Keeping Pakistan Honest: Join the Live Chat
Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) listens to John Kerry (3L) during a meeting at the Prime Minister's house in Islamabad on Monday.
May 16th, 2011
09:50 PM ET

Keeping Pakistan Honest: Join the Live Chat

Pakistan makes a concession. It will return the damaged U.S. helicopter left behind during raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. The news comes as Sen. John Kerry visits Islamabad. We're Keeping Them Honest. Plus, no bail for the head of the International Monetary Fund. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a Manhattan hotel worker. And, see who we add to our 'RidicuList.'

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
May 16th, 2011
07:30 PM ET

IMF chief held without bail after being accused of attempted rape

New York (CNN) - Agreeing with prosecutors' assertions that he is a flight risk, a judge Monday denied bail to International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who police say chased a hotel employee down the hall of his New York suite and sexually assaulted her.

"The fact that he was about to board a flight, that raises some concerns," said Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson.

Strauss-Kahn will be held on Rikers Island, New York's primary prison complex on the East River, said a New York Department of Corrections spokesman, who declined to be named. The IMF head is next set to appear in court Friday.

He'll be at Rikers Island along with thousands of men and women who are being held or have been convicted for a host of violent and other crimes committed in the city. The spokesman said Strauss-Kahn will be in protective custody, staying in a cell by himself and having no contact with other inmates - steps taken because he's considered a high-profile detainee.

Prosecutors argued against bail for Strauss-Kahn on Monday, saying they believe Strauss-Kahn has engaged in "similar acts" at least once and there is little to prevent him from returning to France and living "open and notoriously."

Defense attorneys noted Strauss-Kahn's lack of a criminal record and said he would be prepared to stay with his daughter in New York if released on bail. They suggested bail of $1 million.

But Jackson told Strauss-Kahn defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, "The same rules apply to your defendant as all defendants, and I am a fair judge."

After the arraignment, Brafman told reporters, "This battle has just begun. ... We think this case is very defensible."

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Filed under: 360° Radar
May 16th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Was he ever serious? How Trump strung the country along, again

Washington (CNN) - After setting tongues wagging over the thought of a run for president, launching eye-popping attacks and accusations against the president and other political enemies, openly cursing at more than one political event and even using an interview to name his best orgasm ever, Donald Trump has done it again, essentially firing himself from seeking the top political job in the nation.

Related: Obama birth certificate missing, Trump claims

On Monday, the real estate mogul announced that he would not run for president.

"After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the presidency," Trump said in a statement. "This decision does not come easily or without regret."

But, Trump added, "I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election," tossing one last scrap of meat to critics who have called the real estate mogul arrogant.

The (at least) three-time White House flirt suggested that, this time around, his heart was not fully in the race. "Business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."

So did Trump really intend to run this time - or ever?

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
Beat 360° 5/16/11
Denzel Washington speaks during the 2011 University Of Pennsylvania Commencement on May 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
May 16th, 2011
06:53 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/16/11

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!

Tom Foreman
“See, the president is going to face some smart Republican opponents. And Trump dropping out doesn’t change that. If you follow me.”


Cooper Heaster
"...and as my brother Steve Erkel says..."

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
May 16th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Louisiana residents evacuate as spillway fills lowlands

Butte La Rose, Louisiana (CNN) - Unleashed by its U.S. Army minders, the Mississippi River poured across Louisiana lowlands Monday on its way to inundate thousands of homes and businesses as the Corps of Engineers fights to spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

"Hope you appreciate this Baton Rouge. You're welcome," read one sign posted outside a home in the path of the floodwater.

St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier said about three-quarters of his constituents' homes are expected to suffer water damage after the weekend opening of the Morganza Spillway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The controlled release of water from the swollen Mississippi has lowered projected flood levels for cities downstream - but the lowered crests are little consolation to those living along the Atchafalaya River basin, where the water is being diverted.

"It just tears my heart up to know that these people's lives are fixing to change," Cormier said.

And Krotz Springs, about 20 miles down the Atchafalaya, Mayor Carroll Snyder told CNN that workers are scrambling to put together a temporary levee to protect about 240 homes on the south side of town.

"They're not happy with it, but it's something that we've been knowing for quite some time - that it was inevitable, that it would have to be opened," Snyder said. "They've come to deal with it."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal offered at least a ray of hope to his state's residents on Monday, saying the decision to open the spillway has lowered crest projections in parts of the state. Just as important, river observations now suggest the Corps may need to divert less water from the spillway than initially thought, he said.

That would mean less water in communities in the path of the spillway, he said. But he warned that flooding, in some cases at record levels, is still coming.

"There is still a significant amount of water coming our way," he said.

Based on historical estimates, damages to agriculture alone in Louisiana could total $300 million, Jindal said.

A near-record crests is forecast in Greenville, Mississippi, on Tuesday, followed through the weekend by record crests in Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi; Red River Landing, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, according to the National Weather Service.

In Greenville, more than 200 miles north of the spillway, the river was just short of its projected crest of 64.3 feet at noon Monday, according to the Weather Service. That was more than 16 feet over flood stage and less than a foot below the peak of the historic flood of 1927.

In Natchez, the river is expected to rise five feet above the 1927 record of 58 feet, weather service forecasts show. The predicted crest is 15 feet above flood stage, and the Coast Guard has closed the river to navigation along a 15-mile stretch near the city, Cmdr. Mark Moland said Monday.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Weather
May 16th, 2011
05:15 PM ET

Shallow grave yields several bodies in Syrian city marked by unrest

(CNN) - Multiple bodies - possibly as many as 20 by one account - were found early Monday in a shallow unmarked grave near the Syrian city of Daraa, a center of unrest amid a nationwide wave of anti-government rage.

A local farmer told CNN that another farmer was heading toward his grove of olive trees on the outskirts of Daraa when he smelled the stench of bodies. The farmer searched the field and found a human hand protruding from the earth.

The farmer sought help from local residents and, working with a backhoe, the group unearthed seven bodies, five recognized as being from one family. Among the bodies were those of a young child and woman, the farmer said.

Within an hour of the discovery, the farmer said, Syrian army and security forces took control of the site, confiscating cell phones of witnesses.

Using the backhoe, the security forces continued digging and removing corpses, witnesses said.

"One of the diggers later told the community that around 20 bodies had been found at the site," Abdullah Abazeed, a prominent leader of the uprising in Daraa, told CNN.

CNN has not been granted access into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts or indepenently confirm the body count.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
May 16th, 2011
04:23 PM ET

Letters to the President: #847 'The last launches'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has often spoken of how he was inspired by the space program. And yet, the space shuttle missions are winding down under his watch, leaving no clear vision of what America’s future in space will look like. That’s the subject of today’s letter.

Dear Mr. President,

Did you see the shuttle launch this morning? I hope so. Like almost everyone else I am watching these last launches with particular interest. I'm trying to remain optimistic about this as a retrenching time - a period in which we will reexamine our goals in space, regroup, and reemerge soon with an invigorated commitment to space exploration. I'm trying. But I'm not having much success.

No matter how many times I’ve heard you talk about your vision for space, it just feels as if we are giving up. Oh sure, you say we’ll look to the private sector more, but I’m not sure what to think of that. You’ve made it clear that you don’t really trust the private sector to handle health care, and yet you think Bob’s Space Emporium can get us to infinity and beyond? That seems like a stretch. It’s like you've concluded that there is either nothing out in the universe worth finding, or we're not up to the task, or we just don't care anymore. And that makes me sad.

An awful lot of great accomplishments come amid uncertainty and difficulty. Remember what President Kennedy said in the 1960s when he launched the very space effort that you so often cite as a great inspiration? "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Do you really want to be the president who sends the message: We're giving up, because we found out that it’s harder than we thought, and we’re just not good enough anymore. I know that is not what you want, and yet as it stands at this moment, I fear you will be the president whom historians will say pulled the plug on space and crippled our efforts to lead the world in technological advances.

U.S., Pakistan must heal relationship, Sen. Kerry says
Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) listens to John Kerry (3L) during a meeting at the Prime Minister's house in Islamabad on Monday.
May 16th, 2011
02:45 PM ET

U.S., Pakistan must heal relationship, Sen. Kerry says

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - The United States need not apologize to Pakistan for the successful raid that killed terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, but it is important that the countries find a way to mend their frayed relationship in the wake of the attack, U.S. Sen. John Kerry said Monday during a visit to Islamabad.

Kerry said his goal in visiting was to begin a process that would leave the United States and Pakistan in a position where "isolated episodes, no matter how profound, do not jeopardize the relationships between our countries."

But he said Pakistan must choose between being a haven for extremists or a tolerant democracy and that the United States is willing to help the country.

"Our progress in the days ahead will be measured by actions, not words," he said.

Although many in Pakistan have accused the United States of violating Pakistani sovereignty by launching a unilateral military attack inside the country, Kerry said Pakistanis should direct their ire at bin Laden and his legion of foreign fighters, who he said were responsible for thousands of deaths inside Pakistan.

The Pakistani parliament recently condemned the raid, adopting a resolution calling for a review of its counter-terrorism cooperation agreement with the United States. The resolution also ordered the immediate end of drone attacks in a tribal region of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

Failure to end unilateral U.S. raids and drone attacks will force Pakistan "to consider taking necessary steps, including withdrawal of (a) transit facility" that NATO uses to send troops and supplies into Afghanistan, the resolution said.

U.S. officials have questioned how the world's most wanted terrorist managed to live in plain sight for years in Pakistan - near the country's elite military academy - without being detected.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan