Overheard on CNN.com: 'Trying to explain what cricket is to my coworkers is fantastic'
The opening ceremony dazzled as the London 2012 Olympic Games kicked off Friday.
July 27th, 2012
07:11 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Trying to explain what cricket is to my coworkers is fantastic'

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.

And, the Olympics are off! Follow along on the live blog, read about the first day and check out some of the comments that caught our eyes.

London 2012: Live blog

As CNN producers update the live blog with photos and anecdotes, readers are joining right in to the conversation. Here are a couple we saw:

Harry: "Even if people keep saying it, never have I been prouder to call myself British, and a Londoner, even if I currently live in New York. NY has nothing on the Greatest City in the World!!!"

markl: "Proud to be British, even at the other side of the world. Trying to explain what cricket is to my co-workers is fantastic. 'You play for 5 days and it can still end in a tie' ... priceless."

Some of the readers asked about the meaning of things they were seeing from the opening ceremony.

Doubt: "What are the children leading each delegation carrying in their hands?"

Jonathan Stevenson (CNN): "Good question. The copper petals being carried by a child leading each delegation have that country's name inscribed and they will all have a role in the ceremony later. So now you really can't go anywhere, otherwise you'll never find out."

One of the most talked-about aspect of the Olympics on Friday was Mitt Romney’s tough reception in London. FULL POST

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Filed under: Olympics • Overheard on CNN.com • Sports • United Kingdom • World
July 27th, 2012
06:35 PM ET

Five guys, fun facts, through the decades

Time almost appears to have stood still for a group of friends who have met every five years for three decades to recreate an impromptu photo from 1982.

When the men first photographed themselves near Copco Lake, California as teens, they didn't know they were spurring a lifelong tradition - or that decades later they'd become an Internet sensation. When they shared the images with CNN and the story of how the tradition bonded them for life, CNN's audience couldn't get enough.

While a click through the pics shows the men's progression from long-haired, shirtless teens to well, middle-aged men, the scene at the lake is largely unchanged. We rounded up some facts to show our readers what was going on in the world around them.


  • Ronald Reagan is president of the United States
  • No.1 song in the U.S.: Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”
  • No.1 movie in the U.S.: "E.T."
  • Average cost of one gallon of gas: $1.29
  • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $350,000
  • Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was released on December 1, 1982


  • Ronald Reagan is president of the United States
  • No.1 song in the U.S.: Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian”
  • No.1 movie in the U.S.: "Three Men and a Baby"
  • Average price of one gallon of gas: $0.94
  • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $580,000
  • Spuds MacKenzie first appeared in Bud Light beer ads.


  • George H.W. Bush is president of the United States
  • No.1 song in the U.S.: Boyz II Men “End of the Road”
  • No.1 movie in the U.S.: "Aladdin"
  • Average cost of one gallon of gas: $1.12
  • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $800,000
  • MTV’s long-running "The Real World" reality series debuts.


  • Bill Clinton is president of the United States
  • No.1 song in the U.S.: Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”
  • No.1 movie in the U.S.: "Titanic"
  • Average cost of one gallon of gas: $1.23
  • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $1,200,000
  • In a civil trial, O.J. Simpson was found liable in a civil wrongful death suit brought by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.


  • George W. Bush is president of the United States
  • No.1 song in the U.S.: Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me”
  • No.1 movie in the U.S.: "Spider-Man"
  • Average cost of 1 gallon of gas: $1.35
  • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $1,900,000
  • Elizabeth Smart is kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home on June 5.


  • George W. Bush is president of the United States
  • No.1 song in the U.S.: Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”
  • No.1 one movie in the U.S.: "Spider-Man 3"
  • Average cost of 1 gallon of gas: $2.80
  • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $2,600,000
  • Paris Hilton spent 23 days in a Los Angeles County jail for violating probation on a reckless driving conviction.


  • Barack Obama is president of the United States
  • Current number one song in the U.S.: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”
  • Current No.1 movie in the U.S.: "The Dark Knight Rises"
  • Current average cost of 1 gallon of gas: $3.49
  • Cost of a Super Bowl Ad: $3,500,000
  • Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in June.


Do you have a vacation photo tradition? How do you document your life? Share your stories below and post your photo rituals on iReport.com.

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Filed under: U.S.
July 27th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

How the Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy has evolved

A growing chorus of politicians has joined a nearly two-week uproar and counter-uproar over the marriage views of Chick-fil-A’s president.

At least four Democratic officials in three major northern U.S. cities spoke against the views of Dan Cathy, who recently said his company backs traditional marriage, as opposed to same-sex marriage. Some of those politicos essentially told the Atlanta-based restaurant chain not to try to expand in their cities.

Two former GOP presidential candidates, meanwhile, have encouraged people to show their support for Chick-fil-A by buying food there this coming Wednesday, which one of them has dubbed “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”

The controversy took flight in mid-July after Cathy gave an interview to the Biblical Recorder, on online journal for Baptists in North Carolina. In the July 2 story - picked up by the Baptist Press on July 16 - Cathy affirmed that his company backs the traditional family unit.

“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

“We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles,” he added.

The fast-food chicken restaurant chain has long been known to espouse Christian values, and does not operate on Sundays so that employees can be free to attend church if they choose.

Proponents of same-sex marriage spread Cathy’s comments, eventually creating a firestorm of criticism on social media, including assertions that his comments and position were bigoted and hateful.

“The Office” star Ed Helms joined in, saying he was no longer a fan of the fast-food giant.

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame," he tweeted July 18. "Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan."


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Filed under: Billy Graham • Christian • Fast Food • Food • Religion • Same-sex marriage
Document: Suspect in theater shooting was psychiatrist's patient
July 27th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Document: Suspect in theater shooting was psychiatrist's patient

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes was a patient of a University of Colorado psychiatrist before last week's attack at a movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded scores, according to a court document filed Friday by his lawyers.

The disclosure was in a request by Holmes (pictured) for authorities to immediately hand over a package he sent to Dr. Lynne Fenton at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus.

According to Holmes' request, the package seized by authorities under a July 23 search warrant was a protected communication.

"The materials contained in that package include communications from Mr. Holmes to Dr. Fenton that Mr. Holmes asserts are privileged," the document said. "Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected."

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Filed under: Colorado • Courts • Crime • Justice
CNN president to resign at year's end
July 27th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

CNN president to resign at year's end

The long-time president of CNN, Jim Walton, says he will leave the company at the end of the year.

Walton (pictured), who joined the company as an entry-level video journalist in 1981, said the company needed "a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan."

"For some time, I've been talking with (Turner Chairman and CEO) Phil Kent about wanting to make a change, and he supports my decision," Walton wrote in a memo to employees.

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CNN inside Syria: A bloody mess could get messier
CNN's Ivan Watson reports from a battle-scarred Syrian town where the civilian population has fled.
July 27th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

CNN inside Syria: A bloody mess could get messier

As the months-long violence in Syria engulfs two key cities, Damascus and Aleppo, CNN's Ivan Watson has been traveling through villages in the area. He and the crew are some of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been restricting access on foreign journalists and refusing many of them entry. Check out more from CNN inside Syria.

Below is an edited Q&A about what Watson has seen and heard in rebel-controlled towns near Aleppo:

CNN: We're hearing that one community in Syria - the ethnic Kurds - are beginning to take matters into their own hands. They're breaking with the regime. What are you seeing? What are the signs that this could impact the entire conflict?

WATSON: It could definitely complicate matters. The Kurds make up about 10 percent of the population, long-oppressed, even denied citizenship by the al-Assad regime. But they've largely sat out this uprising for about the past 16, 17 months. In the last week, we've seen one of the strongest of the Kurdish political factions, which is closely affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, claiming control over a number of Kurdish communities. FULL POST

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Filed under: CNN Inside Syria • Syria • World
July 27th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Syrian rebels: Guns, mortars ... and mansions?

Editor's note: CNN's Ivan Watson and crew are some of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been restricting access on foreign journalists and refusing many of them entry. Check out more from CNN inside Syria.

A distant machine gun rattled away in vain as a military helicopter flew long, slow circles, arcing from the contested Syrian city of Aleppo over to the rebel-controlled town of Anadan, six miles to the north.

A group of fighters stared and pointed from under the shelter of an overhanging building, until one man said in a worried tone, "Let's go away" before hurrying indoors.

In a matter of months, Syria's rebels have transformed themselves from ragtag village defense forces into an armed movement capable of attacking the country's two largest cities, Aleppo and Damascus. They have also punctured the image of invincibility projected by Syrian army tanks and armored personnel carriers, as proven by the twisted wreckage of armored vehicles that now litter some roads.

But the fighters still find themselves vastly out-gunned when facing government air power.

And yet, even that advantage may be shrinking.

Read the full story from CNN's Ivan Watson

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Filed under: CNN Inside Syria • Syria • World
July 27th, 2012
07:40 AM ET

Friday'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...

9:00 am ET - International AIDS Conference - Today is the final day of the International AIDS Conference in Washington.  Among today's highlights - Whoopi Goldberg will address delegates at 11:00 am ET, while Bill Clinton and Rep. Nancy Pelosi deliver closing remarks at 3:15 pm ET.

11:30 am ET - White House briefing -  "Fiscal cliff" fears, the Colorado shootings and Syria will likely top Press Secretary Jay Carney's agenda with the White House press corps.

CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.


Filed under: AIDS • Elections • Health • On CNN.com today • Politics
July 27th, 2012
04:14 AM ET

Syrian rebels amass as battles for Aleppo, Damascus intensify

Syrian rebels prepared for a fresh onslaught Friday by setting up medical clinics in apartments and homes throughout Aleppo, the country's commercial hub.

The offensive is expected after morning prayers, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

Plans are under way to send 300 more fighters to bolster forces in Aleppo, where 18 of 22 rebel brigades are located, according to a rebel commander.

As the rebels geared up for the Aleppo offensive, the seat of Bashar al-Assad's power saw renewed violence as heavy shelling rocked Damascus, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

Regime forces battled rebels in several neighborhoods Friday, including Damascus and Aleppo. At least one person was killed in Aleppo, the opposition group said.

The clashes come after at least 200 people were killed Thursday, including 48 in Aleppo and 46 in Damascus and its suburbs. The LCC said it is the first time since the uprising started that Aleppo has led in the number of deaths in a single day across Syria.


Filed under: World
July 27th, 2012
03:19 AM ET

Man accused in hepatitis C outbreak was fired from Arizona hospital

The man accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C at a New Hampshire hospital was fired from a job in Arizona two years ago after testing positive for cocaine and marijuana, a public relations agency for Arizona Heart Hospital said Thursday.

David Kwiatkowski was arrested this month in connection with spreading the disease to 30 patients at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.

Kwiatkowski, 33, also worked as a traveling medical technician on a contract basis for hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania in the past five years, hospitals and health officials in those states said.

They are trying to get the hundreds or thousands of patients who may have come in contact with him to be tested for the disease.

Kwiatkowski has been treated for the disease, which can pass through contact with contaminated blood, most often via shared needles.


Filed under: Uncategorized
July 27th, 2012
03:18 AM ET

Katherine Jackson laughs at stroke report, lawyer says

Katherine Jackson's lawyer met with her Thursday evening for the first time since her Arizona trip that led to her losing custody of Michael Jackson's children.

The 82-year-old Jackson family matriarch even found humor in some of the speculation about her health that emerged in the past week, the attorney, Perry Sanders, told CNN.

"I had a long and productive meeting today with Mrs. Jackson," Sanders said. "I am pleased to report that she is fine and she laughed at the widely publicized report that she had suffered a stroke."

A letter signed by several of her children accusing executors of her estate of abusing her referred to a "mini-stroke," which her lawyer said never happened.


Filed under: U.S.
July 27th, 2012
03:15 AM ET

Storms knock out power to tens of thousands from Plains to Northeast

Hundreds of thousands lost power due to a potent storm system that extended eastward from the Plains toward the Northeast on Thursday, bringing with it high winds and destructive lightning.

Severe thunderstorm watches were in effect at one point Thursday evening for a continuous stretch from Oklahoma through New Jersey. The danger could lurk for several hours longer, with the National Weather Service issuing such warnings in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Kentucky, Virginia, Arkansas and other points in between.

Well before then, the system had already packed a punch.

In Pennsylvania, a tree crushed a woman in her car as she sought shelter at a campsite, killing her, said Glenn Dunn, the emergency management coordinator for Potter County.


Filed under: U.S. • Weather