January 5th, 2011
11:59 PM ET

Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study - and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."

Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.

"Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession," BMJ states.

The now-discredited paper panicked many parents and led to a sharp drop in the number of children getting the vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella. Vaccination rates dropped sharply in Britain after its publication, falling as low as 80% by 2004. Measles cases have gone up sharply in the ensuing years.

In the United States, more cases of measles were reported in 2008 than in any other year since 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 90% of those infected had not been vaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown, the CDC reported.

Full story

January 5th, 2011
10:03 PM ET

Journal: Autism-Vaccine Study Was "Fraud" – Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight, breaking news and a 360° exclusive. You've heard the scare stories about vaccines and autism..
Now evidence the study that started it all wasn't just mistaken, it was out and out fraud. A stinging rebuke to the medical study that terrified millions of parents about vaccines and autism. We'll bring you the breaking news on the study and confront the one time doctor who's behind it. Plus, tonight's other headlines.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
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5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
January 5th, 2011
09:49 PM ET

Author defends research after retracted study called an 'elaborate fraud': Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
January 5th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Parking attendant recounts encounter with former Pentagon official

CNN Wire Staff

Wilmington, Delaware (CNN) - A parking lot attendant in Wilmington described a strange encounter with a former Pentagon official, just two days before his body was discovered in a Delaware landfill.

Iman Goldsborough told CNN on Wednesday that a man she later recognized as John P. Wheeler wandered into the parking garage where she works on December 29 around 6:40 p.m., disheveled and carrying a shoe in one hand.

"'I'm not drunk, I'm not drunk,'" Goldsborough quoted Wheeler as saying.

The man, who wasn't wearing a coat despite temperatures in the 30s, couldn't remember where he had parked his car, and said his briefcase had been stolen, she recounted. Goldsborough said she doesn't think his car was parked in that garage, because she had never seen him before and she knows most of her customers.

Two days later, police say, Wheeler's body was found in Wilmington's Cherry Island Landfill. Goldsborough said when she saw the news reports about his death, she recognized him as the man she had spoken with that night.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
January 5th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Witness describes Michael Jackson's daughter's anguish

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/CRIME/01/05/california.conrad.murray.hearing/t1larg.conrad.murray.gi.jpg caption="Dr. Conrad Murray remains free on a $75,000 bond. A pretrial hearing is expected to last two or three weeks." width=300 height=169]

Alan Duke

Los Angeles (CNN) - Michael Jackson's two oldest children, Prince and Paris, watched from a bedroom doorway as Dr. Conrad Murray tried to revive their father, according to a security guard.

"Paris screamed 'Daddy!' and she started crying," Alberto Alvarez testified at a preliminary hearing for Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death in June 2009.

Michael Jackson's parents, three sisters, and brother Randy listened from the second row of the Los Angeles County courtroom as Alvarez, apparently near tears, described the scene.

"Dr. Murray then said 'Get them out, get them out. Don't let them see their father like this,'" Alvarez said. "I turned to the children and I told them 'Don't worry, children, we'll take care of it. Go outside please.'"

The Los Angeles Superior Court preliminary hearing, which began Tuesday, is expected to last two or three weeks, with 20 to 30 witnesses testifying. Judge Michael Pastor will determine whether there is probable cause to send Murray to trial.

On Tuesday, Jackson's former security chief testified that Murray seemed not to know how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation as he waited for paramedics to arrive at the singer's house.

Faheem Muhammed said he and Alvarez saw Murray crouched next to Jackson's bed "in a panicked state asking, 'Does anyone know CPR?'"

"I looked at Alberto because we knew Dr. Murray was a heart surgeon, so we were shocked," Muhammed said.

When defense lawyer Ed Chernoff asked if perhaps Murray was only asking for help because he was tired, Muhammed said, "The way that he asked it is as if he didn't know CPR."

Jackson appeared to be dead at that time, with his "eyes open and his mouth open, just laying there," Muhammed said.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Walgren earlier said that Murray used "ineffectual CPR with one hand while the patient was prone on a soft bed." Using two hands with the patient prone on a hard surface is the proper method, he said.

Muhammed, the third witness on the opening day of the hearing, said he never saw Murray performing CPR on Jackson before paramedics arrived and transported the singer to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Michael Jackson
January 5th, 2011
05:34 PM ET

Beat 360° 1/5/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, wipes his eyes as outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, speaks before handing over the speaker's gavel following his election in the House chamber January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/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: Beat 360° Winners:

Sam Meyer
"Rep. Boehner takes on two new roles today: Speaker of the House, and Town Crier."


Steve, Bend OR
"'It's the people's house,' sponsored by Kleenex Brand Tissue-Softness Worth Sharing."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
January 5th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Letters to the President: #716 'The coming train crash'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama has expressed concern about the deficit. He’s also committed a lot of money to government programs. And therein, for all of DC, is the perpetual problem.

Dear Mr. President,

So the Treasury Department says the national debt is just shy of $14 trillion. Seems like only yesterday it was a mere $13 trillion, eh? They grow up so fast. That’s the problem with debt; the bigger it gets, the bigger it gets.

I know that the government is a lot more complex than someone’s household budget, and it’s not entirely fair to say it should be managed in the same way. But it is also not entirely unfair to expect some of the same principles to apply. And here is a basic one: When you spend more than you have coming in, you’re setting up a problem. And the corollary: When you delay grappling with the hard decisions, they only get harder.

Our worst budget issues have been decades in the making. And yet both parties have sat on the tracks having a picnic, year after year, as the locomotive horn blows. Democratic and Republican administrations alike have steadfastly refused to take on some of the toughest issues, such as entitlement programs, because they know in the short term that voters will revile them, just as they know that each year of delay intensifies how bad the final crash will be.

January 5th, 2011
11:27 AM ET

New Congress: Symbolism early, sizzle to come

Ed Hornick

Washington (CNN) - As the new Congress convenes Wednesday, the initial focus for Republicans, fresh off their 2010 midterm election victories, will start off symbolic with the legislative meat to be served shortly after.

House Speaker John Boehner recently laid out his vision for the upcoming session, vowing to make the "people's House" more transparent. His first order of business will be passing a new set of rules for the legislative chamber.

And in a move to satisfy the leanings of the Tea Party movement, which propelled the GOP to its historic takeover of the House, the Constitution will be read aloud on the House floor on the second day of the new session. In addition, all new bills must meet a constitutional test.

And the first significant legislative item Boehner wants to tackle? President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

GOP leaders unveiled legislation Tuesday that would repeal the law. Republicans, according to House GOP sources, plan a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote next Wednesday.

Many argue the repeal legislation is more symbolic than anything else. While it may pass the GOP-dominated House, its future in the Senate is uncertain. Democrats are still in the majority after all - and if it gets passed the Senate, Obama can veto the legislation.

Republicans might control the House, but they don't have the two-thirds it would take to override a presidential veto.

But they might take another route - cutting off funding to the law or changing parts of it.

Republicans are adamant the law is hurting jobs - something that is topic No. 1 for them and a majority of Americans demanding change.

Full story

January 5th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
January 5th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

Falcon Lake mystery remains unsolved

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° this month for our special Cold Cases series.

Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

La Salle, Colorado (CNN) — For 29-year-old Tiffany Hartley, all she can do now is wait: Wait for what she admits may never happen — the return of her husband’s body from a day of horror on a south Texas lake.

It was supposed to be the perfect end to a relaxing week. Hartley and her husband David, who had lived in the Mexican border town of Reynosa for two and a half years while he worked for a Canadian oil field supply company, were about to move back to their Colorado home. Drug violence in Reynosa had erupted and it was far too dangerous to continue living there.

David Hartley’s mother, Pam, told CNN her son picked up his cell phone and called her just before he and Tiffany got onto their jet skis for a day on Falcon Lake, which straddles the Texas-Mexican border.

“They were going for a fun day,” Pam Hartley said. “They were excited to have one last ride on their jet skis before coming back to Colorado. Just one last time to have a good time. Go out on a big lake. They love the water. They love the jet skis.”

Just hours after that cell phone call, there was another call. This one from Tiffany Hartley to the 911 operator in the border town of Zapata, Texas. David Hartley, she said, had been shot to death on the Mexican side of the lake.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Drew Griffin
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