July 8th, 2009
04:44 PM ET

Taliban buying children for suicide attacks

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/07/pakistan.child.bombers/art.taliban.video.cnn.jpg caption="Children are shown at a training camp in this video footage shot by the Taliban."]

Nic Robertson

A top Taliban leader in Pakistan is buying and selling children for suicide bombings, Pakistani and U.S. officials said.

Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has been increasingly using the children in attacks, the officials said. A video released by Pakistan's military shows the children training for the task.

In the video of a training camp, children can be seen going through exercises.

Mehsud has been selling the children, once trained, to other Taliban officials for $6,000 to $12,000, Pakistani military officials said.

Some of the children are as young as 11, the officials said.

"He has been admitting he holds a training center for young boys, for preparing them for suicide bombing. So he is on record saying all this, accepting these crimes," said Major General Akhtar Abbas, spokesman for the Pakistani army.

The young suicide bombers may be able to reach targets unnoticed, the military said.

"If he is approaching on foot, there is a possibility he will bypass security," Abbas said.

"In certain areas, there is a possibility in the population centers everyone can not be checked physically, so he can create havoc there."


Filed under: Nic Robertson • Pakistan
July 8th, 2009
04:43 PM ET

Michael Jackson and Kim Jong Il

Editor's Note: To hear more from Gotham Chopra, Deepak Chopra's son and a friend of Michael Jackson, tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/03/us.jackson.poll/art.jackson1.gi.jpg]
Gotham Chopra

The last time I spoke to my friend Michael Jackson was about a month ago, 3 weeks before his shocking death. He had called me late one night to ask about another of my close friends who he had read about in the news. Laura Ling, a former colleague and friend, was detained originally by North Korean border guards along with her colleague Euna Lee on March 17th. Since then, they have been imprisoned, had very little contact with their families or western officials, and endured a secretive trial at which they were sentenced to twelve years hard labor. At this present moment, it is unclear where Laura and Euna are – whether they remain in a government guesthouse where they were originally held, in a hospital (due to medical problems for both of them), or moved to the infamous North Korean labor camps that many do not survive.

Michael had read some of the details regarding Laura and Euna’s predicament. As was often the case with him and global events he read about – from famine in Africa to victims of natural disasters in far off countries, to orphans created by wars – he felt a deep sense of empathy for Laura and Euna. When I shared with him that Euna had a four-year-old daughter, he was even more anguished.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson • North Korea
July 8th, 2009
04:42 PM ET

Text 360°

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/08/art.text360.jpg]


The killing of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair has been classified as a murder-suicide carried out by his girlfriend, Nashville police said today.

McNair, 36, and Sahel Kazemi, 20, were found fatally shot in a condominium in downtown Nashville on Saturday afternoon. McNair was shot twice in the head and twice in the chest; Kazemi was shot once in her right temple, authorities said.

Do you have questions about the murder-suicide? What was the motive and what causes someone to do this?

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
July 8th, 2009
03:55 PM ET

Alaska? Been there. Done that.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/06/sarah.palin.fbi/art.sarah.palin.gi.jpg caption="Alaska's Sarah Palin is stepping down as governor at the end of the month."]

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

For those of us who follow politics like rabid sports fans follow their favorite teams, this weekend's announcement by Sarah Palin was like a gift from the gods.

As you undoubtedly know, the former Vice Presidential candidate, who's been in the national eye for all of about ten months or so, has just resigned as governor of Alaska - a full 18 months before her term officially ends.

For those of us in the chattering class, this resignation definitely gets our mouths a-flappin'. Is she nuts? Is she just quitting? Does she want to spend more time with her kids? Is she getting ready for a presidential run? Is scandalous news about to hit? Did someone threaten her with something unless she quits?

Is this political suicide?

The pundits are going crazy. If you're a crazy conservative, then this is a sure sign she's thought it all through and gearing up for the 2012 run. If you're a looney liberal, this is uncontroversial proof that she's a quitter and not suitable for the job of dog-catcher, let alone President.

But if you're a political sports fan, this is just good, clean fun.

The fact is, we don't know. Yet. Clearly more will become apparent. But that doesn't mean we can't speculate, and that's what I'm going to do.

First, let's eliminate the ‘nuts’ question. Despite the brittle cheerfulness shown in her resignation announcement, Sarah Palin still seems to be the same Sarah Palin we met last year. She's probably no more nuts than any other obscure politician would be if forced into the limelight overnight. But, like I said, we can't really know.


July 8th, 2009
03:40 PM ET

More Afghan troops needed in Taliban push

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/08/afghanistan.offensive/art.marines.afghan.gi.jpg caption="U.S. Marines fire a mortar Wednesday in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where they're fighting the Taliban."]


The commander of the U.S. Marines conducting a push against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan said Wednesday that more Afghan security forces are needed to do the job.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it. The fact of the matter is we don't have enough Afghan forces. And I'd like more," said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand province.

Nicholson briefed reporters at the Pentagon by phone from Afghanistan.

Called Operation Khanjar, the push against the Taliban started Thursday with 4,000 American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, and around 650 Afghan forces.

"I'd like to have every Marine battalion partnered with an Afghan battalion," Nicholson said.

"Imagine if I had 4,000 Marines with 4,000 Afghan forces. I mean, it would ... not even be comparable to ... the relative success that we've had over these first seven days."

Nicholson added that police units aren't as well trained as he would like and he plans to work to improve the quality of those forces, including the opening of a police academy.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Afghanistan
July 8th, 2009
03:10 PM ET
July 8th, 2009
03:08 PM ET
July 8th, 2009
02:58 PM ET

John Boehner says Joe Biden's lying about stimulus

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/08/biden.health.care/art.vp.biden.cnn.jpg caption="John Boehner is redoubling his attacks, accusing the vice president of lying about the economy."]

Alex Isenstadt

Vice President Joe Biden is invading House Minority Leader John Boehner’s back yard tomorrow to tout the success of the stimulus package, but Boehner is redoubling his attacks, accusing the vice president of lying about the economy.

“I found it ... interesting over the last couple of days to hear Vice President Biden and the president mention the fact that they didn’t realize how difficult an economic circumstance we were in,” Boehner said. “Now this is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I’ve been in Congress.”

“I’ve sat in meetings in the White House
with the vice president and the president. There’s not one person that sat in those rooms that didn’t understand how serious our economic crisis was,” Boehner said.

Boehner also took a shot at the idea of a second stimulus – something Biden said he was open to last week.

“All of this talk of a second stimulus bill, I think, is an admission on the part of the administration that their stimulus plan is not working,” Boehner said.


Filed under: Economy • Joe Biden
July 8th, 2009
02:18 PM ET

Dermatologist says 'to best of my knowledge' he's not Jackson kids' dad

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/06/26/jackson.children.will/art.rowe.afp.gi.jpg" caption="Debbie Rowe, seen here in 2005, is the mother of two of Jackson's children, but it is not clear who the biological father is."]

Alan Duke

Michael Jackson's dermatologist did not rule out that he may be the biological father of Jackson's children, and Dr. Arnold Klein denied that he ever gave Jackson dangerous drugs.

Klein, in an interview Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," denied he was on the list of doctors being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

When he saw that someone gave Jackson a dangerous drug he was the one "who limited everything, who stopped everything," Klein said.

Jackson danced around Klein's Beverly Hills office just three days before his death and was "not in terrible pain," Klein said.

Debbie Rowe, who was briefly married to Jackson and gave birth to his two oldest children, worked for 23 years in Klein's office, he said. The doctor refused to say if he thought Rowe should get custody of them, instead of Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson.

"I can't make those answers, because should have and will are two different things," he said.

Klein's response when Diane Sawyer asked if he was the biological father of Jackson's children left open the possibility that he was.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Michael Jackson
July 8th, 2009
01:59 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Hate your job? Too bad…

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/07/08/pickens.wind.farm/art.wind.farm.gi.jpg caption="In 2008, the U.S. became the world's leading provider of wind power. This wind farm is in Velva, North Dakota. "]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Are you unhappy at work? Well, you're not alone.

The recession has left a lot of people out of a job, but many of those still employed aren't very happy at the office. That's because layoff survivors are often stuck with increased workloads, fewer benefits and even less pay.

But they're staying put - at least for now.

Fifty-four percent of employed Americans plan to look for a new job once the economy rebounds, according to a survey from Adecco Group North America.

The sentiment is even stronger among younger workers. Of those ages 18-29, 71% say they are likely to look for new jobs once the economy turns around, the survey said.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Andrew Torgan • Economy
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