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April 27, 2009
Posted: 1255 GMT

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


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April 24, 2009
Posted: 1813 GMT

Hello everyone,

Once again, the U.S. is urging the Pakistani government and the country's military to take on the extremists.

The U.S. is giving Pakistan billions of dollars and is helping it get billions more in aid, in the hope that the country will become stable enough and develop a strong enough central government to defeat the Taliban and the fundementalists.

But if that is the goal, then America is far from being able to claim victory. Today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen said in an interview that he is "extremely concerned" and that we are "certainly moving closer to the tipping point" at which Pakistan could be taken over by extremists.

The prospect – the possibility even – that a nuclear power could fall into the hands of Taliban-like groups is terrifying political and military leaders the world over.

We'll take you live to Islamabad for the latest on the Taliban movements and how the Pakistani military is responding to the group's advance into Buner, less than 100 kilometers from the Pakistani capital.

Also today, more bloodshed in Baghdad. We'll go live to the Iraqi capital and ask what happens if this trend continues. And how might political and military deadlines affect the violence in Iraq?

We're taking you live to Paraguay, where the country's President has been accused of fathering three children out of wedlock with three different women. We'll ask: is Paraguay like France where fathering children with mistresses is considered a non-event or is it like the United States, where the same thing would end a political career?

Also today, we'll venture onto the lighter side of things and discuss Susan Boyle, the overnight singing sensation and Scottish reality show contestant whose performance went viral on the internet.

Boyle has turned into the story that keeps on giving. Seems Susan Boyle has had a makeover. And because it's Friday, we've made it our question of the day!

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

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1517 GMT

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Posted: 1452 GMT

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April 23, 2009
Posted: 1821 GMT

Hello everyone,

A few years ago, suicide bombings in Iraq became so commonplace that they often failed to top our rundowns.

Today, after more than a year of a palpable decrease in bloodshed in Iraq, bombings like the ones we saw today once again make big news and cause us to ask a scary question: are the security gains in Iraq already dissolving, little by little, one bombing at a time?

Or, are these the last gasps for air of a wild beast defeated?

Today, a "top Al Qaeda leader" was arrested, according to Iraqi security officials. Will it have any impact on the situation on the ground? We're live in Baghdad with the latest.

Also today, fears of extremism in another part of the world. This time in Pakistan where the Taliban advance is moving the fundementalist group ever closer to Islamabad, the country's capital. We'll take you to Pakistan for a closer look at that story.

Also on tap today, President Obama's latest approval ratings are out. 63% of Americans think Barack Obama is doing a good job. How does it compare to Kennedy, Eisenhower, Clinton and others at the 100 day mark of their mandates? We'll compare the numbers with Bill Schneider.

Speaking of Obama, turns out that picture of him shirtless on the front page of a magazine isn't all that it seems. We'll tell you why critics are upset – and not because the president is wearing next to nothing.

And did you know I-Phone apps (I call them apps cause I'm hip) can be so controversial, Apple is forced to remove them? We'll tell you which one was pulled today after people complained it encouraged infanticide. Can phones make you kill? Hum..

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1500 GMT

Filed under: CNN •I-Desk Poll •Pakistan


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April 22, 2009
Posted: 1728 GMT

It's on days like today that working at CNN is rewarding.

We'll be going live to Islamabad, where there are real fears that Taliban forces are nearing ever closer to the Pakistani capital.

We will also take you live to the front lines of the U.S.'s renewed effort to achieve success – however that may be defined today – in Afghanistan.

A top U.S. military official recently said that 80% of insurgent violence is now occurring in the southern part of Afghanistan. 17,000 additional American troops will be heading there in the coming months as part of the Obama administration renewed focus in that country.

Our Frederick Pleitgen followed one batallion from Iraq to Afghanistan. A real-life, tangible illustration of how America is shifting its war effort from one battleground to another.

Also today, the economy. Don't yawn yet. Just consider this number: 4.2%. That's how far the IMF says the Eurozone's economies will shrink this year. The IMF also forecasts that the world economy will shrink 1.3% this year. The worst recession since World War 2.

The last people to go thru worse economic times than us are the so-called X generation's grandparents.

I'm fascinated by today's crisis not just because of the pain it is causing in people's every day life, but because of how it might force us all to re-arrange priorities when we come out of it.

A recent study found that a majority of people polled said they will continue to spend less after the recession is over.

But the American economy is two thirds consumer spending. If just a fraction of that disappears, what will drive the world's largest economy – and the rest of the world – to grow? Will Americans have to start making things instead of buying them?

But I digress.

Also on tap today, we'll discuss the latest on whether Israel's military committed acts that could be classified as "war crimes" during its January offensive in the Gaza strip. Israel today announced it had concluded its own investigation and has cleared its military of any wrongdoing.

In today's Idesk poll, we're asking whether you think Israel is guilty of war crimes in Gaza?

That and the rest of the world's top news stories.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1501 GMT

Filed under: CNN •I-Desk Poll


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April 21, 2009
Posted: 1806 GMT

Hello everyone,

We have a new story topping our rundown at the International Desk.

About an hour ago, U.S. President Barack Obama made comments regarding those interrogations techniques used against terrorism suspects during the Bush administration years.

Mister Obama said last week, when the Justice Department published memos detailing the interrogation methods, that he did not support prosecuting CIA agents.

But about an hour ago, the American president said he could support a congressional investigation into the lawyers who wrote the memos legalizing now banned techniques like waterboarding.

We're live at the top of the hour at the White House.

Also, we're going to be covering the legal case against one of the suspected Somali pirates who earlier this month held the American captain held hostage in the Gulf of Aden for 5 days.

We're live outside in New York with the latest on the case against the teenager. We're also talking live to Omar Jamal of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center. He says he's helping the youngster get a fair trial. In fact, there's still a question surrounding the suspected pirtate's real age. He may be as young as 16. If he is a minor, real ethical questions will arise about what to do with him.

We'll discuss all angles.

That and more at the top of the hour.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1459 GMT

Hello everyone,

Yesterday's Idesk poll shattered our previous participation record. THOUSANDS of you weighed in on the Ahmadenijad at the UN anti-racism conference question, so thank you!

We played around with today's question and settled on a survey about the environment. Because tomorrow is Earth Day, we are asking you if you consider yourself "environmentally conscious."

We're not just talking about recycling, but also about wasting less in the first place, re-using plastic bags, turning off lights, buying smaller cars or re-using rain water in your gardens.

In the comment section, tell us what you have been doing differently to try to preserve the environment.

I will be reading out poll results with Guillermo Arduino and discussing some of your comments with him live on the show. Guillermo will discuss some of his new "green habits" as well..

So vote – and tune in!

Thanks,

Hala

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Filed under: Environment •I-Desk Poll


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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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