September 23rd, 2009
03:38 PM ET

Shoar in Iran: The sounds from the street

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/28/iran.detainees.released/art.tehran.protests.afp.gi.jpg caption="Iranian riot police block protesters on a Tehran street in June."]

Elham Gheytanchi
Santa Monica College, Faculty of Sociology

Friday, September 18, was Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Iran. It was first announced 30 years ago by Ayatollah Khomeini to express solidarity with Palestinians. But on this day last week, national TV showed little of the government-organized rallies around the country. The coverage was limited because any attempt at showing the demonstrators was bound to show the green marchers, protesting the results of the June 12 presidential election. The protesters chanted “Na Gaza, Na Lobnan, Janam fadaye Iran,” (No Gaza, No Lebanon, I die for Iran).

The story of chants, mottos and slogans (shoar in Persian) dates back to the early days of the revolution in 1979. But the unexpected turn of events after the recent presidential election have revived the power of this revolutionary tradition and demonstrate the ever-changing nature of political culture in Iran today.

For one month preceding the Election Day on June 12, young Iranians – who compose the majority of the country’s population – poured into the streets all over Iran to campaign for their presidential candidate. The four presidential candidates were Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi, Mohsen Rezaie and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had been approved by the Guardian Council, an unelected body of jurists and clergies. The young men, accompanied by an unprecedented number of young women, demanded more freedom, improvement of economic conditions and better relations with other countries.


Filed under: Iran • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
September 23rd, 2009
03:03 PM ET

Some early exits as Palin woos Hong Kong investors

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/23/palin.hongkong/art.palinspeech.jpg caption="Sarah Palin's speech at CLSA Investors' Forum appeared to be largely well received."]

Miranda Leitsinger

Sarah Palin touched on a host of topics - including Reaganomics, China and human rights, Tibet, the Asian and U.S. economies, family and moose in Alaska - as she delivered a speech to investors Wednesday in Hong Kong, according to audience members.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate was the keynote speaker at the 16th CLSA Investors' Forum, in what was billed as her first speech outside North America. She recently stepped down as Alaska's governor.

Her 90-minute address, which was closed to the media, was heard by 1,100 people, according to CLSA head of communications Simone Wheeler.

Those who attended her speech said she did well, though some could be seen leaving early on. A few of those people said they were heading to other forum offerings. Most people declined to speak with the media about the speech.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • China • Economy • Republicans • Sarah Palin
September 23rd, 2009
02:59 PM ET

Travolta’s heartbreaking testimony

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/09/22/john.travolta.trial/art.john.travolta.gi.jpg caption="John Travolta's son died of a seizure in January 2009 at the age of 16"]
Brittany Kaplan

John Travolta is being forced to reveal personal details about the day his son died—and admitting for the first time that Jett suffered from autism.

Tarino Lightbourne and former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater are accused of trying to extort $25 million from Travolta. It is alleged that the two conspired to extort money in return for not making documents pertaining to Jett’s treatment public.

John and his wife Kelly Preston walked into the Bahamian courtroom together before Travolta took the stand for the prosecution.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Autism
September 23rd, 2009
02:57 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Fed says economic activity has ‘picked up’

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The Fed today kept interest rates near zero and said the economy is improving. But the central bank also cautioned that ongoing job losses could dampen any economic recovery.

At the conclusion of its two-day meeting, the Fed said in a statement that the government's stimulus and economic rescue actions have helped to stabilize the financial markets, which will help generate economic growth in the future.

In addition, Ben Bernanke & Co. said consumer spending is stabilizing, but that rampant job losses and tight credit have dampened overall household consumption. The Fed also noted recent commodity price increases but said it saw little threat of inflation in the near term.

As a result, policymakers voted to keep the federal funds rate - a key overnight lending rate that guides various consumer and business loans - at a target range of zero to 0.25%. Rates have been at that level since December.

House approves jobless benefits extension

The House approved a bill late Tuesday that could extend jobless benefits to more than 1 million people for an additional 13 weeks.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Housing Market
September 23rd, 2009
02:43 PM ET
September 23rd, 2009
11:57 AM ET

Real progress on climate change

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/science/09/23/wirth.climate.change/art.timothy.wirth.jpg caption="Timothy Wirth says upcoming Copenhagen summit is prompting progress on global climate change measures."]
Timothy E. Wirth

On Tuesday, more than 100 world leaders gathered at the United Nations for a climate summit. They were called together by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to build momentum for the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.

There were no breakthroughs on Tuesday, no specific agreements - but those who despair of progress in the international negotiations are missing the point. Copenhagen has already been a success.

Two years ago, the negotiating process was truly foundering. The secretary-general, who surprised many observers by making climate change one of his top priorities, put his prestige on the line that September by holding an unprecedented climate summit at the U.N.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: United Nations
September 23rd, 2009
11:31 AM ET

Obama's NY week starts shakily

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/23/rollins.obama.new.york/art.ed.rollins.courtesy.jpg caption="Ed Rollins says some missteps got President Obama's week in NY off to a clumsy start."]
Ed Rollins

On the international stage, this week is President Obama's most important since taking office.

He arrived in New York on Monday and by the time he finishes chairing the Global Conference of 20 (world leaders) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this weekend he will have earned his pay check (not that a president doesn't earn it every week).

Unfortunately, the president stepped on his international story over the weekend when news surfaced that the White House had informed New York's Gov. David Paterson not to run for re-election and signaled that the White House wants Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to replace him.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Ed Rollins
September 23rd, 2009
10:54 AM ET

Woman vanishes after arrest


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/23/crime.mitrice.jpg caption="Mitrice Richardson, 24, went missing after she was released from a Malibu police station about 1 a.m. last Friday." width=292 height=320]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A former beauty pageant contestant, who was arrested last week in Malibu, vanished shortly after being released by police, authorities said.

Mitrice Richardson, of Los Angeles, has not been seen or heard from since the early morning of Thursday, September 17.

The night before, the 24-year-old college graduate was accused of not paying for her $89 dinner at a Malibu restaurant. Sheriff's deputies who were called to the scene charged Richardson with defrauding an innkeeper and possessing a small amount of marijuana.

Richardson was booked at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Malibu/Lost Hills station. The department spokesman said she was discharged at approximately 1am Thursday.

She left the station on foot, according to family and police. Her car, which was impounded following her arrest, remains in the custody of the sheriff's department.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
September 23rd, 2009
10:47 AM ET

The Healthcare Hostage Crisis: The failure of the insurance system

Editor's Note: This article continues our multi-part series excerpted from the "Healthcare Hostage Crisis" chapter of AC360° contributor David Gewirtz's upcoming book, How To Save Jobs, which will be available in October. To learn more about the book, follow David on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DavidGewirtz. Last week, we looked at the steps insurance companies take to avoid paying your medical bills. This week, we'll look at the problem with health insurance, overall - and what it means if you're an employee with health insurance and you're suddenly out of a job.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/17/art.healthcare.0917.gi.jpg]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/28/art.vert.book.gewirtz.jobs.jpg width=292 height=320]

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

Clearly, the insurance system is a failure for vast numbers of Americans. That's why it's particularly disturbing that the Senate's new health care bill appears to be putting even more faith in the insurance companies.

Using the insurance industry's own numbers, about 13 percent of every medical dollar goes into the insurance industry, rather than the medical industry. So, of the $2.4 trillion dollars we overspend annually on health care, at least $312 billion feeds the insurance industry.

Here we have the insurance industry, sucking 13 percent off our already excessive costs for health care, and, according to The New York Times, making profits above $60 billion in 2006. Based on the American Journal of Medicine numbers, medically-related bankruptcies account for an annual loss to American citizens of about $6.3 billion.

Lose the job, lose the insurance. Lose the insurance and, suddenly, you're a statistic.

The industry makes $60 billion in profits, but is willing to bankrupt hundreds of thousands of Americans over an amount that's a mere 10 percent of its already astronomical profits.

To be fair, the fault isn't just with the insurance industry. Every industry has a right to make profits. Likewise, we, as consumers, have the right to choose to purchase from a business - or not. If we like the quality, service and value, we buy more and the company succeeds. If we don't like the quality, service, and value, we shop less and the business doesn't succeed.


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Health Care
September 23rd, 2009
10:06 AM ET

Morning Buzz: A new American foreign policy?

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

President Obama is kicking off speeches at the United Nations General Assembly this morning and is set to lay out his vision for American foreign policy. How will this go over with other world leaders? He has a lot on his plate today with a full schedule of events. He meets with Japanese Prime Minister Hayotama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and will sit down with Russian President Medvedev this afternoon. We’ll be following all of the key events today and will keep you updated tonight.

Obama’s address will be followed by speeches from a number of leaders - such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown – as well Moammar Ghadafi. The Libyan leader has had a difficult time pitching his tent on U.S. ground. He was shut out by authorities in Englewood, N.J. and he even tried, unsuccessfully, to stake out a space in Manhattan’s Central Park. Now that would have been quite a sight for early-morning dog-walkers and bikers. But Ghadafi finally found refuge in the town of Bedford, about 40 miles outside of New York City. But as we reported last night, residents in the town are also pushing for his eviction. So is there anywhere Ghadafi will be able to pitch his tent? We’ll be following his remarks at the United Nations today.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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