July 10th, 2009
06:08 PM ET

Americans slayed in Mexico

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/07/10/mexico.americans.killings/art.mexico.coffin.afp.gi.jpg caption="Mourners carry the coffin of Benjamin LeBaron, 32, on Thursday in the Mexican state of Chihuahua."]


Mexican officials said they have identified two suspects in this week's slayings of two Americans in northern Mexico.

A security camera at a toll booth near the municipality of Galeana captured images of the suspects, Chihuahua state Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez said Thursday, the state-run Notimex news agency reported.

Gonzalez declined to name the suspects, other than to say they belong to a crime organization known as "La Linea" (The Line).

The toll booth cameras show four trucks or sport utility vehicles in which 12 suspects were riding, she said.

No arrests had been reported by Friday.

Benjamin LeBaron, 32, and his brother-in-law, Luis Widmar, who was in his mid-30s, were beaten and shot to death after armed men stormed into their home Tuesday morning in Galeana.

Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Chihuahua attorney general's office, said earlier this week that a note was found on LeBaron's body but he could not confirm the contents.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Mexico
July 10th, 2009
05:59 PM ET

Documents: Katherine Jackson's custody court filings

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/29/michael.jackson/art.jackson.kids.splash.jpg caption="From left: Prince Michael Jackson II, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Michael Joseph Jackson Jr."]

Editor's Note: On June 29th, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted Katherine Jackson's request for temporary custody of her son Michael's three children. Posted below are the documents she filed to gain temporary custody. On Monday, a judge will once again take up the question of who has guardianship of the late singer's three children. To hear CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin's take on Monday's custody proceedings, tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET.

Katherine Jackson custody claim documents.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Documents • Michael Jackson
July 10th, 2009
05:43 PM ET

Beat 360º 7/10/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama exchange gifts with Pope Benedict XVI in his library at the Vatican. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
July 10th, 2009
04:22 PM ET

Coal ash sludge muddies waters

Program Note: Tune in to AC360º tonight at 10 P.M. ET to hear more from Erin Brockovich as she teams up with Dr. Sanjay Gupta to investigate a toxic oil spill endangering the health of the environment and the citizens of Kingston, Tennessee.

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/08/tennessee.sludge/art.house.wvlt.jpg" caption="Properties near ground zero of the December 22 Tennessee spill are covered in sludge. "]

Erin Brockovich
The Brockovich Report

It looks like I may be paying a visit to Tennessee. Numerous residents have asked me to come to the community for a meeting on the coal fly ash disaster around Knoxville, and I think I will be going.

I know the question on everyone's lips. What is coal fly ash, and why does it need to be contained? The folks around Knoxville are getting to know a lot more about coal fly ash than they ever wanted to learn.

Coal fly ash. It sounds like someone has been burning fly poop or airborne coal. But seriously, it is akin to the creosote that coated those chimneys and chimneysweep boys of Charles Dickens ancient London.

Fly ash comes from chimneys, specifically the chimneys of power plants. The collection point determines exactly what kind of ash it is. Fly ash apparently contains silicon dioxide and calcium oxide as well as trace concentrations of heavy metals. In other words, coal ash is nasty stuff to have floating around in your river, air, and drinking water.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Keeping Them Honest • Sanjay Gupta
July 10th, 2009
04:10 PM ET

Young Michael Jackson at home

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/25/jackson/art.michael.jackson.gi.jpg caption="Michael Jackson, shown in 2008, was one of the biggest pop stars in history."]

Neal Preston

Early shots capture the future King of Pop at play.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Michael Jackson • Pop Culture
July 10th, 2009
03:48 PM ET

Couple who adopted 12 children slain

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/07/10/Florida.couple.killed/art.family.pnj.jpg caption="Byrd and Melanie Billings gather with their children."]


Eight children were found in the Florida home of their slain parents, who apparently were the victims of a home invasion, police confirmed to CNN Friday.

The couple was found shot Thursday night in their Beulah home, said Escambia County Police spokesman Sgt. Ted Roy. One of the parents was shot in the head, he said. Beulah is about 17 miles northwest of Pensacola.

The victims were identified as Byrd and Melanie Billings by Jeff Martin, director of the District Medical Examiner's Office. Autopsies have not been completed, he said.

The Billings have 16 children; 12 of them adopted, some of whom have special needs, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
July 10th, 2009
03:33 PM ET

Michael Jackson's Memorial Program

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/07/michael.jackson.wrap/art.mj.mem.jermaine.aeglive.jpg"%5D

Click here to view a digital version of the Michael Jackson Memorial Program Book given out to those who attended the tribute on Tuesday.

Filed under: Michael Jackson
July 10th, 2009
02:55 PM ET

Obama's Ghana trip sends message across Africa

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/07/10/ghana.obama/art.obamarose.gi.jpg" caption="President Obama says he chose Ghana partly because of the country's commitment to democracy."]


President Barack Obama was due in Ghana Friday, generating excitement in the west African nation and envy among its neighbors with many seeing his visit as sending a message to governments over their poor records on stability.

Across Ghana, street vendors were stocking miniature American flags while citizens donned attire with pictures of the U.S. leader.

"People in Ghana are printing clothes for this occasion," said Adrian Landry, general manager of a beach hotel in the capital, Accra.

"The fact that his father is African and he picked us makes us special," he said. "He is endorsing our strong democracy in Ghana. This is historic."

The president's visit to the nation is the third by a sitting American leader. Bill Clinton was the first U.S. president to visit Ghana in 1998 as part of a six-nation Africa tour. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, stopped there as part of a four-nation Africa tour during his last year of office.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Africa • President Barack Obama
July 10th, 2009
12:55 PM ET

The Buzz: Anderson in Ghana

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/10/art.ghana.boats.jpg caption="Boats along the shore in Ghana."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Anderson is in Ghana today where he will meet up with President Obama for an exclusive interview tomorrow. The President’s visit to the West African nation has generated a lot of excitement among many people in Ghana.

Across the country street vendors have been stocking miniature American flags and citizens are wearing Obama clothing to celebrate his visit. Anderson will talk to Obama about the significance of the trip and also about the president’s own African history. We’ll have more of the interview next week.

The President arrives in Ghana later this evening after a busy day in Italy. He wrapped up his time at the G8 Summit and headed to Rome, where he and Michelle will meet with Pope Benedict.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
July 10th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Obama-Palin: 2012?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/palin.future/art.palin.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

When Sarah Palin took her unexpected swan dive into Lake Nevermore by announcing she was quitting as Governor of Alaska, I was suitably puzzled. I assumed she must have been conked in the head by a rogue moose, or stumbled into a patch of unripe salmonberries, or she had some secret hidden on the Appalachian Trail, if you know what I mean.

Now, however, I am remembering something I understood well before I moved to DC and was enveloped by the mind-numbing fog inside the Beltway: Many people in the rest of the country do not see politics the same way as east coast politicos.

For many Americans, what Governor Palin did was not only reasonable, but even praiseworthy. The latest polls confirm it. Rather than grind through the numbers again, which you’ve probably seen by now, I’ll just tell you they pretty much add up to this: Those who thought she was an utterly unqualified political opportunist of the worst sort still do, and those who thought she was a fresh voice of conservative reason who is in touch with the needs and desires of working folks, still do too.


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