February 2nd, 2010
02:21 PM ET

Gates seeks to change 'out of date' vision of military challenges

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/01/us.pentagon.review/story.gates.uav.gi.jpg caption="Under Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Pentagon is building up its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles." width=300 height=169]

Mike Mount
CNN Senior Pentagon Producer

Preparing the U.S. military to fight two major conventional wars is "out of date" and does not reflect the numerous challenges U.S. military forces could face in the future, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday.

Gates made that pronouncement as he revealed the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the military's strategic outlook. He said the military needs to start planning for multiple operations such as major disasters in the United States and various scuffles around the planet.

"We now recognize that America's ability to deal with threats for years to come will depend importantly on our success in the current conflicts," Gates said, pointing out this is the first time the anti-insurgent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been included in a Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) as long-term planning priorities.

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Filed under: Mike Mount • Military • Robert Gates
February 2nd, 2010
02:08 PM ET

She's in her new home

Elizabeth Dowling and her daughter, 22-month-old Jenna, at home in Denver, Colorado.

AC360° Correspondent Gary Tuchman with Dowling and Jenna.

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

Elizabeth Dowling was sitting on her living room floor watching CNN coverage from the Earthquake in Haiti. Her thoughts were entirely on her 22-month-old daughter, Jenna.

Dowling was in the process of adopting Jenna, who was at the Bresma Orphanage in Port-au-Prince. She had been getting some reports about how the children in the orphanage were doing, but she was still overcome with worry.


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Haiti Earthquake • Ismael Estrada
February 2nd, 2010
12:18 PM ET

Full List of Academy Award Nominees

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/02/02/oscar.nominations/c1main.avatar.oscars.courtesy.jpg caption="Avatar has become the top-grossing movie of all time." width=416 height=234]


Below is the list of nominees for the 82nd annual Academy Awards. The Oscar ceremony will take place on March 7 and will be televised by ABC.

Best picture

"The Hurt Locker"
"Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"Up in the Air"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"The Blind Side"
"District 9"
"An Education"
"A Serious Man"

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Filed under: Film
February 2nd, 2010
12:05 PM ET

Grand jury dusts off 31 cold cases

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/02/02/pennsylvania.branagan.grand.jury/story.holly.branagan.courtesy.jpg
caption="Holly Branagan, 17, was home alone when she was killed by an intruder on March 28, 1979." width=300 height=169]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

On the last day of her life, Moira "Holly" Branagan, 17, was at home, talking to a friend on the phone. The high school senior said someone was at the door. She told her friend she had to go.

It was shortly before 5 p.m. on March 28, 1979.

Her brother found her body the next morning on the kitchen floor of the family's house in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She had been stabbed repeatedly, and the broken knife blade was left in her back.

No one was ever charged with her slaying.

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Filed under: Crime • Gabe Falcon
February 2nd, 2010
11:47 AM ET

'Avatar' and atomization at the Oscars

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/31/boxoffice.ew/story.avatar.weta.jpg caption="James Cameron's 'Avatar' follows Jake Sully on his Pandora mission to learn about the Na'vi, a fictional species.." width=300 height=169]

Michael Medved
Special to CNN

While dramatizing the against-the-odds rescue of a noble, harmonious alien society called the Na'vi, James Cameron's "Avatar" may also effectuate the rescue of a nasty, contentious alien society known as Hollywood - or at least save Tinseltown's annual Oscar extravaganza from its long-term ratings slump.

The annual Academy Awards telecast used to be one of the big, unifying cultural events that most Americans shared and talked about - like the Super Bowl, or presidential election night, or Christmas Eve. As recently as the 1990's, more than 40 million U.S. viewers - according to The Nielsen Company - watched the broadcast in whole or in part, and spoke the next day about the best and worst gowns, the dumbest acceptance speeches, and the biggest surprises in the major categories.

Beginning with the awards for the film year 2003, however, the ratings for Hollywood's big show took a sharp turn for the worse, dipping consistently below the 40 million figure (despite sharply increased population) and reaching an all-time low in 2008, according to Nielsen.

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Filed under: Film
February 2nd, 2010
11:29 AM ET

Time ripe for Taliban talks

Tom Evans

The Taliban may have reached the peak of their military achievements in the war in Afghanistan, one of the world's top authorities on the Taliban said.

And that position of relative strength might make them more amenable to talks, Pakistani journalist and author Ahmed Rashid said in an interview Monday with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"They can't go much further than where they are now," Rashid said. "They're across the country. They're having shadow governors and shadow government in all the major provinces, but they can't take the cities because of NATO firepower. They can't create a populist movement against the Americans. They tried and failed to do that."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Taliban
February 2nd, 2010
11:15 AM ET

Dear President Obama #379: Time to pay the bills

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama has rolled out his latest budget for the United States of America. It’s a whopper, as such things usually are. So no doubt he appreciates that my daily letters to the White House come free of charge.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/01/art.obamabudget2.0201.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Well, that is quite a budget you’ve rolled out there! Maybe it’s just me, but $3.8 trillion sounds like a lot. Still, it’s a big country, so with weather stripping, repainting, mulching and fertilizing the lawn, maybe that’s just how much it takes.

My wife and I rode past a new house that is going up a few miles from where we live, and we were speculating about the value. It is an absolutely enormous pile of a building, and not very attractive in my book. I’m just guessing here, but I’d put it at anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet. No kidding. It does not have so much of a garage, as an underground parking deck. I’m pretty sure they could invite the entire state of Wyoming to the housewarming and not be too crowded.

Anyway, it occurred to us that even if we were given that house as a gift, just the cost of the maintenance and taxes would put us into cardiac arrest. I wouldn’t mind meeting the people who are going to live there, so I could figure out exactly who needs or even wants that much space. I mean is this the kind of house you buy if you like hikes but hate going outdoors? Are they going to start an indoor soccer league? Do these people ever plan to vacuum their own place? (Ok, I’m just being funny there, because first I don’t think they do; and second, I suspect by the time you worked your way from the attic to the basement, it would be time to turn the old Hoover around and start sucking your way back…leaving no time for enjoying your own private Buckingham Palace.)


February 2nd, 2010
11:11 AM ET
February 2nd, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Heartbroken at home

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Tonight we continue our series on the children of Haiti. It’s been three weeks since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the nation. How are Haitians rebuilding? What is happening to the children, many of whom became orphans when their relatives died in the quake?

The 10 American Baptist missionaries from Idaho, Kansas and Texas, who are detained on charges of illegally trying to take 33 children out of the country, are being held in a jail in Port-au-Prince. They’re scheduled to have a court hearing this morning. The State Department said yesterday that U.S. officials have been given unlimited consular access to the Americans. So what exactly happened and what kind of legal process will these Americans face? Joe Johns is on the ground where he’ll have the latest on the situation tonight.

And Anderson visits ‘Little Haiti’ in New York, where many people lost loved ones in the earthquake. Some have yet to receive information on the whereabouts of their family members. Anderson talks to them about how they are coping, how they’re communicating with their friends and relatives in Haiti, and what many of them are doing to help.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
February 2nd, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Video: Budget winners and losers

Candy Crowley | BIO
CNN Anchor & Reporter

Filed under: Candy Crowley • Economy
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