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O.J. Preliminary Hearing Gets Underway; Aqua Dots Recalled for GHB Contamination; South African Plane Lands Safely after Engine Falls Off; Musharraf Sets Date for Pakistan Elections
Aired November 8, 2007 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Remember yesterday's dramatic losses on Wall Street? Those prices are starting to look pretty good. Once again, investors see the economic glass as half empty and getting lower all the time. We're live at the New York Stock Exchange.
DON LEMON, CO-HOST: Also, he's ruling by decree and smashing dissent, but six days into his state of emergency, the president of Pakistan vows to hold parliamentary elections, just a little later than expected. We've got the latest for you, live from Islamabad.
Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
PHILLIPS: I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
A lot of eyes on a packed courtroom in Las Vegas this hour. O.J. Simpson back in court to see and hear the evidence prosecutors have built up against him. Among the charges: armed robbery, kidnapping and assault. Simpson and two co-defendants are accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint. Three others have made plea deals and promise to testify for the states.
Let's get straight to CNN's Dan Simon, who's at the courthouse for the preliminary hearings.
Dan, proceedings like this usually take only a couple of hours. But I guess not when it comes to O.J. Simpson.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, not when it comes to O.J. Simpson, and of course, nothing is low key here in Vegas, and especially you add O.J. Simpson to the mix and you have quite a spectacle.
Let's take a live look inside the courtroom right now. You can see O.J. Simpson has taken his place at the defendant's table. He arrived just a short time ago, a lot of fanfare, was sitting in the front seat of a Hummer, was surrounded by media as he walked into the courtroom.
Let's talk about today. It is a preliminary hearing to determine if, in fact, there is enough evidence to send this case to trial. If this case does go to trial and O.J. Simpson is found guilty, he's looking at some serious jail time. Just one charge alone, the kidnapping charge, carries a possible life sentence. Eight people expected to testify today on behalf of the prosecution, including three of Simpson's co-defendants, people who took some plea deals in exchange for their testimony.
This, of course, all stems from this incident on September 13 when Simpson and five others allegedly burst into a Las Vegas hotel room and confronted two memorabilia dealers. Simpson and the others took some belongings, some sports memorabilia.
Remember, O.J. Simpson says this stuff belonged to him, and he also says no guns were involved in the incident. He says he didn't tell anybody to bring guns. But these three people who are expected to testify today say there were, in fact, some guns, and O.J. Simpson told them to bring those weapons.
Of course, this about to get under way right now. We're talking about O.J. Simpson and two people who are involved in this preliminary hearing. There were a total of six people in the incident, but just three now involved in this preliminary hearing because, of course, three have taken plea deals -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, as things get going, you find out more, Dan Simon. You keep us updated. Appreciate it.
LEMON: Let's get straight to the NEWSROOM now, a developing story. Fredricka Whitfield working on that for us in the newsroom.
What do you have, Fred?
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Don.
This taking place near downtown Atlanta, at Georgia Tech University campus, where a minor chemical spill has really got a lot of folks nervous there, because what took place is there was an inadvertent e-mail that went out. And it asked all the students to evacuate this portion of the campus on the Ford Building location on First Drive on campus, when apparently all did not need to evacuate.
It's unclear exactly what kind of chemical did spill. The spill did occur. No reports of injuries. And as we understand it, according to the spokesperson for Georgia Tech, no one was put in direct harm's way.
So students are allowed to resume regular activities there at the Ford Building as they clean up this minor chemical spill. And of course, when we find out what this chemical was we'll be able to bring that to you, as soon as we can, Don.
LEMON: All right. Fred, check back with us if you get some more information. Thank you for that.
PHILLIPS: Sometimes a wing and a prayer are just enough. One hundred people aboard a South African airliner are safe after an emergency landing yesterday in Cape Town. And I do mean emergency.
Officials with South Africa's Nationwide Airline says that, shortly after takeoff for Johannesburg, an engine fell off the plane, a Boeing 737 just like this one. Yes, I said an engine fell off the plane. A few passengers saw it drop. No one was hurt.
Later this hour we're going to talk with one of those passengers right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: A horrifying scene in northern Italy. This is the twisted wreckage of U.S. Army helicopter. Locals tell CNN four people were killed and seven hurt when the Blackhawk chopper went down near Treviso.
The craft had taken off from the U.S. base at Aviano with 11 people on board. The cause of the crash isn't yet known. The mission of the flight isn't clear, as well.
PHILLIPS: Too tired to fly, disturbing news from a "USA Today" analysis of airline safety records. The paper reports that hundreds of pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers made mistakes because they were tired.
Among the cases cited, six were pilots that fell asleep mid- flight. The paper says that crews missed radio calls from towers, flew at the wrong altitude and messed up some landings. The pilots' union says that pilots are often pushed to fly longer hours by financially troubled airlines.
The NTSB is discussing the problem of fatigue at a hearing today.
LEMON: Well, kids love them, but if you have Aqua Dots anywhere around the house, take them away from your children now. Turns out those tiny beads pose a very big health threat.
CNN's Jason Carroll tells us what's behind the latest toy recall.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just add water and create a fantasy world. That's how Aqua Dots and Bindeez Beads were marketed to children, looking to create playthings out of the colorful beads. Now those toys are being recalled.
This after, in some cases, if those colorful beads are swallowed, a chemical used to make the adhesive metabolizes into a dangerous drug known as Fantasy, also called GHB, and in other circumstances it's referred to as the date rape drug because of its hazardous effects.
DR. NAREN GUNJA, POISONS INFORMATION CENTER: This toxin can cause you to become comatose, from which you may either stop breathing or obstruct your airway and potentially cause death.
CARROLL: Doctors discovered the problem after three children were hospitalized in Australia. The mother of a 10-year-old victim says her daughter became very ill after swallowing the beads.
HEATHER LEHANE, CHARLOTTE LEHANE'S MOTHER: I was just beside myself, just so -- I was just so frightened because I literally thought that she wasn't going to make it.
CARROLL: Here in the United States, two children fell into comas after ingesting the beads. Both have since recovered.
The toy beads are imported from a manufacturer in China. The company that sells Bindeez toys in Australia, Moose Enterprise, released a statement on its Web site announcing an immediate and voluntary recall.
Late Wednesday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of 4 million Aqua Dots in the United States, all those made between April and November of this year.
This raising more concerns about Chinese imports. Over the past year, at least 20 million toys made in China have been recalled worldwide. Now, two more toys, this time connected to GHB. Gamma- hydroxy butyrate used to be sold in health food stores in the U.S. as a performance enhancer for body builders until it was banned in 1990. Now its more common use is by club goers, who risk using it illegally for its euphoric and hallucinogenic effects.
(on camera) The Consumer Product Safety Commission says anyone who has Aqua Dots at home should throw them out immediately. They also say an investigation is underway right now into exactly how those hazardous chemicals made it into all of those toys.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
LEMON: CNN called the company that distributes Aqua Dots here in the U.S. However, we have not yet heard back from them. But within hours of the recall the company -- the company is called Spinmaster -- posted a statement on its Web site, saying they are cooperating fully with the recall.
And here's the quote. "Out of an abundance of caution we have stopped shipping this item and are working with the Consumer Products Safety Commission." The company says it has made the safety of children its foremost priority.
PHILLIPS: A rescue along the coast of Virginia. Passengers have been evacuated from a small cruise ship in Virginia's Intercoastal Highway near -- or Waterway, rather, near Virginia Beach.
The Spirit of Nantucket was carrying 66 passengers from Alexandria, Virginia, to Charleston, South Carolina, when it hit something and began taking on water. The captain ran it aground to prevent it from sinking. No injuries are reported.
LEMON: You're looking at a picture now of Stacy Peterson, a young Illinois wife and mother who has been missing for 11 days.
Now, her husband, police Officer Drew Peterson, says she left him for another man. But a county coroner now says the death of Peterson's third wife in 2004 should have been ruled undetermined instead of accidental.
John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" also offered a blunt perspective today on "AMERICAN MORNING," concerning the disappearance of Peterson's latest wife.
JOHN WALSH, HOST, FOX'S "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Based on so many cases that I've done on "America's Most Wanted," I believe she's dead. I think and hope that they're lucky to find her body.
And they certainly have to keep taking a very close look at her husband, who has a track record of this. Very shaky circumstances with the third wife. These two were getting divorced and, of all indications, he is the guy that they should be looking at.
JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Now, they went back, and they searched the home again on Tuesday night. Do you have any idea if they took any evidence out? Or if you don't, what does it indicate, them going back there?
WALSH: Well, it indicates that he's the primary suspect, as he should be. Everything indicates the fact that he was a control freak and that, if you wanted to leave him, you left at your own harm -- with a possibility of harm.
And, you know, my prediction is, hopefully, they will find her. I don't think they'll find her alive. And I think, a week or so from now, we'll be talking, and he'll be charged with her disappearance and probably her murder.
LEMON: Stacy Peterson's family says she feared her husband and was making plans to divorce him. They also say she would not have willingly left her children.
PHILLIPS: Pakistan at the crossroads. The key U.S. ally totters on the edge of chaos. The government's trying to keep things quiet, but blogs are spreading the word. We're going to tell you what they're saying.
LEMON: And becoming a first-time parent. It's wonderful but confusing and sometimes downright scary. What should you and should you -- and should -- and not worry about?
You're watching CNN, the must -- most trusted name in news.
LEMON: All right. O.J. Simpson back in a courtroom today. And all eyes are on that courtroom. He's back in the courtroom to hear and see evidence prosecutors have built up against him. Among the charges: armed robbery, kidnapping and assault.
Here's the interesting thing. Simpson and two co-defendants are accused of robbing -- or co-defendants, I should say, accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gun point. Three others have made plea deals and promise to testify for the state in this case.
Just for the kidnapping part, he could face life in prison. We're monitoring this courtroom right now in Las Vegas. We'll bring you any updates as it happens.
PHILLIPS: One-fourteen Eastern Time and here's three of the stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM right now.
More protests and arrests in Pakistan despite reassurances from President Musharraf. Musharraf says that new parliamentary elections will be held by February 15, and he promises that he'll step down as Pakistan's military leader.
An American student remains in jail in Italy in connection with the death of her British roommate. A judge today postponed a decision on whether there's sufficient evidence to keep Amanda Marie Knox in jail. Police say that Meredith Kercher died while fighting off a sexual attack.
And stocks are down sharply again. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warns that he expects an economic slowdown.
LEMON: All right. If this next story is not your worst nightmare, I really don't know what is. Sometimes a wing and a prayer are just enough.
One hundred people aboard a South African airliner are safe after an emergency landing yesterday in Cape Town. And I do mean emergency.
Officials with South Africa's Nationwide Airline say shortly after take-off for Johannesburg, an engine fell off the plane, a Boeing 737 just like this one. Yes, I said an engine fell off the plane. A few passengers saw it drop. And luckily, no one was hurt in that.
Brendan Pelseh was aboard that flight, and he joins us now by phone with his incredible account.
Brendan, I can't even imagine.
BRENDAN PELSEH, PASSENGER ON SOUTH AFRICAN FLIGHT: Yes. It was rough. I mean, we had just taken off, and suddenly we felt some kind of an explosion, and the plane sort of veering to the left, and we noticed that one of the engines was missing.
LEMON: And? Your -- wow. Your reaction?
PELSEH: Oh, we were -- we were in distress. Some people were in distress. And yes, we -- basically they told us that we had to carry on flying for a while longer to burn off all the fuel, and we were going to do an emergency landing. And everybody was braced for the worst. LEMON: So you said you noticed one of the engines were -- had -- was not there. Some of the passengers said they saw the engine fall off. Were you one of those passengers?
PELSEH: No. Unfortunately I wasn't.
LEMON: Unfortunately, you say. Now, I hear the plane started to shake violently. And I would imagine people started to scream. What happened? Did the pilot or any of the flight attendants come on the overhead? What were they doing in all of this?
PELSEH: They were running up and down. They were looking very panicky, and, basically, they tried to take control of the situation as best they could and started preparing us for the worst. Told us to brace ourselves, put our heads between our knees, and hold on and hope for the best.
LEMON: Can't imagine. Right? People around you, were they screaming? Because I would only imagine my reaction in a situation like this. I would imagine I would be praying to whomever I could or trying to call whomever I could call. What were people doing? Were they yelling out loud? Were they praying? Were they -- what were they doing?
PELSEH: Well, the women, most of the women were crying a lot, and most of the bigger men were sweating, profusely. And yes, it was a lot of jabbering, a lot of talking, and everyone was very scared.
LEMON: Yes. Now when you got to the ground, and this will be my final question, when you got to the ground and you were safe, first thing you did? What did you guys do?
PELSEH: Everyone just clapped their hands and applauded the pilot for getting us down safely, because it was apparently not -- not a very easy thing to do, land the plane with one engine on the left.
LEMON: Yes. Are you going to fly again?
PELSEH: I actually flew this morning again, with the same airline.
LEMON: A lot of trepidation, I'm sure, though.
PELSEH: You can imagine.
LEMON: Brendan Pelseh, lucky you're alive. We're glad you're alive. And congratulations on surviving that.
PELSEH: Very glad to be alive.
LEMON: Yes. We're glad everyone is safe there. Thank you for joining us.
PELSEH: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Well, the White House see no progress -- or sees signs, rather, of progress, but opposition leaders in Pakistan are not impressed.
President Pervez Musharraf says that parliamentary elections will take place no later than mid-February, about a month later than scheduled. His promise came as government troops arrested hundreds more protesters.
CNN's Zain Verjee is in Islamabad.
Zain, what triggered Musharraf's decision to come forward with a date for elections? International pressure or the protests in Pakistan, or you think a little bit of both?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been huge pressure from the United States for General Musharraf to move toward free and fair elections. It was a real blow when he reneged on that and declared a state of emergency.
Pressure across the world has also been there.
We just spoke a few hours ago to Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, who said that it's not about the U.S. or international pressure. He says that General Musharraf always wanted to take off his uniform. He's always planned to move Pakistan toward free and fair elections.
General Musharraf said today that he will quit as army chief before taking his oath as president.
Basically, it's important to understand here, Kyra, that even though he's saying that and he's setting this state for before the 15th of February next year, he's basically looking for the supreme court, that he hand-picked, to rubber-stamp his own legitimacy.
One other thing we heard from one senior Pakistani official, that the state of emergency itself would officially last for one more month -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Now Zain, you interviewed the foreign minister of Pakistan. How did he defend the mass arrests of protestors and government opponents?
VERJEE: He said that it was unfortunate. He said, though, it was very difficult for him to justify. It sent a poor image and a difficult situation that Pakistan is in, around the world. Here's how he responded, though, to that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHURSHID KASURI, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It is in a very difficult situation in the tribal areas and adjoining districts including Swat. And the will of the (ph) government was being undermined. And there was a feeling that this government was very weak, and the people in the tribal areas were taking advantage of it.
Now, on the face of it, it looks ridiculous. How do you justify taking action against militants by rounding up on civil society activists?
VERJEE: And activists that...
KASURI: I agree with you. In fact, I quite empathize with what you're saying. I'm not going to disagree. But what I am saying is look at the situation that Pakistan is in. The government has no desire to keep these people in for long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: And Kyra, we also asked him in that interview about the media crackdown that's widespread here in Pakistan. He said, look, the prints, the newspapers, are running critical stories about the government. The local TV channels are still off the air. International channels like CNN and the BBC are going to be allowed, and they will be back on the air.
We just learned, Kyra, that the largest media group here in Pakistan, called the Jung (ph) Group, is getting threats from the government as well as militants. And the government is pressuring companies and advertisers to stop running their ads in these papers as a way to squeeze the reporters here -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Our Zain Verjee in Islamabad. Zain, thanks so much.
And here's the view from the White House. In a written statement, press secretary Dana Perino says, quote, "We think it's a good thing that President Musharraf clarified the election date for the Pakistani people."
President Bush called Musharraf yesterday. He says that he urged Musharraf to hold elections, to step down as head of the military , and to return Pakistan to civilian rule.
LEMON: With friends like these, and I'm sure you know the rest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE FROMONG, ALLEGED VICTIM OF ARMED ROBBERY: O.J. was a very good friend. I knew him for 17 years.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you want him to go to jail?
FROMONG: I think that jail may be the answer to O.J.'s problems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The case against a fallen star.
PHILLIPS: O.J. back in a courtroom, this time in Las Vegas to face armed robbery charges. We're listening to Bruce Fromong, sports memorabilia dealer. As you know, O.J. Simpson is being accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers in that hotel room in Las Vegas. Let's listen in.
FROMONG: Might be of interest, photographs, if I had any game used materials. I was also told that they were interested in other athletes, as well. And that's one reason I had stuff from other athletes in the room that evening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say that this conversation or conversations took place roughly a couple weeks before the event of September 13. Did there come a point in time when an exact date and time was settled upon between yourself and Mr. Beardsley?
FROMONG: Yes. It was the day before we finally -- well, the exact place had not been -- I hadn't been told the exact place until the day of the meeting. Probably midday. I was told what day it was going to be, but they had no idea yet where they wanted to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Thursday, September 13, you indicate that it was settled that a certain time and place would -- you would meet with these individuals?
FROMONG: That is correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the time and place?
FROMONG: We were supposed to meet at the Palace Station, in front of the Palace Station, at 6 p.m.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it that you arrived at the Palace Station?
FROMONG: I came in my own private vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Palace Station hotel located at 2411 West Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada?
FROMONG: I believe that's the address, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you -- did you travel to the Palace Station with anybody else?
FROMONG: No, I did not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What items did you bring with you to the Palace Station?
FROMONG: I had numerous footballs as well as photographs. I had lithographs, as well as a couple boxes of baseballs and a couple of baseball bats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tell us that many of the items were O.J. Simpson memorabilia. Were there any other athletes or any other memorabilia that you had with you?
FROMONG: I had a stack of lithographs signed by Joe Montana, and I also had two dozen baseballs with me that are special balls. One dozen of them that read -- that are lasered with the words, "I'm sorry I bet on baseball." They are signed and numbered, a limited edition of 100 balls. And there was also...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Signed?
FROMONG: Signed by Pete Rose. And then there were a box of 12 baseballs, what we call stat ball with all the career stats of Duke Schneider, which is a limited edition of 80. That's some of the stuff that we sell. We wholesale across the country as well as on eBay under our user name Superbowl Kid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any other items?
FROMONG: We had the bats. There was a bat, also a Pete Rose bat with the same inscription, "I'm sorry I bet on baseball," which was a limited edition of 100. And also a Duke Schneider bat with his career stats lasered into it, which is a limited edition of 80.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time did you arrive at the Palace Station?
FROMONG: Approximately 6.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six p.m.?
FROMONG: Six p.m. in the evening, yes. There were a couple of...
PHILLIPS: So is it deja vu? Remember O.J. Simpson, the former football star, who faced years of doubts and questions about his acquittal on murder charges more than a decade ago? Here he is again in a courtroom, this time in Las Vegas, facing possible charges involving robbed -- armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, kidnapping.
You're listening to Bruce Fromong. He's a sports memorabilia dealer. According to testimony, O.J. Simpson broke into a hotel room, trying to steal memorabilia, specifically his sports memorabilia.
We're following all the details, trying to see if there's enough evidence to even go forward. We're following it throughout the day.
LEMON: Yes. He's the prosecution's key witness in this case. Bruce Fromong is a sports memorabilia dealer. He was in that hotel room in the Palace Station at the time of all this. And he's also an old Simpson friend. He recently sat down with CNN's Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN COORESPONDENT: If the armed robbery and kidnapping case against O.J. Simpson goes to trial, prosecutors will be counting on this man to help them put Simpson in jail.
BRUCE FROMONG, SPORTS MEMORABILIA DEALER: I don't care if he was my friend or not. Nobody is above the law.
ROWLANDS: Bruce Fromong was in the room at the Palace Station Hotel when the alleged crime happened. Simpson denies the charges. Fromong says even though Simpson is a friend he wants him to pay for what he says happened that night.
FROMONG: All of a sudden the door burst open and in come four people and then O.J. and you know, they had guns drawn.
ROWLANDS: Fromong says an audio recording of what happened obtained by tmz.com seems accurate, in it a voice that appears to be Simpson's can be heard yelling and giving orders. Fromong claims Simpson and the other men took tens of thousands of dollars of memorabilia, carting it out in boxes and pillow cases.
FROMONG: They took everything. And the last item that was taken because the last man out of the room was O.J. Simpson, and he took my cell phone.
ROWLANDS: A few days later Bruce Fromong suffered a heart attack which he partly blames on stress from that night. Fromong says he's known Simpson for years and even supported him after the former football star was accused of murdering his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman. In fact, Fromong testified on Simpson's behalf during the civil trial.
FROMONG: O.J. was a very good friend. I knew him for 17 years.
ROWLANDS: You want him to go to jail?
FROMONG: I think that jail may be the answer to O.J.'s problems.
ROWLANDS: But Bruce Fromong is a witness may have problems as well. Listen closely to the TMZ.com audio recording after Simpson left the hotel room.
FROMONG: I helped him set up his (expletive) offshore account. Don't (expletive) with me.
ROWLANDS: Fromong seems to say he helped Simpson set up an offshore bank account which could be used to help shield income from the Goldman and Brown families.
FROMONG: At the time I was extremely mad. I said a lot of things that night. But it will be explained later on and people will understand, I think even the Goldman's.
ROWLANDS: Fromong says while he's still weak from his heart attack, he's ready to testify this week against his old friend.
FROMONG: This is the right thing to do. That's the only reason. I mean, it saddens me that I might be the one that puts O.J. in jail.
ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Las Vegas.
LEMON: Bruce Fromong on the stand now testifying. This is a pretrial hearing, just to let you know, just to see if there's enough evidence to actually go to trial. We're going to continue to monitor this pretrial hearing and bring you updates throughout the afternoon here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Markets are falling again today. How low will they go? Dow industrials now down 127 points. We're tracking all of the numbers from the New York stock exchange.
LEMON: That music means it's time for business. Tech sector is leading in another sell off on Wall Street. There she is. Stephanie Elam is at the New York stock exchange. Hi Steph.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Don. Yes, it's not a pretty picture. One day after the fifth largest drop of the year for the Dow industrials, investors are fleeing their positions once again. Tech stocks, as you said, getting the smack down. Cisco is down more than 8 percent right now after the company's CEO warned that a cooling U.S. economy will hurt internet server sales to businesses. That news is spreading over to other tech stocks like IBM. Its share are down more than 5 percent. Another tech representative on the Dow, Hewlett- Packard is losing 4 percent. Google stock has been falling $50. Right now to back below $700 a share. So, obviously that's a big one. I'm sure they are losing so much money even though it's over $700 previously. This list keeps going on. Apple, Oracle and the maker of the Blackberry e-mail devices, that company's name is Research in Motion, those stocks are down sharply. NASDAQ's percentage loss, actually Don get this, it's double the other major averages.
LEMON: All right. So financial stocks yesterday not so much. What's the latest from the sector?
ELAM: Again, with the not so much, it's not looking so good for the financial stocks again today. Much of that weakness was due to fears of yore write-downs yesterday. Again we're seeing that big losses are happening in the area. Citibank announced steep losses earlier this week. Its stock is down 5 percent today. AIG posted quarterly earnings that missed expectations, that was yesterday after the bell. Its stock is dropping for a second straight day down more than 5 percent now. Like the other financial companies, the insurance giant was hurt by tight credit and ailing U.S. housing market. But Don, I got to find good news. You ready for some?
LEMON: OK. Yeah. I'm sure a lot of people on Wall Street for ready for some. What you got for me?
ELAM: Oil prices are a bit lower for the second straight day. They are actually held in check by fears of a slowing economy so that's not good. But oil is below $97 a barrel. That said, it's not out of the question for $100 a barrel still coming to the scene.
Let's look at the numbers. The Dow industrials are down, 157 points, a loss of 1.25 percent. 13,142. At one point today the blue chips were down 220. NASDAQ losing 70 points, off closer to 3 percent there, 2674.
Now coming up, Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke is testifying on Capitol Hill today with a sobering message. I'll tell you what it means for the economic outlook in the next hour of NEWSROOM. Until then, Don and Kyra, back to you.
LEMON: Ben Bernanke speaks. That's what it says.
ELAM: Got to get your ear to the street. Listen.
LEMON: A lot of people listen.
ELAM: They definitely listen.
LEMON: Thank you, Stephanie. We look forward to the next one.
PHILLIPS: Pakistan today returns CNN and BBC to the airwaves easing a blackout on state media. Throughout the so-called state of emergency, blogs have played a huge role in spreading word of what's going on. For more we're joined by Isha Sesay at our international update desk. Isha, what's going on?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Hey Kyra. All day we've been following the Pakistan crisis online checking out what bloggers have to say about the situation and about President Pervez Musharraf. Lots of interesting things being said on the blogosphere. Many postings actually unrestrained attacks on the president like this one posted on pack tribune.com. He is, "We simply reject that the only choices we have are Musharraf or Bhutto. Stability and security are the things of the past. People must stand up and have a showdown with this thief." Well, there is a counter on the same thread, "The time has come that Musharraf should act more like a dictator than a nice guy." Interesting stuff. On our India network, defends the general saying "He's rolled the dice in the biggest gamble of his career." She says, "Even in his emergency explainer speech he said in that paradoxical way that he had taken the measure so as to threat third stage of democracy, holding general elections." We want to share this with you. She had the best description of the general so far that we've come across. She said, "He's a strange duck, in that sense who has walked like a dictator and talked like a democrat." That really struck us. We wanted to bring that to you.
We've also been scouring the Indian websites and struck by a couple of things. Firstly, a number of Indians seem to feel that this focus on events in Pakistan is an unwelcome distraction from India's concerns. "We've run out of issues, why should we bother about a country that waged war on us a number of times. Whether it's stable or unstable Pakistan, the war clouds over India will remain." Many are saying that the general may have overplayed his hand. Many Indians are saying things like KJ, in his same sentiment, they say, "The general can gnash his teeth. He seems to have bitten off more than he can chew." So lots of different viewpoints, bringing you the view from Pakistan's neighbors, India, over the border. Back to you.
PHILLIPS: All right, Isha. Thanks so much.
LEMON: A mother of four didn't make it becoming the latest wildfire victim. Maria Beltran was burned in the Harris fire raring near San Diego last month. She died on Tuesday. Her family is thanking everyone for kind thoughts and their prayers. Her death is the eighth directly linked to the wildfires that ravaged southern California last month.
LEMON: Lots of you take statin drugs to lower cholesterol. Now doctors warn about a few nightmare side effects.
LEMON: We're getting word on a terror threat, a possible terror threat on malls during holiday shopping. Kelli Arena working that story from Washington. Kelli, what do you know?
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, the FBI has obtained intelligence quite recently suggesting that al Qaeda may be planning to attack malls in Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California. Before everybody gets crazy, the FBI has said that this information is raw intelligence. What that means Don is that this is uncorroborated information. The FBI spokesperson put out a statement saying there is no information to state that this is a credible threat. What the FBI does is sends information like this out to its law enforcement and intelligence partners so let's say, for example, someone has been working on a case and has information and this backs it up. They could say wait, maybe we've got something there. But there is no indication of that yet. This is just raw information that was sent out, we talked to a variety of officials who said that the credibility of the information is very low, but it's important to get out there and share with partners, better safe than sorry.
LEMON: Kelli Arena, keep us updated. Thank you very much.
ARENA: I sure will.
PHILLIPS: Baby acne, oversized belly buttons, cross eyes, when you've never been a parent before and there is something not quite perfect about your newborn, it's pretty scary. But is it cause for alarm? CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen sorts that out in today's "Empowered Patient."
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the hardest things being a new parent is knowing when to call the doctor. So we talked to pediatricians and they said there are many conditions that look really awful but in fact are harmless and no cause for concern. So, in this week's "Empowered Patient," we talk about five of them and we'll talk about a couple of them now.
The first one is baby acne. Some newborns have a face full of pimples. They look like teenagers. But actually it's perfectly normal. There is nothing you should do about it. It will go away in a couple of weeks.
Another one is crossed eyes. Some newborns have their eyes crossed looking in at each other. Again, it usually goes away after a few weeks and it's nothing to be concerned about.
The third one, really freaks parents out. Some babies, boys and girls, have large breasts. And the reason why is they have been bathed in their mother's hormones for nine months. Sometimes they come out looking like they have breasts. Again, this goes away and is no cause for concern.
So, if your newborn baby has one of these conditions what should you do? Go ahead and call your pediatrician. That's what pediatricians advise us to do. But they say that really, if you can figure it out on your own, it is no reason for concern. But they say if you are worried, go ahead and pick up the phone. Back to you.
PHILLIPS: It's easy to become an empowered patient. Log on to CNN's website and click on the health tab. Elizabeth posts new articles each week. The goal is put you in the driver's seat on everything from choosing a doctor to finding expert advise on health care.
LEMON: We want to get you back to Las Vegas now. A pretrial hearing going on in the O.J. Simpson case. Bruce Fromong is the prosecution's key witness, he is a sports memorabilia dealer who was in the room when this allegedly went down. He's on the stand now. Let's listen in.
FROMONG: The second man came in with a drawn semi-automatic, which was pointed at me. Two other gentlemen that I saw for sure came in, flanked him on the right-hand side, and there was a scream, put your phone down, put your phone down, get off the phone. As he came closer to me I was pushed with one hand into my right shoulder. I stumbled back and as I turned, because I've got a bad back. I am handicapped. But I turned and caught myself on the chair at that time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the individual you identified as possibly being Mr. Stewart?
FROMONG: Yes, sir, it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you recognize these other individuals who came into the room?
FROMONG: By name or anything like that, there was only one other person that I, well, two other people. One would have been Tom Riccio that came in, and then O.J. Simpson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Mr. or defendant Simpson came into the room, did he say anything?
FROMONG: When he came in, when he first came in he kind of stopped for just a second. Looked at me and I kind of looked at him. And there was a lot of yelling and screaming going on, and the first thing that I really remember from that was a statement made by Mr. Simpson saying don't let anybody out of this room. Nobody leaves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say that defendant Stewart pushed you. Did he do anything else with you during this time?
FROMONG: Not at that immediate moment, no, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some later time did he do anything to you?
FROMONG: I don't believe it was him. I believe there was -- it may have been -- I know that somebody, the second man that was holding the gun on me I believe it was, they came over to me, basically padded my shoulders, and then went on to Mr. Beardsley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us what happened when defendant Simpson said don't let anybody leave.
FROMONG: Well, there was a lot of hollering and yelling. O.J. was yelling particularly at Al Beardsley, saying you know, I thought you were a good guy, I thought you were my friend. You know. You stole from me. And at which time there was an exchange basically between Mr. Beardsley and Mr. Simpson. There wasn't a lot said between O.J. and I. A couple of brief exchanges, and -- in the beginning, then they went about their way searching people, hollering check under the pillows, somebody hollered, use the pillow case to get that stuff. And as they were picking it up, I think I made a statement to O.J. that O.J., those are my -- those are my Joe Montana's litho, you know, that's my stuff. That has nothing to do with -- with anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's try to describe some of the items. You described defendant Stewart. Describe the man who had the gun out as he came through the door.
FROMONG: He came through the door with the gun drawn, approached -- he was the last person in like I say was O.J. which he came in to basic what I would call the middle of the square.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk about the male with the gun. Can you describe him?
FROMONG: He was a black man, suit, tie, bald head, he stood probably 10 feet, 10 to 12 feet maybe, from me, with the -- with a semi-automatic basically pointed at my face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What color suit was he wearing?
FROMONG: It was a dark suit, someone light shirt with a dark tie, I believe. I was more interested in the gun pointing in my face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did this individual say anything to you?
FROMONG: He was the one that was started a lot of the yelling. He made the statement, I believe it was, I'll shoot your ass. And he made the statement we were in L.A. we do things a lot differently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you recall exactly what this individual with the gun said to you about Los Angeles?
FROMONG: He made the statement that if this was Los Angeles, we would handle this a lot differently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were those his exact words?
FROMONG: I believe as close as I remember, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was defendant Simpson doing during this time?
FROMONG: He was standing in the middle, the gentlemen were positioned in a square position from each other with O.J. standing in the middle of the square. As things got more heated O.J. was doing a lot of yelling. The other guys were you know, screaming about the stuff, let's get the stuff. You know, let's do this. Let's do that. And like I say, O.J. was screaming, basically at Mr. Beardsley. He turned to me a couple of times. Said a couple of things. Said you stole my you know, how could you -- I believe it was something to the effect of ...
PHILLIPS: All right. Get straight to Fredricka with details. We'll follow the O.J. Simpson drama of course but Fred, what do you have?
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, this concerns the cities of New York and Chicago. Let's look at a picture now at La Guardia Airport. On the tarmac there you see all of this luggage there. Just at the bottom of the steps of an aircraft. An American Airlines aircraft flight 381, which landed in La Guardia had taken off from Chicago. And American Airlines, a spokesperson out of Chicago is confirming to CNN there was a security issue related incident. We don't know the specifications about what is taking place right now. But now we are also getting confirmation from the FAA about a bomb threat involving this aircraft which has just landed at La Guardia Airport. About an hour and a half ago. It took off from Chicago, flight 381, at 9:31 a.m., landing in La Guardia at La Guardia at about 12:39. You see the bomb-sniffing dogs there on the ground as well as other personnel. Apparently all of the 170 passengers on board have deplaned. And now you see all of the luggage, all of the personal effects outside of the aircraft as they continue to sniff those contents. When we get more information we'll be able to bring that to you, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: OK. We'll keep tracking it. Thanks, Fred.
LEMON: Is a popular toy one that very well could be in your home, this is part of it here. Why it's linked to a powerful date rape drug. A story parents need to see in the NEWSROOM.
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