Grandson of Malcolm X killed in Mexico

The grandson of civil rights activist Malcolm X, Malcolm Shabazz, died in a Mexico City hospital after suffering an apparent beating, police told CNN.

Prosecutors are investigating the death as a homicide, police spokesman Octavio Campos said.

Police were called to the scene of an injured man at 3:30 a.m. Thursday one block south of Plaza Garibaldi, a rough but famous patch of Mexico City known for its mariachis.

Shabazz appeared to have been beaten, but had no wounds from other weapons, Campos said.

The 29-year-old was transported to Mexico City's Balbuena General Hospital, where he died later Thursday morning because of his injuries, he said.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement that Shabazz had been at "a place of recreation" and had been drinking beers that night.

"To all who knew him, he offered kindness, encouragement and hope for a better tomorrow," the Shabazz family said in a statement Friday. "Although his bright light and boundless potential are gone from this life, we are grateful that he now rests in peace in the arms of his grandparents and the safety of God."

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman was aware that a U.S. citizen had died in Mexico, but declined to comment further.

"I was saddened, stunned, shocked, to read about the murder of young Malcolm," former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said. The former lawmaker had taken Shabazz under her wing and he had traveled with her to Libya on a trip.

"Many of my closest associates have personal memories of their time with him and of his efforts to reach out to them for help," McKinney said. "He was writing a book."

Family demands answers in teen's mysterious death

Bearing the loss of a child is unimaginable to most.

What's even more unimaginable for the Johnsons of Valdosta, Georgia, is how their 17-year-old son died: by suffocating after falling headfirst into a rolled-up gym mat at his high school on January 11.

"It felt unreal. You know I sent my child to school for an education and he did go to school one way and came back dead," his mother, Jacquelyn Johnson said.

How could Kendrick Johnson, a three-sport athlete, fall into an upright mat while reaching for his shoe and not get out, as investigators said? It was an accident, police said, as there were no bruises on the body and no signs of foul play.

But the bizarre circumstances didn't sit right with the family, even though they're not sure what happened to their son.

The teen's parents, Kenneth and Jacquelyn, allege the local sheriff department did not follow protocol on the case, moving the body and mishandling evidence. They also believe the sheriff was too quick to make a judgment call on what happened.

Within 24 hours of finding the body, Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine announced that investigators had no reason to believe there was foul play.

Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson agrees with the family, saying that the body had been moved before he arrived. He also told CNN he was not contacted until six hours after the body was found, although Georgia law states the coroner should be notified immediately.

The final autopsy report, released just last week, stated that the teen died of accidental suffocation; it's what the preliminary autopsy from January 14 said, too.

Taking to the streets

The Johnsons buried their boy in January, but they were still waiting for answers.

After months of waiting for the final autopsy report, the family started speaking up. They've taken to the streets, organizing rallies for justice.

Chants booming over a megaphone have become a daily scene since April in this south Georgia city of about 56,000. "No justice! No peace!" protesters shout.

"I don't feel that there was any investigation until there was protesting and all this attention coming to them," Kenneth Johnson said. "That's when they started to act like they were doing an investigation."

Despite the family's persistent protests and claims that protocol was broken, Lt. Stryde Jones of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office maintains investigators were "actively working" on the case from the time Kendrick's body was found on January 11 until the final autopsy was released on May 2.

After taking testimony and looking at the physical and forensic evidence, Jones said an accident was the only scenario that fit. More than 100 people, including students, teachers and parents, were interviewed, he added.

Chevene King Jr., the attorney for the Johnsons, has alleged that if Kendrick had been white, the investigation would have gone differently.

But Jones said the case was handled as professionally as in any case.

Kendrick's aunt Keisha Moore has been alongside her family at many of the protests. Her son and her nephew were close and played basketball and football together at Lowndes High School.

"We are just hoping that the truth will come out. It's hard not sleeping at night not knowing," Moore said. Like Kendrick's parents, she believes he was beaten to death, referring to a gruesome postmortem photo of Kendrick shown on protest posters. "The perp is still out there and we don't know if it's a person at the school."

The family isn't rallying alone -- hundreds have joined the movement, from friends to Valdosta residents who barely knew or never met Kendrick.

Local businessman and iReporter Larry Johnson -- no relation to the family -- is a concerned community member who has been protesting. He has known Kendrick's mother for several years and met the teen once or twice, he said.

"It's emotional because it's my community," he said. "Even though a tragedy happened, to see that many people come out and support someone in the community, it made me proud to be from here."

Watch videos from a recent rally for Kendrick

Complete strangers are rallying alongside the Johnsons, too.

Bonita Lacy first heard about Kendrick Johnson through her involvement with the Atlanta chapter of the National Action Network. The 53-year-old drove down to Valdosta from Decatur to rally alongside family and community members on April 18 and again on May 4.

Lacy did not know Johnson, but decided to join the rally because he reminded her of her own grandsons. "I am a grandmother of two boys whom I want to have the right and opportunity to live, grow up, travel and go to school anywhere they please without fear or intimidation, or death by cloudy statements," she said.

Race never played into it. The victim played into it. That's who we're working for is the victim and the victim's family.


While the rallies have been peaceful, seven people, including Kendrick's parents, Moore and several other aunts, were arrested for obstruction at a rally on April 25, according to the Lowndes County sheriff's office. The group was blocking people from entering or leaving the Lowndes County Judicial Complex.

The rally cries have spread far outside Valdosta. Thanks to a Facebook tribute page and stories sent to CNN iReport, the Kendrick Johnson story started to spread online. Moore, Johnson's aunt, sent in an iReport that has been viewed more than 100,000 times and been shared 8,000 times on Facebook.

Moore described Kendrick as a sweet, quiet teen who had dreams of becoming a professional athlete. "He was determined to do his best and be his best," she told CNN.

Waiting for resolution

Kendrick's father has been the more vocal member of the family, at least publicly. His wife, Jacquelyn, speaks in quiet, short sentences. Her eyes still express shock.

Kenneth didn't let his wife go into the morgue to identify their son. He went alone.

Authorities told the family that blood had rushed to Kendrick's head and upper body, his father said. A photo of Kendrick's bloated, postmortem face was almost unrecognizable.

"It's indescribable. You don't expect to see your child lying down like that," said Kenneth, recalling seeing his son's body. "As handsome as my son was, the day you see him like that is crazy."

Even though the case is officially closed, the Johnsons told CNN they will keep protesting. They're still looking for a resolution.

"No matter who you are, how much money your parents have, the color of your skin, everyone deserves justice. Everyone," said Kenneth Johnson.

While he doesn't believe the official reports of how his son died, Kenneth knows he's not alone. He hopes the attention from outside Lowndes County, including the large online community invested in the story, will keep the issue alive.

"It means that people are not going to fall for anything. You know from the way they said the thing happened, people are not buying it."

To locals' surprise, Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried in Virginia cemetery



The body of one of the two men accused of pulling off the Boston Marathon attack has been buried in rural Virginia -- a development that local officials said caught them totally "off guard."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's remains were accepted "by an interfaith coalition in that community -- they responded to our calls," his uncle Ruslan Tsarni, of Maryland, told CNN. The body was buried in an unmarked grave in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, according to Tsarni.

"My tradition was that of a Muslim, and I have that tradition of burial, and people helped me with that," he said in a phone interview.

The death certificate released by Massachusetts authorities indicates that Tsarnaev, whose cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds and "blunt trauma to (his) head and torso," was interred at Al-Barzakh Muslim Cemetery in Doswell, which is about 25 minutes north of Richmond in a rural county of about 30,000 people.

While the news came out Friday, Bukhari Abdel-Alim from the Islamic Funeral Services of Richmond said Tsarnaev was actually buried the previous morning.

Speaking Friday from the cemetery, which his organization owns, Abdel-Alim said there was "no intention to ... make anybody angry," but that he and others felt obligated to do what "God says to do" by putting Tsarnaev's "body back into the earth."

"It's not a political thing (but) he can't bury himself," said Abdel-Alim, adding his only regret was that Tsarnaev "wasn't buried sooner." "...Whether he was Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, when you're dead you need to be buried or taken care of, not just left in a funeral home."

Police in Worcester, Massachusetts, had announced Thursday a "courageous and compassionate individual came forward" to take Tsarnaev's remains out of Worcester, where the body had been at a funeral home while Tsarni and officials tried to determine what to do with it.
The chairman of the Caroline County, Virginia, board of supervisors, Floyd W. Thomas, said Friday afternoon he couldn't then confirm or deny that Tsarnaev is buried in his county and that he hadn't seen the death certificate. As he pointed out, "standard practice" is that local officials are not notified that a burial is taking place.

According to Thomas and county Sheriff Tony Lippa, neither they or any other officials in the county knew about plans to bury Tsarnaev in that area. They were not consulted, nor did they provide permission for such a burial to happen, said Thomas.

At the least, he later told CNN, county officials "would have preferred to be in a position to ... prepare for it a little better."

News of Tsarnaev's burial in the county upset residents like Rhonda Richardson, who said she thinks the body should have been taken to where his parents are in southern Russia.

"He killed Americans on American soil, therefore he shouldn't be buried here," she told CNN.

At Friday's press conference, Thomas acknowledged residents' concerns and said "I understand how you feel, and I feel the same way." He said Caroline County does not want to be associated with such a "terrible crime" that took place more than 500 miles away, even though Tsarnaev has "no ties to Caroline County."

"We do not wish to be the home of the remains of one of those perpetrators," he said.

Lippa, the county's sheriff, said members of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli's office are also looking into the matter "to make sure all legalities were being followed." But unless something wasn't done right -- in which case, Thomas said, "we would look into undoing what happened" -- officials' hands are tied, he said.

"As long as everything was done legally, there's really very little that we can do," Thomas said.

Officials were also concerned about securing the private cemetery against possible trespassing protesters or those who might attempt to deface the grave site.

While a sheriff's deputy was stationed there Friday, officials said the county does not have money set aside to provide security.

It's all a headache that Thomas, for one, never saw coming.

"Of all the localities in the United States, this was probably the last one we would have thought of," he said.

What would happen to the body of the man who, along with his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was accused of setting off two deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon on April 15 had been a nearly month-long puzzle.

The body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a police pursuit days after the bombings, went unclaimed for nearly two weeks. A funeral home in Worcester -- about 40 miles west of downtown Boston -- eventually accepted the remains.

But protesters in Worcester made it clear they didn't want the body buried there, with one holding a sign that read, "Bury the garbage in the landfill." And the city manager of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Tsarnaev lived, said he would not allow Tsarnaev to be buried in the city, asserting that possible protests and media coverage would disrupt the community.

It also appeared that sending the body overseas was an unlikely option -- Tamerlan Tsarnaev's parents in the Russian region of Dagestan said they would not fly his body back to Russia for burial, citing passport problems, spokeswoman Heda Saratova said.

In a press release issued Friday, the Islamic Society of Greater Richmond said that a "private Virginia citizen" and licensed counselor named Martha Mullen "quietly coordinated efforts to resolve the problem of where to bury Tsarnaev's remains."

That included e-mails exchanged with representatives of the church she belonged to, as well as local Muslim, Jewish and Hindu representatives. She contacted Worcester police "after receiving an offer of a burial plot from the administration of the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia," the society said.

Mullen also talked with her local pastor about the moral implications of her spearheading the effort.

"Jesus tells us, 'Love your enemies,' " she said, according to the Islamic Society. "Not to hate them, even after they are dead."

Abdel-Alim, who is vice president of the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia and attended Thursday's burial, stressed Friday "there is no agreement with (Tsarnaev's) actions, whatsover, in any form or fashion." At the same time, he said "somebody needed to take responsibility."

"We were able to do so, and that's what we did," he said.

Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, appeared confused by Thursday's announcement from Worcester police. Speaking to CNN from Russia by phone Thursday evening, Zubeidat Tsarnaev said she didn't know whether her son was buried or where.

Tsarni -- who was the main point of contact over what to do with Tamerlan Tsarnaev's remains, according to Abdel-Alim -- said Friday that he called his nephew's father Thursday "to give him an update, but I did not tell him where he was buried."

"He didn't even ask me," Tsarni said.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev told CNN in late April that her husband couldn't travel to the United States, saying he was too ill. She said she eventually would be interested in heading to the United States to see her younger son, despite pending shoplifting charges against her in Massachusetts, where she once lived.

Tsarni said Friday he was "completely outraged that (the parents) have not been here for their children."

"My assumption is that they must be here, just to help with the investigation at least," Tsarni said.

Source: Russia withheld details about Tsarnaev

Russia withheld details from U.S. officials about suspicions of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, information that could have altered the course authorities followed, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Friday that while Russia did alert U.S. authorities about Tsarnaev's possible extremism, it kept out some facts, namely text messages referencing his desire to join a militant group.

However, sources told the paper that the United States also likely would have withheld such details for fear of divulging intelligence sources and methods.

In the texts, Tsarnaev wrote to his mother about his interest in joining the militant movement carrying out attacks against Russia in the Caucasus region, the law enforcement source told CNN.

The Russians did not pass these texts on to American officials when they passed the original intelligence about Tsarnaev, the source said.

The source was not clear on when those texts were eventually handed over.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-MIchigan, told the Wall Street Journal that the withheld information could have changed the way U.S. officials worked.

Access to the texts "would have allowed the bureau to open an investigation where you could track (Tsarnaev's) communications," he said. "To me, that's where the ball really got dropped."


In 2011, Russian authorities alerted the United States to concerns that Tsarnaev was becoming increasingly radical. The Russians also raised questions about Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, according to several sources.

But the FBI found no evidence of extremist activity and closed the case. The names of both Tsarnaev and his mother were placed in a terror database, however.

Still, Tsarnaev was allowed to travel the next year to a restive Russian region rife with Islamist terror groups, and he returned to the United States after six mysterious months abroad.

Investigators have said they are looking at possible links between Tsarnaev and those groups during his time in the region.

New Jersey police: Gunman barricaded in house with 3 children



A gunman who had barricaded himself and three children in a home in Trenton, New Jersey, on Friday was communicating with police, but the standoff continued into the night, authorities said.

"We have state police on the scene, a SWAT team and a hostage negotiator present," said Lt. Mark Kieffer of the Trenton police department. "We evacuated the surrounding blocks. And we're talking to him now."

The situation began in the afternoon, police said, but it was not immediately clear how it started or how old the children are, or their relationship to the man.

Sandy Hook task force recommends demolition and rebuilding

To erase some of the emotional scars left behind from the December shooting massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, an advisory board wants the building torn down and replaced.

The Sandy Hook Task Force voted unanimously late Friday to recommend to the Newtown, Connecticut, board of education to build a new school on the site of the existing building.

Adam Lanza burst into the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 armed with a semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle and two handguns. He opened fire killing 26 people, 20 of them children, before taking his own life.

He had previously shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, to death in their home, police said. She was a gun enthusiast, who kept a collection of guns, including assault rifles, in a lock box in her basement. Adam Lanza had a gun safe in his room, an investigation revealed.

The shooting reignited a national debate on gun control and the possibility of legal restrictions on assault rifles.

Students from Sandy Hook now attend Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby town of Monroe. Part of the building was transformed to resemble an elementary school, and security was increased by adding new locks and surveillance cameras, a school official has said.

The school also enlisted the help of a comfort dog for the school children to bond with.

Sandy Hook's task force had considered other alternatives, such as renovating the existing building or building a new school on a different site. Its recommendation must be approved by the school board then by a vote in a popular referendum, before the plans can be carried out.

CO2 levels hit new peak at key observatory

In some ways, it's just a number, but it's a big number with enormous implications.

For the first time, scientists measured an average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide of 400 parts per million in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observatory is located, on Thursday.

"Most experts that really study CO2 amounts estimate that we haven't seen that amount of CO2 in our atmosphere in about 3 million years," said J. Marshall Shepherd, climate change expert and professor at the University of Georgia. In other words, modern humans have never seen carbon dioxide in these proportions before.

Scientists say it's apparent that human activity -- namely burning coal, oil and natural gas -- has been driving a rapid rise of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide changes climate and drives acidification of the ocean.

"Once emitted, it remains for the ocean atmosphere system for thousands of years, warming the planet. It changes climate and is driving ocean acidification all that time," said Jim Butler, a senior scientist at NOAA.

Among the many risks of rising temperatures, agriculture, forestry, ecosystems and human health are all expected to suffer as a result of trends in climate change.

Turbulence ahead as climate changes

The amount of carbon dioxide varies daily somewhat and has cycled historically in accordance with changes in the Earth's orbit, a phenomenon known as Milankovitch cycles. But the exponential rise in carbon dioxide levels since the Industrial Revolution is far out of the ordinary, experts say.

The number 400 parts per million is symbolic of what many scientists believe to be the inevitable growth of this gas in our atmosphere, Shepherd said. Getting to this number was to be expected.

"It also is kind of a warning sign or red flag that hey, we really need to tackle this problem," he said. "It's happening right before our eyes."

In about eight to 10 years, levels will not go under 400 parts per million, Butler said. And in terms of reaching new carbon dioxide highs, 450 will come even faster than than the change from 350 to 400, given observed trends, Shepherd said. For comparison, the last time annual CO2 was 350 parts per million was in the 1980s.

Butler likens the phenomenon to an electric blanket. When you turn the dial, it takes a little while to warm up. It's as if humans have turned the dial on Earth's blanket, and we'll feel the heat only in a matter of time.

"Even if we stopped emitting CO2, temperatures would still rise for at least a decade or two because the system has to catch up with it," Butler said.

Most carbon dioxide is in the Northern Hemisphere, because most people on the planet live in these parts, Butler said.

In 2012, monitoring stations in the Arctic measured 400 parts per million, but this is a new high at Mauna Loa. The global average will catch up in a year or two, he said.

Since scientists began measuring at Mauna Loa in 1958, the concentration of carbon dioxide has been increasing every year, NOAA said. The rate of this rise has been accelerating, from 0.7 ppm per year in the late 1950s to 2.1 ppm per year over the last decade.

Before the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, the average carbon dioxide concentration worldwide was about 280 parts per million. Over the course of the past 800,000 years, says NOAA, these levels bounced between 180 and 280 parts per million.

NOAA: Watch history of carbon dioxide levels

You might be wondering how the planet could be warming if this past winter has been relatively cool.

Shepherd explains that weather is akin to mood, but climate is analogous to personality. Weather changes a lot, but climate is something more fundamental, causing overall patterns.

Study: Climate change may contribute to civil wars

It may appear that, in the grand scheme of things, there's not a lot of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to begin with. The most abundant gas is nitrogen, at 78%, followed by oxygen at 21%. Having a tiny amount of carbon dioxide is essential for our survival; without it, the planet would be too cold.

Opinion: How to fight climate change

But too much carbon dioxide, which leads to too much overall warming, is bad.

While it's impossible to say that any particular event was "caused by global warming," says Shepherd, climate change loads the deck, making extreme events such as last year's Superstorm Sandy more likely.

These storms also become more disastrous with rising sea levels. The sea level was about 10 inches higher in 2012 than in 1900, Shepherd said.

The Mauna Loa station is the oldest in the world to measure carbon dioxide.

"It's an alarming marker that we've passed," Butler said. "Mauna Loa, the iconic site for CO2, has reached 400 for the first time over a day. That's big."

DNA test shows captor fathered girl, Ohio AG's office says

By Michael Pearson, CNN
updated 10:07 PM EDT, Fri May 10, 2013
 
(CNN) -- DNA tests confirm that Ariel Castro is the father of a 6-year-old girl born to one of the three women he is accused of keeping in captivity for more than a decade, the Ohio attorney general's office said Friday.
Castro's DNA did not match that from any other open Ohio cases, according to Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the attorney general's office. National results are pending through the FBI, he said.
Amanda Berry's 6-year-old daughter was among those rescued Monday when Berry escaped from the home where police say she had been held since Castro allegedly lured her into his car on April 21, 2003.
Also freed: Michelle Knight, who disappeared in 2002, and Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, who vanished in 2004.
Castro's mother: My son is sick
Ohio victims detail life in captivity
The man accused of abducting them spent Friday in a 9-by-9-foot northern Ohio jail cell with a bed, sink, toilet, steel door and window, through which he is watched around-the-clock, said Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office spokesman John O'Brien. Castro is on suicide prevention -- which is standard procedure for high-profile inmates -- according to O'Brien.
A day earlier, a judge ordered he be held Thursday on $8 million bond on kidnapping and rape charges.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he would seek additional charges against Castro for "each and every act of sexual violence, each day of kidnapping, all his attempted murders and each act of aggravated murder."
The attempted and aggravated murders refer to instances in which Castro allegedly forced miscarriages, according to McGinty.
According to an initial incident report obtained by CNN, Knight told investigators that she became pregnant at least five times while in captivity, and each time Castro would repeatedly starve and punch her in the stomach to induce a miscarriage.
Prosecutors are assessing whether to pursue the death penalty, if Castro is convicted.
Meanwhile, questions continue to surround Knight, whose disappearance generated far less publicity and attention than did those of Berry and DeJesus.
Cleveland police removed Knight's name from an FBI database of missing people in November 2003 -- 15 months after her family reported her missing -- police said. They did so after "failing to locate a parent, guardian or other reporting person to confirm that Ms. Knight was still missing."
Police said, though, that her missing person's case remained open and was checked on as recently as November 2012.
Even as of Friday night, Knight hadn't spoken yet with her mother, Barbara, a family spokesperson said. In fact, Knight's family then had no idea where she was and had asked police for information on her whereabouts.
Her grandmother, Deborah Knight, went to the house where DeJesus is staying on Friday, said she'd heard Knight might be there and "besides, Gina's parents here have been waiting to meet us."
Without delving into specifics, a source close to the investigation told CNN that Knight "is in a safe place and very comfortable."
Cleveland police have been subject to intense criticism from some quarters over their handling of missing persons cases, but city officials have said they did everything they could to find the missing women.
In Friday's statement, city officials said police checked on Knight's case in November.
Knight has been discharged from Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Tina Shaerban-Arundel said Friday hours after the hospital said in a Facebook posting that she was in "good spirits" and "extremely grateful" for the flowers, gifts and the support of the Cleveland Courage Fund. The latter is a vehicle for raising that helps nonprofit organizations provide services to the three women.
Berry and DeJesus were released days ago and are now staying with relatives.
According to the initial report, the women told investigators that they were chained in the basement of the home, but later moved upstairs to rooms on the second floor. They were allowed out of the home only twice, and then just briefly, according to the document.
Castro would frequently test the women by pretending to leave and then discipline any of them if they had moved, according to a law enforcement source.
Storm Pusztay, who lives behind the house, told CNN's Piers Morgan on Friday that he spotted Castro a few times outside with the girl he believes was Berry's daughter.
Speakers often blasted loud music from the front of the house, Pusztay recalled, while dogs walked on the property. The neighbor added that Castro's yard was further obscured by tarps he put up, and trees.
"It's so upsetting, because he was so close," said Pusztay, who had three daughters living with him.
Castro has confessed to some of the allegations aginst him, a law enforcement source closely involved with the investigation told CNN on Thursday.
Authorities have also been reviewing a lengthy document described by a law enforcement source as "more of a diary" in which the source said Castro cites being abused by family members as justification for his actions.
On Friday, they boarded up his Seymour Avenue home to preserve the crime scene, said Cleveland's deputy police chief Ed Tomba. Authorities plan to later erect a fence around the home.
The ordeal has rattled neighbors like Juan Perez, who had viewed Castro as a "very social, happy-go-lucky ... good guy" but now think just the opposite.
"We feel lied to and we're ashamed because we couldn't help earlier," an emotional Perez told CNN on Friday. "... I just can't put it all together still."

CNN's Greg Botelho, Pamela Brown, Susan Candiotti and Kristen Kiraly contributed to this report.
 

Pakistanis vote in landmark, unpredictable election


Despite a bloody campaign marred by Taliban attacks, Pakistan was holding historic elections Saturday pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister once exiled by the army and an incumbent blamed for power blackouts and inflation.
Polls opened Saturday morning across the nation in what is a closely watched race to determine the fate of this nuclear-armed country crucial to stability in the region.
The vote marks the first time in Pakistan's 65-year history that a civilian government has completed its full term and handed over power in democratic elections. Previous governments have been toppled by military coups or sacked by presidents allied with the powerful army.
Deadly violence struck again Friday, with a pair of bombings against election offices in northwest Pakistan that killed three people and a shooting that killed a candidate in the southern city of Karachi. More than 130 people have been killed in the run-up to the vote, mostly secular party candidates and workers. Most attacks have been traced to Taliban militants, who have vowed to disrupt a democratic process they say runs counter to Islam.
The vote is being watched closely by Washington since the U.S. relies on the country of 180 million people for help in fighting Islamic militants and negotiating an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
The rise of former cricket star Imran Khan, who has almost mythical status in Pakistan, has challenged the dominance of the country's two main political parties, making the outcome of the election very hard to call.
"I think it is the most unpredictable election Pakistan has ever had," said Moeed Yusuf, South Asia adviser at the United States Institute of Peace. "The two-party dominance has broken down, and now you have a real third force challenging these parties."
The election of both the national and provincial assemblies comes at a time of widespread despair in Pakistan, as the country suffers from weak economic growth, rampant electricity and gas shortages, and a deadly Taliban insurgency.
The bombings that killed three people Friday occurred in Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal area, a major sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban. The blasts also wounded 15 people, said intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The candidate who was gunned down in Karachi, Shakil Ahmed, was running as an independent for the provincial assembly, said police officer Mirza Ahmed Baig.
There is concern that the violence could benefit Islamist parties and those who take a softer line toward the militants, including Khan and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, because they were able to campaign more freely. The government said it would deploy 600,000 security personnel on election day.
After more than a decade in the political wilderness, the Oxford-educated Khan has emerged as a force in the last two years with the simple message of "change." He has tapped into the frustrations of millions of Pakistanis -- especially urban middle class youth -- who believe the traditional politicians have been more interested in enriching themselves through corruption than governing.
The two main parties that have dominated politics -- the Pakistan People's Party, which led the most recent government, and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N -- have ruled the country a total of five times in the past 25 years.
Khan has also struck a chord by criticizing Pakistan's unpopular alliance with the U.S. and controversial American drone attacks against Islamic militants in the country's northwest tribal region.
"I am happy to vote for the person of my choice," said Mohammed Ayub, who was the first man to vote at a polling station in Islamabad. "I am voting for Imran as he is a strong voice against wrongs."
Support for the 60-year-old Khan may have increased out of sympathy following a freak accident this week at a political rally in which he fell 15 feet (4.5 meters) off a forklift, fracturing three vertebrae and a rib. He is expected to make a full recovery and seems to be making the most of the accident. The party has repeatedly aired an interview he did from his hospital bed hours after the fall as a paid advertisement on TV.
Nobody is sure how effective he will be in translating his widespread popularity into votes, especially considering he boycotted the 2008 election and only got one seat in 2002. Turnout will be critical, especially among the youth. Almost half of Pakistan's more than 80 million registered voters are under the age of 35, but young people have often stayed away from the polls in the past.
Khan faces a stiff challenge from the two main parties, which have spent decades honing vote-getting systems based on feudal ties and political patronage, such as granting supporters government jobs.
Because of the strength of this old-style politics and unhappiness with the outgoing government, many analysts see the Pakistan Muslim League-N as the front-runner in the election. Sharif has twice served as prime minister and is best known for testing Pakistan's first nuclear weapon in 1998.
Sharif was toppled in a military coup by then-army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 1999 and spent years in exile in Saudi Arabia before returning to the country in 2007. His party, known for its pro-business policies, came in second in the 2008 elections and is seen as more religiously conservative than the Pakistan People's Party.
On the campaign trail, Sharif pointed out how much more experience he has than Khan and touted key projects he completed while in office, including a highway between the capital Islamabad and his hometown of Lahore. He's also credited with refraining from attacking the outgoing government and allowing it to finish its full term as a way of strengthening civilian government control.
A poll released this week by a Pakistani political magazine, Herald, showed the two parties led by Sharif and Khan as basically tied, with about 25 percent support each. The Pakistan People's Party was third with about 18 percent. The margin of error was less than three percentage points. But national polls like this do not necessarily reflect election results because seats are granted to whoever gets the most votes per constituency, rather than proportionally across the parties.
Even if the Pakistan Muslim League-N wins the most national assembly seats, many analysts doubt it will have a majority, meaning it would have to cobble together a ruling coalition that could be quite weak.
The performance of the Pakistan Muslim League-N could be heavily influenced by how well Khan's party does.
Both parties appeal to conservative middle class voters in cities in Pakistan's most populous province, Punjab, which will be the main battleground of the election. The province contains over half of the 272 directly elected seats in the national assembly. The Herald poll showed about 39 percent support for Sharif's party in Punjab and close to 31 percent for Khan.
If Khan's party can steal enough votes away from Sharif, it might open the way for the Pakistan People's Party to once again form the government. Despite widespread unhappiness with the party's performance over the past five years, it does have a loyal following in rural areas of southern Sindh province and southern Punjab.
A less likely scenario is that the "political tsunami" Khan has promised does really sweep the country, leaving his party to form the next government.
Given the likelihood of a weak coalition no matter who emerges on top, the new government could have trouble tackling the country' major problems. Two of the most immediate are the electricity crisis, with some parts of the country experiencing blackouts for up to 18 hours a day, and the government's shaky financial situation. The caretaker government is already in discussions with the International Monetary Fund about another unpopular bailout to shore up the country's finances.
The next government will also face the tricky task of managing the relationship with the country's army, which is still considered the strongest institution in Pakistan.
The previous government was able to complete its term largely because the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, held off from directly intervening in politics. However, he is believed to play a dominant role in the background, especially when it comes to foreign policy issues such as the relationship with the U.S. and the country's stance toward the Afghan war. Sharif has a particularly complicated history with the army since he was toppled in a coup.
Given the views of Sharif and Khan, the next government is expected to be more nationalistic and protective of the country's sovereignty when it comes to ties with the U.S. than its predecessor. Sharif likes to recount how he tested Pakistan's first nuclear weapon despite intense U.S. pressure. Khan has been even more critical of Pakistan's alliance with the U.S. and has even threatened to shoot down American drones if he came to power.
But the impact of their views will likely be tempered by the role of the Pakistani army, which values its relationship with the U.S. because of the billions of dollars it has received in military aid.
The army is expected to play a similarly predominant role when it comes to Pakistan's stance toward domestic Taliban militants at war with the state. Both Sharif and Khan have backed negotiations with the Taliban, and Khan has even said he would pull troops out from the tribal region who are battling the militants.
His nickname "Taliban Khan" reflects sentiments among some Pakistanis that he's too soft on the Taliban. Kayani, the army chief, has said the Taliban must accept the country's constitution if it wants peace -- something the militants have rejected.

Kidnap victim shuns family for not searching victim when she was kidnapped

Kidnap victim shuns family one of the Cleveland kidnap victims, has asked that her family not visit her at the hospital while she is recovering from 11 years of abuse and torture, according to WebProNews.com on May 10. Evidently, Michelle feels that her closest family and friends didn't even look for her when she went missing years ago.

Knight, 32, disappeared in 2002 after a custody disagreement that involved her young son at that time. Her family figured that she has run off on her own. When Ariel Castro, the alleged kidnapper and rapist, let Knight and her fellow captors Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, watch TV, he teased them when it showed the candlelight vigils held in their honor. Knight's family never held any vigils, since they thought she has left on her own.

A man shows page one of The Plain Dealer newspaper to a friend while people gather along Seymour Avenue near the house where three women, who disappeared as teens about a decade ago, were found alive, May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio

Location: Cleveland, Ohio 41.504749298096 ; -81.690719604492

Michelle, who was held hostage the longest of the trio, suffered horribly while she was being held captive. According to the police report, she went through at least five miscarriages and Castro is accused of not letting her eat and beating on her stomach so she would miscarry when she became pregnant.

When she went missing in 2002, Knight was 20-years-old and a single mother. Right before she disappeared, she lost a custody battle and the child welfare authorities took her toddler son away from her .

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Wrigley pulls gum

Wrigley pulls gum: Wrigley will pull a caffeinated gum on the heels of an investigation announcement by the Food and Drug Administration, the company said Wednesday.

Casey Keller, Wrigley's North American president said in a statement that the Chicago-based gum giant has "paused production, sales and marketing of Alert," a caffeinated product launched just last month, in an effort to "give the FDA time to develop a new regulatory framework for the addition of caffeine to food and drinks.



Last week, the FDA announced an investigation into what effect additional caffeine consumption may have on children.

"After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply," Keller said. "There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products."

The world's largest gum manufacturer has underscored that Alert exceeds all guidelines for disclosure and that consumers wouldn't be buying the product by mistake. Alert was merchandised away from gum and candy, alongside products including 5-Hour Energy Shots.

Aimed at consumers age 25-49, Alert also carried a higher price tag, $2.99 for an 8-piece package, compared with $1.19 to $1.49 for a 15-piece pack of Extra, Orbit or 5.

Wrigley's foray into caffeinated gum was seen as an effort to broaden its core market. The gum segment has contracted in the United States since the recession, as teens, gum's most-loyal purchasers, spend their disposable income on other products.

The declines have been a particular headache for Deerfield-based Mondelez International, which said Tuesday that gum sales declined "in the high teens," during the most recent quarter. Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld said the company doesn't expect a turnaround this year. Mondelez makes Trident and other gums.

Teacher fired over bikini photo

Teacher fired over bikini photo, A Florida teacher, fired over a bikini photo shoot, was planning to leave anyway. However, after the racy photos came to the attention of her school's principal, the moonlighting model was forced to resign. Ironically, her website now says the woman will pose in "TASTEFUL" nude photography for the "right projects," citing a May 7 Huffington Post report.

Olivia Sprauer, 26, began work at a Martin County High School English in 2011. Recently, she decided to try her hand at modeling.

Her moonlighting plans were short-lived when on April 29; the principal of her school called her into the office and inquired about a bikini photo. The teacher didn't deny the racy photo was her, the model known as Victoria V. James.

The images shown on the Model Mayhem website show the teacher-turned bikini model fully clothed, but in some images, they leave little to the imagination.

The teacher knew she could be fired over bikini photo modeling, but it was a chance she had to take. Besides, the money made in her first gig in a weekend was more than she earned in two weeks as a teacher.

"Lots of teachers get fired or asked to resign for the same things I did. I knew I didn't want to come back next year and I knew I wanted to go to grad school so I decided if I made it to the end of the year I would be happy."

The teacher's firing over the bikini photos didn't leave her without options. She had plans to resign and enroll in graduate school to work words a doctorate degree; her dreams have always been to be a college professor.

Sprauer stands by what she did and suggests that she kept things respectful and has a clean conscious.


"I don't make pornography. I don't open my legs on camera. I take swimsuit glamour style photography," Sprauer said.

The teacher fired over the bikini photo says she has a lot of gigs lined up and still plans to attend graduate school. Should she have been forced to resign?

Rodman rips Obama

Rodman rips Obama: A recent trip to Communist North Korea and getting cozy with the Supreme Leader has Dennis Rodman now passing judgment on U.S. foreign policies, specifically the way President Obama is dealing with an imprisoned American, reports belgeinfo.com on May 10.

Dennis Rodman said that President Barack Obama “can't do [anything]” about Kenneth Bae, an American imprisoned in North Korea.

Rodman went to North Korea in February to film a documentary and became friends with dictator Kim Jong Un.

The American imprisoned in North Korea was recently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly engaging in unspecified “hostile acts” against the country while being a tour operator there.

Rodman said via Twitter that he wanted Kim to “cut Kenneth Bae loose.”

Rodman has been referred to as the unofficial United States ambassador to the communist country. In a nation closed to the outside world, Kim Jong Un, a Rodman fan, seems to allow the former NBA baller to come and go as he pleases.

Rodman is taking the matter into his own hands, Delta Force style.

“I'm going to try to get the guy out,” said Rodman to TMZ on May 10. Rodman plans to head into North Korea on August 1 and hopes to get the deal finalized then.

Rodman lashed out at Obama with these words:

“We got a black president who can't even go over talk to Kim. Obama can't do [expletive].”

Rodman takes credit for getting Kim to close up his missile launchers.

“He put those missiles back in storage, right?” Rodman boasted.

Obama said earlier in the week while hosting South Korea President Park Guen-hye that both America and South Korea “will not reward provocative actions.”

“The days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions, those days are over,” Obama said.

Tim Tebow blackballed

Tim Tebow blackballed, Has Tim Tebow been blackballed from landing another gig in the NFL? The quarterback is often front-and-center in the media for both his play and his personal convictions, but these days he's having a hard time finding a new gig. Yahoo! Sports tackled the question many are contemplating on May 9.

Once upon a time, Tim Tebow was everywhere and his performance with the Denver Broncos in 2011 propelled him into superstardom. Since then, however, it's been quite the tumble down off the pedestal. Tebow was recently released by the New York Jets, and there don't seem to be other teams lining up to add him to their rosters.

Is Tim Tebow being blackballed because of the intense media attention that comes along with having him around? Are his strong Christian convictions seen as too much of a distraction to any team he is on in the league? Or, is his play simply not of the quality that makes him attractive to teams shuffling players around at this point. Given how many players with bigger problems still get multiple chances to play, many are wondering if his quarterback skills aren't the core issue.

Yahoo! Sports shares that one head coach says that while Tim Tebow seems like a great guy to have on the team, “it's just not worth dealing with all the stuff that comes with it.” Obviously things did not go smoothly, to say the least, during his time with the Jets. However, many still find it perplexing that nobody wants to give him a shot in some capacity. When football players who get arrested time and again can get additional shots, some find it curious and unfortunate that at this point, Tebow can't seem to say the same thing.

Granted there is plenty of time yet for Tebow to find a new spot to play before the new season begins. Will someone take a chance on the quarterback or is Tim Tebow blackballed entirely?