July 17th, 2009
11:53 PM ET

One giant leap, forty years later

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/space/07/17/moon.landing.hoax/art.aldrin.nasa.jpg caption="Moon landing hoax theorists point to the "rippling" flag as evidence the landings were faked."]

Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

Sitting on the edge of the bed in my parents’ bedroom upstairs.

That’s where I watched the Apollo 11 astronauts step onto the moon.

If you are of a certain age, you remember where you were on July 20, 1969.

I remember when a television would be wheeled into my grade school classrooms so that we could watch the launch of the Mercury or Gemini missions and later the splashdown and recovery of the astronauts by Navy divers.

I remember a plastic space helmet and wanting to be John Glenn aboard “Friendship 7,” the third Mercury mission and the first to orbit the earth.

By July 16, 1969, when Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the public was still a ways off from becoming inattentive to the space program.


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Schechter • Space
July 17th, 2009
11:52 PM ET

Tracking Michelle Obama's slave roots

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/07/16/michelle.obama.slaveroots/art.slavehome.cnn.jpg caption="This is a former slave house on Friendfield Plantation, where Michelle Obama's family has roots."]
Joe Johns | BIO and Justine Redman

In many places across the South you can walk in the footsteps of slaves, and if you understand the history, it is not a happy journey. The same is true at Friendfield Plantation outside Georgetown, South Carolina.

It's not exactly "Gone With the Wind," but what makes this overgrown 3,300 acres of marsh and pine trees stand out is this: The family of first lady Michelle Obama believes her great-great grandfather was held as a slave here and labored in the mosquito-infested rice fields.

It makes Friendfield Plantation a symbol of something more than servitude. It's the symbol of something that's never happened before: One important segment of an American family's journey from the humiliation of slavery to the very top of the nation's ruling class.

CNN recently was the first television network allowed to visit the plantation and shoot video. It's not a museum. It's just private land, still with shadows of its past.

Friendfield's most distinctive historical feature, perhaps, is the dirt road known as Slave Street.

Keep reading...

July 17th, 2009
11:16 PM ET

What trees give us – and how we can give back

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/17/art.chuckleavellwithtrees.jpg caption="In addition to being the keyboardist for the Rolling Stones for the last 27 years, Chuck Leavell writes that he is 'passionate about what trees and forests do for us.'"]
Chuck Leavell
Environmentalist, Author and Musician

In an age where we often hear about the alarming worldwide effects of climate change, global warming, and greenhouse gases, it is easy to forget that some solutions lie within our grasp.

Trees, particularly in urban areas, provide numerous benefits. They improve air and water quality, conserve water and reduce storm runoff, help reduce heat caused by buildings and pavement, and absorb carbon. It is up to us to ensure these trees are providing the maximum benefit and that we do our part to keep them healthy.

That's where research comes in. On July 19, America's largest fundraiser for tree research, the STIHL Tour des Trees, will kick off from New York City. Cyclists from across the world gather each year to travel more than 500 miles across different routes through the United States to benefit the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund and to raise awareness for the need for research to keep urban trees and forests healthy.

I am passionate about what trees and forests do for us. My wife, Rose Lane, and I are tree farmers in Georgia, carrying on a tradition of good stewardship of the land that her grandparents passed down to us and that was begun by earlier generations of the family more than 100 years ago. We do our best to care for the land in a responsible way, to set an example for our two daughters and two grandsons about caring for the earth.

July 17th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 07/17/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, remembering legendary newsman Walter Cronkite. He died this evening at the age of 92.

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

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
July 17th, 2009
08:54 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Walter Cronkite 1916-2009

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/17/walter.cronkite.dead/art.cronkite.gi.jpg" caption="Walter Cronkite, former CBS anchor known as "Uncle Walter" has died."]

Charly Feldman
AC360° Intern

We’ve just learned that former CBS newsman Walter Cronkite has died at the age of 92. Tonight we’ll look back on his life and legacy.

President Obama cleared his schedule today to discuss what he calls his top domestic priority: health care reform. A recent report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office claims that proposed health care legislation won’t reduce long term costs. Moderate senators are now urging for a slower timetable. But the President remains confident that it will happen this year. In fact, he says anyone who believes the opposite is “badly mistaken.” Could the battle for health care reform be contributing to President Obama’s sliding approval ratings? Ed Henry, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dana Bash join us tonight for more on the intensifying debate.

We also have the latest details on the deadly hotel blasts in Jakarta, Indonesia. Witnesses are being interrogated and evidence is being collected at the J.W Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels. Who’s responsible for the suicide attacks? What’s interesting is these hotels are known for tough security. They scan the luggage of every guest for possible explosives. That leads us to another question: How did the suicide bombers pull of the attack? Tonight we’ll talk with Alan Orlob, V.P. of corporate security at the Marriott.

And, there’s new information on the murder of a Florida couple known for adopting special needs children. While friends and family gathered at the victim’s funeral for an emotional goodbye, police have found the family’s safe, and maintain that the murder was a “choreographed home invasion robbery”. But with the DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI all involved, could this be more than just a robbery? David Mattingly is on the scene, digging deeper.

Finally, don’t forget to watch our one hour special on President Obama’s trip to Ghana, and his exclusive interview with Anderson at 11pm ET.

See you at 10pm ET for these stories and more!

July 17th, 2009
08:44 PM ET

Former CBS anchor 'Uncle Walter' Cronkite dead at 92

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/17/walter.cronkite.dead/art.cronkite.01.cbs.jpg" caption="Walter Cronkite is shown during a broadcast for CBS in 1951."]


Walter Cronkite, the CBS anchorman known as "Uncle Walter" for his easygoing, measured delivery and "the most trusted man in America" for his rectitude and gravitas, has died, CBS reported Friday.

Cronkite was 92 years old.

His career spanned almost the entire 20th century, as well as the first decade of the 21st. The native of St. Joseph, Missouri, broke in as a newspaper journalist while in college, switched over to radio announcing in 1935, joined the United Press wire service by the end of the decade and jumped to CBS and its nascent television news division in 1950. He also made his mark as an Internet contributor in his later years with a handful of columns for the Huffington Post.

He covered World War II's Battle of the Bulge, the Nuremberg trials, several presidential elections, moon landings, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon's administration.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • T1
July 17th, 2009
06:33 PM ET

CIA secret program was moving to training phase

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/11/cheney.surveillance/art.cheney.gi.jpg" caption="Former Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly ordered the CIA to withhold information about counterterrorism."]

Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent

The secretive program that CIA Director Leon Panetta cancelled last month came to his attention when CIA Counterterrorism Center staff briefed him about agency wanting to begin training teams to carry out counter terrorism missions overseas, according to a US official with direct knowledge.

The elevation of the program from conceptual to one that needed training meant the agency would need to notify Congress about the endeavor for the first time, the source said. Panetta instead cancelled the project and informed selected members of Congress about its existence.

The program has been reported by some media outlets as missions to kill targeted terrorists. A US official would not confirm the lethal nature of the effort but did say it was aimed at Al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorists in foreign countries that posed a direct threat to the United States.

“This wasn’t a program that had taken shape,” the US official directly familiar with the program, told CNN. “When a CIA unit brought the program to Panetta’s attention, it came with a recommendation to brief Congress since there was thought being given to moving toward a more operational status—that is, some training. If the United States ever needs something like this in the future, we'll find better ways to create the capability.”

CIA spokesman George Little told CNN “the program he killed was never fully operational and never took a single terrorist off the battlefield. Those are facts he shared with Congress. We’ve had a string of successes against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and that program didn’t contribute to any of them. This Agency and this Director value a candid dialogue with Congress.”

Filed under: Terrorism
July 17th, 2009
06:28 PM ET
July 17th, 2009
05:38 PM ET

Scalp burns painful, need urgent care

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/07/17/jackson.scalp.head.burns/art.jackson.eightyfour.gi.jpg caption="Michael Jackson is seen about one month after he was burned filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984."]
Elizabeth Landau

The special effects exploded too early while Michael Jackson filmed a Pepsi commercial in 1984 and his hair caught on fire, causing burns to his scalp.

Jackson blamed that incident for his addiction to pain medication, which was "initially prescribed to cede excruciating pain that I was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp," he said in 1993 in a video statement.

Whether through fire, scalding liquid, electricity or other source, burns are extraordinarily painful, said Dr. Peter Grossman, of the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles, California, who did not treat Jackson.

Anyone whose head gets burned should go to a hospital immediately, Grossman said, especially because burns are "progressive and dynamic."

"If your hair catches on fire and you put it out and everything looks okay, you have to realize that the burn injury may change over the next 24 to 72 hours," he said.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
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