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November 18, 2009
Posted: 1514 GMT

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November 17, 2009
Posted: 1740 GMT

Hello everyone,

We continue our "Autumn of Change" coverage with the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Prague today. Fionnuala Sweeney is live in the Cezh Republic where there are plans to recreate the student March that triggered the fall of communism in that country.

In what was Czechoslovakia, the wave of anti-communist protests forced peaceful change. The Czech Republic is now a European Union and NATO member, with a market economy.

We will look at where things stand today, and how must the country's past is having an impact on the younger generation.

Also on the show today, we will have the latest on President Barack Obama's trip to China, framing a new U.S.-China relationship. Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao met to discuss all important issues that concern both countries.

But with two wars and a global recession hitting it hard, America is not necessarily in the driver's seat. China has weathered the recession relatively well and is essentially financing the U.S. budget deficit by holding so much of America's debt.

The two men talked about trade gaps, Iran, human rights and climate control, all issues on which there was not complete agreement.

Our Ed Henry is in Beijing with more.

Al Goodman is in Spain for the latest on a Spanish vessel crew freed by Somali pirates. They had been detained for weeks and there are questions about whether a deal was struck to secure their release.

We are also live in London for important corporate news and we have the latest on Wall Street action from New York.

Paula Newton is live in Rome for the latest on a hunger summit where some of the world's most controversial – and colorful – leaders have managed to steal the spotlight again.

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

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 16, 2009
Posted: 1738 GMT

Del337551

Hello everyone,

We will start the show with a live report from the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet in London where the U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown will once again defend an increasingly unpopular Afghanistan policy.

The Prime Minister is expected to reiterate the notion that Al Qaeda and Islamic extremism remain the biggest threat to national security and that Britain's engagement in Afghanistan is essential.

We have a live report.

We will also report on Barack Obama's first trip to China as President. The American leader took questions from students at a town hall meeting in Shanghai over the week-end. A balancing act for President Obama, whose challenge it to achieve rapprochement with China while raising human rights and political freedom issues.

Today, the American president is in Beijing ahead of a summit and state dinner tomorrow. We will have full coverage.

Then, Marc McKay will join me to talk about a carmaker bucking the trend in Formula One: rather than running in the opposite direction, Mercedes Benz is getting back into the sport. We'll tell you all about the move and whether it will pay off.

And- the ex-Republican vice-presidential Sarah Palin is on a media blitz to sell her new book in which she reveals details of her unsuccessful 2008 ticket with John McCain.

Questions surrounding her political ambitions are surfacing again. Will she run for the Republican nomination in 2012?

On that topic, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll reveals that only 28% of Americans think Palin is qualified to be president, while 70% say she is not.

Also today, we will preview NASA's latest launch and Maradona's two-month ban from the football pitch.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 13, 2009
Posted: 1741 GMT

ksm

Hello IDeskers,

Today, we will start the show with the formal announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators will be tried in civilian courts in New York.

This means that they will be moved from their cells in Guantanamo Bay and prosecuted for their role in the September 11th attacks by federal prosecutors, not in military tribunals.

We will talk to former federal prosecutor and high-profile attorney Kendall Coffey on what happens next. How do admissions made using "harsh interrogation techniques" like waterboarding affect the trial? What kind of precedent will this set? Why are accused USS Cole attackers being tried in military courts?

Don't forget to take part in our daily poll below, on whether you think Khalid Sheikh Mohammed can get a fair trial. We will also be reading some of your tweets @halagorani on air, so leave your comments as well.

Also today, we will discuss the meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. It's interesting to see France roll out the red carpet for Mister Assad.

When I was in Paris a few weeks ago, there was considerable talk that President Sarkozy was feeling snubbed by U.S President Barack Obama. Some were speculating that because of that, Mister Sarkozy is trying to forge new alliances with countries on his side of the Atlantic.

The meeting, designed to make a fresh push for Mideast peace by involving the Syrians (not quite on President Obama's new diplomatic engagement policy yet), positions France in an interesting way.

Plus, we are live in Islamabad for more on the latest bombing attributed to Taliban insurgents. The battle between the Taliban and Pakistani government for control of several key regions in the country continues, with ordinary civilians paying the highest price.

We are also live on Wall Street (the rally continues) and London (where Prime Minister Brown is making troop increase recommendations for Afghanistan.)

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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Posted: 1449 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll


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November 12, 2009
Posted: 1739 GMT

eikenberry

Hello everyone,

Today, we will start the show with the Afghanistan question, and more questions surrounding America's decision on whether to send reinforcements to the war-torn country.

Complicating the equation are reports that Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, a retired General, expressed concern over a troop build-up (the same troop increase the commander of NATO forces General Stanley McChrystal asked for).

According to the Washington Post: Eikenberry "sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai's government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise."

We will talk to Jill Dougherty in Washington and Chris Lawrence in Baghdad about the new developments and how they might impact President Obama's decision on Afghanistan.

Also today, we will go live to Spain, where the trial of eleven men suspected of plotting to attack the underground system in Barcelona.

And we will take you live to East Africa, where David McKenzie is following the story of a Somali judge, who'd jailed accused pirates in the past, found shot to death in an autonomous region of Somalia.

Our resident internet and gaming expert Errol Barnett will join me in the studio to talk about Microsoft reportedly coming down hard on a million players who downloaded pirated version of its new game "Call of Duty."

Microsoft has banned as many as a million players from Xbox Live for altering their consoles in order to play pirated versions of games, according to reports in InformationWeek.

All that and the latest weather, sport and business headlines.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 11, 2009
Posted: 1748 GMT

vet

Hello everyone,

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month ninety one years ago, World War I came to an end after the signing of an Armistice in Compiegne, France.

Some nine decades later, only three surviving World War I veterans remain. None from France or Germany, whose leaders met at the Tomb of the Unknown under the Arc of Triomphe for the first time ever to remember the war dead.

And some nine decades later, both countries and many other NATO allies are engaged in Afghanistan, where the mission and the strategy are still being debated. Today, U.S. President Barack Obama laid a wreath in Arlington Cemetery on a day he will again hold meetings on whether to increase American troop levels in Afghanistan.

We will cover Armistice Day remembrances in Paris, London and Washington, as well as the ongoing debate over what to do in today's active warzones.

On that note, there is a new CNN/Opinion research poll on whether Americans think President Barack Obama is taking too long to clarify the United States' mission in Afghanistan and make a firm decision on troop levels. It's been three months since USAF commander General Stanley McChrystal submitted his report on the situation, asking for up to 40,000 more troops.

We will cover all angles.

Also today, we will go live to Berlin for more on the life sentence a German court imposed on the man accused of stabbing a pregnant Egyptian woman to death in a Dresden courtroom earlier this year. We will have the latest from Germany and reaction from Egypt.

Another sad story from Germany, the suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke, who apparently killed himself at the age of 32. Reports indicate he left a suicide note. Diana Magnay will cover that for us.

Plus, we will go live to Jerusalem for the latest on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' statements and the increasing pessimism surrounding the propsect of peace talks with Israel.

Finally, have you noticed Sammy Sosa's looking a lot paler these days? We have the reason behind his startling change of appearance and how fans are reacting to it all.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 10, 2009
Posted: 1738 GMT

Today, we will start the show with a live report from Ed Lavandera in Fort Hood, Texas.

Some 3,000 people, including President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are expected to attend a memorial service to honor the 13 soldiers killed during a shooting rampage last week.

Meantime, the investigation into what happened and why the suspected killer, Major Nidal Hasan, allegedly committed mass murder, is ongoing. We know that he is injured but is now conscious and talking.

We have more on his possible ties to extremist elements, namely a cleric currently in Yemen.

Also today, we take you live to Islamabad for the latest on yet another suspected Taliban suicide bombing in Pakistan. A car bomb explosion killed at least ten people in Peshawar. Insurgents are putting considerable pressure on the Pakistani government as it continues an offensive in South Waziristan.

Then, it's over to London where the U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing increasing criticism over Britain's Afghanistan policy. On a day when several British soldiers killed in Afghanistan were repatriated home, Brown answered a variety of question during a news conference in London.

This is a politically – and strategically – difficult time for the U.K. Prime Minister. We have the latest.

Later at the IDesk, we will take you to the Washington, D.C. area, where the man convicted of the 2002 Washington sniper attacks will be put to death. A last minute appeal to spare John Allen Mohammed was rejected by the governor of Virginia.

Finally, I'll chat with Terry Baddoo about former number one tennis player Marat Safin, whot told a French newspaper he thinks Andre Agassi should return his titles and championship money after admitting to using chrystal meth in the 1990's.

What do you think? Tweet me @halagorani.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 9, 2009
Posted: 1728 GMT

wall

Hello everyone,

Jim Clancy, who was there the day the Berlin wall came down 20 years ago, will join us live from the German capital for coverage of the celebration surrounding the 20th anniversary of the historic event.

He will take us through the nuts and bolts of the day and look ahead to the world leaders scheduled to give speeches. Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown and Dimitry Medvedev will help mark the anniversary. President Barack Obama did not make the trip, however, sending his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, instead.

Also today, we will take you live to Baghdad where the Iraqi parliament has finally passed an election law, making January elections possible.

The deadlock and delays leading up to the vote had Americans very worried: not holding elections as scheduled could have made Iraq more unstable than it is now, strengthening the hand of insurgent groups determined to perpetuate chaos there.

The question now is: will the deal hold? Will officials have the time it takes to organize elections throughout the country?

Plus, the rally on Wall Street is sending the Dow to new highs for the year. Unemployment? What unemployment? The dollar is down and stocks are up on hopes interest rates will stay low and government will continue to commit to giantn stimulus plans.

We are live at the New York Stock Exchange.

The second half of the show will probably be composed entirely of heads of state speeches, which we will bring you live on CNN.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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November 5, 2009
Posted: 1739 GMT

abbas

Hello everyone,

Today, we start with a live report from Jerusalem on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to not seek reelection next January.

The increasingly unpopular and isolated Palestinian leader will not run again because, according to aides, his frustration with American efforts to referee a peace deal with Israel has reached boiling point.

Aides say the final straw came when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to support a slowdown, rather than a total freeze in Israeli settlement construction.

We are expecting Mister Abbas to deliver a speech detailing his reasons for not seeking another term at 130pm EST. We will broadcast some of it live.

Also today, we will go live to Baghdad to talk about reports that Saudi Arabia has bombed rebel position in Northwestern Yemen.

The Shia rebels in that part of Yemen have been in conflict with the Yemeni government for years. Saudi Arabia has supported Yemen's Sunni leaders. If this is confirmed, it would mean that Saudi Arabia is taking drastic military action to defeat the Shia rebels outside of its own borders.

Information is always difficult to gather from that remote part of the Middle East. Mohammed Jamjoom has been doing the legwork and will tell us what he knows.

Plus, Octavia Nasr will join me to talk about an interview she conducted with the mother of Neda, the young woman whose death became the symbol of the anti-government movement in Iran. It is Neda's mother's first ever interview on a U.S. network.

Nic Robertson will join us from London for the latest on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's trial at the Hague, and reports proceedings will be delayed until March of next year.

Plus all the latest news from the world of weather, business and sport.

See you at the IDesk!

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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