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Trapped Utah Miners; Spanish TV Debate; Endeavor Lifts Off

Aired August 8, 2007 - 1900   ET


Happening now, the life and death (UNINTELLIGIBLE) six trapped miners, tonight progress and anxiety as we learn more about the miners, but nothing about their fate.

Plus, a teacher in space, for the first time since the Challenger disaster the shuttle Endeavour now just minutes into its landmark mission.

And it's a gamble that few White House hopefuls seem willing to take, a debate on Spanish language television.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Carol Costello. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Unstable rock, rugged terrain, and time not on their side, at this very moment that's what crews are up against in Utah, yet the only thing that matters is recovering those six trapped miners. Drills are smashing through solid rock, punching a hole into the mountain, holding their faith.

CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman joins me now. Gary, you got up close to that mine. What did you see?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carol, it's the first time we have been allowed next to the mine since this accident happened and what I saw, the first thing, the most notable thing, we got to talk to rescue workers on the scene just as they were going into the mine and they tell us that indeed they think these men are alive. There's no way they would consider the possibility of them being dead and they're optimistic they will be able to get these men out.

What we saw halfway up a mountain top is the entrance to the mine where ten miners went in late Sunday night, early Monday morning. Four escaped, six are still in there, 1,700 feet away from that entrance door they take a truck to get in that entrance. There is what looks like a bridge to us, but it's actually a conveyer belt that connects the entrance to the coal pile, and very pointedly we saw that huge coal pile with the last coal that was mined by those miners before the collapse occurred.

COSTELLO: Gary, I'm just wondering, you know, for a time, rescue workers had to stop today because of tremors. That must be very frustrating for them. What's their attitude now? TUCHMAN: Their attitude is they were scared when the seismic activity happened. Investigators here, people who work for the mines say they were earthquake aftershocks. Scientists aren't so sure if they were earthquake aftershocks. They think it may be ground shifting from the mine continuing to move. Either way, for more than a day they weren't allowed to go inside. They thought that more miners, the miners who work here or the rescuers that they could have been in jeopardy if they went inside this mine with the ground moving.

COSTELLO: They're still working now. Gary Tuchman live in Huntington, Utah. Thanks so much. A mine official says they have drilled within 1,000 feet into where they believe those trapped miners are.

Brian Todd joins me now. Brian, bring us up to date.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, right now those two drills are about the best hope for getting air, water and food to the miners, if they are still alive. The man who runs this facility says despite the frustration so far, this operation has gone by the book.


TODD (voice-over): The mine's owner says no mistakes have been made in the rescue effort. No time has been lost, he says, except for delays caused by seismic activity. The good news officials say the ground movement has significantly declined. Also, two drills shown in new video have progressed about a third of the way to where the miners are thought to be trapped, one boring a two and a half inch hole for air.

BOB MURRAY, MINE OWNER: In two days, if they continue this pace, that hole will be down to where we want it to be.

TODD: About the same time as an eight and a half-inch inch hole for food and water should get to them, but still no contact with the miners and Bob Murray says rescuers actually digging toward them may take longer than those drills.

MURRAY: But I know from my mining experience and from the opinions of my management, it cannot be done in short of a week, and it may be more.

TODD: Another potential restraint, federal officials are using a large tracking system that veteran investigators say is too old and doesn't work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hasn't been successfully deployed in any setting.

TODD: Experts say the system has to be moved right above where the miners are by truck. A series of listening devices are laid down, a charge is set off. If the miners hear it, they're supposed to bang on the ceiling. Maybe the devices will pick them up, maybe not.

CELESTE MONFORTON, SAGO MINE DISASTER INVESTIGATOR: In (UNINTELLIGIBLE) internal report, it describes something like capabilities, its practical capabilities between 50 and 100 feet.


TODD: That's more than 1,000 feet from where the miners are believed to be trapped. Other limitations to this system, it sometimes takes more than a day to set up, to use it, all of the drilling has to stop, rescuers have to stop digging. Everything has to be silent -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So if the system has so many limitations, why are they using it?

TODD: Well investigators do not fault them for using it. They say throw every piece of equipment, technology at this that you can. And the federal official I spoke with says that during the Sago Mine rescue operation in West Virginia last year, those miners were trained to respond to that system. They were listening for the blast. They pounded on the ceilings, but the system was not used then, so they say with the miners expecting this in Utah, it could work.

COSTELLO: Brian Todd in Washington, thank you.

Perhaps without food, water, and in pitch black darkness, if they're alive, that's what these miners could be up against, but miners have survived similar situations. In 2006, the Sago Mine tragedy in West Virginia 12 miners died but one did survive. Crews plucked Randall McCloy from peril after he was in the mine for almost two days. In 1968, crews rescued six miners after they were trapped in West Virginia for 10 days, and in France, in 1906, almost 1,100 men died in an underground explosion and fire, but 14 people survived after living underground for 20 days, so there is still some hope.

The astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour are on their way to their construction mission to the international space station, among them the first teacher in space.

CNN's space correspondent Miles O'Brien had a ringside seat at the Kennedy Space Center. Miles, it was a beautiful takeoff. Hey.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's pretty nice, isn't it? You know for its size...


Can you hear me, Miles?

O'BRIEN: Yes, space shuttle Endeavour right now is traveling around the earth. It is over the Sinai Peninsula (ph) beginning what is at least an 11-day mission and what could ultimately become a 14 day mission. They're going to try out something new this time.

The space shuttle will actually plug into the international space station and get a jolt of shore power, if you will, which will allow them to extend the mission. Take a look at this launch, which was just a few minutes ago. We're now about, what is it, 29 minutes into this mission. And you see what was going on there, a beautiful weather picture here, never a concern about weather at all.

And in the course of the countdown, just a couple of small issues which really aren't even worth mentioning, it all worked out very well. Joining me now is Leroy Chou (ph), an astronaut who has flown in the shuttle three times and also flew on the Soyuz (ph), was a commander at the international space station.

Leroy, right now, those astronauts, as they're adapting to space, what is going on onboard the space shuttle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually now is a very busy time. It's a post insertion period where they're starting to get everything together. They're starting to out of their -- to get ready to get out of their suits after (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and to get the go for orbit op (ph), so the people, especially down on the mid deck are very busy doing all those preps. The people on the flight deck, they're getting ready to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to circularize the orbit.

O'BRIEN: The ohms (ph) engines, if you bring the model over here, we can show people what you're talking about here. The ohms (ph) engines are up here in this bumpy area here, two rather (UNINTELLIGIBLE) strong rocket motors which allow them to do major course corrections while in orbit. We'll be tracking this mission all throughout the course of it as they go to the international space station, put an important piece on, and at long last, 22 years later, a teacher, Barbara Morgan, the understudy to Christa McAuliffe (ph) in space -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Miles, thanks so much, and Leroy, you, too, didn't mean to leave you out there. Miles was mentioning Barbara Morgan. She was Christa McAuliffe's (ph) backup for NASA'S "Teacher in Space" program in 1986. You can see her here training in 1985 for the doomed Challenger mission. Now, she's a full-fledged mission specialist. Morgan taught elementary school from 1974 to 1998, mostly in Idaho. That year, NASA invited Morgan back to train for the space program. Now she's 55 years old. She's married, she has two sons, so when Endeavour lifted off, Morgan was seated on the lower deck, in the middle, exactly where Christa McAuliffe (ph) sat 21 years ago.

Tonight, the family of those trapped miners thinking about the men they love and hope they have not lost. We'll hear from the cousin of one miner just ahead.

Plus, it sounds like a good idea for candidates, courting the Latino voter, so why are presidential hopefuls shunning a Spanish TV debate?

And a tornado tears through Brooklyn, a rare storm and the aftermath. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


COSTELLO: We have new information now about one of those miners missing, new images from CNN's I-Report. Let's go straight to our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton. Abbi, what can you tell us about this trapped miner?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Carol, this is Manuel Sanchez, this picture just sent in to CNN late this afternoon by his 23-year-old daughter, Aydaliz and CNN has been talking to Aydaliz who is telling us a little bit about her father, 42-year-old miner who is one of the six who is currently trapped. Manuel Sanchez has worked in the mine in a job that Aydaliz described as cutting down walls there.

He's been a coal miner for over 15 years. He's an American citizen. He came to the United States from Mexico 22 years ago; Aydaliz also tells us that her uncle, Carlos, has been today touring the mine, looking at the mine with the CEO's mine -- of the mine, who is Robert Murray. Aydaliz, the 23-year-old daughter of Manuel Sanchez, who sent in this picture to CNN's I-Report -- Carol.

COSTELLO: And it was really important to her that we use this picture of him. I just found that really touching.

TATTON: Earlier on today we had another photo that was sent in from a family picture. Aydaliz telling us this is the picture, his passport picture, a more current photo that she wants CNN to show.

COSTELLO: And we will. Abbi Tatton, thanks.

The governor of Utah is in Huntington, keeping close watch on the search for those trapped miners.

Joining us now, Utah's governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr.; he is in Huntington as well. Thanks for joining us, Governor.

GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR. (R), UTAH: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: You know we're hearing that it's going to take two days to get an air hole drilled to these guys trapped in the mine. And you don't even know if that hole is going to be in the right place. Bring us up to date on the latest you're hearing.

HUNTSMAN: Well, that's precisely what we're hearing as the latest information. They started with about four different plans and they narrowed those down to that which will likely have the most successful outcome. They proceeded with a more horizontal approach, and of course due to the vagaries and unpredictability of Mother Nature, they lost much of the progress that had been made in terms of 300-plus feet.

So now they're going in from the top, and that drilling effort has begun and I think everyone, most importantly the families here, are banking hope on the fact that that's able to punch through into the cavern in which the miners are located, that will then become a life support system for them if they're there and if they are still well.

COSTELLO: Governor, you said they had to start over again because some of the stuff caved into the mine again. It was because of seismic activity. Can you tell us what exactly that means? HUNTSMAN: We'll it's hard for anyone to really define it at this point. Seismologists describe it in various ways. There will be an investigation, and those who are expert in this particular area will be able to put it all together. But essentially, a mine bump is precisely that.

It's hard to know if that bump is generated internally, within the mine structurally, or whether it's in fact an actually seismic event tied to an earthquake. And these are some of the open-ended questions. And clearly, they're going to be addressed and answered in the aftermath of all of this in the investigation that is done.

COSTELLO: You know, Governor, when we hear there is seismic activity, that kind of means to many of us that a lot of stuff is falling down inside of that mine. Is there any way to know how much has come down inside that mine?

HUNTSMAN: No. It's a very good question, and it has been asked. And I don't think anyone has an answer, internally how well off the mine is structurally. How many mines walls have collapsed or if the cavern in which the miners are thought to be located is still structurally sound. These are all open questions and even the experts who I've consulted with at this point really don't have an answer on that.

The hopeful message today really is that drilling is taking place. They're making good progress, and the next 24 to 48 hours it is thought that it will make contact, the drilling will be completed through to the cavern, and that there will be some indication then and there as to the well being of the miners.

COSTELLO: Huntington is such a tight knit community. I know everyone is feeling for those miners there. What are you telling people?

HUNTSMAN: This is an unbelievable community I have got to tell you. This -- the mining community is tight-knit. They have been doing this for generations in this part of our state. The community pulls together like I have never seen a community pull together. One can only imagine the fear of being trapped in a mine.

And our heart goes out to of course those miners and we hope that they are well. I guess the next worst place to be would be a family member waiting for information from or about those miners and their well-being, and then the complexity of delivering that message in two languages essentially, it's a challenging environment, but people are doing their very best, and I'm convinced as governor that everything that can be done is being done at this point.

COSTELLO: Governor, thank you for joining us this afternoon. I know you have a...

HUNTSMAN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: You have a tough night ahead as well. Thanks for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM. HUNTSMAN: It's a pleasure. Thank you for your concern.

COSTELLO: Colin Powell's surprising show of support, find out which presidential candidate he gave money to.

Also, no speaking Spanish, some presidential candidates refuse to attend a Spanish TV debate, but why?

And do you wear it well? A new list rates the best-dressed men in the world. Find out who made the cut.


COSTELLO: Tonight, Colin Powell's spokeswoman confirms to CNN that the former secretary of state made a contribution to Republican John McCain's embattled presidential campaign. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sent McCain a check after learning the Republican campaign was low on funds. Now Powell's spokeswoman says the retired general has not endorsed his long-time friend McCain or any other presidential candidate. She says it remains to be seen whether Powell will be -- will back a White House hopeful on down the road. We'll keep you posted.

Some candidates are balking about debates scheduled for this fall that would seem to be tailor-made for winning over critical Latino voters. CNN's Susan Candiotti has more from Miami.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, it's not that unusual for presidential candidates to hold off until they absolutely have to before committing to a debate, but Latino voters are watching very closely to find out who is going to show up for a first of its kind political panel.



CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Candidates who try mightily to speak Spanish...


CANDIOTTI: ... and those who speak it fluently.


CANDIOTTI: ... won't have to worry about it during Spanish language Univision network's upcoming historic presidential forum, the first ever where the simultaneous translation expected to draw a huge Spanish-speaking nationwide TV audience.

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, UNIVISION: Spanish is something that unites all Hispanics. It's a matter of pride to Latinos to have candidates address them in their own language.

CANDIOTTI: Yet, a month out, John McCain is the only double- digit GOP contender to commit and leading Democrats Clinton, Obama and Edwards have not yet said yes. Univision's Maria Elena Salinas says no-shows do so at their own risk.

SALINAS: I think that, you know, it's possible that some voters might take that as a personal insult or might take that as a lack of interest on their part.


CANDIOTTI: A risky gamble. Traditionally, Democrats win the Latino vote, but consultants warn it cannot be taken for granted. In a recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton was the choice of 53 percent among Democratic Hispanics, 43 points over Barack Obama.

PROF. DARIO MORENO, UNIV. OF MIAMI: Republicans aren't going to win this vote, but they can sure cut into it if they run a correct campaign.

CANDIOTTI: Historically, Republican presidential candidates have needed at least 30 percent of the Hispanic vote to win. Republican Tom Tancredo is dead set against Univision's translated format.

REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should not be doing things that encourage people to stay separate in a separate language.


CANDIOTTI: Univision says it's not about doing things separately. It's about helping people make an educated decision -- Carol, back to you.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Susan.

Whether or not you think clothes make the man or the woman, it doesn't hurt to dress for success. "Esquire" magazine is out with its new list of the best dressed men in the whole world and it's packed with sport stars, businessmen, celebrities and some political figures as well. Let's see who made the list.

Coming in at number four, senator and presidential candidate, Barack Obama, ranking number six, the new president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy (ph), Afghan President Hamid Karzai known for making a unique fashion statement comes in at number 10. And two members of Congress get a nod, House Majority Leader John Boehner is the 19th best dressed man, and Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel (ph) is the 21st. Now you know.

Brianna Keilar is monitoring stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM. Brianna, what do you have for us?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, China is hinting for the first time that it may use its economic strength to counter U.S. efforts to force a reevaluation of Chinese currency. Now if China were to bring its vast foreign holdings to bear, it could trigger a crash in the already weak dollar. The move has been described in Chinese media as the country's economic nuclear option.

And the leaders of North and South Korea plan to meet face-to- face. The two governments say a summit is planned for August 28 through the 30th in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. They say they hope to raise their relations to a quote, "higher level." Their only other summit was held back in 2000.

And states and local governments, they are complaining about being squeezed out of planning for a new federal blueprint for national disaster response. "The Washington Post" is reporting that state and local officials say their input was ignored by senior administration officials. One even said he has never experienced a more polarized environment between the state and the federal government, and the national plan is supposed to guide how all levels of government work together during emergencies.

Well the Washington D.C. judge, I'm sure you recall this, he sued a dry cleaner for millions of dollars over a pair of pants. He may be forced to hang up his robe. The commission that oversees judges sent Roy Pierson (ph) a letter saying that he may not be reappointed. It says judges have to use good judgment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And Pierson (ph), you will recall, he said the dry cleaners lost his pants, so then he sued for $54 million in damages, and he did lose -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So he lost his pants, he lost his case, and now he may lose his job.

KEILAR: His pants, now maybe his robe.

COSTELLO: Yes, maybe so. Thanks, Brianna.

We're just learning about a health condition we never knew President Bush had -- details ahead.

Plus, in a Utah mining community, heartache and fear...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most coal minors when they hear this news that there's six coal miners trapped, it is just like everything drops. The heart, everything, it's just instant oh, God, no.


COSTELLO: We'll hear from a relative of one of those six miners still trapped deep below ground as the frantic search to reach them goes on.

And a toy company says it's sorry after a recall of products from China, here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


COSTELLO: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, the huge slabs of a collapsed bridge in Minneapolis will stay right where they are for now. Officials have decided not to remove the debris yet to give dive teams time to go more deeply into the wreckage. State police say 88 vehicles have been found, including those in the Mississippi River.

The FBI and local officials in Daytona Beach, Florida, are looking into incidents in which laser beams were pointed at airplane cockpits. Two private pilots reported the green lights late last week, so far, no one has been arrested.

And the White House says President Bush was treated for Lyme disease a year ago. The treatment came to light only today when the White House made results of Mr. Bush's annual physical public. Lyme disease is carried by ticks and if left untreated can cause arthritis and other problems.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Carol Costello. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Every second is agony for the families and loved ones of those six trapped miners. The break-neck pace of the work still isn't fast enough. More now on our top story out of Utah, CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Huntington. And Ted, I know you've been talking to some family members. What are they saying?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can imagine, this is a horrific time for family members. Right now, Bob Murray, who is the CEO of Murray Energy, is in the school briefing family members on the latest. You want to feel their pain? Listen to this interview we did with a couple that has a cousin that is trapped inside that mine.

LEE CRATSENBURG, RELATIVE OF TRAPPED MINER: Kerry's been in the mine a long time.

ROWLANDS: Lee Cratsenburg is talking about her cousin, Kerry, one of the six miners traps 1500 feet underground. They don't want to use his last name to protect his family, but they say he's married with four children.

CRATSENBURG: Kerry's been a coal miner longer than I have been. I never seen Kerry but what when he wasn't happy, just really friendly, totally devoted to his family and his life. Just an all- around good guy and a coal miner.

ROWLANDS: Lee and her husband, Clair (ph), are retired coal miners themselves and very familiar with the heartbreak of a mine tragedy. In 1984, Lee was working at the Wilberg Mine when 27 miners were killed. What's happening now brings out difficult and familiar feelings, they say, for all coal miners.

CRATSENBURG: Most coal miners when they hear this news that there's six coal miners trapped, it's just like everything drops, the heart, everything. It's instant, god, no.

CLAIR (ph) CRATSENBURG: Everybody just hoping and trying to do everything they can, and most of the things they have tried have not worked out.

CRATSENBURG: I think all of them working together will do OK coming out. I don't know. I hope so. Kerry has experience, yes, but it's still different when you have coal miners trapped. Nobody knows what's going to happen.

ROWLANDS: And a lot of people wondering what will happen. Coal mining is a paternal group of miners around the world are focused in on this and waiting for any development in this case. People praying that these six miners will be found alive.


COSTELLO: You know, Ted you mentioned at the top of your report that Bob Murray was meeting with the families. How often does he do that?

ROWLANDS: At least twice a day he comes here and he goes up to the school and gives them a full briefing and he's open for questions. He's up there now. He's been there for about a half an hour. From here typically, he'll go up the mountain and brief the media on the latest.

We're hoping the next briefing will tell us that that the drill that was coming from the top of the mountain is getting closer and closer. If you do the math, that drill should be within about 700 feet, even more, within the next few hours. They're getting closer and closer and people are getting more nervous and more nervous because soon, they're going to find out, these people, whether or not they have heard from their loved ones and whether or not they're alive or not.

COSTELLO: And a lot of people are praying, Ted. In fact, in Salt Lake City, there's a candlelight vigil going on right now inside of a cathedral. The community is tight knit in this part of Utah with people drawing together, praying, trying to reach out to the families, trying anything they can to make them feel a little better and give them hope about what's going on. Now, you can see a service is taking place. And then, of course, there will be moments of silence and prayers and hope that those miners will come out alive.

As I said, all of the miners' loved ones say they want them out as soon as possible. That's obvious but one of them says he understands the delicate and dangerous work to recover them. A short time ago, I spoke with Robby Robertson. He is a miner and he is related to one of the trapped miners and a friend to two others.

We heard that the rescue efforts have been put off for a time again. As someone with friends trapped in the mine, what does it say to you?

ROBBY ROBERTSON, RELATED TO MINER, FRIEND TO OTHERS: In my opinion, it say they're taking every precaution with the rescue teams. They don't want nobody else hurt, which is a good choice in my opinion.

COSTELLO: A good choice, but your friends remain trapped in the mine. What goes through your mind in times like this?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's frustrating. I mean there's nothing they can do. You don't want to hurt any more people. Of course, you want to get the people in there out, but you can't hurt anybody else.

COSTELLO: You're a miner, too. I mean is there still hope?

ROBERTSON: I believe there is. I believe they're alive. There might be some injuries, but I believe they're alive and I think sooner or later, they'll get to them.

COSTELLO: In 2004, you worked in that very mine. What was it like?

ROBERTSON: It was a good mine. I thought. I thought that it was a safe mine. I don't believe the management would let you go into an unsafe mine anywhere. Their liable for you, and they don't want you hurt.

COSTELLO: Well, there has been word that a form of very dangerous mining was going on. Do you believe that was happening?

ROBERTSON: You know, I would rather not discuss that. Like I said, I haven't been there since 2004. I'm not for sure what they're doing. I've been told they were retreat mining. That's what it looks like to me. But I'm no expert. I don't know.

COSTELLO: Tell us about your friends in the mine and what you think they're going through now.

ROBERTSON: I'm sure they're experiencing a lot of fear. They're probably wondering, you know, how long it's going to be. But I'm sure they know they're doing everything they can to get them out. This is a small community. People care about them. The rescue teams are people who actually work with them, care about them, you know. It's like their own family. The rescue teams are as good as you're going to find.

COSTELLO: As far as training for emergencies like this, when you were working in this mine in 2004, were you taught to use your oxygen mask and other safety equipment in case a collapse happened?

ROBERTSON: You know that's kind of your own call. You are trained to use your oxygen mask. You kind of got to be careful when you use it. You only got an hour's worth of oxygen in it. So you know you want to make sure if you're going to put it on, you've got time to get out.

COSTELLO: What exactly would you do? Would you use it for maybe two minutes and take it off? How does it work?

ROBERTSON: No, once you don your rescuer, it's going to go for the full hour. If you put it on, you're going to leave it on.

COSTELLO: The owner of the mine, Mr. Murray, has done several news conferences. Have you listened to them? ROBERTSON: Yes.

COSTELLO: What do you think of him?

ROBERTSON: I don't even know the guy. You know I don't know anything about him. He looks like he cares about the miners. He's trying everything he can. He's pretty proud of the company, it sounds like, which is great. But it looks like to me he cares about these miners and he wants them out.

COSTELLO: I just wonder what you're doing while you wait for any word of communication with your friends in the mine? I mean what do you do? How do you handle it?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's not easy. You just -- it's probably a lot easier for me to say. I go on, I work. I still have to go to work. But it's not easy.

COSTELLO: It isn't easy.

I also spoke earlier with Mine Safety Investigator, David McAteer. He tells us the miners are equipped with breathing devices that give them up to an hour of air under duress. So if at ret, the miners can make them last up to eight hours. And he says if the miners survived the collapse, they should be in a pocket of air that would provide them with enough air to breathe regularly. And of course, we're all hoping that that is true.

Illegal immigrants are being put on notice. The Homeland Security Department is cracking down on them and the people who hire them.

And devastating news in a fight to preserve animal species. A type of dolphin is likely extent.


COSTELLO: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is putting illegal immigrants and the people who hire them on notice. He's pressing for stiffer enforcement of laws currently on the books. Chertoff says the department is cracking down.

CNN's Mary Snow joins us now.

Mary, what can workers and employers expect?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Carol, in the next few days, the Department of Homeland Security says expect tough new rules on illegal hiring. The DHS says after Congress didn't pass an immigration reform bill, it needs to take action.

Protestors in Illinois say everyone has the right to earn a living. Not so, says the Department of Homeland Security, which is cracking down on illegal workers and the people who hire them.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We have got to give employers the tools and we have got to give them the incentive to make sure that they're hiring people who are complying with the law and not hiring people who are here illegally.

SNOW: Just months after the Bush Administration touted immigration reform, it's stepping up enforcement against employers using illegal immigrants. The DHS plans to punish employers who don't fire workers using false social security numbers. There is fear it could affect the livelihood of some industries including farming, where it's estimated there are 1.6 million illegal workers.

LUAWANNA HALLSTROM, AGRICULTURAL COALITION FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM: We see this as a bomb. It's a horrendous piece mealing of what this country really needs, which is comprehensive immigration reform.

SNOW: That's something the Homeland Security Secretary doesn't deny.

CHERTOFF: We also have to solve ultimately the problem of how to get enough workers in here on a temporary basis to make sure that our crops get picked and our hotel rooms get cleaned and our restaurants get waited on.

SNOW: But without that problem being solved for now, the DHS is turning to these stricter penalties in hopes of stemming employers from using illegal workers. The DHS says it could mean fines, perhaps criminal charges against those employers, but some say it could have a big effect on the economy.

JEANNE BUTTERFIELD, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION: We have 12 million undocumented people performing needed services, contributing, helping to build this great nation. And if employers can't continue to employ them because of these new regulations, we have a crisis of major proportions.

SNOW: Carol, how this works, employers are sent no match letters by the Social Security Administration indicating that a worker's name doesn't match with their social security records.

COSTELLO: Isn't it possible to wind up on the no match list even if you're not an illegal?

SNOW: It is, whether it's a clerical error or someone getting married and failing to tell Social Security that they changed their name, and critics say this is a problem that people could be fired unnecessarily.

COSTELLO: Mary Snow reporting live from New York. Thanks.

Brianna Keilar monitoring stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Brianna, what do you have?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Carol, nerves are rattled after a powerful undersea earthquake struck today off the north coast of Java. The 7.5 quake was centered 62 miles east of Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta, 180 miles under the Java Sea. Now there were no reports of damage or casualties, but buildings in Jakarta did shake, and the U.S. geophysicist says because the quake was so deep, there was little chance of a tsunami.

China's Yangtze River dolphin is probably extinct. That's the conclusion of an international team of researchers who conducted an intensive six week search last year and if those findings are true, this is the first whale or dolphin to be wiped out as a result of human activity. A biologist from the Zoological Society of London who was part of the team blames over fishing, also pollution, and the lack of intervention.

And now, also the world's largest toy maker, Mattel, has identified the company that made nearly one million Fisher Price brand toys that were recalled. A Mattel spokeswoman say all the toys came from China leader industrial company in China. She says Mattel will no longer take shipments from that company. And the plastic toys included characters such as Big Bird and Elmo. They were recall because of high levels of lead in the paint.

Virgin America is now up and running but its first flight in the U.S. was delayed for almost an hour this morning after a massive storm hit the New York area. The low cost airlines is currently backed and fully branded by British entrepreneur, Richard Branson. He was on today's flight that eventually took off from New York's Kennedy Airport. This new airlines offers leather seats, mood lighting and entertainment systems. Not exactly essential but some pretty cool stuff there, Carol.

COSTELLO: I wonder what mood lighting they had on the planes when the storms hit today.

KEILAR: I wonder what they have on their flights.

COSTELLO: Hopefully they had some wine.

Thank you Brianna.

The U.S. and Cuba are at each other's throats again. We'll tell you what's behind this latest dispute.

And it may be the least likely place you would expect a tornado. We'll show you pictures of the aftermath.


COSTELLO: The U.S. and Cuba are coming to verbal blows once again. The new feud started as an argument over a visa deal.

CNN's State Department Correspondent, Zain Verjee, has the latest.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Carol, both the U.S. and Cuba saying it's your fault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're out of line and they are lying on purpose. VERJEE: Cuba blasts the U.S. at a rare press conference in Washington, D.C., blocks from the White House. The U.S. fires back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things they could do is stop interfering.

VERJEE: The latest war of words between the U.S. and Cuba is about a visa deal. The U.S. gives permission for 20,000 Cubans to come to the U.S. each year, to prevent more illegal immigration. Right now, about half of the visas have been approved. The visa decisions are made in Cuba by U.S. officials, but the U.S. office there needs equipment to make it happen, and the state department says Cuba won't let it in.

TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Vital equipment and supplies, personnel needed to repair some of the things in our intersection have been blocked.

VERJEE: Cuba says everything the U.S. needs has been let in. The Cuban government says more than 80 tons of supplies came through in 2006, most of which was not for diplomatic work. They accuse the U.S. of sneaking in materials in containers like radios, fax machines, expensive clothes, and chocolate, intended, they say, to support and woo Cuban dissidents.

DAGOBERTO RODRIGUEZ, CHIEF OF CUBAN INTEREST SECTION: It was used for the promotion of subversive activities against our country.

VERJEE: The U.S. denies all that. Cuba says if all of the visas are not approved, the U.S. will suffer because it's going to have more Cubans making a run for Miami. But the state department says it's the Cuban people who suffer because of the misery and instability caused by the Cuban government.

Analysts say the U.S. openly supports dissident forces in Cuba, so it's not surprising really that Cuba would take a close look at these containers.


COSTELLO: Thank you, Zain.

The U.S. maintains elements in Iran are causing problems in Iraq, but Iran is saying it's actually helping keep to the peace and security there. Among those hearing that message, Iraq's prime minister. He walked hand in hand today with Iran's president. This is the U.S. and American troops are dying by some weapons from Iran.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has more.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Carol, disturbing indicators of Iran's involvement in the efforts to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.

The military now confirms U.S. troops in Iraq were attacked 99 times in July by EFPs, explosively formed projectiles the U.S. says were made in Iran and designed to destroy armored vehicles. That's an all-time high. A top U.S. commander says Iran's secretive Al Quds force is behind the attacks and wants to make the security situation look bad before the September assessment. So Iran has its own surge under way.

LT. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, CMDR. MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS, IRAQ: We see that by the continued support through weapons, money, and specifically explosively formed projectiles and indirect fire capability.

STARR: If Iranian weapons are killing U.S. troops, what is the U.S. doing about it?

ODIERNO: First of all, we are very clearly going after the Shia extremist cells that are operating in Baghdad. We continue to go after these EFP networks in Baghdad and all over the country.

STARR: There are defensive efforts. These new armored vehicles are being shipped to Iraq as fast as possible. More than 17,000 are needed, but right now, there are just over 200 in Iraq.

So why no U.S. military action against Iran? Well, the U.S. says it still cannot provide a direct link to Teheran, and experts say it's very difficult to find targets to strike inside Iran that really would stop this flow of weapons smuggling and terrorist financing.


COSTELLO: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks.

Let's go to Rick Sanchez to find out what's coming up in the next hour on "OUT IN THE OPEN."

Hi Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Got a lot of stuff for you, Carol. First of all, we're getting a progress report now from that mine rescue effort. We have been looking at this all day long, and we've also, by the way, got some interviews now with some of the miners' families that we're going to be able to bring you. This is a first.

Should Barry Bonds be our nation's poster child for excellence or for cheating? And is it really about him or about all of us? We're going to be talking about that with a panel.

And a man who wants to business in English is getting kicked out of a mostly Hispanic shopping mall. You got that?

We're going to have all that for you. It's "OUT IN THE OPEN" and it's going to make a couple people mad.


COSTELLO: That is a strange story. Thank you, Rick. We'll catch you at the top of the hour. Much of the country in the grip of a blistering heat wave. In St. Louis, a high of 99 degrees was projected for today. It is so hot the St. Louis Rams closed practices to the public and will decide daily about working the players outdoors.

In Atlanta, a forecast of 99 as well. Georgia Power Company says it cranked out 17,547 megawatts to run air conditioners throughout the state yesterday and that is its highest one day total ever.

And New York was expected to hit 93, but it was strong storms that stalled the big apple's subway system this morning, stranding thousands and thousands of commuters. A very ugly day there.

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado swept through Brooklyn during heavy rainstorms in New York City. And that's probably why the subways were closed down in part. Internet reporter Abby Tatton is here with video of the aftermath from CNN's I-Report. Abby, show us.

ABBY TATTON, CNN I-REPORT: Carol, we are seeing video and also reports from people who say they just can't believe this tornado came to Brooklyn. This is from Ken Zuidema. He sent in many images of his neighborhood Bay Ridge in Brooklyn today. Not just the trees ripped up. There look at this. The concrete sidewalks is ripped up as well. Cars smashed. Ken says the power lines are down and there is debris in the streets. He was jolted out of bed at about 6:15 a.m. It sounded like thunder. He said he was worried that the windows would blow in.

And more video here. This is from Julia Anikushina. She sent this from her apartment, looking across the street, also in the same neighborhood of Bay Ridge. She was also jolted out of bed and took this about half an hour after the tornado passed through. The National Weather Service reporting a dozen or so homes with severe to moderate roof damage.


COSTELLO: Really bizarre. Thanks very much, Abby.

The countdown is on to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. China marked one year to go with a colorful celebration. But as CNN's John Vause tells us, there is a problem that could throw a damper on the games and that would be smog.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, exactly a year to go before the curtain goes up on the opening ceremony on the Beijing Olympic Games, and here, a spectacular ceremony to mark the official countdown. But hanging over all of the celebrations is a cloud. A gray, thick, hazy cloud of toxic air pollution. So pad that the president of IOC conceded on CNN that some events may have to be postponed in the interested of some athletes' health.

JACQUES ROGGE, PRES., INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC CMTE.: This is an option. It would not be necessary for all sports. Sports with a short duration would not be a problem. Definitely the cycling race where you have to compete for six hours, these are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed to another day.

VAUSE: And with 12 months to go, many human rights groups see that as a window of opportunity to pressure China on a number of issues, everything from religious freedom, to Darfur, to Tibet. They're hoping to use the Olympics to pressure China to not just change its image, but change its behavior as well, Carol.

COSTELLO: John Vause, reporting live from China today. Thank you.

Up next, from Baghdad to here at home, the best photos of the day.