March 21st, 2012
08:23 PM ET

Overheard on Hunters, vegetarians clash over 'Hunger Games'

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

Discussion about the franchise of "The Hunger Games," particularly its "bucking" of stereotypes, has led to passionate debating about killing for food on CNN's Eatocracy blog. People also talked about the movie, which comes out Friday, March 23, so if you've got an opinion, let us know what you think. You can also watch the cast of the movie answer iReporters' questions.

'The Hunger Games' bucks hunter stereotypes

Reaction to the story has pit hunters against vegetarians.

Vegetarian: "Nobody seems to really catch the point. It's the lack of compassion that's the bottom line. How can you enjoy an activity that is about killing? And the B.S. about it being clean and fast; 'so they don't suffer' is absurd. They always suffer. Just admit that you don't care, and in fact, may enjoy the power. Be honest.

Hunter: "The deer I shot this year was a clean kill through the heart. It ran on adrenaline for a few yards before it dropped. There were several other opportunities I had to shoot many other deer this year and chose not to because it would have been beyond my capability and would have likely caused suffering. But I chose not to. It is one of the tenants we learned in our hunter education course: Respect the animals . Did I mention that I donated the meat to Hunters for the Hungry–a 5013c charity that provides hundreds of thousands of pounds of meat to the poor in Virginia? You should read about how corporate farms treat their animals before you make generalizations on the entire hunting population of this country. Further, I bet you also don't know that hunting licensing fees fund state conservation efforts for all those beautiful state parks you enjoy."

Another person was disgusted by the whole idea of "The Hunger Games." FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Food • Movies • Overheard on • Showbiz
March 21st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Did Trayvon Martin's shooter use a racial slur?

As outrage over the killing of a Florida teenager continues to spread online, social media and news outlets are debating whether the shooter uttered a racial epithet in one of his 911 calls. And if so, what he might have said.

Zimmerman, whom authorities described as white and family members say is Hispanic, said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense, according to police. Martin, who was black, was walking to his father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford, Florida, after a trip to a convenience store and was not armed.

Many people at CNN have listened repeatedly to the call but have been unable to reach any consensus on what was said. An audio engineer enhanced the sound on the 911 call but said it was difficult to improve the quality or to replicate the background noise. CNN continues to analyze the tape and consult outside experts.

Sanford police haven’t confirmed what was said on the recording but deny a news report they overlooked a racist remark during the investigation.

“I said we didn’t hear it; however, I am not sure what was said,” Sanford Police Sgt. David Morgenstern told CNN. “So I never said we missed a racist remark.

“I’m not sure what was said. I heard something, but again, not clear as to what was said. I did not hear it until it was pointed out to me.”

In the video above, listen to a nonenhanced recording of relevant audio of Zimmerman’s call at 1:48, after he says, "He's running."

Tell us in the comments: Do you hear a racial slur?

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Filed under: Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin • U.S.
NFL suspends Saints coach, ex-coordinator over bounty program
Saints head coach Sean Payton's one-year suspension begins April 1 as a result of his team's bounty program.
March 21st, 2012
02:01 PM ET

NFL suspends Saints coach, ex-coordinator over bounty program

[Updated at 2:01 p.m. ET] The NFL is suspending former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely and Saints head coach Sean Payton for one year because of the team's bounty program, the league said Wednesday.

The Saints also will be fined $500,000 and will forfeit their second-round selections in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts, the league said.

In addition, the league is suspending Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season, and Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six regular-season games, the NFL said in a statement.

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”


Sanford, Florida, police answer questions about teen's shooting death
The February 26 death of Trayvon Martin, 17, has sparked allegations of racial profiling and calls for his shooter to be charged.
March 21st, 2012
01:50 PM ET

Sanford, Florida, police answer questions about teen's shooting death

The police chief of Sanford, Florida, has released answers to what he says are frequently asked questions about the February 26 fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a neighborhood watch leader, whose freedom following the boy's death has drawn fierce protests.

In a letter on the city's website, City Manager Norton N. Bonaparte Jr. presents the answers from Police Chief Bill Lee. The letter addresses issues such as why George Zimmerman - the man police say shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin - was not arrested, and why he was armed. It also answers why the city police department hasn't released 911 tapes, though readers should be aware the Seminole County Sheriff's Department has done so.

Martin was fatally shot while walking to the house of his father's fiancee in Sanford after a trip to a convenience store. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, said he killed the teen in self-defense, according to police. Zimmerman, whose family says he is Hispanic and who is described as white in a police report, has not been arrested or charged in the killing of the black teenager.

Below is the text of Bonaparte's letter, which includes Lee's FAQ and answers:

Fellow citizens:

There has been a lot of media attention to the recent incident where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. This is indeed a tragic situation and has caused a flood of questions and strong emotions from within our community, the region and nation. On behalf of the employees of the city of Sanford, our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. As a father, I can only image the pain Trayvon’s family must be going though. In an effort to continue to be as responsive as possible to the public seeking information on the incident, I have asked Chief Lee to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this matter. Below are his responses. Please understand that since this is still an ongoing investigation, the Police Department is limited in what information it can publicly release.

The city of Sanford is committed to (ensuring) that justice is served and, therefore, the city of Sanford has contacted the United States Attorney General’s Office for assistance in this matter.

The men and women of the Sanford Police Department extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Martin family. This is indeed a tragic situation. The death of anyone due to violence, especially a 17-year-old young man, is morally appalling. As this incident has generated a lot of media attention, we wanted to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?

When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self-defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the city may be held liable.


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Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
New York Jets agree to trade for Denver QB Tim Tebow
March 21st, 2012
01:16 PM ET

New York Jets agree to trade for Denver QB Tim Tebow

The New York Jets have announced on their Twitter account that they have agreed to a trade with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Tim Tebow.

The Jets have agreed in principle to the trade, the team said on its Facebook page.

The new comes a day after quarterback Peyton Manning announced he would play for the Denver Broncos and less than two weeks after the Jets and quarterback Mark Sanchez agreed on a contract extension.

"This is truly a special football environment, and I'm glad to be a part of it," Manning said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"I haven't had a whole lot of time to breathe. This happened Monday morning," Manning said of his decision to join the Broncos.

The arrival in Denver of a superstar of Manning's stature raised questions about the fate of Tim Tebow, who became the Broncos starting quarterback last year amid electric fanfare and led the team into the playoffs. Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, when he played for the University of Florida.

Tebow gained widespread media attention after leading his team to big wins down the stretch of games when they were behind. He also garnered a lot of attention, and jokes, because of his strong Christian faith. He even sparked the phenomenon of "Tebowing," named after his prayer pose following touchdowns.

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Filed under: Football • Sports
March 21st, 2012
12:52 PM ET

Florida shooting: What we know about Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman

The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was shot while walking in his neighborhood in Sanford, Florida, has sparked allegations of racial profiling and calls for the gunman to be charged.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI will investigate the incident. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has acknowledged shooting Martin, has not been charged and says it was self-defense. The incident has sparked widespread debate about Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law as well as numerous protests in Martin's honor.

As the story continues to grip the nation, here's what is we know about the key people in this story and why both families believe their sons have become victims.

Trayvon Martin and his family

Trayvon Martin, 17, was killed after he went to the store for candy and a soft drink.  In the wake of his death, his parents have sought to make sure the world does not forget their son, and they have asked for justice to be served by calling for Zimmerman's arrest.

"He was into sports. He loved playing football. He loved watching football. He loved basketball," his mother, Sybrina Fulton, told CNN. "He loved to eat everything in your house. He loved music. He loved kids. He loved to babysit and wash cars and (was) just a normal kid."

Brian Paz, Martin's friend, told CNN affiliate WFTV that he will miss having Trayvon around.

"He was a happy, smart person," Paz said. "He was joyful."

Paz told WFTV that his friend was a peaceful kid. And that is why he finds it so confusing that Zimmerman thought he was threatening when he noticed him walking in the neighborhood and began to follow him.

"He's a peaceful person," Paz said. "He was actually really quiet when he didn't know a person, so I wouldn't describe him as threatening."

There's not one thing in particular Paz said he will miss about his friend - it is everything.

"Chilling with him every weekend, just having him around me," he said. "That's what I'm going to miss about him."

Trayvon's parents say the whole incident has been devastating.

"The whole world sees this is a tragedy," Tracy Martin, the boy's father, told CNN. "It's sad as a father to have to bury your child. As a parent, you never want to imagine about burying your kids, and for me to have to bury my son is sad."

And they hope they will find justice soon. Their cries for an arrest sparked a social media movement to try to draw attention to the case.

"I'm so very hurt, but this whole situation is a nightmare, and I don't understand why this man has not been arrested - ­ at least charged - and let a judge and jury decide if he is guilty," his mother said at a press conference.

Trayvon's family said they believe race was a factor in his death, fueling an outcry in the racially mixed community 16 miles northeast of Orlando.

"If Trayvon had did the shooting, he would've been arrested," his father said. "He would've been arrested on the spot."


Gotta Watch: Poo you'll pay for
March 21st, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Poo you'll pay for

If you're easily grossed out or squeamish by the mere mention of words like poop, poo or dung, you've officially been warned.  Today's Gotta Watch is all about that and it's inspired by a Chinese businessman whose livelihood thrives on crap.  The thought of willingly consuming this excrement probably hasn't crossed your mind a whole lot, but there are people who choose to offer up quite a bit of money for it.  Would you pay to consume something made with poop? Sound off below.


From panda poo to costly brew

Check out this video to see how panda poo tea is made and find out why people will pay $200 per cup.


Cat poop coffee takes unappetizing path

You've gotta watch this video to find out how coffee is made from exotic cat poop.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Animals • China • Gotta Watch • Health • Michigan
March 21st, 2012
11:02 AM ET

Iraq bombings meant to target summit security, militant group says

A militant group with al Qaeda links claimed responsibility for a deadly wave of bombings across Iraq, strikes designed to undermine government security plans for the upcoming Arab League summit.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, made the claim in a statement posted on an al Qaeda website. The explosions killed 45 people and wounded hundreds Tuesday.

Occurring on the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the attacks were "coordinated" and launched by Sunni lions in Baghdad and other provinces "simultaneously," the online statement said.

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Filed under: Iraq
March 21st, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Colombia kills dozens of FARC members in operation, defense minister says

Colombian authorities killed dozens of members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia leftist guerrilla group and captured others during an overnight operation, the nation's defense minister said Wednesday.

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

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Filed under: Colombia
March 21st, 2012
10:11 AM ET

Syria hammers packed Homs refuge

Syria's security forces relentlessly pounded the Homs neighborhood of Khaldiya on Wednesday - a densely populated refuge for people who've fled other besieged districts in the devastated city, activists said.

Activist Abu Abdallah said the Khaldiya situation is different and more dangerous because of the bulging displaced population from Karm al Zaytoun, Bab Sbaa, Jib Jandali, and Baba Amr.

Activists said residents heard artillery, mortars, and bombings Tuesday and Wednesday. Dwellings there have been burned and destroyed and there have been deaths and injuries. One man was killed by sniper fire, activists said.

At least 25 civilians, including four children and two women, have died and more than 150 have been injured during regime shelling in the neighborhood, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said Wednesday.

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Filed under: Syria
March 21st, 2012
10:06 AM ET

Officials survey damage after strong quake jolts Mexico

ACAPULCO, Mexico (CNN) - Mexican officials were assessing damage Wednesday, a day after a strong earthquake left homes in ruins and rattled residents hundreds of miles away from the epicenter.

At least 11 people were injured and hundreds of houses were damaged in the 7.4-magnitude quake, which struck mid-day Tuesday in southern Mexico.

Photos from some of the hardest-hit areas showed residents surveying rubble where adobe homes once stood. Broken tiles and pieces of buildings fell onto sidewalks as far away as Mexico City, about 200 miles (320 km) from the quake's epicenter.

The city's mayor said the earthquake was one of the strongest to impact the capital since an 8.0 temblor that struck in 1985, killing about 10,000 people in the sprawling metropolis. But officials said no deaths had been reported after Tuesday's quake, despite the widespread alarm it caused.

March 21st, 2012
08:12 AM ET

Somali pirates release British hostage

Somali pirates freed a British hostage Wednesday, nearly seven months after she was taken captive in a raid at a Kenyan beach resort in which her husband was killed.

Judith Tebbutt told British broadcaster ITN that she was "very relieved" and was looking forward to seeing her son, who, she said, had helped secure her release.

"I don't know how he did it," she said.

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Filed under: Kenya • Somalia • United Kingdom
March 21st, 2012
07:43 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

The Illinois GOP presidential primary may have come and gone, but the race to the nomination remains up in the air as the candidates head to Louisiana for Saturday's primary. Live is your home for all the up-to-date news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 am ET - European debt crisis hearing - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testify before a House committee on the lessons learned from the European debt crisis.


Filed under: Elections • Politics • Republican Party
March 21st, 2012
04:03 AM ET

Outrage, protests grow over shooting of unarmed Florida teen

Outrage over the killing of an unarmed Florida teen rippled nationwide as supporters planned more protests Wednesday and a petition demanding the shooter's arrest amassed nearly 1 million signatures.
Trayvon Martin was fatally shot on February 26 while walking to the house of his father's fiancee in Sanford after a trip to a convenience store.
George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, said he killed the teen in self defense.
Nearly 750,000 people have signed a petition on demanding Zimmerman's arrest, making it one of the website's largest campaigns.
On Wednesday, supporters will gather in New York City for a "Million Hoodie March," a reference to the attire the 17-year-old was wearing when he was shot.
"A black person in a hoodie isn't automatically suspicious. Let's put an end to racial profiling," the protest page said.
Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged in the killing of the black teenager. A police report describes him as a white male, but his family says he is Hispanic.


Filed under: Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin • U.S.
March 21st, 2012
02:35 AM ET

Romney wins Illinois primary, gears up for Louisiana

With a decisive win in the Illinois presidential primary, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sets his sights on the bayou where Louisiana holds the next Republican primary.

"We thank the people of Illinois for this extraordinary victory," Romney told supporters in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. "Elections are about choices. Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois joined millions of people in this country in this cause."

With 99% of precincts reporting, Romney led former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by a 47%-to-35% margin. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was running third at 9%, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 8%.

With the victory, Romney was poised to win at least 41 of the 54 delegates up for grabs in the state, giving him a total of 562, according to CNN's estimate. Santorum is second with 249, Gingrich third with 137 and Paul last with 69.

A total of 1,144 delegates are needed to clinch the GOP nomination.

Louisiana will hold its primary on Saturday.


Filed under: Politics • U.S.
March 21st, 2012
02:10 AM ET

French police in standoff with suspect in Toulouse shootings

Dozens of French police officers surrounded a house near Toulouse early Wednesday morning, trying to coax the suspect in a series of deadly shootings - including one at a Jewish school - to give himself up.

Soon after special operations police mounted their raid at 3 a.m. (10 p.m. ET Tuesday), shots rang out from inside, wounding two officers, CNN affiliate BFM TV.

As the standoff entered its third hour, the 24-year-old suspect showed no signs of surrendering. Police tried to get the suspect's mother to talk to him, but she refused saying she had very little contact with him, the French interior minister told reporters.

The suspect's brother was inside the house in the Croix-Daurade district of Toulouse. He was arrested, officials said.

'High level of anti-Semitism' in France

According to Interior Minister Claude Gueant, the suspect is a French national of Algerian origin who spent considerable time in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Officials said the man belonged to the jihadist group, Forsane Alizza, or Knights of Glory. The French government banned the group in January for trying to recruit people to fight in Afghanistan.

Officials did not say whether the man was motivated by the presence of French troops in Afghanistan. France has about 4,000 troops supporting the NATO mission there. The government has said it will pull them out by 2013.

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Filed under: France • World
March 21st, 2012
01:11 AM ET

Obama to make first visit to Korean demilitarized zone

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the demilitarized zone that splits the Korean Peninsula in two for the first time on Sunday.

His planned visit to the heavily fortified border is part of a three-day trip to South Korea to participate in a summit meeting about nuclear security in Seoul.

Top officials from 54 countries including China and Russia will attend the summit meeting next week, but its message of international cooperation has been overshadowed by North Korea's announcement last week that it is planning to carry out a rocket-powered satellite launch in April.

South Korea has said it considers the satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, while the United States has warned the move would jeopardize a food-aid agreement reached with Pyongyang in early March.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • North Korea • South Korea