September 4th, 2013
11:42 AM ET

727 Pound Alligator Sets Mississippi State Record

A 727 pound, 13-feet long gigantic alligator caught near Jackson, Mississippi, is a state record breaker.

CNN's John Berman has the tale.

Dustin and Ryan Bockman and Cole Landers, amaterur gator hunters, scored the prize animal over the weekend.

Landers says, "By the time we got home and started checkin' record books and taking measurements of him, when we actually got a tape measure is when we realized we had a fairly large gator."

Just one hour earlier, the old record of 697.5 pounds was broken by a female gator just four pounds lighter than the prize winner.

Ryan Bockman says they were still struggling with their animal at that time.

"We actually tried for three hours to get this gator in a boat and we couldn't do it. We had to drag it to a sandbar and wait for Cole's dad and another friend to get him in the boat."

His brother adds, "We've got a lot of gator meat to go around."

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September 4th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Zakaria: "We’re Taking A Side In A Sectarian Civil War"

As the U.S. Senate debates taking military action in Syria Wednesday, CNN's Fareed Zakaria reminds the audience of the repercussions of such actions and the potential of future problems in the region.

The host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS" tells CNN's Chris Cuomo:

"I think doing something to respond to chemical weapons does make sense. The danger is, can you keep it limited because at heart, this is a sectarian civil war and by getting involved militarily, we’re taking a side in a sectarian civil war and have we thought that through?"

Zakaria also says if this military intervention does end up helping to top the Assad regime, many of the opposition groups that could come to power are affiliated with al Qaeda.

Just another reminder of how the situation in Syria and how we respond is very complicated.


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September 4th, 2013
11:03 AM ET

Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Found Hanged

Ariel Castro, who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years on charges of kidnap, rape and murder, is found dead Tuesday night.

The coroner's office tells CNN, Castro used a bedsheet to hang himself at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.

CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

Officials say he was not part of the general prison population and guards would check on him every 30 minutes. Officials saw Castro at 9 p.m and found him hanged at 9:20 p.m.

Prison medical staff tried to revive him and rushed him to the Ohio State University Medical Center.

"He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals," JoEllen Smith of the corrections department tells CNN in a statement.

The Ohio State Police and Department of Corrections are now investigating the death.

Maria Castro Montes, cousin of Ariel Castro, called into "New Day" to say she cried when she heard of the man's death. Montes said she knows the victims didn't want Castro to get the death penalty but perhaps they're better off with him gone.

"Maybe this is for the best, I don't think they were ever going to find peace if he was still alive."


At Castro's trial, one  of the three survivors showed up in person to confront her captor.

Michelle Knight said, "I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning."

Though Castro was only in prison for one month before apparently taking his own life.

Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig tells CNN's Kate Bouldan  his death does not erase the trauma the women suffered.

She says, "The recovery process is not over for them. It’s just a chapter and part of their recovery process. He’s dead but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to be struggling. It adds a new dimension to it.”


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September 4th, 2013
10:43 AM ET

Here's The Plan For Syria The Senate Will Discuss Today

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee drafts a bipartisan agreement authorizing the use of force in Syria they'll take up for debate on Wednesday. CNN's Jim Scuitto reports.

In trying to appease both war hawks and doves, the bill attempts to limit the scope and length of attacks but also intends to strategically help to strengthen the Syrian opposition.

Here are the proposed measures:

– Strikes against Syria are limited to 60 days, with option for 30 days more

– Bans troops on the ground, but permits rescue mission if needed

Senator Robert Menedez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, spoke about the committee’s resolution on "New Day."

CNN's Chris Cuomo asked why the Senator wants to move forward with military action if polls show that most Americans are not on board.

Senator Menendez said that he takes “this obligation” seriously and the U.S. needs to “send a message to global actors.”

“I believe, that in this instance, not only is the punishment for the use of weapons of mass destruction via chemical weapons in violation of international law and needs a targeted military response, but also we send a message to the Ayatollah in Iran, do not march toward those nuclear weapons you’re trying to acquire. We send a message to the dictator of North Korea – we’re serious about protecting South Korea and the Korean Peninsula. And we send a message to global actors. That is in our national security.”



President Obama may be making ground with lawmakers in Congress as well. Speaker of the House John Boehner gave his support for military action Tuesday.

Wednesday, the case for military action in Syria may move to the House where Secretaries Kerry and Hagel and General Dempsey can expect even tougher questioning than they've had in previous sessions.

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