February 18, 2010
Posted: 1540 GMT

Filed under: I-Desk Poll

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February 17, 2010
Posted: 1727 GMT

It's like a Robert Ludlum storyline: international assassins, caught on CCTV cameras, sneak into a five-star hotel in disguise and murder a high-profile militant leader.

Here's what we know from investigators: Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh arrived in Dubai from Syria January 19th and checked into a Dubai hotel not far from the airport. Investigators say that on January 20th, several men, caught on security cameras entering the hotel, made their way into Al-Mabhouh's room and murdered him.

Dubai police sources say the Hamas operative was electrocuted and suffocated.

A few days ago, authorities then released the names of eleven suspects they say traveled to Dubai on forged European passports, stealing the identities of unsuspecting dual nationals living in Europe. They say the ten men and one woman are behind the murder.

Hamas said Israel's spy agence, Mossad, ordered a hit on their on Al-Mabhouh. In Israel's first official response to the accusations, the country's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today neither confirmed nor denied that the government is behind the assassination.

Mossad has been known to use falsified travel documents in operations abroad so suspicion that it was involved in this hit has gorwn since details of the case were made public.

We'll have the latest on the story from Jerusalem.

Also today, we'll take you live to Haiti, where we're expecting a decision on the fate of those American missionaries held on charges of child abduction. The judge is due to issue a ruling at some point today.

Plus, we'll be speaking to the mother of Josh Fattal, one of the three detained American hikers in Iran. The mothers have asked for visas to visit Iran and hope to visit and ultimately, come back to the United States with their kids. She will join us live from Philadelphia.

Join us at the IDesk for those stories and the rest of the day's top headlines, as always...

See you on the air!


Filed under: Dubai •Haiti •Iran •Israel-Gaza •Today At The I-Desk

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February 16, 2010
Posted: 1456 GMT

Hello everyone...

Hala is taking a day off, after a wild few weeks of travel - as all of you saw at the I-Desk from Haiti and France. As a result, Jonathan Mann is leading the charge in today's programme.

We're covering several big stories around the world, including the arrest of a top Taliban military commander in Pakistan. But, what does it mean for the overall fight against the Taliban? We're taking a closer look with Reza Sayah in Islamabad.

From the U.A.E. to the Palestinian territories to Ireland, there are new developments in an international murder mystery. Eleven people arrested in Dubai, accused of torturing and killing a Hamas leader. The suspects have passports from several western countries, including Ireland - which announced that they had never heard of the suspects. There are several twist and turns in this story. Paula Hancocks hopes to iron them out from Jerusalem, where she also had reaction from the victim's brother.

At the Vatican, the crisis talks continue between the Pope and members of the Catholic Church in Ireland. We're expecting to hear from Vatican officials in the coming hours, leading up to our show. But, will their comments and the Pope's reaction be enough, after so many years of sex abuse allegations in the Church? We're taking a closer look from Rome.

We also have new CNN poll numbers on Americans' opinion of Pres. Barack Obama. And, for the first time, we're asking: Does Pres. Obama deserve to be re-elected in two-years? And, speaking of the U.S. leader, some people in Indonesia are mad about a statue erected in Mr. Obama's honor. Find out what they're now doing with the statue, at 18:00 in London, 19:00 across Central Europe.

See you then!
J the P.

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Filed under: Barack Obama •CNN •Iran •Israel-Gaza •Terrorism •Today At The I-Desk

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February 15, 2010
Posted: 1743 GMT

We will start the show with the deadly commuter train crash in Belgium. There are reports that one train may have run a red light, causing the collision southwest of Brussels. We will have a live report.

We then take you to Kabul and the Pentagon for the latest on the international offensive now under way in Helmand province. Commanders are saying that the operation is going well. The challenge now is to hold the areas that are now clear of Taliban fighters.

We are also live in Haiti with new developments in the ten American missionaries accused of trying to abduct Haitian children out of Haiti.

Also, Jim Clancy is in Rome and will join us live to talk about the Pope's meeting with Irish bishops about the sex scandals in the Catholic Church there. I'll ask him why this event is significant and what it says about the way the Church plans on dealing with similar issues in the future.

And Marc McKay is with us again from Vancouver with the latest on the Winter Olympics. It was a good first day for the French!

See you at the IDesk,


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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk

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February 11, 2010
Posted: 1607 GMT

On this 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Idesk in Paris will be focusing on what is happening on the streets of Tehran.

We will be talking to Amir Taheri, a journalist in Iran when the revolution happened, who fled the country with his French wife and two daughters and settled in Europe. We will be talking to him live in the French capital.

Taheri says that Iran has undergone a major social revolution in the last generation, but hasn't changed politically at the highest levels of government. He adds that the political structure "doesn't reflect the reality of Iran's social structure."

Can change happen gradually? What does the government's nuclear strategy and internal repression mean for the future?

We will be covering all angles of the Iran story.

Today, we are still live in France as part of our special iList coverage. I taped a half hour panel discussion this morning with some big French players: Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, former astronaut Claudie Haignere, Axa Private Equity CEO Dominique Senequier and journalist Ahmed Al-Kheiy.

I wanted to focus the discussion as much as what France will become in the next generation as on what is happening now. Of course, we spoke of France's image abroad and how French business isn't always seen as efficient or flexible. We spoke of France's minorities and whether they are truly included in the national debate.

As France is debating what it means to be French in a series of commissions and public discussions, what is French culture today?

By the way, it's interesting that our i List week coincided with the hot topic issue of banning the burqa, the full face veil some Muslim women wear. We will be speaking with French politician Jean-Francois Cope, who is in favor of banning the burqa.

And in late breaking news: we will bring you the full story of the presumed suicide of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. He was only forty years old and a precocious wild child of fashion.

See you at the IDesk,


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Filed under: Iran •Today At The I-Desk

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February 10, 2010
Posted: 1521 GMT

It was snowing very hard in Paris this morning. At least by Paris standards. The big, fat flakes came down in sheets and, in some places, stuck to the ground.

It didn't last long, and the snow quickly turned to slush. Compact, grey clouds hung over the city as I jumped from one cab to another on my way to radio and TV interviews with French journalists. I was invited to talk about CNN's iList coverage this week.

We chatted about France's image abroad and the stories we'd prepared for our special series. I was also asked about the time I recently spent in Haiti's earthquake zone. Every time I talked about Haiti, and despite the fact that I was in my favorite city anchoring a fascinating series of shows, a part of me wished I was back there.

There is something very odd – almost discombobulated – about being surrounded by standing homes, plentiful food and all around privileged people when the memory of the devastation in Port-au-Prince is still so fresh in my mind.

I left Haiti with a heavy heart, still filled with the desire to tell the story of what happened there. There is almost a measure of guilt associated with leaving – of being able to leave – when so many there are faced with unquantifiable pain. I now know I want to go back as soon as I'm able, to continue to report on the aftermath of the disaster.

This story will continue to unfold for months and years to come.

Before I left the hotel CNN used as a base of operations in Port-au-Prince, I said goodbye to all the employees on my way out, many of whom had lost homes and family members in the earthquake. Outside, I knew that on the way to the airport there would be mountains of rubble and debris and the souls of tens of thousands of missing victims sill buried under the ruins of the city.

A hotel employee at the door got up and shook my hand: "Thanks for coming," he said.

It was the least I could do. And it wasn't enough.

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Filed under: France •Haiti •Today At The I-Desk

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February 9, 2010
Posted: 1635 GMT

Bonjour from the French capital!

What does being French mean? Can you define "frenchness?"

That is what the conservative government of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been asking in committees and debates for the last four months. After a ministerial meeting on the topic Monday, the country's prime minister, François Fillon, said new citizens would soon be asked to sign a "declaration of values" to pledge their allegance to a certain definition of "Frenchness."

Other measures include the obligatory raising of French flags in all public schools starting next year and making children sing the national anthem at least once a year.

But the debate has its critics. A journalist in the Globe and Mail writing from Paris reported that the debate "quickly evolved into a nasty quarrel over whether immigrants, and particularly Muslim immigrants, are French enough."

Quite a "patate chaude" issue that has descended into accusations of excluding the immigrant contirbution to French national wealth from the debate to trying to divert attention from France's real problems, like unemployment, ahead of regional elections this month.

We will cover the latest and speak to a Patrick Weil, author of "How To Be French" and member of high level commissions on the issue.

We will also cover all the day's top stories, as we continue to anchor IDesk from Paris all week.

We are live in Lagos, Nigeria for the latest on the Nigerian Parliament voting to make the country's VP the acting President. The President has been out of the country for months receiving medical treatment. What does this mean for the oil-rich African nation?

We will take you live to Kiev for the latest on the final vote count in an election that dramatically reversed the so-called "Orange Revolution."

Plus, more weather woes in store for parts of the Northeast United States. We have a report from Washington, D.C. and Guillermo will join us with your global forecast.

Plus, today, the IDesk turn one! We're celebrating the milestone on the show with a special story and (hopefully) a slice of cake or two.

See you on the air!


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February 5, 2010
Posted: 2318 GMT

Hello I-Deskers...

On Tuesday, February 9th, I-Desk turns one-year-old. It's been a wild and crazy year, full of wild and crazy news stories. We definitely have our favorite, and not-so-favorite moments. But, what are yours???

Let us know, and we'll share some of them on Tuesday!

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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