January 25th, 2010
10:13 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Crooks getting cash?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://cnnpreview.turner.com:82/2010/US/01/25/stimulus.breaking.law/story.boston.construction.file.gi.jpg caption="An investigation shows that some companies receiving stimulus funds to do road work in Massachusetts have a histories of misconduct." width=300 height=169]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Why is stimulus money going to companies that have histories of misconduct?

Tonight we begin a week-long special on the Stimulus Program. According to our polls, the stimulus bill has lost popularity with the American public because many people believe a lot of money has been wasted. In fact, six in ten believe that the projects in the stimulus bill were included purely for political reasons.

We’re taking a look at some stimulus-funded projects in Massachusetts. It turns out more than half of the companies awarded taxpayer-funded contracts have histories of breaking the law. So how did they manage to secure millions of dollars in new contracts? Drew Griffin is keeping them honest tonight.

Thousands of people were pushing for rescue efforts in Haiti to continue over the weekend, after a 24-year-old man was pulled alive from the ruins on Saturday – 11 days after the earthquake rocked the nation. The Haitian government says it will be switching from a search and rescue operation to a search and recovery mission. But some American families, whose relatives have yet to be discovered, started an online petition to continue search efforts “until all the survivors are accounted for.”


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
January 25th, 2010
08:45 AM ET

Dear President Obama #371: Finish strong

Reporter's Note: President Obama is preparing for his State of the Union address and no doubt facing circumstances a bit different than what he had hoped for. But then, a lot of Americans are facing such things these days. Thank goodness he can count on my daily letter.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

As I write this, I am basking in the warmth of the win that for the first time ever will send my beloved Saints to the Super Bowl. It is beyond unbelievable. My wife and children and I danced around the room, whooped and sent messages to friends. We frightened the dog with our celebration. The Vikings played a remarkable game. Brett Favre was, as he has always been, a magnificent player. The stats said we were losing. And our team had so many moments in which they could have simply given up. But they did not.

There is a shirt being sold in New Orleans these days that reads, “Finish Strong.” There is a lesson for all of us in that, including presidents.

Finish strong. Don’t back down when the odds seem against you. The odds, at some point, are against all winners.

Finish strong. Causes are only lost when you cease to struggle for them.


January 25th, 2010
08:42 AM ET

Educating girls in Nigeria

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/25/art.givergame.jpg caption="Students at the Nigerian Leadership Academy for girls."]

Corrine Clement
Choice Center

Lost in the rush to give aid, support and attention to Haiti are many charities doing their own scheduled fundraising. Case in point, 25 leaders on a 7-day race to raise money to supply water to a Girls Academy in Nigeria.

Seven days to raise $78,000 won't end the need for the first secondary school for girls in rural Nigeria – and the first school to educate Christians and Muslims together – but it will help them stay open.

The 25 leaders from around the country are all students at ChoiceCenter Worldwide University. They are supporting the Dr. William Kupiec Academy for Girls because it represents the first time 22 African tribes have come together to educate children of multiple religions in a country where religious turmoil is common.


Filed under: Global 360° • Impact Your World
January 25th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Minnesota teen still missing after one week


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/24/art.vert.crime.duluth.jpg caption="Sylvester McCurry, 18, was last seen on January 17." width=292 height=320]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Police are concerned that a Minnesota teenager who vanished a week ago may possibly be the victim of foul play. “We’re trying to stay away from the negative, “ said Duluth police department spokesman Brad Wick, “but we will not rule it out.”

Sylvester McCurry, 18, vanished Sunday night, January 17. The high school senior was last seen leaving the Stargate nightclub in Superior, Wisconsin, authorities said.

In a statement, the Duluth police said McCurry went to the club with his brother and ran into friends while there. “McCurry left Stargate without telling anyone he was leaving or where he was going” said the statement.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
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