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Will Ukraine's Disputed Election Lead to Civil War?; Is Shopping for Holidays Overrated?

Aired November 26, 2004 - 19:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, HOST: President Bush warns the world is watching. Will this election debacle lead to civil war?
Shopping for the holidays overrated? Why some people are asking you to spend less or nothing at all.

Cops tasing kids into submission. Why one school district is saying, No more.

HIV in America. Magic Johnson reveals his secrets behind staying healthy with HIV.

Bringing Alexander the Great back to life. A 360 interview with film director Oliver Stone.

And are they out there? If so, who will make the first contact?

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COSTELLO: And good evening to you. I'm Carol Costello, in for Anderson Cooper tonight.

We begin with President Bush. On his plate this day after Thanksgiving, elections in Iraq and in the Ukraine, and concern over Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reports from the president's Texas ranch.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush dropped by Crawford's Coffee Station for a burger and a couple of questions.

Most notably on Mr. Bush's plate, the future of Iraq. More than a dozen Iraqi political parties are calling for a six-month delay of Iraq's presidential elections, and a possible postponement is seen by the Bush administration as a misstep for the region and a win for the Iraqi insurgents.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Iraqi election commission has scheduled elections in January. And I would hope they would go forward in January. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democracy for Ukraine! Democracy for Ukraine!

MALVEAUX: A handful of pro-democracy demonstrators gathered outside the Coffee Station to support Mr. Bush's position on the Ukrainian elections. The White House considers the recent presidential elections there a fraud and a blow to democracy in that region. Mr. Bush and other world leaders are urging the Ukrainian authorities to come clean.

BUSH: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the elections in doubt, the international community is watching very carefully.

MALVEAUX: The president also issued a warning to Iran. Through talks with the European Union, Tehran has pledged to freeze its nuclear program. But the White House is skeptical.

BUSH: The only good deal is one that's verifiable.

MALVEAUX: Mr. Bush is even using some of his political capital to help his closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, bring peace to Northern Ireland. The president said he called the province's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) leader to urge him to share power with his longtime Catholic enemies.


MALVEAUX: And President Bush will continue his diplomatic efforts in the weeks ahead, of course. He will be traveling to Canada, he'll also hold meetings with the leaders in Washington of Bahrain and Nigeria, Carol.

COSTELLO: Suzanne Malveaux, live in Crawford, Texas, tonight.

More now on the political crisis in the Ukraine. Tonight, there is word that negotiations are under way, and a new presidential election is one possibility on the table. This development comes after the two men in the middle of the dispute held their first face- to-face meeting, along with a group of European officials.

But for the fifth straight day, tens of thousands of protesters jammed the streets of Kiev, the capital city there, braving the cold and falling snow, demonstrating against what they believe are fraudulent election results.

With the latest, CNN's Jill Dougherty. She joins us live on videophone from Kiev. Jill?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Carol, you know, those demonstrators, as you said, have been out here for five days, and they're out here in the cold again tonight.

But there is some news that might buoy their spirits somewhat. This is the main thing that they learned tonight, and they heard it from the man that they support, Viktor Yushchenko, directly, that after those talks, roundtable talks between the two sides, the two men, there might be a chance to annul the elections and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with new elections.

It was a dramatic moment. Both two men, both of whom say that they legally should be the president of the Ukraine, sitting down for the first time face to face at a big roundtable.

And here's what they came up with. One is, most importantly, they said, no violence, no use of force against those demonstrators. The next thing, the demonstrators can continue, but they can't block government buildings. And then the final thing, they are putting together working teams from both sides that are going to beginning to sit down tomorrow, Saturday, and try to work out some way of getting out of the hole that they have dug themselves into.

And one of the ideas, as I said, Carol, might be that they say those elections were so flawed that they are going to be annulled, and we're going to start with new elections again. This would be the third round.

COSTELLO: Wow. You know, the president here in the United States spoke out today about the situation in the Ukraine. How involved do they want the United States to be in this?

DOUGHERTY: You know, there was no U.S. representatives at that table. There was Russians, there were Europeans, et cetera, but the Americans are really behind the scenes, exerting quite a bit of pressure. And it's in a very important thing for both the United States and Russia and the Europeans.

This is a big country. And to devolve into this kind of chaos, political standoff, for five days is very, very bad and very dangerous as time goes on. So it's important right now that they sit down, and they begin to work out some solutions.

COSTELLO: Jill Dougherty, reporting live from Kiev tonight.

Back here at home, bargain hunters were out early this morning. After all, this isn't any ordinary day, it's black Friday. You know, the official start of the holiday shopping season.

While customers were looking for deep discounts, retailers were looking for a surge in spending. And in what might, what may be a big surprise, it's the superstores like Wal-Mart that may be feeling the pinch while the high-end dealers could see reasons to smile.

CNN's Allan Chernoff reports.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before dawn at Macy's flagship store, these are the shoppers retailers love and fear, love because they are hungry to buy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And got some clothes for the kids, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kids, our sons.

CHERNOFF: Fear because they are determined to buy at discount. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just, right now, we're just trying to save money and spend less.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you fill it up, please?

CHERNOFF: With gasoline up 30 percent from last Thanksgiving, many families on a budget have less to spend on holiday gifts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to conserve a little bit. That's the best thing to do.

CHERNOFF: That could present a challenge for discount retailers like Kmart and Target, retail analysts say.

SCOTT KRUGMAN, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: These very same consumers are the ones mainly impacted by the higher price of heating their homes. So they might not have as much disposable income this year as they did last year. So that certainly will be a challenge for the discounters.

CHERNOFF: Many department stores, like Macy's, are cautiously optimistic an improving economy will outweigh the drag of higher energy prices.

TERRY LUNDGREN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FEDERATED DEPARTMENT STORES: Well, it has been challenging over the last couple of years, so many more choices and so many more shopping options for consumers, the department stores have really come back, well, in, certainly in our case.

CHERNOFF: Customers of luxury retailers, though, are least likely to feel the pinch of higher everyday expenses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The more you've got, the more you spend.

CHERNOFF: So stores like Tiffany and Coach expect to be the season's winners.

(on camera): It all boils down to an annual game of chicken between retailers and consumers. How long can retailers go without offering deep discounts on a broad range of merchandise? This year, high-end stores appear to be in the strongest position as the contest begins.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


COSTELLO: Chief Justice William Rehnquist will miss more work at the Supreme Court. That tops our look at stories cross-country.

Washington, D.C., a court spokesman says Rehnquist plans to sit out the next week of a two-week cycle of arguments that starts on Monday. His absence is fueling speculation that he will step down soon. The 80-year-old is working from home while undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. Off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, the search for this missing cruise ship passenger called off. The Coast Guard searched the Atlantic Ocean for hours after Glenn Sheridan's (ph) wife said she feared he might have fallen overboard.

Washington Village, Rhode Island, football brawl. Huh, another one. A traditional Thanksgiving showdown between two high school rivals turns violent. One player was ejected from the game between Coventry and West Warwick. Several others could face disciplinary action.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, look out below. Yesterday this rock slide closed a 17-mile stretch of Interstate 70. One boulder was the size of a van. Amazingly enough, no one was hurt. Tonight, one lane in each direction has reopened.

And that is a look at stories cross-country tonight.

360 next, police using tasers on children. Find out why one school district is just saying no.

Plus, Magic Johnson's fight against HIV and AIDS. He goes one on one with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Also tonight, royal security. Prince Harry and a reported kidnapping plot.

Plus, not just any brick in the wall, Pink Floyd schoolkids sue for back pay.

But first, your picks, the most popular stories on right now.


COSTELLO: Safe and effective are too dangerous. The taser debate continues as Miami-Dade schools question the safety and the necessity of police stun guns.

CNN's Susan Candiotti has more for you.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About one week after learning from CNN that police tasered a 6-year-old boy in one of its elementary schools, the district said, No more. In a letter sent to Miami-Dade's police chief, the school's superintendent asked that police, quote, "refrain from deploying tasers against elementary school students."

Police say its officers, three feet away, were afraid the cornered boy might hurt himself further. The first-grader was bloody, holding a piece of broken glass. Police shot metal darts into his chest charged with 50,000 volts.

DIR. BOBBY PARKER, MIAMI-DADE, FLORIDA: I'm telling you that these two police officers in this case were small female police officers.

CANDIOTTI: Next week, Amnesty International is releasing a report claiming police are overusing tasers, at times, amounting to mistreatment and torture.

Training is one area questioned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly it comes down to a judgment call. And that's why we're saying that, you know, they need better training.

CANDIOTTI: In Boynton Beach, Florida, an officer was forced to resign last month after authorities say he lied about why he tasered a suspect. A surveillance tape shows the seated man in a cell was not resisting. But the officer stunned him anyway.

Wednesday night, a different set of circumstances led Indianapolis police to fire a stun gun twice at Minnesota Timber Wolves basketball player Michael Olawakandi. He allegedly refused to leave a bar.

SGT. STEVE STALETOVICH, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA: There were no injuries reported. Mr. Olawakandi and the taser appears to have worked great.

CANDIOTTI: Taser International insists its weapons are generally safe. Other experts say testing is far from complete. Nationwide, many police agencies using tasers commend them.

SHERIFF-ELECT DEAN KELLY, PUTNAM COUNTY, FLORIDA: Since we have started using a taser about two years ago, we have seen a decrease in injuries, to not just our officers but also to the people being arrested, of over 83 percent.


CANDIOTTI: After "The New York Times" published a report today critical of Taser International, the company's stock fell 5 percent. Now, the company's founder questions the timing of that story just before its stock splits next week. And the company tells me, in these words, Look, the bottom line is, we're saving many, many lives. But, Carol, clearly the debate is far from over.

COSTELLO: Oh, I think you're right about that. Susan Candiotti live in Miami tonight.

Nine people executed near Cancun, Mexico. That tops our look at global stories in the uplink.

Mexican investigators say three of the victims were federal agents. All nine were shot in the head. Five bodies were found along a highway. The rest were found in the trunk of a burned-out car. Police say the murders are linked to a drug turf war.

Tokyo, Japan, U.S. Army deserter to be freed. Charles Jenkins will be released from a U.S. navel base tomorrow. He's been locked up since November 3 after turning himself in. Back in 1965, Jenkins deserted his U.S. Army unit along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

London, England, hey, teachers, give those kids some cash. A group of former schoolchildren who sang on Pink Floyd's 1979 classic, "Another Brick in the Wall," have now filed a claim for unpaid royalties. Yes, we're talking about those kids. If approved, the money would come from a music royalty society and not Pink Floyd. Gosh, those kids must be 45 by now.

Tokyo, Japan, Godzilla turns 50. The terrifying lizard is starring in a new movie, its 28th, "Godzilla: The Final Wars." Sorry, fans, it's being billed as the last Godzilla film.

And that is tonight's uplink.

Britain's Prince Harry, who's earned a reputation as the royal wild child, is back in some unwanted headlines as reports swirl of an alleged kidnapping plot in Argentina.

ITN's Paul Davis reports.


PAUL DAVIS, ITV NEWS (voice-over): Prince Harry arrived back at Heathrow Airport this morning, with Clarence House insisting he had not cut short his stay in Argentina.

Spokesmen for the prince has also played down media reports in Britain and Argentina that the young prince had been the target of a kidnap plot during his stay on an Argentinian polo farm.

The prince himself wasn't saying anything on his return to Britain. The only hard information was coming from the police back in Argentina, who confirmed that shots had been fired close to the ranch where Prince Harry had been working, but added, there was nothing unusual in this, as poachers regularly operated in the area.

While the seriousness of this incident is unclear, it again highlights the problems facing the prince and the lifestyle he chooses. Only last month, the visit to a London nightclub ended in an undignified brawl with photographers. Even in faraway corners of the world, it seems, the desire to experience everyday life brings unwanted and potentially threatening attention.

KEN WHARF, FORMER ROYAL BODYGUARD: I don't think one should criticize Harry for his drinking and wanting to do what other 20-year- olds do. But there has to be an understanding between him and his security advisers that, you know, whatever the security say, that he must adhere to that. In the past, it would appear that he hasn't done that.

DAVIS: The prince is due to start his military training at Sandhurst early in the new year.

Paul Davis, ITV News.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLO: 360 next, Magic Johnson goes one on one with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on living with HIV and the fight against AIDS.

Also tonight, a boycott on shopping. Why one group wants to put an end to holiday spending.

And a little later, when Hollywood and history collide, from a bisexual Alexander, to JFK conspiracy theories. Oliver Stone is our guest.

And in a moment, today's 360 challenge. How closely have you been following today's news?


COSTELLO: In 1991, Irvin Magic Johnson shocked the country and the world when he announced that he had the virus that causes AIDS. More than a decade later, the basketball legend is now an HIV activist.

Tonight, as part of CNN's special, "Are You Positive?" our Dr. Sanjay Gupta sits down with Magic Johnson, who reveals the secrets behind his healthy life with HIV. But his message comes with a warning.


MAGIC JOHNSON, HIV POSITIVE: Just like they are sitting there in that audience thinking it can't happen to them, I was sitting there with the Lakers thinking it can't happen, it couldn't happen to me. I thought I was invincible.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: But what is the real story, though? What is the story that you tell them?

JOHNSON: Well, the real story is that I had unprotected sex.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, December 7, 1991)

JOHNSON: Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers.


JOHNSON: The worst moment in all this was driving from that doctor's office to my house to tell my wife I was HIV-positive, not knowing whether she was going to stay or not, you know, because I told her I would understand if she wanted to leave. So I think that was the toughest moment.

And then when she told me that we are going to beat this together, I just -- whew.

I take my medicine twice a day, whether it's...

GUPTA: How many pills? JOHNSON: Four.

GUPTA: Because you look so good, what is your diet like?

JOHNSON: My diet, oh, chicken and fish. Make sure that I get a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruit. I'm a big fruit and vegetable man anyway. And also, a lot of rest. And so that's the key. I may be up early, but I'm to bed early too.

GUPTA: What is it that you say about your, you know, the lifestyle that you're alluding to, to young people to get them to understand that it's still a problem?

JOHNSON: The most important thing is this. Just because I'm doing well, doesn't mean they are going to do well if they get HIV. Because we have to remember something, that a lot of people have died after -- since I announced. So this is not -- this disease is not going anywhere. And it's a tough disease to deal with.

So when I hit them with that, the room goes quiet. And I said, The medicine is working in me. But because our bodies are different, it may not work in you. I want to be here for a long time. So I'm going to do everything I have to do to be here.


COSTELLO: Oh, Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting.

For more on the facts, the misconceptions, and the real faces behind this global epidemic, join our Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the entire special, "Are You Positive?" this Sunday night at 10:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

Bringing Alexander the Great back to life, a 360 interview with film director Oliver Stone.

And are they out there? If so, who will make the first contact?

360 continues.


COSTELLO: Ah, black Friday is almost gone. But if you think everyone was in a shopping mood today, think again. There's a growing movement aimed at buying less, or, as this ad points out, nothing at all.


ANNOUNCER: The average North American consumes five times more than a Mexican, 10 times more than a Chinese person, and 30 times more than a person from India.

We are the most voracious consumers in the world, a world that could die because of the way we North Americans live.

Give it a rest. November 26 is Buy Nothing Day.


COSTELLO: Now the group behind the ad is urging a boycott on shopping for the entire holiday season.

The man behind the drive is Kalle Lasn, editor in chief of "AdBusters" magazine. He joins us live from Vancouver, British Columbia.


KALLE LASN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "ADBUSTERS" MAGAZINE: Yes, hi. I should point out that the ad you just saw, we were not able to buy any airtime on MTV, Fox, ABC, NBC, or CBS for that ad.

COSTELLO: Well, why do you think that is?

LASN: Because I think that they want to generate as much consumption as they can during the Christmas shopping season, and they don't like dissenting voices like this coming on.

COSTELLO: No, we make our money off of advertisements, so we want the money too. But do you really think portraying consumers as pigs is an effective way to get people to stop buying so much?

LASN: Yes, I think so. This Buy Nothing Day that we started back in 1992, it's had a meteoric rise, and it is now celebrated in 65 countries around the world. So today, in the United States of America, when millions of people are going and shopping like crazy, there are a few million other people around the world who didn't buy a single thing.

COSTELLO: Oh! That's so hard to believe. Kalle, I mean, black Friday is like a tradition. People love to go out on this day and shop. We absolutely love it. Why do you want them to quit shopping?

LASN: But think about it. After this very spiritual holiday of Thanksgiving, why is it that our culture is somehow then requiring us to go out the next day and max out on our credit cards and buy probably more than we need to buy?

I think that what those people who -- those millions of people who went shopping today, I think what they are missing is, they don't quite understand the consequences of their consumption, because overconsumption has ecological consequences. You know, that overconsumption is in some sense the mother of all our environmental problems.

COSTELLO: Oh, come on! Environmental problems?

LASN: Yes, environmental problems. Every single purchase you that make has some kind of on impact on the planet. And we, the rich one billion of the people on the planet are now consuming 86 percent of all the goods in the global market place, leaving a lousy 14 percent for the rest of the 5 billion people on the planet. And then we wonder why it has an ecological and psychological and political consequences. I believe that over consumption in the rich countries of the world is one of the root causes of terrorism. I believe that this huge iniquity, 86 percent, 14 percent for the poor.

COSTELLO: Oh, come on! Come on! If somebody wants to buy their kid an Elmo doll, what's the harm in that?

LASN: You make it sound so nice. But you know, if we consume 86 percent and we leave only 14 percent for the rest of the 5 billion people on the planet, how do you think that makes them feel? What about --forget about our kids. What about their kids?

COSTELLO: Well, I can understand that sentiment perfect, but buying nothing? Wouldn't that destroy the American economy?

LASN: Well, yes I think that if we suddenly all stopped buying, then of course, then it would hurt the economy. But only in the short term. You have to think about the long-term consequences of the kind of business culture that we have built up.

I mean our global economic system is now producing climate change. We're running out of oil. The fish in the Atlantic are starting to disappear. Here in the Pacific Northwest where I live, the salmon runs are drying up. And I think that in some way we are actually living off the backs of our own children. We're living off the backs of future generations if we continue to...

COSTELLO: Somehow, Kalle, although it sounds nice and politically correct, I just don't think people will stop buying for that particular reason. Maybe if you said oh, you know, the holiday season is meant to be with your family and the sharing of generosity, and love and not consumerism, maybe that would work better.

LASN: No, I think that a lot of people just need to wake up to the ecological, psychological and political consequences of this opulent kind of hyperactive lifestyle that we have built up here. You know, right after the Second World War we only consumed very frugally. And we have increased our consumption by 300 percent. The average consumer today consumes three times more than the average consumer did right after the Second World War 50 years ago.

COSTELLO: We have got a lot more money now.

LASN: And you know...

COSTELLO: Kalle Lasn, we have to leave it there.

LASN: Yes, we have a lot more money. But our happiness has not gone up, not even by 1 percent.

COSTELLO: Well, I would hope that that's not true. Kalle Lasn, thank you for joining us tonight. We appreciate it.

LASN: Yes. Adios.


Star Wars is the name given to President Reagan plan to develop a missile defense shield back in the 1980s. The name was taken from the blockbuster movie. Now the Pentagon has funded study that examines a certain way to travel through space that was featured in a popular, science fiction TV series back in the '60s.

CNN's Barbara Starr has more.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the star ship enterprise, all Captain Kirk and his "Star Trek" crew have to do is signal Scotty, the engineer to beam them up with the pull of a lever.

LENONARD NIMOY, ACTOR (as Mr. Spock): Energize.

STARR: Instantly they are transported to distant planets. Could the rest of us ever do that? The U.S. military wants to know. The Air Force, home of the most high tech fighters and center of UFO speculation, is exploring strange new worlds and going where the Pentagon has not gone before. The Air Force gave Warped Metrics of Las Vegas, Nevada, $25,000 to study the physics of teleportation tags. Yes, the transport of persons or inanimate objects across space.

But the Air Force isn't snickering and even insists in a statement, "We don't do science fiction. We do science." Adding that, "many current weapons started as ideas, perceived to be science fiction. Such as airplanes, lasers and stealth technology." And although the Air Force says it's not going to spend any more money on the project, some physicists are already rolling their eyes.

IVAN OELRICH, FED. OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: There are some things that are silly ideas. And just because one idea that everybody thought was silly turns out to be right, that doesn't mean all the other silly ideas might be right.

STARR: Light beams do exist in our lives already: the laser scanner at grocery checkout, at voting machines, at custom checkpoints. There is even promising research to see if airborne lasers could shoot down incoming enemy, ballistic missiles.

But this government funded study looks at very advanced ideas. Disembodied transport. Psychic transport through mental power, and movement by altering time and space dimensions. The Warp Drive Metrics report looks impressive; lots of calculations, discussions of black holes, wormholes, and quantum physics. It even questions whether your soul can be transported across the galaxies with your body.

(on camera): Intergalactic transport would be very handy stuff for future space explorers and soldiers trying to get from one place to another in a big hurry. But for now, most of us will be staying in this galaxy. Barbara Starr, CNN, firmly on planet earth.


COSTELLO: I love that.

Before anyone gets beamed up there's the question, though, of who is beaming down. A group of scientists are so convinced that life exists up there; they put a date on when a real life close encounter may happen. It's the focus of a "National Geographic Naked Science" special called "Alien Contact."


COSTELLO (voice-over): It's a subject that has fascinated filmmakers for years. We had "Close Encounters." Cried with cuddly creatures lost on planet earth. And followed Fox Mulder in his quest for truth, which is apparently still out there.

In real life, the search for intelligent life in the universe has been somewhat less successful. But in the new program "Alien Contacts," some space scientists and planet hunters, ever the optimists say that's all about to change.

SETH SHOSTAK, SR. ASTRONOMER, SETI INST.: I think that we're going to hear extraterrestrial by the year 2025. And in fact, all the action is in the last five years. So my bet is we'll know we're not alone sometime between the year 2020 and the year 2025.

COSTELLO: Shostak is the senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, short for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. He and his cohorts have been keeping an ear out for aliens for the past 20 years, scanning the stars with powerful radio telescopes, hoping for a peek from another planet. Nothing yet. But he says they will know the sound when they hear it?

SHOSTAK: I guess you could say it would be like playing a flute note while standing next to a waterfall.

COSTELLO: OK. But see, there are other issues. For one thing, past space scientists have come this close to encounters, or so they thought. In the '60s one British professor thought heard pulses he thought were from another planet. Alas, it was just the last gasp from a dying star.

PROF. ANTHONY NEWISH, SCIENTIST: I still think we call them LGMs signals, little green men out there. I don't think seriously believe that. But it was a possibility, quite clearly.

COSTELLO: Then there's the fear factor. What if the alien beings do come for a visit and they are less E.T. and more well, this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and your women can give us life. And what we want we take.

COSTELLO: Maybe we should heed the dire warning of Cambridge University, Steven Hawking.

PROF. STEVEN HAWKING, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY: I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low.

COSTELLO: And he should know. He wrote the "Theory of Everything."

It may be too late. We've been putting out feelers far too long to turn back now.

NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT, APOLLO 11: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

COSTELLO: We've paved personal visits; we're sending out nonstop satellite signals and scanning the stars. So if something is out there, set to pay a visit, let's just hope they will come in peace.


COSTELLO: Mm, let's hope so. As you saw in the piece, Seth Shostak is one of the scientists at the SETI Institute leading for the search for alien life. I spoke to him earlier.


COSTELLO (on camera): Seth, this is a fascinating topic, but trying to find signs of alien life through radio signals. Can you explain that for us?

SHOSTAK: Sure. If you think there are intelligent beings out there on other worlds, I mean you could think about perhaps rocketing off and trying to meet them the way do every night on television. But that's actually very hard to do. You could also expect them to come here, land on the White House lawn or something like that. Well, I don't see much evidence for that frankly, that's credible.

But what we try and do is use big antennas to sort of eavesdrop on their broadcast, their radio television broadcast, whatever signals they may be sending into space.

COSTELLO: I don't know. Just to a layman, as I am, it sounds kind of kooky. How do you separate yourself from one of the other UFO seekers that we hear so much about?

SHOSTAK: Well, I think that the fundamental difference, Carol, is the UFO crowd thinks the aliens, of course, are here buzzing the countryside, occasionally abducting people for unauthorized experiment. And so they claim they are here. But evidence isn't very good. They don't come into my office, for example, with an ashtray or radio knob from a UFO. That would convince me. Never happens.

What we try and do is look for a signal. If we were to claim that we had found a signal, then everybody with an antenna that is large enough around the world, and there are -- by the way lots of places that could do this. They would all aim the antennas in the direction from which we had claimed to find a signal. And they would verify it for themselves. So that's the difference between what we do and those who think that the aliens are visiting. We would have proof you could verify yourself.

COSTELLO: So you don't think that aliens are little green people. Like what would they look like? Why would they answer your call?

SHOSTAK: Well, to begin with we're not calling, by the way. It's all passive. We're just trying to pick up the broadcast. We don't send inquiries into space and wait for them to reply to that. But as far as whether they'd be little or green or both, well, who knows. Nobody knows what the aliens might look like. But there are at least some arguments from some biologists who suggest that, you know, we're a pretty good design for intelligent beings. So maybe they wouldn't be so dissimilar to us.

COSTELLO: There are scientists out there, like dr. Steven Hawking who said if we do make contact or they make contact with us, it could be a dangerous thing. How do you react to that?

SHOSTAK: Well, I think that what Hawking was saying was that if they were to come here, something that by the way I don't expect. But if they were to come here he would consider that bad news. And I think it's simply an analogy to what has happened here on earth many times.

You think of the South Sea Islanders when the Europeans sailed into their lagoons. It wasn't really a good thing for them in, you know, in the short term in any case? That's the usual situation when you are visit by a more advanced society. And I think that's all Hawking was saying. If they came here, he would get out of the way. And I think I would, too.

But that's not what we're talk about here when you talk about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. You know, we're just trying to eavesdrop on signals. There's no danger there.

COSTELLO: Now, what is the significance in the year 2025?

SHOSTAK: Well, you know, people often ask, so you you've been doing this experiment for a while. You haven't picked up a signal. When is that going to happen? And nobody really knows.

But if you look at the capability of the instrumentation that is being built. The new telescopes that are being built, particularly something called the Allen Telescope Array that the SETI Institute where I work is building. Over the next two-dozen years it will be able to examine millions and millions of star systems in our galaxy. And I personally think that's the right number to trip across a signal.

COSTELLO: Seth Shostak, thank you for joining us.

SHOSTAK: A pleasure.


COSTELLO: Three sixty next. History and Hollywood collide from JFK conspiracy theories to a bisexual Alexander. Olive Stone joins us next.

And in a moment, today's "360 Challenge." How closely have you been following today's news? Find out next.


COSTELLO: Time now for today's "360 Challenge." Be the first to answer all three questions correctly and win a 360 T-shirt. Question No. 1, the Air Force gave Warp Drive Metric $25,000 to study what? How many pills does magic Johnson take per day? And finally, former schoolchildren are seeking royalties from which Pink Floyd song?

Take the challenge and log on to Click on the answer line, answer first and you will get the T-shirt. Find out last night's challenge winner and tonight's answers. That's coming up.


COSTELLO: The critics haven't been too kind to "Alexander," Oliver Stone's big budget epic, about the Greek warrior king. But the Academy Award-winning director hasn't been driven by reviews, good or bad. He seems to follow his own path. And in doing so, Stone has built a career on controversy. And his latest effort, of course, is no exception.

I sat down to talk about "Alexander" with Oliver Stone in the "WEEKENDER."


COSTELLO (on camera): You know, you have been thinking about doing a film about Alexander for 15 years. So that must have been running around your brain. Why Alexander? What is so special about this historical figure?

OLIVER STONE, FILM DIRECTOR: Well, I guess, I knew him as a child, you read about him in the history books. Frankly, he's the most exciting, I think the most exciting, single individual in history because more happened to him than any other person. Probably 100 events in his life, probably 50 major battles.

He never left behind one -- he was never defeated in battle. You know that. And he was a military genius, still studied at West Point. Above and beyond that he was a builder, an includer. When he conquered he always tried to bring everybody into the new system.

COSTELLO: Did you compare him to someone in the modern day? STONE: No, because the world doesn't exist that way. In those days, men fought -- they did it with their own hands and with their eyes. They saw their enemy. He was a general who led from the front. He was wounded eight times. He never asked his men to do what he couldn't do.

COSTELLO: He sounds like a hard charging guy, though. I mean might you compare him to a modern day leaders, like perhaps President Bush, who is also known as a guy who gets it done?

STONE: Absolutely. There's -- you know, who knows where this thing is going to end in America. Right now, there's a tremendous parallel movement going on. It's a very strange thing to make a movie, and have it come out, which you started 15 years ago, and have a somewhat similar situation in the world. Who knows where history is going to end. It might be Bush the Great in a few -- you know, in 20 years, 30 years.

You never know. History is written by the winners.

COSTELLO: So there's a bit of comparison between Alexander and George Bush, perhaps. But Alexander, his personality certainly is nothing like George Bush's. Let's watch a clip from the movie now.

STONE: Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always believed, Alexander, this seems so much bigger than us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Patroclus scared Achilles when they stood side by side at the seat of Troy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patroclus died first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you do, if you were to fall, if I were to leave Macedonia as the looser king, I will avenge you.


COSTELLO: So Alexander is talking to a man who is very close to him. There are shades of bisexuality in the film. And of course, you certainly couldn't compare that to President Bush?

STONE: Sure you can. George Bush and Condoleezza Rice, or Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney.

COSTELLO: But there's theme of sexuality going through there?

STONE: No, not in these days. But you have to mind this was not unusual behavior for the Greeks. There was no word for bisexual, gay, homosexual. Alexander I think was a man who explored everything. He went to the end of the world.

COSTELLO: Going back to that relationship between these two men. Many Americans are uncomfortable with the bisexual or gay lifestyle. And we saw that during the election. Right? This is an expensive movie, why put that in? Why was that so important?

STONE: You see, the movie is so much more than about sexuality. If we had left it out and you do -- if I spent three years of my life making a movie, and I would leave something so known in history out of this movie it would corrupt history. I could never live with that.

COSTELLO: Talking about your movie, "JFK." It's the 41- anniversary of the assassination. And many people say that movie wasn't really based in historical fact and they are really bothered by it. Is it dangerous to sort of rewrite history? Because you know, kids will go to the movie and they will take the movie as fact. They won't go back and read their history books. They'll learn from your movie.

STONE: I totally agree what you're saying. Except everyone has got -- "JFK" -- and not everyone, a lot of people have misinterpreted "JFK." "JFK" is not a statement of historical fact. If you look at the movie closely, it's a historically factually based on Jim Garrison investigation of the Kennedy murder. He believed what he believed. It's in his book. We dramatized that.

Beyond and above that, everything we do in the movie is based on the conditional tense, what ifs? Suppose? He may. We never point the finger and like our critics say Stone says 25 agencies killed Kennedy. Lyndon Johnson orchestrated Kennedy's death. There's no such thing. There's no such allegation in the movie.

What it does is a series of hypotheses destroying, I believe, the credibility of the Warren Commission. Which should be questioned and never was at the time. For that the movie has taken incredible heat. And I don't know why. I was shocked because so many people in this country doubted the Warren Commission back then. And I hope the other generation looks at the movie as a beginning of an inquiry. They look at the movie and let them go back and then make up their own minds.

COSTELLO: We hope so. Thank you so much for joining us today.

STONE: Thank you, Carol.



COSTELLO: 360 next, having trouble losing weight at the gym? We'll talk to a woman with a steamy suggestion that just might help you slim down.

(Commercial Break)

COSTELLO: With the holiday season here you might fear your waistline will grow. But there may, just may be, a really fun way to keep slim. One woman said she lost 23 pounds adopting a more romantic and sexual lifestyle. Kerry McCloskey wrote all about it in "The Ultimate Sex Diet." She joins me now with details.

COSTELLO: Oh, come on!


COSTELLO: Come on, really? You can lose weight just by having sex?

KERRY MCCLOSKEY, AUTHOR, "THE ULTIMATE SEX DIET": Well, it's, of course a comprehensive plan that I've created With "The Ultimate Sex Diet." But yes, sex is a major part of it, as well as eating healthy and the plan includes many aphrodisiac.

COSTELLO: To make you have more sex.


COSTELLO: How much sex are we talking about when it comes -- you say you lost 23 pounds simply by having sex with your husband every day?

Yes. On the plan, I recommend having sex three to five times during the week, and then doubling up on the weekends, as well. Of course, the 23 pounds took six months. On the plan, it really depends on the motivation level.

COSTELLO: Your motivation level. I can't think of a way to delicately put this. And I don't know what the national average is but...

MCCLOSKEY: One point seven per week.

COSTELLO: One point seven per week. But the period of time, I mean wouldn't have you to have sex for like three hours at a time to lose, like a substantial numbering of calories?

MCCLOSKEY: Well, it's actually moderate exercise. So it can work like any other moderate exercise. Of course, it also is the eating healthy, as well. And it's a comprehensive plan. And you k, basically you burn the calories and you continue to eat healthier.

COSTELLO: Why did you decide to write this book? I mean because, you know, it's hard to believe.


MCCLOSKEY: Well, I wanted people to enjoy what I have enjoyed, and use the plan to slim down, shape up, and maintain a more sensual existence.

COSTELLO: And do you have some tips like specific tips or rules we should follow?

MCCLOSKEY: Well, I think basically you should maintain communication in your relationship, make it a priority, of course. A lot of people, you know, everyone talks about how their sex drive, you know, decreases as the relationship goes on. This is a perfect tool to get your sex drive back up and participate in sex more often.

COSTELLO: We'll, my husband will be ecstatic hear that.


COSTELLO: Kerry McCloskey,"The Ultimate Sex Diet." Thank you for joining us tonight. We appreciate it.

MCCLOSKEY: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Coming up next, the "360 Challenge." Here's another look at tonight's questions. Have you been paying attention? Log on to and click on the "Answer" link to play.


COSTELLO: Time now for the answers to today's "360 Challenge." The Air Force Gave Warp Drive Metrics $25,000 to study what? That would be teleportation.

How many pills does Magic Johnson take a day? Eight.

And former schoolchildren are seeking royalties from Pink Floyd song? That would be another brick in the wall.

Now, the first person to answer all three questions correctly will be sent a 360 T-shirt. Tune in tomorrow for find out if you are the winner.

Tuesday's winner, by the way, Lisa Chen from Calgary, Alberta. Congratulations, Lisa. The T-shirt is in the mail.

Another "360 Challenge," and another chance to win tomorrow.

I'm Carol Costello in for Anderson Cooper. He is back on Monday. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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