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White House Convenes School Safety Summit For Educators, Law Enforcement; Pentagon Still Working To Answer Many Questions about North Korea's Nuclear Weapon Test
Aired October 10, 2006 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We start with North Korea and yet another threat from the regime of Kim Jong- il. An unnamed North Korean official telling a Chinese news agency, North Korea will fire a nuclear missile if the U.S. doesn't act to stop the standoff. Our correspondents are covering all the angles on this developing story. Let's go to the news wall and see who we have up here. We have Kathleen Koch at the White House, Sohn Jie-Ae in Seoul, South Korea, and we also have Aneesh Raman in Tokyo.
We begin our coverage with Sohn Jie-Ae and reports of that new threat.
SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Miles, there is certainly a cloud hanging over South Korea. A cloud of apprehension a day after North Korea announced that it had conducted a nuclear test. The people that we met on the street today all talked about fears of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and that North Korea need to be dealt with firmly. That anxiety was not helped by reports from the Yoham (ph) news agency quoting an unidentified source, a North Korea source in Beijing, saying that North Korea was ready to launch a nuclear-tipped missile if the U.S. does not act in a matter according to what North Korea was expecting.
Now although they did not go into specifics, the understanding seems to be that North Korea wants Washington to sit down with bilateral talks with North Korea and it wants Washington to lift and ease up on financial sanctions against North Korea. And since Washington does not seem to be showing any signs of doing that, the anxiety is very high here in Seoul.
M. O'BRIEN: Jie-Ae, tell me a little bit about all this talk about sanctions. First of all, in the south, isn't there a little bit of ambivalence about sanctions aimed at the north? And, secondly, do you have a sense on how that will really impact the people of North Korea?
SOHN: That is definitely true, Miles. South Koreans are looking to sanction not the North Korean people, but the North Korean government. There is concern that if South Korea cuts off any type and all types of business ties with North Korea, it would be the North Korean people that suffers. And North Korea has been suffering from years of economic hardships. There have been reports that hundreds of thousands of North Koreans could die from starvation in the past couple of decades. The South Koreans are concerned about that. But on the other hand, they do want to stop North Korea from pushing ahead with its nuclear weapons program. So South Korea is in a bind.
M. O'BRIEN: Sohn Jie-Ae in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you very much.
The Bush administration has no ambivalence on this subject. They are pushing hard now for sanctions against North Korea. The question now is, will the rest of the world follow? CNN's Kathleen Koch live now from the White House with more on that.
Kathleen, what's the latest from there?
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, the White House certainly believes now is the time to send a very strong message to North Korea after Sunday's apparent nuclear test. As President Bush put it yesterday, that test was unacceptable and a threat to international peace and security. The administration certainly was very pleased that the United Nations Security Council came out very swiftly and unanimously yesterday condemning that test. U.S. officials are insists that Pyongyang's move will serve only to further isolate it from other peaceful nations in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER HILL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, you know, the North Koreans, I think, had the idea they would explode a nuclear device and then, after everything settled down, we would accept North Korea has a nuclear weapons state and begin to negotiate with them accordingly on some sort of arms reduction agreement. Well, I can tell you that's not going to happen. We're just not going to accept that North Korea, with its starving population, is going to be able to join the nuclear club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOCH: Now the U.S., again, is pushing for these very tough sanctions if North Korea does not agree to return to the six-nation talks aimed at getting it to dismantle its nuclear programs. Among the sanctions they include, first, an international embargo on goods and materials that could be used in North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. Second, inspection of cargo going in and out of North Korea. Third, prohibiting financial transactions that might support missile activities. And then also a ban on luxury goods.
Senior U.S. officials do say that they believe they have substantial support for strong sanctions, but they know this won't be easy. Miles, as you mentioned earlier, South Korea, also China and Russia, have been very ambivalent about sanctions, preferring dialogue. But certainly what happened on Sunday, if this was a successful nuclear weapons test, does change the equation now.
M. O'BRIEN: Kathleen Koch at the White House. Thank you very much.
The question of sanctions on the mind of the Japanese as well. CNN's Aneesh Raman live in Tokyo.
Aneesh, what are they thinking there?
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, good morning.
The Japanese have been before and are now the strongest force in the region, calling for harsh sanctions against North Korea. The country's prime minister returning to Tokyo late last night after meetings in South Korea and in China. The Japanese are onboard with virtually all of the U.S. sanctions that are being put about in this draft resolution. But they have their own demands. The Japanese want first a ban on North Korean ships and planes from entering other territories, a ban on imports of any North Korean products and a ban on travel by high-level North Korean officials.
Now we heard Kathleen mention those swing countries on the Security Council, Russia and China. For Japan, China is the audience clearly in their sights. The Japanese prime minister feels a bit emboldened, given that he just made a trip there. The first visit to Beijing in five years by a Japan prime minister, began mending fences. And given the brazen act by North Korea in this reported test, Japan is hoping that China will come on board.
China's been weary for a number of reasons of harsh sanctions on North Korea. It's a strategic ally at some level. But also if that regime complete gets out of control, there's going to be a humanitarian crisis of refugees flowing into China. So China really is the key swing question for Japan on the U.N. Security Council.
M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh, most recently we've been seeing you report out of Tehran, Iran, one of the few western journalists there. Interesting that you're covering this story kind of from this perspective now. I wonder what the Iranians are thinking as they watch this whole thing unfold.
RAMAN: Well, I think there's two things that the Iranians are watching. The first is, North Korea is a country that explicitly is perusing a nuclear weapons program. North Korea is a country that has very little leverage against the world, except a potential for regional instability here in Asia. If the U.S. and the world in large can't come together quickly and strongly against North Korea, Iran, a country that's pursuing its as a peaceful civilian nuclear program, a country that sits on one of the world's largest oil reserves, will feel further emboldened to stand defiant.
And remember that deadline at the end of August. That's come and gone. No action by the U.N. Security Council. And right now Iran is out of the dialogue, the daily news coverage, and it's commenting on North Korea. The latest comments are that Iran says North Korea's test, while it condemns it, is a result of U.S. policy throughout the world. Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman in Tokyo. Thank you.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: In Iraq, investigators are now skeptical about that massive food poisoning incident we told you about. Originally they believed it could have been intentional sabotage that killed seven Iraqi police officers and sickened hundreds of others. Now they think, in fact, it may be negligence on the part of the food contractor. CNN's Arwa Damon is in Baghdad with our report.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Iraqi government is continuing its investigation of a bizarre case of food poisoning that left hundreds of Iraqi policeman ill after they consumed their evening meal on Sunday. Initial suspicions were that it was deliberate food poisoning. However, test results so far indicating that it was simply a case of negligence.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted once again in the southern city of Diwania (ph) Monday evening when U.S. and Iraqi soldiers came under grenade, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade fire in that area. At least seven suspected terrorists were killed, two U.S. soldiers wounded. The clashes there follow heavy clashes in that same area on Sunday in which at least 30 suspected terrorists were killed, one U.S. Abrams tank destroyed.
Meanwhile, only 10 days into October, at least 32 U.S. service people have lost their lives here. And in the capital of Baghdad alone, Iraqi police have discovered at least 250 bodies.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
S. O'BRIEN: Saddam Hussein was kicked out of court today. The ejection followed a heated argument with the chief trial judge. Saddam and his six co-defendants have repeatedly clashed with that judge. Hussein's on trial for genocide against the Kurds back in the 1980s and he faces executed if he's convicted.
A follow-up now on a story we told you about last month. It turns out that the city of New York is going to forgive the debts owed by two first responders who were killed in action in Iraq. Police Officer James McNaughton was an Army Reservist. Firefighter Christian Engeldrum was a member of the Army National Guard. Now technically they were supposed to pay back their city salaries since they were also being paid by the military. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg is waiving the rule now, saying that both men have paid enough.
Ahead this morning, Congress investigates the Mark Foley scandal. We'll take you live to Capitol Hill to find out just who lawmakers want to talk to.
Plus, we'll take a closer look at the recent school shootings. Can the government do anything to keep our kids safer? We'll check in with the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.
It's 12 minutes past the hour. If you're getting ready to head out the door, let's do a quick check of the travelers's forecast for you with Chad Myers.
Good morning, Chad.
I guess we'll get to that in just a moment.
First, though, more on the Mark Foley e-mail scandal this morning. Lawmakers are now contacting ex pages in preparation for a probe by the House Ethics Committee. CNN's Andrea Koppel is live on Capitol Hill for us.
Andrea, good morning.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.
Well, with the Columbus Day holiday now behind us, investigations into who knew what when are expected to kick into high gear this week. According to a report in the Oklahoma newspaper, one of the former pages, who's alleged to have received those sexually explicit instant messages from Mark Foley, is expected to meet with the FBI today. To be interviewed by the FBI.
According to the young man's attorney, there was no physical contact that occurred between Foley and this young man, whose name is Jordan Edmund (ph). He's a Californian who worked here on Capitol Hill as a House page between 2001 and 2002. Obviously, when he was a minor. Now through his attorney he has also denied that there was any sexual contact with Foley.
While here in Washington, the House Ethics Committee is also expected to kick into high gear in its investigation. According to a lawyer for Kirk Fordham, who is the former chief of staff to now ex- Congressman Mark Foley, he has said that he's going to be testifying under oath about what he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert's chief of staff. And he claims that he told them about this inappropriate behavior between Foley and pages back several years ago. This is something that Scott Palmer, Speaker Hastert's chief of staff, continues to deny. He denies that he had any such contact.
Now in recent days, the committee has sent a letter to all House members, saying that they should contact all of their current and former House pages to see if there was any kind of inappropriate exchanges that occurred between their pages and Mark Foley or, for that matter, any other member of Congress. And, Soledad, looking at the calendar right now, we are exactly one month from November midterms.
S. O'BRIEN: Might be a very long month for some folks.
Andrea Koppel for us on Capitol Hill. Thanks, Andrea.
M. O'BRIEN: The Mark Foley scandal is helping to shape the political climate for that election a month away. And new polls confirm the forecast -- stormy weather ahead for Republicans. Sour senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, in West Palm Beach again for us this morning.
Good morning, Bill.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.
Well, is the Mark Foley scandal having an impact on the voters? We have the evidence.
SCHNEIDER, (voice over): President Bush's job approval is pretty bad, 39 percent. Congress' job approval is worse, 28 percent. More than 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. The Mark Foley controversy has taken a toll.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: When you talk about the page issue and what's happened in the Congress, I'm deeply sorry that this has happened.
SCHNEIDER: Three-quarters of the public feel Republican leaders in Congress handled the Foley matter inappropriately. Most Republicans feel that way too. Most people believe the failure of Republican leaders to investigate the matter was a deliberate coverup, not because they were unaware of the serious and inappropriate nature of Foley's behavior. And most think Dennis Hastert should resign as speaker of the House. More than a third of Republicans think Hastert should resign.
Is the controversy likely to affect the midterm vote? Among all registered voters, the impact looks small. The Democrats' lead over the Republicans nationwide has gone from 13 to 16 points, a statistically insignificant change. But there's a gap in voter motivation.
Democrats are more enthusiastic than Republicans about voting this year. That could account for the shift among likely voters. Among those likely to vote, Democrats had an 11-point lead in the vote for Congress last week. The Democrats' lead among likely voters has now nearly doubled to 21 percent.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: The scandal has hurt all members of Congress. Ethics ratings for congressmen from both parties have gone down over the past year. But congressional Republicans are rated as less ethical than Democrats.
M. O'BRIEN: Bill, you've been in a district right next to Mark Foley's former district. Are voters there -- is this at the top of their list on their mind or are they more concerned about, say, the war in Iraq?
SCHNEIDER: Well, in the last week or so, the Foley scandal has dominated the news coverage and the newspapers in the local district. It's something people are talking about. It's something they comprehend. A lot of people around here knew Mark Foley, even if they didn't live in his district.
He was covered by the Palm Beach media. He grew up here. They felt they knew him very well. They didn't know as much as they thought they did. But that coverage has been on a lot of voters' minds here.
Certainly they're worried about the war in Iraq. Certainly that's a major concern. But a local issue like the Foley controversy has dominated the news.
M. O'BRIEN: Bill Schneider in West Palm, thank you.
For more on this or any other political story, log on to our website at cnn.com/ticker.
Let's get a quick check of the traveler's forecast now. You bags may already be packed. You might have to add a sweater or something. Chad will have that for you.
S. O'BRIEN: Coming up this morning, officials have recalled thousands of cases of lettuce over E. Coli fear. But how much tainted lettuce is still on store shelves? We'll take a look at that this morning.
And then, if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. Google buys YouTube in a massive deal. Andy's got details ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
M. O'BRIEN: This just in to the CNN news wall there. We are getting reports out of Baghdad, the west part of the city at least. Ten people killed, four wounded, when a bomb placed under a car exploded near a bakery there. This on the same day that they discovered no less than 60 bodies in and around the city of Baghdad, all exhibiting signs of torture. Once again, the crescendo of violence continues in Baghdad. We'll get more from CNN's Arwa Damon in the capital city of Iraq a little bit later.
S. O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning.
In Ohio, it turns out there was no credible threat. Here's what happened. A commuter plane flight was diverted from Cincinnati to Cleveland. It happened last night after a passenger claimed there was a bomb on board. The passenger was taken into custody. No bomb was found. There were no injuries to the 13 passengers or the three crew members, fortunately.
A National Guard soldier on patrol in New Orleans has shot a man. It's the first time any guardsman patrolling that city's opened fire. Police say the guardsman felt threatened after he broke up a fight between two men. He's expected to make a full recovery.
In California, a lettuce processing company is still trying to track down about 250 cartons of recalled lettuce. More than 8,000 cartons of Foxy brand lettuce were recalled in seven west coast states over concerns they were tainted with E. Coli bacteria. So far no illnesses have been reported.
And three small towns in Alaska are telling Venezuela to keep your oil. The Alaskan natives are reacting to last month's U.N. speech by the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. That's the one where he called President Bush the devil. They're refusing an offer of free heating oil for the bitterly cold winter. Residents there pay at least $300 a month to heat their homes.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, the founders of YouTube, a couple of happy guys. What a great country this is, Andy Serwer. A couple of guys two years ago get this idea, hey, let's put video on the web and now they're billionaires.
ANDY SERWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was the best party they ever went to. I don't know if you know this story. We're talking about YouTube, which is going to be bought by Google in an announcement yesterday, $1.65 billion. And, yes, indeed, Miles, capitalism is alive and well in this country. Twenty months ago these guys went to a party, took some video and said, gee, wouldn't it be great if we could put this on the web so our friends could see this because they missed this great party?
M. O'BRIEN: And the rest is history.
SERWER: That was the genesis of YouTube. These guys put together this business in a garage in northern California. Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, 28 and 29 years old. And they are very, very happy and rich guys this morning. Last night they put up a video on their website, on YouTube, to make this announcement about this acquisition. And it's a little bit different from the average corporate fare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is great. Two kings have gotten together and we're going to be able to provide you with even better service and build even more innovative features for you. I don't know. Just keep going. Two kings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it mean for the user community?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two kings have gotten together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
M. O'BRIEN: They can't even keep a straight face.
SERWER: I don't know. Maybe they had a few cocktails. It's just they're having a lot of fun. And it's so different from the usual canned performance where the two CEOs get together wearing their suit and ties and, you know, bather on about something about how they're going to create this or that for their customers. These guys are just having fun and that's what this business is all about and that's what's made it so successful.
M. O'BRIEN: Can they keep that attitude in this company as it gets bigger and maybe starts making a few bucks?
SERWER: You know, the rate of change is so amazingly fast in this business. You look at Yahoo!, which didn't make this deal, and everyone's calling this company, Yahoo!, a dinosaur now. Whereas two months ago they were cutting edge. Things change very quickly. Become part of a big company, you can lose some of that luster.
M. O'BRIEN: And are we seen Internet bubble version two maybe?
SERWER: A little bit. I mean, this company is not making oodles of money at this point, so that's a lot of money to pay up for a business that is still developing.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. What you got next?
SERWER: We're going to be talking about a $12 million diamond. Maybe these two guys can afford it. But a little out of my range.
M. O'BRIEN: $12 million diamond.
SERWER: $12 million diamond.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. Honey, you're not getting that one.
All right. Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, guys, thank you.
Ahead this morning, we're going to talk to the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, in the wake of several school shooting. What can the government do to keep children safe. We'll take a look at that.
And then later, do you need to lose a few pounds? How far would you go? Would you change your diet? Do more exercise? Would you join the military? You'll meet someone who did that straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien.
Taking a look at our news wall, here are some of the stories we're following this morning for you.
Ominous words from North Korea this morning. Pyongyang apparently threatening to fire a nuclear missile. The U.S. calling for severe sanctions aimed at the Kim Jong-il regime.
S. O'BRIEN: In the aftermath of several school shootings, the White House is holding a national summit on school violence this morning. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is our guest just ahead.
M. O'BRIEN: The National Weather Service will release its first official winter forecast in an hour and Chad has a preview for you now.
S. O'BRIEN: President Bush today is convening a national summit on school violence. Seven people have died in school shootings in the last two weeks, alone. On Monday a potential blood bath was averted at a middle school in Joplin, Missouri, where police say a seventh grader came to school wearing a black trench coat and firing an assault rifle. He had planned, apparently, a Columbine-style shooting.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be taking part in the school safety summit, there in Chevy Chase, Maryland, this morning.
It's nice to see both of you. And thank you very much for talking with us.
ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good morning.
Let's begin with you, Madam Secretary, what do you hope, tangibly speaking, what do you want to get out of this summit?
MARGARET SPELLINGS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Well, we want to take this opportunity, this teachable moment, as we educators call it, to bring law enforcement officials, educators, experts together, and people who have been in affected communities and share best practices, remind ourselves of the things we need to do to be ready, to be able to respond, and then to be able to recover if a tragic incident happens in your community.
I think one of the things we learned in the last several weeks is really this sort of thing can happen anywhere. It's important we be on our toes at all times. We're going to have a dialogue about how to best do that, how to make sure teachers, parents, educators, law enforcement officials are all aware and ready to respond, if necessary.
S. O'BRIEN: Many people would say, okay, we know it could happen at any time. Unfortunately, we had to learn that lesson in the wake of Columbine. Some of the parents of the victims will say, you know, at the summits you sit around and talk about great ideas. How do you translate that into changing schools, into action?
SPELLINGS: We have many national organizations that are represented here, and we are going to be using them to help distribute information. We have lots of resources and materials available, many Web sites. There's a whole guide about best practices.
I think if we can't really overestimate the need to make sure that people have this word and they know what to do in these situations. We take for granted -- folks do plans and they sit on the shelf. In education, where you have a constantly changing cast of characters with parents and personnel and so forth, we really have to remind ourselves continually what do we do if this happens in our community?
S. O'BRIEN: Attorney General Gonzales, what do you think needs to be done to try to stop school violence?
GONZALES: Well, we obviously need to make sure that we have our laws -- we have good laws to deal with this kind of violence. We have really spent a lot of time prosecuting violent crime during the Bush administration. I think prosecutions are up on violent crimes, like 65 percent since 2001. It really has been a focus to go against gun crimes. Obviously, most of these crimes that occur in the schools do involve guns.
What we're doing is to send a very clear message that if you're going to engage a crime using a gun, there are going to be severe consequences for doing so.
S. O'BRIEN: At the same time, people say that's focusing on the horse that's already left the barn. I mean, you look at this case in Joplin, where the seventh grader has a Mac-90 assault rifle? Do you think we should be looking at stronger gun laws so whether it was legally purchased, or illegally purchased, who needs to have an assault rifle?
GONZALES: Well, again, during the Bush administration, our primary focus is on existing laws. As a result we have seen violent gun crimes go down during the time of this president. The focus should be on criminals who break the law, not focusing on law-abiding citizens who follow the law.
Obviously, we want to ensure we have an environment where our kids can learn. It's difficult for the kids to learn if they don't feel safe. The way we can do our part in the law enforcement community -- one of the things that we can do is to educate people, to provide training to state and local officials at the federal level and to prosecute people who engage in violent gun crimes.
S. O'BRIEN: I talked to a guy the other day, a teacher in Wisconsin -- no, a lawmaker, forgive me, in Wisconsin, who said, you know what, the solution is to arm the teachers. What do you make of a solution like that?
GONZALES: You mean arming our teachers?
S. O'BRIEN: That's what he said. He's literally proposing legislation to arm the teachers.
GONZALES: I think our teachers are there to provide and education for our children; they're there to train, to teach our children. They're not there to protect our children. The protection of our children should be left to law enforcement officials, the state and local officials. One of the things we'll be doing today is to examine best practices, to see what else can be done to secure the facilities, to provide training to state and local officials to ensure the safety of our kids.
S. O'BRIEN: Sadly, it is the perfect time for a summit like this in the wake of all that violence. Thank you very much, the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales joining us this morning. And also, of course, the Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Thank you, appreciate it.
M. O'BRIEN: North Korea is now threatening to launch a nuclear missile. But there are questions about what the country's true capabilities are. And also about the success of Sunday's underground test. CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr joining us live now with further details.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning to you, Miles.
Still, no definitive words, many days later now about whether North Korea's test, in fact, was a nuclear test. Arms control tests in Vienna expect to have the radiological data they collected fully analyzed by tomorrow. We may learn more.
But a senior U.S. military official, with some very direct knowledge of what has transpired, says still at this hour the U.S. government simply does not know. There appear to be three options about what North Korea did.
Either, they did it, they did have a nuclear test, they faked it, or it was a dud. What does appear to be emerging, it was a relatively -- whatever it was, it was a relatively small test, less than 500 tons of explosive power. In fact, that's very small.
So, why can't the U.S. figure out what happened? Well, because it was a small test, the seismic readings are difficult to figure out, whether it was conventional or, in fact, if it was nuclear. Also it now appears U.S. satellites and sensors were struggling to find the right location where to look to see what the North Koreans were up to.
By all accounts this test took place not just underground, but in a deeply buried tunnel that the U.S. certainly -- U.S. satellites would not have seen. Anything the U.S. saw by flying satellites or sensors, was apparently -- according to this official -- what the North Koreans wanted us to see.
Most of the work was carried deep underground, out of sight. The North Koreans may well have understood when U.S. satellites were passing over. So, again, much of what the U.S. may have seen about the preparations for this test was apparently exactly what Pyongyang wanted us to see -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: So, Barbara, it could all be just a rouse, but does anyone doubt that the North Koreans have some sort of nuclear capability?
STARR: I don't think there's much doubt at this point, in the U.S. intelligence community, or intelligence services around the world, for that fact, that the North Koreans do have nuclear technology, nuclear capability. They have stated as such, of course, many times. Whether that's been verified to 100 percent remains to be seen. But that certainly is the working assumption.
The logical question, of course, for many people is asking the Bush administration why no military action? Why no strike? Why no pre-emptive strike against all of this? It gets back to that intelligence question, Miles. Many of the targets are simply not known to the U.S., not sure where all their nuclear capability may be. Much of it is deep underground, potentially out of the range of U.S. weapons.
And I asked that senior military official, OK, you guys went to war in Iraq over a lot less than this in terms of WMD. Why not North Korea? He had that was then, this is now -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you.
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton will join us next hour to talk about North Korea and the diplomatic options -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, the runaway bride, remember her? Jennifer Wilbanks, she's back in the news. She's involved in another lawsuit. We'll tell you why.
Plus, caught on camera. A big mistake by an elderly driver leads to disaster at a Sears Store. Those stories and much more ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
M. O'BRIEN: Welcome back to the program. If you're headed out the door, Chad Myers has some advice for you. (WEATHER REPORT)
S. O'BRIEN: In America this morning, take a look at this some college students at this college, this is Randolph-Macon Women's College, in Lynchburg, Virginia, well, they're suing their school over the college's plans to admit men starting next fall. Students claim it's a violation of the school's contract with them. They want the school to hold off admitting men until all the current students have graduated.
In Georgia, now, Jennifer Wilbanks, remember that name? Runaway bride. She is suing her former fiance. It's no big surprise, of course, that Wilbanks and John Mason, that's the fiance, they broke up after she took off to Vegas and New Mexico and made international headlines. Well, here's what she wants. Half a million dollars, her share, she says, of the proceeds from selling their story, and also the sale of their house.
In Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 25 miles south of Albuquerque, marijuana-laced burgers were served to police, at that Burger King, right there. The officers ate about half their meals before they noticed something was wrong. Field tests on the burgers came back positive for pot. Police arrested three Burger King employees.
Not such a smart idea to serve it to cops.
And take a look at this. This is the aftermath of what an 84- year-old woman did when she crashed her car right through the wall of an Orlando Sears Department Store. It was all caught on the security cameras. The woman said she accidentally pressed the gas pedal. Drove herself right into the tool department. Fortunately, nobody was hurt -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, how far would you go to shed a few pounds?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be forced to lose weight. I'll be forced to get out there and run each day. What more motivation can you ask for?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
M. O'BRIEN: AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho will tell us the story of a woman who joined the Air Force to lose a little weight. That story is ahead.
S. O'BRIEN: The Pentagon is set to announce that it's met its recruiting goals for 2006. Last year they missed their target by the widest margin in two decades. There are lots of reasons that young men and women join the military. Now there's a new one, to lose weight. AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho has one woman's pretty incredible story.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING (voice over): Alisa Fliss is a 32-year-old mother of two, currently healthy and fit. But for most of her life, she battled eating disorders. At age 18 she surprised everyone. Instead of going to college, she joined the military, enlisted in the Air Force.
ALISA FLISS, JOINED MILITARY TO LOSE WEIGHT: It's going to help me lose weight. I'll be forced to lose weight. I'll be forced to get out there and run each day. What more motivation could you ask for?
CHO (on camera): It seems so extreme.
FLISS: It does, but I think I had tried everything else.
CHO (voice over): The rigorous exercise, the routine weigh-ins, she believes all of it would help her stay slim. It wasn't enough. So Alisa when a step further.
ALISA: Just a lot of over exercising, a lot of dieting, restricting what I ate and purging whatever I did eat.
CHO: Alisa is not alone. At least two government studies say women in the military are three times more likely to suffer eating disorders than female civilians.
DR. JILL HRANICKA, RENFEW CLINIC: Any time you have an environment that emphasizes that much focus on weight, appearance and physical fitness, just like elite athletes, you're going to see a higher incidence of eating disorders.
CHO: The military does not disclose how many women are affected. Major Stewart Upton, a U.S. military spokesman says he's aware that some join just to lose weight, and that eating disorders exist in the military. But, he says, the military offers counseling programming for these disorders in every division.
At first Alisa found success in the military. She excelled in the classroom, held leadership positions, and she lost so much weight she was kicked out.
FLISS: My job in the military was a police officer. I don't think that anybody in that frame of mind should be carrying a weapon or guarding nuclear missiles.
CHO: Alisa has recovered now but still thinks about her weight every day and still wonders whether she would have enlisted, had it not been for the lure of losing weight.
FLISS: I think the difference is that the eating disorder, it was a loud voice before. And I never talked back. And now I do every single day.
CHO: A battle she may be fighting for the rest of her life. Alina Cho, CNN, New York.
S. O'BRIEN: Apparently Alisa enlisted in the Air Force back in 1992, at the height of Operation Desert Storm. She said she wanted to be sent to a war zone so she wouldn't have any access to good food.
M. O'BRIEN: Wow.
S. O'BRIEN: Strange story.
M. O'BRIEN: In a moment, today's top stories, including the Mark Foley scandal.
Plus, Andy, "Minding Your Business" to tell us about one whopper of a diamond. That's a diamond? It would kind of weigh your hand down a little bit.
S. O'BRIEN: That's all right.
M. O'BRIEN: That's all right. You'll take it. Wait till you hear how much this went for. You're not getting it, Soledad. I'm sorry. Stay with us.
M. O'BRIEN: This just coming into us right now, on the video wall. This is a scene from Baltimore, Maryland this morning in the Greek Town section. An overnight fire began about 2:30 a.m., local time. For those of you who are familiar with that part of the world, South Macon Street is the location.
Two occupants of the home injured, but a firefighter died after battling that blaze. Forty-year-old Allen Roberts, a 19-year veteran of the fire department. Apparently, one of those buildings collapsed, there and in the midst of that, he died.
Once again, two people injured and a firefighter dead in a fire there in Baltimore, Maryland. That courtesy of WTTG, our Washington affiliate, over there in Baltimore this morning -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Oh, that's sad news there. All right, Miles. Thanks.
Let's turn to business news now. No surprise that Toyota is trying to beat GM. Here's a look at their latest move. Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business".
ANDY SERWER, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning, Soledad.
It should be another year or so before Toyota overtakes General Motors and becomes the largest automaker in the world. How are they going to do that? Well, a sign now, a new Corolla. Toyota is rolling out a new edition of its best selling care. First in Japan, and there it is This is the first new Corolla model since 2000. Actually, the car is 40 years old, Soledad, the Corolla, as the model.
S. O'BRIEN: Wow, really? I didn't know that.
SERWER: It goes back to '66. That's right. And it accounts for about 20 percent of Toyota sales. There's some more vintage Corolla footage there.
S. O'BRIEN: What, '80s, something like that?
SERWER: Yes, that's probably right.
This is amazing. They make these -- they make them in 16 countries, sell them in 140 countries. It should be coming to the U.S. probably the end of next year. Just to give you an idea how big the Corolla is, they sell 1.39 million models of those, compared to 175,000 Prias. So, the Prias gets all the headlines, the Corolla is the bread & butter.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, that brings home the bacon.
SERWER: That's right.
Switching gears here a little bit, want to tell you about a priceless gem in the South African nation of Lesotho, that was bought by a diamond dealer there; $12 million stone called the Lesotho Promise. And it is a monster rock. It is the size of a golf ball, 603 karats, weights about a quarter of a pound, by my calculations.
Look nice there on that hand, Soledad, wouldn't it?
S. O'BRIEN: It would look so good on me. Yes. I was just thinking that.
SERWER: They're going to cut it down to one 60 karat stone and a bunch of other little ones. It is a Class D stone.
S. O'BRIEN: One 60? A 6-0?
SERWER: A 6-0 karat stone.
S. O'BRIEN: Wow.
SERWER: And then a bunch of little stones to go around it. It is a Class D stone, which is a great one. The biggest diamond of all time, The Culinan (ph), 3100 karats, and it's part of the British crown jewels.
S. O'BRIEN: Oh, that's a big diamond.
SERWER: Size of a bowling ball. That big one. Can you imagine?
S. O'BRIEN: That would look good on my hand, too.
SERWER: She's dragging like that.
S. O'BRIEN: It would be heavy, but it would look good.
What do you have coming up? SERWER: Coming up next, we're going to be talking about a product out of Harley-Davidson that is a little bit different. Has to do with jerky, and I'm not talking about the ride. We'll leave it at that.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, Andy, thank you.
M. O'BRIEN (voice over): Here's a look at what CNN correspondents, all around the world, are covering today.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING: I'm Arwa Damon in Baghdad.
The Iraqi government is still investigating a bizarre case of food poisoning that left hundreds of Iraqi policemen ill after they consumed their evening meal on Sunday. Initial suspicions were that it was deliberate poisoning.
However, test results -- as of now -- are indicating that it was just a case of negligence. So far the chief of the mess hall and a number of chefs have been detained for interrogation.
Meanwhile, violence has erupted, once again, in the southern city of Diwaniya, at least 11 suspected terrorists were killed, two U.S. soldiers wounded after clashes erupted there Monday evening. This follows fierce fighting there on Sunday that left 30 suspected terrorists killed. Meanwhile, in the capital of Baghdad, alone, Iraqi police have found ten days into October, a total of at least 250 bodies. And so far in October, 32 U.S. troops here have lost their lives.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING: I'm Matthew Chance in Moscow.
Tributes have been flooding in as Russians pay their respects to Anna Politkovskaya. One of this country's leading investigative journalists and a fierce critic of the Kremlin. She was gunned down inside this, her Moscow apartment building at the weekend.
The United States, and other countries, have expressed their shock and concern. The Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised the murder will be fully and objectively investigated. Police say it was a contract killing, possibly linked to the journalist's work in the Russian Republic of Chechnya.
Her funeral takes place later today.
ALPHONSO VAN MARSCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING: I'm Alphonso Van Marsh, in South Africa, where a group of grandmothers are sewing funky fabric children's dolls to help families affected by poverty and AIDS. The Shway-Schway (ph) puppy dolls were designed by five to seven-year-old children and are already popular in Africa and Europe and may be coming to a store near you. M. O'BRIEN: For more on these, or any of our top stories, log on to our Web site, cnn.com. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.
Good morning to you, it is Tuesday, October 10. I'm Miles O'Brien.
S. O'BRIEN: I'm Soledad O'Brien. Let's begin at the news wall, for a look at some of the stories we're following for you today.
Ominous words for North Koreans, as reports that Pyongyang is threatening to fire a nuclear tipped missile. We're monitoring all aspects of this developing story.
M. O'BRIEN: Also happening this morning, the investigation into the Foley scandal widening. Lawmakers now contacting all ex-pages to see if the former congressman preyed on them as well.
In the wake of the recent rash of school shootings and threats the White House today holding a national summit on school violence.
S. O'BRIEN: Was it intentional sabotage that caused the food poisoning of hundreds of Iraqi policemen? Or was it just negligence? The man in charge of the mess hall is now under arrest.
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