October 30, 2009
Posted: 1612 GMT


Hello everyone,

It really doesnt matter what side you are on in Honduras: the fact that the country has reached a deal to re-instate ousted President Manuel Zelaya and hold elections – as planned – in November should be good news for everyone.

It means all Hondurans, those who accuse Zelaya of abuse of power, but also those who passionately oppose him, have an opportunity to rejoin the democratic process.

And this is encouraging because when a country strays from democracy, it can extremely hard to dial things back. (Just look at the Middle East for the last 50 years where, believe it or not, there were embryonic democracies at one point).

The Honduran deal, brokered by a team of U.S. diplomats, still has to be approved by the Honduran Congress.

This might delay things a bit, but analysts agree the crisis that started when a military-backed coup removed Manuel Zelaya from power, seems to be on the verge of resolution.

Elections planned for November 29th are still on and both sides are agreeing to recognize the vote outcome.

Manuel Zelaya is still reported to be inside the Brazilian embassy and we are hoping to connect with a reporter who is there as well.

Then, we are live in Russia for more on Iran's response to a U.N. nuclear watchdog proposal to enrich the country's uranium abroad. We still don't know what is contained in Tehran's answer and there is fear it may set conditions unacceptable to Western powers.

Also today, we'll go live to Washington for the latest on Barack Obama's ongoing discussions with advisors on whether to send more American troops to Afghanistan.

We will also look at ex-French President Jacques Chirac ordered to stand trial for alleged corruption during his tenure as Mayor of Paris. Jim Bittermann will be live with us from the French capital.

Plus, as always, Wall Street action and Guillermo Arduino at the weather center.

That and more at 7pm CET at the IDesk.

See you then!


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October 29, 2009
Posted: 1736 GMT


Hello everyone,

It's nice to be back at the I-Desk.

Today, we're kicking the show off with the latest on Iran's response to a proposal by the U.N nuclear watchdog. The IAEA's plan would allow Tehran to enrich low-level uranium in Russia. Neither the IAEA nor Iran have made this response public.

After years of tension, this latest development seems encouraging. Iranian state television aired comments by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying his country welcomes "cooperation on nuclear fuel, power plants and technology, and we are ready to cooperate.”

Who can blame Iran-West watchers for getting a bit excited? The truth is that there are still many ways this could all go wrong: Iran is unlikely to agree to ship all of its uranium to Russia at once, a key French demand. There are also stark internal divisions in Iran, where President Ahmadinejad's response to the U.N have been criticized as conceding to the West. And there are suspicions from the West as well, that Iran is simply buying time while still working on a nuclear weapons program.

We are live in Russia with the latest.

Also today, we will take you live to Pakistan for the latest on the militant violence in Peshawar. In the last few months, insurgents have attacked civilian and military targets with devastating results.

Then, Reza Sayah will tell us about what seems to be an interesting find by the Pakistani military: among items seized in raids in South Waziristan, a passport bearing the name "Said Bahaji," one of the alleged Hamburg Cell members who carried out the 9-11 attacks.

Reza says it is a German passport, with a Pakistani visa stamp dated September 3, 2001 and no other activity on it since.

He will join us live from Islamabad.

We will also take you live to Iraq, for the latest on the investigation into Sunday's deadly bombings in Baghdad and on the deadlock in the passage of a crucial election law. Both the security situation and the political paralysis in Iraq threaten that country's stability. Mohammed Jamjoom has that story.

And a glimmer of hope on the economic front: the American economy actually grew in the third quarter. It's been so long, we'd all forgotten how that feels! We'll check market reaction and discuss why it may be too soon to chill the Champagne.

See you at the Idesk!


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October 28, 2009
Posted: 1610 GMT

...THAT is the question.

Today, as in the last 17 years, the United Nations is taking up a resolution, demanding that the United States end its trade embargo on Cuba. Every year, the measure has overwhelmingly passed. This year, the same is expected.

But, this year, the resolution comes with a bit of a change, in the American attitude towards Cuba. Since President Barack Obama took power, he's slowly tried to ease tensions with the communist island. Yet, the embargo remains in place. And, there are no signs that that will change. Some say the reason is simple: Florida.

The southern U.S. state is among the most important, when it comes to national politics. Arguably, no one can become president of the U.S. without winning the "Sunshine State" - as we all saw in 2000, when George W. Bush took the White House, thanks to the close vote in Florida. Cubans make up a significant portion of that vote, in the heavily populated area of Miami. And, in Washington, the Cuban lobby is also quite strong - with 5 Cuban-American members of Congress.

As a result, presidents from BOTH political parties have shyed away from eliminating the embargo. But, will Barack Obama be different?

One thing going in his favor is the growing generational divide within the Cuban-American community. Namely, younger Cubans are more and more inclined to support the end of the embargo. I can make that claim, because I am one of those young Cuban-Americans. My generation (known by some, as "Generación Ñ") did not grow up, during the early years of the Castro regime. We did not experience the brutality of the revolution. We did not see the drastic changes that happened in Cuba, after Fidel Castro took power. And, for a large group of us (myself included), we weren't even born on the island. Therefore, a lot of people in "Generación Ñ" see the embargo elimination, as a good change. After all, the embargo hasn't resulted in democratic change on the island. So, a new plan is probably a good idea. No??

Only time will tell what Pres. Obama plans to do. But, like he said during the presidential campaign, it's time for a "change" - both in U.S. policy and in Havana's government.

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October 27, 2009
Posted: 1328 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll •Iraq

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October 26, 2009
Posted: 1110 GMT

Hey there, everyone...

First of all, Hala continues to be off for most of the week. She'll be back, before you head back to your weekend. Isha is manning the later edition of I-Desk, while Hala is on holiday this week.

Now, for the news - It was a busy and deadly weekend in Iraq and Afghanistan. Starting in Iraq, where the country is mourning the deadliest attacks in two years. Well over 100 people were killed in Baghdad, hundreds more wounded. In Afghanistan, helicopter-related deaths ruled the weekend, as more than a dozen NATO servicemembers, most of them American, were killed. So, what's the solution in either country? For Iraq, the U.S. still plans on pulling out, despite the surge in violence after their forces left small towns in June. In Afghanistan, the opposite plan appears to be in play, with U.S. Pres. Barack Obama considering an increase in boots on the ground. Are these the right courses of action?

Now, for the accused war criminal. Radovan Karadzic refused to appear in court Monday - essentially, boycotting his own war crimes trial at the Hague. Karadzic claims he hasn't had enough time to prepare for his trial. Should the judge force him into court? Or, should he grant more time?

Those are the biggest stories we're following right now at the I-Desk... Of course, if that changes, we'll have the latest for you.

See you then!
J the P

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Filed under: Afghanistan •Barack Obama •Iraq •NATO •Today At The I-Desk

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October 21, 2009
Posted: 1833 GMT

Hey there, everyone...

There have been several big stories at the I-Desk this week. Some of you have already commented on our Facebook page - which, if you're not a fan of, you really should be. Just search: CNN I-Desk.

Anyway, we want to get your take on this week's big stories, which seem to have huge implications. Among them:

1. Afghanistan runoff election - The newly scheduled November 7th runoff pins President Hamid Karzai against his main opponent, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Right now, Mr. Karzai holds a relatively large lead over Dr. Abdullah. Of course, the outcome of this election could play a pivotal role in the future of the war efforts, in that country. What do you think will happen? And, what do you think the U.S. and NATO forces should do, in response to the election? Or, even, before the election?

2. Iran nuclear deal - It's a story, which broke earlier on Wednesday. Details of the proposed deal are still being worked out, and everyone needs to completely agree on them. But, essentially, the deal could lead to a brand-new relations between Iran and the West. Do you think Iran will abide by the deal? What do you feel will come of the negotiations?

3. H1N1 vaccines - The much-anticipated vaccines are now being given to healthcare workers in Britain. Some people in China, Iraq and several other countries are also receiving the "swine flu" vaccine. But, others are skeptical that it'll work. What are your thoughts? Do you plan on getting the vaccine? If not, why?

Those are just a few of this week's big stories. Feel free to comment on these, or anything else you've seen at the I-Desk.


Filed under: Afghanistan •Comments •Iran •Swine Flu

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October 20, 2009
Posted: 1236 GMT

Filed under: Afghanistan •I-Desk Poll

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October 18, 2009
Posted: 1525 GMT

Hey there, everyone...

Hala is on holiday all week. Isha is filling-in most of the week. When she's not in, we'll have a guest appearance from BackStory's Michael Holmes.

No matter who's at the helm of the I-Desk, we'll continue bringing you the latest stories with live reports from around the world. And, from what we can tell from this weekend, Pakistan and Iran will most likely be among our biggest stories this week - with a suicide attack in southern Iran, and the military offensive in Pakistan.

Starting with Iran, dozens of people were killed. Some leaders in the government are blaming the United States, for having some kind of hand in the attack. What do you think?

And, in Pakistan, the military offensive is in full swing in South Waziristan. Is that going to be enough, to stop the Taliban?

Let us know your thoughts... We'll share some of them throughout the week. See you then, at the I-Desk!

J the P.

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Filed under: Iran •Pakistan •Today At The I-Desk

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October 14, 2009
Posted: 1613 GMT


Today, we'll start the show with a live report from London on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's announcement that 500 more U.K. troops will join international forces in Afghanistan.

But Brown said the troops will only be sent if key conditions are met: the extra forces will have to have the right equipment and other NATO countries will have to agree to send more troops too.

Also today, we're keeping our eye on the main stock index on Wall Street: the Dow Jones is once again flirting with the 10,000 mark. Investors are cheering better than expected corporate results.

Some key economic indicators are pointing to a bounce back and that is adding to enthusiasm on the markets. But are investors getting ahead of themselves? Some analysts say this may be too early to put the Champagne on ice.

We will have a live report and analysis.

The editor of People Magazine will join us to talk about an interview and newly released photo of Jaycee Dugard, the woman abducted 18 years ago at the age of eleven.

We will ask him what she told the People Magazine reporter and what her state of mind is today, after spending almost two decades away from her family, allegedly imprisoned by a child rapist.

Also today, a big day for World Cup fans. We will take you live to Turkey for a match-up rich in meaning and tension. Rivals Turkey and Armenia will be battling it out on the pitch in World Cup qualifier action. We are live in Buenos Aires, as well, where it's a do-or-die day for Argentina.

And don't forget to vote in our poll today on what you think of a French Vogue photo shoot featuring a White model painted Black. Is it art? Is it racism? Let us know what you think below.

See you at the IDesk!


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Posted: 1339 GMT


Less than a week after a skit on an Australian TV show featuring White men with painted Black faces created a stir and accusations of racism, French Vogue has published a photo shoot with a White model painted Black.

What do you think? Vote in the poll below.

Filed under: I-Desk Poll

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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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