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June 8th, 2009
11:40 AM ET

Morning Buzz: 2 American Journalists Sentenced

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

News out of North Korea this morning: Two American journalists have been found guilty of what that government calls “grave crimes”. They had been covering the plight of defectors living along the China-North Korea border when they were detained and accused of illegal border crossing + spying. They now face 12 years in prison and 'reform with labor', the country’s state-run media said. Sounds like a nightmare, right?

The State Department has reacted, stating concern for the 2 American citizen journalists and urging North Korea to grant their immediate release on humanitarian grounds. This news comes as the Obama administration considers placing Pyongyang back on the list of states that sponsor terrorism following their recent nuclear and missile tests.

We’ll have reaction from the families tonight, and talk to former US officials who have experience dealing with North Korea- is there any chance of freedom for these women? What is labor camp like? Is it possible to negotiate with this country?

17 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean. Will there be any more clues as to what happened to this plane that went missing? We’re keeping a close eye on this story that has everyone perplexed.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
June 5th, 2009
11:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Anderson's Special Tonight

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/04/kansas.doctor.killed/art.tiller.kake.jpg caption="Dr. George Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians who performed late-term abortions."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Welcome to the end of the week! Tonight we air: A Woman’s Choice: A Nation Divided. There has been intense interest in the murder of Dr. Tiller and the many abortion-related questions that bubbled to the forefront following his death. We pulled this coverage into one solid hour so you could wrap your head around this story fully.

We’ll offer a profile of Dr. Tiller and the suspect Scott Roeder, an insightful look into the fringe organization called ‘Freemen’, plus Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on hand to offer his special medical insight. It's going to be a great show!

Erica Hill is in the mix w/live news hits: President Obama is in Germany, continuing to push for Middle East peace but also remembering the cost of war. He is the first US president to visit Buchenwald, a Nazi forced labor camp. And it is personal. A great-uncle, Charles Payne, helped liberate a nearby camp Ohrdruf, in April 1945.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
June 4th, 2009
11:05 AM ET

Morning Buzz: An Olive Branch to Islam

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/04/art.vert.obama.trip.necklace.jpg caption="US President Barack Obama holds the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit after it was presented to him by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud." width=292 height=320]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

President Obama delivered a speech to the Muslim world today. Our favorite analyst David Gergen called it “the Mt Everest of speeches”. The purpose: to ‘reset Middle East relations.”

The President said, "I know there are many-Muslim and non-Muslims-who question whether we can forge this new beginning," emphasizing that "it is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share."

For those of you who were up last night watching Anderson’s impromptu birthday party in the show and therefore missed the speech early this morning: never fear we will bring you the most important highlights tonight and hash it out with our top panel of guests. We will also show you pictures of the President visiting the Pyramids. Will he/won't he jump on a camel? That would be super fun.

Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are on trial in North Korea. They've been detained in the country after being accused of illegally entering North Korea and acting as spies. Will they be free or spend years in prison? We’ll be watching, and hoping for the best.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
June 3rd, 2009
09:50 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Anderson and Detained Journos in NK

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/06/02/north.korea.detained.journalists/art.ling.afp.gi.jpg caption="Laura Ling, a Current TV reporter, was working with fellow journalist Euna Lee on a story about North Korean defectors."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

President Obama receives a warm welcome in Saudi Arabia this morning. It’s the first stop of his 5-nation tour of the Middle East and Europe. He is trying to send a new message from the United States overseas.

When you talk about ‘reaching out and touching someone’ though, I’m not sure he had Al Qaeda in mind. The number 2 guy from this terrorist group, Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged Egypt to reject president Obama- it is in Cairo that he will deliver his big speech to the Muslim world tomorrow.

Now, Arab TV network al-Jazeera is playing an audiotape reportedly from Osama Bin Laden, the voice criticizing President Obama’s policies toward Muslim countries. We’ll have more on the President’s trip tonight.

Anderson is speaking with the families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the 2 journalists detained in North Korea. Their trial takes place around our show time, and sister Lisa, plus husbands Ian and Michael are speaking out, making public pleas for their release. Anderson has this story tonight.

FULL POST


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
June 2nd, 2009
11:25 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Meeting with the King

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/02/us.muslims.poll/art.obama.turkey.gi.jpg caption="President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visit an Istanbul mosque in April."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Good morning everyone!!
President Obama heads to the Middle East tonight, his first stop is Saudi Arabia where he will meet with King Abdullah, and then onto Cairo where on Thursday he’ll deliver his 3rd speech to the Muslim world.

He sees this trip as an opportunity to repair the relationship with this section of the planet, one that’s in “need of substantial improvement” according to WH spokesman Robert Gibbs. (Does that sound like most of your relationships too?) Candy Crowley will have this report tonight.

The mystery of Flight 447 continues as new details emerge this morning: Other commercial pilots claim they saw what looked like a fire in the Atlantic Ocean yesterday, while the US government is scouring satellite data to pin-point Air France Flight 447’s last location. The relatives of the 228 people on board are being told to expect the worst. We'll have the latest.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
June 1st, 2009
08:54 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Abortion Doctor Killed

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/01/tiller.profile/art.tiller.kake.jpg caption="Dr. George Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians that performed late-term abortions."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

A Kansas late-term abortion doctor named George Tiller was gunned down at his church in Wichita, Kansas-he was a long-time target of anti-abortion activists. There is a suspect in custody, Scott Roeder, held without bail and charged with first-degree murder.

Attorney General Eric Holder is ordering increased security for other individuals and abortion facilities across the nation following this shooting. Gary Tuchman is flying to Kansas to give you the latest on this story tonight.

GM is filing for bankruptcy-it will be the 3rd largest in US history. As part of the reorganization, the US government will gain 60% stake in the new company, and the pricetag for tax-payers is $30 billion. GM will cut 20,000 jobs and a dozen plants will go dark by the end of next year. Ali Velshi offers his analysis on all this.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
May 29th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Are you Laodicean?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/28/national.spelling.bee/art.kavya.2009.gi.jpg caption="Kavya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, reacts to winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night. "]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

President Obama will announce the creation of a “cyber czar” to oversee the protection of our nation’s computer infrastructure. This person would coordinate the effort to protect government and private computer systems from hackers, criminal gangs, terrorists and spies.

The Department of Homeland Security says attacks on government and private computer networks went from approximately 4,000 four years ago, to more than 72,000 attacks last year. That's quite an increase-wow! We are thinking of booking a guest segment on the real threat to our nation’s computers and make sense of these numbers-stay tuned!

It’s another day, and another missile test in North Korea. Kim Jong Il’s regime has test fired a short-range missile from its east coast not too long ago-it’s the 6th test this week. This latest saber-rattling comes as a high-level US delegation heads to Asia, while the communist regime promises “self defense” if “provoked” by the United Nations.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
May 28th, 2009
10:22 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Corruption Sweep in Mexico

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/05/26/mexico.michoacan/art.michoacan.afp.gi.jpg caption="Federal policemen in Mexico City escort a bus with arrested officials from Michoacan state Tuesday."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

The President is upbeat on the economy, saying we’re no longer on the verge of economic disaster. That’s some good news to wake up to while sipping your cup of coffee-what do you think of this statement?

We are hearing that a school group from Maryland has been quarantined in China due to H1N1 fears. Not exactly an ideal school trip. We’ll tell you about this story today as we get more details. (ps: whatever happened to just visiting the good ol' Statue of Liberty?)

US and South Korean militaries are on high alert this morning as North Korea issues a direct threat against their warships-meanwhile Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns this regime it will face consequences for its actions. Where exactly is Kim Jong Il going with all this? What do you think is behind this latest saber-rattling? We’ll be watching this story.

President Obama is trying to establish peace elsewhere on the planet today-he meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and talks are expected to focus on Israeli settlements. Don’t forget last week he met with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu who resisted a freeze on further settlement construction. We’ll see if any news comes out of this meeting.

FULL POST


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
May 26th, 2009
09:30 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Scotus Choice, Prop 8, and NK Missile Tests

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

A breaking story this AM: President Obama has chosen Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the US Supreme Court. One of our analysts described her as moderate, with leftist leanings. She is 54 yrs old, and would be the 1st Hispanic, + 3rd female Supreme Court Justice. What will her pick mean for the future of Supreme Court cases? We'll tell you tonight.

North Korea fired 2 short-range missiles today, a day after another blast showed up on seismographs with the punch of a magnitude 4.7 earthquake. Russia estimated the force of Monday's blast at 10 to 20 kilotons, in the neighborhood of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs of World War II and far larger than the 2006 test.

What will it take to get North Korea to comply with the international community? What options do President Obama and other world leaders have—sanctions vs. diplomacy? Where does Kim Jong Il get his haircut? Oops, sorry- Freudian slip. We’ll have some of these answers tonight!

FULL POST


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
May 22nd, 2009
08:47 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Keeping America Safe

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/21/obama.speech/art.obama.gitmo.cnn.jpg caption="President Obama wants to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, but Congress wants a detailed plan."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

The fallout continues over President Obama’s and former VP Dick Cheney’s speeches in which they offered competing views on how to keep America safe. The President asserts he is still cleaning up a ‘mess’ left behind by his predecessor, and defended his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, amidst other terror fighting measures he has enacted since taking office.

Even after he made his case though, the Senate approved a $91 billion dollar bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but only after lawmakers stripped it of cash needed to close Gitmo.

Former VP Cheney defended the policies of the past administration, saying that Gitmo and the Bush administration’s interrogation tactics kept Americans safe. He asserted that president Obama has weakened the country’s ability to fight al Qaeda and extremists. He also said President Obama’s decision to close Gitmo involved “little deliberation and no plan.”

Opinions differ all around on whether the US should house detainees in supermax prisons in the U.S. What do you think? Tonight our panelists from both sides of the aisle will put this week into context for you.

President Obama and John McCain criss cross today when the President delivers a commencement address at the US Naval Academy in Florida. (insert famous Cats song: "Memories"…). John McCain will be in the audience as a parent to one of the graduates. Wonder if they’ll do lunch together afterwards? Probably not.

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
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