June 17th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Text Aid to Pakistan

Program Note: Tune in tonight for special coverage of World Refugee Day on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. And learn more about how you can help by visiting Impact Your World.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/06/16/world.refugees.report/art.refugees.gi.jpg caption="Displaced Pakistanis battle severe winds and dust at Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar."]


The refugee crisis in Pakistan is one of the grimmest in the world and the situation is only worsening. As of January 2009, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported nearly 1.8 million people had fled their homes to escape the violence, primarily between the Pakistani army and the Taliban in and around Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Today, estimates of refugees range near 2.5 million.

Last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new way for people to donate to the U.N.’s Pakistani refugee efforts by texting on a cell phone. This is in addition to the $100-million humanitarian aid package the U.S. government pledged last month.

By texting “SWAT” to 20222, Americans can make a donation to the U.N. to help alleviate Pakistan’s refugee crisis. “A $5 contribution will help the UNHCR provide tents, clothing, food, and medicine to hundreds of thousands of affected people,” Clinton said.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Hillary Clinton • Impact Your World • Pakistan
June 17th, 2009
09:46 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 06/17/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, we're looking at the big question on many minds: Is Iran collapsing? Another major protest expected any moment now over last week's presidential election. There are still reports that the baton wielding paramilitary is attacking protesters. We'll have the latest from Tehran.

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
June 17th, 2009
08:27 PM ET

“Come on….It’s just pot”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/02/27/juarez.mexico.violence/art.police.jpg caption="In Juarez, Mexico, 1,600 people were killed in 2008, three times more than the most murderous city in the U.S."]

Rusty Fleming
Documentary Filmmaker and Author

It was a little after midnight when I crossed over the bridge from Laredo, Texas into the sister city of Nuevo Laredo Mexico. After having my car searched I was cleared through the Mexican Customs check point where the military was staged and drove towards my destination.

I had a source of mine, a local reporter, call me four hours earlier to tell me to meet him at a specific restaurant at 1am because he had some photographs and information for me. I was investigating a specific series of brutal murders that had taken place in the Laredo corridor. This meeting with a contact wasn’t all that unusual—most of the investigative journalists in Mexico work under intense circumstances as they often fall upon information relating to the drug cartels that they either can not, or will not, report on because it would be a death sentence for them.Therefore, they give the information to someone like me who will get it aired or published in a way that does not connect them.

I arrived early to the restaurant and since the weather was pleasant, I decided to take a seat on the patio and have a glass of tea. I sat for a few minutes when my source arrived and sat down, ordered a drink and handed me a large white envelope. He told me this was everything I had been asking his editor about the day before and that I should be careful how I use it. I thanked him, (by paying him), and we talked for about 20 minutes after which he asked if I could give him a ride home.


June 17th, 2009
07:58 PM ET

White House extends benefits to gay workers

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/16/obama.same.sex.benefits/art.obama.townhall.afp.jpg caption="President Obama has been criticized by gay rights activists for not doing more since taking office."]

Suzanne Malveaux
CNN White House Correspondent

Sources familiar with White House thinking and involved in administration discussions with gay advocates:

Benefits: President Obama will announce the following extended benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees:

-family medical leave
-healthcare benefits for the children of domestic partners
-survivor benefits
-hospital visitation

For State Department employees: Same sex partners will be treated the same as spouses for foreign workers and diplomats including:

-use of medical facilities overseas
-access to medical evacuation


June 17th, 2009
07:05 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Meet "King Bong"

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we continue our look at marijuana in America. You'll meet a pot pioneer. Some call him the "King Bong." He's made millions in his pursuit to legalize pot.

We're also taking your questions on marijuana. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta has the medical facts on whether it's good or bad for your health. You can text your questions to 94553. The message must start with the letters AC, and then a space, then your name and question. If you do not include AC first with a space, sadly we won't receive your text.

And, we'll  have the latest from Iran where another mass protest  over last week's presidential election could get underway at any moment.

Join us for all this and more starting at 10pm ET.

See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
June 17th, 2009
07:03 PM ET

Rigged or not, vote fractures Iran

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/17/iran.elections.rallies/art.tehran.protester.afp.gi.jpg caption="An Iranian protester rallies Wednesday. Even larger protests are expected Thursday. "]

Hamid Dabashi
Special to CNN

In a recent article published both in the Washington Post and the Guardian, Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty reported that according to their "nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote ... Ahmadinejad [was] leading by a more than 2-to-1 margin - greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election."

That may or may not be the case, but the abiding wisdom of Aesop's fable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" or its Persian version, "The Lying Shepherd," has now made any such Monday-morning quarterbacking an academic exercise in futility.

The assumption that the government has rigged the election has become a "social fact" that millions of Iranians believe. On the basis of that belief, they have put their lives on the line, with reported casualties of dozens injured and at least one, perhaps up to nine, people killed.

Chief among the slogans of supporters of presidential challenger Mir Hossein Moussavi is "With God's help victory is at hand/Death to this deceitful government!" Such a significant and sizeable segment of Iranian society has lost its trust in this regime in general, and in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency in particular, that, even if this time around the authorities are telling the truth, they have "cried wolf" too many times to be trusted.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
June 17th, 2009
06:35 PM ET

Photo Gallery: Images of Monday's protests in Iran

Editor's Note: These photos were taken by a witness during protests in Tehran, Iran on Monday, June 15.


June 17th, 2009
06:34 PM ET

A Pet Serial Killer?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/17/florida.cat.killings/art.ty.jpg caption="Tyler Weinman, 18, is under house arrest, accused of killing 19 pet cats in Miami, Florida."]

Alyssa Caplan
AC360° Staffer

Who or what is behind a spree that has left 18 pet cats gruesomely mutilated and seemingly showcased for their devastated owners? Miami-Dade police have been trying to answer this question and unravel the mystery that has gripped, and at times seemed to terrorize, the Miami towns of Cutler & Palmetto Bay over the last month where police and pet owners began discovering disfigured cats May 13th. Was a serial killer on the loose? Was this some sort of sick prank? The work of a wild animal? Gang initiation or a cult? Who or what might be the next victim?

On Sunday, police announced they had made an arrest. Palmetto High school senior Tyler Hayes Weinman was taken in to custody and charged with 19 counts of Animal cruelty, 4 counts of Burglary, and 19 counts of Improper Disposal of a Dead Animal. Weinman could face a maximum of 158 years in state prison if convicted on all counts, said Terry Shavez, spokeswoman for the state attorney's office. Find more background on the arrest and Weinman, here.

A judge ordered Weinman released today during a brief hearing after deemed "competent" following psychological testing. Weinman will return home fitted with an electronic monitoring device until he is summoned to appear for his next hearing July 6.

Weinman's family and some friends have rallied to his support that they absolutely have the wrong guy. His attorney, David Macey, alleges his client is innocent. "It's trial by ambush," Macey said. "It's anything goes so that they can have a body, a warm body, to solve these cat killings. My heart and my sympathy goes out to the owners of these pets, but unfortunately, it won't provide them any relief that Tyler's in custody. Tyler is innocent."

Left puzzled over this bizarre crime, we reached out to Fmr. FBI profiler Candice DeLong to help make sense of what type of person might be motivated to go on a cat killing spree, and why?

Q & A with Candice DeLong
Host of the Discovery Channel Series Deadly Woman, former FBI Profiler and Psychiatric Nurse

Caplan: Candice, when you first heard about these pet cats showing up on their owners lawns mutilated, what went through your mind? FULL POST

Filed under: 360° Radar • Alyssa Caplan • Crime & Punishment
June 17th, 2009
06:31 PM ET

Beat 360° 6/17/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens as President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak conduct a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!

__________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: 360° Radar • Beat 360° • Hillary Clinton • T1
June 17th, 2009
06:31 PM ET

In search of a story

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/17/ling-lee-skorea-protest.jpg caption="A South Korean activist holding pictures of U.S. journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling"]

Jami Floyd
In Session anchor

The families of two American journalists convicted of “hostilities against the Korean nation” and sentenced to hard labor in a North Korean prison camp are speaking out. The families of Euna Lee and Laura Ling say that yesterday’s news from North Korea said that the women had admitted crossing into the country illegally was the first (and only) word they have had about them since last week’s sentencing.

Of course, Americans visiting other countries must follow their laws. If we don’t, we will be subject to their system of justice, no matter how undemocratic it may be. In this case, however, Lee and Ling weren’t in North Korea; they were in China. Even if they did cross the border, they have apologized, publicly, privately and repeatedly.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jami Floyd • North Korea
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