August 12th, 2011
10:33 PM ET

Listeria contamination fears prompt two food recalls

A Canadian company has recalled 38,000 pounds of diced bacon products that may be contaminated with listeria bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday.

No illnesses have been reported from consuming the bacon, which came from Ontario-based Aliments Prince, S.E.C.

The recall is preventative, spokesman Richard Vigneault said. Most of the product is with distributors in North Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois. The company is looking into whether the product made it into stores.

Listeria contamination primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, often preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

The contamination was discovered during routine testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The recall applies to items with production dates prior to August 10, 2011, sold under the names Napoli, Stefano, Bellissimo, Olymel or Assoluti cooked diced bacon.

In an unrelated instance of listeria contamination, California company Fresh Food Concepts voluntarily recalled several layer dip products containing guacamole because the avocado potentially could be contaminated.

The contamination also was discovered in routine sampling by the Food and Drug Administration. The recall extends to products with a "use by" dates of September 16 and before, sold under the following names:

– Fresh Food Concepts 5 Layer Dip

– Delicioso 5 Layer Dip

– Rojo’s Ultimate 7 Layer Dip

– Rojo’s Supreme 6 Layer Dip

– Rojo’s 6 Layer Dip

– Fresh Food Concepts 5 Layer Dip

– Signature Café 6 Layer Dip

For more information on the recalls, contact the USDA or the FDA.

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Filed under: Canada • Food • Recalls
August 12th, 2011
09:54 PM ET

FBI searches Maryland home of man suspected in missing woman case

FBI agents on Friday night searched the Maryland home of the suspect in the recent disappearance of an American woman in Aruba, an agent said.

The search is occurring in the Gaithersburg residence of Gary Giordano, who is currently being held in an Aruban jail, FBI Special Agent Rich Wolf told CNN.

Agents, wearing vests that said FBI and carrying empty cardboard and plastic boxes, arrived about 8:40 p.m. Friday. About 15 unmarked cars could be seen on the street, as well as a Montgomery County police vehicle.

Supervisory Special Agent Philip Celestini, who was at the residence, declined to comment further on the search, citing the active investigation.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime • Maryland • U.S.
Saving the small town post office
The post office in Weston, Georgia, is one of many that the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing to cut costs.
August 12th, 2011
07:43 PM ET

Saving the small town post office

The U.S. Postal Service has published a list of more than 3,000 post offices it will consider closing to cut costs. Many of these closures would take place in small towns like Weston and Parrott, Georgia - neighboring communities about three hours southwest of Atlanta.

Residents of Parrott, a town of 158 people, have started a petition to save their post office. They cite a variety of reasons for wanting to keep it, including security, convenience and the identity the institution provides.

People want to know how they'll get their mail, stamps, packages, medicine and social security checks.

The postal service stands to lose $9 billion this year. Factors like a large drop in mail volume in recent years and the national economic downturn require tough steps to make the agency solvent, it says. However, it plans to listen to the concerns of people affected by closures at a series of public meetings set to begin in September.

Listen to the full story here:

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Filed under: Georgia • U.S. Postal Service
Marine to receive Medal of Honor next month
August 12th, 2011
07:37 PM ET

Marine to receive Medal of Honor next month

President Barack Obama next month will present the Medal of Honor to the first living Marine to receive the recognition for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq, the White House announced Friday.

Dakota Meyer was in Afghanistan's Kunar province in September 2009 when he repeatedly ran through enemy fire to recover the bodies of fellow American troops.

He will be honored during a White House ceremony September 15.

Meyer will be the third living Medal of Honor recipient from service in the current war theaters.

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Filed under: Marines • Medal of Honor • Military
Overheard on Social media didn't cause UK riots, people did!
Suspected rioter David O'Neill leaves court Thursday in London after posting bail on charges, including aggravated violence
August 12th, 2011
04:57 PM ET

Overheard on Social media didn't cause UK riots, people did!

Comments of the Day:

"Well now, isn't that a remarkably fascist comment by the prime minister."–jkINC

"Unfortunately, he does represent the people, who always give up freedom when they hear the word 'safety,' starting with speeding cameras, ending with Internet censorship."–Firstboss

British PM proposes social media ban for rioters

British Prime Minister David Cameron called in representatives of Twitter, Facebook and Research in Motion - makers of BlackBerry - to discuss how social media were used to facilitate the UK riots. "When people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them," Cameron said Thursday during an address to Parliament.

Bad idea, said most readers. Blackspeare said, "It would be better for the UK PM to look within rather than without for the root cause of the riots." Spearco said, " 'Shut down social media' is what you would expect from China, not England." wxmyjnsn said, "WOW! Blame social media instead of your own incompetence, a novel idea. Just how did all those riots in the past get organized?"

Greekgeek said, "The people who were organizing all this, as the Guardian quickly discovered, were using BlackBerrys to text each other directly, not social media like Twitter, Facebook. But don't let facts get in the way of trampling on the rights of others!"

truthordare said, "How appropriate that when a government feels threatened, the first reaction is to try to kill free speech. This is the danger in electronic media. It can be controlled." But DenverRalphy said, "Freedom of speech allows for criticism of government without fear of reprisal or censorship. It doesn't extend to incitement of criminal or violent behavior."


August 12th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Parts of health care law ruled unconstitutional

A federal appeals court has tossed out key provisions of the sweeping healthcare reform bill championed by President Obama, setting up a likely election-year showdown at the Supreme Court over the landmark legislation.

A divided 2-1 panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Friday found the law's "individual mandate" section, requiring nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties - was an improper exercise of federal authority.

"The individual mandate exceeds Congress's enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional," wrote Chief Judge Joel Dubina. "This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives."

Significantly, the court concluded even though that key section to be unconstitutional, the entire law need not be set aside. In fact, the judges said law's expansion of the federal Medicaid program was constitutional, since states - which administer it - would not bear "the costs of the program's amplified enrollments."

This appeal resulted from in a massive lawsuit brought by Florida and 25 other states opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Filed under: Health • Health Care • Health care reform
Casey Anthony must serve 1 year probation, judge rules
Casey Anthony must serve a one-year probation on a check-fraud conviction.
August 12th, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Casey Anthony must serve 1 year probation, judge rules

A Florida judge ruled Friday that Casey Anthony must serve one year of supervised probation for a check-fraud conviction.

Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. said Anthony has to report no later than noon on August 26, but that she can report earlier.

Perry also ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections is authorized to keep her address confidential to safeguard her well-being.

Anthony was cleared earlier this year of murder charges related to the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

But she was convicted in January 2010 of felony check fraud charges, after she admitted she stole a checkbook from her friend Amy Huizenga and wrote five checks totaling $644.25.

Anthony's defense attorney, Lisabeth Fryer, argued that Anthony completed the probation while she was serving time in jail waiting for her trial on the murder charge.

Prosecutors disagreed.

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Crime
August 12th, 2011
11:57 AM ET

Police 'put that dog down' after it kills pregnant California woman

Greg Napora of Pacifica, California, came home to a nightmare Thursday: His pregnant, lifeless wife lying on the ground, her face and torso injured from dozens of bites and one of the family pit bulls standing over her, according to CNN affiliates.

Though police say Darla Napora, 32, was pregnant, it's unclear how far along she was. Authorities responded to the suburban San Francisco home after receiving a call from the husband.

"When they arrived, they found the victim laying in her own front living room. She was not breathing, unresponsive and had major trauma to her upper body," Pacifica Police Capt. Dave Bertini told CNN affiliate KGO. "The husband stated that when he got home, at about noon, he found his wife with their pit bull hovering over her."

Kathy Carlson, 63, lives across the street from the white, single-story home where the attack occurred. She told the San Francisco Chronicle that Greg Napora was outside and visibly distraught when police arrived.

"He was in the driveway all frantic, yelling," Carlson told the paper. "He had blood on his hands, blood on his shirt and blood down his pants."

According to CNN affiliate KTVU, first responders tried to administer CPR to Darla Napora when the blood-covered 2-year-old male dog charged them. They shot the animal.


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Filed under: Animals • California • U.S.
August 12th, 2011
10:26 AM ET

Syrian tanks move into another restive town, opposition reports

Syrian forces moved into the town of Khan Sheikhoun on Friday, extending their crackdown in a province that has been one of the flashpoints of anti-government protests, opposition activists and human rights groups said.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency reported that government troops were fighting armed gangs in the embattled northwest province of Idlib, an acknowledgement by President Bashar al-Assad's government of military operations that human rights groups allege have resulted in the killings of civilians.

At least one woman was killed in clashes between demonstrators and Syrian forces, who rolled into Khan Sheikhoun at dawn with tanks and armored personnel carriers, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which cited reports from opposition activists in the city.

The identities of the opposition activists were withheld by the rights group at their request out of concerns for their safety.

And in the nearby city of Hama, where military units withdrew earlier this week, busloads of plainclothes security forces opened fire to break up anti-government protests after Friday prayers at local mosques, an opposition activist there told CNN. There were reports of casualties, but their number or severity was unknown, he said.

The activist said several volleys of gunfire were used to disperse worshippers at a mosque he attended and that similar incidents had occurred at other mosques.

CNN is not able to independently verify accounts of events on the ground or the death tolls. Syria has severely limited access to foreign journalists in recent months.

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Filed under: Syria
August 12th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

The stories of those who lost their lives in Chinook crash

Editor's note: For more details of those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan please visit our Home & Away interactive feature. You can also click on the names of those who died in the Chinook crash below to leave a message or memorial. You can also click here to learn more about each of those who died and what their family members had to say about them.

[Updated Friday at 7:53 a.m. ET] The U.S. Defense Department released the names of U.S. military personnel killed in Saturday's downing of a helicopter in Afghanistan.

Thirty-eight people were killed in that attack, eight of them Afghan military personnel. It was the single largest loss of life for U.S. troops since the Afghan war began in late 2001.

Of the 30 Americans, 17 were Navy SEALs.  Twenty-two of the dead were U.S. Navy personnel, the Pentagon said.  Fifteen were SEALs belonging to the top-secret unit that conducted the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan.  Two others were SEALs assigned to a regular naval special operations unit.

Five were so-called conventional forces with particular specialties who regularly worked with the SEALs. The other eight U.S. troops killed were three Air Force forward air controllers and five Army helicopter crew members.

NATO said it killed the militants responsible for the attack.  Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid rejected that, saying a NATO airstrike killed a separate group of insurgents.


August 12th, 2011
07:50 AM ET

Friday's live video events

As Wall Street looks to end a tumultuous week, all eyes are on Iowa as the GOP presidential candidates prepare for Saturday's straw poll. Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 am ET - Wall Street opening bell - One of the most unpredictable weeks in trading history comes to a close today.

11:30 am ET - GOP candidates at Iowa State Fair - Several GOP presidential candidates will speak to supporters today at the Iowa State Fair.  Expected to speak are Herman Cain at 11:30 am ET, Rep. Thad McCotter at 12:00 pm ET, Rick Santorum at 12:30 pm ET, Rep. Ron Paul at 1:00 pm ET, Tim Pawlenty at 1:30 pm ET and Rep. Michele Bachmann at 4:00 pm ET.


Filed under: Budget • Economy • Elections • Finance • Politics • Republican Party
On the Radar: Meteor shower, flash-mob curfew, custody death
The Perseid meteor shower in 2008.
August 12th, 2011
06:18 AM ET

On the Radar: Meteor shower, flash-mob curfew, custody death

Three things you need to know today.

Meteor shower: The Perseid meteor shower will peak for the year overnight, and NASA wants the viewing to be a shared online experience.

The space agency is hosting a live web chat beginning at 11 p.m. ET and lasting until 5 a.m. ET Saturday. Astronomers Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from the Marshall Space Flight Center will lead the chat.

While you're chatting, a camera on the Marshall Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will stream pictures of the night sky in search of meteors. NASA says because of a full moon, about 20 to 30 meteors an hour will be visible. Best viewing will be in the northern hemisphere.

The Perseids come from dust and debris left behind the Swift-Tuttle comet. Every August, Earth passes through the comet's debris cloud, and the meteors visible are bits of that debris burning up in the atmosphere.

Flash mobs: Youths in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, face earlier curfews Friday and Saturday nights in response to recent flash-mob violence in the city.

Minors under the age of 18 must not be on streets in Philadelphia's City Center and University City districts after 9 p.m. In other areas of the city, the curfew remains 10 p.m. for those under 13 and midnight for those under 18.

Violators will be taken home or to police stations and face fines of $100 to $300, Philadelphia police say. Parents of violators will receive a warning for a first offense and could be fined up to $500 for a subsequent offense.

A "flash mob"  is a group of people who decide to gather at a given place after organizing via e-mail and social media. The city blames the flash mobs for several assaults by teens on residents in recent weeks. The beatings have left people badly injured.

Police custody death: In a growing controversy over the death of a homeless man during an arrest, a city council in Southern California will meet Friday to decide whether to hire a consultant to review its police department.

Kelly Thomas died last month after what the prosecutor called "a violent and desperate struggle" with police officers in Fullerton.

The Orange County District Attorney and the FBI are investigating the incident, with the latter looking at civil rights violations.

The death of Thomas, a schizophrenic, has led to temporary changes at the local police department.

Police Chief Michael Sellers took a paid medical leave this week amid a call for his resignation from at least one council member.

Six Fullerton police officers allegedly involved in the "in-custody death" of Thomas have been placed on paid administrative leave, city officials said

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Filed under: California • Crime • NASA • On the Radar • Pennsylvania • Space