China's buying spree
Shuanghui is China's largest meat-processing company and it's trying to purchase US pork producer Smithfield Foods.
June 4th, 2013
04:32 PM ET

China's buying spree

By Barbara Hall, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – For the past several years China has been on a spending spree. Chinese companies are working with their government to acquire assets all over the world. Things like technology companies, banks, ports and real estate.

But last week's announcement that a Chinese meat producer had agreed to buy Virginia-based Smithfield Foods raised more than a few eyebrows. That's because Smithfield is the world's largest processor of pork, selling ham, hot dogs and bacon under popular brand names like Armor and Farmland.

University of California-Irvine economist Peter Navarro worries that deals like this one help China gain too much control over the American economy:

[1:31] “We're getting deeper and deeper into debt with a country that doesn't have our best interests at heart. This is not Canada. This is not Great Britain. It's a country which is growing the biggest military in the world to challenge us .” FULL POST

Terrorism or criminal act?
Notes and shirts sit outside Woolwich Barracks on May 23 – after a Muslim extremist killed an off-duty soldier who was wearing a "Help for Heroes" shirt when he was killed.
May 30th, 2013
09:03 AM ET

Terrorism or criminal act?

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Remi Brulin loves tracking the way America thinks about and talks about terrorism. He’s been doing it for years. He’s a visiting scholar at NYU’s Journalism Institute.

[1:47] Most people sort of agree on what terrorism should be. There’s violence of course, or the threat of violence. There’s the political aspect of it – and then there’s the issue of the target. Most people would agree the targets have to be civilians or non-combatants. There is a sort of agreement – until you start applying it to particular cases.

Then, Brulin says, all bets are off.

One reason is, no one can quite agree on a definition. A corollary of that is: it’s hard to keep politics out of it.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert who’s director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, remembers following the media coverage when Chechen terrorists laid siege to a school in Russia in 2004.

[3:34] All of the newspapers went out of their way to avoid using the word ‘terrorists’ and to call them fighters, militants, separatists. And I thought to myself, Gosh, if a bunch of armed people taking over a school with children – forcing children and their parents and their relatives and their teachers to live in horrible conditions for days on end, threatening them with death – I mean, if that’s not terrorism, what is? And yet, almost no newspaper of record or major media would call them terrorists.

That’s because the Chechens were fighting Russia – and at the time, Russia was no friend of the U.S.

Now, Hoffman says, terrorism has become a subjective term. He thinks there’s almost a fear of using the word and triggering a reaction – that’s a legacy of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

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A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare
Ahmed Errachidi, nicknamed 'The General,' was falsely detained at Guantanamo for more than five years.
May 9th, 2013
09:53 AM ET

A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare

By Jim Roope, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jimroopeCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - The Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility has been troubled since it opened in 2002. Last week President Obama renewed his pledge to close it:

[0:19] “That is contrary to who we are. It is contrary to our interests and it’s gotta stop.”

One hundred Guantanamo detainees are currently on a hunger strike protesting conditions and their continued detention without trial. According to the Department of Defense, 24 of the hunger strikers are being force fed with three of those being watched at a hospital.

Here is one man’s story that underscores the problems with Guantanamo, the seemingly random rounding up of suspected terrorists:

[0:46] “I am not a terrorist. I am only a cook.”

Ahmed Errachidi, a Moroccan citizen, was trying to raise money in 2002  for a heart operation his young son needed.  His idea was to import jewelry from Pakistan, but he was kidnapped by Pakistanis, sold to the Americans for bounty and taken to Guantanamo.

He spent over five years in detention, before a lawyer was able to prove that Errachidi was only a cook and not a terrorist:

[01:25] “His is one of the most ludicrous cases," says attorney Clive Smith. "And there were quite a few ludicrous cases that I came across at Guantanamo, but his was one of the worst.”

Errachidi wrote a book about his years at Guantanamo titled, The General: The Ordinary Man Who Challenged Guantanamo.

Listen to our podcast to hear more of Errachidi's story.

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South Korea's Iron Lady
In this photo from 2008, South Korea's President Park Geun-hye pays tribute to her parents.
May 8th, 2013
10:35 AM ET

South Korea's Iron Lady

By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @CNNEmma

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - South Korean President Park Geun-hye continues her official visit of the United States today. In her first overseas trip, President Park will address a joint session of congress. Yesterday, President Park and President Barack Obama held a news conference in the East Room of the White House. The two talked security, culture and trade.

[:22] "Today we agreed to continue the implementation of our historic trade agreement which is already yielding benefits for both of our countries," said President Obama.

Obama also made a joke about k-pop star PSY, saying his daughters have taught him the ubiquitous dance moves. But k-pop is also big business and the latest export from a country that's grown its economy through trade.


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Illegal immigrants should apologize says priest
Father Gary Graf of Chicago's Saint Gall Catholic Church wants illegal immigrant to aplogize to Americans.
May 4th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Illegal immigrants should apologize says priest

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @Nova_Safo

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - A Chicago priest is making headlines for having done something that likely no other American has experienced: he crossed into Mexico – and then crossed back into the U.S. illegally. He says he did it to understand what many in his mostly Latino congregation have gone through. And he has a message for them: apologize if you’ve come here illegally.

Father Gary Graf of Chicago’s Saint Gall Catholic church on the city's south side serves a predominantly Latino and immigrant part of town. He’s a charismatic figure, in his 50’s and in good shape. He used to be a boxer and he’s got a deep, dark tan. The tan is the result of his walk through the desert at the U-S-Mexico border, where he crossed back into the U-S illegally.

[1:25] “I’ve lived in Mexico, know language, culture. Lived among them here in the states. But have never experienced getting here the way they got here – the vast majority of them,” he says.

The experience, he says, has resulted in a simple message to illegal immigrants:

[4:40] “Sorry. Thank you. I need your help.” FULL POST

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