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April 6th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 04/06/09

Tonight on AC360°, we're tracking a stolen plane from Canada that's traveling across the Midwest. Authorities say two F-16 fighter jets are following the plane that's in the hands of a student pilot. The plane took off from Ontario around 2:30pm and has just 7 hours of fuel. That means during our program we should know how this all ends.

And, don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on the stolen plane and tonight's other headlines during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

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
April 6th, 2009
09:21 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Plot to Kill Pres. Obama? & Tracking a Stolen Plane

Nearing the end of his first overseas trip, President Obama addresses the Turkish Parliament on Monday in Ankara.
Nearing the end of his first overseas trip, President Obama addresses the Turkish Parliament on Monday in Ankara.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We've following several breaking stories for you tonight. We'll take you to Turkey where we've learned of an alleged plot by a Syrian man to assassinate President Obama. U.S. officials says the suspect was arrested last week, but they've taken the threat "very seriously". Tonight on AC360°, we'll give you details on the alleged plot.

Also on our radar tonight, two F16 fighter jets following a stolen plane near St. Louis, Missouri at this hour. A spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado says the Cessna 172 was stolen from Ontario around 2:30pm today. The student pilot is not communicating with the fighter pilots who caught up with the Cessna at the Michigan-Wisconsin state line. Authorities say the plane has enough fuel to fly for 7 to 8 hours. We'll bring you the developments as they unfold.

We'll also have a live update from L'Aquila, Italy where today's 6.3 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 150 people. At least 1,500 others have been injured and 50,000 are now homeless.

And, back here in the U.S., a chilling letter from the gunman who killed 13 people at an immigrant center in Binghamton, New York before killing himself. The letter was sent to a TV news station. It was postmarked on Friday, the day of the mass killing. We'll share with you Jiverly Wong's last message, which chillingly ends with "you have a nice day."

Join us for these breaking stories and more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
April 6th, 2009
09:15 PM ET

FAA: Stolen Cessna from Canada tracked toward Iowa

CNN

A small Cessna 172 aircraft reported stolen from a Canadian flight school and flown into U.S. airspace has been intercepted by U.S. military aircraft, authorities said Monday afternoon.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown confirmed the plane was reportedly stolen from a flight school in Thunder Bay, Canada, and — after it had been aloft for nearly three and a half hours — was headed in the direction of Iowa.

Brown said the pilot of the aircraft, identified as a student at the flight school, was not communicating with air traffic controllers. The pilot was conscious and showed no sign of hostile intent, Brown said, and authorities planned to continue tracking the plane.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Airline Safety
April 6th, 2009
08:35 PM ET

U.S. takes foiled plot to assassinate Obama 'very seriously'

President Obama and Turkish President Abdullah Gul hold a joint news conference Monday.
President Obama and Turkish President Abdullah Gul hold a joint news conference Monday.

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

U.S. officials have taken "very seriously" a plot to assassinate President Obama involving a Syrian man who was arrested late last week for wanting to stab Obama during his visit here to Turkey, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

But the officials strongly cautioned that American presidents are frequent targets of threats that are all watched very carefully, and in this case the alleged plotter did not appear to get anywhere close to Obama during his European tour.

The officials also noted that while Obama gets more threats than usual as the first African-American U.S. president, this particular threat did not force a single change to his schedule.

"Life goes on," said one of the officials familiar with the matter, who suggested this particular threat may be getting more attention simply because there has been such a heavy international focus on Obama's first overseas trip since taking office.

FULL POST


Filed under: Ed Henry • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
April 6th, 2009
08:34 PM ET

Obama's Muslim outreach

President Obama, in Turkey, says the United States is not at war with Islam. CNN's Ed Henry reports.


Filed under: Ed Henry • Islam • President Barack Obama
April 6th, 2009
05:03 PM ET

Is the White House praying for the right church?

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

Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent

You might call it Operation Obama Church Search. I’m talking about a very low-key but calculated effort to find the Obama family the right place to worship in Washington, DC. For my story airing tonight on AC360, I discovered and confirmed with a source inside the White House that a team of advisors is interviewing Pastors and attending services to see what the themes of them are and then reporting back to President Obama.

The White House source says this has nothing at all to do with the mess that Mr. Obama’s former Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, caused for him. Remember it nearly brought down then-candidate Obama’s campaign. My source says this is just about helping the Obamas find the best place for them to worship. He would not say how many churches are under serious consideration but we did some digging of our own.

We visited the 19th Street Baptist Church, where the Obamas went just 48 hours before the Inauguration. Reverend Derrick Harkins told me he was interviewed by the head of the Administration’s Faith Based Initiatives and that he “guesses he’s being vetted.” Reverend Harkins, unlike many other pastors in town, has decided not to lobby the President for his “business”, if you will. He says it would be a “blessing” if the Obamas joined his church but he has no intention of “strategizing”, he says he will leave it to “God’s providential hand.”

FULL POST


Filed under: 360º Follow • President Barack Obama • Randi Kaye • Religion
April 6th, 2009
04:56 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/6/09

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:

British Premier Gordon Brown, US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel jump down from steps after posing for a family portrait in Strasbourg, eastern France, during the NATO summit.

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.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!

________________________________________________

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
April 6th, 2009
04:27 PM ET

Blood on their hands

Program Note: Tune in tonight for a special report by Joe Johns and Erica Hill on gun violence in America on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Jami Floyd | Bio
In Session

I went to college in Binghamton, the scene of Friday’s deadly shooting, in which a gunman killed 13 people and then himself. In my four years at the university, I learned to love that little city; I even spent the summer there after my senior year.

I got to know the folks who lived in town, hardworking folks—waitresses and bartenders, store clerks and paralegals. The kind of Americans who keep this country running. Binghamton is the kind of town you see in Steven Spielberg movies, where kids ride their bikes to school and people still go to church on Sundays.

The education I received at school there prepared me for my time at the White House, where I worked on a federal ban on assault weapons. It was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994.

Read more...


Filed under: Gun Violence • In Session • Jami Floyd
April 6th, 2009
02:34 PM ET

Firearms sales continue to climb in March

Program Note: Tune in tonight for a special report by Joe Johns and Erica Hill on gun violence in America on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Firearm sales continued to surge across the country for the fifth straight month, extending a trend that began after the November elections. The increase also follows recent comments by several high-profile members of the Obama administration about re-imposing permanently and expanding the ban on modern sporting rifles.

Data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show background checks on the sale of firearms jumped 29.2 percent in March when compared to March 2008 and were up 27.1 percent for the first quarter of 2009 over the same quarter last year.

Read more...

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