May 18th, 2012
08:34 PM ET

Overheard on Friday funnies

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.

It's Friday. Let's end the week by taking a look at some funny comments about stories in the news. First, we venture backwards in time to your teenage years.

New French PM's name causes Arab giggles

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's name sounds like Arabic slang for male genitalia. Some thought this story might inspire kids to learn foreign languages.

Uncle_Dutch: "Some people never get out of junior high. On a positive note, it might be just the spark to get the Beavis & Butthead types of this country to finally learn a foreign language."

readerz: "Vastly educational. We just learned two new words in Arabic, in the long-standing tradition of every foreign-language student who looks up all of 'those' words first. I hope that Mr. Ayrault and (Pakistani diplomat Akbar Zeb) continue to educate. At least the article did not use Victorian English, where there is another word used in place of the word 'said.' Reminds me of something produced by Congress, but maybe the language would need to be aborted."

Politicians with dirty-sounding names are nothing new, readers say.

Niki Bush: "If we can get over the fact that two of our presidents were Bush, then we can get over the fact that the French (prime minister) president's name means penis in the Arabic world. I had an uncle named Richard Head, and when you go through your entire life with the last name that is an euphemism for the downtown area, every other wacky name just isn't really all that funny."

Some people are all too familiar with this issue.

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Filed under: Facebook • Overheard on • Politics
Jogger’s unexplained slaying stuns Missouri city
Harry Stone, 60, was fatally shot Sunday morning while jogging in Raytown, Missouri.
May 18th, 2012
07:39 PM ET

Jogger’s unexplained slaying stuns Missouri city

Harry Stone was on one of his usual jogs in a Kansas City suburb shortly before 7:30 a.m. Sunday when an approaching car slowed down and a passenger shot him.

The vehicle kept going without stopping, and Stone, 60, later died at a hospital.

Nearly a week later, police in Raytown, Missouri, say they have no suspects, and no one has any idea why he was targeted.

He wasn’t robbed. He didn’t have any known enemies. And a gang-initiation hit appears implausible, Raytown police Capt. Ted Bowman said.

“Even grasping at straws and imagining motives, we have been able to find nothing in the man’s background or time or place or associations or his relationships or his history,” Bowman said Thursday.


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Filed under: Crime • Missouri
Shadow Summit focusing on Afghan women; CNN reveals one woman's journey
Aesha Mohammadzai's photo on the cover of Time magazine in August 2010 became a symbol of oppression of Afghan women.
May 18th, 2012
04:42 PM ET

Shadow Summit focusing on Afghan women; CNN reveals one woman's journey

In a move to make sure Afghan women’s issues are not forgotten during the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, Amnesty International USA is hosting on Sunday a Shadow Summit to focus exclusively on the rights of Afghan women and girls.

The summit will culminate with attendees gathering at Chicago’s Navy Pier to fly kites in support of Afghan women’s rights.

The concern of those who will attend the summit is this: What happens to Afghan women and girls after the United States and allied forces move to withdraw in 2014?

The question about what the troop withdrawal will mean for women and girls in war-torn Afghanistan is not new. It was the question posed on the cover of Time magazine in August 2010, next to the photograph of a young woman who became the symbol of the oppression of Afghan women.

The award-winning image was that of Aesha Mohammadzai, then known as Bibi Aisha. Forced into marriage at a young age, her Taliban husband and in-laws punished her for running away by hacking off her nose and ears and leaving her for dead.

She was brought to America for reconstructive surgery in August 2010. But what has happened to Aesha since she arrived nearly two years ago?

Coming Sunday, CNN’s Jessica Ravitz will answer this question in an exclusive story that traces Aesha’s complicated journey.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Illinois • Taliban • World
Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson faces charges in Costa Rica stemming from a sea confrontation in 2002.
May 18th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight

The German justice system will entertain a Costa Rican request to extradite controversial Sea Shepherd conservationist and "Whale Wars" star Paul Watson, but he can post bail while the matter is considered, a Frankfurt court ruled Friday.

Bail for Watson - who faces what his organization and attorney allege are politically motivated charges over a 2002 confrontation at sea with Costa Rican fishermen - was set at 250,000 euro ($318,000), Frankfurt high regional court spokesman Ingo Nohre said.

Watson, 61, intends to post it Monday, his group said.

Watson, whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained fame through Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show, was detained last weekend at the Frankfurt airport after Costa Rica issued an international request for this arrest.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson’s crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast, according to the Frankfurt court.


Gotta Watch: Dramatic firefighter moments
Bangladeshi firefighters control a blaze at a slum in Dhaka on May 16, 2012.
May 18th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Dramatic firefighter moments

Firefighters regularly put themselves in harm's way, but what happens when situations arise even they aren’t prepared for?  Below are three dramatic moments caught on tape where firefighters were forced to act quickly or possibly suffer themselves.


Firefighter plunges through burning roof

As firefighters work to stop a massive apartment building fire, watch what happens after one rescue worker gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Fireman: Roof under him 'just dropped'

Watch as training, quick thinking and teamwork all come into play for three firefighters caught standing on a building’s collapsing roof.


1999: Atlanta crane fire rescue

In 1999, a massive building fire in Atlanta traps a lone employee on a crane above. Check out what one firefighter has to do to save the desperate man.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch
May 18th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Friday's live events

The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November. Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 am ET - Terror financing hearing - How are terror groups financing themselves following the 9/11 attacks?  A House homeland security subcommittee discusses the matter.


Filed under: Elections • On today • Politics
Arrest made in Mississippi highway shootings
James D. Willie
May 18th, 2012
05:49 AM ET

Arrest made in Mississippi highway shootings

Authorities have arrested a suspect in the case of an alleged police impersonator who is believed to have killed two motorists in Mississippi, the Tunica County Sherriff's Office said.

James D. Willie, 28, of Sardis, Mississippi, was arrested Tuesday after police responded to a disturbance in Tunica. Authorities found Willie with a woman who claimed he raped her. Willie was later taken into custody.

Authorities said Willie had a semi-automatic handgun at the time of his arrest. State crime lab scientists determined the weapon matched the same one used in two murders in northwest Mississippi last week.

Thomas K. Schlender was found dead in his car, stopped in the median of Interstate 55, early on May 8. Three days later, Lori Anne Carswell was found dead outside her car on the shoulder of a state highway in Tunica County.

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Filed under: Crime
May 18th, 2012
05:01 AM ET

'Just One Minute,' Israelis demand for athletes, coaches killed at '72 Games

Israel's deputy foreign minister is taking to social media to pressure the International Olympic Committee to reverse its stance against a moment of silence at the London Games for 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed at the 1972 games.

"We will not let this issue rest and we will be launching a concerted campaign to have the IOC reconsider their position," Danny Ayalon posted on his Facebook page on Thursday. "All we ask for is 'Just One Minute!'"

Ayalon repeatedly tweeted a plea for support early Friday, directing people to an online petition sponsored by a Ankie Spitzer, whose husband - fencing coach Andre Spitzer - was among those killed by the Palestinian terror group Black September.

IOC President Jacques Rogge, in a letter to Ayalon received this week, did not directly mention the request for a moment of silence. But he said the IOC "officially paid tribute" to the memory of those killed on several occasions and will continue in consultation with the Israeli Olympic Committee.

"Please rest assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in 1972 will never fade away," Rogge wrote.

Ayalon said the response was unacceptable.


Filed under: Sports • World
May 18th, 2012
03:26 AM ET

Van Halen postpones 31 concert dates

[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET] Classic rockers Van Halen on Thursday abruptly postponed more than 30 tour dates, following their June 26 concert in New Orleans.

Contacted Friday for comment, a representative for the tour said that no other information was available. No explanation was given, and there was no word on when the appearances might be made up.

Thirteen shows, including Saturday's concert in St. Paul, Minnesota, will go on as scheduled.

The band is on tour in support of its new album "A Different Kind of Truth" - the first complete album with original lead singer David Lee Roth since the platinum-selling "1984," which was released on the last day of 1983.


Filed under: U.S.
May 18th, 2012
02:17 AM ET

UN observers have dampening effect on Syrian violence, Ban Ki-moon says

Syrian forces opened fire Friday on anti-government demonstrators in Aleppo, the opposition claimed, a day after thousands purportedly took to the streets calling for an end to the regime in a city widely considered a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad.

Security forces were attempting to break up a demonstration that began after dawn prayers in the mixed, upper middle class city in northern Syria, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition network that counts casualties and organizes anti-government protests.

While there have been a number of demonstrations in Aleppo since the Syrian uprising began, the number of people publicly calling for al-Assad's ouster has increased significantly. It culminated this week with thousands of predominantly university students demonstrating, according to opposition groups, who posted videos of the protest outside Aleppo University on YouTube.

The size of the recent protests raise questions about whether al-Assad is losing his grip on the country's largest city where he has enjoyed support.


Filed under: World
May 18th, 2012
01:39 AM ET

Chinese tycoon sentenced to life in prison for smuggling, bribery

A Chinese court on Friday sentenced Lai Changxing, a tycoon who spent more than a decade as a fugitive in Canada, to life in prison for smuggling and bribery, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Lai, 53, was sentenced by a court in the southeastern port city of Xiamen in Fujian Province, where the Chinese authorities say he ran a multi-billion dollar smuggling operation in the late 1990s.

Born into a peasant family, Lai received little in the way of education. He nonetheless rose to become one of China's richest and most flamboyant businessmen.

His company's interests included products as varied as cigarettes, cars, luxury goods and oil.


Filed under: Crime • World