Weekend: August 22 – 24

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

August 22nd, 2014
05:48 AM ET

Pentagon Chief: ISIS 'Beyond Anything we Have Seen'

America's top defense officials left open the possibility of targeting fighters with the so-called Islamic State in Syria, saying during a news briefing Thursday it was not enough to just hit the extremist group in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stopped short of calling for U.S. military action in eastern Syria, an ISIS stronghold.

"Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no," Dempsey said during the briefing at the Pentagon.

Repeatedly pushed by reporters about whether that meant operations against ISIS in Syria, Hagel said, "We're looking at all options."

While it's unclear what those options may be, Hagel said the United States is "very clear-eyed" about ISIS.

"They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess," Hagel said.

"...This is beyond anything we have seen, and we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready."

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Chuck Hagel • ISIS
August 20th, 2014
06:11 AM ET

ISIS Beheads American: James Foley Remembered as 'Brave and Tireless' Journalist

When war reporter James Foley wasn't writing for GlobalPost or recording video for AFP or appearing on the PBS "NewsHour," he occasionally shared stories on his own blog, aptly titled "A World of Troubles."

For a subtitle, he chose the famous Carl von Clausewitz sentence "War is fought by human beings."

And that is exactly what Foley sought to show with his reporting: humanity amid the horror of war.

Foley was abducted while on a reporting trip in northern Syria in November 2012. He was never heard from again.

A video published Tuesday by the extremist group ISIS showed Foley being beheaded. It is not known when or where the video was recorded.

For Foley's family and friends, the recording was the answer they hoped they'd never hear to their questions about his disappearance.

"We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people," his mother, Diane, said Tuesday night,

She called him "an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person."

See more on this story on CNN.com

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Filed under: James Foley
August 19th, 2014
04:33 AM ET

Tear Gas, Gunfire Fly in Ferguson Again

An evening of peaceful protests devolved into another night of chaos as gunfire, tear gas and Molotov cocktails flew through Ferguson, Missouri.

At least 31 people were arrested, some of whom came from as far away as New York and California, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said.

For almost two hours, police in riot gear formed a barricade and stood watch as hundreds of peaceful protesters marched in a single-file line that stretched so long that different parts chanted different slogans.

"Hands up, don't shoot," some repeated. "No justice, no peace," others said. Still others were singing church hymns.

But the scene quickly deteriorated after a handful of protesters threw rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at police. Officers responded by firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters.

Amid the frenzy, the sounds of gunfire rang out from different parts of the city. Two people were shot within the protest site, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said.

One group of protesters made a barricade with portable toilets and orange cones. Some ripped out street signs, including the symbolic "Do Not Enter" sign.

Armored vehicles rolled down the streets with officers perched atop, their hands steadied on guns. Other officers darted into the protest crowd to make an occasional arrest before retreating.

Johnson, who was asked by Missouri's governor to try to keep order in Ferguson, said police are still trying to use a peaceful approach.

"For the most part it works," he said. "But tonight we had gunfire occur. Officers were taking shots at their vehicles."

He urged demonstrators to protest during the daylight hours Tuesday and not after dark.

"Make your voices heard where you can be seen and you're not the cover for violent agitators," he said.

MORE on CNN.com

August 18th, 2014
05:51 AM ET

Michael Brown Death: Missouri National Guard Headed to Ferguson

The chaos in Ferguson has gotten so unruly that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order deploying National Guard troops to the St. Louis suburb.

"Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard ... in restoring peace and order to this community," Nixon said in a statement.

Gunfire, tear gas and Molotov cocktails Sunday night marked some of the fiercest clashes yet between police and protesters furious over the death of an unarmed teenager.

And the tensions continued escalating after autopsy results revealed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot six times.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Ferguson • Michael Brown
August 15th, 2014
06:25 AM ET

Ukrainian Border Guards Inspecting Convoy of Trucks in Russia

Ukrainian border guards are in Russia and have started to examine the contents of a huge convoy of trucks that Moscow says is carrying relief goods for civilians in war-torn eastern Ukraine, a border guard official said Friday.

The purpose of the procession of trucks, which abruptly changed course earlier this week, has been the subject of dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government has expressed fears that the mission is a camouflaged effort to smuggle supplies to pro-Russian rebels and has vowed to keep the convoy out.

Russia insists that it should be permitted to send aid to the conflict-battered region, many of whose residents are Russian speakers.

The Ukrainian government, whose forces have been fighting the pro-Russian rebel groups for months, has said any aid needs its approval and has to go through the Red Cross or the United Nations.

Serhay Astahov, a spokesman for the the Ukrainian border guard service, told CNN on Friday that border guards had started inspecting the trucks at a checkpoint on the Russian side of the border from Ukraine's Luhansk region.

See more on CNN.com

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Filed under: Russia • Ukraine
August 14th, 2014
04:14 AM ET

Teen Runaway Hides Out in Texas Walmart for Days

There in the baby section, behind boxes of strollers, was a 14-year-old boy with a secret.

The runaway had made the 24-hour Walmart in Corsicana, Texas, his getaway hideout.

For what may have been more than two days in July, he roamed the store unnoticed. When he was tired, he'd lay down in his hidden cubby and sleep while shoppers were unaware the runaway was back there.

Police had been looking for the boy, who was visiting his aunt in the town about an hour's drive south of Dallas, for 54 hours when they got a call from a Walmart. An employee had spotted the lad on the lam coming out of his hiding place.

Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told CNN the chain cannot verify how long the boy was in the store but said this is definitely an isolated incident.

"It seems to be a unique situation, for sure," he said.

Nick said Walmart hasn't asked for police to press charges.

"Our concern was getting the child to safety," he added.

See more on CNN.com

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Filed under: Walmart
August 13th, 2014
04:22 AM ET

Famed Actress Lauren Bacall Dies at 89

Actress Lauren Bacall, the husky-voiced Hollywood icon known for her sultry sensuality, died Tuesday. She was 89.

Robbert de Klerk, co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, said Bacall died in New York.

She was anointed a legend during her lifetime by the American Film Institute, but she wasn't fond of that, she told CNN's Larry King in an interview in 2005.

"I don't like the category. And to begin with, to me, a legend is something that is not on the Earth, that is dead," she said.

Legends were part of the past, and Bacall preferred the present.

See more on CNN.com

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August 12th, 2014
05:32 AM ET

Robin Williams and the Dark Side of Comedy

By tradition, Drama is represented by two masks: the happy face of the comic muse Thalia and her sad counterpart, the tragic muse Melpomene.

If Drama were Robin Williams, you'd need a million more.

He was a mask of howling laughter, a mask of wide-eyed innocence. A sneer. A frown. Even, at times, a blank.

If it seemed like we knew what went on behind the many masks, it was because Williams' quicksilver mind and boundless talent possessed enough energy to blow them right off his face. He WAS Mork. He WAS Adrian Cronauer of "Good Morning, Vietnam." He WAS Patch Adams, and "Aladdin's" genie, and Mrs. Doubtfire.

But he was also the restrained Garp in "The World According to Garp," and the creepy Seymour Parrish in "One Hour Photo," and the firm but compassionate Sean Maguire in "Good Will Hunting," the performance that won him an Oscar.

It was that side of Williams - something raw and vulnerable, not something manic and boisterous - that made you wonder: who was he when he took off the mask?

On Monday, Williams was found dead in his home in Tiburon, California. He was 63. Coroner investigators suspect "the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia," according to a statement from the Marin County, California, Sheriff's Office.

It's a cliché, of course, the clown who laughs on the outside while crying - or dying - on the inside. It's Pavarotti's Pagliacci and Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp; Willy Wonka and Laurence Olivier's Archie Rice.

Show business history is filled with stories of comic kings who fought against depression and substance abuse, not always successfully. Jonathan Winters, Williams' hero, was institutionalized for a time. The effortless Dick Van Dyke once said he was "mostly drunk for 15 years." John Belushi and Chris Farley died of overdoses.

Mitch Hedberg, Freddie Prinze, Richard Jeni - all funny men, all gone before their time.

There's no question that comedy can be a form of escape - and recognition. Richard Pryor, one of the most brilliant comedians who ever strode on stage, was raised in a brothel, married multiple times, struggled with demons both societal and personal. He was ruthless - especially on himself.

Yet he was scathingly, mercilessly funny. It was comedy that drew blood, comedy as catharsis.

Chris Farley, on the other hand, grew up in a close-knit, comfortable clan - but also sometimes seemed to be running from something. His immersion in Matt Foley, the divorced motivational speaker who lived in a "van down by the river," was both hilarious and a little scary.

"We lose at least one great comic to suicide or ODs every year," tweeted comedian Michael Ian Black on Monday. "Our jobs are to communicate, but we seem to not know how to ask for help."

See more on CNN.com

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Filed under: Robin Williams
Tony Stewart: Raising Smoke With a Hard Driving Life
August 12th, 2014
04:37 AM ET

Tony Stewart: Raising Smoke With a Hard Driving Life

Tony Stewart's profession is driving for millions of dollars a year in NASCAR races, but his hobby is racing against amateurs on dirt tracks for trophies.

Stewart, 43, started in go-carts when he was just 5 in Columbus, Indiana, 50 miles south of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He rose through the ranks, winning the Indy Racing League championship in 1997 before moving to NASCAR two years later.

He's won three championships in NASCAR's top series - the Sprint Cup - and he's a co-owner of his racing team.

Other drivers started calling him "Smoke" because that's what they saw coming from his tires as he steered aggressively through turns on asphalt tracks.

While burning rubber wore down tire tread needed late in a race, it added to his reputation as one of the most competitive drivers, both behind the wheel and off the track.

Sponsors pay big bucks to display their logos on Stewart's No. 14 car because they know millions will watch it speed around the big track hundreds of times in a single event, as many as three dozen weekends a year.

His bad-boy antics, the fights and the words, make him stand out among dozens of other personalities in the sport.

Even the fans who boo him are watching. He shows up unshaven on race days in contrast to more polished drivers who are more careful with words and actions to avoid alienating sponsors and fans.

Winning, either on NASCAR's asphalt or unsanctioned dirt, is Stewart's goal. As he sacrifices valuable tire tread for track cred, he also puts great passion into his non-paying hobby, carried out at the risk of his big-money professional driving.

MORE on CNN.com

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Rescuers Pull Stranded Passengers From Six Flags Roller Coaster
August 11th, 2014
04:54 AM ET

Rescuers Pull Stranded Passengers From Six Flags Roller Coaster

Rescuers pulled stranded riders from a roller coaster at Six Flags America in Maryland on Sunday after the ride halted on the tracks.

A train on the Joker's Jinx roller coaster stopped near the top of the 79-foot-tall ride, fire officials said. It took more than four hours to get all 24 passengers back on the ground.

No one was injured, Six Flags spokeswoman Debbie Evans said.

Video from CNN affiliate WJLA showed rescuers slowly helping passengers to safety, one by one. Hours after the rescue operation began, Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said all passengers were safe.

He posted a series of photos of the dramatic rescue on Twitter.

"Firefighters have reached the 1st car by tower bucket – each of 6 cars will be emptied slowly," he wrote.

See more on CNN.com

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