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June 30, 2009
Posted: 1805 GMT

iraq

Today is the big day for Iraqis, one that will change their country either for the better, or for the much worse: the day Western oil companies lined up to place bids on the exploration of Iraq oil fields.

What is at issue in Iraq today is as much about securing the country, as it is about dividing its riches. Today, American troops leave urban centers in Iraq and retreat back to their bases, leaving Iraqi security forces to patrol the streets and try to keep the peace. It will be tough: today, yet another deadly suicide bombing killed dozens in Northern Iraq.

As Iraqis celebrated "sovereignty day," Iraqi television broadcast live images of BP, Shell, Total and Exxon, among others, dropping bids on folded pieces of paper into a large plexiglass box and then waited for the thumbs up or thumbs down from Iraq's oil minister Hussein Al-Sharistani.

In the end, only one group agreed to lower its price enough to win a contract for the Bai-Hassan oil field. And the process will continue. Whether the proceeds will be perceived as being fairly divided among the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shiites (Parliament has not yet passed an oil bill) will go a long way in determining how peaceful Iraq can be.

We will be going live to Michael Ware in Baghdad for the latest on the day's news.

Also today, we'll be looking in to the coup that brought down Honduras' civilian president and forced him into exile. The United Nations condemend the military putsch and called on Manuel Zeleya to be re-instated. Some of you have written comments and emails supporting the military coup. Others say forcibly removing a president from power and ejecting him from the country is not what Central American democracies should be doing anymore.

We're live in Honduras with the latest on what people are saying on the ground.

We'll also bring you the latest on that downed Yemeni airliner that crashed into the Indian Ocean with more than 150 people aboard. initial reports that a child may have survived the crash are now being questionned. We'll cross over live to our reporter David McKenzie.

Plus, we'll take you live to the Apollo theatre in Harlem, New York. Stephanie Elam is there and will talk to fans gathered at the historic venue to pay tribute to Michael Jackson.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1458 GMT

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June 29, 2009
Posted: 1811 GMT

honduras

Hello everyone,

Today we'll kick things off with the military coup in Honduras. What a throwback to another era: military officers barging into a Latin American president's home in the middle of the night and forcing him out of the country. How 1970's.

What is interesting about this story isn't just what happened in one poor Central American country, but its ripple effects through the region and beyond.

First of all, in the last decade, the whole continent has been shifting to the left with powerful and vocal presidents like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Many of the region's leaders met in Nicaragua for a meeting and reaffirmed their support for the ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, a Chavez ally.

And then, there is the U.S. reaction: unlike George Bush, who during a brief coup against Hugo Chavez supported the dissenters, Barack Obama has outwardly condemned the putsch in Honduras, calling on all to "respect democratic norms" and the "rule of law."

The question is what the significance of the putsch is for the region and what it means for democracy in central America.

We'll have full coverage from the Nicaragua conference, from the White House and analysis with our Latin America correspondent Karl Penhaul, who will be on set with me here in Atlanta.

Also today, we'll talk to legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about Bernard Madoff's 150 year prison sentence for defrauding people of billions of dollars. What happens now to Madoff's assets? Once sold, who decides which victims will receive money and how long will it all take? What about Bernard Madoff's wife Ruth, who said today in a statement that "not a day goes by that (she doesn't) ache over the stories" of the victims of her husband's Ponzi scheme. Will she hold onto to some of her assets?

Plus, we'll continue to follow the story of the aftermath of Michael Jackson's sudden death. We're hearing that a judge has granted Jackson's mother temporary guardianship of the pop star's three kids.

And of course the latest from Iran, where the powerful Guardian Council has declared the hotly contested presidential election correct, based on what it says is a partial recount. Our Reza Sayah is at the Iran Desk and will bring us the latest from inside the country.

Plus all the day's top news stories from around the word, as always.

See you on TV,

Hala

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Posted: 1541 GMT

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June 26, 2009
Posted: 1822 GMT

michael

Hello everyone,

A quick note to give you a glimpse into the Idesk rundown.

We'll be leading with reaction to Michael Jackson's sudden death. Fans are mourning, tributes are being planned and people are starting to ask questions about how and why the pop star went into cardiac arrest at such a young age.

Amid reports the star may have has issues with prescription drugs, police say they are now looking for Jackson's personal physician. They towed the doctor's car from the Jackson residence yesterday.

We'll take you live to Los Angeles and London for more on the star's shocking passing.

Also, we'll bring you the latest from Iran. Images are still trickling out from the streets of Tehran, but they are few and far between. Our Iran desk has the latest.

We'll also have Michael Ware in Baghdad and Dan Lothian at the Whie House.

See you on TV!

Hala

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June 25, 2009
Posted: 1818 GMT

Hello everyone,

Iran continues to dominate the headlines today, as we sift through videos, interviews and reports from our sources on the ground to bring you the latest on the election fallout.

Our Iran desk is monitoring messages posted on opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, who is continuing to call on his supporters to protest. We are hearing that the streets of Tehran are much calmer today, and that it seems the fear of reprisals and the lack of a clear organized opposition campaign may be discouraging rallies.

We'll talk with Reza Sayah, just back from Tehran and we will connect with our Iran desk crew here at the CNN Center.

Also on the show, we'll talk live to Michael Ware in Baghdad on the latest string of deadly bombings there, designed to create as much chaos as possible leading up to the June 30th deadline for US troops to pull out of Iraqi cities.

Plus, we have a live report from Argentina on the story of an American governor forced to admit he cheated on his wife with a woman who lives in Buenos Aires. Mark Sanford of South Carolina was a rising star in the Republican party and this is precisely the kind of scandal the party doesn't need as it tries to regroup after its 2008 election defeat.

And after yesterday's shock US win against Spain at the Confed Cup, we'll monitor the Brazil-South Africa match and bring you all the results live.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1510 GMT

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June 24, 2009
Posted: 1800 GMT

Hello everyone,

Today, we've had eyewitness telephone interviews, grainy, shaky amateur video posted online of demonstrators chanting "Death to the dictator," and reports from news agancies. We are using imperfect tools to draw as clear a picture as we can of what is happening today in Iran.

What is clear is that some demonstrators (numbers uncertain and unconfirmed) have taken to the streets today, defying government orders to stay home. We know there has been violence, but cannot confirm how intense the crackdown was or how badly anyone was hurt.

We are working hard on getting the latest out of Iran and will bring it to you on the show today.

Also today, more shocking violence in Iraq a few days before U.S. troops are due to pull out from cities under a security agreement made with the Iraqi government.

Staying in the Middle East, we'll explore the significance of the U.S's decision to send an ambassador to Syria, re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Damascus for the first time in four years.

This is in keeping with Barack Obama's policy of engagement with the region, but could it also be a way of appeasing Syria and discouraging it from getting closer to Iran? We'll ask that question.

We'll also discuss reports that lawyers for 9-11 victims have gathered documents that show evidence of considerable financial support for terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda. An expert on the question will join us live at the half hour.

Plus the rest of the day's top stories from the world of business, weather and sport.

See you on TV!

Hala

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June 23, 2009
Posted: 1537 GMT

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June 22, 2009
Posted: 1822 GMT

tehran

Hello everyone,

It's how we're trying to get a clear picture on what is happening in Iran. Voices on the telephone, from journalists who must remain nameless for their own protection or students who speak of the emotion of taking part in a protest despite threats from Iran's Revolutionary Guard to crack down on dissenters.

The restrictions placed on international journalists are such that getting the story to our viewers means pieceing together elements online and in hurried telephone calls.

Our "Iran desk" is monitoring and evaluating videos and pictures taken in Iran, trying to determine where and when images were shot.

We will bring you the latest amateur video we have of today's anti-government protests. A journalist I spoke with on air told me he believed about 10,000 people showed up at Haft e-Tir square in Tehran. We are working hard on trying to connect with other witnesses to Monday's events in the Iranian capital.

Our guest today is an Editor at Wired magazine and will talk to us about how the authorties are trying to block websites and monitor text messages sent by protestors. The web and mobile technology has played such a large part in how this story is being told that we want to spend a few minutes focusing on that angle.

Also today, we'll speak of a spike in violence in Iraq with our Michael Ware, back in Baghdad to report on the planned pullout of U.S. troops from some cities and towns. Will the bloodshed force Americans to rethingk their June 30th deadline?

Plus the latest from Wall Street, where it's a gloomy day. We'll tell you why.

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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