August 18th, 2009
10:48 PM ET

North Korean diplomats traveling to New Mexico for talks with Richardson

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Elise Labott and Candy Crowley

Two top North Korean diplomats are traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to hold talks with Gov. Bill Richardson, a U.S. source with knowledge of the visit and a senior State Department official tell CNN.

Kim Myong Gil and Taek Jong Ho, senior diplomats with the North Korean mission to the United Nations, are scheduled for a two-day meeting with Richardson, the sources said.

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has traveled to North Korea several times in the past, most recently in April 2007 to secure the return of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

The U.S. source with knowledge of the visit said that the North Koreans asked Richardson for the meeting.


Filed under: 360° Radar • North Korea
August 18th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 08/18/09

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We have breaking developments in the showdown over health care. Sources saying the White House could be crafting a big change to its battle plans. We've got the Raw Politics and what it might mean for you and your family.

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 $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
August 18th, 2009
09:43 PM ET
August 18th, 2009
05:42 PM ET

Hardly winning

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/18/afghan.violence/art.afghan.kid.afp.gi.jpg caption="A man carries a child injured in an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday."]

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

"Taliban Now Winning" declared Monday's headline in the Wall Street Journal based on its interview with Gen Stanley McChrystal. But the headline was a classic case of a editor hyping the substance of a story, which the reporters of the story themselves had already applied a little touch of their own gilding to when they characterized General McChrystal's position in their interview to be that the Taliban now had the "upper hand."

In fact, when the WSJ reporters actually came to quote him, General McChrystal said rather more innocuously of the Taliban, "It's a very aggressive enemy right now... We've got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It's hard work."


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Global 360° • Peter Bergen
August 18th, 2009
05:29 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Jackson's Doctor Speaks Out

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/18/jackson.murray.video/art.conrad.murray.youtube.jpg caption= "In Dr. Conrad Murray's video, posted on YouTube, he tells supporters he has been receiving their messages."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

For the first time since Michael Jackson died his doctor is speaking out.  Dr. Conrad Murray has released a video statement. We'll play it for you. He says he "told the truth" and believes "the truth will prevail." Do you agree?

Plus, we have new developments in the fight over health care reform. After all the outrage at town hall meetings and the questions over what insurance option the White House was seeking, there's word tonight that the Obama administration may be leaning towards a big change. A change sources tell CNN to get something rammed through Congress, even if it passed by one vote. We have the raw politics.

And, the Taliban is threatening to attack voters in Afghanistan who go to the polls Thursday for the country's presidential election. They claim they'll kill any Afghan who votes. We're digging deeper with CNN's Peter Bergen and Michael Ware.

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

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
August 18th, 2009
05:14 PM ET

Beat 360° 8/18/09

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 Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listen as President Barack Obama meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washignton on August 18, 2009. (Photo credit : JIM WATSON/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.



Richard Thayer

I would have put the desk over there, the lamp over there, the mini-bar here…


Billy, WV

“Hello Awkward, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Uncomfortable..”

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
August 18th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Buying off the Taliban?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/18/afghan.violence/art.afghan.smoke.afp.gi.jpg caption="An Afghan police officer runs toward the scene of a car bomb Tuesday as a NATO soldier aims his weapon."]

Mark Thompson

By measure both of blood and of treasure, the war in Afghanistan is a costly business. To date, 782 U.S. troops have been killed there, and the conflict is costing Washington $4 billion a month. Is that a good investment? Some suggest it may be far more cost-effective to simply pay those currently earning their keep as gunmen for the Taliban to stay out of the fight.

The notion may have gained more traction Thursday, Aug. 13, after a reporter asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates how much longer U.S. troops will have to keep fighting in the now eight-year-old Afghan war. Gates, recalling his years as a top CIA official, said the war's end date is one of those national-security "mysteries" for which there are "too many variables to predict." (See pictures of the new U.S. offensive in Afghanistan.)

Uncertainties are unavoidable in war, of course. One of them is the exact number of bad guys in Afghanistan, many of whom are paid to fight, and just how much their paymasters are spending on them. But a new report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week says U.S. commanders commonly refer to the "$10 Taliban" — alluding to the amount insurgents earn each day from Taliban coffers swelled by drug proceeds and Islamist benefactors. That's more than an Afghan cop makes. "They can collect double or triple pay for planting an improvised explosive device," the report adds. So how many fighters are on the Taliban payroll? Earlier this year during a visit to Washington, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan's Interior Minister, estimated there are between 10,000 and 15,000 Taliban fighting his government and its U.S. allies.


Filed under: Afghanistan
August 18th, 2009
04:55 PM ET

Michael Jackson doctor: 'I told the truth'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/18/jackson.murray.video/art.conrad.murray.youtube.jpg caption="In Dr. Conrad Murray's video, posted on YouTube, he tells supporters he has been receiving their messages."]
Alan Duke

Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician under investigation in the death of singer Michael Jackson, said in a video posted online Tuesday that he has "faith the truth will prevail."

Murray, who was with Jackson when he died, recorded the one-minute video in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday and it posted on YouTube Tuesday, the spokeswoman for his lawyer said.

"I have done all I could do," Murray said. "I told the truth, and I have faith the truth will prevail."

The video is the first public comment by Murray since Jackson's June 25 death.

"I want to thank all of my patients and friends who have sent such kind e-mails, letters and messages to let me know of your support and prayers for me and my family," Murray said.
"Because of all that is going on, I am afraid to return phone calls or use my e-mail. Therefore, I recorded this video to let all of you know that I have been receiving your messages," he said.

Murray, a cardiologist, owned and operated two medical clinics - in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Houston - but he took a full-time job as Jackson's personal doctor in May as the pop singer prepared for his comeback concerts scheduled to start in July.

He was at Jackson's Los Angeles home when the entertainer was found unconscious and rushed to a hospital.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
August 18th, 2009
04:31 PM ET

Autistic boy saw Florida couple slain, documents say

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/08/18/florida.family.slain/art.fla.killings.ecs.jpg caption="Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr., 35, is one of seven people charged with murder."]


The son of a Florida couple known for adopting special-needs children was in his parents' room when they were slain in a home invasion last month, according to documents released by prosecutors.

A nurse who works with special-needs children interviewed the boy, who has autism and speech issues, regarding the deaths of Byrd and Melanie Billings. The nurse told police that the child said "two bad men" were wearing black masks when they knocked on the door. They woke Byrd Billings and said, "You're going to die."

The child, whose age was not given, said one of the men counted to three "before he shot mom and dad," and his father kept screaming, "No way, no way."

Byrd Billings grabbed the back of one man's neck and struggled with him before he was shot, the child said. The boy said Melanie Billings "got shot in her shirt."

Another child told the same nurse he was upstairs in bed and stayed in his room when he heard the knock on the door. The second boy recalled hearing "seven booms" and crept into the hallway. He heard Melanie Billings scream, he said, but stayed upstairs until police arrived.

It was unclear from the interviews whether the men knocked on the bedroom door or the front door of the home.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
August 18th, 2009
03:48 PM ET
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