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Fight Over E-Vote Continues; 380 Million Indians Vote On Electronic Machines; Kerry Reminds Voters Of Energy Costs

Aired October 30, 2004 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR NEXT@CNN: The 75-year-old has been ill for about two weeks now. Palestinian sources tell CNN the era of Arafat as Palestinian leader is over.
Other officials disagree strongly. A spokeswoman met with reporters at the hospital.


LEILA SHAHID, PALESTIAN SPOKESWOMAN: What I can tell you is that the doctors exclude from what he has already done in terms of exams, any possibility of leukemia. I repeat. The doctors exclude for the time being any possibility of leukemia.


WHITFIELD: Eight U.S. Marines were killed today in Iraq. Nine other marines were wounded. All were involved in increased security operations in the Al Anbar province. In other fighting's U.S. forces launched fresh assault on insurgents in Fallujah targeting weapons caches.

As authorities analyze the new video tape of a man believed to be Bin Ladden, President Bush held a video conference this morning with his homeland and national security advisers. Bush who is on the campaign trail told them to take all steps that might be necessary to respond to the new message. On the tape, Bin Laden tells Americans the best way to avoid another 9/11-style attack is for the U.S. to stop threatening the security of Muslims.

The war on terror is taking on a new focus in these last days perfect the presidential election. Campaigning in Michigan, President Bush did not mention the Bin Laden tape today. However, he emphasized the importance of national security and lower taxes. After a top in Minneapolis, the president later heads to Orlando, Florida.

John Kerry spend his Saturday campaigning in the Midwest. The Democratic candidate began his day in Wisconsin. Rocker Jon Bon Jovi and actor Ashton Kutcher joined Kerry at a rally in Iowa. Kerry then heads to Ohio to a rally tonight.

And check out this crowd in downtown Boston. Tens of thousands of Red Sox fans turned out for a parade this morning in honor of the new world series champions. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. More news at the bottom of the hour. NEXT@CNN begins right now. Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN ANCHOR, NEXT@CNN: HI I'm Daniel Sieberg. Today on NEXT@CNN in Nevada the smart money is on electronic voting in Tuesday's election. How the state's gaming industry is improving the odds for a success for e-vote.

We will show you how astronauts are training for medical emergencies that might happen up in space by going in the opposite direction. And we will check out technology that can actually help drivers avoid possible automobile crashes. All that and more on NEXT.

About one-third of the voters in the United States will use some type of electronic voting machine during Tuesday's election. Two states have gone entirely electronic Georgia and Nevada. While Maryland and Florida are mostly electronic. And precincts scattered throughout more than a dozen states have gone for e-voting. But only Nevada has a paper trail.

And it got some advice from the folks who deal with the odds of the house every day. No, not the White House.


SIEBERG (voice over): Gambling involves high stakes. Winners and losers. Not unlike an election. In Nevada, officials are betting that having the only statewide paper trail of electronic voting machines will tip the odds further in favor of the voter.

DEAN HELLER, NEVADA SECRETARY OF STATE: Without a paper trail attached to a voting machine today, I think any election would be suspect.

SIEBERG: Before Heller decided the state would spend millions of dollars to upgrade it's voting system, he got some informal advice from the state engineers who make sure the multi billion dollar slot machine industry is reliable.

HELLER: I actually went to gaming as an idea thinking, hey, what better respected industry, frankly in the state of Nevada.

JIM BARBEE, NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD: Our job here is to make sure that the software running on it, the integrity of the software running on there, that it can't be cheated by the patron and that the patron can't be cheated by the software.

SIEBERG: Engineers at the lab do everything from shock the machines with 27,000 volts to review every line of code in the software, to push every combination of buttons. All to get into the mind of a cheater. Do people successfully fool these machines, gaming machines?

MARC MCDERMOTT, NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD: Not for long. And very, very infrequently.

SCOTT SCHERER, NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD: You also have to think, what else might go wrong. Are they going to spill a drink in the coin mechanism. Is there going to be static shock from the carpet. You have to think about what kinds of things can go wrong and test for those and create safeguards against those.

SIEBERG (on camera): The Nevada gaming board has had to develop security and accuracy so that people will keep playing. If they lose, they know they could win.

SIEBERG (voice over): Electronic voting companies want voters to have that same level of confidence. To achieve that, their devices are put through various federal standards and certification steps. In this case, including the opinion of Nevada's gaming experts. But is it enough?

LARRY LOMAX, CLARK CO REGISTRAR OF VOTERS: I know how much we test the programming and the machines and I know they are accurate, we also, it's important that all the voters are confident in the outcome of the election. And I don't have any doubt that whether it's a paper trail or some other technical solution to this issue, it's the way of the future.

SEIBERG: Nevada's early voting began on October 16th. So far, the voters appear to greet the paper trail with a mostly positive response. Even though they couldn't take it home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I was going to get a copy of that, but it keeps it in.

JOYCE HICKS, NEVADA VOTER: You get a review of everything and everyone that you voted on. Yes, I appreciated that very much.

SUMMER REESE, NEVADA VOTER: If something does go down, they have that to look back on.

SIEBERG: The makers of the Nevada machines admit the paper trail isn't a silver bullet, but they say it goes a long way.

ALFIE CHARLES, SEQIOIA VOTING SYSTEMS: We don't think that's an essential component for a secure and accurate election but it's important in voter confidence. And voter confidence is key in any election you conduct.

SIEBERG: Secretary Heller believes Nevada's experiment with paper receipts for electronic voting machines is a necessary test to put taxpayers' money down on the table. Because he knows the stakes are high.


SIEBERG: Arguably the highest ever. While the United States holds its collective breath to see whether e-voting will work, another country says it has electronic voting down pat. Satinder Bindra reports from New Delhi, India.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Wild celebrations after a surprise outcome in India's recent general election. The first time 380 million Indian voters, far more than the entire U.S. population, used electronic voting machines. Unlike the United States, where all 50 states have their own election rules, India's national election with its carnival-like charm is regulated by one independent organization, the election commission.

When the commission bought 1 million locally made electronic voting machines for the May election, it ended in what was widely agreed to be a fair, uncontested and quick result. It also ignited a debate here. Whether the world's most powerful nation could learn some lessons from poorer countries with a passion for democracy.

RAJDEEP SARDESAN, MANAGING EDITOR, NDTV: If the Americans really want to outsource something from India, they should be outsourcing our Indian electoral system. It will make their system much more transparent.

BINDRA: Not only transparent, but inexpensive. The Indian machines cost about $500. But the election commission says they do deliver.

MS GILL, FORMER CHIEF ELECTION COMM: We are proud of it. We are happy and not a single machine had a glitch.

BINDRA: Both the winners and the losers accepted the final verdict because there's confidence the devices are almost tamper proof. Indian machines are simply sealed after voting. They are then transported to counting centers where results are tabulated within hours. India has now won votes of confidence in orders from several emerging democracies.

The makers say the machines can be easily modified for U.S. Usage. So far, though, there seems to be little interest from the United States.

BINDRA (on camera): Many here believe this U.S. election is going to be another squeaker. One that may hasten electoral reforms, opening up the possibility U.S. officials might elect to make a look at India's technology.


SIEBERG: All right back in this country, oil and national security is playing a big role in the election campaign. As the U.S. becomes more dependent on Persian Gulf crud. So what do President Bush and Senator Kerry propose to do about the problem. Well David Ensor reports that on this issue, there's not a whole lot of difference between the two candidates.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gas is over $2 a gallon. Oil over $50 a barrel. And the challenger wants voters to remember on whose watch. SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, oil prices are at an all-time high with no end in sight.

ENSOR: Both the Senator and the president offer plans to wean the nation from foreign oil.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country.

ENSOR: But neither man, say oil economists, is being straight with the voters.

ROBERT EBEL, ENERGY EXPERT, CSIS: I wished both candidates would stop talking about seeking energy independence. It's not doable.

ENSOR: The president wants to increase supply with the controversial call for oil drilling in the Arctic national wildlife refuge in Alaska.

ROBERT MARBO, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Even if this is encouraged, what are we going to get? One million barrels a day or more? Two million barrels a day or more? You know the United States today imports about 12 million barrels a day.

ENSOR: Senator Kerry stresses reducing demand, raising fuel efficiency on the highways, in factories, harnessing more of the sun and wind.

KERRY: I want America's security to be in the hands of Americans in our own ingenuity, our own innovation, not the Saudi royal family or others around the world.

MARBO: That's a nice line. But it's meaningless. You have to continue to import for many years to come oil and later gas.

ENSOR: Analysts argue Kerry's proposals, like Bush's, simply do not go far enough to reduce dependence on foreign oil. This SUV-loving nation now imports about 60 percent of its oil need. The answers, say many analysts, is dramatically cutting demand with something no politician wants to talk about. A big tax on gasoline.

MARBO: I mean, it's absolutely ridiculous that the tax on gas in the U.S. on gasoline is so low.

ROBERT EBEL, ENERGY EXPERT, CSIS: How are you going to sell it to the public? How your going to get Congress to vote on the 50 cent gasoline tax?

ENSOR: But a big tax could change the equation, making hybrid cars more desirable, driving innovation and the search for new energy sources. It could reduce the hidden tax some analysts say paid now in blood and dollars to keep troops in Iraq and the region, stabilizing the oil supply.

MICHAEL KLARE, AUTHOR, "BLOOD AND OIL:" It's such a scary topic for people. We all understand, I think, in this country, that the day will come when petroleum will be scarce and that we're going to need to change our habits, our driving habits and a lot else. But nobody wants to face that day of reckoning. So we put it out of mind.

ENSOR (on camera): It's scary and the voters don't want to face it. The candidates know that.


SIEBERG: And on Tuesday, Election Day, it all comes to a head. One-third of the senate, every house seat and, of course, the White House will be up for grabs. You can make sense of it all. It can be kind of overwhelming at times. The polls, the battleground states, the money that drives the campaigns, all by going to We'll also have vote results for every state and county in the nation.

Well more campaign news later in the show, the call of the wild in the presidential race.

Coming up next a close look at titan, the moon of Saturn that could reveal something about Earth's past.


SIEBERG: NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for several months. This week it gave scientists their first close up look at the planets mysterious moon Titan. Miles O'Brien has the story.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The fog may finally be lifting on Titan, revealing some secrets of Saturn's largest moon and one of the biggest enigmas in the solar system.

CAROLYN PORCO, CASSINI IMAGING TEAM: Last night the solar system became a smaller place.

O'BRIEN: Courtesy of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which reached Saturn in June and made its closest pass by Titan, coming within 730 miles, aiming cameras and a radar while sniffing fringes of its hazy atmosphere.

KEVIN GRAZIER, CASSINI SCIENTIST: Ever since Titan was discovered in the 1600s it's been a big question mark. And after our first fly-by we've got more data, but it's still a big question mark.

O'BRIEN: Titan's secrets may be the same as ours. Scientist believe the chemistry here is a lot like Earth, billions of years ago before the dawn of life. That's not to say they expect to find anything living here in this place, filled with methane and much too cold for comfort.

GRAZIER: The surface would be very cold, it's 94 calbons that is about 290 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, so it would be very cold. The sky would be orange.

O"BRIEN: NASA scientists were up all night watching the pictures come in and in the wee hours became convinced they saw a cat or at least a feline shape on Titan's surface. They named it C.C., after one of their pets. Dark spots like C.C. are probably lakes of liquid methane clearly Titan is a nonsmoking moon.

CHARLES ELACHI, DIRECTOR, JET POPULSONLAB: So you could imagine if you were at the surface of Titan, it would look somewhat like a lake on earth. You can't drink it.

O'BRIEN: In January, scientists hope to get an even closer look beneath Titan's perm haze when Cassini will send a probe called Hogan's to the surface. The pictures are helping scientists scout out the landing site on the methane shores of a Titanic continent.

GRAZIER: The landing site seems to be on the edge of Xanadu, for lack of a better word, shoreline. So it looks like Hogan's will land instead of splash down or slush down if you will.

O'BRIEN: But don't worry. It's designed to float. Cassini has been busy over the past four months, sending back hundreds of pictures, some of them real ringers. But with 44 more close fly-bys of Titan ahead, for scientists --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our exploration of Titan is really just beginning.


SIEBERG: All right well, things are looking up for Brazil's fledgling space program this week after successful rocket launch last weekend. The two-stage rocket flew for seven minutes in an altitude about 62 miles above Earth according to Brazilian officials. The launch came 14 months after a more powerful rocket exploded on the launch pad killing 21 people.

Brazilian rockets launched in 1997 and 1999 had to be destroyed soon after liftoff because of technical glitches. Brazil hopes eventually to sell rockets to the European space agency.

Well if you aspire to travel to Mars someday you should know the flight could take up to a year. So what if you suddenly needed emergency surgery on the way? NASA has pondered that question and has started preparing some astronauts to handle a scalpel while real surgeons on the ground call the shots. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the television series "Star Trek," doctors of the future may treat a patient, even in the far reaches of outer space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just peel that away as much as you can.

GUPTA: But for now, NASA astronauts are being trained to act as doctors in extreme environments.

DR. MEHRAN ANVARI, CTR. FOR MINIMAL ACCESS SURGERY: With this technology, people are not doctors. People are not surgeons. They can perform emergency surgery to save somebody's life.

GUPTA: The technology is called tele-mentoring. Dr. Anvari is a general surgeon guiding astronauts on Nemo 7. That is the NASA extreme environmental mission operation.

ANVARI: Guiding an astronaut to act as my left and right hand to perform the surgery.

GUPTA: Using telecommunication lines from a hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Doctor Anvari gives surgical instructions to NASA astronauts located in Aquarius, an underwater habitat similar in size to the space shuttle off the coast of Florida.

ANVARI: You are operating with somebody who has absolutely no knowledge of human anatomy, of surgical instruments or what they are supposed to do. So you really go back to the basic and try to be as simple as possible trying to coach them through it. Potentially dangerous life-threatening operation.

Not even a spill of blood or bile.

GUPTA: NASA astronaut Cady Coleman has flown in space twice. She has no formal medical training but just completed her first operation.

CADY COLEMAN, NASA ASTRONAUT: I've been from band-aids to gallbladders, and I think it's a pretty big step.

GUPTA: And gallbladders to kidney stones, to repairing an injured artery tele-mentoring can be a surgical slogs for soldiers in the field to remote areas lacking doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In order to send people further we'd like to send them as safely as we can and with all the capabilities that we can.

GUPTA (on camera): As doctors prepare to use their skills beyond the confines of a hospital like these, they may find in extreme situations almost anyone can act as a surgeon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Later on NEXT alarming and unexplained power losses in the engines of some search and rescue helicopters.

Also ahead, a machine that its makers say will help you have pleasant dreams.


SIEBERG: Have you have ever left the house and forgotten your keys or your purse or your cell phone, well help could be on the way. University of Washington computer scientist Guytano Verio (ph) has developed a prototype watch that acts like a virtual string around your finger. You put RFID tags which contain an electronic circuit and antenna and a memory chip on items you don't want to forget. Then you put RFID readers on places like your front door. And if you pass by the reader without the item you don't want to forget, your watch sounds an alarm. Verio (ph) says this is part of an effort to create an entire RFID enabled building. But what I want to know is, what if you forget the watch?

Well a new Japanese device is on the market that purports to help you enjoy better dreams. And if you are wondering whether the gadget really works consider that it's from the same company that markets devices that translate dog barks and cat meows. Andrew Brown has this sleeper story.


ANDREW BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gemma Booth winding down after an exhausting day. Before going to sleep, she reads for a while and then when she feels drowsy tells a machine beside her bed what she'd like to dream about during the night.

GEMMA BOOTH, DREAMER: My perfect wedding.

BROWN: Through this testing outs you may meet Tobu a Japanese technology designed to influence dreams. It soothes the dreamer with music and just before dawn when experts say people often experience their most vivid dreams, a recorded message kicks in.

BOOTH: My perfect wedding.

BROWN: According to a recent study in Japan, this device can control about 22 percent of what dreamers remember from a night's sleep. That may not sound like a great success rate, but after the product's launch, more than 10,000 dream machines were sold in just six weeks in Asia. Everyone, it seems, has a dream, dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish I can live in a paradise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to dream about cakes, ice cream and a cappuccino.

BROWN: Can you really make your dreams tastier? Some academics doubt dreamers can respond to specific instructions while asleep.

T.C. CHAN, PSYCHOLOGIST: The words spoken are displayed by the machine. We have no sense of it, what the meaning is.

BROWN: Unlike the words we hear when we're awake. Do you have a favorite dream?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are looking at her.

BROWN: Gemma Booth didn't dream about her perfect wedding, but --

BOOTH: I dreamt that I had to get on an airplane and there was an awful lot of stress.

BROWN: Just like there probably will be next July when she plans to fly to England to marry her fiance. Maybe dreams can come true after all.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still to come in our next half hour the inspiring story of an air force colonel who wanted to fly again, despite the loss of a leg.

Also ahead a prototype that could be the next big thing in automobile safety. It helps drivers avoid accidents.


SIEBERG: Welcome back to NEXT@CNN. Well, wouldn't it be nice if cars could avoid crashing when their drivers can't? Well, one car does. It's only a prototype at this point, but it's loaded with technology that may be available in the next vehicle you buy. Julie Vallese reports.


JULIE VALLESE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oh, if this car could talk. It may only need to yell out one word: "Danger" or "brake" or maybe "stop."

JOE GAUS, CONTINENTAL AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS: We allow the vehicle to be, let's say, poised for action to help the driver either avoid a crash, maintain control, or in the event that a crash occurs, provide maximum protection.

VALLESE: It may sound like futuristic technology, but it is available today. Continental has put 13 advanced technologies into this car, all talking to each other which may allows this driver remain in control and avoid crashes.

GAUS: If we can improve society, of we can make driving safer, if we can save half of those 42,000 lives a year with this type of technology, why not do it.

VALLESE: Tailgate and the accelerator pushes up against your foot. A camera under the car can read the lines on the road. If a driver starts to shift without intentionally making a lane change, the seat vibrates. Stationary objects like a tree or a light post are sensed by a laser constantly scanning the area about 150 feet in front of the car, and will assist in breaking if the object gets too close. Get taken by surprise at say more than 50 miles an hour and the car responds. It hits the brakes. If the car senses a crash is inevitable, open windows close, seat belts tighten and the seat adjusts to the optimal position for an air bag to deploy.

Some of the technology is already on a few luxury model cars, but can only react to one specific situation. On this vehicle, the technology is called the "Active Passive Integration Approach." Think of it as the centralized brain that allows all the technologies to react and respond together.

GAUS: It basically, it takes the driver's intention through measuring what the steering wheel movement is, the brake pedal, and then it also takes a look at what is the environment of the vehicle, what's happening to that vehicle and it makes adjustment.

VALLESE (on camera): Continental says it spent about a half million dollars in developing this car. But it says by 2010 to have all the safety features available on a car will cost a whole lot less, about 500 buck.

(voice-over): The technology can't prevent all crashes. If one does occur, the conversation between technologies takes a matter of seconds and minimizes the impact.


SIEBERG: All right, from safe cars to unsafe copters. The engine failure rate of a Coast Guard Search and Rescue helicopter and climbing dramatically and officials aren't quite sure why as reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Everyone ready?


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Coast Guard HH-65 suffers a power loss in one engine. The pilot dumps fuel even a life raft to make a risky emergency landing on a cutter deck one third the size of a basketball court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice Job. Nice job. Outstanding. All right let's sit this thing down.

MESERVE: Jeff (SIC) Makowski was piloting an HH-65 during the Gulf War when it had the same problem. Given the choice of landing in unfriendly Syria or ditching, he was forced to make a cutter landing at night and he hasn't forgotten.

CMDR. ROBERT MAKOWSKI, U.S. COAST GUARD: When I take off I'm always thinking, where could I land if I lose an engine? Every time I'm coming in for a landing, all right, where would I go, what would I do in this situation.

MESERVE: Engine power loses in the Coast Guard's HH-65s have been spiraling upward at an alarming rate. They used to average about 10 a year, but climbed to 171 in the last 12 months.

READ ADMIRAL GARY BLORE, U.S. COAST GUARD: It's capable of flying on one engine. You just can't stay in a hover or do a maneuver on one engine.

MESERVE: Crippling to a helicopter critical to search and rescue and described as the backbone of the Coast Guard aviation fleet. Because of the engine problems, the choppers are no longer allowed to land in tight quarters like hospital helipads and the distance and duration of their flights have been limited.

MAKOWSKI: It affected us actually going out and either saving lives or helping those in great distress.

MESERVE: The problem with the engines and their control system has not been pinpointed, but among the contributing factors age, modifications that have increased the choppers weight and increased flight hours resulting from the Coast Guard's expanded Homeland Security mission. The American-made engines were put on the French choppers when they were purchased in the early '80s because of Buy America provision. They are now being replaced with engines from a U.S. subsidiary of the original French manufacturer. Some believe it would be more economical in the long term just to buy new helicopters.

REP. BOB FILNER, (R) CALIFORNIA: And we're wondering why they've made a decision which just doesn't meet a common sense test.

MESERVE: Replacing the engines on the fleet of 96 HH-65s will cost about $290 million and take two years, two years when there will be risks to the chopper crews and those who need their help.


SIEBERG: All right. Air force colonel and amputee Andrew Lourake was the first Defense Department employee to be fitted with a, known as a "Sea Leg." The limb as a computer chip that does 50 calculations a second to make sure the leg is in the proper position. And it can be programmed for different tasks like running or even golfing. As Barbara Starr reports, Lourake is now chalking up another first.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been six years since Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Lourake climbed into the cockpit. Lourake is making aviation history, the first U.S. Air Force pilot to fly with an above-the-knee amputation. Watching intently, young soldiers wounded in Iraq, now fellow amputees.

With advanced prosthetics, Lourake wears a leg driven by computer technology. Today's military amputees have a better chance of staying on duty. Lourake convinced his medical board to let him try.

LT. COL. ANDREW LOURAKE, AIR FORCE PILOT: I'm just tenacious, I guess. I had to -- I had to at least try it. And I had to show everybody and prove to everybody that I was capable of it.

STARR: But how does Lourake feel the pedals of the airplane? He bounces three times on his artificial limb, signaling the computer to better hold his artificial leg in a bent position. Then he pushes against the pedal. Even after working for months to regain his strength, Lourake reminds today's vets it's a tough road.

LOURAKE: There were dark moments for me, as well. You're not whole anymore, so you get -- depression sets in. Drugs do -- drugs and pain do some really weird things to your mind.

STARR: But he is showing the wounded from Iraq what is possible. LOURAKE: Military DOD careers are not over with limb loss now. If you can prove yourself and prove that you can do your job.

STARR: Now celebration, congratulations, and a second chance at the flying career he loves for Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Lourake.



ANNOUNCER: Up next: Come Election Day California could do an end run around President Bush's restrictions on stem cell research.

And later, nescience bears and how Maryland's bear hunts this week came to an abrupt end.



SIEBERG: Scientists have discovered a new species of humans. Unlike any they've seen before that lived as recently as 18,000 years ago. One of the skeletons is of an adult female who was about three feet tall and apparently all the individuals were dwarf sized. The remains were found on a remote Indonesian island of Flores. Scientists think the tiny species may have evolved in isolation on the island descended from homo erectus, a direct ancestor of ours that was about the same size as modern humans. The research was published in the journal "Nature."

All right, California voters will decide on Tuesday whether to spend $3 billion of their money on stem cell research. The ballot initiative, Proposition 71, puts the state in the middle of the debate over stem cells. Thelma Gutierrez reports.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine a world without disease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parkinson's, heart disease...


GUTIERREZ: It sounds far-fetched, but many scientists believe some cures may be within reach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm opening the liquid nitrogen freezer.

GUTIERREZ: They say the key is in stem cell research, developing ways for healthy cells to replace damaged cells.

Adult stem cell research has a proven track record in the treatment of some diseases, like blood cancers, but there are limitations. For example, no success so far in developing better treatments for diabetes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are the actual vials of stem cells.

GUTIERREZ: It's the use of embryonic stem cells, those taken from human embryos, that has huge medical potential for curing diseases like diabetes. But some people fear the technology in this research could lead to human cloning, a debate at the heart of one of California's November ballot initiatives. It's called Prop 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.

DR. VINCE FORTANASE, PROP 71 OPPONENT: This is a cloning bill. This bill will fund cloning.

DR. LARRY GOLDSTEIN, PROP 71 SUPPORTER: They like to use the word "cloning" as a weapon to scare people.

GUTIERREZ: Prop 71 would authorize $3 billion in state funds for research which is currently excluded from federal funding, research that would allow creation of new embryonic stem cell lines.

FORTANASE: They're being disingenuous and devious.

GUTIERREZ: Dr. Vince Fortanase leads the opposition to Proposition 71. He says this wording could pave the way for private biotech companies to develop human cloning technology at the expense of California taxpayers.

FORTANASE: What they don't tell you is the words "somatic cell nuclear transfer," which is the definition of cloning, according to the National Academy of Science.

GUTIERREZ: Dr. Larry Goldstein, a leading scientist in stem cell research, says the opposition is using scare tactics. He says current state law forbids human reproductive cloning, and the initiative clearly states there will be no funding for that purpose.

GOLDSTEIN: The technology of nuclear transfer could, in principle, be misused to try to clone a person. We don't ban technologies for fear of misuse.

GUTIERREZ: Real estate developer, Robert Klein, kicked in more than $2 million of his own money to back Prop 71.

ROBERT KLEIN, CHAIRMAN, PROP 71: Proposition 71 is very personal to me, because my youngest son, Jordan, has juvenile diabetes. And my mother is dying with Alzheimer's.

GUTIERREZ: Klein says the research underwritten by Prop 71 has the potential to cure chronic diseases.

KLEIN: Ten to 13 years worth of research on the most promising research to cure Parkinson's, Alzheimer's heart disease, diabetes, by the best scientists in the world.

TOM BORDONARO, PROP 71 OPPONENT: It's misleading. It is giving people false hope in embryonic stem cell research. GUTIERREZ: Tom Bordonaro is a former California assemblyman.

BORDONARO: Long time no see.

GUTIERREZ: For 27 years, he's been confined to a wheelchair. He says nothing would make him happier than if a cure was found for spinal cord injuries, like his own, but he says Prop 71 isn't the answer.

BORDONARO: It's a total boondoggle for venture capitalists who can't and don't want to spend the private dollars in an area that is a long-shot for any type of human treatment.

GUTIERREZ: Robert Klein says he wants society to take the chance to offer his son and other families a ray of hope.



ANNOUNCER: Just ahead: A wounded baby seal, a knifed gator, and the sorrier side of human nature



SIEBERG: For many airline passengers, losing the ability to use a mobile phone is one of the few down sides to traveling by plane. Yet, the signal that things are about to change is getting stronger. The U.S. government is currently reviewing its policies on mobile phone use during flights. Until now, there's been fear that cellular phone signals interfere with a plane's navigation system. Currently, the only option for communication on planes is the expensive airphone service. American Airlines, among others, has begun testing new technology that could make it safe to use cell phones on airplanes.



SIEBERG: Well, there are at least 20...



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