September 24, 2012
Posted: 1655 GMT

Hello from the newsroom everyone,

Today, we are leading with the massive brawl at the Foxconn factory in northern China. Foxconn is a factory used by Apple for many of its electronic devices and by all accounts, this was a huge fight: 2,000 workers were reportedly involved in a giant outburst of violence. It took 5,000 police officers 10 hours to bring the situation under control, according to the Xinhua news agency. As many of you know, Foxconn has been the object of criticism in the past, with reports of subpar working conditions. The company issued a statement relatively quickly, blaming the violence on a “personal dispute.”  We have a report from China.

Also today, we will look at Syria and what is happening as I’m typing this at the United Nations in New York. The new UN/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is briefing the Security Counsel in a closed door session. We will go over what was said with Richard Roth at the UN.

Later in the show, we will update you on the deadly avalanche in Nepal. We know five people were killed and another seven are still missing.

CNN’s Arwa Damon has a report on the Libyan government’s pledge to disband all non-state militia groups.

At the half hour, Wolf Blitzer joins us to discuss the latest in the U.S. presidential race. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have been trading foreign policy barbs. Responding to Romney’s accusations that he’d exhibited weakness in the foreign policy arena, Obama told an American television network: “"If Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so."

Finally, as an animal lover, I was sad to hear that the giant panda baby born in Washington September 16th had died. We still don’t know what happened, though it’s not unusual for tiny panda newborns to struggle in their first few weeks. That said, there is good news in the panda world: the little panda born in July is doing great and can be seen at

That and all your latest weather, sport and financial news as always.

See you on air!


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Filed under: Barack Obama •China •Syria •Today At The I-Desk

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September 21, 2012
Posted: 1536 GMT

We will be looking at continuing demonstrations in some part of the Muslim world on this Friday. Arwa Damon will join us from Benghazi, where four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya, were killed on September 11th.

Reza Sayah will report from the heart of an anti-Western demonstration in Islamabad, Pakistan. Angry demonstrators burned down two movie theaters to protest that anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

Also today, a CNN exclusive: our chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta has interviewed researchers from Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center. They are announcing a new program to reduce deaths from 8 types of cancer within the next decade. We'll break this down for you and tell you if this is something we should all be optimistic about.

As always, we will have the latest on the conflict in Syria and the toll it is taking on tens of thousands of civilian Syrian refugees now forced to live in Turkey to escape the violence in their home country.

Plus all your sports, weather and financial news. Join us at the International Desk for your daily news roundup!


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Filed under: Pakistan •Syria

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February 13, 2012
Posted: 2220 GMT

We got in touch with activist Abu Emad, who is in Homs right now, for the latest on the situation in the besieged city. The Syrian military has been shelling certain parts of Homs for nine continuous days now. Some areas, such as Baba Amr, have been cut off from other neighborhoods.

Here is my conversation with Abu Emad when he called in live to the International Desk.

Filed under: Arab Spring •Syria

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February 2, 2012
Posted: 2114 GMT

After our interview with Nabil Elaraby in New York yesterday.

Filed under: Arab League •Syria

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Posted: 2055 GMT
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January 27, 2012
Posted: 038 GMT

Hala Gorani's interview with U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. Hala asked Pillay about the difficulty in tracking the number of dead in Syria.

Filed under: Syria

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January 25, 2012
Posted: 1720 GMT

During the best of times, reporting from Syria is a challenge.  Today, reporting from Syria means risking your life.  Even on government sanctioned trips, journalists are now facing the possibility of death. Syria may not be a warzone yet, but it’s turning into one quickly.

The UN believes more than 5,000 people have been killed since protests against President Assad began 10 months ago.  On Wednesday January 11, French television journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed in an apparent mortar attack while covering pro-government demonstrations in Homs, the city at the epicenter of the anti-Assad movement. Jacquier was invited into Syria.  He was there officially.  He died in Syria doing his job.

This is a worrying development in Syria.  What started with a small demonstration in the southern city of Daraa, when parents of children detained and tortured by authorities for writing anti-regime graffiti protested in the streets, has now turned into a complex and multi-layered nationwide crisis.

There are anti-regime protesters who remain unarmed.  But there are also army defectors who've formed the "Free Syrian Army", and who are vowing to defeat the oppressive regime by force.  Meanwhile, the country's president, Bashar al-Assad, continues to blame outside instigators for the unrest.  He promises to defeat "terrorists" with an "iron fist", while promising reforms critics say are toothless and cosmetic.

Each Arab Spring uprising has followed its own distinct scenario.  In Tunisia, the authoritarian rule of the president has been replaced by what looks like a functioning political process.  In Egypt, the army is still in charge, and many say the head of the dictatorship was eliminated, but the regime remains – imprisoning critics and cracking down on street protests.

As for Syria, a minority regime is fighting for its survival. It won't go down without a fight. A change of regime in Syria means the minority Alawite clan ruling the country for over 40 years will be stripped of its powers and privileges.  What replaces it, no one dares to predict.  Not even the most seasoned Arab world observers predicted Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain. Libya. In 2012, in this time of change, anything can happen.

When I reported from Syria last July, the government prevented us from traveling to the hotspot city of Homs because, they argued, they couldn’t keep us safe from “terrorists” and “armed gangs”.  No doubt the regime will blame the attack that killed Gilles Jacquier on them. It has been the Assad government’s narrative from the beginning. Many are more than a little skeptical.

For other journalists, trying to get the story means entering Syria in secret – and trusting rebel contacts enough to be led through the darkness and into cities under siege.  Away from the prying eyes of government minders, they risk imprisonment, torture, even death to cover the rebels.

That is exactly what one freelance journalist has done.  He got into Homs with the help of a rebel network and captured some of the most dramatic images of the uprising so far. We've aired his exclusive material on CNN over the last few weeks.

One part of Homs, Baba Amr, is now virtually under the control of the Free Syrian Army. The journalist, whom we are not naming for his own safety, spent several days capturing their fight and the struggle of ordinary Homsis in the neighborhood.  An island of rebel control in a city under siege.  The kind of story the regime and its supporters don’t want you to see.  Those who risk their lives to bring us the truth deserve our respect and admiration.

Homs has become a microcosm of what Syria one day might look like: certain areas will become battlegrounds between armed defectors and regular troops, others will be gripped by fear and concern for the future; some will continue to support the regime for sectarian reasons or because they dread the uncertainty of what might replace Bashar al-Assad.

I've been traveling to Syria my whole life.  It was one of the most beautiful and colorful countries in the world.  To see it like this, as it struggles towards what lies ahead, is sometimes difficult.  But the Arab world as a whole is changing after years of paralysis.  Nothing will ever be the same again.

Hala Gorani is an anchor and reporter for CNN International's iDesk

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Filed under: Journalists •Middle East •Syria

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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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