February 18th, 2010
03:39 PM ET

U.S. reviewing Afghanistan detainee policy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/02/18/afghanistan.detainees/story.hill.fam.jpg caption="Roger Hill, a former Army captain (right), meets with Afghan elders in Afghanistan with his interpreter next to him." width=300 height=169]

Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost
CNN Special Investigations Unit

A controversial policy that limits the amount of time NATO troops can hold Afghan detainees is under review by U.S. Defense Department officials, a spokesman for the department told CNN.

The review of what's known as the "96-hour rule" is under way as CNN questioned whether the policy was putting soldiers in danger. Under the rule, NATO troops have 96 hours to either turn over detainees to Afghan authorities or release them - a rule put in effect to avoid Abu Ghraib-like offenses.

"We are currently reviewing the 96-hour rule, but have yet to make decisions about how we wish to proceed in light of some of the obvious problems associated with it," Geoff Morrell, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told CNN in a statement.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • War on Terror
February 18th, 2010
03:31 PM ET

Video: Haiti's universties grieve

David McKenzie | BIO
CNN Correspondent

Filed under: David McKenzie • Haiti • Haiti Earthquake • Student Issues
February 18th, 2010
03:27 PM ET

Video: Haiti's lost art

Christiane Amanpour | BIO
CNN Chief International Correspondent
Anchor, Amanpour

Filed under: Arts • Christiane Amanpour • Haiti • Haiti Earthquake
February 18th, 2010
03:23 PM ET

A worried Congress won't take risks

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/09/jobs.bill.politics/smlvid.capitolsnow.gi.jpg caption="Ed Rollins says members of Congress are concerned about defending their seats in the fall and won't take risks." width=300 height=169]

Ed Rollins
CNN senior political contributor

In the week we celebrate Valentine's Day, honor our first president, George Washington (and all the other past presidents) and begin the season of Lent, there is much to reflect on.

Valentine's Day is a day of telling loved ones how much they mean to us. Presidents Day is supposed to be a day we remember the great man who led our country through its early days.

For many of us who believe in the Christian faith, Lent is a season of repentance and, hopefully, reflection in preparation for Easter.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Democrats • Raw Politics • Republicans
February 18th, 2010
03:12 PM ET

Haiti students fear future buried in rubble

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/02/17/haiti.students/story2.haiti.university.grieve.cnn.jpg caption="Debris litters the rubble of GOC University, a college known for its civil engineering and economics programs." width=300 height=169]

David McKenzie | BIO
CNN Correspondent

It was once a proud center of learning, a bastion of Creole language and culture. But now students say that their potential for knowledge, like so many of their classmates, is buried under the rubble of The Faculty of Applied Linguistics in Port-au-Prince Haiti.

Haiti's devastating earthquake crushed the aspirations of countless students and left institutions of higher learning in tatters.

"I lost my daughter, I lost my only child," screamed an inconsolable mother as the throws her hands up in prayer at a memorial service at the Linguistics school. "I lost everything. I will never be able to give birth to another child."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Haiti • Haiti Earthquake • Student Issues
February 18th, 2010
02:42 PM ET

Who are the Tea Party activists?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/17/tea.party.poll/t1larg.tea.party.gi.jpg caption="Tea Party demonstrators gather in Lafayette Park during a rally in Washington in April 2009." width=300 height=169]


Activists in the Tea Party movement tend to be male, rural, upscale, and overwhelmingly conservative, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday also indicates that Tea Party activists would vote overwhelmingly Republican in a two-party race for Congress. The party's GOP leanings, the poll suggests, may pose a problem for the Tea Party movement if it tries to turn itself into a third party to compete with the two major parties in this year's general election.

"If the Tea Party runs its own candidates for U.S. House, virtually every vote the Tea Party candidate gets would be siphoned from the GOP candidate, potentially allowing the Democrats to win in districts that they might have otherwise lost," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "While the concept of an independent third party is extremely popular, most Americans, including most Tea Party supporters, don't favor a third party that would result in a winner who disagrees with them on most major issues."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Democrats • Republicans • Taxes • Tea Party
February 18th, 2010
02:37 PM ET

Pilot's apparent suicide note

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/t1.airplane.building.fire.jpg width=300 height=169]


An Austin, Texas, resident with an apparent grudge against the Internal Revenue Service set his house on fire Thursday and then crashed a small plane into a building housing an IRS office with nearly 200 employees, officials said.

Federal authorities identified the pilot of the Piper Cherokee PA-28 as Joseph Andrew Stack, 53.

Two people were injured and one person was missing, local officials said. There were no reported deaths.

A message on a Web site registered to Stack appears to be a suicide note.

Read the full note here...

February 18th, 2010
02:37 PM ET

Iran silences journalists with jail

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/meast/02/16/iran.sanctions/t1larg.ahmadinejad.afp.gi.jpg caption="Protests after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election victory in 2009 have led to protesters being arrested." width=300 height=169]

Jean Francois Julliard
Special to CNN

Early last week, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini reportedly said Iran's celebrations commemorating the Islamic revolution would stun the world. It is difficult to believe anything Iran could do at this point could surprise the world.

The protests after the June election led to an unprecedented campaign of intimidation and arrests. Freedom of expression had been seriously undermined by the regime even before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election. Journalists and bloggers were regularly arrested and harassed for discussing topics like women's rights or issues involving ethnic minorities.

News organizations with ties to the reformist movement were fined, suspended or even shut down for criticizing government policies. But in spite of these measures, there remained a functioning press. If reformist publications were limited in their criticism of the government, conservative outlets were rarely the target of censorship or harassment.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Iran • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad • Michelle Obama
February 18th, 2010
02:30 PM ET

Texas crash pilot left suicide note on Web site

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/02/18/texas.plane.crash/smlvid.austin.plane.crash.8now.jpg width=300 height=169]


The latest news as it comes in to CNN from the scene of the crash of a small plane in Austin, Texas. (All times are ET, one hour ahead of local Austin time.)

1:59 p.m.: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said one person in the building was unaccounted for

1:47 p.m.: A message on a Web site registered to Joseph Andrew Stack appears to be a suicide note: "If you're reading this, you're no doubt asking yourself, 'Why did this have to happen?'" the message says. "The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time." In the long message, the writer rails against the government and, particularly, the Internal Revenue Service.

1:43 p.m. A federal law enforcement official confirmed Stack's name and said he owned a house that was burned Thursday. Asked whether Stack set the fire, the official replied, "It appears that way."

Find more minute-by-minute updates here...

February 18th, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Kevin Smith, I feel your pain!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/02/15/kevin.smith.southwest/t1larg.ksmith.gi.jpg caption="Director Kevin Smith was recently bumped off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too fat." width=300 height=169]

Cathy Ladman
Special to CNN

As many of you already know - because Tweets travel faster than airplanes - Kevin Smith, the portly film director of the movie "Clerks" and the upcoming film "Cop Out," was "politely" asked to disembark from his Southwest flight from Oakland to Burbank because he was too large to fit in the seat.

Okay, let's be frank: He was kicked off the flight. The reason he was given was that his size infringed upon the space of the person sitting next to him and it could cause a safety risk in case of an emergency.

Does it surprise you that an airline that has charged a customer several hundred dollars for the service of transporting him from one place to another would subject said paying customer to the indignity of being told he's too fat to fly? I don't think it does.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Airline Safety • Travel
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