September 1st, 2009
09:46 PM ET

Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/08/05/nkorea.journalists/art.family.afp.gi.jpg caption="The families of Euna Lee, left, and Laura Ling greet them Wednesday in California. "]

Laura Ling and Euna Lee
For The Los Angeles Times

We arrived at the frozen river separating China and North Korea at 5 o'clock on the morning of March 17. The air was crisp and still, and there was no one else in sight. As the sun appeared over the horizon, our guide stepped onto the ice. We followed him.

We had traveled to the area to document a grim story of human trafficking for Current TV. During the previous week, we had met and interviewed several North Korean defectors - women who had fled poverty and repression in their homeland, only to find themselves living in a bleak limbo in China. Some had, out of desperation, found work in the online sex industry; others had been forced into arranged marriages.

Now our guide, a Korean Chinese man who often worked for foreign journalists, had brought us to the Tumen River to document a well-used trafficking route and chronicle how the smuggling operations worked.

There were no signs marking the international border, no fences, no barbed wire. But we knew our guide was taking us closer to the North Korean side of the river. As he walked, he began making deep, low hooting sounds, which we assumed was his way of making contact with North Korean border guards he knew. The previous night, he had called his associates in North Korea on a black cellphone he kept for that purpose, trying to arrange an interview for us. He was unsuccessful, but he could, he assured us, show us the no-man's land along the river, where smugglers pay off guards to move human traffic from one country to another.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • North Korea
September 1st, 2009
08:40 PM ET

Dr. Gupta offers advice to parents on H1N1

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on H1N1. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/09/01/parents.h1n1.flu.guide.gupta/art.sanjay.h1n1.cnn.jpg caption="Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Dr. Jim Fortenberry, pediatrician in chief at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta."]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Over this past week, I had some interesting conversations with colleagues who are also health care professionals. These conversations usually start with, "You know what I hate about the media ... ?"

Now, over the past eight years, I have grown accustomed to being engaged in these sort of discussions where I am asked about everything the "media" have reported over the past few months, and asked to defend things point by point. It can be a challenging task.

This time, however, the topic was H1N1, or swine flu.

I spent the weekend thinking about what I was being told, and realized there was a larger point here.

People were scared, more than I had seen in a long time. And, health care professionals were blaming the media - accusing them of being alarmist.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Dr. Sanjay Gupta • H1N1
September 1st, 2009
08:01 PM ET

Cold realities of the illegal kidney market

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/03/11/kidney.ten.transplants/art.OR.gi.jpg]

Drew Griffin
CNN Special Investigations Unit

According to the World Health Organization, one out of every 10 kidney transplants in the world is done illegally.

Most of the time, that means a living person has been paid to donate a kidney.

Figures are often hard to grasp, but consider this: if the WHO is correct, that means today, in the United States, four people are receiving brand new kidneys that have been purchased from a living donor.

In researching this story, I have found that the buying and selling of kidneys is rampant. And although this may sound extremely cold, it’s so rampant, in fact, that anyone in need of a kidney, on dialysis, or awaiting a crash victim to die so he or she can live, is simply wasting time.

It is illegal to purchase a kidney in the United States, but if estimates are anywhere near accurate, four people today will do just that - navigating the intricacies of fooling a hospital and a surgeon into allowing the surgery to take place.


Filed under: Drew Griffin • Organ Transplant
September 1st, 2009
07:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 9/1/09

In Southern California–where peak fire season hasn’t even officially begun yet–a huge and deadly wildfire continues to burn out of control tonight.

We’ll also have the latest on the Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping investigation. Officials believe at least two unsolved kidnappings may be linked to Phillip Garrido, the man charged with kidnapping and raping Dugard.

Tonight we’re launching a series of reports on the illegal sale of human organs. Our worldwide investigation has uncovered a thriving black market for human kidneys–right here in the United States.

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
September 1st, 2009
07:29 PM ET

The Lockerbie letters

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/09/01/libya.lockerbie.bomber/art.scottish.parliament.spa.jpg caption="Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says he followed "due process" in releasing Lockerbie bomber."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

The British government has been under sharp pressure over allegations that the release of the Lockerbie bomber was in exchange for Libyan oil deals. The Brits deny it, but have now released a series of letters between government officials in London and Scottish officials. Having read through all of these letters, I’ve prepared a little quick breakdown here.

The synopsis: London assured the Scots from the outset of negotiations with Libya, that the Scots would have the final say in any release of the Lockerbie bomber, al Megrahi. However, the Brits also abandoned efforts to make the Libyans accept Megrahi’s continued incarceration, prodded the Scots to be aware of the sensitive and valuable new relations with Libya, and pushed the Scots to consider the Libyan application for Megrahi’s release. They even assured the Scots that they were under no legally or diplomatically binding agreement to the UN or the US to keep him locked up.

In the letter of the law, London is correct to say, English officials did not make his release happen. In the spirit of their correspondence with the Scots, however, it does appear that they made it clear such a release should be considered and might be looked upon favorably given the higher negotiations.

Here is the breakdown of the letters.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/09/01/scotland.libya.lockerbie.documents/art.megrahi.gi.jpg caption="Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, second from left, arrives in Tripoli, Libya, on August 21."]

EARLY SUMMER, 2007: British officials are negotiating new international relations with Libya, including a transfer of Libyan prisoners held in Brit jails. They assure the Scots that Megrahi will not be included in any such deal.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Lockerbie Incident • Tom Foreman
September 1st, 2009
07:11 PM ET

Organ Donation: How you can help

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/06/09/kidney.failure.gene/art.dialysis.wf.jpg]

The United Network for Organ Sharing

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is a non-profit, scientific and educational organization that administers the nation's only Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), established by the U.S. Congress in 1984.

It is responsible for the following:

* collect and manage data about every transplant event occurring in the United States
* facilitate the organ matching and placement process using UNOS-developed data technology and the UNOS Organ Center
* bring together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy

Go here to learn more about the organization and to find out how you can help.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Organ Transplant
September 1st, 2009
06:50 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Are two other cold cases linked to Jaycee Dugard’s kidnapper?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/09/01/california.wildfires/art.house.fire.afp.gi.jpg caption="A massive wildfire burns Tuesday near a house in La Crescenta, California, near Los Angeles. "]

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

In Southern California–where peak fire season hasn’t even officially begun yet–a huge and deadly wildfire continues to burn out of control tonight.

The Station Fire now covers more than 190 square miles, an area larger than Philadelphia. More than 3,000 firefighters are scrambling to save more than 10,000 homes that remain at risk. Officials say it could take up to two weeks to fully contain the fast-moving blaze. We’ll have the latest from the frontlines of the battle.

We’ll also have the latest on the Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping investigation. Officials believe at least two unsolved kidnappings may be linked to Phillip Garrido, the man charged with kidnapping and raping Dugard.

Nine-year-old Michaela Garecht disappeared in 1988. A year later, 13-year-old Ilene Misheloff was kidnapped. Both abductions took place not far from where Dugard was snatched. We’ll show you why investigators think the crimes may be related. We’ll also hear from family members of both missing girls.


Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
September 1st, 2009
05:53 PM ET

Janja Lalich: "Take Back Your Life"

Program Note: Janja Lalich, an associate professor of sociology and an expert on the cult phenomenon will be on tonight to talk about how cult victims recover from "coercive influence." Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/01/art.book.janja.cult.jpg width=292 height=320]

Janja Lalich
Associate Professor of Sociology, California State University, Chico

Cult victims and those who have suffered abusive relationships often suffer from fear, confusion, low-self esteem, and post-traumatic stress.

Take Back Your Life explains the seductive draw that leads people into such situations, provides guidelines for assessing what happened, and hands-on tools for getting back on track. Written for the victims, their families, and professionals, this book leads readers through the healing process. A resource list and numerous personal accounts of those who have successfully made the transition to the “normal” world provide help and inspiration.

Find more information on Lalich's book here .

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Jaycee Dugard
September 1st, 2009
05:01 PM ET

Donor says he got thousands for his kidney

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/09/01/blackmarket.organs/art.kidney.donor.cnn.jpg caption="Nick Rosen says he got $20,000 to donate his kidney and lied to the hospital's transplant team."]

Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Four years ago, a young, cash-starved Israeli answered an ad in a newspaper for a kidney donor.

"I decided I wanted to make a positive change in my life and do something different," Nick Rosen told CNN. "So I saw an ad in the paper and it said, 'Kidney Donor Wanted.' And called the ad in the paper, and they asked me my blood type."

Ultimately, Rosen flew to New York and underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center to remove one of his two healthy kidneys.

"Let's say I donated a kidney and received compensation," he said.

Rosen's story is one of several that have come to light in recent weeks as part of a worldwide CNN investigation into what appears to be a widespread black market in human organs currently under scrutiny by authorities in the United States and Israel.

Rosen says he was paid $20,000 for his kidney - something he admits he lied about in interviews with the hospital's transplant team.


Filed under: Health Care
September 1st, 2009
04:28 PM ET

Your H1N1 Swine Flu questions answered

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Centers for Disease Control

Check out this link for the most recent information on the H1N1 swine flu virus. This CDC site has maps that show the areas most affected by the virus and it has all of the information about vaccines and what to do if you contract the H1N1 flu. Go here to learn more about the virus and how you can protect yourself from contracting it. And tune in tonight for more from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He’ll be on to give us an update on the virus and the vaccine.

Click here for CDC H1N1 Information

Filed under: H1N1
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