July 9th, 2009
04:33 PM ET

An Iranian icon on today's protests

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/09/iran.protests.anniversary/art.tehran.protests.gi.jpg caption="There have been election protests by Iranians, such as this one on June 15."]

Reza Aslan
The Daily Beast

Thursday is the 10th anniversary of the day Iranians refer to simply as 18 Tir. On that day in 1999, a group of students who had holed up in Tehran University for six days to protest the government’s closure of a major reformist newspaper, Salaam, were savagely attacked by paramilitary forces under orders from the Revolutionary Guard.

The protests were the biggest of their kind since the fall of the shah two decades earlier—though they have been dwarfed by this past month’s protests, which have swept through the whole of the country. The university students had been emboldened by then-President Mohammad Khatami’s reform agenda to demand greater rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and a free press. However, the regime, frightened by the spectacle, saw the student movement as a threat to the stability of the state. In what has now become a familiar sight, the government unleashed the full force of its security apparatus on the students.

Early on the morning of 18 Tir—the date according to the Iranian calendar—while most of the students were asleep, Basij forces raided the dorms of Tehran University, indiscriminately beating and arresting people. In the melee, a bullet whizzed by the ear of Ahmad Batebi, a young university student, and lodged itself in the chest of his friend. Batebi took his friend’s shirt off and used it to put pressure on the wound, but to no avail. He then ran to the front of the protests and held the shirt aloft for all to see, a witness to the massacre that had just taken place.


Filed under: Iran
July 9th, 2009
04:26 PM ET

Americans beaten, shot to death in Mexico

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/07/09/mexico.killings/art.lebaron.afp.gi.jpg" caption="A girl stands at the coffin of Mormon church leader Benjamin LeBaron in Chihuahua State."]

Mayra Cuevas-Nazario

A multiagency search is under way for the killers of two U.S. citizens in northern Mexico, according to Chihuahua state officials.

Benjamin LeBaron, 32, and his brother-in-law, Luis Widmar, in his mid-30s, were beaten and shot to death after armed men stormed into their home in Galeana on Tuesday morning.

The killers have yet to be identified, but the case seems to be connected to local drug lords, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office.

Sandoval said a note was found on LeBaron's body, but he could not confirm the contents.

Local media reported that the note indicated the slayings were in retribution for the capture of 25 drug suspects in a nearby town.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Mexico
July 9th, 2009
03:48 PM ET

Beat 360º 7/9/09

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:

Actor George Clooney attends the opening ceremony of the Nobel for Peace Hall on July 9, 2009 in San Demetrio, 3 km from L'Aquila, Italy. The actor, along with Nobel Prize winner Betty Williams, actor Bill Murray, British Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown and Walter Veltroni unveil a cinema in the quake-stricken village of San Demetrio. (Photo by Luca Ghidoni/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
July 9th, 2009
02:34 PM ET
July 9th, 2009
02:27 PM ET
July 9th, 2009
01:40 PM ET

La Dolce Vita at the G8

David Puente
AC360° Producer

A former nude model will be among some of the most powerful women in the world at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy this week.

L’Aquila is the town devastated by the earthquake in April and it is also where first ladies like Michelle Obama are joining their husbands for the annual G8 summit. But an ex-glamour and lingerie model is accompanying the Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, 72, to the summit.

Mara Carfagna, 33, was his choice for minister of equal opportunities, last year. Since then she’s been named one of the world's hottest politicians by the men’s magazine Maxim. Carfagna, not Berlusconi’s wife - who has filed for divorce - will escort Michelle Obama, Sarah Brown and the other first spouses on a tour of Rome.

Rumors about Prime Minister Berlusconi’s sex life have been the talk of the Italian media for the last several months. It’s been reported that he told Carfagna that, "If I was not already married, I would run off with you immediately."


July 9th, 2009
01:34 PM ET

21 Days in an Iranian Prison

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/24/iran.election/art.iranian.police.afp.gi.jpg caption="Since a controversial presidential election last month, Iranian police have sought to crackdown on dissent and what they allege is meddling by Western media."]
Ivan Watson

Iason Athanasiadis' ordeal began at the airport, shortly after he checked in for his flight to leave Tehran.

"I was heading to the gate," the Greek-British journalist said. "This guy materialized on my right. He said 'are you Iason Fowden?' [Athanasiadis' passport name]. I said 'yeah that's me.' He said 'please step to the side … you're not going to be flying tonight.'"

It was an ominous introduction to Iran's security apparatus.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran
July 9th, 2009
12:42 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Fewer than expected file for unemployment

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/09/art.job.seekers.jpg caption="New claims for jobless benefits fell 52,000 last week."]
Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell to lowest level since early January, while continuing claims jumped to a record-high.

New claims for jobless benefits tumbled by 52,000 to 565,000 - well below analysts' expectations.

However, analysts said last week's drop was distorted by a change in the pattern of seasonal layoffs in the automotive industry. Initial claims typically spike in July as automakers idle certain manufacturing plants, and the Labor Department adjusts its data for such seasonal factors.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Andrew Torgan • Finance • Gas Prices • Wall St.
July 9th, 2009
11:45 AM ET

Dear President Obama #171: Uh ... Are you coming home soon?

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama continues globe trotting; glad-handing it with foreign leaders, and enjoying adoring crowds all along the way. I am unfortunately stuck back in DC. No state dinners, no fancy gifts from overseas potentates, probably not even a postcard. Yet, miraculously, I continue my quest to send a letter a day to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/07/09/g8.summit/art.g8.group.photo.afp.gi.jpg caption="G-8 leaders wait for an aide to remove toe markers as they pose for a family photo in L'Aquila, Italy, on July 8."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Did you know that for a great many decades American presidents did not travel outside of the United States at all? Theodore Roosevelt was the first one to ever do it when he went down to Panama. Something about a ditch, if I remember right. Apparently Franklin Roosevelt (I’m not all hung up on throwing in that Delano like some people; What? We’re going to confuse him with all the other President Franklin Roosevelts?) was the first president to go on an official trip overseas by airplane. And unless I am mistaken, George H.W. Bush was the first president to ever throw up on a Japanese Prime Minister. Ah…I’ll always remember just where I was when I heard about that. But I digress.

While you have been away, the kids have been jumping on the furniture a bit, just in case your Congressional babysitters have not informed you yet.

Yes, your Democratic pals seem to be making all sorts of headlines about the economy, health care, taxes; and not particularly positive headlines at that. Of course the Republicans are slamming you too. That’s to be expected. But the degree to which your Dem buddies are making noise, I am beginning to suspect, could turn into a not-so-nice reception by the time you get home.


July 9th, 2009
10:59 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Grave-selling scheme?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/09/iran.protests.anniversary/art.tehran.protests.gi.jpg caption="Protests by Iranians, such as this one on June 15, have been defended by the reformist figures."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

A modern-day grave digging case has been uncovered in Chicago. Employees at an historic cemetery in one of the city’s suburbs allegedly dug up more than 100 graves as part of an off-the-books scheme to resell burial plots to unsuspecting customers. How did they get away with that? Many prominent African Americans, such as lynching victim Emmett Till, blues legend Dinah Washington and some Negro League baseball players, were buried in the famous cemetery.

And Chicago residents have seen a rash of violence plague their Windy City over the past year. We’ve been following reports of crime and shootings closely – on July 4th there were approximately 22 to 63 incidents of gunfire and eight deaths. Why is there so much bloodshed in this city? And how are people in Chicago dealing with the crime? Dr. Sanjay Gupta visited an ER in the city recently to see how the hospital staff is coping with the large numbers of victims of this unabated violence. Within minutes of his arrival, two people showed up to the ER with gunshot wounds. The doctors told him this was just a ‘routine’ night. Check out his report from inside the ER tonight.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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