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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
The Shrinking Amazon Rain Forest; DNA Decision Made in Anna Nicole Smith Case; President Bush Lays Out Growing Challenge in Afghanistan
Aired February 15, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Out there, in the darkness, beyond the city that we're in tonight are animals that we have never seen before and people unlike any other I have ever met, certainly. They make up a civilization and an ecosystem that is both vital to the planet and in danger of disappearing. I'm going to introduce you to it in a minute.
First, let me show you exactly where we are. After arriving earlier this week on the edge of the Amazon rain forest in northeastern Brazil, we traveled more than 300 miles upriver and inland to a village where the Kraho Indian tribe carries on a way of life that is scarcely touched by modern civilization.
Right now, we're in the city of Imperatriz along the Tocantins River. But, earlier today, we were with the Kraho. We spent last night with them, as they went about trying to protect their land from the threat from illegal loggers and farmers and cattle ranchers and the like.
Take a look at what their life is like.
COOPER: This is the village of Pocatikateyeh (ph). It's the village of the Kraho people. There's about 3,000 Kraho in the Amazon Basin. There's only about 240 of them in this village, but there are some 20 villages just like it spread over an area of about 750,000 acres.
It's a protected reserve given to the Kraho by the Brazilian government. There are some 200 languages spoken in the Amazon Basin, different indigenous groups. This is just one indigenous group, the Kraho. They are hunters and gathers. They are also farmers. And they sell some of the produce to local villages, also sell some of the animals that they catch. They still hunt every day with bows and arrows.
It's very much a traditional way of life, and their lives are little changed than they have been for hundreds of years, long before European settlers ever came here.
The Kraho are very concerned, though, about what is happening to their rain forest. This is supposed to be a protected reserve, but they are seeing local farmers using pesticides. And those pesticides are ending up in the river, the Kraho say. And that is the river water they traditionally drink.
They are also seeing illegal loggers coming in to their territory, cutting down trees. Every day, they go out on patrol, trying to stop people from encroaching on their territory.
The Kraho have very distinctive markings on them that they put on for celebrations marking big occasions in their lives. It's made out of a dye from a local fruit. They actually marked us up yesterday.
This is markings for summer. They also have markings for winter. They do these markings to welcome visitors to their village, also to mark the passing of people, deaths. Also, if they go out and hunt, they will put the markings on.
The Kraho live in a circle. All the houses form a large circle. And they are all pretty well made. They're brick and mud, with thatched roof. When a man marries a woman in the Kraho society, the man moves into the woman' family's house. So, you can have as many as a dozen people, all living and sleeping in the same place.
This is a bed. Their bed is basically made out of pieces of wood, a little bit of straw matting. But you can have as many as 12 people sleeping on an area like this. And then they have a separate room inside the house, where they do their cooking. They will have a cooking fire over here.
In many ways, the ways that the Kraho live has changed little in hundreds of years.
COOPER: And, John, what the Kraho are facing, it's really -- it is a microcosm of what the entire Amazon Basin is facing. As you know, in the last 40 years, some 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest has already been cut down. Another 20 percent could be cut down in the next 20 to 30 years, environmentalists say, if some sort of change doesn't take place.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, the fact that they have so much contact with the outside world, with people like you, trading, as you say, with the local villages, how difficult is it for them to maintain that simple life? And is there pressure, particularly on young members of the tribe, to modernize?
COOPER: You know, I talked about that, whether a lot of young members of the tribe go to the cities for work. And the chief of the village said that they really don't.
They are very strong -- they have a very strong sense of identity, a very strong desire to keep the tribe together. There are some 20 different villages spread out over about 750,000 acres. But they are able to keep those traditions very much alive.
The real threat, though, is to their habitat. Even though this is protected area of the Kraho, given to them by the Brazilian government, it's in name really and on paper only. It's very hard to protect the trees. It's very hard to protect the rivers and their land from this encroachment, which -- you know, an area the size of New Jersey is getting cut and burned every year here in Brazil, some 7,700 square miles on average getting destroyed every year. Last year, it was a little bit less.
But that is the greatest threat that the Kraho face.
ROBERTS: Are they farmers or are they hunter/gatherers, and does the destruction of the ecosystem where they are impact on their ability to gather food?
COOPER: Yes, they are actually both. They farm lands, subsistence farming. And they sell some of their crops to nearby towns. But they are also hunters and gatherers, eating nuts and berries and also whatever they can get from the forest.
But I tell you, I went out with wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin last night, well into the night, to look for what kind of wildlife we could find in the Kraho area. And it was very tough finding large animals. All -- a lot of alligators have all been hunted. Some of the larger rodents have been hunted as well.
We had a fascinating -- for me, I don't really like bugs, so it was a little bit terrifying. But, for Jeff Corwin, he seemed never to have been happier, finding all sorts of species of bugs.
I mean, one quarter of the world's species live in the Amazon Basin. It's an extraordinary ecosystem. We are going to show you more of that, John, a little bit later on, on 360.
ROBERTS: What is not to like about a bug, Anderson, particularly a beetle that is six inches long?
ROBERTS: You see a lot of those down there.
Hey, what is the Brazilian government doing to try to protect their way of life and particularly the land around that supports their way of life?
COOPER: Well, on paper, there are a lot of laws protecting the Amazon rain forest. And the Brazilian government has said, look, that they are working very hard. They have inspectors.
But what happens on paper and what happens really on the ground are two very different things. In some of these remote areas, there are real battles going on. People have lost their lives. Hundreds of peoples have died over the years trying to protect land, protect the rights of these indigenous groups from cattle ranchers and from large- scale farmers and from illegal loggers.
You know, when you get out -- I mean, these areas are so remote, we have to helicopter just about everywhere we go. And it's a three- or four-hour helicopter ride. So, what happens out in the jungle, there are not a lot of people. I mean, there's not a lot of people who visit the Kraho. Our helicopter, when we touched down, the chief said that was the first time (AUDIO GAP) helicopters every come to that village.
So, it's -- what the Brazilian government promises that they are doing and says that they are doing, what they are actually able to do, in terms of protecting not only these groups, but also the rain forest, are two very different things.
ROBERTS: So, you say that that's the first time that a helicopter has ever been out there delivering visitors. They have had some visitors in the past, though. How do you arrange to go out there and meet the tribe?
COOPER: Through the -- there is a group, a part the Brazilian government, which works to protect the rights of indigenous people. And we contacted them, worked out an arrangement where we would be able to go and visit this one particular (AUDIO GAP) And, so, basically that's how you do it.
But, again, just getting to these places is very time-consuming and very difficult. You know, our helicopters were down for several hours because of rains. So, it's a journey that takes an awfully long time.
ROBERTS: Right. Well, it is the rain forest in the rainy season.
Hey, we will see you a bit later on in this hour, talk some more about this.
ROBERTS: All right. See you then.
There's a lot happening where we are tonight.
Coming up: President Bush lays out the growing challenge in Afghanistan.
Plus: a DNA decision and more in the case of Anna Nicole Smith.
ROBERTS (voice-over): What happens to her body? What about her baby? And who is the baby's daddy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... got some surprises.
ROBERTS: The judge says, get a move on. The prince says a mouthful.
PRINCE FREDERICK VON ANHALT, HUSBAND OF ZSA ZSA GABOR: We go to bed with woman and say, I love you, I love you, I love you, just to get them in bed. There is no love. You know there is no love. ROBERTS: Also: creatures that make you jump in the night.
JEFF CORWIN, HOST, "THE JEFF CORWIN EXPERIENCE": I like it at night, because that's when the creepy-crawlies come out. I love the creepy-crawlies. And Anderson likes the creepy-crawlies.
COOPER: Not really true, actually.
ROBERTS: Creepy, crawly, but vital just the same to a planet in peril. See what Anderson and Jeff Corwin came up with -- ahead on 360.
ROBERTS: Photographs of the Kraho tribe, a proud tribe that Anderson is with in Brazil. The indigenous group is fighting to save their part of the Amazon rain forest from destruction.
We are going to have more from Anderson coming up a little bit later on in this hour. So, stay tuned for that.
First, though, the Anna Nicole Smith saga -- ever since she died, the story has grown stranger by the day.
Here is CNN's Joe Johns with the latest.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First came the fight over the baby. Now comes the battle for the body.
JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY FAMILY COURT: We all bit the bullet, and we decided that this court's going to have jurisdiction over the body of Ms. Smith.
JOHNS: Anna Nicole is gone, but where her body goes next is being decided at this emergency court hearing.
The proceedings have taken on a circus-like atmosphere -- serving as ringmaster, Judge Larry Seidlin.
SEIDLIN: I'm not going to muddy the water.
JOHNS: But some say he's only stirring them up.
Three parties want control of the celebrity's remains, Smith's estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, who is sitting at the table today. She says her daughter should be laid to rest in her home state of Texas.
Not everyone agrees.
KRISTA BARTH, ATTORNEY FOR HOWARD K. STERN: And the woman sitting across from me has not laid eyes on that young lady since 1995. She has never laid eyes on her granddaughter. And she sits here today to take her to Texas and put her in the ground all alone.
JOHNS: She represents Howard K. Stern. He's Smith's boyfriend, and he wants her buried next to her son in the Bahamas.
Then, there's Larry Birkhead. He insists he's the father of Smith's baby. He wants a DNA test to prove it.
SEIDLIN: Get your pens ready.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
SEIDLIN: I'm entering orders.
Doctor, if you are comfortable, you will take that swab test, the medical examiner.
SEIDLIN: I'm ordering that.
And, two, you guys meet at a convenient location. Anyone can be present. Any of the attorneys can be present.
JOHNS: At day's end, the judge did enter orders. He said a DNA swab of her cheek will be carried out this afternoon. He also said she will be embalmed. The procedure will take place at the medical examiner's office, where her body has been stored since her death.
Meanwhile, in California...
PRINCE FREDERICK VON ANHALT, HUSBAND OF ZSA ZSA GABOR: Well, if the court rules in my favor, then, she will. Then, the baby comes to me, and she will. She will have help me. Oh, yes, she does.
JOHNS: Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband reenters the picture. Prince Frederick von Anhalt filed a paternity petition of his own, claiming he's the father of Smith's baby girl.
The prince, who said he had a long affair with Smith, also took a shot at Stern.
VON ANHALT: Let the body go and give to it her mother, so her mother can bury her child. That's my words to Howard Stern.
JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: Joining me from Miami is Krista Barth -- she's the attorney for Howard K. Stern -- and Ron Rale, who is Anna Nicole Smith's attorney.
Thanks very much for being with us, folks. Appreciate it.
Let me go, Krista, first of all, to you. We sat there this afternoon, watching the proceedings in the judge's chambers, around that table, so many people. You had an interesting exchange with him. I want to play that and then ask you about that.
Take a look at this first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEIDLIN: And they say, when a child is a baby, when the -- when it's first born, it has to have the love.
BARTH: It has the love of my client.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would love to...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a little bit more on this.
BARTH: I don't know why we're getting the impression this baby is out there on a raft. She's being loved and cared for and held and cuddled and kissed.
SEIDLIN: But she can have more than one love.
BARTH: She's having the love of her father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Krista Barth, what's your impression of how Judge Seidlin is handle this case? Things seem to be happening very slowly, with a lot of argument, and with a lot of very colorful statements on his part.
BARTH: Well, I -- it's really not appropriate for me to comment on the judge -- how the judge is handling this.
I think he's got a difficult situation. I think he's doing the best job he can under the circumstances. They are difficult circumstances for everybody. I think it's a very complicated issue. We are multi-jurisdictional. We have California law and Florida law and Bahamian law. And it's very complex. We have some parties sitting at the table that I believe shouldn't be there.
It's complicated. That's all I can say.
ROBERTS: Well, he took a little bit of heat yesterday for saying: I own the body.
Was that appropriate?
BARTH: I think it was. I think that people need to understand, they get sound bites from the press.
And, really, what he was saying was: I am taking this body. I'm taking jurisdiction.
Maybe it wasn't said in a way that was palatable to the general public. But, as lawyers, I think that we look at things and we understand what he meant by that. And I'm certain that no disrespect was intended.
ROBERTS: Ron Rale, there is going to be another hearing tomorrow to determine whether or not the body is going to be embalmed.
Is this going quickly enough for you? We had a warning the other day from Dr. Perper, the coroner, saying, look, it's time for this body to be buried.
RON RALE, ATTORNEY FOR ANNA NICOLE SMITH: Well, I think we had some good developments at the end of the day. And Dr. Baird (ph), on behalf of Mr. Birkhead, said that there is ample supply of DNA for his purposes. And we're looking forward tomorrow to moving right ahead with the embalmment.
Krista, you're client, Howard K. Stern, is seeking custody of this body. What standing does he have? Why should he get custody of this body?
BARTH: Well, he would get custody of this body under the presumption that he's the executor of the will. And...
ROBERTS: Right. But it's only a presumption, correct...
BARTH: Well, no...
ROBERTS: ... because didn't Ron Rale say on "LARRY KING" that he has not yet been officially appointed the executor?
BARTH: Well, that's true. He's not yet officially appointed.
He will be. It's sort of -- at this point, it's going -- it's a foregone conclusion that he would be appointed, I believe. It's been very difficult for us to institute a probate, with all of this other stuff going on.
The personal representative, or executor in this case, is really allowed to act upon death to do such things that are necessary to preserve the estate...
ROBERTS: Right. BARTH: ... to do what is right for the decedent, preserve the body. These are things that the executor is charged with doing. And, most importantly, he is charged with doing what the decedent wanted.
BARTH: And he's not held accountable for those things -- you know, that's what the law says. You do what's right. You preserve the estate. You do what is right for the body.
ROBERTS: Ron Rale, what does the will say about burial, if anything?
RALE: We're really not talking about all of the provisions of the will.
ROBERTS: Does the will have...
RALE: It doesn't really talk about burial of the body. I think we have already told the public that.
ROBERTS: All right.
Krista, one more question for you. You called it today in the hearing -- quote -- "sad and sick" that Anna Nicole Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, wants Anna Nicole buried in Texas.
How -- how is it sad and sick for a mother want to bury her daughter in her home state?
BARTH: Well, here is the thing.
I think that people know generally that Anna and her mother were estranged. And everybody is forgetting that Anna's son lies in the Bahamas. So, it's sad, because what Anna wanted was to be with Daniel. And there is no question about that. You know, can we prove it? I hope so. Can we do the right thing -- that's to put this woman with her son?
That's what is happening here. There is no financial motives here. This -- and I'm not involved with the baby situation. That's not my purview here.
BARTH: It's just about getting Anna buried, where she wanted to be buried. That's it, simply.
ROBERTS: Well, we will -- we will keep following this. I assume that we're going to get a ruling at some point in the near future.
Krista Barth, Ron Rale, thanks for being with us from Miami. Appreciate you joining us.
BARTH: Thank you.
RALE: Thanks a lot.
ROBERTS: From the boyfriend, to the ex, to prince, and mother, the Anna Nicole Smith players have their attorneys. We have got ours. We will see what Jeffrey Toobin think of all of this mess -- coming up next.
Also tonight: Anderson in the Amazon. A live report on what life is like inside the rain forest -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEIDLIN: When we bury her, I want it to be forever. I want her -- whatever resting place she receives, she should have peace on Earth forever. And I don't want to put myself, this court, or any other court in a position where, 20 years from now, we're exhuming a body. It's ridiculous. So, we're going to get it right the first time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Not exactly "Law & Order," but it is the setting for today's hearing over Anna Nicole Smith.
Larry Seidlin is the Florida judge in charge of that. Safe to say he has got his own unique style, but is he only adding to the circus?
Joining me now, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, I will get to the atmospherics around the judge in a second.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
ROBERTS: But, first of all, you saw Krista Barth and Ron Rale just a second ago on this issue of custody. What do you make of what they said?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, as Ronald Reagan used to say, who is not usually cited as an authority in the Anna Nicole Smith case, trust, but verify.
Where is this will? They are talking about a -- you know, they are talking about who is the executor. Let's actually see a will. Was is it signed? Is it a real will? Then we will talk about an executor.
In this case, where everybody is making so many claims, to talk about a will, which has certain legal requirements, it better be filed in court before there's anybody who can be appointed. So, Larry -- Howard K. Stern is -- maybe he's an executor. Maybe he's a husband. But, at the moment, he's been proved to be exactly nothing.
ROBERTS: Well, we know that he's not a husband.
ROBERTS: And he hasn't yet proven that he's an executor. If he cannot prove that he is an executor, does he have any claim to the body?
TOOBIN: I don't think so. The other issue -- of course, all these issues fold in on the other -- is he the father? That's the other issue. And he claims to be. But that...
ROBERTS: If you were the father, would you not take a DNA test to prove it?
TOOBIN: That is a very good question. And he has, so far, been reluctant to do so. So, draw your own conclusions.
ROBERTS: Let me get you to talk about Seidlin. This fellow is a probate judge in Broward County who, as we said, does have his own unique style.
Take -- take a look at a little bit more from today's hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEIDLIN: I'm appointing a lawyer who's -- I met him in a case one time where, you want him when the hurricane comes. He doesn't move. He is going to represent, as a guardian ad litem, for the child in the Bahamas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, this hearing was supposed to be about who gets custody of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. Now Seidlin is appointing a guardian for -- or who gets custody of her body, not baby -- and now he is appointing a guardian for the child.
TOOBIN: And we learned, in a crucial legal matter, that he was 50 years old before he had his first kid. And then the kid is 6 years old now.
I mean, it was rambling, craziness. I mean, this was much closer to Judge Judy than Chief Judge -- Chief Justice Roberts.
TOOBIN: I mean, it was a bizarre proceeding.
He certainly does not seem to have settled much. But he did appoint a guardian for the child's interests, which I -- which is probably a reasonable thing to do. He put off any decision on who gets the body. And he made sure that there's going to be another DNA test on Anna Nicole Smith's body, which is literally on ice in the medical examiner's office.
ROBERTS: Now, there was -- part of the case was won today by the lawyer representing Larry Birkhead, who won a DNA sample, got a DNA sample for Larry Birkhead, that they said that they wanted to have as a reference, so that, when they did -- if and when they did a DNA sample on the baby, they could prove that this was Anna Nicole's baby.
TOOBIN: Because, at one point, he said -- someone suggested that they might be switching babies in the Bahamas.
TOOBIN: You can't make this stuff up.
And it was such a chaotic scene. We had a brief clip there. But there were lawyers all up and down this table, also behind the table, several lawyers on the telephone, and, you know, all of them basically looking at that $400 million that she may be getting.
TOOBIN: I mean, that's what, alas, this case is about.
ROBERTS: It just doesn't get old, does it?
TOOBIN: It's -- well, I mean, just when you think the case can't get any sleazier, there is a proceeding like that.
ROBERTS: It does, yes.
TOOBIN: Jeff, thanks much.
Coming up: She welcomed American troops with flowers, but, when she needed a visa to flee the violence in Iraq, she says she got a whole lot of nothing instead -- four million refugees and fewer than 500 allowed into the United States. We will look at the reasons why.
Also tonight, this:
ROBERTS: Also, creatures that make you jump in the night.
CORWIN: I like it at night, because that's when the creepy- crawlies come out. I love the creepy-crawlies. And Anderson likes the creepy-crawlies.
COOPER: Not really true, actually.
ROBERTS: Creepy, crawly, but vital just the same to a planet in peril. See what Anderson and Jeff Corwin came up with -- ahead on 360.
Also, is victory in Afghanistan slipping away?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our strategy is not to be on the defense, but to go on the offense.
ROBERTS: Sending more troops, spending more money -- can the president turns things around? -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Some of the pictures taken from Jeff Hutchens, one of the photographers traveling with us.
The other night, it was a frog that Jeff Corwin brought back from the woods. Now, not exactly crazy about frogs. Like pigeons back in New York, you kind of do get used to them. As I've discovered and Jeff already knows, there's a lot more than frogs out there in the rainforest, and we're going to have a look at what we found on a nighttime adventure coming up.
But first, more of our visit to the village where the Kraho Indians live in the Amazon.
COOPER: We visited this village just yesterday with Jeff Corwin. Jeff, first, want to try to explain the markings on our arms.
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE EXPERT: I don't know. I just sort of woke up and they were there.
Basically, body art, painting the body to celebrate the spirit of the life experience here amongst the Kraho, is a big part of the culture, as it is with many of the people that live in the Amazon basin. You know, you think of this region and you think of wildlife and habitat, but this is home to almost 20 million people, of hundreds and hundreds of different cultures and tribes and more in these (ph).
There's over 200 different human dialects spoken in the Amazon. And of course, body art is a part of the way they celebrate their life experience.
COOPER: When you see, you know, this Kraho house, it's very little change, I imagine, than what it was several hundred years ago. There's not electricity. There's not running water inside the house. They have one pump. There's no television, certainly.
CORWIN: Essentially, the way the people live in this part of the world is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And they have the time tested techniques that have fortified and have allowed them to master survival here in a very, very challenging environment.
You know, these thatched roofs, made out of a palm, which is woven together and wrapped around dowels of bamboo along the side. It's exactly what you need in this part of the world. You get natural ventilation. The water is thrown off the top. Insects are kept at bay.
And when you've had enough, when it's time to move on, if you're having a specific challenge with the place you live in, you can establish a new village somewhere else.
COOPER: And yet, they do feel that their way of life is threatened.
CORWIN: Absolutely. There are incredible pressures here. You know, for the people that live in this part of world, and this is a challenge for not only indigenous people here in the Amazon basin in Brazil and throughout South America but around the world. The challenge is to find a balance, to keep the cultural significance as an important part of the past and the present while taking on the onslaught of the 20th Century.
Even though the Kraho are protected on paper. They've got the Funai, which is the National Organization for the Rights for Indigenous People here in Brazil. They have this 750,000-acre preserve, 3,000 of them use and share this habitat.
But still they're not the only ones that want access to the natural resources here. The soil where soy can be grown and modern day agriculture and cattle ranching, are directly competing with the livelihood of the Kraho.
COOPER: And the Amazon rainforest impacts our lives in a lot of ways. Here's the raw data.
At least 80 percent of the developed world's diet originate in the Amazon. Its gifts are bananas, chocolate, black pepper, Brazil nuts. Brazil exports 50 percent of its timber to the United States. The sofa or the desk you're sitting at may have teak or mahogany or other woods from the Amazon. Tropical oils are also key ingredients in shampoos and perfumes and other cosmetics.
And the National Cancer Institute in Washington has identified 3,000 plants that are active against cancer cells. Seventy percent of those plants are found in the Amazon rainforest.
John, it's remarkable how much what happens in the rainforest actually does end up affecting all of our lives, in ways probably a lot of us don't realize. And that's one of the things that we're looking at over the next couple of days here in Brazil.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: The biodiversity down there is just extraordinary. You talked a lot about plants. What about animals? What kind of different animals have you been seeing? Are they the sort of things that you just want to stay away from?
Or remember when you were up in the mountains in Central Africa? You were right there nose to nose with the gorillas.
COOPER: Yes. There's certainly a lot of species that I frankly would like to stay away from. Jeff Corwin, on the other hand, the wildlife biologist who we're lucky enough to be traveling with, loves that sort of thing. He and I went out last night.
And I've got to tell you, there's nothing quite like walking through a rainforest in the pitch black with Jeff Corwin. You know, I stayed very close to him. There are bats flying all around. There are all sorts of spiders you see. You could see the eyes of crocodiles staring out at you from the pitch blackness. It's quite a sensation to walk around with him.
He basically points out, you know, there's these giant rodents which he finds. We found him wrestling a crocodile the day before, which actually got away from him. It was about a six-foot crocodile. We're going to be doing a lot of that this coming weekend with Jeff.
But you know, about a quarter of the world's species live in the Amazon. So when we're talking about deforestation and destruction of the habitat, you're also talking about destruction of those species.
And as we were just mentioning, with the impacts some of these plants have on cancer treatments or other things, there are all sorts of plants out there that, as this ecosystem is being destroyed, those are being destroyed along with it. And so the potential for some sort of medical breakthrough is also being affected, and of course, the impact it has on the climate around the world is also very important.
ROBERTS: It's just an incredible place and it's certainly in need of preserving.
Anderson, we'll talk to you a little bit later on. And you're definitely going to want to check out our "Shot of the Day". Take a look at this.
It's from New Orleans and the first major Mardi Gras parade of the season. Notice anyone familiar in that float? The all woman crew called Muses picked a super hero theme for their float this year. And they picked as their superhero our own Anderson Cooper, complete with tights and a cape. He was the main character on that float. Quite an honor to be honored in a Mardi Gras float.
Just ahead, a much tougher subject. New threats in Afghanistan and more U.S. troops on the way. Why the Taliban is still a major threat.
Plus, millions of refugees spilling out of Iraq and the United States accepted just 200 last year. Why is that? When 360 continues from New York and the Amazon rainforest.
ROBERTS: President Bush today described just how dangerous the mission in Afghanistan has become. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Across Afghanistan last year the number of roadside bombs almost doubled. Direct fire attacks on international forces almost tripled, and suicide bombings grew nearly fivefold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: And the mission is about to get dicier, with the Taliban expected to launch a new offensive this spring. President Bush today described his order to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We've extended the stay of 3,200 troops now in the country for four months and we'll deploy a replacement force that will sustain this increase for the foreseeable future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT: There are now 27,000 American serving in Afghanistan, the most since the mission began more than five years ago.
Joining me now to talk more about this, CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson.
Nic, in his speech today, President Bush had a long list of successes in Afghanistan. He talked about a lot of the good news. If that's true, why the need for so many more new troops?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he talked about the reform of the judiciary system. He talked about the need to prosecute some of the drug barons. The Taliban are making a lot of money out of the massive growth in the poppy cultivation now in Afghanistan, so $1 billion perhaps.
But they have still yet to arrest any leading drug baron in Afghanistan. So while there have been some success, also have been some big failures.
And as yet, President Hamid Karzai is still criticized by many people as really being the mayor of Kabul rather than the president of Afghanistan. His authority does not go across the country. The army's not big enough. And these underlie the reasons that the additional support is needed.
ROBERTS: Peter, this investment in Afghanistan now, critics say it's the additional cost of neglect over the last few years. Is there anything to that? Should the president have done this earlier?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I mean, the short answer is yes. This was the most poorly-funded post-World War II nation building effort led by the United States. Compared to Bosnia, we were spending a tenth of the amount of money per Afghan that we did after the Balkan wars in the mid='90s. And it was underfunded; it was undermanned. And we are paying a price.
ROBERTS: Nic, 2006 was the most violent year since the war of 2001. What's expected to happen in the spring when the snows melt and those mountain passes open back up again?
ROBERTSON: More fighting. More offensive. The Taliban to come back in bigger numbers, be better organized. They have a better assessment of what their targets are to win their political game.
Last year, they tried to go from phase one insurgency, which is just using terror strikes against -- using guerrilla tactics, going to phase two, which is controlling swaths of land, setting up parallel administrations. That's what the Taliban are expected to do this year and expected to do it with better organization and better cohesion.
ROBERTS: Nic, they are actually taking control of border towns and, as well, some towns and villages in the south of the country?
ROBERTSON: Absolutely. They do it by a method of intimidation. They do it by a method of forcing tribal elders to comply with their will. They do it by spreading money in some areas, telling barbers, for example, if you cut people's beards, one of the sort of things the Taliban do to mark their area, then you, the barber, will be targeted.
They have a great deal of influence where the Afghan army is not strong enough, the Afghan police are not numerous to go into. And the Taliban do it by a means of intimidation and by protecting some of those poppy farmers, offering them protection against anti-narcotic forces in the country.
This makes them popular. When they're there, in some cases, people get more money in their pockets.
ROBERTS: And Peter Bergen, I imagine to be able to do all of this the Taliban has to have access. We've heard about these camps that they have on the Pakistani side of the border, but you've got to get across the border.
Is there really any security to dissuade them from traveling back and forth? Or do they have pretty much have free rein to cross from Pakistan into Afghanistan?
BERGEN: The Afghan-Pakistan border is 1,500 miles long, so that's like flying from Denver to Washington. It's -- and also, a lot of it is desert and mountains, and it's easy to cross over.
And the Pushtuns, which is the tribal group on both sides of the border, have traditionally gone back and forth. The Taliban are a Pushtun grouping. So there is very little security.
And in fact, when Anderson Cooper and all of us visited in September of last year, shortly after a peace agreement had been made in one of the border regions, in Waziristan, the actual -- the number of attacks from that border region went up 300 percent, according to U.S. military officials.
So unfortunately, these cross border incursions seem to have got worse rather than better in the last several months.
ROBERTS: Peter, President Bush also made a pledge today to try to help reverse poppy cultivation. How difficult a task is that going to be?
BERGEN: Huge. Because 50 percent, 50 percent -- up to 50 percent of the Afghan economy is poppy production. A lot of people depend on it. Millions of people depend on it for their income.
The president, I think, had some good proposals today to deal with it. But obviously, this is not something that's going to happen in the next year or two. Afghanistan is such a poor country and, there are so few options that, unfortunately, this scourge is going to be around for some period of time.
ROBERTS: And as Nic said, the United States and NATO expecting a big onslaught by the Taliban this spring, hoping to meet that with increased forces.
Peter Bergen, Nic Robertson, thanks very much.
A reminder that we're going to have much more on this topic in our next hour in a 360 special report, "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War".
Plus, war has driven millions of Iraqis from their homes. The United States led the invasion, so does it have a responsibility to help relocate them? We'll have one refugee's powerful story, next.
COOPER: There's another look at Anderson with the Kraho Indians in the Amazon rainforest. He's going to have much more from Brazil coming up in our next hour.
First, though, the war in Iraq has left millions of Iraqis caught in the crossfire and homeless. Yet a simple piece of paper, a visa, can be the difference between their life and death. So why aren't more Iraqi refugees being allowed to enter the United States, which began the war?
CNN's Randi Kaye investigates what the United Nations says is one of the top three refugee crises in the world.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, this Iraqi woman brought flowers to American troops. Two years later, though, when she needed a visa from the U.S. so her family could flee growing sectarian violence, she says the U.S. turned its back.
(on camera) When you look at the numbers, the United States accepted just 202 refugees from Iraq last year, even though they had 70,000 slots open.
"SARAH", IRAQI REFUGEE: It's OK (ph).
KAYE: Is there a sort of moral obligation on the part of the U.S. to help?
SARAH: Definitely. I mean, they came to the country. They took out the old regime, and they should have more moral responsibility toward the Iraqi people.
KAYE (voice-over): Afraid for the safety of her family, this woman asked we not use her real name. We'll call her Sarah. She believes insurgents targeted her family because they're Christian.
SARAH: Because Americans are Christian as well and because we have the same religion, we are traitors, we are not trusted.
KAYE: Sarah remembers the attacks.
SARAH: There were bullets rushing at home. Someone was firing at home.
KAYE (on camera): When did you say, "I must leave"?
SARAH: We started to notice that there is a car following us. It was following us for a long time. We noticed that there are three men in the car. They were carrying guns, and they were aiming the guns towards us. They started shooting.
KAYE: The U.N. says there are nearly four million Iraqi refugees today. The overwhelming majority of them fled their homes after the war began. Tens of thousands more flee every month.
Yet, fewer than 500 Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the U.S. in the last four years.
(voice-over) Many requesting visas support the U.S. war effort. Listen to this truck driver's testimony on Capitol Hill. A screen protects his identity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five of the terrorists were yelling, "Kill him." One, however, spoke up and said, "We will not kill you, but you must leave the country immediately."
KAYE: So how, then, could the country that led the invasion into Iraq leave so many of its citizens in limbo?
ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: We have today, 8.5 million refugees in the world, 25 million internally displaced persons in the world. It is obvious that resettlement will never be a solution for the bulk of this population.
KAYE: Hundreds of thousands have moved to other areas of Iraq. Many more trekked across the border to Syria and Jordan to live in camps like this one.
The State Department this week announced plans to contribute an additional $18 million to a worldwide resettlement and relief program and plans to accept 7,000 Iraqi refugees this year.
Refugee advocates say that's still not enough.
KRISTELE YOUNES, REFUGEES INTERNATIONAL: We need to do much more to react to this crisis. In particular, we need to increase our assistance to UNHCR drastically, as well, as well as our assistance to the countries, and we need to resettle more than 7,000.
KAYE: It took six months, but Sarah got her visa. She now lives with her uncle in New Jersey.
Still, she feels her country has been stolen from her and, with it, her family. The U.S. didn't grant anyone else in Sarah's family a visa. Her parents are in England with her brother. One sister is in Scotland, another in Canada with a baby girl Sarah's never met.
(on camera) Do you wish Iraq had never been invaded?
SARAH: Yes. At least I would be there. Now I even lost my life. I lost the security. I lost my country. I miss my family. I miss my home. I miss the security I have over there. And I'm scared.
KAYE (voice-over): Critics say the U.S. has been slow to accept refugees like Sarah's family, because they have yet to acknowledge the human cost of war. And acknowledging the scope of the crisis, refugee advocates argue, could mean the U.S. is admitting failure in the region.
ROBERTS: Randi Kaye joins us now with the "360 Bulletin".
Great story, Randi. What else is going on tonight?
KAYE: Thank you, John. Good to see you.
It could be a major victory in the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq. An Iraqi official tells CNN that the leader of the insurgent group was wounded in fighting with Iraqi forces about 45 miles north of Baghdad today. His top aide was reportedly killed in that battle. The U.S. military is not commenting.
On Wall Street, stocks rose for a third day today, pushing the Dow to yet another record high. Blue chips gained 23 points to close at 12,765. The NASDAQ added nearly nine point, and the S&P rose a point and a half.
National Guardsmen brought food, fuel and baby supplies today to hundreds of people stranded, some for 20 hours, on a snowy Pennsylvania highway after yesterday's massive storm. The 50-mile backup on an icy and hilly stretch of interstate 78 near Hamburg finally eased up this evening. But many drivers still furious, one of them asking how can you run a state like this?
ROBERTS: Maybe he should have asked, what are we doing out on the road on a night like that? I don't know.
ROBERTS: Randi, thanks.
Still to come tonight, we'll check back in with Anderson and Jeff Corwin down in Brazil.
Also, the elite Iranian force that President Bush says is behind the deaths of Americans in Iraq.
Stay with us. You're watching 360.
ROBERTS: Up next on 360, Anderson Cooper joins us again from the rainforest in Brazil.
First, though, one company is helping businesses recover from the massive winter storm that has buried much of the Midwest and the Northeast. Erica Hill has more in tonight's "On the Rise".
ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): Believe it or not, some people don't run from storms like Hurricane Katrina. They run to them.
International Catastrophe Solutions is a disaster recovery company that serves commercial clients and specializes in water extraction; dehumidification; mold, fire and water restoration; and asbestos removal.
The company stemmed from a small carpet cleaning business Corey Pitts and his wife started 16 years ago. When the couple added water and fire damage services in 1999, their business took off.
COREY PITTS, FOUNDER & CEO, INTERNATIONAL CATASTROPHE SOLUTIONS: Our average income for the last three years has been $15 to 20 million.
2005 was the biggest year because of the many hurricanes that came through, Katrina, Wilma and Rita, that stretched across several states.
HILL: Headquartered in Atlanta with nine satellite locations throughout the U.S., ICS is able to reach disaster situations quickly.
C. PITTS: In our business, we do have opportunity to do work year-round. Such as now we're working in Cleveland, Ohio, where you have such a deep freeze and many commercial facilities, sprinkles. Pipes are breaking, saturated facilities with water. BILLIE PITTS, CFO, INTERNATIONAL CATASTROPHE SOLUTIONS: Our business has been very profitable. And we reinvest our money back into our company by equipment that we purchase as well as the ongoing training that we continue to give our employees.
COOPER: Here in Brazil, all across the Amazon Basin, you can see a way of life in jeopardy, an entire species being destroyed, and a part of the world as vital as the air we all breathe being decimated.
We're here, CNN team, along with wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin, to show what's at stake to a planet in peril. The last 24 hours we spent in a very remote village in the Amazon Basin with a group called the Kraho, an indigenous group who are trying to fend off the illegal loggers, fend off farmers and cattle ranchers from encroaching on their territory.
Here's some of what we saw.
COOPER: This is the village called Impahe (ph), the village of the Kraho people. There's about 3,000 Kraho in the Amazon Basin. We're joined by 240 of them in this village. But there are some 20 villages just like it spread over and area of about 750,000 acres. It's a protective reserve given to the Kraho by the Brazilian government.
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