Group: American accused of kidnapping in Haiti released
December 29th, 2010
09:08 PM ET

Group: American accused of kidnapping in Haiti released

An American relief worker who was jailed in Haiti this month after a father accused him of kidnapping a 15-month-old boy has been released, the American's nonprofit organization said Wednesday.

Paul Waggoner was being transported from the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to "a safe location where he will receive immediate medical attention," according to Materials Management Relief Corps, which Waggoner co-founded.

Waggoner's supporters, who maintain that the boy was not kidnapped but rather died in a Haitian hospital where the father sought treatment for him, say he will need to recover from horrific conditions at the penitentiary.

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Filed under: Haiti • Justice
HOT 97 DJ suspended over comment linking Haitian women to HIV
December 22nd, 2010
02:29 PM ET

HOT 97 DJ suspended over comment linking Haitian women to HIV

A HOT 97 DJ in New York has been suspended indefinitely over an on-air comment linking Haitian women to HIV.

The comment sparked outrage in New York's Haitian community, prompting activists and local leaders to call for his dismissal.

"The reason I'm HIV negative is because I don't mess with Haitian girls," DJ Cipha Sounds said Friday on the hip-hop station's morning show, which is owned by Emmis Communications.

Sounds, whose real name is Luis Diaz, moved fast to issue an on-air apology the same day as complaints began flooding the station.

"I made a stupid tasteless joke that was a one-liner and taken totally the wrong way and I want to say sincerely that I apologize," he said.

It wasn't enough to save him from being suspended indefinitely. He will also undertake sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community, specifically, "the challenges the Haitian community has faced in terms of the HIV epidemic," Emmis Communications said in a statement Wednesday.

HOT 97 will also work with community leaders to increase awareness of HIV and community programs to address the HIV epidemic, the media group said.

"Cipha made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians," said Alex Cameron, SVP/Market Manager of Emmis-New York.

"The Haitian community is an important part of our listenership whom we respect and value. The suspension is an indication of the importance we place on delivering a product that respects our Haitian audience. It's a
very regrettable and unfortunate circumstance for all involved and particularly because we know this is not the nature of this young man who has been an advocate of the Haitian community and a big part of our fund-raising efforts for Haiti."

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Filed under: Haiti • Music • New York • Showbiz
Gotta Watch: Holiday double-take; Haiti quake; $27B museum; 'Conan' redux
December 22nd, 2010
09:52 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Holiday double-take; Haiti quake; $27B museum; 'Conan' redux

Hang in there, guy – This video conjures up images from National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation." CNN affiliate WPRI shows us one guy's Christmas display that would make even Clark Griswold tremble.

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi • Earthquake • Gotta Watch • Haiti • Holidays • Rhode Island • United Arab Emirates
American Airlines cancels service to and from Haiti during protests
December 9th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

American Airlines cancels service to and from Haiti during protests

American Airlines has canceled service to and from Haiti for a second day because of political unrest there.

The airline announced Wednesday that it was canceling all six of its flights from the United States to Port-au-Prince because of post-election violence. It extended the moratorium Thursday.

"We will evaluate future operations, including tomorrow, later in the day (Thursday)," AA spokesman Tim Smith said in an e-mail.

Protests erupted throughout the Haitian capital Wednesday, the day after presidential election results were announced. Mobs alleging fraud burned the headquarters of the government-backed candidate and blocked roads using earthquake rubble and flaming tires.

Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady of Haiti, won the election held more than a week ago with 31.37% of the vote, the Provisional Electoral Council announced late Tuesday.

Jude Celestin, the candidate backed by President Rene Preval, came in second with 22.48%, while popular musician Michel Martelly was just behind Celestin with 21.84%.

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Filed under: Air travel • Haiti • U.S.
Preval calls for calm amid post-election protests
December 8th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

Preval calls for calm amid post-election protests

Haitian President Rene Preval appealed for calm Wednesday as thousands of angry Haitians took to the streets of the capital to protest the results of what they charged was a fraudulent election.

In a speech broadcast on radio, Preval urged the presidential candidates to discuss and analyze the results provided by the Provisional Electoral Council. The council announced results Tuesday night that will force a runoff between former first lady Mirlande Manigat and Jude Celestin, a Preval protege.

"Preval is a thief. We don't need Jude Celestin. We need Michel Martelly," people chanted, expressing support for the candidate who came in third and was left out of the runoff.

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Filed under: Elections • Haiti
Officials: French report about origin of cholera in Haiti inconclusive
December 7th, 2010
11:00 PM ET

Officials: French report about origin of cholera in Haiti inconclusive

A French doctor's report suggests that the strain of cholera ravaging Haiti may have originated with U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, but U.N. officials and others cautioned that the report was inconclusive.

The report by French epidemiologist Dr. Renaud Piarroux rules out a number of potential causes and points to the Nepalese soldiers as the most probable, said Vincenzo Pugliese, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Haiti, but it fails to deliver definitive proof.

"We have not dismissed the report but we have not accepted it completely," he said. "We remain open to investigating this, and we will get to the bottom of it."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Eric Mintz said research seeking the origin of the deadly outbreak - the death toll has now topped 2,000 since the first case was reported in mid-October - is being undertaken around the world.

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Health • Uncategorized
November 28th, 2010
01:55 PM ET

Election fraud alleged by top presidential candidate in Haiti

The front-runner in Haiti's presidential race denounced Sunday's national elections, calling for a complete annulment of the vote due to irregularities and ballot-box stuffing.

"I am asking my country's citizens, I am asking the Conseil Electoral Provisor, the government, and I'm telling the international community that as the leading candidate I'm asking for the formal cancellation of the elections," Mirlande Manigat told CNN.

At the same time, at least five other presidential candidates were gathering at a hotel in Port-au-Prince for what the campaign of contender Michel Martally billed as a press conference "to denounce today's massive fraud all over the country."

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Politics
November 19th, 2010
09:58 PM ET

Medical group blasts response to Haiti cholera outbreak

While the United Nations warned that protests were hampering efforts to save lives in the Haiti cholera outbreak, a leading non-profit group lashed out at organizations for what it called an "inadequate" response.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (in English, Doctors Without Borders) issued a blistering critique Friday that said shortfalls in resources have hampered efforts to stem the tide of disease, which has claimed at least 1,100 lives and infected another 20,000 people.

"More actors are needed to treat the sick and implement preventative actions, especially as cases increase dramatically across the country," Stefano Zannini, the charitable medical group's head of mission in Haiti, said in a statement Friday.

"There is no time left for meetings and debate - the time for action is now."

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Health
November 18th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

iReporter: Haitian residents form anti-U.N. police force

Protesters hurl stones at U.N. peacekeepers in Cap Haitien on Wednesday.

Young men frustrated with the United Nations presence in Haiti have become a self-appointed police force in Cap Haitien, setting up ‚Äúcheckpoints‚ÄĚ every hundred yards on main roads and keeping an eye out for anybody who appears to be a foreigner, according to a CNN iReporter in the city.

‚ÄúThey feel like they‚Äôre an occupied territory,‚ÄĚ the iReporter said of those manning the roadblocks Thursday. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve just had enough. They‚Äôve decided that they want their own police force. They‚Äôve created their own community police department."

Protesters this week took over the streets of Cap Haitien to protest what they say is the U.N.'s role in the nation's cholera epidemic.

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Filed under: Haiti • iReport
November 17th, 2010
01:21 PM ET

Woman in Florida diagnosed with cholera

A woman who recently returned to Florida from Haiti has been diagnosed with cholera, the Florida Department of Health announced Wednesday.

"We are working with our health care partners to ensure appropriate care of this individual and prevent the spread of this disease within the community," said State Surgeon General Ana M. Viamonte Ros in a written statement.

She said Florida authorities will "continue to monitor the state for any future cases."

The news follows an announcement that the cholera outbreak in Haiti has spread across the border to the Dominican Republic.

The cholera outbreak confirmed last month in northwest Haiti has killed 1,110 people, and 18,383 people have been hospitalized with the disease, according to Haiti's health ministry.

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Filed under: Cholera • Dominican Republic • Florida • Haiti • Health
November 17th, 2010
10:52 AM ET

On the Radar: Pat-downs, publicist slain, terrorism trial

To pat or not to pat? - Amidst a flurry of complaints from passengers who said they'd been inappropriately touched while airport security screeners patted them down, the chief of the Transportation Security Administration is expected to  defend the method Wednesday. John Pistole will testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. His appearance was scheduled before this week's "Don't touch my junk" controversy, during which a passenger videotaped his pat-down experience. Two pilots who refused full body scans and pat-downs are suing the Department of Homeland Security. Former commercial pilot C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger, who famously landed a plane in the Hudson River, says pat-downs for flight crews aren't "an efficient use of our resources." The organization suing TSA on behalf of the pilots said the agency is "forcing travelers to consent to a virtual strip search."

Movie publicist killed - Hollywood is reeling after a well-known publicist was gunned down in Los Angeles, California, early Tuesday after a party celebrating the new Cher/Christina Aguilera movie, "Burlesque."  Ronnie Chasen, 64, died after "multiple shots" were fired into her Mercedes, seconds after she drove past the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, police said. Chasen crashed the car into a light pole at 12:20 a.m. She died later at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

"We were all on such a high," songwriter Diane Warren said. "And then she left - I'm guessing about 10 minutes before I did. What on earth? What happened? Why?"

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November 17th, 2010
07:42 AM ET

Haiti cholera outbreak spreads to Dominican Republic

The cholera outbreak in Haiti has spread to the Dominican Republic and that nation has issued a maximum health alert, its health ministry said.

The first confirmed case is a 32-year-old Haitian construction worker who returned to the Dominican Republic last Friday with symptoms of the intestinal illness, the health ministry said.

Are you there? Share your story with CNN iReport

- Journalist Diulka Perez contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Cholera • Dominican Republic • Haiti
November 16th, 2010
09:47 PM ET

Rioters threaten to send Haitian city into chaos

Haiti's government appeared Tuesday to have lost control of Cap Haitien, where demonstrators angry over what they see as the United Nations' role in starting the ongoing cholera epidemic controlled many of the streets for a second consecutive day.

At the airport in the country's second-largest city, commercial flights were suspended Tuesday. Police were not wearing uniforms in an apparent attempt to elude the wrath of Haitians, who had torched at least one police station on Monday.

The only way to get from the airport into town was by motorcycle. Barricades composed of burning tires and vehicles blocked cars from traveling on many of the roads.

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Filed under: Cholera • Earthquake • Haiti • Health
November 16th, 2010
10:44 AM ET

On the Radar: Will puts a ring on it, Medal of Honor, Haiti

Prince William's enagement - The best way to start off the morning is with a little love, and what's better than royal amour? Word of Prince William popping the question to his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, is dominating headlines and Internet buzz across the world. The well-liked heir to England's throne met his betrothed when they were students at St. Andrews University in Scotland. The press has followed their every romantic turn since then. William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, said in a statement from Buckingham Palace that she and her husband, Prince Philip, "are absolutely delighted" about the engagement. The couple, both 28, plan to wed next spring or summer.

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • On the Radar • U.S. • United Kingdom
November 14th, 2010
09:05 PM ET

Haiti's cholera death toll passes 900

The death toll from Haiti's month-old cholera outbreak has passed 900 and continues to grow.

According to statistics released by the Haitian Ministry of Health Sunday, 917 people have died from the bacteria, while there have been some 14,642 hospitalizations.

More ominous, is the spread of cholera through the squalid camps that still house hundreds of thousands of people in the Haitian capital 10 months after a killer earthquake shattered this city.

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Health
November 9th, 2010
12:42 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Social queen, Haitian dumps, gift of Buddha

The Queen's on Facebook: It's official. Thousands of people officially "like" the British Royal Family after it joined Facebook, but don't expect to see Queen Elizabeth playing FarmVille just yet. You can "like" them but can't add them as a friend.

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Filed under: China • Cholera • Earthquake • Facebook • Florida • Gotta Watch • Haiti • Queen Elizabeth II • Religion • United Kingdom
November 6th, 2010
07:37 PM ET

Tropical storm Tomas strengthens back into hurricane

Tropical storm Tomas strengthened back into a hurricane Saturday hours after being downgraded to a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, reported Saturday.

Tomas had already wrought extensive damage on parts of Haiti by the time it was downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday morning. Six people were killed, homes were destroyed and streets were turned into rivers as the beleagured nation grappled with the after effects of a devastating earthquake and a deadly cholera outbreak.

As of 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Tomas was about 115 miles (185 kilometers) north-northeast of Grand Turk Island, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The storm was moving northeast at 16 mph (26 kph) and carried maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).

Read the full story on CNN.com.

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Tropical weather • Weather
November 5th, 2010
08:57 AM ET

Hurricane Tomas battering coast of Haiti

Hurricane Tomas is battering Haiti this morning with heavy rain and winds as high as 80 mph. More than a million earthquake survivors are still living in tent cities and scrambling for shelter. Michael Dockrey is with the International Medical Corps and gives "American Morning"’s John Roberts the latest from Port-au-Prince.


Filed under: Haiti • Tropical weather • TV-American Morning • Weather • World
November 4th, 2010
10:41 AM ET

On the Radar: Smart kidnap trial, Tomas, Mexico deaths

Smart trial opens - Opening statements in the trial of the accused mastermind in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart are expected Thursday. It's been eight years since the Utah teen disappeared from her Salt Lake City bedroom in a crime that shocked the nation.

In 2005, a judge found Brian David Mitchell incompetent to stand trial on state charges, leaving him in custody at a psychiatric hospital. The state case was put on hold when federal authorties stepped in.

Mitchell, 57, is facing federal charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for improper purposes. Smart, now 22, has talked about her experience while she was held. She was found less than a year after her capture walking in an area near Salt Lake City wearing a wig and sunglasses. Smart is on the list of witnesses who are scheduled to testify.

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Filed under: Elizabeth Smart • Haiti • Hurricanes • Mexico • On the Radar • Utah • Weather
November 4th, 2010
09:45 AM ET

Cholera deaths in Haiti reach 442, health org reports

A cholera outbreak in Haiti continues to spread to previously unaffected areas in rural communities, killing 442 people and hospitalizing 6,742 others, the Pan American Health Organization said Wednesday.

Health authorities are concerned that the situation may worsen as Tropical Storm Tomas approaches the impoverished nation, still recovering from a devastating January earthquake that killed 250,000 people and left 1 million homeless. Tomas is projected to pass over Haiti on Friday.

Health officials set up six cholera treatment centers in Port-au-Prince, the nation's capital. Four of the centers are fully operational, the Pan American Health Organization said. Four more are planned.

Officials hope to create 2,000 beds in the treatment centers, the health agency said.

In addition, the agency said, cholera treatment tents will be established at 14 hospitals in Port-au-Prince as soon as Tomas clears the island nation.

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Filed under: Cholera • Haiti • Health
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