Tonight on 360°
Airstrikes continue in Gaza as Israel amasses troops and artillery at the border.
A ground assault could begin at any moment. We'll have a live report from Nic Robertson in Israel.
And tragedy strikes John Travolta and his family. His sixteen year old son dies while the family is on vacation.
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Tonight our deepest sympathies go out to actor John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston.
Their 16-year-old son, Jett, died today during a family vacation in the Bahamas. He reportedly suffered a seizure and couldn’t be revived. His parents are said to be devastated. It’s a heartbreaking story.
The Travoltas have said Jett suffered from Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disorder of the artery walls that most often strikes young children and can lead to heart disease. We’re digging deeper with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Meantime, we’re bracing for an escalation in Gaza.
All day, speculation has been building that an Israeli ground invasion may be imminent. After seven days of airstrikes, the United Nations says much of Gaza’s infrastructure is in ruins. But even so, independent reports indicate that Hamas has as firm a grip on Gaza as ever. Nic Robertson is on the ground with the latest.
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Japanese monkeys gather to soak in a hot spring at a snow-covered valley in Yamanouchi town, central Japan January 2, 2009.
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April 3, 2009
John Demjanjuk’s birthday today – his 89th – likely will be his last in the United States. Demjanjuk will be removed from his home in suburban Cleveland this weekend and flown to Munich, where Monday he will be turned to German authorities.
The German government plans to try the Ukrainian immigrant as an accessory to the murder of 29,000 people while working as a guard at the Sobibor death camp from March-September 1943. Demjanjuk denies having been a camp guard, saying instead he fought in the Soviet army and later was a prisoner of war held by the Germans.
Experts believe that as many as 250,000 Jews – mostly women, children and the elderly – may have been killed at Sobibor, in Nazi-occupied Poland. Women were shorn of their hair and victims were marched naked into gas chambers, where the Nazi SS employed methods developed in “Operation Euthanasia.” Bodies then were dumped into pits and burned, but not before gold fillings were removed from the mouths of the dead.
Demjanjuk’s family says that he suffers from chronic kidney disease and has difficulty walking. He will be kept in a prison or a clinic until trial.
Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told CNN that he was "thrilled" at the news of Demjanjuk's deportation, which has long been dependent on which country was prepared to accept him.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum welcomed the news, saying in a statement it "applauds Germany's efforts to hold the perpetrators of Nazi crimes accountable."
"Almost 65 years after the Holocaust, this act sends an important message about the enduring need to make the perpetrators of genocide, wherever they are, answer for their crimes," the statement said.
Two weeks ago, a former Nazi SS guard was freed by Austria a day after being deported from the U.S. Josias Kumpf, 83, of Racine, Wis., served as a SS “Death’s Head” guard at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany and at the Trawniki Labor Camp in Poland. The Austrian justice ministry said that it told U.S. authorities before the deportation that Kumpf, who had emigrated to the U.S. from Austria, would be freed since he was younger than 20 at the time of the crimes and because he was never an Austrian citizen, nor were the crimes committed in Austria.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/art.nazi.deportation.jpg caption="U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey (R) and Fred Zeidman (L), Chairman of U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, DC. The Department of Justice has donated copies of its records against alleged Nazi war criminals living in the U.S."]
CNN Senior National Editor
What would you do about a small number of men, the youngest in their 80s and generally not in the greatest of health, who immigrated to the United States after World War II and have been living working-class American lives for decades. They have wives, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They also stand accused of participating in the extermination of 6 million Jews and countless others in Nazi concentration camps.
While exact numbers are hard to come by, an estimated 90,000 to 125,000 Holocaust survivors live in the United States, the youngest in their late 60s and early 70s. They remember grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles and siblings beaten or shot to death, starved in forced labor camps or gassed and their bodies burned in the crematoria of death camps whose names remain infamous.
Some forgive; many don't. They want justice, no matter how many years have passed.
What do you do about these old men, let nature take its course or find them, prosecute them and deport them?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/30/carville.2009/art.capitol.cnn.jpg caption="Simple math says Democrats are more likely get caught up in a scandal, Carville says."]
You know, people will insist that 2008 had 366 days. I don't believe it. I think it had 36,066 days.
It certainly felt much longer than any year that I've ever experienced. Only time will tell what's in store for us in 2009, but first I have a few predictions.
Internationally, I believe there will be a peace agreement between Israel and Syria in the next 18 months. It is something that will be a priority for the incoming Obama administration.
In domestic politics, my first prediction is one that pains me to make, but I'll make it anyway.
CNN Financial News Producer
Wall Street officially welcomed 2009 today with a big rally, and investors are hoping it will be a heck of a lot better than 2008. Traders are looking for a fresh start after one of the worst years in Wall Street's history. Last year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 34%, the S&P 500 lost 39% and the Nasdaq slid 41%.
A key index of the nation's manufacturing activity fell to a 28-year low in December. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index was 32.4 for December. That's the lowest reading since June 1980, when it stood at 30.3. Economists say a reading this low indicates a deep recession.
Brianna Keilar | Bio
CNN Congressional Correspondent
President-elect Obama will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Monday to discuss his proposal for the new economic stimulus plan, which leaders are now referring to as an "economy recovery plan", a Senate Democratic leadership aide said Friday. Obama, Pelosi and Reid are then hoping to meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner, the aide told CNN.
The President-elect's staff contacted McConnell's office about meeting on Monday but the time and location has not been buttoned down, said a Senate Republican leadership aide. "It's likely to happen but the details still need to be worked out," said the aide. Asked if Republicans are satisfied with what appears to be an effort by Obama to include them in discussions about the new economic stimulus package the GOP aide said, " It depends on what the meeting is - if it's just a photo opp or if they're really reaching out."
Editor's Note: Tune in tonight for more on Blagojevich's controversial Senate appointment. AC360° at 10 pm ET.
E. J. Dionne Jr.
The Washington Post
Political circuses just don't get any better than this - unless you happen to care about a new administration taking power in the midst of national and international catastrophes.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich knows how to make life hell for his enemies, who now encompass almost everyone in the Democratic Party, including President-elect Barack Obama. Yet "almost everyone" is the operative phrase. Roland Burris, the veteran African American politician, discovered an affection for the embattled governor after Blagojevich appointed him to Obama's Senate seat Tuesday.
The US government has seized control of Citigroup's staff Christmas party budget and set tight restrictions on the use of its corporate jet in exchange for its $45bn (£28bn) bail-out.
The measures are among a raft of restrictions on expenses detailed in the small print of filing made by Citi on New Year's Eve with the US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filing was made to formalise restrictions on executive pay and bonuses that Citi's chief executive, Vikram Pandit, was forced to adopt in exchange for the US government bail-out, which includes guarantees on $306bn of troubled assets on top of $45bn of loans.