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June 25th, 2009
05:26 PM ET

Sanford took taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina last June

Editor's Note: Sanford denied allegations Thursday that he had improperly taken a taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina a year ago, roughly the time he began an affair with a woman who lived there, but said he would still reimburse the state for all expenses related to his visit to that country.

Peter Hamby
CNN Political Producer

Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.

Sanford revealed Wednesday that he began an affair with "a dear, dear friend" from Argentina last year.

It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman the during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with her "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.

Sanford's office said the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor.

The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.

After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 — one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted his extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360º Follow • Keeping Them Honest
June 25th, 2009
05:25 PM ET

Heroin, Al Qaeda and the Taliban

Gretchen Peters
Thomas Dunne Books, May 2009

This is an excerpt from the first chapter of Gretchen Peter's new book "Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda", published May 2009.

Instead of intensifying efforts to go after the traffickers and money launderers behind the insurgency, the U.S. government has pushed for broadscale aerial spraying of poppy fields. Wide-scale spraying would play into the hands of traffickers and terrorists. If implemented, this policy would drive up opium prices, thus increasing profits for drug dealers and the Taliban, and make life even harder for already debt- ridden Afghan farmers— exactly the results the U.S. government and NATO don’t want.

It’s easy to see how we got into this mess. Finding a way out presents a greater challenge. One can blame the current predicament on a combination of geography, poverty, and the "light footprint" approach. Landlocked Afghanistan is one of the poorest and most backward countries in the world, with social indicators on par with places like Burundi and Ethiopia. Almost one in four Afghan children die before they reach age five and average life expectancy is just forty- three years. Per capita GDP was estimated by the World Bank in 2003 to be a mere $310.

The nation’s infrastructure is pitiable, with one phone line for every five hundred people, few paved roads, not a single functioning sewage system, and a capital city that grinds along on just a few hours of city power per day. The economy is in shambles, inflation is skyrocketing, and along the rugged Pakistan frontier, many tribes have survived for centuries by smuggling goods through the forbidding mountain passes. Financial hardships weigh on ordinary Afghans as much as security concerns. In a 2006 survey by the Asia Foundation, Afghans named poverty and unemployment as more critical concerns than the Taliban.


Filed under: Afghanistan
June 25th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Beat 360° 6/25/09

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 the Treasury Timothy Geithner(R) serves lunch as a volunteer at SOME(So Others Might Eat) with advice from Father John Adams(L) as part of the Obama Administration's 'United We Serve' summer service initiative. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/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.

__________________________________________________________________________________


Filed under: 360° Radar • Beat 360° • T1
June 25th, 2009
04:57 PM ET

Iraq fears renewed violence

EA man grieves as he sees a coffin carrying his relative who was killed in the Wednesday blast at a Baghdad market.

EA man grieves as he sees a coffin carrying his relative who was killed in the Wednesday blast at a Baghdad market.

Emad Al-shara
The Philadelphia Inquirer

A recent spate of attacks largely directed at Baghdad's Shia neighborhoods is fueling concerns that sectarian and political violence may be returning to the city. Residents are especially worried, given that American forces are to withdraw from Iraqi cities by next week.

Shias haven't been the only victims. Car bombings have also occurred recently in the Dora district, which is predominantly Sunni. But some fear that the high number of incidents aimed at Shia targets indicates that sectarian and political violence is on the rise.

"This environment is really scary," said Mohamed Ali, a Baghdad resident. "There are whispers of the possibility of more sectarian violence and sectarian political parties taking control." Ali al-Allaq, a member of the Shia-led United Iraqi Alliance bloc, said he believes Shia areas are being targeted "to stir up a sectarian war."

Many recall that the bombing of the Shia al-Askari shrine in Samarra in 2006 ignited bloody sectarian battles that brought the country to the brink of civil war. "Iraqi citizens have been burned by sectarian fire," said Abdulmunam al-Asam, a writer and political analyst. "They fear [sectarianism] will return."

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iraq
June 25th, 2009
04:43 PM ET

Neda Soltan's family 'forced out of home' by Iranian authorities

People tend to a woman called Neda as she lies on the street.

People tend to a woman called Neda as she lies on the street.

A correspondent in Tehran
The Guardian

The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world.

Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said.

"We just know that they [the family] were forced to leave their flat," a neighbour said. The Guardian was unable to contact the family directly to confirm if they had been forced to leave.

The government is also accusing protesters of killing Soltan, describing her as a martyr of the Basij militia. Javan, a pro-government newspaper, has gone so far as to blame the recently expelled BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, of hiring "thugs" to shoot her so he could make a documentary film.

Soltan was shot dead on Saturday evening near the scene of clashes between pro-government militias and demonstrators, turning her into a symbol of the Iranian protest movement. Barack Obama spoke of the "searing image" of Soltan's dying moments at his press conference yesterday.

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran
June 25th, 2009
04:04 PM ET

Risks of Anal Cancer

Actress Farrah Fawcett had been battling anal cancer on and off for three years.

Actress Farrah Fawcett had been battling anal cancer on and off for three years.

Program Note: For more on actress Farrah Fawcett and her battle with anal cancer, tune in tonight,  AC360° at 10 p.m. ET 

American Cancer Society &
National Cancer Institute

Anal cancer is fairly rare - much less common than cancer of the colon or rectum. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009 about 5,290 new cases of anal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. The number of new anal cancer cases has been on the rise for many years.

Lifetime Risk
Based on rates from 2004-2006, 0.16% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer of the anus, anal canal, and anorectum at some time during their lifetime. This number can also be expressed as 1 in 624 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of the anus, anal canal, and anorectum during their lifetime. These statistics are called the lifetime risk. See Fast Stats for more detailed statistics, and Probability of Developing and Dying of Cancer for methodology.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360º Follow • Medical News
June 25th, 2009
03:52 PM ET

A father, a son and the Taliban

Residents sift through the rubble of a bombed school near Peshawar.

Residents sift through the rubble of a bombed school near Peshawar.

Editor's note: Two weeks ago in Pakistan a leading anti-Taliban cleric was killed by a suicide bomber. CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson visited his son at the school where his father was killed and found surprises in security and nuances in attitudes toward suicide bombers.

Nic Robertson
CNN Senior International Correspondent

I first realized something was wrong when the hand-held metal detector didn't make a sound.

There were three phones in my pocket, surely one of them should have triggered the guard's electronic wand to do something. Not a bleep, not even a twinkling LED.

It was all a little surreal. Here we were just feet from where a Taliban suicide bomber had blown himself up the week before killing the owner of the establishment and yet security was so lax his brother could have come in with a second pay load and no one would have been any the wiser until it went off.

The man the suicide bomber had come to kill was Mulana Safaraz Naeemi, the proprietor of the religious schools we were now entering.

Naeemi had built a vast network of religious schools, better known here as Madrassas, all across Pakistan. In Lahore alone he had more than 100, attended by as many as 100,000 young students. The one we were now visiting was the flagship, Jamia Naeemi.

As we moved inside, there arrayed around the open courtyard and in classrooms were his students, sitting on low benches at low tables rocking backwards and forwards memorizing the Quran. Apparently they'd taken a two-day break after he'd been killed and then gone back to their studies.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Q & A • Nic Robertson • Pakistan
June 25th, 2009
03:02 PM ET

Don’t get outraged at Sanford

Peter Bregman
Special to CNN

"Daddy," my 7-year-old daughter, Isabelle, asked me this morning at breakfast, "Who is Mark Sanford, and why is he on the news?"

I received two phone calls about Sanford on Wednesday afternoon. One was from a liberal Democrat who was outraged. "What a hypocrite!" he said. The caller asked whether I knew what he had said about a case of an unfaithful congressman. "He said, 'He lied under a different oath, and that's the oath to his wife.' And all that family values stuff! C'mon."

The other was from a conservative Republican. "It's terrible what's happening to Sanford." He told me, "He's a good guy. The press is tearing him apart! They're lingering on all the sordid details. Give the guy a break."

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360º Follow
June 25th, 2009
02:57 PM ET

Video: Farrah's Story

Editor's note: Farrah Fawcett, the blonde-maned actress whose best-selling poster and "Charlie's Angels" stardom made her one of the most famous faces in the world, died Thursday. She was 62. Fawcett's cancer journey was documented in a television special partly shot by the actress. Fawcett began shooting "Farrah's Story," by taking a camera to a doctor's appointment. Eventually, the film expanded to include trips overseas in hopes of treating the cancer. The documentary aired on NBC on May 15. Watch this clip from the documentary.


Filed under: 360° Radar
June 25th, 2009
02:24 PM ET

Video: Saberi: Iran can't go back

Program note: Freed U.S. journalist, Roxana Saberi, discusses her time in prison and the current Iranian situation with Anderson Cooper. For the full interview tune in tonight,  AC360° at 10 p.m. ET


Filed under: 360° Radar
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