August 17th, 2009
02:59 PM ET

Hold-ups down


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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Seventy-five years after John Dillinger’s reign as Public Enemy #1 ended in a hail of bullets, his criminal occupation continues to be a big draw for the lawless and crooked. But even with the downturn in the economy, it’s not as bad as 2008.

Second quarter statistics on bank crimes in America in 2009 were released today by the F.B.I. In all, the bureau reports 1,304 violations of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statute. The F.B.I says those numbers are down from the 1,444 violations reported in the same quarter of 2008.

Between April 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009, there were 1,278 robberies, 19 burglaries and seven larcenies. The total amount taken was $9,534,938 – nearly all of it in currency. Law enforcement agencies recovered 28 percent of the loot, which the F.B.I. defines as cash, securities, checks, food stamps and other property.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
August 17th, 2009
02:05 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Global sell-off rocks Wall Street

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Stocks on Wall Street tumbled at the open as investors around the world fear that consumers may not be confident enough to lift the economy out of recession.

Before the opening bell, stock futures plunged after markets overseas extended Friday’s sell-off on Wall Street that came on the heels of a weaker than expected reading on consumer confidence.

Overnight, Shanghai’s stock market fell nearly 6% and Europe’s main indexes all declined by about 1.5% or more.

The Dow quickly fell by triple digits out of the gate as investors bailed out after a five-month rally, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 each shed more than 2%.

One bit of good news out of Asia, however… Japan's economy returned to growth in the second quarter, ending its longest recession since World War II.

But analysts warned of a rocky road ahead as the recovery was based on short-term stimulus efforts around the globe. Late last week, we got word that both France and Germany had emerged from recession in the second quarter.

Poll: Stimulus not working

Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to revive the nation's economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession.

A new USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 57% of adults surveyed say the stimulus package is either having no impact on the economy, or is making it worse.

Even more - 60% - doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.

Reader's Digest files for bankruptcy

Reader's Digest Association, publisher of arguably the country's most well-known general interest magazine, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Founded in the1920’s as a collection of condensed articles from other publications, and known for its inspirational stories and tales of heroic pets, the magazine is a staple of doctor’s offices and barbershops across the country.

Reader's Digest has been hit by declining circulation, an industry-wide advertising slump and mounting debt.

But Chapter 11 does not necessarily mean the end of the road. The publisher says it has reached an agreement with lenders to restructure a large portion of it more than $2 billion worth of debt.


Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: 360° Radar • Andrew Torgan • Finance
August 17th, 2009
12:25 PM ET

Justices grant Georgia inmate's request to delay execution

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Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer

The Supreme Court has granted a condemned Georgia inmate's request that his execution be delayed as he attempts to prove his innocence.

The inmate, Troy Davis, has gained international support for his long-standing claim that he did not murder a Savannah police officer nearly two decades ago.

Justice John Paul Stevens on Monday ordered a federal judge to "receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could not have been obtained at trial clearly establishes petitioner's innocence."

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer supported the decision. Sonia Sotomayor, who was sworn in August 8 as the newest member of the high court, did not take part in the petition.

Davis' case has had a dramatic series of ups and downs in the past year. He was granted a stay of execution by the Supreme Court two hours before he was to be put to death last fall.

A month later, the justices reversed course and allowed the execution to proceed, but a federal appeals court then issued another stay.

The high court's latest ruling means Davis will continue to sit on death row.

Stevens said the risk of putting a potentially innocent man to death "provides adequate justification" for another evidentiary hearing.

His supporters in June delivered petitions bearing about 60,000 signatures to Chatham County, Georgia, District Attorney Larry Chisolm, calling for a new trial. Chisolm is the county's first African-American district attorney. Davis is also African-American.

Davis has always maintained his innocence in the 1989 killing of Officer Mark MacPhail. Witnesses said Davis, then 19, and two others were harassing a homeless man in a Burger King restaurant parking lot when the off-duty officer arrived to help the man. Witnesses testified at trial that Davis then shot MacPhail twice and fled.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Supreme Court
August 17th, 2009
11:32 AM ET

Death row mistake?

Editor's Note: In 1991, Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. But since then, seven of nine witnesses recanted their original testimony. Today, the Supreme Court granted Davis’ request that his execution be delayed as he attempts to prove his innocence. Gary Tuchman reports on the story tonight on AC360° at 10p ET.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gary Tuchman
August 17th, 2009
10:18 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Junk science?

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

We’re taking a close look at how the plans for heath care reform may be shifting. It seems the White House may be prepared to accept a health care bill that lacks a robust “public” or government insurance option. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN it is “not the essential element.” What is the public option and who would it benefit? A number of lawmakers are holding town halls today to talk about the reform. We’ll be looking into this tonight and explaining how the plan continues to take shape.

Health care will most likely be a talking point for President Obama when he addresses the Veterans of Foreign War Convention in Phoenix today. There are 23.5 million veteran and 2.2 million service members in the United States – and that’s not including all of their family members. What does it cost to maintain the world’s finest military? Obama is also expected to talk about the commitments the men and women of our Armed Forces have made in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’ll certainly touch on the progress that’s been made, when we hope to get out and what we hope to accomplish.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
August 17th, 2009
10:13 AM ET

Dear President Obama #210: On the D.L.

Reporter's Note: President Obama has been on the road. I’ve been at the computer, writing yet another letter to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I noticed in the interview that you gave to the 11 year old from Florida, that you said you can’t dunk a basketball anymore. Something about your legs no longer being young enough to make the jump. I hear you on that one! I’m supposed to run a half marathon next month, and while I know I can go the distance, I also know my recovery time is not going to be what it once was. Frankly, my reaction time is nothing to brag about anymore either. The first time I tried shoe clips on my bicycle a few years back, I got so hung up that I tipped over like Humpty Dumpty in the middle of traffic and had to roll to safety like a geriatric Indiana Jones. Which, I guess is ok, since the last time Harrison Ford played the part that’s pretty much what he looked like too. Ha!

When I was in my early twenties, I ran my first marathon. I had to work the afternoon shift at a TV station in Montgomery, and the race was in Birmingham. So I calculated that if I made the seven o’clock start, covered the course in four hours, and left immediately afterward, then I could drive the hour-and-a-half home, shower, and be at work by 1:30.


August 17th, 2009
09:45 AM ET

2010 makes Democrats nervous

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Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

Democrats are getting nervous about the way that events have been unfolding this summer.

Although few Democratic officials have concluded that it's time to start panicking, there are disturbing political trends developing right at the time that members are starting to think seriously about the midterm elections.

The outlines of a significant political problem have emerged: the possibility that the White House simultaneously disillusions liberal Democrats and angers Republicans.

The situation is of course very much in flux. Much of what happens will depend on the decisions of the White House and Congress in September and October.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Democrats • Julian E. Zelizer • Raw Politics
August 17th, 2009
08:48 AM ET

How insurance firms drive debate

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Wendell Potter
Special to CNN

Having grown up in one of the most conservative and Republican places in the country - East Tennessee - I understand why many of the people who are showing up at town hall meetings this month are reacting, sometimes violently, when members of Congress try to explain the need for an expanded government role in our health care system.

I also have a lot of conservative friends, including one former co-worker who was laid off by CIGNA several years ago but who nonetheless worries about a "government takeover" of health care.

The most vocal folks at the town hall meetings seem to share the same ideology as my kinfolks in East Tennessee and my former CIGNA buddy: the less government involvement in our lives, the better.

That point couldn't have been made clearer than by the man standing in line to get free care at Remote Area Medical's recent health care "expedition" at the Wise County, Virginia, fairgrounds, who told a reporter he was dead set against President Obama's reform proposal.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
August 17th, 2009
07:42 AM ET
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