November 8th, 2010
10:26 PM ET

Collision puts scientists closer to grasping universe's origins

Scientists say they are a step closer to recreating the conditions at the birth of the universe and to understanding life as we know it, after the successful collision of heavy lead ions in a massive machine in Europe.

This week, for the first time, ions were smashed together inside the Large Hadron Collider along the French and Swiss border. Until now, only protons had been collided in the experiment.

The tiny particles' lightning-fast collision promised to produce temperatures up to 100,000 times hotter than the sun, said Michael Tuts, a professor in experimental high-energy physics at New York's Columbia University and one of hundreds of scientists involved in the project.

"What we're doing is reproducing the conditions that existed at the very early universe, a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang," said Tuts, referencing the cosmic explosion that many scientists believe spawned the universe from one minuscule particle.


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Filed under: Science
November 8th, 2010
10:18 PM ET

Exclusive: Flier says she warned about disguised man

A passenger on the Air Canada flight in which a young Asian man boarded disguised as an elderly man last month says she tried to warn the crew about the mask but was rebuffed.

Nuray Kurtur-Balas said she approached three flight attendants before take-off from Hong Kong, but nothing was done.

"I thought he was going to harm the plane," Kurtur-Balas, 35, told CNN. "I kept my iPhone in my pocket to call my family if something happened."

Officials said the man apparently boarded the plane wearing the mask and removed the disguise during a trip to the plane's restroom while it was in flight.


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Filed under: Air travel • Canada
November 8th, 2010
10:12 PM ET

'Wheel of Fortune' contestant wins with just 1 letter

Sometimes you get a good feeling about something.

That's what contestant Caitlin Burke, 26, said after her remarkable "Wheel of Fortune" solve that won her a Carribbean vacation.

With just one letter revealed - "L" - Burke correctly guessed the seven-word phrase: "I've got a good feeling about this."

Even Pat Sajak, the show's host, was shocked, according to video from Sony Pictures Studios.

"Wait a minute. Let me get over this first," he said, smiling. "Is it just me, or was that the most amazing solve we've ever had?"


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Filed under: Showbiz
November 8th, 2010
09:50 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Teen beaten to death at Georgia house party: Four Georgia teens accused in the beating death of a fifth teen at a house party appeared in court on murder charges Monday morning.

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds: For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate sugary cakelets and Doritos chips every three hours, instead of meals. His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most - not the nutritional value of the food.

Jurors: Man should die for deadly Connecticut home invasion: A man convicted of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a brutal 2007 home invasion should die for the crime, jurors decided Monday after nearly 18 hours of deliberation.

Amanda Knox to face slander trial: American student Amanda Knox, convicted last year of murdering her British roommate in Italy, was ordered Monday to face a new trial on accusations that she slandered police, her lawyer Luciano Ghirga said.

Elizabeth Smart says captor treated her 'like an animal':  Brian David Mitchell told Elizabeth Smart he wanted her from the moment he first saw her, Smart told a rapt jury Monday at Mitchell's federal kidnapping trial.

Filed under: Most Popular
November 8th, 2010
09:30 PM ET

Stocks drop; gold surges to record high

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

Stocks step down as gold steps up

Stocks ended lower Monday, as investors took a step back from last week's run-up and shifted their focus to the global economic picture.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 38 points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 11,406.84. The S&P 500 dropped 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,223.25, and the Nasdaq added 1 point to end at 2,580.05.


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Filed under: Business • Economy
November 8th, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Michigan assistant AG fired after blogging against student

A Michigan assistant attorney general who started a blog against the University of Michigan's openly gay student body president has been fired, the state attorney general's office said Monday.

Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell had taken a voluntary leave of absence earlier this fall after his blog garnered national media attention. Shirvell, a graduate of the university, took issue with what he called the student body president's "radical homosexual agenda."


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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Michigan
November 8th, 2010
03:25 PM ET

Wade Phillips out as Dallas Cowboys' coach

[Updated at 5:57 p.m. ET] Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed in a news conference Monday afternoon that Wade Phillips was out as the team's head coach, and that assistant head coach Jason Garrett will lead the team on an interim basis.

Jones also said he is elevating defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni to defensive coordinator.

"An in-season coaching change is something that I've not done before. It's something that I was reluctant to even consider as late as this this past week. But at this time I believe … what’s in the best interest of the organization and the fans is a coaching change," Jones said.

Jones previously had said that Phillips would finish the season as coach. But Sunday night's 45-7 loss to Green Bay - moving the Cowboys' record this season to 1-7 - helped Jones change his mind.

"I don't like the way [changing my mind] looks stability-wise as far as our organization is concerned – not my own self, but the organization – but I think [the situation] called for it, and I recognized that after the game that we just weren't playing winning football, and our best chance was to make this change," Jones said. "Now with that, I don't apologize to anybody about changing my mind."

Jones said Garrett would have a chance to secure the job long-term - especially if the team has success over the next eight games - and that Garrett has "the temperament [and] the disposition to affect a culture change."

[Original post] Wade Phillips is out as the Dallas Cowboys' head coach following an abysmal performance by the team against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, a CNN affiliate and ESPN are reporting.

Many people were expecting the move (some were demanding it), and the search "wade phillips fired" was trending No. 1 on Google on Monday afternoon.

America's Team is off to a 1-7 start, their worst since 1989, after a preseason full of Super Bowl hype. Fans and observers have placed the blame squarely on the team's coaches.

CNN affiliate KTXA in Dallas said offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, an assistant head coach and one-time Cowboys backup quarterback, will take the team's reins.


November 8th, 2010
02:23 PM ET

Smart's mother said younger daughter told her: 'Elizabeth is gone'

Looking "like a scared rabbit," Elizabeth Smart's younger sister awakened her parents early in the morning of June 5, 2002, with alarming news.

"Elizabeth is gone," 9-year-old Mary Katherine said, according to testimony Monday in the federal kidnapping trial of Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of abducting Smart eight years ago.

Lois Smart, the girls' mother, was the first witness to testify at the trial. She spent less than an hour on the witness stand, recalling how the family hired Mitchell to do odd jobs.


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Filed under: Crime • Elizabeth Smart
November 8th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

iReport daily challenge: #BeAHero for healthy kids

Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at

[Updated 11/8/10 at 12:10 p.m. ET ]

In response to yesterday’s challenge to “Be a hero for healthy kids,” we got tons of great suggestions for healthy kids’ snacks and meals. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Here are a few highlights:

-Dehydrated apples, bananas and tomatoes. "My baby granddaughter is almost two years old and she loves the fruit. It's about the only way she will eat fruit right now, besides baby food." –iReporter KCRep

-Red, White & Green Pizza Pinwheels: Whole wheat tortillas, marinara sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach. “Layer the sauce, spinach and mozzarella onto the tortilla, roll tightly and slice into toddler-size pinwheels." –Livsmum07

-Chicken pitas: Shredded chicken, sliced cherry tomatos, spinach leaves, sliced sweet peppers, bean sprouts, and a chipotle hummus all stuffed into a pita pocket. –KJ

-Fruit and veggie smoothies: “Bananas, strawberries and blueberries as a base, with Greek yogurt and then some carrots and spinach. The key is to balance the fruits with the veggies. I've never had a complaint about the smoothie yet.” –Katyna

-Peanut butter happy face sandwiches: "A tablespoon of peanut butter spread on whole grain, then add a face: apple slices lips and ears, banana slices eyes with raisin pupils and eyebrows, a baby carrot halved for a nose. Let the kids make their own combos, just provide the face parts as above. Other good face parts are orange slices, sliced pears, shredded cabbage or coconut (nice hair), celery sticks, nuts, craisins, dried cherries, apricots, figs, prunes. Just tell them to choose carefully that they have to eat whatever they pick!" –Cindy Lou

-Jazzed up popcorn: 1 bag unflavored popcorn, 1 cup trail mix, 1/2 cup coconut, salt to taste – Jill

-"My kids could live happily with quinoa in every meal. I make it in veggie or chicken broth seasoned with garlic & cumin. Add garbanzo, tomatoes, bell pepper or eggplant for variety." –@Denicalifornia

For more ideas, check out these healthy-food sites from our readers:


November 8th, 2010
12:57 PM ET

Houellebecq wins top French literary prize

Michelle Houellebecq won the Prix Goncourt.

Controversial satirist Michel Houellebecq received France's top literary award Monday.

"La Carte et le Territoire" (The Map and the Territory, published by Flammarion), Houellebecq's best-selling send-up of Paris' artistic society earned the Prix Goncourt, the prize committee announced.

Houellebecq is considered by many to be France's greatest living writer, and fans considered the Goncourt long overdue.

Critics are often taken aback at his frank descriptions of sex and his characters' morbid worldview, according to The Paris Review.

He also has been accused of misogyny and hatred of Muslims, charges he has done little to dispel, according to the review.

Houellebecq's other titles include "The Possibility of an Island," "Whatever," "The Elementary Particles," and "Human Presence."

Artists as varied as Iggy Pop and French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy have written songs based on Houellebecq's works.

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Filed under: Art • France • World
November 8th, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Alex Trebek

Clue: The 70-year-old Ontario native who has hosted “Jeopardy” for more than a quarter-century and who may set his sights on the Canadian governor-general’s office when his career in showbiz is over.

Answer: Who is Trebek?

More people are familiar with his career as clue handler on the long-running trivia game show than they are with his political ambitions, but that could change in coming years.

During an interview with The Globe and Mail in Toronto – in which he surprised the reporter with his knowledge of Canadian politicians - the once-mustachioed Trebek said he might seek political office five years from now.

“In five years, I will be ready to retire from showbiz,” Trebek told the paper. “And would I consider returning to Ottawa and being governor-general? Absolutely.”

Trebek was in Ottawa last week to receive a gold medal award from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his achievements in geography.

The society says that in addition to a busy television career, Trebek has hosted several student geography competitions, including the National Geographic Bee and the Geography Challenge.

Trebek’s familiarity with geography was doubtless augmented by his time as “Jeopardy” host and also by his philanthropic endeavors.

According to the game show, he has worked with World Vision to bring attention to the plights of children in impoverished countries, he adopted a village and helped build a school in Zambia, he traveled to Haiti to assist in relief efforts after the January earthquake and he supports The Smile Train, which provides cleft-palate surgery for poor children across the world. He also has done 12 USO tours since 1987.

“There are so many people who struggle on a daily basis just to get by. I feel extremely fortunate and have made it a priority in my life to help others who are in need,” Trebek has said.


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Filed under: Australia • Canada • Celebrity • Civil Rights • Courts • Gay and lesbian • Missouri • Most Intriguing People • Politics • Religion • Showbiz
November 8th, 2010
12:08 PM ET Raiders rise again

Sebastian Janikowski kicked the winning field goal in Oakland's 23-20 overtime victory Sunday over Kansas City.

The NFL's Oakland Raiders pulled out a 23-20 overtime win over division-leading Kansas City, putting the Raiders above .500 in November for the first time since Rich Gannon was calling the signals in 2002.

The Raiders trailed by 10 points at the half.

"In the past, a lot of Raiders teams would have folded in a game like today," Oakland offensive lineman Khalif Barnes said. "People would have been like, 'Same old Raiders again.'

"But this team, even when it was down today, it just kept doing what it needed to do on offense and defense and special teams. We just kept playing." FULL POST

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Filed under: Basketball • Pro football • Sports
November 8th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Jury recommends death for Connecticut killer

Steven Hayes, a man convicted of killing three members of a Connecticut family during a home invasion, should receive the death penalty, jurors decided after more than 16 hours of deliberation.

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Filed under: Connecticut • Crime • Death Penalty • Home invasion • Justice • U.S.
November 8th, 2010
10:54 AM ET

Gotta Watch: The presidential boogie

Every so often a president stumbles upon a moment that's destined for awkwardness. You can bet that moment usually comes in the form of dancing.

Over the weekend, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were both motioned onto the dance floor during their visit to India. The dance was a part of the Hindu celebration of Diwali.

We couldn't help but take a look back at another great moment in presidential dancing when President George W. Bush showed off his moves during a Malaria Awareness event back in 2007.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • George W. Bush • Gotta Watch • Politics
November 8th, 2010
10:27 AM ET

Thousands flee Myanmar into Thailand

Thai troops run for cover as fire from the Myanmar side of the Thai-Myanmar border spilled into Thailand on Monday.

About 10,000 people from Myanmar fled across the border into Thailand on Monday to escape fighting between Myanmar government forces and a splinter group of rebels of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, military and border officials told CNN.

The rebels and Myanmar forces clashed over control of the town of Myawaddy, which sits across the Moei River from Mae Sot, Thailand. The Thailand-Burma Friendship bridge connects the two towns.

Lt. Col. Vannathit Wongwai, commander of Thailand's 3rd Region Army, said Myanmar military officials told him they had retaken control of Myawaddy at 5 p.m. local time after bringing in 500 reinforcements to battle the Karen splinter group. FULL POST

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Filed under: Myanmar • Thailand • World
November 8th, 2010
10:20 AM ET

On the Radar: Obama trip, Smart trial, Conan

President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh embrace Monday in New Delhi.

Obama in India

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are in New Delhi on the third and final day of their visit to India.

The president has already laid a wreath at a memorial for Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and delivered a speech to Parliament.

The day will end with a state dinner with Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

The Obamas next will travel to Indonesia, then to the G-20 meeting in South Korea and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Japan.



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Filed under: On the Radar
November 8th, 2010
10:08 AM ET

World's tallest Jesus statue completed

Workers in Poland finished erecting the world's tallest statue of Jesus over the weekend, a 170-foot (52-meter) giant that towers over the countryside near Swiebodzin.

"This is the culmination of my life's work as a priest. I felt inspired to fulfill Jesus' will, and today I give thanks to him for allowing me to fulfill his will," Father Zawadzki said after the head was attached by a 700-ton crane, according to a report from the Warsaw Business Journal.

A crane places the head on the world's tallest Jesus statue this weekend in Poland.

The height of the plaster and fiberglass Polish statue surpasses the 40.4-meter (133-foot) Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the 39.6-meter (130-foot) Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to news reports.

Local officials in the town of 21,000 people hope it will be a tourist attraction.

"More people will visit Swiebodzin and leave their money," Radio Poland quoted Dariusz Bekisz, the mayor of Swiebodzin, as saying.

The cost of the statue was covered by local donations, according to the Krakow Post. It will be officially consecrated on November 21.

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Filed under: Art • Poland • Religion • World
November 8th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

Qantas: A380s grounded for 72 more hours

Qantas Airways' fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft will remain grounded for at least 72 more hours, the Australian airline's CEO said Monday afternoon.

The planes will not return to service until the airline is "100 percent sure" about their safety, CEO Alan Joyce said at a news conference.

Oil leaks have been discovered in engines on three planes, and investigations continue, Joyce added. The leaks were beyond normal tolerances, he said.


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Filed under: Air travel • Australia
November 8th, 2010
09:09 AM ET

Amanda Knox to face slander trial

American student Amanda Knox, convicted last year of murdering her British roommate in Italy, was ordered Monday to face a new trial on slander charges, her lawyer Luciano Ghirga said.

The trial is set to begin May 17, 2011, he said.

She and her parents are accused of defaming Italian police in the wake of her arrest for the killing of Meredith Kercher. Monday's hearing determined that there is enough evidence to try her for libel.


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Filed under: Crime • Italy
November 8th, 2010
09:03 AM ET

Obama backs permanent seat for India on Security Council

In another major sign of growing ties between India and the United States, President Barack Obama on Monday backed a permanent seat for India in the U.N. Security Council.

"In the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed U.N. Security Council that includes India as a permanent member," he said in an address to the Indian parliament.

The statement came as Obama made a wide-ranging address that envisioned closer economic and security ties between the United States and India, standing "shoulder to shoulder" with the world's largest democracy.


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Filed under: Barack Obama • India