March 26, 2009
Posted: 1455 GMT

Hello everyone,

Hillary Clinton is in Mexico today, pledging support for Mexico's strategy to combat violent drug gangs. The turf war in Northern Mexico is threatening to spill over into the United States and has the Obama administration worried. We'll take you live to Mexico where Jill Dougherty is following the U.S. Secretary of State's South of the border trip.

And what would an Idesk show be without our daily dose of congressional testimony on the state of the economy? If it's not Fed chief Ben Bernanke, it's Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Today: Geithner... again! He'll be talking about his toxic asset plan and asking Congress for more power to manage banks on the verge of collapse. We'll take you live to D.C.

Speaking of appearing a lot on TV, we'll be chatting with Bill Schneider on whether Americans are starting to think President Obama runs the risk of diluting his message by becoming too familiar and appearing too often on our television screens. 60 minutes, primetime news conferences, the Jay Leno show, and today a town hall meeting... Give us your thoughts in today's Idesk poll.

Also on tap: we'll be taking you live to the Pentagon, Pakistan and North Dakota with a final stop at Neverland Ranch, or at least what the abandoned Michael Jackson home used to contain. Many items are up for auctions, but the former King of Pop says he is suing to stop the sale. A judge will make a final decisions soon. The drama continues!

See you on TV,


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Posted: 1406 GMT

Filed under: Barack Obama •I-Desk Poll

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March 25, 2009
Posted: 1531 GMT

Hello everyone,

Looking at the Dow Jones, I'm having a hard time believing that if things continue to go well on Wall Street, we'll be up to 8,000 again on the big board. Remember when we were a thousand points lower just a few sessions ago?

Last month, new home sales in America bounced unexpectedly. Sure they're still at terribly low levels, but they're up. We'll take it!

Also inteersting today, after the AIG bonus hooha, one top AIG exec submitted his resignation to AIG CEO Edward Liddy. His letter was printed in the New York Times' Op-Ed section.

It's a fascinating look from inside AIG. Former Executive VP Jake De Santis writes to his boss: "We should not be cheated of our pay any more than a plumber who has fixed the pipes before a careless electrician burned down the house."

I can hear some readers saying "cry me a river," but perhaps others will start feeling sympathy for AIG employees who've worked hard and whose units did not cause the giant to collapse, today villified and asked to hand back their bonus money.

We'll talk about reaction to the AIG letter and the market numbers with Stephanie Elam in New York.

Also on tap: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Mexico. Neighborly relations are going through a rought patch over the drug wars in Northern Mexico and how to quell the violence in the border region. The U.S. is sending more money and agents to the area, while some Mexicans feel the problems starts and end in the U.S., where most of the drug users are based and where the weapons come from.

We'll also go live to Jerusalem for the latest on the new coalition government and cover all the rest of the day's top stories.

Oh and our show wouldn't be complete today without an item on Spandau Ballet's reunion tour. I've had "True" stuck in my head all morning. To be truthful, I've been singing "This muuuch is true" all morning. My colleagues don't seem overly pleased.

See you on TV.


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March 24, 2009
Posted: 1812 GMT

Here at I-desk, we staff are always working to bring you the latest and greatest–as well as the most significant and pertinent– news of the day.

The dry hum of nonstop activity tends to place each of us individually in our own cocoon of self containment-totally separated from anything non-news oriented.

To this extent we aren't always able to respond to  or even acknowledge all of the comments left on our blog. But let it be said: we are not ignoring you. We read all of your comments. And sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry and sometimes we even need to get someone to translate.

 Below we'd like to highlight some of our favorite viewer comments on the new show,  to encourage you to continue giving us your feedback on the issues of the day (and on our coverage of it):


First of all I'd like to congratulate Hala for her beauty and grace....and say that here in Brazil we could have this format to present the news: agile, interesting and fast.
I just loved to watch the way you do this program.

– Julio, Brazil

 Hey Hala & iDesk viewers,

I've been watching this new show on CNN and have been more impressed with it's presentation than the milliard of other news shows on the channel.

It's got character and some degree of personality which is always nice – it makes one feel a sense of familiarity with the presenting team.

I hope you (Hala) and your team will use this airtime as a forum to highlight the plight of many opressed peoples the world over and stress the need for our shared humanity, desire for peace, patience and most importantly MERCY.

It would be nice if the news agenda was made to reflect REAL issues, not just sensationalism and what is being rolled off all the other 24 hour news channels.

Peace out!

–         Khadija

 whatever happening in the show i love the show and i enjoy.god bless you and keeping work.

-Daniyal Pejman

 Hi Hala, I love your new show, it's fast paced and gives us all the latest news from around the world. I love the sport segment with Mark, you two are always funny together.

IDesk music is awesome, I feel like dancing when I hear it and your new Atlanta set is fabulous.

But the best thing on IDesk is you Hala Gorani, a great anchor and journalist, always very objective and fair, you care about news from all around the world and make CNN really International.

Keep up the great work the whole IDesk team

–         Rados


 We'll do our best to highlight issues and those comments we find most thoughtfully articulated each week here on the blog.

 For now, keep on checking back in with us and we'll keep on checking back in with you.

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Posted: 1503 GMT

Hello everyone,

So AIG executives are starting to return those million-dollar bonuses that caused so much outrage last week. Nine of the ten top bonus recepients have agreed to hand the money back, according to New York attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The total: $50 million. We'll take it. This isn't 1998. These days, every million counts. Though overseas bonus receptients seem to have politely declined to participate in the big bonus giveback of 2009.

Meantime, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is asking Congress to give him more power if an AIG 2.0 threatens to bring down the American economy again. He wants treasury secretaries to have power to take over financial giants on the verge of collapse and chop them up into pieces to raise cash fast.

We'll be going live to Wall Street for a check of the markets. We've had a few impressive rallies recently. Will we be able to hold onto the gains?

Also, off  to Capitol Hill for more on the Geithner testimony and to the White House for a preview of U.S. President Barack Obama's second primetime news conference since taking office.

Some people are starting to wonder if Mister Obama is overexposed. Or perhaps he's using what Roosevelt first called the "Bully Pulpit for a PR rampage that will restore confidence to shattered Americans consumers.

Also on tap today, I'll be interviewing the new Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the increase in violence on the Mexico-U.S. border. There have been 6,000 deaths in Mexico in drug turf wars. But most of the guns come from the U.S. And so do most of the drug consumers. I'll aske Napolitano about a new plan to reinforce security in the area.

That and the rest of the day's news.

See you at the International Desk,


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Posted: 1503 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll •Mexico

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March 23, 2009
Posted: 1503 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll

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Posted: 1452 GMT

Hello everyone,

TARP is so last year. Today, it's all about PPIP. The "Public-Private Investment Program," the details of which were unveiled today by the busiest man on earth, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

This is a "take two" of the plan Geithner first presented a month ago. At the time, investors were frustrated by the Secretary's lack of detail. Today, markets are cheering.

Wrapping your head around PIPP intricacies first thing in the morning isn't easy. It's basically removing "toxic assets" from the balance sheet of banks.

But Tim Geithner wants private investors (with government help) to buy back bad loans from banks. The goal is to finally give banks a clean slate to start lending again so consumers can start spending again.

Or at least that's the hope. We'll talk with Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page where Secretary Geithner today published the details of his plan. Will this work? We'll ask him.

Join us for that and the rest of the day's news in a few hours at the I-Desk.

And don't forget to vote in today's poll on South Africa blocking the Dalai Lama from attending a peace conference in Johannesburg.

See you on air,


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March 20, 2009
Posted: 1501 GMT

After months of outside pressure Israel said Thursday it was going to launch an investigation into possible war crimes committed by its troops during the most recent Israel-Gaza conflict.


Haaretz, an English language daily, first reported yesterday that an inquest would be opened after soldiers told of multiple accounts of improper and illegal conduct during the offensive, at one time even shooting an unarmed woman while she was crossing the street.


Defense Minister Ehud Barack stated that Israel has “the most moral army in the world’” but followed that with “This does not mean that there are no irregularities, and I have no doubt that this will be studied seriously.”


Whether you believe accidents are simply a result of the chaos and injustice of war this is still significant as Israel is now responding to what some right s groups have been claiming for months: crimes were committed by Israelis during their offensive into Gaza.


Also on today’s show, we’ll be covering U.S. President Barack Obama’s new overtures to Iran, as well as two developing stories out of Africa:  Backlash against Madagascar’s new government, and a sad story about albinos targeted by killers, for their bones.


Please leave us your comments below and participate in the poll


Oh, and Hala is off today but we will have the lovely Isha Sesay instead, so tune in to revel in her bubbly British personality.


Till airtime…be good.


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Posted: 1413 GMT

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About this blog

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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