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January 31st, 2013
10:18 AM ET

Family mourns for teen shot after inauguration performance, suggest changes to gun laws


Chicago (CNN) - A teen who performed at events around President Barack Obama's inauguration was shot to death in Chicago this week, and now her story has become part of the debate in Washington over gun violence nationwide.

The shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton came up in a U.S. Senate hearing and a White House press briefing Wednesday.

"She was an honor student and a majorette," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. Performing at inaugural events last week "was the highlight of her young, 15-year-old life," he said.

Speaking at Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, Durbin mentioned Pendleton's death as he argued that more must be done to stop gun crimes.

"Yesterday, in a rainstorm after school, she raced to a shelter. A gunman came in and shot her dead," he said. "Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she's gone."

The park shelter where she was shot is just a mile from Obama's home in Chicago.

This morning on "Early Start," Hadiya's dad Nathaniel and godfather Damon Stewart talk about her legacy, and changes they hope to see in gun control laws.

READ MORE: Teen who performed at Obama inaugural events shot dead in Chicago

Filed under: Gun control • Guns • Presidential Inauguration
January 31st, 2013
08:30 AM ET

VIDEO: Baltimore Co. Police Chief Johnson: Background checks most important element of gun control

Baltimore Co. Police Chief James Johnson on what he thinks is the most important element of gun control reform.

Filed under: Gun control • Guns
January 31st, 2013
07:52 AM ET

Hagel in the hot seat for Defense Sec. hearing – Chris Lawrence reports

CNN's Chris Lawrence on possible grilling of fmr. Sen. Chuck Hagel in a confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary.

Filed under: Confirmation hearing • Defense • Politics
January 31st, 2013
07:12 AM ET

MYB: Bill Gates on immigration: High talent immigration has kind of been held hostage

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates talks immigration with Christine Romans. He says the U.S. is losing potential talent. "He specifically is interested in high-skilled tech workers being allowed to stay in this country," Romans reports. 

"The high talent immigration has kind of been held hostage," Gates tells her.

January 31st, 2013
07:07 AM ET

Gunman holds 6-year-old boy in underground bunker for third day in standoff – George Howell reports

It is day three now of a tense standoff in Alabama, where a gunman is holding a six-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker. Police say the boy was dragged off a school bus Tuesday afternoon in Midland City after the gunman shot and killed the school bus driver.

Authorities are communicating with the suspect through a PVC tube. They've also sent down prescription medicine, crayons and coloring books for the six-year-old hostage. School officials are calling the driver a hero. They say Charles Poland Jr.’s quick thinking saved the lives of 21 children. CNN’s George Howell is live in Midland City with the latest.

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Filed under: Crime • Hostage • Missing children
January 31st, 2013
06:44 AM ET

CNN Trends: Wacky Super Bowl bets and 'Idol' contestant bring Mariah to tears

Trending on the web this morning: Bleacherreport.com looks at some wacky Super Bowl bets, and one "American Idol" contestant brings Mariah Carey to tears.

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Filed under: Celebrities • Super Bowl • Trending
January 31st, 2013
05:51 AM ET

Extreme weather moves further East, wreaking havoc on South – Miguel Marquez reports


(CNN) - Powerful winds and a tornado spawned by a 1,000-mile-long storm system pounded communities in northwest Georgia on Wednesday, overturning dozens of vehicles and trapping residents.

The tornado caused significant damage in Adairsville, Georgia.

One person died in that town and another died in Tennessee, authorities reported. At least 17 people were injured in Georgia, two critically.

The Adairsville death marks the first person killed by a U.S. tornado in 220 days, a record for most consecutive days without such a fatality, said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.

This morning on "Early Start," Miguel Marquez reports on the damage from these severe storms.

Read More: High winds, tornado trap Georgia residents, turn over cars

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Filed under: Extreme Weather • Tornado
January 30th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

MYB: Dow could hit 14,000, S&P ' just shy of record highs'

The buzz is building on Wall Street as the Dow and S&P near all-time highs. Christine Romans is minding your business.

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Filed under: Markets • Minding Your Business • Stocks
January 30th, 2013
07:42 AM ET

MYB: BlackBerry 10 unveiled today – Can BlackBerry get its groove back?

Can BlackBerry get its groove back? Christine Romans is minding your business with more on the new BlackBerry 10. "It's do or die for BlackBerry in the battle of the smartphones," Romans says.

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Filed under: Blackberry • Smart phones
January 30th, 2013
07:15 AM ET

How performance enhancing drugs affect the body – Elizabeth Cohen explains

A new report reveals records show Yankees's player Alex Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen looks at the risks of using PEDs.

Filed under: PEDs • Steroids
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