Overheard on CNN.com: Readers ponder dangers, benefits of getting involved in Syria
Given the ongoing unrest in Syria, readers are debating whether the U.S. and U.N. should get involved.
February 13th, 2012
07:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers ponder dangers, benefits of getting involved in Syria

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.

The violent unrest in Syria has many people wondering what solutions might exist. Among our readers, a debate is brewing about whether it's a good idea to get involved in the country's affairs, and if so, how.

Harsh condemnation for Syria at United Nations

This story talks about the United Nations' involvement in particular. The most-liked comment was about the Arab League's responsibilities.

blursd: "What's the point of an Arab League even existing if the only time it uses its collective militaries is when it a question of Jewish interests. Seriously, if they think this is as imperative of an issue as they say it is (a member state unjustifiably killing fellow Arabs), then they should be willing to commit their militaries to resolving the issue. Instead, they just sit around and twiddle their thumbs like a bunch of ineffectual hypocrites, and expect the 'evil' West to come in and do the 'dirty work.' I say let the Arab League step up to the plate ... if they want to world to treat them like a legitimate organization, they need to start acting like one."

JohnRJohnson: "Unfortunately, the Mideast is more than just nation states. It is an uneven grouping of several branches of Islam. Shiites in one country would not like seeing Shiites in another country fired on by an Arab League force. The same goes for Sunnis. These people are bound together more by religion and tradition than by a sense of nationalism. So the Arab League has to tread very carefully here, and that's the primary reason why it is calling on the U.N. to take action."

Is it right for outsiders to get involved?

ConvinceMe12: "Once upon a time, two Muslims were fighting trying to kill each other. An outsider tried to stop them; so the Muslims joined together and attacked the outsider. Once the outsider decided to leave them alone, they went back to trying to kill each other again and blamed the outsider for what they were doing."

We saw a lot of readers saying people should stay out of Syria's business, but others were frightened of that idea as well. FULL POST

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Syria • United Nations • World
For NBA’s Lin, all pun and games
New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has taken the basketball world by storm.
February 13th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

For NBA’s Lin, all pun and games

As the stock rises (literally) of the red-hot New York Knicks, much of the credit has gone to former bench player and superstar du jour Jeremy Lin.

Aside from his meteoric scoring average – 26.4 points a gamein the Knicks' current five-game win streak – basketball pundits have had a field day with clever variations of his name.

Some of them have been gems – Linsanity (sorry Vince Carter). Others, (Lin’d of the Lost,  Really, Yahoo?). Other monikers have clanked like so many shots at the rim: Lin-ter the Dragon? Lin's teammate Amare' Stoudemire, no stranger to nicknames, told ESPN recently that at he actually was fond of the most accurate one. "I like Lin-sanity," he said.

"That's what it is right now. It's really a madness right now around New York, and it's been out of control with him and what he's doing. He's very well-received because he's a humble guy and he loves to play the game." From Lin himself, according to ESPN: Super Lin-tendo. Ahh, we see what you did there.But what about the other linsational (uh-oh) names out there? Here’s a rundown of the monikers popping up on social media:

Linderella – Well played, from Mike Allen, well played.
There's even a Lin Word Generator. At the click of a button you can broaden your vocabulary in lin-tastic ways.
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Filed under: Sports • U.S.
February 13th, 2012
04:30 PM ET

5.5 quake hits Northern California

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck northern California on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake was centered between Crescent City and Eureka and near the coast, according to the USGS.

The quake was at a depth of about 20 miles, according to the USGS.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters
February 13th, 2012
04:20 PM ET

Supreme Court justice robbed at Caribbean vacation home

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed at by an intruder armed with a machete last week, while vacationing in the Caribbean island of Nevis, where the family own a vacation home, a court spokeswoman said Monday.

His wife and two other guests were in the home at the time, but officials say no one was hurt in the incident.

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Filed under: Crime • Supreme Court • World
Overheard on CNN.com: What can we learn from Whitney Houston's life, death?
The death of Whitney Houston, pictured at the American Music Awards in 2009, has provoked a strong reaction among readers.
February 13th, 2012
02:38 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What can we learn from Whitney Houston's life, death?

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.

Celine Dion is facing criticism after saying drug use "took over" Whitney Houston's life. Many tore into Dion via Twitter after her "Good Morning America" interview Monday discussing Houston's death. Nevertheless, Dion got lots of support from our readers. Many commenters said Houston made poor decisions in her life, regardless of their feelings about her work as an artist. We've highlighted a few of their remarks. What do you think?

Celine Dion on Houston: Drugs took over her dreams

Several readers said they believe Dion's assessment was correct.

bluegrassbiscuit: "A fan of Whitney here; however, I agree with Celine. It's sad and unfortunate. When will people learn? We say these people are our idols and they influence us to do great things, become a singer, reach for our goals, etc. Then why can't, when something like this happens, we get influenced to not fall into drugs and alcohol? It should work both ways. ..."

Rose: "Drug and alcohol abuse can still kill you even if you get clean and stay clean for years. It causes a lot of damage to your organs that can cause an early death. I hope that she had not fallen back into substance abuse."

But others noted celebrities often get what they want, even when it hurts.

Louisa: "I'm still so sad over her death, but how could anyone get to her? When you have money and bodyguards and people that will tell you anything you want to hear, how could anyone get close enough to help? Same with Michael (Jackson). He could afford doctors to give him what he wanted, and if they didn't, then he got someone else. We have lost some true talents."

There were a lot of personal stories about the consequences of substance abuse. FULL POST

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Filed under: Celebrity • Health • Music • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
February 13th, 2012
01:24 PM ET

New Jersey Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

The New Jersey state Senate voted 24-16 on Monday in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

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Filed under: New Jersey • U.S.
Whitney Houston remembered
Fans lay flowers and personal messages to singer Whitney Houston around Harlem's Apollo Theatre.
February 13th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

Whitney Houston remembered

The death of singer Whitney Houston shocked many, and the outpouring of love for her has been memorable. Her fame as an artist, actress and model are well documented, but perhaps it is the touching stories by those closest to her that remind us of who she was as a person. The following clips move beyond the star, reminding us that underneath the glitz was a mother, daughter and friend.


Whitney Houston's death 'surreal'

Gospel singer Kim Burrell reflects on her friendship with Whitney Houston, remembering her as a "wonderful spirit."


Davis: I'm devastated by loss of Whitney

During his annual pre-Grammy party, Clive Davis joined with other artists to speak about the loss of Whitney Houston.


Bobby Brown: Pray for me

IReporter Moshiu Knox captures video of Bobby Brown on stage asking for prayers the night Whitney Houston died.

For more reaction to Whitney Houston’s death, head to CNN’s collection featuring reaction from fans, artists and critics around the globe.


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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Uncategorized • Whitney Houston
February 13th, 2012
10:49 AM ET

Sandusky can see grandkids, judge rules

A Pennsylvania judge ruled Monday that the former Penn State assistant football coach currently awaiting trial on child sex assault charges can visit with some of his grandchildren.

The decision by Judge John Cleland eases some conditions of Jerry Sandusky's house arrest, which had forbidden him from interacting with his grandchildren.

Sandusky will still be prohibited from visiting with three grandchildren who are currently involved in custody litigation, Cleland ruled.

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Filed under: Jerry Sandusky • Penn State
February 13th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

Fresh attacks in Syria ahead of U.N. vote

Syrian towns and cities were under fresh attack Monday as the United Nations prepared to vote on a resolution strongly condemning human rights violations by Syrian authorities.

The vote by the U.N. General Assembly would be non-binding but would be the strongest statement yet on the violence, which has dramatically worsened since the popular uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began 11 months ago.

After a pause in fighting in the southern city of Zabadani broke down Sunday night, Syrian troops made door-to-door raids and took people away and shelling began, according to an activist with detailed knowledge of the situation.

There had been dialogue between the Syrian troops and the rebel Free Syrian Army in the city, but the pause lasted not much more than a day.

A military convoy of 45 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and military trucks rolled through another town in the northwest province of Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, an opposition activist group. Four people in the city of Idlib were wounded by gunfire from Syrian security forces, the group said.

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Filed under: Syria • United Nations
February 13th, 2012
09:59 AM ET

Four hurt in bombing of Israeli Embassy car in India

Four people were wounded when an explosive device attached to an Israeli Embassy van detonated near the Israeli mission in New Delhi, officials said Monday.

It was one of two explosives discovered on Israeli Embassy vehicles Monday. The other was found on an embassy car in Tblisi, Georgia, and that device was detonated in a controlled explosion with no injuries, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed both incidents on Iran, calling it "the biggest exporter of terror in the world."

"The Israeli government and her security organizations are continuing to operate together with local security services against these acts of terror," Netanyahu said. "We will continue to act in a strong way, systematically and steadfastly."

One of the wounded in New Delhi is the wife of an Israeli defense wing officer and the other is the Indian driver of the car, said Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. He said both were being treated and "are OK." Two others in a vehicle next to the van sustained minor injuries, according to BK Gupta, an Indian police official.

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Filed under: Iran • Israel • Terrorism
February 13th, 2012
07:53 AM ET

Whitney Houston: What we know, what questions remain

Singer Kelly Price told CNN on Monday that she performed an impromptu duet with Whitney Houston at a party two days before Houston's death.

"She did not seem disheveled. She was dancing, she was laughing. ... We were having a good time," said Price said of the party two days before the Grammys. "What I saw on Thursday night was not erratic behavior. I didn't see someone who was high."

Friend: Whitney was 'joyful and upbeat'

Beverly Hills police have requested a "security hold" on the coroner's report, a common practice in high-profile cases that limits what can be revealed about a probe while it is ongoing.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles county coroner's office, refused to speculate on a cause of death, saying testing is ongoing. Winter on Sunday said no additional details, including what was discovered in Whitney Houston's room, would be released.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, singer Tony Bennett, who won two Grammys Sunday night, recalled to Rolling Stone the first time he heard Houston's voice. "I called Clive Davis up," he said of the record label boss who discovered Houston. "And I said, 'Clive, that's the best singer I ever heard in my life. You really got something on your hands.' Sure enough, at the beginning she was singing everything so beautiful.

A source close to Houston, however, told CNN Monday that her body will be flown to her native New Jersey, and a funeral service will be held there Friday or Saturday.


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Filed under: Music • U.S. • Whitney Houston
February 13th, 2012
07:42 AM ET

Monday's live events

It's "Budget Day" in Washington.  What's "Budget Day," you ask?  It's when President Obama reveals his proposed federal budget for next fiscal year.  CNN.com Live is your home for the unveiling and reaction to the 2013 budget.

Today's programming highlights...

11:00 am ET - Obama discusses budget - President Obama will make his first public statement on the 2013 budget when he speaks to students at a community college in Annandale, Virginia.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Economy • Politics
February 13th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

One activist's chronicle of daily hell in Syria

As fresh attacks continue in the besieged city of Homs, Syrian activist "Danny," whose name we are protecting, has escaped the slaughter there and has re-emerged in Lebanon.

Before he left Homs, Danny shared his stories with CNN and posted a number of videos on YouTube purporting to show the violence there. Although CNN cannot verify these videos independently, they appear to show a desperate situation.

Danny’s family was waiting in Cairo last week, desperate for news of his fate.

Watching a video of the carnage, Danny's mother, Helen Abdul Dayem, said, “How can the world not listen to the cries of these mothers? I can’t watch this.”

Activists claim that President Bashar al-Assad's government has been unrelenting in its violence, something the government denies. Danny’s family has become almost a PR agency for the uprising, helping to get journalists into Syria and information out.

Danny’s parents and younger siblings all waited by the phone to hear what had happened to the 23-year-old who put himself in harm's way to chronicle the atrocities in a besieged city. For Akram Abdul Dayem, Danny’s father, the suspense was too much. He rocked back and forth on the couch.

“Just get through this day. Calm down,” his wife told him. But his nerves were too frayed. “I’m taking a machine gun and I’m going to get him. I am. I’ve had enough,” he said.

Soon, a message online confirmed that their son was still alive. Then the telephone rang: Danny was safe and in Lebanon. Connected to Danny on the phone, his father began to sob. Then the connection went dead. Soon, Danny called again.

“Danny, are you all right? It’s good to hear your voice. We’re so worried about you, Danny,” his mother said. She relayed his message to the family: “He says he doesn’t care. They said he was dead four times already,” she said amid nervous laughter. “Well, we care.”


February 13th, 2012
05:40 AM ET

More questions than answers surround sudden death of Whitney Houston

There were more questions than answers Monday about Whitney Houston's sudden death, with authorities offering few details even as the iconic singer's passing loomed large over music's biggest night.

Coroners completed the autopsy Sunday on Houston, who was found dead a day before in her suite in the upscale Beverly Hilton just hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy Awards bash at the hotel.

Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office told reporters "there will be no cause of death at this time because it is pending toxicology reports."

Winter declined to release the coroner's initial finding of cause of death, saying lab results were expected in six to eight weeks.


Filed under: Crime • U.S.
February 13th, 2012
03:30 AM ET

President Obama will present his 2013 budget plan Monday

When President Barack Obama rolls out his 2013 budget proposal Monday, it's likely to unleash another round of political finger-pointing on Capitol Hill.

The White House bills the document as a "blueprint for how we can rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded."

While the White House and Democrats are advocating a balanced approach to economic growth - including spending cuts, increased tax revenue and investments in rebuilding infrastructure such as highways and bridges, Republicans will argue for deeper spending cuts and lower tax rates.

Both sides contend that their positions will bring the economic growth needed to stimulate significant reductions in the federal deficit and rising national debt.


Filed under: Economy • Politics • U.S.
February 13th, 2012
03:26 AM ET

Judge to rule on Sandusky request to ease house arrest

A Pennsylvania judge is expected to rule Monday on whether to ease restrictions in the house arrest of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky that would allow him visit with his grandchildren while he awaits trial on child sex abuse charges.

Sandusky has been under house arrest since December when he was charged with sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period, allegations that led to the firing of the Nittany Lions heralded head football coach Joe Paterno only months before he died of complications from lung cancer.

Judge John Cleland has said he is aiming for a May 14 trial for Sandusky, who has been under house arrest as part of his conditional bail release.


Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
February 13th, 2012
03:24 AM ET

U.N. to consider another draft resolution on Syria as shelling pounds Homs

After repeated failures by international leaders to stop the Syrian massacre, U.N. diplomats are expected to consider a draft resolution Monday that would "strongly condemn" human rights violations by Syrian authorities.

But for every moment of chatter, reports of bloodshed among civilians intensify.

At least one civilian was killed by sniper fire Monday in Hama, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,an opposition activist group.

And shelling and gunfire erupted once again Monday in devastated city of Homs, tormenting residents who say President Bashar al-Assad's regime is set on eliminating the opposition.


Filed under: World
February 13th, 2012
03:22 AM ET

Adele dominates Grammys as tributes to Whitney Houston flow

Adele thanked her doctors "who brought my voice back" as she accepted one of six Grammy awards Sunday night, and she later proved their work was true with a strong vocal performance.

The 23-year-old British songstress was crying by the time she accepted her sixth award - for the most prized album of the year Grammy. "I just first want to say 'Mom, girl did good,'" Adele said.

"It's been the most life-changing year," she said.

Adele, who underwent surgery for "recurrent vocal cord hemorrhage" in November, sang "Rolling In The Deep," ending speculation about her recovery. Adele enjoyed a loud and long standing ovation from the packed Staples Centers audience after her strong delivery.


Filed under: U.S.