October 13th, 2010
08:27 PM ET

Snooki to sign autographs for community service

Nicole Polizzi, aka "Snooki" from the reality show “Jersey Shore,” will be signing autographs this Sunday to comply with her sentence for disorderly conduct.

Polizzi is scheduled to appear from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Seaside Heights Community Center  to benefit the Associated Humane Societies, an animal rescue organization in New Jersey, and related charities.

The appearance is part of Polizzi’s community service sentence after pleading guilty to several violations after she was arrested in July. She was charged with disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance on the beach.


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Filed under: Justice • New Jersey • Showbiz
October 13th, 2010
08:19 PM ET

Last miner scheduled to emerge is group's captain

Luis Urzua entered the San Jose mine last August as a shift supervisor, intending to command his miners for about 12 hours. Sixty-nine days after a collapse trapped him and 32 others, he’s left as the man whose direction helped keep the group alive.

Urzua, 54, was the last of the 33 miners to be taken out of the mine in a rescue capsule, about a day after the first was rescued. He volunteered to stay in the miners' refuge 2,300 below the surface until all his men were safe.

As shift foreman, Urzua assumed command and control of the underground world that he and 32 fellow miners lived in since the collapse. His instructions to his men in the hours after the collapse - among them, to ration the little food and liquid that they had in a small refuge - are credited with keeping the group alive during the 17 days it took for rescuers to locate them with a probe and start sending them supplies.

He also kept the miners on 12-hour shifts and mapped out the area that was still accessible, dividing the space into work, sleep and sanitary areas, the Guardian newspaper reported.

"[He] is a leader in his field and has been for ages," Dr. Andreas llarena of the Chilean navy told the Guardian in September. "For a miner, their shift leader is sacred and holy. They would never think about replacing him. That is carved in stone - it is one of the commandments in the life of a miner."

Urzua told the Guardian for a story a few days ago that each miner played a part to keep the group functioning while it awaited rescue.

"We had to be strong, all the workers in the mine fulfilled their roles, as journalists, as spokesmen, and we worked hard for our own rescue," Urzua said.

His voice was the first that rescuers heard after verbal contact was made with the trapped miners in August. “We are well and hoping that you will rescue us," he said.

On Wednesday night with the entire world watching, his wish came true.

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped
October 13th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

Fort Hood hearing: Witness says shooter looked at him

Pfc George Stratton said he was at the processing center that November day getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. It was to be his third deployment.

"All of a sudden my ears started ringing, and I heard loud gunfire right in my ears. Round after round – pop! pop! pop! pop! pop! just like that," he testified.

Stratton says he dropped to the ground, and saw a fellow soldier lying on the ground near him, covered in blood. He stood up.

"As soon as I turned I saw Maj. Hasan behind me. He was holding an older-fashioned pistol. As soon as I looked at him, he brought his magazine up and loaded it. He looked straight down at me, we made eye contact, and he brought his weapon down toward me. I turned on him, and the weapon fired. It hit me in the left shoulder, my arm went limp," Stratton said. "I couldn't feel it at all."

Stratton says he then hit the ground, and crawled as fast as he could to the door.

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October 13th, 2010
04:29 PM ET

Fort Hood hearing: Soldier recalls blood, smell of sulfur

Testifying Wednesday afternoon, Spc. Amber Barr described how she and her buddies ran for their lives when the shooting began.

"I saw there was blood. I smelled sulfur in the air and I realized it was not a drill," she said.

"It was absolute chaos," she continued. "People just trying to shield themselves from the gunshots."

Barr said she and others managed to get outside and she helped half-carry, half-drag a friend to a nearby pick-up truck which took them and others to the Fort Hood hospital. It was only then, when she tried to sit down, she realized she herself had been shot in the lower back, she said.

Spc. Matthew Cooke told the hearing he was shot four times but was so charged up on adrenaline he didn't realize he had been wounded. He still carries bullet fragments in his body.

The military is holding an evidentiary hearing into the case of  Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of the Fort Hood shootings last November that left 13 people dead and dozens wounded.

October 13th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Embattled D.C. schools chief stepping down

Washington schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee announces her resignation Wednesday.

The chancellor of the District of Columbia's Public Schools announced she was stepping down Wednesday, after three and a half years as head of the troubled school system.

"The best way to keep the reforms going is for this reformer to step aside," Michelle Rhee said in announcing her resignation.

Her time in office included successes in the form of higher test scores for D.C. students and a win in the second round of Race to the Top, a federal education program that provides funds to states that have innovative plans in education.


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Filed under: District of Columbia • Education • U.S.
October 13th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

Midway through Chile rescue: 17 miners reach freedom

Editor's note: CNN.com is streaming live from beginning to end the rescue attempts at a Chilean mine where 33 men have been trapped since August 5.  Also, watch live coverage on CNN TV. Click here for full coverage of the Chile mine disaster.

Follow our minute-by-minute updates on the second half of the Chile mine rescues here.

[Updated at 1:13 p.m. ET, 2:13 p.m. Chile time] The capsule has been sent back down the rescue chamber and Esteban Rojas is expected to be the next man lifted out of the mine.

Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne briefs the press midway through the rescue efforts.

[Updated at 12:54 p.m. ET, 1:54 p.m. Chile time] Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne said they have to do some maintenance on the door because of wear and tear from sending it up and down - but there are no major problems with the rescue capsule.

"It is difficult to open and close but it is still working," he said, adding that he expects the capsule to be sent down for the next miner shortly.

Golborne praised all of the work that had been done so far to rescue the seventeen miners - faster than anticipated.

"We are already half way through," he said. "We haven't had any single incident within this rescue process."

Golborne said that there are five rescue workers currently down in the mine - and one more will be sent down in the next few hours. They will decide who that will be soon, he said.

He added he hoped the entire rescue mission would be completed by the end of the day. The plan is for the rest of the miners to be brought up one-by-one, followed by the rescue workers. The sixth worker, who hasn't yet been sent down, will be the final one to be brought up, Golborne said.

"Up until now we feel really satisfied with the teamwork," Golborne said.

Still, Golborne said, "We won't be fully satisfied" everyone is rescued.


October 13th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Condoleezza Rice

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making the rounds today, promoting her first memoir. “Extraordinary, Ordinary People” is the story of Rice’s upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama.

She has been sharing her thoughts about civil rights and politics, and USA Today captured on video another side of the former secretary.

Television: She watches a “little bit of news” and was a big fan of “V” when it ran on ABC. She also likes “American Idol,” though “Without Simon Cowell, I’m not sure it’s going to be so much fun,” she said. You won’t see her on “Dancing with the Stars” anytime soon. “That’s a real possibility for humiliation,” she said.

Music: The classical pianist is big on Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as Motown and R&B. Yet she has a special place for “hard, hard, hard rock like Led Zeppelin and Cream.” “Black Dog” is her favorite Led Zeppelin song.


October 13th, 2010
12:29 PM ET

Drone strike kills 3 in Pakistan

A drone strike killed three suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal region, Pakistani intelligence and civil officials told CNN Wednesday.

The incident occurred in the Data Khel area of North Waziristan.

The officials, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said the missiles hit a moving car and killed the people inside.

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Filed under: Pakistan • World
October 13th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

Watch issued for Florida Keys as Paula churns toward Cuba

Category 2 Hurricane Paula was brushing the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday and heading for Cuba, forecasters said,
triggering a tropical storm warning for portions of the Florida Keys.

As of 11 a.m. ET, the center of Paula was moving over the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba, the Miami, Florida-based National Hurricane Center said. It was located about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east-southeast of Cabo Catoche, Mexico, and about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

Paula was expected to turn northeast toward Cuba within the next few hours, forecasters said. Its eye was clearly visible on Cancun and western Cuba radar.


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Filed under: Cuba • Hurricanes • Mexico • Weather
October 13th, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Alabama is 50th state to join foreclosure probe

[Update 1:32 p.m.] Alabama has joined the other 49 states in a joint investigation of foreclosure practices by major lenders.

Alabama was not included in the original coalition of 49 states, but the office of Attorney General Troy King indicated Tuesday afternoon that his state would end its holdout and join the investigation.

[Original post] Forty-nine state attorneys general announced a coordinated probe Wednesday into improper foreclosures performed by the nation's largest loan servicers, but stopped short of calling for a freeze on all foreclosures.

The group will work to put an immediate stop to improper mortgage foreclosure practices, as well as review past and present practices by loan servicers and potential remedies.

The inquiry will be led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

"This group has the backing of nearly every state in the nation to get to the bottom of this foreclosure mess, and we plan to work together as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible," said Miller.

Alabama is the only state not participating in the investigation.


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Filed under: Business • Finance • U.S.
October 13th, 2010
11:56 AM ET

Fort Hood shooter 'was aiming at soldiers,' victim says

The first witness in the Fort Hood massacre hearing gave a chilling account Wednesday of how he and others were shot last November.

Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, speaking on the second day of the Article 32 hearing, said Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan pulled a weapon from underneath his uniform and began firing.

Hasan is charged with the murder of 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5 and the wounding of 32 others.

"I noticed the weapon he was firing had an infrared sight, like a laser sight on the weapon," Lunsford said. "He was aiming at the soldiers."


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Filed under: Crime • Fort Hood • Fort Hood shooting • Justice • Texas • U.S.
October 13th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

4.3 quake jolts Oklahoma

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake struck central Oklahoma on Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, but officials said no significant damage or injuries had been reported.

"At first I thought it could be an explosion," said Capt. Tom Easley, of the Norman, Oklahoma, police. "You think of the worst possible scenario."

Posters on the website of CNN affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City reported feeling the temblor in numerous locations.

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Filed under: Oklahoma • U.S.
October 13th, 2010
11:11 AM ET

Baseball's division series settled; football on tap

Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee celebrates his team's victory Tuesday over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Baseball's last division series wrapped up Tuesday night, as the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the deciding game, 5-1, and advanced to the American League Championship Series for the first time in franchise history.

Cliff Lee did his best Cliff Lee impression, turning in another masterpiece. Lee pitched a complete game while allowing just one run and striking out 11. It was his second dominant performance of the series and the second win he picked up for the Rangers. Last night, the Texas ace downed the Rays in 120 pitches - 90 of which were strikes.


October 13th, 2010
11:08 AM ET

Search to resume for missing N.C. girl; stepmom in court

After a brief break, authorities planned to resume searching Wednesday for a 10-year-old North Carolina girl as her stepmother appeared in court on an obstruction of justice charge related to the case.

Zahra Clare Baker was reported missing over the weekend, but authorities believe she could have disappeared a month ago.

The search lasted until about 3 a.m. Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate WSOC, and authorities plan to continue searching the same area after taking a break for a few hours.


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Filed under: Crime • North Carolina
October 13th, 2010
10:55 AM ET

On the Radar: Mine rescue, Mexico beheading, celeb splits

Chile miners rescue - The world's focus is on the rescue of 33 miners, a happy ending to a story that illustrates just how dangerous that job can be. Fourteen of the men who were trapped underground for 69 days had emerged as of about 10:28  a.m. ET Wednesday, greeted by the wild applause of their families and friends. See the San Jose mine where they had been trapped, in panorama. Celebrating their first moments jubilantly, some gave a thumbs-up and waved their nation's flag while others rushed to hug their loved ones. One dropped to his knees and prayed, another asked about his dog. One led the crowd in a cheer for Chile. The next step for these brave men is healing physically and mentally.

Mexico beheading - As joyous news continued from Chile, an investigation in Mexico has taken a gruesome turn. The lead investigator on a case involving an American allegedly shot to death in a waterway on the U.S.-Mexico border was beheaded, officials said. The head was delivered in a suitcase to a Mexican army garrison, according to Zapata County, Texas, Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr.

The body of the American man, David Michael Hartley, has not been found. Hartley's wife, Tiffany, told authorities that her husband was fatally shot September 30 during a sightseeing trip the two were taking on Falcon Lake, though she could not describe the attackers.

Celebrity split-ups - Christina Aguilera confirms that she has separated from her music producer husband, Jordan Bratman. Meanwhile, David Arquette hurtles toward TMI territory in telling Howard Stern about the breakup of his marriage to Courteney Cox.

Who will be next?

October 13th, 2010
10:35 AM ET

Judge clears way for sale of Liverpool FC

A British High Court judge ruled against the American owners of Liverpool Football Club Wednesday in their bid to stop the team's sale to a U.S. group.

The judge said Tom Hicks and George Gillett have no right to veto the sale and refused their right to appeal.

Hicks and Gillett had gone to court Tuesday to fight the team's acquisition by New England Sports Ventures, the owners of baseball's Boston Red Sox.


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Filed under: Football • Sports • United Kingdom • World
October 13th, 2010
09:46 AM ET

Hungary plant that leaked toxic sludge to reopen

The aluminum plant at the heart of the deadly toxic red sludge in Hungary will resume production at the end of the week, government officials said Wednesday.

The announcement came on the same day officials said a ninth person had died from the toxic spill. The red sludge leaked from a reservoir at the plant in Hungary and streamed through villages and into the Danube, Europe's second largest river.

The plant will be guarded by police and will be monitored by the government, the country's disaster relief commissioner said at a news
conference Wednesday.

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Filed under: Hungary
October 13th, 2010
09:33 AM ET

Species discovered in Madagascar

Researchers caught this Durrell's vontsira in 2004 and eventually determined it was an unknown species.

British researchers have identified a previously unknown mammal in Madagascar, and it's already endangered.

Researchers from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, London's Natural History Museum, Nature Heritage and Conservation International discovered the critter, which eats meat, weighs about 1.5 pounds and is the size of a fox squirrel. FULL POST

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Filed under: Africa • Animals • Environment • World
October 13th, 2010
07:51 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - Rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile

7:30 pm ET - Delaware Senate debate - Republican Christine O'Donnell and Democrat Chris Coons debate the issues on the campus of the University of Delaware.

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

Filed under: On CNN.com today
October 13th, 2010
06:04 AM ET

Eight hours of rescue brings eight miners freedom

Editor's note: CNN.com is streaming live from beginning to end the rescue attempts at a Chilean mine where 33 men have been trapped since August 5.  Also, watch live coverage on CNN TV. Click here for full coverage of the Chile mine disaster.

Follow our minute-by-minute updates on the continuing Chile mine rescues here.


Claudio Yanez hugs his girlfriend, who proposed to him while he was trapped, after emerging from the rescue chamber.


[Updated at 6:02 a.m. ET, 7:02 a.m. Chile time] Claudio Yanez' girlfriend  kissed the mining minister as he arrived at the top of the rescue chamber, becoming the eighth miner to emerge after being underground for more than two months.

Wearing glasses to protect his eyes from the change in light, Yanez ran towards his loved ones and engaged in a long embrace with his wife. He then went to hug his two daughters, the youngest who was crying and rubbing her father's back. He held his daughters as he went and thanked each rescuer one at a time.

[Updated at 5:55 a.m. ET, 6:55 a.m. Chile time] Claudio Yanez, the eighth miner, has arrived at the top of the rescue chamber,
His family, including one of his daughters stood near by with bright smiles on their faces as they awaited his arrival.


Claudio Yáñez is put into the rescue chamber.


[Updated at 5:44 a.m. ET, 6:44 a.m. Chile time] Claudio Yáñez, 34,  known as "the smoker" by the group because he asked for cigarettes during his time trapped in the mine, is being loaded into the rescue capsule.

The mining minister had sent him a note back saying he would sent nicotine patches instead, but Yáñez insisted cigarettes please be sent down. During his time trapped underground, his longtime girlfriend proposed to him through a letter, and he also begged officials to send down photos of his two daughters.

[Updated at 5:31 a.m. ET, 6:31 a.m. Chile time] The capsule has gone down to bring up Claudio Yáñez, who will be the eighth man put into the rescue chamber.


Jose Ojeda proudly waves the Chilean flag as he steps out of the rescue capsule.


[Updated at 5:22 a.m. ET, 6:22 a.m. Chile time] Jose Ojeda walked out of the capsule with a broad smile on his face and proudly holding up and waving the Chilean flag. Chants and whistles erupted from the site as he exited.

He then went to his stepdaughter, kissing her on the cheek several times, as tears streamed down her face. As he walked over to thank and hug the miners, some of whom were wiping tears from their face, he kept his arm firmly around his stepdaughter.

Ojeda, known for his short powerful note to the world signaling the miners were okay, served as the secretary of the trapped miners.