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April 30, 2009
Posted: 2056 GMT

special4

We had a great time sifting through all your questions for our flu outbreak special. Thanks to all for submitting your emails, tweets and i-reports.

We're back tomorrow for a regular edition of I-Desk.

Til then,

Hala

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Posted: 2054 GMT

t1homeobamatri01cnn

Time Magazine, which is owned by CNN's parent company, Time Warner, recently released their annual poll results for 'Most Influential Person' in the world. Could it be the person pictured above? Some other world leader? A religious figure? Maybe even an artist or an athlete? This is less than scientific, of course, and the results will both affirm that...and surprise you. The article can be found here:

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1894028,00.html?iid=perma_share

This prompted us to wonder...who is the most influential person in your life? Or if you prefer to make a broader response: Who do you think is the most influential person in the world? Let us know!

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Posted: 1753 GMT

Hi everyone,

This is really a few sentences masquarading as a note, so apologies in advance. That's because we are rushing to put together an hour-long swine flu special.

We have received hundreds of tweets and emails on the subject. Check out the show at 9pm CET for answers to your questions on the H1N1 virus. The disease, the travel advisories, the hype: we will cover all the angles.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1708 GMT

Today is going to be a different day at I-Desk. We'll be devoting the whole hour to picking apart the H1N1 Flu (aka Swine Flu). We'll have a panel of experts live in the studio answering questions and we'll go live to our correspondents who are, as usual, right where the action is. Leave your comments below and we'll be sure to try to ask as many of them as we can live on air.

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April 29, 2009
Posted: 1803 GMT

- Current Swine Flu Alert level : 4.

The WHO raised its pandemic alert level to 4 from 3 on Monday. Today, there is talk that the organization is considering alert level 5. That phase would be reached if the organization finds the virus in at least two countries in the same region.

-Number of days Barack Obama has been in the White House: 100.

It's the big national and international report card. The president confronted with as many simultaneous problems as Franklin Roosevelt. Wars, a quasi economic depression, health care, education. Add to that 21st century worries like climate change. We'll break it down with our reporters around the world.

-Annual rate of economic slump: 6.1%.

For the first three months of the year, the U.S. economy took another nose dive. More than a 6% drop in annualized rate from January to March.

There are 2 ways to look at this. The first is to panic. The second is to hope that businesses and factories have slowed production of goods to get rid of excess inventory. Now that they've done that, they could be on the verge of producing again and hiring more workers.

-Number of years since an alleged torture video was shot in the United Arab Emirates: 4.

We will bring you a unique look at a story that has sent shockwaves through the Gulf region of the Middle East. The torture depicted on the tape happened 4 years ago, but it was only shown to the world a few days ago. We have an interview with the man who smuggled the tape out of the Emirates.

That, and the rest of the world's top news as always.

See you on TV,

Hala

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Posted: 1413 GMT

Filed under: Barack Obama •CNN •I-Desk Poll


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April 28, 2009
Posted: 1813 GMT

specter

Hello everyone,

You could practically hear the hard right turn the collective media took a few minutes after noon eastern today. In the midst of wall-to-wall swine flu coverage, breaking news: a veteran Republican Senator in the U.S., Arlen Specter, was switching parties.

A Republican since the 60's, Specter says he will join the Democratic party. This means the Senate has 59 Democrats, one short of the number needed to defeat Republican attempts to block legislation.

If the comedian Al Franken wins a legal case in Minnesota and becomes the Democratic senator for his state, the Democrats will have the upper house sealed, with 60 seats.

This is interesting because of the math, but also because it says something about what the Republican party has become. It is now formed almost entirely of conservatives. Moderate Republican Specter said today: "I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Talk about an identity crisis for Republicans in the United States. After a dearing defeat last November, the question is how to appeal to the middle ground. A debate the party will need to have if it wants to appeal to a wider pool of voters. It's time to face the music.

Can you believe that with all this talk of DC politics, I almost forgot the swine flu. We will be leading our show with the outbreak again today.

Ted Rowlands is on his way to a farm where health officials believe "patient zero" was diagnosed. A child on a pig farm in Veracruz. Karl Penhaul was scheduled to appear on the program but is instead headed to the wake of a young child, killed by the swine flu virus. This is when stories stop becoming numbers and dots on a map.

We'll also be taking you live to the Centers for Disease Control for more on what the American agency is saying about the spread of the swine flu virus. Ben Wedeman will talk to us about cases in Israel.

Also today, our Nic Robertson is in Pakistan. The Pakistani military is finally taking on the Taliban forces that have edged closer to the country's capital. it's a move sure to please the United States. Will it be enough? And what does this mean for the deal the government struck with the Taliban in the Swat valley? Is it dead for good?

That and all the day's top stories at the top of the hour.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1740 GMT

–I dont think its going overboard,the more awareness created on this or any other major health issue the better... (dm104)

–Never too much coverage, when it comes to updating people of outbreaks such as swine flu. It is better to be over informed! lol (DjOracle)

–nah. it's all good. of course, media better EDUCATE people PROPERLY, otherwise it'll be no better than fear mongering, IMHO (gotthammer)

–Not all. Good coverage. Some folks just don't want face reality ! Vic in Germany (Don_Bacardi)

–yes-the media spreading fear. Not the message on Causes and prevention

–I live in Mexico City and things are running quite smoothly, I reckon the press is a little overboard.

–It seems the only newsworthy event around the world last evening (afternoon stateside) was swine flu. If CNNI is any indication. (ukrainiac)

–People in Mexico are not saying this...people elsewhere should try to be less selfish.It’s wrong to say "media is overreacting." (FawadAli)

Kepp Tweets coming at http://www.twitter.com/halagorani

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Posted: 1431 GMT

Filed under: CNN •I-Desk Poll •Swine Flu


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April 27, 2009
Posted: 1604 GMT

swine

At one point yesterday, the streets of Mexico city and its 20 million inhabitants looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. After humans are gone, this is what megapolis cities might look and feel like: silent, empty; perhaps the sound of a few dogs barking; a stadium that normal holds 100,000 people, barren.

Officials are telling Mexicans to stay indoors and avoid large crowds to contain the spread of the disease. The streets are more or less back to normal today, thought many people are walking around wearing surgical face masks.

We all remember bird flu and SARS. Those global health scares that ended up well contained and much less of a threat to humans as the hype surrounding them suggested.

The numbers on this one are a touch more alarming. And the fact that swine flu is contagious from human to human is also worrying health officials.

We are live in Mexico with Karl Penhaul for the latest from the most affected swine flu area.

We'll also check out the U.S.'s response to the disease and what it's telling its citizens to do with a live report from the White House.

We are also live in New York, New Zealand, Switzerland, Great Britain and right here at the CNN Center with out medical correspondents for the latest on the outbreak.

That and the rest of the day's top news stories at the International Desk.

See you on TV,

Hala

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International Desk brings viewers into the heart of the largest news gathering operation in the world. Viewers don't come here to watch the news; they come here to be immersed in it. To feel the rush of being the first to know what's happening as stories break, and to leave knowing they've gotten the best and latest information available. The show airs Mon-Fri at 1900 CET.

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