Update: Weight up, cholesterol up for man who lost 27 pounds on Twinkie diet
August 30th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Update: Weight up, cholesterol up for man who lost 27 pounds on Twinkie diet

Nutrition professor Mark Haub, who lost 27 pounds eating mainly Twinkies, powdered donuts and Oreo cookies, is back to an average American diet.

Since ending his junk food experiment in November, he has gained 2 pounds and his cholesterol has also increased a little bit, he said. He also has gained a new insight into the debate over healthy eating.

"People have a hatred towards (processed) foods," he said. "I like them. I eat them. It's amazing how people believe if it's processed, it's not food."

What also caught Haub by surprise was "how vitriolic people can be when they take a stance, whether it's low-carb or paleo diet. It's like politics. Those discussions can get heated. It's the same thing with religion, I'm right. You're wrong."

Last fall, Haub shed 13% of his weight over two months restricting his diet to 1,600 calories while eating "junk food." Surprisingly, his cholesterol readings improved and his level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, decreased. This could have been explained by the decreased consumption of calories.

November 8, 2010: Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

Today he eats three meals a day, consuming about 2,200 calories with food choices like turkey sandwiches, peanut butter, and snacking on pears.

"The main thing I did was reduce portion size," he said about what he learned from the diet. "It's that concept of mindfulness or mindful eating - I eat relatively the same. I just eat less."

And he still munches on an occasional Twinkie or snack cake.

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Filed under: Food • Health • Nutrition
August 30th, 2011
02:48 PM ET

Janet Jackson: Michael tribute is 'too difficult for me'

Janet Jackson joined brothers Jermaine and Randy on Tuesday in opposing the October tribute concert for Michael Jackson because it takes place during the trial of the doctor charged in their brother's death.

While Janet Jackson stopped short of criticizing the promoters or other members of her family who support the tribute, she did put to rest any rumors that she would perform in it.

"Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me," she said in a statement sent to CNN by her representative Tuesday.

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Filed under: Michael Jackson
August 30th, 2011
12:26 PM ET

Faulty weld caused 2010 California pipeline blast, feds say

A faulty weld was the cause of the 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people outside San Francisco, but the problem should have been caught long before the blast, federal safety officials concluded in a scathing report Tuesday.

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Filed under: California
Acting director of ATF reassigned
Kenneth Melson will become a Department of Justice senior adviser on domestic issues.
August 30th, 2011
12:20 PM ET

Acting director of ATF reassigned

Kenneth Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who came under criticism for the "Fast and Furious" program involving illegal weapons sales, is being reassigned to the Department of Justice as a senior adviser on forensic issues, the department announced Tuesday.

The announcement said that Todd Jones, a U.S. attorney from Minnesota, will become the acting director of ATF.

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Filed under: Politics
August 30th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

Officials: Floods kill at least 25 in southwest Nigeria

At least 25 people were killed in flooding that hit the city of Ibadan in southwestern Nigeria over the weekend, the Nigerian Red Cross said Tuesday.

More victims could still be found in remote areas that rescue teams have not reached, the government's National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement released Monday.

Visiting the area, the agency's chief, Alhaji Muhammad Sidi, was shocked by the devastation and said the flooding was some of the worst the country had seen in recent times, the statement said.

The government is delivering aid to people displaced by the flooding in Ibadan and surrounding areas in Oyo state, the agency said.

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Filed under: Nigeria
Outer Banks highway faces extensive, costly repairs - again
Hurricane Irene breached North Carolina Highway 12, cutting off road access to Hatteras Island.
August 30th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Outer Banks highway faces extensive, costly repairs - again

Hurricane Irene severed North Carolina Highway 12, the route that connects the islands of the Outer Banks, in four places, raising questions about how many times taxpayers will have to pony up to fix the roadway.

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel cut a gap in the road that took two months and $5 million to fix, according to a report in the Raleigh News & Observer. This time, the damage to the road is worse, officials said.

(See a North Carolina Department of Transportation map of the breaches.)

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue told CNN affiliate WRAL-TV that two of the breaches are bigger than what has been seen before and that the surf is continuing to erode them.

One of the four breaches presents a particular problem, CNN affiliate WAVY-TV reported. It is a gap about 250 feet wide in which the foundation of the road has been washed away, meaning repairs will be more extensive.

But Perdue says no matter how bad the damage, the road will be repaired.

"There are going to be those from across the country saying, 'Why are (you) investing in that road again?' " she is quoted as saying by CNN affiliate WRAL-TV. "Until we can find a better way to move on and off (the islands), they are North Carolina citizens, they pay taxes and they have got to have a highway, road or bridge to travel on the same as the rest of us."

Then expect to be paying for repairs frequently, East Carolina University geology professor Stanley R. Riggs tells the News & Observer.

"If we get one or two more of these (storms) in September and October, you're going to have a whole bunch of holes in the Outer Banks out there," the paper quotes him as saying.


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Filed under: Hurricane Irene • Hurricanes • North Carolina • Tropical weather • Weather
August 30th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

How Irene's forecast missed the mark and why it could happen again

They know they missed it. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say when it comes to the strength of Hurricane Irene as it approached North Carolina, they know they were off. Way off.

“At least in the guidance we were looking at there was no indication of anything that would cause the storm to weaken. So, we thought we would have a Category 3 at landfall,” said Bill Read, the director of the Hurricane Center. Irene came in at a Category 1, the weakest. Read said there’s good reason they were so far off.

The science of forecasting how strong or weak a storm will become is simply not very good. With Irene, forecasters say they weren’t even as good as their five-year average.

“Every storm comes up with a surprise,” Read said. “In this case it was one where it went downhill. Charlie a few years ago is one that went uphill. Neither case did we see that coming, and that’s my measure of the fact that we have a long way to go.”

Bill Read, of the National Hurricane Center, talks about the difficulty of predicting hurricanes.

Hurricane forecasters say they want to get it right all the time. But if you are going to be wrong, they say it's better to be wrong in weakening storms like Irene.

“I’d say a bigger worry than one weakening at landfall is the ’35 hurricane that came through the Keys," Read said. "Charlie if it’s a little bigger. Audrey in 1957. Get the picture?”

In all of these cases, the storms rapidly intensified as they neared the coastline. By then, it’s too late to order massive evacuations.

CNN's severe weather expert Chad Meyers said when Hurricane Irene smashed into the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the contact weakened the storm.

So, forecasters had the path right, but the impact of landfall changed what the amount of destruction would be in some areas. Wind shear helped knock down velocity, and unexpected dry air sucked some of the power out of the storm.

"It literally knocked the stuffing out of the eye," Myers said. "It never got its mojo back."


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Filed under: Flooding • Hurricane Irene • Hurricanes • Weather
Gotta Watch: Memorable 'Dancing' stars
HLN's Nancy Grace will compete in season 13 of "Dancing with the Stars."
August 30th, 2011
10:46 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Memorable 'Dancing' stars

The nation's most popular celebrity dancing show is ready to launch with a new crazy cast of characters. The upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars" will include HLN's own courtroom diva Nancy Grace along with personalities like Chaz Bono, actor David Arquette and basketball star Ron Artest. We'll have to wait to see who two-steps away with the Mirrorball trophy, but you've gotta watch these most memorable "Dancing with the Stars" personalities.

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Filed under: Basketball • Celebrity • Dance • Gotta Watch • Justice • Showbiz • TV
August 30th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Deadly casino fire 'got out of control'

The suspects arrested in connection with a Mexico casino fire told investigators that civilians were not their target, but that the blaze "got out of control," killing 52 people and injuring others, including some of the alleged perpetrators, officials said Tuesday.

The governor and attorney general of Nuevo Leon state, which shares a border with Texas, revealed new details in the investigation into last week's fire before presenting the five suspects arrested so far to the media.

"The people were not the target, it was the casino," Nuevo Leon Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said. "It was a chaotic situation that got out of control."

The alleged arsonists shouted at patrons to leave the casino as they set it on fire, he said.

The five suspects are members of the Los Zetas drug cartel and carried out the attack because the owners of the casino had not complied with their extortion demands, officials said.

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Filed under: Drug violence • Mexico
August 30th, 2011
09:48 AM ET

Source: Gadhafi's daughter gives birth in Algeria

Moammar Gadhafi's daughter, a former U.N. goodwill ambassador who has kept a low profile during Libya's violent uprising, has given birth in Algeria, sources close to her family told CNN.

The baby, whose gender has not been disclosed, was born shortly after Aisha entered Algeria. Gadhafi's only daughter is doing all right, the sources told CNN.

Algeria's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that Moammar Gadhafi's wife, Safia, and three children, including Aisha, had entered that country. The family members arrived in Algeria via the Libyan border, state media reported, citing the ministry.

Aisha had been expected to give birth in September, sources close to the family told CNN.

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Rebels give loyalist towns until Saturday for surrender
Rebel fighters sit in a car on the road between Misrata and Sirte, Moammar Gadhafi's hometown, on Tuesday.
August 30th, 2011
09:38 AM ET

Rebels give loyalist towns until Saturday for surrender

The head of Libya's interim council set a Saturday deadline for remaining loyalist towns to surrender or face fierce military battles.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council, told reporters Tuesday that the rebels are in negotiations with tribal elders and hope that by the end of the Eid holidays, loyalists will surrender in places like Sirte, Moammar Gadhafi's hometown.

Jalil said the rebels hope to "avoid more bloodshed and to avoid more destruction and damage."

But in the end," he said, "it might have to be decided militarily. I hope this will not be the case."

As fighting continued for the last bastions of Gadhafi's grip, the strongman's whereabouts still were unknown. Members of his family, including Gadhafi's wife Safia, two sons - Moahamed and Hannibal - and daughter Aisha escaped to Algeria.

Mourad Benmehidi, Algeria's ambassador to the United Nations, said his nation allowed them to enter on "humanitarian grounds."

Unlike Libya's other neighbors, Algeria has not recognized the authority of the National Transitional Council and that nation's authoritarian government has much to fear with Arab revolutions so close to home.

Jalil said Tuesday that the rebels would ask Algeria to extradite members of the Gadhafi family back to Libya. He also said that once Libyan liberation was complete, the country would set up courts to hear people's complaints against the Gadhafi regime.

Rebel fighters forged ahead Tuesday toward Sirte, situated along the Mediterranean coast between the capital, Tripoli, and the opposition nerve center of Benghazi.

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Filed under: Libya • World
August 30th, 2011
07:39 AM ET

Tuesday's live video events

Hurricane Irene may have come and gone, but residents up and down the East Coast continue to clean up from the storm.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of Irene's aftermath.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - NATO briefing on Libya - NATO officials will brief reporters on the ongoing situation in strife-torn Libya.


Filed under: Hurricane Irene • Hurricanes • Libya • Tropical weather • Weather
Scalded nanny to Gadhafi's grandchildren getting hospital treatment
The former nanny of Moammar Gadhafi's grandchildren says she was burned with boiling water.
August 30th, 2011
07:19 AM ET

Scalded nanny to Gadhafi's grandchildren getting hospital treatment

A former nanny to grandchildren of Moammar Gadhafi, who was allegedly burned by boiling water, was receiving medical treatment Tuesday, according to CNN's Dan Rivers, who visited the woman at a hospital in Tripoli. The former nanny said she was burned for failing to keep a child quiet.

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Filed under: Libya
On the Radar: Vermont flooding, Obama speech, Japan leader
As many as six covered bridges have been destroyed in the Vermont flooding.
August 30th, 2011
05:57 AM ET

On the Radar: Vermont flooding, Obama speech, Japan leader

Three things you need to know today.

Vermont flooding: Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate plans to tour flood-damaged communities in Vermont on Tuesday.

Rain from Hurricane Irene spawned raging floodwaters that washed out or otherwise damaged 263 roads and bridges, Gov. Peter Shumlin said. Hundreds of people remained trapped in communities, he said Monday.

"It's just devastating," Shumlin said. "Whole communities under water, businesses, homes, obviously roads and bridges, rail transportation infrastructure," he said. "We're tough folks up here but Irene ... really hit us hard."

Obama to address vets: President Obama travels to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, on Tuesday to speak at the 93rd American Legion National Convention.

Mostly veterans are expected to be in attendance at the Minneapolis Convention Center event.

As the president continues to push his economic recovery message, a senior administration official told CNN “I am sure a good chunk of it [speech] will be about how service members and their families have been impacted by the economy.”

New Japanese PM: Japan's parliament elected Yoshihiko Noda as the country's new prime minister Tuesday, making him the country's sixth new leader in five years.

Noda won 308 out of 476 possible votes.

The prime minister-elect will officially take over his new post after a ceremonial endorsement by Japan's emperor, which is expected to happen Wednesday.

Ahead of the vote, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan officially submitted his resignation, as did his Cabinet, clearing the way for Noda's election.


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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hurricane Irene • Hurricanes • Japan • Politics • Tropical weather • Vermont • Weather
Irene death toll in U.S. hits 27
Signs stick out of a submerged neighborhood Monday in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.
August 29th, 2011
10:20 PM ET

Irene death toll in U.S. hits 27

Flooding emerged as a major concern Monday for states hit by Irene, which hit the East Coast as a hurricane and then a tropical storm over three days.

Even as Irene weakened to a tropical storm, authorities warned that its impact was not waning, especially in Vermont.

"Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in coming days as rivers swell past their banks," President Barack Obama said Sunday, adding: "The recovery effort will last for weeks or longer."

Officials said the storm had knocked out power to more than 4 million people and was responsible for at least 27 deaths.

Check out our Open Story, read the full CNN Wire story and follow the latest developments here:

[Updated at 10:20 p.m.] Personnel in a state police helicopter on Monday rescued 21 people who had been stranded by post-Irene floodwaters in a Prattsville, New York, house, a local official said.

The group was stranded at a house that was cut off when all the bridges near it were washed out after torrential rains flooded homes and businesses and left the Catskill Mountains town of Prattsville largely cut off from the outside world.

Emergency workers rescued 87 people from the Prattsville area a day earlier, including 25 people who were stranded at a motel for hours after 70 mph wind gusts grounded aircraft.

[Updated at 7:32 p.m.] Vermont's governor warns that further flooding and loss of life related to Irene are likely for his state. Although small brooks have crested, large rivers have not, he said.

"It's just devastating," Gov. Peter Shumlin said. "Whole communities under water, businesses, homes, obviously roads and bridges, rail transportation infrastructure. We've lost farmers' crops," he said. "We're tough folks up here but Irene ... really hit us hard."

Three people are reported to have died in Vermont as a result of the storm. The nation's death toll from Irene is at 27.


Source: Polygamist leader Jeffs in coma in Texas hospital
A jury earlier this month sentenced polygamist leader Warren Jeffs to life in prison for sexual assault.
August 29th, 2011
07:50 PM ET

Source: Polygamist leader Jeffs in coma in Texas hospital

[Updated, 7:50 p.m. ET] A source familiar with the medical condition of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs' medical condition told CNN Monday that Jeffs was in a coma. The source did not provide further details.

The source's information came after Texas prison officials said Jeffs was in critical condition at a hospital following a fast.

[Initial post, 1:07 p.m. ET] Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was in critical condition in a Texas hospital Monday after falling ill during a fast, state prison officials said.

The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect, was sentenced to life plus 20 years in early August after being convicted of sexually assaulting two girls he claimed were his "spiritual wives."

Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said Jeffs was sent to a hospital in Tyler on Sunday night and was in critical but stable condition Monday.

"He was not eating or drinking enough fluids and also has some other medical conditions," Clark said without elaborating, citing inmate privacy rules.

Jeffs told prison officials he was not on a hunger strike but that he had been "fasting," Clark said.

Read CNN's full coverage of Warren Jeffs' hospitalization in Texas
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Filed under: Crime • Texas • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: Was Gaga awesome or over the top?
Lady Gaga as "Joe Calderone" at the MTV VMAs
August 29th, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Was Gaga awesome or over the top?

Exchange of the Day:

"There is music for every generation. ... then there is music that transcends every generation. This generation, however, isn't one of them!"–MadCityBabe

"You'll feel better about it when this generation gets off your lawn."–leeclayton

Ladies night at the 2011 VMAs

What's the deal with Gaga's alter ego?

Way to steal the show, Beyonce!

Ladies may have walked off with most of the awards at this year's MTV VMAs, but it was Lady (make that "Lad") Gaga and Beyonce with Baby who apparently stole the show. Lady Gaga's act as alter ego "Joe Calderone" entertained or annoyed CNN.com readers, while many were equally charmed or annoyed by Beyonce's baby announcement.

carnac95 said, "Lady Ga Ga seems to have stopped focusing on her music: It's all about shock factor at this point." Peace said, "My first thought, 'Karate kid has an evil twin'? HaHa!"

San Jose said, "She is a performer! An entertainer! And I was definitely entertained. It would be annoying if she couldn't back any of her acts with actual talent, but she has a really amazing voice. Gaga is extremely creative and talented, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!"

But Guest disagreed: "I really wish Gaga would cut the antics. She can play the heck out of a piano and can sing her booty off. I'd like to focus on that rather than get distracted by the ridiculous costumes, and what I guess you would call her 'stunts.' It would be a shame to see her become a cliche of herself."

Many said that Lady Gaga's impersonation had been done first by Annie Lennox. praxisjg3 said, "Although Gaga is shaking things up and keeping things interesting, at times, she took the Annie Lennox 84 Grammy performance concept and just twisted it into her 2011 version." PaKyes said, "I was hoping someone would remember. Lady Gaga was not the first to do this!"

teddy said, "Gaga is a disturbed individual. Yes, Annie Lennox and Madonna did do these types of performances at the VMA's, yet they were done with more class, professionalism, meaning and artistic credibility. This Gaga guy (or girl) is just gross, boring, untalented and, obviously, insane. I see nothing authentic about Gaga."

August 29th, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Rebel commander: Khamis Gadhafi killed in battle

Khamis Gadhafi, a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, was killed in a battle Sunday night with opposition forces, a senior rebel commander told CNN on Monday.

Mahdi al-Harati - the vice chairman of the rebel's Miltary Council, the military wing of the National Transitional Council - said that Khamis Gadhafi died in a battle with rebel forces between the villages of Tarunah and Bani Walid. The battleground is in northwest Libya, near Misrata.

Khamis Gadhafi, who was a senior military commander under his father, was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries, said al-Harati.

He was then buried in the area by rebel forces, according to the rebel commander.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Libya
August 29th, 2011
03:37 PM ET

Scientists capture rare video of elusive African cat

Scientists tracking one of Africa’s most elusive and poorly understood animals say they’ve recorded a rare - and possibly the only publicly released - video of the species in the wild.

The video, recorded by a motion-activated camera placed in a Gabon forest, shows an African golden cat: a shy, medium-sized feline that ducks human contact and lives in hard-to-access parts of central African forests.

A motion-activated camera captured this image of an African golden cat in Gabon, and the video above.

“As far as we know, it’s never before been filmed (in the wild) for ... the public domain,” said Luke Hunter, president of Panthera, the conservation group providing most of the funding for the team that captured the video in July.

The footage, photos and other information that the team is gathering - part of an effort to get a population estimate in certain areas of Gabon’s forests - could contribute to a greater understanding of the species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which lists the animal as near-threatened, says it is not only infrequently observed in the wild, it is “Africa’s least studied felid.”

Graduate student Laila Bahaa-el-din is leading the survey team, which hopes its population estimates in four categories of Gabonese forest can give governments, logging companies and other groups useful information to help preserve the species.

“I don’t think I can put (capturing the video) into words,” Bahaa-el-din said of the rarity of the footage. “I live and dream golden cats most days. To get back to camp and put the (footage) on the computer and have this cat basically posing for the camera, it’s incredible. I watched it five times in a row and pretty much didn’t sleep that night.”


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Filed under: Animals • Gabon • Nature
Gadhafi's wife, 3 of his kids cross into Algeria, foreign ministry says
Moammar Gadhafi's wide, Safia, pictured in 2003, arrived in Algeria on Monday with three of her children, Algeria says.
August 29th, 2011
01:26 PM ET

Gadhafi's wife, 3 of his kids cross into Algeria, foreign ministry says

The wife and three children of Moammar Gadhafi are in Algeria, that nation's Foreign Ministry said Monday.

His wife Safia, his daughter Aisha and two of his sons, Hannibal and Mohamed, came to Algeria via the Libyan border.

U.N. and National Transitional Council officials were informed of the development, the ministry said.

Aisha, a former U.N. goodwill ambassador who has kept a low profile during Libya's violent uprising, is due to give birth in early September, sources close to her family said.

Read CNN's full coverage of Gadhafi's family arriving in Algeria
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Filed under: Algeria • Libya • World
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