November 4th, 2010
10:43 PM ET

Defense seeks life sentence for Connecticut home invasion

The man who killed two sisters and their mother during a 2007 home invasion in Connecticut would suffer more if sentenced to life in prison than if put to death, his lawyer told jurors Thursday.

"Life in prison without the possibility of release is the harshest penalty," said Steven Hayes' attorney, Tom Ullmann. "It is a fate worse than death."

Ullmann then had his 47-year-old client stand directly in front of the jury, put his hand on Hayes' shoulder and said to the five men and seven women, "He isn't a rabid dog that needs to be put to death. He has lost 80 pounds. He will never have a private bath. He goes to the bathroom in public. He will never eat a dinner that he makes but one that they provide. He has a rec cage for an hour a day. Like an animal at the zoo."

As he stood, Hayes - who did not testify during the trial - looked down at the floor.


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Filed under: Connecticut • Crime • Home invasion
November 4th, 2010
10:41 PM ET

Gunman an apparent suicide in Florida hospital

A former employee who had recently been fired from Palm Bay Hospital returned there Thursday afternoon carrying a gun, holed himself up in an office, then apparently killed himself, officials said.

The incident began about 2:20 p.m., when Palm Bay police got a call from people in the hospital cafeteria who said a man was pointing the gun at anyone who tried to talk to him, said police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez.

"Initially, when he came into the hospital waving the gun, anybody that attempted to make contact with him or communicate with him he just dismissed and pointed the gun at them," she said. "Clearly, he appeared to be on a mission."

Earlier she had said that, during the police response, "we were told that shots had been fired," but "nobody was injured." But she later told reporters that those shots may have been the gunman taking his own life.


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Filed under: Crime • Florida
November 4th, 2010
10:41 PM ET

No survivors in Cuban plane crash

A domestic passenger plane with 61 passengers and 7 crew members crashed in central Cuba Thursday, state media reported. There were no survivors.

The Aerocaribbean plane was carrying 28 foreign passengers, state media said.

The plane was traveling from the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba and heading to the country's capital of Havana.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
November 4th, 2010
09:24 PM ET

Incumbent Patty Murray wins Washington Senate race

Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray has been re-elected to the Senate after her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, conceded.

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • Washington state
November 4th, 2010
09:08 PM ET

Indonesia volcano erupts again, more deaths reported

Hospital officials confirm 16 dead and 55 with severe burns from the most recent eruption by Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano Friday morning.

Read the full story on

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Filed under: Indonesia • Volcanoes
November 4th, 2010
08:46 PM ET

Bond traders jump in ahead of government buys

Stocks stage big rally, Dow spikes 2 percent 
U.S. stocks rallied Thursday, with all three major indexes finishing at two-year highs, as investors continued to cheer the Federal Reserve's announcement to pump $600 billion into the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 220 points, or 2 percent. The S&P 500 climbed 23 points, or 1.9 percent, and the Nasdaq rose 37 points, or 1.5 percent.

The Fed said Wednesday it will buy $600 billion of U.S. Treasuries by the middle of next year. The additional stimulus, referred to as quantitative easing, is the Fed's latest stab at lowering interest rates and combating deflation - a move it hopes will help prop the sluggish economy.


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Filed under: Economy
November 4th, 2010
08:34 PM ET

American Ballet Theatre returns to Cuba after 50 years

The last time the American Ballet Theatre performed in Cuba, Fidel Castro had been in power little more than a year and the United States had just begun covert operations aimed at taking down the burgeoning communist government.

Fifty years later, the New York-based company took to the stage Wednesday night in the Cuban capital's Karl Marx theater as part of the 22nd Havana International Ballet Festival.

The festival, which runs through November 7, will feature four performances by members of the company, including Cuban-born dancers José Manuel Carreño and Xiomara Reyes.


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Filed under: Cuba • Dance
November 4th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Illinois incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn wins re-election

CNN projects Governor Pat Quinn, who trailed in the final pre-election polls, the winner in the Illinois gubernatorial race.

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Filed under: Elections • Illinois • Politics
November 4th, 2010
05:25 PM ET

All-clear given for India-bound flight after emergency hold

[Updated at 5:25 p.m.] An all-clear was given early Friday for Delta Flight 70 from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Mumbai, India, after a full emergency had been declared due to an unidentified object in plane's cargo hold, according to a Mumbai airport spokesman.

[Updated at 3:40 p.m.] Delta has said the plane is an Airbus A330 and it was carrying 235 passengers and 12 crew members. The flight originated at New York's John F. Kennedy International airport before stopping in Amsterdam.

A spokesman for India's Central Industrial Security Force had put the number at 247 people earlier.


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Filed under: Air travel • India • Netherlands
November 4th, 2010
02:48 PM ET

German bank psychologically profiles customers

A Sparkasse bank customer uses a kiosk behind a poster on the bank branch's window.

A large German bank has come under fire for creating psychological profiles of more than a million of its customers, German media report.

Customers of Haspa, a division of Sparkasse, were labeled as "adventurers," "conservationists," "hedonists" and other categories based on interactions with bank personnel, German public broadcaster NDR reported.

Bank financial advisers were trained in how to persuade each personality type to invest in financial products, NDR reported.

For example, the "adventurer" is "motivated by risk, conquest and struggle," so "arguments should be strongly emotional, to trigger their sense of impulsive decision making," NDR reported.

"Hamburger Sparkasse are doing the opposite of helping their customers make responsible choices, by getting into their heads to manipulate them into make choices that are not really in their interest," consumer advocate Edda Castello told NDR.

The bank said it would halt the practice, German news service The Local reported.

Filed under: Uncategorized
November 4th, 2010
02:34 PM ET

Randy Moss' new home, Knicks take on Bulls

Just hours after being released by the Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss has found a new place to call home. The wide receiver was scooped up by the Tennessee Titans, which put a claim on Moss on Wednesday. Interestingly enough the Titans had passed over Moss in the 1998 but jumped at the chance to add Moss to their roster this time around.

So what gives? Why, despite all the questionable circumstances behind Moss’ departure from the Vikings, would the Titans be so willing to add the player to its ranks?’s Don Banks breaks down five reasons that Tennessee was willing to take a chance on Moss with just a few weeks remaining in the season.

Among the reasons: The Titans don’t have a wide receiver. OK, sure they have options, but with Kenny Britt down for the count after an injury in San Diego last weekend, Tennessee was in the market for a big-play impact player. Also, Jeff Fisher isn’t all that concerned with locker room nonsense. Given the maturity of his team and his experience as a coach, Fisher thinks that any Moss-related situation could be easily diffused.

Will the move pay off for the 5-3 Titans? That’s what Tennessee is banking on.

Up tonight we have some Top 25 college football and a match up between the Knicks and Bulls:

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m., ET) – 6-2 Virginia Tech will face off against 5-3 Georgia Tech tonight in Blacksburg. How the weather will factor into the game time action remains a mystery, but look for the Hokies to try and make the most of their home turf advantage.

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Filed under: Sports
November 4th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Hall-of-Fame manager Sparky Anderson dies

Sparky Anderson who managed three teams to World Series championships died today at the age of 76.

A family spokesman said Anderson died from complications from dementia at a hospice in Thousand Oaks, California.

Anderson managed the famed “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds teams to World Championships in 1975 and ’76 and the Detroit Tigers to a title in 1984.

He was the first manager to win World Series in both leagues and has the 8th most wins in major league history. He was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
November 4th, 2010
01:46 PM ET

Two men, Navy SEAL arrested for firearms trafficking

Three men, including an active duty U.S. Navy SEAL, have been arrested for allegedly selling machine guns and other firearms to an undercover law enforcement officer in Nevada and Colorado, the U.S. Attorney General's Office in Nevada told CNN.

The weapons part of the alleged firearms trafficking were machineguns smuggled into the United States by special forces military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nicholas Bickle, 33, of San Diego, Richard Paul, 34, of Durango, Colorado, and Andrew Kaufman, 36, of Las Vegas, were arrested Wednesday.

Court documents identify Bickle as a U.S. Navy SEAL assigned to a unit in the San Diego area. The machineguns were found to have a mark used by the Iraqi military to signify ownership, the the U.S. Attorney General's Office said.

If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and a $250,000 fine.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
November 4th, 2010
01:46 PM ET

Eugenie Blanchard, world's oldest person, dies at 114

Eugenie Blanchard, a nun, became the world's oldest person in May.

Eugenie Blanchard, considered the world's oldest person, died Thursday at 114, news agencies reported.

Blanchard was born in February 1896, the sixth of 13 children, on the French Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy, but moved to Curacao and became a nun in 1920, according to Le Figaro.
She was known by the nickname Douchy, a Dutch creole word translated "Sweets," because she often gave children candy to bribe them into religious studies, AFP reported.

Blanchard returned to Saint-Barthelemy at age 60 and had lived in a nursing home for the past 30 years. She was blind and unable to speak for several years but was not on any medications, according to Le Figaro.

A woman named Antisa Khvichava in the Republic of Georgia is said to be 130 years old, but her birth date cannot be independently verified, several news outlets reported.

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Filed under: World
November 4th, 2010
12:56 PM ET

Elizabeth Smart suspect wants change of venue; trial halted

Brian David Mitchell is seen a 2004 court appearance. He is accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002.

The suspect in the Elizabeth Smart case has filed a motion to halt his criminal trial while he seeks a change of venue, the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit confirmed to CNN on Thursday.

Brian David Mitchell was scheduled to go on trial Thursday, but filed a motion asking the trial be moved to another place. That means the trial will be stopped until the court reviews his request.

Mitchell, 57, is accused of snatching then-14-year-old Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint from her family's Salt Lake City home on June 5, 2002, a crime that shocked the nation and the city, which was then basking in the glow of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games a few months earlier.

Mitchell faces federal charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for improper purposes.

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Filed under: Justice
November 4th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Spacecraft has closest encounter ever with comet

A spacecraft survived the closest encounter ever with a comet on Thursday, tracking it just 435 miles from the comet's nucleus.

Mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, broadcast live coverage of the event on NASA Television's Media Channel.

The agency's EPOXI spacecraft is expected to acquire data with two imagers and an infrared instrument of a comet named Hartley 2 as it traveled at speeds of more than 27,000 miles per hour.

Scientists are still working to determine if there was any damage to the spacecraft as the comet passed by.


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Filed under: Space
November 4th, 2010
11:37 AM ET

'South Park' lampoons Nike, BP and LeBron

"South Park" spoofed the LeBron James ad -- this time with the help of a cartoon Tony Hayward.

You know you're on the right path when the makers of "South Park" have their sights squarely on you.

And they did that last night with the talk of the NBA season, LeBron James, who has taken the Heat, so to speak, in Miami and from the media after his lengthy and drawn-out decision process following his free agency.

And the hits didn't stop there. They kept on coming when James and Nike teamed up for an ad now famously known as "What Should I Do."

"What should I do?" James says in the ad. "Should I admit that I made mistakes?"

So leave it to Matt Stone and Trey Parker to kick it up a notch and spoof the ad in their latest episode of the Comedy Central animated series. And who better to be the new face of the "What Should I Do?" ad in their opinion - BP's Tony Hayward, of course. Watch the clip here


November 4th, 2010
11:29 AM ET

Boatloads of asylum seekers flood into Australia

In a 2009 file photo, Sri Lankan asylum seekers peer from their boat after being intercepted near Australia's Christmas Island.

Australian authorities on Wednesday intercepted two boats near Christmas Island carrying people seeking asylum, bringing the total number of people taken in this year to 5,547, Australia's ABC News reported Thursday.

The number of asylum seekers taken in during the current Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard now exceeds the record set in 2001 by John Howard's Liberal-National Coalition government, ABC said.

"Two more boats overnight - that's 116 for the year, it's 30 since the election," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said, according to ABC. "This is yet another Labor stuff-up, yet another Gillard mess."

Gillard defenders pointed to Howard's similar record.

Asylum seekers arrive in Australia from South Pacific islands, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and other countries, according to the Department of Immigration and citizenship.

Abbott's immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, also criticized the government's public release of training documents for immigration officials, calling them a "how-to" guide for passing Australia's asylum test.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen issued a statement saying the notes were released to comply with Australia's Freedom of Information Act, according to ABC.

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Filed under: Australia • Immigration • World
November 4th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

At least seven dead, 25 missing after Costa Rica mudslides

[Updated at 11:16 a.m.] Seven people died and another 25 to 30 were missing Thursday after heavy overnight rains caused severe mudslides in parts of Costa Rica, the nation's Red Cross said.

Another 600 people have sought refuge in 14 shelters, said the Costa Rica National Commission for Emergencies, commonly known as CNE for its Spanish abbreviation.

[Posted at 10:49 a.m.] At least two people died and another 25 to 30 were missing Thursday after heavy overnight rains caused severe mudslides in parts of Costa Rica, the nation's Red Cross said.

CNN affiliate Teletica TV reported that unnamed rescue officials said seven people had died. CNN could not independently confirm that figure.

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Filed under: Costa Rica • Weather
November 4th, 2010
11:08 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Victoria Kolakowski

Victoria Kolakowski, a candidate for Alameda County Superior Court judge in California, is holding a slight lead over opponent John Creighton and will become the first transgender judge in the nation if she wins.

The 49-year-old has been a lawyer since 1989 and has dealt with copyright, business and patent cases. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Kolakowski had sex reassignment surgery in 1991. When the state Supreme Court declared same-sex marriages legal there in 2008, she married her partner, a woman, the Chronicle reported.

On her website, Kolakowski said she wants "to be clear that I am not asking voters to elect me simply because I am transgender."

However, she said that her being transgender would help the community to "see people like me as respectable professionals and even colleagues, and not as 'freaks.'

"Therefore I am passionate about blazing this trail for my community," she wrote. "I have been very fortunate to have a successful career as a public servant, and I feel an obligation to serve my community as a role model as well."


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