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June 9th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
June 9th, 2009
04:33 PM ET

Bodies of Air France victims returned to land

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/06/09/brazil.plane.crash/art.body.afp.gi.jpg caption="Brazilian military personnel on Tuesday carry the remains of one of the passengers of the Air France crash."]

Fernando De Noronha
CNN

The first bodies to be recovered from the crash of Air France 447 returned to land Tuesday, as helicopters landed on the Brazilian archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, according to a CNN reporter on the scene.

Two Brazilian helicopters, each able to carry up to eight bodies, took off earlier to rendezvous with the Brazilian Navy ship carrying the recovered bodies.

Meanwhile, four more bodies were recovered Tuesday, according to the Brazilian air force, bringing the total to 28.

Air France 447 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean last week en route from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris, France, with 228 passengers and crew on board. It was the deadliest plane crash ever for Air France.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Airline Safety
June 9th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

3 Mexican officers killed in Acapulco

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/06/08/mexico.violence/art.acapulco.getty.afp.jpg caption="Suspected gang members are handcuffed after a gunbattle in Acapulco, Mexico, on Saturday."]
Program Note: For more on the killings in Acapulco tune in to hear the latest from CNN's Ed Lavandera. Tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

CNN

Gunmen killed three police officers in Acapulco, Mexico, early Monday morning in attacks on two police stations, the state news agency Notimex reported.

The attacks came two days after a ferocious street gunbattle that left 18 people dead, including two soldiers.

Mexican soldiers, in trucks and helicopters kept watch over the resort town Monday. Along with swine flu fears, the uptick in violence threatens the tourist economy of Acapulco and other popular resort areas.

Witnesses told police that just before 6 a.m., gunmen armed with AK-47s stepped out of two luxury vehicles, walked toward the police station in the Ciudad Renacimiento neighborhood and began shooting.

Acapulco officers Gilberto Reducindo Salazar and Arturo Tonala Aguilar were killed in that incident, according to Notimex.

Shortly afterward, at a second local police station, attackers fatally wounded officer Andres Guzman Casiano, Notimex said. A fourth officer was injured.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Mexico
June 9th, 2009
03:12 PM ET

'Miracle on the Hudson' transcript released

Editor's Note: Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) began its three-day public hearing on safety concerns raised by the “Miracle on the Hudson”. In January 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, captained by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after Canadian geese flew into both engines almost immediately after take-off. In order to fully investigate the incident, the NTSB board will examine passenger and crew interviews as well as in-flight communications. Read the transcript below for the conversation between Capt. Sullenberger, his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles and air traffic control right before their heroic landing.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/24/hudson.controller/art.plane.grab.coned.jpg caption="Surveillance video shows passengers of US Airways Flight 1549 hurrying onto the plane's wings on January 15."]

National Transportation Safety Board

Communication between Capt. Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles in the cockpit:

Sullenberger: birds.

Skiles: whoa.

[sound of thump/thud(s) followed by shuddering sound]

Skiles: oh #. [expletive]

Sullenberger: oh yeah.

[sound similar to decrease in engine noise/frequency begins]

Skiles: uh oh.

Part of the conversation between Capt. Sullenberger and air traffic controller Patrick Harten:

Harten: Cactus fifteen twenty nine turn right two eight
zero, you can land runway one at Teterboro.

Sullenberger: we can't do it.

Harten: kay which runway would you like at Teterboro?

Sullenberger: we're gonna be in the Hudson.

Harten: I'm sorry say again Cactus?

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Chesley Sullenberger
June 9th, 2009
02:44 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Ten banks repaying bailout money

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/09/art.gfx.wallst.jpg]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The Treasury Dept. said this morning that 10 of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. have met the requirements to repay their bailout money. If all these firms choose to do so, the Treasury says it will receive $68 billion in repayment proceeds.

And before the morning was out, all 10 - including American Express, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley - announced plans to pay back their portions of the money they received from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Financial firms have been eager to repay their loans - and cut the legal strings that come along with them - ever since Congress approved the program eight months ago.

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan, has referred to the TARP funds as a “scarlet letter” in reference to the public scrutiny banks have undergone. J.P. Morgan is slated to return $25 billions.

Experts say that allowing the banks to repay the money does show some stability has returned to the financial sector, but caution that the crisis isn't necessarily over yet.

Watchdog calls for ‘stress test’ do-over

In a related development, the major banks that were “stress tested” by the government earlier this year should undergo another round of examinations, a government watchdog group said today, amid signs that the economy may be deteriorating faster than first expected.

In its latest report to lawmakers, the Congressional Oversight Panel pointed to last week’s unemployment report for the month of May as a sign that the stress tests were not stressful enough.

Regulators tested 19 financial institutions back in February to determine which might need support in a severe recession.

All of the lenders that participated were deemed solvent when the results from the tests were announced last month. Ten of those 19, however, were said to face a nearly $75 billion capital shortfall and ordered to raise funds as a result.

Leading the group was Bank of America, which faced a $33.9 billion shortfall. Wells Fargo and Citigroup –which was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday - were deemed to need $13.7 billion and $5.5 billion respectively.

Court slams brakes on Chrysler-Fiat deal

The Supreme Court threw a wrench into the plans to have a quick bankruptcy process at Chrysler, delaying the company's combination with Italian automaker Fiat.

The bankruptcy judge overseeing the Chrysler case had given approval for the company's most valuable assets, such as plants, dealerships and contracts, to become part of a new company in which Fiat would hold a significant stake.

But Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an order issued late Monday, granted a request for a delay of that approval sought by Indiana state pension funds, which had argued that they and other lenders deserved better treatment by the bankruptcy court.

Survey shows hiring still sluggish

Employers are still jittery about hiring but the pace of job loss is stabilizing, according to a staffing firm survey released today.

67% of employers said they plan to hold staff levels steady for the third quarter of 2009, unchanged from the last two quarters, according to Manpower's quarterly employment outlook survey.

Of the 28,000 employers surveyed in the U.S., only 15% anticipated hiring during the third quarter, down from 26% last year. Another 13% expected to reduce their payrolls, up from 10% last year. 5% said they were undecided about their July to September hiring plans.

Of the industries that plan on hiring, leisure & hospitality had the most promising hiring outlook, followed by wholesale & retail trade, professional & business services, financial activities and construction.

Gas prices hold steady

Gasoline prices held steady overnight at $2.619, bringing a halt to 41 straight days of increases.

The average price of a gallon of gas is down $1.49, or 36.3 percent, from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

The highest gas prices are in California ($2.915), while the cheapest are in South Carolina ($2.403).


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • Unemployment • Wall St.
June 9th, 2009
12:43 PM ET

My professor, the spy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/06/05/us.cuba.spies/art.state.department.cnn.jpg caption="Walter Kendall Myers was a professor at Johns Hopkins and a State Department employee. He and his wife were arrested Friday on accusations of spying for Cuba."]

Tom Murray
The Daily Beast

From admiring lectures about Soviet double agent Kim Philby to coffee at my school’s Alger Hiss Café, hints abounded that my professor, accused Cuban spy Walter Kendall Myers, might be a communist spook. But neither I, nor his old boss—Paul Wolfowitz—took notice.

Professor Walter Kendall Myers stood out as a dapper Anglophile in a city, Washington D.C., dominated by blue button-down shirts and khakis. As his student in the spring of 1992, I remember his woolen sweaters and an umbrella, and perhaps even a shepherd's hat. None of those physical images squares with what the government now says is the truth: While teaching me British politics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Kendall Myers was also a spy for Fidel Castro.

These new accusations probably shouldn't have shocked me as much as they did. Looking for some insight into a man I thought was as establishment as they come—his great-grandfather was telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell—I dug through my parents' basement for my class notes, and came across lectures that, in retrospect, contained chilling information: Myers expressed high regard for the notorious Kim Philby and two other Brits—Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess—who became Soviet double agents during the Cold War. According to my notes, Myers suggested that they were called by their sense of duty to "save" Europe (rather than the British Empire), and that U.S. and U.K. policies "turned them into" spies.

Read more

June 9th, 2009
10:53 AM ET

Do you remember your first concert?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/09/art.concert.crowd.jpg]

AC360°

Last night, Erica and Anderson reminisced about their first concerts. Anderson couldn't remember if his was Grandmaster Flash, the Furious Five or Elvis Costello. Erica admitted she saw Peter, Paul, and Mary with her dad.

That got all of us thinking about our own first concerts. What was yours? Let us know and we'll share it tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

June 9th, 2009
10:36 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Can you spot a fraudster

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/06/08/brazil.airfrance.recovery/art.brazil.wreckage.cnn.jpg caption="Recovery efforts have found several items confirmed to have come from Air France Flight 447."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

We follow the fate of the 2 American journalists sentenced to 12 years in prison with labor. The families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee say they are ‘shocked and devastated’ by this news, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US government is working to secure their release.

Will our government send a top official to broker a deal? What does ‘prison with labor’ actually mean? We’ll have answers tonight.

Air France flight investigators have recovered 24 bodies from last week’s crash, meanwhile a French nuclear sub and high tech acoustic devices belonging to the US Navy are headed to search for the flight recorders.

If we don’t know what brought the plane down, how can we prevent a future incident? The area they are searching is the size of Nebraska. This is no easy task. Karl Penhaul is on the ground in Brazil w/this story.

FULL POST


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
June 9th, 2009
10:32 AM ET

What Lebanon's election means for us

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs

Lebanon is a tiny country caught in the middle of aggressive, competing, dangerous powers. It made a major choice this week by voting for a majority in parliament that opposes Iran's and Syria's influences on the country. Like many in the Middle East, Lebanese people listened and liked what President Obama said in his address to Arabs and Muslims. The surprise results in Sunday's elections is a strong sign that a sizeable amount of Lebanese voters decided they much rather deal with a Lebanese government that's with Barack Obama than one that's against him.

Lebanon held its parliamentary elections for the 128-seat assembly pitting a US-supported coalition against one supported and funded by Iran. The result was a surprise majority win of 71 to 57 in favor of the pro-western coalition made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, Druze and Christians. Those two tiny numbers speak volumes about a country’s path, its people, their politics and their future. They might even influence the Iranian presidential election coming up later this month.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/05/lebanon.vote/art.hezbollah.afp.gi.jpg caption="Hezbollah party workers in the southern town of Nabatiyah in anticipation of the elections on Sunday."]

At face value, the 71-57 margin of victory means that the parliamentary majority will have a stronger say in determining the House Speaker required by the constitution to be a Muslim Shiite. The majority’s leader, Saad Hariri, is expected to be Lebanon’s next Sunni Prime Minister. Those two positions along with the Christian Maronite presidency make up Lebanon’s Executive Branch. It guarantees a balance of power among Lebanon’s main religions. It is also natural that the parliamentary majority will have the upper hand in determining who holds key portfolios in the new cabinet.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Hezbollah • Octavia Nasr
June 9th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
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