December 31, 2009
Posted: 06:32 PM ET
Tonight President Obama is set to receive the report on the Christmas Day terror attempt. How exactly did the U.S. miss all the warning signs surrounding Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab? What will actually change as a result of the near-disaster? And will heads roll at any of the responsible government agencies? We'll talk the politics of terror.
Rush Limbaugh Hospitalized
We'll get an update on how the radio talk show host is doing tonight. Limbaugh was rushed to the hospital last night after complaining about chest pain. How is he feeling? When will he back on the air?
Last but not least, we'll take you around the country as we say hello to 2010!
Which brings us to the question of the night:
What's your resolution for the new year?
Posted: 06:10 PM ET
Michael Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, has subpoenaed medical and other records from the UCLA Medical Center because he believes the records could reveal evidence of foul play in Jackson's death - and the subpoena has outraged MJ estate lawyers ... TMZ has learned.
Joe Jackson tells TMZ his entire family is behind the subpoenas - Katherine, the brothers and sisters, along with him. He says they all believe the medical records will show what was in Jackson's body when he passed and they believe the information will expose foul play.
We've obtained a letter sent to Oxman by estate lawyer Howard Weitzman, in which Weitzman calls the subpoenas "clearly improper." Weitzman claims the subpoenas violate Jackson's right of privacy and the physician/patient privilege. Weitzman also says the subpoenas are irrelevant to Joe Jackson's only legal claim - a financial allowance.
Filed under: Michael Jackson
Posted: 06:07 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - The State Department on Thursday is directing its embassies around the world to include information on whether a person has a U.S. visa when they send special cables to Washington containing information on potentially suspect individuals, CNN has learned.
The order comes in the wake of a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner. The change was prompted by preliminary reviews ordered by President Obama of the terror attack.
The reviews are due to the president by Thursday.
A State Department official told CNN the information to be included in so-called "Visas VIPER cables" currently is not required by department guidelines. In the case of the attempted December 25 bombing, crucial information that the suspect - 23-year-old Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab - had a two-year multiple-entry visa was not relayed in the cables.
Although other government departments could have accessed that information if they wanted to search State Department databases, they were not required to do so.
Posted: 05:58 PM ET
Filed under: Larry King Live
Posted: 01:12 PM ET
EDITOR'S NOTE: A story reporting the apparently mythical new Morrison child was posted on the LKL blog. The story cited Morrison's own website, which was apparently hacked. That story has been removed.
Veteran singer Van Morrison has denied reports that he had become a father again, adding they were "completely and utterly without foundation".
The Belfast-born 64-year-old said he had been the victim of an internet hacking attack that had placed "falsehoods" on his official website.
BBC News was one of several outlets to report the hoax as fact.
"The comments which appeared on my website did not come from me," he said, in a statement issued to the media.
The singer said he had asked his management team to carry out an immediate investigation, adding it was the second time his website had been hacked in the last three months.
He went on to say, "for the avoidance of all doubt and in the interests of clarity", that he was "very happily married to Michelle Morrison, with whom I have two wonderful children".
Filed under: Entertainment
December 30, 2009
Posted: 08:46 PM ET
U.S. officials say they knew as early as August of communication between extremists in Yemen and a person called "the Nigerian." Could the dots have been connected before the Christmas Day terror attempt? Would that have prevented Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab from getting on a flight to Detroit with explosive materials? Have we learned anything from 9/11? We'll ask Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 commission. We'll also talk to three people who lost loved ones on 9/11.
Trouble for Charlie Sheen?
An EXCLUSIVE tonight: The lawyer for Brooke Mueller, Charlie Sheen's wife. Mueller called 911 on Christmas morning and reported her husband had a knife to her throat and was making threats. Now, she wants the restraining order against him modified so they can work things out. What's going on? We'll ask Yale Galanter, Mueller's attorney.
And we want to hear from you!
Do you think security in the U.S. has improved since 9/11?
Posted: 04:01 PM ET
By Mike Allen
Former Vice President Dick Cheney accused President Barack Obama on Tuesday of “trying to pretend we are not at war” with terrorists, pointing to the White House response to the attempted sky bombing as reflecting a pattern that includes banishing the term “war on terror” and attempting to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
“[W]e are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe,” Cheney said in a statement to POLITICO. “Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society.”
Cheney was joining a chorus of Republicans who have criticized Obama following the Christmas Day attack, in which a Nigerian suspect is accused of trying to blow up a loaded airliner with a bomb stitched into his underwear.
A senior Democrat said in response: “It’s telling that in attacking the president and the administration, that Vice President Cheney did not condemn the attack against our nation on Christmas Day.”
Posted: 03:44 PM ET
(CNN) - The seven-hour flight from the Netherlands to Michigan had been uneventful. Passengers bided time watching movies or trying to catch shut eye.
But as Northwest Flight 253 made its final approach to Detroit on Christmas, the actions of one man put at risk the lives of nearly 300 passengers on the jetliner - and the quick thinking of another helped prevent disaster.
Jasper Schuringa, a Dutch filmmaker, appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" for a second time Tuesday night, recounting how he and others subdued an al Qaeda-linked suspect from detonating explosives that the man had attached to his underwear.
That suspect, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, is now charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft in a plot that the militant group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has claimed responsibility for. A senior administration official said late Tuesday that new information suggests the 23-year-old Nigerian man's plot may indeed have had ties to the group.
"First, I thought it just might be a crazy guy to actually carry a firecracker onto the airplane," Schuringa said Tuesday night. "It came as quite a shock when I heard he had ties to al Qaeda."
From Detroit, Schuringa had a connecting flight before his final destination: a vacation with friends in Miami, Florida.
As the plane neared Detroit, Schuringa said, he heard what sounded like a firecracker going off.
"First, it was just 'bang,'" he said. "And you're trying to look around, like where's this bang coming from."
Immediately afterward, someone screamed "Fire!"
Schuringa said he noticed a man on the left side of the aisle, sitting still while on fire.
"A normal person would stand up, and he wasn't standing up," he said. "So then I knew, this guy is trying to do something."
Posted: 03:21 PM ET
By Jo Piazza, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Michael Jackson's "Thriller," with its unforgettable zombie graveyard dance, has become a national treasure.
The 1983 music video directed by John Landis was one of 25 films inducted Wednesday for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
"Thriller" is the first music video in the archives. "I think it is a recognition of how much they changed the music industry in the '80s, and we thought it was important to represent that," said Stephen Leggett, the coordinator of the National Film Preservation Board. "We picked this one because it was most iconic from the era."
The board advises the Library of Congress about selecting films for the registry and about national film preservation. Congress established the registry in 1989, and this year's selections bring the total number of films recognized to 525.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year, the librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington, names 25 films to the registry that are culturally, historically or aesthetically significant, to be preserved.
The library then works to make sure that a copy of the film is at least preserved by a film, television or recording company, and then tries to obtain a copy to keep in the Library of Congress, where it is available for research purposes, Leggett said.
Posted: 03:07 PM ET
(CNN) - The failed attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger airplane on December 25 has raised questions about the need for the introduction of full-body scanners at all major airports.
The Netherlands said Wednesday it was installing the scanners at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, where security staff failed to detect explosives being taken aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253.
How do these scanners work?
There are two types of device which offer full-body scans. Millimeter wave scanners use extremely high frequency radio waves which are processed by a computer to produce a detailed 3D image of air passengers. Backscatter scanners use high energy rays that - unlike X-rays which penetrate objects - scatter when they hit materials, allowing computers to render a detailed image and detect substances such as explosives and plastic weapons. Both scanners, unlike conventional X-rays, can strip away layers of clothing, accurately mapping the contours of the body, any prosthetics beneath the skin, as well as clothing and metallic and non-metallic objects.
How long does it take?
The scanning process takes between 15 and 30 seconds. Passengers enter a small booth or archway and raise their hands while radio waves target them from all directions. It may take slightly longer for airport staff to review the images produced and - given the level of detail, more passengers may find themselves subjected to follow-up security checks as a result.
Why are they controversial?
Privacy campaigners say the scanners produce "naked" images of passengers which represent an unnecessary violation. They say the process is humiliating, and despite pledges that the images will not be stored or used elsewhere, it could be open to abuse - particularly with scans of celebrities. Although the U.S. Transportation Security Agency, which is installing the scanners in many airports, insist the equipment does not capture details of face or produce images of a quality that can be deemed compromising, opponents say the technology is still capable of this and may be utilized in the future.
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