Overheard on CNN.com: Unmanned drones ignite domestic surveillance debate
June 14th, 2012
10:30 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Unmanned drones ignite domestic surveillance debate

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.

Unmanned drones have gotten many readers talking. A Monmouth University poll showed there was strong support for using unmanned aircraft to track down criminals, combat illegal immigration or carry out search missions. On the other hand, respondents oppose using drones to do routine work such as patrolling traffic. Here on CNN.com, the thought of using drones to catch speeders, for example, has made some readers a little nervous.

A commenter using the nickname "Rand Paul" (we don't know if it's really the Kentucky senator) posted what became the comment of the day on Thursday's Mash-up post:

"I saw George Orwell riding on a drone last night. He was waving."

As it turns out, the real Sen. Rand Paul's opinion article about drones got many of our readers talking. Paul writes of the legislation he's introduced:

"This bill protects individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of these drones. The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 will protect Americans' personal privacy by forcing the government to honor our Fourth Amendment rights."

Paul: Don't let drones invade our privacy

Should we fear drones? Readers who commented disagreed. FULL POST

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Filed under: Aviation • Crime • FAA • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Technology
Mets want Dickey's 1-hitter to be declared a no-no
The New York Mets' R.A. Dickey won his 10th game of the season in a 9-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.
June 14th, 2012
06:16 PM ET

Mets want Dickey's 1-hitter to be declared a no-no

The New York Mets want Major League Baseball to officially upgrade Wednesday’s one-hitter from pitcher R.A. Dickey to a no-hitter. And they’re willing to blame one of their other players to do it.

The Mets, who beat the host Tampa Bay Rays 9-1 on Wednesday, have asked MLB to change the Rays’ only hit against Dickey to an error on Mets third baseman David Wright, MLB.com reported Thursday.

If MLB makes the change, it would be Wednesday’s second no-hitter - San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game against the Houston Astros - and the Mets’ second in 12 days (Johan Santana threw the Mets’ first-ever no-hitter June 1).

Dickey sounded conflicted when talking about the team’s request.

"A part of me would love a no-hitter," Dickey, a 37-year-old knuckleballer with a 10-1 record this season, said Thursday, according to MLB.com. "Regardless of how you get it, it's still a no-hitter. And then a part of me thinks it would be cheap."

The key play came in the first inning, when the Rays’ B.J. Upton hit a two-hopper to third base. Video of the game from SNY shows Wright trying to barehand it but not getting hold of it.

On Wednesday night, Wright told SNY that he tried to barehand the ball because Upton is fast, and he didn’t think he had time to glove it.

“I wish it would have been somebody a little bit slower where I could have took my time and then gloved it, but it’s also the first … inning, I think. Had I known that there was going to be a one-hitter, I would have tried a little harder or something, you know,” Wright said.

The Mets’ manager, Terry Collins, said Thursday that the decision to appeal was his idea. He said he expects the league to announce a decision Friday ,and the chances of a change in Dickey’s favor are slim, according to MLB.com and The New York Times.

“It’s something that you don’t see very much, and if you can get something changed to where a guy gets to have a no-hitter, I think it’s great,” Collins said, according to the Times. “We’re just taking a stab.”

The Rays scored their lone run in the ninth inning, after Tampa Bay’s Elliott Johnson reached first on a throwing error by Wright, according to an MLB.com report on the game. Johnson made his way home thanks to two passed balls and an RBI groundout.

Wright said Thursday that it’s “a little awkward when a team wants an error on its own player.”

"I wish I could have made the play. I just didn't. It's a very difficult play," Wright said, according to MLB.com.

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Filed under: Baseball • New York • Sports
June 14th, 2012
05:37 PM ET

Mash-up: Texas-size hail, cupcake tank

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 top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Everything's bigger in Texas

What with Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Josh Hamilton, it's clear that Texans love their baseball. Baseball-size hail? Not so much. Several CNN iReporters filed images and videos of "apocalyptic" hail that damaged roofs, splashed into swimming pools and smashed car windows.

Your kind not wanted around here

While the Ku Klux Klan chapter in Union County, Georgia, is asking the American Civil Liberties Union to help it get approval to "adopt" a stretch of highway, some other residents think it would reflect poorly on the county. A man who wished to remain anonymous explained why he wouldn't want to see a sign touting the KKK's work:

I guess you've got the freedom to go out and hate people if you want, but I don't want them here. It gives us a bad name. I'm white, so I'm not the one they're targeting. But I would feel bad if an African-American drove by and saw that.

Make cake, not war

Soldiers celebrate the Army's birthday, and a general puts himself in the thick of it.

[cnn-video url=http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/06/14/army-birthday-cupcake-tank.cnn] FULL POST

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
June 14th, 2012
01:09 PM ET

Obama to sign beam of One World Trade Center

With the under-construction One World Trade Center fast approaching its final height, President Barack Obama will visit the New York tower Thursday to get an update on its growth and help prepare one of the finishing touches.

Obama is expected to sign a beam that soon will be placed at the top of the tower, said Mike Pinelli, general superintendent of the Tishman construction firm.

"We're going to have our topping-out beam placed on the street" so Obama can sign it, Pinelli said. "It's typically signed by everybody on the project at some point, and then we're going to erect it shortly thereafter to signify the topping out of (the tower)."

Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, is due to arrive at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in the late afternoon and at the construction site about 5:15 p.m. ET to get a briefing on the building, currently 104 stories and 1,300 feet tall - already the tallest structure in New York.


June 14th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Bahrain acquits 9 medics, upholds convictions of 11 for roles in unrest

Bahrain on Thursday acquitted nine medical professionals who were accused of involvement in unrest in the country but upheld convictions of another 11.

All 20 were convicted last year of attempting to overthrow the government and were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Bahrain sliced the sentences of many whose convictions were upheld Thursday.

Of the 11 whose convictions stand, two are at large, five will be released on time served and the other four can appeal their sentences again, the Bahrain Information Affairs Authority announced.


Filed under: Bahrain
June 14th, 2012
10:59 AM ET

State media: Car bomb injures 14 in Damascus

A suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden car near a revered Shiite shrine in the Syrian capital Thursday, the state news agency said.

The bombing occurred at a parking lot near the holy shrine of Sayyidah Zaynab, which houses the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed's granddaughter, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said.

At least 14 people were injured. It was not clear whether the shrine was the bomber's intended target.

State media showed photographs of a large crater and mangled, charred cars in the parking lot.

A YouTube video posted shortly after the explosion showed black smoke billowing from the vicinity of the shrine, which is near two Syrian government security buildings.

Heavy gunfire could be heard coming from area, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, which collects reports of casualties and violence.

CNN cannot independently confirm accounts of violence as access to Syria by journalists has been severely limited.

While state-run media blamed "armed terrorists" for the attack in Damascus, the opposition accused government forces of conducting a campaign of raids and arrests against those participating in demonstrations in the capital city.

The arrests in the ethically mixed Damascus neighborhood of Hajar al-Aswad followed a demonstration Wednesday night in the area, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said.

The group reported heavy bombardment again Thursday of several Syrian cities, including Idlib, Aleppo and Homs.

At least 35 people were killed in the violence Thursday, the group said.

The escalating violence prompted the United Nations peacekeeping chief to label the Syrian conflict a civil war. The Syrian government, however, dismissed that claim.

"Any talk about civil war in Syria doesn't reflect the reality," the government said in a statement released through the state news agency.

"Syria is not witnessing a 'civil war' but rather a struggle to uproot the plague of terrorism."

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Filed under: Syria • World
June 14th, 2012
10:39 AM ET

2,000th U.S. death reported in Operation Enduring Freedom

The death of a U.S. Marine in southern Afghan combat has ushered in a grim milestone.

Cpl. Taylor J. Baune of Andover, Minnesota, is the 2,000th American to die in Operation Enduring Freedom, the name for what the Bush administration characterized as the "war on terror" after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The operation began with the invasion of Afghanistan and the toppling of the Taliban, which harbored the al Qaeda terror network that conducted the attacks. But there were military actions and activities in other countries, nearby and far-flung.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
Egypt's highest court declares parliament invalid
Egyptian parliament members met in Cairo on Tuesday to elect members of a constitution committee.
June 14th, 2012
10:27 AM ET

Egypt's highest court declares parliament invalid

[Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET] Egypt's highest court declared the parliament invalid Thursday, and the country's interim military rulers promptly declared full legislative authority, triggering a new level of chaos and confusion in the country's leadership.

The Supreme Constitutional Court also ruled that a former member of President Hosni Mubarak's regime may run in a presidential election runoff this weekend.

The ruling on parliament means that it must be dissolved, state TV reported.

The court found that all articles making up the law that regulated parliamentary elections are invalid, said Showee Elsayed, a constitutional lawyer.

Parliament had been in session for just over four months. It was dominated by Islamists, a group long viewed with suspicion by the military.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in control of the country since Mubarak's ouster, announced that it now has full legislative power and will announce a 100-person assembly that will write the country's new constitution. The court's rulings come a day after Egypt's military-led government imposed a de facto martial law, extending the arrest powers of security forces.

June 14th, 2012
07:48 AM ET

Thursday's live events

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

Today's programming highlights...

1:45 pm ET - Obama talks economy - President Obama will deliver a campaign speech on the economy in Cleveland, Ohio.  He'll then go to New York, where he'll visit the World Trade Center site.


Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics
June 14th, 2012
07:22 AM ET

Australia to train Afghan forces after withdrawal of combat forces

Australia pledged Thursday to provide troops and resources in Afghanistan beyond a 2014 deadline to withdraw combat forces, a commitment that came as NATO's chief vowed the alliance would not leave a security vacuum in the country.

The announcement followed news of a joint political declaration between Australia and NATO during a news conference in the Australian capital of Canberra.

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Filed under: World
June 14th, 2012
06:58 AM ET

Suu Kyi lays out 'ambitious' plan for Myanmar

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi called for the rule of law, an end to ethnic conflict and strong democratic institutions in Myanmar as she began a historic first trip to Europe after decades of house arrest.

"Am I overly ambitious?" she asked, then smiled. "Well, perhaps. I am ambitious."

The audience erupted in laughter and cheers as she declared that she was speaking not as a representative of govenment, then grinned and added: "Not yet, anyway."

Suu Kyi compared her home country to South American countries that have moved from dictatorship to democracy as she began the speech.

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Filed under: World
June 14th, 2012
06:52 AM ET

British PM testifies before media probe sparked by phone hacking

British Prime Minister David Cameron was grilled Thursday by an inquiry he himself set up in response to phone hacking at the News of the World, the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid that shut down over illegal eavesdropping.
Cameron said relations between politicians and the media were "too close and unhealthy" but argued that a free press was important in holding the country's leaders accountable.
He rejected as nonsense the idea that his contacts with newspaper editors and proprietors meant he had made promises about policies in return for their support.

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Filed under: World