Grim reaper brings anti-cheese message to Wisconsin
A billboard warning of the dangers of cheese consumption went up in Wisconsin on Tuesday, funded by a nonprofit.
September 27th, 2011
11:01 PM ET

Grim reaper brings anti-cheese message to Wisconsin

Cheese lovers, brace yourselves: “Cheese can sack your health.”

That’s the message on a billboard near Wisconsin’s Lambeau Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. And yes, that is the same state that leads the United States in cheese production.

A nonprofit based in Washington, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, posted the anti-cheese billboard on Tuesday after conquering some legal issues.

The poster was initially going to depict the grim reaper wearing a cheesehead hat, with the words “Warning: Cheese can sack your health,” to alert passersby who saw the billboard – who would ideally be football fans, according to However, Foamation Inc., the company that manufactures cheesehead hats, threatened a copyright lawsuit, forcing the organization to remove the cheesehead from its poster, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The PCRM billboard had the grim reaper wearing a cheesehead hat before manufacturers insisted it be removed from the poster.

“We’re happy,” Foamation’s office manager Denise Kaminski told “The Chippewa Herald,” a newspaper based in Wisconsin. “The cheesehead is a fun thing, so we’re glad that has happened.”


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Filed under: Food • Health • U.S. • Wisconsin
Defense: Jackson caused his own death when Murray was away
September 27th, 2011
05:11 PM ET

Defense: Jackson caused his own death when Murray was away

Editor's note: Opening statements in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of pop icon Michael Jackson, were given in a California courtroom on Tuesday. Prosecutors contend that Murray's use of the surgical anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid led to Jackson's death. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Murray could spend four years in a California prison and lose his medical license.

Below, you'll find a running account of the opening statements. Also, a full report of the opening statements is available.

[Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET] Here are some final notes about the defense's opening statements, which finished about 20 minutes ago:

"We believe the evidence will tell you this: that Michael Jackson wanted to sleep for 10 hours ... needed to sleep, needed to succeed (at his upcoming concert series), and his doctor would not give him propofol, the drug he needed," defense attorney Ed Chernoff said.

Earlier, Chernoff told the jury that Jackson had taken an extra dose of propofol when Murray left the room where Jackson was trying to sleep. This, along with an overdose of a sedative that Chernoff says Jackson took without Murray's knowledge, killed Jackson instantly, according to Chernoff.

Before Murray left the room, Murray - who Chernoff said was trying to wean Jackson off propofol - administered to Jackson 25 milligrams of the drug, but only after Jackson begged for it after 10 hours of restlessness, Chernoff said. That amount of propofol would have dissipated - and would have had no clinical effects - by the time Murray left, Chernoff said.

"The whole thing is tragic, but the evidence is not going to show that Dr. Murray did it," he said. "Dr. Murray is an imperfect man, but in this criminal court we believe he is not guilty."

"We will ask you to acquit him," Chernoff added.

[Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET] The defense has finished its opening statements.

[Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET] The defense's opening statements have resumed following a lunch break.

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff said that the 25 milligrams of propofol that he said Murray gave Jackson on the day of his death would have dissipated within 10 minutes, and that should have happened by the time Murray left the room.

Science will prove that Jackson had to have taken more propofol when Murray left the room.

"The science will prove that there had to have been more propofol delivered, provided, taken by Michael Jackson after the period of time (Murray) left that room," Chernoff said.

Chernoff said the defense's theory is that the extra delivery of that propofol "was through Michael Jackson himself."

Earlier, Chernoff said that an extra dose of propofol that he said Jackson took while Murray was out of the room, combined with an extra dose of a sedative that Chernoff said Jackson had taken without Murray's knowledge, killed Jackson.


Overheard on Will the New York Yankees lose intentionally?
By losing their next two games, the New York Yankees could help keep their rival out of the 2011 MLB playoffs
September 27th, 2011
03:48 PM ET

Overheard on Will the New York Yankees lose intentionally?

Comment of the day:

“The Red Sox don’t need any help from Girardi...” –20

Playing Red Sox spoiler

The Boston Red Sox (a team facing one of the worst collapses in baseball history if they fail to make the playoffs) are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League wild card berth. And Boston's fabled foes, the New York Yankees, could play spoiler by taking a dive in their two remaining games against the Rays. But would they lose on purpose?

A Sports network site, Fan Nation, addressed the “Truth and Rumor” of whether the Yankees would intentionally let Tampa Bay win to help seal the Red Sox’s fate.

Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said, "My first objective is to make sure our team is ready and healthy to go on Friday (in the first game of the playoffs). That's what we have to do. It's a tough situation." Seems Girardi thinks the Yankees  - who have already qualified for the postseason with the best record in the American League - aren't obliged to throw their best weapons against anyone.

Comments from readers mainly suggested it didn’t matter what the New York Yankees did, since the Red Sox have been struggling all on their own.

Mongo Alex said, “All the Sox would have had to do was just play .500 ball this month and this subject would be meaningless. If the Sox don't make it, you can't blame anyone else but them.”

Sgt. Schultz said, “Why wouldn't you want to play the Red Sox right now?”


September 27th, 2011
01:20 PM ET

Fugitive arrested after 41 years on the lam

George Wright, a fugitive for more than 41 years, was arrested Monday by Portuguese authorities, pursuant to a provisional arrest request from the United States, the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and New Jersey Department of Corrections announced Tuesday.

The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for a New Jersey state murder conviction.

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Filed under: Crime • New Jersey • Portugal
September 27th, 2011
12:25 PM ET

'Zeta Killers' say they target Mexican drug cartel

A video purporting to be from a vigilante group whose goal is the eradication of the Zetas cartel from the state of Veracruz, Mexico, has surfaced on the Internet, but its credibility remains unproven.

Five masked men dressed in black appear on the video, sitting behind a long table. The spokesman explains that they are a group called the "Mata Zetas," or Zeta Killers. They describe themselves as an "extermination" force that works as the armed front "of the people and for the people."

The speaker says that the group's only goal is to kill members of the Zetas, a ruthless cartel whose area of influence includes the eastern state of Veracruz. Members of the Mata Zetas are prohibited from committing crimes such as extortion or kidnappings, according to the video.

The video was released via YouTube days after 35 bodies were found in two trucks during rush hour in the city of Boca del Rio.

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Filed under: Drug violence • Mexico
September 27th, 2011
10:06 AM ET

Anti-Gadhafi forces control port in Sirte

About 200,000 Libyans remain under threat as Moammar Gadhafi loyalists battle to the end in the only two areas still contested in Libya: Bani Walid and Sirte, the coastal birthplace of the fallen leader.

Fierce fighting yielded a path into Sirte's port Tuesday for revolutionary fighters, approaching the besieged city first from the south, then the west. With supply routes largely severed, water, food and medicine are in short supply, said Col. Roland Lavoie, military spokesman for NATO.

He said the shortages and a lack of electricity have placed enormous pressure on the civilian population, who are also being used as human shields by Gadhafi loyalists. One of their staging areas has been the main hospital in Sirte, where Gadhafi's fighters feel protected from NATO airstrikes.

Control over the strategically important Sirte port has changed hands before - anti-Gadhafi fighters have previously taken the port during the day and retreated at night.

"We consider it contested," Lavoie said about Sirte. "So it means that a big part of the town is controlled by Gadhafi forces."

He said National Transitional Council forces have made significant gains in Sirte over the last three days but it would be "premature to go farther than that" in making an assessment.

Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Benghazi, transitional council members were meeting for a third day to discuss forming a government.

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Filed under: Libya • World
Report: Jetliners within six seconds of collision over Hong Kong
A Cathay Pacific jetliner taxis at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport in 2007.
September 27th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Report: Jetliners within six seconds of collision over Hong Kong

Two jetliners carrying more than 600 passengers and crew came within seconds of a collision near Hong Kong last week, according to a report in The Standard newspaper.

The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 and Dragonair Airbus A330 were about a mile apart when their collision avoidance systems issued alerts, according a Cathay Pacific statement. The pilots of the jetliners took evasive action to maintain a safe distance from each other, the Cathay statement said.

“There was no risk of collision and at no time was the safety of the flights compromised. At the closest, they were one nautical mile (2,000 meters) apart when abeam from each other with increasing vertical separation," the Cathay statement said.

But Hong Kong's former civil aviation chief Albert Lam Kwong-yu told The Standard that, based on normal speeds of the airliners involved, they were about six seconds from colliding.

"The chance of a crash is absolutely high," the paper quotes Lam as saying. "The passengers really came back from hell."


September 27th, 2011
09:50 AM ET

16 dead after bus runs over land mine in Afghanistan

[Posted at 9:50 a.m. ET] Sixteen people, including 11 children, were killed when their bus ran over a landmine Tuesday in Afghanistan's Herat province, according to a spokesman for the Herat police, Noorkhan Nikzad.

Also among the dead are four women, Nikzad said, and at least four civilians were injured.

The civilian minibus struck the mine in Herat's Shendand district while returning from a wedding party with 20 people aboard, he said. Taliban militants are believed to have planted the mines, he said.    

[Posted at 8:59 a.m. ET] Sixteen people, including 11 children, were killed after their bus ran over a land mine explosion Tuesday in the Herat province of Afghanistan, according to a spokesman for the Herat police, Noorkhan Nikzad.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
Lawyer: Amanda Knox is no femme fatale
Amanda Knox attends her appeal hearing on Monday in the city of Perugia, Italy.
September 27th, 2011
09:40 AM ET

Lawyer: Amanda Knox is no femme fatale

Amanda Knox is not the "femme fatale" the media has painted her as, a lawyer for her co-defendant argued Tuesday, urging a jury to acquit Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito of murdering Meredith Kercher.

Lawyer Giulia Buongiorno compared Knox to the voluptuous cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, who protests, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

Buongiorno, who represents Sollecito - Knox's former boyfriend - said the whole trial was based on DNA evidence "on which mistakes were made," and urged the jury to "abandon imagined fantasies" and acquit the pair.

Knox and Sollecito are fighting their conviction for killing Kercher - Knox's roommate - in Perugia, Italy, in 2007. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while Sollecito got 25.

As she began her closing arguments Tuesday, Buongiorno said there was no physical trace of Knox or Sollecito in the room where Kercher was found murdered.


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Filed under: Amanda Knox • Crime
September 27th, 2011
08:56 AM ET

Yemen defense minister survives assassination attempt

Yemen's defense minister escaped an assassination attempt Tuesday when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy, the Yemeni government said.

The attack took place in Tawahi, Aden, along Yemen's southern coast.

A bomb-laden vehicle exploded at 11 a.m. targeting General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed's convoy, the Defense Ministry said.

The bomber was killed. Eyewitnesses said two explosions were heard and that clashes followed for 10 minutes.

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Filed under: World • Yemen
September 27th, 2011
07:40 AM ET

Tuesday's live events Live is your home for gavel-to gavel coverage of Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - U.N. General Assembly concludes - Diplomats from Russia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Venezuela are among those scheduled to speak on the final day of the United Nations General Assembly.


Filed under: Conrad Murray • Crime • United Nations
Two new narco subs found in Colombia
This narco sub, which authorities said could carry up to 10 tons of cocaine, was found Friday.
September 27th, 2011
07:05 AM ET

Two new narco subs found in Colombia

Authorities in Colombia have confiscated two narco subs, submersibles designed to smuggle cocaine, since Friday, according to news reports.

A vessel found on the country's Pacific coast on Friday could carry up to 10 tons of cocaine and was outfitted with a GPS navigation system, according to a report from

On Monday, authorities said they found a smaller but more sophisticated submarine hidden in a wooden shack in dense coastal jungle north of where the first sub was found Friday, according to a report from the BBC.

The second sub, named The Black Pearl, was made of steel and fiberglass and could carry four tons of cocaine, the BBC report said. It could stay submerged for 10 days with a crew of five and had radar, navigation and communication systems that made it worth $2 million, the report said.

Both vessels were built under the orders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group, which finances its operations with cocaine sales, according to the reports.

In February, Colombian authorities captures a 100-foot-long narco sub capable of traveling to Mexico at depths of up to 30 feet.

Read more about Colombia's narco subs.

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Filed under: Colombia • Crime • Drugs
On the Radar: Philippine typhoon, Washington Monument, Australia military
Resident rescue a pig from a flooded Manila street on Tuesday.
September 27th, 2011
06:01 AM ET

On the Radar: Philippine typhoon, Washington Monument, Australia military

Three things you need to know today.

Philippine typhoon: As many eight people were dead and almost 2 million without power as Typhoon Nesat slammed into the Philippines with torrential rains and winds up to 87 mph.

Among the dead were a grandmother and her three grandchildren killed when a wall of their home collapsed on them, the Philippine Star reported. They were among eight killed across the country, according to a report on

In metro Manila, 1.9 million of Manila Electric Co. were without power, according to a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The typhoon, known in the Philippines as Pedring, made landfall about 190 kilometers (120 miles) north of Manila about 5 a.m. Tuesday (5 p.m. Monday ET), according to the Philippine national weather agency. The storm was dumping up to 25 millimeters (1 inch) of rain per hour as it moved across the country.

Nesat was expected to cross the archipelago and head toward southeastern China.

Washington Monument: Architect/engineers will rappel down the sides of the Washington Monument on Tuesday, looking for damage caused by the August earthquake in Virginia.

The National Park Service announced Monday that experts have completed an interior assessment of the monument and found it to be structurally sound.

To get a closer look at the outside of the structure, architect/engineer/rappellers from the firm of Wiss, Janney and Elstner, the architectural firm hired by the National Park Service, will scale the outside of the structure to get a closer look.

Their "difficult-access team will install climbing ropes and safety lines on all four sides of the monument, then clip on to those lines and exit the monument from the windows at the observation level," Vogel said. Weather permitting, they will climb up the pyramidion and then descend the length of the monument looking for exterior damage.

Women in combat: Women in the Australian armed forces will be able to serve in front-line combat roles, the government said Tuesday.

The new plan will be phased in over a five-year period.

Australia's decision makes it one of only a few countries in the developed world with no restrictions for women in combat. Canada and Israel are among the other nations that allow so.

The United States prevents women in serving in certain combat roles.