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January 9, 2010
Posted: 1737 GMT

I asked you on my Twitter page if you thought the Africa football tournament should be canceled after the deadly assault on Togo's national team.

Here are some of your responses:

“The whole thing should be called off, players are not safe & in respect of the dead participants. Let’s not wait for more attacks.” (Cassiel Irimagha)

“As a South African this is disheartening to hear, but I believe it must go on.” Byron Castle Marello
“The same question was raised in Munich 1972. The answer is the same. The games must go on. Otherwise the bad guys win.” (Michael)

“Hell yeah it should be canceled! The entire tournament has been tainted. I would be uncomfortable if I were to be taking part.” (Richard Arabome)

“No. That's exactly what they want. We can't give power to this of people. But of course, we gotta take a closer look on security.” (Julia)

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January 8, 2010
Posted: 1728 GMT

We will start the show in Detroit, Michigan, where Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab will make his first court appearance in connection with a failed plot to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas day.

We will be live outside the courthouse and will speak to a legal expert on what to expect next.

Also today, Paula Newton will talk us through the investigation from Yemen and what more officials are saying about AbdulMutallab's possible connection to Al Qaeda networks in the country.

Once again, winter weather is making people miserable in Europe. Canceled flights, broken down trains and massive traffic jams are still a big problem today. We'll have live reports from Europe and the United States.

We'll take you to Iraq, where an electoral commission is recommending Sunni groups they say are affiliated with the banned Baath party should be barred from taking part in the crucial March 7th election. This could again derail an oft-delayed poll. Diana Magnay brings us the latest from Baghdad.

Plus, we'll celebrate the King's birthday at the IDesk. Elvis Presley would have turned 75 today.

My favorite Elvis song has always been Blue Suede Shoes, though I know it's probably not his best. I just like singing "You can burn my house – Steal my car – Drink my liquor – From an old fruitjar."

I'm not exactly sure what that last part means but find it amusing that there was a time when that was considered as bad as punching someone in the face.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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January 7, 2010
Posted: 1739 GMT

Hello everyone,

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Alexandria in Egypt to film the January edition of Inside the Middle East. This is not just another place, it is the city founded by Alexander the Great, which later became a vibrant, cosmopolitan urban center with Arabs, Greeks, Italians, Christians, Muslim and Jews.

I stayed at the famous Cecil Hotel on Alexandria's corniche, where Agatha Christie, Henry Moore and the VIP's of this world once gathered to dine, vacation and raise a glass to the good life.

Today, Alexandria, though still beautiful, has an air of faded glory. The buildings are neglected, the streets are quiet, the cafes have lost their sparkle. Despite significant projects like the new Alexandria library, designed to being back the great repository of world knowledge that the original institution was a couple of millennia ago, something about Alexandria has changed.

It appears closed on itself. The foreigners have left. The energy and color multiculturalism brought to the city has evaporated.

Something about Egypt has also changed.

And in a country that used to be the poster child for the best of what ethnic and religious diversity has to offer, a drive-by shooting in a Southern Egyptian town is once again highlighting sectarian tensions that are tearing communities apart.

At least six Coptic Christians were killed after attending Christmas mass, and clashes are keeping the town on edge today. We will bring you the latest on this story and what it means for the country.

We will also go live to Yemen where there is new information on the connection between the suspect in a Christmas day bomb plot and a Yemeni cleric. Our Paula Newton will join us live from Sanaa.

And our Chief White House correspondent Ed Henry will preview President Obama's address on intelligence failures leading up to the attempted airliner attack.

Plus, if you're having a miserable time with the winter weather paralyzing large parts of the Northern Hemisphere, you're not alone. Guillermo will bring you the latest forecast.

And if you haven't made a resolution yet for 2010, you may want to consider this one – advice featured in one of the most respected medical journals in the world: have more sex. Our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will join us to explain.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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January 6, 2010
Posted: 1725 GMT

Hello everyone,

Today we kick off the show with the latest on deadly violence at the Gaza-Egypt border. Egyptian security forces blocked several aid trucks from entering the strip of land, unleashing anger and frustration from Palestinians who began throwing stones at soldiers.

At least one Egyptian soldier was killed and several Palestinains hurt.

We will also check out social media reaction to the violence.

Also today, the very latest on how winter weather is affectin Europe and parts of Asia. Guillermo will join me to talk about airport closures and whether or not there will be a let-up in the cold snap.

We will then take you live to Yemen, where our Paula Newton will join us live for more on the government's fight against Al Qaeda operatives. The man suspected of trying to blow up an American airliner over Christmas is thought to have spent time in Yemen, which officials fear has become a working base for Al Qaeda networks.

And we are live in Dublin for more on the amazing story of a man who unwittingly carried explosives in his luggage on a flight to Ireland after Slovak airport personnel placed real bomb parts in his luggage. Irish authorities are furious at the mistake. We will bring you the lates reaction.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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January 5, 2010
Posted: 1706 GMT

Hello everyone,

We are kicking off the show today in snowy England, where extreme winter weather conditions are paralyzing large parts of the country.

We will take you to other parts of Europe where conditions have forced the delay or cancellation of flights.

Also today, Errol Barnett will tell us about the launch of Google's push to enter the mobile phone market. Could Nexus One be the next iPhone? Or even threaten the iPhone's market share?

And- we will speak with our Nic Robertson about reports that the man who killed seven CIA agents and a Jordanian military officer was a Jordanian double agent. What does this say about the Al Qaeda's infiltration into intelligence agencies in the Middle East?

In sports, we will bring you the latest on the a French court's reversal of Flavio Briatore's lifetime Formula One ban. What will this mean for the sport?

Plus, on the lighter side of life, a controversial website is in the news today. The dating site beautifulpeople.com, which claims to only match good-looking singles, has removed thousands of members from its database because they gained weight over the holidays. Too fat for internet dating? I thought the internet was the one place you didn't have to worry about your weight. What is the world coming to, I ask.

We'll also have all the latest from the world of business and more winter weather forecasts with Guillermo.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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January 4, 2010
Posted: 2137 GMT

Photograph © 2010 by Annie Leibovitz; all rights reserved; N.Y.C.

I wonder when these pictures were taken.

Filed under: Tiger Woods •Vanity Fair


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Posted: 1727 GMT

Hello everyone and welcome to the first IDesk note of 2010!

Topping our show today: the continuing fallout from that attempted Christmas day attack on an American airliner. Yemen is again in the spotlight today, as a third Western embassy – France – joins the United States and Britain in closing operation in the country.

There are real fears from embassy staff that threats against Western targets are putting employee lives at risk and they're not taking any chances.

The suspect in the botched bombing of a US airliner spent several months in Yemen in the time preceding the attack. We will look into what investigators say about how much of a threat Al Qaeda networks in that country really are.

Also today, we will look at new security directives issued to airports around the world for all travelers flying to the United States. There is a separate list of 14 countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, that are required to perform "enhanced security" screenings of all travelers.

But there are already reports that airports are not following the new American guidelines. Critics are already blasting the new, backward-looking measures. Wouldn't a terrorist just fly out of another airport? And, weren't all major terrorist attacks launched – including 9-11 – out of Western airports, not on that list?

And will airport screeners actually perform the kind of pat-down that would catch a man with an underwear bomb?

We'll ask all the questions for you with our team of reporters and special guests throughout the hour.

We'll take you to Dubai, the tiny emirate with the giant debt crisis, where authorities have just unveiled the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa. Will this new over-the-top (literally) project bring more enthusiasm to the Dubai real estate industry, whose bubble burst so spectacularly a few moths ago?

We are also live in Baghdad, Islamabad and Kabul for the latest.

And will have your sports, business and weather headlines, as always.

See you at the IDesk!

Hala

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Posted: 108 GMT

Happy New Year, everyone!!

We're starting the first full week of 2010, with several challenges around the world:
– Hightened terrorism concerns, following the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a plane over the U.S.
– Raging war in Afghanistan, with more and more strikes over the border into Pakistan
– A downsizing war effort in Iraq, as a major election looms
– Protests in Iran, which resurged after the post-election violence in the summer
– Questions about the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea
– A global economic recession which is slowly improving, very slowly

And, that's just to name a few. So, what will the big stories of 2010 be?? Take out your crystal balls, or any other kind of fortune-telling devices, and let us know. We'll take a look at some of your answers, live at the I-Desk, later this week.

See you then!
J the P

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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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