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October 1st, 2009
11:00 PM ET

How were the Top 10 CNN Heroes selected?

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly 9,000 submissions from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

WATCH Change the World, You Vote, CNN Heroes
Tonight 11 p.m. ET


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Kelly Flynn
CNN Heroes Senior Executive Producer

It all began with you. Starting on January 1, we invited viewer nominations for 2009 CNN Heroes to be submitted through our website, at CNN.com/Heroes. By the close of nominations on August 1, we had received more than 9,000 of them from 100 countries, more than twice the number of nominations received in 2008! A testament to how much stories like these matter to you.

Our CNN Heroes staff read each and every nomination, selecting 28 individuals as 2009 CNN Heroes. Their stories aired weekly on CNN, HLN, CNN International, CNN en Español and CNN.com, between February and September.

A panel of CNN judges further reviewed this year’s CNN Heroes, evaluating their accomplishment, impact, and personal motivation for service to others. Twenty individuals were advanced to an independent Blue Ribbon Panel, which was asked to select the ten individuals we honor as the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009. Each of these ten will receive $25,000 in recognition of their work.

FULL POST


Filed under: CNN Heroes
October 1st, 2009
10:26 PM ET

Letterman: I faced extortion over sexual affairs

CNN

David Letterman told his audience Thursday that he is the victim of an alleged extortion attempt and admitted to having sexual relations with several members of his staff, according to a press release from his production company.

Letterman made the announcement during taping of the "Late Show."

"This morning, I did something I've never done in my life," Letterman told his audience, according to a release from Worldwide Pants Inc. "I had to go downtown and testify before a grand jury."

The 62-year-old funnyman said he received a package three weeks ago from a person who claimed to have information about Letterman's sexual dalliances, ultimately demanding $2 million to prevent public revelation.

Letterman said he went to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which conducted an investigation, and an arrest was made earlier Thursday.

Keep Reading...

October 1st, 2009
10:05 PM ET

CNN Hero: Brad Blauser

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly 9,000 submissions from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

WATCH Change the World, You Vote, CNN Heroes
Tonight 11 p.m. ET


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Since 2005, Brad Blauser's Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids program has distributed nearly 650 free wheelchairs.

Since 2005, Brad Blauser's Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids program has distributed nearly 650 free wheelchairs.

CNN Heroes

Brad Blauser lives in war-torn Baghdad, where he doesn't earn a paycheck and is thousands of miles from his family. But he has no intention of leaving anytime soon.

For the past four years, the Dallas, Texas, native has been providing hope to hundreds of disabled Iraqi children and their families through the distribution of pediatric wheelchairs.

"Disabled children - they're really the forgotten ones in this war," said Blauser, 43. "They are often not seen in society."

Blauser arrived in Iraq as a civilian contractor in 2004, but quit that job last year to devote himself full time to his program, without compensation.

"There's no paycheck. It's not really safe here. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

An estimated one in seven Iraqi children ages 2 to 14 lives with a disability, according to UNICEF. Illnesses such as Spina bifida, palsy and polio leave them unable to walk.

Keep Reading...
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To learn about ways you can make a difference, visit Impact Your World.


Filed under: CNN Heroes • Impact Your World
October 1st, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/01/09

Tonight, we're keeping them honest in Chicago. A student is beaten to death. It's caught on tape. But cops say no one is coming forward with tips. Why is this happening? Plus, a confession from a former prosecutor with ties to the Roman Polanski case.

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
October 1st, 2009
09:30 PM ET
October 1st, 2009
09:05 PM ET

CNN Hero: Andrea Ivory

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly 9,000 submissions from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

WATCH Change the World, You Vote, CNN Heroes
Tonight 11 p.m. ET


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Breast cancer survivor Andrea Ivory is on a mission to educate Florida communities about the disease, one door at a time.

Breast cancer survivor Andrea Ivory is on a mission to educate Florida communities about the disease, one door at a time.

CNN Heroes

"We are an army," says Andrea Ivory of the group gathered with her early on a Saturday morning.

Armed with clipboards, leaflets and high spirits, the energetic Ivory leads them into the neighborhood, where they start knocking on doors. The mood is lighthearted, but their mission is serious: to save lives, one house at a time.

They're volunteers from the Florida Breast Health Initiative, or FBHI, and they are waging war against breast cancer. It's an effort started by Ivory, 50, herself a survivor of the disease.

Every weekend in the spring and fall, she and her volunteers - who include college students, senior citizens and suburban moms, all wearing matching T-shirts - fan out across low-income communities in southern Florida, educating women about breast health.

They especially seek out uninsured women age 35 and older, who statistics show are twice as likely to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, and thus more likely to die from the disease.

Keep Reading...
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To learn about ways you can make a difference, visit Impact Your World.


Filed under: CNN Heroes • Impact Your World
October 1st, 2009
08:49 PM ET

Interactive: Olympic-worthy cities to see, win or lose


Jessica Ravitz
CNN

From hot dogs in the American heartland to the sexy samba on South American beaches, from traditional Kabuki theater amid high-tech modernity to European culture and sophistication, four international cities hope to showcase what they have to offer the world on the Olympic stage.

The countdown clocks are ticking for Chicago, Illinois; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Tokyo, Japan; and Madrid, Spain. The International Olympic Committee, now gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, will vote Friday to determine the winning host city for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Go here to see an interactive of profiles of all of the cities making a bid.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michelle Obama • Olympics
October 1st, 2009
08:32 PM ET

Backlash builds against support of Polanski

The case surrounding the arrest of director Roman Polanski has both supporters and critics.

The case surrounding the arrest of director Roman Polanski has both supporters and critics.

Lisa Respers France
CNN

While several high-profile actors and directors have rallied around Roman Polanski, not everyone in Hollywood believes he should be freed and forgiven.

In the face of a petition signed by notables such as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and John Landis calling for the immediate release of Polanski following his detainment in Switzerland, a backlash is building against such support.

"I can't believe that Hollywood has separated itself so completely from American morality," said Paul Petersen, a former child actor and president of A Minor Consideration, which advocates on behalf of young performers. "It is yet another case of Hollywood being out of sync with most of America."

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, but fled the United States before he could be sentenced.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
October 1st, 2009
08:30 PM ET
October 1st, 2009
08:00 PM ET

CNN Hero: Roy Foster

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly 9,000 submissions from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

WATCH Change the World, You Vote, CNN Heroes
Tonight 11 p.m. ET


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Roy Foster's facility, Stand Down House, has helped about 900 male veterans since 2000.

Roy Foster's facility, Stand Down House, has helped about 900 male veterans since 2000.

CNN Heroes

Following a faint trail through a dense patch of woods in Florida's Palm Beach County, Roy Foster is a man on a mission.

Foster, 53, is searching for homeless veterans - and he knows where to look.

Whether in a vacant lot behind a supermarket or a small clearing off the highway, homeless vets aren't that hard to find: One in three homeless adults has served in the military, and more than 150,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night, according to the Veterans Administration.

Working with the sheriff's homeless outreach unit, Foster finds vets camped in tents or makeshift lean-tos, where he delivers a message: There's help for you if you want it.

Keep Reading...
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To learn about ways you can make a difference, visit Impact Your World.


Filed under: CNN Heroes • Impact Your World
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