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Ahmadinejad In America; Missing Boy Scouts; UAW Strike; Editorial Fallout

Aired September 24, 2007 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Eight missing Boy Scouts. The urgent search right now in the North Carolina mountains.
Campus firestorm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His government perishes, and tortures and executes dissidents. There is no freedom of speech in Iran.


ROBERTS: Iran's president addresses Columbia University today.

Plus, extreme photo sharing. A teen's picture posted on Flickr gets used in a racy ad without her permission. Could it happen to you? The fight over who owns your image online, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And good morning to you. Thanks very much for being with us as we kick off a brand new week, Monday September the 24th. I'm John Roberts.


And we start with breaking news out of North Carolina this morning. A search right now in the mountains near Asheville for 11 members of a Boy Scout troop. They didn't come home last night as scheduled from a weekend camping trip. It was in the Pisgah National Forrest. Overnight we heard from a woman who's son and husband are on the trip. She says she thinks the troop just decided to stay put. She sounded confident that they were all right.


LISA LOGAN, MOTHER OF MISSING SCOUT: I think more likely than not what happened is they got behind in their schedule, saw they weren't going to get out by dark, decided it was probably safer for all of the boys to just stop, camp and come out in the morning. And I feel like that's what they're doing. I have a complete peace that they're fine.


CHETRY: All right. There we have it. Eight boys and three adults were camping in the mountains near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Police in Haywood County say their cars were found in the campground parking lot. They were supposed to come home at 9:00 last night. Some of the mothers started calling when there was no phone call to let them know that they were actually on their way. It was a five- hour drive for many of them.

Well, police will be holding a news conference at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time. We will bring it to you live. We're also going to check in with our reporter who is on the scene in North Carolina with an update in just a couple of minutes.

ROBERTS: Other headlines new this morning.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York City today stirring up controversy about (ph) his speech at Columbia University this afternoon. He denies that the U.S. and Iran are headed toward war and he denies that Iran is building nuclear weapons, even wants them. But he refused to answer the question posed to him by "60 Minutes" last night about whether Iran is arming insurgents in Iraq.


MIKE WALLACE, "60 MINUTES": Are you saying that it is not the policy of this government to send weapons into Iraq? Sir, forgive me, you're smiling, but this is a very serious matter to America.

PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN, (through translator): It's serious for us as well. I dare say it's serious for everyone. It seems to me that it's laughable for someone to turn a blind eye to the truth and accuse others. It doesn't help. And the reason that I'm smiling, again, it's because the picture is so clear, but American officials refuse to see it.

WALLACE: Mr. President, can you tell me that you are not sending weapons to Iraq? Very simple, very directly.

AHMADINEJAD: We don't need to do that. We are very much opposed to war and insecurity.

WALLACE: Is that no, sir?

AHMADINEJAD: It's very clear the situation. The insecurity in Iraq is detrimental to our interests.


ROBERTS: Well, protests are planned at Columbia University today for the Iranian president's visit. AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho is live near the campus for us this morning.

What's security like up there today, Alina?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, good morning.

Police are already here on campus and they are getting ready to lock down a six-block radius. So security is in place. That's because in a matter of hours, as you mentioned, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be coming here and some students, faculty and even some elected officials in New York say they are ready. They will be here, too. Said one, to make his life miserable.

Now there are protests planned for today. Not sure exactly how large they will be. But having said that, there was a small gathering here on campus yesterday. Even got a bit heated at times. One New York state assemblyman said Ahmadinejad should be arrested when he comes to Columbia, not invited to speak and others said the same.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think it is an outrage against civilization for Columbia University to lend its prestige and its status to a man -- to a dictator whose government executes homosexuals, tortures and kills journalists, locks up students.


CHO: Now what's gotten people so mad is that Ahmadinejad has made a number of controversial statements. He's called the holocaust a myth and said Israel should be wiped off the map. Now Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, says he plans to personally challenge Ahmadinejad on a number of issues, including these. He also said that the very fact that Iran could not hold an open discussion like this is the same reason why Ahmadinejad should be allowed to speak here. One Columbia dean went a step further.


DEAN JOHN COATSWORTH, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: If Hitler were in the United States and wanted a platform from which to speak, he would have plenty of platforms to speak in the United States. If he were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.


CHO: Now Ahmadinejad will be giving a speech here starting at 1:30 this afternoon, assuming everything goes as planned. He'll also be answering some tough questions. The event is closed to the public, only students, faculty and staff are allowed. Six hundred tickets were made available. They were gone in an hour.

And, John, contrary to earlier indications, the Iranian foreign minister says Ahmadinejad does plan to visit Ground Zero. And one Iranian news agency even said that he also plans to visit with 9/11 victims.

ROBERTS: Well, we'll see if that happens. And we'll be talking, by the way, to John Coatsworth, who's the dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, coming up in our next hour of AMERICAN MORNING.

And also you can watch live coverage of the Iranian president's address at Columbia University, 1:30 Eastern Time this afternoon. And if you're away from your television set, go to, just follow the links to the live debate.

CHETRY: All right. Back to our top story. And it's an overnight search for a missing Boy Scout troop in North Carolina. Jeremy Butterfield is with our affiliate WLOS in Raleigh, North Carolina, this morning. Live at the command center in Cruto (ph), North Carolina.

Good morning, Jeremy. And what do you know so far about what authorities think may happened to this troop?

JEREMY BUTTERFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, with talking to search and rescue crews and taking to some relatives, what they tell us is, this Boy Scout troop, Troop 217 out of Raleigh, came to this area to go for a weekend hike and camping trip. They were scheduled to be back Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening, sometime back in Raleigh. When no one showed up, the phone chain began and eventually the authorities here were called.

They began their search 9:30 Sunday night. They were on the mountain by 10:30 at Black Blasom (ph) in the Pisgah National Forest. They had four crews out there, four teams of three, with dogs, search and rescue dogs.

They say they spent the night overnight searching for these boys. They have kept one crew up there right now. The other crews are back here and they are expecting to bring in even more for the morning. They say five more crews are expected to come in for the morning and continue this search.

Now the boys were prepared for a weekend camping trip, so they do have gear with them. They do have sweatshirts, long sleeved shirts, that sort of thing. And also rescue crews tell us that overnight the weather was not entirely too terrible. There was no rain. It didn't get extremely cold.

So everyone here is just hoping that they went with their training, their Boy Scout training there, hunkered down when they did get lost. Maybe stayed there for a little while. Wait until morning. That's what the parents are hoping will happen, that they'll come out when daylight comes up and they'll have a better time finding them then.

Live here from Cheron (ph), I'm Jeremy Butterfield.

Back to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: And, Jeremy, one quick question. Do we know if anybody in the troop, the three scout leaders, had cell phones or had any way to communicate by phone?

BUTTERFIELD: Well, from what I've been told, phone coverage in that part of the mountain is nonexistent. Basically even if they did have a cell phone, they wouldn't have coverage. They say they haven't had any contact with the boys. The search and rescue teams have been combing the area. They haven't had any contact as of yet. But again, they're hoping that as daylight comes up, they'll have more luck of finding these boys.

CHETRY: All right, Jeremy, thanks so much. We'll check in with you a little bit later as well. News conference scheduled in about an hour and a half. Hopefully we'll get more details on what could have happened.


ROBERTS: Time to check in now with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new this morning.

I strike deadline for auto workers at General Motors 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time this morning. Ali Velshi following all this. He joins us.

Good morning, Ali.


This is actually interesting because the deadline was September 14th, a week ago Friday, and the United Auto Workers had been extending their talks with General Motors on an hour by hour basis. But everybody was expecting a result.

All of the sudden, at 1:00 in the morning Eastern, the UAW issued a strike deadline -- they issued a statement where it said, unless UAW members hear otherwise, between now and the deadline, we will be on a national strike against General Motors at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

Now there are two schools of thought on this. We've been sort of talking to people who follow this very closely. One is that that's good news. That if they've set a strike deadline, it means they've settled a number of issues.

However, the wording in the press release, John, suggests that there are problems. And the other point of view this that this is, in fact, serious. That these people might actually walk off the job.

The contacts we've made on the ground at Union Local say that they are prepared for a strike. The picket signs are ready and their members know what to do if the strike is called at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

We'll be on that story, John. We'll bring you more on it as it develops.

ROBERTS: All right. I mean, what are the chances of that actually happening, you think, Ali?

VELSHI: They seem to have increased a little bit. There seem to be some real sticking points. However, people say that even if there is a strike, which would be the first in a very long time, it wouldn't go on very long.

ROBERTS: All right. Ali Velshi for us this morning.

Ali, thanks. We'll keep checking back in with you, particularly on that issue of whether or not they'll go out on strike.

Rob Marciano at the CNN weather desk tracking extreme weather from Kansas all the way up to Minnesota today.



CHETRY: A drop in gas prices topping your "Quick Hits." The latest Lundberg Survey says pump prices fell about two cents in the last couple of weeks to a national average of $2.79 a gallon. Newark, New Jersey, by the way, has the lowest average price, $2.51 a gallon. Chicago still with the highest in the nation. Gas prices in the windy city, $3.16.

Well, evil reigned at the box office this weekend, at least "Resident Evil Extinction." It was a zombie flick that debuted in the top spot, bringing in $24 million. "Good Luck, Chuck," "The Brave One" and "3:10 to Yuma," as well as "Eastern Promises," round out the weekend's top five.

Well there's a big free speech debate on a different campus making news this morning. The student newspaper at Colorado State drops the "f" bomb when writing about our president. We're going to talk with the editor who made that call, up next.

Also, the family members of fallen Iraq War veteran say that these t-shirts go too far. A fight for their good names is still ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



A new picture of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro topping your "Quick Hits" now. This is the first new photo in more than three months. It's Castro with Angola's president taken on Saturday. It's also the first time that Castro has been seen standing in months. Of course, rumors continuing to swirl about his declining health.

And a dramatic crash and burn at the Dodge Dealer's 400 in Delaware. John Andretti's car burst into flames after a crash with 30 laps left. He wasn't hurt. Carl Edwards ended up winning the race but his car failed a post-race inspection.

And a roadside in Ohio may be giving some people the wrong idea. It looks like it's encouraging drivers to steal the plates instead of warning them about steel s-t-e-e-l plates on the road.

ROBERTS: Whatever happened to education.

Fallout on the campus of Colorado State University over an editorial in the student newspaper. The headline read in huge letters and bold type "taser this f bush." But instead of just the letter "f," they used the entire word. Gene Lion (ph) of our affiliate KMGH has got more on this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It surprised me at first just because it's right there in big and bold letters.

GENE LION, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): The four word editorial includes a four-letter word.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was uncalled for. It was terrible journalism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe in free speech, so I think it's fine.

LION: Fresh off free speech debates after a Florida student was tased. The editorial on page four reads, "taser this," then the f word "Bush." David McSwane is "The Collegian's" editor and says the seven student panel came up with the column to get attention.

DAVID MCSWANE, "THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGIAN": We felt that maybe four words were more impactful than 250.

LION: For its part, the university says, "while we understand that the editorial is upsetting and offensive to many people," it's "prohibited by law from censoring or regulating the content." And that "The Collegian is self-funded, not supported by student fees."

Here at CSU, authority over the student newspaper falls with the board of student communications. And David McSwane says his future as editor is in jeopardy.

MCSWANE: Our intentions weren't, hey, let's really upset the community. Our intentions were, let's get college students talking about freedom of speech.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He means what he says. And I like that. I'd rather have, you know, a not so politically correct person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Find a new editor. Somebody who can edit.


ROBERTS: Well, there you go. That was Gene Lion of our Denver affiliate KMGH reporting. And we now have on the phone the editor-in- chief of "The Rocky Mountain Collegian," Dave McSwane. He's joining us to talk a little bit more about this editorial.

And, Dave, what was the purpose of it?

DAVE MCSWANE, "THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGIAN": Well, like your segment said there, the purpose of it was to get the issue -- students talking about freedom of speech. We felt that students were largely apathetic after the Taser incident in Florida. We felt strongly that, you know, it's something we should be talking about and exercising on a college campus.

ROBERTS: Yes, people have suggested that this is vulgar, perhaps sophomoric. What do you say about that?

MCSWANE: Well, you know, I wouldn't entirely disagree. You know, free speech, you know, when you say things like this, you don't expect everyone to agree with it. We felt that rather than writing an editorial, you know, like we usually do, making a claim, that instead of writing about it, we'd exercise it.

ROBERTS: Right. Now you have to appear before the university's board of student communications on Tuesday to defend your job. Are you going to continue to stand behind this editorial?

MCSWANE: Yes. Absolutely.

ROBERTS: And what's the argument that you will use in going before the board, particularly when the board has got a policy that states "profane and vulgar words are not acceptable for opinion writing"?

MCSWANE: I think there's also some other things in that policy that states, you know, whether or not the editor feels it's important to the message. If you continue reading that, there's some things there. And we also have the editorial board. It just wasn't my decision.

ROBERTS: OK. Well . . .

MCSWANE: Ultimately I can hold it.

ROBERTS: Right. Well, how was this important to conveying the message then?

MCSWANE: Well, to us, it was, you know, we want people to understand that, you know, free speech is something we should talk about. We hope that this campus, for one reason for another, has been really apathetic, too quiet and, you know, we felt that the best way to spark that dialogue was to exercise it ourselves.

ROBERTS: All right. All right. Well, we'll keep watching this. We'll see if you hang onto your job.

That's David McSwane. He is the editor-in-chief of "The Rocky Mountain Collegian." His board responsible, editorial board responsible for that editorial the other day. It said, "taser this f," only using the entire word, "Bush."

Dave, thanks for joining us this morning.


CHETRY: Well, another controversy as it pertains to free speech. The fine print in a series of anti-war t-shirts is now drawing the wrath of the families -- of some of the families of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and it could ignite a legal battle as well. Here's a look at the t-shirts. They list the names of fallen soldiers and superimposed over the names the words "Bush lied," on the back of the t-shirt, "they died." The creator of the shirts, Dan Frazier (ph), is running into legal trouble, though. Five states have already passed laws requiring family permission to use the names of fallen soldiers for commercial use. Frazier says that he'll continue to ship the t-shirts to those states anyway. The ACLU is taking up his cause and he says that since this entire controversy ignited, he had sold 100 before that. Now he's sold more than 3,000 of these shirts.

The United Nations will soon be back in business in Baghdad. That tops your "Quick Hits" now. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon says the United Nations will open a new office there to encourage diplomacy. Security is still an issue, though. Back in 2003, 22 U.N. employees were killed in a bombing at its original Baghdad headquarters.

A badly burned Iraqi boy will undergo a second operation today at a southern California burn center. Doctors say the first operation to repair damage to little Youssif's face went well last week. The boy was disfigured when gunmen in Iraq poured gasoline on him and set him on fire.

You need to see this to believe it. It went from a bizarre moment to a YouTube video scene by millions. Do these pictures really show Pluto going off the deep end at Disney World. Or Disney Land, was it? Judge for yourself, coming up.

And judge this one for yourself as well. A teenager flashing the peace sign is going to war with Virgin Mobile because of it. The story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning.

MySpace is going mobile. Today the social networking site is launching a free advertiser-supported cell phone version. The mobile MySpace allows users to send and receive messages, to post bulletins, update blogs and also search for friends.

Well you'll soon be able to get a jolt of caffeine and a jolt of free music at Starbucks. The coffee giant plans to give away 50 million free digital downloads in conjunction with iTunes. Starbucks employee will be handing out free song cards that are redeemable online.

China is voting "American Idol" style TV shows out of prime time. The government wants strict controls on the dress and behavior of contestants and only the studio audience can vote. There's also no voting by text message, telephone or Internet.

ROBERTS: A gang of roving hooligans are tearing up South Africa's Cape Peninsula and residents seem powerless to stop it. Take a look here at what we're talking about. Baboons. Lots of them. A colony of about 350 has taken to opening car doors and breaking into homes to tear up the place foraging for food. There may not be much that anyone can do about it because the baboons are a protected species in South Africa.

CHETRY: There they are. You know, some of the witnesses say it looks like they're having a blast the whole time they're doing it. They look like they truly enjoy causing all that raucous.

ROBERTS: Suggestion, lock your car.

A story coming up now in our next half hour that you just can't miss. What happens if you post your photos on Flickr and those other, you know . . .

CHETRY: The photo sharing sites.

ROBERTS: Photo sharing sites.

CHETRY: Right. Well what if, you know, you took a picture at a family barbecue, let's say, and then the next thing you know your friends call and say, hey, you're in a major ad campaign for a cell phone family. Well, it actually happened to one teen and she and her family are fighting back. They used a picture of her and then put up a caption they deemed a little bit racy. And now the big question is, who owns her image and who would own your image and your reputation? We're going to talk about it with her lawyer when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: All right, there's a live picture this morning of WCNC, our affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. 68 degrees. Shaping up to be a pretty hot day, well above average. Going up to 90 degrees today in Charlotte on this Monday, September 24th. Glad you're with us. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. The temperature being high, means it wasn't too cold last night because we're following breaking news out of North Carolina.

The search is on for a missing Boy Scout troop that spent the night out in the wilderness. Eight Boy Scouts and three adults on the weekend campout in the mountains near the Blue Ridge Parkway about 15 or 20 miles southwest of Ashville. They were supposed to return to Raleigh last night. Police in Haywood County say search teams were organized after their families didn't hear from them. Their cars were in the campground parking lot. We'll get the latest from police at a 7:30 a.m. news conference and bring you updates. We're also trying to get one of the rescue workers on the phone to tell us what the status of all that is.

Some people know, the leaders of the scout troop say they're not worried about them. They probably got behind in their schedule and probably thought it was better to camp out overnight rather than trying to hike back to the parking lot. They expect to see them come out of the woods this morning. We'll keep a close eye on this story for you and get the latest as soon as we get it.

Kiran? CHETRY: Meantime, President Bush is predicting Hillary Clinton will beat Barack Obama and get the Democratic presidential nomination. All of that is from a book coming out today by reporter Bill Salmon called "The Evangelical President." The book is excerpted on It quotes the president saying it will be a tough race but the Republicans will hold the White House. Salmon quotes an anonymous White House sources as stating that Senator Barack Obama relies on his easy charm to get by and even though he is smart, is showing a, quote, "intellectual laziness."

An editor of the "New York Times" is taking on his own newspaper for running a controversial ad for at a price break. Clarke Hoyt wrote in yesterday's "Times" the ad, which featured a slammed against General Petraeus, was timed to go at the time he made the speech. It was sold to, quote, "for the standby price." That means it wasn't guaranteed to run on a certain day. But the ad did run on the day MoveOn asked for, which according to Hoyt, means the group should now pay the full and regular price. MoveOn is saying it will make up the difference.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the U.S. and Iran are not headed to war. He, of course, is in New York today. He'll be addressing the United Nations General Assembly tomorrow.

Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth is live at the United Nations now with a preview for us.

Hi, Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN NEWS SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. The Iranian leader makes his third appearance in front of the United Nations General Assembly. Will the third time be the charm? He's using a bit of a charm offensive again in New York. In about five and a half hours he'll answer questions by remote television with the National Press Club in Washington and appear before the General Assembly hours after President Bush on Tuesday. He says his country does not want to go to war, doesn't want a nuclear bomb. And he wants to provide correct information to the world. And the Iranian nation sees the General Assembly as providing a good podium to do that -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Richard Roth, live at the United Nations for us. Thank you.

President Ahmadinejad is already stirring up strong emotions in New York. He's been invited to speak at Columbia University today. Police are preparing for a large protest. The format will allow him to be challenged by students. He has, in the past, denied the holocaust happened and called for Israel to be destroyed. Ahmadinejad was denied permission to visit Ground Zero but some of his staff is telling our Alina Cho he may try to go there anyway.

We want to know what you think. Should Iran's president be allowed to speak at Columbia University? Go to our web page and cast your vote. It's all there at

ROBERTS: A road in Los Angeles is reopened after a weekend mudslide that trapped as many as 14 cars. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My car was floating in the mud.


ROBERTS: An estimated 4,000 tons of mud, boulders and tree limbs came tumbling down the hill. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Saturday's slide came in the midst of a late summer storm. The road has still a layer of silt on it now but it is driveable.

Coming up now to 35 minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano is tracking some extreme weather across the mid section of the country as well as a tropical storm that doesn't appear to be a threat to anybody.

Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John. Watching that tropical storm and that system that brought the mudslide to California -- is sliding off toward the east, creating problems as well. This is what's left of Jerry, heading into the central Atlantic and moving out to sea. Not a problem. Winds of 40 miles an hour.

Gulf of Mexico disturbance we're watching, obviously because it's close to home. At the moment it is not posing any threats as far as getting truly organized. It's bringing showers and thunderstorms into parts of southern Louisiana so those folks have to deal with that today.

Here's a storm that came into California, late season, I guess you say early season, winter-like storm into California. Now bringing snow into parts of Utah. We have snow advisories up for the Wasatch of Utah so look for maybe three to five inches of snow at the higher elevations, especially there, east of Salt Lake City. And some of that precip is getting into the Rocky Mountains. It will get into the upper Midwest. The threat for severe weather exists today. Mostly, it will get bumped up and over. What you see is tranquil weather east of St. Louis. Temperatures well above average. 91 degrees in Memphis. 77 degrees in New York City. It has been a lovely weather weekend and it's going to continue. Looks like for the first part of this week. Keep that storm out west.

John, Kiran, back up to you.

ROBERTS: All right, thanks, Rob.

CHETRY: Virginia Tech has received a $960,000 federal grant to improve its mental health services. The school requested the funding after April's mass shooting on campus. Seung-Hui Cho, the student gunman who killed 32 people before taking his own life, was found to be mentally ill but never got adequate counseling. The school spokesman says the grant money will be used to refine and strengthen their system. Public safety is behind Purdue University's plan to test an emergency campus text message system. Next week researchers will send a test text to a cross section of the campus population to analyze it for speed and dependability. More than 7,000 cell phone users at the Indiana school have signed up to receive the messages.

Still ahead, she is the new face of a major marketing campaign for Virgin Mobile. All of it was news to her, though. Now the family of one teenager is suing over the ads. We'll hear from her lawyer coming up in a few moments.

Still ahead, check out this video that you have to see to believe. It's all over YouTube right now. It's Pluto at the Disney Park chasing around a kid. If you think it's all in good fun, you need to see what happens next. That's ahead on "AMERICAN MORNING."


ROBERTS: The Supreme Court tops your "Quick Hits" now. The Justices return today for closed door conferences after their three- month summer break. We're getting an exclusive look behind the nine with CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. His new book is getting rave reviews. We'll talk with him about it at 8:00 a.m. eastern as he pulls back the curtain around the star chamber.

Two of the four women from Hooksett, New Hampshire, who were fired for gossiping are suing the town. They claim that their rights were violated when they were fired for discussing a rumored affair between the town administrator and a female employee.

And a mother should always be there for her son, except when he's committing a robbery. A Georgia woman allegedly drove the getaway car as her 12-year-old son and three friends robbed a house of 14 rifle collectibles worth thousands of dollars.

CHETRY: All right, how do you figure this one out? Who owns pictures that are posted on-line publicly? 16-year-old Alison Chang of Bedford, Texas had her picture taken -- This was taken by a friend at a church event. Another one of her friends -- then her friend posted on his Flickr account. That's an on-line account where you can upload photos and share them with people.

Now the photo is part of a new ad campaign for Virgin Mobile in Australia. Some of them have little snarky lines above them. This one says "Dump your pen friend." It's clearly Alison in the picture. It's been seen on billboards and bus stops across Australia.

Alison and her family never consented to it and they're suing. Their attorney Ryan Zell joins us from Houston.

Ryan, thanks for being with us.

RYAN ZELL, ATTORNEY: Thank you for having me.

CHETRY: First of all, how did Alison find out that her photo that was snapped at a church barbecue ended up all over Australia in Virgin's ad campaign?

ZELL: It was coincidental. The photographer in Australia saw the ad in front of a bus stop, took the picture, and posted it on Flickr. Alison eventually came across the picture, and that's when this whole dispute started.

CHETRY: What was her reaction?

ZELL: She was shocked. I believe, quoting her, she said "I think that's me. I'm insulted."

CHETRY: Is she insulted because, well, in one of them it says "Dump the pen pal"? Then in another incarnation of the ad it says something like "Three minutes, Virgin to Virgin." Is it the wording that upset her or is it the fact that she didn't know her picture was going to be used?

ZELL: It's both. She was upset first of all that her picture was being used without her consent or knowledge. But secondly, it is the wording of this picture billboard and the campaign in general. It says "Dump your pen friend" which is a little offensive to her and also says "Free Virgin to Virgin" which kind of has a double intender.

CHETRY: It also says "Free text: Fair use policy applies." I guess there's -- the company that provides these licensing agreements for Flickr, Creative Common, and they say once people post these pictures online, they actually are fair use, including for commercial purposes. How are you going to prove in court that that's not true?

ZELL: Well, the commercial purposes part or commercial use has been blown out of proportion. It's irrelevant to our case. What's important here is that Alison has a separate and independent right of privacy. It was incumbent upon Virgin Mobile to obtain her parents' consent before using this picture.

CHETRY: I've got you. You guys are suing. Would you, if there is some sort of cash settlement, allow Virgin to continue running the ads or will no amount of money allow to you keep running the ads?

ZELL: No, Alison is not looking for public attention. She's just a 16-year-old high school student that wants to carry along with her life. She does not want to be part of this ad campaign. It's important to say that Alison and her parents tried to resolve this issue for months before involving an attorney.

CHETRY: What did Virgin say? We reached out to them. Virgin, U.S. says it doesn't ply to us, they're a separate company. Virgin Mobile Australia is declining to comment. What were the behind-the- scenes dealings and discussions before this went to a lawsuit?

ZELL: Well, we sent them a letter, and gave them about a month to respond. Virgin Mobile sent -- gave the same type of response saying they have nothing to do with this. Virgin Mobile Australia we have still not heard back from.

CHETRY: How much money are you seeking? ZELL: Really this case to us isn't about money. Our purpose in filing this lawsuit is to ensure companies like Virgin Mobile act ethically and responsibly in that they expect rather than exploit privacy rights.

CHETRY: On a large issue, in the days of sharing photo, Shutterfly, Flickr, all of these things are out there. People upload their pictures. Friends forward them to other friends. Is this just the future when it comes to the fact that we are so much more public about our private lives because of the Internet?

ZELL: Right. It looks like it is the future. People are becoming more and more reliant on technology. What's interesting about this case it extends well beyond our client, and affects everybody that has upload aid picture on any photo sharing website.

CHETRY: Would you recommend Alison, her friends and other clients you advise to not do this?

ZELL: I think people need to be careful what they put on the Internet and they need to watch what they post and try to monitor as closely as they can.

CHETRY: Ryan Zell, Alison's attorney, thanks for being with us.

ZELL: Thank you.

ROBERTS: A new YouTube video is getting a lot of attention because it shows a kid being chased around Disneyland by Pluto. Take a look at this. It turned up on YouTube recently. It was supposedly shot last year sometime. No one is sure what the boy did to get the dog chasing after him. He chases the child around. Look at this. Gets into a confrontation with his mother. A lot of finger pointing going on and mom gives him a shove, ooh, right off the curb. Pluto goes down. Disneyland officials say they have seen the video but that's all they'll say about it at this point.

CHETRY: Looks like he's telling them to stop with the camera and keeps pointing. I'm wondering why. We never solved the mystery of Tigger who sucker punched the 16-year-old kid on video as well. There's some dispute whether the kid did something to Tigger.

ROBERTS: When characters attack. Bad dog.

Over $6 million in property damage tops your "Quick Hits" now. The damage report is in for the tornado that went through Eustis, Florida, Thursday night. 116 structures were impacted in total, 27 homes with major damage, seven of those destroyed.

A fire is under investigation in Atlantic City. A 43-story luxury edition under construction at the Borgata Hotel and Casino went up in flames on Sunday. Debris fell from the towers. Firefighters tried to put the blaze out. No one was hurt, though.

Another scary injury in pro football. Another NFL player taken off of the field on a stretcher after a neck injury. An update on his condition coming up.

A famous fashion designer has some dress-for-success tips for Hillary Clinton. His advice ahead on "AMERICAN MORNING." The most news in the morning is here on CNN.


CHETRY: We want to give you an update on a story we're following, a missing Boy Scout troop. They had gone hiking on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, overnight weekend camping trip in the mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina. They were due to return home yesterday, 7:00 p.m. No one heard from them. That's when police alerted that they were perhaps missing. They started a search last night at 9:00 p.m.

We did hear from one of our affiliate reporters. They located the vehicles of the troop leaders but were not able to find anyone. They say that they are going to be continuing the search. It has started up again.

Three adults and eight children, ages between 11 and 14 years old. This was a Boy Scout troop. We are going to get updated in about 40 minutes, hearing from police in Asheville about the status of the search and whether or not they know any more about it.

In fact, one of the mothers of one of the missing scouts -- her husband also is one of the scout leaders -- said that she's not terribly concerned because she believes what probably happened is they got behind in schedule, the sun started to go down and they figured it would be safer, rather than try to hike out of the area, to stay one more day. She's confident that at first light they will be seen again.

We're going to continue to follow the story. But again, 11 members of a Boy Scout troop in North Carolina not heard from. They were due to return yesterday at 7:00 p.m. from a weekend camping trip. We're getting an update in about 40 minutes from the local authorities and we'll bring it to you live here on "AMERICAN MORNING."

ROBERTS: Another scary injury in the NFL yesterday. Cedric Killings of Houston, Texas, suffered a head injury in a head collision and was taken off the field on a stretcher. His teammates tell the "Houston Chronicle" that Killings is doing better today, moving his arms and legs. Two weeks ago, Kevin Everett of the Buffalo Bills, you'll remember, suffered a spinal cord injury. It actually broke his neck. He's now being treated in Houston, the same city where this injury happened on Sunday.

CHETRY: A lot of people make appointments for laser hair removal, maybe tattoo removal. But a laser can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

"AMERICAN MORNING'S" Greg Hunter is looking out for you this morning. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GREG HUNTER, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Medical spas which offer laser treatments have grown 160 percent in the past three years. Some doctors worry the increased demand is outpacing the number of people trained to use it.

UNIDENTIFIED PHYSICIAN: If you use them inappropriately you can damage tissue severely.

HUNTER: This woman says she was disfigured by laser treatments to remove sun spots. The clinic employee who did the work was under supervision of a doctor, not on sight.


CHETRY: Well, what can do you to protect yourself and make sure that doesn't happen to you? Greg will show what you to watch out for, where to go if you want to have a laser treatment and what to avoid. That's all coming up in our next hour of "AMERICAN MORNING."

ROBERTS: Your "Quick Hits" now, Iran allowing the wife of a missing American to enter the country. Robert Levinson is a former FBI agent, seen March 8th at an Iranian vacation resort. He was working for a private security firm. Iran says they have no idea where he is.

America's premiere History Museum premiers a new television network this week. The Smithsonian Channel being launched in connection with Direct TV. It makes its debut after a 10-month delay. That service will be in high definition.

Dressing a presidential candidate, Donatella Versace has some fashion tips for Hillary Clinton. We'll tell you what she would have Hillary wear.

And gas prices are down but for how long? Could prices soon head back up? Ali Velshi "Minding Your Business" ahead on "AMERICAN MORNING."


CHETRY: Donatella Versace has some fashion advice for Clinton. Versace says that Clinton should wear skirts to be more feminine. She says Clinton should use her femininity as an opportunity and not try to be like men and that she should wear more black because strong women wear black.

ROBERTS: Coming up to 57 minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Ali, gasoline prices remarkably down even though the price of oil is up, which begs the question how long can it last?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's the only question it begs, John, because there are all sorts of people saying that there are all sorts of theories about how gasoline can continue to go down while oil can go up. Absolutely not true. Oil is a little lower than it was last week. It's still about 81 bucks.

But take a look at the price of gas. The national average for a price of gasoline is $2.79 a gallon for self-serve. It's the low in Newark, where it's not self-serve because you can't pour your own gas in Newark, $2.51 a gallon. The highest the city of Chicago, $3.16 a gallon. You may see localized prices higher than that.

The average price of oil is up 12 cents on a gallon basis. What you're seeing here is a small drop. Most folks who watch this expect gas to go up five to ten cents a gallon. And the only thing that would change that is if the price of oil drops quite a bit. And no one's expecting that to happen any time soon, John. So, yeah, you're going to expect your gas prices to go up.

ROBERTS: As I said, Ali, I was really surprised when I filled up the other day it was in New Jersey as well.

VELSHI: Enjoy it while you can. Too bad you can't stockpile the stuff.

ROBERTS: Wouldn't that be nice? Ali, thanks. We'll see you soon.


CHETRY: Here's a story coming up that you can't miss. A big controversy going on. Iran's leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be speaking -- he was invited and he accepted the invitation to Columbia University this afternoon. It's got a lot of people up in arms.

ROBERTS: A lot of people and politicians both political stripes weighing in on it. Both Newt Gingrich and Chuck Schumer think this is a bad idea. We'll be talking with the dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, who is the person who is responsible for inviting him there, John Coatsworth. He defends his decision. We'll find out what he's got to say about it.

CHETRY: And also there are critics who are saying it's a free speech issues. But is there a double standard? The Minuteman Project, which is also highly controversial, their president had his invitation taken away, yet Ahmadinejad has been invited and he's going to show up. We're going to talk and hear from the dean. It will be interesting.

ROBERTS: The next hour of "AMERICAN MORNING" starts right now. Breaking news. Where is Troop 217? The search in North Carolina for eight Boy Scouts and their leaders.

Free speech or hate speech?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should be arrested in New York.


ROBERTS: Iran's president addresses Columbia University today. We're live with the dean who made the invitation.

Plus, laser danger.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had second and third degree burns related to an inappropriate treatment.


ROBERTS: A warning before your appointment to have hair or tattoos removed. And lasers in the wrong hands, on this "AMERICAN MORNING."

Good morning to you. Thanks very much for joining us, as we start another brand new week, Monday, September 24th. I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: I'm Kiran Chetry. We start with breaking news out of North Carolina. There is a search going on right now in the mountains near Asheville for 11 members of a Boy Scout troop. They were supposed to come home last night around 7:00 from a scheduled weekend camping trip in the Pisca National Forest. Well, overnight, we heard from a women whose son and husband are on the trip. She says she thinks the troop just...