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August 27th, 2009
03:13 PM ET

The calm before Katrina

Dave Eggers writes that Abdulrahman Zeitoun dreamed of fishing on the Syrian coast as Katrina approached.

Dave Eggers writes that Abdulrahman Zeitoun dreamed of fishing on the Syrian coast as Katrina approached.

Dave Eggers
Special to CNN

On moonless nights the men and boys of Jableh, a dusty fishing town on the coast of Syria, would gather their lanterns and set out in their quietest boats. Five or six small craft, two or three fishermen in each. A mile out, they would arrange the boats in a circle on the black sea, drop their nets, and, holding their lanterns over the water, they would approximate the moon.

The fish, sardines, would begin gathering soon after, a slow mass of silver rising from below. The fish were attracted to plankton, and the plankton were attracted to the light. They would begin to circle, a chain linked loosely, and over the next hour their numbers would grow. The black gaps between silver links would close until the fishermen could see, below, a solid mass of silver spinning.

Abdulrahman Zeitoun was only thirteen when he began fishing for sardines this way, a method called lampara, borrowed from the Italians. He had waited years to join the men and teenagers on the night boats, and he'd spent those years asking questions. Why only on moonless nights? Because, his brother Ahmad said, on moon-filled nights the plankton would be visible everywhere, spread out all over the sea, and the sardines could see and eat the glowing organisms with ease. But without a moon the men could make their own, and could bring the sardines to the surface in stunning concentrations. You have to see it, Ahmad told his little brother. You've never seen anything like this.

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Filed under: Hurricane Katrina
August 27th, 2009
03:08 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

AC360°

Anderson is anchoring from New Orleans tonight where he’s talking to locals about what the city is like today, four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

Some residents continue to face challenges as the Big Easy keeps trying to rebuild. Anderson also goes ona tour of the city with CNN political contributor and New Orleans native James Carville.

Douglas Brinkley and James Carville will be on tonight with Anderson. Do you have a question? Let us know!

Send us a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!


Filed under: T1 • Text 360
August 27th, 2009
02:54 PM ET
August 27th, 2009
02:49 PM ET

Missing girl found? More stories of child abduction cases

Shawn Hornbeck, 15, smiles next to his stepfather, Craig Akers, after four-year-long abduction

Shawn Hornbeck, 15, smiles next to his stepfather, Craig Akers, after four-year-long abduction
Steven Damman disappeared from outside a bakery in 1955.

Steven Damman disappeared from outside a bakery in 1955.

AC360°

This morning, 29-year old Jaycee Dugard walked into a northern California police station, claiming she was abducted 18 years ago.

As we learn more about the details surrounding this case, we look at other cases in which abducted children were found, or came forward, years after their disappearances.

Shawn Hornbeck was missing for four years before he was found.  Last seen riding his bike at age 11, Shawn was found in a man's apartment in St. Louis, Missouri in 2002.

Click here to read Shawn's story.

And for more than a half-century, Jerry and Marilyn Damman wondered what happened to their 2-year-old boy, who mysteriously vanished outside a Long Island bakery.  Now, 54 years later, a Michigan man claims he is the missing child whose name was Steven Damman.

Click here to read more about Stephen Damman.

Want to learn more about solved and unsolved child abduction cases?  Visit the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
August 27th, 2009
02:44 PM ET

Girl missing since 1991 found alive, police confirm

Jaycee Lee Dugard as she looked in 1991 and an age-progression image of what she might look like as an adult.

Jaycee Lee Dugard as she looked in 1991 and an age-progression image of what she might look like as an adult.

Taylor Gandossy
CNN

A girl abducted in 1991 as an 11-year-old has been found alive in California, the El Dorado County sheriff's office said Thursday.

Jaycee Dugard is in good health, the office said in a statement, but provided no details.

Earlier Thursday, Carl Probyn, Dugard's stepfather, told CNN that an FBI agent had called his wife, Terry, on Wednesday afternoon to tell her that Dugard had been found.

The girl was last seen walking to her bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, California, on June 10, 1991, according to the FBI.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
August 27th, 2009
01:22 PM ET

We are New Orleans

Matt Petersen
President & CEO, Global Green USA

In four years of working closely with the residents of New Orleans, I have seen one trait remain paramount among its citizens —their deep love for their city.

To understand New Orleans is to appreciate its beauty and uniqueness, music, food, art, warts and all. Although Hurricane Katrina may have damaged much of the physical city, the strength and love of New Orleans citizens has never wavered, and their enthusiasm to rebuild their city better and more sustainably is inspiring.

In the days following August 29, 2005, I, like millions of others, watched our federal government’s pathetic, tragically inadequate, response to the drowning of a major American city play out on CNN. After pondering what more I could do besides send a donation, I began to feel galvanized, by a force that at times seemed to originate outside myself – to help rebuild New Orleans green. There were those who questioned whether we should rebuild at all, but in my heart I not only knew that rebuilding would occur but that my organization would be there to help.

One week after the storm, I had a vision of how to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf region with three goals – help rebuild 10,000 homes to be green, rebuild schools to be sustainable, and adopt a neighborhood. New Orleans could not only be resurrected, but it could provide a blueprint for creating a truly green 21st-century urban community – one that is sustainable, highly energy-efficient, and also serves its most underprivileged citizens. After all of the hardship and heartache, this seemed to be the silver lining that the storm presented.

FULL POST

August 27th, 2009
01:01 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Number of ‘problem banks’ at 15-year high

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The number of institutions on the U.S. government's so-called "problem bank" list topped 400 in the latest quarter, climbing to the highest level in 15 years.

The FDIC, which insures bank deposits, has been hit by a wave of relatively large and costly failures as of late, prompting concerns about the size of the agency's insurance fund. To that end, the FDIC reported that the fund decreased by $2.6 billion, or 20%, during the quarter to $10.4 billion.

The number of banks under scrutiny by regulators has moved steadily higher since the recession began in late 2007. A year ago, the number of banks on the FDIC's watch list was 117. At the end of this year's first quarter, the number stood at 305.

The names of the banks on the list are never made public out of fear that depositors at those institutions may prompt a Depression-era “run on the bank.”

So far this year, a total of 81 banks have failed and dozens more are expected to follow..

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
August 27th, 2009
12:21 PM ET
August 27th, 2009
11:55 AM ET

A healthy obsession?

Ella Perlis
AC360° Associate Producer

America is a country obsessed with body weight. Paradoxically, we revere fit and lean figures, while also cherishing all-you-can eat buffets, fried fast food, and activities that require little to no movement whatsoever (I’m looking at you, video games).

If the extra pounds were simply unaesthetic, we could dismiss our attention to the scale as mere vanity. Yet, more than ever, we know that being overweight has real and dangerous health consequences, along with damaging effects to our economy.

According to the CDC, in 2008 every state (except Colorado) had a 20 percent or higher incidence of obesity. In the U. S., 17 percent of children ages 6 to 11 are obese; 17.6 percent for ages 12 to 19. The CDC says obese and overweight children are more likely to become obese as adults and risk suffering from heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, stroke, respiratory problems, liver and gallbladder disease, and osteoarthritis. There are also psychological problems associated with obesity. Additionally, the CDC points to a study released in July 2009 that estimates the medical costs of obesity as $147 billion per year.

The facts are clear: the number of people with weight-related health issues continues to grow, the costs are up and we now find ourselves in the biggest debate about the future of health care since the Clinton administration. Weight is a pervasive topic in our health-conscious – but junk food-loving – society. And controversy surrounding this subject abounds. Here are just a few examples:

Dr. Regina Benjamin, nominee for Surgeon General: Obama's pick for America's top doc ignited a surprising weight debate, with both attackers and defenders discussing her size. Dr. Benjamin should be judged on her credentials, experience, and vision. Yet, critics claim she is incapable of ending the U.S. obesity epidemic because she doesn’t look the part. Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean having a small waistline, so are the skeptics being unfair? When you take a fitness class do you expect the teacher to look like he or she stepped off the set of Baywatch? Does it bother you if the instructor doesn’t look nearly as good as you aim to be? And ultimately, does that principle apply to doctors, including the U.S. Surgeon General? The scrutiny over Dr. Benjamin’s weight and qualifications increased when it was revealed that she was paid to serve on a scientific advisory board for Burger King, a company that is consistently blamed for adding to America's growing waistline.

FULL POST

August 27th, 2009
11:34 AM ET

Kennedy opened door for Obama

Thomas Maier
Special to CNN

With a sign from Dunganstown, Ireland, hanging in his U.S. Capitol office, a reminder of the famine-ravished farm where his ancestors began, Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy always seemed to understand that the Kennedys were perhaps America's greatest immigrant story - overcoming religious, ethnic and cultural barriers to reach once unimaginable heights.

"My brother Jack wrote 'A Nation of Immigrants' in 1958, and his words ring true as clearly today as they did half a century ago," said Ted early last year, a few months before he was struck with a malignant brain tumor that claimed his life Tuesday. "I'm constantly reminded of my immigrant heritage."

Indeed, the Kennedys' vision of "A Nation of Immigrants" - which Ted championed throughout his public career - dramatically transformed today's America, opening the door for millions of new citizens and paving the way for Barack Obama's presidency. It is the Kennedys' most lasting legacy.

John F. Kennedy's idealistic belief in America's dream of opportunity for all was clearly stated in "A Nation of Immigrants," which reflected so much of his family's story as Irish Catholic immigrants.

The essence of this little known, little-studied book became the 1965 Immigration Reform Act, which ended the discriminatory preference given to white Europeans and opened the door to millions from Latin America, Asia, Africa and around the world.

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Filed under: Immigration • Sen. Ted Kennedy
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