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August 19th, 2009
10:22 PM ET

Afghanistan's untold story: Stability, tourists, miniskirts

As recently as the 1970s, Afghan women could be seen wearing miniskirts in Kabul

As recently as the 1970s, Afghan women could be seen wearing miniskirts in Kabul

John Blake
CNN

Zieba Shorish-Shamley's Afghanistan doesn't exist anymore.

The tea and fresh fruit her Muslim family shared over laughter with their Jewish friends at home. The female lawmakers who spoke out in Afghanistan's parliament. The tourists who were so enchanted by Kabul, the country's cosmopolitan capital, they called it the "Paris of Central Asia."

When the Afghan native recently returned home, all of those childhood memories seemed like a mirage. What she saw instead was what many Americans now associate with Afghanistan: destruction.

"When I got off the plane, I cried my eyes out," she said. "Most of Kabul was destroyed."

Shorish-Shamley's memories represent a side of Afghanistan that's easily overlooked. As Afghans prepare to pick a president in their national election Thursday, much of the media has focused on pre-election violence. Afghanistan has often been portrayed as a barbaric country where warfare has been a way of life for centuries.

But not long ago, Afghanistan was something else: a politically stable, religiously moderate government that recognized women's rights, Afghan natives and scholars say.

Elizabeth Gould, co-author of "Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story," says a U.S. diplomat visiting Afghanistan in the early 1970s said its citizens were so passionate about democracy that he saw them debate their constitutional rights in the streets.

Keep reading...


Filed under: Afghanistan
August 19th, 2009
09:40 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 8/19/09

Tonight, security remains a top concern as Afghanistan holds its second-ever presidential election against a backdrop of escalating violence. President Hamid Karzai is competing with more than three dozen challengers–including two women– for the votes of 17 million registered Afghans. The polls open just hours from now, at 10:30 p.m. eastern.

Health care reform is also a major storm on our radar. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today denied reports that the Obama administration is considering pushing health care reform through Congress without any Republican support—the so-called nuclear option. Tonight, we’ll try to get a firm handle on a simple question: Is there any chance, at this point in the bitter debate, of bi-partisanship?

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

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. 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 $#&*)


Filed under: Live Blog • T1
August 19th, 2009
09:18 PM ET

Incentives for doctors to make people healthier

Program Note: Dr. Toby Cosgrove will be on the show to talk about obesity and the need to give doctors nationwide incentives for making people healthier. Tune in TONIGHT on AC360° 10p ET

Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, M.D.
President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic

As a heart surgeon for 34 years, I feel passionately about America’s health and the tremendous burden of disease. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of holding heart and lung tissue that has been destroyed by smoking and other poor lifestyle choices. This saddens me.

The nation’s healthcare system is at its breaking point. In 2008, U.S. healthcare spending reached $2.4 trillion. Seventy percent of this cost results from treating chronic diseases, and behavior causes many of these. An astounding 40 percent of the premature deaths in the U.S. are secondary to behavior, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits and tobacco use.

This disease burden needs to be attacked through innovative measures. We need to provide the proper incentives to encourage personal responsibility for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. It should be our patriotic duty to take care of ourselves.

Fifty years ago, we learned that smoking kills. It’s taken us that long to have a significant impact on this killer, and yet, 20 percent still smoke. We have just begun to address the other behaviors weighing on our system. We can’t wait another 50 years to change the trajectory of this enormous human and economic drain on our nation.

Since the 1970s, the obesity rate in the United States has doubled. It accounts for 10 percent of our country’s healthcare costs. Obesity is associated with 20 times the incidence of diabetes and twice the amount of heart disease. Obesity puts 20 years on a person’s life and escalates the diseases they’ll struggle with over their lifetime.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
August 19th, 2009
09:03 PM ET

A producer remembers working with Don Hewitt

Don Hewitt joined CBS News in 1948.

Don Hewitt joined CBS News in 1948.

David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

When I heard the news that “60 MINUTES” creator and long-time Executive Producer Don Hewitt had died, I have to say I wasn’t shocked. At Walter Cronkite’s funeral, he appeared weary and infirm.

But that is clearly not the Don Hewitt I remember. I was a producer for “60 MINUTES” in the mid-90s, working with Correspondent Morley Safer. Then, as now, each correspondent had a team of four, even five producers assigned to him or her. Each producer was expected to produce and deliver at least four segments for broadcast during each television season. Do the math and you come up with 20 to 25 stories apiece for Morley, Mike Wallace, the late Ed Bradley, Lesley Stahl and so on. Enough to fill up a season.

For a producer like me, the passion and the research and the storytelling leading up to a screening of what you and your correspondent engineered on a particular story was a captivating process. But the next step—screening the a draft version of the result before Don Hewitt and the other senior staff at 60 MINUTES was both satisfying and, I have to admit, terrifying.

FULL POST

August 19th, 2009
08:37 PM ET

Semenya told to take gender test

BBC

New world 800m champion Caster Semenya has been asked to take a gender test, according to athletics' governing body.

The International Association of Athletics Federations says it demanded the test three weeks ago amid fears she should not be able to run as a woman.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said the "extremely complex, difficult" test results were not due for several weeks.

The South African athletics federation insists it is "completely sure" that Semenya, 18, is a female.

"We would not have entered her in the female competition if we had any doubts," said a statement.

Semenya won gold in impressive fashion on Wednesday, leaving her rivals trailing as she won in a time of one minute, 55.45 seconds.

Defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei was second, a massive 2.45 seconds adrift, with Britain's Jennifer Meadows taking bronze.

Read more...


Filed under: Beyond 360 • T1
August 19th, 2009
06:30 PM ET

Photo Gallery: Samples of forensic evidence

Editor’s note: Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes inside a crime lab where he learns how reliable forensic evidence can be in investigating criminal cases. A recent report by the National Academy of Science, issued a scathing assessment of the forensics field. The report indicated that "with the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, no forensic method has been rigorously shown able to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source." Much of forensic science –with the exception of DNA and toxicology testing - is not backed by clinical study and most forensic crime labs are unregulated. The Innocence Project, a public policy organization, works to overturn wrongful convictions based on DNA evidence.

The Innocence Project

These forensic “impressions” were used to wrongfully convict a man of kidnapping and rape when he was 23. He was recently released from prison at the age of 43.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
August 19th, 2009
05:46 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Deadly attacks as Afghans prepare to vote

A man carries a child injured in an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan

A man carries a child injured in an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan

Suvro Banerji
AC360° Intern

Tonight, security remains a top concern as Afghanistan holds its second-ever presidential election against a backdrop of escalating violence. President Hamid Karzai is competing with more than three dozen challengers–including two women– for the votes of 17 million registered Afghans. The polls open just hours from now, at 10:30 p.m. eastern.

Earlier today, roadside bombs killed seven election workers, raising government concerns about voter intimidation and low turnout. Tonight, we’ll bring you live pictures from Kabul as voters go to the polls. Ivan Watson is on the ground just outside Kabul and will join us with the very latest. Stateside, Michael Ware and CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen will share their insight on the battle for Afghanistan’s future.

Health care reform is also a major storm on our radar. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today denied reports that the Obama administration is considering pushing health care reform through Congress without any Republican support—the so-called nuclear option. Tonight, we’ll try to get a firm handle on a simple question: Is there any chance, at this point in the bitter debate, of bi-partisanship? And what are the implications if democrats do decide to hammer through a health care plan on their own? We’ll dig deeper with tonight’s political panel: David Gergen, Paul Begala, and Amy Holmes.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Afghanistan • Health Care • The Buzz
August 19th, 2009
05:18 PM ET

Coroner re-visits Michael Jackson's dermatologist

Alan Duke
CNN

The Los Angeles Coroner's chief investigator re-visited the office of Michael Jackson's dermatologist Wednesday even though the coroner announced last week his "thorough and comprehensive" report was completed.

"We wanted some additional information and they provided it," Ed Winter said as he emerged 90 minutes after entering Dr. Arnold Klein's Beverly Hills, California, dermatology clinic.

Winter, who also visited Klein's office on July 14, said the doctor's staff and lawyers cooperated with his requests.

Garo Ghazarian - one of Klein's two lawyers on the scene - said the doctor did not meet with Winter.

"They had inquiries born out of information they wanted to corroborate," Ghazarian said.

Ghazarian said he was added to Klein's legal team "to take a look and see if there's any cause for concern in light of media reports" that investigators were considering criminal charges against him.

"I have seen no cause for concern on behalf of my client, Dr. Arnold Klein," Ghazarian said.

The coroner's office said more than a week ago that a "thorough and comprehensive" report into the death of Michael Jackson is complete, but police have requested that the report not yet be released because of the ongoing criminal investigation.

The coroner's office said it would abide by the request that "the cause and manner of death remain confidential," and referred all questions to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Winter would not say what prompted the coroner's office to re-visit its conclusions.

Jackson's June 25 death is also the focus of an investigation by Los Angeles police, the state attorney general's office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Klein, who treated Jackson for decades, denied in a CNN interview last month that he had given Jackson dangerous drugs.

"If you took all the pills I gave him in the last year at once, it wouldn't do anything to you," he told CNN's Larry King.

Jackson visited Klein's office several times in the weeks before his death, including one visit just three days before.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
August 19th, 2009
04:58 PM ET

Beat 360° – 08/19/09

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:

Two men compete during the traditional German 'Fingerhakeln' championships on August 15, 2009 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Two opponents sit on a table and hook their middlefingers into a leather ribbon and try to pull the other one over the table. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/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

Staff:

Candy Crowley

Senate Human Resources Department meets disaster when "Costume Day" fails to ease tensions inside the finance committee.

Viewer:

Shawn D Shaw, Los Angeles

Wolf Blitzer invites cnn co-workers over for games and sauerbraten

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
August 19th, 2009
04:15 PM ET
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