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Iraq: Change of Course?; Huge Wildfire in Utah; Will Nuri al- Maliki Become a Political Fall Guy for Iraqi Lawmakers?
Aired July 9, 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: And good morning, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed.
I'm Tony Harris.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Heidi Collins today.
We do have developments, and they keep coming in to the CNN NEWSROOM on this Monday, July 9th.
Here's what's on the rundown.
Elite firefighting teams join the battle in Utah. The largest wildfire in state history, and it is out of control at this hour.
HARRIS: U.S. troops in Iraq. Congress considering fresh options on withdrawal. Does that have the president rethinking his strategy?
NGUYEN: Also, a NASA robot gets ready to drop in on a neighbor.
Return to Mars in the CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: The Bush administration this morning denying a report that there's a heated debate over the Iraq war inside the White House.
Let's get the latest now on these new developments. And CNN's White House correspondent, Ed Henry, has been following it closely.
What have you learned, Ed?
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Betty.
A lot of buzz about that story you are talking about in "The New York Times," because basically suggesting that this raging debate is going on within the White House and that some are arguing that the president should announce a gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces as a way of stopping more Republican defections. Not true, said Tony Snow this morning off camera with reporters. But in trying to shoot down this report, Snow seemed to go a little bit overboard by claiming, "There's no debate right now on withdrawing forces from Iraq going on at all within the White House." In part, Snow said, because the president is waiting until September for this progress report from General David Petraeus. I pressed Snow and said, "Why would there not be a debate right now given the fact you have so many Republicans telling the president he can't wait until September?" And Snow actually claimed that Dick Lugar and other Republicans are not saying that the so-called surge policy has failed so far, even though when you look closely at the remarks, Senator Lugar in his speech saying, "The prospects of the current surge strategy will succeed in the way originally envisioned by the president are very limited within the short period frame by our own domestic political debate." So what you have here is a White House struggling to figure out what next in Iraq.
While this debate is playing out here in the United States, you also have over in Iraq now talk of a possible no-confidence vote in the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. That's the president's man in Iraq. As you heard yesterday on CNN's "LATE EDITION," the Iraqi national security adviser saying that if the Maliki government were to fall, there would be a political hurricane in Iraq -- Betty.
NGUYEN: All right.
We want to talk about another issue, but also very controversial. Today the president invoked executive privilege. Talk to us about what this entails.
HENRY: This just ratcheting up the fight over executive privilege. Basically, the White House counsel, Fred Fielding, sending a letter up to Capitol Hill, once again, because of a deadline that Democrats set, refusing to provide a log of what documents the White House is holding back in that U.S. attorney flap.
Fred Fielding reiterating the president believes that he is asserting executive privilege because he believes there's an important principle at stake here, the candid advice of his private officials. That's why he doesn't want their documents, their e-mails, their testimony out there. This would include Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and Sara Taylor, the former White House political director.
The bottom line here is that at the end of all this, what's likely to happen is that the Democrats on the Hill will pursue contempt of Congress charges against this White House. It is likely to end up in the courts. And the big question will be, will this be settled before President Bush leaves office? A lot of Democrats charging the White House is trying to wind down and drag out the timeline here and drag out the clock -- Betty.
NGUYEN: CNN's Ed Henry at the White House for us today.
Thank you, Ed.
HENRY: Thank you.
HARRIS: The debate over Iraq faces new milestones this week in Congress. Senate Democrats will mount a new challenge to the White House's war strategy. They will make their proposals as the Senate considers a Pentagon spending bill. One Democratic amendment is likely to call for most U.S. troops to be out of Iraq before spring. The challenge comes as the White House faces more Republican defections.
Over the past two weeks, at least three Republicans have broken ranks with the Bush administration. In fact, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has canceled a planned trip to Latin America. He will focus instead on a much anticipated progress report on the war. That report to be given to Congress by this weekend.
NGUYEN: Well, a series of attacks ushers in a new week in Iraq. Two roadside bombs exploded near a crowded bus station in central Baghdad this morning. Four people were killed, nearly two dozen wounded.
Also today, at least four Iraqis were killed in a bombing elsewhere in the city. Another four were shot to death in a separate attack. And all this latest violence comes after a deadly weekend.
Since Saturday, nearly 200 Iraqis have been killed in a series of attacks. And the U.S. death toll, that is climbing as well. A suicide bomber struck a military patrol yesterday outside the capital. One U.S. soldier was killed, three others wounded. The U.S. death toll for July now stands at 29.
Meanwhile, Iraq's embattled prime minister may be facing his toughest political test so far. Sometime this week, Iraqi lawmakers could hold a no-confidence vote on Nuri al-Maliki. Iraq's national security advisor says if the vote triggers a collapse of the government the fallout would be disastrous. But just a short time ago, Iraq's Sunni vice president told CNN that there are no plans for a no-confidence vote.
HARRIS: An elite federal firefighting team in place in Utah this morning, battling the biggest fire in state history. The Milford Flat fire is 442 square miles and growing. That is an area bigger than Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington combined.
Our Kara Finnstrom live this morning.
Man, that is huge, Kara. What's the plan to attack this blaze today?
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, those new forces coming in here are going to be a big part of that plan. We've got more firefighters coming in, more helicopters, and they will be arriving throughout the day. And much welcomed by the firefighters who are just tiring, have really been battling this thing.
This is a fierce fire, Tony. We just got some new numbers in from fire officials. Now 300,000 acres burned, plus, so the numbers keep going up.
Behind me you can see one of the trees here. We're seeing trees like this throughout the area, which are kind of like jack-o'-lanterns with the fire just burning up and hollowing out the inside of them. An idea of how persistent the fire is, it's sticking in some of these trees long after the main wildfire has moved through.
And later on today we're expected to have red flag winds, very high-power winds that will be moving through. And there's concern that this could whip up this fire and spread it again.
Now, yesterday we also spoke with someone who was here at that initial wildfire march-through. And he gave us a good feel for just how quickly and how intensely it swept across his property.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAUN HODGES, COVE FORT, UTAH, RESIDENT: The fire crews came in and they pulled into this parking lot here to the west of us. They weren't even here five minutes before they had to evacuate themselves. Really had no time to give anyone else much warning.
We came outside, the wind direction changed and the fire just picked up and took off from there. So, we took off as soon as we could, and as we were pulling out the fire was coming over the trees. And we were just lucky to get out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINNSTROM: Now, 300 homes here remain under threat, according to firefighters, and those additional crews that are coming in today they're hoping can help actually get this fire starting to be contained. Until now they have really just been working to -- in a defensive mode to keep it away from homes, to keep it away from families, but today they say the real attack will begin -- Tony.
HARRIS: Fingers crossed.
Kara Finnstrom for us.
Kara, good to see you. Thank you.
NGUYEN: Wildfires are also burning right now in more than a dozen states. Here are some of the hot spots for you.
Mandatory evacuations are in effect in the areas of two separate wildfires in California. The largest has destroyed 34,000 acres. Several structures were also destroyed.
Fires did kill one person in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Twenty-seven homes there have been destroyed. And authorities say one person who died that had -- that person had gone back into his home to retrieve some personal possessions.
Let's take you to southern Arizona now. Fires there threatening a major mountain observatory, but fire officials are hopeful that they can head off the advancing flames.
HARRIS: The administration this morning denying a report that there is a heated debate over the Iraq war inside the White House. "The New York Times" reports that inside the administration debate is intensifying over a gradual troop withdrawal. The paper says some insiders believe pulling troops from high casualty areas could curb more Republican defections.
Accord to "The Times," some administration officials believe narrowing the U.S. mission would allow for a staged pullback. As recently as December, Mr. Bush denounced such a move, saying it was a recipe for defeat. Just a short time ago, the White House said that report is not accurate.
White House spokesman Tony Snow says the report is "... way ahead of the facts."
NGUYEN: Well, he is Washington's point man in Iraq. So, will he become a political fall guy for Iraqi lawmakers? There's new information this morning on Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and a possible no-confidence vote.
CNN's Hala Gorani is in the capital.
We've heard a little bit of both sides here, one saying, yes, there may be this no-confidence vote, another saying, no, it's not going to happen.
What do you know?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I speak with the Sunni vice president of Iraq, Tariq al-Hashimi. The reports over the weekend were that his political bloc would introduce a motion to vote for a no-confidence vote against the Shiite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.
He vehemently denied that there was any intention coming from his political bloc to introduce that motion and that vote of no confidence in parliament. So, he told me that despite the fact that there is no intention of doing that, that he is happy continuing to work with Nuri al-Maliki. What is important, he says, is that there is a deep political crisis in the government of Nuri al-Maliki, that he is isolated and that he is weakened because he is not allowing full participation of all of the parties. Those are the Sunni parties on the one hand, and the party of the -- of the Sadr parties which are loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and that he wants guarantees that he will be included in the decision-making process.
When I asked him what it would take for him to bring back his ministers who have been boycotting cabinet meetings, he answered this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARIQ AL-HASHIMI, IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT: All what I need from the prime minister, to be open-minded, to be flexible, to be fair, to present himself for all Iraqis, to receive (INAUDIBLE), an open house, try to respond positively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And why is this important for America? Well, because if the government is in crisis, the passage of very important laws that the U.S. wants to present as benchmarks of political progress in Iraq, such as the oil revenue-sharing law, might be in jeopardy -- Betty.
NGUYEN: All right. CNN's Hala Gorani joining us live from the capital, setting us straight on that.
HARRIS: A call to the British people to take a more active role in the fight against terrorism.
CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh has more.
ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Less than 15 days on the job, Britain's new security minister says it could take 15 years to curb this country's terror threat, and that the British public needs to lend a hand.
Speaking to the "Sunday Telegraph," sir Alan West said, "Britishness does not normally involve snitching, but in this situation, anyone who's got any information should say something, because the people we are talking about are trying to destroy our entire way of life."
The people, West says, are Islamic extremists, and it will take at least 10 years, he warns, to beat them.
CHRIS BELLAMY, SECURITY EXPERT: If anything, that's slightly optimistic. If you consider the number of people that we know about in this country who are radicalized, never mind the duration and extent of the threat from abroad.
VAN MARSH: The threat from abroad, that's what British authorities are looking into as the investigation following the botched car bomb attempts in Glasgow and London spreads. Britain's intelligence agencies are reportedly focusing on the bomb attack suspects' alleged international links. Six suspects are from the Middle East, two others from India.
GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If there is information in one country about the potential recruitment or the actual recruitment of some terrorist group that match the information that's flowing to another country, and I want the system which is the watchless system where we are trying to expand to Europe, and a system whereby we know who are our potential terror suspects, we expand that to other countries in the world.
VAN MARSH: Mr. Brown's call for international cooperation comes the weekend that Britain remembers 52 people killed in the attacks on London's transport system in 2005. The carnage blamed on suicide Islamic extremists.
The former head of Britain's domestic intelligence service recently warned that British authorities are dealing with some 200 groups engaged in plotting or facilitating terrorist acts here and overseas. And as Sir Alan West encourages the British public to snitch on their neighbors over any perceived suspicious terrorist activity, many Muslims inside the United Kingdom are keen to demonstrate to the public that they, too, are also united against terrorism.
Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, London.
HARRIS: The most commonly prescribed drugs in the nation -- pain pills, heart meds, or none of the above? Surprising answers ahead.
And looking for life on the Red Planet. The Phoenix prepares to take wing.
NGUYEN: Let's take a look at today's "Daily Dose".
The top drugs prescribed by doctors, would you believe, not painkillers or heart medicines, but antidepressants. That's the word from a CDC survey.
Earlier I spoke with Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen about concerns that doctors may be overprescribing antidepressants.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When it's severe, when it makes people want to commit suicide, for example, is obviously something that needs to be treated. The concern among some experts is that people are seeing ads on television, they're walking into their family doctor, because it's family doctors, not psychiatrists, who prescribe this most of the time, and saying, I'm feeling a little down, I broke up with my boyfriend, I saw an ad, can you give it to me? And then the doctor, who is pressed for time, and who also doesn't do therapy -- I mean, this is the family doctor who just checks someone for strep throat -- is handing over a prescription because he figures that's all he can do and it will make this patient happy.
So, the concern here is not that truly depressed people don't need antidepressants. Obviously they do. But that maybe doctors are overdiagnosing mild depression. That maybe they should just say, you know what?
NGUYEN: Get over it, yes.
COHEN: Take some time, get over it.
NGUYEN: Yes. COHEN: Exercise helps. Get enough sleep. Eat right. Come back and see me in a while, but maybe...
NGUYEN: Get a new boyfriend. This too shall pass.
COHEN: ... you don't need a drug right now. Right, so that, too, right.
NGUYEN: OK. But, you know, there are those black box warnings for young people.
What is the latest with that?
COHEN: The latest with that is when people are prescribed antidepressants, there's some things they need to be careful about. Now, obviously antidepressants have saved countless lives. But for a small percentage of people, it can make them actually think about committing suicide.
So what the experts say, including the Food and Drug Administration, is when someone in your family is prescribed an antidepressant, keep an eye on them for the first couple of weeks, because that's when they would show this kind of suicidal behavior. And if they're given an increase in the dosage of their antidepressant, also keep an eye on them.
NGUYEN: We do also want to note that the CDC drug survey looked at more than 350 hospitals and about 1,200 doctors throughout 2005.
And to get your "Daily Dose" of health news online, just log on to our Web site. You'll find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness.
The address right there on the screen, cnn.com/health.
HARRIS: And still to come this morning, NASA gets ready for another big trip to Mars. The Phoenix rises soon, right here in the NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: American GIs on the front lines in Iraq and on the front burner of Washington politics. Congress weighs new withdrawal options this week. President Bush may make a preemptive strike.
HARRIS: And welcome back on the half hour to the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Good morning, everyone.
Good morning, Betty.
NGUYEN: And good morning, Tony. HARRIS: Good to see you.
NGUYEN: You're excited about this half hour, huh?
HARRIS: We've got Miles here in a second here.
NGUYEN: And just you wait until what he's going to be telling you today.
HARRIS: That's right.
NGUYEN: Miles is back in the house.
In the meantime, let's talk about this. The Bush White House facing new challenges on Iraq. The Senate opening debate over military spending, and CNN Congressional Correspondent, Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill. Dana will there be more antiwar defectors surfacing today?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, today, unclear. But there certainly is going to be some intense debate, we're going to see, Betty, over the next couple of weeks, actually, starting today in the Senate about Iraq. And, you know, we're seeing essentially right now is senators coming home from a week-long break, back home for July 4th recess where they undoubtedly heard from constituents about the growing impatience about Iraq, and that is almost surely going to play out in this debate that starts today.
In fact, we already have seen evidence of what people -- Republican senators, especially have heard from their constituents. We now have three influential Republican senators in the past two weeks saying essentially that they think the President's current strategy is failing and that there needs to be a change of course.
But the question we're going to be looking at, Betty, is how that's actually going to translate into legislative action, whether or not this is going to translate into votes on the Senate floor. Republican Senator Susan Collins was on AMERICAN MORNING this morning. She is actually working on an amendment herself. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: What many of us are looking for is the new strategy that would not be a precipitous pullout with all the problems that that would cause, but rather a planned exit over the next year, a carefully planned one, a new diplomatic effort. That's what many of us are seeking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Senator Collins is saying essentially what many of the other Republican defectors have even said in the past couple of weeks, is that yes they are increasingly unhappy with the direction of the war, they want troops to start coming home soon. But she is not, like other Republicans, ready to sign on to what Democrats are planning on doing and actually putting on the Senate floor, which is to start bringing troops home within on 120 days.
She says that's too precipitous. So, the question now Betty is whether or not senators in general can come up with 60 votes on anything that will essentially try to send a message to the President that there needs to be a new plan in Iraq.
NGUYEN: All right. So put this in perspective for us. How important will this interim report on Iraq be?
BASH: This is something else that's coming up, you're right, Betty, by the end of the week. What senators are waiting for is a report that they actually mandated that Republicans mandated, that the President give them by July 15th that gives a sense of whether or not Iraqis are meeting a sense -- a set of about 18 benchmarks to show progress.
The importance of it, who knows what it's going to be in the end. We are hearing from our own Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon they are already trying to down play the importance of it because they say, wait a minute, there's no way we can actually show progress by the Iraqi government because the military strategy, the current strategy to send more troops is not even finished in terms of escalating there.
So, what we're already hearing from Republicans is that they don't expect, Betty, to see very much progress in this because essentially they've already moved beyond this idea of benchmarks. Bottom line is, Republicans, Democrats, they have made pretty clear they pretty much given up on the Iraqi government and their ability to get things done. That's why you are hearing more and more senators, Republicans and Democrats, saying it's just time for troops to come home.
NGUYEN: All right. CNN's Dana Bash joining us live. Thank you, Dana.
HARRIS: A showdown between Congress and the White House this morning and it's all about the firing of the federal prosecutors, and the White House's refusal to hand over subpoenaed documents related to the matter. Last hour, the White House did not comply with a congressional deadline to provide a log of what documents it is withholding, and explain why it is asserting executive privilege.
Instead, the White House counsel sent a letter to Capitol Hill again invoking executive privilege. Democrats say they might pursue contempt of Congress citations against the White House.
NGUYEN: Well, in case you haven't noticed, a staggering amount of smoke in the air out west this morning. Hundreds of wildfires just burning across more than a dozen states. This is a map from the forest service. Here's what it looks like on the ground. The police dash cam video of the 300,000 acre Millford flat fire, that's jumping the highway there, and making it nearly impossible to see. That fire right there is blamed for two traffic-related fatalities.
And a wildfire is also blamed for one death in South Dakota. At least 27 homes were destroyed in the Black Hills there. Mandatory evacuations ahead of a pair of growing wildfires in southern California. A firefighting helicopter actually crashed there, but no one was seriously injured.
HARRIS: It is shovelled, I'm told, with three legs. How is that, Miles? This hour from NASA --
MILES O'BRIEN, SPACE CORRESPONDENT: It's a riddle (ph).
HARRIS: It does. A bit of a preview from NASA of the probe designed to dig deep into the secrets of Mars. Here he is, Miles O'Brien with us on the set in Atlanta.
O'BRIEN: Good to be here, Tony.
HARRIS: Good to see you.
O'BRIEN: We're here to talk Mars. This is actually exciting because these Mars missions always captivate millions and millions of people when they work.
HARRIS: Right. Correct.
O'BRIEN: And, when they don't, they captivate people for other reasons. Let's talk about the Mars Phoenix which rises like the ashes, has lineage back to the Mars Polar Lander. We'll talk about that in a moment. Take a look at Mars. What do you find interesting about Mars? The poles, right?
O'BRIEN: What do you want -- what do you think that is? Ice, right?
HARRIS: Ice caps, sure.
O'BRIEN: Right. For years and years, scientists thought, well, is it truly water ice or could it be dry ice? They have done a series of surveys using orbiting spacecraft and they determined that the North Pole has what appears to be quite a bit of ice down to about 20 inches in depth. So, therein lies the need for the shovel.
HARRIS: Well, you got to go deep. Yes.
O'BRIEN: You need a shovel. So, you and I can go up there and dig pretty easily. Instead, you have to build a multi-million dollar robot. Take a look at Mars Phoenix and what it's going to do. Now, it will launch on August 3rd, that's coming up, and that's how we're getting the briefing today. Comes down with a parachute. What they have done successfully in the most recent missions is use the air bags. Remember that?
O'BRIEN: This is the decent camera as it comes down. They're going back to -- oh, gosh, that scarce you, doesn't it? Rocket thrusters this time. Now back in '99 the Mars Polar Lander, when the landing gear deployed -- right when they deployed, it mistook that for the jolt of landing on the ground, cut off the rocket boosters, and it made a hole.
So hopefully this time they will get it right. As it gets down, the solar arrays will deploy. And, before too long, out comes the shovel. The most expensive backhoe ever. You could say, right?
O'BRIEN: Here it comes. It will dig a trench 20 inches deep, it will look at the water. And the question is, how did it get there? Is there some sort of aquifer there? Is it possible there is liquid water beneath the surface? All of these things will be answered. It has a whole scientific laboratory there. It will heat up the stuff, cook it, see what happens. Meanwhile, in the equatorial regions of the planet --
HARRIS: Come on, Miles.
O'BRIEN: Where Martians go for vacation, in the equatorial regions, take a look at this. This is Victoria Crater and this is where Opportunity has been. Remember Opportunity? Also known as the Energizer Bunny of spacecraft, lasting 12 times its waranteed length. It was supposed to last 90 days, we are approaching four years now. Now they're going to send it down into this deep crater which was formed by a meteor millions of years ago.
O'BRIEN: Could be a one-way trip. But at four years, with seven miles on the odometer, fully depreciated.
HARRIS: You've got new (ph) money, it's been great. Absolutely.
O'BRIEN: You've amortized that baby. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, just a quick update on Spirit, it's still going, too. Four miles on its odometer. Take a look at its latest picture. Silica. That's good. Silica means there probably was water there. So, we are watching that. Opportunity will go down into that crater, maybe a one way trip, maybe not. Waiting now for a dust storm.
HARRIS: A dust storm.
O'BRIEN: Yes, as Chad will tell you, dust storms on Mars are a big problem. Back in the 60s, my son, Mariner (ph) went out there to visit Mars. They had a dust storm that lasted a year. A one-year dust storm. So, where do the Martians go to vacation during that? I don't know.
NGUYEN: I don't know. Somewhere outside of the dust, apparently.
O'BRIEN: Apparently. So, we'll keep you posted on all these matters --
NGUYEN: Can I just say, no one breaks it down like the Miles O'Brien. HARRIS: Great, great to have you here.
O'BRIEN: I am kind of broken down.
NGUYEN: No, you're not.
HARRIS: And, you're sticking around this afternoon?
O'BRIEN: I'm here all day. Kiran drafted me.
NGUYEN: We're going to get some work out of you since you're here. Thank you, Miles.
NGUYEN: Well, this is a sight-seers nightmare, whether Martian or human, chopper down, eight people on a charter helicopter rescued from New York's Hudson River. Passengers say the chopper seemed to have engine trouble before making an emergency landing Saturday. Those yellow pontoons you see them right there, they are what kept that afloat. Two boats rescued the pilot and passengers. There were no injuries, but as one family member on the chopper told CNN's AMERICAN MORNING there was plenty of fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SULLIVAN, CHOPPER CRASH SURVIVOR: It was very scary. We -- we at first were shocked that we didn't realize what was going to happen has happened. Then before we knew it, we were getting lower and lower and we got really scared that we were going to crash.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The FAA and National Transportation Safety Administration or safety board there are investigating.
HARRIS: Fans cry out, save "Harry Potter" and just maybe J.K. Rowling is listening.
HARRIS: A new generation of air travel. Boeing rolls out the Dreamliner.
CNN's Richard Quest takes a look.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With as much fanfare as Boeing could muster, the 787 Dreamliner was shown for the first time. This is a medium-sized plane with big ambitions. Designed to carry up to 250 people, it will fly long routes. For instance, Los Angeles to Sydney or London to Singapore. It is a plane that carries the future of Boeing along with it.
JIM MCNERNEY, CHAIRMAN, PRES. & CEO, BOEING: To make the world a smaller place, and in so doing, bringing all of us closer together. QUEST: The Dreamliner is a different type of aircraft, made mainly from composite materials, not metal. It means it's very light and gives airlines great fuel efficiency, up to 20 percent better than current aircraft.
SCOTT CARSON, EXEC. V.P., BOEING: We knew that we had to design a product with a deep appreciation and concern for the environment and for airport communities.
QUEST: From the start, airlines have voted in favor of this aircraft. Forty-seven carriers have bought the plane, and the best part, 700 planes are now on order. So it's the most successful rollout ever. Singapore Airlines has bought 20 planes, with an optional 20 more.
CHEW CHOON SENG, CEO, SINGAPORE AIRLINES: Well, if it delivers on all its designed targets and what Boeing promises it will be a game-changer.
QUEST: The plane will now go into eight months of intense flight testing. The first commercial model will be delivered in May. This is an extremely ambitious time scale for an aircraft that has so much new technology.
MIKE BAIR, EXEC. V.P. BOEING: We know how to lay out flight-test programs. We've done a lot of risk-reduction testing already in the program to eliminate things that typically happen to you in flight tests. We understand how we've structured the program. We've got a lot of confidence that we're going to get this thing done, and done on time.
QUEST: Boeing are keen to ensure the Dreamliner doesn't suffer the fate of the A-380, where delays have soured the project.
(on camera): The battle between Boeing and Airbus will continue for many years to come. But as the long list of airline logos on this plane shows, the future of Boeing is resting on the wings of this plane. And for the time being, at least, the Dreamliner has made Boeing's dreams come true.
Richard Quest, CNN, at the Boeing factory outside Seattle.
NGUYEN: Well, speaking of dreams coming true, a new book, a new movie, now new hope for thousands of frenzied "Harry Potter" fans. This online "save Harry Potter" petition is grabbing the attention of author J.K. Rowling. The series was to end the book, with book seven, "The Deathly Hallows," but now Rowling hints that she might revisit the Hogwarts' School of Magic. Still, though, it's not clear if that would be with or without Harry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you going to survive in the next book? Are you going to survive? DANIEL RADCLIFFE, ACTOR, "HARRY POTTER": I don't know. And If I did, I couldn't possibly tell it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Rowling says the seventh book in a series brings Harry's story to a clear end, but adds -- and I'm quoting here -- never say never. What does that mean?
Well, in the meantime, here's what you can do, you Potter fans out there --- set your calendars, because actor Daniel Radcliffe joins "LARRY KING LIVE." That is Wednesday night at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
NGUYEN: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" coming up in about 15 minutes at the top of the hour right here on CNN.
Jim Clancy, there he is standing by with a preview. Jim, good morning.
JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Betty. Hi, Tony.
NGUYEN: Hi, Jim.
CLANCY: Boy, every parents' nightmare, their Harry Potter going on the five-year plan at school. More tuition to pay.
All right, we've got a lot coming up. In the United Kingdom, we have had a verdict in the trial of three British men who plotted a copycat attack on the U.K.'s transit system like the one carried out two years ago.
And the cases of a number of codefendants still being weighed by the jury.
Also, my co-anchor, Hala Gorani, is going to be with us, back with us today, but she's going to be in Baghdad, giving us a complete look at the political crisis facing the U.S.-backed government. What is at stake for Iraqis, of course? But what's at stake for the United States, and specifically, the White House.
And in Israel, cave dwellers struggling to hold onto their way of life. Ben Wedeman brings us a fascinating story of a people in conflict with expanding settlements, but winning the support of Israeli peace activists. All that and much more coming up on "YOUR WORLD TODAY" at the top of the hour.
Betty and Tony, back to you.
NGUYEN: Looking forward to it. Yes, thank you.
HARRIS: Let's get you to T.J. Holmes in the CNN NEWSROOM right now. T.J. is following the latest developments on a 22-year-old girl missing, a college student there in Wisconsin, been missing for quite awhile now, T.J.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: For a couple of weeks, since the 23rd actually of June. We don't know what this development means exactly, but police in that search have found a body in their search for this missing young lady. Kelly Nolan is her name. She is a 22-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, just disappeared on the 23rd after a night out partying with friends. Not been seen since. Police are now switched this from a search; they're now calling this search a homicide investigation.
Now, the body was found today in a three square-mile area this morning where they were searching. Police have not said exactly what led them to that area, but it was several miles from where she was last seen. Not saying how it appears the person -- this body, the person might have died, not saying, again, why they were led to this area, but that -- not sure yet if this body is that of the 22-year-old missing student. But certainly a disturbing development in this case. The family has put out a $10,000 reward in this case.
But we're waiting for a press conference, we're expecting shortly, at least sometime today with an update on the situation and the search there.
But Kelly Nolan, 22-year-old student, been missing for at least two weeks now, but a body has been found in that search. Hope to get more. Again, a press conference we're expecting shortly, or at least sometime today -- Tony.
HARRIS: OK. Pretty grim right now. T.J., thanks.
NGUYEN: Well, there's an unusual funeral to tell you about, not for a person, but for a racial slur. The NAACP steps out in the battle against the N-word.
HARRIS: A funeral for a N-word. The NAACP is symbolically burying the N-word today during its annual convention in Detroit. Delegates marching from the convention center to a downtown plaza for a eulogy and rally. The civil rights organization says the burial is part of its campaign to abolish derogatory comments aimed at African- Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN BOND, NAACP NATL. BOARD CHAIRMAN: I think the Don Imus controversy gave all of us a heightened awareness of how harmful the spoken word can be. And while we are great respecters of the First Amendment. Had there not been a first amendment, this organization would not exist. But we don't believe it's a violation of the first amendment to say to somebody you ought not talk that way, you ought not to denigrate women, you ought not condemn people because of the color of their skin.
So this we hope is sending a message to the world, the country, particularly the world, that there are certain words that ought not be spoken, and the N-word is one of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: This is the NAACP's 98th annual convention.
NGUYEN: I want to give you an update now, a little British girl kidnapped in Nigeria. Now she is safe at home after a desperate four- day search. Margaret Hill was snatched Thursday from a car carrying her to school. Her kidnappers released her just yesterday. And this is new video coming into CNN.
Authorities say there was no ransom paid, and the little girl's father, let's just say he was extremely happy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HILL, FATHER OF KIDNAPPED GIRL: President of Nigeria, the government, the security services, the Nigerian police have all been very cooperative. The people of Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta, cooperated very well with the security services, who have actually done an excellent job. I thank them for very much getting Margaret free without too much damage, and she's not really hurt. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The main rebel group in Nigeria says it did not kidnap the child.
HARRIS: Take a look. Going, going, gone, flying.
NGUYEN: Look at that.
HARRIS: And crashing. Over the edge in Texas.
HARRIS: Steep drop ahead. Take a look. A couple out for a fast ride on a jet ski on Lewisville Lake in Texas, and over they go. A 20-to-25-foot plunge from a spillway. The man and woman rescued, but she had to actually cling to a tree limb for about an hour before rescuers could get to her. The man has some serious injuries we're told The woman's condition we just don't know.
NGUYEN: What a frightening sight that is.
Well, CNN NEWSROOM continues just one hour from now.
HARRIS: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next with news happening across the globe and here at home.
I'm Tony Harris.
NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen.
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