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CNN NEWSROOM

New Concerns Over China's Military Might; Do Americans Know the Rules of the Road?

Aired May 25, 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: Good morning again everyone. You're with CNN, you're informed. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi everybody, I'm Heidi Collins.

Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Friday the 25th day of May. Here's what's on the rundown. Highways packed with millions of Americans headed out for a long Memorial Day getaway. You'll need a packed wallet for those high gas prices.

HARRIS: Airports and travelers tied up in knots across southern California this morning. A computer glitch puts a kink in holiday travel plans.

COLLINS: Upgrade, China, building more and better military hardware. A new U.S. report just out looks at Beijing's busy work, arms build-up, in the NEWSROOM.

Quickly, we want to get you to some pretty unbelievable video that we've collected in here from our affiliate in Denver, Colorado, KUSA. Check this out. Here's a guy in a white SUV. You'll see him get out in just a moment. Carrying in his arms -- actually, we are not quite sure, because there are some reports that there was a bank robbery in this area. Other reports that there was a home invasion. But you see this person just running around frantically, doesn't quite know what to do, helicopter captures all of the pictures as police are continuing to look for this man, who is still, by the way, is apparently on the loose. We're going to continue to follow this for you. But this is all happening near Denver, it's Thornton, Colorado, to be in particular. Residents and schools are taking the precautions, as you would imagine, because he's still on the loose apparently, they are on lockout. Which you remember a little bit different than lockdown, meaning that all the doors are locked, but parents can go and drop off their children as long as they have proper identification. We will follow this story for you near Denver, Colorado.

HARRIS: New concerns this hour over China's military might. The Pentagon has just issued a report, our Barbara Starr has the highlights.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you Tony.

At this hour, top Pentagon officials are on Capitol Hill, in fact briefing members of Congress on this report. This is the long awaited annual report that the Pentagon puts out about China's military power. This is something everybody looks at very carefully. China already an economic and financial powerhouse. A lot of people want to know, then, what they are up to militarily. This report indicating that China is continuing its military build-up, making a lot of moves that could be considered offensive build-up. Still an open question about whether they have any plans to attack anybody. But where are they putting there money? That's the question. Nearly half a million Chinese troops said to be deployed across from Taiwan at this point. 900 short-range Chinese missiles also positioned across from Taiwan, missiles that have improved accuracy and range. China paying a lot of attention to improving its intercontinental ballistic missile capability, greater range, greater accuracy, to those missiles as well, buying more weapons from Russia. What it all adds up to, officials say, China spending a lot of money to modernize and no one is entirely sure where all of this is going. Tony?

HARRIS: Barbara, what does all this mean for Taiwan?

STARR: That is the question. With all of those missiles, all of that military power, just across the straits from Taiwan. What's china up to? Are they thinking about attacking Taiwan? What U.S. officials seem to be saying in this report, Tony, is China wants to have that capability, that offensive capability, but China, the regime on the whole, really continues to be motivated, many people believe, by maintaining stability and security in the region, maintaining their economic superpower status that's been developing over the last many years. So they want to have the firepower if they need it. But they really want to continue to have mainly security and stability for themselves and their people. Tony?

HARRIS: Boy, Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, what a report this morning. Barbara, thank you.

STARR: Sure.

COLLINS: Out of the shadows, back on the offensive. Radical Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr makes a dramatic return to the public stage in Iraq. He spent the last several months out of view while the U.S. led a security crackdown. Al Sadr has one of the most powerful armed factions in Iraq. He shows his defiance today with a fiery sermon at Friday prayers. He denounced the U.S. and its military presence in Iraq.

HARRIS: Insurgents preying upon familiar targets in Iraq today. A suicide bomber struck outside a police station in Mahmoudiyah. That's about 60 miles north of Baghdad. At least four police officers were wounded. To the south, three bullet-riddled bodies reportedly found in Baqubah, that is a hotbed of insurgent activity. All three believed to be victims of sectarian violence.

COLLINS: Packing up and getting out. Millions of Americans are doing that right now -- That's a good song, Michael, very good. Hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend. It is of course the unofficial start of summer and one of the biggest travel holidays of the year. But, before many of you go elbow to elbow on the beach, you'll go bumper to bumper right here on the highway. Roads and airports expected to be jammed with about 38 million travelers or so this weekend. That's according to AAA. That's an increase of almost 2 percent from last year.

HARRIS: Most of those travelers, oh, around 32 million, will be driving. That is up 1.8 percent from last year despite high gas prices. The average price of a gallon of gas is now about $3.23. That is down slightly from yesterday. But not enough to make much of a difference in my household or in my wallet. Sorry.

COLLINS: Hey, you know what, we do complain a lot about the gas prices. But remembering this holiday weekend, take a second maybe to thank the men and women who are serving the country, certainly.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: As we look at that map that Rob was just showing us, some travel delays out there, I imagine, but this one -- probably not due to weather. We're talking about the situation at LAX. You see the runways there. Apparently, early, early, this morning there was a type of computer outage with the Tracon system, Tracon tracking radar approach control, helps the ATC control men and women to get the planes down safely, provides them with a series of maps. It helps them to guide those planes all the way down to the ground. Apparently that was out for a little while. It is up and running, we understand. However, just moments ago, we spoke with one of the local ATC gentlemen who says that as of about -- I guess it would be maybe 40 minutes now, not completely operational. So we will watch that situation. I actually don't see a ton of planes flying in that live shot right now so hopefully it isn't due to this backup. We'll watch it for you.

HARRIS: How about this, a new day dawns for commuters in and around San Francisco. The Oakland freeway that collapsed less than a month ago is open to traffic today. You may remember state officials initially said it would take months to repair the span. One expert, a Berkeley professor, questions whether the speedy repair job has compromised the safety of the structure. The freeway was brought down by intense fire after a gas tanker crashed.

COLLINS: A road home or a road to nowhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is unbelievable. I never thought the day will come that this would happen to the citizens of Louisiana.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Details straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Army brain drain. More officers leaving the ranks. The story behind the dropouts in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: It's a tight fit in the Trabi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your feet -- like a ballerina --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah, ok.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that's what I call a spacious interior.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Better not be much beyond five feet or so I guess for that one. Communist car milestone in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: A diamond-shaped roadside. Quick, what does it mean, what does it mean, what does it mean?

COLLINS: This time I'll say warning.

HARRIS: Ok, a warning about driver IQ coming up for you in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Americans may love their cars, but do they know the rules of the road? Let's see. Let's put it to the test right here this morning in the NEWSROOM. A solid yellow line on your side of the center line means what? Reduce speed, traffic light ahead, or do not pass? The answer is --

COLLINS: Do not --

HARRIS: Do not pass. There you go, Heidi Collins. Well, if you got it wrong, you're not alone. A survey from GMAC insurance found one in six drivers would fail a written driver's license test. Here to talk about that, John Kennedy with the National Safety Council. John, thanks for your time this morning.

JOHN KENNEDY, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL: Good morning, Tony.

HARRIS: So your mission is to protect people, to keep people safe and to promote health. What do you make of those results, those findings?

KENNEDY: Tony it's not surprising. For most people, the last time they've had any type of formal driver training was in driver's education when they were 15 or 16 years old. Laws have changed, technology has changed. Our roads and highways have changed. People have not kept abreast of these changes.

HARRIS: Well, John, don't you really believe that in the context of actual driving people know what these signs really mean, but that it's just that taken out of context and put in sort of a testing format, that's where folks get a little confused?

KENNEDY: I think they know the basics Tony. But I do think that the rules of the roads do change. They have not kept abreast of these. Also, one of the things that compounds this is many people renew their driver's license via mail or the internet so it could be many, many years since they've taken a driver's test.

HARRIS: What do you say to folks who believe this test it's just not relevant, the written portion of the test is just not relevant?

KENNEDY: Well, it is relevant. It teaches basic laws, tests basic laws, signs, traffic signs. It is relevant from that point of view. Where it's missing the boat a little bit is that the rules of the roads are basic requirements. They are not teaching safe driving practices per se. And a good example of that is proper following distance. We recommend a three-second rule as opposed to most states recommend a two-second following distance.

HARRIS: Should there be a mandatory, if it's important, should there be a mandatory refresher course required? Let's say every four years when you go through the license renewal process?

KENNEDY: Well that's for each state to decide, Tony, but the National Safety Council does recommend that drivers take a defensive driving course. These courses not only talk about defensive driving tips and techniques, but they take it a step further. They talk about proper attitudes and behaviors behind the wheel.

HARRIS: What causes most accidents?

KENNEDY: The accidents happen because of a number of reasons, but the top three really are we lose over 45,000 lives every year on our highways. Thirty-nine percent of those are alcohol related. So people are drinking and driving. We also lose lives on our highways because of speeding. Over 13,000 lives are lost every year because of speeders. And the next one is safety belts. As a nation, we have an 82 percent safety belt usage. However, we're still losing over 16,000 lives a year because people are not buckling up.

HARRIS: You like the public service announcement from New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine?

KENNEDY: Yes, we do.

HARRIS: Tell us why you like that?

KENNEDY: Well, it's a click it/ticket. Memorial Day has traditionally been a time when we promote safety belt usage, working with law enforcement around the country to get the message out to people that safety belts do save lives.

HARRIS: John Kennedy from the National Safety Council. John, thanks for your time this morning.

KENNEDY: Thank you, Tony have a great weekend.

HARRIS: Yeah, you too.

COLLINS: The Trabi, a dinosaur of the automotive age, but not quite extinct. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen takes a ride to mark a milestone.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): They were the pride of the East German automobile industry and later became the symbol for communism's demise. Almost 4 million Trabants or Trabis as they were known were manufactured in the German Democratic Republic beginning in 1957.

(on camera): All right, let's face the facts. It really doesn't look like a guy my size could ever fit into a car like this, but for people in socialist Eastern Germany, the Trabant was a car for the whole family. So today, Rico Heinzig an expert on driving Trabis, is going to show me the art of driving the Trabant. Ready? But first Rico has to show me the art of getting into the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your feet like this, be like a ballerina.

PLEITGEN: Here we go. That's what I call a spacious interior. Start the engine and hear 25 horsepower roar. The Trabant only does about 60 miles an hour, offers not even basic comfort and massively pollutes the air Heinzig says. Still, it was the most popular car in the communist bloc, but then again, they didn't really have a choice.

RICO HEINZIG, TRABI EXPERT: (INAUDIBLE) a new car if you want this. Must wait ten years for this car. It is very crazy, unbelievable. And so if you had this car, you stayed with him until you die.

PLEITGEN: But now it's the Trabants that are dying out. After the Berlin Wall came down, sales declined dramatically. The last Trabant was manufactured in 1991. Many of those still roaming the streets are almost artifacts. Rico Heinzig offers Trabant tours through Berlin, say in a Trabi stretch limo or a Trabi beach buggy. But Heinzig says he knows one day the lack of spare parts will make it impossible for him to maintain his fleet. Then the Trabant will be history, just like the communist era it symbolized. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Another California celebrity taken into custody and no one is complaining. Later, gator. In the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Don't eat that fish. At least that frozen monkfish. A California company is recalling frozen monkfish products in Illinois, California and Hawaii. Two people in the Chicago area got sick after eating it. The company officials say the fish was imported from China and labeled monkfish, but they believe it really might be pufferfish, which contains a potent toxin. The fish is individually packaged in clear plastic sleeves. I'm thinking it looks really different from a monkfish, too. But, the boxes don't contain any lot numbers. HARRIS: Some members of the military are fighting to stay in shape and keep their military careers on track. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more in today's "Fit Nation." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mantra of the navy is honor, courage and commitment. And now more than ever a commitment to health and fitness. The military has always set certain standards for their men and women in uniform and the navy is no exception. Those who fail their physical assessment evaluations could end up here. 22-year-old Benjamin Spencer landed in the fitness enhancement program, structured to help sailors who struggled to get back in shape. It includes cardio, strength training and nutrition classes.

PETTY OFFICER BENJAMIN SPENCER, U.S. NAVY: There's a lack of motivation there for a little while. I've always been very heavily involved in working out. I was a football player when I was in high school. But I just kind of lost a little bit of motivation and I'm really trying to get back into it.

GUPTA: A sailor can only fail the physical fitness test three times in a four-year period. While the sailors are in the program, they're in limbo. They can't advance in their career and there are no pay increases. So it's a strong motivation to get in shape. 38-year- old chief petty officer Earnest Dorsey found himself in the program after his commanding officer challenged him to lower his body fat score. The maximum allowed is 22 percent. He came in at 24 percent. He changed his lifestyle, eating healthier and working out more and he lost 35 pounds in less than six months. He says the military has physical fitness challenges, especially obesity, that weren't as much of a problem at the time he enlisted.

CHIEF PETTY OFFICER ERNEST DORSEY, U.S. NAVY: When I came in 20 years ago until now, we were more active as young folks it now a days we're in a different type of world, computer world, and things like that. So when they come in, physical fitness is not part of the routine.

GUPTA: Captain Rick Cline of the Naval Air Station in Atlanta wants to create a culture of fitness and renewed readiness.

CAPT. RICK CLINE, U.S. NAVY: Our goal is not to make it something that just lasts as long as they're wearing the uniform but to make it something that they will carry on for the rest of their life.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Harvard researchers found for every 60 minutes of exercise, you can add two hours to your life. So Sanjay's asked you to commit to get fit this year for a longer life. You can join by logging on to cnn.com/fitnation.

COLLINS: Road warriors abandoning the office for the beach and beyond. And paying high gas prices to get there. Memorial Day getaway in the NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: That's us. And welcome back to the Friday before Memorial Day. Everybody kind of gearing up for a good...

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yeah, let's hope so anyway.

COLLINS: ... map that Rob has been showing us pretty good if you're on the coasts.

HARRIS: Rob, give us a look.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: OK, I can do that.

COLLINS: Am I right about that?

MARCIANO: Heidi, this is where you get me in trouble. You say it looks pretty good for just about everybody --

COLLINS: No, I said the coasts.

MARCIANO: This is a national network. We deal with a lot of people. I could have people calling up very angry. No you did qualify that, but people don't hear that.

COLLINS: Thanks for calling me out though anyway.

MARCIANO: It's Friday. It's the Friday before the holiday weekend. A lot of people gearing up if not already on the road maybe to visit some friends and family and prepare for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. Here's the weather map for today and really it doesn't change a whole lot over the next several days. It's kind of a summer pattern. The atmosphere has kind of slowed down. The storms aren't really that fast and they're not that strong, mostly because this big blue "H" has kind of taken control for the last couple of weeks. It's caused hot and dry conditions across the southeast. If you're driving anywhere here or flying for that matter, the Atlanta airport hasn't seen much in the way of delays the past couple of weeks because it's been so quiet.

Up 95, you're OK. This front won't cause too many problems, but the flooding in Texas, heavy rains, have been the issue there. That may be a problem if you're traveling, say, from San Antonio or even Corpus Christi up towards Dallas to Austin, the hill country especially has seen the worst of it as far as rainfall goes today. Moisture coming in off the Gulf of Mexico and just being squeezed out. 99 in Phoenix, bring the shorts for sure, 93 today in New York City, could see some records broken across parts of the northeast, temp 90, that certainly feels more like July and August. Quick shot of this Singapore I-report, very cool stuff, want to show it to you, water spout over the Singapore straits and this I-reporter sent this in to us, a very well defined funnel and very clear because it's picking up water as opposed to dirt. Not sure if anybody got hurt with this thing, but it is certainly very, very cool to look at. That is your Friday before the holiday weekend video treat for you. HARRIS: Well done, well done.

COLLINS: The boats that you showed before were really, really close.

HARRIS: Change your battery, Rob.

COLLINS: Ouch. Thank you, bye-bye now.

Returning with a vengeance, radical Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr back in public and as fiery as ever. CNN's Paula Hancocks has the story from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been months since we've seen the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in public. And he decided that his first public appearance for that time was going to be in the Kufa (ph) mosque near the holy city of Najaf. He was leading Friday prayers, thousands of worshipers chanting at that particular mosque. And his message was clear as it has been all along. He was calling for the American troops to be pulled out of Iraq. And he was also calling for his Mehdi army, his militants, not to fight against the Iraqi army, saying they should unite against what he sees as the common enemy.

MUQTADA AL-SADR, IRAQI CLERIC (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): From time to time, we hear of clashes between our brothers in the Mehdi army and the brothers of the Iraqi army and police. Pay attention. This is an important point. As far as I know, the occupation is behind this creating an excuse for it to stay in our beloved Iraq. So don't give it a reason, please.

HANCOCKS: Al-Sadr also said that he wants to see the Iraqi people, rather than the Iraqi government, deciding when these U.S. troops should leave. Now, in the past, he has been calling for them to leave and he has also been calling Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki and his government to fix a deadline, a timetable, and pressure the U.S. for a timetable for when they will withdraw. Now, of course, that hasn't happened.

So recently, al-Sadr has taken six of his cabinet members out of the government. And maybe the reason for him turning up in this public appearance this Friday is the fact that on Thursday Nuri al Maliki replaced those six that he had pulled out. Of course, everybody is trying to fine out why now, why after all this time. Many of al Sadr's aides have said he's been in Iraq all along, but the U.S. military says he's been hiding in Iran since this U.S. security crackdown started in early February and, in fact, before they announced it early January. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Career's cut short by choice. More U.S. Army officers are leaving the service than at any time in the last 30 years. CNN's Alina Cho reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a time of peace, a few months before 9/11 and the war on terror. Angela and Dave Lamborn were graduating from West Point. The two met there, married and started a family. Dave shipped off to Iraq soon after their first child was born. Angela stayed behind. But she was worried about both of them being deployed at the same time. So she decided to leave active duty just a year after her five-year commitment was up. How did that make you feel?

CAPT. ANGELA LAMBORN, LEAVING U.S. ARMY: A sense of guilt in a way because I was leaving during a time of war. But at the same time a sense of relief because I knew that there was going to be somebody at home to take care of the children.

CHO: The Army is losing mid-level officers at a rate not seen since the Vietnam War, 36 percent of officers who graduate from West Point in 2001 left the service last year after fulfilling their five- year active duty requirement. At the start of the Iraq war, half as many, 18 percent, left. Some, like Angela, leave for family reasons. Others cite multiple deployments, fatigue over the war in Iraq.

LT. GEN. DANIEL CHRISTMAN, FRM. U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY SUPT: We're losing the next generation of future combat leaders for the army. Ultimately, that's what's at stake here.

CHO: Just this week, the army rolled out new incentives for those who are most likely to leave, captains. Among the enticements, a $20,000 bonus for three more years of active duty or for just one more year, language training or additional military training.

COL. PAUL ASWELL, U.S. ARMY: We want those officers to stay in. There's no other way to get them.

CHO: While Dave Lamborn prepares for another combat tour in Afghanistan, Angela will stay home, serving her family.

LAMBORN: The best of both worlds, you know, my husband's going to be serving, I'm going to be right by his side.

CHO: She says by supporting her husband, she's serving her country as well. Alina Cho, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Drinking and driving, a liquor store selling ice with booze at the drive-through window.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me get a pint. Let me get two cups, one with ice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Mothers against drunk driving gets really mad. One for the road in the NEWSROOM.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange where shares of Coke are up 1.5 percent. Why Coke is betting on something other than cola, next. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: We need music every day don't you think?

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE)

COLLINS: And they're off. Holiday travelers leaving town for the Memorial Day weekend. AAA predicts 38 million people will be on the move, a majority of them in cars. So let's get a look at travel conditions in a major southern hub. Frances Kuo from affiliate WCNC is in Charlotte, North Carolina. All right, how do things look?

FRANCES KUO, WCNC: Well, the price of unleaded gas at this station in Charlotte is running about $3.07 for unleaded gas and those prices are actually changing some plans for some holiday travelers. They found the sticker shock this holiday weekend. Drivers from North Carolina who plan to hit the roads will notice, though, a big hike in gas prices from this time last year, about 37 cents a gallon. Prices in South Carolina are a bit better with the state average at about $3 a gallon. We found some drivers following through on their holiday plans while others are saving their pennies and staying home. We actually talked to one driver who was headed to Columbia, South Carolina, which is about an hour and a half from here and he says he's hoping his relatives will offset some of these gas prices by paying for his food. So people are saving pennies any way they can. On the issue of air travel, though, the increase is expected in air travel. That is expected to be up by 3.4 percent. That's despite an increase in airline tickets by about 10 percent. Reporting live from Charlotte, I'm Frances Kuo, Heidi, back to you.

COLLINS: All right, Frances, thanks so much. It's going to be an expensive trip for just about everybody. Thank you.

HARRIS: Some more business news now. Coke may still be the pause that refreshes, the world' biggest beverage company is betting that something other than Cola is the real thing when it comes to growth. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us about the new addition to the beverage giant's portfolio. Susan good morning to you. Good Friday to you.

LISOVICZ: Good Friday to you. It's a growing portfolio for Coca- Cola Tony. Atlanta-based Coke says it will pay more than $4 billion to buy water and energy drink maker Glaceau (ph). That name may not ring a bell but some of its products might. Glaceau also known as Energy Brands, makes vitamin water, fruit water, smart water and vitamin energy drinks. The deal will give a big boost to Coke's portfolio of noncarbonated beverages. With soft drink sales slowing as Americans get more health conscious, Coke is betting the market for these so-called enhanced waters and energy drinks will continue to grow over the next few years. You just have to go to any grocer or supermarket, right, Tony, there's so much of this stuff that's out there now.

HARRIS: Hey, Susan is McDonald's jumping in on this health parade as well?

LISOVICZ: That's right. We've got the world's biggest restaurant and the world's biggest beverage company joining forces, I suppose, in a way and trying to improve the nutritional content. Mickey D's ditching trans-fats for good. The world's biggest fast food chain saying it plans to stop using frying oil that contains those artery- clogging trans-fats in all of its U.S. restaurants by the end of the year. McDonald's has been testing a healthier oil in about 3,500 locations. Trans-fat oil use hydrogen to make food taste better, extend their shelf life, but they're also widely criticized for contributing to the country's obesity epidemic. Mickey D's joins a host of other retailers kicking the trans-fat habit including Wendy's, Starbucks, Yum Brands, which owns Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC and in New York City, all the restaurant will have to stop using trans-fats by next year. One important note, Tony, McDonald's says the French fries will still taste the same.

HARRIS: They had better.

LISOVICZ: Believe me, it's a big concern for the company. They're more famous I think for the fries than for the burgers.

HARRIS: I'm with you on that.

LISOVICZ: Checking the markets, well, I wouldn't say they're sizzling, but shares of McDonald's are up 0.5 percent, while shares of Coke are rising 1.5 percent. Stocks overall, well, they're staging a nice rebound on this final trading day of the week. The market of course closed on Monday for Memorial Day. Right now the Dow is up 55. The Nasdaq up 15 or it's about .5 percent for each of them. Tony and Heidi, have a great weekend. Back to you.

HARRIS: You, too, you, too, all right, Susan, thank you.

COLLINS: To-go cups now stocked at one liquor store. But changing the culture, probably a little bit tougher. Tom Jones of Atlanta affiliate WSB reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM JONES, WSB CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sam Packet's (ph) store employee Chris Melton is not happy. State alcohol agents are forcing the store to stop selling cups of ice.

CHRIS MELTON, STORE EMPLOYEE: (INAUDIBLE) hard day at work. They come to the liquor store, buy a cup of ice, get a cup, most people -- I'm not saying all of 'em -- before they get home, they're going to drink and drive.

JONES: He says that as a message on the store's cash register urges customers not to drink and drive.

LATRESSE SNEAD, EXEC. DIR, GEORGIA MADD: To give somebody a cup of ice along with the sale of alcohol -- there's something wrong about that. I think it sends a mixed message.

JONES: Latresse Snead with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says it's clear, customers plan to drink and drive when buying a cup of ice and alcohol, especially when purchasing cups at the drive-through. She thinks that's highly irresponsible.

SNEAD: They don't know if that person that they just sold that alcohol and that cup of ice to has kids in the car.

JONES: Someone phoned Snead about the store selling cups of ice and liquor through the drive through. She told us about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have D and J (ph) and BSOP (ph)? Let me get a pint.

JONES: And we sent a WSB TV employee through the drive-through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me get two cups, one with ice.

JONES: The clerk soon returned with the cups of ice.

DAVID DYAL, GA. ALCOHOL ENFORCEMENT CHIEF: That would be a violation.

JONES: We showed our video to state alcohol enforcement chief David Dyal.

DYAL: They can't do that and then you have people drinking in the open. That's a violation of container laws.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here to do an inspection of the business.

JONES: Dyal sent agents to the store and after noticing the ice cooler for the to-go cups, the store was told to get rid of it and received a warning for the violation. The store's owner says he had no idea he couldn't sell cups of ice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't know that.

JONES: You didn't know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, nobody informed me.

JONES: Employee Chris Melton told us the ice cup prohibition won't change his customer's habits.

MELTON: They're going to do it the American way. They're going to have a drink while they're driving.

DONZELLA JAMES, SON KILLED BY DRUNK DRIVER: I am shocked. I am very upset.

JONES: Donzella James was appalled to hear the store has sold liquor and cups of ice.

JAMES: We need to stop the madness.

JONES: James' 18-year-old son was killed not far from here by a five-time drunk driver who had open containers in his truck. As for the store employee's comments --

MELTON: It's the American way, it's a classic.

JAMES: I wish you had asked him what if your child gets killed or your loved one gets killed because of somebody who buys a cup in here and has a drink on the way home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: The Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association says cups of ice can be sold as long as they have a lid. The state says that is wrong.

HARRIS: "Your World Today" coming up, oh, in about 12 minutes at the top of the hour right here on CNN, there it is, Jim Clancy here now with a preview. Good morning Jim.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you Tony and to you Heidi as well. You know, some days the news just dictates what we have to put into the program. Coming up at the top of the hour, "Your World Today," we can see it, it's Iran and the United States that is the news this day. The tensions between these two countries completely ratcheted up. President Bush's military in Iraq holding five Iranians. The Iranians have taken four Iranian-American academics along with a former FBI agent. They're holding them. Big talks coming up on Monday.

We're going to have chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. We're going to have live reports from Baghdad and Tehran where Aneesh Raman is. Plus, Hala Gorani talked exclusively with Iran's only Nobel peace prize holder, this woman, Shareen Abadi (ph). You're going to find out why many people in the world say she is one of the bravest attorney human rights activists in our world today. She's going back to Tehran to defend one of the Iranian Americans being held. All of that, plus live reports from Baghdad about the resurfacing of this man, Muqtada al Sadr, the man some say is the most dangerous threat to the U.S. military plans and democracy plans in all of Iraq. A full hour of international news coming up on "Your World Today." Hope you can join us. Back to you.

COLLINS: All right, Jim, thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTOINETTE PAGE, KATRINA VICTIM: This is unbelievable. I never thought the day would come that this would happen to citizens of Louisiana.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: This story straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Rebuilding New Orleans. Thousands of homeowners are finding that much easier said than done. A plan to help people rebuild called the road home has become a road lined with red tape. CNN's Susan Roesgen reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANTOINETTE PAGE, KATRINA VICTIM: That's the bedroom, bathroom, this is the hall that we was in.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over: An empty lot is all that's left of Antoinette Page's New Orleans home after hurricane Katrina. But she's still paying the mortgage on this invisible house and getting deeper in debt. Insurance paid just $2,400 and Paige has been waiting almost a year to get help from a Federally funded program called the road home.

PAGE: This is unbelievable. I never thought the day would come that this would happen to the citizens of Louisiana and I know it's just not me. A lot of people I've spoken to are going through the same thing.

ROESGEN: She's one of nearly 140,000 people in Louisiana who have applied for road home assistance and only 20,000 of those have actually gotten money. And the private company hired by the state to run the program, ICF International, which also runs several other programs, just gave its top people big bonuses. ICFs chief financial officer Alan Stewart got a bonus of $650,000. Chief operating officer John Wasson got a bonus of $1 million. And ICF chairman Sudako Keshavek (ph) got $1.7 million because ICF did pretty well last year. The company says those bonuses have nothing to do with the success or failure of the road home program. But, still, the fat paychecks are galling to people like Antoinette Page who doesn't have a dime to pay off the mortgage on her empty lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The check is a compensation check to home owners with "X" amount of damage --

ROESGEN: Now the outcry from home owners is loud enough to be heard all the way to Washington. Senator Mary Landrieu is leading a Senate investigation into what's gone wrong with the road home program. The Feds set aside $8 billion to fix houses like these. But ICF has given out just $1 billion. The rest of the money sits in a state account while house after house sits abandoned. Now ICF is already projecting a $3 billion shortage. ICF international senior vice president, Isabel Reef, defended the company at the Senate hearing.

ISABEL REIFF, ICF INTERNATIONAL: We are very concerned about the quality of our customer service and we continuously work to improve it.

ROESGEN: Reiff told the hearing that her company didn't get the road home contract until last June and didn't start processing applications until August, a full year after the hurricane, when thousands of people were already waiting in line. The company promises to give money to 90,000 applicants by the end of this year. But Antoinette Page was promised her money back in February and still hasn't got it. For her and thousands of others, the road home has been a road to nowhere. Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Whoa -- well, don't know, you think that looks bad? WBAL, Baltimore. We're both from this area (ph) relatively well. Road warriors abandoning the office for the beach and beyond paying high gas prices to get there, too. Memorial Day getaway coming your way in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: 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 terrific weekend, everybody.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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