CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/world/2010/06/24/candiotti.iran.hikers.cnn.640×360.jpg caption="Were hikers seized in Iraq, not Iran?" width=300 height=169]
The mothers of U.S. hikers held by Iran said a magazine article that contradicts government claims they crossed the border before their arrests is "concerning" and raises many questions.
The article written for the July 12 edition of The Nation cites two witnesses who said they saw members of Iran's national police force cross the border into northern Iraq to apprehend Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal.
"The witnesses, who followed the Western-looking hikers out of curiosity, say that around 2 p.m. on July 31 (2009), as the hikers descended the mountain, uniformed guards from NAJA, Iran's national police force, waved the hikers toward the Iranian side using 'threatening' and 'menacing' gestures," the article says.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/23/zakaria.mcchrystal.petraeus/tzleft.fareed.zakaria.cnn.jpg caption="Zakaria says Petraeus showed in Iraq the importance of working with civilians to carry out strategy" width=300 height=169]
President Obama's decision to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus is "a masterstroke," says analyst Fareed Zakaria.
The president announced Wednesday that he had accepted McChrystal's resignation after the publication of a Rolling Stone article that contained disparaging remarks by the general and his staff about officials in the Obama administration. Obama chose Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, to replace McChrystal.
Zakaria said the controversy over McChrystal's comments raised questions about how effectively he was doing his job, and Petraeus is superbly equipped for the role of leading the NATO force in Afghanistan.
David Gewirtz | BIO
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute
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Two months ago on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sinking into the sea. In its place is what is rapidly becoming the worst man-made natural disaster in American history.
In towns all around the initial spill zone - which are also the same towns that suffered under Katrina's wrath - there is fear, sadness, and growing anger. Those who live there and those who are covering the ongoing story have reported just how disturbing the situation has become - and it still has no end in sight.
Outside the Gulf region, the situation is different. Virtually every American is aware of the disaster, but most don't feel it personally. They just sense, deep in the core of their being, that something is very, very wrong.
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/06/24/mcchrystal.gates.support/story.gates.mcchrystal.afp.gi.jpg caption="Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal confer in Kabul, Afghanistan, in March." width=300 height=169]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but Gates was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr.
The official has direct knowledge of the events but declined to be identified because of the internal administration discussions.
President Barack Obama relieved McChrystal of command of the Afghan war on Wednesday, a day after Rolling Stone published critical comments about top White House officials by members of McChrystal's staff.
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/23/louisiana.oil.dredging/story.bobby.jindal.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Bobby Jindal on June 15 tours an area off Grand Isle, Louisiana, that was damaged by the oil spill." width=300 height=169]
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had harsh words for government authorities on Wednesday after sand-dredging operations to protect the state's coastline from the BP oil disaster were halted due to environmental concerns.
"This is a war," Jindal said of the fight to protect shorelines from the approaching oil. "Every hour, every day matters. Maybe they don't see the oil from Washington [but] we see it every day on our coast."
Jindal called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to let workers resume dredging off the Chandeleur Islands. The dredging would be followed by construction of berms in hopes the offshore berms would block oil before it hit the beach.
Tom Foreman | BIO
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/2010/writers/bruce_jenkins/06/23/isner.mahut.react/isner-mahut-getty.jpg caption="France's Nicolas Mahut (left) and American John Isner (right) have already competed for 10 hours in the first-round match." width=292 height=320]
Reporter's Note: President Obama is a sports fan. And hopefully he is also a fan of these letters, since I am continuing my marathon effort to write to him every single day.
Dear Mr. President,
Ok, so I know that you replaced your top general in Afghanistan, I know that the oil spill continues to eat up the headlines, and I know Canada had a little earthquake (although I’ve never really thought about them having tremors up there… go figure.) But to be honest I don’t really care to talk about any of that, or for that matter anything else heavy in the news today. I want to talk about the tennis match!
As I rolled up and down the coast today, even hopping into a scalloping boat for a few hours, the single most exciting bit of news I heard trickling through my BlackBerry and the various folks I ran into, was about this amazing, mind-blowing, nearly superhuman tennis match at Wimbledon.
Now, I’ve played a little tennis in my day and while it was fun I’ve never been a big tennis watcher. But trust me, I would have been glued to this action if I’d had the chance.
Just think about it: Two world-class athletes dueling it out for more than 10 hours (10 HOURS!) and neither one able to get enough of an edge to snag the victory. Just epic!
Can we even comprehend the effort, the aches, and the exhaustion that they must be experiencing? I suspect not.
You know that I frequently rail here about people taking the easy way out; politicians, business folks, and even regular citizens just showing a kind of general, spineless weakness when it comes to adversity. And I know that this is just a game, but jeesh, it is inspiring. If we had more leaders willing to stand up and fight for the good of Americans which such energy, I suspect we’d find ourselves in a whole new game!
Speaking of which, and keeping with the sports theme, did you see the latest U.S. victory in the World Cup? Most excellent! Not getting to write nearly as much as I’d like during this road trip to Florida. But hopefully I can remedy that soon. BTW, I’m largely beyond the oil zone right now and I saw a sea urchin and a sea turtle today… you should have been there!
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/24/gulf.oil.disaster/t1larg.gulf.oil.rig.afp.gi.jpg caption="The Obama administration has asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to delay his decision to lift the ban" width=300 height=169]
A New Orleans judge could decide Thursday whether a government ban on deepwater drilling will continue.
The Obama administration has asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to delay his decision to lift the ban until an appeals court reviews the case later in the summer.
Earlier this week, Feldman struck down the deepwater drilling ban, declaring it "arbitrary and capricious."
Obama administration lawyers filed the paperwork Wednesday signaling their intention to appeal Feldman's decision. Feldman could rule on the government's request as early as Thursday, government officials said.