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January 22nd, 2014
01:36 PM ET

Conference Seeking Out End to War – Update: “Not a lot, if any, conciliation coming from the Syrian government side"

World leaders gathered this morning at a conference in Switzerland that has been billed as possibly the best chance for ending the war in Syria.

It is the first time the Assad regime and opposition will meet face-to-face with officials from dozens of other countries.

But it’s notable who is not there- Iran- and there are real questions if the conference will accomplish anything at all. Based on Nic Robertson’s update, things do not seem promising:

“Not a lot, if any, conciliation coming from the Syrian government side. Then we heard from Secretary of State John Kerry unequivocally, and very clearly, say that Bashar al-Assad cannot be any part of this process going forward.”  

WATCH VIDEO ABOVE.

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Filed under: Geneva • Switzerland • Syria
January 20th, 2014
09:20 AM ET

Iran to Join Peace Talks?

A possible stumbling block for peace talks on Syria this morning. Overnight, US Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon invited Iran to the talks which are set to start on Wednesday in Geneva. But the move has drawn strong objections.

"Over the weekend there was some sens of muted celebration that the Syrian opposition had agreed to attend these peace talks in Geneva, the first real talks of their kind during this now 3 year long brutal civil war. But, just as though joy had begun to establish itself, Ban Ki-Moon extended this invitation to Iran," CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.

WATCH VIDEO ABOVE for more.

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Filed under: United Nations
January 17th, 2014
06:21 AM ET

iPhones On Sale in China

It's a big day for Apple in China.

People are flocking to the nearest China mobiles stores to get iPhones, which are now on sale in the country.

Just how big of a deal is the launch?

Big enough that Apple's CEO was on hand to autograph iPhones for customers, CNN's David McKenzie reports.

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Filed under: Technology
January 16th, 2014
05:25 AM ET

New Mexico School Shooting: 911 Calls Released

Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, New Mexico, re-opens today.

This happens as we're hearing , for the first time , the 911 calls from inside the school that describe the terrifying moments after police say a 12-year-old opened fire and severely wounded two classmates.

A law enforcement source tells CNN the shooter had a journal at home that described his plans.

And the source says the boy told some students in the gym to get out before he fired his sawed off shotgun.

The motive is still not clear.

The parents of the boy say the incident has left them heartbroken.

And they offered condolences to the families of the victims.

Today, counselors will be on site at the school to help.

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Filed under: New Mexico shooting
January 15th, 2014
05:12 AM ET

Asiana Crash Video: Firefighters Saw Injured Girl Before She Was Run Over

Teenager Ye Meng Yuan didn't die from a plane crash at San Francisco International Airport last July. She actually survived the impact - only to die shortly later when a fire truck ran over her.

Now, newly released video obtained by CBS suggests emergency workers saw Ye's injured body on the ground before she was fatally struck - challenging earlier claims that she was accidentally run over because she may have been covered in firefighting foam.

In the footage, one firefighter tried to stop an emergency vehicle racing toward the scene.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop, stop, stop! There's a body ... there's a body right there. Right in front of you," the firefighter told the driver.

The video was captured on a camera attached to a firefighter's helmet. CBS said it obtained the footage from a source close to Ye's family.

Another video from a fire truck shows a firefighter on the ground directing the truck around a victim, who was not covered in foam at the time.

Ye was eventually run over by a fire truck, San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White said last July.

"I particularly want to express our condolences and apologies to the family of Ye Meng Yuan," the chief said. "We're heartbroken. We're in the business of saving lives ... There's not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel about it."

A California coroner ruled that Ye was alive when flung from the plane but died of "multiple blunt injuries that are consistent with being run over by a motor vehicle."

"Those injuries she received, she was alive at the time," San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said.

The 16-year-old girl's parents have filed a claim against the city and county of San Francisco, saying emergency responders "were grossly negligent."

Attorneys for Ye's family say emergency workers who spotted Ye on the ground "failed to move her to a safe location, failed to mark her location; failed to protect her from moving vehicles in the vincinity of the Aircraft where it was known that vehicles would be traveling; failed to alert commanders at the scene; and/or abandoned Ye Meng Yuan in a perilous location."

A court may eventually have to decide whether fire crews in the video were negligent and should be held accountable for the girl's death.

The San Francisco Fire Department has not responded to CNN's request for comment. CBS said the fire department wouldn't comment on their report due to pending litigation.

Two other people died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed at the San Francisco airport. The National Transportation Safety Board said the jet descended in altitude faster than it should have, and had a slower forward speed than intended.

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Filed under: Asiana Crash • San Francisco
January 14th, 2014
05:41 AM ET

West Virginia Water Restrictions are Ending

Sandra Fisher heard the sound of running water in her Charleston, West Virginia, home on Monday for the first time in four days after a chemical leak fouled water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people.

Fisher was one of the first 5,000 customers, many of them large commercial users, who were told they could start flushing out their pipes after thousands of gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanolpoured out of from a storage facility on the nearby Elk River on Thursday. The licorice-scented chemical, typically used to clean coal, got into Charleston's water supply, resulting in 300,000 people being told not to drink, cook or wash with water from their own taps.

"I knew a licorice smell in the air was something that couldn't be good," Fisher told CNN. "I didn't think it was candy."

The West Virginia American Water Co. said it had lifted the do-not-use order for 26,000 customers by the end of the day. Flushing the final traces of contaminants from home and business water pipes could take days, said Jeff McIntyre, the water company's president. And officials asked that water customers not rush to turn on their faucets until told to do so, for fear that demand could cause pressure in the lines to falter, introducing yet more problems.

"It's certainly going to go into tomorrow, and I'm not sure how much longer," Randy Huffman, the head of the state Department of Environmental Protection, told CNN's The Situation Room.

The state put water restrictions into effect Thursday after discovering that about 7,500 gallons of the chemical, known as MCHM, had leaked into the Elk River just above a drinking water plant. Authorities told residents in nine West Virginia counties to stop using their water for everything except flushing toilets, and to watch for symptoms of exposure such as skin irritation, nausea, vomiting or wheezing.

The spill left Charleston residents scrambling for bottled water to wash their hands, brush their teeth and cook. Without safe water, schools and many businesses were forced to close. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the water company trucked in bottled water, and police, firefighters and National Guard troops helped distribute it around Charleston, where resident Jen Williamson reported that most stores had been restocked by Monday.

"Disposable plates and utensils, etc. are in short supply but some local churches are giving those away," Williamson wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "We are definitely trying to prevent dirty dishes but they are stacking up quickly. The problem is that when they say the water is fine to drink, do we believe them?"

She's not alone in her doubts.

"I'm not going to drink it for a while," Charleston resident Kate Long said. And Fisher said, "I will be concerned probably for the rest of the time that I live here."

But Jerry Dawson, who works in the first zone allowed to begin using water, said he's sure county, state and water company officials have done all they need to do to ensure water safety.

"I'm tickled to death to get my water back," he said Monday afternoon.

By Monday morning, water tests showed that levels of the chemical detected at water intakes had declined to well under the 1 part per million safety standard for consumption. Finished water showed even less of the contaminant, but people would probably still smell the chemical in their water even after flushing, Huffman said.

Some residents have complained of irritation of the skin, throat, chest and stomach, Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said over the weekend. As of Monday morning, hospitals had seen 231 people for complaints related to contaminated water, admitting 14 of them, said Karen Bowling, secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Resources. But calls to poison control centers had been declining, she said.

But the unknowns made residents anxious.

"They don't even know what the health risks are," Stacy Kirk of Culloden told CNN affiliate WSAZ. "We had bathed, cooked and everything right before the news came on (with the water warning)."

More than 20 lawsuits had already been filed, and a Charleston judge ordered the company at the source of the leak, Freedom Industries, and West Virginia American to preserve all relevant documents and physical evidence Monday.

Absorbent booms lowered into the Elk River to contain the spill are coming out clean of any contaminants and without any odor, suggesting that the material has stopped leaking into the river, said Mike Dorsey, chief of the Department of Environmental Protection's Homeland Security and Emergency Response group.

He said the agency is sending pumping equipment to the site to help deal with heavy rain expected soon in a bid to prevent any contamination from escaping from the site in runoff.

No problems have been detected with fish kills or other effects on wildlife, Huffman said.

Dorsey said earlier that the chemical leaked through a 1-inch hole in the wall of a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries, which supplies products for the coal mining industry. It moved through the soil into the river.

Officials don't know exactly when the leak began, but they don't think it was long before Thursday morning, when it was first reported.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern said two Freedom employees noticed material leaking from a storage tank into a dike about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. They contacted authorities and began the cleanup process, including hauling away the chemical still in the tank and vacuuming some from the nearby ground, he said.

C.W. Sigman, deputy emergency manager for Kanawha County, said the tank appeared to be "antique." He told CNN on Saturday that the company "didn't appear to understand the magnitude of the incident at the time."

"I never got a good indication from the plant folks how bad the leak was, how much was going to the river, anything else. It was probably a little ways into the incident before we realized how bad it was getting into the river."

Posted by ,
Filed under: West Virginia
January 13th, 2014
05:54 AM ET

Southwest Airlines Plane Lands at Wrong Missouri Airport

Welcome to Branson, Missouri. Well, maybe not.

A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago's Midway Airport was scheduled to land at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri on Sunday night. Instead, the Boeing 737-700 touched down at Taney County airport - about seven miles away, and with a runway significantly shorter.

Authorities have launched an investigation on the mix up. But passengers were relieved the error didn't lead to something more serious.

The Taney County airport doesn't normally handle big jets. Its runway is about half the length of the Branson airport - 3,738 feet compared to 7,140 feet.

That required the pilot to do a lot of heavy braking as soon as the Boeing 737-700 touched down.

Without the firm foot on the brakes, the plane could have overshot the end of the runway, tumbled down an embankment and onto U.S. 65.

"Really happy (the) pilot applied brakes the way he did," said Scott Schieffer, one of 124 passengers aboard Flight 4013. "Who knows what would have happened?"

The plane stopped about 300 feet from the end of the runway, according to Jeff Bourk, the executive director at Branson airport.

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Filed under: Southwest Airlines
January 10th, 2014
06:08 AM ET

See Woman Jump Off Bridge to Avoid Arrest

A police chase in northern Oregon takes a scary turn when a woman bolts out of the car and jumps off a bridge.

Cops say they initially tried to stop the driver for a minor traffic violation, but she took off.

That's when they realized the car was stolen and as they reached a bridge, police dashcam shows 26-year-old Rebecca Humphries making the dangerous jump into a freezing river.

Crews were eventually able to pull Humphries out of the water alive. 

She reportedly suffered minor injuries. 

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Filed under: Car chases
January 10th, 2014
06:01 AM ET

See Cops Open Fire on Streets of Southern California

A heart-pounding ending to a high-speed police chase in southern California is caught on camera.

It started when cops in southeast San Diego tried to pull over an unidentified driver for using a cellphone behind the wheel.

But the suspect took off instead leading officers on an hour-long chase that ended in a hail of gunfire.

Police say four officers opened fire when the driver came to a stop and pointed a gun at them.

The suspect is in critical condition.

We're told police found drugs and a gun in his car.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 9th, 2014
12:35 PM ET

Hell Freezes Over

It's been so cold in the Midwest, hell has frozen over.

Hell, Michigan, that is.

The town of 600 Northwest of Ann Arbor is digging out from up to 2-feet of snow.

Vehicles are stranded everywhere and they're still battling sub-zero temperatures.

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Filed under: Winter weather
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