July 20th, 2010
11:32 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/20/10

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:

CNN's Ed Henry reporting on today's White House conference held by President Obama with British Prime Minister David Cameron. (Photo Credit: Major Garrett)

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.

Update: Beat 360° Winners

Gabriel Falcon
"He’s got a goatee and an awkward dancing move. Let’s start the bidding at a nickel. Anyone?"

"Ed Henry sings the National Anthem, while Chuck Todd desperately tries tries to find his earplugs."

________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
July 20th, 2010
11:07 PM ET

Video: Behind the scenes with AC360° in Haiti

Vladimir Duthiers
AC360° Production Assistant

A massive earthquake struck the island of Haiti on January 12, 2010. Less than 24 hours later, I landed in Port-Au-Prince with Anderson Cooper, AC360° Executive Producer Charlie Moore, cameraman Neil Hallsworth, and several other CNN colleagues.

As we drove out of the airport towards the center of town, I remember thinking, “It doesn’t look so bad.” Many of the buildings near the airport seemed to be in good condition; we only saw a few collapsed homes. Less than a mile later, reality hit. We pulled over to the side of the road and saw a child’s body lying on the median. Only a thin sheet afforded this tiny soul some dignity.

Over the course of the next month, CNN reported the full horror of what had happened in Haiti. We also reported on the millions, soon to be billons of dollars in aid that came from people and NGO’s all over the world.

Six months later, we landed in Port-Au-Prince to see how these funds were being used to rebuild Haiti. It soon became clear very little had changed. The streets looked exactly the same – as if the earthquake had struck just hours earlier. Even the Presidential Palace lay in the same crumbled condition.

I let my FlipCam roll as the AC360° team began following the money and reconnecting with survivors we had met back in January. Here’s the backstory of our time there.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Haiti • Vladimir Duthiers
July 20th, 2010
10:40 PM ET

Update: Body found near site of teen abduction


A body has been found near the location where a teenage girl vanished on her way home from summer school, authorities in Southern California said.

Investigators do not know if it is that of Norma Lopez, 17, who was the victim of an apparent kidnapping last Friday in Moreno Valley.

The body was discovered 3pm local time on Monday, said Deputy Melissa Nieburger of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/normalopez.copy.jpg caption="Norma Lopez was believed to be last seen July 15 walking home from summer school" width=292 height=320]

“We cannot confirm who it is or even the sex of the body,” Nieburger told CNN. As far as identification, that can be anywhere from a day or five days depending on what we find.”

Nieburger said the body was found about two miles from where Lopez vanished.

Investigators believe Lopez, who is a junior at Valley View High school, was abducted on the morning of July 15. “There were signs of a struggle,” Nieburger said. “We believe that she was possibly taken against her will.”

According to police, Lopez had just left class at Valley View High School and planned to meet her younger sister and a friend at home. It is believed Lopez, who will be a senior in the fall, took a short cut through a dirt field to reach the family’s residence.

Her sister contacted the police when Lopez never returned home.

Personal items belonging to Lopez that were found in the field suggest that she may have been abducted, Deputy Nieburger said. “These are items that you would not leave behind,” she added.

Extensive searches for the missing teen continued today, Nieburger said. “This is an active investigation. We have utilized all our resources,” she told CNN. “We’ve used canines, bloodhounds, numerous units and all our detectives are still working the case.”

Police are looking for a green “SUV type vehicle” that was seen driving away from the area at the time Lopez vanished.

Nieburger asked the public to help in locating Lopez. “Obviously, we just want her to be found safe,” she said.

Norma Lopez is approximately 5’7” and weighs 110lbs. She has brown eyes and brown shoulder length hair. She was last seen wearing a black and white horizontal stripe sleeveless shirt, with a floral pattern and black skinny jeans.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Moreno Valley Police at 951-247-8700 or the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at 951-776-1099.

Follow the Falcon File on Twitter @FalconCNN

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
July 20th, 2010
09:45 PM ET

USDA Official Pressured to Resign?: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, the truth about Shirley Sherrod - the USDA official who resigned after a video surfaced of her speech in March leading to accusations she's racist. She denies those claims and speaks out on the program. Plus, our attempts to get answers from BP about the oil spill flow rate and more.

Want more details on what 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
July 20th, 2010
08:10 PM ET

Evening Buzz: NAACP: We were 'snookered' by Sherrod tape

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Did the Obama Administration and NAACP rush to judge Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Agriculture Department official, who says she was forced to resign?

Sherrod says yes.

At issue is the video posted online that shows Sherrod delivering a speech in March at a dinner for a Georgia NAACP chapter. In the clip that has a lot of people talking, Sherrod, who is black, described a 1986 encounter with a white farmer before she had the USDA job, when she was working for the nonprofit Federation of the Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund.

The video shows Sherrod telling the audience that the white farmer "took a long time... trying to show me he was superior to me." That led her, she said, to not "give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough."

Though, Sherrod says the clip originally posted by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart and picked up by Fox News, doesn't tell the whole story.

"I did not discriminate against him (the farmer). And in fact, I went all out. I had to frantically look for a lawyer at the last minute because the first lawyer we went to was not doing anything to really help him," Sherrod said.

Roger Spooner, told CNN he's the farmer she speaks of in the video. He has nothing but praise for her.

"If it hadn't been for her, we would've never known who to see or what to do," said Spooner. "She led us right to our success."

Tonight on 360°, you'll hear from Spooner. You'll also hear from Sherrod and get to listen to the other part of the tape in question that wasn't posted online - until today.

The USDA isn't backing down. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said her resignation was necessary because it "compromises the director's ability to do her job."

He also said the push for her to step down did not come from the White House.

"I made this decision, it's my decision. Nobody from the White House contacted me about this at all," he said.

Meantime, the NAACP has changed its tune. Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the civil rights' group, released a new statement today after reviewing the entire video.

"With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias," the statement reads.

"Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans."

Later in the statement, Jealous writes, "While we understand why Secretary Vilsack believes this false controversy will impede her ability to function in the role, we urge him to reconsider."

This is in sharp contrast to the NAACP's first news release issued late Monday when the organization backed Vilsack's decision.

"Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at the USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race," Jealous wrote in the first news release.

Anderson will also talk with Jealous tonight about the controversy.

You’ll also hear from Breitbart, who told CNN, “This was not about Shirley Sherrod.”

“This was about the NAACP attacking the Tea Party and this [the video of Sherrod] is showing racism at an NAACP event. I did not ask for Shirley Sherrod to be fired. I did not ask for any repercussions for Shirley Sherrod,” he added.

In the meantime, what do you think? Should Sherrod get her job back? Sound off below.

See you at 10 pm. ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
July 20th, 2010
05:16 PM ET

British PM says he understands the anger 'across America' for BP

CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/us/2010/07/19/pkg.snow.bp.hearing.cnn.640×360.jpg caption="David Cameron says “It's BP's role to cap the leak”" width=300 height=169]

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday that he "completely understands" the anger that "exists ... across America" regarding the oil well operated by BP that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico three months ago.

"It is BP's role to cap the leak" and compensate people affected by it, he said during a visit to Washington to meet with President Obama. Cameron said he is in regular touch with the leadership of BP, a British-based company.

Just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House on Tuesday, a former interior secretary said Interior Department regulators designing disaster contingency plans didn't prepare for a calamity the size of the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis because of a lack of precedent.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
July 20th, 2010
03:52 PM ET

What's the Tea Party Express?


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/williams.640×360.jpg caption="The National Tea Party Federation expels the Tea Party Express" width=300 height=169]

The National Tea Party Federation, which seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled the Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post its leader, Mark Williams, wrote last week responding to criticism from the NAACP.

Williams' blog post satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.

Even before this current controversy, the group was criticized by some within the Tea Party movement for being run by Republican consultants and for trying to influence GOP primaries far from its base in Sacramento, California.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
July 20th, 2010
03:31 PM ET

Expert: Tea Party split a distraction but will fade

Kristi Keck

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/07/20/tea.party.rift/smlvid.williams.gi.jpg caption="National Tea Party Federation kicks out Mark Williams and Tea Party Express over blog post" width=300 height=169]

While an ugly split within the Tea Party might leave a bruise, it won't be fatal to the movement, a political expert says.

Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams made a bad situation worse last week when he blogged what he said was intended to be a satirical letter from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous to Abraham Lincoln after the NAACP had called for the Tea Party to repudiate racist elements in the movement.

By the end of the weekend, the Tea Party Express was cut loose from an organization that claims to represent the entire movement while the Williams group stood by its man.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Tea Party
July 20th, 2010
03:27 PM ET
July 20th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

Ex-worker: USDA 'wasn't interested in hearing the truth'

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/20/c1main.sherrod.08.cnn.jpg caption="Sherrod says her remarks were taken out of context" width=300 height=169]

A former USDA employee who resigned after a video surfaced of her talking about a white farmer told CNN on Tuesday that the administration "wasn't interested in hearing the truth."

Shirley Sherrod, who resigned Monday as the department's state director of rural development for Georgia, told CNN she had four calls telling her the White House wanted her to resign. She said she was driving at the time, and the last call asked her to pull to the side of the road and offer her resignation.

Sherrod's resignation came after media outlets aired the video, in which she tells and audience she did not give the white farmer "the full force of what I could do" to help him avoid foreclosure.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
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