[Update: 9:10 a.m.] A Gaza humanitarian convoy that includes passengers who survived a previous fatal flotilla incident has been delayed and is expected to set sail Monday in an attempt to deliver aid for Palestinians, organizers said.
Originally slated to depart on Sunday, last-minute complications over entry requirements by Egyptian authorities, caused a delay, organizers said. They hope to quickly resolve the issues and have the convoy on its way by Monday morning, the group said.
The ¬†convoy includes passengers who survived a previous fatal flotilla incident.
The Viva Palestina convoy, hailed by organizers as the largest convoy to break the Gaza embargo, has already traveled 4,828 kilometers (3,000 miles) by road from England. It is now waiting to depart from the Syrian port of Latakia to Al-Arish, Egypt.
It has been joined by convoys from Morocco, Algeria, Jordan and Persian Gulf nations, organizers said Saturday. Two of the ships are slated to pass through the point at which Israeli troops boarded the Mavi Marmara in May.
The former Senate majority leader and current U.S. envoy to the Middle East may not only get Israel and the Palestinians talking, but he also led the special investigation over steroid use in Major League Baseball that contributed to the indictment of Roger Clemens.
According to an extensive profile from The Washington Post‚Äôs Whorunsgov website, Mitchell stepped down as Senate majority leader in 1995 to secure universal health care. Previously he had turned down an offer for a Supreme Court nomination from President Clinton. He did, however, accept Clinton‚Äôs offer to be a special envoy to Northern Ireland in 1996. He later described the process as ‚Äú700 days of failure, and one day of success.‚ÄĚ
Mitchell was then asked to lead the special investigation into performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. The 400-plus-page report cast light on the so-called epidemic among players and led to Senate hearings that included testimony by Clemens, who was indicted Thursday.
Toddlers to be laid to rest - A funeral will be held for Ja'Van, above, left,¬†and Devean Duley, the 1- and 2-year-olds found dead in the Edisto River¬†near Orangeburg, South Carolina. The boys' mother, Shaquan Duley, 29, is accused of smothering them, putting them into car seats and sinking the car into the river.
"This Just In" editor Mallory Simon and CNN.com associate producer Sean O'Key are on the ground in Orangeburg. The pair went to the Trumps Inn¬†and took a look at Room 31, where the boys were allegedly killed. Motel manager Renu Patel, a mother herself, told Simon the room hasn't been cleaned since police searched it. Patel and her staff can't bear to go inside, she said.
'Clef for prez? - Hip-hopper Wyclef Jean will learn¬†Friday if he eligible to run for president of Haiti. Jean said even if he is not permitted to run, he will continue to rally Haiti's youth for education reform. On Thursday, President Rene Preval met with Jean to discuss threats made against the entertainer since he declared his candidacy.
Aussies to cast ballots - Pollsters are predicting a dead heat in Saturday's elections to determine the next Australian leader. Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the left-of-center Labor Party told a local television station there is "a very, very real risk" her conservative opponent, Tony Abbott, could win.
Meanwhile, a clairvoyant saltwater crocodile named Harry, who picked Spain to win the World Cup, indicates Gillard will keep her seat.
Mideast peace talks could resume - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce that the Palestinian Authority is prepared to return to the table with Israel. Sources said President Obama could invite both parties to Washington next month. The peace talks have been deadlocked since December 2008 after Israel launched a military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
Israel is defending its controversial handling of an aid flotilla, saying its troops acted professionally.
Israeli navy commando soldiers boarded the Gaza-bound flotilla in May, resulting in violence between troops and activists that left nine Turks dead. Despite public outcry over the incident, Israel said its commandos "operated properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness" and "exhibited correct decision making," according to an Israeli army review of the incident released Monday.
"The use of live fire was justified and the entire operation is estimable," the statement said.
The review was conducted by a team of experts, and their conclusions were presented Monday, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. The flotilla incident provides an opportunity to learn for future
missions, said Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel Defense Forces' chief of the¬† general staff, in a second statement.
"The IDF is confident enough to critically examine itself and improve based on the conclusions," Ashkenazi said. While no failures or negligence were found, "nonetheless, an examination as thorough as this brings up mistakes which must be corrected for future incidents."
An aid ship trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza still plans to aim for the Palestinian territory, its organizer told CNN on Sunday, despite Israel's foreign ministry saying it would likely dock elsewhere.
But the activists on the boat will not resist if they are confronted by the Israeli military, said Youssef Sawani, the executive director of the Gadhafi Foundation, which is sending the boat.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the ship "an unnecessary provocation."
The ship, launched by a charity headed by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son, set sail from Greece on Saturday carrying 2,000 tons of aid.
Abu Daoud, the man who claimed to be the mastermind behind the massacre that marked the 1972 Munich Olympics, has died, according to the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority.
On September 5 of that year, Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes who were taken hostage.
Daoud, also known as Mohammed Oudeh, died Friday night, the WAFA news agency reported Saturday. He was 73.
Israel plans to ease its blockade of Gaza, a source from the prime minister's office told CNN.
"Israel has decided to enable the flow of all civilian goods into the Gaza strip. From today, there is a green light approval for all goods to enter into Gaza except for military items and materials that can strengthen Hamas' military machine," the source said. FULL STORY
The United States will contribute $400 million in development aid to the Palestinian territories and work with Israel to loosen its embargo on Gaza, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he is willing to appear before an investigation into the Israeli commando raid on a flotilla last week, but will accept only an Israeli military investigation.
A lot has changed since the symbolic Cairo speech President Barack Obama dedicated to Muslims exactly a year ago.
Today, it is safe to say that the curiosity has turned into skepticism and the cautious optimism has been replaced by flat-out pessimism. Headlines such as this one: "Muslim praise for Obama dries up a year after Cairo speech" are commonplace for the media who cared to remember the speech on its first anniversary. But, most Arab media didn't give the anniversary any coverage or even mention.
The Gaza flotilla disaster couldn't have come at a worse time for Obama's image among Muslims and Arabs. After all, 9 Turks died, when Israel stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza in an attempt to break a 3-year-old Israeli blockade.
The Muslim world turned to the White House hoping for a stand that mirrors President Obama's promises to the Muslim world.
"The White House is trying to understand the circumstances of what happened," is what they heard.
Iran's Red Crescent Society will try to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza by sending food and medical supplies "in the next few days," Iranian media reported Monday, citing an official with the organization.
Abdul Rauf¬†Adibzadeh said relief goods will arrive in Gaza via Egypt crossing by the end of the week.
Gulf oil disaster - President Obama, who told Larry King he is furious about the oil spill, will be making a third trip to the Gulf Coast today to get an update on the oil spill and examine the cleanup. BP capped the well last night and plans to successively close four vents at the top of the containment cap Friday, hoping to stem oil that is still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico, Doug Suttles, the company's chief operating officer, said.
We could get information today about whether BP's latest attempt to stop the oil is a success. We'll be giving you the latest updates on the story throughout the day.
[Updated at 12:23 p.m.] An Irish-owned aid ship headed for Gaza is delaying its voyage for a while to get equipped with video capabilities and satellite transmission to record what is happening at any given moment on the vessel, a Free Gaza Movement activist told CNN.
Gulf oil disaster - BP seemed to be getting criticism from every angle as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico entered its 45th day Thursday and every effort to stop the historic flow is still failing - and oil could begin to show up on Florida coast on Thursday. As the oil company gets increased scrutiny from Congress and President Obama, a grass-roots campaign dubbed Seize BP planned demonstrations in more than 50 cities to start Thursday. In the wake of the anger, BP's CEO¬†Tony Hayward is appearing in an ad, saying he is "deeply sorry" about the disaster and that BP "will make this right."
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is heading the federal government's response, said the real fix for the disaster will be a relief well, but that won't be working until August. Until then BP's next move will be to use the same sheer-cutting device that made a successful cut on the riser Tuesday. The only issue with that cutter is the rougher surface left by that cut will not accommodate the tight seal needed for installation of the lower-marine riser package that BP wants to use to stop the gusher. BP engineers now plan to use a different device called a "top hat" instead.
Speaking defiantly in the face of worldwide criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the Israeli commando raid on the aid-bound vessels for Gaza, saying the troops acted properly in the bloody raid.
[Updated 10:57 a.m.] Here are the latest developments involving the pre-dawn Monday raid by Israeli military on a flotilla of six ships carrying aid for the Palestinian territory of Gaza:
- An Israeli Cabinet member said Israel warned Turkey repeatedly that the Gaza-bound aid flotilla would need to land at Israel's Ashdod port so the material could be checked before the supplies were sent to Gaza.
"Nobody wanted to listen," Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog told CNN on Wednesday.
- The foreign flotilla detainees held at Beer Sheva prison are headed home, the Israel Prisons Authority said Wednesday. All the detainees have left the facility and were on their way to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv as of Wednesday afternoon.
- Four Israeli Arabs on the Gaza aid flotilla remained in Israeli custody Wednesday, according to Israeli sources and the Free Gaza Movement. A court ordered them held until next week.
- The Rachel Corrie, a ship with aid bound for Gaza, is 100 miles south of Crete and is planning to arrive in Gaza late Friday or early Saturday, according to the Free Gaza Movement.
- The European Campaign to End Siege on Gaza announced that it had already obtained the funding of the first three ships of the new fleet which will go to Gaza.
Gulf oil spill –– BP early Wednesday used robot submarines and a complex maneuver in an attempt to stop the massive flow of crude oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. The company appeared to be making its second cut into the undersea well's riser pipe, the initial steps toward placing a cap over the well that has spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day since late April.
comes as oil from the rig explosion has spread and has been spotted on an Alabama beach. As the oil slick grows, so, too, does the outrage. CNN's Ed Hornick will take a look at how much the government can to do to watch over the oil company, and whether the government needs to take a larger role in managing enterprises such as ¬†deepwater drilling, where a company‚Äôs mistake could lead to adverse impacts on the rest of the world.
Gaza aid flotilla raid - Israel is facing an onslaught of intense international criticism as it continues to release activists detained after Monday's commando raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza in defiance of a blockade. At the same time we are beginning to hear more of the firsthand accounts from witnesses who were aboard several boats stormed by Israeli forces. We'll continue to provide you with the latest updates on the story as we get them. FULL POST
A big, scary¬†hole - A frightening image appeared on the photo sharing site Flickr.com¬†of a sinkhole in Guatemala City that several on Twitter are calling the sinkhole to "hell."¬†Tropical Storm Agatha drenched the region, resulting in the deaths of¬†nearly 150 people in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In Guatemala alone, 90 people are missing, officials said.¬†The country¬†is suffering even more because¬†the Pacaya volcano, which erupted Thursday night,¬†has continued to spew ash. Three people were killed when they were crushed by rocks strewn by the volcano.
Splitsville for the Gores - A representative for¬†Tipper and Al Gore confirmed that the couple sent an e-mail announcing they were separating. They have been married for 40 years. It seems the public began trying to search online for¬†the e-mail,¬†or at least parts of it, by taking chunks of it that have been reported and running the lines through Google. The passage that has been reported:¬†"This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together, following a process of long and careful consideration."
Flotilla fallout - The world is¬†trying to keep up with the¬†fast-moving story about¬†the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla into Gaza that resulted in at least nine deaths.¬†Protests were staged around the globe, from New York to Turkey, against Israel's actions, and the¬†United¬†Nations¬†condemned the raid. Diplomatic sources told CNN that of the 600 who¬†are being held by Israel, citizens of Arab countries, except Egypt, were being prepared for release early Tuesday afternoon. Egyptians¬†will be¬†moved to the Jordanian border for deportation, an Arab and an Israeli source said. Meanwhile, more witness accounts have surfaced.