Everything you need to know about John Edwards
May 31st, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Everything you need to know about John Edwards

Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, and Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004. He is accused of six counts stemming from allegations that he accepted illegal campaign contributions, falsified documents and conspired to receive and conceal the contributions. The maximum sentence if convicted on all six counts would be 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Photos: John Edwards' career

Major dates

* December 27, 2006: John Edwards announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He suspends his campaign on January 30, 2008.

* June 3, 2011: Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.

Personal information

* Birth date: June 10, 1953

* Birth place: Seneca, South Carolina

* Birth name: Johnny Reid Edwards

* Parents: Wallace, a textile mill worker, and Catherine "Bobbie" Edwards

* Marriage: Elizabeth (Anania) Edwards (July 30, 1977 – December 7, 2010, her death)

* Children with Rielle Hunter: Frances Quinn Hunter, February 27, 2008

* Children with Elizabeth Edwards: Jack, 2000; Emma Claire, April 24, 1998; Cate, 1982; Wade, 1979 – 1996

* Education: North Carolina State University, B.S., 1974 (with honors)

* University of North Carolina, J.D, 1977 (with honors)

* Religion: Methodist

Other Facts:

* Edwards had no previous political experience before winning the 1998 Senate election.

* He was the first person in his family to attend college.

* When a US Senator, he introduced legislation on the following issues:


Health Care

Homeland Security

Privacy Protection


Senior Citizens

Strengthening Criminal Justice System and Courts


Economic growth

* As a presidential candidate in the 2008 election, Edwards repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a documentary filmmaker. He admits the affair to ABC News on August 8, 2008.


* 1981 - Joins the Wade Smith Law Firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.

* 1993 - Starts his own law firm with partner David Kirby, concentrating on personal injury law.

* 1996 - Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Lawyers Weekly.

* 1998 - Receives 51.2% of the vote in general election to Republican Lauch Faircloth's (incumbent) 47% to win seat in the U.S. Senate.

* January 3, 1999 - Is sworn in as senator.

* June 29, 2001 - Edwards, along with Sen. John McCain, acts as chief sponsor of the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act.

* January 2, 2003 - Announces the formation of an presidential campaign exploratory committee with the FEC.

* September 16, 2003 - Formally announces his candidacy for president, in the town where he grew up, Robbins, NC.

* October 14, 2003 - Announces that he will not vote for the $87 billion Iraq aid package.

* January 19, 2004 - Takes 2nd place in the Iowa caucuses with 32% of the vote.

* February 3, 2004 - Wins the South Carolina Primary with 45% of the votes, 2nd in Oklahoma and Missouri.

* March 3, 2004 - Announces that he's dropping out of the race.

* July 6, 2004 - John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, names Edwards as his vice presidential running mate.

* November 3, 2004 - Ends vice presidential candidacy when Sen. John Kerry calls President Bush to concede the White House race, one day after the election.

* January 3, 2005 - Leaves the Senate when his term expires.

* February, 2005 - Becomes the Director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

* December 27, 2006 - John Edwards announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

* March 22, 2007 – Announces that his wife Elizabeth's cancer has returned, but he is continuing with his presidential campaign.

* January 30, 2008 – Edwards announces that he's suspending his race for the Democratic nomination. He declines to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

* February 27, 2008 – Frances Quinn Hunter is born. No father is listed on the birth certificate.

* May 14, 2008 – Edwards endorses Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for president.

* August 8, 2008 – In an interview with Nightline, Edwards admits to an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a woman hired to make documentary videos for his campaign. He denies he is the father of her young daughter, due to the timing of the affair, though he hasn't taken a paternity test.

* February 2009 – The Justice Department opens an investigation into Edwards's 2008 campaign finances.

* May 2009 – Elizabeth Edwards publishes a memoir, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities. She addresses the affair saying "I wanted him to drop out of the race, protect our family from this woman, from his act."

* August 6, 2009 – Rielle Hunter testifies in front of a grand jury investigating Edwards' campaign finances.

* January 21, 2010 – Admits he fathered a daughter, Quinn, with Rielle Hunter and has been providing financial support for her for the last year.

* January 27, 2010 – Separates from wife of more than 32 years.

* January 30, 2010 – The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down, by his former aide, Andrew A. Young, is published. Young claims campaign donation money from socialite Bunny Mellon was used to pay for Rielle Hunter's pregnancy expenses.

* December 2010 – A federal investigation into Edwards campaign finances includes grand jury appearances by Bunny Mellon's family. Mellon gave various checks totaling $700,000 to Edwards. The question is whether the money was a gift or should it have been declared campaign contributions. Her advanced age, 100, makes it unlikely Mellon herself will appear before the grand jury.

* December 7, 2010 – Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer.

* February 2011 – Bunny Mellon testifies on camera in the Edwards investigation. Her age makes it a possibility she would not be available in the event of a trial.

* February 8, 2011 – Edwards gives a deposition in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter against Andrew Young. Hunter is suing Young to reclaim materials that she says belong to her, including an alleged sex tape that involves Edwards.

* April 29, 2011 – A North Carolina judge rules that Edwards must testify more in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter against Andrew Young.

* June 3, 2011 – Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. Edwards pleads not guilty. "There's no question I've done wrong ... but I did not break the law."

* July 21, 2011 – The Federal Election Commission rules that Edwards must pay back $2.3 million to the U.S. Treasury. The money exceeds the matching funds from his 2008 campaign.

* August 24, 2011 – Edwards asks the court to delay his trial, which is scheduled to begin in October.

* December 22, 2011 – Edwards' attorneys ask to delay his criminal trial, saying Edwards has an unspecified medical issue.

* January 14, 2012 – Due to a critical heart condition Edwards' trial is postponed.

* April 12, 2012 – Jury selection begins in Edwards' trial.

* April 23, 2012 – Testimony begins in the trial.

* May 10, 2012 – The prosecution's case ends. Rielle Hunter was not called as a witness.


Four Trials, with John Auchard, 2003

Real Solutions for America, a 60 page campaign booklet, 2003

Sources: Congressional Quarterly, Biography Resource Center, John Edwards home page (no longer active).

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Who is former Liberian president Charles Taylor?
Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor listens to the judge at The Hague.
May 30th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

Who is former Liberian president Charles Taylor?

The first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by an international court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor last month of supplying and encouraging rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in a campaign of terror, involving murder, rape, sexual slavery and the conscription children younger than 15.

He was also found guilty of using Sierra Leone's diamond deposits to help fuel its civil war with arms and guns while enriching himself with what have commonly come to be known as "blood diamonds."

Here's a few more details about Taylor:

Major dates

* July 24, 1997 – Taylor is elected president of Liberia.

* Aug. 11, 2003 – Under international indictment and pressure to resign, Taylor officially relinquished his office in a ceremony at the presidential palace. Vice President Moses Blah is sworn-in as Liberia's 22nd president and Taylor leaves for Nigeria where he finds asylum.

Personal information:

* Birth date: January 28, 1948

* Birth place: Arthington, Liberia

* Birth name: Charles Taylor

* Parents: Father Nelson was American, mother Zoe was Liberian.

* Marriages: three or four wives; not very clear whether he was married to more than one at a time

Jewel (Howard) Taylor (1997-2006, divorce)

* Children: several; some sources say up to 30 from various wives and mistresses

* Education: Bachelor's degree, Economics, Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts, 1977

Other Facts:

* Added his middle name, Ghankay, in later years. Some believe for political reasons.

* Taylor's policies, foreign and domestic, lead the country into turmoil (displaced persons, lack of utilities, rebel uprisings, UN sanctions).


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Filed under: Liberia
May 17th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Timeline: Mark Zuckerberg's rise from child prodigy to Facebook billionaire

You know him as the man behind the mega social media site Facebook. But do you know about how he got there?

As his company prepares to go public, we wanted to take a look back on his life and how he ended up as one of the most prominent tech company founders.

CNNMoney is trying to buy Facebook IPO shares 

Personal details:

* Birth place: Dobbs Ferry, New York

* Birth name: Mark Elliot Zuckerberg

* Parents: Edward, a dentist, and Karen, a psychiatrist, Zuckerberg

* Education: Phillips Exeter Academy, 2002

Harvard University, 2002 – 2004, dropped out

Facebook: Use it. 'Like' it. But, buy it?

Other Facts:

* Is red-green colorblind.

* Took a graduate computer course at Mercy College when he was eleven.

* Became captain of the fencing team at Phillips Exeter Academy.

* Considered a prodigy by his early computer tutor David Newman.

* Co-created a software program named Synapse, which learned a listener's music habits.

* Met long-term girlfriend Priscilla Chan during his sophomore year at Harvard University.


* 1996 – Creates an instant messaging service for his dad's dentist office called ZuckNet.

* 2003 – Creates facemash.com at Harvard, a website rating system to rank the physical attractiveness of those whose pictures he had downloaded from the school directory – without permission. The site garners lots of attention, both positive and negative, from the student body, and negative attention from the school administration. Zuckerberg is forced to take the site down.


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Filed under: Facebook • Technology
Timeline of UK phone hacking scandal
Rupert Murdoch, left, and son James Murdoch were called to testify before the Leveson Inquiry into journalistic ethics this week.
April 24th, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Timeline of UK phone hacking scandal

[Updated at 8 a.m. ET Thursday] Media magnate Rupert Murdoch admitted that there had been a "cover-up" of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized Thursday for not paying more attention to a scandal that has convulsed his media empire and rocked the British political establishment.

He testified Wednesday and Thursday at the Leveson Inquiry, an independent British inquiry prompted by illegal eavesdropping by his newspaper. His son, James Murdoch, a top executive in his father's News Corp. company, testified Tuesday.

The scandal has led to dozens of arrests on suspicion of criminal activity and forced News Corp. to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation to the victims of phone hacking.

The following is a timeline of the scandal:

November 2005

- News of the World prints a story about Britain's Prince William injuring his knee, prompting royal officials to complain to police about probable voice mail hacking.

January 2007

- News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are convicted of conspiracy to hack into phone voice mails of royals and are jailed. Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, claims to be unaware of hacking but still resigns.

July 2007

- Goodman and Mulcaire sue the tabloid for wrongful dismissal. Goodman receives ÂŁ80,000 (currently $129,190), and Mulcaire receives an undisclosed amount.

- Also in July, Coulson is hired as director of communications for Conservative party leader David Cameron, who becomes prime minister in May 2010.


History's deadliest plane crashes
Rescue workers search through debris Friday following the crash of a Bhoja Air Boeing 737 plane in the outskirts of Islamabad.
April 20th, 2012
05:23 PM ET

History's deadliest plane crashes

At least 121 people were killed Friday when a Bhoja Air Boeing 737-200 crashed in Islamabad, Pakistan, according to officials. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority has cited poor weather as a possible factor.

The following is a chronological list of commercial plane crashes with more than 200 fatalities. The list does not include crashes resulting from terrorist or military action.

*  March 3, 1974 – 346 people are killed when a Turkish Airlines (DC-10) crashes in Bois d' Ermenonville, France.

*  March 27, 1977 – A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 crashes into a Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 at the Los Rodeos Airport at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 574 people (326 passengers on the Pan American airplane and all 234 passengers plus 14 crew members on the KLM plane). The accident occurs when the KLM airplane begins its takeoff while the Pan American airplane is still on the runway.

*  May 25, 1979 – An American Airlines DC-10 crashes after takeoff from Chicago O'Hare International Airport, killing 275 on board and three on the ground. During takeoff, an engine on the left wing falls off; the FAA later faults American Airline maintenance techniques for the crash.

*  November 28, 1979 – An Air New Zealand DC -10 crashes into Mt. Erebus in Antarctica, killing 257 people. The crash is believed to be the result of a navigational error.


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Filed under: Air travel • Travel
March 30th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot

“Never tell me the odds.”
- Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back"

Look. We know that you're aware the odds of winning Friday night’s record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, or any Mega Millions jackpot, are astronomical.

We also know that for the people who win it, the odds matter not one bit. Someone is going to win at least a share of the prize - if not Friday, then in some subsequent drawing. But since we’re covering the historic jackpot and showing people in long lines giddily talking about how many cars or yachts or Dippin' Dots they’d buy if they win, we feel compelled to remind you:

It’s not going to be you.

The odds of a ticket winning a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,711,536 to 1. As Han Solo’s talkative robotic friend would tell you, you have a much, much better chance (1 in 3,720!) of navigating an asteroid field successfully. We didn’t exactly vet that, but you know you’d smash your ship into the rocks. And who are we to question protocol droids fluent in more than 6 million forms of communication?

To hammer home the point, here are a few other unlikely scenarios that, we’re sorry to say, are far more likely than you taking home a jackpot.

From the Harvard School of Public Health:

- Chances of dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

- Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

- Chance of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From U.S. Hole in One, which insures golf prizes for holes in one:

- The chance of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole is about 1 in 12,500. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

- The chance of a golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:

- The chance of hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely, is 1 in 6,267. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the National Weather Service:

- The chance of being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics in 2000:

- Chance of drowning and other beach-related fatalites: 1 in 2 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

- Chance of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

What are the odds you will win? Weigh in below, or on Twitter using #whataretheodds.

Emperor and pope gave us leap year
Leap day is the perfect time to get airborne.
February 29th, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Emperor and pope gave us leap year

It's leap day, a once-every-four-years bonus you can thank Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII for.

We add a day at the end of February every four years because it takes the Earth about 365.242 days to make a full orbit around the sun. So we take those .242 days, round 'em up slightly and present the world with February 29, an extra day of, well, work for me, campaigning for the GOP presidential hopefuls or, if you fancy yourself a CNN iReporter, leaping!

Open Story: Leap day around the world

We thank the Roman emperor Caesar and the 16th century pontiff for putting the day into place.

In 46 B.C., Caesar decreed that under the Julian calendar, a day would be added in any year evenly divisible by four. However, accounting for the rounding up, that got the Romans a little ahead of themselves as far as time goes,  according to no less of an authority on things involving watches and calendars than timeanddate.com.

That little discrepancy, which amounted to 11 minutes every year, had added up to 10 whole days by 1582, when Pope Gregory said he had no time for inaccuracies and created the Gregorian calendar, under which we mark our days to this day. Gregory also designated February 29 as the official leap day and set up some rules so that we'd never end up 10 days ahead of ourselves again.

Here's how that works: Leap year occurs in every year that is evenly divisible by four and every century year that is divisible by 400. Hence, while 1200 and 2000 were leap years, 1700 and 1900 were not.

This also means that in the United States, leap years are presidential election years, which means we can always look forward to that extra day of campaigning.

Four million people born on leap day

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