July 30th, 2009
04:24 PM ET

Italy's capital to get a 'Neda Street'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/23/iran.neda.profile/art.neda.jpg caption="Neda Agha-Soltan was gunned down on a Tehran street on June 20."]

Hada Messia

Rome is going to name a street after the Neda Agha-Soltan - the slain symbol of Iran's opposition movement.

The city's council voted earlier this month to dub a thoroughfare "Neda Street" on a motion from council member Alessandro Onorato.

The gesture reflects the worldwide sympathy for Iranians who have been jailed, killed or injured protesting last month's controversial presidential election results. Rome's online news outlet has received many messages of support for the move from Italians and others outside the country.

"The street where Neda was killed is already known internationally as 'Neda Street.' I am proud that Rome - capital of peace, tolerance and freedom - will also have its 'Neda Street,'" Onorato said in a news release after the vote was made.


Filed under: Iran
July 30th, 2009
03:46 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/30/09

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 President Barack Obama holds up a piece of half eaten fruit as he leaves a town hall meeting on healthcare reform at Kroger's Supermarket in Bristol, Virginia. (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/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.



Jack Gray

You know what would make this taste even better? A frosty Bud Light.


Angela, Arizona

You don’t drink beer? That’s ok, how about some fruit then?

__________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
July 30th, 2009
03:29 PM ET

Moussavi barred, clashes erupt at Neda memorial

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/30/neda.iran.memorial.protests/art.neda.file.jpg caption="Neda Agha-Soltan was gunned down on a Tehran street on June 20."]


Clashes erupted as two of Iran's main opposition leaders tried to join the several thousand people at a memorial for the slain woman who became the symbol of Iran's post-election violence, witnesses said.

Security forces barred opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi from the grave site of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old woman shot in election protests on June 20, witnesses and news reports said. About 2,000 to 3,000 people were gathered at Agha-Soltan's grave, Iran's Press TV reported.

Mourners arrived on the religiously significant 40th day after the fatal shooting in Tehran. For Iranians, a predominantly Shiite Muslim population, the 40th day after a death marks the last official day of mourning.

Security forces worked to clear the area of demonstrators and mourners. A witness said riot police and Basij militia were there, but confrontations with people in the crowd involved the militia.

The witness spotted instances of the baton-wielding militia charging the gathering, and reported as many as nine beatings. Other people appeared to have been beaten as they ran from police, the witness said.


Filed under: Iran
July 30th, 2009
02:55 PM ET

Voters willing to cut Obama some slack

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/17/obama/art.obama.thurs.gi.jpg"%5D

Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

The giveaway was when they all started calling him "Barack."

It was jarring, at first, to hear this group of 12 independent voters refer to their new president by his first name. But the more they talked, the more it made sense. After all, they are seeing a lot of him.

And they like it - or at least they like him. "There's a sense of intimacy, or relationship, that was there," says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the focus group in Towson, Maryland, on Wednesday night. "[It shows] how unbelievably powerful his personal presence is. ... Don't get fooled by numbers alone. Something is stronger here."

So while the president's poll numbers start to dip, these dozen independents - including four McCain supporters and a lone Nader voter - are giving the president some leeway. They feel like they know him, and that he's "honest,' as one put it. And while they say the country is "broke," "worried" and "confused, they're not blaming Barack. If anything, they seem invested in his success.

Keep reading...

July 30th, 2009
02:44 PM ET

The Gates opening

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/30/gates.police.apology/art.gates.harvard.file.gi.jpg caption="Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. had a confrontation with a Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant."]
Program Note: For more from Los Angeles Times Columnist Gregory Rodriguez on the 'Beer Summit,' tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET.

Gregory Rodriguez
Los Angeles Times Columnist

About the only thing as disappointing as the frivolous arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was the loud, almost gleeful chorus of "I told you so's" coming from his defenders. You've heard of schadenfreude - taking pleasure in the suffering of others? Well, this was the peculiar political version.

It's not that commentators were happy that Gates had allegedly been mistreated. But they seemed inordinately pleased that some aggrieved yet righteous person had come along to help them prove a point they've been hankering to make since Barack Obama clinched the presidency last November:

"Racism is alive and well in the United States," one woman wrote in the comments section of the Root, the black-oriented online magazine that Gates edits. "It does not matter that we have an African American in the White House."

"We can put all that kumbaya, we're post-racial crap in the toilet," wrote one contributor to the Daily Beast. And according to Gates' friend and fellow tenured Harvard professor, Lawrence Bobo, the arrest proves that there "ain't nothing post-racial about the United States of America."


Filed under: 360° Radar • Race in America
July 30th, 2009
02:33 PM ET

Breaking down Obama’s “teachable moment”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/30/harvard.arrest.beers/art.crowley.obama.gates.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama has invited police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for beer."]

Program Note: Dr Boyce Watkins, a prominent Black professor at Syracuse University, offered tips to President Obama on how to truly make the case of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates into a “teachable moment.” Professor Gates was arrested last week by Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department, opening a firestorm of controversy. Dr Watkins argues that the powerful reaction was due to the fact that America continues to fear a free exchange of ideas when it comes to racial inequality. For more from Dr. Watkins, tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Dr. Boyce Watkins
Syracuse University

You can make fun of me for being a “goody two-shoes”, but I’ve never finished a beer in my entire life. I am, however, willing to drink a beer with President Obama, or anyone else, if that will open the door to an honest conversation on race relations in America.

The meeting at the White House should be the beginning of the “American Racial Conversation,” in which all Americans join in on the opportunity created by Gates and Crowley to talk to one another about racial healing and honesty.

This conversation should not stop on the White House lawn. The Conversation should be one that is replicated in every church, community center, and university across America.

The American Racial Conversation should be one that is laced with forgiveness and empathy, so that Whites and Blacks are not afraid to share their differences. The conversation should include courage and focus on finding solutions.

The American Racial Conversation should be one that is without judgment or condemnation. It should be blanketed by the cloak of forgiveness and the desire to show true empathy. We should try to understand the honest fear many whites have of being unfairly labeled racist, while acknowledging the traumatic experience of being black in America. If we don’t learn how to respectfully view the world in one another’s eyes, we will be fighting forever.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit http://www.BoyceWatkins.com. Call (901) 413-0203 for interviews or email info@boycewatkins.com. Read his blog http://www.drboycespeaks.blogspot.com/.

Filed under: Race in America
July 30th, 2009
02:32 PM ET

Will ‘Beer Summit’ quench thirst for harmony or go flat?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/30/gates.arrest.recap/art.crowley.obama.gates.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama has invited police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for beer."]
Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is trying to downplay expectations for Thursday night's "Beer Summit", saying President Obama "is not going to announce anything" in terms of new initiatives to address racial profiling and will not address reporters when they are briefly let in to take pictures of the confab.

"You won't hear from the President," Gibbs told reporters. "You won't hear from the glass of beer."

Gibbs said the President simply hopes "this will help foster a dialogue" by bringing together the President's friend, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the man who arrested him, Sgt. Jim Crowley of the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department over a few beers.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Ed Henry • President Barack Obama
July 30th, 2009
02:26 PM ET

Neda's Mother: 'I Asked Her Not To Go'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/30/neda.iran.memorial.protests/art.neda.file.jpg caption="Neda Agha-Soltan was gunned down on a Tehran street on June 20."]

Roya Karimi
RFE/RL's Radio Farda broadcaster

July 30 marks 40 days since the death of 27-year-old Neda Agha Soltan, who has become a symbol of Iran's brutally suppressed "Green movement" protesting the results of last month's presidential election. Neda was shot dead during a peaceful protest on June 20 in Tehran, and the video of her bleeding to death on the street has been watched by millions of people around the world. RFE/RL's Radio Farda broadcaster Roya Karimi talked with Neda's mother.

RFE/RL: Please tell us about the day Neda died.

Agha Soltan: Neda and I used to go to the demonstrations. Neda got suddenly involved in this issue and it was very interesting to her. We went out together for one week, then on (that) Saturday she asked me to go out again, but since I have some (health problems) I could not go with her. I asked her not to go because (the protests) that day (seemed) dangerous and I was worried about her, but she did not accept (my worries) and she left home at 4 p.m.

We were in touch by phone twice and I asked her where she was and what was she doing. She said the police were using tear gas, and that she had escaped to smaller streets and was heading to the car. In fact, the distance between the spot where she was shot to her car was about 26 steps.

Her uncle had the last contact with Neda at 5:50 p.m. He asked her where she was. She said there was tear gas (in the air) and that she and her friends were using cigarettes to stop the effect of the tear gas. We did not have any contact with her anymore until 6:30 p.m., when her teacher rang me from Shariati Hospital and asked me to go there because Neda had been shot.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Iran
July 30th, 2009
01:10 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Exxon’s profits tumble

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2009/LIVING/worklife/07/27/cb.lie.in.job.interview/art.lying.buy.gi.jpg]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

ExxonMobil posted a 66% decline in second-quarter earnings this morning due to weak energy demand and volatile oil prices.

The world's largest publicly-traded oil company said it earned just under $4 billion in the quarter, down from nearly $12 billion just one a year earlier.

Earnings at Exxon, which reported the largest annual profit in U.S. history last year, have declined this year as oil prices plummeted from 2008's record highs above $147 a barrel.

Oil prices averaged about $60 a barrel in the second quarter of this year, compared with roughly $124 a barrel in the same period in 2008.

Jobless claims increase but trend improves

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, but remains below peak levels reached in the spring.

Initial claims rose by 25,000 to 584,000. But the four-week moving average for new claims, which considered a better gauge of underlying trends as it smoothes out week-to-week volatility, fell by 8,250 to 559,000.

This was the lowest level since late January. The moving average has also declined for five straight weeks.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Housing Market • Unemployment • Wall St.
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