December 16th, 2009
10:18 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Sweat lodge death eyewitness

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/16/t1.sweatlodge.witness.martin.jpg caption="Melinda Martin, a former James Arthur Ray employee."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Tonight we’re following the investigation into James Arthur Ray, the self-help guru whose sweat lodge program led to the deaths of three people two months ago. One of Ray’s former employees is speaking out and it appears that she could be one of the prosecution’s star witnesses. She was at the sweat lodge event where the three people died from heat stroke. She describes a tumultuous scene as people passed out and became ill. While she performed CPR, she says Ray was indifferent, did nothing to help and rode off in a golf cart. And she tells us other stories that leave many questions unanswered about Ray’s actions. Don’t miss Gary Tuchman’s report tonight.

It’s a busy week for President Obama. The health care debate is intensifying, there are concerns over security in the Af-Pak region, the economy is – as always – in the limelight, and he will head to Copenhagen for the Climate Summit tomorrow morning.

The President will join other world leaders in the Danish capital to agree on a pact to curb global warming. But will there by anything to sign? Representatives from China, the U.S., India and the European Union – the world’s top polluters – have disagreed and walked out of talks. Will the highly anticipated deal to combat global warming actually take shape or will the leaders make no progress? We’ll bring you the latest tonight.

We’re not taking sides in the climate change debate, we’re reporting the facts. What kind of changes are we seeing in the environment? During our reporting for Planet in Peril, Anderson traveled to the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. It produces about 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen and plays a big role in controlling the climate of the entire planet. It’s also home to more species of plants and animals than any other ecosystem on Earth – about 30 percent of the world’s total. But approximately one-fifth of the Amazon has disappeared in the past three decades. Most of this is because of deforestation which has occurred over the years because of logging – both legal and illegal, construction and agri-business. Don’t miss Anderson’s report.

And speaking of climate change, the debate between Sarah Palin and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is heating up. Palin has questioned whether human activity contributes to climate change and wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post last week blasting the cap and trade policy promoted by the Obama administration to limit emissions. Schwarzenegger questioned her stance on the topic and asked what she was “trying to accomplish.” Palin blasted back at the governor on her Facebook page. We'll have the latest on the tête-à-tête tonight.

General Petraeus is in Afghanistan where he says he believes some foreign fighters have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan due to the fighting there. He says is watching to ensure that the Afghan side of the border region doesn’t become a safe haven for insurgents. Meanwhile, according to reports this morning, in addition to the 30,000 troops that will deploy to Afghanistan, more than 55,000 contractors will also be sent to the region. Who are the contractors and what will they be doing? How much does it cost to keep them there?

And Ben Bernanke was named TIME Person of the Year this morning. The American economist and the current Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve was nominated by President Obama to a second term in August. What do you think of the choice?

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

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Michelle D. Fonthill .Ont

    Good Afternoon Eliza

    James Arther Ray has to be held accfountable for the deaths that have come from his so called self help techniques .This is crazy thiking that being in a sweat lodge which was so overheated could not do damage to someone it's so tragic that this happened , it was so senseless . The planet in peril reporting from last year was fantasitic it brings so much awarness to the environmental issues we are facing

    Thanks for the buzz
    Great job hosting by Anderson too this morning on Regis and Kelly !

    Michelle D.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:25 pm |