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Violence in Iraq Continues; Saudi Arabia Threatens U.S. Over Potential Iraqi Pullout; Search Is On For British Serial Killer

Aired December 13, 2006 - 09:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone.
You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Tony Harris.


For the next three hours, watch events happen live on this Wednesday, the 13th of December.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Iraq in flames -- the president at the Pentagon today for advice. The war straining ties with an old friend. A threat reported from the Saudi king.

HARRIS: A serial killer on the loose in the U.K. Five women murdered in the small town of Ipswich this month.

COLLINS: And the FDA could put stronger warnings on anti- depressants.

The concern?

An increased suicide risk in young adults. Dr. Sanjay Gupta in THE NEWSROOM.

From war front to the home front, Iraq is in the spotlight and there is a lot going on. President Bush at the Pentagon today getting input from the military's top brass, as he works up a new strategy for Iraq.

Also, a new warning from Saudi Arabia against a U.S. pullout from Iraq. Then this -- we're told the Iraqi government has a plan that would put its security forces in control of Baghdad. And on the crucial issue of troop strength, a new report. The Army and Marine Corps are planning to ask for more ground troops to meet global challenges.

Now to Iraq and another round of attacks -- blasts in Baghdad. While in northern Iraq, an Army base is the together.

The latest now from CNN's Baghdad bureau chief, Cal Perry -- Cal, give us the latest.

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you, Heidi.

It's unrelenting violence again on this day in Iraq. Three significant attacks to tell you about on this day. The first at about 9:00 a.m. in the eastern section of the city. A car bomb exploding there, killing at least 10. Some 26 others wounded.

Then, as you mentioned, in the northern section of the country, in fact, in Kirkuk, Iraqi Army soldiers protecting the very valuable oil research up there coming under attack. A dual suicide truck bombing killing at least seven of those soldiers, wounding another 10.

And then back to Baghdad, about two hours after the attack in Kirkuk, again in the eastern section of the city, two car bombs killing at least five, wounding another 10 people.

Now, of course, this also comes 24 hours after 71 people were killed in the capital. Those funerals going on today, as, again Baghdad residents are coming under more and more attacks -- Heidi.

COLLINS: I understand, Cal, that Prime Minister Maliki wants to accelerate the hand over of Baghdad while the U.S. pulls back to those suburbs that we've been hearing about.

What's the U.S. reaction to that? Are they ready to do it that way?

PERRY: Well, in fact, U.S. reaction has been quite mixed. The concern, of course, is the ability of these Iraqi security forces to take control of the streets. Now, as we've seen in the past, especially in Operation Together Forward three months ago, some 50,000 troops, Iraqi troops on the streets. And we understand that from U.S. military source -- Heidi, I'm sorry. There's actually quite a bit of gunfire going on behind me. I'm not sure what that is.

But Major General Caldwell today actually addressing the press about Iraqi security forces. His major concern, again, the ability of these security forces.


MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: We've always said that as the Iraqi security forces become more capable and able to operate independently, without the assistance and support of coalition forces, then, in fact, that will allow us to reposition, go into an over watch and eventually withdraw those forces.

And so what the national security adviser, Dr. Rubaie, was talking about is a plan that they have come up with. Obviously, we all believe that to find solutions for the Iraqi problems, it's going to take Iraqi solutions.


PERRY: Now, Heidi, it may be an Iraqi problem, but, of course, U.S. troops remaining here on the ground. And for the everyday Iraqi civilian, the concerns with Iraqi security forces, of course, their trustworthiness. We've heard from Iraqi politicians in the past saying that many of those security forces have been infiltrated by both insurgents and by Shia militias.

So for the everyday Iraqi civilian, when you come across an Army checkpoint, the question in everyone's mind, are the men wearing these uniforms really Iraqi security forces or is it perhaps an ambush -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. Yes, that's been going on for quite some time. A frightening situation.

Cal Perry, check into the gunfire.

Please stay safe.

We'll get back to you a little bit later on in the show.

HARRIS: Sunni versus Shia a combustible mix in Iraq. And now a warning from the long time U.S. ally could add fuel to the fire. A source says Saudi Arabia has warned Washington it might step into the Iraq conflict if American troops pull out of Iraq. We're told the Saudis indicated they may provide backing to fellow Sunni fighters in Iraq to prevent a massacre a the hands of the Shiite majority.

A senior administration official says Saudi King Abdullah conveyed that blunt message to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago. That's when the vice president made a sudden visit to Riyadh.

A closer look now at Iraq's neighbors and how they split along sectarian lines. Most Muslims in Iran are Shiites. Sunnis are in the majority in Saudi Arabia and Syria and in Jordan.

Conjuring memories of Jack The Ripper, Britain now faces the possibility of another serial killer preying on prostitutes.

CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh has the details.


CHIEF SUPT. STEWART GULL, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE: Two bodies have been found near Ipswich.

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Suffolk County police confirming news that everyone in this English countryside town feared the most. Two more bodies found in rural areas naked, just like three other women found since the beginning of the month.

Police suspect they were targeted because they were call girls, working the streets of Ipswich. Police are hesitant to say there is a serial killer on the loose, but they do say the murderer or murderers are likely part of or clientele of the area's so-called working girl industry.

GULL: I do believe that the working girls probably hold the key to who is responsible. So they need to maintain contact with us.

VAN MARSH (on camera): Since the body of prostitute Gemma Adams was found here on December 2, British authorities have come back to this countryside river numerous times in the search for clues.

(voice-over): Clues in a mysterious string of murders, putting the spotlight on the seedy underground sex trade in Ipswich, known for its low crime rate, now the talk of the nation.

Newspaper headlines reflect the "terror in town" over fears of a possible serial Suffolk strangler. The holiday season overshadowed by fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very scary. I just -- usually I would walk everywhere. Now I don't. I just can't. I get family or friends to take me where I need to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this man isn't caught, it's only a matter of time before he, you know, picks up a woman that is, you know, that's not a prostitute and that's just an ordinary mom.

VAN MARSH: "Katie" runs a service where she says that men can "have a good time." She says half her working girls have quit for fears they'll be the killer's next victim. And she's offering an olive branch to the women she'd normally consider competition.

"KATIE," AQUARIUS PARLOR OWNER: What we are offering is that for all the street girls to actually come into our venue and work for the evening, so they're not out on the streets, so they are actually in somewhere safe.

VAN MARSH: Too late for 19 year Tania Nicol. On Friday, police pulled her naked body from this river. Police hoping this is not a recurring scene, one that they can stop before the killer or killers strike again.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Ipswich, England.


HARRIS: And we will continue to follow this search for a serial killer. There's this note. One woman believed to be the latest victim gave an ominous interview just days before her disappearance. Hear her words later in THE NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: The weather window closing fast and the search for three missing climbers grows desperate. More heavy snow and high winds expected today on Oregon's Mount Hood.

Reporter Scott Burton of CNN affiliate KGW has the details.


SCOTT BURTON, KGW CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Defeated and depleted, rescuers returned to base Tuesday night clearly beaten by Mount Hood's power. LINDSAY CLUNES, CORVALLIS MOUNTAIN RESCUE: At times, if you picked your foot up, it would just blow it away. So if you'd put your foot down too soon and your foot was gone, you'd fall down.

BURTON: This was supposed to be their big break. Some of the area's best packed down on Snowcat in the morning. And Oregon National Guard helicopter finally got airborne by afternoon. But by day's end, the chopper never crossed 7,000 feet and blistering winds prevented rescuers from climbing much higher.

SHERIFF JOE WAMPLER, HOOD RIVER COUNTY, OREGON: We had consistent 85 mile an hour winds above the 8,000 foot level.

BURTON: As a result, still missing are three veteran climbers -- Jerry Cooke of New York, Brian Hall and Kelly James of Dallas, Texas.

Rescue crews believe James is bunkered in a snow cave near the mountain's 11,000 foot summit. He called his family Sunday from a cell phone.

FRANK JAMES, BROTHER OF MISSING CLIMBER: He expressed to them that he was in a snow cave, that -- he didn't say anything about injury. He said the other two climbers had gone on ahead. We're sort of putting things together, assume that there was perhaps there was some injury and they had gone to seek help.

BURTON: Rescuers are using James' cell phone as a honing beacon. They've pinned his location down to a quarter mile but they can't reach him and they don't know where his climbing companions are now.

JAMES: These are three very experienced climbers. My brother has been climbing for 25 years. And so they would know what to do in a difficult situation.

VAN MARSH: But the situation is growing worse by the minute and reality is setting in. More snow is forecast and reaching these climbers may be impossible by week's end.

CLUNES: No. It would be very difficult to do. I'm sorry, but it would be very difficult to do.

BURTON: In Mount Hood, Oregon, I'm Scott Burton for CNN.


COLLINS: Our Chad Myers is standing by now in the Weather Center to give us the very latest for this particular area -- Chad, it is not looking good.



HARRIS: Military operations in Iraq -- the top Pentagon brass laying them out today for President Bush. A look straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM. COLLINS: And anti-depressants and suicide -- are millions of Americans aware of the risk?

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines that.

HARRIS: And then there's this -- a dark secret hidden for decades. But this man finally reveals to family and friends his college campus crime. The shocking story in THE NEWSROOM.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


HARRIS: A Taco-Bell is reopening more restaurants in the Northeast today. Good news here. But the search goes on for the source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened dozens of people. The bacteria did not turn up in new tests of green onions. Still, green onions will remain absent from the almost, oh, 6,000 Taco-Bells across the country.

COLLINS: Concerns this morning about suicides linked to anti- depressants. Millions of young Americans may not be aware of the risks.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is joining us now about these new FDA warnings.

This is serious stuff.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. It's a fascinating story to me, as well.

The FDA hearings are actually going on right now. They started just about an hour ago. One of the most contentious issues, talking about the actual potential link between actually taking anti- depressants and increasing someone's suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Now, this has been something that's been out there for some time. At the heart of all of this is should there be increased language or even a black box warning on these medications specific for adults warning about this?

Now, I just want to show you a couple of things here. First of all, this is the way that the warning would look. It's actually pretty prominent. You can see the warning actually taped to the outside of the bottle.

COLLINS: But it doesn't say "warning" on it or beware or anything...

GUPTA: No, it doesn't. You have to open it up and read it...


GUPTA: ... which not everyone does. But this already exists when it comes to pediatric and young adult patients. They already have such a warning, specifically warning of a couple of things. One is that there could be an increased risk, as you see there, of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, and that those children should be monitored carefully, both when starting these medications and stopping them, as well.

The hearings asking the same question about adults. If this applies to children and young adults, should it apply to other adults, as well?

COLLINS: Sure. And then the risk, I would think is, as you just mentioned, you can't just stop them.

So people who are taking these right now, what are their options?

GUPTA: Yes, I think what you should is the most important point -- not just stopping them, talking to their doctor specifically if they hear some of the discussion, some of the news over the next couple of days about these warnings, to talk to their doctor about it.

But the American Psychiatric Association is adamantly opposed -- very declarative in this, Heidi -- adamantly opposed to black box warnings.

They say that there's actually what's called a black box suicide cycle that's possible to take place. One -- they point out these things. Depression affects 19 million Americans. Untreated depression has a known 15 percent risk of suicide. And we do know that in the majority of people, higher anti-depression rates equal lower suicide risks.

What they found -- and this is the most important point -- is that in 2004, pediatric prescriptions declined 20 percent. And, Heidi, I mean so many people think that this is a widely under recognized disease already.


GUPTA: There are a lot of people out there with depression watching your show right now who maybe should be treated and aren't getting treated. If you decline the prescription rates even further, are you missing a big chunk of the population?

That's their concern.

COLLINS: Yes. And since we're already talking about people who are prone to these types of thoughts, sometimes, I mean it's very hard, isn't it, to determine the cause of suicidal thoughts?

GUPTA: I think that's the most fascinating thing to me of all, you know? Is it the natural history of this tragic disease that sometimes depression, even treated depression, could lead to suicide?

Other people believe that, you know, people are so depressed that you elevate their mood just enough that they start to have more energy and actually carry out suicidal thoughts and suicidal behaviors...


GUPTA: ... even though their mood has not improved. Or is that in just some people, their brain chemistry changes in such a way as a result of these medications that they actually become more suicidal as opposed to becoming less depressed?

It is confusing, but it is emotionally charged. They're going to hear from loved ones whose -- they've had loved ones who've died of suicide while on these medications.


GUPTA: And they're going to hear from doctors who say let's go slow here.

COLLINS: All right, well, we know that you'll be watching it.

Just a live shot moments ago of those hearings that are taking place as we speak.

GUPTA: Absolutely.

COLLINS: So we'll wait to hear how things turn out.

GUPTA: I'll keep you posted.

COLLINS: All right.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

HARRIS: And still ahead, you know him as the NBA's all time leading scorer. But he's now scoring, and we mean big time, for prostate cancer prevention. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, six time NBA MVP, two time NBA finals MVP, 19 time All Star, joins us live in THE NEWSROOM.

And we are Minding Your Business this morning.

Ali Velshi here with a preview -- good morning, doctor.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why are you putting me up after that stuff?

How am I supposed to look good?

Listen, airline mergers, I'm going to be talking to you about. It's heating up. We're talking about United Airlines and Continental and some talks they're having about being one. I'll tell you about that, but you have to stick around in THE NEWSROOM to find out.


HARRIS: So, with all of the talk of mergers in the airline industry, what does all of this mean for you, the air traveler? We have to talk about each and every one of us here.

Ali Velshi Minding Your Business -- hey, Ali, it's -- what is it, Wednesday or Thursday, Heidi?

What day is it?

VELSHI: Wednesday.

COLLINS: Wednesday.

HARRIS: It's Wednesday.

Don't we normally talk about mergers on Monday...


HARRIS: ... hence the name, Merger Monday. And here we are.

VELSHI: Two good points. One of them is this has been a hot year for mergers. Mergers are a good thing -- they're a good indication that things are going well in business generally.

The other thing is the airline industry, which has come out of, you know, really a few years of slump between terrorism and higher oil prices, it's really, really hit the airline industry hard.

So the issue is how do you fix that? How big does an airline get?

There seems to be some belief that there are too many airlines, there's too many big airlines in the U.S. But we've also seen some of the biggest airlines in the world suffer, as well.

So what do you do?

We heard US Airways wanted to buy Delta as it came out of bankruptcy protection some time in early 2007. Delta told them to get lost.


VELSHI: But all of that has got everybody else talking. And now, today, we have this discussion about United Airlines, UAL, which is the holding company for United Airlines, in discussions with Continental Airlines about a match up for those two.

I should tell you, we've tried to get confirmation from both of these airlines about this, but they won't admit it.

HARRIS: Right.

VELSHI: But people close to these conversations say they've been happening for some time.

HARRIS: Well, when you talk about the possible merger here of Continental and United -- and you're right to point out that they've been talking about this for years now, Delta and US Airways, who knows where that's going to end up?


HARRIS: And then there was a lot about AirTran talking with, what is it, Midwest Air?

VELSHI: Midwest, that's right.

HARRIS: Here's the bottom line on this. I want to know when airlines talk about these possible mergers, there's going to be some analysis of the benefit of this.

VELSHI: Yes...

HARRIS: And I want to know where it cuts for me.

Are we talking about more routes, better routes? Are we talking about more flights to my favorite destinations?

VELSHI: It should. I mean, what we have seen over the last few years is these airline alliances, right, where different airlines sort of hook up together so that you can have a relatively seamless trip from one side to the next.


VELSHI: What we're talking about here, if you look at United and Continental, it actually could make some sense. For instance, United has hubs in Chicago and Denver, and typically serves the western part of the United States very effectively. Continental has hubs in Newark and Houston and serves the eastern part of the United States very effectively.

So that's one logical connection. So you'd have one airline that's doing a bigger part of the United States.

The second thing is international routes. United really, really does very well with Asian routes, while Continental does very well with European and Latin American routes.

So when -- on the face of it, you could look at this and say this kind of makes some sense. The issue is can they really get the benefit of merging without it -- it is going to remove some competition from the market.

HARRIS: Right.

VELSHI: So can they save enough money that it doesn't cause our tickets to go up, but give us the benefits of these seamless connected airlines.

HARRIS: Yes...

VELSHI: And that is a big mystery. HARRIS: ... because, in the final analysis, I want -- I want more non-stops to my favorite destinations.

VELSHI: Correct.

HARRIS: Non-stops.

VELSHI: For not much more money.

HARRIS: Exactly. Without much -- but non-stops, OK?

VELSHI: Non-stops. Yes.

HARRIS: And then I don't want -- I don't want my frequent flier miles impacted.

VELSHI: Yes. And you're safe with that.


VELSHI: I've got to tell you, frequent flier miles virtually never disappear, whether an airline goes bankrupt or merges because the airlines understand that that is the one thing, when you have competition in the airlines, that keeps you loyal to one airline -- A, the routes that you want; and, B, the fact that you build up miles on one airline.

These are two very big, well run-airlines right now. So we're not really -- you're not going to worry about your miles. But you're absolutely right -- for all the alliances and connections...


VELSHI: ... around the world, I don't want to get to a place that I should get to on one flight by having to go through two other places.

HARRIS: Exactly.

VELSHI: So there's a lot of sides.

And the other thing to this is that airlines don't get permission to merge very easily. So even if two airlines wanted to merge, there's a lot of regulatory red tape to go through. And so it's hard to tell.

Now, Continental Airlines' shares are up in pre-market trading on the news of this. But, you know, people look for anything to trade stock with these things.


There he is. There he is Minding Your Business this morning, Ali Velshi.

Ali, thanks for your time. VELSHI: Good to see you.

COLLINS: Stretched thin -- reports today the Army and Marines want to boost their rosters to meet global challenges. We outline that request coming up in THE NEWSROOM.

Also, scouring a snowy mountain for three stranded climbers. The weather just will not cooperate. An update from Mount Hood.

And bugged for her friendship with an American?

U.S. spies may have been listening in on Princess Diana's phone calls. Political motives, coming up right here in THE NEWSROOM.



HARRIS: So let's get you up to speed on Iraq. There is a lot going on today, a lot to tell you about.

President Bush at the Pentagon getting input from the military's top brass, as he works his strategy for Iraq.

Also, a new warning from Saudi Arabia. A source says the Saudis have warned Washington that if U.S. troops move out, they may step in to the Iraq conflict. What does that mean? Well, providing backing to fellow Sunni to prevent a massacre at the hands of the Shiite majority.

Iraq is one of a few countries where Shiites are in power, neighboring Iran is another. Sunnis are in the majority in the area of Saudi Arabia, in Syria and in Jordan.

Then there's this: We're told the Iraqi government has a plan that would put its security forces in control of Baghdad and move U.S. troops to the outskirts of the city. And on the crucial issue of troop strength, "The Washington Post" is reporting that the Army and Marine Corps are planning to ask for more ground troops to meet global challenges.

Man, that's a lot. So let's get the details now on all of these developments live now to our Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

Jamie, good morning.


Well, what that tells you, there's a lot of moving parts to this Iraq strategy. And each one affects the other. President Bush will be coming here today to meet with both the incoming and outgoing Defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, as well as the joint chiefs, and the chairman of the joint chiefs, who has been conducting a review of Iraq strategy. And the big question on the table is, will the president go against the advice of the Iraq Study Group -- and some of his own military commanders -- and decide to dispatch a significantly large number of additional troops to Iraq, say, over the next six months or so to try to turn things around.

Now again, the Iraq Study Group has said that one reason they recommended against that is they don't think the U.S. has enough troops. As you mentioned, reports today that both the Marine Corps and the Army will ask to increase the size of the military. That's not a surprise. The Marine Corps commandant pretty much said as much about two weeks ago. And the Army is on record as saying it needs 30,000 more troops at least. So that will be something that will be on the plate of Robert Gates as he comes in to office.

But while President Bush is getting this advice against sending additional troops in, he's also getting advice from former military commanders and some of these outside experts that they brought in to the White House this week, telling him that if they really want a chance for victory they need to make one last ditch effort, even though the chances of that succeeding might be somewhat slim as well.

So all of these things are something that President Bush has to weigh and so that's one of the reasons he's put off his decision about which way to go until the new year -- Tony.

HARRIS: So, Jamie if the talk is about, at least in some quarters, about increasing troop levels, didn't the Iraq Study Group come back and conclude that there aren't enough troops right now on the ground in Iraq?

MCINTYRE: Well, they concluded that while the U.S. could surge a small number of troops, say about 20,000 or so into Baghdad in the short term, that that really wouldn't make much difference. And they couldn't sustain a large increase of troops over time. That there simply weren't enough troops in the U.S. military to do that without sort of breaking the force.

So that's one reason they ruled that out. But many people, such as John McCain, in Congress, say the only way the U.S. is actually going to be able to salvage this with anything close to a victory, is to go at it, you know, whole hog and really commit a large number of troops. And it's a difficult thing. And that's what President Bush has got to decide. He is, as he says, "The Decider" and he's going to have to make that decision.

HARRIS: The Decider, our Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre for us. Jamie, thank you.

COLLINS: The investigation into Princess Diana's death, a long- awaited report, due out tomorrow. It's raising new questions about U.S. eavesdropping. CNN's David Mattingly has the story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): The British newspaper "The Evening Standard" says a much-anticipated Scotland Yard report on the death of Princess Diana will reveal that U.S. intelligence was bugging her phones because of a friendship with wealthy American financier and philanthropist Theodore Fortsmann.

But former acting director of the CIA, and now a CNN analyst, John McLaughlin believes the couple was not targeted for U.S. wiretaps.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Once this report comes out, in all likelihood it will turn out that there are one or two possibilities. One is that this was a total garble, and there's nothing at all to it. Or the other is that there is some rational and benign explanation for what has been reported.

MATTINGLY: A spokesman for Forstmann says the two were good friends. A source familiar with that friendship tells CNN Forstmann met Diana at a London party in the early '90s, as her marriage to Prince Charles was ending. The two became fast friends with the older Fortsmann frequently acting as a confidante and adviser.

But "The Evening Standard" also reports that U.S. intelligence raised security concerns and played a role in canceling a U.S. vacation Diana and Princes William and Harry planned to take at Fortsmann's home in the Hamptons in the summer of 1997. The paper does not name its sources for the alleged surveillance of the couple, or suggest a reason. It is reporting could not be independently confirmed.

On Monday, the National Security Agency released a statement saying: "NSA did not target Princess Diana's communications."

MCLAUGHLIN: If her name appears in NSA files it's just in -- because she's referred to in some legitimate communication they were monitoring. It's conceivable that U.S. intelligence had an eye on someone that had a relationship with her. But it seems highly unlikely to me. It just doesn't make sense.

MATTINGLY: But even in the absence of fact or context, nine years after her death, Princess Di's life and her associations continue to generate intrigue and speculation. The introduction of the name Ted Fortsmann, a high-profile billionaire with Republican connections, raises new questions and what-ifs for royal watchers like author Gerald Strober.

GERALD STROBER, AUTHOR, "ROYALS": He certainly is a very reputable, major businessman the United States. There would seem to be no reason, whatsoever, other than perhaps the political reason for the Clinton administration, to try to eavesdrop on his conversations.

MATTINGLY: The answers -- or perhaps, even more questions -- will come when the Scotland Yard report is released on Thursday. David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.


COLLINS: American firefighters may soon get the call to help Down Under. Wildfires in Australia have charred almost 1 million acres. That's an area about five times the size of New York City. Thousands of firefighters are trying to control the flames, but that's a tall order, with record temperatures hitting the continent.

HARRIS: Well, it's easy to explain, Heidi. This is a classic El Nino pattern.

COLLINS: And you've been doing more meteorological study. I can see that.

HARRIS: I look over Chad's shoulder from time to time. He doesn't know it.

COLLINS: I'm sure he needs it. Right, Chad?

HARRIS: Unbeknownst to him.


HARRIS: How about this? They are crossing items off their to-do list. The Shuttle Discovery astronauts, we're talking about here. Done with yesterday's spacewalk tasks. They are working inside the space station today. The crews will try the tricky maneuver of folding up one of those solar arrays, one of those panels. It's part of a rewiring project aimed at giving the station enough power for new labs that will arrive next year.

The astronauts will go for another spacewalk tomorrow to continue the rewiring from the outside. NASA managers today cleared Discovery for its December 21 return. No problems with the heat panels. They found absolutely no major damage at all on the shuttle.

COLLINS: A dark secret hidden for decades. But this man finally reveals to friends and family his college campus crime. The shocking story, coming up, right here in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: School shootings: We think of them as a tragedy of our times. But a school shooting a half century ago still reverberates today. Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): For more than three decades, Bob Bechtel has taught at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He's a psychology professor, a well-respected scholar in this community.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Are you ashamed of what you did?

BOB BECHTEL, Oh, worse than that. Ashamed is too -- I mean, it's loathsome. I mean, this is just terrible.

TUCHMAN: Professor Bechtel has kept a horrifying secret about his own college days. The year, 1955, the place, Pennsylvania Swathmore College. Bechtel claims he was bullied by classmates in his dorm.

BECHTEL: I just decided to go home, get my guns, and wipe them out.

TUCHMAN: A documentary called "The Killer Within," a film about Bechtel's secret, complete with the re-enactment of his 1955 shooting spree, will soon be released.

BECHTEL: I had a Mossberg .22 caliber, a lever action rifle, and I had a Smith & Wesson K-22 Masterpiece Revolver. And then I fired without aiming. And I heard this noise, and I knew I -- see, it's funny. I knew I killed him, yet I wished I hadn't. I just thought, OK, that's it.

TUCHMAN: Bechtel had killed 21-year-old Holme Strosser, as he slept. He continued firing additional shots into a door in the hallway. He then decided he was --

BECHTEL: Just going to go turn myself in, get electrocuted, be done with it.

TUCHMAN: But that didn't happen.

(On camera): The sanity commission ruled you were incurably insane?

BECHTEL: That's right, incurably insane.

TUCHMAN: His sentence, life at a state-run sanitarium. The family of Holm Strosser was relieved Bechtel would never again be on the street. But five years later his brother, John Strosser, recalls visiting home and being handed a newspaper clipping by his father.

JOHN STROSSER, VICTIM'S BROTHER: He just gave it to me, to read. And I read it. And he just said, don't ever tell your mother.

TUCHMAN: The 1960 clipping said Bob Bechtel had been freed, that he was cured. His legal obligations complete.

Bechtel decided to hide his past, except to the woman he met and married. But that all recently changed when he decided to tell his daughter Kara, who is featured in the documentary.

KARA BECHTEL, DAUGHTER: So I worry about him in the sense that his character will be maimed forever, and his dying legacy will not be that he was a loving, amazing father. It will be that he was a killer.

TUCHMAN: Kara Bechtel convinced a filmmaker that her father's story could help people understand bullying and school shootings. The film shows the professor breaking the stunning news to students, and to family members.

BECHTEL: I love every one of you, every single one of you. But what I'm going to say to you is going to be very troubling. I killed another student.

TUCHMAN: Bob Bechtel is now quite public about his past.

BECHTEL: The bullies always pick on someone who can't fight back. Once people saw I was paralyzed, this was an attraction.

TUCHMAN: Bechtel has diagnosed himself as a victim of post- traumatic stress disorder. He says regrets killing Holme Strosser, but doesn't come across as a particularly sympathetic man.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You aren't very emotional about what happened back then.

BECHTEL: Well, I've had 50 years to adjust to it.

TUCHMAN (voice over): But this man cannot get used to it.

STROSSER: The victim is my brother. He's the one he killed.

That's Holmes, and that's me.

TUCHMAN: John Strosser says his brother, who would have been 70 years old now, was a wonderful person, the star of the family.

STROSSER: He probably more, than anything else, was a leader.

TUCHMAN: Strosser never knew what happened after Bechtel's release. He tried not to think about it, until another newspaper headline caught his eye.

STROSSER: I found out about it, and saw the headline in the paper, "I killed my tormentor". I mean, it was just unbelievable.

TUCHMAN: One thing Strosser is sure of --

STROSSER: My brother was not a bully. And so he's taking this sort of example of murder, and then using it as an excuse to explain why he did this. And I think that's just absolutely outrageous.

TUCHMAN: I asked Bob Bechtel if the man he shot was one of the people he claims bullied him.

BECHTEL: I kind of think so, but I'm not really sure.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So, you don't know?

BECHTEL: You see, I think they all were --

TUCHMAN: I mean, he was a random victim of your -- your --

BECHTEL: I assumed that they all were, OK? That they were all on that floor, they were all in on it.

STROSSER: He was not bullied at Swarthmore. He was not harassed at Swarthmore.

TUCHMAN (voice over): In the movie, Bechtel's daughter shows she is still having a difficult time getting over the shock of the secret. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had planned a mass murder. I mean, he planned to kill everyone. He was going to kill everyone in the dorm.

I'm thinking about this now. It's like, my god, he would have been like one of the greatest mass murders in America's history, and that seems so weird to me. That that's not my father.

TUCHMAN: As it is, he did kill a fellow student. And by doing that became one of the first well-documented school shooters. In addition to the movie, Bob Bechtel is writing a book he's entitling, "Redemption".

BECHTEL: When I was young, people used to get me to cry for amusement. So I'm not interested in crying anymore.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.


COLLINS: Plesiosaur discovery: A new buzz for an ancient swimmer. Prehistoric news coming up -- look at that, in the NEWSROOM.

OK, Ladies, and some of you guys, too. Forget the fancy lotions at high-priced department stores. The best wrinkle-free fighters may be the cheap ones. Find out in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Got wrinkles? Looks like you don't need to spend a fortune on anti-aging creams. "Consumer Reports" get this now, says the expensive stuff doesn't work any better than the cheaper ones.

Its study finds Olay Regenerist (ph) is the most effective at reducing wrinkles and costs about 19 bucks, at your nearest drug store. Incredibly -- yes, incredibly -- the most expensive cream costing about $335, an ounce, was among the least effective. Full of water -- no, I really don't know that.


COLLINS: But the real wrinkle is this. None of the products made a significant difference in the skin's appearance. So there you go.

HARRIS: A rare discovery, Heidi, a revealing peek into yesteryear. U.S. and Argentine scientists find a skeleton of a Plesiosaur.

COLLINS: Now, those are wrinkles.

HARRIS: I don't know if I pronounced that correctly, though, Plesiosaur.

COLLINS: Plesiosaur.

HARRIS: No, that's not correct. COLLINS: I don't know.

HARRIS: In Antarctica. We need to check with our children. They'll know. The long-necked reptile once swam the southern oceans oh, some 70 million years ago. CNN's Jenny Harrison has more.


JENNY HARRISON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it's a fossil, and it's five feet long, and it's a baby Plesiosaur, which is very rare to find. The bones are so fragile it doesn't tend to preserve very well. The adult used to grow to about 30 feet in length.

Now, scientists have made this discovery, along -- they found the remains of a 70 million-year-old Plesiosaur at Vega (ph) Island, in the Antarctic. It's one of the best specimens they have ever seen.

The scientists describe a Plesiosaur as a sleek and submarine shape with the ability to fly through the water, looking a lot like the legendary Loch Ness monster. And the last Plesiosaur died about 60 million years ago. Something to think about.


HARRIS: I'm still thinking about how to say it. And here's something else to think about -- Pleee-sio-saur.


The reptiles remains -- the remains were so heavy it took five excavators to lift them.

COLLINS: Now that's heavy.

HARRIS: That's heavy.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, the vice president getting an earful on a recent trip to Riyadh. King Abdullah reportedly outlining a not-so- veiled threat on Iraq. We'll fill you in, in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And lost on Mt. Hood: The search for three missing hikers and the winter storm that is in the way.

COLLINS: But first, food fear. Cases of e. Coli highlighting problems with food inspections. Can the government fix it before another outbreak? Talk about it here, in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Well, recent e. Coli outbreaks put the spotlight on food safety that's for sure. But the federal government may have too much on its plate to protect the dinner table, too. CNN's Bill Tucker reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): The nation's food supply is at risk. There is surprisingly little dispute about that fact.

The Department of Homeland Security announced in August that it's establishing the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility to focus on food safety to minimize that risk. It will be run jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

But it will be about two years before that facility is actually up and working to protect our food chain.

TONY CORBO, FOOD & WATER WATCH: Food safety in this country, right now, is in great peril because of the fact that both the USDA and FDA do not have the adequate resources to make sure our food is safe.

TUCKER: The Food and Drug Administration has only about 2,000 inspectors for roughly 80 percent of the food supply. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has oversight of meat and dairy products has about 7,000 inspectors for the remaining roughly 20 percent. It is a big task and not just solely the responsibility of regulators.

DOUG POWELL, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY: What the Food and Drug Administration has been saying is -- and they've been saying it very clearly throughout these outbreaks -- is it is industry's responsibility to provide a safe product. And I agree with that.

TUCKER: Increasing our vulnerability is the fact that America doesn't feed itself. Last year, we imported $2.7 billion more vegetables than we exported, and $2.5 billion more fruits. Over the past five years, our vegetable imports have doubled, as did our fruit imports.

TOM BUIS, NATIONAL FARMER'S UNION: We're importing a sizable amount of the food consumed in the United States. And while it's supposed to be produced under the same standards that we have, I don't think anyone watches.

TUCKER: There's nothing new about the idea of agro terrorism. When Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigned, he called it a major concern for America. Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: Good morning, everyone. I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.


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