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Spitzer: Ignore climate change at your peril

October 31st, 2012
07:14 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The devastating superstorm Sandy has cleared the east coast of the United States, but the crisis she left behind is spreading fast.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday that the aftermath is much worse than officials could have expected. But Spitzer said that investments in infrastructure that should have been made years ago were never made – like protections for the subway, hospitals, and energy systems.

"At so many levels, our politics are failing us; global warming was not mentioned in the presidential debates," Spitzer said.

Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of New York, told the press on Tuesday that he hopes Sandy will be used not just as an opportunity to rebuild, but to "build it back smarter;" and added, "Anyone who says there's not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality."

Spitzer said that unfortunately storms like Sandy become the wake-up calls to the public.

"When you speak of things in hypotheticals, people discount the reality. After this storm, perhaps public opinion will be galvanized. We can only hope so because we cannot survive a succession of these storms."

Soldiers carry patients out of Sandy-hit NYC hospital

CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.

Filed under:  Latest Episode

Avraham Burg Part 2: The 1-state solution 'will happen by itself'

October 26th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Avraham Burg says obsession with the holocaust is destroying Israel.

That may seem a strange statement, especially from an orthodox Jew and former speaker of the Knesset, but Burg says it is unhealthy.

“It’s too much,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “If you are traumatized, go through it. Don’t deny it. Don’t silence it. … [But] I see a day already in which the last holocaust survivor will pass away. It will happen in our lifetime. Then we shall wake up one day, one morning, and the holocaust will not be any more a personal experience, but it will be a kind of collective memory.”

For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to compare Iran to Germany in 1938, Burg said, is exploiting Israel’s traumas.

“I write about the different strategy for the future memory,” he said. “A strategy of trust between us and the world, rather that one of permanent trauma.”

Reconciliation is possible, says Burg, and one need look no further than Germany itself. FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

A pioneer on the podium

October 26th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

It is an image still woefully rare: a woman conducting a major orchestra. But Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, did just that. She was the first woman to conduct a major American orchestra.

“It's such a conservative field,” Alsop told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “I think the idea of women in the ultimate leadership roles is still a big obstacle and an issue for people today.”

Alsop, who travels the world to conduct – in Britain, Brazil – says music is “inherent to our beings.”

“I think music - besides being able to bring people together and transform young people's lives, it also captures a moment, an emotional moment, for all of us. And I think when people are deprived of music, it's like taking away an emotional experience, denying them an emotional connection to living and to each other.”

CNN’s Juliet Fuisz produced this piece for television.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Northern Mali, 'magnet for international jihadis'

October 25th, 2012
06:41 PM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

Despite repeated assurances by U.S. President Barack Obama that al-Qaeda is “on the run,” in the African nation of Mali, al-Qaeda linked rebels have gained control in the northern part of the country. Taking advantage of a failed state, they have imposed an extremist version of Sharia law, abolishing basic rights for women, destroying the local culture and building an international terror network.

Just how bad is it? Adam Nossiter, West Africa Bureau Chief for the New York Times, came out of Mali on Wednesday night, and speaking from neighboring Senegal, he painted a grim picture of the situation there.

“It is fair to say that the region controlled by al-Qaeda and its allies is suffering under one of the harshest regimes under the planet,” said Nossiter. “There are public whippings, there are amputations for theft, there has even been an execution by stoning. Women who dare to leave the house without a veil are arrested, and the Islamists are even compiling lists of unmarried pregnant women.” FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

From political insider to dissident

October 25th, 2012
10:44 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Avraham Burg is many things: an observant Jew, a decorated paratrooper, the former speaker of the Israeli parliament. But over the past decade he has transformed himself into something surprising: a dissident.

“Mine is a call for changing direction,” Burg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “Do we want to be like the Crusades, with high walls and whomever comes to the walls, we shoot them down till eventually this kingdom expires?”

The Arab Spring (or Arab “Awakening,” as he calls it – “spring is too short of a season”) has, Burg says, given an opportunity to Israel to integrate itself in the Arab world. That, he said, is something Israel “never explored.”

Within the state of Israel, Burg thinks that extreme religious views are becoming more powerful than the commitment to democracy. Ultranationalists and militant politicians have hijacked the political narrative, Burg says, and become even more Hawkish than the Israeli military itself.

For the first time in 2,000 years, he said, the Jews and Israel are empowered by an army, an air force, and nuclear weapons – “it’s unbelievable.” But for “too many Israelis,” the military “became the essence rather than just a service to something else. And we've forgot to ask ourselves what is the something else.”

CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Is this woman Afghanistan's next president?

October 24th, 2012
06:15 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Fawzia Koofi would like to be the next president of Afghanistan. But that is nearly inconceivable, because Koofi is a woman.

The Taliban has tried to kill her multiple times.  When she travels for her work as a member of Afghanistan’s parliament, she leaves goodbye letters for her two daughters, in the event that she does not return.

“We need to start thinking about changing our mindset,” Koofi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “Still there is this wrong understanding of culture and tradition.  But that’s a fight.  One has to take on the risks and go for it.”

Just one in ten Afghan women are literate, though the literacy rate is three times higher than it was in 2001.

And after 11 years of coalition troops in Afghanistan, A woman can still be routinely executed by the Taliban for even the suspicion of associating with a man who is not her husband. FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

For U.S. candidates foreign policy is domestic policy

October 23rd, 2012
05:57 PM ET

How should candidates view Arab Spring?

Foreign policy adviser Robert Kagan and former Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin talk about the Arab Spring.


Candidates agree on Afghanistan plan

Christiane Amanpour and her panel discuss other issues brought up in the final debate, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

By Lucky Gold, CNN

Foreign policy was the subject of Monday’s third and final U.S. presidential debate. Yet, both President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed to offer a strikingly similar attitude toward the most volatile part of the world, the Middle East.

According to James Rubin, former Assistant Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, “the candidates we saw on the stage last night were talking about America receding from the world – ending the war in Iraq, ending the war in Afghanistan. They said the same things that were said about Iraq and Afghanistan when we were at the height of our interest in Iran and Afghanistan.”

Robert Kagan, who has been an advisor to both Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton, joined Rubin on Amanpour and pointed to Syria as another country where both Obama and Romney seem intent on maintaining the status quo, refusing to put “boots on the ground” or order a no-fly zone to protect the rebels fighting the Assad regime.

“I happen to think we do need to take action and go for a no-fly zone,” said Kagan. I think, by the way, that just going in that direction might have a catalytic effect on the Syrian military which I don’t think really feels like having dogfights in the air with American or other forces and it might just be the thing that tips Assad over.”

“There are only two choices in Syria,” said Rubin. “One is a very, very long and bloody civil war ending in something like Beirut. The other choice is a shorter civil war in which the world, led by the United States, provides the forces fighting Assad the capabilities and support they need.” FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Kids Pick the President

October 23rd, 2012
11:15 AM ET

Barack Obama wins the U.S. presidential election … or rather, he would, if America’s children were the voters.

“According to the children of America, President Barack Obama will be around for another four years,” said Linda Ellerbee, who for more than 20 years has asked viewers of her “Nick News” program to weigh in on the presidential election.

Obama, said Ellerbee, got 65% of the vote, to Romney’s 35%. The children in Ellerbee’s informal poll have correctly predicted the winner in five of the past six presidential elections.

As part of the election coverage on “Nick News,” President Obama answered children’s questions. Governor Mitt Romney did not participate – only the second candidate not to answer questions in the segment’s history.

“We take to the candidates a few very kidlike questions, like have you ever had your heart broken, or how do you always know the difference between right or wrong?,” Ellerbee said. “Sometimes they'll ask a question that gets you - you sort of get a little glimpse of the human being beneath the ‘Teflon’ facade of the candidate.”

CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Lebanon in the pocket of Assad, says Former P.M.

October 22nd, 2012
05:24 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

In the wake of a bombing that killed Lebanon’s intelligence chief, that country’s former prime minister is calling on his government to step down, saying that it is in the pocket of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

“This government has failed. It is practically dead in the real sense of the word,” Fouad Siniora told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview. “This is the best solution in order to save Lebanon from instabilities and from any attempt of the Syrian regime to create a sedition.”

Siniora has allied himself with demonstrators who blame Prime Minister Najib Mitaki for failing to prevent the attack Friday that killed Lebanon’s intelligence chief, Wissam al-Hassan.

“This government is in the hands of Syria and Iran at the same time,” he said. FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Obama wins ... among U.S. children

October 22nd, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Linda Ellerbee, of Nickelodeon's "Nick News," announces to Christiane the winner of her recurring "Kids Pick the President" poll.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour
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