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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chelsea Clinton weds longtime beau in New York


Rhinebeck, New York (CNN) -- Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and longtime beau Marc Mezvinsky were wed Saturday "in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts," a 50-acre estate in Rhinebeck, New York, according to a joint statement issued by her parents, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family," the statement said. "On behalf of the newlyweds, we want to give special thanks to the people of Rhinebeck for welcoming us and to everyone for their well-wishes on this special day".
The confirmation by the Clintons put to rest a slew of speculation on where and when the nuptials would take place.
"Today, we watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts, surrounded by family and their close friends," the statement said.
Hundreds of curious onlookers -- along with hordes of reporters and cameramen -- gathered Saturday at the main intersection of the tiny New York town in hopes of catching a glimpse of celebrities and dignitaries attending the wedding.
CNN

Brazil's president offers asylum to imprisoned Iranian woman


(CNN) -- Brazil's president has offered asylum to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, state-run media reported Saturday.
President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva was quoted by Brazil's official state news agency EBC as saying "I want to make an appeal to my friend Ahmadinejad ... and to the government of Iran to allow Brazil to take in the woman".
Brazil recently participated in talks with Iran aimed at restarting negotiations about Iran's nuclear program. In May, Brazil helped broker a deal with Iran that would provide Tehran with enriched uranium for medical research.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery in 2006 and was originally sentenced to death by stoning. Iranian authorities say the sentence has been put on hold, but there have been no reports as to whether a new sentence has been imposed. The 43-year-old mother of two is reportedly still being held held in Tabriz prison.
Iran's judiciary could reinstate her sentence of death by stoning, execute her by another means, or possibly even grant her a reprieve, according to human rights groups.
CNN

Three of four kidnapped journalists freed


(CNN) -- Two journalists kidnapped earlier this week by armed gunmen in Gomez Palacio, Mexico, were freed by their captors unharmed Saturday, according to the state-run news agency Notimex.
Mulitmedios cameraman Javier Canales and Televisa Laguna photo journalist Alejandro Hernandez were released two days after the release of another hostage, Hector Gordo, a journalist on the program Punto de Partida.
The whereabouts of a fourth hostage, Oscar Solis, a local newspaper reporter, are still unknown.
The journalists were kidnapped Monday while covering a protest by inmates and relatives at a local prison. The prison made news after Mexico's attorney general's office revealed some of its guards let a squad of imprisoned hit men free to carry out a massacre of 17 people in the nearby town of Torreon.
This week, local residents along with Mexican and foreign journalists started a petition on the social media sites Facebook and Twitter to demand the journalists' release.
On Friday, the signal of one of Mexico's largest television networks faded to black for almost an hour as a symbolic protest of violence against journalists.
CNN

Bus wreck kills 13 in southwest China


(CNN) -- A bus carrying 22 passengers plummeted nearly 30 feet off a cliff in southwest China on Saturday, killing at least 13 people and injuring nine others, state-run media reported.
Local authorities told Xinhua News Agency that the bus apparently lost control, crashing into a guardrail before going over the edge of the cliff.
The cause of the wreck in Xuanhan County in Sichuan Province is under investigation, Xinhua reported.
CNN

Three convicted Arizona murderers still on the loose


(CNN) -- Arizona authorities are hunting for three convicted murderers who may well be out of state or on their way to Mexico, a corrections official said Saturday.
The Arizona Department of Corrections and the Flagstaff police said on Saturday that the three disappeared from a medium-security facility near Kingman and are considered to be armed and dangerous.
State and local authorities are searching for the men, who were discovered missing after the 9 p.m. count Friday at the privately-operated facility. The escapees cut a hole in the fence, authorities said. All three were serving time on murder convictions.
Flagstaff police said the suspects abducted two people in Kingman at gunpoint and then released them at a truck stop in Flagstaff.
Authorities were working late Saturday with federal and state agencies to find the men.
CNN

Military airstrike video leak suspect in solitary confinement


Washington (CNN) -- The Army private charged with leaking an airstrike video and downloading documents remained in solitary confinement Saturday.
Military officials told CNN that Pfc. Bradley Manning is also the prime suspect in the latest leak of documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Manning was routinely processed Thursday at the Quantico detention facility, a military spokesman said Friday.
Manning arrived at 9:30 p.m. Thursday and was given a physical exam and medical screenings, according to Lt. Col. Rob Manning (not related) of the Military District of Washington. The suspect is in solitary confinement and is being observed in accordance with normal operating procedures, the spokesman said.
Manning's legal future is complex. He has already been charged with leaking a 2007 airstrike video and downloading documents from classified military systems. And he is suspected in the latest leak of thousands of Afghanistan field reports to the Wikileaks.org website.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, has declined to say where his whistle-blower website got about 91,000 U.S. documents about the war. About 76,000 of them were posted on the site Sunday in what has been called the biggest leak since the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War.
CNN

Russian military to work with Emergencies Ministry to put out wildfires

The Russian defense minister has prepared a plan to include military personnel to help the Emergencies Ministry in the battle against raging wildfires.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov presented the plan to President Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Saturday.
"We have created regional command points for our troops who could help in extinguishing the wildfires," Serdyukov said.
The Russian president told the minister that the military's actions must be coordinated with the Emergencies Ministry.
"The Defense Ministry has other tasks, but nonetheless it should support our ministry that is fighting the fires, and this needs to be done especially using those human resources which are accustomed to the conditions in each individual region," Medvedev said.
Medvedev noted that the wildfires are "a serious natural disaster which happens about every 30-40 years".
The defense minister said that in the Moscow region alone there are several battalions filling tankers with water and that in other regions more than 300 pieces of equipment had sent to put out the fires.
RIA Novosti

Siberian governor offers shelter, jobs for wildfire victims in Russia

The governor of Kuzbass has invited all of the Russians who lost their homes in wildfires to stay in the southwest Siberian region until their homes are rebuilt, the regional administration's press service said.
Over the last 24 hours, over 1,000 homes have been destroyed and entire villages burned to the ground in the largest wildfire ever to hit the European part of Russia.
"The people of Kuzbass are shocked by what has happened in the European part of Russia where wildfires have burnt down a number of villages," a spokesman for the press service said.
He said the region was prepared to help those who lost their homes and that Governor Aman Tuleyev has invited all of those who were affected by the wildfires to temporarily live and work in the region until their homes are rebuilt.
RIA Novosti

Death toll from Russian wildfires climbs to 12 - Emergencies Ministry

Rescue workers combing the village of Verknyaya Vereya destroyed by recent wildfires in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod Region have discovered three bodies, bringing the death toll to 12 people.
The Emergencies Ministry's regional press service said the bodies were discovered on Saturday.
Over the last 24 hours, over 1,000 homes have been destroyed and entire villages burned to the ground in the largest wildfire ever to hit the European part of Russia.
Earlier on Friday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to take urgent additional measures to fight the fires and to allocate funds for damage compensation. Medvedev has also called for proposals to be drawn up on the purchase of additional firefighting equipment, including Be-200 aircraft.
Temperatures across much of western and central Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) during the past five weeks, causing peat bog and forest fires and creating what is thought to be the worst drought since 1972.
RIA Novosti

Building collapse in Italy kills 3


Rome, Italy (CNN) -- A young married couple wrapped in an embrace were among three people found dead after an apartment building collapsed in southern Italy Friday night, an Italian rescue official said.
The accident occurred in Afragola, located near Naples.
Generoso Schiavone, an engineer at the Italian Civil Protection office, told CNN that crews found the bodies of a 33-year-old man and his 29-year-old wife locked in an embrace. They also found the body of a 75-year-old woman.
A 10-year-old girl survived the accident. Schiavone told CNN she is the granddaughter of the 75-year-old woman.
The region was inundated by heavy rains, but Schiavone said that the bad weather alone was not responsible for the collapse.
CNN

Three kidnapped journalists released


(CNN) -- Two journalists kidnapped earlier this week by armed gunmen in Gomez Palacio, Mexico were freed by their captors unharmed Saturday, according to the state-run news agency Notimex.
Mulitmedios cameraman Javier Canales and Televisa Laguna photojournalist Alejandro Hernandez were released two days after the release of another hostage Hector Gordo, a journalist on the program Punto de Partida. The whereabouts of a fourth hostage Oscar Solis, a local newspaper reporter, are still unknown.
The journalists were kidnapped Monday while covering a protest by inmates and relatives at a local prison. The prison made news after Mexico's Attorney General's office revealed some of its guards let a squad of imprisoned hit men free to carry out a massacre of 17 people in the nearby town of Torreon.
This week, local residents along with Mexican and foreign journalists started a petition on the social media sites Facebook and Twitter to demand the journalist's release.
On Friday, the signal of one of Mexico's largest television networks faded to black for almost an hour as a symbolic protest of violence against journalists.
"We will not pretend that nothing is happening," said Denise Maerker, anchor of Televisa's "Punto de Partida" as she opened the show.
The protest Friday comes after the four journalists were kidnapped Monday while covering a riot at a prison in the northern state of Durango.
Earlier news reports indicated that an unidentified drug cartel has demanded coverage of videos it has made in exchange for releasing the four reporters, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement Wednesday.
The journalists were abducted in the Laguna region, which includes the state of Durango and parts of neighboring Coahuila state, Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights said in a statement Tuesday.
That area has been the scene of vicious fighting between the Zetas crime group and the Sinaloa cartel.
Violence against journalists has become increasingly common amid the escalating drug war, and critics have said the government does not do enough to hold criminals accountable.
CNN

An Amazonian adventure: Walking the length of a very long river


(CNN) -- With eleven days to go things are already beginning to change for Cho and I.
CNN and the media at home in the UK have spread the news about our 'little jungle walk' and the messages that are coming through to the website are just unbelievable.
If you've left one thank you so much - from Cho and me - we have been blown away.
CNN's commitment to following us has put a spring in our steps which is great as timings-wise we have our backs to the wall now.
We (I) made a navigation error a few days back misreading an electricity pylon as a road on Google Earth.
With no road, we were back into the jungle for a rude extra four to five days which we're in the middle of now. Cut to ribbons by razor grass we made 8.6km today. A 5am start tomorrow should help us make up lost time.
This expedition is already largely a memory and so I deliberately enjoyed sipping my coffee gazing into the fire's flames last night.
Cho and I often don't speak - quite content in our own little worlds as the beans bubble and the smoke escapes. We're both becoming acutely aware that 'our little worlds' here in the jungle are very soon coming to an end.
The freedom of living in the jungle for two and a half years has been wonderful; you can roam where you want and as we wash in the stream at the end of a long days walking, quite often no-one sees you but the birds and the ants.
Life in London in a fortnight may take some slight adjusting to.
I think though that Cho's due for a bigger culture shock than me when we finish.
CNN

Chile resumes diplomatic relations with Honduras


(CNN) -- Chile is re-establishing diplomatic relations with Honduras more than a year after a coup sent the Central American country into political crisis, Chile's foreign ministry announced Friday.
In a declaration posted on its website, the ministry said it based its decision on a report released by the Organization of American States noting significant steps towards normal democratic practices and the defense of human rights in Honduras.
Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said in a press conference that the Chilean government recognizes Honduras President Porfirio Lobo was elected in a free and democratic process.
Lobo was elected president in November of last year with 56 percent of the vote. His election came months after the ouster of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office by the Honduran National Congress after he tried to change the country's constitution to allow for his re-election.
CNN

Church plans Quran-burning event


(CNN) -- In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.
Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.
Muslims and many other Christians -- including some evangelicals -- are fighting the initiative.
The church launched a YouTube channel to disseminate its messages.
"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they're on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?" Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.
"No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil".
The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the monthlong fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.
CNN

Chavez sending troops to Colombian border


(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has deployed troops to areas near the Colombian border and says he is reviewing plans for a potential war as tension between the two nations rises.
"Three nights ago I told the vice-president. It makes me sad, I confess, that I'm reviewing war plans," he said during a phone interview on the state-run VTV network.
Special forces are moving to 10 districts near the Colombian border to be prepared in case Colombian President Alvaro Uribe issues an invasion order before he leaves office August 7, Chavez said Friday.
Colombia and Venezuela are at odds over accusations that leftist rebels have found refuge in Venezuela.
Colombia says it has photographic evidence of camps belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- known by its Spanish abbreviation, FARC -- in Venezuela. Colombia made its case before the Organization of American States earlier this month and asked for international observers to be allowed into Venezuela to verify the presence of the guerrilla group.
Venezuela denied the accusations, and in response broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia.
CNN

Thousands mourn Love Parade victims


Duisburg, Germany (CNN) -- Thousands of people gathered Saturday for a memorial service a week after a stampede at a German music festival left 21 people dead.
The service at the Salvator Church in the northern German city of Duisburg was broadcast at 14 other churches in town and at the local soccer arena, which has a capacity of 31,500.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff both cut short their holidays to be at the service.
Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland did not plan to be there, however, after reports he had received death threats for allowing the Love Parade festival to take place in the city.
Organizers planned a candle procession from the scene of the tragedy to Salvator Church and the arena. The church can accommodate about 500 people, and the seats were reserved mainly for relatives of the victims.
Joachim Mueller-Lange, the vicar responsible for emergency spiritual healing, said all the families of those killed had been contacted, including some who live abroad. Some families did not plan to attend because burials were being held Saturday, while others declined to attend because they wished for something more private, he said.
CNN

Russian boy in U.S. adoption case back in orphanage, attorney says


(CNN) -- A Russian boy who was sent back to Moscow, Russia, by his adoptive mother in the United States has been returned to an orphanage, an attorney of the World Association for Children and Parents said Friday.
Larry Crain said the National Council for Adoption will be traveling to Russia next week to meet with adoption authorities there. The delegation will evaluate the child, 8-year-old Artyem Saveliev, and provide information to a U.S. circuit court in Tennessee.
World Association for Children and Parents had coordinated the adoption.
In April, Artyem, then 7, was put on a trans-Atlantic flight from the United States to Moscow. He had been adopted by an American family in Tennessee, which arranged for a Russian driver to deliver the boy from the Moscow airport to the Russian Ministry of Education.
Artyem carried with him a letter signed by his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tennessee. In it, she said the boy was "mentally unstable" with violent tendencies, and that she had been misled about his mental condition.
CNN