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Health Scare For Laura Bush; Search Continues For Two Missing Climbers on Mount Hood; New Man in Charge at the Pentagon; Modern Day Slavery in Dominican Republic?; Mixing the Bible and Business; Student Exposes Religious Teacher

Aired December 18, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
Breaking news from the White House about the health of the first lady.

And, on Mount Hood, the race against time to save two missing climbers.


ANNOUNCER: Mount Hood mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wish the rescue workers Godspeed.

ANNOUNCER: One man dead, two men stranded -- tonight, the latest on the search and new clues to what might have happened on that mountain.

Back breaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't work, you don't eat.

ANNOUNCER: Questions of modern slavery in the sugarcane fields, it's a story you want us to tell. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And Christian CEOs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank you for an opportunity to -- to be a servant to you.

ANNOUNCER: The Bible and business -- does faith at the office cross the line?


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks for joining us. Want to welcome our viewers here in America and everyone watching around the world on CNN International right now. We begin with breaking news from the White House and a health scare for first lady Laura Bush.

Tonight, CNN has confirmed that the first lady had a malignant tumor removed from her skin.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on the phone with more.

Suzanne, what do we know?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, talking with one senior administration official this evening, she said that it -- the way this was discovered today was there was a Hanukkah party that was held at the White House the first lady attended.

And it was actually a Reuters reporter that was there who noticed a Band-Aid on the first lady's leg and asked about it this afternoon, what was behind that. And that is when the press secretary of the first lady and others responded to some questions about what had actually occurred.

And, then, they felt, out of all fairness, they would go ahead and distribute that information to all of us this evening. Essentially, I -- I spoke with Eryn Witcher. She's a White House spokeswoman, who does confirm that it was just shortly before Election Day that Mrs. Bush had a biopsy of a small sore on her leg. It was the right leg, the right shin, which was revealed to be what she called a squamous cell carcinoma.

It is the second most common type of skin cancer. Now, she -- she tells me this evening that the first lady took early action to have that area on her leg treated by her doctor, and to have this small growth removed from the shin area of her right leg. This was shortly after Election Day.

And she says that, because of the first lady's early detection and treatment, that the area on her leg is healing well, and she continues with her normal schedule. And, so far, Anderson, what we have been hearing is that there -- there really is no concern for any additional treatment.

COOPER: Suzanne, stay on the phone with us.

We're joined now by 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, himself a neurosurgeon.

Sanjay, what do you make of this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it -- it sounds just -- just like that.

There -- there are three types of skin cancer, a basal cell carcinoma. And the president actually had some lesions removed as well that they were concerned about basal cell. They turned out not to be that. That's one of the most common types, then squamous cell, and then melanoma. Squamous cell is right in the middle. It's not as good a diagnosis as basal cell, but it's certainly not nearly as bad as melanoma. It is still considered a malignant tumor, and something that definitely has to be removed.

It often -- oftentimes, patients who have this problem have it just the way the first lady did. It's something that may be a little lesion on their -- their body somewhere that is not healing and just looks funny, and, subsequently, has to -- to be removed.

Ninety-six to 97 times out of 100, that's it. It's done. Nothing else needs to be done in the future. But there is a small chance, three to four times out of 100, that it may spread, spread into some of the lymph nodes in the area.

You know, it's just something that is taken very seriously, probably going to need to be monitored, as well as the rest of her body, because people who have a squamous cell carcinoma are a little bit likely to have other skin cancers. So, she will need to be watched, but it sounds like, if -- if all is as reported, this is all that needs to be done.

COOPER: And -- and, Suzanne, you were saying this was on one of her legs?

MALVEAUX: It's on the -- the right leg, the right shin.

And it is something that actually just a reporter casually noted this afternoon, when she was -- the first lady was attending a Hanukkah party, and simply asked about it, because he saw a Band-Aid that was on her leg. And -- and that's when the first lady's office decided that they would go ahead and answer the question, and then make that information public to the rest of us this evening.

COOPER: Sanjay, this -- this is probably a stupid question, but why would something like that be on a leg? I mean, isn't this caused by -- by sun exposure, or are there other causes?

GUPTA: That -- that is the most common cause, sun exposure. So, typically, you're right, Anderson. It's tends to be on things that are more prominent, on the cheeks, on the scalp, things like that, although the legs and arms are also a common place, because they do -- they can get significant sun exposure.

The shin, interestingly enough, just because it is a larger surface area, does -- does get a lot of sun. And, so -- so, people do develop these lesions there, as well, but -- but less common. You're right.

COOPER: So, you get it removed, basically, and -- and then what? You just monitor more closely to see if it flares up anywhere else?


So -- so, when they remove this, they're basically looking at the lesion, basically, depending how deep it was. The way that they name these skin cancers, squamous cell actually comes from the very outer layer of the -- of the skin.

Those are called squamous cells in the very outer layer. Basal cell is a layer below that. And melanocytes, for melanoma, is a layer below that. So, this is the outermost layer.

So, typically, it doesn't -- typically, it doesn't go very deep. But you just want to make sure that it hasn't gone deep, remove it, and examine the -- the other skin around that area, and also examine the lymph nodes. A lymph node biopsy or anything like that does not need to be done. But she will need to be watched for other sort of abnormal or unusual looking areas on her skin to make sure she hasn't developed anything else.

COOPER: Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it.

And, Suzanne Malveaux, appreciate it as well. Thanks very much.

Our other big story tonight: It's been 12 days since three men set out to climb Mount Hood in Oregon. Yesterday, of course, we learned that one of them has died.

Today, with the break in the weather, a massive operation was launched to find the two other missing climbers. They used Chinook helicopters, a C-130 plane with infrared scanners. And they scaled the mountain by foot. The search was extensive, but, so far, unsuccessful.

The rescue effort is going to resume tomorrow. For the family of Kelly James, however, the search has come to a tragic end, the worst possible news.

CNN's Dan Simon has the latest.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, rescuers on Mount Hood recovered the body of 48-year-old Kelly James and stepped up their search for Jerry Cooke and Brian Hall, still missing after more than a week.

FRANK JAMES, BROTHER OF KELLY JAMES: They identified a ring with my brother's initials on it, which has led me and our family to conclude that the climber found in the cave yesterday was my brother, my brother Kelly.

SIMON: Just a few hours ago, an early examination of James' body showed what was described as -- quote -- "an obvious arm injury," perhaps explaining why he was left behind while the others looked for help.

JOE WAMPLER, HOOD RIVER COUNTY, OREGON, SHERIFF: Yes, we're real sad about one of our results, but we still have two missing climbers. We're going to keep looking for them. Our search has narrowed from totality around Mount Hood to basically the area in which they found -- they found the cave. SIMON: Rescuers finally made it to the summit of Mount Hood yesterday, where they found signs of the missing men, and used those clues to concentrate their search today, focusing on the area where the men left evidence of their journey.

Authorities think the men could be trapped under the snow, perhaps in another cave they could have carved out to stay alive.

WAMPLER: We want to find them in this snow cave that they built someplace else on the mountain. If we don't find them there, I think we're going to have to start poking in the snow. We're going to have to do an avalanche-type search. There's as much as 10 feet of new snow that these guys, if there was an accident situation, could be under.

SIMON: Searchers are looking in an area just 300 feet from the summit of Mount Hood, where, over the weekend, rescuers found two snow caves, footprints, and a rope anchor -- one of rescuers' fears, that the two men may have fallen from a steep slope near the summit.

WAMPLER: Historically, we have had a lot of problems in this area, if there's -- in the event of a fall. And that's really what we're looking at today.

SIMON: Earlier, the families of the missing men gathered to mourn one life lost, and pray that two others will come home alive.

MICHAELA COOKE, WIFE OF JERRY "NIKKO" COOKE: Kelly, Brian and Nikko shared a passion and reverence for climbing. And the bond forged between them will last throughout eternity. We hold out hope today for Brian and Nikko's safe return.

SIMON: Rescuers searching hard, and quickly hoping to find the climbers before the next storm rolls in on Wednesday.


COOPER: Dan, how -- how long can rescuers keep this kind of massive search going? You said bad weather is expected Wednesday, yes?

SIMON: Well, Anderson, there's no timetable for the search, but I can tell you that, tomorrow, resources devoted to it are going to be decreased significantly, which suggests that optimism is fading for finding these other two climbers alive.

One theory to really emerge today is that those two climbers may have fallen while trying to climb down the mountain. It's possible that they might be buried deep beneath the snow. And, if that happened, obviously, there's no chance they can be alive.

To test out that theory today, crews put helicopters in an area called the gully. And they used the chopper blades to whip around the snow to see if there might be some form of evidence, see if there might be some equipment. They came up empty. And, today, they concluded that they need to scale down the search, because hope, unfortunately, is fading -- Anderson.

COOPER: Dan, appreciate the reporting.

Joining us now is Joe Wampler, the sheriff of Hood River County, who you saw in Dan's report. He's in charge of the entire operation. Also joining us ahead tonight is Derrick Brooks. He's a staff sergeant with the Air Force Reserve. He was one of the men who recovered Kelly James' body earlier today. He was on the mountain all day long. He's been part of this search. We appreciate both men joining us now.

Sheriff Wampler, you -- you said that you made have to switch to an avalanche-type search. What does that mean?

WAMPLER: Well, since we haven't found the other two climbers yet, there are still a lot of options.

But one is the base of the route in which they were climbing, which, you know, is a 60-degree-plus slope in some places. And, since we haven't found them anywhere, just -- and the last place we know they were, were at the top of that slope; 2,000 feet below, what we will do is, when we get a chance to get in there, is -- is use some avalanche probes and start probing around.

COOPER: Derrick, you actually recovered Kelly James' body from the cave.

What -- what -- what was the day like? And what can you tell us about what you found?

DERRICK BROOKS, RESCUER, AIR FORCE RESERVE: The day, you know, we hoisted in at summit, about 11,200 feet. And then I down-climbed with another fellow P.J. from the 304th about 250 feet, 300 feet, down to his cave.

And, basically, Josh, the P.J. from 304th, had excavated a little bit of it yesterday. And, you know, he was -- he had his -- his climbing equipment with him. And we just basically packaged him up and then brought him to the summit.

COOPER: And he had an arm injury?

BROOKS: At that time, we -- we couldn't tell. We didn't know of -- of an arm injury. We didn't do a -- you know, a significant medical assessment at that point. We just -- we loaded -- or loaded him up and took him to the top.

COOPER: Were you able to see his snow cave from far away? How did you find the exact location of it?

BROOKS: Yesterday, Josh, he -- he Josh Johnston, he just happened to be traversing that -- that very point. He saw footprints leading from one point to another, and just started walking, and happened to stick his ice ax through -- through the top of the cave.

COOPER: And, so, it was -- how -- how buried was it? How... BROOKS: Well, the -- the cave itself, it was right underneath an out-rock cropping that -- it wasn't very deep. It was just underneath like a cliff with a little hole. And, once he put his ice axe through the hole, it -- it was very easy. You know, he was right there at the surface, really.

COOPER: Sheriff Wampler, what do you think happened up there? What do you think happened to the two other climbers?

WAMPLER: Sorry, Anderson.

COOPER: No, that's OK.

WAMPLER: Kind of what we think -- well, we don't know. They're just gone.

You know, we -- we're pretty sure, because of what we know now, they went for help. We don't know if -- if the injury to Kelly James, which, you know, we got -- we got a deformation on his shoulder -- was caused as a result of the ascent or -- or an attempt to come down at this point. But...


COOPER: I'm sorry. You -- you said a deformation. What does that mean? I don't know if you're allowed to say. But what -- what is a deformation?

WAMPLER: You know, it was just a noticeable thing that was on his arm at the time that we were doing our identification process.


WAMPLER: And -- and we think it was a significant injury, and that kept him on the mountain while the other two had to go for help.

COOPER: You -- you have described this as -- as -- as like looking for -- for a needle in a haystack.

What happens tomorrow? I mean, Dan Simon was reporting, you know, it's kind of going to be scaled down. What assets are you going to be using tomorrow? How does the search continue?

WAMPLER: Well, because we were able to utilize, over the last three days, so many assets that -- that were given to us to use. We got -- we got a real good look at the mountain.

You know, and all through the week, you know, we were able to eliminate a lot of things. And, so, right now, since we haven't found them doing any of those things so far, we think we need to look real hard at the bottom of the slope where he is.

And what that means, we will just have got to get a team of avalanche people in there, with their probes, and start probing through this snow that's been sloughing off the mountain.

COOPER: Derrick, do -- do you try to stay optimistic? I mean, I -- obviously, things don't look good.

BROOKS: Well, sure, you try to stay optimistic. These guys are experienced mountaineers. You know, with the right equipment, you could stay -- in -- in a cave, you could stay alive for quite some time. So, yes, sure we're optimistic.

COOPER: Well, Derrick and Sheriff, appreciate what you guys have been doing. I know a lot of people, their -- their thoughts and prayers are -- are with the climbers and with all of you who are out there searching day and night. And, so, we do appreciate you talking to us. Thank you.

BROOKS: Thank you.

WAMPLER: Thank you.

COOPER: A very difficult job, indeed.

The search efforts depend, really, on the weather, of course. The conditions were good today. How long is it going to last?

We talked to Dan Simon a little bit about that.

Let's check in with meteorologist Jacqui Jeras at the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta -- Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, weather conditions have just been ideal yesterday and today both.

And we have at least one more day of really supreme weather, with clear skies and calm conditions. But changes are on the way. Got a weather pattern set up here, what we kind of call a blocking pattern. And what it's basically doing is just creating a nice little safe haven here, some very tranquil conditions.

But, if you look out here into the Gulf of Alaska, we have got another storm developing. And that one is going to be diving down to the south and to the east over the next couple of days. And we think that will be arriving as early as midday Wednesday.

So, tomorrow, looking at partly-cloudy skies, increasing clouds, we think, late, but they should be really high-level clouds, the kind that would not obscure the helicopters or cause any visibility issues. Twenty-four degrees, we think, at 11,000 feet, and very heavy snow, really treacherous conditions again on Wednesday, Anderson. Six to 12 inches, we think, with near hurricane-force winds will be back.

COOPER: Terrible.

Jacqui, thanks.

JERAS: Mmm-hmm.

COOPER: Despite the conditions, no one has lost hope, as you heard from Derrick earlier -- coming up, two examples of why it is possible the two climbers may be found alive. We will talk to two men who have climbed to great heights, been stranded, but survived -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: More now on the search for the two missing climber on Mount Hood, and why nobody has given up hope.

Quinn Talley survived being stranded on Mount Hood. He joins us from Phoenix tonight. And, in Seattle, Dave Bishop, who was rescued after about a week stranded on Mount Rainier.

Gentlemen, good to have you on the program.

Quinn, you were stuck in a snow cave for about 18 hours, waiting it out. What -- what -- what was it like being in a snow cave for that amount of time?

QUINN TALLEY, CLIMBED MOUNT HOOD: It was comfortable, from a temperature standpoint. But the humidity kept building up. And my down gear kept getting wetter and wetter. And, eventually, it got pretty darn cold.

COOPER: Wet from -- what, from the -- the -- the snow cave itself dripping on you?

TALLEY: No, just perspiration and expiration of water vapor. And, then, I also boiled snow, in order to -- to have drinking water. And that increased the humidity a lot.

And they have a lot better equipment now, but down gear, when it's wet, no longer has good insulating properties.

COOPER: David, you were stranded for about a week on -- on Mount Rainier. What was that like?

DAVID BISHOP, RESCUED FROM MOUNT It was a pretty harrowing experience. We were near the 14,000-foot level. We were on, essentially, the summit.

And -- and the winds up there were horrendous. We were hearing stories of 10 feet of snow here on Mount Hood. We had seven, which was very difficult to deal with, in terms of covering and burying our tent, subsequently making it very difficult to breathe inside the tent. And we almost suffocated one night, as a result.

COOPER: So, wait. So, you have the tent set up in a snow cave, and then more snow would come on top of it?

BISHOP: We had a very good tent. We put it down with our ice axes, so it wouldn't blow away. And we hunkered down in that tent. As the snow continued to fall, the level around the tent would rise and rise and rise. We would make walls around the tent to try to keep it from being blown away by these huge winds that were present.

Eventually, the -- the tent completely covered with snow up to the top. It was about five foot -- five feet tall. COOPER: And, I mean, I guess, at one point, would you try, then, to re-set up the tent on the newly-fallen snow? Or how do you deal -- I mean, how do you deal with it when your tent get -- gets covered?

BISHOP: Right. That's an excellent question. So, that's exactly what we did. So, we shoveled away, the best that we could.

We tried to get down to the corners of the tent, which were put down with our ice axes. And we waited for a break in the snow to do that. And, unfortunately, the snow then started blowing around. And we were a big pit up on the top of this level plain of snow.

And everything fell in on top of our tent, and almost immediately crushed it. So, we were unsuccessful in our bid to rescue our doomed tent.


And, Quinn, I mean, you have been on Mount Hood, I think, more than a dozen times. What's it like up there in these kinds of conditions?

TALLEY: Oh, well, when I ended up getting stuck on the north face, the weather had been very good. Cold, freezing levels were low, very low winds. And weather came from the -- the south side.

And, within minutes, visibility dropped to zero. Luckily, I didn't have a whole lot of snow coming down. But continuing to climb was out of the question. And, so, I just dug in, waited for things to clear up a bit.

COOPER: David, this is probably a dumb question, but why can't you just kind of turn around and go back down? I mean, you -- you hear about people climbing up, and then getting stuck. Do you get disoriented, or is just that the -- the weather moves in so quick, and, then, all of a sudden, it's no longer walkable? I mean, what -- what's...

BISHOP: Right. That's an excellent question.

On some of these big mountains, it is a multiday attempt to get to the to the -- to get to the top, and the same going down. And, in this particular case, we were caught in what's called a lenticular cloud, which may have been what Quinn was in as well.

And these things descend very quickly. And your visibility drops rapidly to zero, such that you basically can't see where you're walking. So, for example, when we abandoned that tent and went for the summit steam caves, we couldn't tell if our feet were on an upslope, a downslope, or what.

COOPER: Really? You couldn't even tell if you were walking -- I mean, you couldn't see your feet? You couldn't tell if you were walking up or down?

BISHOP: No, it's white on white. Everything is white. So, that's why it's called a whiteout. And -- and, so, things become very dangerous very rapidly. It's easy to walk off of the edge of something, walk into a crevasse. So, it really is best to stay put until those conditions clear.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

Gentlemen, we're out of time, but I appreciate you -- you guys talking about your experiences. It's -- it's fascinating. And I'm glad that you guys made it out.


BISHOP: Thank you.

TALLEY: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Mount Hood has been the site of serious climbing accidents. Two of the worst haunt the victims who survive. Here's the "Raw Data" on that.

In 2002, nine climbers fell into a crevasse while climbing Mount Hood. They were killed, and three were critically injured. In 1986, seven teenagers and two teachers froze to death on Mount Hood when they were caught in a spring blizzard. Two teenagers survived the ordeal, but one of the survivors lost both legs to frostbite.

All the -- at the Pentagon today, there's a new man in charge. Coming up, we will have the most important challenge confronting Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

We will be right back.


COOPER: A brand-new Pentagon report on Iraq says that attacks against civilians and U.S. forces are at their highest level since June of 2004. Now, on average, there were nearly 1,000 separate attacks every week between mid-August and mid-October.

Here in the U.S., only 28 percent of the people in a new CNN Opinion Research poll now support the way President Bush is handling the war. That is down from 34 percent in October.

As Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports tonight, turning the war into anything but a failure is the now -- is the job now facing America's brand-new defense secretary.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A car bomb attack at a vegetable market in a mostly Sunni area of southern Baghdad killed five and wounded 19 on Monday.

Could more U.S. troops on the streets have stopped this from happening?

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I, Robert Gates, do solemnly swear...

STARR: As Robert Gates is sworn in as the 22nd secretary of defense, that is the military question he has to answer. President Bush wants to know if the violence would ease if an additional 30,000 U.S. troops were in Iraq. Gates will soon go there to meet with his commanders.

GATES: I look forward to hearing their honest assessments of the situation on the ground, and to having the benefit of their advice, unvarnished and straight from the shoulder, on how to proceed in the weeks and months ahead.

STARR: Increasing troop levels would be accomplished by leaving some units in Iraq for more than a yearlong tour of duty and sending others in early.

If the idea is approved, it would mean, potentially, the highest number of troops on the ground ever, perhaps nearly 165,000. Commanders say, sending more troops might mean only putting more targets on the street.

GENERAL JAMES CONWAY, U.S. MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: We would fully support, I think, as -- as the Joint Chiefs, the idea of putting more troops into Iraq, if there is a solid military reason for doing so. But I don't think that we believe -- in fact, I can tell you we do not believe -- that just adding numbers for the sake of adding numbers, just thickening the mix, is necessarily a good way to go.

STARR (on camera): Still, the ultimate question: What if the administration sends more troops to Iraq, and the violence doesn't stop? Then what?

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


COOPER: Well, the war in Iraq was certainly a major -- a major story this year. Was it the top story of 2006?

We want to know what you think. Answer our online poll at

Ahead tonight on 360: a story that is unfolding today in 2006, as shocking as that might be.

Take a look at what Joe Johns found in the sugarcane fields of the Dominican Republic.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I was struck, looking in these fields, that, 100 years ago, you know, just coming out of the period of -- of slavery in the Americas, you might have been able to see a picture that was probably quite similar

JOHNS: ... fields that 100 years ago, you know, just coming out of the period of slavery in the Americas, you might have been able to see a picture that was probably quite similar to what we're seeing right now.


COOPER: Is it modern day slavery or simply a job that's better than nothing for people who have nothing? We're "Keeping Them Honest", next on 360.


COOPER: If you're a regular viewer of 360, then you know we're committed to the idea of keeping them honest. It is part of our mission. But we can't be everywhere at once. And we're looking for some help. We created a new page on our web site where you can post story ideas, opportunities to keep them honest in your community.

Some of you have already sent in some great ideas, including one that led to the report you're about to see.

Here's CNN's Joe Johns, "Keeping Them Honest, in the Democratic Republic (sic).


JOHNS (voice-over): It's very early in the Dominican Republic. There in the pre-dawn shadows, you see men with machetes and water jugs. They're going to work at one of the hardest jobs in the world.

They cut sugar cane, the same way it's cut in other parts of the Caribbean. It looks like a scene from slavery in the United States more than 140 years ago, the overseers on horseback. Some are armed. The cane piled high. Oxen will pull it to be weighed at a local processing plant.

Much of the sugar, ultimately shipped to the United States.

What we found here was not slavery. Instead we found people who are enslaved by their circumstances. Most are Haitians who crossed the border into the Dominican Republic to work.

They have no rights. They live in squalor. Many earn just enough to eat, if they're lucky. The oxen look like they're in better condition.

Look at this. It's called a batay, a shanty settlement. Hard to believe, but this man is only in his 50s. He worked in the cane fields for nearly 40 years. His shack is filthy. He hasn't eaten in four days.

With no work in Haiti he came here as a teenager, and now he's sick and alone, on crutches and living on hand-outs from people who can't afford to give them.

We also met this man. He says he was badly cut in a fight with machetes. In fact, with hard long days swinging razor sharp tools, these wounds are common. For him there's nothing here now and even less, he says, back home in Haiti.

We found this man cutting cane on a Sunday. With five children back in Haiti to feed, he works seven days a week.

We also met children. They tell us they started in the cane fields at age 7. For less than a penny an hour, they plant rows of cane shoots 100 yards long. They were happy to have the work.

(on camera) How much do you get paid?


JOHNS: How long does it take to do that work?


JOHNS: Many of the vast cane fields here are owned by the wealthy Vicini (ph) family. They say they do not use children.

FELIPE VICINI, VICINI GROUP: We do not tolerate child labor.

JOHNS: Zero tolerance, but with so many workers and so many acres the Vicinis can't necessarily control who gets hired to work in their fields. Some kids tell us they know who pays them.

(on camera) They've been doing it the same way for 100 years here in the Dominican Republic. It's backbreaking work. And they don't get paid by the hour. Their work is measured by each ton of sugar cane they harvest.

(voice-over) In a day a fast cane cutter like this man can cut up to two tons, earning up to 250 pesos. That's about $8.

But because they're paid by the ton, the old or slow can starve.

So why do they come here? Simple. For all the hardship, it's still better than Haiti, where the minimum daily wage for agriculture workers is about $3 and unemployment is well above 50 percent.

On our visit, a U.S. congressional delegations worried about human rights also arrived, so the Vicinis opened up. For us it was an opportunity for keeping them honest.

(on camera) The conditions here are very tough, though, because this is the lowest rung of the economic ladder, is it not, the people who work in the fields?

VICINI: I wouldn't say that.

JOHNS: No? They don't make much money, though.

VICINI: They make 150 pesos -- 105 pesos a month -- I mean, for a time -- I can...

JOHNS (voice-over): When we put the question of slave labor directly to one of the VicinI's top lieutenants, he laughed it off.

CAMPOS DE MOYA, VICINI SPOKESMAN: (speaking foreign language)

JOHNS: He told us to ask the people themselves, so we did.

(on camera) Is this like slavery? Human rights advocates introduced us to workers who gave us the unofficial version.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, yes, it's worst than slavery.

JOHNS (voice-over): And if this shocks you, perhaps the biggest shock of all is that it's much better now than in the recent past. And yet it could still get worse.

The company is moving to replace the oxen and the children and the strong men with machines. So as awful as this may be, the people here say at least now they have jobs that at least pay a little.

Joe Johns, CNN, the Dominican Republic.


COOPER: On to a much different business tactic. The Bible and business. The growing number of Christian CEOs. Coming up, why they say praying in the office is good for profits.

Plus, another desperate search for missing climbers far from Mt. Hood. Two Americans missing in China after setting out on a mountain adventure. Details when we continue.


GRAPHIC: I was raised in a Baptist culture. My father is a Baptist minister. Yet, I always knew that I was different. I believe in God but I am not sure if I was worshipping the same one. My values have become more liberal. There are churches and denominations that have a liberal agenda, but I don't think I fit in there either. Who knows, maybe I am not a Christian at all? Brandi, Lincoln, Nebraska.

COOPER: Well, those are comments are some of the many we received from viewers after our special hour of "What is a Christian", which aired last week. A lot of you saying that being a Christian today is different from what it was like when you were younger.

In these days for some being a Christian means including God in all aspects of their lives, including work. A mix of the Bible and business.

With that, here's CNN's David Mattingly.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bart Azzarelli built his successful Tampa construction company specializing in storm, sewer and water lines. And he did it, he says, with some very important help.

BART AZZARELLI, CEO, DALLAS1 CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: We're thankful for the privilege of being in an organization that believes that proclaiming Christ is paramount above all things.

MATTINGLY: More than a business, Azzarelli turned his company into a Christian ministry. There's weekly Bible study before dawn, monthly barbecue lunches with burgers and professions of faith.

AZZARELLI: I thank you for an opportunity to be a servant for you.

MATTINGLY: And along with the profits, Azzarelli's bottom line includes the number of souls saved.

AZZARELLI: Somewhere around 400, 400 people who have come through here and made the profession of faith and accepting Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.

MATTINGLY: Azzarelli is among a new wave of executives who can't leave their faith at home. He feels compelled by God to bring Bible teachings into his workplace and share them with anyone who will listen.

AZZARELLI: I believe that everything in the Bible is true. And Jesus said, "I'm the only way to the father." That's why I hang on those principles and believe them.

MATTINGLY (on camera): Does that imply that people who don't believe this are wrong?


MATTINGLY: But as the boss, Azzarelli walks a fine line. Where does spreading the gospel end and discrimination begin?

Azzarelli gets legal and spiritual guidance from a monthly business round-table group called C-12. Like-minded Christian executives here frequently discuss how to avoid creating a Christian workplace that violates federal law, one where non-Christians feel pressured to participate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It becomes a conflict when an employee objects or asks to be excused from something, and they're not excused and their objections are ignored.

AZZARELLI: I pray that you give Richard a peace concerning that on going negotiation, Lord.

MATTINGLY: It's not unusual at these meetings to hear prayers for new business ventures, and members say their management style, based on the Bible, pays dividends.

AZZARELLI: People that are working for a company that is led by a Christian, wants to do things according to biblical principle, those people feel loved and, therefore, the company will grow quicker.

MATTINGLY (on camera): You're a businessman, a successful businessman, and you're talking to me about love.


MATTINGLY: That normally doesn't translate on the bottom line.

AZZARELLI: Well, but it does.



When you treat people with respect and people know that you love them, they will do so much more. And that's really, I think, what Bart is saying.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Azzarelli says about 40 percent of his work force is non-Christian and that he has never had a complaint.

AZZARELLI: We treat everyone equal. It doesn't matter to us if they're a Christian or not Christian as far as how we treat them. It does matter to us as far as their eternal salvation. But that's a choice that each one makes.

MATTINGLY (on camera): Azzarelli's beliefs shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who works here. Every job applicant is told up front this is a Christian company.

It's the first thing every visitor sees right at the front door. The company's mission statement: "the purpose of our business is to glorify God."

(voice-over) Azzarelli says that more and more, Christian workers are applying for his positions so they can feel free to practice their faith on the job.

National statistics offer comfort to bosses like Azzarelli, who can't put their faith on hold 9 to 5. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says only 3 percent of workplace discrimination complaints involve religion, with very few ever resulting in lawsuits.

David Mattingly, CNN, Tampa.


COOPER: How would you like working there? We got a lot of feedback on religion in the workplace on the radar in the 360 blog.

Kim Walker of Wesley Capa (ph), Florida writes, "I'm a former employee. This company is about the love of God. There is a spiritual war going on and we Christians are His warriors, and we welcome the chance to show God's love to anyone. Uncomfortable? Good. This means you're becoming aware of your choice to him choose him or not to. I pray in Jesus' name you rebuke Satan and do choose him."

Mark in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has a much different view. He writes, "What would happen if an atheist applied for a job with one of these companies? What if he got the job, worked very hard, and showed lots of talent? Would he be just as likely to be promoted to a high- ranking position? Would anyone seriously argue that an atheist could expect fair and equal treatment at one of these Bible-based companies? If not, then these 'evangelical bosses' are guilty of religious discrimination. It's that simple."

Some very different feedback on the 360 blog. We appreciate all the comments.

Another religious debate coming up. A public high school student records his teacher talking about God in the classroom. Did the teacher violate separation between church and state, and did the student cross the line, too? We'll talk to the student, ahead.

Plus, a dangerous stunt goes wrong in China. We'll show you what happened when 360 continues.


COOPER: A firestorm of controversy is brewing in the Kearny, New Jersey, school district. It all started when Matthew Laclair's teacher began preaching about God in class. Figuring that no one would believe him, Matthew recorded the teacher's comments.

What followed has been a fierce debate, not only on what the teacher said but also on what Matthew did, which some say violated the teacher's rights.

Earlier tonight I spoke with Matthew.


COOPER: So why do you start to start to record your teacher?

MATTHEW LACLAIR, STUDENT: Well, a lot of the comments that he was making during the first two days of class were extremely inappropriate.

COOPER: Like what?

LACLAIR: Well, there were some cases where he would go just into his religion, into his politics and I had a feeling at this point that if I was to bring this to anybody's attention such as the principal that I wouldn't be believed, and indeed that's actually what happened.

COOPER: This wasn't a religion class?

LACLAIR: No, no, this is U.S. history.

COOPER: U.S. history?

LACLAIR: Yes. COOPER: Let's listen to one of the statements that you recorded.


DAVID PASZIEWICZ, TEACHER: God is not only all loving. The way he describes himself in the scriptures, he is also completely just. He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he put your sin on his own body, suffered your pains for you and is saying please accept me, believe. You reject that and you belong in Hell.


COOPER: So he's not talking about, you know, what a religion believes. He's talking about what he believes and stating it as fact.

LACLAIR: Exactly. And you know, every time he would talk about this issue, it wouldn't even be -- it wouldn't have been OK if he had just said, "This is my opinion." It still wouldn't have been OK in that case because he's a public schoolteacher.

But that wasn't even just what he said. What he basically said almost in every instance was this is the right way and this is only way.

COOPER: What happened then? You approached the principal?

LACLAIR: Well, at this point after I'd recorded a few days of the class, I brought it to the attention of the principal. I was sick for a week so I was out. And then when I came back, you know, the principal had known about this issue. Did not know about the recordings, however.

After I chased him down for about two weeks to get some other kind of meeting with me and Mr. Pasziewicz and a few others in that meeting. We had the meeting, and in that meeting he denied ever making any of these statements.

COOPER: Wait, wait. So the teacher who said this stuff, he denied it?

LACLAIR: He denied almost every single thing.

COOPER: What did he deny? That...

LACLAIR: Well, the main one was that he denied that he ever said that if you reject the Lord's salvation you belong the hell. He said that he would not even say that in his own church, which, of course, was not true.

And at this point they did not know I had the recordings of the class until, of course, I produced them.

COOPER: So after a lengthy meeting in which this teacher has denied saying this stuff, you say, "Well, I actually have a tape"? LACLAIR: Exactly. And again, you know, I would have gone to the teacher originally if I thought that would solve the problem. But I had a feeling that it would be -- he would stop in my class but what about the rest of the other classes?

COOPER: I want to play one more clip of what he said.



PASZIEWICZ: The Big Bang theory is that there was nothing out there that was no matter. But yet nothing exploded and created something. Let me give you a clue guys. If there's nothing, it can't explode.


COOPER: What is it that upset you most about his comments?

LACLAIR: I have to say just the -- the outright hypocrisy in some of the statements that he would make. And also just how he would blatantly say that evolution is not a science, the big bang theory cannot be true. Anyone with common sense knows that. Even though these scientific statements are accepted widely.

COOPER: Yet, we obviously ask for the school to come and the teacher to comment. The school district, they said that they had a regularly scheduled meeting and couldn't come or couldn't talk to us, but they sent us this statement.

It reads in part, "The district wants to reassure the public of the teaching of religion is not part of the curriculum in the Kearny schools. While some feel that corrective statements should be issued and classroom apologies made, the district believes that to reopen these issues at this time would only further the various discussions which have caused this controversy to detract from the education in the classroom."

Is that enough for you?

LACLAIR: Oh, it sounds fantastic. But if what he said was wrong, why have there been no corrections made to the students?

And also I'd like to know why it is that it took to this point for something to be done by somebody in this administration throughout Kearny.

COOPER: Because this guy's been teaching for 14 years.

LACLAIR: Fourteen years. And I've talked to former students that have told me the same thing happened in that class. And again, this would not have been a big story whatsoever if somebody along the line in the chain of command would have done something right.

COOPER: The good thing about high school is that it ends. LACLAIR: Very true. Very true. About a year and a half.

COOPER: I told myself that quite a lot through my high school year. It ends and, from a distance, it all looks -- this too, shall pass.

LACLAIR: That's very right, yes. It should.

COOPER: I wish you well. And I hope things work out for you in the school.

LACLAIR: Yes, thank you.

COOPER: Thanks. Appreciate it.


COOPER: What we didn't say in that report is he's actually had death threats against him, and the reaction in the community largely against him has been something that the family is quite surprised by.

The "Shot of the Day" is coming up. The Rubik's Cube master is back. Can he solve the cube in record time? We'll find out.

First, Randi Kaye joins us with the 360 bulletin.

Hey, Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: In the news tonight, a new report finds that violent crimes are on the rise in the U.S. for the second straight year. Preliminary FBI data shows murders and robberies climbed during the first half of 2006. Nationwide violent crime rose almost 4 percent between January and June compared to the same time last year.

The leading scorer in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, has been suspended for 15 games after a brawl with the New York Knicks. NBA commissioner David Stern fined both teams $500,000. Six other players were also suspended.

Germantown, Tennessee, about 50 students were injured when a car crashed into a school bus. The accident sparked a chain reaction involving three other buses. None of the injuries are considered to be life threatening.

And a Hollywood stunt man was seriously injured during a show in China. He suffered a concussion and a fractured rib when his head hit a flaming ring and he fell off a moving car. The stunt man has appeared in movies such as "Men in Black" and "Taxi Driver."

You've got to be careful of those flaming rings, I guess.

COOPER: Randi, thanks.

Now the "Shot of the Day", an update on one of our most popular stories last week, sort of. We showed you a video that's been airing on the Internet of Tyson Mao solving a Rubik's Cube blindfolded in a little over 2 1/2 minutes. That was the video of the original.

Some of you were skeptical, and quite frankly, so was I. So on Friday, Tyson appeared on the show to prove once and for all out the naysayers were wrong.

Tyson had trouble, though, ended up not lying up all the colors correctly. He made one fatal mistake. We realize Tyson must have been nervous on live television. So we gave him another shot after the show.

Here's what it looked like then.

And he did it! He solved the cube in just over 2 1/2 minutes. Tyson, we never doubted you.

In the next hour on 360, update on tonight's alarming news from the White House. Skin cancer surgery for the first lady.

Also, the latest on the search for the missing climbers. Running out of time, fighting the elements. We'll have a live report on the church.

And brutal and real. If there's a hell on earth, it is here in Iraq. Seen through the eyes of the children and families. Their stories coming up when 360 continues.


COOPER: And breaking news out of the White House. A medical scare for the first lady.

And on Mt. Hood prayers for the one climber who died and prayers that the two others may still be rescued.


ANNOUNCER: The Mt. Hood search.

FRANK JAMES, BROTHER OF MISSING CLIMBER: We wish the rescue workers Godspeed in their ongoing efforts.

ANNOUNCER: A tragic ending for one family. Two others holding out hope.

And fractured faith. Centuries together, suddenly apart. The high-powered break from the Episcopal Church. Was the election of a gay bisoph the tipping point?

A suspected serial killer arrested in Britain. He's speaking out. He admits he knows all five murdered prostitutes, but did he kill them?

Across the country around and the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, is Anderson Cooper.


COOPER: Thanks for joining us in this second hour of 360.

We begin with a breaking story we reported earlier. CNN has learned that the first lady tested positive for skin cancer and had surgery. Joining us both on the phone, CNN's White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux and 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.

Let's start with Suzanne. What do we know?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I spoke with several White House officials and those from the first lady's office. And it was discovered shortly before election day, a reported noticed a bandage -- a Band-Aid that was on the leg of the first lady, her right shin and asked about it.

And her press secretary, Susan Whitney, said it was a sore, but there was some concern about it, because it was a sore that was not going away. And so the first lady had a biopsy. They discovered that, in fact, it was a malignant form of cancer, that there was a simple procedure that was used to remove this particular tumor.

She described it as something that was a little surgical procedure and that it was no big deal, and that she discovered it early and had it treated early.

Now, the reason that this is coming to light this evening is because the first lady was attending a Hanukkah party this evening. Simple procedure used to remove this particular tumor. She described it as something that was a little surgical procedure and that it was no big deal, and that she discovered it early and treated early.


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