the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, as it was over the sea shortly after 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET).

Severe thunderstorms were in the vicinity of the balloon – which launched from the United Kingdom on Saturday - when race officials received the last signal from the balloon’s tracker device, race flight director Don Cameron said in a written statement.


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Filed under: Colorado • Italy • New Mexico • United Kingdom
September 29th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

9/11 responders hope to finally get help with medical bills

[Updated at 3:59 p.m] A bill to provide health benefits for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks won approval Wednesday from the U.S. House.

The measure passed on a mostly partisan 268-160 vote. The Senate has yet to act on the issue.

Gabriele Pacino is a construction worker who took part in the clean-up after September 11.

[Posted at 7:47 a.m] A bill that would cover health care expenses incurred by thousands of first responders, clean-up workers and residents in the September 11 attacks and clean-up at the World Trade Center site is expected to come up for a vote in the House Wednesday.

The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was first introduced in Congress in February of 2009. The bill's sponsors want it to pay for long-term medical needs associated with chronic respiratory and digestive problems that doctors and researchers have linked to toxins at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks. The legislation would also pay for treatment of mental health issues and compensate people for economic losses.


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Filed under: Health • Politics • September 11
September 29th, 2010
02:21 PM ET

Obama takes economic road show to Iowa, Virginia

President Barack Obama tried to assure skeptical questioners Wednesday that the future for America is bright despite high unemployment as the nation slowly recovers from economic recession.

At the first of two town hall-style meetings in two states, Obama heard concerns from families in Des Moines about people out of work, health insurance reform, the cost of war, and allowing taxes on the wealthy to return to higher levels.

Beneath towering trees in the back yard of a suburban home, Obama acknowledged that times were tough but insisted conditions were improving and that the nation - especially its young people - would see better days ahead.

"I do want everybody to feel encouraged about our future," Obama said to applause at the end of the hour-long event, adding: "We've been through tougher times before, and we're going to get through these times."


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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy
September 29th, 2010
02:21 PM ET

Fort Hood: Four soldiers apparently killed themselves

Four soldiers from the Fort Hood Army base in Texas - all decorated veterans from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan - died in the past week, a Fort Hood spokesman said Wednesday.

In all four cases, it appears the soldiers took their own lives, spokesman Christopher Haug said.


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Filed under: Fort Hood • Military • Texas
September 29th, 2010
02:11 PM ET

U.S adds sanctions against Iran for human rights abuses

[Updated at 2:10 p.m.] Citing "mounting evidence" of repression of the Iranian opposition, the Obama administration added more sanctions against Iranian government officials, members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and others accused by the United States of being responsible for human rights abuses.

The sanctions, announced Wednesday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, block the assets of, and prohibit U.S. citizens from engaging in any business with, those on the list, which includes the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country's prosecutor general, and the ministers of welfare and intelligence.

"On these officials' watch or under their command Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed and killed," Clinton said. "Yet the Iranian government has ignored repeated calls from the international community to end these abuses, to hold to account those responsible, and respect the rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens."

"Today we declare our solidarity with their victims and with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights and their dignity and their freedom," she said.

Geithner emphasized the measures would not harm the whole country, rather the sanctions were designed to target those who engage in behavior that harms the Iranian people.


September 29th, 2010
02:00 PM ET

Preliminary 6.6 quake strikes Indonesia

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck Wednesday near the southern coast of Papua, Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake hit at about 2 a.m. Thursday (1 p.m. ET Wednesday) about 68 miles (110 kilometers) north-northwest of Indonesia's Aru islands, the USGS said.

No tsunami warning was issued. There were no immediate reports of damage.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as we get it.
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Filed under: Earthquake • Indonesia
September 29th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

MLB playoff clinchers, a $54k Cowboys payback dinner

The MLB postseason is beginning to take shape following a night of playoff clinchers.

Tuesday evening began with the Tampa Bay Rays and David Price locking up a spot in the AL by shutting out the Baltimore Orioles. Then, the New York Yankees secured a berth of their own by downing the Toronto Blue Jays. And finally, in the most climactic clincher of the night, the Cincinnati Reds won the NL Central in style off Jay Bruce's walk-off shot in the bottom of the 9th.

Only two playoff spots remain up for grabs: the winner of the NL West and the NL wild card. The San Francisco Giants hold a two-game advantage in the West, while the Atlanta Braves hold a slim 1 1/2 game lead in the WC. With baseball's grueling regular season coming to a close on Oct. 3,’s Joe Lemire breaks down the final week and the races that remain undecided.

Here are the games to watch on Wednesday (all times Eastern):

Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves (4:35 p.m. ESPN, SPSO, FS-F) The Braves have a chance to extend their wild card lead when they send Derek Lowe to the mound against the Marlins, who hope to play the role of playoff spoilers against their division foes.


September 29th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Netanyahu pledges commitment to peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. special Mideast envoy Wednesday that he is committed to reaching a peace agreement with Palestinians, according to a statement released by Netanyahu's office.

"There are many doubts and obstacles on the road to peace. Everyone understands that, but there is only one way to assure that we don't reach peace, and that is if we don't try and achieve peace," Netanyahu said. "I am committed and the government is committed to reaching a peace deal."

The statement from Netanyahu's office did not specify whether the end of Israel's 10-month settlement construction moratorium in the West Bank had come up in his conversation with George Mitchell, special Mideast envoy for the United States.


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Filed under: Middle East
September 29th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Tropical Storm Nicole forms, will bring heavy rain

This National Hurricane Center map shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Nicole.

Tropical Depression 16 has strengthened and formed Tropical Storm Nicole with maximum winds of 40 mph,  according to the National Hurricane Center.

However, the track for Nicole has shifted to the east, and the tropical storm warnings and watches have been discontinued for Florida.  Futhermore, the National Hurricane Center does not forecast Nicole to be a tropical storm past Thursday morning.

Heavy rain is still expected to affect the southeast coast beginning Thursday and through the weekend.

Five to 10 inches of rain are expected for the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Cuba, and isolated amounts of 20 inches are possible in higher elevations in Cuba and Jamaica. The rains could produce "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," forecasters said.

Four to nine inches are possible over parts of southern Florida and the Bahamas.


September 29th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Mike Rowe

Two years ago, the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" host launched a private effort to end what he called America's "war on work." He set up a website called MikeRoweWorks, and video-blogged about the way vocational schools were seeing their number of applicants decline, and how trade labor was being marginalized. Additionally, he talked about how there weren't enough welders, pavers, pipefitters and other skilled workers to keep America's bridges and roads from "literally falling apart."

Rowe's mission could reach critical mass Wednesday when he arrives on Capitol Hill with members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. They'll lobby Congress to pass a bill requiring that the federal stimulus funds directed toward transportation actually be spent.

Originally, a spokesman for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers told CNN that only three percent of the stimulus funds allocated to transportation infrastructure had actually been spent. That figure is incorrect. Of the $26 billion provided in stimulus spending to repair roads and bridges, not three percent, but 50 percent, has been spent, according to government figures.

It is because of this stimulus funding that the transportation construction industry is not in complete shambles, says Jeff Solsby of the American Road and Transportation Association. “The bottom line is the stimulus has been a lifeline for our industry, as without it many of our jobs would be gone” Solsby says.


September 29th, 2010
10:31 AM ET

Accuser's message for Bishop Eddie Long: 'You are a monster'

One of the young men who has accused a Georgia pastor of sexual coercion told Atlanta television station WAGA that he wanted to send a message to Bishop Eddie Long: "You are not a man. You are a monster."

"I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head, I cannot forget the smell of his cologne and I cannot forget the way that he made me cry many nights when I drove in his cars on the way home," Jamal Parris, 23, told a WAGA reporter who traveled to Colorado to interview him.

Parris - a former church employee and personal assistant to Long - filed one of four lawsuits last week accusing the Baptist televangelist of coercing young male church members into having sex with him.

Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, has said that the pastor "categorically and adamantly denies" the allegations, adding that they were "a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues."


Long's Attorney Craig Gillen said Wednesday that Long's accusers and their lawyers were unfairly trying the pastor in the media.

"The appropriate place to try lawsuits is in the courtroom," Gillen said. "There are rules on how civil litigation is to take place and how counsel should conduct themselves, we intend to follow those rules."

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Filed under: Christian • Georgia • Religion • U.S.
September 29th, 2010
10:27 AM ET

Official: Captured German citizen details terror plot in Europe

A man captured in Afghanistan has tipped off investigators to a potential "Mumbai-style" terror plot in Europe, a German counterterror source said Wednesday.

Investigators believe Osama bin Laden signed off on a European attack plan, a separate law-enforcement source said.

The potential plot is one reason for a dramatic increase in the number of missile strikes by unmanned drones against terrorist targets in Pakistan, according to a U.S. official.

The number of suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan jumped to 20 this month - more than in any previous month and twice the monthly average, according to a CNN estimate based on information from Pakistani officials.

A federal law enforcement official in the United States, meanwhile, said "the volume seems to be turned up" on the threat information coming out of Europe.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • National security • Terrorism • World
September 29th, 2010
10:22 AM ET

On the Radar: Long's accuser, Lockerbie, middle politics

Eddie Long preaches at his church and responds to allegations against him Sunday.

Long accuser speaks out - One of the young men who has accused a Georgia pastor of sexual coercion told Atlanta television station WAGA that he wanted to send a message to Bishop Eddie Long: "You are not a man. You are a monster."

Jamal Parris, a former church employee and personal assistant to Long, filed one of four lawsuits last week accusing the Baptist televangelist of coercing young male church members into having sex with him.

Lockerbie bomber hearing - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the circumstances surrounding the release of convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbasset al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison last year.


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Filed under: Apple • Church Abuse • Facebook • Georgia • Microsoft • On the Radar • Politics • Technology
September 29th, 2010
09:02 AM ET

Napolitano: 'We're always acting against plots'

Officials in the U.S and Europe said they have uncovered plans for an al Qaeda, Mumbai-style attacks, with gunman targeting what's been referred to as "soft" targets in Europe.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano responds to the reported threats and explains how the nation - and world - is actively trying to combat these type of plots on CNN’s American Morning.

John Roberts: What do we know about this plot in Europe? We know that there is an Afghan-born German citizen in U.S. custody in Afghanistan. What more can you tell us about it?

Janet Napolitano: Well, I can't comment to specific plots as Director Clapper said [Tuesday.] We don't want to imperil anybody, a source of intelligence or the many sources of intelligence we have. But I will say that we are working constantly to make sure the American people are safe.

And that includes plots against so-called soft targets like hotels but it also includes, for example, the reason I’m in Montreal which is really to urge and announce historic declaration among 190 nations of the world on aviation security which also obviously remained a target.


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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Terrorism • TV-American Morning • U.S. • World
September 29th, 2010
08:40 AM ET

DNC Chair on Fox News: They are 'pushing' for Republicans

President Obama is at the University of Wisconsin trying to rally the Democratic base as November elections near. In a newly published Rolling Stone interview, Obama called it "irresponsible" to paint the base as unenthusiastic. The magazine also asked Obama what he thought of Fox News. The president replied that the channel had a "very clear, undeniable point of view" that Obama disagreed with. Read the Rolling Stone article.

Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former governor of Virginia weighs in on CNN’s American Morning.

Kiran Chetry: The president brought it up or at least answered a question about Fox News. He called Fox news part of a tradition and point of view that were "destructive for the long-term growth of the country." We're in a unique situation where perhaps three out of four of the biggest names being bandied about for the presidency in 2012 under the GOP all have deals, contributor deals with Fox News channel. What is your take on how this is going to play out moving forward?

Tim Kaine: Well, you know, I think that they're taking actions as a company. And I go on Fox all the time. I think I should. I want to speak to all voters, but I think they are taking actions that at make people realize they're basically a promoter of one party, the GOP. When the Fox parent corporation gives $1 million to the Republican Governor's Association, which they did a couple of weeks ago, they're abandoning that even pretense of journalistic neutrality, which journalistic organizations, newspapers, TV stations, you know, fight to maintain. And so, you know, I assume what they are. When I go into Fox, I’m walking into the lion's den, I’m going to do my best. But they are clearly pushing for the other side. And when they have presidential-likely candidates, you know, who are paid contributors with them, I think that tells you who they're pulling for. It means we have to work harder basically.

For more on the donation to the RGA, read Politico's story.

Read more on American Morning's blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • TV-American Morning • U.S.
September 29th, 2010
07:37 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

Continuing coverage - Tropical Depression 16 tracker

9:00 am ET - U.N. General Assembly - Final day of general debate at the United Nations General Assembly.

10:00 am ET - Pan Am bomber release hearing - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the circumstances surrounding last year’s release of the convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber.


Filed under: On today
September 29th, 2010
07:02 AM ET

World update: U.S. warns Europe of terror attacks

An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on the stories we're following on Wednesday:

Official: German citizen details plot: U.S. officials warn of potential "Mumbai-style" terror plots across Europe in which gunmen would create as many casualties and as much chaos as possible against soft targets.

Austerity protests: Unions have planned a day of demonstrations across Europe to express anger at austerity measures adopted across the continent. The protests coincide with a general strike in Spain.

Drill at halfway point: The rescue drill attempting to reach 33 trapped miners in Chile has reached its midway point, sparking celebrations among rescuers and those waiting on the surface.

Kremlin vs. mayor: Ousted Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has accused the Kremlin of promoting the repression of freedom of expression after he was sacked by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian media report.