Monday's Most Intriguing People: BP protester, U.S. ambassador, columnist
Douglas Kmiec resigned as U.S. ambassador to Malta.
April 18th, 2011
11:59 AM ET

Monday's Most Intriguing People: BP protester, U.S. ambassador, columnist

Douglas Kmiec
The U.S. ambassador to Malta and former legal aide to President Ronald Reagan resigned Saturday following a State Department report that his devotion to his religion was hindering his ability to do his job. In 2008, Kmiec, a devout Catholic, was publicly denied communion from his own priest for his support of Barack Obama in the2008 presidential election. Kmiec told CNN that he resigned, and was not pushed out of his position.

Cherri Foytlin
The Rand, Louisiana, mother of six, who is married to a Gulf oil worker, will protest at BP's Washington offices today to call attention to unresolved cleanup and compensation issues in that region from the 2010 oil spill. Foytlin walked 34 days and 1,243 miles from New Orleans to the capital last week, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. She claims that oil continues to wash ashore and Gulf residents are suffering from breathing in fumes from oil and dispersants. Her family took blood tests which she says show high levels toxins also found in crude, the New Orleans newspaper said. The compensation fund is not providing fair settlements to many Gulf residents, Foytlin said, and her family is in financial ruin. See CNN's coverage of the Gulf oil spill, one year later.

Frank Rich
The former New York Times columnist shocked many when he resigned earlier this year from the newspaper. The Poynter Institute, a journalism think-tank, as well as New York Magazine, report that Rich has launched a second career as producer of the upcoming HBO comedy series "Veep." The program about the first female vice president will star Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Seinfeld" fame.

Friday's intriguing people
Vintage American cars are a common sight in Cuba, but that could change under reforms by Raul Castro.
April 15th, 2011
12:05 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Raul Castro

For the first time since 1997, Cuba's Communist Party Congress will meet this weekend, marking the official debut of Fidel Castro's brother as its leader.

As NPR reports, Raul Castro is expected to propose radical reform measures. One, which may launch a real estate boom, will allow Cubans to buy and sell homes.

Also, the party is likely to lift the ban on the sale of automobiles made after 1959.  Such a move could trigger culture shock in a country where hulking American-made sedans from the 1950s are an everyday sight.

"These cars are part of our national identity - like beans, rice and pork," mechanic Jorge Prats told NPR. "We take care of these old American cars as if they were a member of our family."


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Thursday's intriguing people
Crystal Mangum falsely accused Duke athletes of rape in 2006. Now, she's accused of assaulting her boyfriend, who later died.
April 14th, 2011
01:24 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Crystal Mangum

In 2006, she was at the center of a national scandal when she falsely accused three Duke University Lacrosse players of raping her. Last week, Mangum, 32, was arrested and accused of assault after she reportedly stabbed her 46-year-old boyfriend during a domestic dispute, reports. Reginald Daye died Wednesday as a result of his injuries, and now, police say they are considering upgrading the charge against Mangum. She is being held on $300,000 bail in a Durham, North Carolina, jail. Last year, Mangum faced numerous charges, including assault, child abuse, resisting arrest and a dismissed charge of arson, WRAL reported.

Robert MacNeil

The retired co-host of the PBS News Hour will return to the program for the first time in 10 years Monday, offering a six-part report on autism. "Autism Today" will debut with a story about MacNeil's daughter and her 6-year-old son, who was diagnosed about four years ago. The remainder of the series will address the prevalence of autism (one and 110 children are diagnosed with the disorder, MacNeil said); causes; treatment; and public policy issues. Treatment falls mainly on the public education system, which is required  to offer free services to autistic children, MacNeil said in a recent interview. That demand is very burdensome now, but what's going to happen when "a huge cohort of American teenagers with autism" hits the social services system? MacNeil asked. "I've learned how amazingly complex this issue is, and how, despite the surge in research and a lot of fascinating things that have been found, science is grappling with, and coming up with, pieces of answers but no simple answer."

Li Cunxin

When he was a ballet dancer in the 1970s, Li made international headlines by defecting to the U.S. and losing his Chinese citizenship in the process. Now retired and working as a stockbroker in Australia, Li is in the U.S. on a speaking tour, and he's promoting the DVD release of the 2009 film that dramatized his life. "Mao's Last Dancer," directed by Bruce Beresford, had a small release in theaters in the U.S. in 2009, but it's one of the highest-grossing films in Australia, and pirated copies are selling quickly on China's black market. In an interview with The Washington Times, Li said he still travels to China on business and has noticed a decrease in personal and artistic freedom, particularly since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. "I think in recent years, it's fair to say that the control has become tighter ... not only in the film industry ... but also in overall media," he said.

Wednesday's intriguing people
Former major-league slugger Jose Canseco will become the player-manager for a minor-league team.
April 13th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Jose Canseco

Considered the face of Major League Baseball's "era of steroid abuse," the former slugger will be named today as player-manager for the Yuma (Arizona) Scorpions, a minor league team with the North American League, the Yuma Sun reports.

"I think it's exciting for Yuma," league President Kevin Outcalt said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. Jose is a very accomplished player, he has a lot of sway in the media and in pop culture, and he's bringing that to the city. It will be a good team and a fun time at Desert Sun Stadium for the fans."

Canseco hit 462 home runs in a 17-year major-league career with the Oakland A's and several other teams. His 2005 book "Juiced" blew the lid off the use of performance-enhancing drugs by pro ballplayers, including himself.

Canseco's twin brother, Ozzie, who played just a handful of games in the major leagues, will also play and coach for the Scorpions.

Joseph Massino

The "Last Don" of the New York Bonanno crime family broke the code of silence Tuesday in a Manhattan federal court. During his testimony, Massino became "the first mob boss in history to turn stoolie," the New York Post wrote.

Massino was arrested in 2004 and is now in prison. He revealed that he became an FBI informant to avoid the death penalty and to protect his wife from prosecution.

Massino then identified Vincent Basciano as his hand-picked successor, confirming that Basciano ordered the killing of an associate.

Massino also detailed his own history with organized crime, which began when he was 12; his own recruitment in the 1970s by a former Bonanno mob boss; and how he personally led the Bonannos through scandals that included the "Donnie Brasco" FBI sting and the "Three Captains" murders. Massino continues his testimony today.

Pete Peterson

The former Richard Nixon aide, "Mad Men" ad exec and Wall Street billionaire has spent 30 years speaking out about the country's debt and dependence on entitlement programs. He's written books, given speeches and even donated a billion of his own dollars to fund a foundation to solve the problem. So what does the 84-year-old "godfather of our nation's finances" think of the Tea Party? "I don't know much about them," he recently told The New York Times.

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Tuesday's intriguing people
Abdullah Abdullah has long accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai's regime of corruption.
April 12th, 2011
10:50 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Abdullah Abdullah

The former Afghan foreign minister, considered the chief opposition leader to President Hamid Karzai, is in Washington to speak at the 2011 U.S.-Islamic World Forum, which begins Tuesday. Appearing on NPR on Tuesday morning, Abdullah repeated his allegation of rampant corruption in the Karzai government. He withdrew from the 2009 Afghan presidential election in protest over his accusations of a fixed vote for Karzai. On April 21, Abdullah will appear at the National Press Club in Washington.

Maikel Nabil

The Egyptian blogger, 25, faces three years in prison for criticizing Egypt's ruling military council with allegations of brutality. It is the first trial of a blogger held by the military leaders who took charge in February after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The ruling stands as a warning for all journalists, bloggers and human rights activists who dare to dissent, attorney Adel Ramadan told The New York Times. "Maikel is the first prisoner of conscience in Egypt after the revolution," Ramadan told the Times.


Monday's intriguing people
Matt Lauer and Katie Couric talk to Beach Boys singer Mike Love in 2005.
April 11th, 2011
11:51 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Matt Lauer

While his former "Today" co-host Katie Couric is apparently planning her departure from CBS News, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal report that Lauer might make a big move, too. He could leave the immensely popular "Today" show to join Couric and former NBC Chairman Jeff Zucker as they produce a syndicated talk show, the Times reports.

But NBC probably will make Lauer a huge contract offer to remain at the network. In its story on the possible move, The Wall Street Journal, citing Kantar Media, reported that "Today" brings in more than $500 million in advertising revenue yearly. Lauer has been a co-anchor on the show since January 1997. He has also been one of the NBC reporters at the most recent eight Olympics. His contract at NBC expires December 31, 2012.


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Friday's intriguing people
Japanese pro golfer Ryo Ishikawa promises to donate all his Tour earnings this year.
April 8th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Ryo Ishikawa

The 19-year-old native of Japan says he will donate all the money he wins on the PGA Tour this year, including this weekend's Masters, to his earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged homeland.

Ishikawa, who shot a 1-under-par 71 in the first round of the Masters, won $2 million last year, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. He said he hopes to inspire his country by playing well.

"I understand that people, especially in Sendai, they are living in hell, and I would love to show the energy and power of what golf can bring to those people."

Ron Thatcher

The "non-essential" government worker is one of 800,000 who will not get paid if the government shuts down. The Montana resident works for the U.S. Forest Service and doesn't consider the work he does "non-essential," since some of the work he does includes protecting the U.S.-Canadian border. Thatcher tells, "I've worked with the Forest Service over 30 years and I'm damn proud to be a Forest Service employee."

Sandy Almon

The baseball player at Mount Pisgah, a small private school in Johns Creek, Georgia, is turning heads as a relief pitcher with a reported 85-mph fastball.

But it's not the fastball that has people talking. It's the fact that Sandy is a girl, one of just a few across the country playing high school baseball.

"I've seen and coached with a lot of boy pitchers the same age, and she has got just as much or more talent than half of them," Joey Hamilton, a former major-league pitcher and one of Sandy's private coaches, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I love baseball; it's my favorite sport and always has been," Almon told the paper. "I don't know how to explain it other to say that baseball just comes natural to me. Other sports, like basketball, are work. Baseball is not that way."

Casey Robbins

The Sacramento, California, high school senior has achieved an honor few of her peers can match: A school in Liberia has been named for her.

Robbins founded Textbooks for Liberia when she was in eighth grade. The organization has sent more than 10,000 books to the West African nation, CNN affiliate KXTV reports.

In gratitude for her work, officials named a new school in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, for her.

"The school is taking enrollment now and it should be starting in the fall. It's the Casey Robbins International School," said Robbins, who visited the site in February. "It's definitely a cool thing for me. I got to have a picture with the sign for my school."

Robbins said she plans to continue and possibly expand the program while attending Stanford University after graduation.

Thursday's intriguing people
Bob Dylan performs with his band at The Worker's Gymnasium in Beijing on Wednesday.
April 7th, 2011
09:04 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Bob Dylan

The rocker played a show in China on Wednesday night to a crowd who mostly didn't know who he was, just days after artist and activist Ai Weiwei was arrested for alleged "economic crimes." Dylan's set list had to be approved by the Ministry of Culture, and a few of his most popular songs, including "The Times They Are a-Changin'," were not played, the Los Angeles Times reported. "Foreign acts coming into China are watched much more closely than native Chinese bands," said Nevin Domer, booking manager at D-22, a mecca for student rock in Beijing.


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Wednesday's intriguing people
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida will become the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
April 6th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The Florida congresswoman will be named chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, replacing Tim Kaine, who is running for the Senate from Virginia. Two women have previously been the chairs of the DNC: Jean Westwood in 1972 and Debra DeLee in 1994 and 1995. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has risen in the ranks of the Democratic Party since she took office in 2005. The congresswoman is a breast cancer survivor and the mother of three children. Many Americans may recognize her as one of the friends present at the hospital when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords first opened her eyes after being shot in January.

Rep. Curt Weldon

The former Pennsylvania congressman has arrived in Libya to meet with Moammar Gadhafi. Weldon wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece, "I've met him enough times to know that it will be very hard to simply bomb him into submission." Weldon wrote that he's going on the invitation of Gadhafi's chief of staff and called for an immediate U.N.-monitored cease-fire, "with the Libyan army withdrawing from contested cities and rebel forces ending attempts to advance."

Roxy Kurze

The Warren, Michigan, native found a kidney donor for her husband on Facebook. Though an infrequent user of the popular social networking site, Kurze wrote a post lamenting her husband's deteriorating condition, according to the Detroit News. She wrote, "I wish a kidney would fall out the sky," and "If someone knows a living type O donor, let me know." Not long after, Ricky Cisco replied, offering up his kidney.

Cliff Forrest

The 10-year-old from Pittsburgh gave the Super Bowl ring he bought with his college savings for $8,500 back to retired Chicago Bears player William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Perry had to sell the ring several years ago after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and falling on hard times. Forrest wanted to buy the ring and give it back to Perry, and the avid sports memorabilia collector told ESPN on Monday, "When I Googled Mr. Perry after I got the ring, I saw he had the disease and went through rough times. And I thought he needed it more than I did."

Tuesday's intriguing people
Artist Ai Weiwei was detained by Chinese authorities on Sunday, and he hasn't been seen since.
April 5th, 2011
10:33 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Ai Weiwei

The well-known Chinese artist has not been seen since he was detained by Chinese authorities on Sunday. Police reportedly confiscated more than 30 computers and hard drives from his home and studio in northern Beijing, in addition to notebooks and other documents. Ai's wife, Lu Qing, said police would not tell her why he was being held and gave no clues to his whereabouts. The 53-year-old artist, who spoke at last month's TED conference, has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and has clashed with authorities in the past.

Barbara Lenk

The associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, who is married to a same-sex partner, was nominated to a seat on the Supreme Judicial Court by Gov. Deval Patrick, The Boston Globe reports. If confirmed, Lenk would be the first openly gay judge on the state's highest court. She would also be the only justice whose marriage is a result of the court's landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Michel Martelly

Preliminary results show that the Haitian musician, known as "Sweet Micky," won nearly 68% of Haiti's presidential vote against Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady and law professor. Before entering politics, Martelly was known for his wild performances, often cross-dressing, wearing diapers, and mooning his audience on stage, The Wall Street Journal reports. The father of four was supported in his bid by musician Wyclef Jean and has pledged to supplement his lack of government expertise by bringing in knowledgeable Cabinet members. Barring any legal challenges, Martelly will be confirmed as Haiti's new president by April 16.

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld

The eldest daughter of Amy Chua - author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" and a law professor at Yale - was accepted into Harvard and will attend this fall, according to the Above the Law blog. "Tiger Mother," a memoir on parenting released in January, was the center of much controversy, with critics characterizing Chua's parenting style as harsh. The accomplishments of 18-year-old Chua-Rubenfeld are impressive. She played piano at Carnegie Hall at the age of 14 and submitted a well-written article for the New York Post in which she defended her mother's approaching to parenting.

Update: Mandi Schwartz

The Yale University hockey player, who was featured as a most intriguing person on in June 2010, has died of leukemia at 23, The New York Times reports. After Schwartz was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2008, the Yale sports booster site led a drive to find her a bone marrow donor. After five rounds of chemotherapy, her disease was declared to be in remission and she returned to the ice in January 2010, the Yale Daily News reported. But a biopsy shortly thereafter showed the leukemia had returned, and she halted treatment, according to the Times. She died Sunday.

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Friday's intriguing people
Entertainer Billy Joel has canceled the publication of his memoirs, saying he'd rather look forward than back.
April 1st, 2011
02:27 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people


The Piano Man has surprised the entertainment and publishing industries by returning a substantial book advance and deciding against publishing his memoirs, the New York Post reported.

"The Book of Joel" was to be released by Harper Collins in June, CNN has confirmed. Yesterday, however, Joel announced the deal was off and the advance returned.

Joel has long struggled with alcoholism. In a February Rolling Stone interview, frequent touring partner Elton John chastised Joel for not getting clean.

Regarding the decision to shelve the book, Joel told CNN: "It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music."


For 20 years, the privately funded Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library played down Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal that led to his 1974 resignation.

Two years ago, however, the museum came under the auspices of the U.S. National Archives, and on Thursday, a newly renovated wing of the Watergate Galley was opened.

According to USA Today, the $500,000 makeover includes elements such as the lock-picking tools used to burglarize the Democratic National Committee's offices. It also features the microphones Nixon had planted around the Oval Office and the audio proving Nixon's role in the cover-up.

According to Tim Naftali, the library's executive director: "The public deserves an objective, nonpartisan museum for their money."


The state worker who'd faithfully spent $2 weekly on his office lottery pool, yet passed on it the time his colleagues won the $319 million Mega Millions jackpot, told the New York Post on Thursday he had only one explanation for his bad luck: "I didn't have two singles."


The New York Times reported Friday that the man once deemed Warren Buffett's successor at Berkshire Hathaway resigned this week after disclosing that he'd purchased some $10 million in shares of Lubrizol just days before Berkshire acquired it.

Sokol, called one of Buffett's brightest utility players, approached Buffett in January suggesting that Berkshire buy the lubricant manufacturer, the Times reported. During the conversation, Sokol also mentioned that he owned the company's stock. After Berkshire's $9 billion purchase, Sokol made a $3 million profit.

In a statement, Buffett expressed his support for Sokol and insisted he did nothing unlawful. He added, however, that he assumed Sokol had owned Lubrizol stock for years, not days.
mega millions numbers
Critics now wonder if Berkshire needs tighter controls. As Buffett himself wrote in a July 2010 memo to his managers: "We can afford to lose money—even a lot of money. But we can't afford to lose reputation—even a shred of reputation."

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Thursday's intriguing people
Moussa Koussa fled to London on Wednesday and said he had resigned as Libya's foreign minister.
March 31st, 2011
10:52 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Moussa Koussa

Libya's foreign minister and its former intelligence chief shocked the diplomatic world Wednesday with his sudden defection to the United Kingdom.

According to CNN homeland security analyst Fran Townsend, Koussa played a key role in planning and executing the Pam Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. He also was integral in negotiating the dismantling of Libya's weapons of mass destruction program.

"Koussa is one of the most senior figures in [Libyan leader Moammar] Gadhafi's government, and his role was to represent the regime internationally," a British government official said in a statement, "something that he is no longer willing to do."


Rolling Stone on Wednesday published the most revealing interview with singer Rihanna since her 2009 battery incident with then-boyfriend Chris Brown.

In a risqué photo spread, the singer defined her self-imposed boundaries with Brown, despite agreeing to end a restraining order that she feels has hurt him professionally.

Most eye-opening however, was the singer's acknowledgment that she is prone to masochism in her sexual relationships, and via her multiple tattoos and piercings. She attributed it to verbal abuse from her father and the stress of her career.

"It's not something I am proud of, and it's not something I noticed until recently," she told Rolling Stone. "I think it's common for people who witness abuse in their household. They can never smell how beautiful a rose is unless they get pricked by a thorn."

Gregory Hollister

The retired U.S. Air Force colonel has obtained what he believes is a copy of President Barack Obama's draft documents from 1980 by impersonating the president to the Selective Service Office.

According to a news report in the Colorado Springs Gazette, which was originally reported in the blog Gratewire, Hollister used a private investigator to obtain what may be the president's Social Security number, and then impersonated Obama to obtain the documents.

Further buoying Hollister's suspicions are reports that the Social Security number obtained begins with 042. That, says Hollister, would mean Obama was born in Connecticut, not Hawaii as long stated.

While critics say Hollister has violated many federal statutes, he maintains his innocence.

"I was very meticulous and made sure everything I did was compliant with the law," he told the Gazette.

Alye Pollack

A YouTube video posted March 14 by the 13-year-old from Westport, Connecticut, in which she speaks out about bullying, has gained nearly 50,000 views.

During her plea, Pollack says that name-calling is a large part of the problem. She emphasizes her point by writing the vulgarities on paper with crayon and showing them to her audience.

"I used to be really, really confident," Pollack says in the video, "and now, not so much because people use these words."

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Wednesday's Most Intriguing People: Syrian leader; 'I Need a Job!' organizer
Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton is reportedly writing a book about “a child born with a shock of fabulous hair."
March 30th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

Wednesday's Most Intriguing People: Syrian leader; 'I Need a Job!' organizer

Perez Hilton

The celebrity gossip blogger announced Tuesday that he will write a children’s book with Penguin called, “The Boy with Pink Hair,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Penguin says the book is about “a child born with a shock of fabulous hair that sets him apart from his peers. While some find this difference hard to accept or understand, 'The Boy with Pink Hair' uses the opportunity to find what makes him special and share it with the world.”

Bashar al-Assad

The embattled president of Syria acknowledged in a speech Wednesday that his citizens want reform and said that the nation is "now the target of a worldwide conspiracy." He said, "We are for reform, and we are for meeting the people’s demands. But we are not in favor of chaos and destruction.” Assad's comments come after anti-government protests in Syria and a day after his Cabinet resigned.

Matthew Segal

The Ohio native and founder of the Our Time youth organization is launching its F#%K, I Need a Job! campaign  Wednesday. The movement, which features a petition, hopes to help young adults fight unemployment. “Our Time is putting names and faces to a group of workers who are being overlooked – our strength is truly in our numbers,” Segal said in a news release. “America needs a wake-up call – we are leaving our next generation behind.  And young Americans need a reality check – no one is coming to bail us out.”

Shauna Miller

The 24-year-old from Los Angeles is the creator of Penny Chic, a blog featuring styled looks from clothes bought entirely from Walmart. The site, which is not affiliated with the retailer, was started when Miller could not find a job after graduating from college. On the blog, Miller, who once worked at a Paris fashion house, wrote, "What’s more intriguing to me is the challenge of looking chic at a time when this season’s must-have Little Black Dress is no longer an option. ... And that’s when I came up with the idea to put America’s cheapest discount department store on a fashion pedestal and ditch the skinny models for me and my friends."

Monday's Most Intriguing People: A death row inmate, a writer and a boxing legend
Troy Davis has been on Georgia's death row for 19 years.
March 28th, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Monday's Most Intriguing People: A death row inmate, a writer and a boxing legend


On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a condemned Georgia inmate's request that his execution be delayed as he attempts to prove his "actual innocence." Without comment, the justice put aside two separate appeals from Troy Davis, probably setting the stage for the state to set another execution date. Davis, on death row for 19 years, has gained international support for his long-standing claim that he did not murder a Savannah police officer more than two decades ago. A number of key prosecution witnesses have either recanted or backed off their trial testimony. Other witnesses have come forward and said another man at the scene told them he was the actual killer. FULL STORY


The American journalist who won an Academy Award in 2010 for the screenplay of "The Hurt Locker" has written an extensive report in Rolling Stone this month about U.S. military atrocities in Afghanistan. "The Kill Team" details how rogue members of the Army's 3rd Platoon, 5th Stryker Brigade murdered at least four Afghan civilians and tried to cover up their deaths.

Last week, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock was sentenced to 24 years for his role in the killings. Others await military trial. Boal's war stories from his time as a military embed have twice become films. "The Man in the Bomb Suit" evolved into "The Hurt Locker." Another became the film "In the Valley of Elah." Now, Boal is reportedly set to produce, and possibly write, a film version of the Wikileaks story.


The greatest boxing commentator since Howard Cosell returned to the ring on Saturday. Former CNN Sports Illustrated anchor Nick Charles called play-by-play on HBO's "Boxing After Dark." The 64-year-old was brought on by HBO after Executive Producer Rick Bernstein read a stirring Sports Illustrated profile detailing Charles' struggle with terminal bladder cancer. Charles was reinvigorated preparing for the featherweight match between Mikey Garcia and Matt Remillard. Though he's suffering from immense pain, the ex-anchor seemed to thrive on air. "Why am I doing this tonight?" he asked at the start of the bout. "To inspire others to do what they love."

Friday's intriguing people
Susan Lucci has played Erica Kane on "All My Children" since 1970.
March 25th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Susan Lucci

The star of ABC’s "All My Children" has played Erica Kane since the show kicked off in 1970. Now, according to industry blog, the 41-year-old soap opera may be facing cancellation. Ratings are reportedly at an all-time low in the 18- to 49-year-old women demographic, and they're down 34% from last year. The fate of Lucci and the rest of the show's cast could come as early as this fall, Deadline reports.


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Thursday's Most Intriguing People: A generous doc, a forgiving actress
Debbie Reynolds talked to HLN's Joy Behar about her special friendship with Elizabeth Taylor.
March 24th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

Thursday's Most Intriguing People: A generous doc, a forgiving actress

The retired physician is being called "Bakersfield College's $14 million man." Levan gave the California school the largest known gift to a community college in U.S. history, according to KGET. Administrators were floored by the generous act. "We're staring down these budget scenarios that are just absolutely frightening and potentially devastating to our students," said Amber Chiang, spokeswoman for Bakersfield College.

Levan, who amassed a fortune through investments, is a dermatologist who used to treat former college President John Collins. The Bakersfield Californian said he has made massive donations to other higher education institutions around the world.

Levan's thoughts on his gift: "Relieved! I'd hate to die rich!"

The legendary actress shared profound — and often blush-worthy — insights about the late Elizabeth Taylor on Wednesday night during an exclusive interview with HLN's Joy Behar. Reynolds last spoke to Taylor two weeks ago, she said, adding that the actress was in great pain before her death. Reynolds also cherished their longtime friendship, which survived a scandal that made them the Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie of their era.

"No one could equal Elizabeth's beauty," Reynolds said. "Women liked her, and the men adored her — I know, because my husband left me for her." In 1959, singer Eddie Fisher left Reynolds and her two young children, Todd and actress and novelist Carrie Fisher, for Taylor.

"Elizabeth and I were able to get all past that," Reynolds said. "She did a really nice creation with her life. She went on to work for AIDS (to) become very charitable, (and) get off the path of man-hunting."


On Wednesday, NASA abruptly canceled several one-on-one media interviews that were to occur Thursday in Houston with the space shuttle commander. Kelly said he was concerned that the questions would focus not on the upcoming Endeavour launch but on the condition of his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords is undergoing rehabilitation after being shot in the head January 8 at an event in Tucson, Arizona. Six other people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, were killed. Previous interviews with Kelly's brother and fellow astronaut Scott Kelly have focused on Giffords, a NASA spokeswoman said.

Kelly will appear with the other crew members during a news conference at 3 p.m. ET, which CNN will air live.

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Wednesday's intriguing people
Gov. Jerry Brown says he wants California voters to decide if tax extensions are the way to cure the state's budget ills.
March 23rd, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Jerry Brown

California’s governor used YouTube this week to discuss the state’s budget woes. He is calling for a special election for voters to decide between tax extensions or cuts in state services. “This is a matter of we the people taking charge and voting on the most fundamental matters that affect all our lives,” Brown said in the YouTube video.


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Filed under: Budget • California • Crime • Economy • Jerry Brown • Military • Most Intriguing People • Politics • Race • U.S. • Virginia • YouTube
Tuesday's intriguing people
Dallas Wiens, in a handout photo from Brigham and Women's Hospital, arrives in Boston to prepare for face-transplant surgery.
March 22nd, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Dallas Wiens

The 25-year-old construction worker received a full face transplant last week at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Wiens, of Fort Worth, Texas, was severely burned in 2008 when the cherry picker he was using to paint a church touched electrical wires. He lost his nose, teeth, one eye, his lips and the muscles that generate facial expressions, The Boston Globe reported. He also lost the vision in his remaining eye.

"Dallas always said after the injury that he now had a choice. He could choose to get bitter or he could choose to get better," Wiens' grandfather, Del Peterson, said during a hospital press conference, according to the Globe. "His choice was better."

In a 15-hour operation involving 30 specialists, Wiens received the face of a donor whose age, skin tone and blood type matched his, the Globe reported.


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Filed under: Boston • California • Health • Massachusetts • Military • Most Intriguing People • Music • New York • Texas • U.S.
Monday's Most Intriguing: Yemeni leader, Japan's power chief, record-setting runner
Yemen's Minister of Human Rights Huda al-Ban photographed in 2008.
March 21st, 2011
11:30 AM ET

Monday's Most Intriguing: Yemeni leader, Japan's power chief, record-setting runner

Huda al-Ban

Yemen's human rights minister resigned from her position Saturday after 44 demonstrators were killed in clashes with the government. Al-Ban said the Yemeni government committed a "horrible, cowardly, and perfidious crime." Others have resigned from their posts as well, including Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations and the head of the state news agency who is also a member of the ruling party.

Masataka Shimizu

The head of Tokyo Electric Power Co. has reportedly not appeared in public in a week, raising questions about whether he has control of the nuclear crisis in the country. The 66-year-old has not yet visited the Fukushima Daiichi plant in north Japan which is spewing radioactive smoke.  It was damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Three hundred workers are struggling to cool the reactors. According to Reuters, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan was overheard asking TEPCO executives, “What the hell is going on?” On Monday another reactor began emitting smoke at the plant, making it the third reactor, a nuclear official said. Workers had been trying to stop two other reactors from smoking, including a reactor that has fuel containing a small percentage of plutonium mixed with the uranium in its fuel rods which experts say could cause more harm than regular uranium fuels in the event of a meltdown. is live blogging the crisis in Japan.

Markos Geneti

The 26-year-old Ethiopian braved one of the worst storms ever to hit on marathon day in Los Angeles, California, and ran away with first place, and a record win on Sunday. Geneti shocked everyone even more because he had The win was all the more impressive because Geneti had never raced a marathon before - 26.2 miles. He ran through shin-deep puddles in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 35 seconds, breaking the race record by almost two minutes, according to the L.A. Times.  The weather proved tough for other competitors. Many were taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia, officials said.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Health Care • Japan • Most Intriguing People • Running • Yemen
Friday's intriguing people
Kelly Gneiting prepares to wrestle during the 2005 USA National Sumo Championship in North Bergen, New Jersey.
March 18th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Kelly Gneiting

The 40-year-old sumo wrestler, who weighs 405 pounds and has a 60-inch waist, is training to run 26.2 miles in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. Should he manage it, Guinness World Records is prepared to recognize him as the heaviest person ever to finish a marathon.

Gneiting took up sumo wrestling in the late 1990s and has won three U.S. championships. Running a marathon has been his goal since grade school, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Gneiting lives on an Indian reservation in Arizona, the Times says, and has a master's degree in geography from the University of Idaho, according to a bio at His wife and five children live in Idaho.

"I honestly think I'm one of the best athletes in the world," he says.


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