Return to Transcripts main page


Teacher Shot Outside Florida H.S.; Government Crackdown Continues in Pakistan; U.S. Death Rate Decreasing in Iraq; Special Team Disposes of IEDs in Iraq; Family of Missing Chicago Woman Suspect Husband

Aired November 6, 2007 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Myanmar had its monks. In Pakistan, it's the lawyers who are leading the revolt against the iron-fisted rule and paying a fearsome price.
DON LEMON, CO-HOST: We're live in Islamabad with the crackdown and the fallout, and our terrorism expert explains why this isn't just Pakistan's emergency.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Get straight to John Zarrella in Miami. Apparently some breaking news, a teacher shot outside of a school there in Miami Gardens in Florida.

John, what else do you know?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra, we're working a developing story here in Northwest Miami-Dade, and it's Carol City High School is the name of the high school.

Two teachers apparently on a smoke break, not on the campus, off the campus, when one of the teachers -- well, the two were confronted by a couple of suspects who said, "Give us your money." The teacher, one of the two teachers, said no, and at that point he was shot.

He has been transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. You can see him there being transported. We understand that he is in critical condition, shot in the upper torso, the latest information. But at the same time, we're hearing that the -- he was alert and conscious when he was brought in to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Now police, Miami-Dade County police, have set up a perimeter in the area. The special response team, as well as canine units are there. They are searching the area for the two suspects who approached the teachers. Obviously, at least one of these two suspects is armed and believed to be dangerous.

They may be held up in an apartment building near Carol City High School. That's the name of the high school where these teachers were. And so, police have that also blocked off.

We do not know if they have gone into the apartment building yet to begin the search for these two men. Obviously, Carol City High School, along with the middle school and an elementary school in the area, are on lockdown. But no students have been hurt that we know of.

And, it is, again believed that the suspects are on the run, may be in a nearby apartment building. And the teacher, again, in critical condition, but alert, conscious when he was brought into Ryder Trauma -- Trauma Center -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. John Zarrella, we'll continue to follow up with you throughout the afternoon. Appreciate it.

LEMON: There's no sign of letup on day four of the crackdown in Pakistan. The state of emergency is still in full effect, still enforced with batons and beatings. Lawyers hauled off to jail, judges confined to their homes.

Opposition leaders, the ones who are still free, well, they're speaking out. We'll bring you new comments from former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, new I-Reports from streets. And we'll check in live with the CNN international desk throughout the afternoon here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

First, let's go straight to Islamabad and CNN's Zain Verjee. She is just arriving.

It wasn't an easy journey for you, Zain.

She now joins us by phone.


We're hearing now more than 3,000 lawyers have been arrested in this major crackdown in Pakistan. They're being brought in on terrorism charges, and the cases are being brought before anti- terrorism courts. The lawyers across the country are not even going to the courts because all the courts are in lockdown.

Also, thousands of human rights and political activists have been arrested. They're being hunted down by forces here. Opposition leaders, as well, have been arrested.

There's a major crackdown going on on the media, as well, Don. Local TV stations have been taken off the air; international channels, as well, including CNN International and the BBC. We're learning, too, that eight journalists have now been arrested.

We've only been here a few hours, and the situation is being described to us here in the capital city of Islamabad as tense -- Don.

LEMON: Hey, Zain. Real quickly, we touched on it a little bit just at the beginning of this. But how tough was it getting into that country? VERJEE: Well, it was difficult to get visas. Many foreign journalists are not being issued visas, but we were given the authorization to come in.

Otherwise, the flight was fine. When we came back, when we landed in the city, and headed toward the location where we are at now, we noticed there were some troops and security forces in town. There were some road-blocks there, as well. We heard that those weren't unusual.

But what was unusual and different, given the state of emergency in the country and in the capital city, were road blocks thrown up around the homes of the prime minister, Shaukat Azia, and General Musharraf.


VERJEE: A huge amount of security, as well, at all of the hotels in the area.

LEMON: Absolutely. A country that's virtually on lockdown.

Also, one more question. Benazir Bhutto's response to this is going to be pivotal. What are you hearing from the former prime minister today, Zain?

VERJEE: Well, she's been critical of General Musharraf. At the same time, we're hearing that they are in discussions, at least with his advisors. They're in secret talks.

She is in Islamabad today. She came from Karachi. She's meeting with other opposition leaders to come up with some kind of strategy. And the key is going to be how to restore democracy, the constitution and bring about elections in Pakistan.

But what analysts are saying what's really key here is to see how Benazir Bhutto will swing here. Which direction is she going to go? Is she going to ultimately oppose this emergency? Or is she going to cooperate with General Musharraf? Because it appears that's what's going to happen. But that may come as a huge political risk to her, and may politically damage her -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's Zain Verjee in Islamabad. Zain, we appreciate your reporting. A state of emergency in Pakistan, of course, means a news emergency for many international networks, especially Arab networks.

You're seeing just a few of them on your screen there. Just a few that we're monitoring. Many with round the clock coverage of this crackdown.

In addition to our own extensive coverage, CNN is following media from around the globe to bring you the very latest on this. We'll check in with Isha Sesay, who is on our Pakistan desk for us. We'll check in with her. She's a CNN international anchor. She'll join us in just a bit. PHILLIPS: Even with almost two months left, 2007 has been the deadliest year yet for American forces in Iraq. According to a CNN count of Pentagon figures, 855 U.S. service members have been killed. The trend, however, is down sharply.

Joining us with more on this, CNN senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

Jamie, it always seems like there's such an up and down on these numbers. You never know where we really stand.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really does show what a mixed picture Iraq is these days. And as you said, with the announcement of five more deaths, and we're already at 11 U.S. deaths so far in November, this brings the total for the year to be the deadliest year so far in the Iraq fighting.

But again, what Pentagon officials tell you is that, aside from the fact that the recent trends have been a little bit better, that this is not the best measure of success.

For instance, take a look at that graphic again: 822 deaths in 2006. That's one of the lower figures. But we know, in retrospect, that 2006 was not a good year. That's when many other trends were going downhill.

Now we have the deadliest year, 855, but many of the other trends are for the first time looking more positive. What it tells you is that U.S. troop deaths in Iraq, while an important indicator -- and obviously, when there's a reduction in those deaths, it's a positive trend -- it's not a good indicator of how things are going in Iraq overall.

And of course, part of this is because of the surge, the price of the surge. Those offensive operations resulted in a big peak in U.S. deaths back in May, June and July. In the summer, it got up to 126 one month there. Down to 40 last month.

But as I said, we're already at 11 this month, and at that rate that would make, if it continued at this rate -- and again, it's very early in the month, only six days in -- but at that rate, it would continue, we'd have a higher death rate in November than last month.

So again, not the best indicated but an important indicator, one that the U.S. military watches.

PHILLIPS: Another indicator that I think a lot of people try to watch and dictate (ph), Jamie, is there any way that we can figure out if the insurgency is growing or decreasing, and is that playing a part? I know it's so hard to account for that. But is there -- is there talk of it?

MCINTYRE: Well, one of the ways we take a look at that is to try to look at other trends. And one of the successes of the surge has been the result -- has been a lowering in the number of attacks, IED attacks and other attacks in Iraq. And part of that is because many of the areas where these homemade bombs were made, south of Baghdad, have been cleared out recently by a big influx of U.S. troops in those areas.

But again, the big question is going to be, as we head into next year, and the U.S. begins to draw down its forces, which it intends to do, whether we'll see that trend continue or whether it's contingent on a large number of U.S. forces being there.

PHILLIPS: Well, you mentioned the breakdown of IEDs. That leads to our next piece. Perfect segue. Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thanks so much.

LEMON: Absolutely. Improvised explosive devices, IEDs, account for a huge number of those deaths. But the military has its own special weapons expert teams who try to prevent IED carnage.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen just got back from an embed with some of these specialists, and he joins us live from Baghdad with an inside look on that -- Frederik.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's good to see you. You're absolutely right. This EOD unit, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, they were very reluctant to even take us along on one of their missions. That's because a lot of their gear and, certainly, a lot of the methods they employ are top secret.

And here's what we saw when we went out there.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): This explosion possibly saved dozens of lives. Full detonation of a roadside bomb by one of the busiest and most secretive U.S. Army units currently deployed in Iraq.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD, responds to several calls a day. This time, Staff Sergeant Nicholas Hardiek has received information two men left a suspicious package near an American military base.

STAFF SGT. NICHOLAS HARDIEK, U.S. ARMY: Now we're going to go out and check it out for ourselves. They already confirmed that it's an IED, so we're going to go out and make sure it is one before we do anything to get rid of it.

PLEITGEN: EOD's technology is so confidential we're not even allowed to show their vehicle as we follow them to the scene.

(on camera) Right now we're on the way to the place where the improvised explosive device was sighted. When we get there, a team is going to secure the area and then the EOD specialists will begin their work.

(voice-over) Most of that work is done using a robot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to be shooting a couple tank munitions. PLEITGEN: Troops on the nearby U.S. base fire mortar rounds to keep insurgents away. Using the robot, the specialists are able to defuse the bomb.

HARDIEK: There was four 57-millimeter projectiles, which are pretty prevalent around here. We find them a lot. They use them for antipersonnel. It's the smaller bank. They hook to a personal mobile radio, which is just like a walkie-talkie type.

PLEITGEN: Like many other roadside bombs Staff Sergeant Hardiek and his men have found, this one will be destroyed. But the most valuable bombs are the ones the EOD team can recover intact.

These rockets were aimed at an American military base, but U.S. troops found them in time. Now they offer a wealth of information to Staff Sergeant Hardiek and the other EOD specialists. Even though there are no labels, he says he's certain they come from Iran.

HARDIEK: When you're watching football how can you tell that the team you're watching is the Giants? And it's they've got uniforms. I'd never mistake the Giants for, say, the Redskins or something like that. You look at them, they got their key I.D. features, and you just go from there.

PLEITGEN: The United States accuses Iran of providing weapons and ammunition to the insurgents in Iraq, a claim Tehran continues to deny.

The members of the EOD unit don't like to talk politics. All that matters to them, they say, is getting to the explosive before they can go off and cause damage.


PLEITGEN: And you know, Don, we've been talking so much about the state of the insurgency and about casualty numbers. And of course, the guys from this unit are very much at the heartbeat of that.

And they say one of the things that they've been seeing over the past couple of weeks and months is that a lot of the IEDs that they're finding have been placed there in a fairly careless and sometimes in a very quick and rushed manner. And they say that could be an indicator that the insurgency is in some form of disarray.

But of course, they're still finding a lot of that stuff, and they're still having a lot to do every day, Don.

LEMON: CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. Frederik, thank you for your report.

PHILLIPS: This is sure to hit your pocketbook, no matter where you live. Crude oil hit a new high just a little over an hour ago. We're talking $97 a barrel in futures trading in New York.

Traders are worried about pre-winter supplies, so they're bidding prices up. It slid back down a little after touching $97. Tomorrow the Energy Department releases its weekly inventory report. Traders are afraid of what they'll hear.

We're going to keep an eye on the price of a barrel throughout the afternoon. Our own Ali Velshi joins us in the next hour with a look at why it's happening.

LEMON: Scrubbing in for 40 hours of delicate surgery. When it's over, this little girl's life will radically change. Elizabeth Cohen has more on her rare condition.

PHILLIPS: Also, we're live in Chicago as the search continues for a cop's missing wife. Stacy Peterson's sister says she fears the worst.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


PHILLIPS: One-sixteen Eastern Time. Here are three of the stories that we're working on right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Miami area police on the hunt for a gunman right now. Someone shot and wounded a teacher outside a high school in an apparent robbery. The teacher had been taking a smoke break off campus. CNN's John Zarrella says that moments ago the teacher was conscious and alert.

Also crude oil prices have reached another record high. They hit nearly $97 a barrel in futures trading. Predictions that demand will surge and supplies will dwindle are driving prices up.

One girl, eight limbs. A little Indian girl born with four arms and four legs is in surgery right now to give her a normal body. Some in her village saw her as a reincarnation of a Hindu goddess.

LEMON: A week ago Sunday, that's the last time anyone saw Stacy Peterson, wife of a cop, mother to two children in suburban Chicago. The search is expanding, and the family of another missing woman is coming forward.

CNN's Keith Oppenheim is with searchers in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

Hello, Keith.


It's a windy, very cool day in Illinois. But that's not stopping at least 20 volunteers from going out and searching for Stacy Peterson, trying to find out where she is. In fact, this church behind me is being used as a command center.

Today we're also hearing a lot of suspicion from Stacy Peterson's family, directed at her husband, Drew. Stacy is 23. Drew is 30 years older, 53. He's a police sergeant, and they have been married for four years. She was last seen on Sunday, a week ago. So nine days ago. Drew does not think that she's missing at all. In fact, he is telling the media that he believes that she ran away with another man. But friends and family of Stacy Peterson are not buying that.

Right now you're going to hear from Melanie Greenberg. She's actually the first cousin of Lisa Stebic. That's another woman missing in Illinois, a well-publicized case here. Melanie Greenberg is helping out in the search, and here's what she had to say.


MELANIE GREENBERG, COUSIN OF LISA STEBIC: The same way that we know that Lisa would never have left her children, this family is adamant that Stacy would never have left her two small children and that she adopted Drew's older children, as well.


OPPENHEIM: Don, there's another layer to this story. And that is that the local prosecuting attorney is looking into the past, into some old police files, checking to see what he can find out about the death of Kathleen Savio.

She was Drew Peterson's third wife, who died in 2004. A coroner ruled that she drowned in a bath tub. But in the background, we're wondering if there's any connection between that investigation and what's going on in this missing persons case.

But I should emphasize that Drew Peterson is not a suspect, or not officially. In fact, this is not being called a criminal investigation, at least not yet. It's being called a missing persons case.

Don, back to you.

LEMON: Keith Oppenheim in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Keith, thank you.

PHILLIPS: Illegal immigrants cross into the United States, practically no questions asked. How does it happen, and where is the border security? We'll talk about it, straight ahead.

LEMON: We're also going to have more on a teacher shot near a school in Miami, Florida, or near Miami, Florida. What's that teacher's condition, and what prompted the shooting? Coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Yahoo! executives were in the hot seat today before a congressional committee about the company's role in the arrest and conviction of a Chinese journalist. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with the latest on that.


Well, top Yahoo! officials answered some tough questions this morning after one member of Congress said the company engaged in "inexcusably negligent behavior, at best, and deliberately deceptive behavior at worst." That's a quote.

Congress wants to know why Yahoo! provided information to the Chinese government that got a journalist sent to jail for 10 years. Yahoo! at first said it didn't know the nature of China's investigation when asked for the information. The company later acknowledged that it received a subpoena-like document.

Today Yahoo's chief counsel apologized for his earlier testimony.


MICHAEL CALLAHAN, EVP, YAHOO! INC.: It is clear that this prior testimony has caused a great deal of concern, expressed obviously by you, Mr. Chairman, and by other members and by the staff. And I sincerely regret that I didn't have the full information to make the facts completely clear in my prior testimony.


LISOVICZ: The mother of the imprisoned journalist attended today's hearing, and the Yahoo! executives apologized to her, as well. And you see her there, sitting during that testimony -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, is that going to be enough to satisfy Congress?

LISOVICZ: Well, you know Kyra, there is a growing sense in Washington, and elsewhere, that too much business is being done in China without careful consideration of the consequences.

You know, lots of corporations tailor their businesses to the cultural sensibilities of lots of different countries around the world. But this is a huge country, and basic rights like freedom of speech are not something that people there take for granted. And remember, we've also had a slew of recalls of Chinese-made products.

Today Yahoo! is arguing that engaging with China will eventually make things better for the Chinese people and that pulling out of China altogether will only make matters worse. Yahoo! says economic advancement leads to better products and more concerns for human rights.

A number of countries take that stand, actually. But Yahoo! says it needed to comply with local Chinese laws at the time.

Yahoo! has since sold its Yahoo! China unit to That company happened to go public today on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and the stock tripled. Yahoo! holds a nearly 40 percent stake in Ali Baba. Yahoo!'s stock falling nearly four percent, as analysts worried that AliBaba's quick run-up is unrealistic.


LISOVICZ: In the next hour of NEWSROOM, the number of African- American CEOs is rapidly dwindling. I'll tell you what it means and what the future might hold in the boardroom in the next hour of NEWSROOM.

Don and Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: Susan, thanks a lot. See you again soon.

LEMON: A state of emergency in Pakistan means a news emergency for many international networks covering this. Our international news anchor, Isha Sesay, joins us now with an update -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We are working flat-out here on the international desk to cover every angle of this story. We're working on bringing you the details of how things are playing out in Pakistan, bearing in mind there's an ongoing crackdown on the media.

So basically, private TV channels, as well as other media outlets -- outlets, are facing pressure from the government to censor themselves and, in the case of those private TV channels, they're not even on the air.

So what we're doing is we are monitoring the output that they have, which is still going out online, I have to say. They're streaming online. We're monitoring their online presence, monitoring newspapers, Web sites, as well as those blogs. We'll share some of what we found in a couple of minutes.

LEMON: Isha, thank you. Worldwide resources on top of this story. That's why CNN is the most trusted name in news.


LEMON: Hello. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And some sad news coming in to us from one of our entertainment producers. We're getting word now that George Osmond has died. Ninety years old, George Osmond, dying of natural causes, we're told, at his Utah home. You'll know Osmond is the father of nine children, including Donny and Marie, two of the most famous.

We're trying to get additional information on when exactly he passed and if, indeed, the entire family is there. We'll let you know as much as we can. George Osmond dead at the age of 90.

LEMON: And at the top of the hour, we told you about a school shooting in Florida. New details now coming from our T.J. Holmes, who's working the story from the NEWSROOM -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they are still looking for a suspect, Don, in that shooting in Miami. This is Miami Area High School. It happened a little earlier today, where a teacher has been shot. The only person who was injured was the one teacher. But you're seeing video here of that teacher being taken to the hospital.

Police now are looking for a suspect they describe as a 5'6", medium build, 15- to 21-year-old black man. Now, no word whether or not the shooter is actually a student or affiliated with the school in any way. The teacher was actually outside across the street on the sidewalk, having a smoke break, when he was approached by, according to police and local affiliates reporting at least two individuals. So there are actually two suspects that police are looking for, one of them being the shooter.

But this was Carol City High School in the Miami Gardens area. But the search an now, schools -- several schools now in lockdown while the search continues for two suspects. One of them, police believe, is the shooter of this -- of this high school teacher.

Again, this is a developing story in the past couple of hours. We do have our eyes and ears on. And as we continue to get updates, and we certainly are getting them, we'll continue to pass those along to you, Don.

LEMON: All right. T.J., thank you so much.


PHILLIPS: No sign of a letup on day four of the crackdown in Pakistan. The state of emergency is still in full effect, still enforced with batons and beatings. Lawyers hauled off to jail, judges confined to their homes. Opposition leaders, the ones who are still free, speaking out.

We're going to bring you new comments from former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, new I-Reports from the streets, and we're going to check in live with the CNN International desk throughout the afternoon.

LEMON: As a matter of fact, we're going to do that right now. Worldwide resources at CNN working on this story. On top of it now from our international desk, Isha Sesay, who's our international news anchor.

Isha, what's the latest?

SESAY: Guys, we're working this story, as you've been saying, working it hard. And you know, this is day four, and it's not just the judiciary that's feeling the pressure from the Pakistani government. The media is also coming under pressure, also facing a crackdown.

I mean, only state-run TV is on the air right now, Pakistan TV. Otherwise, the private -- private channels, I should say, you can't get them unless you log onto the Net, where they're streaming their output.

GoTV and AUG-TV, you can see what they're doing if you log onto their Web site.

But I want to get a bit more focus on how the story is being covered there on the ground in Pakistan. And I want to bring in Majit Sadiki (ph). He's a producer with GoTV, and he's monitoring the outlet, the Web, the newspapers, as well as these TV channels online.

Majit (ph), how is the story covered?

MAJIT SADIKI (ph), PRODUCER, GOTV: Thank you, Isha.

If you take a look at different Pakistani TV channels, if you go first to the national television, which is Pakistan TV, you can find the pictures. They are giving the feel that everything is normal in the country. If you look at the ticker, nothing has been shown as like an emergency.

But if you go to the private TV channels in Pakistan, look at the GoTV and look at the footage, they are talking about emergency, about the situation in Pakistan.

And I can show a few other TV channels like this, AUG-TV, that they are showing the footage about the emergency in Pakistan. This is Dawn TV (ph). And this is everybody is engaged in the situation about Pakistan.

SESAY: And another thing I want to point out for our viewers. That ticker you see going across along your TV, those are viewers actually text messaging in their opinions. Is that right?

SADIKI (ph): A lot of things: text messages from the viewers and the different news tickers and the news coming from the -- inside the country and outside the country.

SESAY: OK. What about the newspapers? How are they covering this crisis?

SADIKI (ph): Newspaper are full of news, like if you take a look at the "Dawn" newspaper, it is one of the leading newspapers in Pakistan. This front page is full of the news regarding the emergency.

SESAY: Is it condemnation for President Musharraf? Is it support? What are they saying?

SADIKI (ph): No, they are condemning the -- this state of emergency. And if you go to the editorial section of this newspaper, it has two different editorials. One is about the delay of the polls. They're suggesting that go for the early polls, because Pakistan is in a state of emergency.

And if you go, the second editorial is about the imposition of different laws and denial of information in regarding the newspapers and the news channel.

SESAY: And levering (ph) it out, for our viewers, that it's not just the broadcasting and the dissemination of information that is being curtailed in Pakistan. Journalists themselves are under arrest.

SADIKI (ph): Yes. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I have got information from Karachi from my colleagues, filing this (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE), in fact. Yesterday when they were during their official job, five journalists, photojournalists and newspaper journalists, were arrested. They were arrested under charges of Section 324, which is a very silly (ph) charge, in fact. It's about the attempt of murder. They have been charged.

SESAY: So that's what these journalists...

SADIKI (ph): Yes, yes.

SESAY: ... they are being charged with?

SADIKI (ph): And GoTV has now involved (ph). The bureau office of GoTV has been cordoned off by policemen. FM 103 is one of -- one of the major FM radio channels in Pakistan. It has been...

SESAY: Has been confiscated.

SADIKI (ph): Yes, yes.

SESAY: So as you see, Don and Kyra, the media really coming under pressure there in Pakistan, really being asked to censor itself, those that are allowed to give their information out at all.

The other thing I want to bring to you that we were just hearing the last couple of minutes. I'm working to confirm it. We heard that Benazir Bhutto and her party, the PPP (ph) Party, were going to hold a protest on Friday. The idea was they'd hold it in Rawalpindi, adjacent to Islamabad. This is supposed to be the big coming out of protests, as it were.

LEMON: Right, right.

SESAY: But what we're hearing now, and I'm working to confirm this, is that the government has not given them permission to stage that rally or protest.


SESAY: So that's what we're hearing. We'll bring you more. We'll be at the international desk. We'll check in with you later.

LEMON: Isha and Majit (ph), thank you so much for that.

PHILLIPS: Well, when you think of illegal immigrants coming to the U.S., what comes to mind? Climbing fences under the cover of night? Stowing away in a vehicle? Well, get this. Thousands of illegals waltz right in, thanks to holes in border security.

CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Illegal aliens don't have to climb over fences or swim rivers to get into the U.S. Sometimes they can ride or walk right through an official U.S. border crossing.

According to a new Government Accountability Office report, Customs and Border Protection acknowledges several thousand inadmissible aliens and other violators entered the U.S. through ports of entry last year. According to a source who has seen an unredacted version of the report, the number is 21,000.

RICHARD STANA, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE: If the agents and the officers at the border are not doing their job, we're all a little less secure.

MESERVE: When GAO investigators arrived at one port of entry, there were no CBP officers at the inspection booth. At other locations, officers didn't ask for travel documents. And, according to the report, alien smuggling organizations have trained operatives to take advantage of these weaknesses.

The report says a CBP staffing shortage hurts its ability to carry out inspections and use new facilities and equipment intended to help fight terrorism.

But the GAO also found more mundane explanations.

STANA: Either agents aren't paying attention, they're not focused, they're complacent. It's because supervisors aren't demanding that the agents do their job and ask the right questions and look at the right documents.

MESERVE: Custom and Border Protection says at busy ports of entry, it has to balance security and commerce.

JAYSON AHERN, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Today, there's currently not a requirement, either statutorily or regulatorily, requiring everyone to have a document coming across the border. So no, they're not all being checked.

MESERVE (on camera): That means the bad guys can get in, potentially.

AHERN: That means, potentially, there is that vulnerability.

MESERVE: As a result of its own earlier investigations, CBP issued new policies and procedures to tighten up security in ports of entry. But months later, the GAO found many of the same weaknesses persist.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: ... as sacred in her home village in India but what makes her unique also threatens her life. Now doctors and nurses are trying to save a little girl with eight limbs. New information on the surgery with our Elizabeth Cohen.


PHILLIPS: Well, so far, so good; encouraging word from India now, where dozens of surgeons are taking turns operating on this little girl. She was born with four arms and four legs.

Elizabeth Cohen just got new information on how the surgery is going. What did you just learn?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I was just talking to a reporter for a CNN affiliate who was there. She has an exclusive on this story.

She said that they are in hour 16 of this surgery in India. This little girl, who was born with eight limbs, who is going to have, obviously, some of those limbs removed. They need to figure out which ones. But they say she's doing very well.

They have separated the spine. She was born with two spines, and they separated those earlier on in the surgery. And they said that was very successful.

So what they're doing now is they are in the process of cutting bones.

It's now about midnight in India, and they tell reporters that they will be working through the night on this. The last phase of the surgery, Kyra, is going to be when they do the reconstruction. So that will be the end of it.

PHILLIPS: So how does something like this even happen?

COHEN: It's incredible and, obviously, extremely rare. What happened in this little girl's case is that there were -- she was one of twins, of a set of twins. There were twins in her mother's stomach originally.

And one of the twins just stopped developing at a certain point in the mother's pregnancy, and the remnants of that twin merged with Lakshmi. So she now has conjoined to her the remnants of her twin.

PHILLIPS: And there's been a concern about the kidneys. Right?

COHEN: Yes. This is very -- this is probably one of the more tricky parts of this surgery, is that Lakshmi was born with one kidney of her own, and then the parasitic twin was born with a kidney. Now, she's 2 years old, and Lakshmi has been functioning with both of those kidneys. Both of those kidneys have been working.

So the doctors' goal is to make the parasitic twin's kidney now a part of Lakshmi. They're hoping she gets through this surgery with two kidneys. But there is a possibility that the parasitic twin's kidney is not going to work in Lakshmi's body, in which case she'll live with one kidney, which people sometimes do. I mean, it happens.

PHILLIPS: You'll continue to update us, because you're talking to this reporter, who's talking to the doctors.

COHEN: Right, right.

PHILLIPS: I think it's fascinating, too. India is such a spiritual place that they see her as a spiritual blessing, possibly a goddess, because of the arms and the legs.

COHEN: Which is terrific, because there's also been stories where these babies when they're born, they're burned...


COHEN: ... because they are seen as being, you know, a bad sign, something horribly abnormal. So it's, of course, wonderful that they see her as a goddess.

PHILLIPS: Yes. That is -- that's a beautiful message. All right, Elizabeth, thanks a lot.

COHEN: Thanks.

LEMON: Well, endorsements turn into un-dorsements. Which presidential candidate is getting props from real, live American gangsters?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

More of your favorite television shows are going dark due to the writers strike. Those details, and which stars have shown up on the picket lines, when CNN NEWSROOM continues.


LEMON: From writing lines to walking them, Hollywood's creative types still striking over money issues with studios and production companies. It's only day two, but both sides say they're in for the long haul.

As we look at these live pictures of picketers. I believe it's Burbank, California. This could make for a long fall and winter of re-runs.

CNN's Brooke Anderson is live in L.A. with the very latest. It's kind of odd to see picket lines right in the middle of, you know, Tinseltown there.

ANDERSON: It certainly is, Don. It could be a very long fall; you're right.

It is day two of the writers' strike. And already their absence from work is seen and felt in Hollywood and with television viewers.

All late night talkers are in repeats until further notice. Jay Leno, hey, he even used his time off to provide fresh donuts to writers on strike yesterday. And he told "The L.A. Times" this. Quote, "I've been working with these people for 20 years. Without them I'm not funny; I'm a dead man."

Steve Carell honored the picket lines and didn't show up for work yesterday. Only two scenes of "The Office" were reportedly shot since he wasn't there.

Also, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" star Julia Louis- Dreyfus was on the picket line with the writers. Her show halted production yesterday.

Ellen DeGeneres, also in a gesture of solidarity, decided not to tape her daytime talk show.

And I'm just getting word now a spokesman for 20th Century FOX says the show "Back to You" will not return from a planned hiatus tomorrow. Also, the sit-coms "Till Death" and "Rules of Engagement" will also stop production immediately because of the strike.

We also caught up with "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rimes last night in New York at the "Glamour" magazine Women of the Year Awards. Rimes is what the industry calls a hyphenate, a writer and a producer. So she's kind of stuck in the middle of this dispute. Yet, there's no question where her loyalty lies.


SHONDA RIMES, CREATOR, "GREY'S ANATOMY": It's heart-breaking. I feel like the writers really want to write, and it's unfortunate the studios and networks don't want to let us. So we're walking the picket lines and we're holding the signs, and we're doing what we can to get our cause out there. And hopefully, that will end soon.


ANDERSON: Rimes said there are three episodes left of "Grey's Anatomy" and her new show, "Private Practice," before each of those go dark. They will make it through November sweeps, it seems.

The expectation is that, after late-night TV, daytime including soap operas are next to feel the impact. We just received word from ABC, home to "All My Children" and "General Hospital." Seems they're ahead of schedule. The network tells us, quote, "ABC's daytime dramas are written well into the new year, and we will continue to produce original programming with no repeats and without interruption."

So Don, depending on how long this strike takes, it could eventually be paralyzing for the industry.

LEMON: OK. And so daytime soap operas, they probably are faring the best because they are shot kind of far in advance.

ANDERSON: At least those are.


ANDERSON: It depends on if the production is ahead of schedule or behind schedule. LEMON: Yes. And you mentioned those stars. And it must be kind of tough. It's a tough situation to be in, especially when your name is out there. You're the lead player, you know. But then also, you got to stand by the writers.

ANDERSON: That's right.

LEMON: Because many of the stars are writers, as well, on these shows.

Let's talk about shows like "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC, "The Practice" and all of that. They only have just a few of those episodes left.

ANDERSON: Shonda Rimes tells us "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice" only has three episodes left, Don, before those shows go dark. So they are hoping for a quick resolution to this, so that they can get back into production.

And I want to say here that the main points of contention, in the more than three months of negotiations, have been DVD and new media residuals. The writers said they dropped their DVD proposal completely on Sunday, so now the sticking point is mainly new media.

They want 2.5 percent of the profits from shows distributed on the Internet, cell phones, MP3 players.

And the question now is when will these two sides, who both seem very bitter about the way talks ended on Sunday, when will they get back to the bargaining table? There are no new negotiations taking place.

And we just got our hands on a letter sent by the guild to the writers last night, congratulating them on their efforts and saying, quote, "I am hopeful that our collective power will convince our employers to return to the table, offer us a good contract and end this strike quickly."

LEMON: OK. You know, I got to ask you this, too. The motion picture and film industry, because the big -- what is it, holiday blockbusters are going to come out. I guess they may be finished filming them. But how is it going to affect the motion picture industry?

ANDERSON: It's going to be a while before this has an impact on the motion picture industry, because those are longer term productions than television.

So, unless this strike runs for six months or more, the film industry, the movies will feel less of an impact. And we won't see that at the theaters on the big screen for a while.

LEMON: Yes. OK. And it affects everyone. Most people watch television. So, yes.

ANDERSON: Right. LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that.

PHILLIPS: A Halloween costume wins top honors from immigrations and customs officials but gets low marks for racial sensitivity. Who's sorry now? We'll tell you.


PHILLIPS: One fifty-six Eastern Time. Here are stories drawing the most attention on right now.

Born with four arms and four legs; doctors in India working right now to give a little girl a normal body. A team of 30 specialists says the surgery is going well so far.

Talk about your diamond in the rough. This 4.38 carat tea- colored stone came out of a crater of Diamond State Park in Arkansas. That's the world's only diamond-producing site still open to the public. The man who found it says he didn't realize what it was and almost tossed it.

Rosanne Cash will soon undergo brain surgery. A publicist says the singer has a rare but benign condition. The last four concerts on her tour are being cancelled.

We'll update our most popular stories every 20 minutes on

LEMON: You probably won't hear Rudy Giuliani talking about these endorsements. Apparently, the former prosecutor has some fans on the other side of the law.

CNN's Jeanne Moos is part of the best political team in Washington.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Giuliani campaign may be gunning for endorsements but maybe not from a pair of American gangsters.

FRANK LUCAS, FORMER DRUG LORD: More power to Mr. Giuliani.

MOOS: Frank Lucas was a major drug lord in the '70s. Now he's larger than life, played by Denzel Washington in the current No. 1 movie in America.

DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: ... somebody or you ain't nobody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you going to do?

WASHINGTON: So what was I saying?

MOOS: What the real Frank Lucas is saying amounts to what one blog called "Best Endorsement Evah."

LUCAS: Giuliani got a word. If he tells you something, you can believe him. Giuliani is a hell -- he's got a hell of a word.

MOOS: And Lucas was seconded by Nicky "Super Fly" Barnes, the subject of a new documentary, "Mister Untouchable," who also touched on Rudy's quest for president.

NICKY "SUPER FLY" BARNES, FORMER DRUG DEALER: First of all, he's a principled guy.

MOOS: That from a convicted dope dealer not known for principles.

The Web site radar coined a new term. Instead of endorsements they're the un-dorsements. Junkies for Giuliani reminds us of when O.J. threw his support to...

O.J. SIMPSON, ACCUSED OF ARMED ROBBERY: Hillary Clinton. Yes, she's got my vote.


SIMPSON: I don't know if I helped you, Hillary. You probably -- you probably have no chance of winning it now.

MOOS: The two drug lords, by the way, support Rudy but don't expect him to win.

LUCAS: I think Hillary Clinton wins this thing, hands down.

MOOS: Just the other day we were hearing how two of New York's five crime families once voted to whack Rudy. Rudy, the tough guy prosecutor, who dressed up to go under cover with then Senator Al D'Amato and bought vials of crack on the street.

(on camera) That's apparently a Hell's Angels letter vest that Rudy is wearing.

And speaking of politicians in disguise, did you happen to see who showed up in a Barack Obama mask on "Saturday Night Live"?

(voice-over) It was supposed to be Hillary's Halloween party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is that under there?

MOOS: So far, Obama has no gangsters publicly pulling for him. That's the kind of endorsement you need like a hole in the head.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LEMON: The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Ninety-seven dollars, 42 cents. If it's any consolation, milk, beer, shampoo and, yes, gasoline still costs more than a barrel of oil. Otherwise, there's absolutely nothing light nor sweet about the new price of crude. Ali Velshi joins us this hour. PHILLIPS: Disorder in the streets. Day four of the Pakistani government's assault on democracy and the rule of law. Pakistani lawyers are pleading their case and paying the price.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live in the CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.