June 30th, 2008
11:48 PM ET

The Shot: Implosion snafu

Making an implosion a good show is not as easy as it looks. It took two tries to complete a high rise demolition in Coral Gables, Florida after the first attempt left the elevator shaft still standing.

Filed under: T1 • The Shot
June 30th, 2008
09:38 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 6/30/08

For what’s in the program take a look at tonight’s Evening Buzz.

Be sure to check out Anderson and Erica on our live web camera from the 360° studio. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
June 30th, 2008
09:28 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Justified Killings?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/CRIME/06/30/burglary.shooting.ap/art.burglary.horn.khou.jpg caption="Joe Horn shot and killed two men last November after he saw them crawl out a neighbor's window"]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
Do you remember this man?  Joe Horn shot and killed two men back in November who broke into his neighbor's house. He called 911 to report the buglary happening in daylight - right next door. The 911 dispatcher told him NOT to fire his shotgun.  But Horn did.  He shot the two men in the back. Today a Texas grand jury made a decision in the case that may lead to more protests and rallies in front of the house where the shootings took place.  We'd love to know what you think? Do you believe the killings were justified or not?

Tonight, there are also several developments on the campaign trail. We've got the fallout from Retired Gen. Wesley Clark's comments over the weekend on John McCain. His message: "I don't think riding a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification for being president." Did he go too far?

We're also looking at the phone chat today between Barack & Bill. The two have finally spoken one-on-one. How important is Bill Clinton to the Obama campaign? Do you think he can help or hurt the ticket?

Also tonight, the politics of fear. The McCain camp is talking up the possibility of a terror attack next year. Are they crossing the line? We'll take an up close look.

All that and much more tonight at 10pm ET.
Hope you'll join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
June 30th, 2008
09:24 PM ET

AC360° Radar for July 1st

Lisa Ort
AC360° Producer

Here’s a look at some of the stories on our radar for tomorrow:

RAW POLITICS: Sen. John McCain will be in Cartagena, Colombia for the next two days.  He’s going to meet with President Alvaro Uribe to discuss narcotics and trade.   Sen. Barack Obama will be in Zanesville, Ohio and will be giving a speech there in the early afternoon.

KEEPING THEM HONEST: Despite a shortage of field officers, the Army has adopted a new policy that West Point graduates can serve their country as professional athletes instead of battlefield commanders. Army football player Caleb Campbell who was drafted by the Detroit Lions is the first beneficiary of the policy, which will allow him to avoid going to war and instead pursue a potentially lucrative career after getting an education at taxpayer’s expanse. At the same time, the Navy is telling St Louis Cardinals draftee Mitch Harris to report for duty. The Navy believes it is inappropriate to let him out of his service. What’s going on here? Why would the Army and Navy be on the opposite side on this issue? Is it because — under pressure to fill the ranks with fresh recruits — Campbell is more valuable as a recruiter than as a platoon leader on the front lines?

CRIME & PUNISHMENT: 40 years ago, actress Sharon Tate was 8 ½ month pregnant and begging for mercy from her “Manson family” killers, including Susan Atkins.  Now, Atkins is begging for mercy. With less than six months to live and her ability to communicate compromised, Atkins is dying of a brain tumor and has requested a “compassionate release” from prison so she can die at home.

HALLOWEEN PRANK HEARING: Scheduled date of court hearing for two police officers accused of unlawful imprisonment. Allegedly the officers took a 14-year-old boy, caught egging cars, and dropped him off in a remote area to teach him a lesson.

BIRMINGHAM CITY EMPLOYEES MOVE TO 4-DAY WEEK: As a gas-saving measure the city of Birmingham will move city employees to a 10-hour 4-day work weeks.

SECOND PHASE OF TRANS FAT BAN COMES INTO FORCE: The next phase of the ban on trans fat served in New York City restaurants comes into effect. On this day “No food containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, shortenings, or margarines with 0.5 grams or more trans fat per serving may be stored, used, or served by food service establishments.” The first phase came into effect July 1, 2007.

AND AN INTERESTING TIDBIT ABOUT JULY 1, 2008: At midnight, 2008 will be officially halfway over. 183 days remain in the year. This usually occurs on July 2 but due to the Leap Year it happened a day earlier this year.

Filed under: 360° Radar
June 30th, 2008
08:57 PM ET

Tracking a pregnant soldier’s killer

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/26/art.vert.megan.touma.jpg caption="Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, was found dead Saturday morning, June 21, 2008, in a Fayetteville, N.C., motel room." width=292 height=320]

Lawrence Kobilinsky
Forensic Scientist, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Megan Lynn Touma may have been murdered by someone who knew her. A soldier who spent time with the pregnant 23-year old Army specialist in Germany, and who returned to the United States with her, has been declared a person of interest and been detained.

It is possible that if he killed her, he feared the police investigation and tried to mislead crime scene investigators and detectives by leaving a symbol drawn on a mirror in the motel room in lipstick. This "signature" was the same as the zodiac serial killer who struck fear into women in the late 1960's.

Through a letter to the media, the killer claimed that he had killed others before and that he would kill again. The police investigation has been aided by the Army Criminal Investigation Divison and led to the identification of the individual who has become a person of interest. FULL POST

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
June 30th, 2008
08:34 PM ET

For the attack on the USS Cole, justice finally

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/30/art.usscole.jpg caption="Damage sustained by the USS Cole after a bomb exploded on Oct. 2000."]
Mike Mount
Pentagon Producer

Mention the attack on the USS Cole in October, 2000, and it brings up raw feelings in the Pentagon and the U.S. Navy.

This was the first attack on the U.S. military by al Qaeda, which killed 17 and wounded 47 sailors, almost a year before the 9-11 attacks. It bonded active duty military and veterans alike and woke up a nation to who Osama bin Laden really was.

Before the “We Will Never Forget,” 9-11 slogan, there was the “Remember the Cole” motto, and it still has a profound impact on those close to that tragedy.

The mood here in the Pentagon today is subdued but relieved that almost eight years after the attack, the first person connected to the bombing is finally being charged.

The military charges Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri with helping plan, organize, and direct the attack. But the fact that Al-Nashiri has been charged does not mean it will be a smooth road to a trial.

It is not clear if much of the evidence gathered on him will be allowed, as it was gained by waterboarding, a method of interrogation viewed by many as torture. Legal authorities will have to hash that out.

In the meantime, the USS Cole itself has been back on active duty for years now and active in the war on terrorism. For many, that alone is justice.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Terrorism
June 30th, 2008
07:51 PM ET

Face to face with gentle giants

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/30/art.gorillaleaves.jpg]
Naomi Schwartz
National Geographic Television

I didn’t think it would be this easy.

I mean, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t, you know, easy easy.

Getting here required repeated negotiations with high-level contacts in rebel General Laurent Nkunda’s army, and then with the general himself.

It required driving an hour and a half outside the city to a UN base in the foothills of the Mikeno volcano, followed by an hour’s steep hike to the rebel base farther up the volcano.

And it required another hour-plus hike just after dawn to get to the edge of the national park. All while being hurried along by rebel soldiers with big guns and spears who were terrified we’d miss our chance.

But then the overgrown fields ended abruptly in a shock of thick forest, and here we are. And there they are.

An entire family of mountain gorillas. Just hanging out, in the trees, and in the brush beneath them.

They look exactly like gorillas.

It feels completely unreal.

Their black fur contrasts starkly with the bright green foliage, and yet recedes into the dark shadows of the dense forest...

Read more

Filed under: Planet in Peril
June 30th, 2008
07:29 PM ET

Anderson’s View: Who murdered the mountain gorillas?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/30/art.gorilla.trees.jpg]
Anderson Cooper

When a family of five mountain gorillas was found slaughtered last July in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, it made headlines. Pictures, taken by Brent Stirton, of the majestic animals being carried out of the forest by rangers and villagers were seen around the world.

The gorillas had been shot to death. It was clear it was not the work of poachers, but exactly why they were killed was unclear.


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Planet in Peril
June 30th, 2008
06:47 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Revelations

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

Some very interesting revelations from the Army about what was happening in Iraq from the beginning… interesting and eye-opening.

Since he was accused of doping after his 2006 Tour de France win, I’ve wanted to believe in Floyd Landis. He had such a great story; raised in a Mennonite community, he discovered his passion for cycling as a young boy and would sneak out of the house at night to ride. It just didn’t seem that a guy with his background would cheat or lie. Today, his last chance to prove he won the 2006 Tour de France fairly, without chemical help, ended the way all the previous attempts to clear Landis’ name have: finding his positive doping test during the 2006 Tour was valid. Translation? He lost. Again.

Landis has 30 days to appeal to the Swiss Federal Court. He said he is “saddened by today’s decision”, and that he’s pursing his legal options. I’m no lawyer, but it sounds like he’s exhausted almost all of them. This court panel wasn’t exactly impressed with any of his efforts, saying Landis tried to embarrass the French lab that did the testing. Two years later, this is still a very messy situation.

The Body Worlds exhibit has been on my “things to do” list for some time… FULL POST

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
June 30th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Patriotism and the price of gas: What matters to you?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/29/clark.mccain/art.clark.gi.jpg caption="Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who ran for president in 2004 questioned John McCain's qualifications Sunday."]
Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

The McCain camp fired back after retired Gen. Wesley Clark said on Sunday that he doesn't think John McCain's service as pilot or prisoner of war is relevant to being president, saying McCain is “untested and untried” because he hasn’t “held executive responsibility.”

McCain and his campaign blamed Barack Obama, saying he hasn’t stopped surrogate attacks. “If that's the kind of campaign that senator Obama and his surrogates and his supporters want to engage in I understand that. But it doesn’t reduce the price of a gallon of gas by one penny,” McCain said. His campaign launched a "Truth Squad" of his Vietnam contemporaries, including Bud Day of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that attacked John Kerry's candidacy, to counter attacks on McCain's military record.

Clark isn't the only high-profile Dem supporter to question McCain's military record. Howard Dean called McCain an "opportunist" in March, when McCain launched a tour introducing himself to Americans and featuring his POW experience. And Sen. Jay Rockefeller has criticized McCain for dropping bombs over Vietnam, killing innocent people.

Nevertheless, Obama disavowed Clark’s comment today, saying, “For those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country… we must always express our profound gratitude.” FULL POST

Filed under: Barclay Palmer • John McCain • Raw Politics
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