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Steam Pipe Explosion in New York; Runway Risks; Keeping Imports Safe
Aired July 19, 2007 - 08:59 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 are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody.
I'm Heidi Collins.
The news just keeps coming into the NEWSROOM. We've got a lot for you on the plate today.
It is Thursday morning, July 19th. Here's what's on the rundown.
Is New York City's air safe this morning? Experts check for toxins after that tremendous steam pipe rupture.
HARRIS: Final moments of a Brazilian airliner caught on tape. The doomed plane appearing to come in at a higher speed than the one before it.
COLLINS: Moments ago, Hollywood revealed this year's Emmy nominees.
Television's best in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: And at the top this morning, no asbestos in the air. Some in the debris. Early test results in this morning after that steam pipe explosion in New York City. One person died, 26 injured.
Jim Acosta for us in Manhattan.
And Jim, for a while there, folks weren't sure what the heck they were dealing with.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Tony. And that's what made this so scary for so many New Yorkers yesterday.
For the initial moments after this explosion occurred, people feared the worst, and that sent panic through the streets of Midtown Manhattan. That panic has basically gone away.
Now, people know that this is just -- we don't want to call it another day in New York City, but strange things do happen here. And every once in a while, as we have learned this morning from talking to city officials, steam pipes do burst in this city. And that is what happened here.
If you look over my shoulder, you can see the big hole that is now in the middle of 41st Street, just -- just off of 3rd Avenue here in Midtown Manhattan. And right now there's really nobody around that area because essentially it's just not real safe to get close to it. So they're keeping pedestrians away from that while utility workers are in the process of laying new power lines in this area.
You will hear jackhammers and digging going on at this -- at this site throughout the day because of all the work that's going on. This caused some minor disruptions -- major disruptions, I should say, in terms of the traffic, subway lines. Train service saw some interruptions from time to time. And there was plenty of traffic around Midtown Manhattan. Much more than usual.
Now, one thing that we can tell you is that the one person who did die during all of this has been identified. She's been identified as Lois Bomerich (ph) of Hawthorne, New Jersey. She is a Pfizer employee who was in Midtown Manhattan at the time of this explosion, was near the explosion. Was not hurt by the explosion per se. She suffered a heart attack as a result of all of that stress -- Tony.
HARRIS: Hey, Jim, how old was that pipe that blew yesterday? And does that give us some indication as to how old the infrastructure is in New York City?
ACOSTA: This is an old city, Tony. That pipe dates back to 1924. And it's not the only one in this town, let me tell you.
ACOSTA: And the reason why people are so worried about the asbestos is because so much asbestos was used during that time to insulate these steam pipes throughout the city. It's one thing when you're walking on the surface of these streets of Midtown Manhattan and it's all very interesting to look at the buildings, but there is almost like another city underneath the streets...
HARRIS: That's right.
ACOSTA: ... in terms of the subways and the infrastructure, and that infrastructure from time to time does break.
HARRIS: CNN's Jim Acosta for us in New York City.
Jim, thank you.
It certainly struck fear in the hearts of New Yorkers. We will talk with a witness, an eyewitness to that steam pipe explosion. His story next hour right here in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Two U.S. soldiers charged with premeditated murder in Iraq. That word from the U.S. military today.
The men accused of killing an Iraqi near the northern city of Kirkuk last month. Fellow soldiers reportedly alerted authorities to Sergeant Tray Corales (ph) of Texas and Specialist Christopher Shore (ph) of Georgia. A lieutenant colonel has been relieved of his command. The military says he is not a suspect and has not been charged.
The fight for Iraq and more losses for U.S. forces. Just this morning, the military says a U.S. soldier was killed by small arms fire in Baghdad. That follows news of four other American soldiers who were killed in a Baghdad explosion. The bomb detonated near their patrol.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials believe sectarian vendettas fuelled a series of killings. At least 15 bodies were found dumped across Baghdad yesterday. That is not uncommon. So far this month, the number of unidentified bodies found in the capital, 377.
HARRIS: Big cities get big money in the latest allocation of homeland security funds. This year's grants total $1.7 billion.
COLLINS: New video this morning. That fiery plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil, it shows the TAM Airlines plane landing at what appears to be a high speed, and then the ball of fire off to the left of the screen as it smashes into a building.
All 186 people on the plane and three in the building were killed. The crash has raised questions about whether Brazilian aviation authorities rushed to reopen a recently resurfaced runway and about the runway possibly being too short.
HARRIS: Look, it is not the first time there have been questions about the length of airport runways.
CNN's Jason Carroll reports.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was Southwest Airlines first fatal crash in the company's 35-year history.
Chicago's Midway airport, December 2005: a 737 slides off of a snowy runway, plows through a fence and clips a car. A passenger in that car, a 6-year-old boy, is killed.
June 1999: an American Airlines jetliner careens past the end of a runway in Little Rock, Arkansas. Eleven passengers are killed, 86 hurt.
August 2005: an Air France jet skids down the runway at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. This time, all 309 passengers and crew survive, including Roel Bramer.
ROEL BRAMER, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: You know, it all goes so fast that you really haven't got much time to think. You just want to get off that plane and run away from the disaster as quickly as you can.
CARROLL: Bramer survived the type of crash that is a persistent problem in aviation: runway overruns. It frequently happens at older airports, with runways too short to easily accommodate larger planes.
PETER GOELZ, FMR. NTSB OFFICIAL: It's absolutely not an overreaction. You know, air travel now is at the highest levels it's ever been. We are flying more. We are flying to different airports. These are the kinds of safety issues that ought to be addressed now, not after a tragedy has occurred.
CARROLL: Older, urban airports like New York's LaGuardia, Boston's Logan and Burbank, California, have all had serious problems with overruns.
ROSS AIMER, AVIATION EXPERT: What they have to do is to set aside certain areas around the airport, the parameter, and make sure that buildings, especially tall buildings, do not encroach upon that space.
CARROLL: So what's the solution? We asked the Federal Aviation Administration what they have done about the problem. A spokeswoman says the FAA has upgraded its safety standards. Airports built within the past 20 years are required to have 1,000 feet of buffer at the end of runways. But meeting that requirement may be nearly impossible at older airports, where buildings, or like at LaGuardia, water gets in the way.
In many cases, the FAA requires airports to install crushable concrete blocks at the end of the runways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When an airplane runs off the end of a runway, the wheels crush the material. And as they do that, they sink in. That produces a drag load that gradually brings the airplane to a safe stop.
CARROLL: Nineteen U.S. airports, including Midway and Burbank, now have those blocks in place.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: President Bush vowing to keep food and products coming into your home safe. He set up a cabinet-level panel to look at import safety. The White House insists it is "not a slap at China," but Chinese imports have certainly come into question lately.
Don Mays is senior director of product safety planning and technical administration at Consumers Union. They are the people who bring you "Consumer Reports".
He is joining me live from Yonkers, New York, this morning.
Don, thanks for being with us.
COLLINS: So much to talk about. In fact, we are just getting word from the Consumer Product Safety Commission about another recall, Easy-Bake Ovens. We all remember -- or many of us girls, anyway, remember playing with them. Also manufactured in China. There are issues with little kids getting their fingers stuck and burns.
We also heard, of course, about the tainted pet food, then the toothpaste. And then the Thomas the Train toys painted with lead.
I mean, it does seem to be going on and on. What's happening in China?
DON MAYS, CONSUMERS UNION: Well, yes, exactly right. There's a series of concerns of products that are coming out of China that just don't -- simply just don't meet our standards. Part of the problem is that we don't have enough government inspectors to prevent unsafe products and foods from crossing our borders.
We need to be able to fund the government watchdog agencies so that they can protect consumers in this country. The other thing that's going on is that small importers in particular are bringing in products without checking them first. They're not doing what they call pre-shipment inspections or testing or due diligence to make sure that the products are safe before they accept them in for shipment.
COLLINS: Well, there's no many ethics that coming into question, I'm sure, as well. But just as we're talking here, Don, I want to lay this graphic out for our viewers, because the statistics are just unbelievable.
This is from some testimony that you gave before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee -- 467 products recalled in the U.S. last year. Now, that is a record high.
And then, we are also realizing that the number of Chinese-made products -- you see it here on your screen -- has actually doubled in the last five years. It accounts for 60 percent of all the product recalls and 100 percent of the toy recalls this year.
MAYS: That's right. And it's a serious concern. But what has to happen is that the importers have to do testing to make sure that the products meet our standards before they bring them into our country. And secondly, the government watchdog agencies have to be funded and have to be watching the products as they cross our borders.
The other thing is that we need to make sure that our government can impose civil penalties against those organizations, those companies that bring products into our country and jeopardize the safety of American consumers.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, is the government willing to spend the money? I know that you guys have laid out this eight-step sort of plan of action to help with this great concern. But are they really willing to spend the kind of money that it would take?
MAYS: Well, that's a very good question. And we're hoping to see that this new White House panel that President Bush has set up will take a serious look at how they are funding the government watchdog agencies, figuring out how they're operating and seeing if there's perhaps a better way of protecting American consumers.
COLLINS: And we would be remiss if we didn't talk about the actual corporate responsibility here. Not all of these importers are small. I mean, we're talking about -- as I look at this warning here from the CPSC, we're talking about Wal-Mart, Target, Toys "R" Us.
All of those large, large companies are selling these products, as well.
MAYS: That's exactly right. And many times even the large companies become victims of unscrupulous business practices.
In the case of, let's say, the Colgate toothpaste that was counterfeit and contaminated with a substance that was actually toxic, you know, that damages their brand name. Certainly, you know, we don't want that to happen to big brand names here in this country. And it's unfortunate that it does happen to big companies like Colgate, but it's an indication that people aren't watching.
COLLINS: Yes. And it comes down to a trust issue really as the consumer. You don't want to running around at the store just second- guessing everything that you're putting into your grocery cart.
MAYS: That's right. It's become a bit of a consumer beware situation, and we're advising consumers to, number one, be very cautious.
Watch for recalls. You can go to recalls.gov and look for any kind of product recalls that might indicate safety problems with the products you might have in your home. Also, beware of counterfeit products.
The Colgate toothpaste actually had some misspellings on the packaging. So that's an indication that the product might not be the real McCoy.
The other thing is to check our safety blog at consumersreports.org. We're reporting on this on almost a daily basis. So you can go to consumerreports.org and see information on our safety blog.
COLLINS: Well, Don, we certainly appreciate your expertise here today.
I can't believe it. Right before we had you on we got this alert about the Easy-Bake Oven. So we continue to follow it here, of course.
Don Mays, the director of product safety for Consumers Union.
MAYS: Thank you.
HARRIS: Well, you may remember we brought you this outrage story from China in the NEWSROOM, reports of cardboard used in dumplings. Now new developments.
Details now from CNN's John Vause in Beijing.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police have confirmed to CNN that the reporter behind the expose is now being held, waiting trial. There's no word, though, on what charge.
Beijing television, which first aired the report earlier this month, made a public apology to viewers on Wednesday night claiming the story had been staged and says all those involved will be punished. The hidden camera investigation showed cardboard being used as the main ingredient in a popular snack food here known as baozas (ph). They're like dumplings and are normally stuffed with pork.
The story was widely reported internationally and proved hugely embarrassing to authorities at a time when they're trying to reassure the word that food from China is safe. Some analysts, though, believe the government is trying to discredit the reporter and his work.
John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
HARRIS: CNN tonight at 6:00, shocking details about the dangers of some food imports. The FDA, the USDA do not examine or regulate the ingredients America imports. Don't miss our special report on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," 6:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.
COLLINS: The recently departed may be back for accolades. "The Sopranos," the mob family, leads all TV series with Emmy nominations this morning.
More on that coming up.
HARRIS: From books to the beltway, Oprah Winfrey has held authors tap new audiences. Can she do the same for a presidential candidate?
CNN's Mary Snow reports.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The name Oprah Winfrey brings cache. For a presidential campaign, her cache could translate into cash. That's the plan when Winfrey hosts a fundraiser for Senator Barack Obama this September. She told Larry King in May that she has never endorsed a candidate before until Obama.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Because I know him personally. I think that what he stands for, what he has proven that he can stand for, what he has shown was worth me going out on a limb for.
SNOW: Even before Obama announced his candidacy, Winfrey helped boost his exposure by having him on her show along with his wife Michelle.
WINFREY: So if you ever would decide to run within the next five years, I'm going to have this show for five more years, would you announce on this show?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I don't think I could say no to you.
SNOW: Whether Winfrey's popularity translates into politics is unclear, as it's untested. The question remains as to whether she'll have the same effect on votes as she does on book sales. Some say she can appeal to groups Obama needs.
LARRY SABATO, UNIV. OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Oprah could help him with women and could also help him to do better with African- Americans. In addition, she can help him raise money.
SNOW: Winfrey's fundraiser at her Montecito, California, home is sure to make a splash, something that some Democratic strategists say Obama needs in Hollywood. Rival Senator Hillary Clinton has touted big-name endorsements like Steven Spielberg in recent months.
Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: What would you ask the presidential candidates if you could? Well, you can and you have. CNN is teaming up with YouTube for the upcoming presidential debates. We've been collecting your questions for the candidates.
Here's a little look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Joy Meredith (ph), and I'm an Independent voter from Chicago.
My view is that we live in a very complex world. And in order to powerfully lead us as the next president, you're going to need to cut through Washington gridlock and surround yourself with the most brilliant people and be open to the brightest ideas no matter where you find them. So in that vein, I would like to ask the Democratic candidates, which one of the Republican candidates that you might face next year has a brilliant idea that you might be able to utilize?
Thanks so much and best of luck to you all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Nicole DeBois (ph) of Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have a question for all the candidates regarding helping those in our society that suffer from developmental disabilities.
Our 6-year-old son Zander (ph) is one of 150 children in the U.S. diagnosed with autism. Instead of help, we have been waist-listed and are threatened with cuts of important programs.
Caregivers are already exhausted and we have to fight for health care and education. Many of us have to leave our jobs to be full-time caregivers and are financially devastated. If you are elected, what will you do to help families of those with disabilities?
COLLINS: Great questions.
Join Paula Zahn with more of your video questions as we count down to the debate. That's tonight and every night this week at 8:00 Eastern.
HARRIS: And coming up on the bottom of the hour.
Welcome back to...
HARRIS: We're there. We're there.
Good morning, everyone.
I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins.
Early tests this morning show no asbestos in the air from that massive steam pipe explosion in New York, but some tests on dust and debris were positive for asbestos. More testing, of course, under way.
This I-Report now. The video from viewer Nick Parish shows the thick plume of steam and ash spewing into the air. Boy, it's hard to look at those pictures and not be reminded. Officials say the pipe was more than 80 years old.
Terrorism not suspected in yesterday's explosion, but fears sent hundreds running for cover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole street was chaos. People were running. Their shoes were falling off. They were pushing each other and pulling each other. And we looked up and there was smoke billowing out of this building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could just see smoke, and it looked like it was coming towards the building. And then there was also debris falling, so it really looked like a building was coming down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Officials say one person did die of a heart attack. Forty other people were injured.
HARRIS: Iraqis living in despair. Hopelessness creating a fertile ground for insurgents.
Here's CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A few Iraqi dinars here and there. The money is never enough, Mohammed al-Temini says. An engineer by training, he now sells incense and rose water for burial ceremonies in the holy Shiite city Najaf because he has no other option.
MOHAMMED AL-TEMINI, STREET VENDOR: I am now daily half between $3 or $5. Only -- $5 or $3. I am an engineer.
PLEITGEN: A trained engineer with a wife and seven children to feed, al-Temini can't find a better job because there are no jobs in Najaf. A situation so tragic and yet so common in war-torn Iraq, where the ongoing violence is crippling the economy while economic despair fuels the insurgency.
A vicious cycle even officials at Iraq's Labor Ministry say won't be broken soon.
"This is essential to defeat terrorism. There can never be economic growth in this country if we can't defeat terrorism," this official says. Iraq's estimated unemployment rate is a devastating 60 percent and almost all professions are affected. And with no effective welfare system in place, many here try to get by any way they can.
For Al-Temini that means walking the streets more than 10 hours a day and when he comes home, his economic hardship is ever present. Al-Temini says he's tired of having to fight for survival constantly.
MOHAMMED AL-TEMINI, STREET VENDOR: My family also very tired. My family don't work. And a high price because don't sell tea in Iraq. All the people of Iraq very, very tired now. PLEITGEN: A tired man in a tired country. With no choice but to go on and hope to get by another day.
HARRIS: And CNN's Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Baghdad. And Frederik, we also learned today about U.S. soldiers charged with murder. What can you tell us about that?
PLEITGEN: Absolutely, Tony. Two U.S. soldiers have been charged with murdering an Iraqi. All of this supposedly took place in late June and one of the things that the military says is maybe something good to be gained out of this at least is the murder was reported by fellow soldiers in that unit. Now in addition to this, the commanding officer in charge of those two soldiers has been relieved of duty. The commanding general in that region saying he does not trust that officer anymore, Tony.
Now in other news, in Iraq, one U.S. soldier was killed today by small arms fire while an operation south of Baghdad, the U.S. is conducting a major operation south of Baghdad right now fighting insurgents trying to drive out insurgents of an area and also four U.S. soldiers and their interpreter were killed yesterday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb, an improvised explosive device, in eastern Baghdad and that's one of the things, of course, they are fighting out there is they are having a lot of trouble with those improvised explosive devices and just hit the vehicle and they were killed, Tony.
HARRIS: CNN's Frederik Pleitgen for us in Baghdad. Frederik, thank you.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This weather radio would be a good thing to buy today. Severe weather on I-95 all the way from New York City to Washington, DC. Details on that coming up.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRSPONDENT: All right. Are you ready for this? The opening bell. Just been fun lately to watch. Yesterday we were down ...
HARRIS: Wasn't so much fun yesterday, Heidi.
COLLINS: However ...
COLLINS: We have to look where we are to say how down it is to see if it's significant. Look here again. Just inches, just creeping right up to it standing here long enough. I'm told he have already actually gone over 14 today. Ali Velshi is telling us that was maybe expected today. A real quick high open. We are going to be watching the numbers yet again bring you all those business stories in just a couple of minutes.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Good morning once again, everybody. Want to get over to Chad Myers with the weather situation. Again, as I look at that map, I'm no meteorologist but a lot of activity behind you, obviously.
MYERS: Yeah. A lot of rain on this map.
COLLINS: What are you laughing on?
MYERS: I just wanted you to say I'm not a meteorologist but I play one on TV.
COLLINS: I wouldn't even attempt it.
COLLINS: I'm laughing because -- I'm trying to razz you with some fantastically difficult meteorological term but I've had to e- mail your producer to get one so it's not really legitimate.
HARRIS: Has Sean been helpful?
COLLINS: I wanted to talk about convective inhibition when there's time.
MYERS: Convective inhibition. When there's warm air aloft and that bubble can't ....
HARRIS: May there never be enough time. Chad, thank you.
COLLINS: It's a learning show.
MYERS: More stuff in there. I don't know where it comes from. It is in there.
HARRIS: All right, Chad.
COLLINS: Thanks, Chad.
MYERS: See ya, guys.
HARRIS: Well, a dream come true. Let's talk about it. A school janitor gets the ride of his life. His benefactors, students. Ken Ward of CNN affiliate WTVD reports.
JOE VENABLE, JANITOR: It was amazing. I mean, everybody should go to the top.
KEN WARD, WTVD CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An emotional Joe Venable opens up about the trip he's dreamed of taking his entire life. Last week it became a reality for the Mangum Elementary School custodian.
VENABLE: I'm so happy. That they did it for me. And hopefully they will keep their same spirit all through life. WARD: Earlier this year, fifth grade students raised $2,000 to send Joe and his wife to San Francisco. Luckily, the city's famous fog was nowhere in sight as Joe was taken to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Most people don't get this tour.
VENABLE: It was fantastic. It was a great -- it was the best. We had the best day of everything.
WARD: Word of Joe's gift reached San Francisco weeks before he did and the city welcomed him with open arms. They gave Joe this portrait of the bridge, and the mayor also proclaimed July 13th, 2007, Joe Venable Day and throughout the trip Mr. Venable thought about his kids a lot, students that made the lifelong dream come true.
VENABLE: You don't forget it. You don't forget. I always keep them close to my heart. And they're just a bunch of nice kids, you know? I love 'em and I believe they love me.
WARD: In Durham, Ken Ward, ABC 11, Eyewitness News.
COLLINS: Such a great story. Hate to get off that one to go to this one. Dirty secrets of dog fighting. The case against an NFL star lifts a soiled curtain. How prevalent is it, though? We'll talk with an expert coming up right here on the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: All right. Let's talk about this for a couple of minutes. Dogfighting in America in the spotlight today with the case against NFL star Michael Vick. He and three associates accused of running a dog fighting operation. And a brutally killing dogs that didn't perform. They will be arraigned next week.
Joining us now Wayne Pacelle, he is the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Wayne, thanks for your time this morning.
WAYNE PACELLE, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S.: Tony, thank you.
HARRIS: To what lengths do these knuckleheads go who are in this kind of life to hide their illegal activities?
PACELLE: Well, Tony, you know, it's a widely criminalized practice. Every state in the country has it as a crime. It's a felony in 48 states and it's also a federal felony. The Congress this spring passed legislation to upgrade the federal statute against this and actually Michael Vick is escaping that upgraded federal charge, he is being charged under the previous federal standards and because it's widely criminalized, it's very clandestine so it's a very tight knit network. You have to be in the fraternity and very concerned about law enforcement and humane groups like the Humane Society of the United States penetrating them.
HARRIS: Wayne, we'll talk about that in a second how you go about penetrating these operations, these rings. But as we've looked at - we're not going to show a lot of video of the dogs fighting but can you explain to us -- we are a nation that by and large loves animals. Loves -- certainly our pets.
HARRIS: What is the attraction? What is the allure of this?
PACELLE: You know, there's some dark place in the human heart that gets titillated by this with a small number of people. Certainly, not a majority.
PACELLE: Not by any means. You go back to the days of the Romans and the roman coliseum when animals fought in the coliseum. These practices have been with us for a couple of thousand years. Cock fighting is widespread in Asia. In Thailand, there are 30 million fighting birds. In Vietnam, it is huge.
The animal fighting animals are widespread and much more prevalent in the United States than people realize.
HARRIS: OK. Tell us -- lift the veil a little bit on this. How is this activity organized? Is this Internet based? Help us out here.
PACELLE: I think the Internet has really been something that has allowed this community to coalesce and you can get information. There are 10 underground dog fighting magazines.
HARRIS: Are you kidding me?
PACELLE: No. Not at all, not at all. This is a sub culture in the country and we break up the world between the professional dogfighters, folks who really attention to the breed and the blood line and then the hobbyists and street fighters. And really what we have seen a surge in the street fighting and that's been driven by rap music and unfortunately some other folks of prominence who have kind of embraced pit bulls and the fighting subculture.
HARRIS: Help me understand this. Is this -- I used to think of this -- I think most of us thought of this, at least was the picture that was painted that this was a kind of activity that you would find in rural areas. You mentioned the hip hop culture. Is this more and more becoming an urban phenomenon?
PACELLE: When the Humane Society of the United States formed in 1954, it was predominantly a rural phenomenon. You had rural Anglos for the most part who were fighting animals and now you see in urban centers gang activity, very much associated with dog fighting and you see lots of other criminal activities associated with dog fighting such as narcotics traffic, obviously the gambling and even human on human violence.
HARRIS: These dogs that don't perform well, generally speaking, your experience, what happens to them?
PACELLE: You know, they are tested and what the Vick indictment along with these codefendants identified, that some of the dogs were tested. Put in it ring for or pit for a short time and if they don't do well, then they are basically discarded. And they almost get vindictive about and they kill them ...
HARRIS: Don't say discarded. That sanitizes it. What happens to these ...
PACELLE: In this case, it is not the most unusual thing. The dogs were hung, they were bludgeoned to death. The pick them up by the back legs and slam them down and in some cases t he indictment says they were put in water and electrocuted. This is just vindictive, horrific behavior. And you know, that's why we think it needs to be dealt with harshly. If you've got people who are going to do this to dogs, are they going to do this to people at some point, too?
HARRIS: Yeah. One final question. In the cases where you are able intervene, law enforcement is able to intervene and to save some of these dogs from this fate, is there any money in the system to treat them? To heal them. And how -- what is left of these dogs?
PACELLE: Yeah. It is very difficult because the dogs have been bred for aggression. I mean, you know, dogs are of different types. Some are hunting dogs, some are lap dogs. These dogs are bred for aggression and then they are trained to be aggressive. They use bait dogs to instill that killer instinct this them and give them a taste of blood so they're very difficult to rehabilitate and for the most part, you know, you have got millions of healthy and adoptable dogs and cats that are being euthanized so these animals are typically euthanized because they're just too dangerous other around animals.
HARRIS: So we have an opportunity with this indictment of Michael Vick and his codefendants. We have an opportunity here to shed a light on this and I guess we did OK today. As a start. Did we do OK?
HARRIS: All right.
PACELLE: And people can go to humanesociety.org for more information.
HARRIS: All right. Wayne, thanks for your time.
PACELLE: Thank you very much.
HARRIS: In helping to lift that veil on this.
Still to come this morning in the NEWSROOM, Iraq, high level briefings today. Can the administration shore up critical support among the lawmakers? SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, I'm Sibila Vargas in North Hollywood and the nominees are. A full report of the prime time Emmy nominations when the NEWSROOM continues.
COLLINS: "The Sopranos" goes out with a bang, 15 Emmy nominations for its final season. The announcement just about an hour ago. Entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas has more now on the nominee. She is in Los Angeles this morning and I'm really happy that the Emmy people listened to me. Most of these are my favorite shows, favorite actors.
VARGAS: Yes, yes.
COLLINS: So it's good to know they are listening.
VARGAS: I know. I spoke to someone over here saying and they said you had a lot of pull.
COLLINS: Oh, yeah. Huge.
VARGAS: Yeah. Well, anyway, let's get to "The Sopranos." Big story of course, 15 nominations and they'll be meeting with "Boston Legal," "Gray's Anatomy," "Heroes" and "House" in the drama category.
In the actor category of the drama category we have James Gandolfini, Hugh Laurie, Dennis Leary, James Spader for "Boston Legal" and Kiefer Sutherland who won last year, won the Emmy last year for "24."
In the drama actress category, we've got Patricia Arquette meets Minnie Driver, Edie Falco, Sally Field, and last year's winner Mariska Hargatey (ph) for "Law and Order: SVU."
Moving on to the comedy category, "Entourage" making its way on the list. "The Office," "3D Rock," "Two and a Half Men," quite a little surprise there and "Ugly Betty" which leads the nominations in comedy category at least with 11 nominations.
The comedy actor, we have got Alec Baldwin, Steve Carrell, Ricky Gervais, Tony Shalhoub and Charlie Sheen and finally the comedic actresses, America Ferrara (ph), again, Tina Fey, Felicity Huffman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Marie Louise Parker and it's interesting to point out as well that America becomes the first Latina ever to be nominated in a lead actress category so she makes history today. In fact, it was 1978 when Rita Moreno was nominated and also won the award for her role as a guest starring role in "The Rockford Files" so this is some many years later.
COLLINS: Good for her.
VARGAS: Ms. Ferrara is up for an award and -- absolutely. And critics say that she is the one to beat this year. Got a Golden Globe already. COLLINS: Yeah. I remember her from "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." The only problem I have here where is "Dancing with the Stars"?
COLLINS: I don't know where that would fit but I think it was pretty good.
HARRIS: How about that Kyra Sedgwick? Did she get a nomination?
COLLINS: Kyra Sedgwick he wants to know about.
VARGAS: She certainly did. Of course she did. Yeah, absolutely. She got one. Unfortunately, she won't be celebrating with Kevin because Kevin is in New York and she is out here and she is extremely thrilled and she got a Golden Globe last -- I mean, this year. So it's looking good for Kyra, as well.
COLLINS: All right. Very good. Sibila Vargas on top of all of those shows for us. Thanks so much, Sibila.
HARRIS: Well, it struck fear in the hearts of New Yorkers. We'll talk with an eyewitness to the storm pipe explosion. His story next in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Spotlight on men's health now and tests you should undergo in your 30s, 40s and 50s to make sure you are fit for the long haul. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You'd be hard pressed to find a more fit 49-year-old. Peter Moore is the executive editor of "Men's Health" magazine. He exercised three or four times a week, everything from basketball to skiing.
PETER MOORE, 49 YEARS OLD: Doctors were applauding me. They would look at my weight, cholesterol numbers, you know, what I was eating. My exercise plan.
GUPTA: But two years ago, peter had a rude awakening. Extreme chest pains brought him to the doctor who found 99 percent blockage in a major artery. If gone untreated, he could have died. Peter had an angioplasty and is back in good health but how could somebody so fit have major coronary heart disease and have it go undetected?
MOORE: If I had had a nuclear stress test, it is how to know how to catch that. We need to have a high level of awareness of this.
GUPTA: Men see doctors 28 percent less often than women and many don't know what to ask. First off, they should get to know their numbers. DR. CHRISTOPHER E. KELLY, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: The 30s are a decade in order to get baseline measurements of your overall state of health. Your blood pressure. Your weight. Knowing your cholesterol. Your complete blood count. Urinalysis and glucose are all vital tests to be getting and also a baseline EKG is recommended.
GUPTA: Electrocardiograms for your heart. And an easy self testicular exam.
KELLY: The most common cancer for men in their 30s is testicular cancer. Particularly in their 40s, we start seeing more diseases pop up.
GUPTA: So men should visit their doctors annually and ask about risks associated with family history and disease. Stress tests, cholesterol-lowering drugs or daily aspirin may be in order. African- American men and other males should consider prostate cancer screenings, the PCA drug test and the infamous digital rectal exam. Detected earlier, prostate cancer can be cured.
KELLY: In their 50s, a patient should be aware that they need a colonoscopy. They should also be aware that they need prostate cancer screening.
GUPTA: Fifty-somethings need the same diagnostic tests as their younger counterparts but now colorectal and prostate cancers are a greater concern. For guys like Peter Moore, early tests and early detection could be a lifesaver. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.
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