NFL, refs agree to contract
September 26th, 2012
11:50 PM ET

NFL, refs agree to contract

The NFL and its locked-out referees have agreed to a contract, according to a statement from the NFL, and the regular officials will be on the field for Thursday night's Cleveland-Baltimore game.

The league has used replacement officials for the first three weeks of the regular season, as well as the pre-season, an a string of bad decisions have become fodder for jokes and criticism, highlighted by a game-deciding call on Monday night in the Packers-Seahawks game. Even politicians have gotten in on the act.

Reports throughout the day Wednesday indicated a deal was close, and the NFL even reported that the sides were closing in on an agreement.

Though the regular refs have been sitting out the league's games, they should be ready when the time comes, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who says that longtime ref Ed Hochuli has held training sessions to keep them sharp.

Filed under: Uncategorized
September 26th, 2012
08:16 PM ET

We asked, you answered: Are we really ready to take a look at 'real women'?

There is arguably not much shock value left in Lady Gaga’s out-there and often barely there wardrobe choices. But when the superstar singer decided to bare it all this week showing nothing but a simple bikini, her bod and a few extra pounds, the world stopped to stare – and comment - once again.

Gaga, admitting a longtime struggle with bulimia, proclaimed on her blog that she was embracing her new curves and urged her “little monsters” to do the same.

Photos: Gaga's new curves and most memorable looks

Meanwhile, fashion designer Ralph Lauren made headlines of its own by hiring Australian plus-size model Robyn Lawley. Lawley stands 6-foot-2 and wears a size 12.

The intense focus on fuller figures prompted Lesley Kinzel, associate editor at and the author of "Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body" to write a piece for asking our audience "Are we really ready to take a look at 'real women'?"

The CNN community responded to the question in droves. Check out our roundup of conversations about body image happening on


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Filed under: Advertising • Comments • Gender • Overheard on
September 26th, 2012
06:39 PM ET

Mash-up: Is that a squirrel in your shirt?

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Oh sure, blame it on the squirrel

Homes saved from brush fire at last minute

iReporter Andy Deane was relieved to see a helicopter crew dropping water on a brush fire in Murrieta, California, on Sunday, as the fire neared homes and Calvary Chapel Bible College, which is at the bottom of the hill.

"We have 500 students that all smelled the fire. We had all the students pray at 7 p.m. for the safety of the community and firefighters. The students' parents were calling concerned we would evacuate them, but the township told us that we were safe and it was not necessary," he said.

Deane shot some dramatic video of the copter, which you can view here.

Cute animal video alert

Fond memories of Andy Williams

CNN readers were quick to share their memories of watching Andy Williams on TV or in person and listening to his music, especially during the holidays. Williams, whose biggest hit was the ubiquitous elevator song "Moon River," died of bladder cancer Tuesday night at 84.

As a late baby boomer, I remember the Andy Williams specials and shows as a kid sitting on the floor of our living room watching our console TV - the kind that had a record player and radio as well.
My dad was a HUGE fan of his and I remember nothing but good things about him and his music.
Goodbye Andy - you finally crossed over Moon River.

Jon Herman
I lived and worked in Branson for 10 years.  When I worked at the movie theater, he would rent out a theater after hours on occasion for his employees.  He was great to talk with and down to earth.  His music was legendary, and he will be missed by many.  He helped build Branson to what it is now by building his theater.  Before Moon River theater, they were all small, cramped and low-budget theaters.  He shined up the place and put a new face on the town.

Step away from the smartphone

Tech-savvy Americans are forgetting how to do nothing, it seems. Christopher Lynn, an anthropology professor at the University of Alabama, compares tapping at smartphones to smoking a cigarette.

When you're habituated to constant stimulation, when you lack it, you sort of don't know what to do with yourself. ... When we aren't used to having down time, it results in anxiety. 'Oh my God, I should be doing something.' And we reach for the smartphone. It's our omnipresent relief from that.

On the horizon: Netanyahu at U.N., latest GDP report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday amid tensions between his country and Iran. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also will speak to the gathering.

The Commerce Department and the Bureau of Economic Analysis will provide a snapshot of the U.S. economy with the release of second-quarter gross domestic product figures at 8:30 a.m. ET.

September 27 anniversaries

Mark McGwire

1954 - "The Tonight Show" premieres, with Steve Allen as host.

1959 - Typhoon Vera hits the Japanese island of Honshu, killing almost 5,000 people.

1964 - The Warren Commission investigating the John F. Kennedy assassination releases its report, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

1998 - St. Louis Cardinals baseball player Mark McGwire hits his 70th home run, setting a Major League record.

September 27 birthdays

Meat Loaf

• Actor Wilford Brimley, 78

• Singer/reality star Meat Loaf, 65

• Baseball player Mike Schmidt, 63

• Actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, 62

• Singer/actor Shaun Cassidy, 54

• Singer Avril Lavigne, 28

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
September 26th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

1 dead from self-inflicted shot at junior high school in Oklahoma

A student died of a self-inflicted gun shot Wednesday morning at a junior high school in Stillwater, Oklahoma, police said.

Sherry Fletcher, a spokeswoman for the city of Stillwater, said no one else was injured in the shooting at Stillwater Junior High School.

Students at the school were moved to another location so parents could pick them up or buses could take them back home, Fletcher said in a statement.

Some schools in the area were under a temporary lockdown after the shooting.

Stillwater is about 70 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
U.S. delegation will not attend Ahmadinejad's U.N speech, spokeswoman says
September 26th, 2012
10:49 AM ET

U.S. delegation will not attend Ahmadinejad's U.N speech, spokeswoman says

The U.S. delegation "has decided not to attend" the speech to be delivered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the United Nations General Assembly, Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said in a statement Wednesday.

"Over the past couple of days, we've seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel," Pelton said.

The Iranian leader's addresses to the assembly have often generated controversy in the past. The tensions over Tehran's disputed nuclear program and speculation over a possible attack on Iran by Israel offer ample material for drama this time around.

In previous years, several delegations have walked out during Ahmadinejad's speeches, which have assailed the United States and criticized countries that he said used the Holocaust as an "excuse to pay ransom to Zionists."

Five things we learned from Day One of the U.N. debate

He will be taking to the podium Wednesday, a day after President Barack Obama told the assembly that while Washington remains committed to a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program, the United States "will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and to fill energy shortages, but Western leaders believe Tehran is an aspiring armed nuclear power. U.N. inspectors have also expressed doubts about the program's aims.

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Filed under: Iran • United Nations
September 26th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Rebels attack military building in Damascus

With explosives and gunfire, rebels attacked a military building in Damascus on Wednesday, the second such attack on a military facility in two days.

The government said a fight was under way to "cleanse" the terrorists from the targeted building - the office of the joint chiefs of staff - but military officials are fine.

However, Iran's state-run Press TV said one of its correspondents was killed by gunfire and its bureau chief hurt. It was unclear whether it has offices in the building or the journalists were there covering a story.

At least 21 other journalists have been killed covering the Syrian war since November, making the nation the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Free Syrian Army, a prominent armed group battling government forces, claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack.

A day earlier, dual attacks rattled a Damascus school building used by Syrian intelligence. The new school year has not started.

The brazen assaults on military facilities in the capital city show the resilience of a rebel force that has shown no signs of slowing down despite a brutal government crackdown that has gone on for 18 months.

The government blamed the attacks on the military sites on "terrorists," a term it consistently uses to describe anti-regime fighters. It vowed to continue its "unyielding fight" to confront terrorism.

Across the nation, at least 117 people were killed in attacks Wednesday. So far, the conflict has left more than 26,000 people dead since March 2011.

–CNN's Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Syria
September 26th, 2012
07:39 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney hold their first debate October 3 from the campus of the University of Denver.  Watch Live for all the latest coverage from the election.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Romney in Ohio - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting a celebrity boost while campaigning in Ohio.  First, he'll be joined by golf legend Jack Nicklaus in Westerville.  Later, TV host Mike Rowe will assist Romney at a manufacturing roundtable in Bedford Heights.


Filed under: Elections • On today • Politics • United Nations