December 18th, 2009
12:52 PM ET

Photo Gallery: Mexico's Drug War


Full Blown War...

Over 2000 drug-related murders have been recorded in Mexico this year, vastly outpacing previous years. Many of the most grizzly have gone down in the desert city of Culiacán, where dozens of armed state policemen, along with the Mexican military, have been deployed in a Federal effort to contain the problem.

Go here to keep reading and view more images of Culiacán deadly drug war.

Filed under: Crime • Mexico
December 18th, 2009
12:42 PM ET
December 18th, 2009
12:39 PM ET

Leader of Mexican drug cartel killed

Mariano Castillo

The rapid thud-thud-thud of military choppers overhead on Wednesday was the first thing to catch the attention of the residents of Cuernavaca, a city south of Mexico City known as a retreat for city-dwellers and tourists alike.

The helicopters landed near Punta Vista Hermosa, a majestic resort where condos sell for millions of Mexican pesos, and before long, seemingly hundreds of military personnel were on its grounds.

A few hours later, a ferocious firefight broke out between the military and a cell of drug traffickers.

"Things like this rarely happen here," said Yadira Abigail Flores Delgado, who works at a nearby private security firm. "I could hear the shots and the helicopters. It was a very ugly incident."

The outcome, however, was sweet for the administration of President Felipe Calderon.

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Filed under: Crime • Mexico
December 18th, 2009
12:06 PM ET

Obama trying to bridge global divide on climate


President Obama took a risk by heading to Copenhagen Thursday to take part in the final stage of the U.N. Climate Conference with no firm assurance of an agreement - but the trip is worth the effort, according to Fareed Zakaria, CNN foreign affairs analyst.

The conference has been hampered by tension between developed nations including the United States, and nations such as China and India, whose developing economies are reliant on carbon-intensive energy.

"It's important to get the Indians and the Chinese to take this seriously and agree on common goals," Zakaria said. "There's no better way to impress on them the seriousness of the issue than for Obama to go to the conference.

"That's leadership," he said. "You've got to take these risks. If it was worth going to pitch the Chicago Olympics, it was surely worth doing this." Obama traveled to Copenhagen in October to support Chicago, Illinois', bid for the 2016 Olympics, but the games were awarded to Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

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December 18th, 2009
11:54 AM ET

Rx for those bankrupted by medical crisis

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/03/27/india.medical.travel/art.into.or.cnn.jpg caption="Medical costs contributed to more than 62 percent all personal bankruptcy filings in the US in 2007."]

Elizabeth Edwards and Sheldon Whitehouse
Special to CNN

When 3-year-old Finnegan Burns fell ill with complications from cystic fibrosis, his parents did what any loving parents would do. Kerry and Patrick Burns put their lives on hold to see their son through his medical travails.

Surgery after surgery, hospital after hospital, they remained by their child's side as he fought to recover.

This past March, at age 4½, Finnegan lost his battle with this terrible disease.

Following the indescribable anguish that comes with the death of a child, Kerry and Patrick might have hoped to resume their jobs and begin the process of moving forward with their lives.

What should have been a private and quiet period has instead been marked by a mountain of medical debt, home foreclosure and bankruptcy.

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Filed under: Health Care
December 18th, 2009
11:41 AM ET

Dear President Obama #333: Is it really Lieberman's fault?

Reporter's Note: The voters have once again been polled about President Obama. The short story is, half of them think he’s doing a decent job, a little less than half don’t, and the rest are off buying shoes, or eating lunch, or something like that. The longer story is that he is wrestling with some tough issues and paying a political price. Thank goodness he gets free advice every day in my letter to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/15/art.jlieberman.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Is there something I don’t know about Joe Lieberman? Does he cheat at golf, or steal pens, or never pick up the check during Senatorial Happy Hour? I ask only because I am a little puzzled by all the venom being sprayed at him by many of your Democratic pals this week over the health care debate.

Certainly I can understand the frustration of folks who felt like he was proving to be a stumbling block to their dreams of having a government option for health insurance as part of this reform package. I get the equation: The measure could not pass without his vote; he wouldn’t give it if the public option remained in the legislation; so it was dropped to get him to play along. What I don’t get, (and I’m really not trying to be a wise guy about this) is what’s wrong with that?

I thought the whole point of democracy is that we elect people who we believe represent our interests (ha! I laugh every time I say that) and they duke it out over the issues. And that means sometimes they disagree. And sometimes they disagree down to the last vote. But it seems to me if people on the losing side in any debate want to be mad at someone it should be their leadership for letting the issue come down to such a fine line. Could Lieberman’s vote (or the vote of some other Senator) eventually make or break this legislation? Technically yes, but you could just as easily say every single person who votes against it is the “deciding” vote; why didn’t the proponents of this measure do a better job winning them over?


December 18th, 2009
11:28 AM ET

Twitter hacked by 'Iranian Cyber Army'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/12/18/twitter.hacked/story.twitterhack.cnn.jpg caption="People who tried to access Twitter early Friday were redirected to a Web site from the 'Iranian Cyber Army'. " width=300 height=169]


The popular microblogging Web site Twitter was hacked overnight, leaving the millions who use the site tweetless.

Those who tried to access Twitter were redirected to a site that had a green flag and proclaimed "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army."

The Web site was down for nearly an hour. Representatives from Twitter could not be immediately reached for comment, but the company spoke about the issue on its official Twitter page.

"Twitter's DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed. We will update with more information soon," the company posted at about 2:30 a.m. ET Friday.

It was unclear who the group Iranian Cyber Army was and if it is connected to Iran. However, Twitter has had an interesting relationship with Iran.

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Filed under: Internet • Iran • Twitter
December 18th, 2009
11:24 AM ET

Franken takes on Lieberman as tensions builds in Senate

Evan Glass
CNN Congressional Prodcuer

Tensions stemming from the prolonged debate on health care flared Thursday afternoon when Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who was the presiding officer, refused to let Sen. Joe Lieberman finish his speech on the senate floor.

Lieberman, the bane of the Democratic Party's liberal base because of his opposition to creating a public option and expanding Medicare, was speaking about preserving the Medicare trust fund.

After his allotted ten minutes, Lieberman – an independent from Connecticut who sits with the Democratic caucus – asked for more time to finish his speech, a request customarily granted in the venerable chamber.

"In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object," replied

"Really?" Lieberman asked, seeming surprised by the rejection. "Okay," he continued with a chuckle, "I don't take it personally."

Immediately following the exchange, Lieberman's closest Republican ally, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, came to his defense.

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Filed under: Health Care
December 18th, 2009
11:18 AM ET

Don't allow federal funds for abortion

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/18/abortion.jpg caption="An abortion demonstrator protests a clinic in Nebraska."]

Orrin Hatch
Special to CNN

The Democratic health care proposal being debated in the Senate not only contains large new taxes, enormous government expansion and huge spending, but I'm convinced it also seeks to allow federal funding for abortion - something 61 percent of Americans do not support, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey.

Recently, the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill containing language that would safeguard the rights of the unborn, and also prevent medical providers from being coerced into performing procedures that violate their conscience.

However, the health care reform bill introduced by Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in the Senate does not contain similar protections. To be clear, the language in the Reid bill on abortion is significantly weaker than that of the bill that passed in the House last month.

I have major concerns about how effective the weak language in the Reid bill will be. The one thing we know is that coverage of elective abortions in the government-operated health plan (or the public option) would be decided by the secretary of Health and Human Services. I am certain that federal subsidies would ultimately pay for insurance coverage used to cover elective abortions.

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Filed under: Democrats • Health Care • Women's Issues • Women's Rights
December 18th, 2009
11:11 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Can Obama change the climate change summit?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/12/18/obama.copenhagen/story.obama.copenhagen.afp.gi.jpg width=300 height=169]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

President Obama is at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen today. He told other delegates that they are “running short on time” to reach agreement on a deal. Obama said there is no time to waste and that there has to be movement on all sides. He sounded impatient with the progress of the two-week summit so far and said the discussions had produced little more than talk.

So what is Obama expecting to accomplish? Why, in the midst of domestic challenges such as the economy and health care, is Obama taking such a prominent stand in the climate debate? he last time he was in Copenhagen – in October to try to win the 2012 Olympic bid for Chicago – he came back empty-handed. Will he be successful this time?

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 tonight.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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