The battle for Pakistan has finally started in earnest along the northwest frontier. After months of warning of an impending attack, the Pakistani military moved into South Waziristan this weekend to stamp out the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), which is allied with al Qaeda and allows the terrorist group to operate from the region. The Army bulked up the division entrusted with the task, supplementing it with troops and helicopters from North Waziristan, and local regiments from the Frontier Corps. The aim was to encircle and destroy the TTP in the southeastern third of Waziristan, where some 10,000 well-armed and battle-hardened militants are hiding.
But despite the reinforcements, the force trying to root out the entrenched militants is still not fully equipped or ready for mobile warfare. After more than eight years of involvement in the U.S.-led war against militants in Afghanistan, Pakistan still does not have all the weapons or assistance that it needs to do the job right.
CNN State Department producer
-While Senator John Kerry is getting most of the praise from the White House for convincing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to accept an election runoff, senior State Department officials say Secretary Clinton also spent hours on the phone with Karzai, Kerry, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and others both in Washington and in the region to bring about the result.
-Officials say when they realized Kerry was going to the region, Clinton and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke discussed how he could be a useful actor. Holbrooke briefed Kerry for two hours.
-Before Senator Kerry arrived in Afghanistan Secretary Clinton called Karzai and his chief rival, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Secretary Clinton and President Karzai had what is described as a "very honest, wide ranging 40 minute conversation" where she laid out why it was important for him to accept the runoff. She made it clear the road ahead with the international community, particularly the U.S. would be more difficult if he didn't accept it.
-In this discussion, Karzai laid out hs concerns. Clinton also drew on her own political experience in the conversations, something she regularly does in her discussions with leaders.
My name is Katie Meacham and I am 26 years old. Last April I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At the time, I handled the news fairly well as this was considered to be a very treatable and curable cancer. Two months into chemotherapy I found a new node in my neck. A CAT scan and second biopsy confirmed my worst nightmare – my cancer had grown through the chemo, something that happens to less than 4% of people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The hospital where I was being treated told me there was nothing else they could do for me, so I temporarily left New York City and moved down to Houston, Texas, to become a patient at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital.
It was at MD Anderson where I received extremely strong chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant using my own stem cells, which finally put me into remission. Two weeks ago, in a terrible twist of fate, I went back for my one-year check up only to find out that my cancer had returned. I am now in need of another stem cell transplant, only this time from a donor. Unfortunately, in a worldwide registry of over 13 million people not one is a perfect match for me.
Every year, there are more than 10,000 patients like myself that require a stem cell transplant (or sometimes a bone marrow transplant or cord blood transplant) in order to survive. While many patients do find a match, many more donors are needed. The reason it is difficult to find a perfect match is because a certain number of DNA markers must be the same. It is easy, free and painless to register to be a donor – all you need to do is fill out a health history form and swab your cheek. Additionally, hospitals like MD Anderson and Memorial Sloan Kettering are also using donor cord blood as another source for transplants. If you or someone you know is having a baby, please speak to your doctor about donating the babies cord blood to a public cord blood bank.
For the first time, a former follower of self-help guru James Arthur Ray is speaking out about what happened to her inside one of those sweat lodges. Three of Ray's followers have died in one of those ceremonies. Plus, Wall Street CEOs getting mega-perks as their companies were getting government bailouts. We're naming names and demanding answers. And a revote ordered in Afghanistan. What does it mean for the U.S. mission there? We'll talk it over with some insiders.
Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ
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CNN State Department Producer
- When Senator John Kerry arrived in Kabul Friday on a long scheduled visit he was told by U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry that there was a crisis brewing with President Karzai over the election. The concern was that Karzai was going to denounce the preliminary results based on the Election Complaint Commission’s audit showing that Karzai received less than 50 percent of the vote after fraudulent ballots were discounted. The Ambassador was worried that Karzai's declaration would throw the country into an extended period of uncertainty and severely complicate US efforts in Afghanistan.
- After having dinner with U.S. troops, at the request of Ambassador Eikenberry, Senator Kerry made an unplanned visit to the palace to meet with President Karzai, which lasted for several hours. The two men agreed that Kerry would return to the palace to see Karzai on early Saturday afternoon, at which point Senator Kerry cut short a trip to Jalalabad.
- Saturday morning, Senator Kerry met with Karzai’s chief rival, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.
This will likely get you fired up. As some of the nation's biggest financial firms were getting billions of federal money to save them last fall, they were boosting their perks to company CEOs.
We're talking about personal use of corporate jets, free company cars, paid dues for country clubs - and some of them even got all the taxes paid on their perks.
Simply put, as the economy was sinking, their perks were going up.
Tonight, we're naming names. Find out which top executives at the time were getting extra loot. We'll tell you what CEO got almost $5 million in perks. Yes, $5 million. That's just one fat cat. There are many others.
Do you think the perks should be allowed or should the federal government clamp down on them? Sound off below.
We also have new details on the sweat lodge deaths in Arizona. A former follower of self-help guru James Arthur Ray is speaking out, sharing what she says goes on at his retreats. Three people have died as a result of the sweat lodge ceremony last week. Police are treating the deaths as homicides. Though, no charges have been filed.
And, don't miss Anderson's interview with actress and activist Eva Longoria Parker. Hear how she's trying to change the image of Latinos in Hollywood. It's all part of CNN's special report "Latinos in America", airing tomorrow and Thursday night at 9pm ET.
Join us tonight for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!
Editor's Note: Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program Neil Barofsky originally delivered this report to the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Read the full report.
Neil Barofsky has been referred to as the "TARP Watchdog" since appointed the position in December. Presenting this report to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Barofsky reveals a detailed account of just how AIG structured their complex system of compensation and bonus plans. From a $7,800 "retention award" to a kitchen assistant to more than $3 million to an executive, the company rewarded an extensive amount of bonuses even after it's taxpayer funded bailout in 2008. But why didn't the government step in? Read the full report and see a timeline of when both government officials and company executives knew of key AIG Compensation Matters.
Tonight we're taking a look at the culture of bonuses on Wall Street. This year, the U.S. financial sector is on track to dole out a record amount in bonuses. We are taking a close look at nine of the original TARP recipients, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, and Bank of America. These financial giants were among the first recipients of assistance from the original TARP Package.
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo released a report updating just how the companies distributed their earnings. This report breaks down where all the money went with the specific amounts of salaries, bonuses and government money (i.e. your tax dollars) for each firm.
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:
President Hamid Karzai speaks to U.S. Senator John Kerry during a joint news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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
“Don’t even get me started on Ohio.”
Richard Hine, New York City
"Who the hell is Wolf?"
CNN Senior Pentagon Producer
A U.S. Navy ship protecting commercial shipping from pirates seized about four tons of hashish being transported aboard a boat off the Horn of Africa last week, according to a U.S. Navy statement released Tuesday.
The ship, the guided missile cruiser USS Anzio, stopped a small boat known as a skiff in the Gulf of Aden because of suspicions it was a pirate boat, according to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain.
The Anzio is part of the coalition efforts in the waters off Somalia to reduce pirate’s attacks.
The waters are a major transit point for commercial shipping into and out of the Red Sea and are known for the incredible piracy problems from Somalia.
A U.S. Navy boarding team discovered the drugs on the small boat on October 15th in the waters of the Gulf of Aden about 170 miles southwest of Salalah, Oman, according to the U.S. Navy statement.
Navy officials said the area is also a very popular drug smuggling route with money from the sales possibly ending up in the hands of terrorists in Afghanistan.
According to the Navy statement the haul was worth and estimated $28 million U.S. dollars. The Navy boarding team destroyed the stash by dumping into the ocean, according to the statement.