Friday's intriguing people
Sir Alex Ferguson could become the first coach to win three Champions League titles.
May 27th, 2011
04:09 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Sir Alex Ferguson

The coach of Manchester United leads his team into the biggest soccer match of the year seeking a title of his own - greatest coach ever.

In his 25 years in charge of the club, Ferguson has won 12 league titles and countless other domestic trophies. If he leads United to victory Saturday, he will become the first manager to win three Champions League titles, reports CNN's Greg Duke.

The matchup Saturday between Manchester United and favored Barcelona will be played at one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Wembley in London, so the English side may have a edge in fans, but most experts favor the Spanish side on the field.

Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Wilson says Ferguson will have an interesting decision to make with his tactical formation: Does he play the same lineup or opt for the addition of a defensive-minded player?

Not everyone thinks Barcelona is certain to win. Gabriele Marcotti says Manchester United has an advantage at the end of this very long season.

Nathan Bootz

The Ithaca Public Schools superintendent reportedly wants Michigan's governor to put more money into schools.

Maybe the state should make them into prisons, he says in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, originally published in the Gratiot County Herald on May 11.

In part the letter reads: "The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding."

Bootz goes on to write that by providing more funding the state can help keep students out of prison.

The letter apparently was cheered but also booed by some in the state.

State Rep. Tom McMillin, a Republican from Rochester Hills, called the letter “inflammatory rhetoric,” according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential, a news service that "reports on the public officials who seek to limit government, those who do not, and those whose votes are at odds with what they say."

The Michigan Capitol Confidential looked at the budgeting issue a different way, saying that prisoners are in state care 24 hours a day while students spend only eight hours.

"Students cost roughly $6.46 per hour to educate. Prisoners cost $5.92 per hour to house," Tom Gantert wrote.

Jack Scott

The mayor of Cordova, Alabama, has plenty of mad residents. Scott says a city ordinance passed in the 1950s doesn't allow for single-wide trailers as residences, reports say. But many people were displaced after a tornado hit the town April 27, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the trailers as temporary housing.

So while some city bureaus are using trailers for offices, the mayor won't allow FEMA to give out the single wides, according to reports.

ABC 33/30 in Birmingham said it called the mayor to ask why, and he hung up on the reporter.

CNN affiliate WIAT-TV in Birmingham reports that some people have resorted to living in tents.

Luke Smith

The 8-year-old was upset the U.S. flag flying on a pier in Oceanside, California, was damaged, according to CNN affiliate KSWB-TV in San Diego.

"I was actually standing right under this pier at the starting line (of a 5-kilometer race). I looked up at the flag and noticed it was all ripped up and tattered," he told KSWB.

So he wrote the man in charge, according to the station.

"Dear Mr. Mayor,

"During my last visit to the pier, while I was looking around, I saw the American flag at the top of the pole waving in the breeze. I felt proud, then I was sad. The flag was all ripped up and tattered. I think it was disrespectful to our country and the people who fight for it. I would be pleased if you would replace it.

"Thank you, sir, for your attention.

" Your friend, Luke Smith, 8 years old."

Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said budget cutbacks made it harder for officials in the military town to spot such problems, according to KSWB.

Wood sent Smith a letter of proclamation and had the flag replaced, the TV station reported.

Filed under: Alabama • California • Education • Michigan • Most Intriguing People • Natural Disasters • Soccer • Spain • Sports • United Kingdom
May 26th, 2011
07:57 AM ET

Libya lists 'proposals' for ceasefire, Spain says

The office of Libya's prime minister sent a message to the Spanish government listing "a series of proposals that could lead to a ceasefire," a spokesman for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday.

The message, from the office of Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, was also sent to other European capitals, the spokesman said, adding that he could not name which capitals.

Spain has contributed military assets, including troops, to the NATO-led mission to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians in Libya.

Read CNN's full coverage of the Libyan ceasefire proposal
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Filed under: Libya • Spain
Woman beheaded in Spain supermarket
Jennifer Mills-Westley, a British national, was killed in an apparently random attack in Spain's Canary Islands on May 14, 2011.
May 15th, 2011
07:09 AM ET

Woman beheaded in Spain supermarket

A British grandmother was beheaded in an apparently random attack in a supermarket in Spain's Canary Islands.

A man who stole a knife in the supermarket attacked Jennifer Mills-Westley and cut her head off, then ran away with it, government officials in Tenerife said Friday. Shopping center security guards chased the man and subduing him until police arrived. The man, a Bulgarian, was known in the area, a government spokeswoman said.

Mills-Westley was retired and living between Tenerife in the Canary Islands and France where her daughter and grandchildren live, her family said in a statement Saturday.

"She was full of life, generous of heart, would do anything for anyone," said her daughter Sarah. The family is "devastated by the news of her death ... We now have to find a way of living without her love and light."

Mills-Westley had been a county council worker in Norfolk, England, council leader Derrick Murphy told CNN. Murphy said he did not know Mills-Westley because he joined the council after she retired, but he planned to have current and former council employees organize a tribute to her.

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Filed under: Spain
May 11th, 2011
03:08 PM ET

Seven dead after earthquake hits Spain

[Updated at 3:08 p.m.] Seven people were killed Wednesday when an earthquake struck southeastern Spain, the delegate of the government in Murcia told National Spanish Radio.

The 5.3-magnitude quake occurred at 4:47 p.m. (10:47 a.m. ET) and was centered about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Murcia, near the Mediterranean coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said. That is about 350 kilometers (218 miles) south-southeast of Madrid.

It was preceded at 3:05 p.m. by a 4.5-magnitude temblor centered in the same area, the survey said.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters • Spain
Friday's intriguing people
Alberto Contador is reportedly threatening to quit cycling if he's suspended for a positive banned-substance test.
January 28th, 2011
11:19 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Alberto Contador

The three-time Tour de France champion is expected to respond next week to a proposed one-year cycling ban after testing positive for a banned substance during last year’s competition, according to The Daily Telegraph in Australia.  He reportedly is threatening to quit the sport if he's banned.

Did Contador eat tainted beef, which he blames for the positive test? Is he cooperating with investigators? Either way, if the ban goes through, Contador will be the second Tour champ - Floyd Landis being the first - to be stripped of the title.


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Filed under: Barack Obama • Business • Cycling • District of Columbia • Finance • Most Intriguing People • Politics • Spain • Sports • U.S.
December 4th, 2010
02:53 PM ET

Man barely saved from train

An off-duty police officer named Angel leaped off a subway platform Friday in Madrid, Spain, and dragged a fallen man off the tracks just as a train arrived.

The officer said on the Spanish National Police YouTube channel that he had been standing on the platform with his girlfriend when people started shouting.

"I observed a stir at the station, and then I saw the man who had fallen on the tracks," he said while calmly narrating a video of the dramatic rescue.

"I ran out, I took off my jacket, and I threw myself onto the tracks. At the same time I had to maintain my awareness of the train that was approaching because it was just about to arrive."

The train barely missed both men as other patrons frantically waved at the train operator. The officer then scooped the man up in his arms and placed him on the platform.

"This has been a very particular experience, but they prepare us for this sort of thing," he said.

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Filed under: Spain • World
November 9th, 2010
12:58 PM ET

Pirates use hijacked vessel to attack Spanish warship

Somali pirates have used a Japanese-owned freighter they seized in October to stage an attack on a Spanish warship, the European Union’s anti-piracy task force reports.

On Saturday night, pirates aboard the MV Izumi, a Panamanian-flagged vessel they captured on October 10, attacked the SPS Infanta Cristina, a Spanish corvette, as it escorted a ship chartered by the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to a statement from the European Union Naval Force public affairs office.

As the pirates attacked, the Infanta Cristina placed itself between the Izumi and the AU ship, the MV Petra 1, which was carrying peacekeepers, the statement said.

“The attack was disrupted, and the pirates fled the scene,” the statement said.


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Filed under: Crime • Japan • Kenya • Panama • Pirates • Spain
November 7th, 2010
09:36 AM ET

Pope dedicates famed Spanish church, chides secularism

Pope Benedict XVI defended religion from critics Sunday as he dedicated the Sagrada Familia church, a still-unfinished emblem of the Spanish city of Barcelona.

"This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord," he said.

And he pushed back against what he sees as increasing secularism in the world, saying, "I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him."


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Filed under: Religion • Spain • Vatican
October 5th, 2010
12:54 PM ET

Seaweed, wool make traditional bricks tougher

Wool bricks are 37 percent stronger than regular bricks, researchers say.

You’ve got more wool, clay and seaweed than you know what to do with. Here’s a solution: Make really strong bricks.

Researchers in Spain and Scotland say they’ve done just that.

In experiments conducted at the University of Seville in Spain and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, researchers added wool fibers to the claylike soil used to make bricks, then threw in alginate conglomerate, a polymer made from seaweed, according to a study published in the journal Construction and Building Materials.

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Filed under: Architecture • Environment • Scotland • Scotland • Spain • Technology
July 11th, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Iniesta's extra-time goal gives Spain its first World Cup

Spain won its first World Cup title on Sunday, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 with an extra-time goal by Andres Iniesta in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The goal in the 116th minute came about seven minutes after the Netherlands went down to 10 men, thanks to a red card given to Dutch defender John Heitinga.

The winning move started with a misdirected cross from Spanish forward Fernando Torres. A Dutch defender tried to clear it, but the ball came to Spain's Cesc Fabregas, who sent it to Iniesta.

Iniesta volleyed it across the body of Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who put a hand to the ball but couldn't keep it from going into the net.

The goal capped a physical match that saw 13 yellow cards and Heitinga's red card. Eight of the yellows went to the Dutch.


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Filed under: South Africa • Spain • Sports • The Netherlands • World
June 24th, 2010
09:17 AM ET

On the Radar: McChrystal, Gulf oil disaster, iPhone 4's arrival

Obama and McChrystal - President Obama says he regrets having to accept Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation but felt he had no choice. The ousting of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan came after publication of a Rolling Stone magazine article in which McChrystal and his staff appeared to disparage decisions from Washington. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, will take over in Afghanistan. CNN takes a look at what happened in Wednesday's meeting between Obama and McChrystal and evaluates what the implications may be for the war in Afghanistan.


May 21st, 2010
02:00 PM ET

ETA members get 1,040 years each for Madrid bombing

[Updated at 2:00 p.m.] Spain's highest court has sentenced three members of the Basque separatist group ETA to more than 1,000 years in prison for a terrorist attack against one of the nation's busiest airports in 2006, officials said Friday.


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Filed under: Spain
May 11th, 2010
10:22 AM ET

Spanish judge asks for leave amid investigation

A Spanish judge who brought cases against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden but is now under criminal investigation has asked for a leave of absence, a national court spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Spain's Supreme Court is investigating Judge Baltasar Garzon for alleged abuse of power in his inquiry of human rights infractions during the rule of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. The court also is investigating Garzon amid allegations of wiretapping in a corruption scandal that has affected leaders of the main opposition conservative Popular Party.


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Filed under: Spain
May 8th, 2010
08:05 AM ET

Volcanic ash closes airports in Spain

Fifteen Spanish airports will be closed Saturday afternoon because of ash blowing from a volcano in Iceland, aviation officials said.


Filed under: Air travel • Iceland • Spain
May 8th, 2010
04:18 AM ET

Growth removed from Spanish king's lung

[Updated at 8:33 a.m.] Doctors said they successfully removed a growth from the right lung of Spain's King Juan Carlos in surgery Saturday.

A biopsy revealed no malignant cells in the growth, doctors at University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, told reporters.

Doctors said the king was doing well and recovering after surgery.


Filed under: Spain
April 28th, 2010
06:41 PM ET

Spanish debt downgraded as Greece shakes markets

Standard & Poor's downgraded Spain's debt to a "AA" rating Wednesday, down from "AA+," a day after its downgrading of Greek debt set off falls in markets worldwide.

Spain's economy is among the largest in the European Union, significantly bigger than Greece's.

The S&P announcement came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel huddled with the head of the International Monetary Fund to hammer out specifics of aid to Greece.

Germany will do what it can to help Greece out of its financial crisis, Merkel said Wednesday, "but also Greece has to do its part."

Read the full story

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Filed under: Spain • World
April 25th, 2010
09:34 PM ET

Bullfighter in intensive care after severe goring

One of Spain's most famous matadors was in stable condition in intensive care Sunday, a day after being severely gored during a bullfight in Mexico, Spain's official news agency reported.

Video from the bullfight at central Mexico's Plaza de Aguascalientes shows Jose Tomas being carried out of the ring, his left thigh soaked in blood after the bull he was fighting upended him and tossed him several feet.


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Filed under: Mexico • Spain
April 16th, 2010
04:41 PM ET

Spanish helicopter crashes in Haitian mountains

A Spanish army helicopter crashed in Haiti on Friday in a mountainous region along the country's border with the Dominican Republic, a U.N. spokesman said.

The aircraft was carrying a crew of four and, though their status was unknown, a Chilean U.N. team flew over the wreckage and believed there were no survivors, said Michel Bonnardeaux, a spokesman for the U.N. Mission in Haiti.


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Filed under: Haiti • Spain • World
April 11th, 2010
06:43 PM ET

USGS: 6.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Spain

[Updated 6:52 p.m.] There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or damages.  The earthquake struck at 12:08 a.m. local time Monday (6:08 p.m. Sunday ET).  Read full story FULL POST

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Filed under: Earthquake • Spain • Uncategorized
March 18th, 2010
08:35 PM ET

Spanish police charge 3 in kidnapping of British boy

Two Pakistani men and a Romanian woman were charged in Spain on Thursday in connection with the kidnapping of a 5-year-old British boy in Pakistan.


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Filed under: Spain • World
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