Supervising News Editors Joe Sterling and Phil Gast on Saturday; Josh Levs and Sarah Aarthun on Sunday - 404-827-1401
Ayat Al-Qassab carefully slipped the beaded satin wedding gown over her small frame. She peered at herself in the rusted mirror and cautiously smiled. For a moment, her war-torn world was transformed and she was a beautiful bride -- free, safe and happy. Then, a mortar shell exploded somewhere near her Syrian home in Homs, waking her from a daydream. She quickly wrapped a white headscarf tightly around her hair and prepared to leave for her wedding. Homs has borne the brunt of the Syrian military's wrath since violence broke out nearly two years ago in the nation. Many who live in the city consider it to be the unbowed guardian of the Syrian revolt. There, even marriage is an act of revolution.
By the time you become 116 years old, you've pretty much seen it all. Besse Cooper was born in 1896. She's one of only a handful, who've seen the centuries turn twice. She loved to learn and became a teacher, and went on to become a pioneer fighting for the right of women to vote in the 1920s. She was a news junkie who loved politics, and never missed the evening news once television was invented. She never had a driver's license, but when she did drive, you didn't need one. She drove a Model T. She was the matriarch of her family of 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild. This past week, Besse Cooper went to get her hair done, in the nursing home she lived. Her hair was one of her passions. Her son said it meant that she was ready to go. She died later that day. We take a look back at Besse Cooper, who was the oldest living person in the world.
She was scarred by the war that scarred her father, and she spent two decades seeking peace. Now Christal Presley takes the next step in her journey: returning to the places that sill haunt her and, at last, telling her truth.
College football's prestigious Heisman Trophy will be awarded Saturday night.
Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls and a handful of NASCAR Championships but instead of hanging it up, he's pressing on. CNN's Belief Blog takes a look at the coach, his career and the faith the drives him.
As gay people become more accepted in mainstream society and as baby boomers push for a better world for the LGBT community, retirement is starting to look a lot different for this generation.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ENTERPRISE
Across the country, there's a sudden shift taking place. Bobbie Cleave, a retired teacher in Utah, has put off plans to get a badly needed car. Brian Chandler, a data manager in metro Atlanta, is delaying buying a house -- despite needing space for his second child due any day now. Retired police officer Richard Huffman of Michigan is considering ditching plans to get back into the work force. And many families CNN spoke with said they're shrinking the gift pile beneath the Christmas Tree. All because of the so-called "fiscal cliff." The threat to the nation's economy, which Americans hear about on daily basis, isn't just "looming." For many people, it's a reason to make changes now. But some see an up-side. "We need to go over the cliff," says Val Stayskal, 58-year-old owner of two small businesses in Addison, Illinois.
Soledad O'Brien: Who is black in America? I am.
We always want answers. NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot to death the mother of his child, and then shot himself in the head in the middle of the afternoon Saturday outside the team's Kansas City practice facility. The day before, a man burst into a Wyoming college classroom, police said, and killed someone he knew, and then killed himself. Usually, such tragedies are shocking. Experts that CNN spoke with say about 1,500 murder-suicides happen in the United States every year. And even that number is questionable, they caution. There are no credible statistics on this kind of crime -- the FBI doesn't keep track, and police classify murders in different ways. This lack of certainty often amplifies the frustration people feel when loved ones are wrenched from them so violently. And it makes it even tougher to understand when the violence is wrought in public.
When a car slammed into their motorcycle, June and Ted DiStefano knew the horrific accident would change their lives forever. They didn't realize it would give them the power to help others. Both were severely injured in the hit-and-run accident. June was kept in an induced coma for a month as doctors tried to save her left leg. In the end, they had to amputate it. Ted also lost his left leg. Today, 15 years later, the DiStefanos are actors in a hostile environment training course, using their physical injury to help create a shocking, realistic simulation of a war zone for troops.
US-Dunford-Afghanistan (with art)
With little fanfare Monday, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford was confirmed by the Senate as the newest commander for the international forces in Afghanistan, charged with overseeing the final two years of the U.S.-led war and executing the White House plan to phase out troops and leave a small number behind after 2014. Dunford, much like his confirmation, has made a career of flying under the radar, but he will be front and center as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, replacing Gen. John Allen. He is well-known in the tight-knit Marine Corps community as a thoughtful and calm leader and has 22 months of commanding in Iraq.
Paul Sacco says searching for his missing daughter feels like something akin to bleeding out. All the hope, heartache and anxiety that go into it leave him feeling diminished. But the Colorado lawyer and amateur guitarist has managed to bottle up some of that energy, spending hundreds of hours creating what is both a tribute to Aubrey Sacco and a monument to his sorrow: a 14-song album he has published to Internet vendors.
Freedom-Project-Operation-Hope (with art)
From horror to hope: A boy's remarkable recovery from a brutal attack.
The Pacific island of Nauru, the world's smallest independent republic, is slipping away. Literally. The island is disappearing amid rising sea-levels. And is part of 43 member alliance that accuses nations like India, China and the United States of not addressing climate change with enough urgency.
Braving lions to deliver Maasai nomads' vaccines.
Along the lush sea-islands and the Atlantic coastal plains of southern East coast of America, a distinctive group of tidewater communities has stuck together throughout the centuries, preserving its African cultural heritage and carving out a lifestyle that is uniquely its own. The Gullah/Geechee people are direct descendants of West African slaves brought into the United States around the 1700s. They were forced to work in rice paddies, cotton fields and indigo plantations along the South Carolina-Georgia seaboard where the moist climate and fertile land were very similar to their African homelands.
Dangling from the top of a 20 meter mast while bouncing along the open waves would test even the most hardened sailor's stomach. If the vertigo doesn't rattle you, the mast lurching at a 45 degree angle will. Then there's the real possibility the whole boat could capsize under the strain -- plunging you deep under water with it. But for maritime photographer Kos Evans -- who pioneered the hazardous art of masthead photography and bagged some of sailing's greatest images in the process -- it's all part of the day-job.