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Palestinian Split: Separate Control in West Bank, Gaza; Deal on Immigration; Reid Under Fire

Aired June 15, 2007 - 06:59   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Hostile takeover. This morning, an urgent meeting as Hamas tightens its grip in Gaza. Growing fears across the region.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they fire at Israel, we're going to fire back.

ROBERTS: Could the U.S. ever be drawn into the fight?

Plus, space oddity. NASA astronauts venture back into space today with a stapler. Can the low-tech tool fix the high-tech shuttle?



ROBERTS: Got to use a little old-fashioned ingenuity there.

Good morning to you. It's Friday, June the 15th. Thanks for being with us.

I'm John Roberts.


Glad you're with us.


CHETRY: We begin though in the Mideast this morning, in Hamas, tightening its grip over Gaza. We have new pictures now of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at Friday prayers in the West Bank, where his Fatah party is still in power.

In the last 90 minutes, Hamas announced it wants to make peace with Hamas and Fatah, granting amnesty to captured Fatah leaders. About an hour ago, the coroner in Gaza telling reporters the morgue is now overflowing with bodies, many of them Fatah loyalists who were dragged into the street and shot in the past 24 hours. And the concern this morning is that Hamas will try to extend its reach into the West Bank.

CNN's Atika Shubert is in Jerusalem for us. So, we're hearing two different things -- possible talks of wanting a truce of sorts, and then talk of trying to make further ground militarily.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, the fighting has stopped in Gaza. And that's simply because Hamas has defeated its political rival, Fatah.

At the moment, Hamas is confined to Gaza. It's very unlikely they would be able to make any inroads into the West Bank. And that's because that is a Fatah stronghold. They're physically divided, and President Abbas is firmly in control of the West Bank. But basically what we're left with is Gaza under the control of Hamas, the West Bank under the control of Fatah, and the Palestinian territories are divided in two.

Both Hamas and Fatah claim to be the true Palestinian Authority. Neither is giving in. And Palestinians don't know what's going to happen next, how Hamas can govern Gaza without the support of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. How will supplies be brought into Gaza?

These are some of the questions that residents in Gaza are starting to ask. And even though the fighting has stopped for the most part in Gaza, there is now rampant looting going on. And so clearly law and order still has not been enforced.

CHETRY: Atika Shubert live for us in Jerusalem.

We'll follow the latest developments throughout the morning.

Thank you.

ROBERTS: The United States is going ahead with the missile shield in central Europe, despite Russia's effort to put a radar -- or to at least let the United States use an existing radar in Azerbaijan.

Define Secretary Robert Gates delivered the news to the Russians just a few hours ago at a NATO meeting in Brussels. Gates says that the offer of the radar in Azerbaijan cannot replace the system that the U.S. plans to build. It would put the radar in the Czech Republic and missiles in Poland.

We're waiting this morning for details on a new immigration deal that was crafted in the Senate late last night. It looked like the bill was dead, but now it appears live enough to return to the Senate floor, perhaps as early as next week.

Negotiators agreed to limit the number of amendments to 11 on each side. And we're waiting now to see what they are. And, of course, everyone is wondering if there are enough votes to pass the measure.

Andrea Koppel is following all of the latest moves from Capitol Hill. So what about that, Andrea? Do we know what's in the amendments? And do they have enough votes to reach 60, which is the point they need to cut off debate?


At this point, we've got lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that are being quite tight-lipped about the details of those roughly 22 amendments. What we know is that yesterday, President Bush announced that he was going to ante up $4.4 billion to toughen both border security and work site immigration enforcement.

This was a key demand of many Republicans, who were concerned that this was going to be pushed off into the future. In addition, we also know another Republican amendment -- this is one by Kay Bailey Hutchison -- that would force basically anyone who wanted to get that Z visa to lay out the path to citizenship to return to their home country within 18 months -- John.

ROBERTS: Is this all a result, Andrea, of the arm-twisting that the president did the other day?

KOPPEL: You've got to believe that the fact that it came just two days after he made a rare visit to Capitol Hill, and for the first time in six years had that rare Tuesday luncheon with Republicans, did play a significant factor in it. We know it's been his top domestic agenda, to get this thing through, John. But whether or not it's actually going to pass is still the big question.

ROBERTS: Yes, because there's still a lot of people who don't like the bill at all, think it's a bad bill and don't want to -- don't want to vote for it.

KOPPEL: Oh, yes.

ROBERTS: But when could it come back to the floor? We said next week. Are we talking early next week, middle, end?

KOPPEL: They still have to get their energy bill through. And they expect that debate on that is going to run right up until the tail end of next week. So the earliest it can come up is the end of next week. They hope, John, to have the votes on those 22 amendments done by the 4th of July.

ROBERTS: All right. Andrea Koppel for us this morning on Capitol Hill.

Thanks, Andrea. We'll talk with you a little bit later on this morning about all of this.



(WEATHER REPORT) ROBERTS: Fifteen minutes after the hour now.

This morning, the militant group Hamas is claiming control of Gaza and declaring Islamic rule there. It's got very troubling implications for the United States and the region.

You're looking at live pictures there of Hamas demonstrations on the streets of Gaza City.

Richard Haas is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was a top adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell during the first term of the Bush administration. He is here with us now.

Richard, what are the implications of all of this, where do we go from here?

RICHARD HAAS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, there's no good implication of this. Not every cloud has a silver lining here.

What it really means is that for the immediate future we have got a radical Islamic state on one border with Israel, and we have really the prelude to the fight for the future of the Palestinian political identity and character. But Hamas is not going to be content to sit where it is. It's a question of when, and not if. We see a real challenge, a real ultimate civil war for what the character of the West Bank is.

ROBERTS: Now, we know that Hamas has been firing these rockets, these Kassam rockets into southern Israel for years now. Now that they have declared the establishment of an Islamic state, if they attack Israel again, what would Israel do?

HAAS: Well, Israel doesn't want to reoccupy Gaza. That's a military and strategic nightmare. But I expect that they would respond with their own sort of air power. I expect they would respond with special forces.

More important is economically. They can put real pressure on Hamas, they can put real pressure on their ability to deliver services, because now that Hamas controls Gaza, they are accountable, they are responsible.

So one of the interesting question marks out there is whether that in any way alters their behavior.

ROBERTS: I get a sense here that perhaps the U.S. approach to this -- because they don't seem to be too concerned that Hamas has got control of Gaza -- is to give Hamas enough rope to hang itself.

HAAS: Partially that. Partially, there's not a lot the United States can do, quite honestly. We might be the world's strongest power, but there's no way to translate that power into changing the facts on the ground there. The real focus of U.S. policy, rather, is going to be buttress Fatah, is going to see that what happened in Gaza does not replicate itself now in the West Bank.

ROBERTS: So what do you do? Do you give them weapons? Because critics say if you were to do that, the weapons are ultimately going to end up in the hands of Hamas.

HAAS: You actually have to give them some weapons. You have to train the security forces there, you've got to help them economically. Above all, you've got to help them diplomatically.

You have to give enough to the Palestinians who want to negotiate, who want to take the path of diplomacy, to show that that pays. You've got to as a result indirectly discredit those who don't believe in that.

ROBERTS: And what about that? Could this in some strange way actually accelerate the peace process with Fatah so that Israel and the United States could say to the Palestinians in Gaza, look, if you had to cast your lot (ph) with Mahmoud Abbas, you would be on the road to peace. You're with Hamas. Look at the situation there.

HAAS: There's that possibility if the United States and if the Israeli government seize it. That's the challenge now for them, to basically lay out a diplomatic horizon, to say moderation can pay. That would then trigger a debate within the Palestinian world as to which way to travel.

ROBERTS: Richard, always appreciate your perspective on things.

HAAS: Thank you, John.

ROBERTS: Thank you very much. Appreciate it -- Kiran.




ROBERTS: Twenty-two minutes after the hour.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is feeling the heat this morning for reportedly questioning the competence of the U.S. military leaders in Iraq and saying bad things about the chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace. The blogs are buzzing about it today, and CNN's Jacki Schechner is here to tell us more.

The whole thing with Peter Pace, and Reid apparently calling him incompetent...


ROBERTS: ... how did that start, where did that whole story go?

SCHECHNER: The story broke on, an online political publication. And they talked about a conference call that Reid had with liberal bloggers earlier in the week, and that apparently his came up during the conversation.

We hadn't seen it come out on any of the liberal blogs. So people started to question, did he say it? Was this an accurate statement?

Well, it turns out, going back to a tape recording, that he did say it in the context of him having told Peter Pace himself, "I find you incompetent." So he did say it. And he said it to the man himself.

ROBERTS: Right. And then it's gone beyond that now. Apparently, he didn't say the same thing about General Petraeus, but did say certain critical things about General Petraeus, which has now sparked some of the Republican presidential candidates to lay it on Harry Reid.

SCHECHNER: It's a little unclear what he said about Petraeus specifically. They called it in Politico "disparaging remarks". And from what I can garner, he did say he wished that Petraeus was a little more candid with regard to what he was saying the assessment of the situation in Iraq was.

But it has led Senator John McCain to come out and call Reid's comments "unfortunate". Liberal bloggers are saying that this is not difficult talk for Reid., or this is usual talk for Reid.

ROBERTS: So, is there a battle now between the Republican blogs and the liberal blogs?

SCHECHNER: Yes. The Republican blogs say Reid shouldn't be saying these kinds of things, especially in time of war. And the liberal bloggers are saying, you know what? It's exactly what he should be saying. He should be speaking out, he should be vocal about it. And this is not uncommon for Senator Harry Reid.

ROBERTS: Wow. And there's still how long to go until the election?

SCHECHNER: More time than we know.

ROBERTS: Jacki, thanks very much.

SCHECHNER: Of course.


CHETRY: Thanks, guys.

Well, we're paying more for many of our services right now. And Ali Velshi is here to explain, minding our business this morning, about why it's not the obvious reasons.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, one of the things that you're going to find is, you're paying for gas, you're paying for houses. But you're paying more for food. And that's because of this whole ethanol situation. We are using so much of our corn for ethanol that it's taking away from other things.

For instance, it's more useful for a farmer to plant a field with corn than it is to plant with wheat now. Twenty-seven percent of our farming land is planted with corn. And the government says within five years it will be 33 percent.

Now, how is that affecting us? Well, animal feed uses corn. So the cost of animal feed is up, which makes the cost of chicken, pork, beef, milk, eggs, all of that increase.

The sweetener that we most commonly use is high fructose corn syrup. That comes from corn as well. So, anything with sweeteners in it is getting more expensive.

Now, you've already seen these prices go up. You've seen the cereal companies increase the prices. You've seen -- you go to some steakhouses you'll see an increase in steak prices.

So it's affecting us across the board.

The other thing that's up is milk again, because the cows that produce milk cost more money, cost more to feed them. And there's increase demand around the world. All of these economies that are emerging, China, for instance, people are getting more prosperous, their diets are changing, and they want more protein and more carbohydrates, which come from milk.

So these are all the things that, you know, play into inflation and cause us to pay more for everything.

CHETRY: Ali, cool. Thank you.


CHETRY: Not cool that we're paying more, but thanks for breaking it down.

VELSHI: Cool that you know at least why you're paying more.

CHETRY: At least we know why when we go to order that steak -- John.



ROBERTS: Welcome back. It's Friday, the 15th of June. Thanks for being with us.

I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: And I'm Kiran Chetry.

Some stories "On Our Radar" this morning.

It's really a low-tech fix to a high-tech problem, and that's the shuttle Astronauts, they're going to be venturing out on a spacewalk today. And what are they going to have with them? A stapler.

What are they going to do with it? They're going to try to actually repair a little bit of the thermal shield that came loose when they went up into space on that shuttle, just trying to make it safer for them to return again.

And I think it was a couple of missions ago, they used a plier to pull out a piece of foam. Well, this time they're going to use an old-fashioned stapler. Surgical stapler, so it's a little more high tech.

Look at that.

ROBERTS: I've seen people staple their hands. Now they're going to staple the shuttle.

CHETRY: In an emergency, it comes in handy.


Getting ready to catch a flight? Get ready to wait a while. Delays and cancellations are up, and things are expected to get worse this summer. There's all sorts of terrible weather out there but a lot of other reasons as well. Greg Hunter is going to show us why and not just the reasons that you already know about.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: It's never a good thing when they say you're 33rd in line for take-off. Just sit tight.

And what happened really to Tony Soprano at the end of the series? Did he live or die? The cryptic ending where the whole entire thing just went to black. The blogs are exploding about these hidden messages, saying that, you know what? If you're a true "Sopranos" fan, the clues lie in that final scene. We're going to talk about what some of the theories are about whether or not Tony met his end.

ROBERTS: In Gaza right now, Hamas is celebrating its first full day in power. We've got live pictures of street demonstrations from Gaza City. There you can see them flying the Islamic flag through the streets. Gaza City, Hamas is saying it wants to work with Fatah, which it defeated yesterday. CNN has just confirmed that Hamas released 10 captured Fatah security chiefs this morning. Other people are saying that many of those security personnel from Fatah were executed yesterday. In the last hour we've got pictures of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Friday prayers in the west bank where his Fatah party is still in power. No word yet on what Abbas' strategy is going to be to try to solve this impasse.

This morning we're waiting to learn more about the new immigration bill in the Senate. The bill looked dead just last week. But late yesterday, a new deal was struck. The bill could now return to the Senate floor as early as next week. The deal was reached when negotiators agreed to limit the number of amendments to 11 on each side. You remember that number was in the hundreds. We're still waiting to learn what those amendments are, though. CHETRY: This morning, flight controllers are troubleshooting computer problems on board the international space station. Parts of the shuttle "Atlantis" have actually powered down to conserve energy in case it needs to spend more time docked at the station. "Atlantis" astronauts will do a spacewalk today. They're going to be repairing damage to the thermal blanket that a little bit of it came loose during lift-off. NASA spokesman Allard Beutel joins us now on the phone from Washington. Thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: Of course, always fascinating for us to follow what's going on in space with our astronauts. First, let's talk a little bit about the computer glitch, I guess is what they're calling it, with the international space station. What's the latest Allard?

BEUTEL: Well Russian and U.S. (INAUDIBLE) pretty much most of the overnight working to see if they could come up with a reason that the Russian computers went off, stopped working earlier this week. It was shortly after we added the main part of our mission that "Atlantis" is up there for, to put new solar panels on board the space station. It happened to happen at the exact same time roughly, that the Russian computer started having problems. So engineers are really good at doing, they went piece by piece and they're gathering data and (INAUDIBLE) computers will go off this morning, didn't exactly communicate the way they were supposed to so the Russians took them off intentionally not too long.

CHETRY: Allard, what are the implications though if the glitch still continues after they reboot?

BEUTEL: We got more days to work this. As long as "Atlantis" is there, the space station's in a good position. It's getting power, Russian parts are getting power. We've got some (ph) time to work this. Obviously we want the Russian computers to work because they help us with navigation and guidance. So they're important but we got some time to work it.

CHETRY: All right. Let's talk about the other little unexpected bit of work they're going to be doing today, the astronauts and that is trying to repair that thermal heat shield. They're using a good old-fashioned stapler I guess. What's going on with that?

BEUTEL: Most people have forgotten that the heat shield blanket was the big issue a few days ago. During the spacewalk today, we're going to have one of our astronauts go out to the end of the shuttle robotic arm and basically, like you said, use a stapler and a pin to push this heat shield blanket down near the back of the shuttle and just pat it down, secure it in place and move on with the rest of the spacewalk.

CHETRY: All right, Allard Beutel. Good luck with that. I'm sure it will go well. They had good luck last time when they had to pull out a chunk of foam using the pliers. Thanks for joining us this morning. ROBERTS: Some quick hits for you now, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham has died. President Bush and the first lady say Ruth Graham was a remarkable woman of faith. She died Thursday at home in North Carolina with her husband and their five children at her side. Ruth Graham was 87.

And the Army is hiring some 200 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to help soldiers returning from war. Officials say the plan calls for spending $33 million to help soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health needs.

Long lines and delays are nothing new at airports. But if you can believe it, things could be getting worse. Our Greg Hunter is on the case for us today finding out what's keeping you from getting there on time. Hey, Greg. Greg, oh my goodness.

GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Kiran, I am flying a $44 million airplane in a steep bank. You see this right here. We're flying over New York City. Let me tell you, it feels like I'm flying, but it really is -- I'm not doing a very good job. Tony, take over. It feels like I'm flying, but actually I'm in a simulator. There are a lot more planes coming on line. They need a lot more pilots for good training. I'll talk about that when we come back as AMERICAN MORNING continues.


ROBERTS: It was a wild ride with a happy ending. This morning, three-year-old Christa Whitlow of Gainesville, Georgia is recovering from her injuries. There she is, look at her there. She's got some strawberry shortcake on the end of that spoon. She survived a five- mile ride clinging to the top of her father's pickup truck. Her dad though never knew she was there. Christa's father Carey Whitlow is with us now from our studios in Atlanta. Carey Whitlow, good to see you this morning. Father's Day coming up in a couple of days. You've got to be about the happiest day in America right now.

CAREY WHITLOW, DAUGHTER RODE ON TOP OF HIS TRUCK: I think I'm one of the happiest. I still feel really guilty about not knowing. That doesn't make me feel like a real good father's day present, that's for sure.

ROBERTS: Carey, we're having just a little trouble with your microphone there just hearing you. We'll get that worked on. Let me ask you though, how did this all start? How did it all begin?

WHITLOW: I think it all started with us rushing back from Atlanta for me to go to an appointment and I had about 10 minutes to change and get ready. My wife was getting the kids ready to go to a birthday party and somewhere between going back to the truck and taking my wife her cell phone, Christa must have jumped on.

ROBERTS: My goodness. You backed out of the drive way, drove away and had no idea she had done that?

WHITLOW: That's right. I knew she was in the living room because I had just seen her there. Apparently she wasn't. And once I left -- once you leave a driveway, you don't think to look around for your kids on your vehicle.

ROBERTS: Exactly. But I guess she wanted to be with dad and so she climbed up in the truck. How far did you get? How long did she hang on?

WHITLOW: I drove for at least five miles and she decided that she was tired.

ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness.

WHITLOW: And she told us she got tired and stepped down and fell.

ROBERTS: But you didn't know at that point either that she was on the truck or had fallen off. How did you find out?

WHITLOW: We found out later, when we called 911, because we couldn't find her to realize that she had been taken to the hospital. And I was actually a suspect, because a witness thought that someone had thrown her from a moving car when she fell off.

ROBERTS: Somebody saw her fall off the truck and they called 911?

WHITLOW: That's correct. They were coming the opposite way and they stopped and picked her up and they told us that she ran after me with all her scrapes and bruising that was going on. And that's what makes me feel terrible, because I was oblivious to what was going on.

ROBERTS: And what did she say to you when you were finally reunited?

WHITLOW: She wanted to know if she was still a good girl.

ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness.

WHITLOW: She knew she wasn't supposed to do those things and she thought she was in really bad trouble. So, I bent down to kiss her and she licked my face. She's a three-year-old.

ROBERTS: So when is she coming back from the hospital?

WHITLOW: Hopefully today. Her bandages are sticking to her abrasions pretty bad and -- but she likes getting them put back on. She just hates getting them taken off.

ROBERTS: Yeah, everybody does. Carey, I just can't imagine what you went through when you couldn't find her and then found out what she went through, hanging on to the top of that truck. We're glad that this came out as it did. It could have been so bad the other way.

WHITLOW: Yes, it could.

ROBERTS: Carey, thanks for coming in and sharing your story and I know you'll be racing back from Atlanta again today. Please be careful when you back out of the drive way.

WHITLOW: Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right, Carey Whitlow joining us this morning. What an incredible story that is.

CHETRY: You can tell he still feels very guilty.

ROBERTS: I can't imagine.

CHETRY: She had a guardian angel looking out for her. You're right, it's probably going to be the Father's Day he'll never forget because his little girl is OK.

ROBERTS: The line between tragedy and a happy ending was just like that and they came out on the good side of it.

CHETRY: She's a trooper. Adorable little girl, by the way. So cute.

Forty two minutes after the hour now, Reynolds Wolf joins us now. If you're traveling for this Father's Day weekend, people kind of ignore dad, don't they? It's not nearly as busy as some of the other ones.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, we don't feel neglected. No, that never happens. I don't know where you get that idea.

CHETRY: Happy father's day, honey. Mow the lawn.

WOLF: Absolutely, we all hear that. A lot of dads, a lot of moms are going to be heading home after a busy work week or you may be going to (INAUDIBLE) on the road, but flying through the skies, either way, delays can be expected. Let's check out some of the airports and the forecast delays that we have for you. A couple of places that we're going to keep an eye on, Atlanta, we've got a chance of thunderstorms especially from mid day into the early evening. Some strong thunderstorms are a possibility, could see some delays around an hour or so. In Dallas, still some thunderstorms in the picture, also for Houston. So, delay anywhere from say 30 to 45 minutes.

Orlando, high of 93 is expected and storms there. As you make your way to Washington, 75 the expected high, travel weather in Cincinnati, slick roadways there with a high of 90, in fact over to Memphis, Mud Island with about 91 degrees today and as we make our way into the northern plains, Rapid City, 82. Back out to the west coast, a beautiful morning there with a high around 72 by midday and Phoenix 109. If you're traveling through Texas, expect those scattered showers and storms from Dallas to San Antonio into Houston as we mentioned earlier, highs mainly into the 80s and 90s. That's the latest on your forecast. Of course, we're going to keep you up to speed with all of that right here on AMERICAN MORNING throughout much of the morning and more weather updates throughout the rest of the day.

CHETRY: Reynolds, thanks so much. Well, flight delays hit an all-time high this year. More than one out of every four flights is late by at least 15 minutes. Our consumer reporter Greg Hunter is looking at what's being done to help clear up the traffic jam in the skies. He's doing it from the pilot's seat live from a flight training center in New Jersey this morning. Hi, Greg.

HUNTER: Hey, Kiran. How are you doing?

CHETRY: Not bad.

HUNTER: Can you see that behind me?

CHETRY: Yes. It's pretty cool. I saw you in that earlier. It's pretty cool. That's the flight simulator you were piloting earlier.

HUNTER: You are correct and when you're inside, you feel like you're flying. You should. It costs $16 million. The people here at CAE say with many more air planes hitting the skies, pilot training is more critical than ever.


HUNTER (voice-over): For many air travelers during the past few weeks, flying has been extremely frustrating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody is doing anything. Nobody knows anything. It's chaos.

HUNTER: From lines on the runways to lines in terminals, everything from computer glitches to bad weather have caused thousands of delays and cancellations. The FAA says the system is maxed out. Worse still, the system is going to get crammed even tighter over the next five years.

JEFF ROBERTS, GROUP PRESIDENT, CAE: Forecast 12,000, 13,000 airplanes in the next five years to add to the installed fleet of airplanes that already exist.

HUNTER: CAE, a business pilot training center has what they call state of the art flight simulation technology to train corporate pilots. A well-trained pilot in a crowded sky is going to be key.

ROBERTS: Absolutely. It's going to be essential. It's more than key.

HUNTER: Half the new planes are expected to be private, the other half, commercial, including smaller, regional jets. And in the case of crowed skies, size does not matter.

JAMES MAY, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: A blip is a blip is a blip. It doesn't make any difference whether it's the CEO of a "Fortune" 100 company or if it's the 737 flying from Newark to Atlanta. They're using the same air space.

HUNTER: To handle all that traffic, the FA wants to update its antiquated air control system that uses 1950s technology.

MARION BLAKEY, ADMINISTRATOR, FAA: We think we can handle them if we move to a new satellite-based system and move there pretty quickly because that will give us the automation and it will give us the ability to handle a lot more traffic.


HUNTER: No telling when they'll get the money to go to that satellite navigation system so pilot training is really important. Take a look at this simulator. It's really impressive, of course, $16 million. Inside the pilot can simulate 400 emergency situations, everything for engines on fire, to close calls with airplanes to emergency landings. You name it. This airplane here has a simulator. Doesn't that look beautiful? The wings flip up. It's $44 million airplane. It flies 600 miles an hour. Want to fly it? Come on in here. Let's fly it. This is a simulator for this airplane. Tony Casillo (ph) is in the pilot's seat. Tony where are we? We're flying around New York City, OK.

TONY CASILLO: Turning towards Manhattan.

HUNTER: Can I take over?

CASILLO: Sure. You've got the controls.

HUNTER: Good thing about a simulator is, right now we're turning. I can't crash the airplane. I can, but nothing bad will happen hopefully. So if you take a look at this, we're flying here over New York City. Tony Casillo here is a very experienced pilot. Tony, this gives you all kinds of different scenarios. Now right now you can see the Empire State building dead ahead. You see that? Dead ahead, Empire state building. Tony, this actually makes you feel like you're flying.

CASILLO: Absolutely.

HUNTER: So when you get out of this, you could actually get in this plane and take off?

CASILLO: GET right in the jet with passengers.

HUNTER: Just take a look at the Empire - look at that. You won't get the view of the Empire State building. You can't fly this close. Look at that, Empire state building right there. Isn't that beautiful? Let me pull up, fly right around it. Doesn't that look real? This is a simulator folks. This is not the real thing. It is a simulator. It's telling me to pull up. Hear that? Tony, can you take over?

CASILLO: I have the controls.

HUNTER: Thank you very much. This kind of a simulator is what pilots need to actually get the feel and the experience that they need to fly in all kinds of situations. Kiran, John back to you. CHETRY: Greg, thank you very much and by the way, to avoid delays, you can head to the website that air traffic controllers use themselves. It's called . You'll find advise from controllers about specific airports. They say for example, Denver, avoid an afternoon flight there, because the Rocky mountain afternoon thunderstorms can slow you down. Or, Indianapolis, stay away from the late flights of the night, the last one especially. Those are often delayed by an inbound Fed Ex flight since Indianapolis is the package shipper's second biggest U.S. hub. So again it is

ROBERTS: The blogs are exploding about "The Sopranos" cryptic ending. Some say if you're a true fan, there are clues in the final episode that tell you exactly what happened to Tony. It's like a little treasure hunt. You pick them up along the way and the denouement becomes obvious . Now actor James Gandolfini who played Tony Soprano is even weighing in on the mob boss's fate. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


JAMES GANDOLFINI: Eighty percent of the time it ends up in the can like (INAUDIBLE).


ROBERTS: There are days when you can say the news just stinks and this is one of them. Some foul odors in our quick hits now. Police in Anaheim, California are searching for a man who's robbed three banks since April. Their best clue may be his scent. That's right. The suspect smells like dirt, not like he hasn't bathed in days, but police believe that he has been working in dirt before he comes and rob the bank and they have dubbed him the landscape bandit.

And a big stink in Washington, DC, a foul smelling package forced evacuation of a post office yesterday. Hazmat team and the bomb squad were called in to check it out. Inside they found two cans of spinach and a dirty diaper. Kiran?

CHETRY: Sometimes I should just end it there, not say anything else.

"Sopranos" fans are not yet ready to let go and they're actually combing through that last episode, looking for clues to find out the fate of Tony Soprano. So there it is. Did Tony get whacked or did he survive in that dramatic cut to black in the last scene? AMERICAN MORNING's Lola Ogunnaike is here to talk to me about it. It's turned into almost urban legend or myth if you will, especially on the blogs of people deconstructing that last scene.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a week. This is the ending that keeps on giving. It's on the cover of "The Daily News" today. Already people are talking about it at the water cooler. Apparently now the new theory is that Tony was, indeed, whacked, and they're looking to an early episode, Tony, Bobby Bacala (ph) on the boat when they were on the lake, lovely afternoon, they're talking about death and Bobby Bacala says something to the effect that at the end you probably don't hear anything. Everything just goes to black. Which is essentially what happened last Sunday. So, people are thinking that's what happened to Tony.

CHETRY: And then James Gandolfini is speaking out himself. A lot of people always want to ask the real-life actors of these characters, what happened to you.

OGUNNAIKE: And James is saying, look, I don't know. You have to ask the creator, David Chase. He's got the answers. I don't have the answers. But at a charity event last night, everyone defended the ending. So they're happy with it. The cast is happy with it. A lot of people on those blogs and on the Internet, they're not so happy.

CHETRY: The other interesting thing on the blogs is they're taking little clues from every single scene of every single season and trying to say that there were many characters present in that diner that you may not remember because they were small bit players, I guess, that felt wronged along the way.

OGUNNAIKE: They're reading into every single minutia, whether or not Meadow was able to parallel park, that's one thing, the onion rings, what do those mean. Everything is being dissected. You just got to take it with a grain of salt, throw your own ending in there. It's sort of like a choose your own adventure novel at this point.

CHETRY: As we understand it, Chase did shoot three different scenes, different endings and then went with this one.


CHETRY: Lola, thank you.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Fifty five minutes after the hour. Father's Day is coming up on Sunday. But do fathers get the same extravagant gifts that moms get on Mother's Day? What consumers and retailers are saying. We're crunching the numbers just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


CHETRY: Two minutes before the top of the hour now, Ali Velshi is minding your business. I'm no expert on this one, but we're talking about Father's Day, gift giving.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's funny. Most people - some surveys show that it's harder - people find it harder to buy a gift for their mothers, so they spend more time on it. Most people are last minute Father's Day shoppers. It's harder to get things for my dad, but take a look at the spending on this thing. Father's Day, according to the National Retail Federation, people spend about $16 million on Mother's Day, $9.9 billion on Father's Day, she boasts and the spending per dad is $98.34, up $10 from last year. I get my dad power tools.

CHETRY: And he likes, right?

VELSHI: He likes power tools. Some articles are saying that men tend to not be all that satisfied with the gifts they get. They maybe don't express as well what they want and many men would just like a nap, apparently.

ROBERTS: Do you think that women are happy with the gifts that they get as well?

CHETRY: I think...

ROBERTS: If you got a wine foil (ph) cutter and oven temperature gauge would you be happy?

CHETRY: Is that what you bought your wife for Mother's Day? (INAUDIBLE)

VELSHI: ...isn't that sweet that my child thought of me? Fathers would say what are we going to do with this?

CHETRY: The pesky foil; it'll always get you. Thanks Ali.

The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.


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