AC360° Senior Broadcast Producer
Former President Bill Clinton is headed to North Korea to negotiate the release of two American journalists held there since March, a source with detailed knowledge of the former president's movements said Monday.
The imprisoned women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, are reporters for California-based Current TV - a media venture of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. They were arrested while reporting on the border between North Korea and China and sentenced in June to 12 years in prison on charges of entering the country illegally to conduct a smear campaign.
The United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea. Efforts to resolve the issue so far have been handled through Sweden, which represents U.S. interests in the reclusive communist state.
Hope you're having a nice Monday night. Here's what's on our radar: Could Pres. Obama have to back away from his promise of no new taxes for the middle class? Plus, a custody decision regarding Michael Jackson's children, but questions remain over his estate.
Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ
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Program Note: Today, a report about the discovery of the origin of Malaria was released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Dr. Nathan Wolfe, an epidemiologist, authored the report. Wolfe leads the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative (GVFI), which has been working with the Cameroon government, Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund/Ape Action Africa to learn more about common diseases of wild animals and to explore the origins of human diseases in order to predict and prevent them. Read these dispatches from members of Wolfe's research team in Cameroon. And tune in tonight to hear from Dr. Wolfe – a so-called virus hunter – and to learn more about the discovery. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
From cattle ranching to the frontlines of research
Vet, Global Viral Forecasting Initiative – Cameroon
I grew up in a family of cattle ranchers. This probably explains my choice of career as a vet. The love I have for my profession has led me to work in veterinary clinics where I have worked with pets, in commercial animal production and also in the wildlife sanctuaries managed by Ape Action Africa/CWAF and Limbe Wildlife Centre where I currently work with GVFI.
The thing that worries me most since I entered the world of research is the permanent need for us to avoid zoonotic epidemics and pandemics, especially as many of our populations depend on hunting and raising of animals and don’t know the risks that they face in handling animals without precautions.
My daily routine involves collaborating with the sanctuaries who collect blood samples and feces from the animals. I then bring them to the lab for processing and testing. I also head to forest areas to collect samples from animals hunted in villages in the hope of making discoveries that could save human or animal lives. I have much hope and am convinced of what I do because one day I know I will have participated in saving many lives.
New solutions to old problems
Joseph Le Doux Diffo
Rural Site Researcher, GVFI – Cameroon
I began working on wildlife years ago when I was doing my masters at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon in 1999.
I did research on the intestinal parasites of wild and pet monkeys of Cameroon and identified numerous parasites apparently similar to those found in humans. I also worked on reptiles, studying the fauna of Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon.
After meeting Dr Nathan Wolfe from GVFI I started work on lizard malaria and this was the beginning of a long period of interesting research including a trip to the Malaria Diagnostics Centre of Excellence in Kisumu, Kenya.
Working with wildlife sanctuaries and with hunters in remote forest areas of Cameroon was the next step. Collaboration with sanctuaries includes collecting blood and feces from primates to search for malaria and viruses. I now share my working time in the field and in the lab doing sample processing and primate blood slide readings.
Program Note: Posted below is the latest article from Dr. Nathan Wolfe, a virus hunter who believes he has discovered how humans first contracted Malaria. One of the world's deadliest diseases, Malaria claims the lives of more than 1 million people a year, most of whom are children. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have a full report on the study and Dr. Wolfe will join us on AC360° tonight at 10p ET.
Dr. Nathan D. Wolfe et al.
Global Viral Forecasting Initiative
The distinguished anthropologist Frank B. Livingstone conjectured that P. falciparum may have been acquired by a transfer to humans of a chimpanzee parasite. The plausibility of Livingstone’s hypothesis was based on the supposition that, as humans developed increasingly larger agricultural societies, they encroached upon the dwindling forest habitats of species such as the chimpanzee, and so there may have been repeated opportunities for horizontal transfer.
Today, human encroachment into the last forest habitats has further extended, leading to a higher risk of transfer of new pathogens, including new malaria parasites. Our results confirm Livingstone’s conjecture and, moreover, suggest that the world’s extant populations of P. falciparum derive from a single transfer of P. reichenowi from chimpanzees to humans.
How and when did the host transfer occur? A hypothesis proposed in the past was that the ancestors of P. falciparum would have been transferred from another host to humans as our Neolithic ancestors transitioned from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists some 10,000 years ago. This proposal was based on anthropological information about the history of our species, but also on the estimated age of hemoglobin mutants that render humans resistant to malaria infection.
James L. A. Webb, Jr
Professor, Colby College
Malaria is the oldest of the human infectious diseases. Over tens of thousands of years, as early humanity expanded in tropical Africa and across tropical Eurasia, malaria parasites took advantage of our human propensity to migrate and our social need to congregate.
Malaria traveled with infected hunters and adventurers across mountain ranges and deserts, and after the domestication of animals, malaria traveled more quickly, galloping across grasslands and plains. It became the principal disease burden of Eurasia as well as tropical Africa. And much, much later, thanks to the technological ingenuity of human beings, malaria sailed with infected passengers on shipboard across the oceans, rode the rails across the continents, and then flew aboard aircraft from one hemisphere to the other. It became a global disease.
Malaria has etched highly varied patterns into human history. In some times and places malaria has appeared as a seasonal affliction and in others as a year-round burden. It has been a debilitator of general populations and a killer that targets young children and non-immunes. For these reasons, our cultural assessments of malaria's significance have been highly diverse, and different societies have 'known' malaria in very different ways.
CNN Medical Producer
Nathan Wolfe is a hunter, but he doesn't carry a gun. His prey are invisible to the naked eye.
Wolfe leads expeditions into the mysterious world of viruses and pathogens.
"They are everywhere," said Wolfe, a microbiologist who speaks of his targets - infectious organisms - with the giddy lilt of a teenager on a first date. "We have the potential to explore a completely new biological world and go out and really find new things all the time."
One bug has been Wolfe's singular obsession for more than a decade, arguably the biggest menace to humans: malaria.
"If you think about HIV virus as a singular hurricane event, malaria is like the hurricane that's been hitting for thousands of years - constantly," said Wolfe, who heads a research institute called the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative.
CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is embarking on her biggest international trip yet: Africa. Seven countries in eleven days. Issues as diverse as economic entrepreneurship and gender-based violence.
The trip comes just three weeks after President Obama’s trip to Accra, Ghana and Secretary Clinton will highlight many of the themes he struck. The State Department notes it’s the earliest trip by a Secretary of State and a President to Africa of any previous administration. In an administration that prides itself on a plethora of “priorities,” officials say they are putting Africa toward the top of the list.
The Secretary begins her trip in Nairobi, Kenya at the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, delivering a speech at the forum’s ministerial opening ceremony.
In Kenya she plans to meet with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, encouraging them to proceed with their intention to rewrite the country’s constitution. The country was hit with a wave of violence two and a half years ago following flawed presidential elections.
Also in Kenya she will meet briefly with Somalia’s president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.
His country is under intense pressure from an Islamist extremist movements affiliated with Al Qaeda of al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.
On her next stop, South Africa, she will meet with the country’s new leader, President Jacob Zuma, and the Foreign Minister. Top of the agenda for the country, under severe economic pressure, are the crisis in neighboring Zimbabwe and HIV/AIDS.
Tonight, could your taxes increase to help pay for the economic recovery? This weekend White House economic adviser Larry Summers said he cannot promise that Pres. Obama will stick to his campaign pledge of cutting taxes on the middle class. But others at the White House are saying that’s not an option. It’s your money, your future.
It’s official now. A judge granted Katherine Jackson permanent custody of her three grandchildren. But what happens to Debbie Rowe? Today, a hearing addressed her rights and also looked at who may get control of Jackson’s estate. Randi Kaye joins us live from Los Angeles to give us the latest.
And a major development in the world of biology. Researchers have tracked down the origins of one of the deadliest diseases on the planet: malaria. Nathan Wolfe, who you may remember from our Planet in Peril investigation, is one of the authors of this new study. He’ll join us for more insight on this medical breakthrough, along with 360° MD Sanjay Gupta.
Plus, Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the Manson family killing spree. Tonight we’re launching a five-part series on the murders that are still making headlines today.
All these stories and much more tonight on 360° at 10pm ET. See you then!
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:
A general view of atmosphere during the 2009 All Points West Music & Arts Festival at Liberty State Park on August 2, 2009 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
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 – BEAT 360º WINNERS
A little taste of Levi Johnston's new reality show...
And with one final strategic move, the US Congress begins their summer break.
Charles Manson is born on November 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio to 16-year-old Kathleen Maddox and is named Charles Miles Maddox. For a short period of time after Manson’s birth, Kathleen Maddox is married to William Manson, and Charles adopts his last name. Manson’s biological father is “Colonel Scott”; it is unclear whether Manson ever met him.
Manson commits a string of burglaries which provide the cash to rent a room. During one robbery, he steals a bicycle, gets caught and is sent to a juvenile detention center where he spends one day before escaping. Manson is recaptured and placed in Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, where he remains for four days before escaping with another boy.
Manson is released on March 21. By this point, he has spent more than half of his 32 years of life in prisons and other correctional institutions. Manson asks authorities to let him remain in prison, arguing that it has become his home.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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