September 28th, 2009
03:27 PM ET

Tumultuous Polanski always in spotlight

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/09/27/roman.polanski.profile/art.polanski.tate.gi.jpg caption="Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate are pictured together in London in the 1960s."]
Peter Wilkinson

Roman Polanski is regarded as one of the finest directors of his generation, winning an Oscar for "The Pianist" and nominations for "Tess" and "Rosemary's Baby," but he is probably as equally well known for his own tumultuous life.

Polanski, who was arrested Saturday in Switzerland on a U.S. arrest warrant stemming from a decades-old sex charge, had lived in France for decades to avoid being arrested if he enters the United States.

The 76-year-old declined to collect his Academy Award for Best Director in person when he won it for "The Pianist" in 2003. He was en route to the Zurich Film Festival, which is holding a tribute to him, when he was arrested by Swiss authorities, the festival said.

Polanski was put in "provisional detention" and now faces the possibility of being extradited to the U.S., where a warrant for his arrest was issued in 1978.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Film
September 28th, 2009
12:48 PM ET

Murder in the worst degree

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/09/23/florida.family.dead/art.mesac.damas.naples.jpg caption="Mesac Damas spoke with reporters in Haiti, saying a spirit drove him to kill his wife and children."]

Bob Greene
CNN Contributor

There are some things we should never allow ourselves to get used to.

Yes, ours is a violent society. We take ghastly acts, and, almost out of exhausted resignation, we categorize them with convenient labels.

The mowing down of people walking along city streets? "Drive-by shootings," as if the carnage is part of some video game. The attacks, sometimes deadly, upon motorists on their way home? "Road rage," as if the brutal assaults are understandable, a traffic-related offense.

We probably shouldn't be blamed for at times letting all of this wash over us. There is only so much cruelty that can be absorbed before a kind of numbness sets in.

Yet there is a certain kind of crime we must not let ourselves become accustomed to. Because if we do, then we are truly adrift.

Twice during the last week, reports of such crimes have been presented to us.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
September 28th, 2009
10:14 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Iran nuclear showdown?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/09/28/iran.missile.tests/art.iran.missile.two.gi.jpg caption="A short-range missile is test-launched during war games in Qom, Iran, south of Tehran, on Sunday."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Iran appears to have been flexing its nuclear muscle over the weekend. It test fired two types of long-range missiles earlier today, according to the state-run Press TV. This followed a weekend of tests by the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which included several types of short and medium-range missiles. The testing was carried out on the heels of Iran’s admission of the existence of a second nuclear facility. So what is Iran trying to prove and how will it go over in the international community?

The United States wants Iran to provide international inspectors with full access to a newly disclosed underground uranium enrichment plant that Obama administration officials say is both illegal and probably intended for developing weapons instead of electricity. We’ll dig deeper on Iran’s nuclear program, and its intentions, tonight.

Drew Griffin is doing an exclusive report on an eco-terrorism group tonight. A founding member of the radical environmental group, the Earth Liberation Front, talks to Drew about his involvement in arsons and vandalism over the past decade. He turned on his group, however, and became an informant for the FBI. He wore a secret digital recording device and captured more than 80 hours of conversations with a group the FBI lists as a domestic terrorist organization. More on the group tonight.

Chicago’s deadly streets claimed the life of another teenager last week. Police say an amateur video believed to have captured the beating death of a 16-eyar-old student is helping authorities identify people on the scene. Police declined to say if anyone was in custody in connection with the death of the boy. Relatives believe he was beaten to death on his way home from a South Side high school for refusing to join a gang, but some witnesses say he was a bystander who was swept into a violent altercation. Joe Johns is in Chicago where he’ll have the latest on the investigation tonight.

And we just learned this morning that President Obama will head to Denmark to push for Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid. Michelle Obama is leading the delegation and the President will join her on Friday morning. Will they succeed in winning the games for their hometown city?

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
September 28th, 2009
09:13 AM ET

Woman robs six banks in one week


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Gabriel Falcon

AC360° Writer

Investigators in New England are looking for a woman who they say has robbed at least six banks - often while claiming to have a bomb.

"When she goes into the banks, she gives the teller information through a note or verbally that she has a bomb," said Sgt. Jim Keeney of the Connecticut State Police. "However, there haven't been any reports of an actual bomb."

Authorities say they believe the woman has held up banks in the Connecticut towns of Middletown, Montville, East Hartford, and Windsor, as well as banks in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and Westerly, Rhode Island.

Women commit 6.2 percent of bank robberies nationwide, up from 4.9 percent in 2002, according to recent FBI figures.

The one-woman crime wave in New England apparently began September 21 at the Citizens Bank in Montville, Connecticut. State police said "a lone white female ... entered the bank with a bag in her possession. The suspect approached the teller indicated she was in possession of a bomb and demanded cash."

The woman left the bag on a counter and bolted, police said.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
September 28th, 2009
08:59 AM ET

Dear President Obama #252: Is that a touch of gray?

Reporter's Note: One nice thing about writing to the president every day is you know precisely how long he has been in office.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/26/obama.health/art.obamablackcaucus.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t know if it is just the onset of autumn, (oh, and btw, happy first full week of fall! I forgot to mention it last week) or work, or the kids fully settling into the back-to-school schedule, but Mondays have been particularly tiresome lately. Maybe it’s the economy. We seem to be blaming that for everything else these days, I don’t see any reason why I can’t toss my Monday Blues onto that bonfire.

I’ve always pretty much enjoyed my job, so I tend to lean toward an atmospheric explanation for my ennui: pollen, or sunrise, or barking dogs, or something like that. Anyway, I’m finding it harder than usual to get cranking.

That said I was talking to a co-worker the other day who said she thinks you’re looking a bit more tired too. You can’t worry about that much, and I suppose there is even less you can do about it. It’s not like Congress or foreign affairs can just be put on hold while you grab a nap.

Still, from all indications, the Presidency puts years on whoever holds office at about twice the normal human rate. The Oval Office is like some kind of horrible time machine. You go in one day and come out four years later, but eight years older; or eight years later, and sixteen years older if you double down the bet. I can’t think of a single president who has not aged pretty rapidly. We always have an artist paint an official portrait in which each president usually looks young and full of vigor; do you suppose there is some kind of reverse Dorian Gray effect, and while the painting never ages you get older even faster?


September 28th, 2009
05:21 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 9/25/09

Editor's Note: Many of you had a lot to say about Friday night’s segment on the Kentucky census worker found hanged and tied to a tree. The majority of responses  came from those with theories on why it happened or suggested ways to prevent such from happening again. The interview with former President Bill Clinton drew response from his fans as well. What do you have to say? We’d love to hear it:


The lynching of the census worker had to have been done by more than one person. Are you deliberately ignoring the possibility that a group of political extremists, probably right-wing political extremists, just like the much derided DHS report predicted, are responsible….that's why hangings from trees were called lynching PARTIES. I don't see how reporting that possibility could hinder the investigation.

I am writing in regard to the census workers death. I am employed by the census as a crew leader and I feel that the census workers alleged murder may have been prevented. During training we are told are safety is of utmost importance, but it is not. A lot of workers are sent to remote areas by themselves to count houses. We have asked about sending two people to work together and the answer as no. It is probably not cost efficient for them…. I feel with the disdain for the government in today’s times census employees should work on the buddy system, maybe the upper management could give up their bonuses when work gets done ahead of schedule and put that money into better safety practices?


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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