February 24th, 2010
03:04 PM ET

Video: How to stop vehicle with stuck gas pedal

Brian Todd | BIO
CNN Correspondent

Toyota's recent recall of millions of vehicles for sticking accelerator pedals may get drivers wondering: What should you do if a vehicle is accelerating uncontrollably?

Accelerator pedals in the 2.3 million vehicles that Toyota recalled may, in rare circumstances, become stuck after the pedal mechanisms become worn, the automaker has said.

Toyota says it is shipping reinforcement parts to dealers, and that dealers will start repairs as soon as this weekend. The U.S. Transportation Department urges owners of the recalled vehicles to arrange fixes as soon as possible, though Toyota says the sticking problem is rare and happens gradually, and if no sticking is noticed in a vehicle, it should be safe to drive.

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Filed under: Brian Todd • Toyota
February 24th, 2010
02:55 PM ET

Police, relative: California family's disappearance doesn't add up

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/02/22/california.missing.family/story.mcstay.split.courtesy.jpg caption="Evidence at Joseph and Summer McStay's home suggests they hadn't planned on being gone long, authorities say." width=300 height=169]

Gabriel Falcon

A close relative of a missing Southern California family fears they may have been kidnapped.

"My gut feeling is telling me that they are being held against their will in some way," said Michael McStay, brother of Joseph McStay. "That's my personal opinion. That's what I think."

Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their two children, Gianna, 4, and Joseph, 3, have not been seen or heard from since February 4. Concerned relatives contacted authorities, who then conducted a welfare check of the family's home on February 15, the San Diego County sheriff's office said.

An SUV belonging to the family was found abandoned near the Mexican border. The McStays' home is in Fallbrook, an unincorporated area about 45 miles north of San Diego.

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Filed under: Crime • Gabe Falcon
February 24th, 2010
02:45 PM ET

Beat 360° 2/24/10

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:

Brian Jones (L) and Ismael Vasquez hold a Burmese Python that was being used for hands on training during a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission nonnative snake hunt training session on February 22, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The training session showed prospective hunters how to identify, stalk, capture and remove nonnative reptiles during the hunting season which runs from March 8 to April 17. Some experts believe more than 100,000 non-native Burmese pythons inhabit the Florida Everglades and are damaging the region's endangered wildlife. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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:


Steve Brusk

“Final preparations for the health care summit are underway.”


Terri, Atlanta

"As soon as I find out if this snake is republican or democrat, I'm gonna name him Mark Sanford or John Edwards."

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
February 24th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Life in Sudan: Interview with an aid worker

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/23/t1.chris.sudan.people.jpg width=300 height=169]

Chris Guillebeau
AC360° Contributor

Christine (not her real name) is from the U.S. and works in the international development field for a charity that operates throughout Sudan. She has spent more than a year in the country thus far, and recently signed on for another commitment of indefinite length.

Because she is engaged in sensitive work and serves in Sudan at the permission of the government, we mutually decided to post this as an anonymous interview. All answers are her own.

Let’s get started.

* I know it’s probably hard to summarize what’s happening in the Sudan, but can you try?

This is a difficult question to answer. For years the media has simplistically portrayed two conflicts in Sudan: the Darfur conflict pitting government support “Arab” tribes against “African” tribes and the civil war between the Muslim North and the Christian South. I’ll start with Darfur. First, the “Arab” and “African” labels are somewhat arbitrary. The various tribes have been living together and intermarrying for centuries.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/23/t1.chris.sudan.child1.jpg width=300 height=169]

Second, the level of violence is nowhere near what it was a few years ago during what some have labeled the “genocide.” New arrivals to Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps are fleeing low-intensity conflicts. For the most part, these are no longer just janjaweed/rebel conflicts. Often, they may be arab/arab, rebel/rebel, nomad/pastoralist, etc. While people are no longer dying in massive numbers, over 200,000 people are still displaced due to insecurity.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Chris Guillebeau
February 24th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

Toyoda promises to work with Feds

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/01/29/japan.toyota.apology/t1larg.toyota.gi.jpg
caption="Toyota has announced it would expand its recall of millions of vehicles due to a defect in the accelerator pedal assembly."]

Aaron Smith

Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota, told reporters that he was looking forward to testifying before Congress as he arrived on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

"Thank you for giving me the precious opportunity to speak at the U.S. Congress," Toyoda said, according to a translation. "I would like to thank the Congressional members."

"Safety is our first priority," he continued. "We would like to extend our full cooperation now and further in the future to the U.S. government as well as the Congress."

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Filed under: 360° Radar
February 24th, 2010
11:46 AM ET

Defense official example of revolving door between governing, lobbying

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/23/broken.lobbyists/story.lynn.gi.jpg caption="Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn has been criticized for his past lobbying work for Raytheon." width=300 height=169]

Drew Griffin and Scott Bronstein
CNN Special Investigations Unit

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama repeatedly promised that if elected he would clean up the way Washington works and bar lobbyists from working in his administration.

"I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race - and I've won," Obama said during the primaries. "I don't take a dime of their money, and when I am president, they won't find a job in my White House."

But just weeks after Obama's inauguration, one found a job in the Pentagon.

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Filed under: Barack Obama
February 24th, 2010
11:25 AM ET

Dear President Obama #401: Held hostage by the health care debate: My saga

Reporter's Note: Don’t get the idea that I will never give up on this. Frankly having written more than 400 letters now without so much as a “Hey, good on you, Tom” from President Obama, I’m sure few would blame me if I put the keyboard out on the patio to dry. But, I’m sure he is busy, so uh…not today.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/23/art.tom.bua.food1.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Here is what I’ve eaten since coming to Texas: homemade chili, a most excellent marinated chicken burrito, migas (if you don’t know, trust me…it’s good!), gingerbread pancakes with bacon, a smashing carrot cupcake with butter cream icing, a couple of nondescript hamburgers (waste of a meal, to be frank,) and some barbecue that was so good I wanted to rub it on my chest. Sorry to get so graphic, but hey, if you’d had some you would understand.

So how is the health care reform going? I must say with this latest release of your plan, you have me “looking at the salsa, but waiting on the chips,” as they say down here. Actually, I’ve never heard anyone say that, but it sounds like an old Texas-ism, doesn’t it? Something Dan Rather would say, like “If you’ve got pie in the Alamo, why do you need a canoe?”


February 24th, 2010
11:05 AM ET

'True night dreams' guide Taliban leaders

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/02/18/afghanistan.taliban.ambush/story.afghan.ambush.afp.gi.jpg caption="Coalition forces search for insurgents in the mountains in Afghanistan's Kunar province." width=300 height=169]

Ken Ballen
Special to CNN

In practical terms, it might seem that the recent arrests of key Taliban members and the success of the U.S. offensive in southern Afghanistan might indicate a new phase in the war against the Taliban.

But how the Taliban respond will be based on a world view and beliefs far different from the American perspective and that of the Western-educated Afghan and Pakistani elites, whom we rely on for strategic advice and partnership.

On Tuesday, Pakistani authorities confirmed the capture of Mullah Abdul Kabir, a member of the Taliban's inner circle and a leading military commander against the Americans in eastern Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Pakistan • Taliban
February 24th, 2010
11:05 AM ET

Morning Buzz: That screw costs how much??

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

The White House is getting ready to hold a televised bipartisan health care summit tomorrow.  Earlier this week the Obama Administration introduced a health care compromise plan that calls for the regulation of excessive rate hikes by health insurers. The $950 billion, 10-year health care proposal looks similar to a bill passed by the Senate last year but revises some of its most contentious provisions, from taxes to Medicare. The bill would require every American to have some sort of health insurance and would provide subsidies to low-income families to afford it.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released this morning indicates that two-thirds of Americans think the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to cooperate with President Obama. The survey also shows that the public thinks the Democrats should be the ones to take the first step toward bipartisan cooperation. What do you think? What kind of consensus do you hope lawmakers to reach tomorrow?


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
February 24th, 2010
10:57 AM ET

From slavery to Sarkozy in Haiti

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/europe/02/17/sarkozy.haiti.france/t1larg.sarkozy.chopper.jpg caption="French President Nicolas Sarkozy talks with Haitian counterpart Rene Preval." width=300 height=169]

Patrick Sylvain and Peniel E. Joseph
Special to CNN

Haiti's emergence as the first free black republic, forged against the backdrop of Caribbean and North American slavery, is pivotal to today's discussions of citizenship, democracy, and freedom.

Now, 206 years after its declaration of independence, Haiti's dire poverty, the earthquake and its massive death toll have triggered yet another global "first," one with potentially major geopolitical consequences.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently visited Haiti, the first French president to set foot on Haitian soil. His historic trip recalled long-standing colonial wounds, even as he graciously offered much-needed economic assistance to a ravaged Port-au-Prince. The visit also offered a glimpse of the Caribbean republic's paradoxical relationship with its former colonial master.

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Filed under: Haiti
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