February 19th, 2008
08:07 AM ET

Morning Buzz 2/19/08

Wow. I love it when a headline comes in after the papers go to press. Castro decides to sneak a doozy into the Morning Buzz!  It's presidential theme day. Pakistan's president could soon be looking for a new gig too, while the contenders here in the U.S. suit up for one more battle royale.

Top Stories

Castro resigns as president
Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba's military Tuesday,  according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma. The resignation ends nearly a half-century of iron-fisted rule that inspired revolutionaries but frustrated 10 U.S. presidents.

Pakistan ruling party concedes defeat
Pakistan's ruling party conceded defeat Tuesday as early poll results indicated that the country's opposition looked set to deal a crushing blow to President Pervez Musharraf. Thousands of ecstatic Pakistanis took to the streets as the results trickled in. They waved placards and broke into impromptu songs.

Al Qaeda in Iraq 'killing off' former allies
Video provided to CNN shows an al Qaeda in Iraq firing squad executing one-time allies - fellow Sunni extremists - who were not loyal enough to the terror organization, coalition military analysts said.

Amtrak to beef up security
Amtrak passengers will be subjected to random screening of their carry-on bags as part of a new security initiative that will include armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains, an Amtrak spokeswoman said Monday.

Raw Politics

Tuesday races will be close
Wisconsin and Hawaii become the latest battlegrounds in the struggle for the Democratic presidential nominee Tuesday, while Republican Sen. John McCain is looking for victories to finally knock his last remaining major rival out of the race.

Democrats battle over credit for speeches
Throughout the Democratic battle over Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton has belittled rival Barack Obama as a candidate of sterling oratory but little substance, a charge that prompted the Illinois senator to respond that "words do matter." The questions of Obama's sourcing sparked a war of words in the increasingly heated campaign for the Democratic nomination a day before Wisconsin's voters go to the polls.

White Men Hold Key for Democrats
In a Democratic presidential nomination race that pits a black man against a woman, the victor may well be determined by white men. Working-class white men make up nearly one-quarter of the electorate, outnumbering African-American and Hispanic voters combined.

Crime & Punishment

D.A.: Antifreeze suicide theory 'utterly ridiculous'
Jurors were asked Monday to decide whether to convict a man of killing his wife or to believe a defense claim that she poisoned herself and framed her husband.

Serial rapist strangled student, police say
A 19-year-old college student missing since she was abducted nearly a month ago was strangled by a serial rapist who has attacked at least two other women and may strike again, Reno police said Saturday.

Flock forgives minister who confesses to 1994 slaying
The youth minister who confessed to a 1994 killing is being widely forgiven by members of his former congregation, who say they admire his courage in finally surrendering to police.

Keeping Then Honest

States bolster FBI gun database
More states are turning over records to a federal database of mentally ill people barred from owning guns, nearly tripling the number in the system since the massacre at Virginia Tech last spring, the FBI says.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Navy to shoot down failed satellite Thursday
The U.S. Navy will likely attempt to shoot down a faulty spy satellite Thursday, the day after the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land, two officials told CNN Monday. The officials - who spoke on condition of anonymity because much of the planning remains classified - said the idea is to leave as much time as possible so a second attempt could be made if necessary.

College Web site posts sex gossip, hate, rumor
JuicyCampus' endless threads of anonymous innuendo have been a popular Web destination on the seven college campuses where the site launched last fall, including Duke, UCLA and Loyola Marymount. It recently expanded to 50 more, and many of the postings show they've been viewed hundreds and even thousands of times.

Presley to star in dance show
Elvis Presley's former wife Priscilla will take part in the next series of Dancing with the Stars. Other celebrities signed up include tennis champion Monica Seles, actor Steve Guttenberg and R singer Mario.

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