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September 4th, 2013
09:31 AM ET

Here's The Plan For Action In Syria

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee drafts a bipartisan agreement authorizing the use of force in Syria they'll take up for debate on Wednesday. CNN's Jim Scuitto reports.

In trying to appease both war hawks and doves, the bill attempts to limit the scope and length of attacks but also intends to strategically help to strengthen the Syrian opposition.

Here's what the authorization states:

– Strikes against Syria limited to 60 days, option for further 30 days

– Bans troops on the ground, permits rescue mission if needed

Secretaries Kerry and Hagel and General Dempsey, veterans who understand the cost of war, tell Senators Tuesday that limited military action is right and necessary.

Secretary of State John Kerry says:

"Are you going to be comfortable if Assad, as a result of the United States not doing anything, then gasses his people yet again and they - and the world says, 'Why didn't the United States act?'

Senator John McCain, a long supporter of more vigorous U.S. involvement in Syria,  criticizes the President's decision to delay military action until after congressional approval.

"When you tell the enemy you're going to attack them, I'm not to take any time on this, you're going to attack them, they're obviously going to disperse and try to make it harder."

However, President Obama may be making ground with lawmakers. Speaker of the House John Boehner gives his support for military action Tuesday.

Wednesday, the case for military action in Syria moves to the House where Secretaries Kerry and Hagel and General Dempsey can expect tougher questioning than they did in a session Tuesday.

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Filed under: Syria • Uncategorized
September 4th, 2013
06:07 AM ET

Ariel Castro Found Hanged In Cell

Ariel Castro, who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years on charges of kidnap, rape and murder, is found dead Tuesday night.

The convicted man is found hanging in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.

CNN affiliate WOIO reporter Scott Taylor  calls into "Early Start" with updates.

Taylor says while Castro was on suicide watch in prison in Cleveland, being checked on every 10 minutes by guards, the situation changed when he was moved to state jail.

"He was on precautionary watch, where they don’t think an inmate will hurt themselves, but they're high profile so they  want to keep an eye on him."

Taylor says Castro was checked on at 9 p.m. and was found hanging around 9:20 p.m.

The Ohio State Police and Department of Corrections are now investigating the death.

At Castro's trial, one of the three survivors showed up in person to confront her captor.

Michelle Knight said, "I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning."

But Castro was only in prison for weeks.

Maria Castro Montes, cousin of Ariel Castro, called into "Early Start" to say she found out via text message at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning of the death.

Montes says she believes even though Castro didn't get the death sentence, the girls wanted to see him live through jail.

Though this result might end up being the best option.

"Maybe this is for the best,  I don't think they were ever going to find peace if he was still alive and in prison."


For more on this story visit CNN.com.

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September 3rd, 2013
09:19 AM ET

White House "Floods the Zone" Trying to Build Support For Action In Syria

The United Nations says the number of refugees from the escalating crisis in Syria has reached 2 million.

Later Tuesday, the Obama administration will send two of its heaviest hitters to Capitol Hill to rally for action abroad,  CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a closed door session.

The White House says they might have achieved a "persuasion breakthrough" with two crucial lawmakers – Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

McCain says "We want to work to make that resolution something that the majority of both Houses can support," but adds "we still have significant concerns."

Graham stresses, "We don't want endless war."

Congress wants a limited strike and no boots on the ground.

The White House continues to push with their persuasion campaign and President Obama will meet with Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and twelve other key lawmakers today.

And some of these officials may soon be lobbied from a much different direction.

Russia, a friend of the Syrian government, says it will send some of its representatives to meet with members of Congress.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has questioned if chemical weapons were used at all saying, there's "nothing concrete, no names and no proof."

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September 3rd, 2013
05:51 AM ET

Fifth Try The Charm For Swimmer Diana Nyad

Five turns out to be a very lucky number for swimmer Diana Nyad.

The 64-year-old athlete navigated the waters between Havana, Cuba, and Key West, Florida, on Monday, after five tries over three decades. CNN's Karin Caifa reports.

Nyad started on Saturday and swam over 100 miles without a protective shark cage or flippers, though she battled jelly fish with a protective mask.

It reportedly took a team of 35 people to help monitor her progress and clear her path of danger.

After reaching Florida, Nyad was taken to the hospital for observation but not before she acknowledged her fans.

The dreamer said: "We should never ever give up, you never are too old to chase your dreams."

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September 2nd, 2013
10:08 AM ET

President Obama Makes His Case To Congress

As President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials present the case for military action in Syria to Congress, we're learning more about the timeline behind the decision.

CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

Aides to the Commander-in-Chief say President Obama didn't tell anyone about his plan to ask Congress for permission to proceed with military strikes in Syria until Friday at 6pm, when he took a 45-minute walk with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Shortly after, at 7 p.m, the President tells his National Security staff of the decision, sparking a heated debate.

Saturday morning, he calls his top team to the Situation Room to finalize the plan, then calls Congressional leaders from the Oval Office and heads to make the announcement to the public.

Speaking from the Rose Garden,the President  says "All of us should be accountable as we move forward and that can only be accomplished with a vote."

Secretary of State Kerry also recently revealed new evidence to back claims the Assad regime killed hundreds of his people with nerve gas.

"Blood and hair samples that have come to us has tested positive for signatures of Sarin," Kerry said.

Despite this evidence, CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent  Dana Bash says the President has his work cut out for him as support for military action abroad is far from guaranteed.

Bash reports that lawmakers emerged from a classified briefing Sunday intended to convince them to authorize force in Syria seemingly unconvinced, despite reports the administration appealed to their sense of patriotism and morality.

Texas Rep. Michael Burgess said, "The mood in the district I represent is, do not do this. And I honestly did not hear anything that told me I ought to have a different position."

The resistance to action cuts across the aisle.

Connecticut Democrat Jim Hines adds, "I'm still very skeptical about the President's proposal. It's not clear to me that we know what the results of this attack would be, meaning it would be effective."

Concern also lingers over authorizing a bill many lawmakers currently find too broad for the limited action that has been publicized.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt, Missouri, says  "The biggest single concern among members may very well have been a very broad request for authority with a supposedly very narrow intent to do anything."

The administration continues to meet with key figures and later Monday,  Senators' John McCain and Lindsey Graham are expected to go to the White House to meet with the President.

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