Overheard on CNN.com: Jesus' take on helping poor, Trump's big endorsement
Readers are debating how President Barack Obama's religious beliefs should affect his economic policies.
February 2nd, 2012
07:30 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Jesus' take on helping poor, Trump's big endorsement

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Our readers had varying thoughts on a story about President Barack Obama's comments on how his religious beliefs affect his policy decisions at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Obama: Jesus would back my tax-the-rich policy

Many disagreed with Obama.

RoboKnuckle: "For the first time in your presidency I can say that you are right Mr. Obama. People should be helping their less fortunate neighbors as the Bible says. But here is where you are wrong: I don't remember the Bible stating that we should give it to the government for them to decide who our donations help. I believe that is why there are numerous charities and nonprofit organizations available for people to do this on their own. I have very little faith in the government getting my donations to the deserving parties."

Others said Jesus would lean a bit to the left.

FreeRadicals: "Jesus would be a liberal. I can't imagine how he would react to the GOP pretending to be Christians."

But many readers didn't think the government needs to be the vector for social assistance.

papillon1: "Yes, Jesus taught us to be compassionate and help the poor, but where does Jesus tell us to have Big Government do it for us? We are to do it directly. Get government out of the welfare business, and let us keep our dollars for local people helping local people."

Others said one should not confuse religion and government. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Barack Obama • Celebrity • Donald Trump • Elections • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Religion
February 2nd, 2012
05:58 PM ET

Trump endorses Romney

Celebrity business magnate Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president Thursday, telling reporters he will not mount an independent campaign if Romney is the Republican nominee.

Trump, who has repeatedly flirted with the possibility of his own White House bid, revealed his decision in Las Vegas two days before Nevada's Saturday caucuses.

"It's my honor, real honor, to endorse Mitt Romney," Trump said, with Romney and his wife standing nearby. Calling Romney "tough" and "smart," Trump said: "He's not going to continue to allow bad things to happen to this country."

Romney responded by praising Trump for "an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs" and for being "one of the few who has stood up to say China is cheating" in international trade.

It was unclear whether Trump's decision will have any impact on the Republican race. A Pew survey last month found that 64% of definite and likely GOP voters said an endorsement from the reality television star would make no difference to them.

Post by:
Filed under: Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party
February 2nd, 2012
02:00 PM ET

More deaths amid Europe's big freeze

More deaths were reported in Eastern Europe on Thursday as the region continued to shiver in the grip of unusually frigid weather.

The coldest temperatures continued to chill the Eastern European countries of Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, where Thursday was the coldest day yet for many.

In Ukraine, 65 people have died since the bad weather started this week, according to the Ukranian Emergency Ministry. Of those, 47 were homeless. Others died in their homes or in the hospital as a result of frostbite and hypothermia.

Post by:
Filed under: Europe • Weather • Winter weather
February 2nd, 2012
01:55 PM ET

Arab League: U.N. Security Council talks put pressure on Syria

Even a watered-down U.N. Security Council resolution will put pressure on the Syrian government, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby told CNN Thursday, ahead of renewed talks at the United Nations.

His comments came a day after private discussions by Security Council members about a draft resolution on Syria ended with major differences still apparent but with participants expressing some optimism that an agreement could be reached.

Meanwhile, at least 70 people were killed across Syria Wednesday, opposition activists said, with more violence reported Thursday.

Post by:
Filed under: Syria • United Nations
February 2nd, 2012
01:52 PM ET

'Fast and Furious' consequences coming, Holder says

Firings and charges against the justice department officials who oversaw the agency's flawed gun-running operation are likely to come in the next six months, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

Holder was speaking before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to discuss the controversial sting operation called Operation Fast and Furious.

Asked what steps he had taken since the controversy came to light 13 months ago, Holder said he is awaiting the conclusions of an internal investigation.

Post by:
Filed under: Congress • Mexico
February 2nd, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Punxsutawney Phil skeptics burrow through groundhog forecasts

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Wayne: "Punxsutawney Phil, wives and computers are never wrong."

Joe T.: "You forgot to add politicians and teenage children into that mix."

According to followers of the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, there are six weeks more of winter to come.  Phil saw his shadow Thursday morning, so it must be true. Readers talked about the relatively mild weather in their areas, the tradition of groundhog weather prognostication, and - cover your ears, Phil - even groundhog recipes.

More winter weather, Punxsutawney Phil predicts

Some people shared stories of comparable groundhog weather prognostication in their area.

charles Beale: "We have at least two groundhog predictors in Canada. Wiarton Willie in Ontario didn't see his shadow and so spring is just around the corner for us here 'up North.' "

Bob: "Phil is high. He can't see the evidence in front of his beady little eyes. Staten Island Chuck – now there's a varmint firmly grounded in reality."

Some wondered if modern technology is tainting the results.

Bobby: "I don't know how Phil could ever not see his shadow. With TV cameras and lights all over the place, any creature is bound to see his shadow ... unless he's facing the source(s) of the light. I think I read last year that, before this became so commercialized, Phil would see his shadow on sunny days. In Pennsylvania at this time of year, sunny days only reveal themselves on bitterly cold days. As the days warm toward spring, cloud cover would not allow Phil to see his shadow. Phil is the Great Meteorologist of PA, but he can't do it accurately with all of that infernal artificial lighting."

Others said probability and statistics don't support a correlation between Phil's shadow and the actual meteorological observations. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Overheard on CNN.com • Pennsylvania • U.S.
Anger flares in Egypt after 79 die in soccer riot
Al-Masry fans chase Al-Ahly players during riots that erupted after the football match.
February 2nd, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Anger flares in Egypt after 79 die in soccer riot

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] Egyptians began three days of mourning Thursday for the 79 people who perished the previous day at a violent soccer riot, as the nation's fledgling parliament erupted in anger over the national tragedy.

The speaker of the parliament ordered an end to a live broadcast of Thursday's parliament session, so heated was the debate. But the order was retracted after angry lawmakers made their objections known.

A deputy of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party demanded the resignation of the interior minister, holding him responsible for the loss of lives. Another deputy accused security guards of allowing fans to bring weapons into the stadium in Port Said.

A committee will investigate the circumstances that caused the deadly riot Wednesday at the match pitting Cairo's Al-Ahly team against Al-Masry of Port Said.

When the referee blew the final whistle of Wednesday's match in Port Said, the score was Al-Masry 3, Al-Ahly 1. Thousands of Al-Masry fans stormed the pitch despite their home team's hard-fought victory.

Rival fans attacked one another with rocks and chairs. Many of those who died fell from bleachers inside the stadium, said Ahmed Saeed, an official from the Port Said governor's office. Others suffocated.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Egypt • Soccer • Sports
February 2nd, 2012
07:47 AM ET

Philippine military: Airstrikes kill top terrorists, including one on FBI list

The Philippine military said it killed a man who is on the FBI most-wanted terror list and two other senior militants Thursday in a predawn airstrike on a remote southern island.

About 15 militants died in the early morning airstrike on the island province of Sulu, part of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, according to a spokesman for the Philippines armed forces.

The dead included two senior figures in Jemaah Islamiyah and members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf, said Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, the spokesman.

February 2nd, 2012
07:34 AM ET

More winter weather, Punxsutawney Phil predicts

[Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET] If you were hoping to be done with winter, Punxsutawney Phil had some bad news for you on Thursday.

After the groundhog was summoned from his burrow at the Gobbler's Knob hill in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, observers proclaimed that "the prognosticator of all prognosticators" had seen his shadow.

"Many shadows do I see, six more weeks of winter it must be," a member of Phil's "Inner Circle" said as a crowd erupted in boos.

The tradition goes back to medieval times when there was a superstition that all hibernating animals emerged from their caves and dens to check the weather on Candlemas, which is halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March. If the animals saw their shadows, winter would go on for another six weeks, and they could go back to sleep, according to the tradition.

But if there was no shadow, spring would come early, according to the tradition.

Not every groundhog agreed with Phil on Thursday. At New York's Staten Island Zoo, for example, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told several hundred observers that Staten Island Chuck didn't see his shadow, and that therefore an early spring was on its way.

The Staten Island event has happened for 31 years. Punxsutawney's celebration goes back 126 years.

Up to 18,000 people attended the Punxsutawney event Thursday, CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reported. The annual celebration 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, starting with various events the weekend before Groundhog Day, provides a sizable boost to the local economy. As many as 30,000 visitors come to town for the event on any given year, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office's Quinn Bryner said.

The 2,600 rooms available for guests in Jefferson County and surrounding counties usually sell out, Bryner said. And the event adds $1 million to the area each year, according to the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce.

Much of the United States has seen an unseasonably warm winter, so Phil's prediction may come as a surprise to some.

How much stock would you put in this year's prognostication?

Here's what Phil indicated in the last few years, according to Groundhog.org:

2011: "No shadow, spring is near!"

2010: "Phil saw his shadow and told his prediction to new Inner Circle President Bill Deeley."

2009: "Phil saw his shadow and Inner Circle President Bill Cooper completed his final interpretation and retired at Gobbler's Knob. It was 7:26 a.m."

2008: "It was 29 degrees. In front of one of the largest crowds ever at Gobbler's."

February 2nd, 2012
07:23 AM ET

Thursday's live events

The GOP presidential candidates are now focused on Nevada and that state's upcoming caucuses.  Watch CNN.com Live for up-to-the-minute news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - National Prayer Breakfast - President Obama will make remarks at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Elections • Politics • Republican Party
February 2nd, 2012
04:45 AM ET

Famous boxing trainer Angelo Dundee dies

Legendary cornerman Angelo Dundee, the man who helped motivate Muhammed Ali and many other boxing champs, died Wednesday, a source close to Ali said.

He was 90.

Dundee died Wednesday in Florida from natural causes, Dundee's son Jimmy Dundee told CNN affiliate WFTS.

Dundee, known for being a supreme motivator, was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. His biography on the hall of fame website reads like a who's who list of boxing royalty.


Filed under: U.S.
February 2nd, 2012
04:12 AM ET

Sony expects nearly $3 billion loss

Sony expects a full year net loss of US $2.9 billion, citing tough domestic and global financial conditions. The Japanese electronics company says it is forecasting a net loss of 220 billion yen or US $2.9 billion for the fiscal year ending in March 2012. Previously, Sony expected to make 90 billion yen (US $1.2 billion).

Releasing its third quarter earnings, Sony says for the quarter ending in December 2011, it lost 159 billion yen (US $2.06 billion). And for the nine months ending in December 2011, Sony reported a net income loss of 201 billion yen (US $2.5 billion).


Filed under: Economy • World
February 2nd, 2012
04:09 AM ET

Pakistan court moves to charge PM with contempt

Pakistan's Supreme Court summoned Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to appear February 13 to be charged with contempt of court, his lawyer said Thursday.

The moves raises the stakes in a long-running battle over the court's demand that the prime minister investigate President Asif Ali Zardari, among others, for suspected corruption. Gilani has refused.

If he is found guilty of contempt, Gilani could be forced from office, but his lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan said Thursday that Gilani would keep his position unless electoral officials disqualified him.


Filed under: Justice • Politics • World
February 2nd, 2012
12:32 AM ET

Australia helping Papua New Guinea after boat reportedly sinks with 350 aboard

The Australian authorities said Thursday that they were helping Papua New Guinea with rescue efforts for a passenger boat that was reported to have sunk with as many as 350 people on board.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had detected a distress signal from the vessel, the Rabaul Queen, on Thursday morning.

The boat is thought to have gone down about 16 kilometers off the east coast of the Papua New Guinea mainland while ferrying passengers from the town of Kimbe on New Britain Island, the Australian agency said.


Filed under: World