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March 25th, 2009
09:55 PM ET

Bloodshed in Juarez

Program Note: Tune in for special 360 coverage of the violence in Mexico. Anderson is reporting live on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

Shaul Schwarz
Getty Images

Photographer Shaul Schwarz documented the violence in Mexico in this photo project. Check out a few of his photographs and take a look at the entire project.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Mexico
March 25th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 03/25/09

Tonight on AC360°, Anderson is reporting from El Paso, Texas along the border with Mexico where the drug war is fueling violence and mayhem. At least 800 people have been killed in Mexico this year alone. And, the danger is spilling here into the U.S. There's the threat of kidnappings here on U.S. soil. Mexico's drug cartels are on a bloody mission. Has the violence had you rethinking travel plans to Mexico? Sound off below on the war next door.

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM


Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 25th, 2009
09:33 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Drugs & Danger along the U.S.-Mexico Border

A police convoy moves in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, last month, across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas.

A police convoy moves in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, last month, across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on AC360°, we give you an up close look at the war next door. Anderson will be reporting from the U.S.-Mexico border on the violent mission of Mexico's drug cartels. 800 killings so far this year. About 6,500 others murdered last year. U.S. officials are concerned Mexico could become the next Iraq or Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mexico. Today Clinton acknowledged U.S. ties to the problem. "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," she said. "The criminals and the kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations – law, order, friendship and trust between us... they will fail," Clinton added.

The Obama administration is moving more than 450 law enforcement agents and equipment to the border to try to combat the violence.

The cartels have a big influence here in the U.S. They are linked to at least 230 American cities. In a December report the U.S. Justice Department said that Mexican cartels are the "biggest organized crime threat in the U.S." They control most of the U.S. drug market. Tonight, 360's Tom Forman shows you how the drugs cross the border and make it into U.S. cities and towns. He also shows us how the drug money than makes its way back into Mexico.

We'll also look at the travel threat in Mexico. Randi Kaye has the stunning story of an American family that was abducted at gunpoint and amazingly made it out of Mexico alive. CLICK HERE for more details.

Are you worried about the growing violence in Mexico that's spreading into the U.S.?  What do you think should be done to stop the bloodshed? Share your thoughts below.

We'll have these stories and a lot more starting at 10pm ET.See you then!


Filed under: 360° Radar • Maureen Miller
March 25th, 2009
08:45 PM ET

Behind the border fence

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more on the violence on the Mexican border as we report live tonight and Thursday on AC360 at 10 p.m. ET.

Gary Tuchman
AC360° Correspondent

This fun looking picture of my friend and producer MaryAnne Fox and me has an interesting story behind it that actually isn't too fun.

MaryAnne and I are on the Mexican border doing a story about the intense non-stop efforts to stop the drug flow into the United States. Our story, which will air Thursday night on AC360° chronicles a wild 24-hour period in which we witnessed a huge marijuana bust involving a tomato delivery truck, a drug search in the brush with a canine team, and a visit to a Border Patrol warehouse where tons of drugs that are confiscated are deposited.

The picture you see involves one more aspect to our story. We posed behind a section of wall that's a little problematic, because the wall comes to an end, so anybody could just walk around it to get into the United States. We found discarded clothes, cigarette boxes, and water bottles from Mexicans who were doing just that.

FULL POST


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Mexico
March 25th, 2009
06:38 PM ET

Report sees 'sobering statistics' on racial inequality

CNN

Social and economic gaps between whites and blacks persist in the United States despite an atmosphere that led to the election of President Obama, an Urban League report said.

Despite hope ushered in by President Obama's election, racial divides persist, a report says.

Blacks remain twice as likely to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be imprisoned compared with whites, according to the group's annual State of Black America report issued Wednesday.

The report urges Obama to tackle the critical challenges of the times, including unemployment, home foreclosures, education and an overhaul of health care.

"As the Obama administration ushers in a new era of hope, change, and to some extent, unity for this nation, many are asking whether racial barriers have now been erased in America," the report said. "Are discrimination, division and inequality antiquated relics of the past? For a quick answer to that question, one has but to review some of the sobering statistics."

The Urban League's equality index shows the status of blacks at 71 percent that of whites. It said that economics "remains the area with the greatest degree of inequality," with social justice, health and education following.

Read more...

March 25th, 2009
06:28 PM ET

Beat 360° 03/25/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad is surrounded by reporters after a closed-door meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
________________________________________________

Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more! When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
March 25th, 2009
06:21 PM ET

Drug war – where an M16 is small fry

Program Note: Make sure to check out Drew Griffin's full report on the flood of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico, and used by drug cartels against Mexican police on AC360 at 10 p.m. ET.

Weapons seized by federal agents before they were smuggled across the border into Mexico.

Weapons seized by federal agents before they were smuggled across the border into Mexico.
.50 caliber bullets seized by the U.S. feds before they got to Mexico.

.50 caliber bullets seized by the U.S. feds before they got to Mexico.

Drew Griffin and John Murgatroyd
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Some deadly dealing happens along the U.S. border with Mexico - a flood of guns, heading south, used by drug thugs to kill Mexican cops.

In Mexico, guns are difficult to purchase legally. So weapons easily purchased in the United States are turning up there.

"The same routes that are being used to traffic drugs north - and the same organizations that have control over those routes - are the same organizations that bring the money and the cash proceeds south as well as the guns and the ammunition," says Bill Newell, a special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Drew Griffin • Mexico
March 25th, 2009
05:15 PM ET

The spy who came in from the cold - straight to a photo op

CIA Director Leon Panetta

CIA Director Leon Panetta

Pam Benson
CNN National Security Producer

A photo op with a world leader is usually the crowning moment. Just about everyone wants the cameras rolling when they're in the company of somebody important, someone of influence . That is unless you're the head of the world's most famous spy agency. CIA directors prefer doing their business in secret.

Yet this weekend, we saw CIA Director Leon Panetta sitting across from Pakistani President Asif Ali Zandari engaging in some chit chat - while the cameras captured the moment.

Spies like to operate in the shadows. They move stealthily from one location to another. The fewer people that know what an officer is up to, the better. The CIA Director may be the public face of the Agency, but historically, his appearances have been limited to Congressional testimony, meetings with the President and possibly a few speeches each year to academic groups or think tanks. And those events occur within the borders of the United States.

FULL POST

March 25th, 2009
02:13 PM ET

The war next door

In Juarez, Mexico, 1,600 people were killed in 2008, three times more than the most murderous city in the U.S.

In Juarez, Mexico, 1,600 people were killed in 2008, three times more than the most murderous city in the U.S.

Anderson Cooper

When we think of the wars this country faces – Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind - but the drug war in Mexico rarely does. It should.

Two years ago Mexico's President Felipe Calderon deployed his military to combat powerful drug cartels - traffickers who for years have managed to control lucrative smuggling routes into the US.

It has been a bloody two years in Mexico, with drug-related murders rising dramatically. Kidnappings, beheadings, very public murders have become commonplace. It is the war next door, and the violence has already spilled over into the United States - and not just along the border.

FULL POST


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Mexico
March 25th, 2009
02:08 PM ET

Ambush on a Mexican highway

Program Note: Tune in tonight for Randi Kaye's full report on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

A federal police officer guards a checkpoint earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

A federal police officer guards a checkpoint earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

It’s not every day I start an interview for our show, with the people I'm talking to already in tears.

That’s what happened yesterday when I interviewed a San Diego woman and her husband about how they were ambushed on a Mexican highway - with their son and daughter in the car.

It happened a year and a half ago but they are still haunted by it. Afterward, Chris Hall was awake for two days straight. Their 21-year-old daughter was sleeping 20 minutes a night. Debra Hall still doesn’t sleep well, and when she fills up at a gas station, she locks herself in her car. She’s still terrified.

Debra and Chris Hall were high school sweethearts and they’ve been crossing the border into Mexico for 26 years together . But after the ambush, a family vacation there in November 2007 was their last.

FULL POST


Filed under: Mexico • Randi Kaye
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