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CNN NEWSROOM

President Bush Days Away From Laying Out Iraq Strategy; Change of Staff; Taking on YouTube; The Road to Wealth

Aired January 6, 2007 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: "Now in the News," Iraq's prime minister vows tough action to stop the bloodshed in Baghdad. And this morning Nuri al-Maliki announced a new security plan for the Iraqi capital. He says his forces, backed by U.S. troops, will hunt down all outlaws regardless of their sectarian or political ties.
Also in Iraq, wire service report an American and two Iraqi interpreters have been kidnapped in Basra. Two men believed to be the Iraqis were later found shot dead. Now, there's no word yet on the fate of the U.S. contractor. An American Embassy spokesman says officials are investigating the reports.

The Bush administration preparing its new strategy for Iraq. Condoleezza Rice playing a big part in that. The secretary of state will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to go over that strategy.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Wacky winter weather. These pictures here from South Carolina, where at least two tornadoes touched down.

This, as severe weather swept across the South. And in the Northeast, the question could be, where is winter? Ski slopes are more brown than white. And temperatures today expected to reach into the 60s, maybe even the 70s in some areas.

Our Reynolds Wolf explains what's going on. He's coming up in just a few minutes.

And the word of the year for 2006 happens to be Plutoed. You remember Pluto, the little planet that could but is no more.

NGUYEN: The once planet?

HOLMES: Yes, it used to be a planet. Well, this year, some astronomers -- or last year -- they decided that Pluto, after all, is not a planet. So, now when something loses its value, it's referred to as being Plutoed.

So what is your word of the year? You can e-mail us at CNN.com. We'll read some of your responses on the air a little later in this newscast.

Well...

NGUYEN: A little mood music perhaps?

HOLMES: Yes. That's how you want to start a newscast.

Steamy video. This is putting YouTube in some hot water. You'll want to stick around and explain exactly -- so we can exactly explain to you exactly what was going on there.

NGUYEN: The people involved want that Plutoed.

HOLMES: Plutoed.

NGUYEN: Want the video off the Web.

HOLMES: But yes, we'll tell you about that later.

But from the CNN Center, this is the CNN NEWSROOM. And it is Saturday, January the 6th, 10:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, 7:00 a.m. out West.

I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

We want to thank you for starting your day with us.

First up, President Bush just days away from laying out his new Iraq strategy. Now, he's meeting with his members of his administration as he finalizes his plan. But one proposal is already coming under fire, the idea of sending more troops to Iraq.

White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano joins us live.

How many more? Do you have any idea what he's expected to say?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we keep hearing about this possibility of a surge, Betty, as you know. But, of course, we won't know until the president himself talks about what he plans to do or what he would like to see done in Iraq.

Now, I can tell you, of course, all of this is happening, the president's Iraq deliberation happening, as Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki announced, as you know, today changes that he would like to make in Baghdad's own security plan to tackle some of the challenges facing his country.

At the same time, the president this morning holding his usual intelligence briefing. We saw the director of National Intelligence, the outgoing director of National Intelligence, in fact, John Negroponte, arriving here at the White House earlier today, along with the person that he'll soon be reporting to in his new post as deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Now, the White House says the president this morning had his usual intelligence briefing, followed by a meeting with his national security team. But surely, Iraq, of course, among the issues discussed.

President Bush has not even announced changes yet to his Iraq policy, but already he is getting some major pushback from Democrats, in particular, on this idea of a possible troops surge of tens of thousands of U.S. forces into Iraq. Now, just days, in fact, after Democrats took control of Congress, the new Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sent President Bush a letter outlining their opposition to a U.S. troop surge.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked about that and he basically said that President Bush is open to whatever ideas Pelosi and Reid do want to put forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They don't believe that U.S. combat troops provide that solution. That's fine.

We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed. That's precisely the kind of dialogue the president would love to have, which is, OK, when you say we want to do anything we can, what is that and how do you define it as success? And those are the kinds of conversations that are going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUIJANO: Now, in another sign of the political reality facing President Bush, Nancy Pelosi last night saying that by sending that letter to the president, she felt she was also sending a message to the president very clearly that no longer will Congress give the president a blank check when it comes to Iraq.

Now, the possibility of a troop surge, of course, is one that has been greatly debated. Both some top military officials, as well as lawmakers, have expressed concern that perhaps it may not be effective or that it perhaps needs to be coupled with political and economic steps in order to be successful and effective.

All of that, of course, under consideration as the president continues with his Iraq deliberations. And, of course, Betty, we are expecting an announcement to take place Wednesday or possibly Thursday of next week -- Betty.

NGUYEN: We'll be waiting for that.

CNN's -- we appreciate your time for us, Elaine Quijano.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, there's a planned change of military commanders in Iraq. Lieutenant General David Petraeus tapped to become the new ground commander there. He still has to be confirmed by the Senate, but as CNN's Brian Todd reports, the general looks like an easy sell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Mounting casualties at a key turning point. Will General David Petraeus take the fight to the insurgents any differently than his predecessor, General George Case, or will the much-anticipated surge in troops be a surge to defeat?

LT. COL. ROBERT MAGINNIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I see Petraeus as more complex, imaginative, someone that is willing to take risks. He'll do things with a smile, but he's vicious behind the scenes.

TODD: Two Army veterans who know this Princeton and West Point- educated officer tell us he's got the intellect, background and backbone for what will likely be a very tough new phase of combat.

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I do believe he has to take it on a different way, and I think he is aggressive enough to do so.

TODD: And by most accounts, Petraeus knows this kind of fight. He led the first efforts to train Iraqi forces, just signed off on a lengthy new Army field manual on counterinsurgency.

One key passage: "... killing insurgents, while necessary... by itself cannot defeat an insurgency." "Gaining the initiative," it says, "involves securing and controlling the local populace and providing for essential services."

In an Internet article he wrote for the Army a year ago, Petraeus said money is ammunition. A reference to what won him hearts and minds when he commanded U.S. forces in northern Iraq early in the war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in Mosul in 2003 when he was there and enthusiastically showed us his cement plant, all the small businesses he started.

TODD (on camera): Those who know him say, with that experience in Mosul and in training the Iraqi army, David Petraeus understands the cultural complexities of Iraq. But one retired officer tells me he wishes Petraeus would have been put in place maybe two years ago and he wonders if it's not too late now.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Well, the U.S. Army is now dealing with a public relations disaster at home. It seems they made a major mistake for some reenlistment letters.

Seventy-five of those letters went to officers who had been killed in action. Another 200 letters went to wounded Army officers. The Army chalks it up to a clerical error, but also says, "Army personnel officials are contacting those officers' families now to personally apologize for erroneously sending the letters."

HOLMES: Chilling accounts this morning about the killing of Iraqi civilians in Haditha. "The Washington Post" says eyewitness told of a Marine squad leader gunning down five unarmed civilians after ordering them out of a taxi.

The paper cites a report by investigators. The squad leader, Staff Sergeant Frank Woodrich (ph), and three other Marines, face murder charges in the death of 24 Iraqis. "The Post" says the shootings were the first in a series of violent reactions by the Marines after a roadside bomb killed one of their own.

NGUYEN: Back here at home, check it out. From snow in Colorado, to what is considered a heat wave in New England -- no, that's not a heat wave there. But there is some wacky weather to tell you about.

Colorado is recovering from a third snowstorm in three weeks. Denver got hit with several inches of new snow yesterday.

And these pictures from South Carolina. Wow.

The weather service says at least two tornadoes touched down. More than a dozen people were injured Friday. None of them seriously.

And in the Northeast, temperatures, well, could rival or surpass southern California. Some areas could reach 70 degrees today, but can it last?

Let's see what our Reynolds Wolf has to say.

This weather is just off the charts, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's heinous.

(WEATHER REPORT)

NGUYEN: Thank you, Reynolds.

HOLMES: Thanks, Reynolds.

NGUYEN: Well, parents, what if an employer offered your teenager $10,000, $15,000, even $20,000 to start a new job? It is an enticing offer, one many families are getting from Uncle Sam.

We're going to take a closer look at signing up for military service. Find out what you need to know before your son or daughter visits the recruiter's office.

HOLMES: And speaking of money, words from the wise. Don't depend on anyone but yourself for providing financial security.

Coming up in about 10 minutes, tips to get rich in the new year. Some of those tips coming from that guy there. You might recognize him.

But first, this...

NGUYEN: The music just cracks me up on this.

HOLMES: It's good stuff.

NGUYEN: Steamy video on YouTube causing some controversy on the Internet. We have those details ahead right here in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: OK. Let's do this. Let's surf the Web this Saturday morning and let's check out what's most popular with you on CNN.com.

HOLMES: Yes. First here, black employees take legal action after finding a noose hanging at their workplace in Nassau County, New York.

The racist symbol was in a fenced-off area available only to white managers at the warehouse of cable installer 180 Connect (ph). The noose was removed after a week of complaints.

180 Connect (ph) says it does not tolerate racism. It has launched an investigation and suspended one manager. The suspended manager said he's not a racist and he's claiming harassment.

NGUYEN: Well, a close call at Denver International Airport. Some Frontier Airlines pilots are being credited for avoiding a collision.

Their jet was about to land when it came within 50 feet of a smaller charter plane that had inadvertently entered the run way. The Frontier crew aborted the landing.

And many of you are clicking on the alleged high-class brothel bust. Yes, police in suburban Atlanta say a former "Penthouse" centerfold was one of two women running an alleged call girl ring in a million-dollar mansion.

The big break came when police were tipped off to a brazen Web site advertisement. The prosecutor says "Dates could cost up to $10,000." The women are out on bail.

HOLMES: Well, this next story also generating a lot of buzz on CNN.com.

Brazil and one of its top models going after YouTube. At issue here, a steamy beach love scene that so many people apparently want to see, versus privacy. In particular, the privacy of the two participants in that love scene.

CNN's Tim Lister looks at what will certainly be one of many controversies to arise over video voyeurism and YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Daniela Cicarelli is one of Brazil's top models, with her own show on "MTV Brasil." She's also well known for her brief engagement to soccer star Ronaldo. So, as a celebrity there was little surprise that when a steamy video surfaced of Cicarelli and her current boyfriend, Renato Malzoni, on a beach in Spain, it found its way on to the video sharing service YouTube, and it quickly became very popular.

Back in September, the couple won a court order in Brazil instructing YouTube to remove the video. It did, but... BRUCE UPBIN, "FORBE'S": The thing about YouTube is the reason it became so successful is because anyone can put up anything at any time. YouTube is forced to take things down if they infringe on a copyright, but -- and they've been told by the judge to take this down for privacy reasons. But people keep putting it back on.

LISTER: So, a judge in Sao Paulo has now ordered YouTube to use filters to ensure the video does not reappear.

Malzoni's lawyer said, "This struggle is to have some level of control to avoid violations of people's fundamental rights -- such as privacy and intimacy."

There may be more trouble ahead for YouTube. A panel of Brazilian judges will decide whether the service should be fined some $100,000 for every day that the video was available.

It's for cases like this that YouTube's owner, Google, set aside tens of millions of dollars to cover fines and legal bills.

UPBIN: We're going to see this forever and ever. Google is just going to put money into every little suit that comes up. They'll have to settle them. They might get hit with a very big one, but mostly for copyright infringement.

LISTER: The case of Daniela Cicarelli shows that a global presence online brings its own dilemmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the trouble with doing business on the Internet. You are exposed in all jurisdictions.

YouTube is, at the moment, as far as I know, limited to the USA. So anybody who has a big problem with it, eventually, if you get judgment in Brazil, you have got to go to the USA to enforce that judgment.

LISTER: No comment from YouTube on this case, nor from Daniela Cicarelli. But few in the fashion industry think it will harm her career.

Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: I don't know about that. But how about this -- a weapon, some ammo, some water. What else do soldiers need in Iraq?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wedding ring, a bracelet my wife sent me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An archangel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I carry a bottle (ph), (INAUDIBLE), a prayer to St. Rafael.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: We're going to take a look at what U.S. soldiers carry to help them get through those dangerous missions.

HOLMES: But first, enlisting in the military. Are some recruiters bending the truth in order to sign you up? What you should know before you sign on that dotted line.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: Well, it is all about the Benjamins. And if your New Year's resolution is to save money, let's take that one step further and help you earn some serious cash. Believe it or not, the road to wealth may be paved in silver, of all things.

Here to tell us why he thinks this is so is the author of "The New York Times" bestseller, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," and "Why We Want You to Be Rich," a book he co-wrote with Donald Trump.

Investor, businessman and motivational speaker Robert Kiyosaki joins us.

Good morning.

ROBERT KIYOSAKI, AUTHOR, "WHY WE WANT YOU TO BE RICH": Good morning.

NGUYEN: We appreciate you being here.

All right, before we hop on this road to riches, let's talk about some of the pitfalls first, some of the mistakes that people make when they think about saving and investing.

KIYOSAKI: Well, I think the biggest mistake is to save money, because the U.S. dollar is dropping at very high rates of speed right now. So savers become losers in this kind of a market. So I don't save money anymore.

NGUYEN: You don't have any savings whatsoever, no money market, no savings account, nothing like that?

KIYOSAKI: I don't use it as a primary source of investment. I think the dollar has dropped 50 percent in the last 10 years -- in its purchasing power.

NGUYEN: OK. So you're saying you should invest in other things besides money, dollars.

For example, what?

KIYOSAKI: Well, I like silver right now. Because the real estate market is really goofy. The real estate market is not for amateurs right now, and the stock market is going nowhere.

So there's three reasons why I would want silver. Reason number one, the dollar is dropping. Reason number two, silver is a consumable. It's like oil. People are still burning it.

And reason number three is because the little guy still has a chance to buy it. For less than $20, the little guy, you and me, we can go out and buy a coin, a silver coin from a coin dealer, just a plain silver coin. That's all.

NGUYEN: Well, how much should you acquire? And where you do you keep all the silver if this is what you should invest it?

KIYOSAKI: Well, I would buy it because the dollar is dropping. I wouldn't hold much in savings. I would buy more in silver for now.

NGUYEN: Well, that's what I'm saying. How much of it should you buy?

KIYOSAKI: Well, right now, if you have no money, buy one.

NGUYEN: You've got to start somewhere.

KIYOSAKI: Twenty bucks, you're in the game. And I'm not saying it's the best investment, but I would say right now in 2007 I would watch silver for '07, because I like it better than gold because silver is a consumable.

NGUYEN: How much do you think it's going to rise by the end of the year?

KIYOSAKI: I have a bet of about $18.

NGUYEN: Really?

KIYOSAKI: Yes.

NGUYEN: OK.

Now, for the folks that have so much debt and no money to invest, what do you do then? How do you get around that?

KIYOSAKI: Well, the first thing you do when you're in debt is stop digging and getting more into debt. But I don't think credit cards are the problem. I think the biggest number one problem in America today is spending too much money.

The Democrats are not going to solve the problem. The Republicans are not going to solve the problem. So the U.S. dollar will continue to slide, which means the average little guy has to get into more debt because of purchasing power if the dollar is going down.

This is a crucial event. I'm very concerned about it.

NGUYEN: OK. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, let's talk about savvy investors, because you make a really impressive claim in your book. You say that you and Donald Trump, together, with your plan, can beat renowned investor Warren Buffett when it comes to rates of returns. Essentially saying that he make be richer, but with your method, you can make people richer faster, and with less money.

What's the key?

KIYOSAKI: Well, the key is real estate. And the second key is to use debt.

The moment you use debt financing, you can get richer faster because your ROI, your return on investment, goes up with debt. But I caution you, don't do it right now if you're an amateur.

The only reason debt will work is if you find a great project. If you cannot find a great project, you should not use what we talk about. So debt can actually increase your return of investment. It can also decrease your rate of investment. So that's the cautionary word.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, a lot of investors, a lot of people who advise people on how to use their money wisely will say, you know, do your 401(k), do these mutual funds, do all of these things. But you personally say mutual funds are a rip-off.

Why is that?

KIYOSAKI: Well, not only me. It's a man named Jack Bogle. He's the CEO and founder of the Vanguard Funds.

He wrote a book, "The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism." I would read that book. If you love mutual funds, read Jack Bogle's book.

It's one of the best-written, clearly-written books on why mutual fund companies are ripping off the investor today. It's just like that guy who departed Home Depot. He took $210 million of investor money.

Bogle says the same thing about Jack Welch. So the little investor today, I really feel for them. That's why I recommend silver. Twenty bucks, you're in the game. You actually control it.

NGUYEN: And this from a man who started out as a Xerox salesman. Now, you know, a best-selling author, hanging out with "The Donald."

KIYOSAKI: That's right.

NGUYEN: We appreciate your time today. Happy New Year to you.

KIYOSAKI: Thank you. Same to you.

NGUYEN: A man who would know, right?

HOLMES: I've got to go get a silver coin.

NGUYEN: Yes. We're buying silver today.

HOLMES: Well, coming up, folks, do you need help saving all that hard-earned money of yours? Well, your cell phone could be the answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put the credit card away. I don't really need to buy those shoes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Ring tone resolutions keeping you on track in the new year.

NGUYEN: That's a good idea.

And look out below. Strange things are falling from the sky. That's one example of it.

Jeanne Moos explains ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TJ HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Now in the news, the U.S. embassy is investigating reports that an American contractor has been kidnapped in Iraq. Wire services say two men believed to be Iraqi interpreters have been found shot dead in Basra. Those interpreters were working with that contractor. No word yet on the fate of the American.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We consider the execution of a dictator an internal affair only concerns the Iraqi people alone and we reject and condemn all the reactions that some governments had whether officially or through its media outlets in sympathizing with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: The Iraqi prime minister angry over criticism of the Saddam Hussein execution. Nuri al-Maliki saying this morning that Iraq may rethink relations with certain countries that are openly critical of last week's execution.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: The army is now offering an apology for a mistaken plea to reenlist. Here's what happened. The letter was sent to 275 Army officers who were either killed in action or wounded. The Army says they accidentally used an old list to generate the letters last month.

And news this morning concerning nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. A statement from the Chicago-based religious group says Farrakhan is recovering after 12 hours in surgery. The organization is not revealing what Farrakhan is being treated for. Last year Farrakhan issued a statement saying he is seriously ill following radiation treatment for cancer.

Let's get you over to Reynolds Wolf for a quick check of this weather, this wacky. And there's really no other way to describe it. It is all over the map.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You're absolutely right and we've had all the heavy snowfall out towards the west into the central Rockies. That is ending. But the heat, that's right, heat, continues for parts of the eastern seaboard, including New York and Boston today where high temperatures will rise not into the 50s but rather the 60s and 70s. New York City warming up to 70 degrees. The question is how long is that going to last? Coming up in a few moments friends and neighbors, I'll let you know right here on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAFF SGT. JEFFREY ALLAN HESS, MARINE CORP RECRUITER: It has definitely become more challenging. I got here about the time that 9/11 happened, just after. And there was a flux of a lot of patriotic Americans that wanted to join. And then after time has dwindled down, it changed all that. It began to get very challenging.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Challenging, indeed. Between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military recruiters are feeling more pressure to meet their goals. And there are some charges that some are minimizing the risks and overstating the benefits of enlisting right now. So what should you know before you, your son or daughter signs on that dotted line? Gina Cavallaro is a reporter for the "Army Times," a weekly newspaper that we do want to point out here is not affiliated with the military. She joins us now from Washington this morning with more. Thank you for being here. You talk to a lot of military folks. The ones you talk to who were just getting into it or have been in for a little bit, do you hear much saying that they didn't really know what they were getting to? I mean were their impressions, when they did sign of that dotted line, turn out to be true once they were enlisted?

GINA CAVALLARO, ARMY TIMES: TJ, actually, yes, that's true. Sometimes I do hear people say, my recruiter lied to me. I'm not where they said I would be and I didn't know I would be going to Korea for a year. You definitely hear those things. But it's not the norm. I think what people need to do when they go to a recruiter is to do the research up front. There's plenty of information out there on the Army's web sites and you're signing a contract with the Army; you're making a life choice. It's an important thing. And you should look into it before you go.

HOLMES: You hit on this, but is that the mistake you think that most are making, the biggest mistake, is that there is a lot of information out there, a lot of research you can do but so many are not doing?

CAVALLARO: Yes. I think that's true. And I think also there's a -- I mean, I didn't join the army so I don't know what it's like to walk into a recruiter. Recruiters are usually scared of me. But I would imagine that when you're 18 and you're kind of deciding what you would like to do or even if you're a little bit older, you probably do have a lot of questions. You need to know that the Army has a mission to enlist a certain number of soldiers every year. Active duty is 80,000 soldiers they enlist every year. You're going to maybe eventually run into someone out there who is going to be less than scrupulous or who isn't going to tell you everything. What it comes down to is do the research and get your information from them up front. Get it all in writing. If the job you want isn't available, it might be because there isn't a slot available in the school you want. So tell them you'd like to wait until there is a slot available. I mean they need you just as much as you might think you need them

HOLMES: You talk about there's a signing a contract like any other job you're signing up for. With a contract with the military, is there much negotiating that can be done? You hit on if they don't have the job ready for you that you want right then, to come back later. How much negotiating can you do with the military to get what you want?

CAVALLARO: Well, I think there's a significant amount of negotiating you can do. I think they're going to put their best face forward when they're trying to get you to sign on the dotted line. It's obvious why. The Army's at war right now and it's a big decision to join the Army. But find out what the Army has for you too. That may sound kind of selfish, but the Army is going to get what it wants out of you during the time you're enlisted. And you need to know also that any recruiter who tells you you're not going to go to Iraq is telling you less than the truth. You're pretty much assured that you're going to go somewhere, whether it be Iraq or Afghanistan or some deployment somewhere. You're needed. The Army needs people everywhere right now.

HOLMES: Finally here, how skeptical should people be going into a recruiter's office? You mentioned the wars. It makes it of course tougher now. Are we seeing more instances -- it's still rare, not all are out there being deceptive and lying, but are we seeing more instances and getting tougher to convince kids to sign up so maybe we're getting more reports now of deceptive practices by some recruiters.

CAVALLARO: TJ, I think you hit the nail on the head on that one. With the number of recruiters out there and the number of people they're recruiting every year, I think we're talking about maybe a few hundred people who have gotten desperate and have done some things. The media has got a lot more focus on recruiters right now because there is a war going on. It's going to happen. But I think your best defense is to know everything you can. Go to goarmy.com, read about the jobs, read about what it's like to be a soldier. They make it easy for you. So take advantage of it.

HOLMES: All right. Well, I guess that's the key. Just do your research. Do your homework.

CAVALLARO: Yes. Do your homework. HOLMES: Well, Gina Cavallaro, again with the "Army Times, " a weekly newspaper and not affiliated with the military, but appreciate you giving us the information. A lot of information people need to know before they walk into that recruiter's office. Thank you so much and take care of that call (ph).

CAVALLARO: You're welcome. Thank you.

NGUYEN: Bibles, rings, medals, sometimes just a word of encouragement from your loved ones, little things that soldiers carry with them on the battle field can make a big difference. CNN Baghdad bureau chief Cal Perry has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I asked Lieutenant Colonel Ross Brown if he'd ever read the Vietnam war novel, "The Things They Carried," which referred to the little things soldiers carry with them to make them feel safer. He hadn't, but he was intrigued and he began asking his men.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Do you carry anything special with you on a mission to help protect you?

PERRY: For the U.S. soldier patrolling unknown terrain, it's the small things that carry you through the day, the small trinkets given by family or picked up in the field.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Does this protect them? (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Do you carry anything special with you on mission to help you out?

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I carry my wedding ring, a bracelet my wife sent me.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Archangel.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I care a Bible, Psalm 91, prayer to St. Raphael (INAUDIBLE)

PERRY: Psalm 91, thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flyeth by day.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Carry it over your heart.

PERRY: And of course, the ever present banter of a sergeant major.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: (INAUDIBLE) My weapon is the one thing that I need I think.

PERRY: For the Iraqi Army soldier trying to rebuild his country and the Iraqi civilian trying to survive, it's the things they carry that make the small mental difference. The Iraqi army is under strict orders not to speak with the press, not to tell us anything, whether it is what they carry for luck, how they go about their jobs or what it is that gets them through their day.

So we came out to this Baghdad street about a quarter of a mile away from the relatively protected green zone because in many respects, Iraq today is more dangerous for its civilians than for its soldiers. Civilians, too, carry with them mementoes they hope will bring them safety.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: So before they go out, they read a phrase in the Koran.

PERRY: Materials possession aside, all those fighting this war and all those who cover it, we will always carry with us demons, the memories we wish would simply go away. And here at CNN, only one small part of a much larger puzzle, the list is growing slowly larger. CNN producer (INAUDIBLE) driver Yasser (ph) and our stringer, Abbas (ph), all killed since the start of the war. Guy Barateri (ph), security guard and a friend, dead at age 36, leaving behind a three- month-old daughter. All of us here in Iraq carry with us something, something personal, something that reminds us of the unrelenting violence, the statistics that never seem to end. I, for one, was presented this coin by a combat medic here in Baghdad and not a day goes by that I don't remember the Iraqi and American soldiers that sacrificed their lives in this war. Cal Perry, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Going global now. We start with massive protests rocking Somalia. Crowds took to the streets in Mogadishu, voicing opposition to Ethiopian troops that ousted Islamic militants this week. The crowds were also protesting the government's push to disarm residents. Many Somalis fear the return of militiamen loyal to local warlords.

U.S. experts arrive in Indonesia today to help investigate the apparent crash of a jetliner that disappeared with more than 100 people on board. It's been five days now since the Boeing 737 disappeared.

And look closely at this. It's a two-headed snake. This reptile was found near a small village in Cuba. It has captured the interest of locals and national zoo specialists.

NGUYEN: Freaky, if you ask me. OK. So what if the phone you talk into starts talking back?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember last year when you made all those resolutions, let's do that again this year, except this time why don't we try to make them come true, hey, buddy?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Hey buddy?

HOLMES: I'm throwing that phone away. We're talking about ring tone resolutions is the latest tool to help you keep your New Year's goals. That story is straight ahead in the CNN newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SONNY JACKSON, DENVER POLICE SPOKESMAN: At this point in time we're only talking to him about information he may have related to the homicide. We're not calling him a suspect at this time. We're just talking to him about any information he may have relative to this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Stories making news across America, Denver police question a 24-year-old in the shooting death of Broncos player Darrent Williams. Williams will be buried today in his home town of Forth Worth, Texas. The 24-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting in Denver early New Year's Day.

HOLMES: A couple of police officers in Tampa, Florida apparently felt threatened by this elderly man. According to the report, the 69- year-old tried to hit the officers with his metal cane. They asked him to drop it. He refused. They tasered (ph) him He is now charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

NGUYEN: On Long Island, New York, a 14-year-old boy who is hearing impaired is barred from taking his assistance dog to school. Now his parents have been fighting the issue for more than a year and two officials say the boy doesn't need the dog to attend classes. The state is looking into whether the school is violating his rights.

HOLMES: And a new hair salon is open in Salem, New Hampshire and it's called "Lather and Lace.: You can see here, the work uniform is leather and lace Some people call it an outrage. I'm not among them. Others are calling - that was for Betty.

NGUYEN: Right. I had nothing to do with it.

HOLMES: We were talking about this earlier. But others of course are calling for an appointment. As you can imagine, a lot of those are gentleman.

NGUYEN: As you can imagine, right TJ, your words.

This whole ring tone phenomenon is really off the hook. First it was first just melodies, then came entire songs you could download to yourself. Now a ringing reminder. Joclyn Mose (ph) with our affiliate WFMZ has the 4-1-1.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOCLYN MOSE, WFMZ (voice-over): They're as varied as the people who use them, but ring tones can be more than just entertaining. Now they can help you stay on the right track and stick to your New Year's resolutions. So if your resolution is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do less shopping and more saving.

MOSE: The ring tone might go something like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put the credit card away. I don't really need to buy those shoes.

WWW.thumbplay.com offers that constant reminder. Just click on New Year's resolutions, find the right one for you, whether you're trying to quit smoking or drinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quit drinking you *&%$ lush. I'm sick of smelling your boozy breath.

MOSE: Or if you're just trying to stay healthy, there's a variety of ring tones to choose from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) stay think, look better, (INAUDIBLE)

DAVE MAURA, CELL PHONE USER: I can take a hint. This is non- carbonated.

MOSE: For some the resolution reminder ring tone might be a little much.

MAURA: I can't imagine having that in front of people at a party and all of a sudden, by the way, fatties, quit eating.

MOSE: Others say it' would be a timely tool.

PHIL SCHWARTZ, CELL PHONE USER: (INAUDIBLE) pretty good. (INAUDIBLE)

TOM McCANN, CELL PHONE USER: It would be very interesting. At least it would get the thought back in your mind after a couple weeks when you give up our resolution.

MOSE: So this year, every time your cell phone rings, you'll remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember last year when you made all those resolutions? Well, let's do that again this year, except this time why don't we try to make them came true, hey, buddy?

MOSE: Joclyn Mose, 69 news.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: OK. I get the point, but how annoying is that. Just picture this right. You're in an office meeting. You forget to turn off your cell phone. And the one about stop drinking comes on. Not such a good career move. HOLMES: You shouldn't take your phone to the meeting then Betty.

NGUYEN: ... have that problem.

HOLMES: All right. We're going to move on from ring tones to talk about mysterious objects falling from the sky.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I sigh it's a UFO. It's part of a UFO fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Not a scientific analytical explanation perhaps but maybe Jeannie Moos can help explain why the sky is falling. That's ahead here in the newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: All right. You know what that is. Time now for our morning trip to the water cooler and it is a special four for one deal today, folks.

HOLMES: We're running a special today. Four space oddities all wrapped up into one by our own Jeanne Moos. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Weird spacecraft, mystery chunk falls through the roof of a house, UFO sighting over Chicago's O'Hare and now this. Maybe a certain chicken was ahead of its time. Must have seemed that way in Freehold Township, New Jersey. Police say this metallic lump, the weight of a can of soup, fell from the sky above this neighborhood, made a neat hole in someone's roof and ended up embedded in a wall. Was it a meteorite? Experts are still analyzing it. Kids in the neighborhood have their own theories.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Well, I say it's a UFO. It's part of a UFO fight.

MOOS: No, kid, that's over at Chicago's O'Hare international airport where a dozen witnesses saw a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Metallic gray object, low in the sky.

MOOS: ...hovering over concourse C, a silent Frisbee. Forget the flying saucer movie jokes. According to the "Chicago Tribune" reporter who broke the story, these witnesses are anything but witless.

JON HILKEVITCH, CHICAGO TRIBUNE REPORTER: They're all United Airlines employees ranging from pilots to supervisors who heard the chatter about this on the radio and raced out and saw it in the sky.

MOOS: The thing supposedly hovered for several minutes, then shot up through thick clouds leaving what was described as a hole in the overcast skies. The FAA figures it was a weather phenomenon. Meanwhile, jokesters on youtube have their own reasons to doubt aliens would come here.

Maybe this looks like a alien space ship, but it's an actual test flight of a vertical take off and landing vehicle that may some day carry tourists to the edge of space. The founder of amazon.com is funding the effort. From the look of the 35-second test flight, don't pack your bags yet. And who needs to go to space?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down, down, right there. Something is reentering the atmosphere.

MOOS: When space is coming to earth. (INAUDIBLE) traffic helicopter pilots over Denver were stunned to stumble on what turned out to be a Russian booster rocket breaking up upon reentry, space junk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen anything like that.

MOOS: Next thing you know, frogs will be falling like in the movie Magnolia, Chicken Little, be a little right. Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: All right. So let's put this to rest. Geologists at Rutgers University say the object that fell in New Jersey is a meteorite or so they say.

Well, the 2006 word of the year, plutoed, you know, plutoed, that dot in the sky that we grew up thinking was a planet. This year some time big time astronomers decided it isn't one. So now if something loses its value, it's been plutoed.

HOLMES: And plutoed, bring us to our e-mail question of the day. We've been asking you to pick your word of the year. We did get several responses. Let's see what you all had to say here.

NGUYEN: Well, Lewis from Long Island, New York, said I voted for the word decider since it reflects so much about the leader of the free world and perhaps his perception of himself.

HOLMES: We got one here from Diana as well, says my favorite word of 2006 was youtubeified, as in George Allen was youtubeified and lost the election. You remember Senator Allen over in Virginia, had some issues.

NGUYEN: And Mike from Ontario, Canada says Borat. I like, wawawewa could be another word that Borat would like.

HOLMES: That was one of your favorites. That was one of your...

NGUYEN: Wawawewa.

HOLMES: Ghost riding, it's a rush for some. You heard of the stuff. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thrill of just doing it and taking the risk. It's dangerous, but it's fun at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Well, not so much for this person. Ouch. But for others, it is the end of a road ahead in the newsroom. A new stunt that is exploding on the Internet.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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