June 22nd, 2009
04:25 PM ET

New lead in '59 abduction


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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Before Adam Walsh, Etan Patz and Madeleine McCann. Before the first Amber Alert. Before a young face stared back from the side of a milk carton, there was Danny.

Danny Barter vanished in 1959. He was on a family camping trip to Alabama's Perdido Bay. He was playing with his dad one minute, gone the next. "Just like that," recalled his brother, Mike Barter. Danny was 4 years-old.

Over this past weekend, his loved ones returned to the campsite and to the scene of the presumed stranger abduction. They came to remember Danny, and to rededicate a half-century mission to find him.

Even with the passage of time, their faith has not wavered. "We've never doubted that he's not out there, "said Mike Barter. "Until they prove otherwise, we hope one day we will be reunited."

Their hope has been bolstered by investigators with the FBI and the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, which re-opened the case last year after hearing of a conversation pertaining to the case. "A lead was sparked when someone was sitting in a public area talking about what happened," FBI Spokeswoman Joyce Riggs wrote in an email message to the members of the media.


June 22nd, 2009
04:10 PM ET

$1.15 million for a waterless lake?

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Anna Duning
AC 360º Intern

Program Note: Tonight on AC 360º, we’re keeping them honest and taking a closer look at one of these projects: a $5.4 million “Eco-Passage” in Lake Jackson, Florida that protects turtles and other wildlife from becoming road-kill.

Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D., of Oklahoma has a “second opinion” about the $787 billion stimulus bill that passed in Congress earlier this year. In his recently released  report, “100 Stimulus Projects: A Second Opinion,” Sen. Coburn reviews 100 projects and programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that, he believes, have the potential to fail or waste near $5.5 billion in tax-payer money.

Here’s a quick look at other projects detailed in the report that American tax-payers may find questionable:

  • A nearly empty lake in Oklahoma is being provided with almost $1.15 million for a new guardrail. Optima Lake was built in the 1960’s to improve water supply in the arid region, but the Geological Society of America says the lake loses 100 percent of its inflowing water to evaporation.
  • A bridge in Iowa County, Wisconsin will receive $430,000 for repairs, but according to the report, does not carry more than 10 cars a day.  Another bridge in rural Wisconsin will receive $840,000 to repair damage and carries an average 260 vehicles a day, primarily to a golf course and Rusty’s Backwater Saloon.  
  • At around $300 a piece, road signs are being put up at construction sites to notify drivers that the projects are being paid for with stimulus money. All together, the signs could cost up to $150,000.
  • Nantucket’s Marine and Coastal Resources Department will receive $2 million to monitor scallop reproduction and habitat.
  • A state-run liquor warehouse in Montana will receive $2.2 million in stimulus money to install skylights in its ceiling.
  • Is your home-town receiving stimulus cash? Are those funds being put to good use? Read Sen. Coburn’s report and decide for yourself.

    Filed under: 360° Radar • Keeping Them Honest
    June 22nd, 2009
    03:58 PM ET

    Beat 360° 6/22/09

    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:

    U.S. President Barack Obama (R) holds up a pair of tongs as celebrity chef Bobby Flay (2nd R) looks on during a South Lawn event hosting young men from local schools June 19, 2009 at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Alex Wong/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: Beat 360° • T1
    June 22nd, 2009
    03:43 PM ET

    Iran conflict isn't class warfare

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    Hamid Dabashi
    Special to CNN

    In a short essay that Abbas Amanat, a scholar of 19th-century Iran at Yale University, was asked to write for The New York Times on the current crisis in Iran, he asserted that what we are witnessing is "the rise of a new middle class whose demands stand in contrast to the radicalism of the incumbent President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and the core conservative values of the clerical elite, which no doubt has the backing of a religiously conservative sector of the population."

    This learned position of a leading scholar very much sums up the common wisdom that Iranian expatriate academics are offering an excited public mesmerized by the massive demonstrations they witness on their television sets or computer screens and eager to have someone make sense of them.

    In part because of these hurried interpretations, the movement that is unfolding in front of our eyes is seen as basically a middle-class uprising against a retrograde theocracy that is banking on backward, conservative and uneducated masses who do not know any better. While the illiterate and "uncouth" masses provide the populist basis of Ahmadinejad's support, the middle class is demanding an open-market civil society.

    Highly educated, pro-Western and progressive Iranians are thus placed on Mir Hossein Moussavi's side, while backward villagers and urban poor are on Ahmadinejad's. The fact that in North America and Western Europe, usually unveiled and fluently English-speaking women are brought to speak on behalf of the women demonstrators further intensifies the impression that if women are veiled or do not speak English fluently then they must be Ahmadinejad supporters.

    Keep reading...

    Filed under: 360º Follow • Iran
    June 22nd, 2009
    03:27 PM ET

    'Neda' becomes rallying cry for Iranian protests

    [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/21/iran.woman.twitter/art.woman.shot.jpg caption="People tend to a woman called Neda as she lies on the street."]


    "RIP NEDA, The World cries seeing your last breath, you didn't die in vain. We remember you."

    That Twitter post was from a man who said he is a guitarist from Nashville, Tennessee.

    Amid the hundreds of images of Saturday's crackdown on protesters in Iran that were distributed to the world over the Internet, it was the graphic video showing the dying moments of a young woman shot in the heart that touched a nerve for many people around the world.

    Like most of the information coming out of Tehran, it is impossible to verify her name, Neda, or the circumstances of her apparent death, which was captured close-up on a bystander's camera.

    CNN ran a pixilated version of the video, which was posted on YouTube. Another amateur video captured images of Neda and her father attending what appeared to be a peaceful protest, just moments before the shooting.

    Keep reading...

    Filed under: 360º Follow • Iran
    June 22nd, 2009
    01:12 PM ET

    Obama to Iran: 'The whole world is watching'

    Program Note: For more on President Obama's take on the situation in Iran, tune in to hear political analyst, David Gergen on AC360° tonight 10 P.M. ET .

    [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/20/iran.obama/art.white.house.afp.gi.jpg caption="Iranian women demonstrate Saturday in front of the White House, where President Obama issued a statement."]


    President Obama called Saturday for the Iranian government to refrain from violence and injustice against its own citizens.

    "The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching," Obama said in a White House statement. "We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people."

    He said the United States stands with all who seek to exercise what he called the universal rights to assembly and free speech.

    The statement came as Iranian security forces cracked down Saturday on demonstrators in Tehran in continuing protests against the outcome of Iran's June 12 election.

    Thousands of protesters took to the streets Saturday, even though the demonstrations were banned and police confronted them with clubs, tear gas and water cannons. A threatening statement a day earlier by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had raised fears of bloodshed.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the overwhelming victor in voting that opposition groups called rigged. No independent monitors were permitted for the election, and protests against the outcome grew in succeeding days.

    Keep reading...

    Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran • President Barack Obama
    June 22nd, 2009
    12:24 PM ET

    Financial Dispatch: Gas prices hit the brakes

    [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/06/18/smartphone.wars/art.iphone.afp.gi.jpg caption="Apple reported it sold over 1 million new iPhones after the release of its latest version this weekend."]

    Andrew Torgan
    CNN Financial News Producer

    After rising nearly 32% since April 29th, gas finally decreased by 3-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.69. That puts an end to 54 straight days of increases.

    The average price of a gallon of gas is down $1.424 or 34.6% from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

    The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.057) and California ($3.027). The cheapest gas prices are in South Carolina ($2.506).

    One analyst says that Father’s Day represented the highest prices we’ll pay for the next few months – adding that gas should decrease between 5 to 15 cents in the upcoming weeks.


    Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Gas Prices
    June 22nd, 2009
    10:37 AM ET

    Obama's Middle East challenge

    [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/04/muslim.reaction/art.obama.tv.afp.gi.jpg caption="Palestinians in East Jerusalam watch President Obama's speech at an electronics shop."]

    Fawaz A. Gerges

    In a dramatic initiative, President Barack Obama has sought to reframe and shift the Middle East debate away from conflict and war to cooperation and partnership. His choice of Cairo as the location of this initiative, and his recognition of the Palestinians’ plight, have already led some within the Muslim community to sense a powerful change in the US’s attitude to Muslims. This change may even win over more mainstream Islamists and former Jihadis and associates of Osama bin Laden provided the momentum of goodwill created by the rhetoric is built upon and not allowed to fizzle out.

    Obama’s speech in Cairo offered a powerful contrarian paradigm to that of bin Laden and reminded his Muslim audience that the relationship between Islam and the Christian West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, not just conflict and religious war.

    Unlike his preaching predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama fully understands that the raging battle between the US and Al Qaeda’s transnational jihadis can’t be won on the battlefield. In the eyes of the world, particularly Islam, America lost its moral compass and the world’s hearts and minds. Al Qaeda’s war paradigm, if not its terrorist tactics, gained momentum and credibility all over Muslim lands. Opinion polls showed that large majorities of Muslims believed that the US was waging a war against their culture and religion, and that the US was trying to subjugate their people.


    Filed under: Middle East • President Barack Obama
    June 22nd, 2009
    10:23 AM ET
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