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Inteview with Steven Walker; Russian Sub Running Out of Air; Discovery Set to Return Home;

Aired August 6, 2005 - 9:00   ET


TON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: "Now in the News:" The space shuttle Discovery has undocked from the international space station and is getting ready for the trip back to Earth. The crew plans to fly around the orbiting outpost to take some picture, then head to Florida on Monday. Our own John Zarrella will have a live report from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, just ahead.
Rescuers from several nations are scrambling to help a Russian submarine with seven sailors aboard. The small sub became trapped below the Pacific ocean after getting entangled in power cords. The sailors have plenty of food and water, but a limited air supply. The U.S. and Britain are sending under-sea robotic vessels.

Three more people have been charged in London with keeping information from anti-terror police. Investigators say each of the three men had information involving the recent attacks but failed to come forward. This morning a court ordered them to remain in custody until Thursday when they'll make another court appearance.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta. Good morning, everyone. This is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Tony Harris.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Betty Nguyen this morning. Thanks for starting your day with us.

More now on the space shuttle "Discovery," which undocked from the international space station early this morning. The shuttle is repositioning itself for the long trip home and taking some pictures from space. CNN's John Zarrella joins us now from the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston. John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Fredricka. That's right, home ward bound. This is the end of the trip coming up. Less than 48 hours and Discovery of course will be on the ground. They have buttoned up the hatch between the two vehicles and separation this morning. They did spend some time hugging and kissing and exchanging good-byes with the crew of the international space station.

John Philips and Stargate Sreekala, who of course was staying on the space station. And then they took some time after they pulled away from the international space station to get some pictures, aerial views, as they flew around the international space station. Taking a bunch of camera angles so that mission control on the ground could see it. But there you can see the space shuttle as it pulled away from the international space station. Really -- and there's the Earth coming up behind it. Just fabulous views in the overnight hours here of the space station and the shuttle "Discovery." But again, they're making final preparations for the return home. Really a rest day today, and for the most of tomorrow as well. In fact, in about three hours from now the Discovery crew, Fredricka, is going to go back to bed for another seven to eight hours sleep before they get up for the final preparations for the landing at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday morning -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And give us a walk through of what that flight plan just might be as it makes its way back to the Cape Canaveral area.

ZARRELLA: It's going to be an interesting flight plan this time after they do the de-orbit burn and they come through the atmosphere. They're going to fly over Panama and then fly over western Cuba. They'll crossover Florida at Ft. Myers so people in the Ft. Myers area will be able to get out there if they want before the crack of dawn and see the shuttle flying overhead. Then straight up north up over Lake Okachovie before they make a big turn over the Kennedy Space Center for that landing at 4:47 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday morning -- Frederick?

WHITFIELD: Wow, that is remarkable. Once they make that safe landing will they be reflecting and saying, "you know what, mission accomplished, we did everything we set out to do while in space?"

ZARRELLA: That's right. Exactly. They do believe that everything they planned to accomplish, they did up there. Again, remember, this was a test flight coming two-and-a-half years after the Columbia accident, so they did all the space walks that they wanted to do.

A couple little items that were left aside because of that emergency repair gap filler repair that they had to do. But all of the majority of the major work, restocking the international space station, removing the garbage from the space station that's collected has been done. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow. It's been an incredible journey. Thanks so much. John Zarrella.


WHITFIELD: In Houston. Well be sure to check out "CNN SUNDAY MORNING." We'll interview the Discovery crew and ask them ourselves what they thought about their mission.

Then on Monday during a special edition of "CNN DAYBREAK" with Carol Costello, we'll have live coverage of the shuttle Discovery landing. Our coverage begins at 4:00 a.m. Eastern.

HARRIS: There is much to do and precious little time to do it: Right now in Russia, air and time is running out. And a mini-submarine trapped more than 600 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean. Seven Russian sailors are in the sub and the U.S., British and Japanese navies are rushing to help the rescue efforts. CNN's Kathleen Koch is live at the Pentagon with the latest. Kathleen good morning.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Tony, I just got an update from the U.S. Navy. Everything is beginning to come together. Likely first to arrive on scene will be a British unmanned navy sub. It's called the Scorpio 45. It is a very similar to these U.S. Super Scorpios that are also on the way there.

They're about an hour behind the British Scorpio. It right now has been loaded on to a boat and as we speak is beginning to make its way toward that spot in the Beryozovaya Bay where the seven Russian sailors are stranded, 625 feet below the surface.

Now those U.S. vessels that you see there are right now being loaded on to flatbed trucks. They will soon be heading to the port. So again about an hour behind the British vessel. All these Scorpios have video cameras. They are remote, robotic arms, they have lights.

They can cut up to one inch of steel cable. And everyone believes they will be very critical in trying to free the sub that became stranded when it was launched on a combat training exercise, stranded on, Tony, what they believe is either some cable or fishing line -- Tony?

HARRIS: And Kathleen, let me ask you, is this a situation where they believe they have all the equipment that they will need to do this job or is this a situation where you get there, you take a look, you assess and perhaps you'll need more and different equipment?

KOCH: Well Tony, there are so many different resources on the way. They do believe the Scorpios have the best shot. But right behind the Scorpios, they've actually just landed right now, their special suits called atmospheric diving system suits. The person will get in these suits. They can go down 1,000 feet. They will go directly from a ship on the surface. Those have just arrived. The navy brought those in on C-17 from New Orleans along with seven civilian divers.

And then finally they're sending a drone that left from the Andrews Air Force Base just outside of Washington yesterday. It's called a deep drone 8,000. It can go down even then the Scorpios, 8,000 feet versus just 5,000 feet. It's used in ship salvage, underwater welding. It's being sent but Tony it is not going to arrive there for a while. They're hoping really the Scorpios can do the job.

HARRIS: Kathleen Koch for us at the Pentagon. Kathleen, thank you. Appreciate it.

KOCH: You bet.

And now a check on some of the other big stories making news around the world.

WHITFIELD: The standoff over Iran's nuclear program hits new snags for the details on that and other stories let's hand it over to Anand Naidoo at the CNN International Desk -- Anand?

ANAND NAIDOO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. And good morning from me. Yes, call it a standoff, showdown or what you will, but that dispute between Europe and the U.S. and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program is nowhere near resolution. Iran has told the Europeans thanks but no thanks. The Europeans say they're willing to give Iran support for it's long-term civil, key word, civil, nuclear program as long as it does not develop nuclear weapons.

But the Iranians say that's unacceptable. This development came as the new Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in. He too was taking a hard line saying the Iranian nation cannot be intimidated.

Now to Sudan. A funeral is being held for first Vice President John Garang. He was killed last week in a helicopter crash. Garang was a former rebel leader in the south. He made peace with the central government in Khartoum and became vice president.

Several days of violent clashes followed Garang's death. There were concerns that that fighting would sabotage that peace deal but we understand that the situation has now stabilized -- Tony?

HARRIS: On a different, how is my new cousin doing? My new cousin Delores McNamara? Fresh to the family.

NAIDOO: Yes. Well, that's the Irish housewife who won Europe's biggest lottery jackpot ever, $142 million.

HARRIS: Oh, boy.

NAIDOO: Well you know that she's related by clan to the McNaidos.

HARRIS: Very good.

NAIDOO: She's finally surfaced to pick up her check. You remember she dropped out of sight when it was announced that she had won that money. She's now surfaced. She is a mother of six from Limerick and there she is with the check.

WHITFIELD: She's nervously happy.

NAIDOO: Nervously happy. Very overwhelmed. Didn't say a word, I understand, but her lawyer said that she's determined that she would keep her feet and the feet of her family, she's got six kids and they will remain firmly on the ground. We shall see.

WHITFIELD: Yes, right. Yes, we will see. $142 million? 115 pounds, wow.

HARRIS: Anand, thank you.

NAIDOO: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: In Iraq, American troops evade a suicide bombing. U.S. forces fired on a would be suicide car bomber barreling toward their convoy in Baghdad. That set off a huge explosion, wounding three civilian bystanders and burning nearby homes. U.S. and Iraqi troops are on patrol in Haditha on the third day of operation "Quick Strike." The offensive against insurgents follows Wednesday's bomb explosion that killed 14 Marines.

The Marines killed this week served with Ohio's 3rd Battalion. The military says two of the bodies could arrive back in Cleveland today. The reserve unit has lost 14 servicemen in Iraq this week. The military now faces the task of manning funerals with full honors within a few days of each other. Yesterday hundreds attended a prayer vigil for those fallen Marines. A bag piper played "Amazing Grace."


WHITFIELD: Well you watch the news on CNN but do you want to know even more? Well you can. Talk to our Bob Franken today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. He will answer your questions about covering the White House this week from the recess appointment of a controversial figure to the president's thoughts on evolution and his thoughts on the war in Iraq.

You can start sending your e-mail questions right now. That address is Talk to CNN SATURDAY MORNING at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Welcome back to CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Betty Nguyen this morning. Checking our top stories. The space shuttle has undocked from the international space station getting ready for the trip back to Earth. The crew is flying around the orbiting outpost to take pictures. Then it will be heading back to Florida bright and early Monday.

A U.S. Navy crew has just arrived in Russia to help save seven Russian sailors trapped in a mini sub in the Pacific Ocean. Two other countries are also lending a hand. The small sub became tangled 600 feet deep in either netting or an underwater cable system.

And three more people have been charged in London with keeping information from anti terror police. Investigators say each of the men had information involving the recent attacks but failed to come forward.

HARRIS: Now to have a talk about the weather. Jacqui Jeras is here with us. Is it my imagination or have the tropics been eerily quiet over the last couple of weeks?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It was a busy July. Record numbers that we've had so you far. We do have a tropical depression out there. We also have a tropical storm, tropical storm Harvey northeast of Bermuda. No big deal. Still more than 1,000 miles away from the Leeward Islands, but we will wait and see. It is still quite a ways away before any significant development.

WHITFIELD: We'll take the calm.

JERAS: I'm going to take a total turn around here, guys. One of my favorite summertime things to do? State fair. Do you love the state fair? HARRIS: Sure.

JERAS: Love the fair.


JERAS: OK. Maybe she's not as big of a fan.

WHITFIELD: That's cool. OK.

JERAS: If you love the fair --

WHITFIELD: Maybe I haven't been to the once you've been to.

JERAS: Well one of my favorites, the Wisconsin State Fair. They've got the best cream puffs you've ever had. Take a look at this graphic on the forecast. Got to go there. My mother by the way might end up being there. That's my home state. I was born in Milwaukee.

HARRIS: Did not know that.

JERAS: I know, not like you needed to. But anyway, mostly sunny sky there, 80 degrees for the Wisconsin State Fair. Really a beautiful weekend. The Ohio State Fair going on as well as the Maine State Fair that is in Rockland, Maine. 76 degrees and mostly sunny and there's Columbus, Ohio, partly cloudy. You do have a chance of shower or thunderstorm this afternoon. 84 degrees. Best chance of rain will be along and south of I-70.

We also will see a lot of rain across the southeast today. Showers and thunder storms really heavy at times, especially right along the Gulf Coast. Tony, it's not tropical but if it would have been a little farther to the south we would have been worried. But it's making its way on land already so it's just going to be bringing in some tropical-type downpours. A good inch or so can be expected.

Across the west the heat really building especially in the inner mountain west here. Some isolated showers and thunderstorms moving in across the four corners. There are your temperatures for today. The heat really focused across the western United States. 97 in Billings. Minneapolis a little bit toasty, 90 degrees. And my map just faded away like that. I guess I'm done.

WHITFIELD: The humidity did it.

HARRIS: Ground clutter. That's what it was. Thanks.

WHITFIELD: Thanks a lot Jacqui.

HARRIS: Hiroshima, Japan, remembers that summer day 60 years ago when an atomic flash incinerated the city. And author Steven Walker joins us for a bit of a history lesson. And the legacy of the strikes that ended Word War II. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: For whom the bell tolls, for a moment in Japan they mark the moment in history with a moment of silence. 60 years ago this morning a bomb fell from the sky and turned life into death for over 140 thousand in Hiroshima. It was the world's first atomic bomb attack helping to usher in the end of World War II. At exactly 8:15 a.m. a bronze bell rang as over 50,000 gathered. Later thousands of paper lanterns for the souls of the dead were floated in a river. 60 years later there are still strong opinions about Hiroshima.

A recent survey shows 57 percent of Americans approved of using atomic bombs on Japanese cities in 1945. When asked if the use of atomic bombs on those cities saved U.S. lives, 80 percent of Americans said yes. Let's talk more about Hiroshima. Well my next guest is the author of "Shock Wave, Countdown to Hiroshima." Steven Walker joins me live from Washington. Good to see you Steven.


WHITFIELD: This story has been told so many times. Why did you decide to take on the challenge of trying to tell it in a unique way?

WALKER: I thought the story needed to be told a slightly different way. A fresh and exciting and more dramatic way than the ways I've seen it told before and to reach a much wider audience. My book really starts three weeks before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It starts with a test in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945 and it ends three weeks later in that momentous event over the city of Hiroshima. Three weeks, a countdown from the perspective of aviators, scientists and the people themselves.

WHITFIELD: And you talk about the excitement for lack of a better word, and borrowing your language, the excitement leading up to the dropping of the bomb as well as a lot of apprehension just merely on the level of science, not quite sure it would be effective or do what these scientists set out to do.

WALKER: Absolutely. I mean excitement from the point of view of some of the crews who thought they were going to end the war with this, in a sense, they did. And the scientists themselves who believed when they tested the first bomb that they might actually set fire to the Earth's atmosphere and destroy all life on the planet.

WHITFIELD: So you interviewed a number of people from the scientists to people on board and Japanese civilians. I can't imagine that the word excitement was in any of their vocabulary when they talk about this bomb which caused so much devastation, so wide spread, and you look at these vivid pictures how did they put it? Did they talk about, you know, their feelings openly to you?

WALKER: They did talk about their feelings openly to me. And most of them felt an incredible sense of achievement when they actually did this. One man actually described that moment of looking out of the window and saying look at that, look at that, look at that when this bomb actually went off. Very few members of that crew ever really felt regret for what they did. Very few actually lost sleep over that. But perhaps in some ways that is a defense of some of the horrors of what was actually inflicted on that city.

WHITFIELD: But you told this story in a minute-by-minute fashion. And as you just conducted these interviews you talk about the story being told by a weaponeer who was baby-sitting a bomb and you also talk about a copilot who did talk about some regret in saying, quote, my god, what have we done if he lives 100 years he'll never forget these minutes out of his mind.

WALKER: That was his log. Actually it's quite extra ordinary. The entry just before that log was "There will be a short intermission he wrote where we bomb the target." You're quite right; when he looks out of the window he said this, my god, what have we done. If I live for a 100 years, I will never quite get this few minutes out of my mind. So he was actually quite shocked by that. But people were, it was a very dramatic moment for those people in the air and also a thrilling sense for them I think that this city might actually now in its destruction bring about the very end of this terrible war.

WHITFIELD: Now you also told this story in the form of an Emmy- award winning documentary but you still set out to do the book. These characters in your book, real names, real stories with fictitious names or are these their real identities?

WALKER: Everything in this story is absolutely true. I must make it clear also, I didn't adjust the aviators and the bomb makers; it's also the survivors and the victims themselves and some really quite heroic stories that come out of that.

WHITFIELD: And they had some of the most powerful stories. You wrote about a Japanese man who talked about that was the day that he was going to remember, at first he thought as the most momentous beautiful day ever because he had fallen in love and come to find out the bomb takes place.

WALKER: That's right. He called it the night before the bomb was dropped he describes as the happiest love of his life to spend with his love of holding hands. And the next day he searches for her in the ruins of the city. But all true story. Every word that is in this book is exactly as it was told to me by witnesses that I met all over the world.

WHITFIELD: Remarkable and moving accounts. Steven Walker, the book is "Shock Wave, Countdown to Hiroshima. Thank you so much for joining us in Washington.

WALKER: Thank you.


HARRIS: Twenty-seven Marines killed in Iraq in just one week. More than dozen from one Ohio community. Coming up at 10 o'clock two writers from the community hit so hard with two very, stress that very different opinions on Iraq war. The debate you will want to see. That is coming up in the next hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS: You can always catch it on CNN the Web site, Veronica De La Cruz joins us now with the top five, six how many --

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No we only got two for you. We don't have too much time.

HARRIS: OK two for you.

DE LA CRUZ: Right. Well anyway you can browse and search free video in 14 different categories including one of my favorites, most popular. Which shows you the video clips, so to find them you log on to, look for the green watch box and click on browse and search.

Then select the tab that says most popular. A few clicks out on the web right now. This magazine contains everything from love notes, hate notes, tossed notes, lost notes posted you name it Tony. They can all be read in this annual magazine called "Found." "Found" has a broad collection of unusual notes, which show case everyday life. If you want to sneak peak that is (INAUDIBLE).

Another piece of video getting logged quick Tony, Shannon Cook's with actors Shawn William Scott, Jessica Simpson and Johnny Knoxville. For a look at the new "Dukes of Hazzard" movie and of course you can find it all on line at

HARRIS: Beautiful. Veronica thank you.

DE LA CRUZ: Of course.

HARRIS: Well, we want to show you some pictures. The pictures are just in to us, but the event actually happened over night. This is a helicopter from the sheriffs department, we understand, that went down in a city west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now, I'm looking through here to find out if we have any word of any injuries. I don't see that. But as you can see, this is a helicopter that went down in this residential neighborhood, in this yard -- is it in the yard there, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Yes. In the back yard.

HARRIS: In the back yard of someone's home. It went down at about 1230 a.m. this morning. And we'll continue to follow this and find out if anyone was hurt and their condition right now, but at least right now, all we can tell you is that, that chopper went down. This is video just in. A live picture, as you can see, from our affiliate KOAT. And it went down in a city just west for Albuquerque, New Mexico. We will continue to follow those developments.

WHITFIELD: That back yard just kind of neighboring a golf course there.

HARRIS: Yes. That's right.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll "OPEN HOUSE" is straight ahead. We'll see you back here at the top of the hour. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT

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