April 16th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Secret Service may have had a few secrets of its own

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.

Eleven Secret Service members have had their security clearances yanked during an investigation into allegations that they brought prostitutes to a Colombian hotel before a presidential visit to the country, government officials with knowledge of the investigation said Monday. Readers can't stop talking about this story, in part because it involves two favorite topics: Politics and sex.

Secret Service clearances yanked in Colombia probe

There was a bit of outrage from several. This reader said the Secret Service must fight temptation.

Brad76: "When your job is protecting the president of the United States of America, you can't be doing that. I can understand the allure of beautiful women. However, they are supposed to be professionals."

U.S. Rep. Peter King, Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said one of the prostitutes told a hotel manager that "they owed her money." The agents and officers involved range in experience from relative newcomers to nearly 20-year veterans.

Some readers said if agents do indeed want to buy services, they should make sure they pay for them.

barlowdm: "How stupid do you have to be to not pay your prostitute what is owed her when you are a member of the Secret Service. He has some 'splaining' to do ... to the other agents who did what they needed to do to keep their sexual excursions secret. I wonder if he was one of the 'relative newcomers.' "

But others were concerned about security risks. FULL POST

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Colombia • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Security
Gotta Watch: Extreme sand and dust storms
CNN iReporter Mujahid Latif captured images of this storm in Saudi Arabia.
April 16th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Extreme sand and dust storms

Hold on tight as you watch these videos! Photographers had to battle strong sand and dust storms to capture these eye-popping clips.  Our first "Gotta Watch" video was captured by iReporter Mujahid Latif as he watched a wall of sand blow through Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This meteorological phenomenon impacted a wedding in Arizona, too. See how the couple reacted when their wedding ceremony was suddenly covered in dust.

And a CNN reporter got a taste of one of these storms while shooting on location in Iraq. See him covered in dust as he tries to report from Camp Adder.

You've "Gotta Watch" these videos and more!


Massive sandstorm outside Riyadh

iReporter Mujahid Latif witnesses a sandstorm outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Couple marries amid dust storm

An Arizona wedding ceremony is interrupted when a massive haboob sweeps dust all over the couple and their guests.


Reporter caught in Iraqi sandstorm

CNN's Fred Pleitgen finds himself in a nasty sandstorm as he shoots for BackStory.


Dust storm creates visibility issues

A dust storm makes its way across Arizona, reducing visibility to almost zero and causing headaches for motorists.

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Filed under: Arizona • Gotta Watch • iReport • Saudi Arabia • U.S. • Weather • World
Overheard on CNN.com: Do you stick to 40 hours' work or burn midnight oil?
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg admits that after dinner with her kids, she's back to checking her work e-mail.
April 16th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Do you stick to 40 hours' work or burn midnight oil?

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.

Mashable's Pete Cashmore profiled Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who said she works 9 to 5 hours and gives the rest of her time to her family. Many of our readers responded and said they agree and support her decision, but we also heard from a lot of folks who say workers should be prepared to slog out those long hours.

Why it's OK to leave a tech job at 5

We're looking for your video commentary on the above story; just look on the page for the blue button that says "record your response." Or, upload your video here. We're asking about how women can balance a working life and motherhood. If you've got any thoughts or strategies, regardless of whether you are male or female, we'd love to hear it.

Here are some different takes on Sandberg's work-life balance:

SuZieCoyote: "She is dead-on right. 9-5 is what the company is due. The rest belongs to family. For women AND for men."

Max Derpin: "Don't forget that people in innovative industries are mentally on the job 24/7. I know I am thinking about improving features and other pressing issues even when I am off the "clock." It's just like a hobby, I like doing it, whether at the office or not."

Randall Stevens: "Good for you Max. But those who don't want to live that way should be able to live how they want."

A few people expressed resentment at those people, particularly parents, that leave on time. FULL POST

2012 Pulitzer Prizes awarded
April 16th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

2012 Pulitzer Prizes awarded

The winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prizes, the top U.S. awards for journalism, including photojournalism, as well as letters, drama and music, were announced Monday afternoon.

Among the winners was David Wood of The Huffington Post, in the National Reporting category for a series of stories about wounded veterans.

The Philadelphia Inquirer was awarded the Gold Medal for Public Service for its reporting on crimes committed against children.

The Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News was recognized in the Breaking News category, "for its enterprising coverage of a deadly tornado, using social media as well as traditional reporting to provide real-time updates, help locate missing people and produce in-depth print accounts even after power disruption forced the paper to publish at another plant 50 miles away," the Pulitzer committee said.

The committee chose not to make an award in the Editorial Writing category.

The play "Water by the Spoonful" by Quiara Alegría Hudes received the prize for drama. No prize was awarded in the Fiction category.

The full list of winners and finalists is at the Pulitzer website.

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Filed under: Media
April 16th, 2012
01:55 PM ET

Photo shows Pippa Middleton with man apparently wielding gun

A photo of Pippa Middleton showing her in a car with a man wielding what appears to be a gun in France is causing an uproar after its publication in the UK newspaper The Sun.

Paparazzi were taking pictures of Prince William's sister-in-law, who was in the passenger seat of a black Audi convertible as she was headed to a train station in Paris. The driver of the car wielded a gun, apparently pointing it in the air and then toward a photographer, who was following them and captured the shot, according to The Sun. It is unclear whether the gun was real or fake.

CNN's Matthew Chance reported he spoke to lawyers who said while it is unlikely that Middleton would face any charges unless it could be proved she encouraged the driver to point the gun on public streets, the driver could face charges of threatening with a firearm if French authorities wanted to do so.

The photographer who snapped the shot was "considering his options" about a formal police complaint, The Sun reported.

Middleton is the sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who married Prince William last year. William is second in line to the British throne behind his father, Prince Charles.

Buckingham Palace told Chance it would not comment on the photo because  Middleton is not a member of the royal family.

The photo is causing a stir, in part because there have been problems with gun violence in France recently, including an attack last month that killed seven people, including four children.

The incident took place while security was being heightened ahead of France's presidential election.

Kenyan men & women win, place, show at unseasonable Boston Marathon
The men's elite field heads out during the start of the 116th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
April 16th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Kenyan men & women win, place, show at unseasonable Boston Marathon

The top three winners in the men's and women's divisions of Monday's Boston Marathon were all Kenyan, according to the race's website.

Wesley Korir, 29, was tops among the men with an unofficial time of 2:12:41. Levy Matebo, 22, and Bernard Kipyego, 25, finished at 2:13:06 and 2:13:13, respectively.

Sharon Cherop, 28, was the fastest among the women with an unofficial time of 2:31:50. Jemima Jelagat Sumgong, 27, and Giorgino Rono, 31, finished second and third with unofficial times of 2:31:52 and 2:33:09.

This year's Boston Marathon was held in abnormally high temperatures - so warm that race organizers took several steps to warn participants and allow those concerned about the heat to run next year instead.

The race, which began in 1897 and bills itself as the world's oldest annually contested marathon, is typically held in relatively cool weather. The average temperature for an April day in Boston is 47 degrees - with a usual high of 56 and low of 40 degrees - according to the city and National Weather Service. When this year's race finished, the temperature was in the mid-70s.

With its rolling hills, the Hopkinton-to-Boston course is often considered among the nation's most grueling marathons even in ideal racing conditions.

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Filed under: Kenya • Massachusetts • Running • Sports • U.S. • World
April 16th, 2012
10:44 AM ET

Norway rampage suspect claims self-defense justifies killings

The man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb-and-gun rampage in Norway last summer claimed as he went on trial for terrorism and murder Monday that self-defense justified his actions.

"I acknowledge the acts but do not plead guilty, and I claim I was doing it in self-defense," Anders Behring Breivik told a court in Oslo. The court recorded a plea of not guilty for him.

Prosecutors played a recording of a terrified girl phoning for help during the shooting spree that left 69 people dead, many of them teens and young adults. The audio was punctuated by constant firing in the background.

They also showed security camera video of the central Oslo bomb blast that killed eight people, images that participants in the trial watched with ashen faces.


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Filed under: Anders Behring Breivik • Crime • Norway
April 16th, 2012
07:38 AM ET

Monday's live events

The 2012 presidential election can sometimes change at the drop of the hat.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

12:00 pm ET - Brady Campaign gun law reform briefing - On the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, the Brady Campaign will call on Congress to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people at a briefing in Washington.


Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics
April 16th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

Thieves snatch Tom Petty guitars

For classic rocker Tom Petty the waiting is the hardest part after five guitars were stolen from a soundstage where the Heartbreakers were rehearsing for their upcoming U.S. tour.

A $7,500 reward is being offered for the return of the guitars, including a vintage 1967 Rickenbacker, a 1967 Epiphone and a 1965 Gibson.

"Sometimes people make mistakes, but we'd like these back," Petty said on his Twitter account Friday. "no questions asked."

Police in Culver City, California, are investigating the theft.


Filed under: U.S.
April 16th, 2012
02:50 AM ET

U.N. monitors to begin work in Syria on Monday

The first members of a U.N. observer team will begin their work in Syria on Monday, tasked with monitoring a tenuous cease-fire that is showing signs of collapse.

"They will be liaising with the Syrian government, security forces and the opposition members to establish the monitoring process across the country," said Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for peacekeeping missions at the United Nations.

But since the deadline for the cease-fire passed on Thursday morning, reports of deadly violence at the hands of the regime continued.

At least 23 people died across Syria on Sunday, including 11 in the besieged city of Homs, opposition activists said. Government helicopters pummeled Homs from the sky, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.

But the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency blamed "armed terrorists" for violating the cease-fire, quoting an unnamed military official's assessment that the groups "have hysterically escalated their aggressions on the army, the law enforcement forces and the civilians."

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
April 16th, 2012
12:54 AM ET

Afghan forces say they have cleared insurgent positions after attacks

Afghan security forces have cleared the positions in Kabul and Logar Province from where insurgents had mounted sustained attacks, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said Monday.

A wave of attacks by militants took place in Kabul and three other areas of the country on Sunday. Government forces said they had repelled the offensives, but some of the violence spilled into Monday.

Explosions rocked central Kabul early Monday and came after periodic bursts of gunfire that lasted well into Sunday night in the district that houses government offices and allied embassies.


Filed under: World
April 16th, 2012
12:25 AM ET

Trial set to start for Norway mass murder suspect

The trial of a man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in Norway last summer is scheduled to begin Monday.

Anders Behring Breivik was charged last month with committing acts of terror and voluntary homicide. He is accused of killing eight people in a bomb attack in Oslo, then going to Utoya Island outside the city and systematically gunning down 69 more people, many of them teens and young adults.

The mass killing on July 22 was the single largest loss of life in Norway since World War II.

Breivik has pleaded not guilty, though he has admitted carrying out the attacks, according to the judge handling his case previously.

Breivik's trial is expected to last up to 10 weeks. If he is convicted, his punishment will be based on the determination of his sanity. It may not be possible for him to receive the maximum punishment if he is deemed insane.


Filed under: Justice • World