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Fragile Peace; DNA Profiling; Man Runs 50 Marathons for Katrina Awareness

Aired August 22, 2006 - 08:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah still holding, just barely though. President Bush says an there's urgent need for U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. Terje Roed- Larsen is the U.N. special envoy. He's met with Israeli and Lebanese officials about deploying that peacekeeping force. He's in Jerusalem.
It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us.

First, let's talk a little bit about those meetings and how they're going. When will you think that a full complement of the peacekeepers that are needed on the ground will be there?

TERJE ROED-LARSEN, U.N. SPECIAL MIDEAST ENVOY: Let me first say that the secretary general of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, has dispersed (ph) myself and ambassador Nambiar (ph) to Lebanon and Israel in order to discuss with the parties how best to implement the Security Council resolution here, namely 7001, and we've conducted now talks with counterparts in both Jerusalem, and Lebanon and Tel Aviv. And I think there are some reasons for optimism here. First and foremost, because the Lebanese army for the first time since 1960s have been deployed in the south and also along Lebanon's other borders in order to assert its full authority over all Lebanese territory, and this is a very historic and a very positive sign.

Secondly, there is now in full swing, very energetic work in getting troop contributors to new, or reorganized international peacekeeping force on the ground in Lebanon. The secretary-general, Mr. Kofi Annan, is working relentlessly day and night in doing this, and we have hopes that in the short, foreseeable future that we will have a significant number of troops on top of 2,000 that's already are there.

But I'd also like to add that there also reasons for pessimism here, because those that don't want the government of Lebanon to assert the authority over all Lebanese territory, of course, with the security vacuum which is there before the international force and under Lebanese army is fully in place. Of course, there will be temptations to derail the process.

And also I'd like to say violations of the truce also very effectively undermines the motivation of troop contributors to come forward with the necessary troops on the ground.

O'BRIEN: When you take a look at the latest resolution which was passed on August 11, 1,701, they start with recalling of all the past resolutions on Lebanon, 425, which was in 1978, 426, also in '78, 520 in 1982, 1559, that's the important one that originally called for the disbandment and disarmament of militias. The list goes on and on -- 1655, 1680, 1697. There is, I think, by some peoples' estimation, a sense that there's resolution after resolution after resolution, and still the same issues are being debated. In other words, to some degree, those resolutions ineffective.

ROED-LARSEN: No, I would say quite the contrary, because if you go back to the resolutions you mentioned, 45 and 56, in the year 2000, Israel withdrew fully from Lebanon, completely consistent with resolution 45 and 46. It was implemented as regards to Israel's occupation of Southern Lebanon.

Further, if we had jumped to a more recent resolution, 1559, which calls for free and fair elections in Lebanon, which took place, deemed free and fair for the first time by international observers. It also calls for Syria to withdraw all of its troops and intelligence apparatus from Lebanon. All the troops were called back, and the military intelligence a short while after the resolution was passed by the Security Council.

So this is not the history of resolutions not being implemented. They are not fully implemented, and this is precisely what we are working on, and this is why Security Council resolution 1701 encompasses these other resolutions, because we want them to be fully, not partially, be implemented.

So actually the track record here is that significant parts of these resolutions actually have been implemented, but now we don't want them to be reversed, and this is why we're urging Israel to leave Lebanon again, and for the Lebanese army supported, and assisted and helped by the international community, shall assert its full authority over all Lebanon. This has to be done on a national basis, and it has to be done in such a way that it solidifies the democracy which we have in Lebanon.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the international community. France originally seemed at least to be saying that they were going to be leading this international peacekeeping force. Now what they've actually committed to is 200 soldiers. How disappointing and difficult is that for the U.N.? Especially now that you're talking about hope in the future there will be peacekeepers, not a date, not a time and not specifics about the number at this point.

ROED-LARSEN: It is actually so that there are now more than 2,000 troops on the ground in Lebanon. Now, that is the UNIFIL, the peacekeeping operation, which is working within the resources and within its traditional mandate. It takes time, and real time and in the real world to put together a very complicated peacekeeping operations in one of the most difficult hotspots in this world, and we have to respect that. We also have to respect that governments (INAUDIBLE) contribute troops, resources of a variety of sorts that they have legitimate concerns, concerning its mandate, its organization, et cetera. Nobody has a magic wand here. It takes time, and this is the way it is in real world, but we're working as hard as we can to speed up this process.

O'BRIEN: That'll take time. Hopefully...

ROED-LARSEN: We are not living only in space; we are also living in time.

O'BRIEN: I hear you. It'll take time. Hopefully that cease- fire is going to hold in the time that it takes to get the peacekeepers there.

Terje Roed-Larsen is the U.N. special envoy to the Middle East. Thank you for talking with us this morning. We appreciate it.

ROED-LARSEN: My real pleasure as always. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Thank you -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: As you imagine, there's still a lot of questions surrounding the arrest of John Mark Karr in the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Did he or didn't he do it? The answer could come down with genetic evidence, DNA. That would be the determinant, many experts say.

CNN's Randi Kaye explains, DNA is very exact science.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A spot of blood found on JonBenet Ramsey's underwear and evidence from under her fingernails. They are the makings of a DNA profile that for 10 years has been labeled John Doe. But investigators hope to learn soon whether John Doe will be renamed John Karr.


KAYE: Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky is a forensic scientist at John Jay College. He says DNA is so reliable that if Karr's profile matches, there is only a one in greater than 1 trillion chance that someone other than Karr committed the crime.

(on camera): Think of DNA as your own personal bar code. Every cell in our body contains a copy of our own DNA. Only identical twins have the same genetic code.

(voice-over): To determine a match, scientists first look for a sample of DNA on fabric. This demonstration shows how ultraviolet light highlights it.

KOBILINSKY: This may very well be semen. Semen is known to fluoresce when it's in the dried state.

KAYE: That DNA is then cut from the fabric so the extraction can begin.

KOBILINSKY: We would add the specimen of interest to a tube, containing this kelex (ph) resin. KAYE: The resin extracts and isolates the DNA. When the sample is heated up in this shaking water bath, Professor Kobilinsky gets a printout of how many nanograms of DNA he has.

KOBILINSKY: A nanogram is a billionth of a gram of DNA. It's a very tiny amount of DNA. You really can't see it with the naked eye.

KAYE (on camera): Tiny but key.

KOBILINSKY: Tiny but key

KAYE (voice-over): Next, something called a thermal cycler is able to multiply the sample.

KOBILINSKY: Literally making billions of copies by running 30 cycles of temperature changes.

KAYE: And then finally answers from this genetic analyzer.

KOBILINSKY: There is a very thin capillary here and the samples are obtained from vials in this box. They're sucked into this needle, travel through the capillary, are detected with a special camera, a laser beam hits the specimens and the software does the rest.

KAYE (on camera): And then you get a snapshot basically of the profile.

KOBILINSKY: Precisely.

KAYE: Sends it to the computer.


KAYE: And then you can see what the profile actually looks like. And if they match, case is over.

KOBILINSKY: Then case is closed.

KAYE (voice-over): This is what a profile looks like on paper. If the profiles are identical, the DNA is a match.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: We should tell you that Anderson -- Randi's report first appeared on "ANDERSON 360," which airs each weeknight at 10:00 Eastern.

O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, we're telling you about former President Gerald Ford. He's had pacemaker surgery. What are the risks for a 93-year-old who's had some medical problems in the recent past? Sanjay Gupta is going to talk about that just ahead.

SANCHEZ: And then next, 51 marathons in just 50 days. A Mississippi man tells us why he kept on running and running and running. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



SANCHEZ: You know, to say that Sam Thompson's gone the extra mile to help victims of Hurricane Katrina would be a bit of an understatement. More like 1,336 miles, actually. Sam set out to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days to raise awareness of the devastation that remains along the Gulf Coast and the money to continue to rebuilding the homes and the lives of so many people there.

Sam Thompson is good enough to join us now. Fifty marathons in 50 days. The first question has to be, how did your body endure?

SAM THOMPSON, MARATHON RUNNER: Well, I think I'm blessed with a special body that recovers amazingly well. But I also had an amazing team with me. They kept me going.

SANCHEZ: What did they do?

THOMPSON: I -- well, my girlfriend is a registered dietitian, so carefully counted my calories and packed calories in all day long.

SANCHEZ: Like what? What did you eat?

THOMPSON: Pretty much everything. About 5,000 calories a day after the run, about a thousand calories during the run.

SANCHEZ: Specific food or junk food?

THOMPSON: Both. A lot of natural -- chicken and pasta and sandwiches, healthy stuff. But also, just to pack in the calories, a lot of junk, as well.

SANCHEZ: Snickers bar, potato chips?

THOMPSON: Right. Ice cream, pastries -- all that kind of -- and Starbucks drinks. Those are high, high calories.

SANCHEZ: Because of the caloric intake plus the caffeine, I imagine, huh?

THOMPSON: Definitely, definitely.

SANCHEZ: Now, I understand that you had to have a massage and then you had to sit in a bathtub filled with ice.

THOMPSON: Correct.

SANCHEZ: That's part of your routine?

THOMPSON: Yes. Every day, I'd have a 20 or 30 minute massage and then a 15-minute ice bath. Definitely the worst part of the day.

SANCHEZ: Why, the ice bath was difficult?

THOMPSON: The ice bath, yes.

SANCHEZ: The massage sounds pretty good.

THOMPSON: The massage was great, and then I'm nice and relaxed and then I have to hop into this tub of ice.

SANCHEZ: Most people would think I couldn't imagine what my body would go through. Because, now, think about it. It's not just the exercise. It's also the planning, the travel, the sleeping in a different hotel, the getting there, the late planes.

THOMPSON: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: I mean, how were you able to do that?

THOMPSON: It was -- it was amazing. I don't know. It was amazing that it all worked out as well as it did.

SANCHEZ: Did you have somebody doing most of the planning for you, for example?

THOMPSON: I planned out the basics before we started, very quickly and kind of by the seat of our pants. And then we changed things along the way, but for the most part, stuck to the schedule.

SANCHEZ: And you were able to hit the 50 states -- as a matter of fact, I understand you actually ran an extra marathon?

THOMPSON: Correct.

SANCHEZ: Two in one day?

THOMPSON: Correct.

SANCHEZ: How did this come about?

THOMPSON: Well, it was on the schedule from the get-go. I was going to do 51 in 50 days, just because I wanted to do Washington, D.C., as well. But at 51 in 51 and -- it's just harder to say. So 50 in 50 in 50 remains the name, but I just threw in an extra one in D.C.

SANCHEZ: Oh, sure, nothing to do, right? I got an extra couple of hours, I think I'll run a marathon. You make the rest of us feel pretty bad about this. Now, let's talk about the serious part of this. You're doing this because you ended up spending some time in Bay St. Louis.

THOMPSON: Correct.

SANCHEZ: And you worked as a relief coordinator there, right?

THOMPSON: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: It was what, a church? THOMPSON: It was through the Presbyterian Church.

SANCHEZ: And what were you doing there?

THOMPSON: I initially went to do whatever I could do immediately after the hurricane hit, and...


THOMPSON: Well, I was planning on doing search and rescue. I'm somewhat trained in that. So that was kind of my initial plan. And planned to go for two weeks, and the two weeks just got very, very long. And so I've been down there since the hurricane hit, essentially.

SANCHEZ: So you got the idea that you would do something else, something to raise awareness?

THOMPSON: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: How did it do? Did you make some money?

THOMPSON: Well, I don't know. Well, I know that money was raised for sure, but I wasn't directly raising money. So my main push is really just to get out there, and tell the nation that everything's not fixed on the Mississippi coast and also in New Orleans. So, I don't really care who people give to or how they help. My main push is just to help in any way you want.

SANCHEZ: Well, it sounds like you have. Job well done.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Fifty-one in 50 days, 50 states. That's crazy. Hey, appreciate you. Sam Thompson, thanks so much for being here.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: AMERICAN MORNING is going to be live in New Orleans on Tuesday, as a matter of fact, August 29th, for a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING. "Katrina: One Year Later."

More AMERICAN MORNING coming your way in just a moment.




SANCHEZ: We've got some breaking news to share with you. This information coming in from Moscow. A Russian passenger jet with some 170-some people aboard disappeared from the radar screen after sending an S.O.S. message Tuesday, and it is feared that it probably crashed. This according to an emergency official. The plane was on its way back from the Black Sea resort of Nappa (ph) to St. Petersburg when it disappeared from the radar screens over the Ukraine. Emergency Situations Ministry Spokesperson Julia Staniska (ph) has shared that information with us. Once again, Russian officials are saying that they do believe that the plane has probably crashed. As we get more information, we'll share it with you.

Were going to be right back.



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