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Risking sexual assault to serve your country

January 31st, 2013
05:44 PM ET


Combating sexual assault in the military

Air Force Sgt. Jennifer Smith speaks with Christiane Amanpour about the repeated harassment she suffered.


WEB EXTRA: Rape in the military, Part 2

In a special web extra, Sgt. Jennifer Smith speaks with Christiane Amanpour about her personal story.

By Mick Krever, CNN

It is not every day that the man in charge of all of America’s Air Force calls a modest sergeant. Which is why Jennifer Smith was so surprised to get General Mark Welsh’s call.

Sgt. Smith had filed a formal complaint alleging sexual assault and harassment, which she said had gone on for years. When she finally revealed the assault to her superior officers, after years of keeping it a secret, she expected the Air Force to act.

“I was so caught off-guard by the fact that he called me, and considering who he is, and I know my place, I said, ‘Yes, sir. Well thank you for calling me.’”

“He just said that he was going to do the best that he could,” Smith told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

But as far as Sgt. Smith is concerned, the phone call, and all the conversations with her superior officers that led up to it, have amounted to nothing.

“They know the case,” she said, “but as far as I’m concerned, nothing has been done.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Feeding Afghanistan's TV craze

January 30th, 2013
05:36 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

“We’ve made tremendous gains,” Afghan media mogul Saad Mohseni told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “The country doesn’t want to change. The people have grown accustomed to media, to television, to mobile phones.”

Under Taliban rule, there was no television at all – just a radio station playing an endless loop of Islamic prayers and government propaganda.

Now, Tolo TV, which Mohseni launched in 2004, is a staple of Afghan life. It has a 24-hour news channel, but also “Afghan Star,” a singing competition complete with sarcastic judges and text-message voting.

Mhoseni is unapologetic about the impact the media has on Afghan life.

“It facilitates social change,” he said. “It allows society to let off steam.”

READ MORE: Selling little girls to pay back debt in Afghanistan 

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Latest Episode

The gun numbers America doesn’t have

January 30th, 2013
05:34 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

For years, the U.S. government was researching how to prevent gun violence as an issue of public health and safety.

Then, in 1996, congress voted to severely restrict the program’s funding.

Now President Obama has called for renewed research. Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who ran the research program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says there are four essential questions researchers should ask about gun violence.

  1. What’s the problem? (Meaning: Who gets shot with what, under what circumstances and where?)
  2. What are the causes? (What increases your risk and what can protect you?)
  3. What works to prevent these types of shootings?
  4. How do you implement those things that decrease gun deaths?

“This isn’t complicated esoteric rocket science,” Rosenberg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.


Filed under:  Gun Control • Latest Episode

World won’t cough up money for aid to Syria

January 30th, 2013
10:44 AM ET

Political solutions have failed to stop the civil war in Syria and now even the U.N. faces a $1.5 billion-dollar shortfall to help the people suffering there. There are 700,000 Syrian refuges in neighboring countries and two million internally-displaced people in Syria who face both a wrecked society and broken economy. The Director of the U.N. office for the coordination of Human Affairs, John Ging, just returned from Syria and told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that what he witness there was simply “appalling.” The urban warfare has been going on for twenty-two months now and last year the U.N.’s food ration only got to half the people they identified with hunger in Syria.

Update from the U.N.:
"More than $1.5 billion in additional money has been pledged from countries and regional organizations to support the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan and the Refugee Response Plan over the next six months. This is the largest response ever to a humanitarian pledging conference. And I thank you for your generous contributions. The exact amount is now being calculated."

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Syria

Painfully ironic day for one Latino boy

January 29th, 2013
04:43 PM ET

President Obama made a landmark speech in support of major immigration reform on Tuesday – the same day that a little boy in Phoenix, Arizona had been told his father would be deported back to Guatemala.

Earlier this month 11-year-old Jose Garcia Ramirez was getting into the family car to head to school when I.C.E. agents (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detained his father. Jose was born in the United States, but his father is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke to Jose as he waited to learn the fate of his father. You can watch Jose’s tell his story in the video above – he was joined by Viridiana Hernandez, a Hispanic undocumented college student in Arizona who is an activist fighting for immigration reform.

Filed under:  Latest Episode

Rwanda’s President Kagame: ‘We have a problem’

January 28th, 2013
12:38 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, Claire Calzonetti & Juliet Fuisz, CNN

Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, has been a darling of the West ever since he led his country out of the terrible 1994 genocide that left up to one million people dead.

After the genocide, Kagame brought economic and social progress to Rwanda by effectively using the foreign aid flowing in from the international community. These funds make up nearly half of the country’s budget.

But now, the country's economic lifeline is in jeopardy since the United Nations accused Rwanda of backing rebels in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. The U.N. says the country has helped to create and militarily support the “M23” rebel group that wants to overthrow the democratically-elected government of President Joseph Kabila.

The White House says that President Obama called Kagame to emphasize “the importance of permanently ending all support to armed groups in the DRC.”  FULL POST

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Rwanda

Six Israeli security chiefs stun the world

January 28th, 2013
02:03 AM ET

Six Israeli security chiefs stun world

Six former heads of Israel's internal security service speak out about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.


Israel's "Gatekeepers"

Six former heads of Israel's internal security service speak out about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.

The men who were responsible for keeping Israel safe from terrorists now say they are afraid for Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.

Israeli film director Dror Moreh managed to get them all to sit down for his new documentary: “The Gatekeepers.” It is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.

“If there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s those guys,” the director told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Against the backdrop of the currently frozen peace process, all six argue – to varying degrees – that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is bad for the state of Israel. FULL POST

Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Selling little girls to pay back debt

January 25th, 2013
02:56 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The mother of a little Afghan girl cannot even turn to face her daughter. She looks down in shame as she explains why she must hand the girl over to drug lords.

The father of the girl has done what many Afghan farmers must do to finance their opium farms: borrow money from drug traffickers. But the Afghan government and international forces’ attempt to halt the opium trade has quashed the father’s poppy business, and with it, his ability to pay back the lenders.

The drug lords have taken him hostage to extract a payment.

“I have to give my daughter to release my husband,” the mother explains with the girl at her side. She looks no older than six.


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Latest Episode

Too liberal to lead his parish?

January 24th, 2013
04:39 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

A Catholic priest in Ireland says he is being threatened with excommunication by the Vatican because of his liberal stances on homosexuality and contraception.

Last year, Father Tony Flannery says he was asked to sign a document accepting the Vatican tenet barring women from becoming priests and accepting all the sexual and moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

“I cannot put my name to that document,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. His unwillingness to sign it means he is now prevented from ministering as a priest.   FULL POST

Filed under:  Latest Episode

PM David Cameron responds to uproar over his E.U. speech

January 24th, 2013
10:46 AM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Prime Minister David Cameron could either be remembered as the man who led Britain out of the European Union or the person who managed to keep it in the union.

Cameron believes history will see him as the prime minister who helped "reform" the European Union, he said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

"I feel very confident and positive that having set out a plan, having explained to the world ... everyone can see there is a plan to change Europe for the better and to secure Britain's place in it."   FULL POST

Filed under:  Latest Episode • United Kingdom
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