January 1st, 2009
11:55 AM ET

So what IS the 'Green Zone'?

Iraqis take control of Baghdad's 'Green Zone' today. It's not called 'the bubble' for nothing. CNN's Jill Dougherty explains the 'Green Zone' as the Iraqis take control.

Filed under: Global 360° • Iraq
January 1st, 2009
11:32 AM ET

Instant info - a two-edged sword

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Paul H. Rubin
The Wall Street Journal

Bubbles have always been part of markets. The 17th century Dutch Tulip mania and the 18th century's South Sea Bubble are part of capitalist folklore. Recently, there seems to be an increase in the number and severity of bubbles and crashes - Internet stock prices, housing prices and the stock market come to mind.

Markets have been good to us; even with the current crash, America is incredibly wealthy. The Internet and its progeny, such as email and online trading, have greatly increased the efficiency of markets. Ebay, Amazon, Etrade and many specialized Web sites have facilitated trade and created billions of dollars of wealth. Transaction costs have been greatly reduced, information flows quickly and effortlessly across markets to millions of potential traders and investors, and what economists call "market imperfections" are greatly reduced.


Filed under: Economy • Finance
January 1st, 2009
10:38 AM ET

Survivor describes avalanche

One of the survivors of a Canadian avalanche that killed eight snowmobilers recounts his emotional story.

January 1st, 2009
10:22 AM ET

US stocks suffer worst year since Great Depression

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Alistair Gray
The Financial Times

The worst annual performance for Wall Street stocks since the Great Depression ended with a modest rally on the final day of trading as the Federal Reserve pushed ahead with its plan to buy mortgage-backed securities.

The financial sector was the worst performing, down 57 per cent overall, in a year in which several institutions ended up part-owned by the state to prevent a collapse of the system.

Some equity was all but wiped out, such as that of Lehman Brothers, whose collapse in September sent shockwaves throughout financial markets across the globe.


Filed under: Economy • Finance
January 1st, 2009
09:58 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Happy New Year!

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Eva Nordstrom
AC360° Senior Producer

Here are some of the things we are looking at today:

The Obamas are coming back to the states –the girls have to start school soon! The Hay-Adams hotel in DC will serve as their temporary home until January 15.

And as the Obama family gets ready for the Inauguration, you can get ready, too by buying some “Obamabilia” from the inauguration team’s online store. Everything from panoramic posters to designer t-shirts are up for sale.

If you are like most Americans, however, and you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on memorabilia…keep your eye out for Obama’s multi-billion dollar stimulus plan. How will Obama approach the push for his stimulus plan for the new year? How will he circumvent the opposition to his proposal? We’ll have Ed Henry dig into that for us tonight.

We’ll also follow the developments in the Middle East…Is a ground offensive imminent? How many civilians are getting caught in the crossfire? We’ll have a live report from the region on the latest.

And finally, a heart-wrenching interview with a survivor of the avalanches in western Canada. He describes digging himself out and then trying to save his friends. The avalanches killed eight snowmobilers on Wednesday.

Filed under: Eva Nordstrom • The Buzz
January 1st, 2009
08:42 AM ET

Dear President Obama #347: Re-resolution time!

Reporter's Note: Many people are a little draggy today after staying up half the night to welcome the New Year. Not sure what the president did, but hopefully he’s still game for today’s letter to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

My family eats ham and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. It’s an old southern tradition, and I don’t really know all the meanings behind it. I suppose the ham symbolizes hope for wealth. A lot of city dwellers are confused by the notion of a pig representing riches, but the explanation is simple. Most animals on old-fashioned family farms served more than one purpose before they were slaughtered; chickens produced eggs, cows produced milk, sheep produced wool…you get the picture. But pigs just eat and eat, until they are eaten. Therefore, a farmer who could afford pigs was considered wealthy back in the day, and when we eat ham on special occasions we are unwittingly saluting Ol’ McDonald, Ee-i-ee-i-oh.

The black-eyed peas are supposed to bring good luck. I’m not entirely sure why, but I have read that it is because they are a humble food. If you start the year recognizing the simplicity of your needs, and your own unworthiness of the great bounty of life, God may reward you with more. Or something like that. It’s one of those “I’m so humble, I should get a prize!” sort of things.

My wife, who grew up in the north, had never heard of all this before we met, but she has become an eager participant. She read once that black-eyed peas are supposed to look into the future for you and help chart a course for better days. Maybe. Although I must say it kind of creeps me out to imagine a bunch of eyeballs on my plate staring into the months ahead to see what might come my way. All I know for certain is that I grew up having ham and black-eyed peas on New Year’s, I still do, and I presume my daughters will continue to observe the custom as adults because they too have now grown up with it.

Not sure what I’ll do about a New Year’s resolution. I suppose I’ll try to lose weight like pretty much everyone else. And I’ve given thought to the notion of getting up a half hour earlier than usual every day to read and/or write more. But who knows?


January 1st, 2009
08:34 AM ET

Gaza crisis: a crossroads for Obama

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Sandy Tolan
The Christian Science Monitor

The catastrophe unfolding in Gaza has the dark force of a recurring Middle Eastern nightmare: Scattered guerrilla-like attacks from the weak lead to massive retaliation by the strong. Excessive lethal force provokes enraged recriminations. Fresh bloodshed fuels the hard-liners on both sides.

We have seen this cycle many times before: throughout Lebanon (2006), across the occupied territories during the first intifada (1987-93), in east and west Beirut (1982), and even during the founding of modern Israel and the subsequent dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948.

When the smoke finally drifts from Gaza, and the human rights investigations begin – into the death of schoolchildren in midday rocket attacks or the demolition of a women's dormitory – sober voices will ask why Israel has still not learned a fundamental lesson: By trying to crush your enemy, you only make him stronger.


Filed under: Global 360° • Israel • Palestine
January 1st, 2009
08:29 AM ET

Fire at Bangkok's night club

A New Year's Eve party turned tragic last night when a fire broke out at a Bangkok Night club. Watch this raw, uncut video taken by an iReporter from the location. NOTE: This video contains some graphic images.

Filed under: Global 360°
January 1st, 2009
07:59 AM ET

AC360° highlights from New Year's Eve in Times Square

Times Square, New York City.

Anderson Cooper, Erica Hill and Don Lemon ringing in 2009.

Anderson and Kathy...'nuff said.

Cold and crazy crowds in Times Square - about 1 million people braved the temps to take part!

AC360°'s very own Erica Hill.

AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer Kay Jones with Associate Producer Jack Gray.

Happy New Year from the CNN crew in Times Square!

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