February 20th, 2012
11:25 PM ET

Eurozone approves new $173B bailout for Greece

Eurozone finance ministers sealed a deal Tuesday morning for a second bailout for Greece, including €130 billion ($173 billion) in new financing.

The finance ministers from the 17 nations that use the euro, known as the Eurogroup, gave Greece funding it needs to avoid a potential default next month.

While this new deal provides some short-term relief for Greece, difficult days lie ahead as the government tries to trim debt to 121% of the country's gross domestic product by 2020. Greece's debt now stands at about 160% of GDP.

An austerity pact was approved by the Greek parliament on February 12, leading to some of the worst riots in the country in recent years. The package, which included deep cuts in government spending, wages and pensions, helped pave the way for eurozone finance ministers to sign off on the new €130 billion ($172.6 billion) bailout deal.

Post by:
Filed under: Economy • Europe • Greece • World
February 20th, 2012
10:45 PM ET

CNN prime time: Avalanche survival, free plastic surgery for teachers


Teachers nip, tuck for free

It’s a policy that’s been on the books in Buffalo, New York, for nearly 40 years: Free plastic surgery for teachers.


Surviving an avalanche

On Sunday, she was tumbling down a mountainside, caught in a deadly avalanche. A look at how Elyse Saugstad lived to tell about it.


Gay sheriff denies threatening lover

A scandal playing out in Arizona involves a sheriff with a bright political future, his ex-boyfriend, abuse of power allegations and the presidential race.

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • CNN Prime Time • Gay and lesbian • Mitt Romney • Skiing
Overheard on CNN.com: Gender is complicated
Cory, age 15, is biologically female, but says he identifies himself more as a male.
February 20th, 2012
06:32 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Gender is complicated

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.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics found that children who don't conform to typical gender roles (i.e. boys who act like girls or girls who act like boys) have a higher risk of suffering abuse than other children.

This wasn't a surprise to many CNN.com readers, including this guest, who said "I don't think it takes multiple Ph.D.'s and M.D.'s to figure this out. 'If you're not like the rest of us, we'll beat you up.' We learned that in elementary school."

Kids who veer from gender norms at higher risk for abuse

The article sparked some interesting discussions on gender, parenting and society's expectations for boys and girls.

JackiMaddie: "I would love and support my child no matter what, and I hope other people feel the same way. Just do the best you can as a parent to instill your values in your child, but if the child follows a different path, you should still be there for him/her. That being said, I am so relieved my daughter obviously doesn't have this problem."

But MindLikeWarp said you can't support everything your child does.

"Pretty soon we are going to say it is OK to be racist, because that is just who you are. I think parents have a responsibility to teach their children how to be able to function decently in society. I think parents should teach boys to be boys and girls to be girls. I know that isn't the PC thing to say, but you shouldn't just let kids do whatever they want. They need boundaries and rules. Society has them."

Readers also debated whether doctors were turning normal childhood behavior into a disorder.

"Seriously? I was a tomboy when I was younger. I'm not boyish anymore. I was normal then and normal now. Why is everyone making such a big deal about this? Kids like to experiment. Some kids like to play outside and get dirty, some kids like to play with dolls, some kids like blue and some kids like pink. Stop trying to paint kids as transgender!! They are just trying to grow up and understand the world. The boys in my neighborhood used to come over and we would play dress up with my dresses. It was FUN. Calm down and let kids be kids!"

Michael J. Creamer Jr.:
"In fairness, it's the children who are painting themselves to be transgender. If you read the article carefully, you will see that they are talking about issues a little more substantial than a girl playing baseball and a boy playing with a Barbie doll."

"I really hope they don't start to think that girls that like sports now have a psychological disorder. When I was a kid I loved to play with Barbies, dress up, but I also loved to go outside and play sports and play video games. I think it is healthy for kids to show typical signs of both genders. Most of my friends went through a "tomboy" phase. And from what I know, all of us are straight women. If a girl wants to play sports or a boy wants to be a dancer, let him, don't just assume he/she is gay. Gender roles are created by society.
In short, let kids be kids and have fun."

Other readers argued that sexuality and gender are separate issues.

"You people are missing the point. This is not about being homosexual. It's about how parents are STILL trying to stereotype their kids by gender – 'girls are supposed to wear pink dresses with bows in their hair, and play with dolls. Boys are supposed to wear jeans and play with trucks.' The parents get upset if the kids don't adhere to these stereotypes. It has nothing to do with sexuality."

blueduck13 said people can't be forced to accept someone who doesn't conform to gender roles.
"Personally, I could care less, but while everyone has freedom of choice, they also have consequences. If you have a Mohawk, some people might stare."

But Aucausin says it's much different from a haircut:
"Unless you have gender dysphoria it can be hard to understand. Imagine tomorrow you wake up as the opposite sex, all your friends and family have forgotten that you were ever different and now believe that you were always the opposite sex. You go to dress for the day and your wardrobe has been replaced with clothes indicative of your new sex. You must wear these clothes with your new body. You go to breakfast then school or work and everyone you know sees you as male or female even though you feel like something different. This doesn't seem like much in text, but it is hell."

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

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

February 20th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Strict new French Quarter curfew nets almost 200 Mardi Gras arrests

New Orleans’ infamous French Quarter is awash in memorable sights and sounds, especially during the busiest and most colorful weekend of the year - the one just before Mardi Gras Day. However, a strict tightening of the city’s curfew policy means revelers under the age of 16 must now be accompanied by a guardian if they’re going to visit the French Quarter after 8 p.m.

Proponents of the new curfew include New Orleans Police Cmdr. Jeffrey Walls, who’s quick to cite an ever-present mix of booze, nudity and violence as the reason for the change.

“We were having kids that were being victims and perpetrators of crimes,” argued Walls, who said prevention is his primary focus in the crackdown.

The newly strengthened curfew regulations apply seven days a week, but only in the French Quarter and the nearby Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Other areas of the city will continue to enforce an 11 p.m. curfew for those under 16, which was already on the books.

New Orleans City Council members unanimously passed the curfew change in January. Like many things in New Orleans, the change did not come without controversy. Critics have called the new curfew racist, arguing the new law specifically targets African-American neighborhoods where, they say, the presence of poor, black youth is too often considered a blight on the city’s treasured tourism and revenue.

Walls, tasked with leading the nightly curfew enforcement in the raucous French Quarter district, maintains it’s strictly “a public safety issue."

"It keeps the kids safe," Walls said. "This is an adult entertainment area. It's not like Disney World. … There’s really no reason for kids to be out after 8 o’clock unsupervised."


February 20th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Senator 'optimistic' Egypt NGO standoff near end

A key U.S. senator said Monday he has high hopes for a positive resolution soon to the growing diplomatic crisis revolving around 19 American overseas aid workers facing charges as part of an Egyptian crackdown on nongovernmental organizations.

"Quite frankly, I'm very optimistic we're going to get this episode behind us," GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN. "It's my hope (this will happen) sooner rather than later."

Graham spoke from Cairo after meeting with top Egyptian military and political leaders. He's joined on the trip by Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and John McCain of Arizona. McCain is chairman of the board of the International Republican Institute, one of the organizations affected by the Egyptian crackdown.


Filed under: Arab Spring • Egypt • John McCain
February 20th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

Avalanche killed experienced backcountry skiers

Three skiers killed in a Washington state avalanche on Sunday were highly experienced at backcountry skiing, according to media reports, and one was the head judge of the Freeskiing World Tour, a competitive circuit for extreme skiers in the United States, Canada and South America.

The three, ski tour judge Jim Jack, Chris Rudolph and John Brenan, were among a group of a dozen or so skiers who were attempting to ski down a slope near the Stevens Pass ski area in the Cascade Mountains, about an 80-mile drive from Seattle. Among the group were staffers of both ESPN and Powder magazine, who identified the victims and gave accounts of the incident.

Powder magazine senior editor John Stifter said the avalanche was triggered by Jack, who was the seventh skier to head down the slope, which is outside the borders of the resort and its groomed ski runs. Jack triggered a “slab avalanche,” according to Stifter.

The U.S. Forest Service’s National Avalanche Center says dry slab avalanches are the most deadly form of avalanches.


February 20th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Red Cross: Syrian cease-fire needed to deliver aid

The International Committee of the Red Cross is trying to negotiate a cease-fire between Syrian authorities and the opposition so the humanitarian agency can deliver food and medical supplies to the besieged city of Homs and other locations, a spokesman said.

Negotiations are "happening now," Bijan Farnoudi, a spokesman for the ICRC in Geneva, Switzerland said Monday.

"We have been in Syria for a while now, based in Damascus, so we want to reach some of the hardest-hit areas," he said. "We have been to some places like Homs and so on from time to time, but it is very crucial to have a cessation of fire to provide humanitarian services."

Post by:
Filed under: Syria
February 20th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Iraq Sunni VP denies terrorism allegations

Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi denied terrorism charges against him Monday, calling them "politically motivated" in a televised speech broadcast from the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north.

Iraq's top judicial committee on Thursday accused al-Hashimi's security detail of carrying out 150 attacks against security forces and civilians between 2005 and 2011.

Al-Hashimi said Monday that the nine-judge council is under the control of the Shiite-dominated central government and the allegations are "politically motivated."

Post by:
Filed under: Iraq
February 20th, 2012
11:11 AM ET

Inside Syria: 'What is the world waiting for? For us to die of hunger and fear?'

Editor's note: CNN correspondent Arwa Damon reported from Baba Amr, a neighborhood in Homs, Syria, a city that has been a flashpoint in a months-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Government forces have shelled parts of the city  especially Baba Amr, a bastion of anti-government sentiment for two weeks, damaging houses and other buildings and leaving many dead and wounded.

Damon is one of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been placing restrictions on journalists and refusing many of them entry. Below is an edited account of what Damon and her team saw and heard from activists in Homs:

This small hall was once filled with laughter. Marriages took place here. Now the echoing sounds are not of joy, but of tragedy.

In this makeshift bunker, some of the families of Baba Amr who have nowhere else to go huddle. But, it offers them very little comfort.

"We're not sleeping at night, we're not sleeping during the day," a man named Ilham howls. "The children are always crying, the bombs are coming down."

Often they huddle in near darkness.

Some cover their faces, still afraid of the government's relentless shelling. They are afraid, they said, they might lose more than they already have. Conditions here are desperate

In hard-hit Baba Amr, about 350 people who've fled their homes out of fear or necessity are living in the makeshift bunker.

Restricted by seemingly constant shelling and gunfire outside, they don't have any medicine, let alone the ability to get to a hospital. Children are getting sick, and one woman recently gave birth there. They have little food  some lentils and rice and a little bread.

They fled here either because their homes were destroyed by shelling, or because the firing was getting too close.


Post by:
Filed under: CNN Inside Syria • Syria
February 20th, 2012
09:14 AM ET

Mexican official: Prisoners may have escaped in riot that killed 44

MONTERREY, Mexico (CNN) - Authorities are investigating what caused clashes that left at least 44 dead in a northern Mexico prison - and whether any inmates escaped.

A fierce rivalry between drug cartels likely fueled the fighting Sunday inside a prison in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, state security spokesman Jorge Domene told reporters.

Prisoners could have used the riot to engineer a breakout, Domene said. He did not say whether inmates had escaped from the overcrowded prison or how prisoners inside acquired the clubs, stones and sharp objects they used in the fighting.

Guards may have been complicit, he said, and authorities have detained them - along with the prison's director - for questioning.

Post by:
Filed under: Mexico • World
February 20th, 2012
07:38 AM ET

Monday's live events

The race to the Republican presidential nomination continues Wednesday with a GOP debate in Phoenix.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - Santorum in Ohio - GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum starts his day in Ohio, where he'll address a campaign rally in Steubenville.


Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
February 20th, 2012
04:48 AM ET

Italian soldiers die in western Afghanistan

Three Italian soldiers died in western Afghanistan on Monday after their vehicle fell into a ditch, police said.

A convoy of Italian forces and USAID workers were on their way to survey a dam in the Shindand district of western Herat province, when they slid off the road in wet conditions, said Abdul Rauf Ahmadi, a police spokesman.

USAID is a government agency providing U.S. economic and humanitarian assistance.


Filed under: World
February 20th, 2012
03:31 AM ET

U.N. nuclear watchdog agency in Iran for more talks

Officials with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency begin a second round of talks Monday with Iranian officials over the country's nuclear program, a day after Tehran cut off crude exports to British and French companies in retaliation for a new round of sanctions imposed on the regime.

The two days of talks come amid heightened tensions in the region, with Israel making clear it is pondering an attack on Tehran's nuclear infrastructure, while Iran warned it could cut off the narrow strait through which oil tankers sail in and out of the gulf.

The scheduled talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iranian officials are billed as an opportunity for the watchdog agency to clarify the "possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the group said.

Iran says it is producing enriched uranium to fuel civilian power plants and has refused international demands to halt its production.

But the IAEA reported in November that it had information to suggest Iran had carried out some weapons-related research.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is up to Iran to disprove the allegation.

"The Agency is committed to intensifying dialogue. It remains essential to make progress on substantive issues," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in statement following the first round of talks in January.

The talks in Tehran follow an announcement Sunday by Iran's oil ministry that it was halting crude exports to French and British companies, an order that followed a threat that Iran would cut oil exports to some European Union countries in retaliation for sanctions put in place last month by the EU and the United States.

"Iran has no difficulty in selling and exporting its crude oil. ... We have our own customers and have designated alternatives for our oil sales. We shall sell to new customers, who will replace French and UK companies," ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad-Rahbar said in a statement.

The sanctions put in place last month are meant to force Iran to provide more information on its nuclear program by shutting off its sale of crude oil, which generates half of Iran's revenue.

Iran exports 2.2 million barrels of oil a day, 18% of which is bound for European markets, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The world consumes about 89 million barrels of oil per day.

Post by:
Filed under: Iran • World
February 20th, 2012
02:14 AM ET

U.S. senators to meet with Egypt over accused NGO workers

A delegation of three U.S. senators, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, will be in Egypt on Monday to meet with the country's military leaders to discuss the case of 19 American workers who face charges as part of an Egyptian crackdown on nongovernmental organizations.

"I think this is a very difficult situation," McCain told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "I am not a negotiator, but I think it's important that I and the other senators in the delegation explain to the Egyptian leadership ... that this is a serious situation, has serious implications for our relationship,"

The delegation also includes Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman. The visit is part of a pre-planned trip.

McCain said that while he will address the situation of the detained Americans, he will not attempt to negotiate their release.

Post by:
Filed under: Egypt • U.S. • World
February 20th, 2012
12:14 AM ET

South Korea carries out military drill despite threats from North

South Korea fired live artillery on Monday in a military drill near the country's heavily armed border with North Korea, which has described the exercise as a provocation.

The drill Monday involved howitzers, mortars and attack helicopters, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. It took place on islands off the west coast of the Korean peninsula where tensions have flared in the past.

Seoul notified the North on Sunday of the drill, a regular live-fire exercise that lasts an hour. About 1,000 island residents were moved to safe areas during the drill, Yonhap reported, citing military officials.

"This is a very dangerous play with fire to ignite a war against the North as it is a clear declaration of war against it," Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday, citing a bulletin from the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

Post by:
Filed under: North Korea • South Korea