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