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May 29, 2009
Posted: 1843 GMT

Hello everyone,

If you're looking to buy a carmaker on the cheap, there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Opel, and its 25,000 workers in Germany, look like they've found a savior in Canadian auto parts company Magna. The German government is bending over backwards to push the deal along and help General Motors' European arm find a buyer, extending loans and facilitating the deal.

As for the big mother company, General Motors, it's not in better shape. Its stock hit a historic low today. Even unions, aware of the financial disaster at GM, are agreeing to labor deals that will lower payroll expenses at the company.

In a few days, America's largest carmaker and one of its most iconic blue chip brands, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection. The U.S. government will own most of the company and the stark, sober realization that a new kind of car has to come off those Michigan assembly lines will fill the air of every boardroom meeting at GM.

Already, the carmaker says it will use abandonned factories to make compact cars. Will it be too little, too late?

Also today, we will talk North Korea and Pakistan. We will have a report from South Korea on yet another Pyongyang missile test. We'll be live at the Pentagon with U.S. reaction.

We're live in Pakistan as well, with the latest on the military offensive against Taliban forces and the string of violent attacks by the group this week has authorities in Islamabad increasingly nervous.

For our UK-philes out there, we have a live report on Prince Harry's trip to New York City. He is visiting the site of Ground Zero in Manhattan and taking part in charitable events. And because it's Prince Harry, a young man who's shown his penchant for late night partying and headline grabbing behavior, I'm pretty sure we'll have a lot to talk about by the time his trip wraps up in a few days.

Finally, based on my quick Twitter poll on the subject, many of you (as I have) are growing tired of the Susan Boyle story. Her success is heartwarming, sure, but isn't just that we all love a classic feelgood story of a homely, lonely woman who goes from anonymity to stardom overnight?

And now, the fairy tale seems to be taking a dark turn, with tabloid reports that Boyle is having meltdowns ahead of the reality show final that help make her a global singing star. We'll be chatting with an LA Times reporter about that.

So, a lot to get through.

See you on TV!

Hala

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May 28, 2009
Posted: 1817 GMT

Hello everyone,

You don't hear high level U.S. officials tell Israel to stop all settlement expansion – even to halt the so-called natural growth of existing settlement – every day. You don't even hear it every decade.

But that's what Hillary Clinton said President Barack Obama's administration wants Israel to do. Speaking after a meeting with her Egyptian counterpart in Washington, D.C., Clinton added: "That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly."

Words that haven't gone down well in Israel, where leaders of both the left and the right wants some exceptions to the settlement freeze.

It's also interesting to note that President Obama is traveling to the Middle East for the first time as president next week without making a stop in Israel.

"It is still hard to believe that an American president will soon visit Cairo without arriving in Israel," complains one op-ed writer on the Ynetnews website.

We'll be live at the White House at the top of the hour as President Obama meets with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. We also have a report from Jerusalem.

Also in the show, late breaking news out of Iran. A deadly explosion killed at least 15 people near the country's border with Pakistan. We'll go live to Tehran for the latest on what happened and for a string of deadly blast in Paksitan.

We'll be taking a walk down Wall Street a bit later in the show and asking what the future holds for General Motors. A deal seems to be in the works to swap GM's debt for a giant stake in the ailing car company. Any way you look at it, most of GM will be own by the U.S. government.

Big banks, insurances companies and now the biggest carmaker owned by Uncle Sam: are we in Sweden or in America? How and when will ownership of these companies be returned to the private sector?

Plus Richard Quest will join me live to talk about Queen Elizabeth's reported anger over not having been invited to the 65th anniversary of the D-day landings in normandy with presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama on June 6th.

If she is indeed angry, who can blame her. She's 83, has been Queen since Winston Churchill, and is the only living head of state to have served in uniform during World War 2.

That, and the rest of the days' top stories as always.

See you on TV,

Hala

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Posted: 1540 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll


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May 27, 2009
Posted: 1333 GMT

Hello everyone...

First of all, Isha Sesay is doing double-duty at the I-Desk, while Hala does her civic duty in the United States (meaning: she has jury duty).

Alright, down to business:

We have a busy day at the I-Desk, starting with German officials meeting with Opel, regarding the auto company's future. There are several other enterprises, which are bidding to buy Opel, including companies from Canada, the U.S., Italy and Russia. Opel, of course, is General Motors' subsidiary in Germany... and, GM is dealing with its own issues. We'll be talking live Diana Magnay, outside an Opel factory, and with Stephanie Elam, who's handling the GM side of things.

Also on the agenda, the Champions League final. Manchester United and Barcelona face off in Rome, just before the late edition of I-Desk gets underway. We'll have live updates throughout the hour, including live pictures from Manchester & Barcelona, as fans celebrate (or don't celebrate) their teams.

We'll also continue to bring you the latest on the situation in North Korea, following another missile launch. And, the situation in South Asia keeps getting worse. Nearly 200 people are dead in Bangladesh, following a killer cyclone earlier this week. Our World Weather Team are closely monitoring the situation.

That'll do it for now... Don't forget to vote on our poll (see below). Who will win the Champions League final?? We'll see... at the I-Desk!

J the P.

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Posted: 1321 GMT

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May 26, 2009
Posted: 1800 GMT

soto2

Hello everyone,

We are once again leading with North Korea today. After having rattled nerves with a nuclear test yesterday, Pyongyang today tested several short-range missiles.

We'll go live to Moscow for regional reaction and live to the Pentagon for more on what sources there says is North Korea's real nuclear capability. We know they can carry out nuclear tests. We know they can fire missiles and rockets. But how far are they from being able to launch a nuclear attack on their neighbors using nuclear warheads?

Also, we're asking you to tell us what you think should be done to address the North Korean issue. Is it a question of imposing more sanctions? Should some countries in the international community consider switching strategies and offering the isolated, impoverished regime economic incentives?

Vote in today's Idesk online poll. I'll read out results during the show.

Also today, we're looking at President Barack Obama's nominee to replace David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court bench. If confirmed, Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice and only the third woman.

I'll talk to legal analyst jeffrey Toobin and political analyst Bill Schneider at the half hour. We'll break down the implications of Sotomayor's nomination. How will it change the Supreme Court? Will Senate Republicans oppose her nomination? What does her past as a trial judge tell us about the kind of Supreme Justice she might make?

Among the other top stories at the I-Desk, we will take you live to California where that state's supreme court has just upheld a ban on gay marriage. This just happened and is major breaking news in the United States where gay marriage is a major hot topic issue.

That and the rest of the day's top stories (and even a baby kangaroo because you can never go wrong with baby kangaroos.)

See you on TV,

Hala

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Posted: 1448 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll


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May 25, 2009
Posted: 1826 GMT

Hello everyone,

Leading the broadcast today at the International Desk: North Korea's nuclear test.

From Beijing to Washington, D.C., Pyongyang's desire to flex its military muscle has most of the world concerned (not least South Korea) and everyone is reacting.

By far its largets trading partner, China issued a condemnation of North Korea's nuclear test. The United Nations is holding an emergency Security Council meeting and U.S. President Barack Obama issued a stern statement, calling Pyongyang's actions "reckless," calling on the international community to take action.

But a country as impoverished and isolated as North Korea, ruled by a totalitarian regime that uses its nuclear force as a bargaining chip is not likely to be scared off by threats of further sanctions, say some analysts. Put quite simply, it has very little left to lose from any new sanctions.

We'll be live at the United Nations and in Washginton D.C. We'll also take you live to Beijing for China's reaction.

Speaking of nuclear disputes, we're live in Tehran, where Reza Sayah will tell us more about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rejection of a proposal to freeze his country's nuclear program if Western countries agree to freeze theirs.

For Barack Obama, it's a double dose of muclear headache on this Memorial Day holiday in the United States. And as someone once put it, it's not even his biggest problem.

We'll also go live to Beirut wher the political situation is becoming more and more electric. The Shiite militant group in charges of all of Southern Lebanon, Hezbollah, is holding a rally.

The parties that form the Western-backed government, March 14th, stand in stark opposition to Hezbollah. After having pulled themselves back from the brinks of civil war last year, will this election allow the country to move forward in peace? Or have deep factional cracks only been painted over with a wafer thin coat of paint?

That and the rest of the day's top news stories, of course.

See you on TV,

Hala

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Posted: 1445 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll •North Korea


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May 22, 2009
Posted: 1818 GMT

Hello everyone,

We'll be chatting live with Ivan Watson in Islamabad at the International Desk today. He spent the day on a tour of the Swat Valley with the Pakistani military. He'll tell us what he saw (and what his military guides wanted to show him) in the conflict zone.

Also today, we'll take you live London for the latest on the sentence against the mother and stepfather of "Baby P." The child was the victim of such shocking abuse – and for so long – that Britons have had to take a long, hard look a their child protection agencies, who failed to spot and help the toddler.

Plus, we are expecting to speak live to the president of Venezuelan opposition network Globovision. His home was raided by police today. He and other network officials say that Hugo Chavez's government is targetting them because Globovision is the only opposition network left in Venezuela.

Mister Chavez says Globovision will be "finished, or I'm not called Hugo Chavez."

The tug of war between those who openly criticize Chavez and the government that wants them gone will feature prominently at the Idesk.

Also on tap today, we'll talk GM and BA. The carmaker might be forced into bankruptcy next week and the airline is predicting a dismal 2009. How are markets reacting? We'll have that and we'll talk live to Richard Quest for more on what BA's chairman has to say about his results.

Plus the rest of the day's top stories, as always.

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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