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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

February 28th, 2010
12:38 AM ET

Christiane is on the set right now and just about to start her interviewing of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak:

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Our #AmanZuela hash tag debate on Venezuela via Twitter

February 27th, 2010
04:00 PM ET
Amanpour. is hosting hash tag debate on Venezuela via Twitter #AmanZuela
Amanpour. is hosting hash tag debate on Venezuela via Twitter #AmanZuela

Last week we did an entire edition on the economic and political crises in Venezuela.

Our program created a tidal wave of feedback from Venezuelans in Venezuela and all over the world. So we asked our guests – Venezuelan Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Alvarez Herrera – to come back and engage in a discussion taking via Twitter from our followers there. The gentlemen agreed to take part and here is the hash tag debate we've hosted using #AmanZuela:


Question from @playdiego: Who's the enemy? poverty, crime facts, energy breakdown or Washington? RT @AmanpourCNN #AmanZuela

Answer from @leopoldolopez: The real enemy venezuelans have to defeat is poverty, inequality, crime and authoritarianism. Our compromise for our future: All rights for all people.

From Ambassador Alvarez: Poverty is a problem we are successfully addressing, but we’re also focused on crime and the drought. We have political differences with Washington.

...Poverty is a problem we are definitely concerned about. And while we still have a ways to go, we have made appreciable gains in the fight against poverty and inequality. Over the last 10 years, Venezuela’s rank on the UN Human Development Index has gone up 10 spots due to the government’s innovative social programs and increased social spending. From 1998 to 2008, poverty fell from 49 to 21 percent. At the same time, access to health, education and food has increased. Of course, we are also concerned about crime, which we have been addressing with long-term and short-term measures, and we will continue adjusting our crime-fighting strategies as necessary. We are also focused on the electricity shortages caused by the historic drought in Venezuela. With regards to Washington, we have our political differences but we still believe that dialogue is possible. We will continue opposing any U.S. policies that are unilateral or interventionist, though.


Question from @fernancaffroni: Would the Venezuelan government accept US help to tackle the electrical crisis in Venezuela #AmanZuela

Answer from @leopoldolopez: To overcome the electrical crisis the govt needs to invest in long run solutions and in short run: accept help whether it comes from Brazil, Colombia or the US.

From Ambassador Alvarez: No need to, but we do want to talk about climate change.

...Venezuela is taking necessary steps to tackle the electricity crisis, and is making investments that will add 4,000 megawatts to the grid by the end of this year and 15,000 megawatts by 2015. Where we could have discussions with the U.S. is over the necessary steps the world needs to take to manage and reverse climate change. Our current electricity crisis is caused by a lack of rain, giving us a distinct insight into how a country can be directly affected by changes in the climate. This drought may only be temporary, but if we do nothing about climate change now, we may see droughts like this more often. It will take much more aggressive steps by the developed world to act decisively against climate change.


Question from: TwitteoPorVE #AmanZuela Are they thinking about the huge contamination with the new diesel power plants they are installing all around?

From Ambassador Alvarez: We’re committed to clean energy; 70% comes from hydro sources. Due to the historic drought we have taken emergency measures.

....Over 70 percent of Venezuela’s electricity comes from hydro-electric sources, and much of the investments we’ve made over the years have been in expanding hydro-electric generation, which is extremely environmentally friendly. Of course, due to the historic drought Venezuela is suffering, our hydro-electric sources have been severely affected. As a consequence, Venezuela has taken emergency measures to compensate for the loss of power being generated by our hydro-electric sources. These measures include thermoelectric plants that are unfortunately not as clean as hydro-electric sources. It’s important to note that these plants will not replace cleaner alternatives, but rather serve to produce necessary electricity in the short term during emergencies. We are still committed to a clean and diversified electricity grid. The Minister of Electricity has said that he is exploring the development of eolic – or wind – sources of electricity. We are also focusing our energies on decreasing national consumption of electricity through things like energy efficient light bulbs, etc.


Question from @fernancaffroni to @leopoldolopez: Are you willing to talk with Henri Falcón – the new dissident within Chávez's movement?

Answer from @leopoldolopez: We are talking and working w/ many dissidents, and we are open to enter a constructive political dialogue with Falcon and any other leader.


Question from @cesarvo to Alvarez: Different polls are showing a bad trend for Chavez. Despite this, will his government guarantee the next elections?

Answers from Ambassador Alvarez: Last poll says Pres Chavez’s popularity is at 58%. After 11 yrs, very impressive. Elections this year will be free and fair, like the last 14.

...The last poll from the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD in Spanish) points out that President Chávez enjoys a popularity rating of 58 percent. You have to consider also that even those polls that claim that he has a lower level of popularity at the moment have admitted that President Chávez continues with a strong level of popularity and that changes in his popularity do not translate automatically into electoral gains for the opposition.  Additionally, after 11 years in office, that his popularity has remained strong is impressive. Consider that some politicians in the U.S. lose significantly more popular support in just their first year in office.  As for the coming legislative elections, the National Electoral Council has committed itself to making them free, fair and transparent, as has been the case with the 14 national elections held in Venezuela to date. We do hope that members of the opposition choose to participate this year, unlike the 2005 elections that they boycotted because they did not want to legitimize an electoral system trusted by the majority of the Venezuelan people.


Question from TwitteoPorVE to @leopoldolopez: are you really having an open mind in candidates choice? People aren't feeling that way, seems like candidates will b the same

Answer from @leopoldolopez: We are actively promoting the idea that candidates to the National Assambly should be elected in primaries open to new leadership.


Question from @Rolando28: Could you please ask Mr. Alvarez to explain 140.000 Venezuelans killed by firearms on the streets in 10 years ?

Answer from Ambassador Alvarez: We are taking all measures – short and long term – to address this important problem.

Even one violent death at the hands of criminals is tragic, so that Venezuelans have been affected by crime, violence and insecurity over the years is a challenge we take seriously. Crime and violence has long roots and many causes, all of which we are trying to address. In the short-term, we’ve undertaken a reform of the country’s police forces and are working to make the justice system more responsive. In the long-term, we’ve pushed initiatives and programs to attack poverty, inequality and social exclusion, three causes of crime and violence.


Question from @orientemiedo:  Why has Venezuela become more dangerous than Iraq/Afganistan? #amanzuela

Answer from @leopoldolopez: Vzl has become one of the most violent countries in the world mainly due to the lack of political will. For the gov crime is a non issue, never even mentioned. For 80% of the people is the main problem.

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Israeli leader says Iran won't bomb Israel but will disrupt Middle East

February 26th, 2010
11:18 PM ET

By Senior Producer Charley Keyes

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday that Iran's nuclear program is not just a danger not just for Israel.

"Iran is not just a challenge for Israel. I believe it is a challenge for the whole world," Barak said in a Washington speech. "I can hardly think of a stable world order with a nuclear Iran."

Barak said he doubted whether Iran was crazy enough – he used the Yiddish word "meshugah" which means crazy –  to launch a nuclear attack against Israel but warned the impact of a nuclear-armed Iran could endanger the region, disrupt oil supplies and empower Iran's terrorist allies.

FULL POST

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And now your feedback

February 26th, 2010
11:16 PM ET
Christiane - all ears for the feedback.
Christiane – all ears for the feedback.

The economic crisis in Spain had Amanpour viewers speculating about the best approach to tackle this situation from the citizens’ perspective.  Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos’ statements generated a wave of mixed commentary with both, positive and negative opinions by viewers who felt his strategy “wasn’t clear.”  Some compared the situation in Spain to Greece and added “Spain was headed down the same path.” 

What are your thoughts? Please share your thoughts with us! In addition, if you missed the show go to http://www.amanpour.com for more information.

Below, you will see some opinions from viewers like yourself. We would love to hear what you think.

Facebook comments

Comments about Climate Change

Isabel إيزابيل Perez uf! in Spain they deceived us – no matter who was in the power- they disguised the real situation with false information, they concealed an appalling rate of unemployment... I'd say: Yes, we are in the same path as the Greece. The worst situation is for the youth and those who are in their 50's.... So, which was Mr. Moratinos's answer?

FULL POST

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Tom's Take

February 26th, 2010
02:24 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Today, we will will wrap up the most pressing issues of the week. With Europe facing a deepening economic crisis, Christiane talks with Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos about his country’s fiscal problems, protests in the streets, and Europe’s stumbling efforts to confront the world’s political and economic challenges as one. And as the world looks to Bonn for the next round of climate talks, we have a lively discussion with leading climate scientist James Hansen, New York Times Pulitzer prize winning columnist Thomas Friedman, and Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist. We talk to them about the climate change movement’s loss of footing since Copenhagen, “climategate”, and the resignation of UN climate chief Yvo de Boer.  Finally, Christiane talks with North Korea expert Sung-Yoon Lee about how the secretive regime could be preparing for a post-Kim Jong Il era. Now here are some perspectives on some of today's headlines.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

AFGHANISTAN - Are today's bomb attacks in Kabul the Taliban's response to calls for "reintegration and reconciliation"?

– Deadly blasts in capital targeting foreigners kill at least 17 people and wound many others

- Those killed include at least eight Indians and one Pakistani

- Attacks come as U.S., British, Afghan troops continue offensive in Marjah area and   international and Afghan officials step up rhetoric on possible talks with Taliban

QUESTION: Are Taliban as united as they appear in their opposition to possible talks with the Karzai government in Afghanistan?
FULL POST

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And now your feedback

February 25th, 2010
10:35 PM ET
Christiane - all ears for the feedback.
Christiane – all ears for the feedback.

Climate change discussions proved popular among the Amanpour audience.  Viewers speculated over scientific facts versus natural phenomena and the majority agreed humanity contributed to its “plunge” for the most part.  Additionally, some commented that climate change and world politics were best if they acted independently, rather than combined.  A few claimed people had no control over the weather and expressed confusion over the concern of most for climate change. 

What are your thoughts? Please share your thoughts with us! In addition, if you missed the show go to http://www.amanpour.com for more information.

I just watched your Amanpour show on CNN where several experts were discussing the true cost of global warming.
A journalist from NY suggested that the term 'Global Warming' might be too positive sounding for people living in cooler places in the US and elsewhere. The journalist called it 'Global Weirding' to carry a message that the weather becomes unpredictable in a weird sense.  I disagree with this as this name is even more misleading. UK climate experts from the MetOffice and the BBC have long called the consequences from rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere 'Climate Chaos' to explain that the weather becomes unpredictable in a chaotic (not weird!) way.  As a show forming global opinion through its world-wide audiences, I suggest to initiate a debate of what term should be used to best describe the campaign against the current changes to global climate. Naming is very important for the success or failure of any campaign. For a campaign of such importance, maybe we should dedicate some time and efforts to ensure that its naming does not let it down.
Regards,
Peter Croy
Bristol, UK

FULL POST

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Greek citizen: 'Not a time to strike'

February 25th, 2010
04:16 PM ET
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Climate Change Showdown Heats Up

February 25th, 2010
02:12 PM ET

To watch the full-length edition on the meltdown on the discussion on climate change, click here to get our podcast.

(CNN) – One of the world’s leading climatologists Wednesday hit back at charges by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) that some of the world’s top climate scientists have in effect “cooked the science” and should be investigated by the federal government.

James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an adjunct professor at New York’s Columbia University, said, “I’d love to have an investigation which should include Senator Inhofe, who’s one of the most well-oiled, coal-fired politicians in Washington.”

“He’s very well funded to protect the fossil fuel industry, but he was elected to support the people,” Hansen added in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman strongly supported Hansen saying, “I’d love to see all the e-mails between his office and various coal and oil companies over the last 20 years.”

“We’ll let Senator Inhofe lay all his emails on the table going back and forth between oil and coal companies, and we’ll let citizens and voters decided where the real science is.”

CNN asked Senator Inhofe to join the discussion with Amanpour, but he declined. In a statement to the Senate Environment Committee Tuesday, Senator Inhofe, the ranking Republican, said, “The minority staff found that some of the world’s leading climate scientists engaged in potentially illegal and unethical behavior. In other words, they cooked the science.”

His remarks came after revelations that some climate change data has been based on questionable scientific practices and even errors.

One leading climate change skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center in Denmark, told Amanpour it’s obvious Senator Inhofe has a political agenda and he does not agree with him.

“But I think we need to say if we’re going to re-establish credibility with the climate science, we need to dial back on the scariness and start talking about what the facts are actually telling us.”

The debate over climate change is heating up as world powers prepare for another climate change conference in Bonn, Germany in April – four months after the Copenhagen summit failed to agree binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions which many blame for global warming.

But the United Nations climate chief, Yvo de Boer, last week announced that he will resign at the end of June after four years on the job and what many say is the disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen conference.

In his resignation statement, de Boer said, “Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming.”

Hansen had a grim warning about the consequences of inaction on this issue. “If we burn all the fossil fuels, we will hand our children and grandchildren a situation that’s out of their control.”

“We have to be honest about the fact that we have to have a rising price of carbon emissions. We’ve got to put a price on these fossil fuels, because right now we’re subsidizing them.”

Friedman said the world faces a choice. “If we listen to climate change scientists like Dr. Hansen and we prepare for climate change, but climate change does not happen, what happens? We have cleaner air, cleaner environment, We have a more energy-independent economy, new industries, and global impact.”

“If we listen to Jim Inhofe, the climate deniers, and don’t get ready for climate change and climate change comes, we’re a bad biological experiment.”

Lomborg said it’s clear the world is going to see a temperature rise. But he’s skeptical of the way that it’s being communicated and skeptical of the way solutions are being proposed.

“I think fundamentally what’s happened is a lot of people have been pushing to scare the pants off people, to get us to cut carbon emissions, but we haven’t done so”, he said.

“Essentially what we saw in Copenhagen was exactly the failure of that strategy. We need a new and smarter way forward.”

Lomborg added that many climate economists are demanding action that could cost $40 trillion a year – a price that is much higher than most people are prepared to pay.

He said targeted investment is the key to solving the problem.  “What we need to do is invest dramatically more, 50 times more than what the world spends now on research and development.”

“That’s cheap and that will actually work. So let’s get off the high horse and actually start working with promises that will function and deal with climate change in the long run.”

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And now your feedback

February 24th, 2010
10:46 PM ET
Christiane - all ears for the feedback.
Christiane – all ears for the feedback.

Most of the Amanpour audience all over the world felt their local media “was not” reliable as a whole.  Comments for the most part, reflected disappointment and discouragement toward the local media coverage in their country and many thought their reporting did not include all angles of the stories presented.  Several viewers took this topic as an opportunity to show their appreciation for CNN and applauded their “unbiased broadcast”, the Amanpour show was among the most trusted shows according to these viewers.  Lastly, some referred to the internet as the “most reliable” source because it kept people around the world abreast of situations the media “did not cover” in its entirety.

 

What are your thoughts? Please share your thoughts with us! In addition, if you missed the show go to http://www.amanpour.com for more information.

Below, you will see some opinions from viewers like yourself. We would love to hear what you think.

Facebook comments

Comments about local media coverage of the war in Afghanistan

Salma Salah El Din Just another piece of news :(....I've to watch CNN 4 full coverage.......love u CNN

Deborah J. Boyd Well, in Washington, DC we really do not have much "local" press. I usually depend on PBS and CNN for serious coverage.

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Afghanistan observer sees disappointment

February 24th, 2010
03:13 PM ET

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

To watch the full-length edition on Sarah Chaye's time in Afghanistan, click here to get our podcast.

(CNN) - As the top NATO commander in Afghanistan publicly apologized for the latest civilian deaths in the war, one of his former advisers said Tuesday the Afghan people have "crystallized their frustration" on the issue of civilian casualties.

"It's crystallized a disappointment with the international intervention that's been growing since about 2003," said Sarah Chayes, who just completed one year of service as an adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff in Kabul.

"I actually think the issue is broader," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "And so the impact on the Marjah (offensive) is really going to depend on what else happens in that operation."

Chayes was referring to the joint U.S., British, and Afghan offensive in Helmand province in which 15,000 troops are trying to take control of a town and the surrounding area from Taliban fighters.

Despite military efforts to avoid civilian casualties, several dozen have been killed recently by NATO bullets and bombs. In the past two weeks alone, more than 50 Afghan civilians are believed to have been killed in more than half a dozen U.S. and NATO military operations.

FULL POST

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