October 6th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

“Out of sight, out of mind?” Underground in the tunnels of Las Vegas

Editor's Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the underground tunnels from Ted Rowlands. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/06/art.lasvegas.tunnels.jpg caption="Inside a living space in the underground flood channels of Las Vegas."]

Michael Cary
CNN Senior Producer

Las Vegas Boulevard, aka the Strip, is known for its glitz, glamour and lure of hitting a jackpot, but a world exists underground that has become home to those down on their luck. People are living in the flood channels that run beneath the city, and some survive in elaborate shelters deep in the dark labyrinths– many of them driven here by unemployment, drugs, alcohol and mental illness.

Hundreds of homeless are living within the more than 300 miles of underground flood channels, according to Matthew O’Brien, author of “Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas.” He says as many as 10 people live in one tunnel near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” neon sign.

It is the desert, so the storm drains are dry most of the year. But when it does rain heavily, those underground must flee and watch their belongings wash away. Flooding, fires and disease are just some of the dangers.

O’Brien served as our tour guide through four different tunnels around Las Vegas, armed with a black metal flashlight and donning a black-knit cap, boots and long-sleeve black shirt. Above ground, one would think he was a cat burglar or mercenary.

Every tunnel is different – ceilings can range anywhere from four to 12 feet high. Some of the concrete floors are covered with dust, others mud, and – in one section – a foot of stagnant water.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Michael Cary
October 6th, 2009
03:46 PM ET

Vaccinate: Indecision, decision?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/05/h1n1.vaccine.campaign/art.h1n1.vaccine.wthr.jpg caption="Health care workers in Indiana and Tennessee are among the first to receive the H1N1 vaccine Monday."]

David Puente
AC360° Producer

Yesterday I met Dr. Mehmet Oz in the green room here at CNN before his segment on AC360°. We talked about the free clinic that he organized in Houston last week for Americans who don’t have health insurance, cant afford to see a doctor, but really need medical help. It broke records treating almost 2000 patients. And, of course, we spoke about whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine.

Dr. Oz said he was getting vaccinated. As a surgeon, he said “it’s the responsible thing to do.” But he admitted that his wife and some of his kids are refusing to get the vaccine.

“Yikes,” I thought. I had hoped that this would be a good opportunity to get solid advice from Dr. Oz. Do I get the vaccine? Or don’t I? But, I thought, if his wife and kids aren’t listening to him – should I?

Regardless, I went ahead and asked, “What about me Dr. Oz? Should I be vaccinated?”

“Yes you should,” he said in the good nature that characterizes him, but also firmly, without thinking twice. “It’s the smart thing to do. Even if you aren’t in a risk group, you don’t want to take the chance.”


Filed under: David Puente • H1N1
October 6th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

Soldier turns himself in after deserting

Alexandra Poolos and Ismael Estrada

Jerri Hyde first sent Anderson an email in July. In it, she wrote that her sons Donald and Daniel had both served in Iraq. Dan, 23, worked as an explosives expert in the Marines, and Don, 25, had been in the Army. Both, Jerri wrote, now suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and weren't getting the help they needed.

"I am writing because I feel Mr. Cooper just might be the one to listen," Jerri wrote. "My sons are suffering PTSD after serving our country. And getting no help. I don't understand this."

Jerri's email arrived after visiting her younger son Dan in Texas.

When we first called her, Jerri told us that Dan's problems seemed minor when compared to his older brother Don’s, who had deserted the military almost six months ago after reenlisting for another tour of duty. Don didn't know what to do now that he deserted the army. Jerri didn't know where he was hiding, just that he was somewhere in their home state of Illinois. For three months, the family kept in touch, and then finally in late September, Don reached out and said he wanted to talk.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Alexandra Poolos • Ismael Estrada • PTSD
October 6th, 2009
02:50 PM ET

Murder in a small town


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/06/art.crime.mountvernon.jpg caption="A Mont Vernon police officer moves a barricade before leaving the scene of the homicide on Monday."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A small, rural town in the hills of New Hampshire was jolted by a deadly home invasion over the weekend that left a mother dead and her young daughter severely injured.

“This type of murder does not happen very often,” New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker told CNN. “This is something out of the ordinary.”

Four teenage boys have been charged in connection with the incident that occurred early Sunday morning on an isolated, dirt road in Mont Vernon, a town with a population of around 2,000.

In a media release, the New Hampshire Department of Justice identified the homicide victim as 42-year-old Kimberly Cates. The medical examiner determined that she died from “multiple sharp injuries to the head, torso, left arm, and left leg.”


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
October 6th, 2009
02:30 PM ET

'Paying it forward' – recovery in the Philippines

Editor's Note: Last month, Typhoon Parma made landfall in Cagayan Province in the northern Philippines, dumping as much as 36 inches of rain in some parts of the nation of islands. The storm affected more than 338,000 people, displaced 85,000 and killed at least 16. Its predecessor, Ketsana, affected more than 3.9 million people, displaced more than 335,000. CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida was there to help.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/05/art.efren.philippines1.jpg caption="Efren and other volunteers load donated items into a vehicle to begin distributing them to families in need throughout Cavite, Philippines."]

Efren Peñaflorida
CNN Hero
World Vision, The Philippines

“Pagbabayad sa iba ang ginagawa ko’ (What I’m doing is paying it forward)

The smell is overpowering. More than a week after the rains from Typhoon Ketsana and Parma started pouring down on the Philippines, the city is still flooded. Mud and debris are everywhere; you can smell the stench of death as bodies decompose.

But the storms went deep into the Philippines, devastating rural villages throughout the country, too. In Cavite, my hometown, children and their families are struggling through each day. Many have lost everything. Imagine not knowing where you’ll sleep tonight? Or only having one pair of pants to wear because your clothes were ruined as the flood waters rose higher and higher?

I didn’t lose everything in the storms, but that first day the rains came, I was stuck in Manila, wandering through the flooded streets without food or water, and I was exhausted. The next day, after I realized how many people had lost so much, I knew I had to help.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/05/art.efren.philippines2.jpg caption="Volunteers with Efren's group, Dynamic Teen Company, sort donated clothes and prepare to distribute them to families in need in Cavite, Philippines."]

Sunday, I went to church to thank God for the clothes on my back and the roof over my head. Then, I gathered up my team of volunteers at Dynamic Teen Company, and we started collecting donations to give out to our neighbors in need. DTC is an organization that I started with my friends more than 10 years ago to help kids just like me get a basic education, even when they can’t afford to go to school.


Filed under: CNN Heroes • Impact Your World
October 6th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
October 6th, 2009
01:53 PM ET
October 6th, 2009
01:29 PM ET

Al Qaeda’s support is fading

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/10/04/us.terror.probe/art.zazi.denver.gi.jpg caption="Terror suspect Najibullah Zazi has admitted having ties to al Qaeda."]

Audrey Kurth Cronin
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor at the U.S. National War College and research associate of the Changing Character of War program at Oxford University, is the author of "How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns" (Princeton University Press, September 2009). This article represents her views only, not necessarily those of any U.S. government agency.

President Obama entered office hoping to displace the global war on terrorism with a new age of engagement, thereby replacing fear with hope and relinquishing terrorism as the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.

Yet terrorism is once again in the center of the bull's-eye for Washington policymakers.

The war in Afghanistan is at a watershed. Having been relatively neglected in favor of the intervention in Iraq, the administration must now decide whether to recommit to a full-fledged counter-insurgency, perhaps with an additional 40,000 U.S. troops on top of the more than 60,000 already slated for the conflict. Alternatively, some argue for a strategy that focuses on the original problem - of al Qaeda and its extremist associates rather than more ambitious state-building.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Afghanistan • al Qaeda • Barack Obama • President Barack Obama
October 6th, 2009
11:26 AM ET
October 6th, 2009
11:15 AM ET

Interactive: Who has Obama’s ear on Afghanistan?


The flag-draped coffins of at least four U.S. soldiers killed during a weekend onslaught against a U.S. military outpost in Afghanistan were scheduled to arrive Tuesday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the military said.

The bodies will include Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk of South Portland, Maine; Spc. Michael P. Scusa of Villas, New Jersey; Spc. Christopher T. Griffin of Kincheloe, Michigan; and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson of Reno, Nevada, according to the Air Force mortuary affairs office. The dignified transfer ceremony also might include other fallen service members.

Coverage of the troops' return is allowed with the permission of their families under a policy the Obama administration instituted this year.

Click here to keep reading and find out where some of the key players in the debate stand...

Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden • Robert Gates
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