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December 8th, 2009
11:39 AM ET

The future of journalism in the world's most dangerous place for journalists

Families, friends, students and sympathizers light candles in Koronadal, Philippines, for the Maguindanao victims.

Families, friends, students and sympathizers light candles in Koronadal, Philippines, for the Maguindanao victims.

Maria A. Ressa
Head, ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs
Former CNN Jakarta Bureau Chief

57 people killed in broad daylight, 30 of them journalists. It was premeditated murder because even before they were ambushed, their graves were dug. It was the worst election-related violence we have ever seen and the deadliest single attack on journalists anywhere around the world.

This is a story about the courage of one anonymous Filipino – a citizen journalist – who risked his life three times on Monday, November 23 to tell the world about the massacre in the southern Philippines. His courage gave the world the first photograph of the carnage released to the public. It also shows how professional journalists and citizen journalists can work together to circumvent fear, prevent a whitewash and get the Truth out.

ABS-CBN’s citizen journalism program began during our 2007 elections. We called it “Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo.” Translated it means, “Patrol Your Votes.” It was the first time globally that a broadcast media organization used the power of mass media and combined it with mobile phone technology and new media for a political purpose: to help ensure elections are free and fair.

It’s important in the Philippines because our elections have always been plagued by rampant cheating and violence. The Philippine National Police declared the 2007 elections the most peaceful in our history – with only about 130 people killed in 217 incidents of poll-related violence.

Keep Reading...

December 8th, 2009
11:34 AM ET

Dear President Obama #323: The growing heat over climategate

Reporter's Note: President Obama will attend the global climate summit in Denmark. I hope he can get my daily letter to the White House while on the road.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Let me be candid. I am not particularly convinced that this Climategate issue is all that some folks are cracking it up to be. I’m sure you’ve heard how some scientists swapped e-mails which seemed to suggest they were massaging data to support claims for global warming. “Massaging,” being a nicer word than manipulating. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. Maybe we’ll find out for sure once the investigations are done. Maybe we won’t. Maybe my living room will melt tonight and it won’t matter.

Whether these guys played footsie with the facts or not doesn’t worry me much. So many scientists have studied this business of the planet getting hotter, that unless we find a much deeper and broader conspiracy at work, I don’t think the entire field of research should be unduly tainted by this episode.

What does concern me, is the ancillary notion that scientists would be pursuing a political agenda at all; that we even have pro-global warming and anti-global warming camps. I really believe in the power of science. I believe it can help us understand our world, can help us define and deal with our problems, and one day will possibly even explain why hula-hooping remains an insurmountable challenge for me.

FULL POST

December 8th, 2009
11:23 AM ET

CNN Poll: Optimism on economy fading

Job candidates wait in line at a job fair in McLean, Virginia.

Job candidates wait in line at a job fair in McLean, Virginia.

CNN

Two years into the current recession, Americans don't see economic conditions getting better any time soon, and the steady growth in optimism that previous polls measured throughout the year appears to have stalled, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 34 percent of those questioned say that things are going well in the country today. That's 14 points higher than a year ago, but a dip of 3 points since November.

Full results (pdf)

"This the first time in Barack Obama's presidency that this number has gone down," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
December 8th, 2009
11:10 AM ET

A place haunted by Lennon's murder

John Lennon was killed on December 8, 1980 outside the Dakota building in New York City.

John Lennon was killed on December 8, 1980 outside the Dakota building in New York City.

Bob Greene
CNN Contributor

Maybe if you're a New Yorker, you grow accustomed to the sight.

Maybe if you live in the city, it becomes just another part of the Manhattan landscape.

But if you're from somewhere else, visiting, and you're not expecting to encounter it. . . .

Well, you sense that you've been in front of this building before, even though you never have. You feel it before you fully see it.

So it was, early on a recent afternoon, that I was walking east on 72nd Street, approaching Central Park West.

I glanced to my left.

To say the building is spooky is perhaps too easy. Yet everything about it - the high gables, the balustrades, the gas lanterns burning even in the daytime, the black iron gates leading into the open interior courtyard - seems purposely designed to give off an aura of portent.

 Keep Reading...

December 8th, 2009
11:05 AM ET

Rape and murder, funded by cell phones

Rape victims wait for treatment at hospital.

Rape victims wait for treatment at hospital.

Sasha Lezhnev and John Prendergast
Special to CNN

Last year, the bus in which a young Congolese woman we met named Mary was riding was stopped by a militia. "They wanted to all have me, to rape me," she related haltingly to us. "I told them no, and then they took off my shirt and beat me. I have terrible marks now."

Mary's story is similar to hundreds of thousands of women's experiences in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where rape is routinely "deployed" as a weapon of war by the armed groups fighting over a nation that has some of the richest nonpetroleum natural resource deposits in the world.

Congo holds the numbing distinction of being home to the deadliest war in the world since World War II - with more than 5.4 million people killed during the past 15 years.

"This war is caused by the minerals," Mary told us. "Those [armed groups] control the minerals. I hear that they are used in mobile phones. ... If you talk to Obama or the phone companies, tell them what happens here."

Keep Reading...

December 8th, 2009
10:59 AM ET
December 8th, 2009
10:50 AM ET

Glaciers melting so fast, a generation will be too late

James Balog
Special to CNN

In graduate school and as a mountaineer and nature photographer, I've visited many of the world's great mountain ranges and seen hundreds of glaciers.

In spite of this, I didn't understand how fast truly enormous quantities of ice could disappear until 2005 when I went to Iceland and shot a story for The New Yorker magazine.

This led to a 2006 National Geographic magazine assignment to document changing glaciers in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere and South America. By the time this cover story was done, the Extreme Ice Survey was born.

EIS merges art and science to give visual voice to the planet's changing ecosystems. Through time-lapse imagery and other innovative methods, EIS documents and communicates environmental impacts from global warming and other human-made causes while inspiring action among citizens and policymakers. Time-lapse photography captures the speed at which glaciers are retreating in places such as Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, the Alps and the Rocky Mountains.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: Environmental issues
December 8th, 2009
10:41 AM ET
December 8th, 2009
10:36 AM ET
December 8th, 2009
10:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Self-help gone wrong?

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

In October, three people died in a sweat lodge run by self-help guru James Arthur Ray. It turns out that 12 weeks before the tragic incident, another woman’s life came to an end during another one of Ray’s workshops. But this one received little attention – in part because Ray’s company maintained a low-profile about it. The woman was participating in one of Ray’s scenarios in which she wandered around San Diego as a homeless person, without any identification or possessions. But this woman ended up jumping off a building and killing herself in the process. And if you think that’s bad, the story only gets worse. Gary Tuchman has the details for us tonight.

Earlier today, at least 112 people were killed in central Baghdad and more than 400 were wounded when suicide bombers exploded their cars in a series of five terrorist attacks. The attacks shattered a two-month period of relative calm in the capital that had existed since twin car bombings in late October. The passage of Iraq’s election law has led to intense controversy in the Iraqi parliament and a vote which was planned for January has been pushed back. Is Iraq facing an increased risk of danger? Are we leaving too early?

Robert Gates, the U.S. Defense Secretary, arrived in Afghanistan and spoke with President Karzai today. Karzai told Gates that his country would need international help for 15-20 years. Gates promised the US would not abandon Afghanistan as they had done in the past.

FULL POST


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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