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November 30, 2009
Posted: 1724 GMT

Hello everyone,

Over the week-end, Iran said it would start construction on ten new nuclear plants, incensing Western powers who wanted Iran to stop enriching uranium altogether.

Tehran reacted angrily over the weekend to a U.N. watchdog agency resolution condemning its nuclear program and threatening harsher sanctions.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak today. We will go live to Tehran for more on what the Iranian leader says and what message he wants to send to the West this time.

Also today, we will bring you the latest on the aftermath of Dubai's financial crisis. Gulf markets had their first opportunity to react to the news that Dubai is asking to delay its massive debt repayments.

We will then go to Germany for a live report on the John Demjanjuk Nazi war crimes trial.

And we are live in Florida for the latest on the Tiger Woods car crash that has sparked so much speculation around the world. Tabloid rumors and public curiosity has turned this story into a global talking point. We cover all the angles.

And, here's hoping technology cooperates, because we are planning to be live in the Himalayas for more on the impact of global warming on glaciers in that part of the world, as we approach next month's climate change conference in Copenhagen.

And all the day's other top developing stories, as always.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk


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November 27, 2009
Posted: 1638 GMT

News that Dubai, the super rich, super ambitious, 24-hour a day bundle of economic energy is now asking its creditors for loan repayment mercy is sending mini shockwaves around the world.

About half of the money Dubai has borrowed to expand at breakneck speed was lent by European and U.S. banks that, just last year, were themselves on the verge of collapse.

If the world needed a wake-up call that the world economy is not out of the woods yet, this would be it.

Stock prices took a big hit yesterday and today, the dollar is up – all signs that investors are concerned with what is happening in the tiny emirate.

Will this force Dubai to rely on its more conservative and financially stable neighbor, Abu Dhabi? How will this impact Dubai as a financial center for the region?

We are covering all angles at the IDesk and don't forget to vote in our poll below.

Also among our lead stories, we will take you to Germany and to Kandahar for more on the continuing fallout from a September airstirke in Afghanistan.

Now a government minister has resigned over allegations that a German commander ordered a hit on fuel tankers, knowing that civilians may have been at risk.

PLus, we have all the latest developing news stories from around the world, as always, including news from the ATP Men's final.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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Filed under: Dubai •Today At The I-Desk


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Posted: 1404 GMT

Filed under: Economy •I-Desk Poll


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November 25, 2009
Posted: 1729 GMT

We will start the show today with a live report from Jerusalem on Israeli Prime Ministes Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to freeze settlement construction for ten months.

The Israeli government has approved a "temporary suspension of construction permits for housing" in the West Bank. But here's the rub: this suspension would exclude East Jerusalem. Palestinian negotiators have said that they will not talk unless the half of Jerusalem they want as their capital is included in any settlement freeze.

Also today, we will have more on the anniversary of the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan is bringing suspects – including the alleged mastermind of the massacre – to justice. We will speak with Kia Scherr, a woman who lost her husband and daughter that day, and who says those found responsible should not be put to death.

Plus, it's raining in Mecca! And that's making for a very soggy first pilgrimage day for the millions gathered in the holy Muslim city. Isha Sesay will join us live.

And we have an interview with Rom Houben, the man the medical community thought was in a vegetative coma for 23 years, but who turned out to be fully conscious the whole time.

All that and the rest of the day's top news, business and weather headlines.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk


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Posted: 312 GMT

President and Mrs Obama hosting Prime Minister and Mrs Singh at a state dinner at the White House today.

(Picture Getty Images)

Filed under: Barack Obama •India


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November 24, 2009
Posted: 2321 GMT

Today at the IDesk, Hala Gorani spoke with Vincent Brossel of Reporters Without Borders on politically motivated violence that has reportedly claimed the lives of up to twenty journalists. If this number is confirmed, this would be the largest single mass killing of reporters.

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Filed under: Philippines Massacre


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Posted: 1733 GMT

Hello everyone,

As I write this, the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh is addressing journalists at the White House, highlighting the importance of his country's economic relationship with America. In the news conference, U.S. President Barack Obama also underlined what bonds the two countries: the United States is India's largest trading partner.

This will be the first "state dinner" of Barack Obama's presidency, the highest honor America can extend to visiting leaders.

But this visit isn't only about business: India is a crucial strategic partner for the United States. Mister Obama wants Prime Minster Singh to know that despite the fact that he is busy with Afghanistan, Pakistan and recently visited China, India is not forgotten.

We will go live to Washington, D.C. for more on the visit.

Then, we will take you live to London for more on the British inquiry now under way on why Britain took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Tony Blair is expected to be one of the star witnesses in the next few months.

Paula Newton will have more on the inquiry panel and on the significance of a public debate on why the U.K. followed the United States into Iraq.

Also today, I will speak with Vincent Brossel of Reporters Without Borders on what could turn out to be the biggest single massacre of journalists. Up to twenty journalists may have been savagely killed in an attack on allies of a local politician in the Southern Philippines, in which almost 50 were killed.

The bloody clan turf war in that part of the country routinely claims lives. We will cover that story form all angles.

We are live in Jerusalem for more on statements by Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, who's been dampening expectations of a prisoner swap deal with Hamas that could leave to the release of Hamas captive Gilad Shalit.

We are also live on Wall Street, in Islamabad, Madrid and in Mecca.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 23, 2009
Posted: 1734 GMT

Hello Ideskers!

Today we will start the show with a report from CNN's Nic Robertson on fears that Irish dissidents are re-organizing and planning attcks in Norther Ireland.

Over the week-end, shots were fired at a police garrison in a small town and a 400 pounds bomb was discovered in Belfast near a strategic target.

Should this be a cause for alarm for authorities after more than a decade of peace in Northern Ireland?

I had an interesting viewer comment on this story, asking if the suspects were Pakistani, if the media would call them dissidents. What do you think about the terminology used in mainstream media? Let me know in our comments sections below.

Also today, we will take you to Wall Street. The figure out today from the National Association of Realtors is truly stunning: existing homes sales jumped 10% in October, to their highest level since February 2007.

This – aprt from unemployment, of course – is one of the most crucial indicators in the United States. If the "perceived wealth" of American households goes up, that is, if people feel richer on paper, they are much more likely to spend money and get the economy going again.

There is liquidity in the market, it is just not being lent and not being spent. The challenge is for the economic cycle to starts working again and increase the overall level of spending.

We will ask: is the housing number a blip or is it indicative of an upward trend?

Plus, an amazing story out of Belgium on a man thought to be brain dead and in a vegetative coma, who was awake all along. A doctor tested Rom Houben a few years ago and found that his brain activity was near normal. Houben had been essentially trapped in his own body for 23 years.

This is a case that is sure to rattle the medical community and families whose loved ones are presumed brain dead. We will talk to a top Atlanta neurosurgeon for more on this story.

We will also look at horrific pre-election violence in the Philipppines and whether or not a deal to realease Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – held in Gaza – may be getting closer.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 19, 2009
Posted: 1729 GMT

Hello everyone,

Sometimes, sports stories become international news stories. The World Cup qualifying match between France and Ireland fits into that category.

After a hand ball from French star striker Thierry Henry sent France to the World Cup finals, there have been calls for a replay from ordinary fans all the way up to Irish politicians.

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern told a radio station he believes there should be a rematch, but added: "They (FIFA) probably won't grant it as we are minnows in world football but let's put them on the spot."

But the French Prime Minister is reportedly saying the Irish government should butt out of the footballing row. Is this football controversay turning into a diplomatic spat?

Football is so closely tied to national pride in many parts of the world that a perception of injustice such as this inflames passions. And even people in France are saying this was not the way they wanted to win.

My Twitter page was flooded with viewers – France and Ireland supporters alike – saying FIFA should order a replay. Although that is unlikely to happen, this incident may have an impact on how the world football federation considers improvements to refereeing.

We will talk with Pedro Pinto in London, Terry Baddoo here in Atlanta and hear from the irish justice minister as well from the streets of Paris.

Also today, we take you live to Brussels for more on the ongoing vote for a new E.U. President. Jim Bittermann is in the Belgian capital with more on the front runner and what the job of European Union president means.

Don't forget to take part in our online poll on whether you think electing a European president will make a difference.

Then, we will go to Kabul and talk to our Chris Lawrence who attended President Hamid Karzai's inauguration after a controversial elections and calls from close allies to seriously address corruption in the Afghan government.

Plus, a look at Wall Street where a major sell-off is under way.

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

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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Posted: 1340 GMT

Diplomats are meeting in Belgium today, and voting on the first-ever European Union President. There are several candidates in the running. We should know the name by 21:00 in London, 22:00 CET. But, we wanted to know:

Filed under: European Union •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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