Syria's president says 'some mistakes' made in handling protests: Join the Live Chat
President Barack Obama Wednesday imposed tough sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pictured, and six other senior Syrian officials.
May 18th, 2011
09:48 PM ET

Syria's president says 'some mistakes' made in handling protests: Join the Live Chat

Tonight on AC360°, Syria's president and six of his top aides are hit with U.S sanctions. We're Keeping Them Honest.

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
Giffords recovering from skull surgery
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was the victim of an attempted assassination in January. Six people were killed in the attack.
May 18th, 2011
08:15 PM ET

Giffords recovering from skull surgery

(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is "recovering well" after skull surgery Wednesday, officials at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston said.

The Arizona Democrat had a cranioplasty procedure, officials said.

Doctors will discuss the procedure and Giffords' next step in rehabilitation at a Thursday morning press briefing.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
May 18th, 2011
07:45 PM ET

Embattled IMF chief could be released on bail pending deal

New York (CNN) - The head of the International Monetary Fund could be released on bail as early as Thursday pending a deal defense attorneys plan to submit on behalf of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, according to a court spokesman.

Strauss-Kahn, who is accused of sexual assault and the attempted rape of a 32-year-old Guinean-born maid, currently sits in a New York jail cell after being initially denied bail by a Manhattan Criminal Court judge.

His attorneys plan to appear in New York State Supreme Court on Thursday, to present a deal that could secure Strauss-Kahn's release, according to court administration spokesman David Bookstaver.

Prosecutors have warned that the powerful IMF chief is a potential flight risk.

Meanwhile, the alleged victim is set to testify before a grand jury in Manhattan Criminal Court, according to her attorney and a source with knowledge of the case.

"I want her to feel safe," said her attorney, Jeffrey Shapiro. "To the extent that his freedom would impair her feeling of safety, that would deeply concern me."

The woman, a widow with one child who lives in the Bronx borough of New York, is expected to refute the notion that the incident was consensual, Shapiro said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
Beat 360° 5/18/11
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visit the Guinness Storehouse and watch the pouring of a pint on May 18, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo credit: Irish Government - Pool/Getty Images)
May 18th, 2011
06:52 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/18/11

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!

Joey Gardner
“There you go. A few more pints and the little lady will look a lot less like Mickey Rooney.”


"The Queen does not like all the foam and orders the bartender: 'Off with its head!'"

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
Report on Catholic priests' sex abuse of minors finds no single cause
Karen Terry, the lead investigator from John Jay College, addresses the media regarding a new report on sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests.
May 18th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Report on Catholic priests' sex abuse of minors finds no single cause

Washington (CNN) – "No single 'cause' of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests" was identified in a wide-ranging report released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released Wednesday.

The report was presented by a group of researchers from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and was commissioned by the bishops group after determining the need for an outside group to review not only the scope of the Catholic sexual abuse crisis in the United States but to try to determine the cause.

The researchers found:

– Less than 5% of the priests who faced allegations were clinically diagnosed as pedophiles.

– Most priests who received treatment following allegations of abuse of a minor also reported sexual behavior with an adult.

– Researchers found no specific markers that would have been apparent across the board to disqualify candidates for the priesthood.

– Sexual orientation, specifically gayness, was not the cause of child sexual abuse by priests.

– The majority of abuse cases happened in the 1960s and 1970s and there was a sharp decline in the number of cases that began in the 1980s and continues today.

– Guidelines set up by the church to deal with the crisis when it came to light, including calling in civil authorities, were not adequately followed by most dioceses.

"The bad news is there is no test to give to seminarians to screen out abusers," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Seminary at Georgetown University who read the report. "We're going to have to be vigilant. We're going to have to continue to have programs to educate both priests and clergy, but also for kids and parents so that the opportunities for abuse are severely restricted."

FULL STORY on the CNN Belief Blog
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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Religion
May 18th, 2011
02:15 PM ET

U.S. sanctions target Syrian president, Iranian commanders

(CNN) - President Barack Obama Wednesday imposed tough sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six other senior Syrian officials in an effort to stop the regime's fierce crackdown on protests, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

The sanctions also target two top Iranian officials whose unit was a "conduit for Iranian material support" to Syrian intelligence, according to a copy of the executive order issued by the White House.

Obama signed the order Wednesday, a move a senior administration official described as a "decisive step to increase pressure" on the Syrian government to end violence, intimidation and pressure "and begin transitioning to a democratic" process.

Condemning Syria's use of violence and intimidation against its people, the official said al-Assad "must put an end to the attacks on protesters, mass arrests and harassment" of citizens expressing rights and "must begin to introduce change."

The Syrian government has launched a clampdown on peaceful demonstrators since mid-March. The United Nations last week said as many as 850 people have died in the protests, and there have been thousands of arrests.

Along with al-Assad, the other senior Syrian officials are Vice President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Defense Minister Ali Habib Mahmoud, head of Syrian Military Intelligence Abdul Fatah Qudsiya and Political Security Directorate chief Mohammed Dib Zaitoun.

"As a result of this action, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the individuals listed in the Annex have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the Treasury Department said in a statement detailing the steps.

The senior administration official said it's too early to estimate how much will be frozen.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
May 18th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #849 'Looking like a criminal'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has talked a lot about change. My letter today is about one possible change we might take from the French. Who knew?

Dear Mr. President,

I have been going easy on the caffeine lately and it has been quite an experience. After a couple of days of crazy headaches, I now feel as if I am emerging from the fog of too much chemical alertness, and it feels good. Not sure how it will last, mind you. The news biz has been fueled by caffeine for a long time, so I’m not entirely betting on my ability to keep it at bay, but we’ll see. This is the time of year when I am routinely tired anyway, because I tend to like the Western Conference in the hockey playoffs and their games can start pretty late.

Speaking of rough games, have you been following the story of the International Monetary Fund boss accused of sexual assault up in New York? He is from France, as I am sure you know, and I read something interesting today about the French justice system: They don’t show people on TV in handcuffs and standing in court when they are merely charged with a crime. They worry that such a practice taints the presumption of innocence.

That makes sense. After all, if you put someone in an orange jump suit and shackles, and march them past the cameras they pretty much look like a criminal whether they are or not. And many people will hold onto that first impression for years without bothering to find out if the person in cuffs actually wound up convicted. Worse yet, they will assume if he wasn’t kept in the old Iron Bar Hilton somehow the court system must have failed.

AC360 Preview: Ex-police chief opens up about life in deadly Mexican town
Marisol Valles Garcia speaks with CNN's Ed Lavandera about her efforts to seek asylum in the U.S.
May 18th, 2011
02:42 AM ET

AC360 Preview: Ex-police chief opens up about life in deadly Mexican town

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° Wednesday beginning at 10pm ET to see Ed Lavandera's report about Marisol Valles Garcia.

(CNN) - When 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia became police chief in one the deadliest parts of the world, she was dubbed the “bravest woman in all of Mexico.” Her predecessor had been beheaded, and it was a job no one was willing to take. Now, she’s left the only place she knows - a place where beheadings, shootings and gangland killings have become commonplace.

Earlier this year, Garcia fled Praxedis G Guerrero, Mexico fearing for her life and the lives of her one-year-old son, husband and family members and saying that threats from the cartels that rule the area became too much to handle. She is now in the United States seeking asylum and worries that the place she once called home will never return to the place she once knew as a child.

Related: ICE official says Garcia in U.S.

In an interview set to air Wednesday on AC360°, Garcia sits down with CNN’s Ed Lavandera and talks about the life she led as a police chief in a deadly town and details the threats she says she received from a drug cartel that targeted her and her family.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Mexico
May 18th, 2011
01:38 AM ET

The RidicuList: 'Cell Phone Lady'

Editor's note: A woman's 16-hour cell phone conversation on an Amtrak "quiet car" earns her a spot on AC360's RidicuList.

May 18th, 2011
01:34 AM ET

Cooper: 'I know nothing about wine'

Editor's note: Anderson Cooper and Isha Sesay chat about wine - both cheap and expensive.

Filed under: 360° Radar
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