September 6th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

One rescue operation temporarily halted at Chilean mine

Patrick Oppmann

Copiapo, Chile (CNN) - Rescue officials reported Monday they had to temporarily stop one of two drilling operations to reach 33 men trapped for more than a month inside a Chilean mine.

That effort, known as Plan B, had to stop at a depth of 85 feet (26 meters) because of unspecified problems with a cable, officials said. Drilling should resume within hours, the officials said Monday morning.

Plan B aims to drill at a roughly 80 degree angle into an area of mine shaft used as a mechanical workshop. That distance, engineers estimate, is around 2,030 feet (620 meters).

The drill for Plan B, which is normally used to bore water holes, is untried technology in a mine rescue. The drill arrived Friday and rescuers hope it could reach the miners in as little as two months.

Full story

Filed under: Patrick Oppmann
September 6th, 2010
03:50 PM ET

'Don't give up,' plane crash survivors tell trapped miners

Patrick Oppmann

Copiapo, Chile (CNN) - For months, the men waited in isolation, struggling to survive. They forced themselves to eat the flesh of dead friends to sustain themselves.

The Uruguayan rugby players whose plane crashed in the Andes Mountains 38 years ago inspired the book and movie "Alive." On Saturday, four of them shared a message with the 33 miners who have been trapped underground in Chile for a month.

"Don't give up," former rugby player Moncho Sabella said. "You have a marvelous team working for you."

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Patrick Oppmann
May 20th, 2010
12:26 PM ET

Prisoners turn over a new leaf with eye on environment

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/20/art.green.prison.jpg caption="The Stafford Creek Corrections Center has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars through sustainable practices."]

Patrick Oppmann

Aberdeen, Washington (CNN) - The organic vegetables travel a short distance from the well-tended garden to the table where they are eaten.

Waste is carefully picked through and recycled, saving thousands of dollars.

The close-cropped lawns are maintained by push mowers to cut down on carbon emissions and gas expenses.

This is not some new designer eco-hotel where the rich and environmentally conscious can be pampered free of guilt.

It's a prison.


February 4th, 2010
11:34 AM ET
December 9th, 2009
07:55 PM ET
November 10th, 2009
10:21 PM ET

The Fort Lewis Memorial

Patrick Oppmann
CNN All Platform Journalist

More than 2,500 miles from Fort Hood, the US Army also honored fallen soldiers at a ceremony at Fort Lewis in Washington state today.

Seven soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, were remembered in a service that family, soldiers and Vice President Joe Biden attended.

All seven soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan last month. Fort Lewis officials said they believe the attack was the largest loss of life for the post since the wars began in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“As hollow as it sounds to say,” Biden said, ”we grieve with you. We don't have the sense of the profound grief you're experiencing today, but we grieve with you. And we owe you - we owe you more than you can ever be repaid.”

Speaking of his own experience as the father of a National Guard member who served in Iraq, Biden told the crowd, “In a sense, those of us who've had children, husbands and wives who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, I guess we all share a sense of relief and a sense of guilt that we're here, having our loved ones back.”

The seven soldiers were remembered by fellow soldiers, some of whom had returned to Fort Lewis, some of whom  were still serving in Afghanistan.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Joe Biden • Patrick Oppmann
April 3rd, 2009
09:52 AM ET

Defrocked for too much faith

Ann Holmes Redding on her faith.
Ann Holmes Redding on her faith.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/02/art.muslim.religion.oppman.jpg]

Patrick Oppmann
CNN Seattle Producer

It’s not always easy reconciling your life with your religion.

Ann Holmes Redding knows all about that.

Until yesterday Redding was an Episcopal minister. She was defrocked by the church - but not for lack of faith, exactly.

That’s because Redding is both a practicing Christian - and Muslim.

When I met Redding she said her double faith allowed her “to see the same mountain from different points.”

She became interested in Islam during an interfaith service in Seattle three years ago where she worked as a minister.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/02/art.redding.muslim.jpg]

Redding saw similarities in the way both religions worshipped one God and she was drawn to how Muslims “surrendered themselves” to their faith.

While Christianity worships Jesus as the Son of God, Islam sees him as one of many prophets. In fact, the Koran names 25 prophets, including Moses, Lot and John the Baptist. It also has an entire sura, or chapter, named for the Virgin Mary.

In both the Koran and Bible, Redding says, “Jesus does the same things. So it’s a question of how do you believe in him, not that you believe in him, but how. Jesus never asks people to believe in him as God.” Better understanding the Koran, Redding said, “made her a better Christian.”


Filed under: 360° Radar • Patrick Oppmann • Religion
December 17th, 2008
04:43 PM ET

Preacher says he is divine, vows to fight $2m divorce judgment

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/17/story.jose.luis.de.jesus.jpg caption="Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda says he is God, and his followers believe him."]

Patrick Oppmann
CNN Miami

He tells his followers he is God.

But Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda’s wife disagreed and was awarded a $2.2 million divorce judgment.

It may seem unusual for a church leader to claim he is divine and then go through a messy, public divorce, but De Jesus’ church has always been, well, unique.

His followers, many of whom are Hispanic and have left the Catholic Church for his take on Christianity, believe that he is both the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and the anti-Christ. Dozens of his followers in South Florida and in Latin America have had 666 –the number associated with the anti-Christ—tattooed on their bodies as a sign of their beliefs.

De Jesus tells the people who believe in him that there is no sin and that they are members of a “super race.”

One of those believers was De Jesus’ second wife Josefina Torres. But Torres told CNN in an interview that after five years of marriage she began to see through her husband and spiritual leader.

“It was like seeing a magician perform and then going backstage and you learn how he does the trick,” Torres said in Spanish.


Filed under: Patrick Oppmann • Religion