Breaking news in the John Edwards grand jury investigation: Join the Live Chat
June 2nd, 2011
09:49 PM ET

Breaking news in the John Edwards grand jury investigation: Join the Live Chat

We've just gotten word of new developments into the grand jury investigation of John Edwards' campaign dealings.

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
June 2nd, 2011
08:19 PM ET

After arrest, Casey Anthony insisted her focus is on finding Caylee

(CNN) - In jail visits with her brother and parents following her arrest, Casey Anthony alternately cries, giggles, expresses love to her relatives and insists her sole focus is finding her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, according to tapes of those visits played for jurors in her capital murder trial on Thursday.

"If you can speak to the media directly, my concern for me is Caylee," a tearful Anthony tells her brother, Lee Anthony, on July 25, 2008, from an Orange County, Florida, jail. "No one has said for me that I love my daughter, that I want her safety and that she and the rest of my family is my only concern. All I want is to see her again, to hear her laugh, to see her smile and to just be with our family. Nothing else matters to me at this point."

The same day, Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, asks her during a visit, "Are you protecting Caylee? Are you protecting me?"

"I'm protecting our family, yes," Anthony replies. "Not from anything I've done."

"Is someone threatening us?" Cindy Anthony asks, then asks again after receiving no answer.

"Just leave it at that, please," her crying daughter replies, adding that she will write her and elaborate. The family was careful about what they discussed, mindful the conversations were being recorded.

Now 25, Casey Anthony is charged with seven counts in Caylee's death, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

She has pleaded not guilty and denied harming her daughter or having anything to do with the little girl's disappearance or death. Defense attorney Jose Baez has said that once all the facts are known, it will become clear his client is innocent.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
June 2nd, 2011
07:35 PM ET

Letters to the President: #864 'Twitter wars'

Reporter's Note: The president loves new media. So do I, but only to a point.

Dear Mr. President,

Have you been following this dustup over Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner’s tweets? (No, I am not trying to be funny by saying that, but I must admit it looks pretty amusing in print.)

I’m sure by the time you read this there will be even more developments, but in a nutshell a picture of a guy’s underwear-clad pelvis was tweeted from the congressman’s account to some woman. He says it was a hacker’s work. Reporters have questioned him about the details. Tempers have flared and now, who the heck knows what really happened?

It’s all the more reason, I think, for grown people of a serious mind to stay away from tweeting in public. I know that you are kind of a “new media” guy - trotting the globe with your fire-breathing BlackBerry, and Bluetoothing yourself to every passing BMW. I suspect you think Twitter is just wonderful. I do too - for the right people in the right places. But they need to know precisely how to use it, and how it might be used against them.

Beat 360° 6/2/11
June 2nd, 2011
07:01 PM ET

Beat 360° 6/2/11

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!

Sam Meyer
“As God is my witness, I thought bunnies could fly.”


Lonnie Hinds
"This is not Virgin Atlantic."

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
June 2nd, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Alleged Libyan rape victim deported from Qatar back to Libya

(CNN) - Eman al-Obeidy, who grabbed the world's attention this spring when she accused Moammar Gadhafi's security forces of gang raping her, has been forced back to Libya, which she had fled in fear.

Qatari authorities took her and her parents from a hotel in Doha, the capital, and forced them onto a military plane that left Qatar early Thursday and landed in rebel-held Benghazi. Al-Obeidy, who has gone into hiding in the city, said the Qataris beat and handcuffed her before forcing her onto the plane.

Al-Obeidy told a journalist that officials in the Transitional National Council had pressured the Qataris to expel her.

Hours before her deportation, Obeidy told CNN that armed guards had been posted outside her room, preventing the UNHCR representative from assisting her.

The Qataris deported her despite repeated requests from U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and unnamed third parties, a UNHCR official told CNN.

"Forcibly returning a refugee who survived gang rape not only violates international law, but is cruel and could trigger further trauma," said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. "All eyes are now on the authorities in eastern Libya, who should allow al-Obeidy to leave the country."

Human Rights Watch called on the Transitional National Council to allow al-Obeidy to leave the country immediately. HRW added that an NTC spokesman had told the group that she was free to travel domestically and abroad.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
June 2nd, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Romney's new mission: To change perceptions

Washington (CNN) - On paper, Republican Mitt Romney seems to be the candidate's candidate.

The son of a former governor, Romney has demonstrated that he can raise swells of campaign cash - and has the name recognition that helps place him high in presidential preference polls.

Romney, 64, also has the credentials of being a successful businessman and organizer, key aspects to any successful candidate. He founded Bain Capital, a private equity firm, and oversaw the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

His experience with economic issues almost certainly will be a boon for in a race that will turn largely on jobs and the economy.

With his announced run on Thursday, Romney will have a treasure trove to spend. His political action committee, Free and Strong America, has raised millions of dollars since 2009, according to federal records and his PAC.

Generally, a candidate's experience as a governor is seen as a plus, but Romney's history in Massachusetts may potentially harm him. Running the state from 2003 to 2007, Romney was known for making bipartisan compromises - a necessary tool in a state dominated by Democrats and independents.

One of those compromises was a universal health care reform law that many say is the model for President Barack Obama's similar law passed in 2010. In both cases, Republicans have been by and large against the laws, arguing against the individual mandate on the state's residents.

Several of his potential rivals for the party's nomination have criticized the Massachusetts universal health care plan, which they call "Romneycare," for making all state residents get health care insurance through subsidies or mandates.

Although the state has greatly expanded the number of residents receiving insurance coverage, the costs have exceeded estimates.

Romney tried to take the issue head on in the run-up to his announcement.


Filed under: 360° Radar
June 2nd, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Slain Syrian boy once wanted to be a cop - before the crackdown

(CNN) - Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, the Syrian boy whose killing has enraged, mobilized and emboldened the country's opposition movement, once harbored dreams of being a police officer.

But the 13-year-old changed his ambitions when the government crackdown went into full swing.

"When he saw police officers kill the people in the revolution, he would say, 'The police kill the people and I don't want to be like them. I do not know what I will be but the police kill people and torture them,'" according to one of his relatives, who escaped to Kuwait amid the regime's suppression of protesters.

The relative asked not to be named out of fear for the safety of his family in Daraa, the southwestern city where the anti-regime demonstrations started in mid-March.

Family members say Hamza got separated from his father in the chaos during demonstrations around Daraa on April 29, when protesters marched on the city to break the Syrian military siege and force the delivery of important supplies, such as medicine and milk for babies.

A few weeks ago, the family received the boy's body. A video that showed up on YouTube displays an appalling and mutilated corpse; much of the video is too graphic to broadcast. The face is bloated and purple and his body is covered in bruises. There are gunshot wounds to his torso and his genitals are mutilated.

CNN cannot independently verify what happened to Hamza or the authenticity of the video.

His death has punctuated the domestic and international outcry against the clampdown by President Bashar al-Assad's government against peaceful protests. "I can only hope that this child did not die in vain," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week.

Patrick McCormick, a spokesman for the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, said children are not immune to the civil unrest across the region.

"The pictures are shocking. They have gone all over the world. And no one could see that without being deeply moved and ashamed about what happened to that boy," he said. "I have no idea why anybody would brutalize a young boy like that. I cannot even begin to go there. We just know that somehow it happened."

UNICEF is calling for investigations so the perpetrators can be brought to justice, "some sort of justice in a situation that's volatile," McCormick said.

"We want to get to the bottom of it."


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
Palin attacks Romney's record on his announcement day
June 2nd, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Palin attacks Romney's record on his announcement day

Boston (CNN) – Less than an hour before Mitt Romney was to announce his second bid for the White House in New Hampshire, Sarah Palin appeared in Romney’s hometown and set about picking apart the health care plan he supported as governor of Massachusetts, suggesting it may be a fatal flaw for his candidacy.

Surrounded by reporters for several minutes while visiting the Bunker Hill monument along Boston’s Freedom Trail, Palin delivered her unvarnished opinions of the Romney heath care plan, which mandated that Massachusetts residents purchase health insurance or else face penalties.

“In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good thing, obviously and I am not the only to say so, but obviously there will be more explanation coming from Gov. Romney for his support of government mandates,” said Palin, on day five of her “One Nation” bus tour of historic sites on the East Coast.

Romney has faced almost unceasing criticism from conservatives within his party for the similarities between his legislation and the national health care reform passed by President Obama.

He has wrapped himself in the Constitution to defend himself, insisting that states, not the federal government, should have the right to develop their own laws and regulations.

Palin was not buying it.

FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
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Filed under: 360° Radar • Sarah Palin
June 2nd, 2011
01:40 AM ET

Video: In Syria 'the mask has fallen,' Ajami says

Editor's note: Anne-Marie Slaughter and Prof. Fouad Ajami speak with Anderson Cooper about the Assad regime in Syria.

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
June 2nd, 2011
12:25 AM ET

Video: Activist speaks out against Assad regime

Editor's note: Human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that Syrians are "fed up" with the Assad regime.

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
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