Is this al Qaeda's 'last chance' for a country?
Islamic radicals linked to al Qaeda have seized the northern half of Mali, one of Africa's largest nations, and there are widespread concerns that the region could soon become a terrorist haven.
The militants have been able to capitalize on the instability of the country, which has seen a rebellion and a government coup within the past few months.
Now, about 500,000 Malians have fled their homes in fear of the violence and discrimination that come with the radicals' strict interpretation of sharia law.
CNN's Erin Burnett has been meeting with rebels and refugees this week and reporting on the growing crisis in Mali. She talked to CNN.com about the security concerns, the desperate humanitarian issue and how the United States might respond.
CNN.com: Why are some referring to Mali as "the next Afghanistan"?
Erin Burnett: We've talked to senior sources in the U.S. government and local rebels on the ground who say al Qaeda wants this to be their next haven. The people here in Mali really feel like this is al Qaeda's last chance of a country as their haven, just as Afghanistan was.
I was told by locals that extremists are giving people satellite phones and saying, "Call in when you see Westerners." They're paying people money in Timbuktu. One man told me that families he knows were given 10 times the amount of money they would earn from herding (their normal work) to join the cause.
But there are reasons it's not like Afghanistan. One of them is that the type of Islam practiced in northern Mali and the areas around northern Mali is much more relaxed. Locals are not receptive to extreme interpretations of Islam: For example, the extremists banned music, putting a DJ I spoke to out of a job. This is a country that is world famous for loving music!
Chick-Fil-A's president made some comments recently saying personally, he doesn't support gay marriage. Local politicians from Chicago to Boston are now taking to their political pulpits to tell Chick-Fil-A to stay out of their towns.
We sent our own Kyung Lah to see if the political firestorm adds up.
In China, a new development in an international murder case that shook the highest levels of the Communist party. Today, the wife of Chinese politician Bo Xilai was charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
Bo had been a prominent Communist party official expected to rise to national leadership until his dismissal in March derailed his political career.
Eunice Yoon is in Beijing and told OutFront about the charges brought against Bo's wife.
Twitter crashed again Thursday, it was the second time in just over a month that the service went down. Last time, Twitter blamed the outage on a "cascading bug."
This time they blamed data centers, saying that when one data center system fails, another is supposed to take over. Unfortunately, this time, both systems went down at nearly the same time. So how long were Twitter addicts without their fix?
That bring us to our number tonight: 53 FULL POST