July 9th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 07/09/09

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We have new information on the investigation into Michael Jackson's death. Will it become a criminal investigation? Maybe even homicide? We also have stunning new details on Jackson's suspected drug addiction.

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

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
July 9th, 2009
09:25 PM ET
July 9th, 2009
08:40 PM ET

"The affairs of Mormondom"

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Jon Krakauer's book "Under the Banner of Heaven" about the Mormon faith. Krakauer is also known for his other books "Into the Wild", "Into Thin Air" and "Eiger Dreams". He won the Academy Award in Literature in 1999. Two Americans recently killed in Mexico, Benjamin LeBaron and Luis Widmar, lived in a Mexican township founded by ex-communicated Mormons.

Jon Krakauer

From "Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith"

Balanced atop the highest spire of the Salt Lake Temple, gleaming in the Utah sun, a statue of the angel Moroni stands watch over downtown Salt Lake City with his golden trumpet raised This massive granite edifice is the spiritual and temporal nexus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which presents itself as the world's only true religion. Temple Square is to Mormons what the Vatican is to Catholics, or the Kaaba in Mecca is to Muslims. At last count there were more than eleven million Saints the world over, and Mormonism is the fastest-growing faith in the Western Hemisphere. At present in the United States there are more Mormons than Presbyterians or Episcopalians. On the planet as a whole, there are now more Mormons than Jews. Mormonism is considered in some sober academic circles to be well on its way to becoming a major world religion–the first such faith to emerge since Islam…

The affairs of Mormondom are directed by a cadre of elderly white males in dark suits who carry out their holy duties from a twenty-six-story office tower beside Temple Square. To a man, the LDS leadership adamantly insists that Lafferty should under no circumstances be considered a Mormon. The faith that moved Lafferty to slay his niece and sister-in-law is a brand of religion known as Mormon Fundamentalism; LDS Church authorities bristle visibly when Mormons and Mormon Fundamentalists are even mentioned in the same breath. As Gordon B. Hinckley, the then-eighty-eight-year-old LDS president and prophet, emphasized during a 1998 television interview on Larry King Live, "They have no connection with us whatever. They don't belong to the church. There are actually no Mormon Fundamentalists."…

There are more than thirty thousand FLDS polygamists living in Canada, Mexico, and throughout the American West. Some experts estimate there may be as many as one hundred thousand. Even this larger number amounts to less than 1 percent of the membership in the LDS Church worldwide, but all the same, leaders of the mainstream church are extremely discomfited by these legions of polygamous brethren. Mormon authorities treat the fundamentalists as they would a crazy uncle–they try to keep the "polygs" hidden in the attic, safely out of sight, but the fundamentalists always seem to be sneaking out to appear in public at inopportune moments to create unsavory scenes, embarrassing the entire LDS clan.

Filed under: Religion
July 9th, 2009
08:40 PM ET

Roadside bombs in Afghanistan – how deadly?

Program Note: Tonight, on AC 360º at 10 P.M. ET, Michael Ware joins us from the Middle East with the latest coverage on ther situation in Afghanistan.

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/09/afghanistan.ieds/art.ied.blast.afp.gi.jpg" caption="An IED is exploded by U.S. Marines near the remote village of Baqwa, Afghanistan, in March."]

Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
The Pentagon

The Pentagon's Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization reported the following statistics about coalition forces killed or wounded in Afghanistan by insurgent IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in 2009. A United States' top military official is calling them the "No. 1 threat" to troops there. June was the worst month yet in 2009.

: 18 killed, 33 wounded
March: 19 killed, 56 wounded
April: 6 killed, 52 wounded
May: 12 killed, 96 wounded
June: 23 killed, 166 wounded


Filed under: Afghanistan
July 9th, 2009
07:12 PM ET

Interactive graphic: The Jackson siblings

Editor's Note: For an interactive graphic about the Jackson siblings, click the image below. To learn more about the siblings, tune in to AC360° tonight at 10p ET.

Designed by Jacob Smilovitz, AC360° Intern

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
July 9th, 2009
07:01 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Jackson Drug Use Secrets Revealed

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360°, we have new details on Michael Jackson's suspected drug use over the years. Randi Kaye has been breaking new information all week and does it again tonight. We're talking about allegations that several doctors in several states helped the singer get powerful prescription drugs. Don't miss Randi's report.

As U.S. forces continue to target Taliban forces in southeastern Afghanistan, there may be a breakthrough that could help end the conflict. In a CNN exclusive, Michael Ware has learned that Pakistan's military is talking with Afghan Taliban leaders and can get them to sit down with the U.S. and broker a ceasefire. Specifically, Pakistan military leaders say they can get Mullah Mohammed Omar and other Taliban leaders to the table. Even with a $10 million reward on his head, Mullah Omar has defied all American attempts to capture or kill him. The one-eyed cleric created the Taliban and has led its regime as they continue to kill U.S. and NATO troops. Will the U.S. sit down with the enemy? And, what does Pakistan want in return? Michael has the exclusive details.

We're interested to know: Do you think the U.S. should talk with Mullah Omar to try to broker a ceasefire in Afghanistan? Share your thoughts below.

And, we have a stunning story out of Mexico where a group of polygamist Americans are fighting the drug cartels with deadly consequences.  A top member of the sect was dragged from his home on Tuesday in Mexico, along with his brother-in-law who was trying to help him.  They were both killed by multiple gunshots to the head.  One of the victims, Benjamin LeBaron, 31, led protests against the cartels earlier this year after his 16-year-old brother Eric LaBaron was kidnapped in May. He refused to pay a $1 million ransom, but his brother was eventually released.

Join us for these stories and much more tonight at 10pm ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
July 9th, 2009
05:59 PM ET

What Have You Done in the Last 114 Days?

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Mallika Chopra

In the last 114 days, my little daughter graduated from pre-school. My elder daughter completed 1st grade. My little nephew began to speak in full sentences. My husband and I have fought and made up several times. I have traveled to NY, Colorado, SF, Paris and London. We have had several dinner parties, and watched exciting finals in the NBA Finals and Wimbledon.

I have watched the Iran elections unfold into a potential revolution. I have watched with bated breath N. Korea test nuclear missiles. I have mourned the loss of Michael Jackson, who will go down in history as a legend, but who was also an old friend.

It has been 114 days since Laura Ling and Euna Lee were detained in N. Korea. 114 days of captivity in a foreign land, with almost no exposure to family or information. Two girls with a full life, with loving families.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran • Lisa Ling • Michael Jackson
July 9th, 2009
05:15 PM ET

Mexico: Economics and the arms trade

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Scott Stewart and Fred Burton
Global Security & Intelligence Report

On June 26, the small Mexican town of Apaseo el Alto, in Guanajuato state, was the scene of a deadly firefight between members of Los Zetas and federal and local security forces. The engagement began when a joint patrol of Mexican soldiers and police officers responded to a report of heavily armed men at a suspected drug safe house. When the patrol arrived, a 20-minute firefight erupted between the security forces and gunmen in the house as well as several suspects in two vehicles who threw fragmentation grenades as they tried to escape.

When the shooting ended, 12 gunmen lay dead, 12 had been taken into custody and several soldiers and police officers had been wounded. At least half of the detained suspects admitted to being members of Los Zetas, a highly trained Mexican cartel group known for its use of military weapons and tactics.

When authorities examined the safe house they discovered a mass grave that contained the remains of an undetermined number of people (perhaps 14 or 15) who are believed to have been executed and then burned beyond recognition by Los Zetas. The house also contained a large cache of weapons, including assault rifles and fragmentation grenades. Such military ordinance is frequently used by Los Zetas and the enforcers who work for their rival cartels.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Mexico
July 9th, 2009
04:57 PM ET

More associates link Jackson to prescription drugs

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/09/jackson.wrap/art.jackson.dr.cnn.jpg caption="Dr. Arnold Klein, who was Michael Jackson's dermatologist, said he warned the singer about drug use."]

Alan Duke and Saeed Ahmed

It was not surprising that investigators found bottles of prescription drugs in Michael Jackson's home, the singer's dermatologist said, as two sources told CNN that Jackson's sister Janet attempted an intervention two years ago.

I'm very shocked by it, but I have to tell you it's not something that would be unheard of," Dr. Arnold Klein said Wednesday on CNN's "Larry King Live," adding that he repeatedly warned Jackson about the danger of such drugs.

Meanwhile, two sources close to the Jackson family said Wednesday that sister Janet, the pop star, was so worried after visiting the emaciated singer in 2007 that she tried to stage an intervention with assistance from her other brothers.

Michael Jackson reportedly ordered his security guards not to let the family members in. He also refused to take calls from his mother, Katherine.

"If you tried to deal with him, he would shut you out," one source said. "You just wouldn't hear from him for long periods."

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
July 9th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
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