Romney, Cain enter tonight's debate as front-runners, polls show
The CNN/Western Republican debate is set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET in Las Vegas.
October 18th, 2011
06:32 PM ET

Romney, Cain enter tonight's debate as front-runners, polls show

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain enter Tuesday night's CNN/Western Republican debate as the leaders of the race for the GOP presidential nomination, according to national polls.

Romney, Cain and five other candidates will participate in the debate, moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper, starting at 8 p.m. ET at the Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The debate will be shown on CNN, the CNN mobile apps and

The public can suggest questions for the candidates through this form, or through the CNN Politics fan page on Facebook, or by using the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, 26% of respondents said they are likely to support Romney, who is making his second bid for the White House. Cain was at 25%, and Romney's margin was well within the poll's sampling error. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was third, at 13%. Separately, a CNN poll of polls indicated that Romney was on top of the field at 23%, with Cain three points behind and Perry - who was a front-runner in the national polls from late August through much of September - at 14%.


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Filed under: Las Vegas • Nevada • Politics • Republican Party
MIT researchers devise see-through-wall technology
MIT researchers Gregory Charvat, left, and John Peabody have devised radar technology that can "see" through walls.
October 18th, 2011
05:10 PM ET

MIT researchers devise see-through-wall technology

Through the use of microwaves, MIT researchers have devised technology to see through walls in real time.

The radar array system, created by Gregory Charvat and John Peabody at the university's Lincoln Laboratory, sends microwave signals that bounce off objects and ultimately return radar images to a screen. The waves can even penetrate concrete walls.

Charvat said Tuesday that the project has been in the works for a while.

“It originally started out as my dissertation, where I developed a very slow prototype,” he said. “When I moved to Lincoln Lab, I teamed up with another colleague (Peabody) who was working with technology used for imaging human tissue” in medical environments such as hospitals.

Almost all of the microwaves - 99.4% - bounce off the first object they encounter, like a wall, while only 0.6% make it through to the object on the other side, creating an admittedly weak signal, Charvat said.

X-ray would be perfect for this application, but "it's ionizing radiation," too dangerous, he said. "We use microwave technology that’s about as powerful as a cellular phone, so it’s very weak. So, microwaves work. It’s not ideal, but it gets the job done."

The system creates a real-time image at the speed of 10.8 frames a second, according to the MIT website.

But the system has its limits. It can penetrate only a little more than half a foot.

“Eight inches is all we’ve been able to do,” Charvat said. Visibility “may be able to be increased by more transit power or lowering the frequency. The lower you go in frequency, the better it is, but it becomes a resolution issue."

But the technology could be a boon for the military, he said. "It can basically tell if there may be a threat inside of a building without having to go inside there. It’s for increasing the situational awareness of the urban war fighter."

But privacy advocates say that is exactly why they are wary of it.

Kade Crockford, privacy rights coordinator for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said she was "extremely concerned" about technology that could make spying easier, especially with the inevitable application of its use against an urban populace.

ACLU of Massachusetts spokesman Chris Ott, in an e-mail, referenced the use of military technology being potentially co-opted for use against civilians as an increasing threat to liberty.

“Technology is developing at a rate that far surpasses Congress’ ability or willingness to adapt our laws to ensure that ordinary people are protected from the vast new powers these tools provide to the government," Crockford said. "This is an alarming trend, and this case is a perfect example of it. We urge lawmakers to get ahead of the curve to protect our privacy before it is too late.”

Charvat, for his part, said he didn't see any other application for the system other than military. “I can’t really think of any civilian use. Maybe it could be used in reconnaissance robots, for navigation for them, but it would be a totally different application.”

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Filed under: Technology • U.S.
Overheard on Can’t people just drive?
Ford's new technology syncs with phones, reading texts out loud.
October 18th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Overheard on Can’t people just drive?

Comment of the day:

“What the world really needs is a device that shuts down cell phones while the car is moving.” - Bud128

Cars read texts for drivers

Ford has been installing a feature in its new vehicles - and many of its older ones - that can read text messages out loud. The feature, intended to reduce texting while driving, is already installed on all model 2012 Ford vehicles.

Of the new technology, readers saw the pros and cons—and some simply praised Ford for their innovation.

IanA1 said, “Ford seems to be getting better every year lately...keep up the good work, and good to see an American-owned company being truly competitive.”

Ethnya said, “Ford continues to innovate to meet consumer demands. Good to see that some companies still do this.”


U.S. deportations reach historic levels
An undocumented Guatemalan charged as a criminal prepares to board a deportation flight in Mesa, Arizona, this summer.
October 18th, 2011
03:40 PM ET

U.S. deportations reach historic levels

Nearly 400,000 people were deported from the United States in the past fiscal year, the largest number in the history of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the government announced Tuesday.

The year-end removal numbers "underscore the administration's focus on removing individuals ... that fall into priority areas" such as lawbreakers, threats to national security and repeat violators, the agency said in a news release.

Overall in fiscal year 2011, immigration officials said, 396,906 individuals were removed. Of these, 216,698, nearly 55%, had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. That's an 89 percent increase of criminals from three years ago, the enforcement agency said.

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Filed under: Immigration • U.S.
October 18th, 2011
01:21 PM ET

Police: Don't know how far Philly captives case will extend

More victims could emerge in a case involving three people suspected of locking four mentally disabled adults in the cramped sub-basement boiler room of a Philadelphia apartment building, the city's police commissioner said Tuesday.

"We don't know the extent of this," Charles Ramsey told CNN. "We do know it goes beyond the borders of Pennsylvania - at least Texas, Florida and Virginia, and we suspect other locations as well."

The case began over the weekend, when the four people were found locked in the room, with no food and only a bucket for a toilet, police said. The pitch-black, 15-foot-by-6-foot space houses what police described as a boiler used to heat the building. A penetrating stench of urine and feces still hung in the chamber days after the discovery.

October 18th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Obama steps up jobs push in North Carolina

President Barack Obama continued hammering Republicans over their opposition to his $447 billion jobs plan Tuesday, casting the GOP as handmaids of the rich unwilling to support fair sacrifices in order to help a struggling middle class.

Visiting a school and community center in Jamestown, North Carolina, Obama said "folks in Washington don't seem to be listening" to calls for help.

"I want to work with Republicans," the president insisted. But political leaders need to "focus less on trying to satisfy one wing of one party," he said - an apparent reference to populist tea party conservatives.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Jobs • Politics
Overheard on It’s a proud day for Israel
The parents of freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit camped out in front of the Israeli prime minister's office for more than a year.
October 18th, 2011
12:27 PM ET

Overheard on It’s a proud day for Israel

Comments of the morning:

“This is a great day to be Israeli. We will never rest until we save even one life. We believe in life. We do not believe in murder and killing innocent people. That is the difference. May the Palestinians start believing in peace and life. May we have peace one day between Israelis and Palestinians." - jewishcowgirl

“How many Israeli officials have participated in the planning of operations that killed Palestinians? How many of those Israeli officials are in jail? None.” - timeOday

One for 1,000

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006, is home now after Israel agreed to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The lopsided number has created some controversy, but there is wide support for the deal in Israel.

What did readers think of the swap? Most praised Israel for saving a young man’s life; they said the move demonstrated how much Israel values all human life. Other readers condemned the Palestinian releases, saying they are all terrorists. Some defended the rights of Palestinians.

bigbadbernie said, “The point is not the 1:1000 ratio, it’s that in a professional military force it is good to know that no one is left behind and you can go into harms way with that knowledge and be more effective. That is the stuff that makes a great nation and separates them from their enemies.”

IsraeliStude said, “I do want to say that finding out Gilad could watch TV and knew about the support of his parents and the public shows Hamas had at least some compassion. There is hope after all!”

ModGOP called it “A prime example of how the Israeli government actually cares about their own people!”

AmitAtlanta said, “This deal makes no sense. All talk of how much Israel values a life falls on deaf ears knowing fully well Palestinians are ready to give up their lives/their children’s lives to kill even a Jewish owned mouse! The Israeli action only emboldens the hostile world community to charge that the much maligned Israelis have far more innocent Palestinians rotting in their prisons and emboldens the Palestinians to continue with their kidnappings of Israeli soldiers.”

sugarnspice said, “This deal would not happen in any other nation on earth, ONLY IN ISRAEL does the entire nation consider Gilad to be their own son, ONLY IN ISRAEL would people come to refer to Gilad's parents, Noam and Aviva, by their first names, ONLY IN ISRAEL would people remember a lone soldier, not because of his fame, but simply because he was one of theirs.”

ChefCHEESE said, “It’s a great day for Gilad and all the other prisoners who can go back home after years.”

Guest said, “It's not easy to set free 1,000 terrorists, but one Israeli boy is worth even 100,000 of them! The important point is that Israel will NEVER leave its soldiers behind. and this is why the people in Israel supports this deal.”

oferbz said, “The fact that Israel is swapping one soldier for more than a thousand terrorists, shows the world how much Israel values life itself, unlike the Hamas who sends its people to suicide bomb missions.” AntiZioNazi1 responded, “Caring after 5 years? Wow !”

Anatile said, “Welcome home Gilad. We love you. Only the people in Israel understand how much life is precious . You are definitely worth 1,000 people, even more. I'm very proud to be Israeli citizen today.”

DanJones said, “I wonder how long it will take for Hamas or Hezbollah to kidnap the next ‘Giliad Shalit’ and how many they will kill in the process?”

lho said, “Anytime you trade 1,000 of anything for 1 of the same thing.....whether you know anything about the items in question, there is absolutely NO doubt that the one thing is worth at least a thousand times more than the 1000 things. Sorry. No way around that.”

pupplesan said, “The question remains unanswered within the article. The real answer is twofold: first, Israel knows that many of the people it has imprisoned are innocent and second, obviously, there is an unspoken element of religious elitism involved here.”

silvery1261 said, “Let’s face it. This freed Israeli soldier is not a teenage schoolboy who was kidnapped in his home. He is an Israeli soldier trained to kill, fully armed and in army uniform. He knows the risks and he wasn't in this to distribute flowers to Palestinians or candy to the kids. Why is it so hard for Israeli supporters to admit this fact? Granted that one can take the view that his job was to protect Israeli civilian society, but so were the liberated Palestinians who fight the mightiest army in the Middle East to protect their civilians as well.”

Do your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Body found in Maryland missing boy case
October 18th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Body found in Maryland missing boy case

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, confirmed Tuesday they have found remains in a wooded area believed to be those of William McQuain, a missing 11-year-old boy.

A search dog team found the body, said Rebecca Innocenti, police spokeswoman. The scene was still being processed Tuesday morning, and she had no information on when a positive identification would be made.

The news comes a week after Curtis Lopez, 45, was arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is accused of killing his wife, 51-year-old Jane McQuain.

The case began when a friend of the boy's mother reported her missing, saying he had not seen her for about two weeks and that he was concerned.

When detectives arrived at the woman's home in Germantown, they found Jane McQuain dead in her bedroom. Her son was not there and the woman's vehicle, a Honda CRV, was gone. It was found later.

Police had been searching for the boy, who they had hope was with a relative or family friend, but said that as time passed, that possibility became “more and more of a long shot.”

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

ADL: Susan Sarandon should apologize for 'Nazi' comment
October 18th, 2011
10:25 AM ET

ADL: Susan Sarandon should apologize for 'Nazi' comment

Susan Sarandon reportedly recently called Pope Benedict XVI a "Nazi" during an interview, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is calling on the actress to apologize.

In a statement posted on the organization's website, the ADL refers to Sarandon's remark as a "disturbing, deeply offensive and uncalled for attack on the good name of Pope Benedict XVI."

As Newsday reported, the actress was speaking about her 1995 movie "Dead Man Walking" with actor Bob Balaban in an interview at the Hamptons Film Festival on Saturday. Sarandon, 65, mentioned that she sent the pope a copy of the anti-death penalty book the film was based on.

"The last one," she said, indicating Pope John Paul, "not this Nazi one we have now."

Balaban tried to gloss over the comment, but Sarandon said it again.

In response on Monday, the ADL's National Director, Abraham Foxman, said in the posted statement, "We hope that Susan Sarandon will have the good sense to apologize to the Catholic community and all those she may have offended...Ms. Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust."

Gilad Shalit story: Exchanging one for many not a first for Israel
A Palestinian prisoner is held aloft by relatives after arriving in Mukata following his release Tuesday in Ramallah, West Bank.
October 18th, 2011
10:11 AM ET

Gilad Shalit story: Exchanging one for many not a first for Israel

Israel is freeing more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis, in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006. 

Who is Shalit?

The move has prompted many to ask if exchanging many people for one man is unusual. In the past, Israel has exchanged prisoners several times with its neighbors. Overall, Israel has released about 7,000 Arab prisoners over the last 30 years in exchange for 19 living Israelis and the bodies of eight prisoners. Here are some of those instances:

In 1985, three Israeli soldiers held in Lebanon were released, but only after Israel freed 1150 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

In June 1998, Israel and the South Lebanese Army released 65 prisoners and the remains of 40 Hezbollah guerrillas for the return of the body of an Israeli soldier killed in combat.

In 2004, an Israeli businessman was released along with the remains of three soldiers. In return, Israel freed 436 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.

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Filed under: Israel • Lebanon • Palestinians
Italian PM cleared in tax fraud case
October 18th, 2011
08:39 AM ET

Italian PM cleared in tax fraud case

A Milan judge on Tuesday cleared Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of charges of tax fraud and misappropriation of funds related to his commercial broadcast company, Mediaset, a prosecutor said.

Berlusconi's son, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, and  Mediaset Chairman Fedele Confalonieri were indicted in the case, according to prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale.

Company executives have been under investigation for allegedly failing to pay $45 million in corporate taxes and other fiscal crimes from 2000 to 2003.

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Filed under: Italy • World
October 18th, 2011
07:57 AM ET

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

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - Geithner on Capitol Hill - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner updates Congress on a series of economic issues.


Filed under: Conrad Murray • Crime • Politics
October 18th, 2011
07:40 AM ET

Both Palestinians and Israelis celebrate prisoner swap

The release of more than 400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one detained Israeli soldier elicited waves of celebration Tuesday, both from relatives of Palestinian prisoners and Israelis anticipating the famed soldier's homecoming.

But the situation remains dicey for Israelis opposing the deal.

Hundreds of Palestinian family members turned out in Gaza and the West Bank to welcome their relatives, with some waving flags of the Islamist group Hamas.

Ahmed Qawasmi, 80, is awaiting the release of his son Amer, who was arrested when he was 17 and has been in jail 24 years.

"I am very, very happy for the release of my son Amer," he said, but added: "The celebrations and happiness won't be complete until all Palestinian prisoners are free from Israeli prisons."

Israel agreed to free a total of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners - 477 on Tuesday, and 550 later this year - in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years.

Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erakat described "an overwhelming feeling of humanity" Tuesday amid the Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap - and acknowledged that Hamas was able to achieve a deal when the Palestinian Authority could not.

"I have been talking to the Israelis for many, many years about prisoners - the need to release prisoners - and we could not convince," Erakat said.

"It's a good day, and we welcome it (in) the strongest possible terms, and we hope one day we will have nothing but peace on the two sides," he said.

Hassan Mousa, a Hamas leader in the West Bank, echoed Erakat's sentiment.

"This is a great day that (has) brought happiness to all Palestinian people," he said. "It has unified the Palestinian people together. It will free people who have been in Israeli jails more than 34 years and more than 30 years, and many more with high sentences, and will free the women and children alike."

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Filed under: Israel • Palestinians
October 18th, 2011
07:25 AM ET

Hamas frees Israel's Gilad Shalit in prisoner swap

[Updated at 7:25 a.m. ET] The mission to bring home captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been accomplished, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday, saying Israel was united in joy at his release and in pain for the price that Israel had to pay for it.

[Updated at 7:17 a.m. ET] Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was reunited with his family after more than five years in Hamas captivity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced Tuesday.

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

[Updated at 7:15 a.m. ET] Gilad Shalit walked into Israel a free man after more than five years in Hamas captivity on Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Israeli television showed him in the company of IDF soldiers minutes after the announcement, sparking joy in Israel.

He is in good health and is now en route to see his family and top Israeli leaders, the military announced.

Shalit learned about a week ago that he was going to be released, though he "felt it for the last month," he told Egyptian television after his release.

"I missed my family. I missed going out and meeting people," he said in the emotional interview, where he appeared pale, tired, tense, and sometimes out of breath, although he was seated in a chair.

Israel is releasing more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

"I hope this deal will move the peace process forward," he told Shahira Amin of Egyptian TV, saying he would be glad if the remaining Palestinian prisoners are released "as long as they do not go back to fighting Israel."

The interview came shortly after Egyptian television showed a short clip of Shalit walking unaided with an escort of about half a dozen people. He looked thin and dazed, wearing a dark baseball cap and collared shirt.

Shalit came via Egypt because it acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, which do not have relations.

Shalit's father told Israeli television earlier it was the happiest day of his life.

Israel freed 477 Palestinian inmates from Israeli jails shortly before Shalit was released, the first group of a batch of more than 1,000 Palestinians being swapped for Shalit's freedom.

October 18th, 2011
06:35 AM ET

Clinton arrives in Libya on unannounced visit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Tripoli on Tuesday, making her the first Cabinet-level American official to visit Libya since the ouster of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Clinton landed under tight security in a country where forces loyal to the transitional government are still battling Gadhafi loyalists. She was slated to meet with officials of the National Transitional Council and planned to offer U.S. medical assistance for those wounded in the fighting, according to a senior State Department official traveling with the secretary.

NTC fighters toppled Gadhafi's nearly 42-year-old government in August after six months of fighting. Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and his brother-in-law and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi are wanted on war crimes charges and remain fugitives.

- CNN's Elise Labott is the news media pool producer for Clinton's trip.