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Kidnapping Suspect Michael Devlin Arraigned in Missouri; Menacing Winter Weather Hits Southeast; Domestic Wiretaps
Aired January 18, 2007 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: You're with CNN. You're informed.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming in to the NEWSROOM on this Thursday, January 18th.
Here's what's on the rundown now.
Kidnapping suspect Michael Devlin arraigned in Missouri this morning. The prosecutor says Devlin confessed to kidnapping one of the boys.
HARRIS: Los Angeles subway incident. A clumsy commuter or a man training for terror? A matter of mercury only on CNN.
COLLINS: Art Buchwald losing his battle with kidney disease. We remember the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, columnist and Washington insider this hour in the NEWSROOM.
Before the judge. The latest development in the Missouri kidnappings case. Michael Devlin arraigned just a short time ago via video link. And the parents of one accuser speaking with shocking candor.
We get the very latest now from CNN's Keith Oppenheim.
Keith, we'll get to that discussion in just a moment, but first I want to ask you about this apparent confession. Both the prosecutor and the defense attorneys spoke about it.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And Robert Parks, the prosecuting attorney, after the arraignment, briefly just indicated that there was a confession from the suspect, Michael Devlin, that he did admit to kidnapping 13-year-old Ben Ownby.
Let's get to the arraignment, which happened a couple of hours ago. It was pretty quick, and formally Michael Devlin was charged with one count of kidnapping 13-year-old Ben Ownby last week, and he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Again, this was done by video link. The judge was speaking to Devlin as Devlin was in a room at the county jail.
Let's listen to part of the interaction between the judge and Devlin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Devlin, how to do you wish to plead to this matter? Mr. Devlin?
MICHAEL DEVLIN, KIDNAPPING SUSPECT: I'm not guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPENHEIM: Judge Tobin (ph) set a penalty date of -- a hearing date, rather, of March 15th. And keep in mind that Devlin is being kept in isolation at the Franklin County Jail.
His defense attorneys are making the point that they think it's going to be very difficult for him to get a fair trial in this county.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL KIELTY, DEVLIN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's a relatively small county, it's a close-knit community. And the purported victim here is a member of that community, as his family. And I think it really hits home. And you get -- you know, when you have a couple hundred news people down here, and they're hearing about it day in and day out, and local metropolitan and national, international news, I mean, I think it would make it next to impossible to have a fair jury in this trial -- in this county.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPENHEIM: Heidi, this is a multi-jurisdictional case. There's another county, Washington County, that yesterday filed charges against Devlin as well. That's for the kidnapping of 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck.
So that's also part of this case, and the question is, what county would go first? We don't know yet.
Back to you.
COLLINS: Yes, and how closely and well they will work together as those proceedings go on.
I also want to ask you about this, Keith. We are learning here that apparently the parents of Shawn Hornbeck, along with Shawn Hornbeck, were guests of Oprah Winfrey. And I'm not sure when we'll be seeing that, but some interesting information coming out of that interview.
OPPENHEIM: Yes, it's important information. Craig and Pam Akers are the parents of Shawn Hornbeck. They were in Chicago with Shawn yesterday for a taping of the "Oprah Winfrey Show." And during that broadcast which is airing today nationally, Oprah asks the parents whether they believe that their son, Shawn, was sexually assaulted during his captivity, and the answer that the parents gave was yes.
Now, for those of us who are watching this case, it might have been a presumption that Shawn or that these boys may have been sexually assaulted during captivity, but it's really the first time we've heard from any of the major players in this story that they have said they believe that these boys were sexually assaulted.
COLLINS: All right. Keith Oppenheim for us in Union, Missouri.
Keith, thank you.
HARRIS: Well, no doubt about it, winter is here and it is hanging on for a while, even in places where the snow is seldom seen.
Take a look in Malibu, California. A fast-moving storm drops snow in the mountains, hail in the city. Residents grabbed their cameras to take pictures, have a little fun. Take a look at this. Some rare sights.
Snowing instead of -- clowning, clowning, clowning there. And, well, the snow and ice forced officials to close Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles.
In Texas, the winter blast shut down the Alamo and a 300-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from Fort Stockton to San Antonio.
And in hard-hit Oklahoma, thousand of people still without power.
The winter weather has been treacherous and deadly. At least 65 storm-related deaths have been reported in nine states since Friday.
COLLINS: Menacing winter weather hits the Southeast. Traffic accidents, school closings, plenty of problems in North Carolina.
Alex Reed of CNN affiliate WCNC reports from Mooresville.
ALEX REED, REPORTER, WCNC: I'm in Mooresville, North Carolina, which is 30 minutes north of Charlotte. The conditions now just a slight drizzle, but we're waiting for the next wave of freezing rain and sleet to move in.
Take a look at this park bench next to me. The rain, which has been falling all morning, landed on the bench. It is now frozen, covering the bench with a nice layer of ice there.
Now, that's exactly what's happening to our roadways here. This is what I'm talking about. All the snow you see in the video here is freezing to the roads.
It's not the accumulation we're worried about, though, in the Carolinas, it's the ice. We've already seen a 12-car pileup which shut down Interstate 77. We're told the highway has been reopened now, but the ice also caused schools in several counties to cancel classes for the day. The weather is also to blame for a major water main break in the center of Charlotte. You can see gallons and gallons of water pouring out into the parking lot there.
As you can see, the roadways here are still very, very wet. It's the bridges and overpasses which are the main concern for those.
Back in Charlotte, the main concern for that water main break is getting all that water contained, getting the main fixed before that water freezes and causes some major problems.
In Mooresville, I'm Alex Reed for CNN.
COLLINS: Reynolds Wolf joining us now to try to make sense of it all.
As you do so well. But we've got, let's see, North Carolina, San Antonio, Texas; Malibu, California. I mean, these are warm, sunny places, Reynolds.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know. I know. And we've had some crazy weather.
HARRIS: Wiretaps with warrants. The Bush administration reverses course on its domestic eavesdropping program that targets terror suspects. A special court will now approve or reject requests for warrants. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in front of a Senate committee right now to answer questions about the program.
White House Correspondent Ed Henry has more on the administration's turnabout.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sharp reversal for President Bush on the issue of warrantless wiretapping, even though Press Secretary Tony Snow tried to portray it as a situation where the Justice Department has no problem with an independent court monitoring the administration's controversial domestic spying.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The foreign intelligence surveillance court has put together its guidelines and its rules. And those have met administration concerns about speed and agility.
HENRY: A far cry from what the President has repeatedly asserted that he need special powers because the 1978 FISA law was outdated.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I looked, I said, look, is it possible to conduct this program under the old law? And people said it doesn't work in order to be able to do the job we expect this to do. HENRY: Democrats who have long charged the president's terrorist surveillance program may have been illegal and unconstitutional declared it was about time the President came around.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: They don't have to follow the law. They can step outside of the law. They don't have to follow the checks and balances that I'd say all Americans, no matter what your political beliefs might be, all Americans ought to ask, why are they doing this?
Why are they doing this? Because it doesn't -- in the long run it does not protect us, not if we take away our liberties.
HENRY: New Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy was planning aggressive questioning of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday, but the White House denied any effort to preempt that.
SNOW: It's the FISA court, which is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which has done this. What you're doing is you're accusing that court of engaging in political activity to, what, bail out the Bush administration? I don't think so.
HARRIS: White House Correspondent Ed Henry joins us now.
Good morning, Ed.
HENRY: Good morning, Tony.
HARRIS: Just a quick question. What kind of heat is Gonzales getting today on the Hill from both Republicans and Democrats?
HENRY: A fair bit of heat. You heard Democratic chairman Patrick Leahy, who you herd there this morning. He said that in his 32 years in the Senate he's never seen a time where the Constitution, basic fundamental rights of Americans, has been more threatened than by this administration.
Not unexpected that the new Democratic leaders would be trying to flex their muscles, if you will. But perhaps more interesting, a senior Republican, Arlen Specter, really kind of ripped into the attorney general at the beginning of this hearing, saying, why did it take this long to come around to a position that a bipartisan group of people on the Hill had been urging them to do?
And finally, I would point out Democrat Edward Kennedy, who, as you know, is trying to stop what he calls the escalation of the war in Iraq, really pressed the attorney general on the War Powers Act, asking him whether the mission has changed so much in Iraq since the 2002 congressional authorization, that maybe the president has to come back to the Hill for another authorization to send more troops. Mr. Gonzales said he wanted to study that.
And finally, Mr. Kennedy pressed and said, "Well, what about invading Iran? Will you seek congressional approval before invading Iran?" Mr. Gonzales ducked that a bit by saying there are no plans to invade Iran.
As you know, Democrats trying to press on that subject, but the attorney general digging in saying there are no plans to do that despite these Democratic charges -- Tony.
HARRIS: Some unusual questions for the attorney general.
Ed Henry for us this morning.
Ed, thank you.
HENRY: Thank you.
HARRIS: A clumsy commuter or a man training for terror? A bizarre episode inside an L.A. subway station. It is only on CNN, and we've got it in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Going the extra mile to fight cancer. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the back roads of Georgia. We'll show you how it's helping to save lives.
HARRIS: Feared dead, but held in a secret CIA prison. Now this alleged American terrorist pleads for his rights. His family shares his letters with CNN.
That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: A toxic substance spilled on a subway platform. Terror plot or nothing more than an accident?
Our Deborah Feyerick with this CNN exclusive report.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do these pictures mean? Especially in a post-9/11 world when what appears ordinary may be the key to a future terror attack?
This surveillance video obtained exclusively by CNN shows the Pershing Square subway station in Los Angeles late Friday before Christmas. A man in a brown jacket crouches on the platform and spills a silvery liquid from a small bottle.
An accident? Maybe. Except the liquid turns out to be mercury. About five fluid ounces.
KEN ROBINSON, TERRORISM EXPERT: Doesn't make sense. The only thing that does make sense is to find him and interrogate him.
FEYERICK (on camera): The fact it doesn't make sense, is that what bothers you the most?
ROBINSON: Yes. Because the -- he's got a heavy metal, and he's taking it into a subway. There's no good reason to do that. None. FEYERICK: Ken Robinson, a terrorism expert who worked intelligence in the Pentagon, has analyzed hundreds of al Qaeda tapes for CNN.
When you look at this incident, do you think in your mind that this is a dry run for a terror attack?
ROBINSON: I for sure think that it should be treated as if it is.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Mercury, found in thermometers is dangerous when swallowed, but spilling it would have no immediate toxic effect. That's one reason the L.A. County sheriff's department, in charge of the investigation, believes the spill was likely an accident. Also, the man who spilled it placed a call moments after from a call box alerting authorities.
STEVE WHITMORE, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: At this point, we are relatively confident it is not a credible threat.
FEYERICK: But a 2005 joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin warns terrorists may make calls to test police reaction.
In the case of the spilled mercury, according to the hazmat cleanup report read to CNN, law enforcement did not respond for a full eight hours. Pat D'Amuro, now a CNN analyst, was a top FBI counterterrorism agent. He says it's premature to rule out terror.
PAT D'AMURO, GIULIANI SECURITY AND SAFETY: I'm not saying that in this video these individuals are terrorists but there's some very strange activity that needs to be identified here.
FEYERICK: The sheriff who oversees the investigation, sent out an alert to be on the lookout for a man described as white or Middle Eastern, wanted in connection with a possible act of terror. Four weeks later, the FBI in Los Angeles sent out its own bulletin, saying the man is still wanted for questioning in connection with unexplained activity.
HARRIS: Man, what a story. Deborah Feyerick joins us now from New York.
Deb, great to see you.
Why did the FBI release this flyer, this alert?
FEYERICK: Well, it's interesting. When we spoke to the FBI in Los Angeles about a week ago, a spokesperson said that it was not terror-related, and they didn't want anyone from the bureau to speak us to because it would add legitimacy to our story.
Well, last night, when they knew that we were going to run the story, they had a change of heart and sent out an official statement, not only to CNN, but to members of many media outlets. So whether it was a coincidence or timing, we certainly wanted to get that official statement.
HARRIS: Hey, Deb, this -- this guy who is highlighted here, the actor here, was he alone?
FEYERICK: No. As a matter of fact, on that tape early on, before he releases the mercury, what you do see is him making contact with another individual who is waiting under the stairwell, basically.
It's not clear what they say. There's no sound on the tape. But they do seem to at least connect.
Then, when the train pulls in, they approach the train. And even though they're among the first to get to the train, they're among the last to board.
So again, suspicious. Were they waiting to see whether there was going to be any sort of response? Were they waiting to see whether there would be sort of an all-points bulletin with people swamping into the subway?
FEYERICK: That's how they gather intelligence, if, in fact, that's what they're doing.
HARRIS: Deb, one final question. Why did it take -- boy, this feels like the outrage of outrages with this story -- why did it take authorities eight hours to respond and clean this up?
FEYERICK: We were told by a commander with the sheriff's department that, in fact, that is one thing that they're looking into. The call was placed moments after the mercury was spilled.
They haven't determined that, however, whether it was because it was the Friday of Christmas weekend, not clear. But they didn't respond to it until a second call was placed the next morning. So eight hours, more than eight hours passed.
HARRIS: That's hardly acceptable.
Deb Feyerick for us in New York.
Deb, great to see you. Thanks.
And stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.
COLLINS: Feared dead, but held in a secret CIA prison. Now this alleged American terrorist pleads for his rights. His family shares his letters with CNN ahead in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Tough talk from Iraq's prime minister. He says Iraqis can control the violence in his country with more guns and money from the United States, but on the ground in Iraq another day of violence.
CNN's Arwa Damon reports from Baghdad.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest round of violence in the capital saw five car bombs explode in a span of just three hours. The deadliest of those attacks coming during a triple bombing at one of Baghdad's open air marketplaces where farmers come to sell fresh produce every morning. That attack left at least 10 Iraqis dead and wounded another 30.
Earlier in the morning, during rush hour in the capital, another car bomb. This time targeting an Iraqi police patrol, exploding on a busy commercial street. At least four Iraqis were killed in that attack, another 10 were wounded.
This is the violence that resonates with the Iraq people. Not any sort of plans that are being put forward by the American and Iraqi governments.
However, we did hear tough talk from Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, during a press briefing he gave to print journalists earlier. In that, he said that if the United States provided the Iraqi security forces with adequate training and weapons, that they would be able to take over security in the next three to six months.
We have, however, heard this sort of talk from Iraq's prime minister in the past, as recently as the end of October, when he gave a very similar statement to another news agency. But when it comes down to reality on the ground, the Iraqi security forces themselves do tell us that they prefer to conduct operations alongside their American counterpart. They are still very much reliant on U.S. military guidance from the lowest, all the way up to the highest levels, in terms of military operations.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
COLLINS: Pawns in the deadly violence in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They said he was screaming the whole time, "I am booby-trapped! I am booby-trapped!"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Innocent Iraqis kidnapped and forced to become suicide bombers. One family's chilling story ahead in the NEWSROOM.
And the Missouri kidnapping suspect before the judge and now under intensifying scrutiny. Does he hold answers to a 1991 disappearance?
A closer look in the NEWSROOM.
Plus, going the extra mile to fight cancer. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the back roads of Georgia. We'll show you how it's helping to save lives.
HARRIS: A Baltimore man, branded an Al Qaeda terrorist and shipped to a secret CIA prison. He was (INAUDIBLE) for years. Now he's speaking through letters shared by his family in hopes of helping him.
Our Kelli Arena has this broadcast exclusive.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The government says Muhjeed (ph) Khan is one of the worst of the worst. One held of the 14 alleged terrorists held in secret CIA prisons, then transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He hasn't been heard from for more than three years, his family wasn't even sure he was alive, until now.
MAHMOOD KHAN, BROTHER OF DETAINEE: When we saw the letters, the only thing that, I think, good came out of it is that we know where he is, and before it was uncertainty.
ARENA: Three letters in all, delivered by the family by the Red Cross. It's the first time anyone has heard from any of the 14 men.
KHAN: He's asking for lawyers. He's trying to tell us that he's innocent and he has nothing -- or done nothing. That's what we get really out of his words.
ARENA: Khan writes: "In this letter I am going to mention some things I have been through." Apparently talking about his time at a secret CIA prison. But all you see after this is a page of black. Details the government blocked out calling the information too sensitive.
KHAN: So from the whole letter, this is what we get, as a family, two lines up top, two lines at the bottom. That's it. This is what makes you feel frustrated.
ARENA: The only part that is not blacked out is where he says, "I didn't even have my glasses to read or to see." In another letter, referring life at Gitmo he says, "I do get to go outside from my cell to get sunburn for about one hour every day, and sometimes I get to talk to other detainees as well, from behind the wall. But I am still in solitary confinement."
According to the Bush administration, Kahn, who lived in Baltimore, is being held for allegedly plotting to blow up gas stations, and poison water supplies in the United States. He has been denied what many Americans think is a basic right -- access to his lawyer. She sued the government to get Kahn the right to challenge his detention in court.
GITANJALI GUTIERREZ, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: They certainly have refused to move forward in federal court or actually present any sworn or credible evidence.
ARENA: While much attention is focused on what Kahn wrote about his treatment, his family is mostly touched by the personal passages.
KHAN: "Please let me know, in our family, who is married to who, newborn babies, and who has died. And I don't need to tell you how much I love you, and miss you guys."
COLLINS: Meanwhile, police say he was a victim, not a bomber. An Iraqi man forced on a suicide mission.
CNN's Arwa Damon has his story.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty-two-year-old Kamal al-Khaqani (ph) was happily married with four kids, trying like most here to avoid the violence, to just get through each day alive.
JABURI AL-KHAQANI, VICTIM'S FATHER (through translator): We have nothing to do with politics or anything else.
DAMON: Then one day, like a thousand others, Kamal left to run errands and pick up breakfast for the family.
"He got dressed at 7:00 and told me he would come back at 9:00," his mother says. "He never came back."
"It was 10:00, 11:00," his wife says. "At 11:00 I started to feel nervous. They kept comforting me. At 2:00, I was pacing back and forth."
But Halud (ph) knew deep down that her husband of 12 years would not be coming back.
ADEL AL-KHAQANI, VICTIM'S BROTHER (through translator): The next day someone came by and said, "A car similar to your brother's is in al Hadra (ph) neighborhood and it has been blown up."
DAMON: Kamal's final moments pieced together by officers at the scene.
A. AL-KHAQANI (through translator): He told me, "It looked like your poor brother was kidnapped." DAMON (on camera): Kamal was released and set off in his own car. Police say he was probably told to drive towards their checkpoint. But they say he must have realized that his vehicle was rigged with explosives and that he was about to become an unwilling bomber. Then he tried desperately to warn those around him.
J. AL-KHAQANI (through translator): They said he was screaming the whole time, "I am booby-trapped! I am booby-trapped!"
A. AL-KHAQANI (through translator): He didn't finish his words before the car blew p. We showed him his pictures and he said, "Yes, that's him."
DAMON: The explosion wounded one policeman. Kamal's shouted warnings may well have saved lives.
"Kamal is gone," his mother cries. "When my sons sit around, Kamal is not there. His absence has tortured me."
"It's difficult," his wife says. "How are we going to live? Only god's mercy can keep us going. It's tough. We are four."
A. AL-KHAQANI (through translator): Every time his little son starts to cry I break down in tears.
DAMON: Eleven-year-old Darat (ph) can't even speak. The youngest, 1-year-old Sajad (ph), still runs around saying, "Daddy," too young to realize that daddy is never coming home.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
HARRIS: Going the extra mile to fight cancer. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the back roads of Georgia, life-saving help ahead in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Cancer touches just about everyone's family -- big cities, small town, no one is immune. On the back roads of Georgia, the battle against cancer door to door. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has details in his special series "Saving Your Life."
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grace Miller and Jane Stettenbureau (ph) are foot soldiers in the war against cancer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you had a Pap smear lately?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have that.
GUPTA: Every week Jane and grace drive the dusty and desolate back roads of Baker Count in Southwest Georgia. Cotton, peanuts and poverty have long define this region which has one of the highest cancer rates in the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have health insurance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
GUPTA: Jane and Grace's message is simple, a cancer screening could save your life. Fear, financial limitations and a growing obesity problem contribute to the cancer crisis in southwest Georgia.
Colon cancer is of particular concern. It was almost too late for Sally Hammond. She lives just up the road in Terrell County which has the highest mortality rate for colon cancer in the country. Since she's over 60, Sally's doctor insisted she get screened for colon cancer.
SALLY HAMMOND, COLON CANCER SURVIVOR: I was against having this colonoscopy.
GUPTA: But doctors found cancer dangerously close to spreading.
HAMMOND: I really thought I was going to die.
GUPTA: After taking chemotherapy and radiation, Sally is now cancer-free.
The American Cancer Society say nine in ten colon cancer patients survive if the cancer is caught early. But early diagnosis happens less than 40 percent of the time. The survival rate for most cancers increases dramatically if they're detected early.
DR. JIM HOTZ, RURAL HEALTH CARE EXPERT: If you look at the greatest populations at risk and who gets screened the least, it's poor people.
GUPTA: Dr. Jim Hotz has practiced medicine for nearly 30 years. He's considered one of the leading experts on rural healthcare in the country.
HOTZ: People shouldn't die from cancer if there's a way of screening for it and picking it up early.
GUPTA: Picking it up early to increase the odds of surviving into old age.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
COLLINS: Cancer prevention is a big part of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's series "Saving Your Life." Watch it right here this weekend -- you see him there with Lance Armstrong -- Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern and Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Be proactive in fighting cancer. CNN has developed a special web site to help. Go to CNN.com/savingyourlife and click on web extras. You'll find a link to a cancer screening map, resources in all 50 states.
If you do not have access to your Internet, visit your community center or library to log on. Information that could save your life.
HARRIS: Art Buchwald, dying is easy, he said, it's parking that's impossible. Remembering the columnist, humorist and presidential critic in THE NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: So the world has lost a bit of its sparkle today, columnist Art Buchwald died quietly at his Washington home. The Pulitzer Prize winner was surrounded by his family. He remained a scribe until the end, writing a book about his failing kidneys and his decision to forego dialysis treatments. He moved to a hospice almost a year ago and was expected to die within weeks. Instead, he spent that time completing what his son calls a victory lap. Neither Buchwald nor his doctors could explain how he cheated death all this time. Art Buchwald was 81.
COLLINS: CNN's "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is coming up in oh, about 14 minutes to be exact. Ralitza is standing by to tell us more of what you will see on the program.
Hi there, Ralitza.
RALITZA VASSILIVA, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Heidi. Hi, Tony. Well, we are going to look into some new comments by Iraq's prime minister Nouri al Malaki saying that all he needs is more weapons and better training for his troops and the U.S. troops can start going home. We'll check that out.
Also, remember bird flu? Well, it's popping up again in Asia and the Middle East. And what's keeping up scientists at night in Japan is a particularly tough strain that's killing chickens there.
Also, we'll show you a special report prepared by our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour who talks to young Muslims in the United Kingdom trying to find out what causes some to turn to extremist ideas and actions. All that and more at the top of the hour. Hope you will join us for that.
VASSILIVA: Thank you.
HARRIS: Thank you.
HARRIS: He's a bull with a beef. Get off my back and I mean it. A Colorado cowboy takes a stomping. A real bruiser, but he's OK. That story next in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Take a look now at one of the toughest sports around. Professional bull rider Myron Duarte was on top of Blue Duck, a 1,700 pound hunk of -- man, big. Well, despite the beat down, the stomping he took on Tuesday night in Denver, Duarte was back at the arena last night.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MYRON DUARTE, PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDER: He kept on speeding around on top of me just trying to hook me. He just knocked me out and stepped on me, stepped on the back of my head or wherever he stepped.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HARRIS: Man, no broken bones. A couple of shiners you can see there. And get this, his wife says she's seen him hurt a lot worse.
COLLINS: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick may be, we repeat, may be in trouble. Police say Vick was reluctant to give up a water bottle while going through screening at Miami International Airport.
A screener checked the bottle, there it is, after Vick tossed it in the trash. She noticed the label concealed a seam, a hidden compartment revealed some dark residue. Police say it smelled like marijuana. No charges have been filed, but police say the residue will be analyzed.
HARRIS: You know, they probably wouldn't do too well against the Tar Heels, UCLA or the Duck Blue Devils, heck they probably wouldn't even have a basketball team.
But there's a new university on the horizon, George Jones U. The singer lending his name to a country music university, to kick off the session at his Nashville area home, that costs $300 bucks.
The school plans to bring in guest lecturers as well and if they do decide to play sports, they've already got a mascot, a possum. of course, is George Jones' nickname.
COLLINS: How can you not like George Jones. I mean really.
HARRIS: Gotta love him.
COLLINS: When it comes to word in his songs, boy.
All right, well CNN NEWSROOM continues just one hour from now.
HARRIS: YOUR WORLD TODAY is next with news happening across the globe and here at home. I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins. Have a great Thursday, everybody.
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