The flat-Earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe. Does it hide a darker core?

(CNN)“I don’t want to be a flat Earther,” David Weiss says, his voice weary as he reflects on his personal awakening. “Would you wake up in the morning and want everyone to think you’re an idiot?” Weiss’ preferred community is those who share his life-altering belief. And that community is vast. This week, the businessman attended the third annual Flat Earth International Conference, held at an Embassy Suites hotel in suburban Dallas, Texas. Organizers told CNN that about 600 others went too. Previous conferences have taken place in Raleigh and Denver — while Brazil, Britain and Italy have also held flat-Earth conventions in recent years. The event’s schedule resembled any corporate conference, with some fairly noticeable twists. Speakers gave presentations …

When Rodney Reed’s execution was delayed, Kim Kardashian West says she was with him

(CNN)Reality star Kim Kardashian West says she was with Rodney Reed when he received the news that his execution would be delayed. Today, I had the honor of meeting #RodneyReed in person and the privilege of sitting with him when he got the news that the highest court in Texas had issued a stay of execution and remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration. Words cannot describe the relief and hope that swept over the room in that moment. That hope had been building over the last few weeks around Rodney’s case. We have seen Democrats and Republicans come together. We have seen grassroots activists and lawmakers link arms. We have heard people all around the …

Now a GOP congressman is asking Texas’ governor to stop the execution of Rodney Reed

(CNN)In Republican-led Texas, the state that executes the most death row inmates, a GOP lawmaker is urging the governor to delay the execution of Rodney Reed. Reed was sentenced to death more than 20 years ago. He’s scheduled to be executed November 20. But Reed and attorneys with the Innocence Project say they have evidence that exonerates him and instead implicates Stites’ fiancé at the time, Jimmy Fennell, who was a police officer. 2.9 million people ask to stop the execution The case has united lawmakers, religious leaders, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna, and more than 2.9 million people who have signed a petition on freerodneyreed.com asking Abbott to halt the execution. New witness affidavits, which come …

Texas appeals court blocks Rodney Reed execution

(CNN)[Breaking news update, posted at 6:41 p.m. ET] [Previous version, posted at 5:47 p.m. ET] The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended Friday that Gov. Greg Abbott grant a 120-day reprieve to Rodney Reed, an inmate set to be executed next week. Reed was sentenced to death more than 20 years ago for the 1996 assault, rape and strangling of 19-year-old Stacey Stites. He’s scheduled to be executed November 20. But the inmate and attorneys with the Innocence Project say they have evidence that exonerates him and instead implicates Stites’ fiancée at the time, Jimmy Fennell, who was a police officer. The case has united lawmakers, religious leaders, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna, and more than …

No kids came to this 11-year-old’s birthday party. Then his favorite hockey team made his dreams come true

(CNN)After no invited friends showed up to his 11-year-old son’s birthday party, Jason Foster took to Twitter to crowdsource some birthday love for his little boy. Kade was able to watch the morning skate and meet the team in their locker room. A video posted by the team shows him shaking hands with players Jason Spezza, Morgan Rielly and others. If being flown to Toronto, meeting the entire team and watching his favorite players on the ice wasn’t enough, Kade was also serenaded by fans. Leafs mascot Carlton the Bear wheeled out a Maple Leafs-themed cake and led the entire Scotiabank Arena in a booming rendition of “Happy Birthday.” While the Maple Leafs lost the game 3-2, it’s pretty safe …

A new California wildfire burns in LA as many face days without power

(CNN)Spurred by historic winds, several wildfires burned in California on Monday, causing evacuations and power outages in parts of the state. LIVE: CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES UPDATES Ava Rutter, a student at MSMU, posted video of the Getty Fire turning the sky a hellish orange as she went to her car. “This is a very dynamic fire and all residents west of the 405 Freeway and south of Sunset need to be vigilant and stay informed following LAFD,” the fire department said. An active arson investigation is underway into the cause of the Getty Fire, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, though he said that it was not clear if someone intentionally set the fire. “We’re not ruling out anything,” LA Fire …

Fire conditions near LA prompt the National Weather Service to issue its first-ever extreme red flag warning

(CNN)It’s one word the National Weather Service in Los Angeles doesn’t want Southern California residents to overlook — extreme. “Residents in high fire risk areas should be ready and set to evacuate if emergency officials say so,” the weather service office said. Tom Fisher with the weather service said the NWS was not making a new category of warnings. “Extreme red flag is not a grade, but it was super important that we get the residents’ attention,” he said. “This is the fourth event that we’ve had, it’s been a very long, dry spell. And there’s no rain in sight.” This isn’t the first time the National Weather Service has tried to convey danger by adding enhanced language to an …

Every year she turns giant pumpkins into celebs. This year, she chose Rudy Giuliani and the Joker

(CNN)It’s enough to raise eyebrows and pop your eyes out. Paras has been turning giant pumpkins into caricatures of celebrities and other noteworthy people since 1988. She carefully thinks through who is making headlines that year before creating the works of art that sit on her porch in Dublin, Ohio. Her recent guests have included politicians in pumpkin form, like Donald Trumpkin, Hillary Clintkin and Vladimir Putkin. Pumpkins in previous years include Miley Cyrus as a wrecking ball, Phil Robertson from “Duck Dynasty,” Lady Gaga and many more. “Rudy Giuliani has gone from being America’s mayor after 911 to monopolizing today’s headlines. I am letting my pumpkin public answer which one is joking, the RudyKin or the Joker,” Paras said. …

Evacuation orders lifted after Palisades Fire leaves 2 injured and burns at least 40 acres in Los Angeles

Los Angeles (CNN)The Los Angeles Fire Department lifted its mandatory evacuation orders after a fire ripped across the hillside of the affluent Pacific Palisades area for about 10 hours Monday. There were two reported injuries, one minor injury to a firefighter and one civilian who was taken to the hospital for respiratory stress, Butler said. Pacific Palisades is a coastal neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles. The wealthy area is home to many celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, whose home was recently featured in an issue of Vogue. Director J.J. Abrams bought a home there in 2017 for $6.2 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Firefighters were clawing their way up the hillside More than 150 personnel from the LAFD …

Evacuations ordered as Palisades Fire threatens multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles

Los Angeles (CNN)The Los Angeles Fire Department ordered mandatory evacuations Monday as a fire ripped across a hillside in the affluent Pacific Palisades area, threatening multimillion-dollar homes. Pacific Palisades is a coastal neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles. The wealthy area is home to many celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, whose home was recently featured in an issue of Vogue. Director J.J. Abrams bought a home there in 2017 for $6.2 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Firefighters were clawing their way up the hillside More than 150 personnel from the LAFD were battling the fire. Six hand crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department were assisting the LAFD and plan to be in Palisades all night, Butler said. …

Celebrities brought back the sneaker optical illusion. We’re not thrilled

(CNN)Think about it: For two whole years, we had managed to peacefully carry on with our daily activities without angry-tweeting at strangers about the color of a pair of shoes. “I saw this image online and I showed it to a bunch of people and it’s really, really spectacular, what comes back,” Will Smith said in a video this week. “What color do you see? Now show … whoever is around you … and ask them what color do they see and I think you’ll be surprised at what the answer is.” Which colors do you see?? 🧐 A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Oct 13, 2019 at 8:51am PDT “There’s no right answer but it’s definitely not …

National Coming Out Day: What it is, and what people are saying about it

(CNN)National Coming Out Day is here. The Trump administration has said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not provide such protections, and the lower courts have split on the issue. But at stake lies the ability of the government to protect the LGBT community — as the cases could have broader implications for housing and education, not just employment. Politicians, writers, celebrities and even national governments took to Twitter to express their support Friday. Here are some highlights. What people said Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential nominee hopeful, reflected on how far the US has come on LGBT rights, while also expressing concern for where the country is now. He wrote that teens today “see a president banning trans …

Lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell names more defendants

(CNN)Jennifer Araoz, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, filed an amended complaint Tuesday that names individuals and more than 20 corporate entities associated with Epstein that Araoz says in a civil lawsuit helped facilitate his abuse of her when she was 14 and 15. “The co-conspirators provided organizational support to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, identifying and hiring the recruiters of underage girls for Epstein’s sexual pleasure, scheduling appointments with these underage girls for Epstein’s sexual pleasure, intimidating potential witnesses to Epstein’s sex trafficking operation, and generally providing administrative oversight of his sex trafficking operation and ensuring it remained secret.” CNN has reached out to attorneys for Maxwell, who have previously denied all allegations levied against her related to Jeffrey Epstein. CNN …

Eva Longoria and other celebrities write letters of support for actress Felicity Huffman ahead of her sentencing

(CNN)Actress Felicity Huffman is asking for a year’s probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine for her involvement in the college admissions scandal, a new filing from her attorneys says. In their filing, Huffman’s attorneys claim her conduct during the trial was “completely out of character.” “Nothing about her ‘history and characteristics’ require a prison sentence; in fact, consideration of the life Ms. Huffman has lived points decisively in the opposite direction,” the attorneys wrote. The US government requested in a separate filing on Friday that the actress be sentenced to a month of prison followed by 12 months of supervised release and pay a $20,000 fine. In the memorandum, the government called Huffman’s decision to cheat …

Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers had their day in court, but not in the way they had hoped for

(CNN)Jeffrey Epstein‘s accusers finally had their day in court Tuesday, but not in the way they had hoped for. The case in New York had nearly restored their hope, they said. Then, Epstein’s death by suicide left them shattered, once again. But no longer would he rob them of their voices, they said. Some called on prosecutors to pursue charges against those implicated in Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring. Others made public for the first time heartbreaking accounts of being coaxed into Epstein’s grip with promises of fame, only to experience rape and other forms of physical and emotional abuse. Here are edited excerpts from some of the victims’ statements: Courtney Wild: He is a coward Jeffrey Epstein robbed myself …

Puerto Rico swears in third governor in less than a week

(CNN)Puerto Rico’s Justice Secretary Wanda Vzquez Garced was sworn in Wednesday afternoon as the third governor that the financially and politically troubled island has had in less than a week. “In light of the decision by the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, I must step aside and support the Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico,” he said. Pierluisi added, “This is a time when we must all unite for Puerto Rico, leaving behind any partisan, ideological or personal agendas. In other words, this is a time for unity of purpose for the benefit of Puerto Rico, until our people have the opportunity to choose their future leaders in next year’s elections.” Moments after his statement, the governor’s office tweeted a photo …