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October 22, 2012
Posted: 2158 GMT

A Syrian man and boy ride a horse cart in Aleppo on Thursday.

A very interesting article by Le Figaro’s Edith Bouvier on France’s direct financial support for Syrian civil reconstruction and humanitarian projects. The idea is to give money to civilian groups to help rebuild bakeries, set up medical or collect trash even as the civil war rages on.

According to this article, France has so far sent 1.5 million Euros to fourteen “civilian revolutionary committees” from Aleppo, Damascus, Homs and other hard-hit regions.

This is also interesting because according to this report, France’s ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevallier, travels to within “a few hundred meters of Syria to meet with the representatives of these committees and to give them French help.”

During these meetings, the report goes on to say, the men talk about the unrelenting violence in Syria but also come equipped with reports and a “spreadsheet explaining every expense. For each financial donation, a promise is made to provide a detailed expense reports.”

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Filed under: France •Syria


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October 18, 2012
Posted: 2215 GMT

Lawrence Rubin from Georgia Tech came on the show today and talked about whether sanctions against Syria are making a difference. Listen to who he believes is hurting the most from these sanctions.

Filed under: CNN •Idesk •Syria


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October 17, 2012
Posted: 2227 GMT

Presidential debate questioner, Kerry Ladka, talks to Hala about how he came up with his question for the candidates. Listen to hear if he is satisfied with their answers and if he has chosen a candidate to support.

Filed under: CNN •Idesk •Terrorism


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October 16, 2012
Posted: 1727 GMT

Hello from Washington, DC!

Topping the show today, Wolf  Blitzer will join me with more on what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said about last month's the Benghazi attacks. She told CNN's Elise Labott that she takes responsibility for the assault that killed the American ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Is this meant to take the heat off President Obama before tonight's debate with Mitt Romney? Our own Candy Crowley will be moderating the town hall format duel. I'll ask Wolf who this type of set-up favors and how important it is for Barack Obama to perform well after a performance widely seen as lackluster and uninspired the first time around.

Also today, we'll go live to both Pakistan and the Birmingham for the latest on Malal Youssufzai condition. She was transported to a specialty facility in Northern England yesterday in the hope of accelerating her recovery. We'll begin you the latest on her condition on the little girl who has already become an icon of equal access to education.

Plus, big news in the banking world: the CEO of Citigroup Vikram Pandit has stepped down.  This is a surprise which comes as Pandit's 2011 compensation remained a sticking point for shareholders: they voted against his $15 million pay package earlier this year. We'll bring you market reaction to the news.

See you on air!

Hala

Filed under: Barack Obama •Malala Youssufzai •Mitt Romney •Today At The I-Desk


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October 11, 2012
Posted: 2115 GMT

In today’s in depth look at Syria we talk to Hugh Pope with the International Crisis Group about the risk of armed conflict between Turkey and Syria. Listen as Pope describes the possibility of these tensions turning into a crisis for Turkey.

Filed under: CNN •Idesk •Syria


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October 10, 2012
Posted: 1731 GMT

Hello everyone,

Today on the show, we will look at the collapse of that huge European aerospace and defense merger between EADS and the UK’s BAE Systems. The $45 billion deal was designed to create a giant to rival U.S. plane maker Boeing. Jim Boulden joins us from London with more on what led to the collapse.

We also bring you the latest on a congressional hearing in Washington looking into the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi and the deaths of ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. citizens.

Prepared testimony to the House Oversight Committee hearing is expected to show that Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy will address specific criticism by Republicans that authorities were ill-prepared before the Benghazi consulate attack. We’re live in Washington.

Later, an update on the condition of Malala Youssufzai, the brave 14 year old Pakistani activist shot and critically wounded by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education. The assault on Youssufzai had shocked many people, including ordinary Pakistanis. We’re hearing from one of her doctors that her condition is slowly improving after a three-hour operation to remove a bullet from her neck. Reza Sayah will have our report from Islamabad.

We also have new video of a clash between rebels and regime forces in a key town Syria’s Idlib province. Nick Paton Walsh will be live with us from Beirut.

We’ll have all that and the rest of the world’s top news stories, as always.

See you on air!

Hala

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Filed under: Malala Youssufzai •Pakistan •Syria •Today At The I-Desk


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October 9, 2012
Posted: 1750 GMT

Hello everyone,

Today we kick off the show with more mass demonstrations in Greece on the day German chancellor Angela Merkel made a rare visit to Greece. The visit was designed to discuss Greece’s bailout plan and the austerity measures that have angered so many Greeks. Matthew Chance is live with us from the Greek capital.

Also topping the show today, the massive suicide blasts that reportedly targeted the Air Force Intelligence compound in Damascus. Experts say the AFI is considered the elite, primary intelligence agency of the Assad regime. A shadowy jihadist group called Al Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is unknown how many people may have been killed or whether anti-regime detainees in the complex were hurt.

"We also fear for the lives of hundreds if not thousands of anti-government detainees that are being held in the basements of the air force security compound," said Rami Abdulrahman of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

If this Jihadi group was able to mount a successful attack against AFI, it could be significant for two reasons: first, it means the Jihadi suicide bomb tactics used in Iraq are now becoming a more prominent weapon used by some members of the anti-Assad rebellion; second, it could constitute more than a symbolic blow to the Syrian government by damaging or destroying surveillance equipment.

A little later, we’ll take you live to Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, where former PennState football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison for sexually abusing children during his time at the university.

Plus, there’s a new poll out that is no doubt given Mitt Romney’s campaign a little spring in their step. Check out the latest Pew poll:

Oct. 4-7

Likely voters choice for president

Sept 12-16    Oct.4-7

Obama 51%   45%

Romney 43%  49%

Sampling error +/-3.4% pts.

We’ll break down these new numbers with Paul Steinhauser.

Finally, Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver whose attempt to become the first human being to break the sound barrier is scheduled to take place during the show. We’ll go live to New Mexico where Brian Todd is covering the daredevil’s jump from outer space.

See you on air,

Hala

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Filed under: Barack Obama •Felix Baumgartner •Greece •Mitt Romney •Syria •Today At The I-Desk


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October 8, 2012
Posted: 1749 GMT

Hello everyone,

A shortened note today after a busy morning covering Mitt Romney's foreign policy speech in Virginia today. We'll be analyzing the address Romney hopes will bolster his foreign policy credentials and provide the basis for an attack against U.S. president Barack Obama. Wolf Blitzer will be joining us for analysis from Washington.

We'll also look at Hugo Chavez's narrow win in the Venezuelan presidential over the weekend. Paula Newton joins us from Caracas.

Plus, an American congressional report says some Chinese telecoms companies looking to expand their business in the United States can't be trusted and pose a security threat. Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei are disputing the findings. Jill Dougherty will have the latest from Washington.

See you on air!

Hala

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Filed under: China •Hugo Chavez •Mitt Romney •Today At The I-Desk


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October 6, 2012
Posted: 246 GMT

CNN’s Chief Political Anchor, Wolf Blitzer, came on the show today to break down the latest jobs report and how the candidates are responding.

Filed under: Barack Obama •CNN •Idesk •Mitt Romney •U.S. Elections


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October 5, 2012
Posted: 1706 GMT

Hello everyone,

Very busy day today at the I-Desk. We will bring you the latest on radical cleric Abu Hamza, who lost his last ditch appeal to avoid extradition to the United States. A high court in London ruled that Abu Hamza and four others could be extradited immediately to the U.S. to face terrorism charges. CNN’s Dan Rivers is in London and will bring us the latest live.

Big news today came in the form of a very unexpectedly positive September unemployment reading in the U.S. This is certainly very welcome news for President Barack Obama, whose lackluster performance in his debate against Mitt Romney on Wednesday did him no favors.

Not only did America’s jobless rate fall below 8% to 7.8% in September – its lowest level since January 2009 – but the number of jobs created in August and July was revised upward. I can imagine some administration officials are now breathing a big sigh of relief.

Nick Paton Walsh will cover the latest from Syria and the spiraling violence in the suburbs of Damascus. There are reports rebels have shot down a fighter jet outside of Damascus. We’ll bring you the latest on that.

That and all the big news stories of the hour as they develop, as always!

See you on air,

Hala

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Filed under: Abu Hamza •Syria •Today At The I-Desk •U.S. Elections


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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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