The day's most popular stories
Chris and Shane Dronett, and their two children, Hayley and Berkley, in 2002.
April 1st, 2011
11:30 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

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

Ex-NFL player had brain disease: Former NFL lineman Shane Dronett's transformation from an affable prankster, quick to flash a wry smile, to a person who was often frightened - and frightening - was subtle at first. The tragic culmination of his pain came when he committed suicide in 2009 at 38.

GoDaddy founder under fire for elephant hunt: The CEO of on Friday defended an online video that shows him shooting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe.

12 killed in Afghan Quran burning protests: Twelve people were killed Friday in an attack on a U.N. compound in northern Afghanistan that followed a demonstration against the reported burning last month of a Quran in Florida, authorities said.

Last island prison in U.S. closes: For over a century the picturesque waters around McNeil Island had a job to do: they kept the inmates in. But after 135 years, Friday will be closing time at McNeil - and the water off its shores will no longer be needed to deter escaping prisoners.

Missing cobra found alive in Bronx Zoo: An Egyptian cobra that drew thousands of Twitter fans has been found alive after it went missing for days from a New York City zoo.

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Filed under: Most Popular
Overheard on When does an app go too far?
April 1st, 2011
06:23 PM ET

Overheard on When does an app go too far?

Comment of the Day: "Hide your faces, hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your husband, cuz they’re stalkin errbody out there!"–NokBaseball

Google making app that would identify people's faces

Who is that cute person across the room? A Google app in development would allow you to find out by snapping a photo, but only if the person in the snapshot had given Google access. In spite of this requirement, most of our readers thought this was a bad idea. Qwurky1 said, "Sexual predators and stalkers will love this app!" karleemonstr wondered, "Why can't Google just concentrate on being the best search engine company?"

Horseblinds said, “This app is perfect for those who would like to commit home invasion or other types of burglary. Even if your physical address doesn’t show up, you can spend a few dollars online and do a reverse name/phone # lookup for that." Klminnm said, "Not if, but when identity thieves get their hands on this app then nobody will be safe because they will be able to couple your picture to the info. This scares the hell outta me!"

have5cats said, "Even if I have checked 'no' to access, does anybody seriously believe that Google will then delete the photo? And what happens when somebody hacks into Google's database?"

kelliann3 said, "You get teenagers and older people who don't recognize the dangers and they opt in and then are killed, kidnapped, robbed, raped. Not everyone is computer savvy."

The story left many wondering whether privacy is a modern-day fairy tale. ArickM said, "Ahhh how cute, you guys thought that you had privacy before this. If you have been using the Internet for a while, then you have probably left quite a trail of personal info."

coming4u said, "Funny how for decades we somehow thought it would be the government collecting our personal information. Who would've thought us drones would willingly offer ourselves on silver platters?"

But according to AngryDeuce, "Cops already use it. I recall a story a few years back about them putting cameras up at a football game, scanning faces in the crowds, and identifying dozens of people with warrants out for their arrest. We're gonna be living in 'Minority Report' very soon." And 7veils said, "Normally this would make me upset about loss of privacy. But in my state the driver’s licenses all have pictures taken that the state has digitized for quick facial recognition."

JoeISP said, "It astounds me how people get excited as privacy dies. Clap clap clap, it's 1984." legman said, "Let's put up a website named "my social security" and see how many will put theirs on it!!!!"


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Filed under: iReport • Overheard on
Naval Academy expels more midshipmen for allegedly using 'spice'
April 1st, 2011
03:37 PM ET

Naval Academy expels more midshipmen for allegedly using 'spice'

Five more midshipmen have been expelled from the U.S. Naval Academy for allegedly using "spice," a mixture of herbs and a synthetic chemical similar to the chemical THC in marijuana.

Last January, CNN reported seven midshipmen had been expelled as part on an investigation of spice use at the academy. Now a spokesperson at the Academy confirms the number of expulsions has reached 12.

"There have been four male 2nd class (juniors), six male 3rd class (sophomores), one male 4th class (freshman), and one female 3rd class midshipmen separated in conjunction with this investigation (totaling 11 males, 1 female)," according to Jennifer M. Erickson, an academy spokeswoman.

The 3rd class female was the most recent separation. She was expelled Monday.

The investigation of spice use at the academy began last fall and is continuing.

"We will not speculate about any potential, additional expulsions," Erickson said.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy
Friday's intriguing people
Entertainer Billy Joel has canceled the publication of his memoirs, saying he'd rather look forward than back.
April 1st, 2011
02:27 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people


The Piano Man has surprised the entertainment and publishing industries by returning a substantial book advance and deciding against publishing his memoirs, the New York Post reported.

"The Book of Joel" was to be released by Harper Collins in June, CNN has confirmed. Yesterday, however, Joel announced the deal was off and the advance returned.

Joel has long struggled with alcoholism. In a February Rolling Stone interview, frequent touring partner Elton John chastised Joel for not getting clean.

Regarding the decision to shelve the book, Joel told CNN: "It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music."


For 20 years, the privately funded Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library played down Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal that led to his 1974 resignation.

Two years ago, however, the museum came under the auspices of the U.S. National Archives, and on Thursday, a newly renovated wing of the Watergate Galley was opened.

According to USA Today, the $500,000 makeover includes elements such as the lock-picking tools used to burglarize the Democratic National Committee's offices. It also features the microphones Nixon had planted around the Oval Office and the audio proving Nixon's role in the cover-up.

According to Tim Naftali, the library's executive director: "The public deserves an objective, nonpartisan museum for their money."


The state worker who'd faithfully spent $2 weekly on his office lottery pool, yet passed on it the time his colleagues won the $319 million Mega Millions jackpot, told the New York Post on Thursday he had only one explanation for his bad luck: "I didn't have two singles."


The New York Times reported Friday that the man once deemed Warren Buffett's successor at Berkshire Hathaway resigned this week after disclosing that he'd purchased some $10 million in shares of Lubrizol just days before Berkshire acquired it.

Sokol, called one of Buffett's brightest utility players, approached Buffett in January suggesting that Berkshire buy the lubricant manufacturer, the Times reported. During the conversation, Sokol also mentioned that he owned the company's stock. After Berkshire's $9 billion purchase, Sokol made a $3 million profit.

In a statement, Buffett expressed his support for Sokol and insisted he did nothing unlawful. He added, however, that he assumed Sokol had owned Lubrizol stock for years, not days.
mega millions numbers
Critics now wonder if Berkshire needs tighter controls. As Buffett himself wrote in a July 2010 memo to his managers: "We can afford to lose money—even a lot of money. But we can't afford to lose reputation—even a shred of reputation."

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Filed under: Most Intriguing People • Music • Showbiz
April 1st, 2011
01:37 PM ET

Jetliner makes emergency landing after passengers faint

An American Airlines 737 jetliner with 134 passengers aboard made an emergency landing in Dayton, Ohio, Friday morning after passengers became ill and at least two fainted, CNN affiliates in Dayton reported.

Shortly after American Flight 547 left Reagan National Airport in Washington bound for Chicago, two flight attendants reported feeling dizzy, WDTN reported, citing American spokesman Tim Smith. Pilots dropped oxygen masks in the cabin, but at least two and as many as four passengers fainted, according to the CNN affiliate reports.

Six passengers received medical treatment after getting off the plane in Dayton and two were taken to a hospital, WHIO reported. It said the remaining passengers were being held in a sterile room in the  Dayton airport.

The jet may have had depressurization problems, WHIO reported, citing an airline spokesperson.

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Filed under: Air travel • Ohio • Plane emergency landing • Travel
Child killed in school bus wreck
April 1st, 2011
12:28 PM ET

Child killed in school bus wreck

One child died and several were injured Friday in Bolivar County, Mississippi, when a school bus collided with a tractor-trailer on a foggy stretch of road, officials said.

The bus was carrying elementary-school and high-school students when the accident happened around 7 a.m. Friday, said Cedrick Ellis, superintendent of the Shaw School District, in Shaw, Mississippi.

A "younger child" was killed in the accident, said Dr. J.O. Trice, a deputy county coroner.

Ellis said the bus and a tractor-trailer loaded with gravel collided, causing both vehicles to overturn.

The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol is investigating, Ellis said. It was not clear if the fog contributed to the crash.

Filed under: Mississippi
Gotta Watch: Jessica Lynch then and now
Private Jessica Lynch is rescued by fellow soldiers April 1, 2003 at a hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq.
April 1st, 2011
11:27 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Jessica Lynch then and now

A terrified but brave young soldier was rescued by her fellow soldiers in an Iraqi hospital eight years ago today. You may remember Private Jessica Lynch's story as the first successful rescue of a female prisoner of war. We've put together some video that tells her story and where she is now.

Daring nighttime rescue – Video leaked several years after her rescue shows the moment when U.S. military came to her aide after being held in a hospital for nine days.

[cnn-video url=""%5D


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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Iraq • Military • Veterans
Several U.N. staff killed in Afghanistan attack
April 1st, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Several U.N. staff killed in Afghanistan attack

Several United Nations staffers were killed in an attack in northern Afghanistan on Friday, authorities said.

The attack happened at the operations center of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in Mazar-e Sharif, said Dan McNorton, a U.N. spokesman. It followed a demonstration, he said.

"The situation is still confusing and we are currently working to ascertain all the facts and take care of all our staff," he said.

A regional police spokesman said eight U.N. staffers were killed.

The United Nations' special representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, was on his way to Mazar-e Sharif to assess the situation, McNorton said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • World
Northeast snowstorm leaves tens of thousands without power
Snow slows traffic Friday morning in New Hampshire. More than 20,000 customers reportedly were without power in the state.
April 1st, 2011
10:43 AM ET

Northeast snowstorm leaves tens of thousands without power

An April Fools' Day winter storm roared into the Northeast on Friday, coating highways, closing schools and leaving tens of thousands without power.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for areas of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Some areas could get more than a foot of snow, forecasters said. Much of the snow was expected to be wet and heavy, the kind that can bring down power lines, the weather service said.

It didn't take long for that prediction to come true. More than 20,000 customers were without power in Massachusetts by midmorning Friday, according to The Boston Globe. A similar number were without power in New Hampshire, according to CNN affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester.

WMUR reported that 560 schools were closed in New Hampshire because of the weather.

As the storm approached Thursday, Central Maine Power Co. warned that it could be the worst in a series of storms that have battered the area this winter, CNN affiliate WGME-TV in Portland reported, because the spring thaw has loosened the ground, making it easier for trees to fall. The utility had 400 workers on standby to deal with weather emergencies, WGME reported.

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Filed under: Maine • Massachusetts • New Hampshire • New York • Vermont • Weather • Winter weather
Military families who left Japan can get thousands of dollars in monthly expenses
Military families from Japan arrive at Travis Air Force Base in California last week.
April 1st, 2011
07:45 AM ET

Military families who left Japan can get thousands of dollars in monthly expenses

Families of U.S. service members in Japan who voluntarily left the country after the March 11 quake are entitled to as much $21,225 in living expenses for their first month back in the United States, according to Defense Department documents and officials.

That amount, based on one adult, one teenager and one child under 12 who chose to evacuate to Honolulu, decreases to about $11,000 in months two through six the family spends in a "safe haven," the place the family has chosen to spend their time away from Japan. Military families were given their choice of destinations in the continental United States, according Eileen M. Lainez of the Defense Press Office in Washington, but evacuation to Hawaii and Alaska was considered on a case-by-case basis. Civilian dependents were given their choice of destinations in the 50 states.

The amount varies by location and cost of living and could be considerably less. While the family could get $21,225 the first month for staying in Oahu, Hawaii, and almost $15,675 if it went to Santa Barbara, California, it would be authorized $9,225 for North Dakota or rural areas of North Carolina, for example, according to Defense Department figures.


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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • California • Earthquake • Hawaii • Japan • Military • Natural Disasters • North Carolina • North Dakota • Tsunami • World
April 1st, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Watch Live for continuing coverage of the conflict in Libya and the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony hearing - Potential scientific evidence is the focus of today's hearing for Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Arizona • Barack Obama • Casey Anthony • Crime • District of Columbia • Earthquake • Energy • Environment • Florida • Japan • Justice • Natural Disasters • On today • Politics • Tsunami • U.S. • War • World
On The Radar: Northeast snow; last prison of its kind; jobless report
Snow is Greenfield, Massachusetts, was expected in January, but scenes like this could be repeated across the Northeast today.
April 1st, 2011
06:16 AM ET

On The Radar: Northeast snow; last prison of its kind; jobless report

Winter storm: It's no April Fool's Day joke - parts of the Northeast could get more than a foot of snow Friday as a nor'easter roars into the region.

The National Weather service has issued winter storm warnings for areas of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. As much as 14 inches of heavy, wet snow is possible in some areas, forecasters say.

Snow will stick to trees and power lines and,  with wind gusts of up to 30 mph, makes at least some power outages likely, the weather service said.

Island prison closes: McNeil Island Corrections Center in Washington state, the last island prison in the United States, closes on Friday.

The prison, which once housed more than 1,200 inmates, has been in use for more than a century, but its island location makes maintaining too costly, officials said.

Statue honors Tucson girl: A statue of an angel in honor of the youngest victim of January's mass shooting will be unveiled in Tucson, Arizona, on Friday.

Christina Green was born on September 11, 2001, and died on January 8 in the Tucson shooting rampage, which left six dead and 13 wounded, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The 9-foot, 11-inch statue incorporates steel from the Pentagon and World Trade Center. The rocks at the base are from the crash site of Flight 93. The statue will live at the Little League field where Christina played baseball.

Jobs report: The Labor Department on Friday releases its monthly jobs report for March. A CNNMoney survey of 18 economists forecasts an addition of 180,000 jobs in March, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.9%.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported 388,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week, CNNMoney reported.

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Filed under: Arizona • Economy • Jobs • On the Radar • Washington state • Weather • Winter weather