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Immigration Battle; New England Flooding; Volcano Alert; Border Troops; Alligator Attacks; Sleep Driving

Aired May 15, 2006 - 06:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning to you, I'm Miles O'Brien.

Here's a look at what's happening on this morning, May 15.

President Bush is planning a rare prime time speech tonight on the hot button issue of immigration. He's expected to announce plans to send the National Guard to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border. That speech is set for 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. CNN is going to carry it for you live.

Older Americans are facing a midnight deadline to sign up for Medicare's prescription drug benefit program. About five million Americans haven't signed up yet. Missing the deadline could mean a big financial penalty.

M. O'BRIEN: A grand jury in Durham, North Carolina to meet today. There's reason to believe it could mean new charges in the Duke lacrosse team rape case. The prosecutor there pushing to indict a third member of the lacrosse team in the alleged rape of a dancer at a party in March.

In Baghdad, the Saddam Hussein trial in a new phase now. After months of testimony, the chief judge formally read charges against him, murder, torture and illegal arrest in a deadly crackdown on the town of Dujail. Hussein refusing to enter a plea.

S. O'BRIEN: A rumbling volcano is raining down ash on villages in Indonesia. The threatened eruption of Mt. Merapi in central Java has forced thousands of people out of their homes. The volcano last erupted a dozen years ago and killed 60 people.

And more rain today could mean more trouble for people in parts of the northeast. States of emergency are in effect for parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Maine, too. Hundreds have been forced out of their homes because of heavy rain and flooding.

Brings us right to the forecast. Let's get right to Jacqui Jeras. She's in for Chad.

Hey, Jacqui, good Monday morning to you.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thanks. Good morning and good morning, everybody. (WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Jacqui.

The president aiming to plug our porous border with Mexico with National Guard troops. Mr. Bush with a rare prime time address from the Oval Office tonight. But his call to send troops to the border to help the U.S. Border Patrol not without controversy.

Elaine Quijano with more.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): By laying out his views tonight, President Bush is hoping to nudge the House and Senate closer together towards an agreement on comprehensive immigration legislation. That means possibly offering conservative Republicans in the House something they have long called for, tougher border security measures.

Senior Bush aides say the president is considering an enhanced role for the National Guard in helping to secure the U.S. border with Mexico. Already, though, the idea is sparking debate. Lawmakers from both parties are expressing concern that the National Guard is already stretched too thin. But a senior official says any decision made will not affect missions overseas or domestically, including preparations for hurricane season.

At the same time, the president is showing no signs of backing away from his support for a temporary guest worker program. The White House is calling this crunch time with the Senate now set to take up this issue this week.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, the White House.


M. O'BRIEN: Stay tuned to CNN for special coverage of the president's speech. We begin at 7:00 Eastern with a special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM," then the president's remarks at 8:00, followed by a special "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" 8:30 Eastern, 9:00 Eastern Larry King is live with more of the debate over border security. And at 10:00 p.m., Anderson Cooper live from Chicago.

S. O'BRIEN: We told you about that state of emergency for parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Maine. Well heavy flooding in both states, Massachusetts and Maine, have forced hundreds of people from their homes into shelters. National Guard troops are helping with those evacuations now.

Let's get right to AMERICAN MORNING's Dan Lothian. He joins us on the phone from Peabody, Massachusetts, which is right outside of Boston.

Hey, Dan, good morning to you. How is it looking where you are?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, good morning, Soledad.

It's pretty messy here. The rain continues to fall. As you mentioned, we're about 20 miles or so north of Boston. And in the downtown area of Peabody, the entire town square area has been closed because it is under about one to two feet of water. In fact, right now I'm walking across a crosswalk to the courthouse and there's about one foot of water right where I am.

Concerns not only in this town but all across New England. Here in Massachusetts, in New Hampshire and in parts of Maine states of emergencies have been declared by governors. Some National Guard troops have been brought in to help out. Hundreds of people across New England have been evacuated.

And of course the biggest concerns are some of these dams, older dams, with so much pressure building behind them, concerned that some of those dams could give way, creating even bigger problems -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Dan Lothian joining us by phone from Peabody, Massachusetts.

Dan, thanks -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Also happening in America right now, it's a messy Monday after a stormy Sunday in North Carolina. Cars and windows took hits from what was called significant amounts of hail. Dozens of tornado warnings issued in Raleigh-Durham in the afternoon. But after all that, only one confirmed tornado. Only minor injuries and damage reported.

In Memphis, police shot dead a deputy U.S. marshal who they say had been driving erratically. Police say Mary Fisher was speeding and weaving through traffic early yesterday morning. The officers say when they finally stopped her, she pulled a gun and started firing at them. One of the officers was hit in the leg. Fisher pronounced dead at the scene.

A meningitis scare at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus, 18-year-old freshman Kaitlin Pugh (ph) died of bacterial meningitis on Friday. The University trying to contact 150 students who were in classes with Pugh to ensure they get to an emergency room immediately. Symptoms begin with high fever and a stiff neck.

In Fort Lauderdale, a pilot makes a crash landing on a city street. The twin engine Cessna 414 on approach to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The pilot declaring an emergency. Both survived and not seriously hurt -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: A volcano alert in Indonesia. Mt. Merapi is one of Indonesia's most dangerous and active volcanoes spewing thick gray smoke. You can see it right there. Thousands of people have already evacuated as it continues to rain down ash as well.

Stan Grant is in Yogyakarta in Indonesia for us.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Behind me you can see a huge hot cloud coming down Mt. Merapi. Now that cloud is full of gas and rock and ash. It travels at hundreds of kilometers an hour and it is lethal. It is accompanied by hot lava coming also down the side of the mountain there. Hot enough at about 500 Celsius. That's about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now people at the perimeter, the base of this mountain, here have been moved away, some 4,500. Perhaps as many as 20,000 people will be moved if in fact there is a full eruption of this volcano.

Now volcanologists are keeping a 24-hour watch on this to see when and if there is in fact a full eruption. They are saying now that the lava and hot cloud is coming down about two and a half kilometers from this mountain. The mountain itself is about 3,000 meters, almost 10,000 feet high.

Now it has erupted in the past. The last in 1994, 60 people died. In 1930, 1,300 people died. The island of Java is now at the red hot zone. It is now code red saying that this is imminent. There could be a full eruption at any time. They simply don't know when that could be.

Stan Grant, CNN, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


M. O'BRIEN: Still to come in the program, that closely watched Enron trial finally winding down. We'll hear what could be in store for the founder, Ken Lay. Carrie Lee is on the verdict watch.

S. O'BRIEN: Also, they're on alert in Florida after a string of alligator attacks. Carol Costello is going to take a look at what could be causing the attacks.

M. O'BRIEN: And the potential dangers of the popular sleep drug Ambien. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a look, talking about sleep driving again, believe it or not.

Here's what else is making news on this Monday morning.


M. O'BRIEN: More flooding worries in New England this morning, another round of heavy rain coming today. Parts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine under a state of emergency because of all the water.

A grand jury meets again in Durham, North Carolina today, a third Duke lacrosse player could be indicted for rape. Two other team members charged with raping an exotic danger at a party in March.

President Bush will make a prime time speech on immigration tonight. He's poised to send National Guard troops to the U.S.- Mexican border. Ed Lavandera is along the border in Redford, Texas.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We are standing on the northern banks of the Rio Grande in the small town of Redford, Texas, population 100 people.

We're here because as President Bush begins to unveil his plan to bring the U.S. military to the southern border to help beef up security, this is a town that remembers how that experiment went terribly wrong nine years ago when four Marines, who were brought in on an anti-drug mission, were secretly patrolling this area. They mistook an 18-year-old American citizen for a drug smuggler. They shot and killed him.

The death of Esequiel Hernandez has never been forgotten here. And they say it is the number one example as to why President Bush's plan to bring the military to this U.S. southern border is a terrible idea.

However, these residents as voices up against what many law enforcement agencies have been saying across the southern border for many months that the violence on the other side in the drug cartels have become so sophisticated and so powerful that they are simply outgunned and that they need more help to combat the crime that is infiltrating from the southern part of the border.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Redford, Texas.


M. O'BRIEN: Stay tuned to CNN for special coverage of the president's speech tonight. We start at 7:00 Eastern with a special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM." Then of course the president's remarks at 8:00 Eastern, followed by a special "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," 8:30 Eastern. At 9:00, "LARRY KING LIVE" with more of the debate over border security; 10:00 p.m., "ANDERSON COOPER 360" live from Chicago.

S. O'BRIEN: There's been a rash of fatal alligator attacks in Florida. What's prompting this? Let's get right to Carol Costello. She's in the newsroom for us this morning with more on that story.

Hey, Carol, good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good morning to all of you.

The danger is obvious, but death by alligator is actually rare. There have been just 17 fatal alligator attacks in the past 57 years. But now it appears we have seen three in less than a week.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The bodies of two more alligator attack victims were found in Florida on Sunday. Twenty-three-year-old Annemarie Campbell was visiting from Tennessee. She was attacked while swimming at a recreation area near Lake George southeast of Gainesville. She went into the water with three friends, got separated and the friends found her in the gator's mouth.

CAT KELLY, FLA. FISH & WILDLIFE COMM.: They risked their life. They went to do everything that they possibly could. And I understand that they were jabbing at eyes and trying to pry its jaws.

COSTELLO: It was too late. Trappers believe she was killed by an adult alligator between seven and nine feet long.

KELLY: This is Mother's Day and you -- our hearts are with these families.

COSTELLO: Authorities near St. Petersburg believe an alligator killed 43-year-old Judy Cooper. Her body was found Sunday in a canal behind a house.

FRED FERDERBER, FOUND VICTIM'S BODY: Just out walking my dog and I went in the backyard and saw what looked like a pair of pants floating in the backyard in the pond. And I walked up closer and then I saw there were a pair of sneakers attached to it. And my daughter and I went out there with a stick and pushed on it and it turned out to be a woman.

COSTELLO: Cooper's body had been in the water for about three days. Officials say an alligator bit her several times.

On Saturday, wildlife officers captured a nine-foot alligator they believe killed 28-year-old Suarez Jimenez near Fort Lauderdale. She had been out jogging. Authorities say she'd been attacked on the bank, then dragged into the water. Authorities found two human arms inside the gator's belly.

While the string of fatal attacks may be rare, wildlife officials say caution should never go out of season because alligators can strike quickly from shallow waters.

KELLY: Is there any more room for error -- I mean worry tonight versus other nights? No, this is -- you're living in Florida, you need to be careful.


COSTELLO: Still not known what provoked those alligators to attack. But wildlife officials do say this time of year gators are usually on the move looking for mates and food. You know the really frightening part about this is one of those victims, at least one of them, was walking on shore when the alligator came up out of the water and snatched her and dragged her body into the water.

S. O'BRIEN: That description is just awful. That's horrible.

All right, Carol, thank you for the update.

Turning to business news now, Enron almost over. CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Almost over. Closing arguments beginning today, so the trial is winding down in the home stretch. So each side, prosecution and defense, will have to boil down 14 weeks of testimony, 54 witnesses into six hours of deliberations. Now the jury is likely to begin deliberating on Wednesday. And so that is the latest there.

Defense attorneys likely to try to pick apart the case, look at each isolated incident, things that the jury have heard and try to do it that way. The prosecution likely to try to say this is essentially looking at the big whole of the picture and kind of putting together puzzle pieces, all of these incidents involving former CEO's Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

Lay faces a total potential of 45 years in prison, six counts against him. Skilling looking at 28 counts and a total of potentially 275 years in prison. So, once again, the jury likely to begin deliberating on Wednesday.

Turning to Dennis Kozlowski and Tyco. Well, after Tyco, he's settling a New York State tax case, $21.2 million here. This is related on -- to his conviction on grand larceny for looting Tyco when he was chief of that company. This covers $3.2 million in sales tax on artwork, also $18 million in New York state and city taxes.

Now he still owes $167 million in fines and restitution from his grand larceny conviction. Kozlowski is currently serving over eight years in prison on the Tyco case, and he is appealing. So that is the latest on Kozlowski.

Turning to the markets, it was a rough week on Wall Street last week. Some people saying, Soledad, you did...

S. O'BRIEN: Some people, Andy Serwer. Andy Serwer, that's it.

LEE: We were...

M. O'BRIEN: This is the word on the street.

LEE: We were...

S. O'BRIEN: I'm so sorry I mentioned that I felt we'd have a record soon, because it turned and tanked a little bit.

LEE: It seemed like it. It seemed like it. We were getting so close. The Dow about 80 points away from it's all-time high back in 2000. Well, we are quite a bit further away from that now. In fact down...

S. O'BRIEN: Besides my words, what really caused it?

LEE: A lot of profit taking and a lot of worries about inflation, you know people wondering what the Fed is going to do now late in June.

A lot of things happening this week, we'll get some homebuilding activity, others. But I will tell you right now, looking like another weak day on Wall Street. So the red arrows set to continue. May if we hope for selling, it'll do the opposite now. It's not that easy, folks.

M. O'BRIEN: The Soledad bear we'll call it.

S. O'BRIEN: Me, so not.

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, -- Carrie.

LEE: All right.

M. O'BRIEN: See you, Carrie.

Coming up, the water is still rising in the northeast and more rain on the way. What you need to know if you live there or are planning a visit coming up.

Plus this,...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to bed. I was reading. The next thing I know, there's a policeman at my car door.


M. O'BRIEN: Sleeping and driving, not a good mix. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look at the potential risks of a popular sleeping pill ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: It is the best-selling prescription drug, a sleep drug, but Ambien has been linked to some extreme cases of sleepwalking that involve sleep driving, such as the incident with the Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

Today we're beginning a five-part series called "Sleepless in America."

Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man in this police video looks drunk but he may actually be asleep. He says he was sleep driving the night he was arrested after taking two Ambien tablets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to bed. I was reading. The next thing I know, there's a policeman at my car door.

GUPTA: He doesn't want us to use his name or show his face. According to him, he doesn't even remember getting into the car. His case is on appeal after being convicted with driving under the influence.

Dr. Carlos Schenck says he has documented 32 cases of people with no previous history of sleepwalking who began sleepwalking, including walking, eating, even driving while sleeping under the influence of Ambien.

DR. CARLOS SCHENCK, MN. REGIONAL SLEEP DISORDERS CTR.: Because Ambien does increase the percent of slow wave sleep, which is a stage of sleep that promotes sleepwalking.

GUPTA: Doctors wrote more than 26 million prescriptions for Ambien last year, making it far and away the most used sleeping pill.

In a statement, Ambien's manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, says it could not comment on specific cases. Adding this, "It is important to emphasize that although sleepwalking may occur during treatment with Ambien, it may not necessarily be caused by it. It is difficult to determine with certainty whether a particular instance of sleepwalking is drug induced, spontaneous in origin or a result of an underlying disorder."

There is no large study to gauge the risk. But for the vast majority of Ambien users, Dr. Schenck says, don't worry, and to follow the warning labels provided with prescriptions.

SCHENCK: Even a sip of alcohol with Ambien could be dangerous. So I would strongly discourage any use, even a sip.

GUPTA: And if you ever do sleepwalk after taking the drug, you should stop taking it. This man wishes he had.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no intention of driving. And I would just like people to know that, in particular the judge that hears my appeal.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


S. O'BRIEN: Coming up tomorrow, we get inside Sanjay's head as he's wired up in a clinical trial to study his dreams. That will be interesting. Be sure to catch Sanjay's one-hour special on sleep airing this Sunday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

M. O'BRIEN: A family show, right?

Let's check the weather. Jacqui Jeras in for Chad all this week.

Where's Chad?

JERAS: I think he's in Idaho fly-fishing.

M. O'BRIEN: Idaho fly-fishing.

JERAS: I know. And you know really kind of risky this time of the year.

M. O'BRIEN: To be Chad, huh?

JERAS: I know. He got so lucky with the way the weather pattern is, too. It's going to be gorgeous in Idaho.

Not so gorgeous in parts of the east, yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Not so at all.

JERAS: Not so. It's you know -- in fact it's one of those mornings you just want to roll right over and go back to bed, if you're living in New England, because it's going to be another ugly day.


S. O'BRIEN: All right, Jacqui, thank you very much. Not such a great forecast for those of us in the northeast though. We appreciate it anyway.

A look at the morning's top stories straight ahead, including President Bush as he is set to deliver his prime time address on immigration tonight. Why now? We'll take a look at some answers just ahead.

And there could soon be another arrest in the Duke rape investigation. We've got a report from Durham just ahead. Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.



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