April 10th, 2013
06:38 AM ET

Fugitives return from Cuba with kids

An American couple who allegedly kidnapped their two sons and sailed to Havana last week sat in a Florida jail Wednesday after Cuba hastily handed them over to U.S. officials.

Cuban authorities turned over the family of four to the U.S. State Department and the FBI after CNN found them in Havana on Tuesday.

They arrived in Florida early Wednesday, where the two boys ages 2 and 4 will get a medical exam, according to Sheriff David Gee of Hillsborough County.

Father allegedly snatches boys, flees to Cuba
Cole, left, and Chase Hakken were allegedly abducted last week from their grandmother's Florida home.
April 9th, 2013
05:42 PM ET

Father allegedly snatches boys, flees to Cuba

The Cuban government said Tuesday it plans to hand over members of the Hakken family to U.S. authorities, shortly after a CNN reporter in Havana spotted the man who allegedly snatched his two sons from their grandmother's Florida home.

Josh Hakken confirmed his identity when approached at the Hemingway Marina in Havana, but he didn't say more. The two boys are OK, said a woman matching the description of his wife, and she left it at that.

The couple lost custody of their children last year. Last week, they allegedly took the children in Tampa and headed toward Cuba.

November 19th, 2012
10:38 AM ET

FARC to halt military operations for talks with Colombian government

The Colombian rebel group FARC will halt military operations at midnight as a sign of good will for peace talks with the Colombian government, the group said Monday.

The halt will last until January 20, FARC representative Ivan Marquez said.

The government has not said whether it will take part in a cease-fire during the talks.

Negotiations are aimed at ending the longest-running insurgency in Latin America. The leftist FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been at war with the government since the 1960s.

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Filed under: Colombia
November 10th, 2011
06:10 PM ET

U.S. soldier gets life for murder of Afghan civilians

[Updated 10:18 p.m. ET] Army Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs was sentenced Thursday to life in military prison with eligibility for parole in 10 years after being found guilty of murdering three Afghan civilians, cutting pieces from their corpses to keep as "souvenirs" and planting weapons on them to make them appear as if they had been killed in legitimate firefights.

[Posted 6:10 p.m. ET] A U.S. Army staff sergeant accused of leading a rogue "kill squad"in Afghanistan was found guilty Thursday of all charges, including murder in the death of  three Afghan civilians.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs faces a maximum sentence of life in military prison. He was convicted in a military courtroom in Washington state of murdering Afghan villagers, planting weapons on them and cutting body parts off to keep as grisly war trophies..

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • U.S. Army
Tacoma teachers ending 8-day strike, district says
Teachers in Tacoma, Washington, hold picket signs outside a school last week.
September 22nd, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Tacoma teachers ending 8-day strike, district says

Teachers in Tacoma, Washington, have voted to end their eight-day strike, meaning classes will resume Friday for 28,000 students, Tacoma school district spokesman Dan Voelpel said.

A lawsuit that the school district had filed against the teachers' union will be dropped, Voelpel said.

A tentative agreement was reached Wednesday. Contract talks between the school district and union hadfractured over teacher pay, class size and how educators are transferred between schools.

In the deal that teachers accepted Thursday, according to Voelpel, class sizes will remain the same (the union had pushed for smaller class sizes); teachers will not face a pay cut (the district to cut pay by 1.35%); and a joint committee appointed by the district and union will determine how teachers are transferred.

Across Washington, state services cuts are in the works after the governor's office last week said the state is expected to collect $1.4 billion less in revenue between now and June 2013 than previously forecast.

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Filed under: Washington state
Tracking the Yellowstone oil spill
Workers try to clean up oil Wednesday along the flooded Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana.
July 7th, 2011
11:46 AM ET

Tracking the Yellowstone oil spill

Under normal conditions, the Yellowstone River is a beautiful body of water, a postcard picture of America's West.

But now pockets of thick crude oil appear along the river's banks in Billings, Montana. Around 42,000 gallons of the stuff leaked into the river last week after an oil pipeline ruptured.

No one knows why the pipeline broke. It should have been buried under 5 to 8 feet of the riverbed, said Claire Hassett, a spokeswoman for Exxon Mobil, the pipeline's owner.


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Filed under: Energy • Environment • Montana
December 1st, 2010
01:38 PM ET

Soldier accused of misconduct in Afghanistan pleads guilty

The first of seven Army soldiers to face court-martial in connection with the deaths of Afghan citizens pleaded guilty Wednesday to four of five charges.

Attorneys for Staff Sgt. Robert Stevens entered guilty pleas on his behalf at his court-martial at Fort Lewis-McChord, Washington, on charges of serious misconduct in Afghanistan.

He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about being fired on and having a grenade thrown at his Stryker vehicle. He also admitted to shooting "in the direction of" two Afghan males, throwing a grenade from his vehicle while there was no threat to him or other soldiers, and not disposing of the grenade properly.

He pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon on three Afghan males.

Before issuing a verdict, the investigating officer in the case will hear
testimony from Stevens and nine witnesses scheduled to testify.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Justice • War
October 18th, 2010
07:38 PM ET

Queen Elizabeth II gets a piece of Chile's national pride

President Sebastian Piñera gives Queen Elizabeth II a rock from the San Jose mine.

Judging purely by appearances, the gift from Chile's president to Elizabeth II did not seem fit for a queen.

He gave the monarch a rock. But it was not just any rock. The stone that President Sebastian Piñera brought all the way from Chile to Buckingham Palace was from the bottom of the San Jose mine, once the underground prison of 33 miners and now a symbol of Chilean national pride.


September 14th, 2010
02:39 PM ET

Government: Drilling could resume to rescue miners

Officials working to free 33 trapped miners in a collapsed Chilean mine said Tuesday they had cleared a drilling hole that was blocked by a shattered drill bit.

Engineer Rene Aguilar said all the pieces of the broken drill bit that were in the hole drilled by the Plan B operation had been removed, and drilling could begin again soon.

The Plan B drill is widening a narrow hole drilled when rescuers first searched for the miners after the mine collapsed August 5. That drill was making the fastest progress of the other rescue operations - Plan A and Plan C - when it hit an obstruction, possibly a reinforcement beam, at a depth of 268 meters (879 feet).

"This bit was upside down and we used a spider ... to pull it out," Aguilar said, holding up the "nose" of the bit that he said weighed about 12 kilograms (about 26 pounds).

"Spiders" are specially designed claws that were made to pull out the broken drill pieces.

A second customized bit was expected to arrive later Tuesday, and Aguilar said a camera was being lowered into the hole to check it out before drilling restarts.


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Filed under: Chile • Mine accidents
July 14th, 2010
11:33 AM ET

FBI warns Seattle cartoonist about threats from radical cleric

A Seattle cartoonist who drew a cartoon about the Prophet Mohammed has been warned by the FBI about death threats made against her by a radical cleric with ties to al Qaeda, an FBI agent said Tuesday.

"She should be taken as a prime target of assassination," terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki purportedly wrote about cartoonist Molly Norris in an English-language magazine called Inspire that claimed to be a publication of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

"This campaign is not a practice of freedom of speech, but is a nationwide mass movement of Americans" who are "going out of their way to offend Muslims worldwide," the article signed by al-Awlaki continued. Al-Awlaki is himself being sought in Yemen for his alleged role as a planner of the failed bombing of a Detroit-bound passenger plane on Christmas Day last year.

Norris has been advised to take precautions to ensure her safety, said FBI Special Agent Marty Prewett. FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief