September 16, 2009
Posted: 1402 GMT

Fans and celebrity friends alike are sharing their admiration for the actor who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.  Hala and Nicole look at the overwhelming response:

What's your favorite Swayze moment or line from a movie?  Join the conversation!

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September 15, 2009
Posted: 1731 GMT

A few minutes before today's first edition of I-Desk, we got word of a bill approved by France's lower house of parliament. Normally, this wouldn't make news. But, this time, it caught our attention. And, here's why:

The bill aims at cracking down on illegal internet downloads. It's an issue that has plagued the "information superhighway" for several years. Countries all over the world have made attempts at stopping internet piracy... And, frankly, most have failed. But, in this law, France proposes suspending internet use for people caught performing illegal downloads. That's right, lawmakers want to cancel the internet for online criminals.

The law has already gone through legal wranglings, including a ruling from a constitutional court. And, it's expected to continue moving through the court system. Yet, some are commending France's aggressive moves to stop internet piracy - namely, recording artists, artists, and producers. But, is the proposal going too far? And, more importantly, can it even be enforced?

For now, the law remains in parliament. The next step is for a joint committee to take a look at it and vote. But, there's little doubt, that if it's approved, the law could have a significant impact on internet users everywhere.

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August 8, 2009
Posted: 1743 GMT

Atlanta2009 050

On assignment in Syria in the autumn of 2005, I found myself in Aleppo, my family’s ancestral hometown. I took the opportunity to visit my then 91 year-old grandmother, Nana Berine, my mother’s mother and my only surviving grandparent.

She’d been a petite , thin person her whole life. Since my grandfather’s death ten years earlier, she rarely left the house and had become even frailer, a whisper of a woman. Family members and her children – three daughters and a son including my mother – visited her regularly; my uncle daily.

In Middle Eastern households, the elderly traditionally stay home until the end. And so Nana Berine, still healthy enough to shuffle around the house, read the newspaper daily, watched Turkish television, and was tended to and cared for by a great number of family members.

That evening in 2005, exhausted with work and travel, I fell asleep on Nana’s couch. When I woke up a few hours later, Nana Berine had covered me with a blanket and wedged a pillow under my head.

“It’s good to sleep,” she said, in her nightgown, sitting in her usual living room chair. “It means you need it.”

Berine Gorani was born April 30, 1914. Throughout her life, first as wife to my grandfather Assad, then as mother to her children, then as grandmother to my twelve cousins and me, she always gave of herself with joy and love.

When my grandfather, a lawyer and author of Syria’s civil code, served as minister in various cabinets during his country’s brief experiment with parliamentary democracy, she remained as unaffected as ever. She dressed elegantly but simply and never lost touch with what really matters: the love for her family and the truth that, in the end, nothing matters much more than that.

As a little girl visiting Syria, I was often a difficult and unfriendly child. Nana Berine would sit on the living room floor, trying with toys and stories to bring me out of my taciturn shell. Ultimately, not even I was stubborn enough to resist her charms.

On the last day of every grandchild’s visits, she would give each of us a cardboard gift box, containing a few treats and little toys. Those boxes were treasures to me then and, in my memory, still are.

As an adult when I visited, Nana would hunt in her closet or jewelry box for something to give me. Having been the youngest of her grandchildren for a long time, there wasn’t much left for me to choose from.

“I’m sorry I haven’t got anything nicer. If I did, it would be yours,” I remember her saying while handing me a stone ring.

Anything that came from her was a gift, and everything of hers I will cherish for all of my life.

I have a black and white picture of Berine Gorani and my grandfather Assad, sitting at an outdoor restaurant terrace, dated 1958. Nana is wearing a white dress and four rows of pearls, leaning forward into the camera, smiling a tight-lipped smile, with a playful spark in her eye.

That was the Syria of long ago, when the scintillating possibility for a better future gave my grandparents’ generation some hope.

There was the hope for political stability and freedom, the hope of opening their country to the outside world, of rewarding its youth with work and opportunity. Before young Syrians, including a vast majority of my mother’s generation and their children, were forced to leave the region to study and work. Today, my family is peppered on four continents.

Berine Gorani’s generation is gone now. She was its last survivor. My Nana died on August 1, 2009. On that day, for me, a part of Syria died too.

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August 5, 2009
Posted: 1525 GMT

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August 4, 2009
Posted: 1525 GMT

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July 30, 2009
Posted: 1613 GMT

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July 29, 2009
Posted: 1446 GMT

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July 20, 2009
Posted: 1557 GMT

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July 15, 2009
Posted: 1418 GMT

It's the 5th deadly commercial airline crash this year, so we want to know:

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July 13, 2009
Posted: 1515 GMT

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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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