American Morning

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September 3rd, 2009
01:53 PM ET

U.S. Embassy probes 'deviant' guards' conduct

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) - The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said it is joining the inquiry into claims that some of its private security guards practiced hazing rituals, sexual activity and intimidation.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A spokeswoman for watchdog group POGO said hazing at a camp for security guards went 'well beyond partying.'"]

"A full review of local guard force policies and procedures is under way and a full investigation is ongoing," said an embassy statement released Thursday.

"Embassy officials continue to interview guard force personnel as a part of the investigation, to assess the need for possible suspensions and terminations."

Along with the investigation, the embassy has also banned alcohol at Camp Sullivan, the facility at which the guards live.

The allegations about the guards' behavior were reported by the watchdog group Project On Government Oversight.

The group sent a letter Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and briefed reporters on its findings, which it said were based on e-mails and interviews with more than a dozen guards who had worked at the U.S. compound in the Afghan capital.

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Filed under: Controversy
September 3rd, 2009
01:49 PM ET

Poll: 9 in 10 think U.S. still in recession

By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say the country's still in a recession, according to a new national poll.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Job fairs and tables full of applicants have become a familiar sight during the U.S. recession."]

Eighty-seven percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning say the nation's in a serious, moderate or mild recession, and nearly 7 in 10 say things are going badly in the country today.

"Economists may be speculating that the recession is over, but don't tell that to the American public," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"The good news - if you can call it good news - is that the number who say things are going badly has been dropping steadily since last fall - from an all-time high of 83 percent in November to 77 percent in April and 69 percent now." Read the full poll results (PDF)

The survey also suggests another positive sign: The number of Americans who say the country's in a serious recession has also dropped a bit, from 42 percent in May to 36 percent.

And while the economy's still the top issue on the mind of Americans, the poll indicates it's dropping in importance. Forty-one percent of those questioned say the economy is the most important issue, down 10 points from June and a drop of 22 points from March.

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Filed under: Economy
September 3rd, 2009
09:46 AM ET

Robot doctor treats patients

What do you get when you mix a real doctor with a robot? Doc-Bot. It's a live doctor, in a TV monitor – on wheels! And if you think that sounds bizarre, wait until you see him making rounds!

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is inside an Army hospital with injured soldiers getting treated by the wireless, tireless, Doc-Bot.

Filed under: Health
September 3rd, 2009
09:36 AM ET

World's biggest fire extinguisher deployed to L.A.

The biggest fire extinguisher in the world – a converted 747 – is now helping firefighters push back the flames north of Los Angeles.

The deadly Station fire is now burning into more remote areas of the Angeles National Forest. Firefighters say containment's at 28 percent but they're still worried the flames could spread to communities like Pasadena and Arcadia. CNN's Rob Marciano reports.

Filed under: Weather
September 3rd, 2009
09:18 AM ET

NYC bridge guards fired for napping

The whistle has been blown and the ax has fallen on two guards who were hired to protect New York's George Washington Bridge.

The bridge is considered a prime target for terrorists. The guards were caught sleeping on the job by a bicyclist. CNN's Deb Feyerick spoke to the guy who caught them napping.

Filed under: Controversy
September 3rd, 2009
07:13 AM ET

Educating America: Sex ed is back

By Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

Since President Obama cut federal funding for the “abstinence-only” sex education program, many schools across the country are implementing more comprehensive sex education classes. North Carolina is one of them.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The teen pregnancy rate in North Carolina rose more than 12 percent from 2003 to 2007, according to the state's health department figures."]

Since 1996, North Carolina law required teachers to tell teenagers they were “expected” to abstain from “sexual activity outside of marriage.” However, the law did not have the lasting effect on teenagers officials had hoped.

“They've gotten pregnant more often. Imagine that,” says Gaston County Health Director Colleen Bridger. “Our STD rates are going up. Our pregnancy rates are going up.”

According to North Carolina Health Department figures, from 2003 to 2007 the teenage pregnancy rate rose more than 12 percent. North Carolina now has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the country.

CNN spoke to some students who lobbied lawmakers for a change in the law to allow teachers to tell high school students about contraception – because of their experiences in "abstinence only” classes in high school.

Watch: NC sex ed is back Video

“People were raising their hands and asking really interesting questions and she wasn't able to answer them just because the curriculum told her you know you only can talk about this and this but you know not this and this and this,” recounts Eli MacDonald, 16.

Gabriella Magallanes, 19, remembers her teacher telling the class to "wait to have sex until you get married," and that "condoms won’t work." If you have sex, "you're going to get an STD and die.” Magallanes adds: “When kids hear that, they shut their ears off, they just stop listening.”


Filed under: Educating America • Education
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