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Tom's Take

March 16th, 2010
12:22 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we focus on human rights and freedom of speech in China. Christiane speaks, in a global exclusive, with leading Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei, who designed the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has continued to highlight injustice through both his art and through social media like Twitter, despite surveillance, threats and physical attack. We ask Ai Weiwei about his art, the role of the social web and digital activism in China and beyond, as well as about the challenging role he plays on the world scene as an artist and social activist in China. That’s not the only story we are focusing on today. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

MIDDLE EAST – Is the diplomatic dispute between U.S. and Israel worsening?

–       U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell postpones trip to Middle East amid heightened tensions over Israel’s decision to build 1,600 new homes on disputed territory
–       Dozens of masked Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli police and burn tires in east Jerusalem
–       U.S. demanding that Israel abandon construction project, a demand that Israel calls “unreasonable”

QUESTION: Will growing tensions between U.S. and Israel be accompanied by new violence by Palestinian protesters furious at Israel?

ZIMBABWE – How close is the country’s beleaguered national unity government to collapse?

–       South African President Jacob Zuma travels to Zimbabwe today to try to prevent collapse of Zimbabwean government
–       Members of opposition MDC are supposed to share power in Zimbabwe, but the party says at least four ministers have been stripped of their powers
–       Ruling ZANU-PF party and MDC also fighting over appointments of attorney general and reserve bank governor, powerful positions that have gone to President Mugabe’s supporters

QUESTION: Does President Zuma have the political clout to end the crisis in Zimbabwe?

U.S. SPYING – Did Pentagon money fund a rogue U.S. spying operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

–       U.S. Department of Defense investigating $24m information gathering contract that may have been used instead to run an ad hoc spy ring in Afghanistan and Pakistan
–       Contract to three private companies was meant only to gather what’s called “open source” information from unclassified sources, such as local media and public events
–       Concerns some of the contractors may instead have hired local agents to collect intelligence on movements and locations of certain individuals, and passed information to military

QUESTION: Is the U.S. intelligence community relying too much on private contractors to provide it with information on war zones?

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Sayan Majumdar

    The mutual ties of United States and Israel will never worsen beyond a certain point. Both the nations are mutually too much interdependent on each other in geopolitical stance and strategy.


    March 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  2. yvonne Turner

    I would love to see Ms. Amanpour present the real issues of the Middle East. This is my third visit to the Middle East and have volunteered at a Palestinian school in the West Bank. The freedom of Palestine is a matter of justice. What we support as americans is unaccetable and unjust As a country we do not live up to our promise of freedom and I believe we have been blindfolded by the Israeli lobby and a Congress that does not want to see or even listen to the terrible suffering the palestinians expereince every day.. Telling the Truth is not what CNN does in regards to the Israel/Palestine issue. The media has deceived us and has been controlled by those who blindly support Israel. When will the american public hear the truth from our media? I feel betrayed.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  3. Richard Conricus

    The known unknown is conducting evolution.
    Male power began 4000 years ago to govern the
    unknown and thus men became illusionary masters.

    (These masters are the same whether Jews, Christians or Muslims).

    March 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  4. Fred Brun

    I must agree with Yvonne Turner 100%. I have requested previously via e-mail that Christiane ask and press for real answers to the real issues of the ME. I personally believe she is unable to do so because of CNN's unofficial position towards Israel and the Palestinians. Since she has become a fixture in the structure of CNN her approach in interviewing principals on the subject has changed considerably. It will not change. The job pays well, so morality and ethics are put aside.

    March 19, 2010 at 7:52 am | Reply

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