June 12th, 2008
09:49 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 6/12/06

Another night of breaking news. Another night of tornadoes across several midwestern states. Also, flooding that's pushed thousands of people out of their homes. It may be the worst in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and AC360's Gary Tuchman is there.

Much more tonight, including the boy scouts who trained to save lives and did, even as other scouts lost theirs.

Also, making Michelle Obama an issue in the campaign against her husband. Are political spouses ever fair game?

And a CNN exclusive, tapes and documents from inside al Qaeda in iraq documenting its rise and thankfully, its fall. Michael Ware has them and we'll check in with him in Baghdad.

We want to know what you think about think so we'll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

And be sure to check out our live web camera from the 360° studio. Tonight you'll see Campbell Brown and Erica Hill behind the scenes on the set. We'll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
June 12th, 2008
08:26 PM ET

“Be Prepared:" stories of survival

15-year-old Scout Rob Logsdon shares what it was like seeing and surviving the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado.
15-year-old Scout Rob Logsdon shares what it was like seeing and surviving the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer


Wednesday’s storm slammed into the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa. Four boys died in that tornado, and 48 people were injured.

I have to say as a former member of the Boy Scouts, it's really heartbreaking to see what happened. These were young boys who set out to help other people, work as team, and appreciate and preserve nature.

The Cub Scout ideals, something you learn before becoming a Boy Scout, are spelled out in three different pledges- that we would repeat at every meeting:

Filed under: 360° Radar • Severe Weather
June 12th, 2008
05:21 PM ET

Anderson's View: Investigating disease deep in the jungle

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.pip2.anderson.jpg]

Anderson Cooper

It's been a fascinating couple of days. I just got back to Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. We've been in a small village deep in the forest about a six-hour drive from here.

We spent a long day with two hunters searching for food. They didn't find anything. The bush meat trade in central Africa has depleted forests significantly; it's harder and harder for people to find food, and that means they have to push deeper into the forest. The destruction of habitat and animal species, however, is only part of the story that brought us here.

I went into the forest following the hunters with Nathan Wolfe, an epidemiologist with UCLA. He searches some of the world's most remote regions for viruses that could become the next deadly pandemic. Wolfe and his team focus on Zoonotic diseases, caused by viruses jumping from animals to humans.


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Planet in Peril
June 12th, 2008
05:12 PM ET

When the levees break

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.floodindiana.jpg width=292 height=320]

Adam Pitluk
Author, Damned to Eternity: The Story of the Man Who They Said Caused the Flood

I’m not a groundhog. I’m not a psychic, a soothsayer, or a fortuneteller (although at times, I do resemble that Zoltar creature from the movie Big). But I’m the guy who predicted these horrible Midwestern floods back in March. I spoke publicly about them, I blogged about them, and I put my wife to sleep with doomsday predictions that the summer of 2008 will resemble the summer of 1993. And history remembers the summer of 1993 as that of the 500-year flood.

Back then, the midsection of America looked more like Pangaea than industrialized society. More than a thousand levees broke up and down the Mississippi River and on adjoining tributaries. It was a horrible act of God for all affected by the floods, as well as a humbling all-for-naught experience on the part of the thousands of sandbaggers and volunteers. That is, it was a horrible act of God for every community except one: West Quincy, Missouri, pinned their levee’s failure on one man, who is serving a life sentence at the Missouri State Prison for intentionally causing a catastrophe.

The thing is, we should have seen the Great Midwestern Floods of 2008 coming. If 1993 taught us anything, it’s how to spot a potential deluge... FULL POST

Filed under: 360° Radar • Severe Weather
June 12th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

Beat 360° 6/12/08

Hey Bloggers!

Put 'er there! It's time for 'Beat 360°!'

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic of the day: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, right, jokes with U.S. President George W. Bush during a meeting in Rome's Villa Madama, Thursday, June 12, 2008. Bush is in Rome on the second of a three-day visit, part of a tour of Europe. Friday Bush will be received by Pope Benedict XVI.

Beat 360°

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° winners!

Filed under: Beat 360°
June 12th, 2008
04:38 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Loss and Love

Erica Hill
AC 360° Correspondent

Iowa’s governor called the storm “a blow right to the gut”…but that may be an understatement.

The images tell a tale of horror, sorrow and incomprehensible loss. I cant begin to comprehend what the families of the four Boy Scouts killed in last night’s tornado are feeling. Campbell and I were talking about the story last night during one of the breaks… she said how trivial the things she’d been worried about earlier in the day now seemed. I couldn’t agree more.

If there is anything positive to be found in this tragedy, it is the strength and courage of the Scouts at that camp last night. They immediately sprang into action, putting their training to work to help their fellow Scouts. They are heroes. I’m sure the four teens who lost their lives would have done exactly the same thing.


There is a fair amount of depressing news today, stories that are important and need to be told, but which can make for a gray day. I want to give you something a little more uplifting… stick with me, it’s worth it.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
June 12th, 2008
03:34 PM ET

Suicide is painless

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.samisrael.jpg caption="Samuel Israel arrives at the U.S. Courthouse in New York, April 14, 2008. He has been missing since Monday and is suspected of faking a suicide."]

Editor's Note: Watch Randi’s full report on this tonight at 10p.

Randi Kaye
CNN Correspondent

Today we are hot on the trail of a great mystery...and would love your help in trying to solve it.

I’m working on a story on Samuel Israel, the former hedge fund manager from New York convicted of defrauding investors of more than $400 million dollars and sentenced to 20 years.

He’s been out on bond for a couple of years and coopering with prosecutors, but instead of reporting to prison on Monday as planned, he disappeared.

Question now is, where is he?

Here’s what you need to know: his car was found on the Bear Mountain Bridge which spans the Hudson River in New York. On the hood, scrawled in dust, was a note that read “Suicide is Painless.”

If any of you are fans of the show “MASH” you probably know that is the name of the theme song. In the movie, that song played during a faked suicide.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
June 12th, 2008
12:54 PM ET

al Qaeda in Iraq: Leaderless jihad or well-organized insurgency?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.dergen.jpg caption="360° sorts through one of the largest collections of al Qaeda documents to fall into civilian hands. They reveal the inner workings of al Qaeda in Iraq – providing insight few have ever seen."]

Editor’s note: CNN has obtained what is believed to be one of the largest collections of internal al Qaeda documents to fall into civilian hands. The videos and documents give fascinating insight into the inner workings of the organization. Watch full report tonight, 10p ET

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

In a great journalistic coup, Michael Ware and the CNN team in Iraq have unearthed the largest collection of al Qaeda in Iraq material outside the hands of the US military. What they found in this collection of videos and memos underlines a key aspect of the al Qaeda organization in Iraq; it is highly organized, and not simply a loosely-knit collection of jihadists.

A debate has recently erupted in the pages of Foreign Affairs, the leading American journal of international relations, between two scholars of terrorism. On one side is former CIA case officer, Marc Sageman, the author of Leaderless Jihad, who contends that the threat from al Qaeda as an organization is largely over and the new threat comes from “a multitude of informal groups trying to emulate their predecessors by conceiving and executing plans from the bottom up. These ‘homegrown' wannabes form a scattered global network, a leaderless jihad.” Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman, by contrast, argues that the al Qaeda organization, headquartered on the Afghan-Pakistan border, remains the most important threat to American national security.

The thousands of pages of documents and scores of videos obtained by CNN will help to move the Sageman-Hoffman debate forward. They show that al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has, in fact, for years been a highly bureaucratized top-down organization with an attention to detail suggestive of the IRS... FULL POST

Filed under: al Qaeda • Iraq • Peter Bergen • War on Terror
June 12th, 2008
12:02 PM ET

Animal viruses and humans

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.bushmeat1.jpg caption="Some of the deadliest viruses in the world come from this 'Bush Meat', but it still remains a necessary part of the diet in Cameroon."]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chief Medical Correspondent

This week, I am in Cameroon investigating a piece for the CNN documentary “Planet in Peril: Battle Lines.” I am writing this from a small village called Nyabissan. Don’t bother trying to find it on a map. It is in the heart of the jungle and one of the more remote places I have ever been.

In fact, you are reading this blog because Neil Hallsworth, our camera man, was able to point a small, portable satellite dish in the sky and get a signal and then send this piece along with some of the video we shot back to Atlanta.

We picked this place because it is a hot spot in the world of viruses. It turns out there is a constant exchange of viruses here between animals and humans. There is a very cozy relationship here between humans and animals, such as rodents, snakes, mammals and other primates.

Just today, we passed two men who had killed an enormous viper, another hunter with a pangolin (also known as a scaly anteater) and two young kids with two dead monkeys. While this “Bush Meat” represents a necessary part of the diet, it can sometimes be a problem.

Read the rest of the blog...

Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Medical News • Planet in Peril
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