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Powerful Earthquake Hits Indonesia; Confusing Opinions about NFL's Kevin Everett; Lee Hamilton Comments on Iraq Report; Diplomatic Efforts Falling Short

Aired September 12, 2007 - 09:00:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: That's it for us here on AMERICAN MORNING. More coverage of the Indonesian earthquake straight ahead on CNN.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: That's right. We're going continue to follow at all. John, I'm going to enjoy the weather outside since '08 is going to be a tough year according to the "Farmer's Almanac".

Right now, CNN NEWSROOM continues with Heidi Collins and Tony Harris.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Good morning, everybody. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR,CNN NEWSROOM: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Watch events come to the NEWSROOM, live, on Wednesday, September 12th. Here's what's on the rundown.

President Bush set to endorse a troop draw down in Iraq. The White House readying a prime time address.

HARRIS: Six suspects charged in an appalling torture case. A live report from West Virginia just minutes away.

COLLINS: Indonesia rocked by a powerful earthquake in the last hour. First pictures coming into CNN and now word of a small tsunami. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: At the top of this hour a powerful earthquake hits Indonesia. A tsunami watch ordered for the entire Indian Ocean region. The quake causing buildings to sway in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta. A spokesman for the Mercy Corps tells CNN buildings and homes have collapsed and people are running in the streets.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the 7.9 magnitude quake struck off southern Sumatra Island, that is near the area where a massive earthquake struck in December of 2004. It triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people, most of them in Indonesia.

COLLINS: Rob Marciano is joining us now right off the top here to give us a little bit better perspective of exactly how big this is, and what the threat is for the people there, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: First off, let's compare it to the 2004 earthquake and resulting tsunami. That was a 9.0 magnitude quake. This one 7.9, other reports of it being slightly stronger than that. But right now the USGS is saying 7.9. The way the scale goes it is much -- well, almost like winds are concerned. A 9.0 is 10 times more destructive than an 8.0. So, even though this is a major, major quake, it is nowhere near the power that we saw in Banda Aceh in 2004.

All right, let's talk about this quake. It is 7.9. It is relatively shallow and it is about 300 miles from Padang, which is important to note. That is where we saw a rise in the ocean of 1.2 feet, so that is the small tsunami that has been triggered according to the tsunami warning center. Here is where the quake is. This is where the rise in sea level was detected about 45 minutes ago.

Still, the tsunami watch no not been upgrade to do a tsunami warning. Tsunami warning center saying if a tsunami was generated, right now, it's too early to tell how large and how destructive it will be. Obviously, it is encouraging at this juncture, Tony and Heidi, to see that the initial indications are less than a two-foot rise in sea level. Now subsequently waves can come on after that, but right now, that's what we have so far.

COLLINS: Quickly remind us, too. In case people aren't familiar, Rob. It does have a lot to do with how deep that rise is. You talked about the shallow water.

MARCIANO: Yes, generally speaking, the more shallow a quake is the more destructive it is. This one is under water so the shallower it is beneath the ocean's bottom the more likely you are to get some sort of rupture. And that rupture is what would trigger the subsequent wave. How much the ocean floor ruptured, we just have to see. Obviously, it did move somewhat to get some sort of rise in sea level.

COLLINS: All right. We know you're watching it closely, Rob. Thanks so much for that.

We just want to let our viewers know, too, that coming up we're going to be talking with a spokesman from Mercy Corps, he is in Indonesia. And we will get the latest on the situation from him, coming up shortly.

Meanwhile, if you know anyone in Southeast Asia right now, check in with them and see if they have any pictures or video of the scene there. Have them send it in to an I-Report. We can get that on the screen. If they can type into their cell phone, or go to and click on I-Report.

HARRIS: The Iraq report card progress reported on Capitol Hill. New decision reported at the White House: Withdrawals by next summer. The latest now from White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.

Suzanne, great to see you.


HARRIS: Was this a decision to bring troops home inevitable? It had to happen, didn't it?

MALVEAUX: Tony, you're absolutely right. There is certainly a sense of inevitability about this. At least part of that, because the military, the advisors have been saying for some time, they couldn't support this surge for more than perhaps six months or so, April of next year. So it was going to happen anyway. But it's going to happen at a quicker pace, a little bit earlier than expected.

What you're going to hear the president do, however, is really try to get some political credit out of this. Making his case to the American people tomorrow that at least there have been improvements enough with this troop increase that it can pull back those troops to the levels that we had of December of last year.

Also, Tony, we've heard the president talking a lot about giving Prime Minister Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, some breathing room to make some progress. This is President Bush, as well, trying to give some breathing space for himself, another six months for Congress to really kick the can, kick this can forward, if you will. And say, look, take a look in six months or so. He thinks things are going to get better.

HARRIS: Suzanne, how has this announcement from the president and from General Petraeus gone over with members of Congress?

MALVEAUX: All you have to do is really take a listen to what was said. There was a leadership group, of Democrats and Republicans, who here met with the president yesterday. We heard from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who essentially said that it was too little, too late and she said it was an insult to the intelligence of the American people this was very much the same.

We also heard, however, from Republican Senator Mitch McConnell who said he was optimistic about the plan. The White House and the administration somewhat relieved they think that if they at least have the Republican support to hold off enough on those Republicans so there is not going to be any major legislation that's going to undermine the president's plan.

HARRIS: White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, for us. Suzanne, great to see you. Thank you.


COLLINS: Our next guest helped lead a bipartisan study of White House policies in Iraq. Lee Hamilton was a co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and is a former Democratic congressman; he is joining us now from our Washington bureau.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us this morning.


COLLINS: One day after General Petraeus gave his report, of course, we've been talking about it for a very long time, speculating about it for months, and what would be in that report. Do you think the report lived up to the hype? Was this the mother of all reports on Iraq progress?

HAMILTON: No, I don't think so. I think it's another report, an important one, but not the mother of all reports. Not surprising. It's been clear for sometime that both General Petraeus and President Bush would recommend a continuation of the surge for as long as we could sustain it.

I think the president is very much in command of policy now. The Congress may be able to put up an obstacle or two, but basically the president is in command of the policy.

COLLINS: I want to take a minute, if I could, to compare a little bit of Petraeus and Crocker's testimony to that of some of the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. Listen with me, if you would, when Ambassador Crocker spoke about diplomacy.


RYAN CROCKER, U.S. AMB. TO IRAQ: With respect, again, to the neighbors and others, that is exactly our intent, to have a more intensive, more positive, more regulated engagement between Iraq and its neighbors.


COLLINS: Now, when we hear that, it seems to speak about the diplomacy that we heard a lot about in the Iraq Study Group and the importance of that. In fact, the words that were used in the Iraq Study Group were a diplomatic offensive.

Such a key recommendation in the study. Were you satisfied with what Ambassador Crocker said in that regard?

HAMILTON: No. We recommended a very robust diplomatic effort. Now he's correct, some steps have been taken. I think they're very modest. I think we've met two times with the Iranians at the ambassadorial level. Our problems are the Iranians run very, very deep. There are very many of them. It's going to take many talks, sustained talks, at higher levels to really make progress.

Beyond that, it's not just a matter of talking to the Iranians. You have to have one of the most robust diplomatic offensives this nation has ever had in its history. That means at a bilateral level, a regional level, and international level, if you're going to try to bring this Iraq matter to a conclusion. And that is only part of it, of course. The diplomatic side, but it needs to be much more aggressive than I have seen thus far.

COLLINS: Ambassador Crocker also spoke also about federalism and how he was encouraged by that process seeming to take place between Sunnis and that he had hoped that would spread a bit. He also talked about the U.N. and what role they would be need to be taking now at this point. Is it really about all of that? Or is there a very large case to be made about the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government, themselves, stepping up to the plate for their own country? HAMILTON: My impression is that Ambassador Crocker had a very tough brief to argue. He wanted to show as much progress as possible on national reconciliation. He brought forth very, very little evidence with regard to that. The whole purpose of the surge, which is to give time for the breathing space as it were for the Iraqi leaders to reach an agreement for political purpose, has not been achieved. And I see very little evidence thus far that it will be achieved.

Now, we always hope, you can always point to some things that are happening but what you are not seeing is a prime minister, who has now been in office for a year and a half, who has known exactly what he has to do, has not done it. And I'm disappointed by the lack of political progress.

COLLINS: On the military front, curious to get your thoughts about the so-called surge. When the ISG made its report, there really wasn't anything about a troop buildup. In fact, to be clear, it said, the recommendation was by the first quarter of 2008, depending upon the developments in the security situation, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq. Instead, we saw 30,000 troops go in.

HAMILTON: We also said in the report that we could support a short-term surge. There's never been any doubt in my mind if you put a lot of American forces into a geographical region, you're going to improve security. We have always in Iraq, from the very beginning, been able to clear an area. That's not the question. We have the military power to clear any area.

The real question is whether you can hold it for a sustained period of time and whether you can build towards a better country, better society. That very much remains to be seen.

COLLINS: So does it make sense to you then that General Petraeus is asking for more time?

HAMILTON: It makes sense only if there is some prospect, I think, a reasonably good prospect of getting a political settlement. He did not indicate that that was near. Neither did Ambassador Crocker.

COLLINS: Congressman Lee Hamilton, appreciate your insights here today. Co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, thank you again.

HAMILTON: Thank you.

HARRIS: A small West Virginia town stunned today by a gruesome case. Six people held on bond this morning. The white suspects accused of torturing an African-American woman. CNN's Brianna Keilar is in Charleston.

Brianna, good to see you. Might we see enhanced hate crime charges in this case?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, Logan County prosecutors are looking into that possibility. Consulting with the FBI, but police reports alleging that at least one suspect used a racial slur as she cut the victim, Megan Williams, with a knife.

As you know, CNN usually doesn't name victims in sexual assault cases, but in this particular case, the Williams family says they want the public to know exactly what happened to Megan. At this point the 20-year-old is inside of this hospital, here in Charleston, West Virginia, recovering. It's about an hour and a half from Big Creek, West Virginia, where police say that she was held.

Police also say that her survival may have come down to an anonymous tip that they received. When they went to check the tip out on Saturday, here is what they found.


SHERIFF W.E. HUNTER, LOGAN COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA: Upon approaching the place that they found Frankie Brewster (ph) sitting on the front porch. Got to talking to her. She got up and walked toward the door and a young black lady came to the door and said please help me.

She had two black eyes, part of her hair had been pulled out. She had lacerations on her legs. Marks on her neck. And she had been physically and mentally and sexually abused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This just sounds like a horrific crime.

HUNTER: It's out of a horror movie.


KEILAR: Police at this point arrested and are holding six suspects, all of them white. And police reports really paint Frankie Lee Brewster and her son bobby as the ring leaders in this kidnapping and rape case. George Messer, as well as Alicia and Karen Burton, a mother and daughter and Danny Combs are also facing very serious criminal charges.

All of them have an extensive history of criminal charges. They're very familiar to authorities, in Logan County, West Virginia, and in particular, CNN has confirmed that Frankie Lee Brewster actually served five years for voluntary manslaughter in relation to the death of her mother-in-law -- Tony.

HARRIS: CNN's Brianna Keilar. What just horrible story.

Brianna, thank you.

Was this shocking torture case in the West Virginia hills a hate crime? We will hear from the sheriff who is investigating this case later in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Deploying to Iraq, U.S. troops offer their thoughts on the mission ahead, while heading into the fight.

HARRIS: A devastating spinal injury, now a new development. Will NFL player Kevin Everett walk again? Our Elizabeth Cohen joins us live to put things in perspective.

COLLINS: Trapped under water. A desperate call for help answered.


HARRIS: Once again, we want to bring you the very latest information on a story we will be following throughout the morning here in the CNN NEWSROOM. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island.

As you can see, here, in the first pictures into CNN, from the Indonesian state run television, employees fleeing into the streets now. This happened at the end of the work day. A small tsunami detected, following the quake, off the southwest coast of Indonesia, about two feet high in some places, smaller in others.

Certainly, this is a much smaller tsunami than the one that devastated that same general area in 2004. A tsunami watch issued for all of the Indian Ocean areas. We're talking about Australian, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen and Kenya.

A little more on India, now. India has issued tsunami alert for some of its coastal states and we are getting reports of collapsed homes. We will continue to follow developments in this story throughout the morning here in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Is there new hope this morning for an NFL player who suffered a life-threatening spinal cord injury? CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here now with more details on Kevin Everett.

Boy, there are lots of stories flying on this. We want to be very, very careful to give the information that we know, and what we are hearing from the doctors. Two different doctors at least that I have seen quotes from, there's Cappuccino who actually operated on Kevin Everett. And then there's another doctor, in Miami, who seems to be saying some things are a little bit different than from what the actual operating surgeon has said.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. This is very confusing. We want to be very clear what doctors are saying what. Heidi mentioned there is a doctor in Miami named Bart Green (ph), who has consulted on this case but as far as we know has never actually seen Everett.

Green is in Florida, Everett is in New York, but Green was quoted in "The New York Times" as saying, he will walk again. Well, any case where you have someone who is sick, you want to get information right from their doctor. So here is what Everett's surgeon, Andy Cappuccino, had to say.


ANDY CAPPUCCINO, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: I want to caution everyone to understand that this was early in the phase, in the healing phase. This is not a prognostic indicator and this young man suffered a potentially lethal and grave injury so we are still greatly concerned.


COHEN: As far as we know the Doctor Cappuccino hasn't changed his attitude on this. This early on in a spinal cord injury, anything can happen. There can be peaks, there can be valleys. There can be days that look great, days that don't look great. They don't say, he's going to walk again for a couple of weeks. I mean, they wait on that kind of assessment until they actually see him walk again.

COLLINS: Absolutely. It's just kind of points toward everybody really wanting to hear good news in this case.

COHEN: Of course.

COLLINS: And wanting to will him to walk again. I think people get very excited when they hear that. Why don't you tell us exactly what we do know about his condition right now?

COHEN: Here is what we do know. We do know that on Sunday, Everett suffered a break between his third and his fourth vertebrae. We know that when he was lying on the field he did not have movement, but he was responsive, he was alert and he did have sensation, which is really a terrific sign. We also know that six hours after surgery, he could move his arms and his legs, mostly his legs. While that is a fabulous sign, again, it doesn't necessarily mean that he will walk again. That is something, again, that doctors assess over a period of time, not just a couple of days. Things are very fluid in the first 72 hours.

COLLINS: Yeah. If there is substantial progress? And if, later on, he is able to walk, I know this injury was very, very high up in the neck. Which is what the surgeons are so very concerned about because of the damage that that leaves regarding quadriplegia. Would be this the type of miracle as if Christopher Reeve had gotten up out of his wheelchair?

COHEN: You know what, it would not. Doctors that we talked to, who are not involved in this case, but were very clear about that. They said that when someone like Christopher Reeve is in wheelchair for years and years, and let's say he had gotten up out of that wheelchair, and started walking, that really would have been miraculous. People would have used the term, miracle.

However, Everett was paralyzed for only really a short period of time. He regained movement within hours after his surgery. Of course, any kind of movement is terrific, but a miracle? A lot of doctors wouldn't use that word. Because often within those first 72 hours, you see things improve. It happens. It's not uncommon.

COLLINS: Yeah. We will continue to follow this story. Everybody obviously very concerned about Kevin Everett.

Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

HARRIS: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a noose hanging from the tree. The ugly symbol, a racial hatred sparks action on a university campus. I will talk to the president of the school's Black Student Union. You're in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: An outrageous comment and a public outcry. This morning Rutgers University basketball player Kia Vaughn (ph) has dropped her lawsuit against radio host Don Imus. Vaughn sued last month for slander and defamation. Imus was fired in April after he made a racially insensitive remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team. A spokesman for Vaughn's attorney says the lawsuit is being dropped because Vaughn decided to focus on her education and on basketball.

HARRIS: Investigating a possible hate crime, a noose, you'll see it here in just a second, hanging from a building that houses several African-American student groups at the University of Maryland.

Last night a town hall meeting was held on campus. Altmann Pannell was there, he's the president of the University of Maryland's Black Student Union. He joins us live.

Altman, good to talk to you.

ALTMANN PANNELL, PRES. BLACK STUDENT UNION, U OF MARYLAND: Thank you. Good to talk to you today.

HARRIS: What do you have here? Do you have an isolated incident, or do you feel you have a racial/ethnic intolerance issue on the campus?

PANNELL: We see it not as an isolated incident, because a series of incidents can happen on like this. It's a very diverse campus. The population is vast. Many cultural groups are on this campus and they do pride themselves in diversity. However, an issue that the campus has dealt with in the past, and are dealing with now, is that when you mix so many groups together a lot of people aren't used to that type of environment. So they might have backlash with that.

HARRIS: What does that mean? Does that speak to a need for more diversity training, classes, exercises? There was there a lot of criticism of those kinds of efforts.

PANNELL: Well, on the campus, we have certain things like cross- cultural communication classes. And what those basically are is they find out what -- who you are and what you believe. And they try to match you up with people who have different beliefs to try to get that out there, so you can understand what is going on, and understand what is going on in their lives. Because a lot of times, racism doesn't start. Ignorance starts racism; that generally the prequel to racism. And that ignorance leads to saying things or doing things that -- because what you see on TV perhaps -- what you've heard or past convictions leads people feeling uncomfortable about certain --

HARRIS: I have to ask you something. That this noose could hang from that tree for more than five minutes even, would seem to suggest that maybe folks aren't getting the message.

PANNELL: Well, I think the issue about the noose hanging from the tree is that people who might have witnessed it didn't know what to do.


PANNELL: When it was witnessed, last Friday, I witnessed it myself, a couple of other colleagues of mine, and advisors. We did call the proper authorities at that point in time.

HARRIS: You have an incident like this and people can do a couple of things. They can come together, or they can head to their respective camps. What do you believe is going to happen to the aftermath of this episode?

PANNELL: Well, just even last night and we had a general body meeting on Monday. There are so many cultural groups, so many organizations, white, black, Asian, Latino, you name it, they were out there united to say that we're not going to take this sitting down.

HARRIS: What did you think came out of last night?

PANNELL: More or less, we want to see action. Because the university is giving us their ears, now we need to show them what we need and what we want as a university.

HARRIS: Why did you hold it on the sixth anniversary, the town hall meeting, on the sixth anniversary of 9/11?

PANNELL: Well, lynching in America was used after slavery as a form of terror. And we feel that lynchings in the black community is a form of terrorism. So, being that we're in a culture of fear right now, that is so fixated on the war on terrorism, it was a perfect opportunity to show that domestic terrorism is just as well as foreign terrorism.

HARRIS: Altmann Pannell, thanks for your time.

PANNELL: Thank you.

HARRIS: Now get to class, all right?

PANNELL: All right.


ANNONCER: Live from the CNN NEWSROOM, Tony Harris and Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: Good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM everybody. I'm Tony Harris.

A powerful earthquake to tell you about in Indonesia. A tsunami watch ordered for the entire Indian Ocean region. A small tsunami detected. A quake causing buildings to sway in Indonesia's campaign of Jakarta. A spokesman for Mercy Corps tells CNN buildings and homes have collapsed in one particular town there and people are running in the streets. The U.S. Geological Survey reports the 7.9 magnitude quake struck off Southern Sumatra Island. That's very near the area where a massive earthquake struck in December, 2004. It triggered a tsunami and killed more than 230,000 people, most of them in Indonesia.

COLLINS: Mercy Corps reports crumbled buildings and chaos in the streets in one town in Indonesia. We're going to have some live accounts coming up right here in THE NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: New numbers in the Republican race for president. Fred Thompson's entry putting two names at the top of the voters' wish lists.



COLLINS: Want to give you the very latest on this earthquake that we have been telling you about all morning long now in Indonesia. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake. It hit in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island. You see it there -- you see the center of it there. Bengkulu is another area that we have been telling you about, where reports are coming in. Buildings and homes have collapsed.

Unfortunately, this happened at the end of the work day, when, you know, you would expect there to be quite a few people in the streets returning to their homes or possibly with whatever their plans were for after work. So, certainly a concern there.

We're going to get more information now.

Live on the telephone from Jakarta we have Craig Redmond.

He is with Mercy Corps there.

Craig, tell us, first, just what you're seeing around you and what the latest situation is.

CRAIG REDMOND, MERCY CORPS: Well, I'm here in Jakarta. But I'm hearing from our teams based there in Bengkulu. A lot of destruction. A lot of houses seem to be collapsed in Bengkulu. And, as you said, homes also collapsed. Right now, people are trying to figure out what the next step is, where they're going to be staying tonight and so forth.


Well, we should also report, we have just heard that the tsunami watch, which is obviously what you worry about in the geographical location of Indonesia after such a big earthquake, has been lifted. Again, that tsunami watch for the entire Indian Ocean has been lifted. So that is some good news when you talk about the next step.

But, boy, looking at some reports here, it is amazing to me that Indonesia has fallen victim to 15 earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.3 or higher. That is just unbelievable. Now, that's since the tsunami of December of 2004. This is an area where people are all too familiar with this type of devastation.

REDMOND: Absolutely. It's incredible. If you look down that west coast of Sumatra, the number of areas that have been hit there from earthquakes and from tsunamis and from landslides and things like that is just incredible. Unbelievable that communities have to bear this once again.

COLLINS: How do they make it through?

How are they building their homes?

How are we keeping safe?

REDMOND: Well, you know, they're doing the best they can. Unfortunately, in Bengkulu, the place where this recent one just hit a couple of hours ago, is one of the most poorer provinces in all of Sumatra.


REDMOND: So it's particularly difficult for communities there. It's very hard to see how they're going to, you know, come back once again. Of course, they will. That's the incredible thing about it. You know, somehow the resiliency of those communities is unbelievable.

COLLINS: Tell us a little bit more about what you are hearing from -- as you mentioned your teams in Bengkulu about exactly what they're telling you about possible injuries or situations with hospitals.

Do they have hospitals there where they could go if, in fact, there are injuries to talk about?

REDMOND: Yes, they do. They have clinics and they have hospitals there. The challenge now -- well, it's a bit too early to say. But the challenge could be that, you know, those kinds of facilities get quickly overwhelmed. So that's -- that's certainly a concern.

Luckily, some of the folks on our team there are part of our emergency response team and have been trained in this sort of thing. So they're right now doing assessments to see how they can move and be of assistance to the local authorities there.

COLLINS: What exactly are they doing at this time, those local authorities, as well as your teams?

Just -- are they scouring the area looking for people who may be in buildings or in their homes?

REDMOND: Yes. Exactly. Yes, responding to the first needs, which are injuries of people who may or may not be trapped and so forth. And then going about doing assessments to see what kinds of things are needed. Of course, the first thing you want to take care of is to make sure people have shelter, water and sanitation and, you know, latrines and those sorts of things -- and food. And those are the basic needs that have to be looked at first.

COLLINS: Yes, absolutely.

Well, Craig, we certainly appreciate your information here today, as we continue to watch this and keep our eye on the aftermath, as well.

But important to point out once again that that tsunami watch has been lifted for the Indian Ocean here. So we will continue to bring you all the information alongside our Rob Marciano, as well.

Thanks so much, Craig.

Appreciate it.

REDMOND: You're welcome.

You're welcome.

HARRIS: Speaking of Rob, he is watching that situation for us very closely right now.

Let's check in with Rob -- Rob, good morning.


Hi, Heidi.

Heidi just mentioned that they dropped the tsunami watch. That's certainly good news. I'm on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Web site, which also taps into the Indian Ocean. They -- and I don't see anything on their Web site. But someone apparently at CNN has made the call and got the word. So let's hope that report hangs true.

The only rise that we've seen in sea level has only been a little over a foot. And that's about 300 miles away in this area. That's where the tidal gauge noticed a sea level rise about an hour or so after the earthquake itself, a 7.9, certainly a strong one. But good news with this one -- it's not nearly as strong as the one in 2004, December.


MARCIANO: The best news of all that we've just gotten word that that tsunami watch has been canceled for the Indian Ocean. Good stuff.

Heidi and Tony, back over to you.


COLLINS: Yes, absolutely. I mean after a quake like that, the last thing you want is a tsunami to follow behind, so that is good news.

Thanks so much for that, Rob.

MARCIANO: You bet.

COLLINS: A second crash landing this week bringing an important warning now. This was the scene in Denmark Sunday. We showed this video to you here. This Scandinavian Airlines Turbo Prop plane losing its landing gear. The same thing happened this morning in Lithuania. There were no injuries in either incident. But now, Canadian airplane maker Bombardier wants the planes grounded. The company says all of the Turbo Props that have made over 10,000 flights need to be re- inspected. Scandinavian Airlines already grounded their whole fleet of the planes, canceling more than 100 flights today.

HARRIS: A stunning announcement in Tokyo. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is stepping down after just one year in office. His decision follows a string of political scandals and a big election defeat in July. His ruling party lost control of the upper house of Parliament. Among other things, Abe says his troubles have had adverse effect on Japan's contributions to the war on terror. He says he hopes a new leader will be named, perhaps as early as today.

COLLINS: The Iraq War and plans to withdrew troops -- senior administration officials tell CNN President Bush is prepared to endorse the withdrawal of as many as 30,000 U.S. troops. They could return home by next summer. The president expected to make the announcement in a prime time address tomorrow night. The top commander in Iraq said the first drawdowns could begin within weeks.

General David Petraeus appeared on Capitol Hill, as you know, this week, with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. And this morning, they faced more questions. They held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. Democrats say the so-called withdrawals are merely drawing back the additional troops that were deployed in January.

HARRIS: Setting standards for toy safety -- parents have been outraged and worried. This morning, it's time for the toy company executives to answer questions. Chief executives from Mattel and Toys"R"Us talking to a Senate committee less than two hours from now. The hearing comes a day after China agreed to take steps to eliminate lead paint in toys exported to the United States. Millions of toys containing the toxic metal have been recalled in recent months. The other big safety concern from those Chinese made toys -- a possible choking hazard.

COLLINS: New numbers among Republican presidential hopefuls. Take a look at the new polls now from the Opinion Research Corporation.

Fred Thompson's official entry into the race is making things tight up top -- just one point behind Giuliani, in fact, making the race a virtual dead heat in the national polling. Thompson is clearly the big gainer here. He's stealing some of the support from the other candidates and he's also getting a bump from previously undecided voters. And we should stress this is a national poll. State polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire have Mitt Romney in the lead.

Well, you did it once. Now it's time for history to repeat itself. Go to and post your questions for the Republican presidential candidates. That debate coming your way Wednesday, November 28th. Your voice will be heard, only on CNN, your home for politics.

HARRIS: Love her or hate her -- we're still talking about her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. You're going to be wearing a bra and bikini underwear in front of God and the world, you've got to be in better shape than that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she started making hip moves, the belly flopping was more obvious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought her body looked great, in my opinion. I mean if I had a body like that, I'd be very happy.


HARRIS: All right, all right, all right. Weighing the success of Britney's comeback attempt.


HARRIS: Hey, we've been asking for I-Reports and, man, you have responded very quickly here to the request.

We're going to show you some -- an I-Report of this tremendous earthquake, 7.9 now. It struck in the Indian Ocean off of -- let's see the video.

Can we show everyone the video?

This is cell phone video of an apartment building submitted by Siddhanth Maheshwari. I hope that's close. I hope it's in the neighborhood.

Let's listen in.


SIDDHANTH MAHESHWARI: Oh, God. It's really strong and it's really long. The building is still shaking. Oh, god help us. We are all in the balcony right now.


HARRIS: Siddhanth Maheshwari sending in some -- an I-Report, cell phone video of that -- his apartment building swaying. And you see that in that video in Jakarta.

Once again, be safe, by all means, be safe. But if you get an opportunity and can capture some of the sights and sounds, please send them to us here at CNN.

COLLINS: Several coalition raids to tell you about in central Iraq now. The U.S. military reports one insurgent killed and 13 captured. Among them, an alleged associate of the so-called mastermind in the bombing of one of Shia Islam's most revered mosques. That bombing last year in Samarra fueled Sunni/Shiite tensions and help sparked a wave sectarian violence all across the country.

HARRIS: In the Philippines, deposed President Joseph Estrada facing life in prison. Estrada was convicted today of corruption charges. His trial lasted nearly six years. After his conviction, Estrada called the verdict a politically motivated sham by a kangaroo court. Estrada, a former film star, was elected in 1998, but ousted nearly seven years ago in a revolt.

COLLINS: Disorder in the court -- the judge fed up with an uncooperative defendant.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your attorney has been in to see you on numerous occasions. You have spit on him. You have refused to talk to him. This trial is still going forward on Monday. You have you a weekend to change your attitude, Mr. Hollingsworth.


COLLINS: Yes, that's a spit guard, apparently, that he was wearing. We'll tell you more about this and what happened to courtroom decorum.

HARRIS: And thousands of U.S. troops hopeful for a homecoming. The president set to tell the nation about a drawdown in Iraq.


HARRIS: All right, here's the idea. You're going to go to CNN...

COLLINS: (INAUDIBLE) glad you're back. You're so much better at this than I.

HARRIS: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

COLLINS: Yes, you really are.

HARRIS: You're very good at this.

COLLINS: No, no, no, I'm terrible at it.

HARRIS: No, Heidi -- Heidi, you're very good at that.

COLLINS: Welcome back, by the way.

HARRIS: Thanks, Heidi.

Oh, what am I supposed to be doing here? COLLINS: The pod cast.


All right, here's is the plan. You go to at some point today -- any time you'd like, and that's the key here.

Whenever you want an update on the news and some different items that maybe don't make it into the mix here in THE NEWSROOM, which comes your way 9:00 to 12:00 every day right here on CNN.


HARRIS: We're trying to make it more and more fun, aren't we?

It is a lot of fun. So what you do is you go to and download the CNN daily NEWSROOM pod cast, available to you -- are these gestures big enough -- 24-7 right there on your iPod.

COLLINS: See, here's very good at it.

HARRIS: Oh, please.

COLLINS: A pop star's comeback turns into a train wreck.

Come on, is it time to give Brit a break?

CNN's Jeanne Moos finds out.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The song Britney sang...


MOOS: Oh, she got it, all right. "Lard And Clear," chortled the "New York Post."

TMZ TV was outright mean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't know they made stripper wear for Butterball turkeys.

MOOS: And the celebrity disher, Paris Hilton, scrawled "help" and "mess" over photos of manipulated to look Britney Spears look even bigger than the original pictures.


JAY LENO, HOST: This was her big comeback?

The only thing she was coming back from is the buffet table. Stop!


MOOS: At the buffet table of pop culture, there were those who saw it ...


MOOS (on camera): I take it you saw it.



MOOS: And those who didn't, but heard about it.

(on camera): You didn't?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. But I hear she was fat.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bet there's not one man criticizing her for being fat right now. And I bet it's women.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: and that's sad, that women turn on women and call each other fat when they're not fat. She's not fat. She has had two kids!



MOOS: Well, actually, there were men who were critical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her body looked terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She should get out of that outfit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she's flaunting it, it's appropriate to talk about it.

MOOS: She sure got talked about on late night.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: She was rolling around on the floor like speared sea life.


MOOS: And to think that just last year Letterman was kissing Britney's hand and telling her ...


LETTERMAN: Lord, you look great.


MOOS: Back when she was pregnant.


BRITNEY SPEARS, POP STAR: Don't worry, Dave, it's not yours.



MOOS: From laughing with her to laughing at her.

On YouTube, a guy who calls himself Chris Crocker cried on Britney's behalf.


CHRIS CROCKER: Her song is called "Give Me More" for a reason, because all you people want is more, more, more, more, more! Leave her alone!


MOOS: But leaving her outfit alone didn't seem to be an option.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. If you're going to be wearing a bra and bikini underwear in front of God and the world, you've got to be in better shape than that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she started making the hip moves, the belly flopping was more obvious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bad. Somebody should have put her away somewhere.


CROCKER: You're lucky she even performed for you (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED). Leave Britney alone!


MOOS: And in this age of skinny models wasting away ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought her body looked great, in my opinion. I mean, if I had a body like that, I'd be pretty happy.

MOOS: Britney performed a public service.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It keeps your mind off of the important things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so sick of holding my stomach in, you know?

MOOS (on camera): Are you holding it in right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course. I'm hoping he's up high. Don't you get me from behind.

MOOS (voice-over): Tell that to Britney.


CROCKER: Leave Britney Spears alone right now!


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: Ooh, we said so much during the package that you didn't hear us say. Now I'm not quite sure what to say. It's (INAUDIBLE)...

HARRIS: We have expectations of our movie stars. We have expectations of our pop stars. That's not the expectation. I understand you had children...

COLLINS: Now, wait a minute...

HARRIS: Put clothes on.

COLLINS: No, expectations for their talent?

HARRIS: That's all.

COLLINS: ...expectations for their talent...

HARRIS: We have ex...

COLLINS: ...or expectations for how they look in underwear?

HARRIS: Absolutely.

In underwear?


Yes, that was underwear, wasn't it?

HARRIS: No. She could just -- just put clothes on. She was looking fine. Just put some clothes on. We don't need to see that butt cheese hanging out there. We didn't need to see that.


HARRIS: Was that too much?

Was that too much for the room?

Was that too much for the room?

I apologize if that was too much for the room.

Don Lemon, was that too much for the room?

Oh, my. All right.

COLLINS: I'm out.


HARRIS: Still to come in the NEWS -- oh, let's take a break because this tease item won't work.


HARRIS: Mike, let's just go to break.