American Morning

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September 7th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Cutting to the carbs: animal-based vs. plant-based diet

If you're on a low-carb, high-protein diet a new study suggests you may live longer if that protein is vegetable-based rather than animal-based. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports on the benefits.

Filed under: Health
September 7th, 2010
11:43 AM ET
September 7th, 2010
11:34 AM ET

Soldiers meet the village elders

Editor's Note: As part of an ongoing series “A Soldiers Story,” CNN's Jason Carroll follows Sgt. Randy Shorter and his unit as they head into Afghanistan. Catch their stories on our AMfix blog, and CNN's American Morning in September.

Even before the day came, several soldiers warned me ahead of time, it might not happen for me. "The elders might not agree to see you..." I took my chances and headed out with Sgt Randy Shorter, First Lieutenant William Weber, second Lieutenant Chip Evans and at least a dozen other soldiers to attend the Shura. The Shura is a gathering of village elders. In basic terms, the elder is much like the unofficial leader of a village and he holds a great deal of influence often having the final say on important matters facing a village. In the battle over winning the hearts of the Afghan people, one must get the support of village elders. A meeting with one is an important step. A meeting with a room filled with village elders from across Paktika Province is a giant leap toward diplomacy.

I headed out with Sgt Shorter and his unit on guard. We walked outside the protective perimater of Foward 0perating Base Rushmore and headed for what looked like a rundown strip mall about ten minutes away. I waited outside with Sgt Shorter, while Weber and Evans headed inside for the initial greeting. Evans had attended several Shuras in the past and wanted to introduce weber to the group of elders. Then came the word, Weber waved me in. I walked in with my photographer, Dominic Swann and humbly introduced myself saying Salam Alaikum. Everyone sits on the floor.. Weber immediately warned not to show the soles of my feet (a cultural insult). I then sat and listened as the elders voiced their concerns and needs to the two representing US forces. The elders main demand, focused on releasing several people arrested on suspicion of being affilitated with the Taliban. The elders argued their innocence stressing if they were guilty, the elders would be the ones to punish them. Their way.

Sgt Evans patiently took it all in, while making sure not to promise to release them. Later telling me, a man's promise here is like a binding contract. Telling me, "never make a promise to an Afghan you cannot keep."
Finally, after much back and forth he explained through his intrepreter he would bring their request to his commanding officer. Then I had the opportunity to speak to the elders. I told them who I was and why I was in Afghanistan explaining I followed a soldier here for a story I was doing for CNN. They smiled and stared. I took it as a cue to pose a question asking, who was doing a better job at reaching out to the Afghan people, U-S forces or the Taliban?” The response was overwhelming. The elders said the Afghan people had suffered under both.

Given their response, clearly, US forces have their work cut out for them in this region. Still this was progress. The elders did agree to meet U-S soldiers, and engaging the Afghan people is a major part of how coalition forces hope for success here. The thought is if US troops can help meet the concerns and needs of the people here maybe they won't turn to the Taliban for those same needs.

In the end, the elders ended the meeting by agreeing to meet U.S. troops again.

We walked back to forward operating base Rushmore and I asked Weber and Evans how they felt about the Shura. Both expressed frustration saying it was hard to hear the elders mention US troops and the Taliban in the same sentence. I could see their disappointment. But could also see the resilience in them. Giving up for them was not an option.

Filed under: A Soldier's Story
September 7th, 2010
11:07 AM ET
September 7th, 2010
05:50 AM ET

LIVE Blog: Chat with us during the show

Editor's Note: Welcome to American Morning's LIVE Blog where you can discuss the "most news in the morning" with us each week day. Join the live chat during the show by adding your comments below. It's your chance to share your thoughts on the day's headlines. You have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules: 1) Keep it brief 2) No writing in ALL CAPS 3) Use your real name (first name only is fine) 4) No links 5) Watch your language (that includes $#&*) 6) Stay relevant to the topic.

Planned Quran-burning could endanger troops, Petraeus warns

(CNN) - The U.S. commander in Afghanistan has criticized a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

With about 120,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops still battling al Qaeda and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement, Petraeus warned that burning Qurans "is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems - not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."

Petraeus said he was concerned by the political repercussions of the church's plan.

"Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday," he said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."

He said extremists would use images of burning Qurans to inflame public opinion and incite violence. Read more

Obama to introduce another business tax cut

(CNN) - In another move aimed at stabilizing the still-shaky economy, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will introduce a new $200 billion tax cut giving businesses across the country an incentive to buy new equipment in the short term, according to a senior administration official.

The tax cut would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of new investments in plants and equipment made between now and the end of 2011, according to the senior administration official.

The new tax cut will be in addition to a $100 billion permanent extension of the business tax credit for research and development, as well as $50 billion in new infrastructure spending included in a package that the president will officially unveil Wednesday during an economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

The $100 billion tax credit proposal was reported by CNN on Sunday while Obama himself disclosed the infrastructure spending Monday in a fiery speech at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in which he tried to draw a sharp contrast with Republican economic plans.

"I don't want to give them the keys back," Obama said. "They don't know how to drive ... They're going to pop it into reverse and have special interesting riding shotgun and we'd be right back in the ditch."

The leaks of a flurry of Obama proposals in just the last 36 hours show just how anxious White House officials are to show the president is on top of trying to rescue the still-faltering economy at a time when Democrats strategists are privately starting to panic that their majorities in both the House and Senate may now be up for grabs. Read more

Tropical Storm Hermine downs trees, power lines in Texas

(CNN) - Tropical Storm Hermine began its journey across Texas Tuesday morning, bringing fierce winds and the possibility of tornadoes.

As of 2 a.m. ET, Hermine was about 10 miles (15 km) south-southwest of Harlington, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said. The storm carried maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) and was headed north-northwest at about 14 mph (22 km/h).

"Isolated tornadoes are possible along the lower and middle Texas coast" through Tuesday morning, the weather agency said.

Joseph Tomaselli, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Brownsville, Texas, said fallen trees, signs, power lines and power poles were reported throughout Brownsville and Cameron County on Tuesday morning. Tomaselli said flooding in Brownsville and Cameron County has also been reported. Read more

Sound off: We want to hear from you this morning. Add your comments to the LIVE Blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.

Filed under: American Morning • LIVE Blog • Top Stories