January 4th, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 01/04/10

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We have breaking news on the deadly courthouse shooting in Las Vegas. We now know of a possible motive for the attack. Plus, former vice president Dick Cheney takes on the Pres. Obama over the war on terror. The White House fires back. We're keeping them honest.

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")
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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
January 4th, 2010
09:05 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Deadly Courthouse Shooting

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

A Las Vegas courthouse security guard is dead and a U.S. Marshal is injured after a man pulled a shotgun from underneath his jacket and opened fire.

A bystander happened to capture the sounds of the gunfire on his cell phone camera. The video was posted on YouTube moments after the attack by a user with the name NickyFlips, who wrote on the web site that he had just left the federal courthouse after receiving a jury summons.

"Hell of a morning for jury duty," a man's voice is heard on the video.

Law enforcement officers shot and killed the gunman.

By coincidence, a new federal report was issued shortly before the courthouse shooting which shows threats to federal judges and prosecutors have more than doubled in the past six years. Between 2003 and 2008, the number of threats and inappropriate communications jumped from 592 to 1,278, the report by the Justice Department Inspector General found.

There are more than 2,000 federal judges and approximately 5,250 other federal court officials, including federal prosecutors.

Tonight on 360°, we'll dig deeper on security concerns at America's courthouses.

We'll talk with Alabama Judge Suzanne Childers, who is keeping both a gun and pepper spray next to her gavel because she's concerned about court security cutbacks.

We're also tracking new developments in the case against the man who failed to blow up a U.S. jetliner on Christmas Day.

Tomorrow Pres. Obama will get an update on the investigation from his national security team in the White House Situation Room.

Today new airport security guidelines took effect for travelers flying to the U.S. from or through 14 countries. Four of the countries are considered state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba.

The ten others are defined as countries of interest based on the latest terrorism intelligence: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.

What do you think of the new rules? Share your thoughts below.

As we reported last week, former Vice President Dick Cheney blasted Pres. Obama for "trying to pretend we are not at war."

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan is firing back at Cheney.

"I'm disappointed in the vice president's comments. I'm neither a Republican or a Democrat. I worked for the past five administration. Either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president's position, both in terms of language he uses and the actions he's taken... we continue to say we're at war with al Qaeda, we're trying to give it clarity and we have taken the fight to them. I would not have come back into this government if I felt that this president was not committed to prosecuting this war against al Qaeda and every day I see it in the president's face, I see it in the actions he's taken so I'm confident that this country is, in fact, protected by this president's position on al Qaeda and against terrorist activities," Brennan said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press.

360's Joe Johns is Keeping them Honest and will look at the war of words between the Obama administration and Cheney.

We also have an up close look at what's being called the "Christmas Miracle." A women goes into cardiac arrest. She had no signs of life. Doctors performed a Cesarean to deliver her baby boy, who wasn't breathing either. Then, amazingly, both the new mom and the baby came back to life.

We'll talk with the mom and dad and you'll get to meet the new baby boy.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
January 4th, 2010
05:17 PM ET

Obama faces growing to-do list in 2010

Jim Acosta and Ed Henry

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/01/04/obama.returns/t1larg.obama.return.jpg caption="Amid a terrorism scare, President Obama is dealing with health care, the economy, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." width=300 height=169]

President Obama enters 2010 facing many of the problems he vowed to confront during his first year, along with a handful of new responsibilities.

The president returns Monday from a Hawaiian vacation intended to provide some down time, but with the Christmas Day terror incident, there was little time for rest and relaxation. While on vacation, he tacked on an overhaul of the intelligence community to his already-full agenda.

Obama planned to meet Monday with Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, White House spokesman Bill Burton said. He also scheduled a Tuesday meeting with his national security team to discuss how to plug holes in aviation security.

Republicans have blasted the administration's handling of the failed attack, with former Vice President Dick Cheney accusing the president of pretending the nation is not at war.

Brennan, who advises the president on counterterrorism issues, all but called Cheney a liar this weekend.

Keep Reading...

January 4th, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Report: Threats against federal judges, prosecutors rise sharply

Alan Silverleib

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/01/04/judges.threats/story.lefkow.gi.jpg caption="U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005." width=300 height=169]

The number of threats against federal judges and prosecutors more than doubled over the past six years, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The number of threats and "inappropriate communications" made to federal judges, U.S. attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys increased from 592 in fiscal year 2003 to 1,278 in fiscal year 2008, the report says.

During that six-year period, 5,744 threats were directed at those federal officials, the report says.

The report concludes that the U.S. Marshals Service's program for protecting judges and prosecutors is hampered by a number of deficiencies.

"We believe the [Justice] Department must promptly address these deficiencies to ensure the safety of federal judges, U.S. attorneys ... and other federal court officials," said Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine, who released the report.

The Marshals Service, which is overseen by the Justice Department, bears primary responsibility for protecting more than 2,000 federal judges and roughly 5,250 other federal judicial officials. The service had a $344 million judicial protection budget in fiscal year 2008.

Among other things, the report says threats made against federal judges and attorneys are not "consistently and promptly reported." As many as 25 percent of all threats made during the period covered by the report were not passed on to the Marshals Service, the report states.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
January 4th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
January 4th, 2010
04:49 PM ET

Beat 360° 01/04/10

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:

(Getty Images) Brad Pitt carries daughter Shiloh as they arrive for the Broadway showing of 'Mary Poppins on January 3, 2010 in New York City.

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° Winners:


Joey Gardner

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Even though I may be cute my beard is quite atrocious."


Patty A. Banks, Palmdale, CA

"Brad Pitt arrives at TLC network, with last of his children to be interviewed for new reality series Pitt & Jolie + 8."

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
January 4th, 2010
04:35 PM ET

Dr. Gupta reveals the secrets to 'Cheating Death'

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/12/cheating.death.excerpt/art.gupta.book.publisher.jpg caption="Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that Are Saving Lives Against All Odds."]

Below is an excerpt from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta's new book, "Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that Are Saving Life Against All Odds" published by Wellness Central, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing. The following is from Chapter Two: A Heart-Stopping Moment:

And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. - 2 Kings 4:34, KJV

Mike Mertz was driving home, an hour after finishing his run as a school bus driver in Glendale, Arizona. He told me he doesn't remember why he didn't come straight home from work that day. He thinks that maybe he went for a jog. A trim fifty-nine years old, Mertz enjoyed a two- or three-mile run several days a week. Maybe he was looking for a cheaper gas station than the one on his usual route or was just trying to avoid taking his Saturn over a nasty set of new speed bumps. Whatever the reason, whatever route he wandered, it brought Mertz not to the usual entrance of his townhome complex, but the back driveway. The change in routine may have saved his life.

Corey Ash, a UPS driver, was making deliveries that Wednesday afternoon, when he heard a terrible engine noise. Thinking the sound was underneath his own hood, he pulled over. Hopping out, Ash immediately realized that it was coming from a Saturn almost directly across the street.

It was an accident scene. The small silver car was piled up against a palm tree, the engine revving at top speed. The only thing keeping it in place was a stucco wall a few feet from the tree; the car was wedged between the two. Racing over, Ash could see that the driver had his eyes closed and seemed to be unconscious. The driver's foot was wedged against the accelerator. Ignoring the chance that the car might break free and crush him, Ash reached across the slumped body and turned off the ignition. He dragged Mertz out of the car and laid him on the ground. After dialing 911, Ash started CPR the way he'd learned during an Air National Guard training exercise just two months before.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Sanjay Gupta
January 4th, 2010
04:05 PM ET

Video: Mom and baby's 'second chance'

Program Note: Tune in tonight to watch Anderson's interview with Tracey Hermanstorfer, her husband and their newborn son. AC360° 10 p.m. ET.

January 4th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Yemen 101: A fertile ground for terrorist groups?

Brad Lendon

Yemen, a rugged, poor country on the southern Arabian Peninsula, is emerging as a key theater in the international fight against terrorism.

France on Monday became the latest Western power to close a diplomatic post in Yemen, as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula threatened attacks on Western interests. U.S. officials have said that the suspect in the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit got training at a camp in Yemen. And Gen. David Petraeus visited the country on Saturday to offer President Ali Abdullah Saleh continued U.S. support in rooting out the terrorist cells.

"We are very concerned about al Qaeda's continued growth there," White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said.

Yemen offers fertile territory for terrorists to hide and recruit, and it threatens to take on increasing importance with any success Western powers have in fighting al Qaeda elsewhere, including along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, government officials and analysts say.

"The weakness of al Qaeda in Pakistan has forced them out of Pakistan and into Yemen and Somalia," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a BBC interviewer over the weekend.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Terrorism • Yemen
January 4th, 2010
03:34 PM ET

Bomb attempt a wake-up call for Nigeria

Princeton N. Lyman
Special to CNN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/12/30/Nigeria.violence/t1larg.Nigeria.gi.jpg caption="Soldiers stand guard after December 2008 post-election riots in central Nigeria leave hundreds dead." width=300 height=169]

Americans were alarmed to learn of the attempt to bring down an American airliner over Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day. But Nigerians were especially shocked to learn that one of their own, Umar Farouk AbdulMuttalab, was the perpetrator.

Nigerians, from almost every quarter within and throughout the large Nigerian diaspora, were quick to denounce the act and the motive behind it. But they worried, nevertheless, what this said about Nigeria and the world's perception of their country.

Nigerians were right to say that AbdulMuttalab's actions were not reflective of Nigerian Islam or indeed of sub-Saharan Africans in general. Nigeria, like much of West Africa, adheres to a Sufi school of Sunni Islam, with several prominent brotherhoods that define practices and beliefs. It is a moderate, largely tolerant tradition.

For example, in 1999, Nigeria's Islamic leaders and political leaders responded to a popular call for Shariah law in the Muslim northern states. But contrary to some fears, when once instituted, it had little impact on the rest of the largely Christian country and its secular institutions.

Nevertheless, Nigerian Islam is not without its own internal debates, reformist movements and sometimes violent clashes.

Filed under: 360° Radar
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