November 22nd, 2010
10:52 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Boy falls to death at Lakers game:  A young boy fell to his death from a luxury suite at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Sunday night, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Airport odyssey reveals how awful we are: For all the complaining that travelers do about airline and airport employees, watching these same travelers through the eyes of the airport workers can be embarassing. CNN's Jessica Ravitz gathers tales from airport employees as she travels through six American airports.

Couple's love still strong despite paralysis: Rachelle Friedman was paralyzed from the chest down after she was playfully pushed by her best friend into a pool at her bachelorette party six months ago.  She's maintained two goals during months of medical treatment and grueling outpatient therapy: Getting married and becoming independent.

JFK's agents reflect on loss of a president: After mostly avoiding the spotlight for decades, many of the former U.S. Secret Service agents who were assigned to protect President John F. Kennedy are now offering their accounts of the day he was assassinated, 47 years ago Monday.

Pat-down backlash grows during holiday rush: As backlash against airline passenger pat downs intensified with a viral online video, the nation's top airline security official said Monday that his agency is walking a fine line between privacy concerns and public safety.

Filed under: Most Popular
November 22nd, 2010
06:50 PM ET

Stocks slip amid reports of Wall Street probe

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

Bank worries drag down stocks

Bank stocks took a beating Monday after reports of a Wall Street insider trading probe, holding stocks back despite news of Ireland's bailout.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 25 points, or 0.2 percent, to end at 11,178.58. The index was down as much as 149 points earlier. The S&P 500 lost 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,197.84. The Nasdaq added 14 points, or 0.6 percent, to end at 2,532.02.

The declines were broad-based, with 22 of 30 Dow components ending in the red. Bank of America was the Dow's biggest loser, dropping 3.1 percent. Other bank shares - including Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo - also ended sharply lower.


Filed under: Business • Economy
November 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Report: Woman detained after falcons found in luggage

The eight gyrfalcons were swaddled in pillow cases and other cloth when customs officials discovered them at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Customs officials seized eight rare falcons at the Moscow airport after a woman tried to smuggle the wrapped, boxed birds out of the country, the International Fund for Animal Welfare reported.

The gyrfalcons were found in two cartons being loaded into the hold of a plane bound for Damascus, Syria, on Sunday, the group said. The woman who checked the cartons as her luggage was detained and released pending a court appearance.

“At least 100 wild gyrfalcons are smuggled out of Russia each year, primarily driven by demand from the growing popularity of falconry in the Middle East,” said IFAW’s Russia director, Masha Vorontsova, in a statement.

The fast and powerful predator is the world's largest falcon. It breeds in arctic and subarctic regions and preys primarily on large birds, according to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.


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Filed under: Crime • Environment • Russia
November 22nd, 2010
04:51 PM ET

Setback reported in search for New Zealand miners

A robot dispatched to peer into the New Zealand coal mine where 29 miners are trapped has broken down inside the mine, and families of the men are "extremely frustrated," police said Tuesday morning.

The military-operated robot was expected to be a key part of the search for any survivors. But Gary Knowles, superintendent of the Tasman Police District, told reporters Tuesday morning that the robot's operators told him the probe had stopped operating.

No one has heard from the men - ages 17 to 62 - since an explosion inside the mine around 4 p.m. Friday.


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Filed under: Mine accidents • New Zealand
November 22nd, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Cambodian minister: 339 dead in stampede

Military police examine the bridge where a stampede took place in Cambodia.

[Updated at 4:25 p.m.] Steve Finch, a Phnom Penh Post reporter, told CNN that the stampede at the water festival in Phnom Penh began around 10 p.m. Monday (10 a.m. ET), when police began firing a water cannon onto a bridge to an island in the center of a river.

The bridge was packed with people, and police fired the water cannon in an effort to get them to move, he said.

"That just caused complete and utter panic," he told CNN in a telephone interview. He said a number of people lost consciousness and fell into the water; some may have died by electric shock, he said.

Watch: "It was chaos," reporter says

Finch cited witnesses as saying that the bridge was festooned with electric lights, which may have played a role in the deaths.

The government denied anyone died by electric shock.


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Filed under: Cambodia
November 22nd, 2010
03:23 PM ET

F-16s scramble as private plane violates D.C. airspace

Two F-16 fighter jets briefly took to the skies over Washington on Friday after a small passenger aircraft violated the capital's airspace restrictions, according to military officials.

A portion of the White House grounds was briefly evacuated during the incident.

The passenger plane - a Cessna 182 - was escorted by the F-16s to an airport in nearby Manassas, Virginia. The Secret Service will interview the pilot, a spokesman for the agency told CNN.

- From CNN's  Shawna Shepherd and Mike Ahlers


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Filed under: U.S.
November 22nd, 2010
01:26 PM ET

St. Louis most violent? It's not so simple, expert says

St. Louis, Missouri, was ranked as the most crime-ridden city in the U.S.

Camden, New Jersey, has reason to celebrate today. It is no longer ranked as the most dangerous city in America.

Camden is now the second most crime-ridden city, second to St. Louis, Missouri, according to CQ Press, which annually publishes reference books based on academic and government data. The most violent city list is based on the FBI's 2009 uniform crime statistics covering murder, rape, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and vehicle theft.

According to CQ, St. Louis had over 2,000 crimes per 100,000 residents, compared to the national average of about 430 crimes per the same number of residents. For the second straight year, Colonie, a suburb of Albany, New York, had the least crime.

But such rankings tend to be oversimplifications, experts say. What's more, the FBI discourages using its stats to make sweeping generalizations about crime and whole cities, said John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Andrew Karmen. He specializes in crime statistics and has written extensively about how they can be manipulated or presented in a biased way.


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Filed under: Justice
November 22nd, 2010
12:41 PM ET

Man found guilty of murdering Chandra Levy

Washington intern Chandra Levy was killed in 2001.

[Updated at 12:41 p.m] A jury on Monday found Ingmar Guandique guilty of murdering Washington intern Chandra Levy in 2001.

He was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder. He now faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Guandique is already serving time for attacks on two other women in the park.

Ingmar Guandique now faces a maximum sentence of life without parole.

[Posted at 11:56 a.m] The jury has reached a verdict in the case against the man charged with the 2001 killing of Washington intern Chandra Levy.

It is expected to be announced shortly.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Ingmar Guandique faces a sentence of life without parole. The jury could instead find him guilty of second-degree murder, which could mean 20 years to life.

Earlier, attorneys made their closing arguments in the case against Guandique, who denies he killed Levy, then an intern for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"She's been waiting nine years for justice," said prosecutor Amanda Haines, holding up for the jury a poster-sized photograph of the smiling young woman. "It's been nine years, but you need to say the words 'Ingmar Guandique is guilty.'"

Levy's mother was in the spectators' gallery, and at times looked close to tears as prosecutors brought out her daughter's clothing, found at the crime scene in 2002.

Haines told the jury, "You have a roomful of corroboration" for the circumstantial case against Guandique.

That includes the fact Guandique is serving time for two other attacks on women that prosecutors say closely resemble the one that led to Levy's death, she said. Both of those attack victims testified during the trial.

- CNN's Kelly Marshall Smoot contributed to this report.

November 22nd, 2010
12:31 PM ET

Minnesota Vikings fire coach Brad Childress

The Vikings have given coach Brad Childress the axe.

The Minnesota Vikings have fired their head coach Brad Childress. A statement released by the team says he will be replaced by assistant Leslie Frazier.

It’s been a controversial and disappointing season for the Vikings who went to the NFC championship game last season. Childress had public disagreements with quarterback Brett Favre, and got in trouble with owner Ziggy Wilf when he didn’t tell him about his plans to release big-name wide receiver Randy Moss.

The last straw came yesterday when the Vikings were humiliated at home 31-3 by Favre’s old team and arch-rival Green Bay Packers. That dropped the Vikings record to 3-7 and virtually eliminated any chance of them making the playoffs this year.

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Filed under: Sports
November 22nd, 2010
12:31 PM ET

Trapped New Zealand miner, 17, was on job for one hour

Joseph Dunbar had celebrated his 17th birthday, local media reported.

One of the 29 people trapped in a New Zealand coal mine is a teenage boy who’d only been on the job for an hour when an explosion rocked the mine.

Joseph Dunbar had celebrated his 17th birthday last Thursday, according to news reports from New Zealand.

His mother, Philippa Timms, told the New Zealand Herald that she and her son had recently moved to the area on New Zealand’s southern island to get a fresh start in life.

"We moved here for Joseph, to give him a different life, a better life," the Herald quoted her as saying. Her son’s top goal soon became getting a job at the mine, she said.

"It was a turning point in his life, he was going a little bit wayward... He got offered this chance to have a career, and that's how he saw it," a story on the TVNZ website quotes her as saying.

The teen was supposed to start his new job on Monday, but he went into the mine for a get-acquainted tour on Friday and then asked to hang around for the rest of the shift, according to news reports.

"He wanted to stay there and see how everything operated. He just wanted to be part of it," Gary Campbell, Philippa Timms partner, told TVNZ.

An explosion rocked the Pike River mine around 4 p.m. on Friday. No one has heard from the miners since. Toxic gas was lingering and hampering rescue efforts. Rescuers were hoping to get a robot into the mine soon.


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Filed under: Mine accidents • New Zealand
November 22nd, 2010
12:17 PM ET

Wikileaks promises massive new document release

The whistleblower organization WikiLeaks indicated Monday that it is preparing to release a new batch of previously classified U.S. military documents.

"Next release is 7x the size of the Iraq War Logs," the group stated via Twitter. "Intense pressure over it for months. Keep us strong."

In October, WikiLeaks released nearly 400,000 U.S. military reports about operations in Iraq. In July, it released more than 70,000 reports from the war in Afghanistan.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said last month that the Defense Department has been bracing for the release of more secrets by WikiLeaks. Lapan said WikiLeaks has more Pentagon material beyond what the group's founder, Julian Assange, has admitted publicly to possessing.

The military has charged Pfc. Bradley Manning with leaking video to WikiLeaks, as well as downloading documents from military computers while he served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. Among the documents he is alleged to have taken are 150,000 diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks has denied being in possession of those cables.

Manning is currently being held at a military jail in Quantico, Virginia.

The Stockholm Criminal Court recently issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force.

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Filed under: WikiLeaks
November 22nd, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Eric Cantona

During his heyday, “King” Eric was known for shredding the backs of soccer nets and toppling the occasional teammate, fan or opponent.

Now, the French icon and Manchester United player of the century wants to deal out the same treatment to his nation’s banks.

Responding to the austerity protests in his homeland, the 44-year-old downplayed the effectiveness of picketing and suggested that, instead, protesters should spark a revolution by divesting banks.

“I don't think we can be entirely happy seeing such misery around us - unless you live in a pod,” he said in a recent interview. “Nowadays what does it mean to be on the streets? To demonstrate? You swindle yourself. Anyway, that's not the way any more.”

Cantona, however, was quick to dismiss violence as a way to effect change, which might be interesting to soccer fans who saw him karate kick a Crystal Palace fan in 1995.

“We don't pick up weapons to kill people to start the revolution,” he said, according to London’s The Guardian, which reported on his interview with a French-language newspaper. “The system is built on the power of the banks, so it must be destroyed through the banks.”

The idea is not Cantona’s, by any means. French activists have been calling for a December 7 bank run since at least October. A few Facebook groups have popped up in support, including one called StopBanque.

If you can stand a little naughty language and the English captions, you can watch Cantona explain the idea and the need for social and economic revolution on YouTube. But some say his prediction that mass withdrawals could bring down banks is a bit lofty. One economic expert told the BBC it’s not likely to work.


November 22nd, 2010
11:49 AM ET Jimmie Johnson's win streak, Islanders losing streak

Jimmie Johnson hoists his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

Jimmie Johnson made it five-for-five Sunday at Homestead when he beat out Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title. As’s Tom Bowles explains, it wasn’t just Jimmie Johnson’s on-track skills or crew chief Chad Knaus’ know how that locked in the historic victory. Johnson managed to capitalize on the mistakes of his two biggest rivals to outrace them in the final 69 laps.

The defending champ went into the concluding race of the Chase for the Championship 15 points behind 30-year-old Hamlin, who had notched an impressive eight victories during the season. Hamlin looked poised for quite the heated title battle until his No. 11 car made contact with Greg Biffle and was sent spinning into the grass. From that point on, Hamlin was never able to inch back into the top-5 or back into contention for the title. Harvick, who faced the greatest challenge in coming back from a 46 point deficit, saw his title hopes slip away after he received a penalty for speeding on pit road. With his main competitors ostensibly out of the running, Johnson was able to coast to a second-place finish behind Carl Edwards and win his fifth-straight championship. Though some will certainly complain about yet another Johnson championship, his fifth title undoubtedly solidifies him as one of the greatest drivers of his generation.

Here's a look at the action coming your way today:

Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers (8:30 p.m., ET) – The 4-5 Chargers will try to salvage their season tonight when they face off against the Denver Broncos.


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Filed under: Sports
November 22nd, 2010
11:15 AM ET

Pat down backlash grows during holiday travel rush

As backlash against airline passenger pat-downs intensified with a viral online video, the nation's top airline security official said Monday that his agency is walking a fine line between privacy concerns and public safety.

A short video clip circulating on the internet shows a shirtless boy receiving a pat-down from a Transportation Security Administration agent. His father watches, hands on his hips, obstructing part of the view. But the words playing in the background are clear.

"Are they harassing a kid?" one man asks.


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Filed under: Air travel
November 22nd, 2010
11:11 AM ET

Israel starts installing barrier on its Egyptian border

Israel started building a barrier along its border with Egypt Monday. The Israeli government says it is to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the country and to stop smuggling.

The 240-kilometer-long, $370 million barrier will be part fence and part surveillance technology. The project was announced in January by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "This is a strategic decision to ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel," he said.

The Israeli military estimates around 5,000 infiltrators entered Israel over the past year as well as 1.3 tonnes of hash and 130 kilograms of heroin. Israeli human rights group Hotline for Migrant Workers estimates 90 percent of those crossing the border illegally are refugees from northern Africa. The rest are thought to be migrant workers or traffickers of drugs and women. The barrier could take several years to build across some difficult terrain. Israel's former ambassador to Egypt, Eli Shaked, told CNN there is nothing political about the decision to build it.

"It is a necessity. It had to be done a long time ago. It is not something directed at Egypt," he said.

Israel has already built a controversial barrier separating the West Bank from Israel.


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Filed under: Israel • World
November 22nd, 2010
10:44 AM ET

On the Radar: Pat downs, gas prices and L.A. stories

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Travel trouble - This week is brought to you by the letter T - which stands for turkey, travel and TSA. Backlash against the Transportation Security Administration's pat-downs is swelling as millions get ready to travel for the holiday. Some of the criticism: A North Carolina cancer survivor recalls having to show a screener her prosthetic breast. There's video on the Web of a screener patting down what appears to be a shirtless child while his frustrated father looks on.

While Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, insists the system must change, the TSA chief John Pistole says pat-downs are necessary to stop weapon-smuggling terrorists. One reporter traveled more than 5,000 miles to see the situation from airport officials' point of view. And it wasn't pretty.

Gas prices up - If news about airport hassles makes you want to drive, know that there's hassle in that option, too.  Gas prices are about 23 cents higher than this time last year, clocking a national average of $2.87 per gallon for self-serve unleaded gas, says publisher Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey.


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Filed under: California • Florida • Justice • Justin Bieber • North Carolina • On the Radar • Ronni Chasen • Showbiz • Terrorism
November 22nd, 2010
10:19 AM ET

TSA pat downs get the full parody treatment

Taiwan's Next Media Animation gave the TSA pat downs the full animation parody treatment.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - but what about mockery?

It's something the TSA is battling as backlash grows regarding their pat down procedures - and they are getting the full treatment, a la Tiger Woods scandal.

No doubt there are very real concerns about the pat downs and full body scans: a flier had to show her prosthetic breast and just recently a video of a shirtless boy getting a pat down has gone viral. But that doesn't mean people are shying away from mocking the griping-about-groping issue.

From a "Saturday Night Live" skit, to a fake Twitter account and a Taiwanese animation mocking the outrage and procedure, the TSA is getting hit hard.

"SNL" couldn't shy away from the sexy side of the TSA pat downs. With music in the background that rivals the late night dating hotline treatment, "SNL" agents blow kisses, speak in porn star-esque voices and tout the full pat-down treatment.

And if "SNL" isn't an indicator the story has hit big time - leave it to Twitter.


November 22nd, 2010
09:57 AM ET

Saudi king on way to U.S. for blood clot treatment

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah left Monday for the United States for treatment of a herniated spinal disc and a blood clot that is causing him back pain, state media said.

The monarch's departure had been anticipated.

"The medical team recommended that that he leaves to the U.S. to visit a spine-specialized medical center in order to complete medical examinations and for follow-up treatment," Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah said during an interview Sunday with Saudi state television. "But I assure everyone that he is in a stable condition, and that he is enjoying health and well-being, and God willing, he will be back safe and sound to lead this proud nation."


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Filed under: Saudi Arabia
November 22nd, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Suspected U.S. drone strike kills 4 in Pakistan

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region on Monday killed four suspected militants, intelligence officials said.

The drone fired two missiles at a suspected militant vehicle near Mir Ali, North Waziristan, one of the seven districts in Pakistan's mostly ungoverned tribal region bordering Afghanistan, two intelligence officials

The officials asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the news media.

It was the 95th suspected drone strike in Pakistan this year, compared with 52 in 2009, according to a CNN count.

November 22nd, 2010
09:49 AM ET

Officials: Pakistan denies U.S. request to expand drone access

Pakistan has rejected a U.S. request to expand drone access to more of the country, two senior Pakistani military officials told CNN.

"Neither the government nor the military is in a position to face possible domestic pressure on the expansion of drones," one of the officials said.

Pakistan's military and its civilian government have, however, agreed to expand intelligence-sharing with the United States, including enhancement of intelligence using CIA officials in the country, a second official said.


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Filed under: Pakistan
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