Scottish soccer giant Rangers expelled from top tier
After financial disaster, Scottish club Rangers is being forced out of a tier that it has won 54 times.
July 4th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

Scottish soccer giant Rangers expelled from top tier

Glasgow Rangers, one of Scotland’s most storied and followed soccer clubs, was kicked out of Scotland’s top league Wednesday because of its major financial troubles.

The exile of Rangers, a huge source of TV and sponsorship revenue, may put the country’s other clubs in peril. But some Scottish Premier League clubs claimed that they had little choice but to drop Rangers, saying they faced revolts by supporters if they let the Glasgow club stay after incurring large tax debts.

The lower Scottish Football League will now decide whether to accept Rangers for the 2012-13 season, and, if so, whether to start it in the First Division - one step below the SPL - or an even lower tier.

Rangers have been Scottish champions 54 times and are half of the famous "Old Firm" rivalry with city neighbors Celtic. No club other than Rangers or Celtic has won Scotland's first tier since 1985.

Rangers were liquidated and essentially became a new club this year after administrators seized the old version because of an unpaid tax bill of $14 million. The UK government also was seeking tens of millions of dollars more allegedly owed in back taxes.


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Filed under: Scotland • Soccer • Sports • United Kingdom
Overheard on Why gorge on hot dogs when people are starving?
Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas celebrates her win Wednesday, July 4, at Nathan's annual hot dog-eating competition in Brooklyn, New York.
July 4th, 2012
04:22 PM ET

Overheard on Why gorge on hot dogs when people are starving?

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.

Sure, you can go and see fireworks on July 4, but Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York's Coney Island is another tradition of nearly 100 years. Defending champions Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas were the wieners, er, winners again. We were dogged by all the comments about the annual event, so we decided to feature a few that cut the mustard.

Hot dog champs defend titles in annual showdown

A few commenters were quick to mention New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's previous moves to ban large sodas, as well as his "frank" advice to "relish" the holiday. (He even asked the Coney crowd,"Who wrote this sh**?")

LBMD: "The irony is not lost on the fact that Mayor Bloomberg thinks it should be against the law to consume a soft drink bigger than 16 oz., yet freely promotes the idea of eating over 60 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Not sure the guy that wants to ban what you drink is the appropriate person to be promoting a day of freedom and liberty for anything especially this. Hilarious ..."

cigarman: "It shows that the Mayor actually has a sense of humor, although if he is the one who is pushing to limit the size of Big Gulps, he has a mental problem. I really believe that New York probably has a few more problems to see to rather than a Big Gulp drink. Maybe he should outlaw hot dogs. Does he really know what those things are made of? YUCK."

Are competitive eating contests misdirecting perfectly good food?

femanvate: "Honestly, these eating contests need to be banned. Every minute a person dies from starvation, while these 'athletes' gorge themselves until they vomit from over-consumption. America holds its heroes as sacred, and gluttons have no part in that. Lets shoot a few of them and restore our values to become the nation we once were and are. Happy 4th of July to all. I'd die to defend your right to eat 68 hotdogs in 12 minutes while shaking my head in disgust ..."

mjb985: "Even if the contest was banned, these hot dogs weren't going to go to a starving person. This restaurant doesn't ship its excess off to Africa. So your entire argument is irrelevant. There is plenty of surplus food even with these contests that we could be giving to starving people, but don't. Stop complaining on the internet and go do something about it. There are plenty of charities to choose from."

Or, more succinctly ...

OIFVvet: "In yo face, world hunger! How about that??? For every hot dog eaten, the contest will allow the hungry people of the world to imagine what it would be like to sit at a table with unlimited food at their disposal!"

Some people are just nauseated. FULL POST

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Filed under: Food • Overheard on
July 4th, 2012
12:56 PM ET

Joey Chestnut, Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas win hot dog contests

[Updated at 12:56 p.m. ET] Joey "Jaws" Chestnut has successfully defended his title at Nathan's annual hot eating competition in Brooklyn, New York, tying his world record by downing 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.His victory Wednesday marks his 6th win at the competition.

[Posted at 11:58 a.m. ET] Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas defended her title at the annual hot dog eating competition in New York on Wednesday, setting a women's world record by downing 45 hot dogs. Thomas weighs about 100 pounds.

Thomas was seeking to hold on to her title: a record 41 hot dogs and buns.

"My technique is, I dunk two hot dogs in the water cup and then eat," she said.

The contest started nearly 100 years ago as a sideshow on the famous boardwalk at Coney Island. All that changed when Nathan's Famous Restaurant saw the draw it had for the boardwalk and especially the eatery.

Up until last year, men and women held contests together. They now have separate divisions.

Mosaic in Israel shows biblical Samson
Mosaics found in an ancient synagogue include images of women, as well as the biblical figure Samson.
July 4th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Mosaic in Israel shows biblical Samson

Archaeologists are reveling in the discovery of an ancient synagogue in northern Israel, a "monumental" structure with a mosaic floor depicting the biblical figure of Samson and a Hebrew inscription.

The synagogue - dating to the fourth and fifth centuries in both the Talmudic and late Roman periods - is in Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in the country's Galilee region, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said.

Jodi Magness, a professor of early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the building was found in a recent excavation.

She called the find "exciting" and described the "very high quality of the artwork" in the mosaic, crafted with "tiny colored stone cubes." Only a few late Roman period synagogues contained mosaics with biblical scenes, she said.

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Filed under: Israel
Syrian, Turkey blunt over plane incident
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pictured here on June 3, 2012, lambasted the Turkish Prime Minister for interfering in Syrian internal politics.
July 4th, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Syrian, Turkey blunt over plane incident

Syria and Turkey leveled sharp criticism at one another Wednesday, a spurt of angry rhetoric in the aftermath of Syria's shootdown of a Turkish jet last month.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, speaking in an interview published in the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet Wednesday, lambasted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for interfering in Syrian internal politics. And Turkey's foreign minister disputed some of al-Assad's assertions Tuesday about the downing of the jet.

Syria's shootdown of an F-4 Turkish Phantom jet intensified the growing animosity between the two countries, whose once-close relationship has eroded in the past 16 months over the al-Assad regime's fierce crackdown against opposition forces.

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Filed under: Syria • Turkey
Nevada AG clears Pacquiao-Bradley fight, but never interviewed the judges
Timothy Bradley, left, celebrates his victory over Manny Pacquiao after their WBO welterweight title match.
July 4th, 2012
09:23 AM ET

Nevada AG clears Pacquiao-Bradley fight, but never interviewed the judges

Many people watching the Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao fight believed the underdog stole the welterweight belt during the match, but the Nevada attorney general has said after a review that no crime occurred.

"Pacman," as Pacquiao is affectionately known by fans, appeared to dominate Bradley during the 12-round match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but the judges decided otherwise. Two ruled the fight 115-113 for the American boxer, while the other judge gave the score 115-113 for the Filipino champion.

After the judges' scores were announced, many in the sold-out crowd voiced displeasure.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said "there doesn't appear to be any facts or evidence to indicate that a criminal violation occurred" in a letter sent Wednesday to Top Rank fight promoter Bob Arum. Arum had asked for an investigation into the matter after the fight, which he said made him ashamed of boxing.

Last month, the World Boxing Organization had five international judges watch the video of the fight and rescore it. They all gave the match to Pacquiao, though the decision had no impact on changing the final outcome

Although in many ways the matter may be settled, that doesn't mean everyone is happy. Fans and sports blogs ripped the investigation, noting that although the attorney general's office spoke to the referee in the match, they never spoke to any of the three judges who scored the match.

But concerns about the fight were voiced long before that, beginning with Bradley posting on Twitter a photo of a rematch poster before the first fight even took place. Most fans griped that surely, if Pacquiao had won, there'd never be a need for a rematch.



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Filed under: Boxing • Nevada
July 4th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Celebrating Independence Day in every way

Summer fare will sizzle on the grill and fireworks will light the night sky as America celebrates its 236th Independence Day on Wednesday.

And in Coney Island, someone will attempt to wolf down the most hot dogs, with buns, in 10 minutes for prize money and the Mustard Belt in the yearly Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

This year, hot dog-eating records smashed

CNN is featuring a wealth of star-spangled content today, so be sure to check out our coverage:

Our series on American Exceptionalism kicked off over the weekend with rich, provocative stories that speak to myriad interests:

The power of American Exceptionalism

2012 winner must unite America on ideals

Photos: Faces of citizenship

America may not be perfect, but we love it anyway

Nationality, identity and the Pledge of Allegiance

Travel: Where to find exceptional America

Dual nationals: When one passport isn't enough

iReport: Naturalized citizens explain why they're American by choice


Gotta Watch: Bizarre fireworks celebrations
Fireworks explode over the Hudson River on July 4th, 2009.
July 4th, 2012
09:16 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Bizarre fireworks celebrations

Fireworks and the Fourth go together like peanut butter and jelly. But if you’re tired of the same old fireworks display year in and year out, we’re commemorating Independence Day by offering these unique fireworks festivities.


Nearly naked fireworks

Bikini-clad women did a swift business selling fireworks in 2009. Learn what other “nearly naked” bikini stands the owner considered opening.


Chicken launch

This Colorado town is offering a chicken “fireworks” show instead of the more traditional display. Watch chickens get launched out of a mailbox with a plunger.


Fireworks and wetsuits

The Sydney festivities come with glowing wetsuits and surfboards. Watch these Aussies light up the night as they ride the waves in style.

CNN’s Matt Abshire contributed to this post.

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Filed under: Fourth of July • Gotta Watch • Holidays
4 dead in German standoff
Policemen stand in the area where a gunman had taken people hostage on July 4, 2012.
July 4th, 2012
07:52 AM ET

4 dead in German standoff

A gunman fired shots and held people hostage Wednesday in southern Germany in a standoff that left four people dead, police said.

The gunman was facing eviction, and the hostages included a bailiff who came to remove the man from his flat in the city of Karlsruhe.

Police stormed the flat shortly after noon because it was on fire, said Karlsruhe police spokesman Juergen Schoefer. They found four bodies inside.

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Filed under: Germany • World
July 4th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Arafat belongings test high for radioactivity, scientist says

Scientific tests have found unusually high levels of the radioactive substance polonium-210 in some of the personal effects of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, one of the scientists involved in the study said Wednesday.

The results do not mean that Arafat suffered radiation poisoning, François Bochud told CNN.

Some details in Arafat's medical records are not consistent with polonium poisoning, he explained.

"We have evidence there is too much polonium, but we also have hints from the medical records that this may not be the case. The only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body," said Bochud, director of Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Filed under: Middle East • Palestinians
July 4th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

Happy 236th birthday, America! Live wishes all of our viewers and fans a happy Fourth of July!

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - Ex-Barclays CEO on Parliament hot seat - Just one day after resigning as Barclays CEO, Bob Diamond will testify before British lawmakers about the rate-fixing scandal that cost him his job.


Filed under: Economy • Finance • On today • Politics
July 4th, 2012
04:38 AM ET

More than 1.1 million still lack power amid heatwave

Though it is Independence Day, a national holiday, utility workers will continue working feverishly to help the more than a million people stuck in an unrelenting heatwave without power.

Excessive heat warnings were in place Wednesday for portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri Illinois and Kentucky with the National Weather Service saying that those areas would be scorched with temperatures near or above triple digits.

Heat advisory warnings were in place for a handful of states, including parts of South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and West Virginia.

This is not good news for the many who are powerless, without air conditioning, left with food spoiling in their useless refrigerators.

As of early Wednesday morning, about 1.1 million customers scattered across 11 states, from Indiana to Delaware, had no electricity, down from about 1.8 million late Monday - and a peak of 4 million over the weekend. A household is considered one customer, so the actual number of people without power is higher.


Filed under: U.S. • Weather
July 4th, 2012
04:34 AM ET

Gruesome week intensifies in Syria as opposition remains splintered

Residents across Syria woke up to a particularly bloody day Wednesday, when at least 17 people - including six children - were killed in early morning violence, opposition activists said.

In a country where scores of daily killings have become a tragic way of life, this week's violence has been especially lethal. More than 300 people have been killed in the first half of this week, according to tallies by opposition groups.

The surge comes despite a new plan by world leaders to stop the carnage and a push by opposition members to unite their efforts against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

On Tuesday, leaders of various opposition groups met for a second day in Cairo to devise a plan for a new Syria if al-Assad were to fall. But the opposition remained splintered.

One thing groups did agree on is that al-Assad can have no role in a transitional government.


Filed under: World
July 4th, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Scientists say new particle fits description of Higgs boson

Scientists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new particle whose characteristics match those of the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in physics, which could help unlock some of the universe's deepest secrets.

"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said Rolf Heuer, the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator.

"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe," said Heuer.

Announcements by scientists about their analysis of data generated by trillions of particle collisions in the LHC drew avid applause at an eagerly awaited seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

The Swiss presentation comes after researchers in Illinois said earlier this week scientists that they had crept closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists' current understanding of the way the universe works.

The particle has been so difficult to pin down that the physicist Leon Lederman reportedly wanted to call his book "The Goddamn Particle." But he truncated that epithet to "The God Particle," which may have helped elevate the particle's allure in popular culture.

Experts say finding the elusive particle would rank as one of the top scientific achievements of the past 50 years.


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Filed under: Science • Switzerland • Technology
July 4th, 2012
02:21 AM ET

Hot dog eating champs all set for July Fourth contest

The two reigning champs of a hot dog eating contest joined their challengers for a weigh-in as they hope to devour their way into the record books Wednesday in New York City.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the male and female champions respectively, will defend their titles at the annual event in Brooklyn.

Chestnut and Sonya attended the weigh-in Tuesday, a day before the competition. Chestnut weighed in at 210 pounds while his female counterpart was 100 pounds.

And both competitors are ready to eat their way into first place - again.

"My record is 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes and I'm going to break it hopefully just by eating it like a beast," said Chestnut, who is vying for his sixth title.

Thomas is seeking to hold on to her title, a record breaking 41 hot dogs and buns.


Filed under: Sports • U.S.