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Canada Arrests Suspected Terrorists; Georgia Aquarium Hopes to Make Shark History; Mia Farrow Discusses Her Return to Horror in "The Omen"; High Gas Prices Hurt Farmers

Aired June 5, 2006 - 09:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CO-HOST: The bell rang moments ago on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average begins -- boy, it's quiet there this morning. It's like people are whispering.
MILES O'BRIEN, CO-HOST: They're all in the Hamptons or something, you know, or wherever they go. Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: The Dow Jones begins the week at 11,247. Down 12 points at Friday's close.

Welcome to our final half hour this morning. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us. Carol Costello in the news room looking at some headlines for us. Carol, good morning.


Good morning to all of you.

We begin with a developing story out of Baghdad. Iraqi authorities now looking into the kidnappings of 50 people today. The suspects, apparently posing as Iraqi commandos, raided transportation companies, some bus drivers and office workers among those abducted.

Police in Northridge, California, checking into a report of suspicious packages. Officials found a white box with wires sticking out of it on the roof of the car. You see it there. Actually, it's on the windshield. There are reports that police sent in a robot and blew up the suspicious package. That happened just a short time ago. They had evacuated nearby homes as a precaution. We'll keep you posted.

President Bush's new immigration plan being put into action today. The first of up to 6,000 National Guard troops are reporting for duty to help out at the U.S.-Mexico border. Some 55 troops will be extending fences and fixing up roads near San Luis. Their mission will last for two weeks.

In the meantime today, President Bush is once again pushing for an amendment banning gay marriage as the Senate gets ready to debate the issue. Those opposed to the ban say it promotes discrimination. Some say the president is bringing the issue to the forefront to appease conservatives ahead of mid-term elections. CNN will bring you the president's remarks. They're set to begin at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.

And that's a look at the headlines this morning. Back to you, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Carol.

"CNN Security Watch" now. In Canada, authorities say it is one of their largest anti-terrorism operations ever. They arrested 17 and seized three tons of fertilizer that can be used to make bombs, a la Oklahoma City.

Homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is right here with more.

Hello, Jeanne.


Counterterrorism officials confirm that the men arrested Friday had contact with terrorism suspects in the United States and the United Kingdom, but authorities say the 17 Canadian residents were plotting against Canadian targets.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a wake-up call for sure.

MESERVE (voice-over): If many Canadians were floored at the prospect of terrorists targeting their country, a few were not. Kim Bastarache says she had suspicions about her neighbor, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, who was among those arrested.

KIM BASTARACHE, NEIGHBOR: No, I knew they were.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knew they were what?

BASTARACHE: Terrorists. He seemed like he was a terrorist person from the day when he moved in.

MESERVE: Jamal was said by some Muslims in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga to have taken control of a local mosque.

TAREK FATAH, MUSLIM CANADIAN CONGRESS: He throws the old guard out and takes it over and turns a very moderate mosque into a very conservative, radical place, which excluded a whole lot of other Muslims, including those who had funded it.

MESERVE: Another Toronto mosque was vandalized over the weekend, leading the chief of police to appear with Muslim leaders and plead for calm.

CHIEF BILL BLAIR, TORONTO POLICE: Justice will be done, and in the interim I hope that we can all work together to maintain the respect and trust and peace of our communities.

MESERVE: The 17 suspects are being held under tight security after being rounded up Friday night. Canadian authorities say they had acquired three tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate and had what appeared to be detonators. The alleged targets: all in Ontario.

An attorney for two of the suspects called the charges vague.

ROCCO GALATI, LAWYER: His family's well established, long- standing residents and citizens of Canada for the past 50 years.

MESERVE: But U.S. lawmakers are concerned.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: We've got a longer border with Canada than we do with Mexico. We've got thousands of trucks that come in every day, many of them -- most of them not inspected.


MESERVE: Some members of Congress are criticizing Canadian immigration and asylum policies which they say allow terrorism to flourish. The Canadian ambassador to the United States says that is not true and says Americans as well as Canadians should be relieved that this plot was stopped before it became a tragedy -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Senator Levine, of course from Michigan, and that hearkens back to a story you did not too long ago about these trash trucks, which come -- Canadian trash coming into Michigan to a landfill there, and there's really no way -- there is no way currently to see what's inside.

MESERVE: Yes. You know, they have these machines that take images of the inside of trucks, and they've turned up things including stowaways, but when you have compressed garbage in the back of a truck, you can't see anything.

Now, Customs and Border Protection says we do other things. We look at the manifests. We do visual checks of the top and sometimes the back. Occasionally, they even follow a truck out to the landfill and watch it as it's dumped. And they prod through the trash. We had the pleasure of joining them on one of those trips.

M. O'BRIEN: Great assignment, huh?

MESERVE: But Levin, at least, thinks this is a significant worry.

M. O'BRIEN: It's interesting. All this focus on the U.S.-Mexico border. The much larger U.S.-Canadian border poses an entirely different kind of security situation that people need to focus on.

MESERVE: It's a massive, massive border.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

MESERVE: A lot of it relatively unprotected. Now, Customs and Border Protection will tell you we've got cameras. We've got sensors. They have new air assets that they've deployed up there, but there are plenty of people who will tell you nowhere near enough. M. O'BRIEN: Just too darn big.

MESERVE: Yes. And still wide open.

M. O'BRIEN: Jeanne Meserve, thanks very much.

MESERVE: Thanks.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Thirty-six minutes past the hour. Let's check in with Rob Marciano. He's still at the Georgia Aquarium this morning, where shark history is being made or they're hoping it -- to encourage it to be made if you know what I mean.

Hey, Rob.


You're referring to the two new additions to the Georgia Aquarium who were flown in Saturday night, 30-hour trip from Taiwan, two female whale sharks, and they're in the exhibit behind me, the big tank. They'll swim by every once in awhile, but they're among the other sea life that comes out to greet the people that come into the Georgia Aquarium.

It's been a big buzz since it opened in November, but now that we have two female whale shark, coupled with the two male whale shark, we do hope to make some sort of history.

Whale sharks have never been witnessed to mate or be born in the wild and certainly not in captivity. So this was -- this is a huge coup, and they're very excited here at the Georgia Aquarium.

You're looking through a two-foot thick Plexiglas window which holds back 6.2 million gallons of water. The top surface area, almost the size of a football field. So quite a lot of real estate for these fish and the whale shark to swim around in.

We don't know how well they're getting along just yet. They're still teenage girls, is what I'm told, about 13 and 15 foot in length. They have to grow to be about 20 feet before they're able to reproduce. So they've got plenty of time to get to know the two teenager, young adult males that are in the tank. And we'll, I'm sure, give you progress on that as go on through time.

Let's talk a little bit about weather.


Miles, Soledad, back to you.

S. O'BRIEN: Absolutely perfect if you're a shark.

MARCIANO: Exactly.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Rob. Thanks.

Coming up next in "AM Pop," she's back. Actress Mia Farrow returns to the silver screen in the new horror movie, "The Omen." She plays a satanic nanny. Did the devil make her do it? That's ahead.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We often hear so much about high gas prices in big cities, but they're also feeling the crunch here in the heartland. I'm in Iowa, and we'll talk to a farmer ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: In this morning's "AM Pop," actress Mia Farrow became a Hollywood leading lady with her breakout role in the horror classic, "Rosemary's Baby". Now, 38 years later, Farrow is back in another movie that is sure to frighten you right out of the seat. It's the re-make of "The Omen". It comes out tomorrow, which happens to be 6/6/06. That's the date.

In it, Farrow plays a satanic nanny who's sent to take care of Damien, the devil's child. Take a look.


MIA FARROW, ACTRESS: He's beautiful.

JULIA STILES, ACTRESS: I'll just be right back.

FARROW: Hello, Damien. I'm Mrs. Baylock. Don't be afraid. I'm here to protect you.


S. O'BRIEN: Oh, I'm scared already. Mia Farrow joins us this morning.

Do you like scary movies?

FARROW: No, I can't watch them.

S. O'BRIEN: Really?

FARROW: I hurry past when they come up on TV, and I would never go to one.

S. O'BRIEN: You're remaking "The Omen", and the original, I think, was Billie Whitelaw.

FARROW: Yes. The great Billie Whitelaw. And I did see this movie and recently.

S. O'BRIEN: You did?

FARROW: Yes. After -- after I was in it, I saw it.

S. O'BRIEN: You didn't want to watch it ahead of time. FARROW: No, I didn't particularly. But I wanted to see what it was now. And then I saw this one, which I don't usually see my movies, but my kids wanted to see it. So it was a lot of pressure to take them to the screening.

S. O'BRIEN: You played the role very differently than the original. I mean...

FARROW: Because who would hire a nanny like that, you know?

S. O'BRIEN: It was just so creepy, the original. I mean, she was like...

FARROW: Yes, yes. Great, though. She was great, and you loved to be scared by her. But we took a different tact with it. And I can say, you know, this might be not politically correct, but this movie is way better than the first one.

S. O'BRIEN: Really?

FARROW: It packs a wallop.

S. O'BRIEN: I read that you said to the director -- you sort of laughed when they called you to say they were remaking -- what was wrong with the first one?

FARROW: Exactly. Because I hadn't seen it in that many years. And now that I see it, this is so much better. It's better made. It's way more fun. It's gothic and, you know, brilliantly shot. The one thing I was sure was going to be better in the original was the great score by Jerry Goldsmith, and the score was amazing, and I believe he was a pupil, this guy, of...

S. O'BRIEN: Julia Stiles plays the mother.

FARROW: Yes, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: And I think in a way that's a really good change.


S. O'BRIEN: Because she's 25 and confused and really struggles with motherhood, of course.


S. O'BRIEN: Which is a little more fitting, I think, this time around.

FARROW: Well, you could look at it either way. It could be an older woman desperate to have a child. But as it happens, Julia is wonderful in it. You can care about her.

And I had just been in a play with her. So it was great. We literally closed on a Sunday night and Wednesday we were in Prague, and I'm up to no good. S. O'BRIEN: Is it weird to -- I mean, after you did the classic of all -- you know, the grandmommy of all classics...


S. O'BRIEN: "Rosemary's Baby", to be back again doing 38 years later, did you not think of it that way?

FARROW: I didn't think about it until a lot of people said she is an antihero (ph)...

S. O'BRIEN: We as viewers automatically -- there she is right there (ph)...

FARROW: Somebody said, are you queen of the horrors? And I said absolutely.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, "I've done other things in between the two movies."

FARROW: I'm totally queen of the horrors. That's all I'm interested in doing.

S. O'BRIEN: You have -- you're well known, obviously, for your 14 children who you have raised and who most of them now are out of the house.


S. O'BRIEN: Go, go! But I see you now getting more -- you know, working more than you have over the last number of years.

FARROW: You know, I'm one lucky woman, you know. Work has come my way and just at a time when, as you say, my kids are leaving the house and I can contemplate working much more. I couldn't have done a play two years ago in New York, let alone go to Prague. So, it's -- it's been great.

S. O'BRIEN: It's very blessed because it's hard to leave, even just...

FARROW: Yes, as you know.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, yes. We all know. It's just hard for working mothers to do that, even.


S. O'BRIEN: And try to come back and still be offered roles or be offered jobs or whatever.

FARROW: Yes, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: You're going Darfur on Friday.

FARROW: On Friday. S. O'BRIEN: Why are you going back?

FARROW: For UNICEF. I'm a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and I think as most people now know, the region of Darfur is descending into utter chaos. The World Food Program is feeding three million people. Two million of them are in the refugee camps.

There's a desperate shortfall in funding. There's such violence in the region that the humanitarian workers are very -- they're fragile. So what we -- what we need to do is urge our representatives to get involved. You know, tell them we care. Tell them we want to know what they're doing before we'd even vote for them and also support the humanitarian agencies that are there.

S. O'BRIEN: It's a terrible time there, too.

FARROW: Terrible time. And I'm going -- it will be my second trip there. I'm going with my young son.

S. O'BRIEN: He's 18. He's not that young. He's in law school.

FARROW: Yes, he's in law school. And he is 18.

S. O'BRIEN: A true mother. My little baby.

FARROW: He's young to me, but, you know, he's written op-eds, and he speaks at universities. And -- and our hope is, that you know, it will remind people that there's stuff that we must be doing. We can't -- it's Rwanda in slow motion.

S. O'BRIEN: It really is on the brink of just a massive, massive disaster.

Mia Farrow, so great to talk to you. Thanks for coming on.

FARROW: Thank you for having me.

S. O'BRIEN: Good luck with the movie.

FARROW: Thank you, thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, I hate horror movies, I really do. But this one.

FARROW: It will be fun. Trust me.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's good. "The Omen" opens on Tuesday, 6/6/06. You don't need to write it down. You can remember that. Mia Farrow joining us -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Soledad.

Coming up next, Daryn Kagan, "CNN LIVE TODAY", a couple of hours of news and information and Daryn.

DARYN KAGAN, HOST, "CNN LIVE TODAY": Yes. There you go. M. O'BRIEN: Sounds good. That's good enough for me right there.

KAGAN: That's sold, yes. Thank you, Miles.

Coming up on "LIVE TODAY"...




KAGAN: A sick newborn kidnapped in Texas. Now the mother is heartsick. We'll look at developments in that case.

And it is love aquarium style. Atlanta's resident male whale sharks meet their matches, but will they get along swimmingly?

"LIVE TODAY", coming up in about 15 minutes. Miles, back to you.

M. O'BRIEN: You know, there are always other fish in the sea, Daryn.

KAGAN: Especially at the aquarium.

M. O'BRIEN: Exactly. All right. We'll see you.

S. O'BRIEN: You've been waiting all day to use that line.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. The crew's been trying to get me to do it, so I did it for you guys. They're not paying attention. They don't care.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Some business news coming up. The Chinese government lays down the law on Viagra.

Plus, is it real football or Canadian football, and can you tell the difference? We'll talk about that coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Are you buying gas this morning? Here's what you might contend with, and the tote board, please: $2.86 is your average. Of course, it might be less, might be more where you live. That's what averages are all about. That is down a nickel, however, from a month ago. Woo-hoo! That was when gas was $2.91. You math majors figured that out all by yourself.

But still up considerably from a year ago which was $2.10.

Today, we begin our special series, paying the price in the heartland. All week along we're looking at the impact on rising fuel cost on everyday Americans in Iowa.

AMERICAN MORNING's Dan Lothian joins us from the fields of Adel, Iowa. If you build it, Dan will come. Good morning, Dan.

LOTHIAN: That's right. We have been going all around Iowa since we arrived in town late last week, trying to get a sense of how folks here in the heartland are dealing with the high cost of fuel.

To give you a picture of what the current prices are in Iowa, as of this morning, regular $2.73 a gallon. The mid-price is at $2.87 a gallon, and then diesel at $2.83.

If you live in New York, Boston or Los Angeles that might not seem that high, but for folks here, like the farmer we talked to, every cent counts.


LOTHIAN (voice-over): The weather may be a farmer's best friend and worst enemy, but fuel is also proving to be a two-edged sword for farmers like Randy Kreager.

RANDY KREAGER, FARMER: There's the residue from last year's corn crop.

LOTHIAN: From tending to his fields to caring for his cattle...

KREAGER: That's a boy.

LOTHIAN: Kreager is feeling the pressure.

KREAGER: We're just having to try to trim our costs of production down even farther than we have already done in the past.

LOTHIAN: in order to raise corn and soybeans, Kreager needs lots of diesel to run his big machines, but the price per gallon, he says, has jumped by a dollar since last year.

KREAGER: Typically, when we're harvesting corn, we're running a combine, a tractor with a grain cart to catch the corn off the combine. And we've run two semis to haul the grain from the field to the elevator.

It wouldn't be uncommon at all in a situation like that if we were running a full day of corn, we'd probably burn about 300 gallons of diesel fuel.

LOTHIAN: That's roughly $800 a day. Yet the price he gets for his crops has not gone up significantly.

KREAGER: An old thing that I've heard is that we are price takers, not price makers, and that's referring to farmers.

LOTHIAN (on camera): So you have to take the pain?

KREAGER: Exactly. LOTHIAN (voice-over): To make matters worse, he raises cattle on land about 15 miles away, down a winding, dusty road, across a stream and into the middle of nowhere.

KREAGER: There's always a tendency to cut corners, particularly with cattle in this example. You may say well, fuel is so expensive and I'm just going to check on them every other day, and we're just going to start checking on them once a week or every other week. And you know, you may get by with that and you may not. If you end up losing just a couple of calves, well, then your gamble didn't pay off.

LOTHIAN: It's not unusual for Kreager to travel more than 300 miles per week in his pickup. It's hard work, and fuel costs are slicing already thin margins, but this third generation farmer is determined to make it work.

KREAGER: I wouldn't be doing if I didn't love it.

LOTHIAN: Everyone in his family is having to pay the price. Kreager and his wife Amy have decided only their 3-year-old daughter, Jordan, will attend daycare full time this summer.

AMI KREAGER, FARMER'S WIFE: Our oldest is only going to go to day care one day this summer.

LOTHIAN: It's $25 a day for him and it just saves a little bit. So 7 1/2-year-old son Dallas will work on the farm with his dad, learning about crops and cattle and perhaps some of the hurdles that make this job so challenging.


LOTHIAN: Kreager works some 1600 acres here in Iowa. Now he would like one of two things to happen: either for the price he gets for his crops to go up or for the fuel costs to go down.

Now, coming up tomorrow we'll take a look at the rural commuters who will drive hundreds of miles each week to get to work. We spoke with one family who parked their large gas-guzzling pickup truck and bought a more efficient car in order to make up the difference. We'll talk to them tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: Hey, Dan, I'm going take a wild guess. The people there are pretty pro-ethanol. Safe to say?

LOTHIAN: You know, a lot of people are, and that's interesting because later in the week we'll also talk about that, how this is becoming an area where, you know, the ethanol plants are popping up, much like the crop of, you know, corn that you'll see coming up here. Everywhere there is a plant that is being built.

So, yes, a lot of people here are pro-ethanol.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

LOTHIAN: That is something they see that will help this area and help the country.

M. O'BRIEN: I bet. All right. Dan Lothian in Iowa. Thanks very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: The stock market's been open for a little bit. Let's check in with Andy Serwer.

SERWER: Soledad, early indications -- thank you -- were that there was going to be some selling this morning. Let's see if that, in fact, is the case, and in fact, it is the case, to the tune of 65 points on the Dow Jones Industrials. More concerns about Iran and the oil markets causing selling there.

Let's skip over to China. The Chinese government has upheld Viagra's patent, and this is important stuff, actually because, of course, American companies are very concerned about intellectual property rights in that nation. Counterfeiting, counterfeiting, counterfeiting is rampant.

In fact, when this drug was introduced in the Chinese market, very quickly 90 percent of all Viagra in China was fake. And now it will be illegal to create fake Viagra in China.

M. O'BRIEN: They reverse engineer the pills, essentially?

SERWER: Yes. They were able to make the compound and make the blue and, you know, do the whole thing.

S. O'BRIEN: Now that it's illegal, I mean, yes, and?

SERWER: Well, they have to enforce it.

M. O'BRIEN: There you go.

SERWER: That's very, very difficult.

S. O'BRIEN: You've made me a cynic.

SERWER: Again?

S. O'BRIEN: Always.


S. O'BRIEN: Always. It's all your fault.

SERWER: Yes. Is it all my fault?

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it is.

SERWER: OK. I'll have to think about that one, Soledad.

M. O'BRIEN: Most Mondays it is, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Short break. We're back in just a moment, guys.


S. O'BRIEN: That's it. We're out of time. Let's get you right to Daryn Kagan. She's at the CNN Center, going to take you through the next couple of hours on "CNN LIVE TODAY".

Hey, Daryn.


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