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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Earthquake Hits South Asia; New Poll on Bush's Approval Ratings; Karl Rove Testifies For Fourth Time; Casinos May Help Louisiana Economy; Subway Threats In New York City; Levee System Being Rebuilt After Hurricane Katrina
Aired October 8, 2005 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And Lance Armstrong rode (ph) into Washington today on the last leg of the Tour of Hope ride. The nine- day journey across the nation raises money for cancer research. Armstrong joined the 24 riders on their cross-country trip.
Well, good morning to you. It is Saturday, October 8th. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Betty Nguyen.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Tony Harris. Thank you for joining us. And welcome to our viewers around the world watching this morning on CNN International. It has been a very, very busy morning.
It is dark now in Pakistan, about 7:00 p.m. in Pakistan, and the president there is calling for calm after the massive earthquake and its strong, strong aftershocks. Pakistani experts are calling it the strongest quake to hit the area in the last 100 years. The trembler struck about 10 hours ago, it's epicenter roughly 60 northeast of Islamabad.
Joining us from the city is Daniel Kemp on the phone. He is the Islamabad deputy bureau chief for the French news agency AFP. And, Danny, good to talk to you again. I'm taking it you won't be surprised to hear that we've learned that you have experienced as many as ten aftershocks and that there are likely more aftershocks to come.
DANNY KEMP, DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, AFP ISLAMABAD: You're right. That's not a surprise. I mean we -- they certainly -- a good number of them have been, you know, very -- we felt particularly one very, very strong aftershock which, again, shook the building and seemed to be not a great deal less strong than the first one.
We've actually received reports of more than 14 aftershocks and we've been warned that they can continue for the next 48 hours so they warned people to stay away from any damaged buildings and told people to be careful.
HARRIS: And, Danny, the latest death toll number that we have is 746. Are we still classifying that as a relatively conservative number? KEMP: Definitely, yes. I mean, we -- officials have told us that around a thousand are confirmed dead in Pakistan and also in India and Afghanistan on either side of Pakistan. But again, that's just the confirmed deaths. The military have told us that the death toll could run into the thousands and they are, I think -- we're preparing for the toll to keep rising.
HARRIS: And, Danny, what is your sense now? We mentioned just a moment ago it's been dark for close to two hours now. What is your sense of what can be done on the ground to rescue folks and what in fact is actually going on that you've been able to bear with us, too?
KEMP: Well, a lot of the main area that was hit was in very remote, mountainous north Pakistan, particularly in Pakistani- controlled Kashmir. A lot of these areas are kind of, you know, mud huts and sort of very poorly constructed villages. These are areas that are very difficult to reach without a helicopter, particularly the roads are being destroyed.
And now that it's dark and also we hear there are reports of rain in some areas. It's -- I think rescuers have got a very tough task and they will also face danger from, you know, some more aftershocks and the possibility that rubble could fall on them and kill and injure them.
HARRIS: OK, Danny Kemp. Danny, thanks for your work this morning. We appreciate it.
KEMP: Thank you.
NGUYEN: Danny mentioned Kashmir which is one of the hardest hit areas by this earthquake. We want to talk now to a resident of Indian-controlled Kashmir. We have Dr. Ghulam Mattoo on the phone. And first of all, since we haven't spoken with anyone in the area so far today, tell me what kind of damage are you seeing?
DR. GHULAM MATTOO, RESIDENT, INDIAN-CONTROLLED KASHMIR: Hello.
NGUYEN: Hello, can you hear us?
MATTOO: Yes. Are you listening?
NGUYEN: Yes. I was asking you since we haven't spoken with anyone in Kashmir so far today, which is one of the most damaged areas due to this earthquake, tell me what you're seeing. What kind of damage are you seeing there?
MATTOO: Yes I live in Paramalar (ph). That is north of Kashmir and it is not very far from the border which separates us from Pakistan, the part of Pakistan also by Kashmir. There was a very messy earthquake which has not been seen in the recent history. And it happened around 9:25 a.m. in the morning. People were getting ready to go to office (ph) to join their business, but it was already the day and so it lasted about -- the major earthquake must have lasted about 20 seconds, but it -- the whole episode lasted about 60 second. NGUYEN: How many aftershocks have you felt after that initial earthquake.
NGUYEN: How many aftershocks have you felt after the initial earthquake?
MATTOO: I felt myself two to three aftershocks after the earthquake, particularly in the last five, six hours. And most of the people are staying outdoors, and in the ground floor people are being repeatedly asked to stay outside, ready to leave if there is another major episode.
NGUYEN: What about the death toll there? Have you seen buildings collapse and rescue operations underway?
MATTOO: I saw one building collapse in my town. That is completely razed and there are reports that many buildings have collapsed to the earth. But, as you know, the buildings -- usually the buildings in Kashmir are very strong. They are made of concrete and bricks. They're very strong and they're only two stories in height. So most of the buildings stand the shock, but there have been cracks, and most of the walls -- balancing (ph) walls -- they collapsed.
NGUYEN: So a lot of destruction there. I guess the good news in all of this is that you don't have many high-rises there. You mentioned most of the buildings are just two stories.
MATTOO: Yes. We don't have any of these multi-story buildings here, the skyscrapers. They're just small, the European-type buildings, but they are very strong in construction.
NGUYEN: One last thing, quickly. It's nighttime there. Has the rain started to fall and is that hampering rescue efforts?
MATTOO: There's been not much rescue efforts. The government was not that quick in helping the people and it is already dark. We don't have electricity in the last 48 hours. It is completely dark and it is a fasting month because most of the people here are Muslim. And it is raining outside. People are just confined to their homes. And outdoors they are just managing somehow to spend this time on their own.
NGUYEN: People obviously are doing the best they can do with the conditions that they're experiencing. Dr. Ghulam Mattoo, a resident Indian-controlled Kashmir. Thank you for bringing us up to date on what you're seeing in this your area.
MATTOO: Thank you.
NGUYEN: In other news, a new poll suggests President Bush is still on shaky political ground even among his core supporters. The AP-Ipsos poll finds the president's overall approval rating is 39 percent. Fifty-eight percent of those questioned expressed disapproval.
Now, the poll also found only 28 percent of those questioned think the country is headed in the right direction while two-thirds or 66 percent say it's in the wrong direction. So here's the big blow.
Polls indicate the president's base, including evangelical voters, Republican men and Southerners, are lukewarm about Mr. Bush. They're expressing unease about issues such as spending for hurricane recovery and his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
Senior White House Adviser Karl Rove, he has no guarantee that he won't be indicted in a case about a leaked CIA officer's identity. Knowingly identifying a covert agent is a federal crime.
Rove testifies a fourth time next week and it's speculated there might be discrepancies that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wants to clear up. National correspondent Bob Franken is closely following these latest developments and he joins us now with what he knows. Good morning, Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot going and a lot of turmoil here at the White House. Let me explain the noise you're hearing in the background. It's the president delivering his radio address, trying to reassure those conservatives that Harriet Myers is one of them. He will identify her in this radio address as someone who is a reliable conservative.
Now, as for the investigation in the CIA leaks, as you pointed out, Karl Rove is expected to testify for the fourth time this week. We can also tell you that Judith Miller, the "New York Times" reporter who has identified the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby as a source, will be meeting with the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, this week to discuss whether she's going to go before the grand jury.
A lot of this is going on. There's a very tenacious prosecutor and it's very fair to say that the people at the White House are nervous.
FRANKEN (voice-over): Patrick Fitzgerald has been described as intense, determined. And it's not just the coerced to testify and even jailed Washington reporters who might see him that way, nor the figures at the highest levels of the federal government he's investigating.
Just ask all the politicians he's targeted in Illinois in his day job as a U.S. attorney there. That would include Chicago, of course, where Fitzgerald's office is tackling Democratic Mayor Richard Daley's administration.
MAYOR RICHARD DALEY (D), CHICAGO: This morning, I met in my office for two hours with representatives of the U.S. attorney's office. When there's wrongdoing in government, I take responsibility for it. FRANKEN: Fitzgerald says he's investigating widespread corruption in Daley's city hall. More than 20 have been convicted so far. Or ask the former Republican governor, George Ryan, on trial now for racketeering and fraud back while in office. The prosecution is run by Fitzgerald.
FMR. GOV. BOB RYAN (R), ILLINOIS: I'm absolutely not guilty of those charges.
FRANKEN: And Fitzgerald is a relative newcomer to Chicago. Most of his career was spent in New York. As an assistant U.S. attorney, he took on terrorists, part of the team that gained convictions of al Qaeda associates for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and five defendants for the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
When he wasn't pursuing terrorists, he was battling organized crime, prosecuting, among others, mobster John Gambino.
FRANKEN: Now he's focusing on allegedly illegal leaks of confidential information, classified information. And just about everybody who's been touched by this investigation is well aware that Patrick Fitzgerald is certainly relentless -- Betty.
NGUYEN: We will see how it all shakes out. Thank you, Bob.
HARRIS: How about this? A heated debate over the energy bill. The House has narrowly approved the measure with Democrats fighting it every step of the way. They say it caters to big oil companies, and they even chanted their disapproval as the bill passed. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yeas are 212, the nays are 210. A majority voting affirmative. The bill is passed without objection. The motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Shame, shame, shame. Well, that's what House Democrats chanted. Republicans held the vote open for 40 minutes to round up enough of their colleagues to pass their bill.
Turning now to another heated battle, this one surrounding Tom DeLay. The Texas Congressman is asking a court to quash an indictment against him. The indictment accuses the former House majority leader of conspiracy and money laundering in an alleged campaign finance scheme. DeLay's motion claims Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle bullied a grand jury into bringing an indictment. The motion accuses Earle's office of misconduct. Now, for his part, Earle issued a statement saying, quote, "These claims have no merit. Because of the laws protecting grand jury secrecy, no other comments can be made. The investigation is continuing. NGUYEN: Former President George Bush makes three stops today on his post-hurricane tour. He flies to the Alabama Gulf coast this morning, then to Mississippi this afternoon and wraps up the day in Louisiana.
New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, is trying to jumpstart his city's economy. He's proposing a big expansion of casino gambling to lure tourists back to the Big Easy. The mayor's plan calls for several downtown hotels to be converted into full-fledged casinos. Nagin says now is the time for such a bold move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: They would have to agree to pay all of their employees a living wage, a living minimum wage of $8 to $10 plus benefits. The state and the city in this matter would split all of the related revenues 50/50 including the current streams that are coming from Harrah's. There's a big potential here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: While it has been more than a month since Katrina struck and the death toll -- it is still rising. The number of deaths in Louisiana has now topped a thousand. That brings the overall death toll from Louisiana and four other states to 1,239.
And tonight, "CNN PRESENTS" takes an in-depth look at the children who survived two deadly storms. Now they're dealing with some new challenges. You don't want to miss "CHILDREN OF THE STORM." That's at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 p.m. out west.
A tragedy was avoided, but inconvenience was not. After New York's terrorist fear turned out to a originate from a soda can, many are now asking when or if the public should be informed of these threats. Up next, a former FBI agent weighs in.
HARRIS: And you know her as Rudy Huxtable from "The Cosby Show," but she's all grown up now and how as she's starring a new film. Keisha Knight Pulliam joins us to talk about the gospel. That's later. Good morning, Rob.
HARRIS: Let's get back to the New York City subway scare where, despite to obvious hoaxes yesterday, security protocols remain the same. Wonder why? Joining us live from Houston, Texas is Don Clark, a former FBI agent and security specialist. Don, good morning.
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI AGENT: Hey, Tony, good morning.
HARRIS: You're in Houston this morning. I just said that didn't I?
CLARK: Yes, I am. Right. HARRIS: Good morning, Don. Hey, I'm curious, hoaxes yesterday and yet the security measures remain in place. Explain that to us.
CLARK: Well, Tony, I think since 9/11 clearly prevention has come into all Americans' and certainly all of law enforcement and security's mind. So we have to live the realization today that at a certain level, that we have to be ready to combat terrorist activities but more importantly to prevent those terrorist activities.
And I don't think you're going to see any agency at all that got any sign of a terrorist activity that's going take place here or in the future that they're going to be lax on it. I think you're going to see that forever, quite frankly.
HARRIS: Yes, yes, Don, but you know the rumblings out there. There are folks saying that this was a massive overreaction by officials in New York City. What do you think?
CLARK: Well, I think what has to happen here is that the officials have to make sure that the public is aware that they are doing everything that they can to try to vent the information and not just respond to a single piece of information from any particular source. And I think if the public has that agencies are going through a process to vent the information, to make sure that it's clear, and that they're acting appropriately, I think they'll get comfortable with it.
HARRIS: But the mayor of New York said, you know, he couldn't wait for all of the agencies to agree on this, that he had to act right now.
CLARK: Well, you know, the mayor has a city to run, and Tony, one of the things that we don't have in this country -- and I'm not supporting this -- but we don't have a national police force where everything comes down from the very top.
HARRIS: You're not supporting that, you're not calling for that, are you?
CLARK: Heck no. Oh, heck no. We shouldn't have a national police force, I'm not calling that, but my point is that because we don't have a national police force, you do have independence. And I think New York City has the capability that it can respond and it can act to a certain level, certainly better than most cities in our country that would have to rely more on the federal government than New York City.
HARRIS: Hey, Don -- and here's the other thing that I thought was very interesting coming out the mayor's press conference yesterday. Characterize how difficult it is for all of these agencies, all of these intelligence agencies, and Homeland Security now, and the mayor, say, of a big city, to coordinate and to be on the same page and to move forward. It just looks like it is a huge challenge now for everyone to be on the same page and have the same opinion about the information that's coming in. CLARK: It's utopia, Tony. It's a monumental task to get any two groups on the same page and certainly since we have this battleship now called Homeland Security to get that thing rolling and trying to get information flowing. It's a very, very arduous task.
Now, having said that, they have a responsibility to try to do everything they can and put all of the procedures in place so that the information could flow smoothly down to the people that really need that and that's really the street people and the police officers on the street. They are the ones that need to have it.
HARRIS: And, Don, one final question, if you're a New Yorker today, are you pleased with the action and the way the officials acted? Or are you sitting back to day saying OK, here they go again, another terror warning.
CLARK: You know, I'm pretty pleased with the way that the officials in New York City responded again and I think they have an obligation. If they feel that the threat levels have risen to a point that they need to a alert the public, I don't think that we ought to arbitrarily alert the public because at this point in time we should be at a state of readiness here that the public should than we are going to be faced with terrorist threats for the rest of our lives and that our security and law enforcement people should be in a position to deter many of those.
HARRIS: OK. Don Clark. Good to talk to you as always, sir.
CLARK: Pleasure, Tony.
HARRIS: Take care.
NGUYEN: Well, Rob Marciano has your weekend forecast. That's coming up.
And getting some cash was a real drag for this thief. Check it out. He didn't get very far. And we'll show you if he actually got the cash next. CNN SATURDAY MORNING returns after this.
HARRIS: Did you just hit me?
NGUYEN: I did. You were aren't paying attention. That's the way it works around here folks. He should know that by now.
HARRIS: I was fact-checking, is what I was doing.
NGUYEN: You were researching.
NGUYEN: Here's someone who's doing research. Rob Marciano, good morning. You're finally back, Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good to be back and good to see that you're still abusing Tony.
HARRIS: Yes see. Nothing phases.
NGUYEN: You know, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do, Rob.
MARCIANO: Anyway, well, sometimes he misbehaves.
NGUYEN: Sometimes? All of the time.
NGUYEN: Watch out. It's coming your way, too. Rob. Don't mess with me.
MARCIANO: I'm not scared. I'm not scared.
NGUYEN: Not afraid? All right. Hey, we're going to be talking with you coming up shortly about your experience in hurricane devastated areas.
MARCIANO: All right. Cool, yes. We've got -- I met an interesting guy who showed me around Long Beach, Mississippi. It hasn't changed a whole lot in five weeks. We'll talk about that.
NGUYEN: All right. We'll be looking forward to that. Thank you, Rob.
HARRIS: Across America right now in Riverside, California, they're missing an automated teller this morning. The money machine was literally ripped away from the bolt, securing it to the concrete. Surveillance video catches the crime in action. You want to see this with a suspect trying ...
NGUYEN: What is he thinking?
HARRIS: He chained it to the back of his car, skid marks led police to find the ATM about a mile away.
In Philadelphia, an apparent domestic dispute turns into a double murder suicide. Listen to this, according to police a man fatally shot his ex-wife inside his car in a city strip mall yesterday and then drove with the body to another shopping center where witnesses said he shot and killed one of her friends before killing himself.
A thousand families displaced by Hurricane Katrina will be calling Houston home for good. Grammy award-winning artist Usher, Freddie Mac and Hibernia Bank of Louisiana are combining forces to bankroll Project Restart giving homes to Katrina storm victims.
NGUYEN: Good news down there.
Well, bigger, stronger and safer, that is how most think the levees in New Orleans should be rebuilt, but that is not what is happening. We'll tell you why.
HARRIS: And her parents couldn't come up with one, so she made up her own. This little girl and her new name. That's later.
HARRIS: Pakistani government officials fear thousands may be dead following a massive earthquake that registered a magnitude of 7.6. The quake his just before midnight Eastern time, its epicenter near Islamabad. Strong aftershocks are still rippling through the area.
Hurricane Katrina wiped out thousands of jobs last month, helping push the nation's unemployment rate up to 5.1 percent. That's according to a recent detailed assessment by the U.S. Labor Department. Officials say the overall economy lost 35,000 payroll jobs in September.
A new poll shows President Bush's approval rating is diminishing even among his core supporters, evangelists, southerners and Republican men. The AP poll comes as the president tries to firm up his base of support for the Iraq war. Shortly after his reelection, nearly two-thirds of Republicans strongly approved of the job performance compared to just half now.
Police have issued an amber alert in Cincinnati, Ohio. They say this man shown on a surveillance camera may have kidnapped one or two children outside a post office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. KURT BYRD, CINCINNATI, OHIO, POLICE: There's this individual by his vehicle with a female white approximately 5 to 7 years of age, blond hair. A statement was made for her to get into the vehicle. With that he opened the trunk of his vehicle. The employees could see another what appeared to be a child, possibly a male in the trunk of the vehicle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR, CNN SATURDAY MORNING: Hurricane Katrina devastated the levee system in New Orleans as we all know. Well now people there want bigger and better levees, but it doesn't look like they'll get them any time soon. CNN's Dan Simon tells us why.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coming back from Katrina, one key, strong levees. These bulldozers in St. Bernard Parish moving dirt to rebuild what nature destroyed. It's hard to believe, but this is where levees once rose 17 feet in the air, washed flat and with it, much of this parish.
COL. LEWIS SETLIFF, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: What's exciting today is we came out here this week and started our initial construction aimed at long-term recovery of the hurricane protection system. SIMON: The plan to rebuild that hurricane protection system like it was, just sufficient to withstand a category three storm. The excitement here is hardly universal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the job done right the way you won't have to worry about having a problem like this again.
SIMON: In a community in which house after house was destroyed by the floodwaters from a category four storm, many residents unable to hide their frustration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to rebuild them high, in my opinion to the proper level where they can handle a category five or four instead of just a category three.
SIMON: But the Army Corps of Engineers says it doesn't have the funding nor resources to build bigger and better and still have the levees finished by next summer. It says it could strengthen further at a later date. Still, not a good plan says Louisiana Republican Senator David Bitter.
SEN. DAVID VITTER (R) LOUISIANA: I'm tired living by the old corps standards and the old corps schedule. This is an emergency situation.
SIMON: I know you don't make those decisions but you're aware that that sentiment is out there.
SETLIFF: We are intimately aware that that sentiment exists. Again, our authority to act rests solely to restore what was here before the storm.
SIMON: Touring the parish as we did today, the magnitude of rebuilding the levees becomes clear. Mile after mile will have to be rebuilt. Everywhere there are examples of the powerful storm surge and this right here is pretty striking when you consider that before the storm you couldn't even see that pipe. That's because it went right through the levee. The corps says even getting the levees back to pre-Katrina strength by next year will be difficult.
KEVIN WAGNER, CORPS OF ENGINEERS: We are very committed to actually getting the work done. We know a lot of people are not going to rebuild until we have these levees in place because that which provides some protection for them from the hurricanes and storm surges.
SIMON: Kevin Wagner, who is overseeing the levee rebuilding in St. Bernard Parish knows what's at stake. He, too, lost his home. The planned replacement levees, he says, will be enough for him to rebuild his house.
WAGNER: Forty years the system worked very well and I think you can have complete confidence that once we're finished with this, people will have a level of protection that they'll feel comfortable with. SIMON: The corps concedes a stronger, bigger levee system would be preferable, but there's no money, no plans and no time too build before the start of next year's hurricane season. Dan Simon, CNN, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.
HARRIS: Rob Marciano joins us now. Rob, you saw a lot of this firsthand.
MARCIANO: Not only from Katrina, but also Rita. I just got back from a three-day tour. We went to Port Arthur, Texas, which got the western eye wall of Rita. Lake Charles, Louisiana got the eastern eye wall, drove across Echapalei (ph) Swamp Long Beach, Mississippi which got Katrina and after -- over five weeks now since Katrina rolled through that area and they're still devastated.
The most they've done really is moved stuff out of the roads so they can get crews in there to try to fix things. But as you'll see from this piece, a lot of the stuff remains just strewn about. I talked with - an alderman of Long Beach, Alderman Richard Bennett and he showed me around town and this is what it looked like.
ALDERMAN RICHARD BENNETT: The water came through and as you can see, it destroyed the church. We haven't been able to find any pews. We don't know where the pews have gone. We don't know if they washed back out into the ocean. But of all the debris field that you see all around it, we have not been able to find any pews.
MARCIANO: My goodness.
BENNETT: But if you look in this church, all four of the stained glass windows are still here. None of them broke. They're not cracked or anything.
MARCIANO: Look at that.
BENNETT: This was a beautiful church and, I can tell you the church is still here, the building's gone, but the church is still here.
MARCIANO: It's only been over a month now. What kind of progress has been made in Long Beach?
BENNETT: Tremendous progress has been done on our cleanup. Where we're walking right now you couldn't walk. All of the streets had 12, 14 foot of litter, debris and the cleanup's going great, but as you can see, there's still a lot to be cleaned up, a lot of rebuilding.
Down in this area, the infrastructure, it will be more than a year before we get the water and sewer down here for our businesses to come back. I'm hoping that as you see down this main street, that our electrical wires and stuff will go underground. All our utilities underground and come up with some nice lighting down Jeff Davis and now's the time to do it. We'll never be able to do it again.
This is our elementary school. If you look on the other side as we see, you would think that it's OK. It's still standing, but as you can see, once you get over here, there's not much left to it. To start school we have to have our teachers back, too. A lot of them have moved on, but they've come back and they're staying with friends. They're waiting for trailers and we're hoping to have a FEMA trailer park for our teachers and it just hasn't happened yet because FEMA hasn't given us the trailers, but we've got the spot and we're ready to move.
MARCIANO: A lot of criticism of the Federal government. Tell me what they've done for Long Beach.
BENNETT: I don't think FEMA knows there's a Long Beach. But every time we talk to someone from FEMA they give us a different answer. We've got one FEMA person saying that's the way to do it and the next day they saying, oh no, you're doing it wrong and we just need FEMA to work with us with a little more than what they're doing.
MARCIANO: They're just so frustrated. They know that FEMA people are trying but you know they tell them to go to a Web site. Well, I don't have the Internet. How am I going to do that?
NGUYEN: They're wiped out. I mean my goodness.
MARCIANO: It's tough. Local businesses and local churches are doing so much, it seems so much more than anybody else and getting food to the workers, getting aid to people that need it. Long Beach is an interesting community. It's unlike the rest of the Gulf coast of Mississippi which has a number of riverboat casinos to sustain them. They don't and their businesses were completely wiped out right along the coast, 75 percent of their tax base they estimate gone.
NGUYEN: So what's going to happen?
MARCIANO: Well, they're worried about -- what they worried about, the city going bankrupt. And what he spoke about, he's worried about doing something wrong in filing for FEMA. They had an issue with hurricane George several years ago. FEMA came back from a couple of years later and said you owe us a million dollars because you got more than you should have. So they're afraid of doing that, too.
NGUYEN: It just seems like one problem on top of the other. But it appears to me in looking at that piece, even though people obviously have lost so much, they're resilient and they do have hope that things will get better and they want their lives to remain where everything was destroyed.
MARCIANO: You know, one thing I heard, they're trying not to complain too much. These are tough people, a tight community. They have power back to where there are still homes north of the train tracks and now school is back in session and those kids have been through a lot and hopefully at least that part will get back. NGUYEN: Little signs of progress.
HARRIS: Here's the reality of the situation, for all these folks along that coastline, that a lot of the jobs aren't going to come back. A lot of the people who have moved to other areas are going try as best they can to start over right where they are.
HARRIS: And they won't come back.
MARCIANO: Certainly in New Orleans I think that's the biggest issue, not so much in southwest Mississippi. They want to come back. They could get back there sooner and they could live with their friends and family whose home may not have been damaged, but in New Orleans that's a huge fear. You can sense it in the mayor's eyes. He's afraid that people aren't going to come back and the city may not recover.
NGUYEN: Well, good work down there. We're glad to have you back.
HARRIS: Betty's back, Rob's back. I guess I can go now ...
NGUYEN: You're not going anywhere.
Well, tonight, "CNN PRESENTS" takes an in-depth look at the children who survived two deadly storms. Now they're dealing with some new challenges. You don't want to miss "CHILDREN OF THE STORM." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. out west.
HARRIS: It's Saturday and we're about to take you to church. Stick around, Rob.
And the gospel is at your neighborhood theater and the director and one of the many talented stars joins us next. You won't recognize her. Maybe you will. She's all grown up now. That's next on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
HARRIS: Our top story this morning, south Asia is devastated by perhaps the strongest earthquake in a century. The 7.6 quake struck Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. A Pakistani government fears more than 1,000 people are dead. Many were crushed in landslides. Pakistani leaders say President Bush said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. That is Palestinian leaders' remarks attributed to Mr. Bush are in a BBC documentary. The White House dismisses it as absurd.
The U.S. chief nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei and his group win the Nobel peace prize. The award strengthens the international Atomic Energy Agency as it tries to prevent countries from using nuclear energy for nuclear weapons.
NGUYEN: All right Tony. I want you to listen to this story because for two years she was known as just baby or Boby (ph) as some people called her, but recently an Arizona toddler decided what her parents apparently couldn't the day that she was born. She actually picked her own name. Reporter Jennifer Waddell from affiliate station KGUN has more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First day her name has ever been on anything.
JENNIFER WADDELL, KGUN (voice-over): And the baby with no name did it all on her own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She named herself actually Alice.
WADDELL: Mary and Andrew finally have a name for their youngest daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we had an "Alice in Wonderland" party for her
WADDELL: Last year's birthday cake just read happy birthday baby, but today...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's official because it's on the cake.
WADDELL: But it's still not on her birth certificate. Alice has gone by baby girl, baby and Boby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She actually was playing peek-a-boo with the sheet one day and she covered her head and she said where's Alice? Where's Alice? And we said who's Alice and she said me. When she picked it she smiled really, really big like she's never smiled before and told us who she was and it was neat.
WADDELL: It took two years to get the first name. It may take another to find a middle name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With Alice Bo and we're thinking of putting Alice Bo baby in there somewhere. I don't know.
NGUYEN: Cute little girl. Finally she has a name.
HARRIS: How about this. Do you see those two other people there?
NGUYEN: I do see them.
HARRIS: Keisha Knight Pulliam.
NGUYEN: I remember her.
HARRIS: They're behind this new film in theaters this weekend. It's called "The Gospel." We'll talk to them about their film coming back when we do with more CNN SATURDAY MORNING after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARRIS: Stand by and get the word Rob.
MARCIANO: All right.
HARRIS: On the (ph) silver screen this week, "The Gospel," a modern take on the story of a prodigal son, a young gifted singer leaves his father's congregation to find fame and fortune on the outside. It works for a while and then he returns home to find things have changed for the worst. Let's take a look.
And I am joined now by the director of "The Gospel" Rob Hardy and one of his many shining stars in the film. Take a look at her, all grown up Keisha Knight Pulliam. Good to see you.
KEISHA KNIGHT PULLIAM, ACTRESS: Good to see you.
HARRIS: And Rob, good to see you too.
ROB HARDY, DIRECTOR: (INAUDIBLE).
HARRIS: Rob, let me start with you because once you start talking to Keisha, we might be there for a while. But let me ask you, we're sort of billing this as a retelling of the story of the prodigal son. Is it that and I'm sure it's much more.
HARDY: Yes. It's kind of a modern-day revision of that story about a young guy who grows up in the church. His father is a minister. A tragedy happens and then he basically becomes frustrated and turns his back on God and his father's church and goes out and becomes this hugely successful R&B star and then when another tragedy happens, he's got to leave the biggest tour of his career to come home where he finds everything in shambles, from the church to his relationships and it forced him to deal with his salvation.
HARRIS: Where did the inspiration for the story come from? I'm thinking it's sort of the Mace (ph) story, the rapper's Mace story, but it's not. So where did the inspiration for this come from?
HARDY: We'd been wanting to do a faith-based story for a while, my partner Will (INAUDIBLE) and the executive producer, Holly Davis Carter put us together with Fred Hammond and we began talking about this foundation for what would become the gospel and interestingly enough when we were casting the film, so many people that we auditioned said no this, is my story. I started out in the church and now I'm an R&B star and so on and so forth. So I really thought that we were going to be on to something, that there was a powder greater than us all kind of moving us in this direction.
HARRIS: Tell us about this lady sitting next to you.
HARDY: She's a wonderful talent, very diverse, very sharp actress. So we were excited about having her be a part of this project.
HARRIS: Correct me if I'm mistaken here, this is the second time you've cast her in one of your films.
HARRIS: I knew that. What was the other film?
HARDY: The other film was called "Moses."
HARRIS: With Shamar Moore (ph)
HARDY: And Vivica Fox.
HARRIS: And Vivica Fox and you were one of the roommates in that film.
PULLIAM: I was. So I was the roommate who wasn't very happy about their girlfriend coming in and out and doing things I quite didn't approve of. But next film, even bigger role.
HARRIS: Even bigger role. It is not the size of the role. It is the pivotal role.
PULLIAM: You know what and it clearly is and that's why I was so excited about being a part of this. Clearly I have a smaller role in it, but because of the overall message of the movie and how tremendous I thought the impact was going to be I was, like, however you need me, let me know. I'll be there.
HARRIS: You've got a timeline. I'm looking at you and you've got a timeline for everyone who's watching you is flipping out right now. OK, first of all. Pull up a picture, back in the day.
PULLIAM: Yeah, that was me.
HARRIS: Back in the days.
PULLIAM: I wasn't even the youngest, eight years. I was probably about eight in that picture. I was four when I started "The Cosby Show."
HARRIS: Oh, Keisha. I mean, come on. How many years ago are we talking now? The show is still on. You can see it, but those pictures, how old were you then?
PULLIAM: Those pictures, I was probably about eight years old.
HARRIS: Folks are flipping out looking at you right now.
PULLIAM: I know. That was like, 18, almost 18 years ago.
HARRIS: And your life catches up briefly in short chunks, you're a college graduate now. You're back full force, full time in the business now. We saw you -- a lot of folks saw you in "Beauty Shop."
PULLIAM: "Beauty Shop."
HARRIS: So catch us up a little bit.
PULLIAM: Well, I mean, I just for a long time after "The Cosby Show," took a break just to grow holistically, to go to college, to do those things that are just so important in that timeframe and then once I graduated from Spellman, I took a little bit of time off just to enjoy life and you're out of school and I did a couple of things and I did "Beauty Shop" earlier this year and "The Gospel" is out now and I'm working on some other projects for next year.
HARRIS: It is great to see you. It really is great to see you.
PULLIAM: Thank you.
HARRIS: Rob, when you pitched this film to Hollywood, what was the response? You're going make a film about the gospel? What are you doing?
HARDY: Initially, Hollywood was a little bit reluctant because the perspective was, OK, this film is catered towards we believe the African-American demo and now you're looking at a segment of that demo which is the church going audience and so we don't know if it's going to work.
But because "The Passion of the Christ" had been so hugely successful, I think that the students were willing to take a chance and the funny thing happened was, while we were in production, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" came out. It was number one at the box office and it changed the perspective on our film and it made them say, well, maybe this is something that could actually become theatrically distributed nationally.
HARRIS: Did you work with the churches to get the word out about the film, because we know that first weekend is so important.
HARDY: Sure. Sure. One of the things that we did was, it was important for us to make sure that churches knew about this movie. Our thing was is that the movie sinks or swims and we wanted to make sure that our folks know about the movies here. So since this summer, we've been actively talking to different churches, different congregations, different organizations to let them know that "The Gospel" is coming.
HARRIS: OK, "The Gospel" in theaters right now and, Tenesha (ph), throw that picture up of Keisha again. That's a little before, and right now -- that's a cute shot there. And here she is now. Good to see you both and the best with "The Gospel."
HARDY: Thanks for having us.
PULLIAM: Thank you.
HARRIS: Good to se you. More of CNN SATURDAY MORNING after this quick break.
HARRIS: Officials in south central Asia fear the death toll could run into the thousands following a massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake today. The quake was centered in Pakistan, but also felt in India and Afghanistan.
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