By Elizabeth I. Johnson, CNN
(CNN) –At 11, Claressa Shields decided she wanted to box, even with her father’s objections. At 17, she is the youngest female competing in the women’s boxing arena at the 2012 Olympics in London.
“She's a beast. She's physically and athletically the most exciting thing to happen to women's boxing in a long time,” photographer Zackary Canepari said. Along with fellow producers Drea Cooper and Sue Jaye Johnson, Canepari has documented the teenage boxer as she trains, competes and lives the life of a normal teenager.
The team has followed the young athlete, who is from Flint, Michigan, to Canada, China, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs and now to London.
“Following her is like following a rock star,” Canepari said. “My frequent flier miles are stacking up.”
By Julia Greenberg, CNN
(CNN) - Legendary restaurateur Sylvia Woods, known internationally as the Queen of Soul Food, passed away on Thursday, according to a statement issued by her family. She was 86.
“Sylvia gallantly battled Alzheimer's for the past several years, but never once lost her loving smile,” her family said. She died peacefully surrounded by loved ones at her Westchester home.
Woods’ world-renowned Harlem establishment, Sylvia’s, has drawn celebrities, politicians, tourists and locals alike to eat its famed soul food for more than 50 years.
Woods and her husband, Herbert, opened the Lenox Avenue restaurant in 1962, featuring southern cooking staples like cornbread, collard greens, and fried chicken.
“We lost a legend today,” New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said in a statement. “For more than 50 years, New Yorkers have enjoyed Sylvia’s and visitors have flocked to Harlem to get a table. In her words, the food was made with ‘a whole lot of love’ and generations of family and friends have come together at what became a New York institution.”
By Casey Wian and Michael Martinez, CNN
Phoenix (CNN) - Attorneys gave opening statements Thursday in a civil trial accusing an Arizona sheriff - who bills himself as "America's toughest" - and his department of racial discrimination against Latinos.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and other attorneys are representing Hispanics in a class-action lawsuit accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of civil rights and constitutional violations. The bench trial is being held in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
In his opening remarks, Stanley Young, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the judge that Arpaio and his department violated "the fundamental value of equal protection under the law" through a "policy of racial discrimination and mistreatment of Hispanics."
Tim Casey, an attorney for the sheriff, told the court that "there is no evidence that race or ethnicity played a factor" in the detention of the five named plaintiffs.
"Ethnic constituency of the neighborhood plays no role" in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department's selection of neighborhoods for saturation patrols, Casey said in court.
Arpaio is expected to appear in court to testify early next week.
By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
New Delhi (CNN) - The Indian actor Rajesh Khanna, who became the first Bollywood superstar, died Wednesday in Mumbai at the age of 69, his family said.
The death of Khanna, who starred in dozens of movies in a career spanning five decades, prompted tributes from fellow actors and the Indian government.
"He was called the first superstar of the Indian cinema and his popularity as a romantic hero in the 1960s and 1970s is a part of our film folklore," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote in a condolence message to Khanna's family.
"Rajesh Khanna taught us how to smile. He added dignity to our concept of romance," the actor Anupam Kher said in a message posted on his Twitter feed. "His songs made us forget our daily struggles of life."
Khanna had been in and out of the hospital during the past few months, but the nature of his illness and cause of death have not been officially disclosed.
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
(CNN) - Depending who you ask, Yahoo's decision to hire Marissa Mayer several months into her pregnancy is either a boon to all working mothers or a misstep for the ailing tech company.
"Talk about lousy timing. She'll be taking maternity leave when she needs to be at work. Yahoo has enough problems without a part-time CEO," one commenter said in response to the Fortune article announcing news of her pregnancy.
"It is quite possible that she can do both effectively, but it is not un-'evolved' to express concern," another said, referring to Mayer's comment that Yahoo's directors demonstrated "evolved thinking" in choosing to hire a pregnant chief executive.
"As a Yahoo shareholder, I am very concerned and have every reason to be."
It's possible that Mayer anticipated these reactions when she revealed her plan to work during her maternity leave so she could "stay in the rhythm of things." Her announcement reignited an already hot debate over whether women can "have it all" and how family leave policies make it hard to juggle a successful career and family.
But Mayer isn't your typical working mother, and some believe her experience reflects the extreme demands that corporate America places on men and women alike and how that translates to national policy.
By Diego Laje and Corinna Liu, CNN
Hong Kong (CNN) - Aspiring Hong Kong musician Annabelle Cheng wants to be in America.
"I think (Hong Kong) is a city that can be defined by business," said Cheng, who recently graduated from Baptist University in Hong Kong with a degree in religion and philosophy. "But the cost of living in a dynamic city is that you don't have your personal space."
Living conditions in this crowded and hectic enclave are part of the reason Cheng wants to relocate to the U.S. "I really need that amount of time and space to think, to meditate, to get inspiration," said Cheng, who plans to save and apply for a post-graduate music program in the U.S. in two years.
Cheng isn't alone. Despite the rising fortunes of Asia, the Pew Center released a report last month that shows Asians have surpassed Latinos as the largest group of immigrants to the United States.
And university is often a gateway to residency: around half of Asian immigrants have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 13% of Hispanics, according to the report.
By Sarah LeTrent, CNN
(CNN) - Last week, powerhouse wedding gown designer Vera Wang announced that she and her husband of 23 years, Arthur Becker, were separating.
"Vera Wang and Arthur Becker have mutually and amicably agreed to separate. They remain devoted parents to their two daughters," Mario Grauso, the president of the Vera Wang Group, said in a statement to CNN.
The couple married in 1989 when Wang was a design director at Ralph Lauren and Becker was a stockbroker at Bear Stearns & Co. Before her tenure at Ralph Lauren, Wang worked at Vogue magazine for more than 15 years.
Wang, 63, launched her label in 1990, a year after her own wedding, with a prestigious Madison Avenue address on New York City's Upper East Side. She opened Bridal House Ltd., as it was called at the time, because she noticed something was missing from bridal gowns during her own wedding planning: art.
Tamara Albu, an associate professor of fashion design at Parsons The New School of Design, said Wang revolutionized the way people looked at the wedding gown; she upped the sophistication and made the gown an expression of a state of mind, not just a marker of a special occasion.
"She understands women who embrace fashion. In her case, she markets the wedding gown as a personification of love and beauty, not herself," she said.
However, Wang's recent announcement has caused speculation as to whether her fairy-tale aesthetic will be affected by her own not-so-happily-ever-after ending.
By Mariano Castillo, CNN
(CNN) - A coalition of civil rights organizations has filed a motion in federal court seeking to block an Arizona law that requires officers to make immigration checks while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" of illegal immigration exists.
The so called "show me your papers" provision is perhaps the most controversial aspect of Arizona's tough immigration law, SB 1070. The U.S. Supreme Court last month, in response to a challenge by the Justice Department, struck down three provisions of SB 1070, but upheld the police immigration checks.
The civil rights groups asked the court to block implementation of the law while they make their case that the provision is unconstitutional.
Even though the Supreme Court upheld the provision, the civil rights organizations say they are presenting new arguments and new evidence against it.
In the motion, the organizations argue that the provision in question will result in extended detentions while statuses are being checked, violating the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.
By Richard Roth and Jillian Martin, CNN
New York (CNN) - Seven months after dropping him from their team, the Houston Rockets signed Jeremy Lin when the New York Knicks failed to match Houston's three-year, $25-million offer for the point guard.
"We are thrilled to have Jeremy back as part of the Rockets family," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement Tuesday night. "In his limited opportunity last season, Jeremy showed that he has all the skills to be a great player in this league for many years to come."
The Harvard-educated basketball phenom captured worldwide attention by leading the Knicks to a string of victories last year.
Jonathan Supranowitz, the Knicks' vice president of public relations, announced Tuesday night that the Knicks would not match Houston's offer.
On Twitter, Lin expressed his enthusiasm to rejoin the Rockets.
"Extremely excited and honored to be a Houston Rocket again!!" he tweeted. "Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support this past year ... easily the best year of my life."
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The Boy Scouts of America announced Tuesday it has affirmed its policy of "not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals."
The organization's leaders reached that decision after a nearly two-year evaluation and will take no further action on a resolution that has sought a change in policy, it said in a news release. It had said last month that it would consider a resolution asking that local units be allowed to determine their own standards.
BSA's chief scout executive and national president had convoked a committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate the policy.
"The committee's work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA's members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth," the statement said.