March 1st, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 03/01/10

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The death toll rises in Chile, as does the looting. One Senator is linked to at least 2,000 job cuts. We've got the raw politics. Plus, the SeaWorld trainer fatally attacked by a killer whale is laid to rest as more questions are raised on whether such creatures of the sea should be held in captivity.

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")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 1st, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Photo Gallery: Chile quake aftermath

Survivors survey damage to infrastructure in Chile, where the death toll from Saturday's earthquake has reached 723.

Rescue workers help free an injured woman from the rubble in Concepcion, south of Santiago.

Urban areas of Chile including capital Santiago and Concepcion, a commercial center, were among the hardest hit by the 8.8 magnitude quake.

Rescuers have been working to free people trapped inside collapsed buildings in the two days since the quake hit.

The Chilean Red Cross reported that some 500,000 homes sustained considerable damage, leaving many temporarily homeless.

The Chilean government has reached an agreement with major supermarkets, who will give away food and necessities to discourage looting.

More than 90 aftershocks have been recorded, ranging from 4.9 to 6.9 in magnitude.

Editor's Note: More than 723 are confirmed dead after Saturday's 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile. Tune in to AC360°, Monday at 10 p.m. ET for the latest on the search for quake survivors and the race to deliver aid.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Chile Earthquake
March 1st, 2010
04:42 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/1/10

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:

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with former Secretary of State Colin Powell after making remarks at The America's Promise Alliance Education event on March 1, 2010 at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.

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:

"If you'd just cut out the pork you'd help both your cholesterol and your poll numbers.”


John Hash, Germantown, Tennessee

"So tell me agains, Sir, how can I use that "Shock and Awe" thing to get health care reform passed?"

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
March 1st, 2010
04:40 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Death & Looting in Chile

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/interactive/2010/02/world/gallery.large.chile/images/chile2.jpg caption="Boats lie next to a building in Talcahuano on Monday after they were taken ashore by a tsunami caused by the earthquake. (AFP/Getty Images)" width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight in Chile we're following the relief efforts and riot control following Saturday's massive earthquake. Soledad O'Brien will be reporting from Concepcion, the country's second-largest city. That's where she says looters are leaving the biggest aftershocks. Crowds of people, young and old, are breaking into stores taking whatever they can get their hands on: Appliances, cell phones, clothes and food.

At one point Soledad saw a military truck with a water hose zero in on a crowd, while soldiers on the ground with guns did nothing to stop the looters.

Many people are calling on the military to step up security.

"We don't want to spend one more night in the darkness and in fear," Jacqueline Van Rysselberge told CNN Chile, our partner network in the country. "We are no longer hungry, we are so scared."

Amid the looting is a scene of death. More than 700 bodies have been recovered. Officials fear the death toll will climb.

But it's a much different scene in the capital. Electricity and water is restored in Santiago and about 90 percent of the city's stores are back open.

As part of our coverage tonight we're also going to look at which American cities face the biggest threat of a massive earthquake, like what hit Chile and Haiti. Yes, Los Angeles is on the list. But can you guess which other big city could face the "big one"?

We also have the raw politics from Capitol Hill where one senator put 2,000 people out of work today and could keep millions from receiving unemployment benefits. That one senator is Kentucky's Jim Bunning (R) and he's refusing to answer questions about why.

We also have new details on the mysterious assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai. Sources close to the investigation tell CNN Mahmoud al Mabhouh was suffocated after he was drugged. They also say there are now 27 suspects linked to the murder. Many of them were caught on a hotel surveillance camera. Dubai officials insist the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, carried out the attack.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm E.T. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 1st, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Results from the President's check-up


President Obama got a checkup Sunday, and his doctor liked what he found.

"The president is in excellent health and 'fit for duty,'" Dr. Jeff Kuhlman, a Navy captain and physician to the president wrote in his report. "All clinical data indicate that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency."

The doctor did recommend Obama change his eating habits a bit. "Recommend dietary modification to reduce LDL cholesterol below 130," Kuhlman wrote. The report lists Obama's LDL level at 138. LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is what's known as "bad" cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: President Barack Obama
March 1st, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Soledad O'Brien: Sadly, there are similarities between Haiti and Chile

Soledad O'Brien and Rose Arce

We couldn't have traveled farther to see the same thing.

We were returning to the United States from Haiti - where every turn continues to unveil another human tragedy even six weeks after the January 12 earthquake - when we were redirected to Chile.

An 8.8-magnitude quake had struck the area around Chile's capital, a seismic event 800 times more powerful than the one in Haiti.

Getting there was half the story. We took off from Miami, Florida, knowing the airport in Santiago was closed, so our aim was to get as close as we could. That set off a journey that would last 48 hours. We flew to Panama, Lima, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires and Bariloche, then began a very long drive through the Patagonia region of Argentina, into Chile and north into the earthquake zone.

Keep Reading...

March 1st, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Biologists: Killer Whales 'neurotic' in captivity

Trainers at SeaWorld are taught to reinforce the whales' good behavior with rewards and to not react at all to bad behavior.

Elizabeth Landau

Killer whales can weigh up to 22,000 pounds, and may be as long as 32 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They often travel in groups of up to 50, being highly social.

Confining such an enormous animal in an aquarium tank leads the animal to display neurotic behavior, experts say.

"They get very stressed out," marine biologist Nancy Black of Monterey Bay Whale Watch said on CNN's "Larry King Live."

SeaWorld whale trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, died Wednesday from "multiple traumatic injuries and drowning" after a whale called Tilikum grabbed her ponytail and pulled her underwater at Shamu Stadium, the Orange County Sheriff's office said Thursday.

An orca can travel easily 100 nautical miles every day, and to put them in a pool where they swim around in circles continually, and kept away from their families, "takes a toll on their brains," said Jim Borrowman, who has worked with whales for 30 years and runs Stubbs Island Whale Watching on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Keep reading...

March 1st, 2010
03:44 PM ET
March 1st, 2010
03:36 PM ET

Death toll in Chile quake reaches 723

Karl Penhaul

Rescuers searched for survivors Monday as crews sought to deliver food and water and prevent looting after the fifth strongest earthquake in some 100 years ravaged central and southern Chile.

More than 1.5 million people were without power in and around the capital of Santiago, according to Chile's National Emergency Office, but the hardest-hit areas after Saturday's 8.8-magnitude quake were farther south in the Maule and Bio Bio regions along the coast.

Authorities said 544 of the 723 reported deaths were in Maule, where a sewer system collapsed, water towers were close to toppling and communities lacked basic services, the emergency office said.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Chile Earthquake • Karl Penhaul
March 1st, 2010
03:29 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Extended jobless benefits set to end

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/26/senate.jobless.benefits/story.jim.bunning.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Jim Bunning is being blamed for furloughing thousands of federal employees and threatening state jobs." width=300 height=169]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

More than 1 million Americans woke up this morning with a new and potentially devastating worry: they’re no longer able to apply for extended unemployment benefits.

Because the Senate failed to push back the Feb. 28 deadline to apply for this safety net last week, those without jobs are no longer able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.

Federal benefits kick in after the basic state-funded 26 weeks of unemployment coverage expire. During the recession, Congress approved up to an additional 73 weeks, which it funds.

These federal benefit weeks are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

But because the Senate did not act, the unemployed will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

That could spell disaster for those who are counting on that income. In total, more than 1 million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.

Lawmakers repeatedly tried to approve a 30-day extension last week, but each time, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-KY., prevented the $10 billion measure from passing, saying it needed to be paid for first.

Filibuster threatens highway jobs

Meanwhile, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today blamed Sen. Bunning’s filibuster for furloughing thousands of federal employees and threatening state jobs while shutting down highway construction projects nationwide.

"As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country," wrote LaHood, in a press release. "This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed."

LaHood was referring to Bunning’s filibuster blocking a bill that would, among other things, provide a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which is a federal fund set up to pay for transportation projects around the country.

As a result, Secretary LaHood says up to 2,000 DOT employees will be sent home without pay.

AIG selling Asia unit for $35B

Troubled insurance giant AIG has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Asian life insurance business to Britain's Prudential PLC in a deal valued at $35.5 billion.

The deal includes $25 billion in cash, which AIG says is the largest cash proceeds it's received from any sale during its current restructuring efforts.

The deal marks yet another step in getting AIG out from under the more than $100 billion it borrowed from the federal government beginning in 2008 to avoid collapse.

AIG’s CEO said in a statement that the deal will allow AIG “to realize value on a faster track to repay U.S. taxpayers” and will give the company “greater flexibility” with its restructuring plans.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Unemployment
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