July 18th, 2008
01:37 PM ET

Global 360°: Pregnancy, Grief, Celebration

Global 360°: Memorable moments and insights from CNN’s 30 newsgathering bureaus around the world...

Michael Schulder
CNN Executive Producer


As Al Gore was presenting his plan for making America a country that eliminates oil and coal in favor of 100 percent renewable energy – a small study we were tipped off to out of China this week points to the potential health benefits of such a plan. In the Chinese city of Tongliang a coal-fired power plant was shut down four years ago. Which presented an unusual opportunity to measure the health benefits of cleaner air for developing fetuses. Columbia University’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health moved in to test the air that pregnant Chinese women in Tongliang were breathing. What the researchers found was that children conceived after the coal plant was shut down were, overall, developing better, especially in terms of motor skills, compared to the children who were in the womb when their mothers were breathing the polluted air from the coal plant. You can read the study online...

The study’s lead author, Dr. Frederica Perera, who says she and her team received excellent cooperation from the Chinese, knows that just because China’s coal plants are dirtier than America’s doesn’t mean there’s safety in the womb here. Burning fossil fuels emits a toxic mix of particles present in every major American city. As Dr. Perera describes it, the polluted air is breathed in by the mother, crosses the placenta, and reaches the fetus and bonds with DNA in blood cells of the baby. That’s why Dr. Perrera and her team will be equipping pregnant women in New York with air monitors this summer and following up on their babies to try to assess the implications of air pollution on fetuses and young children here in the U.S. We'll be following her work.


You may have seen the hero’s welcome that a killer named Samir Kuntar received in Lebanon yesterday. He had spent more than 20 years in an Israeli prison after being convicted of sneaking into Israel, kidnapping a young Israeli father and his four year old daughter, killing the father before bludgeoning the child to death. Israel freed Kuntar yesterday to get back the bodies of two of its soldiers who were kidnapped and killed two summers ago. Today, the wife of one of those soldiers, Karnit Goldwasser, gave a haunting, poetic, ode to her husband. I will reprint the words here. But to hear her say it for herself, by clicking on the video, is more powerful.

“You will be a full partner” she said, speaking to the husband who was taken from her. “Silent but involved. Hidden but moving. Hidden from the eyes of all, but seen by me at all times. You will continue to be my second inner voice. You will always be my husband. The eternally young man who accompanies me throughout my life.”


In some ways Nelson Mandela seems eternally young – even today on his 90th birthday. His gait is slow, but his voice is strong. And he continues to speak out regularly on the issues he cares about, including combating AIDS in Africa. CNN is planning extensive coverage of his life and birthday celebrations over the coming week. You’ll be able to watch some of it right here on the AC360° blog, including the friendship he developed with his jailer. But for now, just consider one of the amazing aspects of his character. 27 years in prison did not damage Nelson Mandela’s sense of humor. Listen to him at a birthday celebration from this week.

Filed under: Global 360° • Michael Schulder
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Mohammed Ali


    So much time left before what! 360 sports the elections and also here today Olympics, this time not that "torch" its national despute over china. Internationally knowen the other global of it's own. what is not really exciting is the hype from china itself, but we are going to be able to see the main even. I hope the teams have also tvs in the rooms and watch the games. It has been along time, Go Go USA i think this is it. We have great middellest and talented ones and there are many there. So far polotics has taken over the early talk. Now seems that everyone even the advertisments are fill-fulled with Bejin. So truely
    has china earned it's responsibillity for this latest event. In other countries seems as diffecult as climbing a mountain in order to compette in the olympics. Even thugh it also gives the honor to represent your country.

    I would like to add this statement, Always in the past the olympics had joyfull memory for each and everyone, smiles tears first timers always enjoyed it. Let's always make sure the support is there.
    Let's make sure that we earn the number One in every sport we particpate in. fact USA has the most number of players if not the most best challengers competters and winners.

    thanks for your support here

    July 21, 2008 at 2:26 am |
  2. Doc Rosceaux

    So, according to Gore and his saprophytic legions of misguided "greenies" to save the world from itself , America has to change everything according to his misguided and misrepresented storytelling. Hey, let's let China, India, the MIddle East oil producing countries and Russia (I'm sure their drilling rigs, refineries, etc.) are "well in the advanced safety zone of fossil fuel emission standards and reduction policies at the moment and future protocols are being implemented ASAP !!! Do you actually believe all of this "bovine excrement" ??? Global cyclical changes occur in time periods of 100 thousand to millions of years ... not in 8 yrs of Pres. Bush ... Ever ask yourself, how did the Great Lakes come to pass, Niagra Falls change courses and Greenland become known as Greenland ?? Just curious, I'd hope you were and CNN and media be honest in their reporting rather than advancing a "definite" poitical agend.

    PS: Does Al Gore have any vested and invested financial interests in these various technologies he is advancing for mankind or is he doing all of those $200,000 speeches for his own pocketbook ??? Just really curious !!! Do any of you have the guts to report on these things. With my anticipated non-reponse, I'll take that as a definite "NO" that none of you will report those findings !!!

    July 19, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  3. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    It is a very sad statement about our world when we can note that man-made pollution is the reason children are being harmed.

    We need to reverse it, regardless of the loss to monetary profit.

    Children are our future and we need to protect them, not poison them.

    July 18, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  4. Jo Anne Cummings

    Nelson Mandela is a great man and leader. Now, as we hear about John McCain being a "prisoner of war", I wonder if it was anything like Mr. Mandela has endured. Mr. Mandela still sees beauty in life and remanins unjaded, he is an inspirational man..........

    July 18, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    The use of coal has many impacts that none of us realize or think about when we use the power generated by it. In West Virginia the big coal companies have converted to a strip mining technique, mountaintop removal mining, that levels the ridges of mountains that took thousands of years geologically to form; they pollute the local water and make the people who live nearby ill from the fumes, the explosions, and the water pollution. The Bush Administration "tweaked" the Clean Water Act regulations to allow these coal companies to dump the part of the mountain they blow off in the valleys close to and in fresh water streams that supply the locals with water – in all, they have destroyed so many streams that if you add the length of each stream destoryed up it would equal the length of the Ohio river.

    Coal produces pollution when its mined and after its mined that affect the health of many people, including those yet unborn. It also makes the poverty and squalor for poor people who live around the sources of the coal worse. We as a nation need to switch to alternative sources of energy as fast as we can – so many people will be helped by the transition despite what Big Coal companies say to the contrary.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  6. Janna

    I'm glad I didn't link to the video...in mere print, the widow's words were enough to bring tears
    How anyone can condone, let alone cheer a child killer is eons beyond my scope...

    July 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  7. Larry

    Wy did Al Gore only get a Nobel Peace Prize instead of one for a field of Science?

    July 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  8. Marie

    What Karnit Goldwasser said was extremely touching – thanks for posting that.

    July 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  9. John Gibbons

    Al Gore had his limo idling outside as he made his big global warming speach. What these rich people want is the "commoners" to suffer and cut back and be more "common" while rasing themselves up to sainthood.

    July 18, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  10. Cindy

    We definitely need to find better energy sources. I myself don't think that coal or even clean coal, as they call it, is that good of a thing. It pollutes the air, you have to do away with the waste of clean coal and not to mention it is destroying our mountains as they blast it out on mountaintop mining and dig in the earth in regular mining. I hope that these studies show the real dangers that coal presents to us all.

    It is amazing that Nelson Mandela, after all that he went through, is still such a humble, nice and funny man. I guess that shows us all that it isn't where you are, or what you have that mean anything or makes you happy. It is who you are inside and how you chose to let your surroundings effect you.


    July 18, 2008 at 1:55 pm |