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April 7, 2009
Posted: 1435 GMT

Hello everyone,

Just as I was sitting down to write today's note, our international desk (the actual desk, the one that organizes our worldwide newsgathering operation) shouted through the PA system: "Obama lands in Baghdad on unannounced visit. Pleitgen on Router 82."

There was speculation the American President would swing through Iraq on his was home from Turkey.

This is Mr Obama's first visit to a war zone as commander-in-chief. Bombs have been blowing up daily in Baghdad in a spike in violence. This week, dozens have been killed in attacks blamed on Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Barack Obama opposed this was as a candidate and has vowed to end it as president. U.S. troops are on their way out. But these bombings are a reminder the deadly violence – though down from its highest levels of the war – could still disrupt Obama's best laid plans.

And that's not even the president's biggest problem. Not by a long shot.

We'll go live to Baghdad for the latest on Obama's Iraq stop.

But topping our rundown again today: the deadly earthquake in central Italy. the pictures coming in show the historic portion of the city in ruins. Some parts of  L'Aquila look like they've been bombed from the air.

More than 200 people are now confirmed dead. One hundred critically injured. Tens of thousands homeless. Aftershocks are causing debris to fall off badly damaged historic buildings. Anxious relatives are waiting to hear from rescuers if their missing loved ones have perished. The nightmare for them might never end if the news is bad.

We are live with Fionnuala Sweeney and our team of correspondents in Italy for the latest.

Also, we'll take you live to Peru where ex-president Alberto Fujimoro was just found guilty on all charges in his murder-kidnapping trial. What happens to the 70-year old former head of state now?

All that and the rest of the day's news at the I-Desk.

See you on TV,

Hala

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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk


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Manuel Vilhena   April 7th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

Hello,

President Obama has a heavy heritage on the Iraq's issue. Let's see what steps he will make.

In quakes like the one that happened in Italy we can realise how vulnerable mankind sometimes is.

Looking forward to watching your program,

Manuel
Coventry, UK

luna   April 7th, 2009 4:43 pm ET

l was happy to see Mr.Obama in Turkey
hope everythings is going to be ok in this world with him l believe him and l love too
luna /istanbul

gaf   April 7th, 2009 6:34 pm ET

hala,u are doing a great job.vous etes geniale

Janet Macdonald   April 7th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

F. Sweeney was too aggressive in her questions to a resident of the Italian eathrquake town. The lady had a young boy with her and I wonder what impact these questions would have on him. It's one thing to get an eye witness account; it's another, to do it correctly and with some care and compassion.

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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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