April 20th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Gulf Oil Disaster, One Year Later: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on 360°, Anderson talks with three men, survivors of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. One year later, they're now fighting to put their lives back together. Fighting physical injury. Fighting PTSD. Fighting their employer, who promised to make things right. Their story tonight, keeping them honest. Plus, tragedy in Libya. Two photojournalists killed in Misrata.

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
April 20th, 2011
08:37 PM ET

Oscar nominee, another photographer killed in Libya

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Oscar nominee Tim Hetherington and acclaimed photojournalist Chris Hondros died Wednesday while chronicling the gritty violence in the war-torn city of Misrata in Libya, their agencies said.

Two other photographers were hurt in the incident, according to news reports.

"The only thing we know is that he (Hetherington) was hit by an RPG with the other guys," said CSPR agency president Cathy Saypol. An RPG is a rocket-propelled grenade.

Hetherington's last Twitter entry appears to have been made on Tuesday: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."

A British native who was based in Brooklyn, New York, Hetherington received an Academy Award nomination this year for "Restrepo," a documentary film he co-directed with journalist Sebastian Junger. Employed by Panos Pictures, he also worked in Afghanistan two years ago with CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 20th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

Italy, France sending troops to advise Libyan rebels

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - France and Italy announced Wednesday that they will send military officers to Libya to advise rebels fighting for the ouster of leader Moammar Gadhafi and his regime.

Following a similar announcement by the British government Tuesday, French government spokesman Francois Baroin said a "small number" of French troops was being sent to advise the rebels' Transitional National Council.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet has ruled out sending ground troops to fight alongside the rebels. "This is a real issue that deserves an international debate," he said, adding, "We are working within the framework of the 1973 resolution," a reference to the U.N. resolution that authorized action in Libya. "You cannot please everyone all the time," he said.

Italy will send military advisers to train the rebels in self-defense tactics, Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maurizio Massari announced.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was pleased with the coalition decisions.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 20th, 2011
07:49 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/20/11

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:

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a town hall meeting April 20, 2011 at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Chuck Hadad
“If you could permanently untag me in those turban photos from Kenya, it would really help out my re-election campaign."


Cheryl B, Midlothian, VA
"Hey Mark, uummmm, what's my password again? I could have sworn it was TrumpPalin2012."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 20th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: Covering the Gulf's wildlife

Rob Marciano

(CNN) - Twelve months into this oil disaster there seem to be more questions than answers when it comes to the vast ecosystem that is the Gulf of Mexico.

Nature is resilient and can recover from most catastrophic events given enough time.  Most scientists believe the Gulf will eventually recover, but when and at what costs?

Since January 1, more than 220 sea turtles and 175 dolphins have washed up dead on gulf shore beaches. Test results confirming a direct link to the BP oil spill won't be available for months. This is partly because good science takes time, but mostly because this information, along with a slew of other evidence, is being gathered to build a case for litigation against BP.  Dirty water, damaged habitat, and dead animals all are being quantified to bring dollars back to restore the gulf.

Of all the solutions to the countless problems one seems to get the most attention: The Mississippi. Man-made levees and canals have changed the way the river feeds the gulf and its wetlands.  Allow the river to "spread the ecological wealth" a bit by opening up the outflow and/or periodically releasing water/nutrients further upriver so the Mississippi Delta can replenish the wetlands that have been disappearing at astonishing rates for decades.  Just a thought among many good ideas that may now be possible given the attention and dollars that will be produced from an eventual legal settlement.

Reporting on this disaster during the past year has brought me closer to these incredible creatures than I'd ever imagined.  It's heart breaking to see the fatalities increasing at such alarming rates.  Turtle and dolphin deaths this year are 10 to 15 times higher than normal.  The Institute for Marine Mammals Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi has been busy testing these animals while also rehabilitating rescued ones during this event.

On this anniversary date we felt it proper to spend the day at their facility. While here, I got to meet a couple of their resident "retired" dolphins, just two more amazing critters I've gotten to know on this assignment.

Related video: Wildlife recovering from oil spill?

April 20th, 2011
04:15 PM ET

Rig survivors' wives, kids also victims of Deepwater Horizon disaster

Chuck Hadad
AC360° Producer

(CNN) - For the wife of at least one survivor of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, April 20, 2010 is the day she lost her husband. Meccah Boynton-Brown says although her husband Doug made it off the ill-fated rig, he will never be the same.

"There were more than 11 lives lost that day. Yes, there are 11 people that will never come home and see their families again, and my heart is so sad for them," Boynton-Brown said. But she added, "I am married to a different person now. I will always stand by his side but it seems like his previous spirit and character will never return."

According to medical records provided to CNN, Doug Brown has been diagnosed with a litany of mental issues from the injuries he sustained and the horrors he saw onboard the Deepwater Horizon including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression and anxiety. His wife Meccah says his near-constant cycle of anxiety, frustration, anger and depression has had a profoundly detrimental effect on them and their 11 year-old daughter Kirah.

"My life has come to a stop. My daughter's life has pretty much come to a stop . . . the first thing I think Doug wants is to sleep a whole night without having a nightmare," she said.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Chuck Hadad • Gulf Oil Spill
April 20th, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Roommate indicted in Rutgers University suicide case

Jesse Solomon

(CNN) - The roommate of the Rutgers University freshmen who killed himself after his sexual encounter with another man was broadcast online was indicted Wednesday on privacy and bias charges, the prosecutor of Middlesex County in New Jersey announced.

A grand jury indicted Dharun Ravi, 19, on 15 counts including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering, and hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Ravi's attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Bullying • Gay & Lesbian Issues
April 20th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Stories from the Gulf, one year on

Editor's note: "AC360º" returns to the Gulf Coast region a year after the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, at 10 ET Wednesday night. What has been done to clean up the mess, and who is accountable?

(CNN) - A daughter will walk down the aisle this year without her father. A rig survivor still awakens at night and screams. A native American tribe in Louisiana now eats pork, chicken and beans instead of oysters and crab.

And the voice of a Cajun musician puts everything into perspective about last year's oil spill. For years, Tab Benoit had strummed a dire tune of the pillaging of Louisiana's coast.

"Before all this, you'd try to warn people about problems that were coming, and they'd think you're a conspiracy theorist," he says. "The blowout wasn't a mystery. ... It's not like it was a surprise, ya' know."

A year into the nation's worst oil disaster, BP has launched a public relations campaign about "making it right." In a 20-minute video released on the company's website, group chief executive Bob Dudley sits at a polished wood table and says the disaster is a "tragedy we deeply regret at BP."

"In everything we've done since that day, we've tried to act as a responsible company should," he says. "I know it will take time to win back people's respect and it will take actions rather than words. But I hope this helps to demonstrate that we are sorry, that we learned the lessons and we are committed to earning back your trust."

The video then chronicles BP's efforts to contain the spill in the days, weeks and months following the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform.

The plume of crude billowing into the Gulf of Mexico has stopped, and images of oil-soaked birds have subsided. But take a closer look at the Gulf region and you'll find shattered lives and angry - yet determined - residents.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Gulf Oil Spill
April 20th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #821 'Now hiring . . . with fries'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: The president has been plagued from day one by the shortage of jobs in America. So my letter today is sort of good news and bad news all at once.

Dear Mr. President,

All day long I saw news stories about how McDonald's is hiring 50,000 workers, and about how people lined up around the block to snag these jobs.

Let me start by saying I have no beef with McDonald's. Although health nuts would call it heresy, just as former President Bill Clinton enjoyed snarfing a Big Mac now and then during his White House days, so do I. (Actually, I prefer the breakfast menu. Cinnamon Melts, yum!) I fully realize that their food is not always the best choice, especially for a man of my age. Sometimes at night I think I can hear my arteries hardening like polar ice in deep winter. So more than once I have punished myself for indulging in a pack of fries by slapping an extra two or three miles onto my run.

That said, the point stands: I have no bone to pick with the golden arches crowd.

Related: McDonald's hiring 50,000 workers

Still, it seems to me that this hiring surge is being treated like a sign of better times, and that is surprising. Granted, it may be good news for the fast food trade, and certainly anyone who is unemployed might be delighted to score one of these gigs.

April 20th, 2011
01:17 AM ET

Video: Inside Japan's radiation zone

Editor's note: CNN's Stan Grant reports from inside the radiation evacuation zone in Japan.

Related: Robot finds sauna-like conditions around damaged reactor

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
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