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Search for Steve Fossett; 'Imminent' Terror Plot; Judge Orders Stay of Extradition for Former Dictator Manuel Noriega
Aired September 5, 2007 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A small plane in a big desert with high mountains, deep ravines, and no parachute. Search teams in Nevada say if anybody can even those odds, it is Steve Fossett.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And what are the odds of a big plane, a very big plane, flying six nuclear warheads 1,500 miles across America by mistake? It really happened last week. Now the Air Force wants to know how.
Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in today for Kyra Phillips.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
It is dangerously hot in southern California, where already the numbers are escalating just in the time that we've been on the hour. Now the number is 27 heat-related deaths in southern California.
LEMON: Searchers are back in the air right now looking for an aviation pioneer, Steve Fossett. It's been two days since the adventurer left a western Nevada ranch on a solo flight that should have lasted no more than three hours. Since then, no word from Fossett, no signal from his plane.
CNN's Ted Rowlands is with the search teams in the town of Minden.
And Ted, what is the very latest on this?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, as every hour passes, as you can imagine, concern rises as to the fate of Steve Fossett, what happened here. There are a number of scenarios.
It could have been a problem in the cockpit. Maybe he had a health problem. Maybe the plane had a problem. They just simply don't know.
You talked about the fact that there's been no alert from his emergency transponder. They did receive two of them so far, but they both checked out to be false alarms. They were from other planes that were just sitting in hangars. They are hoping that they will get some sort of contact from his emergency alert system or they will visually see him.
They have begun again this flying grid scenario where they're going through an incredibly large amount of space, 600 square miles, and some sobering information today, just about an hour ago, that it's going to take them about a week before they can cover all of the terrain in the area where they think he might be. So clearly they need some luck. They need to get to him as soon as possible. They need some luck.
They're concentrating their search in areas where they think that he is, obviously, but they say that could be up to 600 miles because he didn't file a flight plan. They say technically he should have, but in cases like this typically pilots with his experience don't because it was such a short flight.
One thing that is working in their favor is Mother Nature.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK ALLEN, NEVADA DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The weather is cooperating with our search. What that is allowing us to do is keeping the helicopters at a lower altitude in order to formulate better coverage of this terrain. It's allowing the fixed-wing aircraft, about six total, to fly at about 1,000 feet. And again, to reiterate, the winds are cooperating, so we hope to have a successful day as far as Mother Nature is concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWLANDS: And so far those conditions have held. The winds have been low. That means that the flights can be low. The helicopters can skim closer to the ground, enabling the searchers to really concentrate and clear out as much as this area as they can and move on to the next section.
Sixty-three-year-old Fossett has been missing, like you said, by -- since Monday morning. It has been a while. People are getting very concerned.
His wife is in the area, we're told, and being kept abreast of all the latest information. But at this point they just simply don't have any good news to tell her at this point -- Don.
LEMON: All right. Well, we certainly are hoping for the best.
Ted Rowlands, thank you so much for that report.
WHITFIELD: Meantime, in the nation's capital, a veteran congressman was found dead in his apartment. Ohio Representative Paul Gillmor, a Republican, was serving his 10th term. Staff members found his body after he failed to show up for work. Gillmor was a deputy minority whip. Minority Leader John Boehner, a fellow member of the Ohio delegation, made the announcement on the House floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: It is with profound sadness that I come to the floor today and inform all of my colleagues that our colleague from Ohio, Paul Gillmor, passed away suddenly overnight. Paul was a good friend to all of us, a colleague of mine who served in this House for nearly two decades, after a long, distinguished career in the Ohio Senate.
And he was from Ohio, born there, raised there, went to school there. He is going to be missed by all of us. And I want to make sure that we keep Karen (ph) and his children in our thoughts in this -- in this very difficult time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: No word yet on the cause of Gillmor's death. He was 68.
LEMON: Very dangerous, highly professional, that's how German officials describe three suspected Islamic militants. Now, they're now in custody, having been possibly just days away from massive attacks on U.S. military bases and other western targets in Germany.
Authorities say the attacks could have been worse than the bombings that killed dozens in recent years in London and also Madrid. The two Germans and one Turk were said to be linked to al Qaeda and trained in Pakistan. Quick reaction this hour from the U.S.
CNN's Kelli Arena is in Washington with the very latest for us -- Kelli.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE COLLINS: Don, as you know, several officials have told us that some of the targets that that group was looking at were U.S. targets. And officials here say that it shouldn't come as a surprise, that al Qaeda and groups that are sympathetic to al Qaeda remain committed to attacking Americans wherever they may be.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was asked about what happened in Germany earlier today. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Arrests in Denmark and Germany indicate that al Qaeda continues to carry out acts of war against the West, they continue to seek fellow travelers and allies and adherents in the West who can be used to carry out attacks, whether they be in western Europe or here in the homeland. And American interests overseas remain very much at risk. So it is a sobering reminder of the fact that six years after 9/11, the intent of al Qaeda and its allies to wage war on the West remains very much unabated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARENA: You know, terror experts say there are several reasons that attacking U.S. targets overseas is appealing. First, they say that because the U.S. has tightened security, it's a bit easy to find vulnerabilities overseas. And also, they say there are simply more extremists outside the U.S.
Now, what's especially troublesome about this recent plot in Germany is that the men trained in terror camps in Pakistan, and that's something that we haven't seen in Germany before. Also, the plot involved European converts, which don't necessarily fit the physical profile of what U.S. law enforcement may be looking for.
Now, as for what this all means for attempts to hit the U.S. on its own soil, well, terrorism experts say that just because most of these plots to attack U.S. targets have been uncovered overseas, that doesn't mean that there still isn't a big desire to hit the U.S. at home -- Don.
LEMON: All right. CNN's Kelli arena.
Thank you, Kelli.
ARENA: You're welcome.
WHITFIELD: He's been fighting extradition to France, and now we understand a stay has been ordered in the Manuel Noriega case.
Our John Zarrella is following the story from Miami.
What is the very latest? What are the details?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's exactly right, Fredricka. And very, very quickly, Judge William Hoeveler, who, of course, was the judge who heard the Noriega case and has heard the appeals all along, just a few moments ago granted a stay. What that means is that Noriega may not be going anywhere.
Now, his sentence was to be up for the completed hearing in the United States by Friday, and the concern on the part of his attorneys was that he would immediately be extradited to France, where he faces drug trafficking and money laundering charges in France, could face up to 10 years in prison.
His attorneys argued that the United States government was going to spirit him out of the country. They filed an emergency petition today saying, look, we need to stay this. We'd like you to stay this, judge, because we do not believe that the government of France is going to treat him as a prisoner of war and abide by the Geneva Conventions, which is how Noriega has been treated here in this country.
So Judge Hoeveler has given Noriega's attorneys until tomorrow at noon to produce the evidence that says -- that proves that, that the government of France isn't, and it's given the government of the United States, the prosecutors, until noon tomorrow to produce evidence, their own communications, which will be kept private -- only the judge will look at it -- but the communications between United States and France, where France supposedly acknowledges how they will treat the general.
So at least for now, General Noriega, who was scheduled to be released, has served his U.S. jail time, would have been released and then immediately extradited to France. That may be on hold now until all of this gets sorted out.
And again, they have until noon tomorrow to provide the evidence to Judge Hoeveler to start looking at -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Wow. All right.
John Zarrella, this case has had had legs like no other case, it seems, in American history.
ZARRELLA: Yes, it has.
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much for following it for us.
LEMON: Well, Bob Murray isn't there, but he has issued a statement on the issue. A Senate subcommittee is holding a hearing today into last month's deadly collapse of the Crandall Canyon coal mine in Utah. Six miners were buried alive when that happened. Three rescuers died trying to find them.
CNN's Brianna Keilar has more from Washington.
Again, I said Bob Murray just issued a statement?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He sent us a handwritten fax, Don.
Bob Murray, of course, the owner of Crandall Canyon Mine, where this accident happened. And he was conspicuously absent from this hearing on Capitol Hill today.
We did hear from one of the top independent mine safety experts that signs were missed at Crandall Canyon. The blame there falling, it appeared, both to the owner of the mine -- that would be Murray Energy, Bob Murray -- and the federal office that approved the plan for that mine collapse.
So, again, Bob Murray declined to testify. He was invited.
Senator Arlen Specter said that the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee was first told that Murray was too busy with the investigation of the mine accident to appear. Then he said they were told that Murray was sick, and Specter threatened to subpoena Murray.
Now, we asked Murray via fax why he wasn't in Washington and what his response to that subpoena threat is. As I said, he sent us a handwritten fax.
He said, "I am still administering to the families of the dead, injured and trapped miners. The difficult period is not over. We are also going over benefits with them. We are also winding down the rescue effort and dealing with costs, et cetera. I am too busy to go to Washington, D.C., right now."
And in terms of the threat to subpoena him, he said, "No comment on that" and signed his note, "Bob Murray". But Murray's office did tell us, Don, that he is at the Murray Energy office in Ohio today.
LEMON: All right.
CNN's Brianna Keilar with the latest information on that sad story about the trapped miners.
Thank you, Brianna.
WHITFIELD: Called a perilous payload, and the crew didn't even know about it. What's that all about? Now the Air Force is investigating how one of its bombers ended up carrying nuclear weapons across the country.
LEMON: Also this: gadget alert, iPod gets reinvented again.
We'll have more on the latest incarnation.
WHITFIELD: Plus, it's splitsville for the O'Neals? How could that be? And it was Shaq who did the filing, apparently.
That's straight ahead on CNN, the most trusted name in news.
LEMON: Also, more information coming in on Senator Tim Johnson. We're waiting for him to speak, of course, about embattled Republican Larry Craig there. He is on Capitol Hill.
We want to -- we'll talk to him about that.
LEMON: All right. We have some new video just into CNN. This is from our affiliate WFAA in Dallas.
It is flooding. Take a look at that. Poor pooches there standing in the water, along with that gentleman.
Wow. It's really been a mess across Texas. They're getting hammered today. Flooding rains, tornado warnings.
WHITFIELD: Well, let's talk about some other extreme conditions. This heat related there in southern California, where at least 27 deaths are being blamed on the heat now.
Joining us now, the deputy coroner with Imperial County, which is southeast of Los Angeles. Henry Proo is with us now.
Mr. Proo, you all have experienced, what, seven heat-related deaths? Is that number correct?
HENRY PROO, DEPUTY CORONER, IMPERIAL COUNTY: Yes, ma'am, since approximately one week ago.
WHITFIELD: All right. Well, there's been a spring of high temperatures, in some cases triple-digit temperatures. Is this a case of many people just not heeding the warnings, not having air conditioning? What's at the root of the problem here?
PROO: Well, Imperial County is in the middle of a desert, so we experience triple-digit temperatures for approximately 60 to 80 days a year. Our average temperature during the summer, June to September, is about 105.
A lot of people live outdoors. There's transients. There's older people who are trying to save money and not running their air conditioner. There's people who live in trailers parked out in the desert. They don't have running water or electricity.
PROO: And although they may be acclimated to it, it still is a stressor on their body.
WHITFIELD: So, as harsh as it may sound given that you're used to triple-digit temperatures -- you're talking about 60 to 80 days out of the year -- there is also some expectation or perhaps even an average number of heat-related deaths that you ordinary deal with.
Is seven on the high end or is that about average or is that low?
PROO: We will experience 20 to 30 that we in our reports will indicate the ambient temperatures and the living condition to indicate that it was -- even if it was a pathologist-reported heart attack, we will indicate in our report that due to the heat, extreme conditions, the living conditions the person was living in, that this was heat- related.
WHITFIELD: How difficult is it in Imperial County to get the word out to try to reach perhaps the most vulnerable to try to meet some of their needs in this kind of extreme heat?
PROO: Well, it's actually very easy. People who come here to Imperial County know that it's hot. They know it's hot today, that it's going to be hot tomorrow, it's going to be hot next year.
We do have plenty of places for people to go to get out of the sun and heat. There's the Salvation Army in every city. There's church groups in every city that take in homeless. So it's not like they can't, but a lot prefer not to.
WHITFIELD: Well, a terrible situation, and hopefully with a little break in the weather in the next coming days that will help relieve some of the pressure on the county for trying to address some of those needs and try to get a lot of folks some help.
Henry Proo with Imperial County, the deputy coroner there.
Thanks so much for your time. PROO: Thank you.
LEMON: Parents, time to check the toy box. Yes, again. Another big recall straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: The Air Force insists the public was never in danger, but experts call it a big mistake, nonetheless. A B-52 flew from North Dakota to Louisiana last Thursday. The crew never knew it was carrying nuclear warheads.
CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr has more from a Pentagon briefing, which is still going on at this hour -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is really almost impossible to believe, but indeed it did happen. The U.S. Air Force is not saying very much about it. The Pentagon is not saying very much about it. But as you say, at a Pentagon briefing still ongoing, listen to what the spokesman had to say. It will help everyone understand how serious this matter is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFF MORRELL, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: I can, however, tell you that the Air Force is currently investigating an error made last Thursday in the transfer of munitions, as you mentioned, from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base aboard a B-52 straddle fortress. I can also tell you, furthermore, that Secretary Gates was quickly informed of this incident. He was called, I believe, early Friday morning, and he has been receiving daily briefings from General Buzz Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, on actions that the Air Force is taking and the progress of their investigation.
Furthermore, Secretary Gates has been assured by General Moseley that the munitions were part of a routine transfer between the two bases and at all times they were in the custody and control of Air Force personnel, and at no time was the public in danger.
QUESTION: But, I mean, apparently we've had the commander relieved of his command. We've had some airmen who have been suspended. Can you -- I mean, how serious an incident was this, and was there at any time any real danger on the ground?
MORRELL: I'm not aware of any disciplinary action that's been taken. I am told, however, that the Air Force should complete a full report on this matter, including any prospective corrective actions which need to take place, and that should be delivered to the secretary by the end of next week.
With regards to how important or how troublesome this is, I forget how you characterized it -- well, it's clearly important enough that the secretary was informed of it. And that he has requested daily briefings from General Moseley as to what they are doing to fix the problem and to get to the bottom of the problem.
I can also tell you that it's important enough that President Bush was notified of it. So it's clearly important. But I cannot, as a matter of policy, as I have stated before, discuss whether or not nuclear weapons were involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: So let's cut to the chase through all of those words. What's the bottom line? It was nuclear weapons.
President Bush was informed. Secretary Gates was informed. An investigation as to how this possibly could have happened remains ongoing -- Don.
LEMON: CNN's Barbara starr.
Thank you, Barbara.
WHITFIELD: Nine months ago he had emergency brain surgery. Today, the South Dakota senator Tim Johnson returns to Capitol Hill for the first time after that surgery.
Let's listen in as he addresses the chamber.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D), SOUTH DAKOTA: ... Reid and McConnell, as well as all of my colleagues for the warm welcome back. In so many ways, in words and prayers from you and your spouses on both sides of the aisle, supported both Barbara and me and gave us strength. You will never know what that meant to us.
I also want to thank Representative (INAUDIBLE) for her incredible support throughout these tough times.
The (INAUDIBLE) appropriations bill is now on the floor. And I must also thank Senator Jack Reed for working with my staff and for his leadership on the bill.
Before I get too far along in my remarks, it must already be clear to you that my speech is not 100 percent. The doctors tell me that it will get there. But my thoughts are clear and my mind is sharp, and I am here to be a voice for South Dakota in the Senate. With patience, persistence, and faith, I have fought back, and my will to keep fighting for South Dakota is strong.
My ability to think is paramount. So I hope now as I return to my office people focus on their work more quickly than I walk these days.
Last week I went home to South Dakota. Today I come home to the United States Senate.
This has been a long and humbling journey. A journey that has taken longer than some people have liked. And I count myself among them. But I return to work today to this great body with a renewed spirit and a sharper focus.
I better appreciate today what individuals and families go through when they face crippling hardship, whether the hardship be the consequence of catastrophic health issues, economic hardship, or a lack of an opportunity to reach one's full potential in life. I believe I have been given a second chance at life.
I vow to take that second chance and work harder than ever to be the best I can be for my state and my nation. To be a voice for those individuals and families who too often are ignored and forgotten, and fight to live up to the ideals that have made this nation great. This is my focus and that was my commitment to my constituents back home in South Dakota, to the people of this great nation, and to my colleagues here in Washington. It has been the greatest honor in my life to stand for and by the people of South Dakota. I cannot think thank them as well as members of this chamber enough for your patience and support. Today my work begins anew. I relish the task. It's great to be home. Thank you and, Mr. President, I yield the floor.
WHITFIELD: A standing ovation for Senator Tim Johnson returning now to Capitol Hill after emergency brain surgery nine months ago, calling this, today, his second chance at life. His courageous return there getting a standing applause from those in the chamber.
Also, straight ahead, we're going to have more on the toy recall affecting so many households today. Allan?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Allan Chernoff in New York and in fact, that recall involving once against toys manufactured in China. We'll have details coming straight ahead.
LEMON: Bongo drums, train sets, thousands of Barbie accessories are all on Mattel's latest list of recalled toys from China. CNN's Allan Chernoff joins us now from New York with the very latest on this. Allan, when will it end?
CHERNOFF: That's right Don, we've been telling this story quite a few times. In fact, this is the third recall that we have from Mattel this very summer, and this one once again goes all the way back to China, a vendor of Mattel, several vendors, in fact, had a problem with subcontractors who actually did use lead paint on those children's toys. As a result, now they are being recalled. This just keeps on happening. Mattel says that it has been investigating, checking all its toys, then announcing the recall. Now, we spoke with the Consumer Products Safety Commission earlier today, and they say this problem is not isolated to Mattel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIE VALLESE, CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION: The CPSC has a number of different investigations open at different times into products across the board in terms of toys. We do realize that there is a problem with lead paint coming into the United States. So the agency is focused in doing investigations and testing on products and there could be more product recalls because of violation of the lead paint standard to come.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: We should point out Miss Vallese is with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, not with Mattel. Now, let's get to the recall that we had today, 11 products as Don mentioned, and these involve the Geotrax railroad system. Also the it's a big, big world six in one bongo band and also eight different accessories for Barbie. No Barbie dolls actually involved. In all, more than 800,000 toys, about half a million actually sold here in the United States. Now Mattel is telling consumers you can return those products, go to our website, Mattel says. They're saying go to service.mattel.com or call 888-496-8330. The company's chief executive officer also apologizing to the public, he is saying, quote, "We apologize again to everyone affected and promise that we will continue to focus on ensuring the safety and quality of our toys." The most public statement that they have made has been in major newspapers today running some ads such as this one. In this ad they say, we take our promises quite seriously. They talk about how they have been testing their toys, but there is no apology actually contained in these newspaper ads. Don?
LEMON: All right, Allan Chernoff, thank you and this easy enough website to remember, Allan you mentioned service.mattel.com. Very easy.
LEMON: Thank you sir.
WHITFIELD: Here is a new worry, smoker's lung, we have all heard of that. But have you ever heard of popcorn worker's lung? It's a condition that can be caused by the fumes coming from buttery flavoring in microwave popcorn. Until now it's only shown up in industry workers, but a lung specialist in Denver says he has found it in a consumer. That's a reported first, and this patient apparently loves popcorn. Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta weighed in on "AMERICAN MORNING."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The culprit here appears to be a compound known as diacetol(ph), which just sort of gives you that buttery flavoring. As you can see there on the graphic, it goes down, it affects some of the smallest airways in the lungs. It can cause scarring, and it can cause a condition known as bronchiolitis obliteran. You don't need to remember that name, just remember that it's called popcorn worker's lungs. I think we have a picture of what the lungs look like in someone who has this condition. Basically, it just traps air, you can't breathe out enough. All that black space in the middle is actually air that's trapped inside the lung. The man said he would actually reportedly inhale the steam as soon as he opened the bag. We know that that's probably diacetol(ph). It can be vaporized, it can be turned into droplets, it can even become dried. That's what causes the problem as it goes down deeper into the lungs.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Wow, that's some pretty alarming stuff. The man apparently ate several bags of microwave popcorn every day for years. The Food and Drug Administration is trying to determine if the rest of us are really at risk.
SUSAN LISOVICZ: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange. 100 million iPods sold in six years and now a major upgrade to drum up future sales. I'll have details about the new iPod, next. You're watching CNN, the must trusted name in news.
LEMON: Oh, but we're not done with the iPod yet Susan. One of Steve Job's most famed gadgets is the topic of our news quiz. When was first iPod introduced? The answer when we come back.
LEMON: We asked you just before the break, when was the first iPod introduced. Don't show the answer yet. Do you know?
WHITFIELD: No. Because I already saw the answer so now I can't really remember what I was thinking before I saw the answer.
LEMON: October 23, 2001.
LEMON: There you go.
WHITFIELD: Seems like just yesterday.
LEMON: Did Susan know, that's the question?
WHITFIELD: She probably did.
LISOVICZ: I did.
WHITFIELD: Ok, well there you go.
LISOVICZ: I actually gave our viewers a hint because I said it was six years ago in my tease. I didn't know whether you guys --
WHITFIELD: We were bad listeners then I guess. Ok, but it's been only a couple years right, since they actually revamped it and now here we go again.
LISOVICZ: That's right Fredricka, but a couple years is an eternity in technology, and now --
WHITFIELD: All of its been outdated.
LISOVICZ: From, well at least, I guess, I suppose the company would like us to believe that. From the shuffle to the nano to what's now being called the classic, the iPod is getting a touchup Apple style. The new version of the classic doubles its memory and sells for the same price as the old version, the big one, holding a whopping 40,000 songs, compared to 1,000 when iPods were first introduced six years ago as all our viewers know now. Apple is also introducing the iPod touch. It has the same memory as the classic, but for 50 more bucks includes an iPhone like touch screen, wifi access and built in Youtube. That's right, you'll be able to access the Wifi at Starbucks stores. How about that?
WHITFIELD: So fancy.
LISOVICZ: As for the nano, it now has a video screen and Apple's CEO who also doubles as chief cheerleader Steve Jobs calls it incredibly thin. The smaller version will sale for $149. That will make your wallet feel incredibly thin. The bigger one for $199, the iPod shuffle gets five new colors in softer pallets of gray, blue, red, green and black to coordinate with your technology wardrobe, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Wow that is so fancy.
LISOVICZ: Oh you know he's laughing, but I'm sure --
WHITFIELD: I know he's already trying to figure out which color he wants.
LEMON: I'm laughing because you two are like ooh, ah.
WHITFIELD: It's nice.
LISOVICZ: You're one of us, Don.
WHITFIELD: Apple has a lot to be proud about, you know, Susan, so why shouldn't they boast about it?
LISOVICZ: Well, the numbers I think certainly would make a lot of other tech companies green with envy. Since it was introduced six years ago, Apple has sold 100 million iPods and 3 billion songs on its iTunes retail store. But sales have recently started to slow. Apple is hoping the makeovers will spark some fresh sales. Apple shares rallied sharply over the past week ahead of today's event, but are down 3 percent this afternoon. We're seeing the overall market go in the same direction. Some more disappointing news this morning about the housing market setting off warning signals. At the top of the hour we got the Federal Reserve's report on regional economic conditions. It confirmed the depth of the housing market slide. The impact on the rest of the economy so far seems to be limited. That's good news for most people. For investors, it means the fed might wait before lowering interest rates, so a lot of debate about that subject. In the meantime, no debate about the direction of the market. The Dow is down 181 points or 1-1/3 percent, the NASDAQ is down 1.1 percent. Another reason stocks are weaker today, lousy job numbers. I'll tell you about that in the next hour of NEWSROOM. Fred and Don?
WHITFIELD: Just when you got us up here about the whole iPhones, now we're down here.
LISOVICZ: Back to reality.
WHITFIELD: Back to reality, all right, thanks a lot Susan.
LEMON: From iPhones to housing and then down to jobs.
WHITFIELD: Not good.
LISOVICZ: I'm phoning it in, to you guys.
LEMON: Thanks, Susan.
WHITFIELD: Ok, fair enough.
LEMON: 45 past the hour, almost 46 past the hour. Three of the stories we're working on for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. The southern California heat wave is easing, but it has taken a brutal toll. CNN's confirmed 27 heat-related deaths.
Veteran Ohio Congressman Paul Gillmor is dead. The 68-year-old Republican was a deputy minority whip. His body was found in his D.C. apartment after he failed to show up at work.
And three suspected Islamic militants are now in custody in Germany, accused of planning huge and imminent attacks on U.S. military installations and other targets.
WHITFIELD: A misplaced decimal point equals an unexpected bargain at this Ohio gas station. Line up people, a little too late now. How long has it been since you filled up your gas tank for just $4? Do you ever remember that day?
LEMON: I don't remember that.
WHITFIELD: Uh-huh, that story is coming up.
A.J. HAMMER: I'm A.J. Hammer in New York. No slam dunk here. The heat is on as one of Hollywood's biggest all-star couples calls a time-out. I'll have all the details straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: The heat is on, in a couple of ways. We're not just talking about the temperature outside but one of the NBA's most powerful couples heading to court, not the basketball court, divorce court. Miami Heat, heat outside. You know, the whole thing. A.J. Hammer, ah, whatever, go ahead.
HAMMER: You would have written it the same way Don, come on.
LEMON: I was trying, but I couldn't, you know I couldn't pull it all together. How are you doing today?
HAMMER: I'm good Don. And it's no lie, the heat is definitely on for Shaquille O'Neal. The NBA star has filed for divorce from Shaunie O'Neal, that's his wife of five years. The Miami Heat center filed for the petition yesterday in Miami and he asked that his soon to be former spouse provide a correct accounting of all money, funds, stocks, bonds and other securities, that she had access to during their marriage. Now in addition to the accounting request, the document asks for the couple's prenuptial agreement to be enforced. Shaq currently makes about $20 million a year, that's with his basketball contract, plus he makes several million more a year in endorsement deals. The pair got married in December of 2002. They have six children in all, they have four together plus one each from previous relationships. So, Don, my hope is this divorce stays kind of quiet, doesn't get too ugly for the sake of the kids if nothing else.
LEMON: Yeah, absolutely, six kids, wow. I mean there used to be a time when that wasn't a lot of kids, but now six, that's a lot of kids.
HAMMER: Yeah, from previous engagements with other people as well.
LEMON: Ok, speaking of kids, I hear another A-list star is expanding her family and expanding her belly, right, I would imagine?
HAMMER: Yes. This is happy news, berry good news, and that bad pun was intended. It was unavoidable. It's for Academy Award winner Halle Berry, she is going to have a baby. According to Access Hollywood, Berry broke the news in an e-mail to the show yesterday confirming that she is in fact expecting her very first child with her model boyfriend Gabriel Aubrey. According to the show, Berry's three months pregnant at this point and quote, "beyond excited." The actress whose marriages to baseball star David Justice and singer Eric Benet both ended in divorce, has publicly expressed a maternal yearning to start a family for some time now. She had told me at one point that she probably would never ever get married again, but I really like Halle, I'm real happy for her and we of course wish her all the best.
LEMON: Wow, did you look at her, look at him. I mean, that baby, whoa.
LEMON: Get the shotgun out now if it's a girl, and if it's a guy, what a heartbreaker. Look at that couple, amazing.
HAMMER: I think they'll do fine.
LEMON: Absolutely. So I also heard a rumor that actress Nicole Kidman also hoping to have a baby some time soon. Any truth to that and not with you though, right?
HAMMER: You know, not as far as I know, and not as far as this report goes. But this is according to "Vanity Fair" magazine, Kidman has never said anything to me personally, but she did say that she would love to have a child with her husband, Keith Urban, some time in the near future. Now, this confession comes along with another bombshell, that she was secretly engaged to a mystery man following her divorce from Tom Cruise and before she tied the knot with Urban last summer. This is something we haven't heard from her before. Now in this very same article, the 40-year-old actress also reveals she and Cruise suffered a miscarriage early on in their marriage before later deciding to adopt the two children they have together. As for the details of that secret engagement, well you know Kidman is keeping quiet on her former beau's identity. I'm sure he's happy about that. But she says at the time she just wasn't ready for another trip down the aisle. You can read the entire Kidman article in "Vanity Fair's" October issue. That will be on newsstands September 11th.
Now coming up tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," why so many stars are so lonely. Yeah, you look at them. They seem to have it all, the wealth, the beauty, the fame. But as Owen Wilson's recent apparent suicide attempt shows, not all is what it appears to be in Hollywood. You will not want to miss this special report tonight on TV's most provocative entertainment news show, it's "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." We look forward to you joining us at 11:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on "HEADLINE PRIME."
LEMON: It's sad to say A.J., they say money doesn't buy happiness, and it appears fame as well. I was away on vacation when that broke about Owen Wilson, and that was a shocker.
HAMMER: Yeah, a shocker, a sad story, and yeah, appearances can be deceiving.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, A.J., we'll be watching tonight.
HAMMER: You got it.
LEMON: The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.79. That's according to AAA. That's the lowest than a month ago, but still higher than a year ago. Gas prices are even higher in Ohio, above the $3 mark. So you can imagine the surprise for a few lucky people who pulled into a gas station in Fairborn, Ohio this morning and paid, get this, 32 cents a gallon. It wasn't a special promotion. It wasn't some twilight zone style time warp. As it turns out, it was just a computer glitch that misplaced that decimal point, and before you drive to Ohio, it's fixed now, so don't even worry about it, Fred. I know you were thinking of driving to Ohio.
WHITFIELD: I was thinking, oh, yeah. It would be a nice little road trip.
LEMON: I don't know if it's -- you know, if it makes a difference because how long does it take you to get there? How much are you going to burn?
WHITFIELD: I know, it would probably take a good 10 hours to drive.
LEMON: You can do it though.
WHITFIELD: Not worth the drive, but it was fun to think about it for a second.
All right, well talk about fantasies, a weekend gets his windfall. Maryland's mega million lottery winner, Bunky Bartlett. He picks up his check. Even after taxes it should keep him in Crystals for a long time. Details, straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: Disputing claims in a new book about Anna Nicole Smith. Larry Birkhead, the biological father of Smith's daughter, says he's planning to sue. Rita Cosby's book is called "Blond Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death." It includes an allegation that Birkhead had an affair with Howard K. Stern. Stern, as you remember, was Smith's attorney and companion who also fought Birkhead for custody of the baby daughter. On CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE," guest host Harvey Levin asked Birkhead about Cosby's allegation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARVEY LEVIN: The most exclusive clearly and the headline in selling the book is that Rita Cosby says, she has a witness and possibly two people to say that you and Howard K. Stern were caught in a compromising intimate position. And that this is on videotape.
LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S BABY: Well that's totally false and it's defamatory, it's false, it's pure fiction again. And it's something again, that you know I've heard the sources from that and those sources are people that haven't been in Anna's life much less and haven't even met me.
And we're talking about, I believe, two maids that had previously -- had presented a declaration that they were paid to fill out to assist me in my paternity case against Anna Nicole. And I turned those down because those individuals were being paid by other individuals who had axes to grind.
And you have the other person who supposedly witnessed this videotape who's never met me, whose last contact with Anna Nicole was in 2001. And I didn't even meet Anna Nicole until 2003 and our relationship didn't begin until 2004. So this individual would have to quantum leap into the future to even -- to know me, because she was already cast out of Anna Nicole's life long before that I even came along.
So, again, it's just -- it's crazy. It's -- it's something that was never verified by the author of the book. She didn't have the decency to call me and ask me if this was true.
WHITFIELD: Ouch! Well, CNN asked Rita Cosby and her publisher for a reaction; no statements from either.
The next hour of the NEWSROOM begins right now.
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