April 25th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What brought down Gingrich's campaign? What's next?

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.

Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination next week, his spokesman said Wednesday. Gingrich will likely move to back Mitt Romney and support GOP members of Congress. Armed with knowledge, many readers of all stripes began to deconstruct Gingrich's campaign and its legacy.

Gingrich to end White House bid, spokesman says

Did Gingrich doom himself?

Kamalarani: "His message of churches under attack, of being a moral man, his views on immigration, and how to fix the economy did not resonate with the American voters. But like all narcissists and egomaniacs, who take credit for your hard work and blame any failures on your incompetence, Gingrich will fault everyone and everything around him for his failure. That is everyone but himself. I am so glad we are seeing the back of this ridiculous man ... "

Some are sad to see him go.

RedToppolino: "This was Newt's last opportunity as he'll be too old eight years from now. I have mixed emotions regarding the termination of his campaign as he is by far the best equipped individual in America to beat Obama and to run this country. Unfortunately, Newt has character flaws that have been picked up on by the ultra-liberal media. However, his flaws are nothing compared to those of Obama. At least Newt is a heterosexual Christian with a verifiable history and legally eligible to serve as president."

There are many who would still prefer different candidates. FULL POST

April 25th, 2012
07:13 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Soldiers can't say whatever they want, or can they?

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.

Sgt. Gary Stein was given an "other-than-honorable" discharge for using his Facebook page to criticize President Barack Obama, said Capt. Brian Block, a spokesman for the Marines. We received thousands of comments from our readers, with many of them saying that a soldier cannot criticize the president any more than an employee should publicly critique their boss or CEO.

Marine discharged over online Obama comments

This was the most-liked comment:

rshanks66: "This is not a freedom of speech issue. It’s a military code of conduct issue. The president is the Commander in Chief. As a member of the service, you do not have the right to say you’re 'not going to follow orders.' It doesn’t matter if you like the officer or not. Everyone knows that."

But could there be unintended consequences?

Scott Giddens: "I don't care who you are or who you voted for. I would not make fun or joke about when the government aggressively silences dissident views even if it was justified. It simply smells bad. More than likely, the soldier was made an example to prevent more dissidence. If more soldiers did this, say 25-50, I wonder what the government would do then. This could backfire on us, with soldiers defending their fellow soldiers first and their country second."

In the business world, some readers argued, one must choose their words. FULL POST

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Marines • Military • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
April 25th, 2012
05:46 PM ET

The CNN Daily Mash-up

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We'll top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs. Your comments, as always, are welcome.

Hold on to your seats: Planes crab-walk in

Windy days make for memorable airline flights - and even more memorable landings. Pilots' work is harder than it looks. Check it out:

Maybe she prefers Greyhound

Speaking of air travel, several flights were delayed Wednesday morning at New York's busy LaGuardia Airport when a dog named Byrdie slipped out of her carrier and went for a walk on one of the runways, CNN affiliate WABC reports. The Rhodesian ridgeback was retrieved within a few minutes and put back on her Delta flight to Memphis, Tennessee, authorities told WABC.

State ends 'unworkable' death penalty

Calling it "a moment for sober reflection, not celebration," Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty in Connecticut. He gave the rationale for the change in a nutshell:

In the last 52 years, only two people have been put to death in Connecticut - and both of them volunteered for it. Instead, the people of this state pay for appeal after appeal, and then watch time and again as defendants are marched in front of the cameras, giving them a platform of public attention they don't deserve.

iReport: Spectacular castle in Slovenia

All-star iReporter Percy von Lipinski shot this video last year, but he waited until Tuesday to share it. And we're not very happy about that. However, we're too blown away by the beauty of the Bled Castle in Slovenia and Lipinski's interview with the charming mayor to hold it against him.

User comment: California screamin'

Woe is the Golden State, notes one reader. As worries arise about disease in California's beef industry, CNNMoney coughs out a list of the most environmentally fouled cities in America. The reader's pithy comment:

Not a good headline day for California. Five of the top 10 most polluted cities in the country and mad cows.

Stand up and cheer

An Indiana woman who lost her legs while saving her children from a killer tornado last month threw out the first pitch for her favorite baseball team. All that's missing is an apple pie.

On the horizon: Paul Ryan's audition?

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, will deliver the annual annual Whittington Lecture at Georgetown University. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the GOP's point man on economic matters, is believed to be a contender to be Mitt Romney's running mate in this fall's presidential campaign. So are Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and several others.

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
April 25th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Marine discharged over online Obama comments

A Marine who used his Facebook page to criticize President Barack Obama has been discharged, a Marine spokesman said Wednesday.

Sgt. Gary Stein (pictured) was given an "other-than-honorable" discharge, said Capt. Brian Block, a spokesman for the Marines.

A military board recommended earlier this month that Stein be given the discharge on grounds that he violated "good order and discipline" by calling Obama a liar and suggesting he would not follow some orders issued by the president, among other comments posted to his Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page.

The board found he also violated rules limiting political conduct by service members.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Marines • Military
Connecticut becomes 17th state to abolish death penalty
April 25th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

Connecticut becomes 17th state to abolish death penalty

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty, making his state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital punishment and the fifth in five years to usher in a repeal.

The law is effective immediately, though prospective in nature, meaning that it would not apply to those already sentenced to death. It replaces the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state's highest form of punishment.

"Although it is an historic moment - Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action - it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration," Malloy (pictured) said in a statement.

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Filed under: Connecticut • Crime • Death Penalty • Justice
Timeline of Madeleine McCann case
Gerry McCann and his wife, Kate, hold signs showing their missing daughter, Madeleine, in Lisbon in February 2010.
April 25th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Timeline of Madeleine McCann case

British girl Madeleine McCann, who vanished during a 2007 family vacation in Portugal, may still be alive, London’s Metropolitan police said Wednesday, citing a yearlong review of the case.

Madeleine was a few days shy of her fourth birthday when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz while her parents dined in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends. Despite a huge police investigation, massive coverage in the Portuguese and British media, and a public riveted to social media, she remains missing.

Metropolitan Police on Wednesday released a new image of the girl, created in collaboration with the family, that shows how Madeleine might look at age 9. Her ninth birthday is May 12.

Here is a timeline of the Madeleine McCann case:

May 3, 2007:

- Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, report that Madeleine has disappeared. The couple go on to campaign internationally to secure the safe return of their daughter, including having a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and securing support from soccer star David Beckham.

May 14, 2007:

- Portuguese police name Robert Murat, a British man living in Portugal, as a suspect in the case.

September 7, 2007:

- Portuguese police name Kate and Gerry McCann as suspects in the disappearance of their daughter, after reportedly finding suspicious DNA in a car the family rented 25 days after reporting her disappearance. The Sunday Mirror quotes Kate McCann as saying Portuguese police are trying to get her to falsely confess that Madeleine died in an accident and that the parents panicked and disposed of the body. The McCanns deny any wrongdoing.


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Filed under: Madeleine McCann • Portugal • United Kingdom
Sources: Gingrich to end campaign next week
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks at the 2012 New York Republican State Dinner on April 19 in New York City.
April 25th, 2012
10:10 AM ET

Sources: Gingrich to end campaign next week

Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and formally express his support for Mitt Romney next week, two sources close to Gingrich tell CNN.

While details are still being worked out, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, DC, where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.

Read full post on Political Ticker
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Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Politics • Republican Party
Arizona law leaves divisive legacy
Sergio Paez says Arizona's immigration law has hurt his tortilla business.
April 25th, 2012
07:53 AM ET

Arizona law leaves divisive legacy

The past few years haven’t been the best for a man trying to make an honest living selling tortillas in Arizona. Business owner Sergio Paez estimates that he has lost 20 businesses as customers in the past three years, from small neighborhood taquerias to chain restaurants.

In 2010, his tortilla business was suffering thanks to the nationwide recession. Then Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the state's controversial immigration enforcement policy known as SB 1070, and things got even worse, he said.

“The law affected the immigrant population dramatically,” said Paez, a naturalized citizen from Mexico whose Phoenix-area factory produces about 200 dozen tortillas an hour.

“The economy had already been going down with the housing crisis - construction stopped, people were losing homes, jobs, cars. That triggered the recession, but I think this law aggravated it here.”

With oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court set for Wednesday in the Obama administration’s constitutional challenge to the law, the outcome will have far-reaching implications for Arizona and other states that have implemented similar policies since 2010.


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Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Immigration • Justice
April 25th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

The focus of the presidential election is turning toward November's general election.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - Gingrich breakfast - GOP candidate Newt Gingrich continues his longshot bid for the presidency, despite hints that his candidacy could be coming to an end.  He addresses a county GOP breakfast in Cramerton, North Carolina.


Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics
Gotta Watch: Obama grabs late night laughs with a song
President Obama joins Jimmy Fallon in a slow jam.
April 25th, 2012
07:07 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Obama grabs late night laughs with a song

President Obama took time from his hectic schedule to unwind and share some laughs on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" Tuesday night. The president is well-known for singing in public, but last night he took on a slow jam with the late night host. You've "gotta watch" Obama's performance.

First lady Michelle Obama, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are among the political figures who have also enjoyed some leisure time lately on the late night talk show circuit.  See how they've poked fun at themselves and others in front of a national TV audience.


Obama slow jams with Jimmy Fallon

President Obama has sung before, but last night he and Jimmy Fallon team up for a special slow jam session on Fallon's late night talk show. Watch to see what they sing about.


Romney's top ten: 'Gingrich? Really?'

Mitt Romney stopped by David Letterman's show to share the top ten things he'd like to share with the American people. Be sure to see number one on his list.


First lady gets Leno spoof treatment

Jay Leno has a little video editing fun with some footage of First lady Michelle Obama. Check out what he has her do.


Perry pokes fun of himself on Letterman

Gov. Rick Perry appeared on David Letterman's show to poke fun at his presidential debate performance. Watch how he smooths over his infamous "oops" moment.

April 25th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

U.S. beef sales curbed in South Korea after 'mad cow disease' case

At least one major South Korean retailer has suspended the sale of U.S. beef after authorities confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sometimes referred to as "mad cow disease," in a dairy cow in central California.

"Currently, the sale of U.S. beef is temporarily suspended to ease our customers from anxiety," the retailer, LotteMart said.

For its part, South Korean government said it will step up checks on U.S. beef imports - but not halt it for now.

South Korea is the second-largest importer of beef from the United States.

In 2010, it imported 125,000 tons of U.S. beef, a 97% increase from the year before, the United States Department of Agriculture said.


Filed under: U.S. • World
UK officials: Madeleine McCann may be alive
Gerry McCann and his wife Kate hold signs portraiting their missing daughter, Madeleine, in Lisbon on February 10, 2010.
April 25th, 2012
06:08 AM ET

UK officials: Madeleine McCann may be alive

British girl Madeleine McCann, who went missing on a family vacation in Portugal, may still be alive, British authorities said Wednesday.

London's Metropolitan Police plan to release a new image of the girl, who vanished in May 2007.

Madeleine was nearly 4 years old when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz as her parents dined in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.

Despite a huge police investigation and massive coverage in the Portuguese and British media, she has not been found.

At one point, authorities in Portugal had named the girl's parents as suspects, as well as a British man living in Portugal, Robert Murat.

But a spokesman for the Portuguese prosecutor's office said in July 2008 that authorities found no evidence of involvement by any of the three and they were no longer considered suspects.

Kate McCann said earlier that she thought being named as a suspect had a devastating effect on the case.

Portuguese investigators closed the case in July 2008.

Timeline of case

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Filed under: Crime • United Kingdom
April 25th, 2012
04:53 AM ET

South Sudan president accuses Sudan of declaring war

South Sudan's president accused Sudan of declaring war on his nation as tensions between the two neighbors intensified, sparking fears of a return to conflict over unresolved oil and border issues.

President Salva Kiir made the comments during a visit to Beijing, marking the latest in fiery war rhetoric that has drawn alarm and condemnation from the international community.

This trip comes  at a critical time "because our neighbor Khartoum has declared war" on South Sudan, he said Tuesday.

China - a crucial trading ally to both nations - urged restraint and negotiations on outstanding issues between the two rivals.

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Filed under: World
April 25th, 2012
03:31 AM ET

Iranian diplomat leaves Brazil under sexual abuse allegations

Iran has recalled a diplomat from Brazil amid allegations he sexually abused children at a swimming pool, state media in Brazil reported.

The case will be "seriously considered," Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign affairs ministry, said Tuesday, according to Agencia Brasil.

The 51-year-old diplomat allegedly fondled the genitals of boys and girls - ages 9 to 14 - on April 14 at Neighborhood Social Club No. 1 in the capital, Brasilia.

It was not immediately known in what capacity the man worked at the Iranian embassy in Brazil.


Filed under: Crime • World
April 25th, 2012
03:21 AM ET

U.N. sources: Syria won't accept observers from certain countries

U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan has expressed dismay over reports that the Syrian government resumes brutal attacks on cities once U.N. monitors leave - the latest sign that diplomatic efforts are failing to quash the bloodshed in the country.

"I am particularly alarmed by reports that government troops entered Hama (Monday) after observers departed, firing automatic weapons and killing a significant number of people," Kofi Annan told U.N. Security Council members Tuesday. "If confirmed, this is totally unacceptable and reprehensible."

Thirty observers are expected in the country by Monday, and 100 within a month, said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, citing comments by Herve Ladsous of U.N.'s Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

"Mr. Ladsous reported that the Syrian government has refused at least one observer based on his nationality, and that Syrian authorities have stated they will not accept (monitoring mission) staff members from any nations that are members of the 'Friends of Democratic Syria,'" Rice said Tuesday. "He underscored that from the U.N. point of view this is entirely unacceptable."

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
April 25th, 2012
01:10 AM ET

South Africa gang-rape suspects head to court

Seven of the eight suspects who are accused of taking part in a brutal videotaped gang-rape of a teenager will appear in a South African court Wednesday to ask for bail.

It is unlikely that the suspects, accused in a crime that has shocked many in South Africa, will be granted bail, officials have said.

An eighth suspect, a man who was found with the victim, is scheduled to appear in court on May 4, court officials said.

The images of the assault of a 17-year-old girl, believed to be mentally ill, swept across the Internet last week and touched a nerve in South Africa.

The shocking footage shows the girl pleading for her attackers to stop, and it has some activists saying it is an example of the country's problem with rape.

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Filed under: Justice • World