July 28th, 2009
03:34 PM ET
July 28th, 2009
03:32 PM ET

Roaming free in Florida, a pig gains local fame

Damien Cave
The New York Times

Thomas Paine and Ayn Rand, make way for Porky. Or is it Wilbur?

No one really knows what to call the 150-pound pig roaming free in Panama City, Fla., but by eluding the authorities for five months, shaking off a Taser and four tranquilizer darts on Tuesday, the porker has become more than just swine.

The pig is now a local libertarian hero. Supporters describe the animal as a freedom-loving outlaw with a taste for corn. His Facebook page lists more than 200 fans, like Mary K. Sittman, who asked this week, “Is the pig a symbol of our desire to live free of government controls?”

In an interview, Ms. Sittman said the pig, which lives in a lush, muddy park near her home, had “to be a real survivor.” It is this independence, she said, that appeals to residents in her mostly conservative area in the Florida Panhandle.

The pig is also frugal fun.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Beyond 360 • T1
July 28th, 2009
03:31 PM ET
July 28th, 2009
03:15 PM ET

US suspends 4 visas of diplomats in Honduras' de facto government

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

The State Department said it revoked four visas of individuals and is reviewing the visas of all others serving in the de facto Honduran government which ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya last month.

The four individuals currently serve in the government of Roberto Micheletti. Each obtained "A-1" visas, diplomatic visas which allow them to travel to the United States on official government business, while serving under President Zelaya, but now serve in the de facto goverment led by Roberto Micheletti. The ban applies also applies to their families.

State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly called the move "consistent with our policy of the non-recognition" of the de facto regime.

"We don't recognize Roberto Micheletti as the President of Honduras. We recognize Manuel Zelaya," Kelly said.


Filed under: Elise Labott
July 28th, 2009
02:53 PM ET

Man falls off balcony in cherry stone spitting competition

The determination to spit a cherry stone further than his friends almost killed a German man at the weekend when he fell off his balcony in the process, police said.

A German man eager to win an informal cherry stone spitting contest made the mistake of taking an excessively long run-up and inadvertently hurled himself off his balcony, police said.

"He appears to have developed too much momentum," police in the western town of Rodgau said in a statement. "He lost his balance on the balcony railing and plunged down."


Filed under: Beyond 360 • T1
July 28th, 2009
12:42 PM ET

Video: Why work at an abortion clinic?

Program note: Scott Roeder, alleged killer of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, is scheduled for a preliminary court hearing today. Gary Tuchman is in Kansas with Lindsay Roeder, Scott's ex-wife. Join us tonight at 10pm ET to hear what they have to say.

Filed under: Women's Issues • Women's Rights
July 28th, 2009
12:31 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Home prices up for 1st time in 3 years

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/06/14/money.gas.prices/art.gas.pump.cnn.jpg"%5D

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

A closely-watched housing index shows home prices in May posted their first monthly increase in nearly 3 years, indicating prices are finally stabilizing.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index of 20 major cities rose 0.5% from April. On an annual basis, however, home prices in the 20 cities fell 17.1%.

This comes one day after a report showing sales of newly constructed single-family houses spiked 11% in June.

Consumer confidence slips in July

A key index of consumer confidence fell more than expected in July as the dismal job market continued to darken the outlook for household spending.

The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, says its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 46.6 in July from a reading of 49.3 in June. That was worse than economists had expected.

The index, which fell to an all-time low in February, had recovered earlier this year as consumers were heartened by a rally on Wall Street, lower energy prices and new government programs to aid the economy.

But that optimism appears to have been premature and has given way to concerns about the weak job market.

Obesity-related health spending doubled in 8 years

New research shows that obesity and the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses in the United States rose dramatically between 1998 and 2006.

A study was published Monday in the journal Health Affairs says obesity-related health spending was estimated at $147 billion a year in 2006, roughly double the $74 billion estimated just eight years earlier.

That breaks down to $1,400 more a year in average medical spending for an obese person than for someone who's normal weight.

Gas prices up the last 7 days

Gas prices climbed 5-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.505 - the 7th consecutive increase.

The average price of a gallon of gas is down $1.609 or 39.11% from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.118). The cheapest are in South Carolina ($2.278).

Who is signing your money?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been waiting to sign your money for seven months, and he'll have to wait just a bit longer.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has been holding off on putting Geithner's “John Hancock” on currency while the Senate mulled whether to confirm the other co-signer of your money - the U.S. Treasurer.

That confirmation, of Rosa Gumataotao Rios, occurred on Friday.

Meanwhile, the signatures of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral have still been appearing on new bills, long after their terms ended on Jan. 20.

Based on how much money the Treasury printed in the same period last year, the names of the two out-of-office signers graced 7.2 billion new notes with a total face value of nearly $120 billion.

But don't look for Geithner- and Rios-signed bills at an ATM near you just yet. The process of transferring the new signatures typically takes three months.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan
July 28th, 2009
12:31 PM ET

Green jobs: hope or hype?

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/03/02/green.jobs.training/art.wind.turbine.gi.jpg" caption="The green job sector may not be big enough to jumpstart the employment."]

Samuel Sherraden
Special to CNN

After the release of a miserable June jobs report, President Obama stood with a group of green company CEOs and told reporters that "men and women like these will help lead us out of this recession and into a better future."

But if the White House puts too many eggs in the green recovery basket, we may all be disappointed. The green sector is simply not large enough or competitive enough to be a major engine of job creation.

The CEOs who stood with Obama lead smart, innovative and, in many cases, rapidly growing firms. But green firms in the United States are small and employ relatively few people.

Applied Materials, one of the larger companies at the meeting and a producer of solar cells, employs 13,000 people worldwide and only 6,000 in the United States. Hara, a smaller company at the table, uses computer models to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Hara employs 30 people in the United States.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Economy • Planet in Peril
July 28th, 2009
12:28 PM ET

Police search Jackson doctor's home, office

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/28/michael.jackson/art.conrad.murray.house.cnn.jpg" caption="Investigators arrive at the Las Vegas, Nevada, home of Michael Jackson's personal physician."]


Investigators began searching the Las Vegas home and office of Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, on Tuesday morning, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman said.

Los Angeles police and DEA agents, carrying search warrants, were "looking for a lot of things," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Flanagan.

Aerial cameras showed Las Vegas police cars were parked outside Murray's home and the residential street was closed. A CNN producer saw a police detective and a DEA agent enter Murray's medical office.

The searches come a day after a source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to CNN that Murray administered a powerful drug that authorities believe killed the singer.

Flanagan said that while he could not disclose details of the search warrants, because a judge had ordered them sealed, he confirmed they were looking for documents and computer records.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
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