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Afghanistan has a new president

Ashraf Ghani gestures as he addresses a news conference in Kabul on July 5.
Ashraf Ghani gestures as he addresses a news conference in Kabul on July 5.
  • NEW: "The new government will face serious challenges," U.N. chief says
  • State Dept.: Audit found "significant" fraud, but results legitimate
  • Abdullah and Ghani agreed to national unity government earlier in day
  • The deal comes after months of dispute between the two candidates

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is the new President of Afghanistan, and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, is CEO, Afghanistan Independent Elections Commission chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nooristani announced in a news conference in Kabul on Sunday.

Nooristani didn't disclose the percentage of their votes from the June runoff election. He also didn't take any questions from journalists.

Ghani and Abdullah signed a power-sharing agreement earlier Sunday after months of infighting over allegations of voting fraud and manipulation.

The U.S. State Department congratulated both candidates, as well as the people of Afghanistan, "who courageously went to the polls to vote on April 5 and again on June 14, defying Taliban threats to exercise their right to vote and to take their part in advancing democracy in Afghanistan," according to a statement.

Afghanistan 'on the right track'

The statement also recognized incumbent President Hamid Karzai for 13 years of "strong leadership."

The lengthy dispute between Ghani and Abdullah had put off the selection of a successor to Karzai and raised fears of increased instability in the fragile, war-torn country.

But the two rivals embraced after signing a deal for a national unity government in a televised ceremony in the capital, Kabul, on Sunday.

Under the agreement, Ghani will create by decree the position of chief executive officer for the runner-up. The CEO role will have prime ministerial functions until the constitution can be amended to create a permanent position of prime minister.

The deal also calls for the two candidates' teams to share senior government positions equally between them.

The political impasse in Afghanistan this year had come as the Taliban continued to mount deadly attacks on high-profile targets and fought fiercely for control of important areas.

As the U.S.-led war effort against the militants winds down, most NATO troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

'Three months of squabbling'

The presidential election was held on April 5 and was followed by a runoff vote in June after the first round proved inconclusive. The election was aimed at bringing about Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power, but the accusations of fraud and manipulation put that goal in peril.

In July, Abdullah and Ghani had come to an agreement, brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to accept the result of a nationwide audit and form a unity government.

But earlier this month, the two candidates showed signs of backing away from that deal.

Kerry described the signing of the deal Sunday as "a moment of extraordinary statesmanship," saying Ghani and Abdullah had "put the people of Afghanistan first."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the deal "paves the way for a stable and more prosperous future for the country."

"The new government will face serious challenges, and I urge the President-elect, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and all political actors in Afghanistan to quickly form the government of national unity," Ban said in a statement.

The State Department statement said that while the audit was able to "identify fraud that was significant in both scope and sophistication," the audit process was unable to resolve all grievances. Nonetheless, the election results are legitimate, and the State Department will support the administration's efforts to make electoral reform a chief priority, the statement said.

The White House and the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, both expressed support for the new government.

But questions remain about how effective the new arrangement is likely to be.

"It took three months of squabbling and political infighting to get to this point," Yaroslav Trofimov, the Afghanistan and Pakistan editor of The Wall Street Journal, told CNN. "It's anybody guess how well they will manage to actually govern together, considering all the bad blood."

CNN's Masoud Popalzai reported from Kabul, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin, Nana Karikari-apau, Christabelle Fombu and Tom Dunlavey contributed to this report.

Refugees flood into Turkey

  • "We have seen 100,000 people cross in two days," a U.N. official says
  • Turkey opened its border to refugees trapped by ISIS on Friday
  • Kurdish fighters from Turkey are arriving on the border to join the fight against ISIS
  • ISIS forces now control a swath of Syria's north-central Kurdish region

(CNN) -- The flow of refugees fleeing Syria into Turkey has reached an unprecedented level in the past two days, a U.N. official said Sunday.

"I don't think in the last three and a half years we have seen 100,000 people cross in two days," said Carol Batchelor, a representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey.

Humanitarian officials counted "well over 70,000" crossing the Syria-Turkey border starting Friday and into Saturday, with more coming, Batchelor said. "Not everyone has been registered.  It may even be over 100,000 people." 

The number of Syrian refugees now in Turkey is approaching 1.6 million "and quite frankly, we don't know when those numbers will end," she said.

ISIS releases 49 hostages to Turkey
ISIS forces seize 60 villages

Turkey opened eight checkpoints along its border, allowing refugees trapped between the fighting and the border to enter its southeastern Sanliurfa province on Friday.

As refugees move into Turkey, hundreds of Kurdish fighters from Turkey have arrived in the Syrian Kurdish town of Ayn al-Arab to join a Kurdish militia group battling to hold off advancing ISIS forces, activists said Saturday. The town, known to Kurds as Kobani, is surrounded by ISIS, which refers to itself as the Islamic State, on three fronts and the Turkish border to the north.

The Kurdish militia, called the People's Protection Unit, is battling with the ISIS fighters in the area, according the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The latest ISIS advance in Syria has brought a swath of the country's north-central Kurdish region under siege. Some 60 villages fell under ISIS control in recent days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ISIS took 39 villages on Friday alone as Kurdish forces withdrew from their positions, it said.

"The conversation is no longer about withdrawing from this village or taking control of that place. For the People's Protection Unit, it is about resisting the attack by ISIS and defending 50,000 Kurds from a massacre," Mostafa Baly, a Kurdish activist inside Ayn al-Arab, told CNN on Saturday.

The influx of Kurdish fighters to the area increased tensions between the Kurdistan Workers Party and Turkish security forces, who used tear gas and water cannons against them in several clashes.

Dozens of Turkish hostages seized by ISIS in Iraq

The release of 49 Turkish citizens taken hostage when ISIS took control of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in June has removed a barrier to Turkey joining the international call to form a coalition to fight ISIS, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday. He was quoted by his country's semi-official news agency Anadolu.

The 49 hostages, including Turkish diplomats and their families, arrived on Turkish soil Saturday. Erdogan denied reports he made a financial deal with ISIS for their freedom, but conceded it was "a political, diplomatic bargain."

Kurdish fighters from Turkey join battle to save Syrian Kurdish town from ISIS

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz and Jennifer Deaton contributed to this report.

Yemen, rebels sign ceasefire

Houthi anti-government demonstrators protest in Sanaa, Yemen, on September 9, 2014.
Houthi anti-government demonstrators protest in Sanaa, Yemen, on September 9, 2014.
  • NEW: Deal calls for a new, more transparent government
  • PM Basindwa resigns, says he doesn't want to be obstacle to peace
  • There have been protests, violence in the capital
  • More than 150 people have died in the past seven days, government official tells CNN

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Yemen's president, a powerful rebel group and representatives of major political parties signed a ceasefire Sunday, the government announced.

"The document calls for an immediate ceasefire and ending all forms of violence," the written statement said. "It also calls for the formation of a technocratic national government, which will work to enhance government transparency, implement economic reforms, in addition to continuing military and security reforms."

The U.N.-brokered deal will end a month of tense protests by Houthis that essentially halted life in the Yemeni capital and resulted in hundreds of people being killed or injured.

The death toll over the last week in Sanaa exceeds 150, a senior Defense Ministry official said. Over the past 24 hours, at least 35 people have been killed, the majority of whom were government troops or Sanaa civilians.

The official said at least 900 people were injured over the past week.

Protests in Yemen turn deadly

On Sunday, hours before the sides agreed on the ceasefire, Houthi gunmen seized strategic military positions, including the Defense Ministry in Sanaa.

The Interior Ministry ordered troops not to clash with Houthi militants. A senior Interior Ministry official explained that the government wanted no bloodshed, to ensure that the Houthis would sign the deal.

Basindwa steps down

Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa gave in to the militants' demands for changes in the government and resigned Sunday, saying he did so for the best of Yemen.

"I do not want to be an obstacle in front of any ceasefire deal that takes place between President Abdurabu Hadi and Ansarullah (the Houthi political faction)," said Basindwa in his resignation letter.

Senior Houthi leader Zakaria Al Shami told CNN the Houthis stand behind Hadi to continue to lead the nation.

"Ansarullah never called to oust President Hadi and will work with him to ensure Yemen goes forward after the formation of the new government," said Al Shami.

Houthi supporters have been rallying for almost a month, demanding that an approved oil subsidy reform be revoked and that the government step down. Until that happened, they said, they would not remove their tents from Sanaa and surrounding areas.

Rebel fighters enter capital

As progress in talks with the government slowed last week, Houthis, who follow the Zaidi sect of Islam, called thousands of their fighters to enter Sanaa.

Top military commander Ali Mohsen, who led the 2011 uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, evacuated the 1st Division Brigade after hundreds of Houthi fighters raided the compound in northern Sanaa, backed by heavy artillery.

On Friday, dozens of Houthi militants attacked Yemen's state television headquarters with heavy artillery, burning down two main buildings, in an attempt to take over the premises. The headquarters, located in the northern region of Sanaa, has been one of numerous sites targeted by the fighters, who, as of Sunday, control the majority of districts in north Sanaa.

The government cut off all phone and Internet lines nationwide for 12 hours Friday morning, complicating communication between Houthi fighters.

Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam denied the Houthis started the attacks, saying the State TV area was used to launch rocket attacks on Houthi supporters three miles away.

"Hills in the vicinity of the State TV were used by government forces to attack our supporters in Jiraf district and we wanted to ensure that does not happen again," said Abdulsalam.

CNN's Steve Almasy and Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.

NYC beer cruise runs aground

  • Sailboat runs aground near the Statue of Liberty
  • 121 passengers and nine crew members were aboard
  • It took an hour and a half to get passengers back on land

(CNN) -- A beer-tasting cruise around New York's Lower Manhattan fizzled Saturday when the tour company's sailboat ran aground near the Statue of Liberty.

None of the 121 passengers and nine crew members suffered injuries, CNN affiliate WABC reported, but it took about an hour and a half for the Coast Guard, fire department, police and the National Park Service to get the passengers back to land.

"He got stuck on the reef, and then all of a sudden the boat stopped and nothing was happening," passenger Brandy Hamm told WABC. "Then the police came and got us and took us back to shore and it was fine."

The "Craft Beer Tasting Sail" takes place aboard the Clipper City, a replica of a 19th-century schooner operated by Manhattan By Sail. Passengers are promised magnificent views of the New York skyline while sampling locally brewed beers. Tickets for the one-hour, 45-minute cruise cost $65.

The boat was booked for a wedding Saturday night, but the event had to be canceled after the incident.

Wedding guest Jenny Fiechter told WABC the bride would be especially disappointed: "This was the thing she was most excited about."

A representative of the tour company could not be reached for comment late Saturday.

N.Korea: U.S. man wanted prison

  • State media: Matthew Todd Miller wanted to become "a world famous guy"
  • After his arrival, he tore his visa, it says
  • He also shouted his desire to seek asylum, according to state-run KCNA

(CNN) -- An American sentenced in North Korea ripped up his visa so he could go to prison and expose human rights violations there, state media said Saturday.

Matthew Todd Miller was convicted of committing "acts hostile" to North Korea and sentenced to six years of hard labor last week.

Saturday's report in the state-run Korean Central News Agency boldly heaped blame on Miller, claiming his acts were a preconceived plan to gain notoriety.

The 24-year-old from Bakersfield, California, arrived in North Korea as a tourist in April.

After his arrival, he tore his visa at Pyongyang's airport and shouted his desire to seek asylum, according to KCNA.

'Rudely behaved'

State media described him as "rudely behaved," saying he was sent to infiltrate prison as part of a United States campaign against North Korea.

"He perpetrated the above-said acts in the hope of becoming a world famous guy and the second Snowden through intentional hooliganism," state media said.

Edward Snowden got asylum from Russia, where he fled last year after leaking classified U.S. government documents.

Matthew Todd Miller, one of three Americans detained in North Korea, spoke to CNN's Will Ripley on Monday, September 1, and implored the U.S. government for help. The 24-year-old is accused of tearing up his tourist visa and seeking asylum upon entry. Dressed in a black turtleneck and often avoiding eye contact, Miller told CNN he has admitted his guilt -- even though he won't learn of his charges until he goes to trial.Matthew Todd Miller, one of three Americans detained in North Korea, spoke to CNN's Will Ripley on Monday, September 1, and implored the U.S. government for help. The 24-year-old is accused of tearing up his tourist visa and seeking asylum upon entry. Dressed in a black turtleneck and often avoiding eye contact, Miller told CNN he has admitted his guilt -- even though he won't learn of his charges until he goes to trial.
Jeffrey Edward Fowle, another one of the Americans detained in North Korea, is accused of leaving a Bible in a hotel where he was staying. North Korea announced Fowle's detention in June, saying he had violated the law by acting "contrary to the purpose of tourism." Fowle told CNN: "I've admitted my guilt to the government and signed a statement to that effect and requested forgiveness from the people and the government of the DPRK."Jeffrey Edward Fowle, another one of the Americans detained in North Korea, is accused of leaving a Bible in a hotel where he was staying. North Korea announced Fowle's detention in June, saying he had violated the law by acting "contrary to the purpose of tourism." Fowle told CNN: "I've admitted my guilt to the government and signed a statement to that effect and requested forgiveness from the people and the government of the DPRK."
In May 2013, a North Korean court sentenced Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen, to 15 years of hard labor for committing "hostile acts" against the state. North Korea claimed Bae was part of a Christian plot to overthrow the regime. In a short interview with CNN on Monday, September 1, Bae said he is working eight hours a day, six days a week at a labor camp. "Right now what I can say to my friends and family is, continue to pray for me," he said.In May 2013, a North Korean court sentenced Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen, to 15 years of hard labor for committing "hostile acts" against the state. North Korea claimed Bae was part of a Christian plot to overthrow the regime. In a short interview with CNN on Monday, September 1, Bae said he is working eight hours a day, six days a week at a labor camp. "Right now what I can say to my friends and family is, continue to pray for me," he said.
American journalist Peter Theo Curtis was handed over to U.N. peacekeepers on August 24 after nearly two years in captivity. He is believed to have been captured in October 2012 and held by the al-Nusra Front, a Syrian rebel group with ties to al Qaeda.American journalist Peter Theo Curtis was handed over to U.N. peacekeepers on August 24 after nearly two years in captivity. He is believed to have been captured in October 2012 and held by the al-Nusra Front, a Syrian rebel group with ties to al Qaeda.
Alan Gross, at right with Rabbi Arthur Schneier, has been in Cuban custody since December 2009, when he was jailed while working as a subcontractor. Cuban authorities say Gross tried to set up illegal Internet connections on the island. Gross says he was just trying to help connect the Jewish community to the Internet. Former President Jimmy Carter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have both traveled to Cuba on Gross' behalf, but they were unable to secure his release.Alan Gross, at right with Rabbi Arthur Schneier, has been in Cuban custody since December 2009, when he was jailed while working as a subcontractor. Cuban authorities say Gross tried to set up illegal Internet connections on the island. Gross says he was just trying to help connect the Jewish community to the Internet. Former President Jimmy Carter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have both traveled to Cuba on Gross' behalf, but they were unable to secure his release.
This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by insurgents in Afghanistan since 2009. The White House announced Bergdahl's release on May 31. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five senior Taliban members held by the U.S. military.This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by insurgents in Afghanistan since 2009. The White House announced Bergdahl's release on May 31. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five senior Taliban members held by the U.S. military.
An Iranian court threw out a 2011 death sentence for Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine charged with spying. But he was secretly retried in Iran and convicted of "practical collaboration with the U.S. government," his sister told CNN on April 11. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, she said. Hekmati was detained in August 2011 during a visit to see his grandmother. His family and the Obama administration deny accusations he was spying for the CIA. An Iranian court threw out a 2011 death sentence for Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine charged with spying. But he was secretly retried in Iran and convicted of "practical collaboration with the U.S. government," his sister told CNN on April 11. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, she said. Hekmati was detained in August 2011 during a visit to see his grandmother. His family and the Obama administration deny accusations he was spying for the CIA.
Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson has been missing since 2007. His family says he was working as a private investigator in Iran when he disappeared, and multiple reports suggest Levinson may have been working for the CIA. His family told CNN in January that they have long known that Levinson worked for the CIA, and they said it's time for the government to lay out the facts about Levinson's case. U.S. officials have consistently denied publicly that Levinson was working for the government, but they have repeatedly insisted that finding him and bringing him home is a "top" priority.Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson has been missing since 2007. His family says he was working as a private investigator in Iran when he disappeared, and multiple reports suggest Levinson may have been working for the CIA. His family told CNN in January that they have long known that Levinson worked for the CIA, and they said it's time for the government to lay out the facts about Levinson's case. U.S. officials have consistently denied publicly that Levinson was working for the government, but they have repeatedly insisted that finding him and bringing him home is a "top" priority.
Warren Weinstein, a contractor held by al Qaeda militants, is a U.S. citizen who has been held hostage in Pakistan since August 2011.Warren Weinstein, a contractor held by al Qaeda militants, is a U.S. citizen who has been held hostage in Pakistan since August 2011.
U.S. tourist and Korean War veteran Merrill Newman arrives at the Beijing airport on December 7, 2013, after being released by North Korea. Newman was detained in October 2013 by North Korean authorities just minutes before he was to depart the country after visiting through an organized tour. His son Jeff Newman said the Palo Alto, California, man had all the proper paperwork and set up his trip through a North Korean-approved travel agency. U.S. tourist and Korean War veteran Merrill Newman arrives at the Beijing airport on December 7, 2013, after being released by North Korea. Newman was detained in October 2013 by North Korean authorities just minutes before he was to depart the country after visiting through an organized tour. His son Jeff Newman said the Palo Alto, California, man had all the proper paperwork and set up his trip through a North Korean-approved travel agency.
Mexican authorities arrested Yanira Maldonado, a U.S. citizen, right, in May 2013, for alleged drug possession. She and her husband, Gary, were traveling from Mexico back to the United States when their bus was stopped and searched. She was released a few days later and is now back in the United States.Mexican authorities arrested Yanira Maldonado, a U.S. citizen, right, in May 2013, for alleged drug possession. She and her husband, Gary, were traveling from Mexico back to the United States when their bus was stopped and searched. She was released a few days later and is now back in the United States.
Saeed Abedini, a 33-year-old U.S. citizen of Iranian birth, was sentenced to eight years in prison in January 2013. He was accused of attempting to undermine the Iranian government and endangering national security by establishing home churches.Saeed Abedini, a 33-year-old U.S. citizen of Iranian birth, was sentenced to eight years in prison in January 2013. He was accused of attempting to undermine the Iranian government and endangering national security by establishing home churches.
North Korea has arrested Americans before, only to release them after a visit by a prominent dignitary. Journalists Laura Ling, center, and Euna Lee, to her right, spent 140 days in captivity after being charged with illegal entry to conduct a smear campaign. They were freed in 2009 after a trip by former President Bill Clinton.North Korea has arrested Americans before, only to release them after a visit by a prominent dignitary. Journalists Laura Ling, center, and Euna Lee, to her right, spent 140 days in captivity after being charged with illegal entry to conduct a smear campaign. They were freed in 2009 after a trip by former President Bill Clinton.
Former President Jimmy Carter negotiated the release of Aijalon Gomes, who was detained in 2010 after crossing into North Korea illegally from China. Analysts say high-level visits give Pyongyang a propaganda boost and a way to save face when it releases a prisoner.Former President Jimmy Carter negotiated the release of Aijalon Gomes, who was detained in 2010 after crossing into North Korea illegally from China. Analysts say high-level visits give Pyongyang a propaganda boost and a way to save face when it releases a prisoner.
Eddie Yong Su Jun was released by North Korea a month after he was detained in April 2011. His alleged crime was not provided to the media. The American delegation that secured his freedom included Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.Eddie Yong Su Jun was released by North Korea a month after he was detained in April 2011. His alleged crime was not provided to the media. The American delegation that secured his freedom included Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.
Robert Park was released by North Korea in 2010 without any apparent U.S. intervention. The Christian missionary crossed into North Korea from China, carrying a letter asking Kim Jong Il to free political prisoners and resign. North Korea's state-run news agency said Park was released after an "admission and sincere repentance of his wrongdoings." Here, Park holds a photo of Kim and a malnourished child during a protest in Seoul.Robert Park was released by North Korea in 2010 without any apparent U.S. intervention. The Christian missionary crossed into North Korea from China, carrying a letter asking Kim Jong Il to free political prisoners and resign. North Korea's state-run news agency said Park was released after an "admission and sincere repentance of his wrongdoings." Here, Park holds a photo of Kim and a malnourished child during a protest in Seoul.
Josh Fattal, center, Sarah Shourd, left, and Shane Bauer were detained by Iran while hiking near the Iraq-Iran border in July 2009. Iran charged them with illegal entry and espionage. Shourd was released on bail for medical reasons in September 2010; she never returned to face her charges. Bauer and Fattal were convicted in August 2011, but the next month they were released on bail and had their sentences commuted.Josh Fattal, center, Sarah Shourd, left, and Shane Bauer were detained by Iran while hiking near the Iraq-Iran border in July 2009. Iran charged them with illegal entry and espionage. Shourd was released on bail for medical reasons in September 2010; she never returned to face her charges. Bauer and Fattal were convicted in August 2011, but the next month they were released on bail and had their sentences commuted.
Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American scholar, was detained at Iran's Evin Prison, spending months in solitary confinement before Iran released her on bail in August 2007. Esfandiari was visiting her ailing mother in Tehran when she was arrested and charged with harming Iran's national security. Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American scholar, was detained at Iran's Evin Prison, spending months in solitary confinement before Iran released her on bail in August 2007. Esfandiari was visiting her ailing mother in Tehran when she was arrested and charged with harming Iran's national security.
Sixteen Americans were among the dozens arrested in December 2011 when Egypt raided the offices of 10 nongovernmental organizations that it said received illegal foreign financing and were operating without a public license. Many of the employees posted bail and left the country after a travel ban was lifted a few months later. Robert Becker, right, chose to stay and stand trial.Sixteen Americans were among the dozens arrested in December 2011 when Egypt raided the offices of 10 nongovernmental organizations that it said received illegal foreign financing and were operating without a public license. Many of the employees posted bail and left the country after a travel ban was lifted a few months later. Robert Becker, right, chose to stay and stand trial.
Filmmaker Timothy Tracy was arrested in Venezuela in April 2013 on allegations of funding opponents of newly elected President Nicolas Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chavez. Tracy went to Venezuela to make a documentary about the political division gripping the country. He was released in June 2013.Filmmaker Timothy Tracy was arrested in Venezuela in April 2013 on allegations of funding opponents of newly elected President Nicolas Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chavez. Tracy went to Venezuela to make a documentary about the political division gripping the country. He was released in June 2013.
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N. Korea: American gets 6-year sentence

Once sentenced, Miller hoped to meet Kenneth Bae, another American detained in North Korea.

He planned to secure Bae's release so both can serve as "witnesses" to the human rights violations in the nation, state media said.

"The crime committed by Miller Matthew Todd was prompted by his sinister political aim to deliberately slander the DPRK," it said.

DPRK refers to North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Its government is a communist dictatorship renowned for human rights abuses.

Washington demands release

The U.S. State Department has demanded that North Korea release Miller and Bae, and American Jeffrey Fowle.

Fowle, 56, was arrested in June while traveling as a tourist.

Bae, who was detained in 2012, has been accused of planning to bring down the government through religious activities. He was moved from a hospital to a labor camp.

Miller talks to CNN

Earlier this month, Miller told CNN's Will Ripley that he "prepared to violate the law of DPRK before coming here. And I deliberately committed my crime."

But Miller didn't elaborate on what his "crime" was. He said he wouldn't learn of his charges until he went to trial.

It's unclear whether his statements were made freely or under coercion.

First stop was South Korea

Miller's family lives in Bakersfield, and he is a 2008 graduate of Bakersfield High School, according to CNN affiliate KBAK.

In a July interview, a neighbor told The Associated Press that Miller went to South Korea about four years ago to visit his brother and started teaching English.

He traveled to North Korea this year after arranging a private tour through the U.S.-based company Uri Tours, which takes tourists into North Korea.

Uri Tours has said it doesn't have "any understanding of why" Miller ripped up his visa.

The company offers tours despite U.S. State Department warnings about arbitrary arrest and detention in North Korea.

CNN's Madison Park contributed to this report.

Boko Haram willing to trade girls?

  • NEW: Residents say Boko Haram launched a fatal market attack this week
  • The ICRC and Nigerian government are involved in the talks
  • The talks involve a swap of imprisoned group members for kidnapped school girls
  • An estimated 276 girls were kidnapped from a Nigerian school in April

(CNN) -- Nigerian government officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross have had talks with Boko Haram about swapping imprisoned members of the Islamist terrorist group for the more than 200 Chibok school girls kidnapped in April, a source involved in the negotiations told CNN.

The officials met four times in mid-August with two senior members of Boko Haram in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

The swap would involve the release of 30 Boko Haram commanders in the custody of the Nigerian government, according to the source, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown on September 25, 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation:A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown on September 25, 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation:
Bodies lie in the streets in Maiduguri after religious clashes in northern Nigeria, on July 31, 2009. Boko Haram exploded onto the national scene in 2009 when 700 people were killed in widespread clashes across the north between the group and the Nigerian military. Bodies lie in the streets in Maiduguri after religious clashes in northern Nigeria, on July 31, 2009. Boko Haram exploded onto the national scene in 2009 when 700 people were killed in widespread clashes across the north between the group and the Nigerian military.
An unidentified official displays burned equipment inside a prison in Bauchi on September 9, 2010, after the prison was attacked by suspected members of Boko Haram on September 7. About 720 inmates escaped during the prison break, and police suspect the prison was attacked because it was holding 80 members of the sect.An unidentified official displays burned equipment inside a prison in Bauchi on September 9, 2010, after the prison was attacked by suspected members of Boko Haram on September 7. About 720 inmates escaped during the prison break, and police suspect the prison was attacked because it was holding 80 members of the sect.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, second from left, stands on the back of a vehicle after being sworn-in as President during a ceremony in the capital of Abuja on May 29, 2011. In December 2011, Jonathan declared a state of emergency in parts of the country afflicted by violence from the militant Islamist group.Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, second from left, stands on the back of a vehicle after being sworn-in as President during a ceremony in the capital of Abuja on May 29, 2011. In December 2011, Jonathan declared a state of emergency in parts of the country afflicted by violence from the militant Islamist group.
Rescue workers evacuate a wounded person from a U.N. building in Abuja on August 26, 2011. The building was rocked by a bomb that killed at least 23 people, leaving others trapped and causing heavy damage. Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the attack in which a Honda packed with explosives rammed into the U.N. building, shattering windows and setting the place afire. Rescue workers evacuate a wounded person from a U.N. building in Abuja on August 26, 2011. The building was rocked by a bomb that killed at least 23 people, leaving others trapped and causing heavy damage. Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the attack in which a Honda packed with explosives rammed into the U.N. building, shattering windows and setting the place afire.
A photo taken on November 6, 2011, shows state police headquarters burned by a series of bomb and gun attacks that targeted police stations, mosques and churches in Damaturu on November 4, 2011. Attackers left scores injured -- probably more than 100 -- in a three-hour rampage in the Yobe state city of Damaturu. Sixty-three people died.A photo taken on November 6, 2011, shows state police headquarters burned by a series of bomb and gun attacks that targeted police stations, mosques and churches in Damaturu on November 4, 2011. Attackers left scores injured -- probably more than 100 -- in a three-hour rampage in the Yobe state city of Damaturu. Sixty-three people died.
Men look at the wreckage of a car after a bomb blast at St. Theresa Catholic Church outside Abuja on December 25, 2011. A string of bombs struck churches in five Nigerian cities, leaving dozens dead and wounded on the Christmas holiday, authorities and witnesses said. Boko Haram's targets included police outposts and churches as well as places associated with "Western influence."Men look at the wreckage of a car after a bomb blast at St. Theresa Catholic Church outside Abuja on December 25, 2011. A string of bombs struck churches in five Nigerian cities, leaving dozens dead and wounded on the Christmas holiday, authorities and witnesses said. Boko Haram's targets included police outposts and churches as well as places associated with "Western influence."
A paramedic helps a young man injured during one of the multiple explosions and shooting attacks as he leaves a hospital in the northern city of Kano on January 21, 2012. A spate of bombings and shootings left more than 200 people dead in Nigeria's second-largest city. Three days later, a joint military task force in Nigeria arrested 158 suspected members of Boko Haram.A paramedic helps a young man injured during one of the multiple explosions and shooting attacks as he leaves a hospital in the northern city of Kano on January 21, 2012. A spate of bombings and shootings left more than 200 people dead in Nigeria's second-largest city. Three days later, a joint military task force in Nigeria arrested 158 suspected members of Boko Haram.
A photo taken on June 18, 2012, shows a car vandalized after three church bombings and retaliatory attacks in northern Nigeria killed at least 50 people on June 17 and injured more than 130 others, the Nigerian Red Cross Society said. A photo taken on June 18, 2012, shows a car vandalized after three church bombings and retaliatory attacks in northern Nigeria killed at least 50 people on June 17 and injured more than 130 others, the Nigerian Red Cross Society said.
A French family kidnapped on February 19, 2013, in northern Cameroon is released after two months in captivity in Nigeria. The family of four children, their parents and an uncle were kidnapped in Waza National Park in northern Cameroon, situated near the border with Nigeria. One of the captive men read a statement demanding that Nigeria and Cameroon free jailed members of Boko Haram.A French family kidnapped on February 19, 2013, in northern Cameroon is released after two months in captivity in Nigeria. The family of four children, their parents and an uncle were kidnapped in Waza National Park in northern Cameroon, situated near the border with Nigeria. One of the captive men read a statement demanding that Nigeria and Cameroon free jailed members of Boko Haram.
A soldier stands in front of a damaged wall and the body of a prison officer killed during an attack on a prison in the northeastern town of Bama on May 7, 2013. Two soldiers were killed during coordinated attacks on multiple targets. Nigeria's military says more than 100 Boko Haram militants carried out the attack. A soldier stands in front of a damaged wall and the body of a prison officer killed during an attack on a prison in the northeastern town of Bama on May 7, 2013. Two soldiers were killed during coordinated attacks on multiple targets. Nigeria's military says more than 100 Boko Haram militants carried out the attack.
A deserted student hostel on August 6, 2013, is shown after gunmen stormed a school in Yobe state, killing 20 students and a teacher, state media reported on July 6, 2013. Boko Haram regularly carries out attacks in Yobe, in Nigeria's northeast.A deserted student hostel on August 6, 2013, is shown after gunmen stormed a school in Yobe state, killing 20 students and a teacher, state media reported on July 6, 2013. Boko Haram regularly carries out attacks in Yobe, in Nigeria's northeast.
A photograph made available by the Nigerian army on August 13, 2013, shows improvised explosive devices, bomb making materials and detonators seized from a Boko Haram hideout. Gunmen attacked a mosque in Nigeria with automatic weapons on August 11, 2013, killing at least 44 people.A photograph made available by the Nigerian army on August 13, 2013, shows improvised explosive devices, bomb making materials and detonators seized from a Boko Haram hideout. Gunmen attacked a mosque in Nigeria with automatic weapons on August 11, 2013, killing at least 44 people.
Nigerian students from Jos Polytechnic walk on campus in Jos, Nigeria, on September 30, 2013. Under the cover of darkness, gunmen approached a college dormitory in a rural Nigerian town and opened fire on students who were sleeping. At least 40 students died, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.Nigerian students from Jos Polytechnic walk on campus in Jos, Nigeria, on September 30, 2013. Under the cover of darkness, gunmen approached a college dormitory in a rural Nigerian town and opened fire on students who were sleeping. At least 40 students died, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Soldiers stand outside the 79 Composite Group Air Force base that was attacked earlier in Maiduguri on December 2, 2013. Hundreds of Boko Haram militants attacked an Air Force base and a military checkpoint, according to government officials.Soldiers stand outside the 79 Composite Group Air Force base that was attacked earlier in Maiduguri on December 2, 2013. Hundreds of Boko Haram militants attacked an Air Force base and a military checkpoint, according to government officials.
Former hostage and French Catholic Priest Georges Vandenbeusch speaks to reporters outside Paris, France, on January 1, after his release. Vandenbeusch was snatched from his parish church in Cameroon on November 13, 2013. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for kidnapping the priest.Former hostage and French Catholic Priest Georges Vandenbeusch speaks to reporters outside Paris, France, on January 1, after his release. Vandenbeusch was snatched from his parish church in Cameroon on November 13, 2013. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for kidnapping the priest.
A man receives treatment at Konduga specialist hospital after a gruesome attack on January 26. It's suspected that Boko Haram militants opened fire on a village market and torched homes in the village of Kawuri in Borno state, killing at least 45 people.A man receives treatment at Konduga specialist hospital after a gruesome attack on January 26. It's suspected that Boko Haram militants opened fire on a village market and torched homes in the village of Kawuri in Borno state, killing at least 45 people.
Police officers stand guard in front of the burned remains of homes and businesses in the village of Konduga, in northeastern Nigeria, on February 12. Suspected Boko Haram militants torched houses in the village, killing at least 23 people, according to the governor of Borno state on February 11.Police officers stand guard in front of the burned remains of homes and businesses in the village of Konduga, in northeastern Nigeria, on February 12. Suspected Boko Haram militants torched houses in the village, killing at least 23 people, according to the governor of Borno state on February 11.
Ibrahim Gaidam, governor of Yobe state, left, looks at the bodies of students inside an ambulance outside a mosque in Damaturu. At least 29 students died in an attack on a federal college in Buni Yadi, near the the capital of Yobe state, Nigeria's military said on February 26. Authorities suspect Boko Haram carried out the assault in which several buildings were also torched. In April as many as 200 girls were abducted from their boarding school in northeastern Nigeria by heavily armed Boko Haram Islamists who arrived in trucks, vans and buses, officials and witnesses said. The group has recently stepped up attacks in the region, and its leader released a video last month threatening to kidnap girls from schools.Ibrahim Gaidam, governor of Yobe state, left, looks at the bodies of students inside an ambulance outside a mosque in Damaturu. At least 29 students died in an attack on a federal college in Buni Yadi, near the the capital of Yobe state, Nigeria's military said on February 26. Authorities suspect Boko Haram carried out the assault in which several buildings were also torched. In April as many as 200 girls were abducted from their boarding school in northeastern Nigeria by heavily armed Boko Haram Islamists who arrived in trucks, vans and buses, officials and witnesses said. The group has recently stepped up attacks in the region, and its leader released a video last month threatening to kidnap girls from schools.
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
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Boko Haram: Nigeria\'s crisis Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
A screengrab taken in May from a Boko Haram video shows the schoolgirls in an undisclosed rural location.
A screengrab taken in May from a Boko Haram video shows the schoolgirls in an undisclosed rural location.
Parents outraged over missing schoolgirls
Source: 63 girls escape Boko Haram

Boko Haram submitted a list with the names of 30 members who were either convicted or awaiting trial on terror offenses.

"The two Boko Haram negotiators assured the ICRC and government negotiators that the girls were never raped, were never used as sex slaves and were never sexually assaulted," said the source, who attended the discussions.

The terrorist group abducted an estimated 276 girls in April from a boarding school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens escaped, but more than 200 are still missing.

Boko Haram has expressed a willingness for a swap with the ICRC at an undisclosed location, according to the source. But there was disagreement on some terms, including the number of girls involved in the swap.

Boko Haram had insisted on an even swap -- 30 girls for the 30 commanders -- but the government refused, according to the source.

"They were only ready to release one to one, which the government was not going to accept," the source said.

Another hurdle in the talks was Boko Haram's insistence on meeting the imprisoned 30 members involved in the swap, but they only had contact with six at a prison outside Abuja, the source said.

"ICRC couldn't find where the remaining 24 were being detained," the source said.

The six prisoners included Kabiru Sokoto, a senior Boko Haram commander convicted in December 2013 of terrorism charges related to the fatal Christmas Day bombing of a church in the town of Madallah in 2011.

The Boko Haram negotiators said they would get back to the government after consulting with superiors.

ICRC sources declined to comment.

The name "Boko Haram" translates to "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language. The militant group is trying to impose strict Sharia law across Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.

In recent years, its attacks have intensified in an apparent show of defiance amid the nation's military onslaught. Its ambitions appear to have expanded to the destruction of the Nigerian government.

Ongoing militant attacks

Dozens of merchants were killed this week when Boko Haram gunmen launched a rocket and gun attack on a local market in northeastern Borno state, witnesses said Saturday.

The attack happened Thursday but details were slow to emerge because of a mobile phone shutdown in the region Friday. Phone signals were restored only on Saturday, residents said.

Scores of Boko Haram militiamen wearing military and police uniforms stormed a market in the town of Mainok, 31 miles (56 km) outside Maiduguri, during peak hours, the witnesses said.

The militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and fired on traders. They looted food and loaded it onto trucks abandoned by fleeing traders, witnesses said.

"They killed dozens of people in the raid but it is difficult to give precise toll because everybody fled the market to escape the gunmen," said local merchant Babagana Kyari, who witnessed the attack.

The attack was an attempt by the militia to replenish depleted food supplies in areas under its control, said Madu Kachalla, another trader at the market. "They seized cash from traders and loaded food stuff into trucks they impounded at the market before fleeing into the bush," Kachalla said.

Boko Haram fighters looted a truck carrying sacks of grain to Maiduguri on Wednesday before setting it on fire, residents said.

Troops rescue 85 Nigerian hostages from Boko Haram

CNN's Ray Sanchez contributed to this story.

Gay conservatives take on GOP

  • Gay conservatives are undertaking the most coordinated effort yet to change the GOP's position on same-sex marriage
  • They are working to change the party's platform to 'respect ... all families'
  • Young Conservatives are focusing on the early presidential nominating states
  • The head of the Iowa Republican Party said it's going to be a tough sell for the rank and file

(CNN) -- Gay conservatives are undertaking the most coordinated effort yet to change the Republican Party's position on same-sex marriage. Their approach: one state and one Republican activist at a time.

While the official stance of the Republican Party says the "the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard," conservative same-sex marriage advocates want to change that.

Young Conservatives for Freedom to Marry hopes that by the time the Republican convention rolls around in 2016, they will have recruited or persuaded enough like-minded party activists and young conservatives to remove the restrictive language and replace it with this: "We encourage and welcome a thoughtful conversation among Republicans about the meaning and importance of marriage, and commit our Party to respect for all families and fairness and freedom for all Americans."

To accomplish that goal, Freedom to Marry, a nonpartisan advocacy group, has launched a national grassroots campaign targeting Republican activists -- the most powerful impediment to marriage freedom in the party -- in key presidential nominating states that they can "agree to disagree" on same-sex marriage.

Court strikes down same-sex marriage ban
Church changes its marriage definition
Clinton spars with NPR on same-sex marriage

Tyler Deaton, campaign manager at Young Conservatives for Freedom to Marry, said they are not looking for an endorsement of same-sex marriage, "but that it's a valid point of view."

Their campaign is targeted and funded. They have launched in the first four and arguably most influential of the presidential nominating states: New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina. And the national organization Freedom to Marry has committed $1 million to the effort.

Young Conservatives thinks that momentum is on its side. More Republicans are announcing their support for same-sex marriage. Three openly gay Republicans ran for Congress this year (one lost in the primaries) and Republican lawmakers are slowly announcing their support.

In addition, Young Conservatives point to a New York Times public opinion poll that shows 40% of Republicans -- and 56% of Republicans under age 45 -- support same-sex marriage.

The group just completed its lobbying campaign in Nevada, which might be their easiest stop, since the state party, which leans libertarian, has officially made marriage a non-issue by stripping all social issues from its platform.

Libertarian-minded Republican Clark County Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said she is working with Young Conservatives to convince the national Republican Party to follow Nevada's lead.

"If we truly are the party of freedom, we need to be the party of choice," Fiore, who was raised by a lesbian couple in Brooklyn, New York, told CNN.

But not all states share Nevada's view and not all local Republican chapters are run by libertarians. In Iowa, for instance, where Christian conservatives are a dominant force in the party, resistance is certain.

"Any entity is more than welcome to try and make their case," Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party said, "but marriage certainly is a difficult swallow for our rank and file."

Young Conservatives' next stop is South Carolina, another state with a socially conservative Republican base. Deaton, who is from the South and is gay, says he understands evangelicals' and Southerners' concerns and believe that he has the ability to at least soften their opposition.

We'll find out when the GOP finalizes its platform in Cleveland in the summer of 2016.

Are we closer to seeing dark matter?

  • The universe is made up mostly of dark energy and dark matter, physicists believe
  • Humans cannot detect dark matter; it is invisible
  • A device in space may have found hints of it in anti-matter particles
  • These could come from other sources but look consistent with dark matter

(CNN) -- Take a look around you, and in your mind's eye, randomly wipe out all but a small fraction of what you can see. Pretend the vast rest of reality is there but invisible.

You'd probably like a device that helps you see much more of it.

Scientists working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, have made some progress in that direction with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which has been riding aboard the International Space Station since 2011.

Physicists believe that mental exercise in blindness reflects the reality of our universe, only about 4% of which manifests as the kind of matter and energy we can perceive.

More than 70% consists of so-called dark energy, physicists say, and more than 20% is dark matter, neither of which humans can directly detect so far.

But scientists feel certain it must exist, partly because of the gravity it exerts on the visible universe.

CERN's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer rides atop the International Space Station to detect signs of mysterious dark matter.CERN's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer rides atop the International Space Station to detect signs of mysterious dark matter.
The AMS was delivered to the International Space Station in May 2011 by the Space Shuttle Endeavour.The AMS was delivered to the International Space Station in May 2011 by the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Scientists at CERN's AMS control center in France monitor the path of the ISS and adjust the spectrometer experiment to changing space conditions.Scientists at CERN's AMS control center in France monitor the path of the ISS and adjust the spectrometer experiment to changing space conditions.
Device on the ISS searches for dark matter
Device on the ISS searches for dark matter
Device on the ISS searches for dark matter
The Large Hadron Collider is located at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland. This is CERN's Globe of Science and Innovation, which hosts a small museum about particle physics inside. The ATLAS experiment is housed underground nearby. The Large Hadron Collider is located at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland. This is CERN's Globe of Science and Innovation, which hosts a small museum about particle physics inside. The ATLAS experiment is housed underground nearby.
The Higgs boson, the elusive particle that scientists had hoped to find for decades, was detected by two general-purpose experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, as scientists announced in 2012. The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, pictured, is one of them.The Higgs boson, the elusive particle that scientists had hoped to find for decades, was detected by two general-purpose experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, as scientists announced in 2012. The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, pictured, is one of them.
The ATLAS experiment, seen here in 2011, also detected the Higgs boson, a particle that helps explain why matter has mass. It has been called the "God particle" because of a book by that title, but scientists hate the name. The ATLAS experiment, seen here in 2011, also detected the Higgs boson, a particle that helps explain why matter has mass. It has been called the "God particle" because of a book by that title, but scientists hate the name.
Much of three stories of electronics at CMS are involved in making split-second decisions about what data to keep and what to discard. This is one of those areas. Much of three stories of electronics at CMS are involved in making split-second decisions about what data to keep and what to discard. This is one of those areas.
A technician works on the CMS experiment. Technicians are adding new cooling lines for CMS for a system that will be put in place in two or three years. A technician works on the CMS experiment. Technicians are adding new cooling lines for CMS for a system that will be put in place in two or three years.
CMS is adding this layer for the next run of particle collisions to improve the detection of muons, which are fundamental particles.CMS is adding this layer for the next run of particle collisions to improve the detection of muons, which are fundamental particles.
Joe Incandela, the spokesperson for CMS, says that about 4,000 scientists work there. Joe Incandela, the spokesperson for CMS, says that about 4,000 scientists work there.
Physicists in the CMS control room. Although the particle accelerator is shut down until 2015, this is a busy time for everyone involved in upgrading the particle detectors and analyzing data from the first run of particle collisions. Physicists in the CMS control room. Although the particle accelerator is shut down until 2015, this is a busy time for everyone involved in upgrading the particle detectors and analyzing data from the first run of particle collisions.
The nearly 14,000 tons of machinery can all collapse together, or separate, when high-pressure air is pumped in. This is one of the pads to help slide it all around. The nearly 14,000 tons of machinery can all collapse together, or separate, when high-pressure air is pumped in. This is one of the pads to help slide it all around.
CMS has 76,000 lead-tungstate crystals that shatter electrons and photons, allowing scientists to observe particles such as the Higgs boson that exist for only an instant. Some of those crystals are in the endcap. CMS has 76,000 lead-tungstate crystals that shatter electrons and photons, allowing scientists to observe particles such as the Higgs boson that exist for only an instant. Some of those crystals are in the endcap.
Evaldas Juska, an engineer, is working on computers involved with CMS. Evaldas Juska, an engineer, is working on computers involved with CMS.
CMS was constructed at ground level, then pieces of it were lowered through this hole in the cavern.CMS was constructed at ground level, then pieces of it were lowered through this hole in the cavern.
This is the CERN Computing Center. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN. This is the CERN Computing Center. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN.
One of the world's first web servers, a NeXT computer from 1991, is seen at CERN. The handwritten note indicates, "This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!" On the right is an old Ethernet cable, which can handle only 10 Mb/second, and was largely replaced by the mid-'90s. One of the world's first web servers, a NeXT computer from 1991, is seen at CERN. The handwritten note indicates, "This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!" On the right is an old Ethernet cable, which can handle only 10 Mb/second, and was largely replaced by the mid-'90s.
While they take their work seriously, that doesn't mean the scientists at CERN don't have a sense of humor. Here we see CERN's "Animal Shelter for Computer Mice," where used and unwanted computer mice have a place to call home.While they take their work seriously, that doesn't mean the scientists at CERN don't have a sense of humor. Here we see CERN's "Animal Shelter for Computer Mice," where used and unwanted computer mice have a place to call home.
A sculpture garden featuring artwork made from pieces of old experiments decorates the grounds at CERN. A sculpture garden featuring artwork made from pieces of old experiments decorates the grounds at CERN.
A collection of empty relics from the celebrations of different milestones of the CMS experiment. A collection of empty relics from the celebrations of different milestones of the CMS experiment.
"Don't feed the physicists" marks a box of coins where CMS scientists deposit change to pay for coffee. "Don't feed the physicists" marks a box of coins where CMS scientists deposit change to pay for coffee.
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
Exploring the universe at CERN
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This week, CERN scientists published an analysis of data from the AMS, which detects subatomic particles constantly bombarding Earth. They include exceedingly rare antimatter particles that can result from the breakdown of dark matter.

When dark matter collides

They are called positrons, also known as anti-electrons. They have the same mass as electrons, but electrons have a negative charge, and positrons have a positive charge.

Scientists believe dark matter collides, splitting into pairs of electrons and positrons, so the ability to examine positrons in detail could help in proving the existence of dark matter.

Positrons are produced in minute quantities in our corner of the universe, and mostly come flying our way from its far reaches, bundled up with gangs of other subatomic particles, mainly protons and electrons.

The flying particles bear the name "cosmic rays," a misnomer given to them at a time when they were not as well understood.

The AMS project has analyzed 41 billion cosmic ray particles, and determined 10 million of them to be made of electrons and positrons.

Science on the big scale and the small scale is important for understanding the structure of the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope is looking for indications of dark matter in star clusters, while particle experiments are also hunting down this mysterious substance. Science on the big scale and the small scale is important for understanding the structure of the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope is looking for indications of dark matter in star clusters, while particle experiments are also hunting down this mysterious substance.
This is what the Hubble Space Telescope looks like.This is what the Hubble Space Telescope looks like.
The James Webb Space Telescope, shown in this artist's depiction, would be even more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, and may enhance our understanding of enigmatic substances called dark matter and dark energy. The James Webb Space Telescope, shown in this artist's depiction, would be even more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, and may enhance our understanding of enigmatic substances called dark matter and dark energy.
This graphic shows the evolution of the universe, combining the expansion history from supernova measurements with findings from NASA's WMAP satellite, launched in 2001. Dark energy is thought to be responsible for the acceleration of the universe's expansion. This graphic shows the evolution of the universe, combining the expansion history from supernova measurements with findings from NASA's WMAP satellite, launched in 2001. Dark energy is thought to be responsible for the acceleration of the universe's expansion.
At the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, scientists smash particles into each other hoping to draw other, as-yet-unseen particles into existence, and could also find evidence of dark matter. The LHC is officially shut down for about two years while it receives maintenance and upgrades. At the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, scientists smash particles into each other hoping to draw other, as-yet-unseen particles into existence, and could also find evidence of dark matter. The LHC is officially shut down for about two years while it receives maintenance and upgrades.
Michael Faraday used the principles of electricity to develop the electric motor, showing that pure science leads to technological innovations, in the 1800s.Michael Faraday used the principles of electricity to develop the electric motor, showing that pure science leads to technological innovations, in the 1800s.
The World Wide Web was an unexpected invention that arose at CERN, to help physicists communicate better. Here, Tim Berners-Lee, who came up with it, demonstrates the NeXT computer on which he developed the Web.The World Wide Web was an unexpected invention that arose at CERN, to help physicists communicate better. Here, Tim Berners-Lee, who came up with it, demonstrates the NeXT computer on which he developed the Web.
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider detected a particle resembling the theorized Higgs boson, and announced this breakthrough in 2012. We may learn of amazing practical applications of the particle physics that goes on at the LHC, but no one knows what those will be.Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider detected a particle resembling the theorized Higgs boson, and announced this breakthrough in 2012. We may learn of amazing practical applications of the particle physics that goes on at the LHC, but no one knows what those will be.

Unprecedented data plus hope

There have been fluctuations in the number of positrons in the mix, and thanks to the orbiting spectrometer, for the first time in a half-century of cosmic ray research scientists have been able to measure an important peak in positrons.

"AMS now unveiled data that no other experiment could ever record," said CERN spokesman Arnaud Marsollier.

The data hint at the existence of dark matter. But CERN scientists are not completely sure yet that dark matter is the true source of the positrons.

"It may come from high-energy phenomena somewhere in our universe: But what?" Marsollier asks. "Pulsars? Supernovas?"

Pulsars are stars similar to black holes that spray particles and light through the universe. Supernovas are exploded former stars.

Because it detects particles as opposed to light, the way a telescope would, AMS may also be able to see other cosmic phenomena a telescope cannot.

The data released this week need more study, but at first glance, CERN says, what they have seen so far looks "tantalizingly consistent with dark matter particles."

If that's the case, the AMS may have begun to remove humanity's greatest blindfold.

Grandkids’ killer killed son in ’01

  • Mother, her six children shot and killed inside residence in Bell, Florida
  • Shooter calls 911, then kills self after a deputy arrives
  • Sheriff identifies killer as 51-year-old Don Spirit
  • Don Spirit had spent time in prison, was released in 2006

(CNN) -- A man who killed his daughter, six grandchildren and then himself in a shooting in north-central Florida was a convicted felon and wasn't allowed to possess the gun he used, police said Friday.

Don Spirit, 51, killed his daughter, Sarah Spirit, 28, and her three sons and three daughters -- ages 3 months to 11 years -- at his home in Bell on Thursday afternoon before killing himself, Gilchrist County sheriff's officials said.

Investigators didn't yet know any motive for the murder-suicide, Sheriff Robert Schultz said Friday. The massacre came more than a decade after, according to media reports, Don Spirit was convicted of a felony in the fatal shooting of his son in a hunting accident.

The shootings occurred only about an hour after some of the children returned home from Bell Elementary School, school district Superintendent Rob Rankin told reporters Friday.

Four of Sarah Spirit's children -- in grades K, 2, 3 and 5 -- attended the school of about 540 children. Students struggled with news of their classmates' deaths on Friday, Rankin said.

Don Spirit\'s mugshot from 2001
Don Spirit's mugshot from 2001

"It really hurt me this morning to be on our campus and seeing kids feeling the way they did this morning," Rankin said. " ... It's devastating to our schools, but we're going to be strong through this."

A prayer vigil has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the school, the sheriff's office webpage said.

Thursday's killings

Schultz said a deputy went to the home after Don Spirit called 911 around 4 p.m. After the deputy arrived, Spirit killed himself.

The deputy found the bodies of Sarah Spirit and the children inside the home. Police said they believe Spirit shot more than one person in the home, but declined to say whether all of the victims had been shot.

Deputies had previously responded to calls from the home on numerous occasions, officials said. Spirit had a criminal history, Schultz said Thursday, without elaborating.

Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jeff Manning said Friday that he didn't believe any of the calls related to domestic violence.

The sheriff said the news would devastate the county, which has about 17,000 residents. "We're all family here," he said.

Florida community reels after mom kills son, daughter, self

Criminal record

Don Spirit, as a convicted felon, was not allowed to have a gun, Manning said Friday. The sheriff's office hasn't said how Spirit obtained a gun or what kind of firearm he used.

In 2003, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Spirit was sentenced to three years in prison after he accidentally killed his son Kyle in a hunting accident two years prior. Spirit was charged in Osecola County with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and pleaded guilty, the newspaper reported at the time.

That charge is a second-degree felony. Florida criminal records show Spirit was released from prison in February 2006.

Court records show Spirit also was convicted in 1996 of possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, a third-degree felony.

Schultz declined to identify the father of the children, or whether all of the children had the same father. He said no one in the house survived Spirit's rampage.

Bell is about 30 miles west of Gainesville.

CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.

30 years later, Cosby sweater still rules

Comedian Bill Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show,"<a href='http://billcosby.com/polls' > launched a poll on his website</a> in 2013 asking fans to vote for their favorite "Cosby Show" sweater. It was one example of the lasting impact these sweaters have had on fans. Comedian Bill Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show," launched a poll on his website in 2013 asking fans to vote for their favorite "Cosby Show" sweater. It was one example of the lasting impact these sweaters have had on fans.
As a child, college student <a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1169369'>Kahsa Teum</a>, pictured on the right in a 2012 photo, played dress-up with her parents' clothes. Oftentimes, she would sport her father's Cosby sweaters. As a child, college student Kahsa Teum, pictured on the right in a 2012 photo, played dress-up with her parents' clothes. Oftentimes, she would sport her father's Cosby sweaters.
"I found the Cosby sweaters to still be more comfortable (and, in my opinion, more aesthetically pleasing) than anything else that I owned," Teum wrote in an email. "They've been a staple in my wardrobe ever since!" "I found the Cosby sweaters to still be more comfortable (and, in my opinion, more aesthetically pleasing) than anything else that I owned," Teum wrote in an email. "They've been a staple in my wardrobe ever since!"
One favorite Cosby sweater, <a href='http://billcosby.com/polls' >according to fans</a>, is this one featuring knitted runners. It also represents one of Cosby's greatest passions, running track. One favorite Cosby sweater, according to fans, is this one featuring knitted runners. It also represents one of Cosby's greatest passions, running track.
<a href='http://instagram.com/p/siPonqM2jh/' >Dave George</a>, a project manager from Cincinnati, posted this 1990s photo on Instagram as an example of how the Cosby sweater phenomenon influenced kids' fashion at the time as well.
Dave George, a project manager from Cincinnati, posted this 1990s photo on Instagram as an example of how the Cosby sweater phenomenon influenced kids' fashion at the time as well.
<a href='http://instagram.com/p/s6yThlrZkb' >Brendan Conroy</a> proudly wore his Cosby sweater on Instagram, describing himself as "a goofy dude doing what I choose to do."Brendan Conroy proudly wore his Cosby sweater on Instagram, describing himself as "a goofy dude doing what I choose to do."
<a href='http://instagram.com/p/sf4OlDrYiK' >Ceci Virtue </a>finds that her Cosby sweater is a source of comfort. "Whenever I'm feeling miserable, I put on my favorite jumper," she posted on Instagram. "Everyone hates it, but I absolutely adore it!"
Ceci Virtue finds that her Cosby sweater is a source of comfort. "Whenever I'm feeling miserable, I put on my favorite jumper," she posted on Instagram. "Everyone hates it, but I absolutely adore it!"
Cosby mostly dismisses the sweater phenomenon as "youthful people" having too much time on their hands, according to<a href='http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/bill-cosby-schools-us-about-those-crazy-sweaters/' > interviews</a>. Cosby mostly dismisses the sweater phenomenon as "youthful people" having too much time on their hands, according to interviews.
  • Bill Cosby's sweaters became an iconic part of his hit "Cosby Show"
  • They are remembered today, in some cases by people who weren't alive during show's run
  • The sweaters served a technical purpose for the show's editing as well

(CNN) -- It all started with a gift from a friend.

In the 1980s, actress and singer Josephine Premice was well-aware of fashion designer Koos van den Akker's eye-catching work and asked whether he could make a sweater for one of her friends, Bill Cosby.

Van den Akker delivered a sweater to the studio where Cosby was working on his NBC sitcom, "The Cosby Show," early on in its eight-season run. Cosby loved the sweater so much, he wore it when he portrayed Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the show.

Fans began writing in, asking where Cosby got the sweater, van den Akker recalled. "So we made a bunch of them, and it's history."

"Cosby sweaters," with their unique, bold mix of colors, became a fixture on the beloved series, which began 30 years ago this week.

"The Cosby Show" was taped in front of a live audience (each episode would be shot twice). The sweaters made it easier to shoot the show, explained costume designer Sarah Lemire.

"We ended up doing close-ups of (Cosby) so you could cut between the first and second show. The sweater became an easy way to control that."

The sweaters would also provide a contrast from the other characters onscreen.

"With Bill, you can put something bold on him, and he would overpower it," Lemire said.

Over the years, the sweaters would become even more creative: Someone from Scandinavia created a sweater with a baby-feet design to reflect Dr. Huxtable's occupation as an obstetrician. Another memorable sweater showed men running around, as both Cosby and his character loved to run relays.

Lemire said she would get the occasional call from viewers, asking where something came from. In addition to van den Akker, some sweaters were from the fashion house Missoni and others from Perry Ellis. (They were not designed by Coogi, as some believed.)

"I was told there was a run on sweaters at one point," she said.

The iconic sweaters would find a new life years after the show was in syndication.

"They were not all that popular" at first, van den Akker said, "but they became more popular later on, because suddenly people would watch the show and say 'What the f*** was that?' "

Young people have adopted the sweaters over the past decade. There's even a band called Cosby Sweater.

Bill Cosby: The influence continues

Duke University student Kahsa Teum discovered early on that her father's Cosby-like sweaters were more comfortable than almost anything else.

"As a child in the early '90s, I enjoyed playing dress-up using my parents' clothes," she said, adding that she preferred the sweaters more than her mother's dresses.

Now in her 20s, not much has changed for Teum.

"When I grew up, I found the Cosby sweaters to still be more comfortable (and, in my opinion, more aesthetically pleasing) than anything else that I owned, and they've been a staple in my wardrobe ever since!" Teum wrote in an email.

Freelance illustrator Kelly Tucker started a Tumblr in 2011 dedicated to Cosby's iconic sweaters. She called the site The Cosby Sweater Project.

Each post summarizes episodes, showing off Cosby's best sweaters, with close-ups of each pattern.

'Cosby Show': Our 10 favorite moments

Tucker was blown away by the blog's popularity. She had no idea how much of a fan base the show had. More than three years later, she is still chronicling the show's sweaters.

"Watching ("The Cosby Show") as an adult, I realized how many amazing patterns were incorporated into the wardrobes of all of the characters," Tucker said.

"As an illustrator and pattern designer, I found them to be very inspiring."

But what does the Cos himself think about all of this interest in the sweaters, 30 years later?

"I think youthful people have a long time to live, so they can waste some time on something like that," Cosby told Collectors Weekly in 2013.

He is set to return in a new NBC show next year, but it's unlikely van den Akker will be called upon to make more sweaters.

"Silliness," van den Akker responded when asked whether he might revive the fashions.

But if by some chance, Cosby were to ask him, of course he'd do it.

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