October 22nd, 2009
10:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/22/09

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Tonight the new fears over the H1N1 vaccine. Why one governor is stopping mandatory vaccines for health care workers. And we're answering your questions on the flu. Plus, groundbreaking legislation that would make it a federal crime to assault someone for their sexual orientation. And, Anderson talks about the war on terror with the former Pres. of Pakistan. What should be the U.S. strategy in the region?

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
October 22nd, 2009
10:34 PM ET
October 22nd, 2009
07:49 PM ET
October 22nd, 2009
05:32 PM ET

Latinos… no more skeletons

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Ivan Sanchez
Author, Youth Advocate and Public Speaker

Several weeks back I was invited to attend the advanced screening of CNN’s Latino in America hosted by Soledad O’Brien with my friend, writer/director Franc Reyes.

As I sat in the audience watching the documented stories come to life on the screen, my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with a weird mixture of anxiety, joy, sadness and at times a little laughter.

My tears were driven by the fact that I related to all of the stories from the young Garcia teens living in North Carolina who had lost their connection to their Nuyorican roots, to Isabel Garcia’s fight for justice against a sheriff (Joe Arpaio), to the fully assimilated town of Pico Rivera, to the young teenage girl falling in with the wrong crowd, now living in a “nicer” part of town, finding it difficult to identify with an unfamiliar home.

And most importantly I cried for Luis Ramirez, who was beaten to death by a group of boys who thought that pounding an immigrant to death was the way to go in their Shenandoah, Pennsylvania town.

At the conclusion of the 45-minute advanced screening there was a panel discussion with Soledad O’Brien, Franc Reyes, Julián Zugazagoitia (Director & CEO, El Museo del Barrio), Maite Junco (Editor of Viva, NY Daily News) and Mark Nelson (VP of CNN Productions) as well as my personal favorite panelist, Lillian Rodriguez, President of the Hispanic Federation.

Ms. Rodriguez found it necessary to state that a G.E.D. (General Educational Development) meant you had dropped out of and didn’t equate to graduating high school. She made it clear that obtaining a G.E.D. in her eyes was no great accomplishment.


Filed under: CNN Latino in America
October 22nd, 2009
04:56 PM ET

NAS Report: Strengthening forensic science

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Just Science Coalition

Unvalidated or improper forensic science is a leading cause of wrongful conviction in the United States.

As a result, forensic analysts sometimes testify in cases without a proper scientific basis for their findings. Testimony based on forensics can therefore lack basic scientific standards. Even within forensic disciplines that are more firmly grounded in science, evidence is often subject to dispute.

In 2006, Congress appropriated funds to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to thoroughly study the fundamental underpinnings of forensic science and its applications in our criminal justice system.

A NAS panel was formed – including scientists, academics, a retired federal judge, and other notable experts. Over a period of 18 months, the group conducted comprehensive research on forensic disciplines and released a This Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community released its final report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, in February 2009.

As outlined in the report, many forensic disciplines have evolved primarily through their use in individual cases and have not been scientifically validated or standardized.

Take a look at the report’s 13 key recommendations.

October 22nd, 2009
04:51 PM ET

Latest Pakistan attack has new twist: Women jihadists

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Omar Waraich

"They were dressed in black, all black," says Inam Mansoor, 33, an ambulance driver who entered a military compound in the Pakistani city of Lahore to recover people wounded in a new wave of militant attacks that killed 37 people on Thursday. "They were carrying guns and backpacks. They had commando-style scarves wrapped around their heads." But if such attacks have lately become an almost daily occurrence as Pakistan's army prepares a new offensive against the Taliban in Waziristan, what was remarkable in Lahore was that three of the attackers apparently were women. Police commandos who spoke to TIME at the scene made the claim, which was later confirmed by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The extremist organizations behind the violence are hardly champions of women's equality, but there have been reports in recent months of groups of young women — some of them survivors of 2007's showdown between the army and militant supporters at Islamabad's Red Mosque — traveling to Dera Ghazi Khan in southern Punjab to cement ties with jihadist groups there. The involvement of women fighters may be peculiar to Punjab-based militant groups. The Taliban forces in the northwest don't tolerate women walking out their homes unaccompanied by male relatives or being educated, much less trained as fighters. But the Red Mosque siege in Islamabad saw women publicly assert their support for the militants.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Pakistan • Taliban
October 22nd, 2009
04:33 PM ET

Detained immigrant children face legal maze in U.S.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/22/lia.detained.children/art.detained.children.cnn.jpg caption="Last year, 7,211 children entered the U.S. illegally and alone. But not every child will get legal representation."]

Rose Marie Arce

When "Marta" was 12, she entered the United States illegally, hoping to join her mother, who had left her in Central America years ago to search for work. Three years later she was sitting in immigration detention by herself waiting to be deported back home to her grandmother, who was dying of cancer.

Her case is typical of the 7,211 children who entered the United States illegally in 2008 by themselves, according to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which runs the shelters where the children are detained. Children come searching for family members or a way out of poverty with little understanding of the legal ramifications they face.

Marta had something not every child in those circumstances receives, legal representation. A lawyer employed by the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, a nonprofit legal assistance group, took her case. It made the difference between being deported and getting a shot at a visa.

But not every child will go before a judge with a lawyer. Last year, as many as 50 percent of the children detained went before judges with no lawyer, according to Wendy Young, director of Kids in Need of Defense. She says it could get worse, because the organizations that provide free legal defense for these children are struggling financially and cutting back.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 22nd, 2009
04:27 PM ET

'How do you turn your back on representing a helpless child?'

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Michelle Abarca
Attorney, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
Children's Legal Project

In a time of heated debates about health care, foreclosure, the recession and immigration, it is easy to ignore another sad story. But just one look at the stories we at Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) hear every day puts it all back in perspective.

FIAC champions the rights of immigrants who have few resources and tremendous challenges – unaccompanied children in immigration detention like “Marta,” victims of domestic violence or human trafficking and asylum seekers. Many of our staff are themselves immigrants; 90 percent speak at least two languages.

FIAC is one of the few agencies in the country that provides free representation to immigrant children who enter this country alone each year.

“Marta” is one of these children and is featured in CNN’s Latino in America. Her father abandoned her and later died. When Marta was 7, her mother came to the United States, leaving her behind. Longing to see her mother, Marta left Central America at age 13 and set off for the United States. The journey was grueling.


Filed under: CNN Latino in America • Immigration
October 22nd, 2009
04:26 PM ET

The Drone War

Program Note: Tune in tonight for more from Peter Bergen . AC360° at 11 p.m. ET.

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Peter Bergen | BIO
CNN National Security Analyst

The Al Qaeda videotape shows a small white dog tied up inside a glass cage. A milky gas slowly filters in. An Arab man with an Egyptian accent says: "Start counting the time." Nervous, the dog starts barking and then moaning. After flailing about for some minutes, it succumbs to the poisonous gas and stops moving.

This experiment almost certainly occurred at the Derunta training camp near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, conducted by an Egyptian with the nom de jihad of "Abu Khabab." In the late 1990s, under the direction of Al Qaeda's number two, Ayman Al Zawahiri, Abu Khabab set up the terrorist group's WMD research program, which was given the innocuous codename "Yogurt." Abu Khabab taught hundreds of militants how to deploy poisonous chemicals, such as ricin and cyanide gas. The Egyptian WMD expert also explored the possible uses of radioactive materials, writing in a 2001 memo to his superiors, "As you instructed us you will find attached a summary of the discharges from a traditional nuclear reactor, among which are radioactive elements that could be used for military operations." In the memo, Abu Khabab asked if it were possible to get more information about the matter "from our Pakistani friends who have great experience in this sphere." This was likely a reference to the retired Pakistani senior nuclear scientists who were meeting then with Osama bin Laden.

In the pandemonium following the fall of the Taliban in the winter of 2001, Abu Khabab disappeared into the badlands on the Afghan-Pakistani border. The United States put a $5 million bounty on his head and, in January 2006, attempted to kill him and Zawahiri while they were believed to be in the Pakistani hamlet of Damadola, targeting them with a missile launched by a drone aircraft.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • Pakistan • Peter Bergen
October 22nd, 2009
04:26 PM ET

A H1N1 flu to-do (and don't do) list

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Theresa Tamkins

Swine flu vaccines are rolling out this month - finally. Health-care workers in Indiana and Tennessee were the first to get the nose-spray version, while New Yorkers clamoring for the H1N1 vaccine finally had their chance too.

However, the onslaught of information about H1N1 - be it playground rumors, employer signs telling you to cover your cough, memos from your kids' school, or scary-sounding news reports - is making it pretty hard to figure out what you should be doing right now.

Although some people have already been vaccinated, it could be weeks - depending on your age and risk factors - before you even get a chance at the shot (or spray). So now what?

Sometimes it feels like you have two choices. A: Wring your hands endlessly about something over which you have no control. Or, B: Tune out the static and pretend this is all just a horrible dream. (Call it the ignore-the-whole-sorry-mess-until-my-neighbor-is-sick approach.)

Keep Reading...

Filed under: H1N1 • Health Care
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