June 24th, 2009
04:46 PM ET

In battle of the burqa, Obama and Sarkozy differ

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Program Note: Sarkozy's statement comes as debate rages in France about Muslim women wearing the covering, with some French lawmakers calling for a ban on them. Watch the full report Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET 

Howard LaFranchi
The Christian Science Monitor

In the battle of the burqa, the two Western presidents from two international defenders of freedom, France and America, are finding no common ground.

On Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy forcefully condemned the burqa, the traditional female dress for some segments of Islam that covers a woman from head to toe, as a form of enslavement. And he vowed to ban it from the French republic.

Mr. Sarkozy's position, offered in a speech to Parliament, followed by less than a month American President Obama's opposite take on the subject of covering by Muslim women.


Filed under: 360º Follow
June 24th, 2009
04:14 PM ET

Woman in affair declines interview

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/24/south.carolina.governor/art.gov.sanford.scetv.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford chokes up on Wednesday as he admits to having an affair."]

The State

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford acknowledged Wednesday that he was carrying on an affair with a woman in Argentina when he disappeared from his office last week, only to resurface this morning.

He did not identify the woman, but asked for privacy. He also said that his wife had known about the affair for five months and that he had known the women for eight years.

He described the affair has having begun innocently enough, via e-mail.

A McClatchy special correspondent visited the apartment building in Buenos Aires where the woman reportedly lives. The woman declined to talk to a reporter. The doorman at the building, shown a photograph of Sanford, said he did not recognize him.

Filed under: 360° Radar
June 24th, 2009
03:42 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

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Security forces wielding clubs and firing weapons beat back demonstrators who flocked to a Tehran square Wednesday to continue protests, two witnesses said.

The Guardian Council extended the deadline until Sunday to examine the results of the presidential election, but Iran’s parliament has pledged to inaugurate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president by mid-August.

The Iranian government has sharply limited the activities of international journalists inside Iran.

Do you have questions about the situation in Iran? Let us know! We'll have experts on to weigh in tonight.

Send us a text message with your question to 94553, and you might hear it on air!

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, we will not receive your text.

Filed under: T1 • Text 360
June 24th, 2009
03:35 PM ET
June 24th, 2009
03:25 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Fed sees signs of hope

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The Federal Reserve this afternoon held its key interest rate steady at near zero, and said in a statement that although the economy remains weak, there are signs of a recovery.

Policymakers said that the pace of the nation's economic decline is slowing and that household spending is showing signs of stabilizing.

The central bank also said conditions in financial markets have generally improved in recent months, and that while businesses continue to cut back staff and spending, their inventories are coming into line with demand.

Durable goods orders rise

Orders to factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose sharply for a second straight month in May, and a key indicator of business investment surged by the largest amount in nearly five years.

The Commerce Department said this morning that durable goods orders rose 1.8% last month, far better than the 0.6 percent decline that economists expected.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices
June 24th, 2009
02:20 PM ET

New law to help in paying back college loans

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Sally Holland
CNN Senior Producer

As a graduate from Syracuse University with a master's degree in international relations, Jana Morgan was hoping to help victims of human rights violations caused by resource wars. The tight job market, though, has made her put those dreams aside for now while she pays her bills– by waiting tables at The Barrack's Inn in Sackets Harbor, NY.

Morgan is realistic about her future income options. "If you are going into public service, you aren't going there to make money, you are going there to help people," she said in a recent interview.

Her less-than-anticipated income means that it is difficult for her to make her student loan payments for the almost $80,000 in debt she accumulated getting through college. Jana is looking at a new law that goes into effect July 1 that would help her cap her student loans at 15% of her adjusted gross income. Then, if she completes ten years of public service, her loans would be dropped completely. Based on her current income, her $800 payments would go away for the time being, according to calculations she did on the Department of Education's web site.

Keep reading

Filed under: 360° Radar
June 24th, 2009
02:18 PM ET
June 24th, 2009
02:09 PM ET

TV co-hosts clash


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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

They were friendly co-hosts on camera. But behind the scenes, something was wrong. “I was scared,” said Amy DuPont, the anchor for WXOW/ABC 19 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “You think you know someone and obviously I didn’t.”

DuPont is referring to Zach Brown, her former on-air partner and colleague at WXOW. Brown, who was also a meteorologist, bantered with DuPont for several years on the station’s morning newscast.

“I thought we had a good working relationship,” DuPont told CNN. But in November, 2007, DuPont began receiving strange emails from someone who used the screen name “Mario.”

Captain Kurt Papenfuss of the La Crosse County’s Sheriff’s Department described the messages were “catty” and contained “weird stuff.” In an interview, he also said some of the comments were about the on-air relationship between DuPont and Brown. “The gist of it was,” Captain Papenfuss said, “you need to be nicer to Zach, you’re mean on air, quit talking about your baby.”

The first email was sent in late 2007. And they didn’t stop until this June. In all, the authorities said 21 inappropriate emails were sent to DuPont. And she began to suspect they may be coming from her co-host. “In the back of my mind I wondered,” she said.

DuPont asked the police to investigate. It didn’t take long to get some answers. Armed with a subpoena, authorities were able to trace back the emails to a computer in Brown’s home.

But was he the one sending the emails? “We brought him into the station,” Captain Papenfuss said, “and he wouldn’t really respond to anything.

The police did say Brown told his employer he was aware the emails were coming from his residence, but insisted his roommate was sending them, not him.

Brown could not be reached for comment. In a brief phone call, Sean Dwyer, the News Director for WXOW told CNN, “all I can say is, he is no longer an employee at News 19.”

This week DuPont was granted a temporary restraining order against Brown. She’s also hoping to put this story behind her. “I’m ready for something else in the news to take the attention of me,” she said.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
June 24th, 2009
12:32 PM ET

The Buzz: That lying dog, and the burka

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/06/23/france.burkas/art.burka.france.afp.gi.jpg caption="A woman wears traditional Muslim dress in Venissieux, near Lyon."]

Eliza Browning
AC360º Associate Producer

In 1981 Bill Dillon was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The evidence? Testimony from a German Shepherd who was able to sniff out Dillon’s scent on a t-shirt left at the scene of the crime. Yes, that’s right, a dog.

The pooch and his owner were apparently frequently used in court cases in Brevard County, Fla. by the sheriff and district attorney to nail down convictions. But – surprise, surprise – it turns out the investigator and the dog with amazing detection abilities were a fraud.

Dillon has since been exonerated, but the Innocence Project predicts there could be more than 50 others in jail because of this hoax. Randi Kaye sits down with Bill Dillon tonight.

Anderson anchors the show from Paris, where he is digging deeper on the growing debate over the burka. French President Nicolas Sarkozy took sides recently, condemning the wearing of this head-to-toe garment worn by some Muslim women as a “sign of subservience.” In a speech before parliament Sarkozy said it was not a religious symbol and that it was not welcome in France. Strong words from the Elysees…what do you think? Did he go too far?


Filed under: 360° Radar • Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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