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May 12th, 2014
04:09 AM ET

CNN Exclusive: Nigerian Girl Who Escaped Boko Haram Says She Still Feels Afraid

The terrifying news began to spread before the gun-wielding Islamist militants made it into Chibok last month. Villagers began to receive cell phone calls that the feared extremist group Boko Haram was on the way.

No one knew what the attack would entail, that it would mean hundreds of schoolgirls plucked from their beds by a group of extremists who would later threaten to sell them.

"It's like they were coming for a shopping trip," a villager who witnessed the attack told CNN.

Some lucky girls managed to escape that night when, after they were loaded into cargo trucks, they made a dash for freedom.

"We would rather die than go," one of the girls told CNN. "We ran into the bush. We ran and we ran."

With fear in her eyes and voice, the young woman, who asked not to be identified, described the experience to a CNN crew that made the long, dangerous trip to her village.

She said she and two friends who had also escaped saw something on fire and headed in that direction, presuming it was building in the village that had been set ablaze. Normally, Chibok is pitch black at night.

Officials have said that Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls from the boarding school on April 14 and that some escaped into a forest.

Villagers said they passed along warnings to local police that the terrorists were on their way that night. They said they received phone calls from family and friends from surrounding villages and were told that there was a convoy of cargo trucks, pickups and motorcycles heading their way.

One villager said he was told, "They are coming for you. Run!"

The villagers said police called for reinforcements, but none came. Everyone, including the police, fled into the bush during the attack. But the girls were asleep in their dorms.

The stories appear to confirm an Amnesty International report that the government couldn't put together enough troops to head off the attack.

The girl who described her escape to CNN was still shaken up by the events. When asked to describe what her kidnappers wore, she responded: "I feel afraid."

Her school is closed, but if it were open, she says, she wouldn't go back.

MORE on CNN.com

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May 9th, 2014
04:37 AM ET

Report: Apple in Talks to Buy Beats Electronics

Apple is offering $3.2 billion to purchase Beats Electronics, the audio company started by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

While Beats Electronics is best known for its premium headphones, it launched a streaming music service, Beats Music, in January. According to the report, the streaming service would be included in the deal. Apple runs its own streaming music service, iTunes Radio.

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May 8th, 2014
06:07 AM ET

U.S. Suspends Public Operations at Embassy in Yemen

Citing recent attacks, the United States on Wednesday announced that it has suspended public services at its embassy in Sanaa, Yemen.

"Due to recent attacks against Western interests in Yemen, we have temporarily suspended operations of our Embassy in Sana'a to the public," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "We continue to evaluate the security situation every day, and we will reopen the embassy to the public once it is deemed appropriate."

She described the move as a "precautionary step."

The temporary suspension of operations is due to a reemergence of a threat from several weeks ago that the United States thought it had disrupted, according to a U.S. official with specific understanding of the current situation.

A credible threat to the U.S. Embassy emerged around March, the official said, in the same time frame that a video appeared showing some 100 al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, including several who had broken out of jail the month before.

The United States thought that threat had been disrupted by a number of Yemeni actions, including, but not directly related to a series of U.S. drone strikes and Yemeni military operations in early April.

But in recent days, the threat stream has reemerged, the official said. It is currently assessed to be credible and somewhat specific in terms of the embassy being the target, according to the source.

The United States is still attempting to corroborate the threat and determine whether there is a specific time and date, as well as any other specific locations.

A second U.S. official said the suspension of the embassy activity was based on credible information about threats to Western interests. The senior official was not sure whether the threat was embassy-specific. There have been no evacuations of the embassy.

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May 8th, 2014
04:54 AM ET

Boko Haram Attacks Nigerian Village Used by Military in Search for Abducted Girls

Boko Haram launched a grisly attack on a Nigerian village in an area that troops had been using as a base in the search for hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by the militant group, witnesses told CNN on Wednesday.

The hourslong assault on Gamboru Ngala that left at least 150 people dead, some of whom were burned alive, is the latest in a series of brazen attacks and abductions by Boko Haram, raising concern about whether the Nigerian government can retake control of the region from the entrenched terror group.

Word of the attack follows news that President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been under fire for his handling of the mass abduction, accepted U.S., British and Chinese offers of assistance to find the schoolgirls, officials with those governments said.

It's unclear what impact the latest attack could have on the international response to Nigeria's fight with Boko Haram, which so far has concentrated on helping the government rescue 276 schoolgirls abducted on April 14.

The assault on the village came after military troops deployed to the area were called to the border area near Chad, where reports - later determined to be false - surfaced that the schoolgirls had been found with Boko Haram militants, witnesses and local officials said.

CNN cannot independently confirm the report, and attempts Wednesday to contact Nigeria's military for comment were unsuccessful.

We'll have the latest updates on "Early Start."

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May 7th, 2014
04:49 AM ET

White House Locked Down After Car Drives Into Secure Area

Officials temporarily locked down the White House late Tuesday afternoon after a man followed a motorcade into a secure area of the heavily guarded complex, authorities said.

Around 4:40 p.m., the driver entered the restricted area, behind a motorcade that included President Barack Obama's two daughters, who go to school nearby, according to a source familiar with the incident.

Obama was inside the White House at the time, with his schedule indicating he was meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.

The driver was stopped by uniformed officers at the outer perimeter of a checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and taken into custody, according to a U.S. Secret Service spokesperson. The Secret Service later identified the 55-year-old man as Mathew Evan Goldstein, who was charged with unlawful entry.

The source familiar with the incident said the driver holds a pass for the U.S. Treasury building, which sits next to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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May 6th, 2014
04:46 AM ET

Pressure Mounts for U.S. to Help Find Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls

The United States is offering its help, but making clear that the Nigerian government must take the lead in finding more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Officials told CNN the Obama administration is sharing intelligence with Nigerian authorities and could provide other assistance, but there is no planning to send U.S. troops.

With a World Economic Forum gathering set to begin Wednesday in Abuja, the Nigerian government came under mounting pressure to save the girls abducted in the country's remote northeast and threatened with being sold into slavery.

On a trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States "will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice."

In Washington, U.S. officials offered few specific details on American help being provided.

"We are going to keep working with the Nigerians privately on that," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters. "Obviously they have come out very publicly and said that they are, you know, making every effort to find these girls. I just don't think we are going to outline how we are helping them. What we are focused on is making sure they can find (the girls) and bring them home to their families."

See the latest on this story on "Early Start."

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May 5th, 2014
04:38 AM ET

Fast-Moving Wildfire Burns at Least 20 Homes in Oklahoma

A fast-moving wildfire destroyed at least 20 homes and killed at least one person in Oklahoma's Logan County on Sunday.

It was one of several fires to break out amid unseasonably high temperatures and windy conditions in the state, officials said.

The victim was a 56-year-old man who failed to evacuate when requested, said Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.

Guthrie is the county seat.

The Guthrie blaze was about four miles long and up to a mile wide and was burning a largely rural area.

Harlow put the fire's size at between 3,000 to 4,000 acres.

"It's growing so fast it's pretty hard to estimate," Stephens said. "There are a lot of cedar trees, they have a lot of oil in them and they just explode."

The fire was the largest of several in the state that are being fueled by temperatures in the 90s and high winds, said Keli Cain, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

"They got three ingredients for a bad fire: high temperatures, high winds and low humidity," said Daryl Williams with the National Weather Service in Norman.

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May 2nd, 2014
04:38 AM ET

55 Colleges Under Investigation Over Handling Of Sexual Violence Complaints

Federal investigators are checking whether 55 colleges and universities illegally handled sexual violence and harassment complaints, the U.S. Department of Education said Thursday.

Such investigations have long been known, but this is the first time that the department has released a list of all probes currently under way.

The list includes colleges and universities in 27 states and in the District of Columbia.

"We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights," said Catherine E. Lhamon, the department's assistant secretary for civil rights.

"We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university's appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law."

Five schools promptly responded to CNN's request for response. The University of California, Berkeley said it will cooperate with the investigation and added that its chancellor had sent out a letter to campus saying sexual assault would not be tolerated.

"Much has been done to strengthen the campus' handling of these issues, but we understand that there is always room for improvement," the university statement said.

At the same time, reports of sex assault in the U.S. military are up by half, another startling annual figure around a problem the Pentagon believes is still under-reported.

But the Defense Department said the sharp year-over-year increase for fiscal 2013 largely reflected steps to encourage more people to come forward if they've been assaulted.

And Pentagon leaders acknowledged they've still got a long way to go, and have put special emphasis on getting male victims to file claims.

"The best way to combat this crime is to prevent it," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said after his department released the latest figures in a report.

We'll have the latest on both issues on "Early Start."

What do you think can be done to change this culture of sexual violence?

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May 1st, 2014
04:05 AM ET

Mayor Rob Ford Takes Break From Campaign To Seek Help For Alcohol Abuse

Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he is taking a break from his re-election campaign to seek help for alcohol abuse - hours after a local newspaper reported on a new video that allegedly shows him smoking crack cocaine.

"It's not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life," Ford said in a statement Wednesday. "I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time."

The statement, provided to CNN by Canada's CTV News, comes after the Toronto Globe and Mail reported on the new video.

In the video purportedly filmed Saturday, the newspaper reports Ford is seen smoking what a drug dealer described to the paper as crack cocaine from a copper-colored pipe. Two Globe and Mail reporters viewed the video, and the publication said it was shot in what appears to be Ford's sister's basement.

The paper said the substance in the pipe could not be confirmed.

The video is part "of a package of three videos the dealer said was surreptitiously filmed around 1:15 a.m., and which he says he is now selling for 'at least six figures,'" the paper reported.

See the latest on "Early Start" and get MORE on this story on CNN.com.

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