December 2nd, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 12/02/09

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Tonight on 360°, a prime-time exclusive on the war in Afghanistan. Anderson will talk Gen. David Petraeus, who is the chief of U.S. Central Command. There's a lot of pushback to the strategy on Capitol Hill. We'll talk it over with a group of reporters who've sent time on the ground in the war zone and know firsthand what's at stake.

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
December 2nd, 2009
09:04 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Selling the New War Plan

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Pres. Obama's inner circle is on the offensive trying to get Congress and the American people on board with the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

The commander-in-chief revealed last night in a speech at West Point that he's ordering an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the next six months. He also wants to start bringing home U.S. forces in July 2011, just a year-and-a-half from now.

Most Republicans are backing the plan, but several Democrats are questioning Pres. Obama's decision.

The new strategy was debated on Capitol Hill today when Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with two key committees.

A key exchange between Secretary Clinton and Rep. Gary Ackerman, (D) New York, gives a good sense of the emotions at play.

"I'm trying to think this thing through. I think the best I come up with is that we have a shack that is on fire, but it is located next to the dynamite factory and the question that I think I know the answer to but my constituents keep asking - Is it worth risking the lives of those who respond to the fire in a place that may or may not hold a lot of value in and of itself? And what is going to be the result and what would happen if we don't respond?"

"I guess the question I will ask is this, as of 8 o'clock last night do we have a new war or do we have an old war under new ownership," Ackerman added.

Secretary Clinton responded to the questions.

"I think it is fair to say that if the president could have concluded that this was an old war that could be wound down and walked away from, that would certainly have been an easier choice. He is, as we all are, well aware of the political and economic and the loss of young men and women that this decision presages, but the dynamite factory is there and unfortunately it's been stocked with even more dynamite in last couple years and therefore we feel we have to address it," she said.

Meanwhile, General Stanley McChrystal, who requested the extra troops, briefed U.S. forces in Afghanistan on the new war strategy.

"If you think about where we are now, even though it's eight years, this is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. I think it is the end of the beginning. I think everything changes right now," he said as he channeled the words of Sir Winston Churchill during World War Two.

Tonight on 360°, you'll hear from the Gen. McChrystal's boss, Gen. David Petraeus – who is the chief of U.S. Central Command.  We've also gathered our team of reporters who've been to Afghanistan to dive into whether the war plan makes sense.

Join us for this story and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
December 2nd, 2009
05:55 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/02/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (R) speaks with Senator John Thune (L), R-SD, before testifing at a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 2, 2009. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
December 2nd, 2009
05:16 PM ET

Sponsors still standing by Tiger

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Nike, Gatorade and Gillette said on Wednesday that they will continue their relationships with Tiger Woods, despite new reports of Woods' alleged affair and the golfer's admissions of "personal sins"and "transgressions."

"Nike supports Tiger and his family," the company said in a statement. "Our relationship remains unchanged."

"Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter," a Gatorade spokeswoman said. "Our partnership continues."

Gillette reiterated that it has not changed its marketing strategy because of the news, but the company wouldn't comment on any future plans.

Calls to other major sponsors of the golfing great, including Accenture and Tag Heuer, were not immediately returned. AT&T declined to comment for the story.

Below is a full list of Woods' official sponsors:

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With approximately 177,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$21.58 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2009. http://www.accenture.com »


Filed under: 360° Radar
December 2nd, 2009
04:39 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Layoffs appear to be slowing

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The pace of job losses appears to have slowed in November - at least according to two reports out this morning.

Payroll-processing firm ADP said private-sector employers cut 169,000 jobs in November. It was the eighth month in a row that the number of job cuts fell from the month before. The number of cuts in October was revised down to 195,000 from the previously reported 203,000.

A separate report shows the pace of announced job cuts has slowed to the lowest level in two years, but the number of cuts announced in 2009 have already exceeded last year's total. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that 50,349 job cuts were announced in November, 9.6% less than in October. It was the lowest total since December 2007, when 44,416 layoffs were announced. FULL POST

Filed under: 360° Radar
December 2nd, 2009
04:17 PM ET

More arrests 'strong possibility' in slayings of police officers

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There is a "strong possibility" that more people will be charged following the fatal shootings of four police officers in Washington state last weekend, officials said.

Two people accused of helping the suspected gunman evade authorities appeared in court Tuesday, and a third also may be charged, authorities said.

Maurice Clemmons, 37, was shot and killed by Seattle, Washington, police early Tuesday. Police believe he entered a coffee shop Sunday and shot four Lakewood, Washington, officers to death as they met before their shift began

Many of you have asked how you can help. Go here to learn about how you can make a donation in honor of the victims and their families.

Tune in tonight for the latest on the investigation.

Filed under: 360° Radar
December 2nd, 2009
02:55 PM ET

Text of Tiger Woods' statement

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Tiger Woods issued a statement on his Web site Wednesday morning, apologizing for letting his family down.

"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

"Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

"But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

"Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

"I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology."

Filed under: 360° Radar
December 2nd, 2009
02:48 PM ET

Mysterious murders in a small town






Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

One of the smallest communities in the nation has been jolted by a double homicide, police in Maine said.

The victims, a husband and wife, were found dead in their mobile home over the weekend, Stephen McCausland, Public Information Officer for the Maine State Police told CNN. The couple lived in Webster Plantation, a town with a population of less than 100 people. “Basically two roads,” said McCausland. “Frankly, before Sunday, I’ve never heard of it. It’s that remote and that small.”

The slain couple has been identified as Michael and Valerie Miller, both 48. Their bodies were found in their home early Saturday afternoon, authorities said. Initially, investigators believed they might have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. However, the results of autopsy reports confirmed that they were the victims of homicide.

Investigators would not reveal the exact cause of death. “We’re releasing very few details about this case,” McCausland said.

McCausland did say that detectives are looking for a woman who was seen leaving the couple’s home on the day they were found dead. He described her as middle aged with a ponytail and wearing glasses. “We would like to find her and interview her, so far we have appealed to the public for help, so far we’ve had half a dozen calls.”

Webster Plantation is located in the center of Maine. According to the police, this is the first murders in the community in at least 2 decades.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Maine State Police at 207-866-2122.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
December 2nd, 2009
01:49 PM ET

New Afghanistan strategy: Good, but…

(Al-Mustaqbal – Lebanon)

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor, Mideast Affairs

When President Barack Obama spoke in front of cadets, staff and guests at West Point to lay out his administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan, “an entire Middle East region was paying attention and analyzing his words carefully,” says Asharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdel Rahman al-Rashed.

According to al-Rashed, the biggest threat facing the Middle East today is terrorism. He says Arab governments and ordinary citizens have been waiting for a sign from President Obama since he took office to gauge his level of commitment in fighting terrorism. “Last night we all got our answer and it’s a positive one” said al-Rashed. “We heard a serious U.S. commitment to fight al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” That, he says, is a comforting stance from the U.S. that “will encourage local governments to do their part and fight terrorism in their backyards.”

The Middle East region is very complex, and it is going through much turmoil and instability at the moment. Beyond the headlines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Iraq’s ongoing struggle to establish itself as a sovereign nation capable of securing its citizens and borders, serious problems are brewing elsewhere. In addition to a growing number of al Qaeda-linked terror attacks in North Africa and an alarming Shiite-Sunni tension in countries such as Morocco and Bahrain, fierce clashes are raging on the Saudi-Yemen border. The rugged mountainous region is witnessing daily battles as troops from both countries try to crush a rebellion by a group known as Al-Houthis, that al-Rashed believes has direct ties to al Qaeda. “Everything is connected” he says. “If the U.S. defeats al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Arab governments continue to isolate al Qaeda in the region, all their cells will fall apart.”


December 2nd, 2009
12:54 PM ET

Chart: Contractors in Afghanistan

President Obama announced yesterday he will be sending 30,000 more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan. But how many troops are currently operating there and, more importantly, who are they? Take a look at this chart to find out!

Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
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