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News; International

Aired July 30, 2005 - 07:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: ... CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, 7:00 a.m. at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Good morning, everyone, I'm Tony Harris.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks for being with us today.

Now in the news.

As just mentioned, two Discovery astronauts have spent the morning testing out emergency repair techniques on the shuttle's thermal tiles. NASA does not believe Discovery needs any such repairs, but they need to know if it can be done.

We have a live update from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. That is coming up in just about five minutes from now.

In southern Iraq, the normally quiet area of Basra was rocked by a roadside bombing aimed at a British embassy convoy. That attack killed two private security guards and wounded two children.

In India, massive flooding has now claimed some 850 lives in the western part of the country. About half of the deaths are in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Now, earlier this week, the city was swamped by more than three feet of rain in 24 hours. Health officials fear the flooding will leave widespread disease.

And at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, President Bush is about to undergo a battery of tests in his annual physical exam. His latest poll numbers have not been so healthy. A new Gallup poll finds that his approval rating has slipped 5 points, to 44 percent, the lowest of his presidency.

HARRIS: And also ahead, all kids are busy, but what's the difference between active and hyperactive children? Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look at ADHD.

And man's best friends do what they can to support their comrades serving overseas.

NGUYEN: London authorities say they've got the foot soldiers. Now they're on the hunt for the generals. Investigators in London and Rome are questioning bombing suspects after dramatic raids in two countries.

CNN's Mallika Kapur joins us now from Scotland Yard with what is next for this massive investigation. Mallika?

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Betty, I want to give you reaction to that investigation, which, of course, is ongoing. But today's -- Saturday's paper really summing up the mood here in London. As you can see, the "Daily Mirror" tabloid here simply saying "Got Them." The papers here, the weekend papers, definitely expressing a sense of relief, even a sense of triumph, that Britain's biggest manhunt ever has been successful.

A lot of people expressing relief that these most-wanted men, the men who have been wanted in connection with the botched attack of July the 21st, are now in custody. Remember, people in London have been living on edge for several weeks now, ever since the July h bomb attacks took the lives of 52 people, injured about 700 other people, here in London.

People have been very nervous. And there have been constant reminders from the police that while these suspected terrorists remain at large, there was a good chance that they could strike again.

So while there is some satisfaction today that these wanted men are now in police custody, there is still a fair amount of caution, and the police authorities in London still reminding the public to remain very vigilant and saying the threat of terrorism is all too real, Betty.

NGUYEN: With these arrests in London and in Rome, what's next for this investigation?

KAPUR: That's right, Betty, a big part of the investigation is now focusing on Rome. It is in Rome yesterday that police authorities made one very significant arrest. They arrested a man there yesterday who they have now identified as Hussain Osman. He is the man police authorities believe may have been the one who tried to explode a bomb on the Shepherd's Bush Tube station here in London on July 21. He has been detained in Rome, and he is being questioned over there. He is a British citizen, however, and authorities here in Britain are trying to extradite him to bring him back here for questioning.

Also today, we are getting word of continuing investigations in Rome, and we believe there are 15 raids, there are several raids taking place in about 15 different locations around Italy today in connection with this ongoing investigation, Betty.

NGUYEN: So not close to being over. Mallika Kapur, thank you for that update.

I want to get you now to security watch, where we do update you on the week's major developments in the war on terror every Saturday morning.

Some will get more, some will get less. Airports in Las Vegas, Houston, and Los Angeles will see an increase in baggage screeners, but there will be reductions of screeners at New York's JFK, in Pittsburgh, and in Portland, Oregon. These changes are reportedly being made to better allocate the nation's 45,000 screeners. And a note to subway passengers in New York, hold onto your bags. No more storing away your packages on trains. The compartments under the seats on some older trains will now be locked. This move comes in response to the transit bombings in London.

Well, the FBI says it has a backlog of more than 700,000 hours of untranslated audio recordings from terrorism and spy investigations. The number of records doubled in just one year. But FBI director Robert Mueller insists high-priority conversations like those linked to al Qaeda have been translated.

Want to stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

HARRIS: Two shuttle Discovery astronauts are walking in space right now. And these are some cool pictures. Can we get a live shot up? They're testing new repair techniques and making some minor fixes to the International Space Station.

Let's check in now at CNN's John Zarrella, who is watching it all unfold from Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Good morning, John.


Well, they've been doing a better job in space with the caulk gun and the putty knife, and now moving on to what looks sort of like a shoe polish dauber, than I would do back here on earth.

But right now, what we're looking at is that two hours and 20 minutes into this first spacewalk, and astronauts Steve Robinson and Suichi Noguchi (ph) have finished up one of these test procedures, where they used a caulk gun, and they were repairing or attempting to repair what would be considered cracks or gouges in reinforced carbon- carbon material, and that's the material on the leading edge of the wing and in the areas of the shuttle that are exposed to the highest levels of heat.

Following the Columbia accident, recommendations were that NASA develop some sort of a material and techniques to fix tiles and to fix reinforced carbon-carbon in space. So what they're doing now is testing some new materials to see if they'll actually work.

Now, they finished up the caulk experiment, and now astronaut Suichi Noguchi is actually working with that dauber. And he is working on repairing cracks, filling gouges in tiles, in shuttle tiles. Again, they worked with the reinforced carbon-carbon first, and now they've moved on to the tiles.

So once they wrap this up, they'll be finished with these experiments, which are housed inside the shuttle's cargo bay. And actually the view we're seeing right there is from a helmet camera on Noguchi's space helmet. So those are some really cool pictures.

And you got a good look right there of that dauber that they're using for this experiment. So again, these are really critical experiments for the long-term future of ability in space to repair those very critical tiles.

Once they're done here, they're going to move on to replacing a GPS antenna. That will come later in this spacewalk. And then they'll wrap up for the day.

And now while all this is going on, the astronauts on the shuttle are trying to eyeball underneath the vehicle again, taking another look just to make sure they haven't missed anything, and that everything looks good as far as the tiles on the underbelly of the shuttle. They're using the robot arm to take a look there.

So, Tony, again, they're continuing this -- these experiments, and these high-tech caulk guns and daubers in space, working pretty well, it looks like. But I guess the assessment will certainly come down the road when they get it back on earth and can see how the materials actually performed in space.

HARRIS: Multimillion-dollar technology, and we're using...

NGUYEN: Caulk guns.

HARRIS: ... caulk guns and daubers.

All right. CNN's John Zarrella...


HARRIS: ... John, thank you.

Now to our morning e-mail question. We want to know what you think. Should NASA scrap the program? It's a question being asked in and out of NASA by policy advisers, legislators, they're asking the question, so we're asking you, Should NASA scrap the program? Send us your thoughts. The address,

NGUYEN: Well, a new Gallup poll puts President Bush's approval rating at the lowest of his presidency and after hitting a brick wall on his U.N. ambassador nominee, the president probably won't make any gains with Congress during their August recess.

CNN's Elaine Quijano is live at the White House with the latest on all of this. Good morning, Elaine.


Two senior administration officials say that President Bush could make a recess appointment as early as next week. Now, John Bolton's nomination has been stalled by Democrats, who say they want documents relating to Bolton's time at the State Department. The White House has not budged on this, citing executive privilege.

Also, questions have been raised about John Bolton incorrectly filling out a questionnaire for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But this dispute is about more than just documents. Democrats say Bolton does not have the right temperament to be put in that diplomatic position of ambassador to the U.N. The Bush administration maintains that he is the right person to shake things up at the United Nations and to help jump-start what officials say are much-needed reforms.


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have outlined the comprehensive reforms that we want to see put in place to make sure that the United Nations is an effective multilateral organization. And it's a critical time to be moving forward on this. The United Nations will be having their General Assembly meeting in September, and it's important that we get our permanent representative in place.


QUIJANO: Meantime, on the domestic front, President Bush celebrated a string of legislative victories this week, even as his approval rating dropped, according to the latest Gallup poll released yesterday. Forty-four percent of people say they approve of how the president is handling his job. That's down about 5 points from earlier this month.

Nevertheless, the president this week, after making a rare visit to Capitol Hill, can chalk up a few wins on some of his agenda items. Congress, in just a matter of hours, passed an energy bill and the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The Senate also moving forward on reauthorizing parts of the PATRIOT Act.

All of these signs the White House strongly emphasizes that President Bush is far from being a lame-duck president, Betty.

NGUYEN: CNN's Elaine Quijano with that update. Thank you, Elaine.

HARRIS: Work continues outside the International Space Station, where shuttle astronauts are making some fixes with high-tech caulk guns and daubers.

NGUYEN: Yes, daubers.


HARRIS: We'll keep you updated on the progress of the spacewalk.

NGUYEN: That's some high technology there, Tony. Don't knock it, OK?


(LAUGHTER) NGUYEN: Also, back here on Mother Earth, some stateside pups get into a lather as they do what they can to support their troops overseas. We will explain.

BRAD HUFFINES, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And I have to show you some temperatures in Boston for the next few days, in the mid- to upper 70s. Gorgeous weather. Even the Big Apple experiencing temperatures in the low to mid-80s. Nice weather after the heat wave. Can't help but show them this good stuff. Talk about the nation's weather for today and tomorrow coming up in just a couple of minutes on (INAUDIBLE) CNN SATURDAY MORNING, as it continues.


NGUYEN: Just look at this. So hard to get enough of these pictures. This is live from outer space. Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery are about two and a half hours into a spacewalk right now. They're repairing some tiles. This is not on the orbiter itself. This is an experiment where they're using caulk guns and daubers, which we talked about at length this morning.

But that's high-tech stuff...


NGUYEN: ... and they're going to be learning from these experiments. Little bit later, they will replace a global positioning system antenna on the International Space Station as well. So a lot of work ahead for them. Today's spacewalk is the first of three for the shuttle mission.

And we want to keep those e-mails coming this morning. Want to know from you what you think, should NASA scrap the shuttle program and go with something completely different, a different type of shuttle, especially after the Columbia disaster and the problems that have followed? E-mail us. The address is


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just hitting and screaming and doing whatever I could to aggravate him and make him mad. And he just pulled over and told me to get out.


HARRIS: Make yourself more trouble than you're worth. That's what she did. New next hour, we'll meet Mackenzie (ph), a young Utah girl who kept her wits about her and used her fists to foil an attempted abduction.

CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues in a moment.


NGUYEN: Our top story begins in outer space. Two of the astronauts from space shuttle Discovery are making their first spacewalk of the mission. They're testing some new repair techniques put in place after the Columbia tragedy.

Now, the spacewalk is expected to take six and a half hours.

Back here on earth, confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee John Roberts are set to begin September 6. Senate Republicans hope to confirm Roberts before the high court begins its new term in October. That begins October 3, to be exact.

And a possible sign of progress at the six-nation North Korean nuclear talks. China has proposed a first-draft statement on what is being called agreed principles. But the top U.S. envoy cautions an agreement this weekend is unlikely.

HARRIS: Time for another check of weather now. Let's go upstairs to the CNN Weather Center and Brad Huffines, in for Rob Marciano this weekend. Good morning, Brad.

HUFFINES: Good morning.

As we're seeing unsettled weather across the mid-Atlantic states, yesterday we saw a water spout, show you that in a minute, (INAUDIBLE) after we show you what's happening right now in Daytona Beach looking from the beach back inland across the intercoastal waterway.


HUFFINES: Great weather in the Northeast. We'll talk about that coming up next hour, guys.

HARRIS: OK, Brad, thank you.


HARRIS: And some other news across America this morning.

Four people are dead following a fiery pile-up in Connecticut. Authorities say a dump truck careened out of control and slammed into a bus, leaving that. Eighteen other vehicles got caught in the chain- reaction wreck.

A scare aboard a roller-coaster at Disney's California Adventure theme park. One train rear-ended a stopped train, slightly injuring 15 people. None of those injuries are thought to be serious.

Lightning struck a group of Boy Scouts taking shelter from a storm in Fresno, California. The strike killed the troop leader and a 13-year-old Scout. The lightning bolt made a direct hit on a tarp the Scouts had set up.

NGUYEN: We are keeping our eyes to the skies this morning. We're high above the earth. The Discovery astronauts are making their first spacewalk.

HARRIS: And also, we'll take a, take you to a four-legged fundraiser to support the canine troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will be right back.


HARRIS: Once again, live pictures of the Discovery mission's first spacewalk. Look at these pictures, so clear. Two astronauts are testing damage-repair techniques developed after the Columbia disaster. Their shuttle sustained minor damage from flying debris during Tuesday's launch. Two more spacewalks are planned during the mission.

NGUYEN: And all this leads us to our e-mail question today. Should NASA scrap the shuttle program? Should it try something completely new when it comes to traveling into space?

Johnny from Houston says, "We don't need the scrap the program. We need to build a next-generation craft. Wouldn't we all rather see the first landing on Mars than watch an astronaut do handyman work on TV?"

HARRIS: OK, and this from R.D. "The shuttle program produces negative returns and does nothing to improve the quality of life for the impoverished. No food, no health care, a lot of no for most people. The whole space program needs to be acutely refined."

We want to thank you for your e-mails and encourage you to send more along. Should NASA scrap the shuttle program? There's the address,

NGUYEN: On a completely different subject, there are dogs of war now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HARRIS: And now there are dogs for war here at home, doing duty for those canines now on duty overseas.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came in all shapes and sizes, tough little dogs with plenty to yap about. Big dogs, just hanging out. And this gang of golden retrievers. We'll get back to them in a minute.

One hundred and fifty dogs came to get a bath in support of their canine comrades serving in the military. Humans were asked to donate $10 for each bath. One man with no dog dropped off a $1,000 check. All the money will be used to buy veterinary supplies and toys for the nearly 200 military working dogs sniffing for bombs and going on patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mitchell is happy, very happy. His mom explains why he is here.

BRIGETTA JONES, DOG OWNER: I've heard a lot about how their paws get damaged from the heat, their paws just get all the sand and everything. STARR: Amy Nichols, owner of the Happy Tails Dog Spa, decided to have a dog wash when she got e-mails from dog handlers in Iraq saying they were having a tough time.

AMY NICHOLS, DOG SPA OWNER: Seven dogs over there were sharing one toy. And of course we're all -- it broke our heart, so we got a box out there right away.

STARR: Like soldiers, dogs are working in 100-degree-plus weather.

NICHOLS: One of the things they asked us for were cooling pads. If you lay them out on the ground, the dog can lay on it, and it takes heat off of their body.

STARR (on camera): These are doggles. The soldiers have e- mailed saying they desperately want more of these to put on their dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan. It helps keep the hot desert sand out of their eyes.

(voice-over): This is how they are supposed to look. Our little fashion model doesn't quite have full military discipline.

And those golden retrievers, Maggie, Emily, and Samantha, it's hard to say who was happiest to get a bath. But we do know all this dog washing raised more than $9,000 to help canine soldiers on the front lines.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Tyson's Corner, Virginia.


NGUYEN: So cute, those dogs.

HARRIS: Every man, woman, boy, girl, and now...



HARRIS: ... pooches are going to contribute to the war effort.

NGUYEN: That's right.


NGUYEN: Next hour.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just the classic, I've lost my dog. Can you help me find it?


NGUYEN: A young girl's skepticism pays off when she takes matters into her own hands and escapes a would-be kidnapper.

HARRIS: But first on "HOUSE CALL," Dr. Sanjay Gupta helps parents distinguish between active and hyperactive behavior.

We'll be right back.


NGUYEN: Now in the news, want to give you some live pictures.

Two Discovery astronauts are walking in space this morning. They are testing some new techniques for repairing a damaged shuttle in flight. And later, they will fix an antenna on the International Space Station. NASA says Discovery got a few dings, but no serious damage was done during launch.

President Bush has arrived at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The president is about to undergo a battery of tests in his annual physical exam. His latest poll numbers have not been so healthy. A new Gallup survey finds his approval rating has slipped 5 points, to 44 percent, the lowest of his presidency.

A court hearing for a British bombing suspect in Rome is set to get under way in about a half hour from now. Police are questioning the key suspects in the attempted transit bombings on July 21 in London. Two of the men were arrested yesterday after their London apartment was flooded with tear gas. A third suspect is the one apprehended in Rome.

And in southern Iraq, the normally quiet area of Basra was rocked by a roadside bombing aimed at a British embassy convoy. The attack killed two private security guards and wounded two children.

To India now. Massive flooding has claimed some 850 lives in the western part of the country. About half of the deaths are in Mumbai, which formally was known as Bombay.

Earlier this week, the city was swamped by more than three feet of rain in 24 hours. Health officials fear the flooding will leave widespread disease.

I'm Betty Nguyen. HOUSECALL begins right now.


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