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Why a New York judge holds Argentina’s economic future in his hands

July 29th, 2014
03:57 PM ET

By Mick Krever and Ken Olshansky, CNN

A country that just weeks ago was at the heights of world cup fever could be facing an economic crash.

But this is not a case of ill-advised economic policy or financial malfeasance.

Indeed, economic journalist Felix Salmon told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, it is a crisis that appears to be unprecedented.

“Inflation is high, unemployment is bad, but we’re not anywhere close to Armageddon,” Salmon, senior editor at Fusion, said.

“Argentina has the means to pay its debts and it has the willingness to pay its debt. The only reason why it’s not paying its debts is because the U.S. courts aren’t allowing it to do so.”

You would be forgiven for doing a double-take there. Yes, a U.S. Federal Court in New York may cause Argentina, a hemisphere away, to default on its debts.


Filed under:  Argentina • Latest Episode

For children of Gaza, trauma can be worse than war itself

July 29th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

For many children in Gaza, war is all they know.

“In the past six years, three wars happened in Gaza,” Rifat Kassis, director of Defence for Children International told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Tuesday. “So we are talking about a generation who only experienced war and violence.”

And there are a lot of children in Gaza – about 43% of the population is under the age of twelve. The United Nations says that more than two hundred children have been killed in this conflict, now three weeks old.

“When there is no place in Gaza where you can feel secure, when you lose your parents or one of your parents – this loss of the protection, this loss, the separation feeling from your parents, this is actually worse than the war activity itself,” Kassis said.

UNICEF says that about 200,000 children “are in need of immediate psychosocial support.”


Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Chief U.S. negotiator says Iran talks ‘the most complex negotiation I've ever seen’

July 29th, 2014
09:29 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Talks with Iran over its nuclear program are “the most complex negotiation I've ever seen,” Chief U.S. Negotiator Wendy Sherman told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.

“The number of elements that have to be addressed – from enrichment capacity, to facilities, to research and development, to possible military dimensions, existing U.N. Security Council sanctions – I could go and on.”

“It is very complicated, very technical, many pages of annexes ultimately in any final agreement. So this takes a lot of work.”

Iran and world powers agreed, a little over a week ago, to extend negotiations four months in the hope that a permanent deal could be struck.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, told Amanpour that the talks are "a historic opportunity for all of us to end a rather prolonged chapter.”

“The point is whether it is possible to make a deal,” he said. “We're not talking about a bad deal or a good deal, but a doable deal. A lasting deal.”

Sherman praised all the negotiators, including Iran – and Zarif, who leads the delegation – as having been “very serious and very focused.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode

U.N. political chief pushes for elusive Gaza, Israel cease-fire

July 29th, 2014
07:21 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The United Nations is doing its best to try to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Jeffrey Feltman, the top U.N. political official, told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Monday.

“The U.N. is playing a role. I wish, like all of us, that the impact were on the fighting were clear now. But it's the responsibility of the leaders as much as nobody else.”

Feltman’s boss, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Monday put blame for the failure to reach a cease-fire squarely on the shoulders of Israeli and Palestinian political leadership, saying that they must “show their humanity.”

“There are a hundred-and-seventy-three-thousand-plus Palestinians, ten percent of the Gaza Strip population, that are now being sheltered in U.N. facilities,” Feltman said.

“The U.N. is still working to – talking with all parties – to try to get to that immediate unconditional cease-fire that the Secretary-General has demanded.”


Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Libya ‘is not complete chaos … yet’

July 28th, 2014
03:37 PM ET

By Mick Krever and Ken Olshansky, CNN

As chaos rocks Libya, the EU envoy to that country expressed cautious optimism that the unrest could be alleviated.

“The only reason for hope at the moment is that it’s not complete chaos. At least it’s not complete chaos yet,” Bernardino Leon told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Monday.

Libya is caught in the throes of what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls "free-wheeling militia violence” – a war between heavily armed militias who swear no allegiance to any central authority, even though most are on the government payroll.

The firefight at Tripoli’s main international airport has spread to Libya’s largest refinery; a fire there threatens to engulf 6.6 million liters of fuel.

Staff at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli evacuated at dawn Saturday. The U.N has already pulled out and other countries are following suit.

Gorani asked Leon, “Is Libya a failed state?”

“To answer this we should wonder first of all whether Libya has ever been a state,” he said.

“It is important to remember that it is not only about combat in Tripoli, but there are also combats in the east.”


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Libya

A family quarrel that cost the lives of millions

July 28th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

Exactly one hundred years ago, the First World War did not begin.

On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia – retribution for the assassination of Austria’s heir to the throne in Sarajevo, one month before.

Over the next week, Europe’s royals – all relatives – spoke as the clock ticked down to Armageddon. Russia’s Czar Nicholas and Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm, cousins, exchanged affectionate telegrams, signing off “Nicky” and “Willy.” Meanwhile, King George V of Great Britain was working behind the scenes.

Hala Gorani has the story. Click above to watch.

Filed under:  Imagine a World • Latest Episode

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on illegal migration: In short, it’s a crisis

July 24th, 2014
04:16 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

Juan Orlando Hernandez is a relatively new leader of his nation - his tenure began just six months ago - but already he is facing a problem that has received huge international attention: the exodus of civilians emigrating from Central America to the U.S.

Amanpour asked the President how migration became a crisis in his country.

"This problem got out of proportion from a year ago and this has surprised us. The causes are multiple. One of them is the violence caused by drug trafficking, poverty, of course, the lack of opportunities. But, for us, this is an enormous challenge."

Hernandez is set to speak to U.S. President Barack Obama about the immigration crisis this week. Amanpour asked what he would say:

"The crime that comes from drugs, the violence, the lack of security that comes from Central America has a cost for the United States, it's not a benefit," President Hernandez said. "In short, it's a crisis for Central America and it's a crisis for the U.S., so let's work together to solve it."


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Honduras • Immigration • Latest Episode

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten: We are united in our grief

July 24th, 2014
03:30 PM ET

by Henry Hullah

When Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down there were 298 people on board - almost forty of them Australian.

Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten told Amanpour that the Australian government will call for answers to this tragedy in one voice.

"On this matter there is no internal political debate in Australia. We are united in our grief and we are united to get to the bottom of what's happened."

It is a point of union in the otherwise contentious arena of Australian politics.

But the opposition leader has not taken his focus off other issues that impact Australia and its future, particularly climate change.

Prime Minister Tony Abbot's current leadership has led to a unique unwinding of global warming legislation by becoming the first country to repeal a carbon tax law.

It is a decision Shorten vehemently opposed and one he fears will affect people far sooner than they think if no action is taken.

"It's not just for our children and their children. For the current generation climate change is real, and governments will need to act."​

Filed under:  Australia • Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode

‘A mosaic’ of militias wreak havoc in Libya

July 23rd, 2014
03:23 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Libya is being gripped by the worst violence since the fall of Colonel Gadhafi in 2011.

Rival militia groups are taking over large swathes of the country, fighting for power, territory and oil wealth, and successive weak governments have been unable to disarm them.

In Tripoli, two different militant groups are firing rockets and mortars at each other as they try to take control of the city's airport. Civilians are also being caught up in the fighting, with hospitals now warning they are running out of drugs.

Last week the country's foreign minister went to the U.S. to plea for international help.

But Chris Stephen, a journalist for the Guardian newspaper, says the international community does not seem eager to help.

“The feed you get from diplomats is that there are so many sides, like a sort of mosaic,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. “Three years ago with the rebels against Gadhafi, so it was – for NATO it was easier to know who to bomb.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya

U.S.: Russia’s ‘actions, incredibly, are heading towards escalation of the crisis’

July 23rd, 2014
03:21 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Far from the moderating role Russian President Putin says he is seeking, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine on Wednesday said that Russia is “escalating the military confrontation.”

“The fact is, we have worked through every diplomatic channel available to us. We have exercised economic leverage,” Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said.

“But so far, and sadly – although there have been occasional positive statement from Moscow – the actions are going in the wrong direction at this point. The actions, incredibly, are heading towards escalation of the crisis.”

The Netherlands on Wednesday paid solemn respects to the first of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 to be flown to Holland.

In Ukraine, where so many of the victims remain – some not even yet found – the conflict rages on. Two Ukrainian military jets were shot down in areas controlled by pro-Russian rebels, the Ukrainian government says.

“It’s simply incredible, but it’s an established fact that even after the shootdown of the Malaysian Airlines flight you still have heavy weapons, tanks, rocket systems moving across the border from Russia, enflaming the conflict, escalating the military confrontation, at a time when President Poroshenko has made very clear his desire to find a political solution,” Ambassador Pyatt said.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
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