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August 31, 2009
Posted: 1831 GMT

megrahi

We will go live to Tripoli in Libya to start the show today. Our Nic Robertson will join us to talk about Libya's response to accusations the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi was contingent on oil deals with the United Kingdom.

On that subject, take part in today's Idesk poll on Megrahi's release.

We will then run a portion of Sara Sidner's exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama on the day the spiritual leader visited typhoon-ravaged regions of Taiwan. The visit has angered China, that is accusing the Buddhist leader of making the trip for political reasons.

From Baghdad, we will discuss an Amnesty International report due to be published later today on the death sentence in Iraq and what human rights organizations say is unaccaeptable secrecy surrounding executions.

Since the reinstatements of the death penalty in Iraq – which by the way can be imposed for very vague charges like "compromising the internal security of the state" – human rights groups have sounded the alarm on the way death penalty cases are handled in post-Saddam Iraq. Old habits seems to die hard, there.

Also today, we will chat with the mayor of one of the most violent cities in the world: Juarez, Mexico. Murders there happen there in broad daylight and beheaded bodies are found on the outskirts of the city. Sounds like the Baghdad of 2006/2007. But this isn't sectarian strife but about who controls the money-making drug trade in Mexico.

Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz will join us at the IDesk. Will he be his country's Eliot Ness or the man known for having lost the drug war?

Plus all the latest news, business and sports stories, as always, at the International Desk.

See you on TV,

Hala

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Posted: 1431 GMT

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August 28, 2009
Posted: 1815 GMT

Today, we will start the show with the story that has the whole world talking: Jaycee Dugard, missing for 18 years and presumed gone forever by her family – is found alive.

Authorities suspect a registered sex offender, Phillip Garrido, of having abducted Dugard in 1991 when she was eleven years-old. He is suspected of having imprisoned her in a shed in his backyard and fathered her two children.

We will look at what happens next for both the victim and the alleged abuser. The no 29 year-old Jaycee Dugard has reportedly met with the mother who so desperately prayed for her daughter's return 18 years ago. In the mother's memory, Jaycee is a child. For the victim, who's spent more of her life with her tormentor than her own family, the challenges ahead may take years to address.

We will look at all angles.

Plus, we will cover the story of that 13-year-old Dutch girl who wanted to sail around the world alone. Her parents said they were fine with it. But a court in the Netherlands has ruled the girl is too young to do any such thing alone. Don't forget to take part in our poll asking if you think Laura Dekker should be allowed to circumnavigate the globe on her own.

We'll then discuss the story of an assassination attempt Saudi authorities say was made against a senior Saudi prince in charge of anti-terrorism in the kingdom, Mohammed bin Nayef. Authorities say a suicide bomber blew himself up but did not manage to kill bin Nayef. We are hearing reports the bomber tripped and fell and never managed to reach the Saudi prince. Octavia Nasr will join me at the Idesk for more on this story.

Also, the latest on all out top stories and a delightful look at what three female gorillas are doing with a picture of a male gorilla about to join them at the London zoo. Let's just say human females and female apes aren't so different in some regards.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1318 GMT

Today in the Netherlands, a judge ruled that Laura Dekker, who is 13-years-old, should not be allowed to sail around the world, on her own. So, we wanted to know...

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August 27, 2009
Posted: 1812 GMT

We'll kick things off with a train derailment in Turkey. We are receiving dramatic pictures of the accident as the train was traveling between Ankara and Istanbul. It's yet another accident in a country where the railroad infrastructure has been criticized for not being safe.

We are hearing that 2 people have been killed and more than a dozen injured. We'll take you there live.

Also, we are continuing to follow the funeral and memorial plans for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Yesterday, all major U.S. networks aired special tributes to the last surviving Kennedy brother of his generation.

The idea that Ted Kennedy's death essentially sealed the lid on the Camelot era, with all its glamour and scandal, seemed to make Americans nostalgic. Today, there is even word that the famous Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts could become a museum or an educational center.

A little later in the show, we will speak live from Jordan with Unicef representative Thomas Davin, who's just returned from Yemen, where fighting between government troops and rebels in the country's North is creating yet another pocket of misery in the Middle East.

Thousands of civilians are once again forced to flee to safety to escape the violence. The Unicef says it will need to set up camps to provide shelter for internally displaced people; U.N.-speak for people who become refugees in their own country.

On the financial front, we have more encouraging economic reports today. Is the worst behind us? I know I ask this question every day but I'm still wondering if it's possible to bounce back out of a recession when unemployment continues to be a major issue. With enough government spending and a semi-conscious housing market, can we see growth?

All that and more at the Idesk.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 210 GMT

mexico

In the hidden streets of Ciudad Juarez, it's a sure bet that you'll find a junky injecting himself with heroine, or smoking marijuana, or snorting a line of cocaine. Just a few meters away in El Paso, you can probably see the same thing. The similarities between both places don't stop there.

They are sister cities, that share a river and a culture, among many other things. But, they lie in two different countries, with two different sets of laws. And now, one of those laws has added a wrinkle to an on-going battle against drugs, drug cartels, and deadly violence, which has claimed the lives of thousands.

Just last week, Mexico followed in the footsteps of countries around the world - most recently, its Latin American brethren, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina - by eliminating jail-time for small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD and Meth. The reason seems very logical. Mexico's government says its prisons are packed with drug users. And, with the escalating violence in that country, they'd rather make room in prison cells for violent offenders and dealers.

Across the border, in the United States, police are concerned. In fact, they claim this goes against Mexican President Felipe Calderon's war against drugs and drug cartels, which is blamed for the deaths of 11,000 people since Calderon took office in 2006. U.S. authorities say the new law in Mexico gives a green light for people to use and abuse some of the world's most dangerous drugs. But, from Mexico's perspective, the government is trying to draw a line between the users, who need help not punishment; and the dealers, who deserve to be incarcerated.

This is the latest chapter in Mexico's Drug War that stretches far beyond the river, which divides Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. It's a war, which doesn't get as much attention as Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a war fought mostly in Mexico, with U.S. weapons, and claiming innocent Mexican lives - young, old, women, men, anyone.

On Monday at the I-Desk, we're going to delve deep into this war, the new law, and what's being done to fight drug runners. Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz of Ciudad Juarez is joining Hala live on set. His fair city is caught up in the middle of the violence. And, his perspective of this drug war is unlike any other.

See you then. And, as they say in Mexico, cuidense.

(Photo of soldier standing guard as seized drugs are incinerated in Mexico – Getty Images)

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August 26, 2009
Posted: 1837 GMT

kennedy

The last of the Kennedy brothers is dead and today marks the death, perhaps, of the Camelot mystique and of a Kennedy political dynasty.

Senator Ted Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer. We'll go live to Hyannis Port in Massachusetts with a report from outside the Kennedy compound.

We'll also discuss Kennedy's political career as the senior senator from Massachusetts, his contributions to healthcare reform, his role in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, his involvement in finding a peaceful resolution in Northern Ireland and what happens next in the Senate and in his home state.

We will then go live to Baghdad for a report on the death of top Shiite leader Abdel Aziz Al Hakim. What does this mean for Iraq and its internal political battles? Plus, Iraq and Syria are still ensconced over suspects in last Wednesday's truck bombings in Baghdad. There are developments on that front and we will bring them to you.

Also, we have some good economic numbers to report. New home sales figures came in better than expected. French unemployment numbers also beat expectations. Despite all that, stocks are lower in Europe and struggling on Wall Street. We'll tell you why.

Plus, and I didn't know this, but there are apparently more "dangerous" celebrities than others online. These are celebrity names that can lead you to websites that will damage your computer with viruses or spyware. Nicole Lapin will join us live to talk us through the list.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Posted: 1514 GMT

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August 25, 2009
Posted: 1809 GMT

iraq

We'll be going live to Afghanistan for the latest on the string of deadly bombings in the southern city of Kandahar. Witnesses there say the bombings literally rocked the city, leaving dozens dead in the worst case of post-election violence so far.

At the same time, election results from Afghanistan's presidential race have started trickling out. With about 10% of the ballots counted, the country's election commission says incumbent president Hamid Karzai is slightly ahead of his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. But with claims of voter fraud and ballot counting irregularities, it's a safe bet the loser will contest the final results.

We will then go to Baghdad, for more on the diplomatic tit-for-tat between Iraq and Syria. Today, we've learned that Syria recalled its ambassador after Iraq recalled its top diplomat from Damascus over a dispute connected to last week's deadly Baghdad bombings.

Iraq says Syria must hand over two Syria-based Baathists it says order the attack on government ministries in the Iraqi capital. Just a few weeks ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki was in Damascus for an official visit, shaking hands with Syrian president Bashar Al Assad, agreeing to cooperate on security issues. it looked like old disagreements were melting in the summer sun. And now, another break-up? We'll talk about what happened.

Also on tap today, the latest Wall Street action and what investors are saying about U.S. President Obama's decision to nominate Fed chief Ben Bernanke to another four year term.

We will take you to Cuba, Greece and London, where Nic Robertson has more on the political fallout from the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Al Megrahi.

Oh, and remember the story of former model Liskula Cohen, who was so offended by what an anonymous blooger said about her, that she got a judge to order Google to reveal the blogger's identity? Well now the blogger – Rosemary Port – is suing Google.

I'd love to tell you what Port called Cohen but I'm afraid of getting sued. Let's just say it rimes with "Frank."

See you on TV!

Hala

(Photo Getty Images – Aftermath of last wednesday's bombings in Baghdad)

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August 24, 2009
Posted: 1756 GMT

fire

It's a busy Monday at the International Desk: we'll kick things off with wildfires in Greece. We have crews near Athens covering the devastation and we hope to connect with witnesses on the ground.

We will then go to London where there continues to be fall-out from the decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Al Megrahi. In an emergency session of the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Justice minister Ken MacAskill defended his decision to release the Libyan national back to his homeland.

Interestingly, MacAskill said that Libyan officials has assured him Megrahi would receive a "low-key" welcome. Instead, he was greeted by cheering crowds, flower petals and the son of the Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

Also in the show, yet another bombing in Iraq. This one again targetted Shiites in a town South of Baghdad. All this violence is testing the limits to which Iraq's sects can go without succumbing to the temptation of revenge attacks. So far, Shiites have shown considerable restraint, but will there be a Samarra-style breaking point that will reignite sectarian warfare?

Sepaking of the Shias, there is a new political alliance of Shias parties sans the party of current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. We'll go live to Baghdad for more on what this all means.

Probably the most interesting story today: the formation of a new terrorism suspect interrogation unit overseen by the White House. This means the methods and standards for interrogating suspects will be centralized and under the direct line of control of the White House. This announcement came on the same day details from Bush-era CIA interrogations were made public, including instances when detainees were waterboarded and threatened with guns and electric drills.

Is this the end of the CIA's involvement in terrorism interrogations? Not quite. We'll go to Dan Lothian, who will be live from the Obama family's vacation spot in Martha's Vineyard in Massachussetts.

PLus, as always, the latest world, sports and weather news.

It's off to work on teh rest of the show for me.

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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