Thursday: April 24

Tune in at 4 am ET: See latest developments on the search for Flight 370
April 24th, 2014
04:33 AM ET

Georgia Law Allows Guns in Some Schools, Bars, Churches

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.

House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 - which opponents have nicknamed the "guns everywhere bill" - specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.

GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it "meaningful pro-gun legislation," despite it being watered down from the group's perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it "extremism in action."

Wednesday's signing came at an open-air picnic area along a creek in Ellijay, in northern Georgia. It opened with a prayer, the singing of the national anthem and a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Hundreds of people filled more than 25 picnic tables, while others stood. Many were openly carrying handguns, and some wore National Rifle Association hats and buttons proclaiming, "Stop Gun Control" and "Guns Save Lives."

See the latest on "Early Start" at 5am ET and get MORE on CNN.com.

April 23rd, 2014
04:51 AM ET

NYPD Twitter Campaign Backfires in a Big Way

 It's hard to imagine how the campaign could have gone more wrong from the perspective of police.

The New York City Police Department on Tuesday asked folks on Twitter to post photos with its officers, using the hashtag #myNYPD.

The response was swift - and overwhelmingly negative.

Hijacking the hashtag, users posted photographs that allege to show police brutality or misconduct.

"Free Massages from the #NYPD. What does YOUR Police Department offer?" tweeted @OccupyWallStNYC, which posted an image of officers holding a man, seemingly screaming, with his arms behind his back, on top of a car.

"The #NYPD will also help you de-tangle your hair," tweeted@MoreAndAgain, posting a photo of an officer pulling the hair of a person who appears to be under arrest.

Asked about the campaign, an NYPD spokeswoman defended it.

"The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city," said Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster.

Indeed, the posts weren't all bad.

"my photo from my ride along with the boys from the 90th pct," tweeted @poshwonderwoman, showing a woman posing alongside three smiling officers.

One user even criticized the backlash.

"People are so lame, there's a lot of good cops out there as well," tweeted ‏@annuhk.

Watch "Early Start" at 5am ET for the latest.

MORE at CNN.com.

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April 22nd, 2014
04:23 AM ET

Boy Scouts Revoke Seattle Church's Charter Over Gay Scoutmaster

The Boy Scouts of America has revoked the charter of a Seattle church that refused to fire its pack's gay scoutmaster, according to a letter written by the organization's general counsel and provided to CNN by the church.

Pack and Troop 98 is composed of about 15 boys, and according to attorney Steven McGowan's letter, they will have an opportunity to transfer to another troop.

"As you are aware the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as volunteer adult leaders," read McGowan's letter to an attorney representing Rainier Beach United Methodist Church.

The church received its charter in November and hired Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old Eagle Scout, to lead the troop. The Rev. Monica Corsaro said she knew McGrath was gay, and she wasn't trying to make any political statement by hiring him.

"We were not hiding," she said. "We are talking about real people that are being effected by a policy of discrimination ... by a policy that BSA teaches, so we are just calling it out."

MORE on CNN.com.

April 21st, 2014
11:59 AM ET

Boston Marathon Survivor: 'I'm Not a Person Who Gives Up Easily'

For the White family of Bolton, Massachusetts, it's a bittersweet morning.

Bill and Mary Jo White will be at the finish line cheering on their son Kevin where all three nearly lost their lives one year ago.

Kevin, then 34, had shrapnel all through his legs.  Mary Jo, then 67, caught shrapnel in her arm and it broke her wrist, and Bill White, at 71, lost his leg.

The father says: "When I woke up after the surgery the first thing that dawned on me was I have only one leg. And that's a shattering moment for you. You lay there and say how am I going to live the rest of my life?"

White tells CNN's John Berman he learned to get over those types of questions to continue living his life.

"I'm not a person who gives up easily," he says.

WATCH VIDEO ABOVE TO SEE MORE OF THE FAMILY'S STORY

April 18th, 2014
04:34 AM ET

Anti-Semitic Fliers in Eastern Ukraine Denounced

U.S. officials Thursday denounced what one called a "grotesque" leaflet ordering Jews in one eastern Ukrainian city to register with a government office, but the Jewish community there dismissed it as a "provocation."

The fliers were handed out by masked men in front the main synagogue in Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have declared a "People's Republic," Jewish leaders there said. The document warned the city's Jews to register and document their property or face deportation, according to a CNN translation of one of the leaflets.

Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" that a respected Jewish leader in Ukraine showed him a photograph of one of the leaflets. He called the document "chilling."

And in Geneva, where diplomats held emergency talks on the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaflets "grotesque" and "beyond unacceptable."

But the Jewish community statement said relations between the Jews of Donetsk and their neighbors were amicable, and the self-proclaimed head of the "People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, denied any connection to the fliers.

Pushilin told CNN the handwriting on the flier wasn't his, and the title attached to his name was not one he uses. It wasn't clear who had distributed the leaflets, but the chief rabbi of nearby Dnipropetrovsk said, "Everything must be done to catch them."

"It's important for everyone to know it's not true," said the rabbi, Shmuel Kaminezki. "The Jews of Donetsk will not do what the letter says."

MORE at CNN.com.

April 17th, 2014
11:33 AM ET

Portland: Teen Urinated in Water Supply

The city of Portland, Oregon, has been forced to dump millions of gallons of drinking water. Why?

Because someone urinated into a water reservoir.

Surprising still, this isn't the first time this has happened.

The latest incident took place about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Cameras captured three teens near the Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5. One of them approached the iron fence and apparently got close enough to relieve himself directly into the reservoir.

The three teens were apprehended, and the 50-million-gallon reservoir was taken offline for testing.

Thanks to the teens, the Portland Water Bureau will have to dump 38 million gallons of drinking water, said administrator David Shaff.

"Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated," he said.

All three teens received citations for trespassing; one was cited for public urination.

Shaff told the Oregonian newspaper that the teen knew exactly what he was doing.

"It's stupid," Shaff told the newspaper. "You can see the sign that says: 'This is your drinking water. Don't spit, throw, toss anything in it.' He's four feet away from that sign."

Shaff was also the administrator when a similar incident took place in June 2011. Surveillance cameras caught a man urinating into an 8-million gallon reservoir.

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April 17th, 2014
04:53 AM ET

Captain to Families: 'I Am Sorry'

Of the 46 lifeboats attached to the sunken South Korean ferry, only one was deployed, CNN affiliate YTN reported Thursday.

CNN has not been able to independently confirm the report. If true, the report will add to the anger and desperation of families still waiting for word on the fate of 287 missing passengers.

Video acquired by another affiliate JTBC showed at least 12 of the white survival capsules still attached to the ferry even as it was keeled over in the water. The survival capsules hold lifeboats.

The five-story, 6,800-ton ferry sank Wednesday morning, with only its white and blue hull remaining above water.

The death toll stands at 9. At least 179 passengers have been rescued.

But no one knows whether the missing 287 are alive, perhaps on the ship, or if they succumbed to the water about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit.)

"I am sorry," Lee Joon Suk, the captain of the ship, said Thursday when reporters asked if he had any words for the family members of the missing.

"I am at a loss for words," he said as he sat at a Coast Guard station, facing possible charges of negligence and accidental homicide.

No one knows exactly why the ship started to sink.

Some analysts had said that it might have gone off course - speculation that South Korean Oceans and Fisheries Ministry quashed Thursday.

The agency approved the ferry's intended route, and "there was no huge difference between their plan and the actual track chart," spokesman Nam Jae Heon said.

At one point or another, the massive rescue efforts has included 169 boats, 29 planes and 512 divers.

Crews will next use cranes next to stabilize the ship.

"Since there is the possibility of survivors, we cannot waste any time," South Korean President Park Guen-hye said.

The cold, dreary scene

At the Peng Mok Harbor in Jindo, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the site of the accident, family members spend the hours staring at the water.

They have camped out here since Wednesday. Mothers and grandmothers huddle together, crying and comforting each other.

Chang Min, whose son is a second-grader, said he was furious that search officials are using the word "investigation" and not the word "rescue."

"If the government cares for the people, our family, our children, please rescue our families and our children," he said.

He, like many others, are angry at the pace of the process.

Rescue officials are at the mercy of the elements. It's drizzling, making for poor visibility. The water currents are powerful, making for dangerous operations.

Three divers who took it upon themselves to go look for the missing were momentarily swept away by the tide Thursday, CNN affiliate YTN reported. A fishing boat eventually picked them up.

On Thursday afternoon, rescue crews were trying to get a crane out to stabilize the ship.

"The maritime police told them they will start the rescue process again today," Chang said. "I'm going to wait and try to trust them and believe in them. But if they say they can't, I'm going to grab them and drag them into the sea. We'll die together."

See the latest developments on CNN.com.

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April 16th, 2014
04:49 AM ET

Putin: Escalating Conflict Puts Ukraine on 'Brink of Civil War'

The escalating conflict in Ukraine "essentially puts the nation on the brink of civil war," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

His assessment came during a telephone conversation with his German counterpart, according to the Kremlin, the same day Ukraine's military launched its first, formal military action against pro-Russian militants with troops retaking an airport in the eastern Donetsk region after a reported clash with gunmen.

The military action came a day after a Ukrainian ultimatum expired for protesters to lay down their arms, a move that appeared to signal an escalation in the crisis that has sparked a diplomatic row between Ukraine, its Western allies and Russia.

With pro-Russian militants seizing government and police buildings in as many as 10 towns and cities in eastern Ukraine, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told Parliament "an anti-terrorist operation" was under way in the region.

The aim of the military operation is to "stop attempts to tear Ukraine to pieces," he told lawmakers.

Witnesses reported hearing gunfire and aircraft that appeared to be coming from the airfield in Kramatorsk, which Turchynov's office said was under the control of Ukrainain special forces late Tuesday.

There were conflicting reports about casualties, with Russian state-run media citing varying casualty claims supplied by militants. According to the reports, there were either two injured or four killed, claims that CNN cannot independently verify.

MORE on CNN.com.

MH370: After Aborted Underwater Search, Crews Hope to Try Again
April 15th, 2014
04:30 AM ET

MH370: After Aborted Underwater Search, Crews Hope to Try Again

Time to try this again.

The first deployment of an underwater vehicle to hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was aborted early, sending the drone back to the surface 10 hours before expected.

Search officials analyzed data from the Bluefin-21's six hours underwater, and found no objects of interest, the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.

Crews will try to send the Bluefin-21 probe back into the Indian Ocean later Tuesday, weather permitting.

So what went awry the first time?

"In this case, the vehicle's programmed to fly 30 meters over the floor of the ocean to get a good mapping of what's beneath and to the sides, and the chart we have for the area showed that water depth to be between the 4,200 and 4,400-meter depth," said Capt. Mark Matthews, who heads the U.S. presence in the search effort.

But the water was deeper than expected - about 4,500 meters.

"Once it hit that max depth, it said this is deeper than I'm programmed to be, so it aborted the mission," Matthews said.

David Kelly, CEO of the company that makes the Bluefin-21, said the device's safety mechanisms have triggered such recalls have happened.

"Although it's disappointing the mission ended early, it's not uncommon," Kelly said. "We've operated these vehicles around the globe. It's not unusual to get into areas where the charts aren't accurate or you lack information."

Mathews said the initial launch Monday night took place "in the very far corner of the area it's searching, so they are just shifting the search box a little bit away from that deep water and proceeding with the search."

It is unclear how much of the area - 5 kilometers by 8 kilometers (3.1 miles by 4.9 miles) - the Bluefin scanned during its first attempt. It could take up to two months to scan the entire search area.

MORE on CNN.com.

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April 14th, 2014
05:01 AM ET

Suspect Shouts 'Heil Hitler' From Police Car

 A Missouri man, with a long virulent history of anti-Semitism, is suspected of killing a boy and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center in Kansas City, and a woman at a Jewish assisted living facility nearby.

While police in Overland Park, Kansas, stopped short of labeling the Sunday attacks a hate crime until they were further along in their investigation, the suspect - Frazier Glenn Miller - is the founder and former leader of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party.

Both operated as paramilitary organizations in the 1980s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups.

The 73-year-old Miller, who also goes by Frazier Glenn Cross, faces charges of premeditated first-degree murder. He is expected to appear in court Monday.

The shootings took place at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park and at the Village Shalom Retirement Community in Leawood - a day before the start of Passover, the major Jewish spring festival.

"The timing is terrible. The timing is awful," said Rabbi Herbert Mandl, a chaplain for the Overland Park police.

In all, the gunman shot at five people, none of whom he's believed to have known, said Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass.

Three people died; the other two were not injured.

Shortly afterward, authorities arrested the suspect at a nearby elementary school.

Video from CNN affiliate KMBC showed the suspect sitting in the back of a patrol car and shouting, "Heil Hitler."

Douglass said police were investigating statements the man made after his arrest, but declined to provide additional details.

The Anti-Defamation League said it warned last week of the increased possibility of violent attacks against community centers during the coming weeks, "which coincide both with the Passover holiday and Hitler's birthday on April 20, a day around which in the United States has historically been marked by extremist acts of violence and terrorism."

'This has left us all breathless'

The shooting began just after 1 p.m. Sunday in the Jewish community center's parking lot.

Inside the center was a hive of activity. A rehearsal for a production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" was underway as were auditions for "KC Superstar," an "American Idol"-style contest for the best high school singer in the Kansas City area.

Outside, the gunman opened fire. Police said he was armed with a shotgun and may have been carrying other weapons.

Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, was coming to audition for the singing competition. His grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, was driving him. The bullets struck them in their car. Both died.

Corporon was a doctor who practiced family medicine in Oklahoma for many years before moving to Kansas City to be closer to his grandchildren.

"He cherished his family," the family said in a statement.

Reat was a high school freshman who was active in debate, theater and had "a beautiful voice," his family.

At a vigil Sunday night at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Reat's mom walked up to the podium and introduced herself as the mother and daughter of the community center victims. The gathered gasped.

"I know that they're in heaven together," the mother, Mindy Corporon, said.

Jacob Schreiber, president of the community center, remembered the family fondly.

"This is one of the nicest, kindest, most supportive families that we have here," he said. "This has left us all breathless."

The center immediately went into lockdown.

"Some of these kids were taken into locker rooms and told to lay on the floor as the shots rang out," CNN affiliate KSHB reporter Lisa Benson told CNN.

Jeff Nessel, a parent, told the Kansas City Star he had just dropped his 10-year-old son off at the community center when a staff member told him to get back inside because there had been a shooting.

"We'll keep you on lockdown. You're safe here," Nessel said a staff member told him.

'Stay away from the windows'

The gunman then drove to the retirement home, where he shot the third victim in the parking lot. She has not been identified.

Amy Rasmussen was helping with her grandmother's laundry when residents were warned by a staff member.

People "were told by one of the staff that it was a tornado warning ... and stay away from the windows," Rasmussen told the newspaper.

'A raging anti-Semite'

Miller, the suspected shooter, is a "raging anti-Semite," who has posted extensively in online forums that advocates exterminating Jews, the Southern Poverty Law Center (the SPLC) said.

He has called Jews "swarthy, hairy, bow-legged, beady-eyed, parasitic midgets."

According to the SPLC, Miller founded and ran the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1980s. He was forced to shut down after the SPLC sued him for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and intimidating African-Americans.

He then formed another group, the White Patriot Party.

In the late 1980s, Miller spent three years in prison on weapons charges and for plotting the assassination of SPLC founder Morris Dees. The short sentence was a result of a plea bargain he struck with federal prosecutors. In exchange, he testified against 14 white supremacists in a sedition trial in Arkansas in 1988.

"He was reviled in white supremacist circles as a 'race traitor and, for a while, kept a low profile," according to an SPLC profile of him. "Now he's making a comeback with The Aryan Alternative, a racist tabloid he's been printing since 2005."

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