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Ex-IMF chief out on bail: Join the Live Chat
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, pictured here during a court appearance earlier this week, has been released from Rikers Island on bail.
May 20th, 2011
09:49 PM ET

Ex-IMF chief out on bail: Join the Live Chat

Breaking news tonight on AC360°, the ex-head of the IMF was released on bail Friday evening. Susan Candiotti will have the latest in the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. And Anderson will be joined by Eliot Spitzer and Mark Geragos to discuss what’s next in the sexual assault case.

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
May 20th, 2011
08:04 PM ET

AC360 Preview: GOP senator says Obama violating War Powers Act

Editor’s note: Watch the interview with Sen. Paul here.

(CNN) - When we book guests on the show, we generally have a pretty good idea what they’re going to talk about. But every now and then, we get some surprises.

Today, a surprise came courtesy of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.

We wanted to talk to him about the War Powers Act and whether the Obama administration was breaking that law by participating in the NATO strikes in Libya.

Sen. Paul has been pretty adamant about the administration’s failure to comply with the law, which says that if the president starts military action, he must seek congressional approval within 60 days, or the mission will have to stop. Congress was formally notified about the airstrikes in Libya on March 21. That means at the end of today, Obama’s 60 days are up.

“We need to have a debate and let the people decide. Before we send our young men and women to war, we need to have a debate in Congress. That's the way it should be, and I'm going to do everything I can to make it so,” the Kentucky lawmaker told Anderson Cooper in an interview set to air Friday on AC360°.

Paul points out that the administration took the time to get approval from the United Nations and the Arab League to intervene in Libya, but has yet to ask Congress for its stamp of approval.

But the interview took an unexpected turn when Cooper pressed Paul on Congress’ responsibilities. That’s when the new senator unleashed some pretty harsh words about members of the House and Senate – and admitted that he sometimes wants to return his paycheck. So there is clearly a lot of pent up frustration there.

May 20th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

Ex-IMF chief released from Rikers Island jail

New York (CNN) - Former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released Friday on bail from the jail cell on Rikers Island where he had been held for much of the week, the New York City Department of Correction website said.

The 62-year-old economist's release came after Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus met Friday with defense and prosecution lawyers. They hashed out details to ensure that the economist will show up for trial on charges that he tried to rape a maid last Saturday in a New York hotel.

Obus said earlier in the day that a security company had found a temporary location for Strauss-Kahn to live in and that a hunt was on for longer-term lodging. While Strauss-Kahn is in the initial location, he will not be able to leave at all except for medical reasons, Obus said. Once he is in his longer-term location, the former banker must give six hours' notice before leaving.

Strauss-Kahn will live with his wife in an apartment in Manhattan after his release, defense lawyer William Taylor said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
Beat 360° 5/20/11
President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 20, 2011. (Photo credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
May 20th, 2011
07:11 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/20/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: Beat 360°
AC360 Preview: Obama speech has ‘good impact’ on protestors, Syrian activist says
President Obama delivered a speech on Mideast and North Africa policy at the State Department May 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
May 20th, 2011
06:57 PM ET

AC360 Preview: Obama speech has ‘good impact’ on protestors, Syrian activist says

Editor’s note: Watch the Zaytouni interview here.

(CNN) – As mixed reaction continues to pour in to President Obama’s speech about U.S. policy in the Middle East, he is earning praise from at least one activist fighting for her life inside Syria.

“It has [a] good impact on the people,” Razan Zaytouni says in an interview set to air Friday on AC360°.

Zaytouni, a Syrian human rights lawyer, spoke to Anderson Cooper from an undisclosed location inside the country. She says Syrians were heartened to hear that the United States cared about them and added that it was important to know that the president did not, “believe any of the lies or claims of the [Syrian] regime.”

In his Thursday speech, Obama said the Syrian government, “must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests, release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests … and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition.”

The president stopped short, however, of calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a demand anti-government protestors in the country have been making for weeks.

Obama’s words seem to have gone unheeded by Assad’s regime.

Zaytouni told Cooper that at least 34 people were killed Friday in Syria as protestors clashed with security forces after weekly Muslim prayers. The Syrian activist added that weapons were used much more heavily by government forces in today’s crackdown than in weeks past.

“The goal was to end the protest in any way, no matter how it would cost in blood,” she said.
FULL POST

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East • President Barack Obama
May 20th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Along the Mississippi, signs of recovery and stormy forecasts

Vicksburg, Mississippi (CNN) - Early signs of recovery mixed with stormy forecasts Friday, as residents struggled to dig out of the most significant flood to hit the lower Mississippi River valley in more than 70 years.

In Tunica, Mississippi, two casinos reopened after being shut for almost three weeks because of the flooding, said Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns and operates them.

But farther south, Vicksburg residents face a long and slow goodbye to the historic flood that submerged much of their city, forecasters said. They predicted that the river could remain out of its banks until at least mid-June.

The Mississippi River is not expected to return to its 43-foot flood stage in Vicksburg until after June 14, which is 46 days after it climbed out of its banks, said Amanda Roberts, a National Weather Service hydrologist.

It crested at 57.1 feet Thursday, and the weather service predicts the crest will hold through at least Saturday morning in Vicksburg.

Severe storms are likely Saturday and Sunday in the Mississippi River, Ohio River and Tennessee River valleys, said CNN meteorologist Sean Morris.

Up to 3 inches of rain per hour are possible, with heavier storms on Sunday. The rain could lead to secondary crests and higher crests along the Mississippi from Memphis, Tennessee, southward, he said.

Some greeted the cresting floodwaters - which have damaged hundreds of homes and displaced 2,000 Vicksburg residents - with relief. Others celebrated.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Weather
May 20th, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Is Obama about to break the law?

Washington (CNN) - President Obama may be on the brink of breaking the law.

At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days.

The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which makes Friday the 60-day deadline.

Administration officials don't yet feel compelled to seek such permission and some party leaders have been satisfied with the information flow so far, but still, inaction is angering other lawmakers from both the left and the right who rarely agree on anything.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, tells CNN he believes Obama is trying to "bring democracy to Libya while shredding the Constitution of the United States."

"He cannot continue what he is doing in Libya without congressional authorization. When a president defiantly violates the law, that really undercuts our efforts to urge other countries to have the rule of law," Sherman said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, concurs.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • President Barack Obama
Protests erupt in Syrian cities; at least 34 reported dead
Syrian soldiers prepare to hand over an elderly Syrian woman who was caught trying to cross the border into northern Lebanon.
May 20th, 2011
03:30 PM ET

Protests erupt in Syrian cities; at least 34 reported dead

(CNN) - Anti-government demonstrations broke out Friday in Syria after weekly Muslim prayers, with activists reporting at least 34 deaths amid clashes between security forces and protesters.

The Syria Human Rights Information Link told CNN that at least 11 people died in the western industrial city of Homs when security forces fired at crowds.

For two months, Syria has been torn by street protests against political repression and a fierce security crackdown against demonstrators. The government's tough and violent actions toward marchers and its thousands of mass arrests have drawn widespread criticism.

Demonstrations erupted after Friday prayers in Syrian cities, as they have for weeks.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials. On Thursday, President Barack Obama singled out Syria for criticism during his speech on the Middle East.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
May 20th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #851 'Keep it short'

Reporter's Note: President Obama gave his big speech on the future of the Middle East and…well, here’s today’s letter.

Dear Mr. President,

I tried to stick with you; honestly, I did. But somewhere between the history of the Middle East and the so-that’s-why-we’re-going-to-send-them-money, I found myself getting snoozy. Sorry. And please don’t take this as an insult, because you know what a great speaker you are, but, for any politician who wants to be re-elected, I suggest a good first step is to make no speeches over 20 minutes.

Like you, I enjoy talking. I can kill hours listening to myself prattle. But unlike you, my audience frequently doesn’t have to listen. So I’ve learned that no matter how great I think my ideas are, I’d better boil them down or I’ll be talking to the revolving door. You might want to do the same.
FULL POST

May 20th, 2011
08:50 AM ET

Tick tock goes the doomsday clock

(CNN) – For months they’ve been spreading the word, answering the biblical call of Ezekiel 33 to sound the alarm and warn the people.

Their message, which they say the Bible guarantees, is simple: The end of the world is near.

And now, it’s suddenly really near – so near that if these folks are right, you should probably pass on buying green bananas.

Perhaps you’ve already noticed, what with the billboards and signs dotting the landscape, the pamphlets blowing in the wind and the RVs plastered with Judgment Day warnings weaving through cities. Or maybe, as the birds chirped outside and you sipped your morning coffee, a full-page newspaper ad for the upcoming mass destruction caught your eye.

May 21, 2011, according to loyal listeners of Family Radio, a Christian broadcasting network based in Oakland, California, will mark the Day of Rapture and the start of Judgment Day (which, they say, will last five months). Those who are saved will be taken up to heaven, and those who aren’t will endure unspeakable suffering. Dead bodies will be strewn about as earthquakes ravage the Earth, they say. And come October 21, they’ll tell you, the entire world will be kaput.

It’s the kind of belief that riles up churchgoers who insist no one can know when Judgment Day will come, and the sort that many say does a disservice to Christianity. And it’s the kind of message that delights the types who are planning tongue-in-cheek End of the World parties and are responding to a Facebook invitation to attend a post-rapture looting. Rapture events, including one at a tiki bar in Fort Lauderdale, are being hosted by American Atheists. News outlets, comedians and even Doonesbury can’t seem to resist a good end-of-the-world prophecy.

FULL STORY on the CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 360° Radar
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