September 10th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Friday’s intriguing people

Sarah Shourd

The Iranian government has announced that on Saturday it will release Shourd, one of three American hikers who have been detained in the country for more than a year.

Shourd, along with Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were detained in July 2009 after the Iranian government said they strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. The three were accused of being spies; they deny the charges.

During a visit to Iran earlier this year, Shourd's mother, Nora Shourd, said her daughter was very ill and suffering from depression.

Shourd and Bauer became engaged while imprisoned and plan to get married after their release.

Iran to release American hiker Sarah Shourd, official says

Hadidjatou Karamoko Traoré

The native of the Ivory Coast and mother of three lost her husband in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

Traoré’s husband, Abdoul-Karim Traoré, worked at Windows on the World, a restaurant on the top floors of the North Tower. After the attack, all that was found of him were his wallet, his identification cards and a few coins.

Traoré, a Muslim, takes her children to ground zero every September 11 to pray. She says praying there feels entirely natural, even if some of those standing nearby blame her religion for the attacks.

“When people run away from me, I feel sad,” she told the New York Times. “But I understand why they’re doing that. What happened was terrible.”

New York Times: Visiting ground zero, asking Allah for comfort

Residents of San Bruno, California

At least six people were killed and more than 20 were injured Thursday after a gas main exploded and destroyed more than 50 houses in a San Francisco, California, suburb.

Brothers Bob and Ed Pellegrini said in the San Jose Mercury News that the ground shook violently and they thought there was an earthquake in the Bay Area. Then they saw the flames. “It looked like hell on earth. I have never seen a ball of fire that huge," Bob Pellegrini said.

Marilyn Siacotos, 76, escaped through her back door when she saw flames on her street. "I didn't look back," she said. "I just got out before anybody (emergency responders) came."

Retired San Bruno Fire Battalion Chief Bob Hensel, who also had to evacuate, said it was the biggest fire he had seen in decades. He said his wife's car bumpers melted from the heat.

"I heard a big whooshing sound and there was a boom. Stuff started hitting the house and then it got yellow outside and then real warm," Hensel said.

The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating the cause of the explosion and fire.

San Jose Mercury News: Fire destroys dozens of homes; six dead

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Capt. NoDuh

    This is a no duh. The woman has been in isolated custody for her entire incarceration. Anyone stuck in an Iranian prison, especially an American would exhibit signs of depression. Duh!

    These three idiots (for doing what they did and being where they are) are nothing but political pawns for Iran. It is good to hear she is being released. The question we should present to the Iranians is why aren't the other two males released as well?

    September 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      The "release" announcement was the result of a misunderstanding.

      Look at the history:
      1.They went on a "vacation" to a war zone which started by U.S.
      2.They cross illegally into Iran, a country the US and Britain are threatening and provoking and sponsoring terror and war against.
      3.They have had contacts with the CIA in Iraq.
      4.The British terror group caught in the Persian gulf were confirmed to be spies after release.
      5. Iranian Scientists and professors are being murdered by British-American sponsored terrorists infiltrating Iran...
      6.The Iran-Iraq border was site of the most notorious war of the 20th century...the Arabs, sponsored by the Americans and British attacked Iran in 1980 in the middle of the Iranian Revolution and murdered 1 million Iranians over the next 8 years with European and American supplied chemical weapons, and other experimental WMD's which people are still dying from in Iran today...
      7.The Euro-American-Israeli state media, MSNBC, BBC, AP, Reuters, CBS, ABC, Voice of America, Jew York Times, are continuously spreading vicious likes about people getting "stoned to death" for "adultry"
      That should give you a better idea of their fate.

      September 12, 2010 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bill Mann

    The only question i have is WHY were 3 americans hiking in that area? Probably working for the US goverment, I still would like for all to be released.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megan Quick

      Or maybe they didn't work for the U.S. government and were trying to do good work and help people. Maybe they took a hike. Honestly how can an opinion be made if you don't actually know whether or not they working for the government or doing work there. Not every American over there is with the Government!

      September 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      You sound ignorant. I'm on vacation in Erbil, Kurdistan right now (typing to you on Kurdish WiFi) and it's just the same as being anywhere else (and I look a lot like the hikers). Get outside your county and look at the world around you, instead of being afraid of places and people you know nothing about. Meanwhile, I will be enjoying my vacation...

      September 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roco

      I think the next hiking trip should be to Pakistan and Afghan border, I bet it will open your eyes,

      September 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Captain

    They need Taco Bell and all will be right.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carmen

      In the future all restaurants will be Taco Bell

      September 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mimi Sanders

    Captain, you are an idiot.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Erin

    I can answer your question Bill – because it's beautiful and challenging terrain and if you're a hiker or outdoors person, you'd be drawn to hike there. One doesn't have to be a secret agent for the US government to enjoy traveling to various parts of the world, experiencing different cultures, views, food, people, etc. Whenever anyone asks me "WHY" I plan to go anywhere I've been the answer is quite simple:

    Because it's there.

    Is it dangerous to be an American in certain parts of the world? Sure. But it's also dangerous to be an American living in a big city like Los Angeles. If I'm okay living in LA, I really ought to be okay exploring the far reaches of the world.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Please go hiking ont he border of Iraq-Iran in the middle of a war. Please go do that. Now.

      September 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Me

    I really don't like the way the label "Intriguing" is used for various tragedies and disasters. It's kind of inappropriate IMO.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. emil

    This is another case of just because you can afford to do something doesn't mean it's a good idea. Its expensive to go to places like that. How do a bunch of kids afford it? Their parents pay for it, cause they don't have to work at anything like regular people. Free college, free vacation money, and the arrogance it brings. I don't care if she's sick or depressed, she's stupid. I'm sick and depressed everyday while working 2 jobs to break even and I have 2 college degrees. I've worked everyday since I was 15. Where's my sympathy, or yours? They were stupid, they brought this on theirselves, whatever happens to them, no matter how harsh, they deserve it. Cause if they live, they gat to come back to the easy life, and people like me are still screwed.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Auntiemame

      That is the most pathetic bunch of whining I have ever heard!!

      September 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ted arndt

      A very very typical liberal brainless comment

      September 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gameco

      Exactly – couldn't say it better myself. I have a college degree (which I had to work and pay for and am still paying for!) and work 2 jobs too – people who have been handed everything their whole life will never understand. 10 to 1 these kids grew up with the world at their feet. If they are so dumb as to even go near that region of the world during these times – then they deserve the punishment they receive. I don't think they are spys – instead, they are rich kids who think they are teflon and rules don't apply to them – like many of our 20-somethings today. So sad.

      September 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megan Quick

      Again how can you assume something not knowing the truth of what they were doing. They could have been doing mission work. YOU DON'T KNOW! So don't judge based on your opinion because you don't have the right to judge!

      September 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ted arndt

    I might be the odd man out here but I can think of a million better places to propose to someone than in this prison.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hjs3

    Ya, I'm sure I'd be drawn to hike anywhere remotely close to this part of the world...Someone needs a brain transfuion

    September 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. J

    I just think they were a lil stupid for going to an extremely hostile area of the world where Americans are not well received. I'm not really all for the "they deserve what's coming to them" course, but I don't think that they thought this one through all the way. It's like a friend of mine who wanted to go to Dubai for his bachelor party. Sure, it sounds really fun, but what happens if you screw up while you're there?? It's not so easy for mommy n daddy to bail you out now, is it??

    September 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. megan

    didn't they learn anything from the reporters held in North Korea????

    September 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Curious

    These hikers are innocent of any wrongdoing and should be released. They certainly are not CIA spies. Leaving aside that walking along border areas is a useless way to spy in this day and age, CIA spies would not have gotten caught so easily. As for stupidity in straying across the border (if they did–there's doubt), that is surprisingly easy in border areas and should not be held against these young people. They and their families have suffered enough. Iran should show some heart and let them go.

    September 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. KDF

    I wonder if it was an iranian who accidentally wandered across the US border while "hiking" if people would be so keen to let them go ASAP. If the tides were turned it would be no different and that person would spend time incarcerated as well.

    September 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NEDAs Friend

    IRAN cancels release!
    I told you Iran LIES!!!
    NEDA NEDA NEDA NEDA!

    September 10, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RLG

    Come on KDF, do you really think a foreigner would be incarcerated if they would cross into Arizona from Mexico. I do think they were very naive in thinking they could go hiking in the area and it would be as safe as hiking in one of our National Parks. I think many times Americans feel that traveling in other areas of the world is our right and we will be treated as guests. When Americans travel they need to be aware of problem areas and local laws.

    September 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
1 2