Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Secret Security Test That Wasn't So Secret?; Judgment Day for O.J. Simpson; A Computer for Every Kid; Major Earthquake in Chile

Aired November 14, 2007 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A few days after President Bush mentioned it, the general appeared out of uniform to make some concessions. He actually wears suits a lot of the time. Mr. Bush's symbolic demand...
GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: And you need to take off your uniform.

MOOS: Echoed another famous challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

MOOS: Only instead of taking down a wall, Mr. Musharraf is supposed to take off his pants.

KHURSHID KASURI, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: And he wants to take his uniform off.

BENAZIR BHUTTO, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: We want the uniform off.

DANA ROHRABACHER (R) CALIFORNIA: Who cares if General Musharraf takes off his uniform?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: And I must remove my uniform.

MOOS: When it comes to getting a guy to take it off...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Men, nothing takes it off like Noxzema Medicated Shave.

MOOS: Maybe a guy who has had his share of close shaves needs a little musical inspiration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take it off. Take it all off.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: OK. All right. I'm old enough to remember those ads.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I remember, too. What does that say about me? Mark Spitz was one of the guys.

HARRIS: Yes, yes. Oh, my goodness. Hi, everyone. You're with CNN. Good morning. I'm Tony Harris.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Heidi Collins this hour. Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM, this Wednesday, the 14th of November. Here's what's on the rundown.

The secret security test that wasn't so secret? Airport screeners tipped off about an undercover operation.

HARRIS: And judgment day. Will a court order O.J. Simpson to stand trial? A Las Vegas judge will show his hand soon.

WHITFIELD: And a computer for every kid. Wouldn't that be nice. An MIT professor invents a low-cost, crank-me-up kind of laptop. A live interview straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: Well, here is something to think about before your next flight. Airport screeners getting a heads up about supposedly secret security checks. A House Committee looking for answers in a hearing. It's happening right now. Homeland security correspondent Jean Meserve is following the hearing for us, from Washington, Jean.

JEAN MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, we've got a pretty feisty hearing and that a very spirited defense of the TSA by its administrator Kip Hawley. At issue here is an e-mail that was uncovered a couple weeks ago which appears to tip off airports to the fact that testing; covert testing of screeners is going on. It identifies people who were doing the testing, or describes them, rather, and also describes the techniques they are using. Now, Hawley said today, there was no tipping off. There was no cheating.

He said that this memo, which was sent out under the name of the assistant administer for security operations at the TSA, that that person in fact hadn't sent it. When he found out it had gone out, he had it recalled. About 13 minutes later. And Hawley said the person who sent it appeared to think that there was some kind of security threat here because the memo describes testing by DOT and FAA. Those are agencies who do not test screeners.

So apparently, they thought there was some sort of probe under way that was a security issue. But Hawley wasn't definitive about all of this. He says there's the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security who is looking into it all. He said let's wait for that report but he said emphatically though mistakes should have been made, the integrity of his agency and of the testing is not at issue. Not everyone who was in that committee room was buying it. A former inspector general for the Department Of Homeland Security, Clark Kent Irvin, pointed out that there have been other instances where screeners have been tipped off ahead of time about testing. He suggested that the integrity of the testing process and, therefore, the security of the nation was an issue here.

Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Not very encouraging when this security agency keeps coming under fire to try and reassure all of us that airport and air travel is safe, especially coming upon the holidays. HARRIS: Yes.

MESERVE: That's right, Fredricka. But you know, I have to tell you that Kip Hawley was emphatic that there was covert testing that goes on in every lane, in every airport, every day of the week. He says the testing is getting more and more sophisticated. They use smaller and smaller bomb components to try and test the screeners. But you know, this issue of tip-offs still clearly a matter of concern, not just for Clark Kent Irvin, but to members of this committee who wants more definitive answers from and want to see them inspector general's report.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jean Meserve in Washington, thanks so much.

MESERVE: You bet.

HARRIS: A major change of plan on the issue of illegal immigration. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is giving up his proposal to give driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Spitzer had said all along his plan was about security, keeping track of people and keeping the roads safe, but opponents say illegal immigrants shouldn't get the privilege of a license. Last hour Spitzer said he decided to drop the plan because the public wasn't behind him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIOT SPITZER, (D) NEW YORK: I continue to believe that my proposal would have improved an unsatisfactory situation, but I have listened to the legitimate concerns of the public and those who would be affected by my proposal, and have concluded that pushing forward unilaterally in the face of such strong opposition would be counterproductive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Well, this issue doesn't just affect New Yorkers. Last week in Washington, a republican congressman introduced a bill to stop states from granting licenses to undocumented immigrants.

WHITFIELD: And now it's official. Less than an hour ago, retired federal Judge Michael Mukasey was sworn in a public ceremony as the nation's top cop. Mukasey officially took the oath of office as Attorney General on Friday. He went right to work after that meeting with top Justice Department officials and getting national security briefings. The senate voted 53-40 to confirm Mukasey. He replaces Alberto Gonzalez, who resigned after the scandal over fired federal prosecutors.

HARRIS: Unfolding this morning, the Blackwater investigation and report Iraqi civilians were killed without cause. Barbara Starr on the story for us from the Pentagon. Barbara, what can you tell us about this report?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, the "New York Times" this morning reported some of the initial findings. It said it came from the FBI investigators looking into this September incident in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed in a shootout in Baghdad. But according to the "New York Times" the FBI found was that at least 14 of the 17 killings were unjustified. Use of deadly force not appropriate under the rules covering private security contractors in Iraq that they were not under an imminent threat.

The newspaper also reported that these findings are now being reviewed by the Justice Department. Blackwater has said in the past that it believed its employees were acting in justified self-defense. Today, they issued a statement saying the following according to a spokeswoman, "If it is proven that there was wrongdoing, we want that person or persons held accountable." And, of course, the question continues in these cases is whether or not, the investigators can find sufficient evidence and witnesses and their testimony can be brought forward in a U.S. court in a legal prosecution here in this country. That's proven to be something that's been very tough. So, it still remains to be seen where this all goes, Tony.

HARRIS: Hard to imagine how that scenario plays out. At the pentagon for us, Barbara Starr this morning. Barbara, thank you.

STARR: Sure.

HARRIS: And a closer look now at Blackwater U.S.A, the North Carolina-based contractor has about 1,000 armed guards in Iraq. They perform duties once reserved for soldiers such as guarding convoys and protecting officials. Since 2001, Blackwater has won more than $1 billion in contracts from the U.S. Government. Contractors can make about $30,000 in a single month.

WHITFIELD: And this just coming in now to CNN. We're watching -- what we're hearing to be a report of a major earthquake taking place in Northern Chile. We don't know much about exactly who is being impacted here and what it has done to the landscape there, but we also understand right there along the pacific a tsunami warning has also been issued.

What's interesting about this whole northern region of Chile is because it really is a contrast of a lot of different types of climates and topography there. It is one where there is desert land, it is one that also receives a lot of rain in some parts of that northern part, and it's also very mountainous. But now, what we're hearing is this earthquake striking this area of Northern Chile. Also now, also being issued is a tsunami warning there along the pacific. We get any more information about exactly who it's impacting, what has it done to this region. We'll be able to bring that to you.

Meantime, let's talk about china and toys. Kids are making their lists, and you need to check them twice. That's for sure. Looking past naughty and nice to potentially poisonous now. CNN's John Vause reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This factory in Southern China is now the focal point of three separate official investigations. Chinese, Australian, and U.S. authorities all want to know how a popular toy known as Aqua Dots and Bindeez which are make here ended up containing the potentially fatal date rape drug GHB. Is it OK? Can we come in? Why not? When we tried to find out, security turned us away. And while the Chinese government has suspended the company's export license, work was clearly still going on.

We just don't know what toys are still being made at this factory. Despite our repeated phone calls of the last two days, the management of this company is refusing to answer our questions. Reaction from the Chinese Government though has been unusually swift. Confirming the presence of GHB and asking for U.S. help to identify the toxin in future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We will severely punish illegal behavior, says this government official.

SUE DERAGON, STR CONSUMER TESTING: In this lab, we perform a series of use and abuse tests.

VAUSE: Sue Deragon with STR, one of America's biggest independent lab says GHB would not be detected by standard industry tests on toys.

DERAGON: This is an example of why it's important to have a good prevention program in place rather than just a test program.

VAUSE: This has been the year of the Chinese recall and Deragon says business here is booming, especially toys. Manufacturers and distributors are scrambling to make sure this year's Christmas gifts won't make kids sick.

DERAGON: And it's really opened to people's eyes to the importance of making sure that their product complies with the regulatory requirements in the states.

VAUSE: Chinese factories exported a staggering 22 billion toys last year alone, and with many manufacturers facing increasing pressure to cut costs, another recall may be a question of when, not if. John Vause, CNN, Xingjian, China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And speaking of what's on the Christmas list, sometimes it's a laptop these days for kids. And look at this one right here. It may look like a toy, but it's actually very functional. We'll talk to the inventor about how he's taking this very inventive laptop abroad. Much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Las Vegas, high stakes for O.J. Simpson. This hour a judge will hear -- I made it here just in the nick of time. I'm sorry I forgot it. You know what I was doing? Can I be honest about it?

WHITFIELD: You were being really fast. HARRIS: No, no, no. I was getting some information on the earthquake, the Chile earthquake, and I made it back just in the nick of time. Let me be if I could, we're totally off script here, but if I could, let me just sort of update that situation. As Fred mentioned just a moment ago, we're talking about a major earthquake now in Northern Chile. No immediate words -- reports at least of injuries right now. Magnitude, all important here, 7.7 magnitude. So when you mention major, you weren't kidding. And it has hit - it has struck about 800 miles north of Santiago. 37 miles underground. And again no reports yet of injuries, but that is a significant...

WHITFIELD: Which explains the tsunami warning?

HARRIS: Exactly. But you were talking a moment ago about the type of topography in this area. It's varied, isn't it?

WHITFIELD: Yes, it is.

HARRIS: So, once again, this is a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that we're talking about. So a serious situation, indeed, here. About 800 miles north of Santiago. We're going to try to muster up it all of our resources here and get some additional reporting on this. As soon as we can get some more information, we will of course bring that to you in the NEWSROOM. I had to hustle that up a little bit. Sorry about that.

WHITFIELD: We like that hustle.

HARRIS: OK.

WHITFIELD: That works.

HARRIS: So Las Vegas now, and the high stakes gamble for O.J. Simpson. This hour a judge will hear final testimony, then decide whether Simpson should face a trial that could send him to prison for life. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is there. Thelma, good to see you this morning. What is happening in the court right now? We'll you're outside. I don't know how much you know about what's going on inside but what do you know?

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, I can tell you that the hearing just got under way a few moments ago. The eighth and final witness called by the prosecution this morning is 45-year-old Alfred Beardsley. Now, Alfred Beardsley was sworn in a short time ago. He's taking the stand. He is a memorabilia dealer. He's also one of two alleged victims in this case. He's expected to testify about exactly what took place on September 13th when O.J. Simpson and eight others barged into that hotel room looking for what Simpson said were stolen goods, and his testimony is very important to the defense.

It will help to establish exactly what items O.J. Simpson may have been looking for, and also how Alfred Beardsley came into contact with those items. All along O.J. Simpson has said that those items were actually stolen from him and that he was there to try to retrieve them. He said he wanted nothing more than the suit that he wore the date of his acquittal. Other valuable items that he says were taken from him. Now, Beardsley, we should mention, is actually in custody here in Clark County. He is from California, but he has been held here in Clark County at the detention center ever since September 13th for violating parole and crossing from California into Nevada.

Now, this stems from a prior conviction of stalking a waitress in California. Well, he is on the stand right now. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say. After it's all over with both sides will summarize their cases and it will be up to a judge to decide whether O.J. Simpson and two other co-defendants will be bound over for trial.

Tony?

HARRIS: Thelma Gutierrez for us at Las Vegas. Thelma, appreciate it, thank you.

And you can see the O.J. Simpson hearing live. It is streaming all day at cnn.com.

WHITFIELD: Well, brought to an abrupt stop. Too late to slam on the brakes? A car slams into a semi. We'll tell you exactly what happened and how that driver is doing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Tomorrow's democratic debate. What happens in Vegas could shape the race for president. We debate, ahead on the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: We're watching a situation in Wisconsin, northwest of Milwaukee, in a town of Waupun. As the prison there, where apparently a prisoner has taken un-uniform dental technician hostage there at the prison. And so this entire facility, which houses about 1200 inmates, is on lockdown. It's unclear how that alleged hostage is doing, but apparently they are in a room in the health complex of the prison there in Waupun, Wisconsin, which is about 50 minutes outside of Milwaukee, and as soon as we get these images and, we'll be able to bring them to you. But right now, that prison on lockdown because of this situation.

HARRIS: And a breaking news from just a couple moments ago. We are following what is described, and boy when you take a look at this magnitude number, it is in fact a major earthquake in Chile. About 800 miles north of Santiago. Jacqui Jeras is helping us understand what's going on here and the dimensions of this story. Jacqui, one report that this earthquake struck 37 miles underground.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 37.

HARRIS: Is that what you have?

JERAS: I have a 7.6 miles deep is what I am seeing.

HARRIS: You have 7.7? JERAS: Yes, from the preliminary estimates.

HARRIS: OK, I'll go with your number.

JERAS: How deep an earthquake is really has a huge bearing on what kind of damage it can cause. So the deeper it is, the less damage that you're going to be seeing on the surface. They do think that this one is strong enough to generate a tsunami. So, a tsunami warning has been issued just in the coastal area. They call it a nonexpanding tsunami warning. So, basically what that means is they think it is going to be very localized. It could be very significant, however, but they don't anticipate that it's going to be moving out throughout the pacific, and so it won't be what we call a pacific wide tsunami. So if one were to occur, it would happen very quickly actually and it would be just very near the coastal areas as well.

Now, 7.7, that's the preliminary magnitude that we're hearing. That's what you would consider a major earthquake. And to put it in perspective for you, we get nearly a million earthquakes that occur globally in a year. We only get about 20 major earthquakes. And so they can cause a considerable amount of damage, and 8.0 earthquake is what we would consider a great earthquake and could totally destroy a community near the epicenter. So, this isn't too far away from that. There you can see on our Google earth, that Lima is way up here. Here's La Paz and Santiago. It's way down there. So, it doesn't that this is really a populated area, so hopefully that can keep the damage and death tolls down.

HARRIS: OK, we'll keep you honest. I have 800 miles north of Santiago and what do you have as the depth? In case I need to come back to this again. The depth. The underground depth of this.

JERAS: 7.6 is the preliminary number that I'm seeing.

HARRIS: 7.6, OK, Jacqui, appreciate it. Thanks for keeping me honest. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Well, here is a great holiday gift idea. You give one and you get one. How you can help connect a child in a developing country to the worldwide web right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: So, here's something really interesting. A man with a dream, and he's asking you to share in it. Nicholas Negroponte wants every child in the world, especially in developing countries, to have a computer. So he's got a deal for you. So Nicholas, I hope I got this right. You're joining us from Washington but I hope I got this right. So, you buy one of your inventions, which is like a laptop for $399, and in so doing here in the states you end up being able to send or afford another kid abroad in an undeveloped or developing country to actually get that same kind of laptop. So, that's what you mean by give one, get one, right?

NICHOLAS NEGROPONTE, FOUNDER ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD: That's exactly what we mean. WHITFIELD: Wow, so that's remarkable. Where did you come up with this idea because it's more than one idea? One, it's an inexpensive computer, laptop and then to make sure every kid in the world could have one.

NEGROPONTE: Well, the idea dates back many years because my colleagues and I at MIT have been trying to understand how children learn and how they're going to learn differently when they have access to computers, particularly one that they own. So what's different about this approach is that the child, even in the poorest country, where they're spending less than $100 per year per child for primary education, will have the opportunity to own the laptop, take it home, and use it seamlessly for music, for books, for accessing the web. It's really possible now.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So we're talking about places from Peru to Uruguay to even Rwanda, but then, Nicholas, some of these places, some of these villages, communities, there's no power. So how do you make this laptop work?

NEGROPONTE: This laptop is designed specifically for the kind of environment that has no power. It winds up, for example. You can crank it. If you crank for one minute, you get ten minutes. It also can be read in the sunlight. It creates an internet connection for you automatically, and this is very important because we just can't take normal laptops. 50 percent of the children of this world have no electricity at home or at school.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Pretty remarkable. So we're looking at the images here of this laptop. Very small, very handy, and that it's green I guess very inviting for a young person. You really had the young person in mind when you designed this.

NEGROPONTE: Very much so. It does things that children like to do. It's not only a normal laptop, and it will run windows and it does run Linux, it's also something that has a lot of video, a lot of audio, but most importantly all the laptops collaborate. They connect to each other. So when you have hundreds of them they all make a network automatically.

WHITFIELD: There you have one with you, I understand, right?

NEGROPONTE: Yes, I do.

WHITFIELD: All right so show me how, just how easy it is and why you think it is so valued for a kid who is in a small village in Rwanda, et cetera, to be connected with the rest of the world? What does it do for that child?

NEGROPONTE: Well, just think for a start that each laptop has a thousand books in it, and then if there are 20 children in the village, they can all have different books of different parts of an encyclopedia. So, just the book value is enough to get going. And then the fact that it's connected to the Internet is almost a bonus. In the villages where we've done this project, children's first English word is Google. And that's where they spend their time. WHITFIELD: Wow, oh, my gosh.

NEGROPONTE: And it turns into sort of like a book. It collapses. It's a tablet. You can use it in the sunlight. You can't use your laptop, I can't use my cell phone in the sunlight because it's not readable, but this is particularly designed so kids can use it outdoors. Kids, because of these little cute ears, can all talk to each other.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's amazing. So when you saw a kid in a developing nation using your invention right there for the first time, what did you see in that child? Did you kind of see the wheels in motion?

NEGROPONTE: Well, there's a hope and a passion that just doesn't exist otherwise. To me, the biggest measure of success is that in one of our schools in Cambodia, 100 percent more kids showed up for first grade, the second year we ran the tests. And that's because, the 6- year-olds the previous year said to the other 6-year-olds how cool school was.

WHITFIELD: Oh, neat.

NEGROPONTE: That's very important.

WHITFIELD: So show me how it works. You know, you hand this laptop to a kid just in that formation and then what happens?

NEGROPONTE: Well, the hardest thing to do is to open it actually.

WHITFIELD: It looks tricky.

NEGROPONTE: And then once it's open, a child takes about two minutes to really start using it very proficiently. An adult might take 30 or 40 minutes. So, what we do is we go into the village. We spend a week with the teachers first, partly to give them self confidence so that they let the children basically help them.

WHITFIELD: Because kids are going to have questions. I don't know how to make this thing work.

NEGROPONTE: Well, the kids will be really teaching the teachers. And then, for example, there's a camera in here so you can do video conferencing with kids in other parts of the world. One application that came up recently is that the kids brought it home and the parents who will illiterate could leave messages and make messages for the teacher or receive messages for the teacher because they were all in video and audio.

So we're finding lots of new applications daily and the give one, get one program that we are in the middle of right now is an effort to get the American people to buy one for themselves, but that's almost incidental. It's really about giving.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah. Because by default then, and really not by default because it's your design, another kid gets it in one of these developing nations. So you have this give one, get one pro motion going on through the end of the month, through November 26th. Where do you find an XO and why wouldn't you extend it further into the holiday season when everybody is really eager to buy, spend, et cetera?

NEGROPONTE: Well --

WHITFIELD: I asked you a lot right there.

NEGROPONTE: I know you did. The way you find it, you go to the web. They're sold on the web. You can go to laptop.org or laptopgiving.org, and you can buy one. You can buy many. In fact, it's very important that if you buy one for $399, $200 of that is tax deductible, and as I said, you get a free internet connection for the year.

WHITFIELD: You've got it for 100 bucks.

NEGROPONTE: This is the best deal in town. But most importantly, it sends a laptop to a child in Africa or one of the poorest countries in the world.

WHITFIELD: That's the best part. So your kid is able to communicate with someone who has just received this. I mean, what an incredible gift. And teaching tool, not just for the kid who is abroad, but your kid, too.

NEGROPONTE: It changes the life of a child, and our goal is nothing short of eliminating poverty.

WHITFIELD: Well, this is tremendous. Nicholas Negroponte, what an incredible invention. XO, laptop.org or laptopgiving.org.

NEGROPONTE: Either one.

WHITFIELD: That's where you can get it. $399, $200 rebate. I feel like I'm helping to promote it for you.

NEGROPONTE: Be careful. The $200 isn't a rebate. It's a tax deduction.

WHITFIELD: I look at it as a rebate. You're getting it back. All right. Nicholas Negroponte, thanks so much.

NEGROPONTE: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it. Happy holidays. I can't believe I'm saying that already.

Is it okay to say happy holidays already?

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: It sure is. We're here. Everything is out in the stores already.

WHITFIELD: Trees are up. HARRIS: There you go.

WHITFIELD: By the way, you're in the NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: I'm Tony Harris. Fred, let's look at these pictures with you at home. Let's look at these pictures together. The first pictures out of Chile now. Santiago, people on the streets of Santiago very upset in many cases here. You will see as we continue to show you these pictures. We're talking about a major earthquake that has struck Chile. 7.7 magnitude. No reports so far of injuries, but what we have to tell you to give you a sense ever how serious the situation we're dealing with here, Santiago is 800 miles north of the epicenter here of where this earthquake actually struck. So this is a very serious situation, and we wanted to show you these pictures as they come in. We're seeing some emergency personnel show up on the scene. Don't know if there are any injuries yet, but I suspect if they're on the scene, there may be. Not sure of the actual community that is the epicenter, but we are efforting more information on that location as well, but had to show you these pictures. As you can see, in the lower third there, a tsunami warning has been issued, but we understand that Hawaii will not be impacted by a tsunami. Maybe some bigger waves and bigger surf, but no actual tsunami. So let's keep you posted on this situation, give you a look at these pictures here. We will gather some additional information on this 7.7 magnitude quake in Chile, about 800 miles north of Santiago, and we will bring that information to you as soon as we get it here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: Wow. That is incredible. And this, too, is pretty remarkable, but on a whole different level. Fists on the freeway. A lover's quarrel almost runs into a dead end. Yes, you see people dodging traffic on a highway.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. This breaking story we continue to follow out of northern Chile which has just experienced a pretty major earthquake. Here are the latest images coming out of Santiago which is about 800 miles away from the epicenter of this quake. They felt it, so it's that significant of a quake measuring 7.7 magnitude. Jacqui Jeras is in the weather center. You have been keeping a close watch on this as well because while a moment ago they issued a tsunami warning, they have since canceled that, so that's good news. But this northern region of Chile, with I is a real strange area, maybe beautiful, too, because it's mountainous, it's desert-like, and other parts of the year they have tropical storms. So what a confluence of different experiences there, and now also the center point for this earthquake.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN WEATHER CENTER: Right. Actually, this is a very commonplace to have earthquakes actually. It happens all the time. It's just very rare to have one this strong of this magnitude, 7.7 What an incredible amount of damage that can occur. We're getting some reports now that there has been some damage, but we don't know the severity of that. Something else I wanted to talk about a little bit that Tony was asking me about is some confusion about the depth of this earthquake. The number that he got, he said I thought it was 39 miles, it was 39 kilometers. So you do the math there, and that's actually 24 miles deep. I got off the phone with the USGS just to confirm how deep that is. The deeper it is, the less damage that's going to be occurring on the surface. So that's some good news, that this was a very, very deep earthquake. No aftershocks to be reported at this time, so that has not occurred, but that also can happen very frequently in earthquakes. So that's something these people will have to watch out for in the upcoming hours. But the tsunami warning now canceled. It was just a localized warning. Basically if a tsunami was going to occur, it pretty much would have happened right away. There's no reports of that. That's been canceled, and no warnings or watches or advisories issued any longer throughout the pacific. We will continue to monitor this situation here from the CNN weather center, and any additional information that we get we'll bring that along to you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks Jacqui. Just looking at those images, that one right there, that gives you the scope of the kind of damage that can occur, even 800 miles away from an earthquake of such great magnitude. Let's hope nobody was in those vehicles, that's for sure. And, of course, Jacqui, we're going to continue to take in new video of the kind of damage that Santiago, the most populated city obviously in Chile, is experiencing. When we get those images and any new information, we'll bring that to everybody.

HARRIS: Still to come, tomorrow's democratic debate. What happens in Vegas could shape the race for president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, new imaging right now of an incident we told you about a while ago, maybe about 30 minutes ago, this being a lockdown on this prison here in Waupun, Wisconsin, which is about 80 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Why? Because one of inmates allegedly took a dental hygienist hostage there in the health ward of the prison. We don't know how that dental hygienist is doing, but all 1200 inmates and all personnel there at this Waupun state facility or prison facility are on lockdown right now as they try to get to the area where this hostage, who is a dental hygienist, is being held against his or her will involving an inmate. So that's the situation there in Waupun, Wisconsin.

Meantime, we're also monitoring the situation in Chile. When we get more information on the earthquake, we'll be able to bring it to you. 800 miles away from the capital of Santiago. We saw those images recently of the damage in Santiago. We're still waiting, new images of surrounding areas. So both stories we continue to watch here this hour.

HARRIS: What happens in Vegas could shape the presidential race. Democrats face off in a debate tomorrow night and you will see it right here on CNN. Jamal Simmons is a democratic strategist and president of New Future Communications. Hey Jamal, good to see you.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good morning.

HARRIS: About time you joined the big show.

SIMMONS: Happy to be here. Although I am a little jealous because I thought I was going to get Fredricka Whitfield, so I'm a little jealous about that.

HARRIS: I get that a lot. Thank you. Shari Jacobus is the republican strategist who's spent more than 20 years in politics. I'm so glad Wolf is moderating this debate because it's getting so the point all the debates are starting to blend together. So Wolf, thank you. What are you -- Jamal, what are you looking forward to? What are you expecting tomorrow?

SIMMONS: Well, I think everybody is ready for the live and direct from Las Vegas, the big show of the Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama and John Edwards and let's see what happens between the three of them. The other candidates, Dodd and by den will get in the mix and maybe Richardson. We don't know what will happen. But I think everybody wants to see John Edwards who is prosecuting his case, Barack Obama has his mojo back and Hillary Clinton is fighting a way out of a corner.

HARRIS: Do you think Hillary Clinton is really rocked back on her heels here? Do you expect her to come back swinging tomorrow?

SHARI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I expect her to try or have some carefully choreographed strategy planned so that she can, and I think that's actually part of the problem. I think what the American people are looking for at this point and quite frankly it's time for this, is for these folks up on the stage to start acting like adults. They are not girls and boys. They refer to themselves as girls and boys. The boys are beating up on me.

HARRIS: Enough of that.

JACOBUS: We're looking for commander in chief, and at this point foreign policy, this should be more or less a foreign policy debate and really when you look at what's going on in the world, and I'm thinking can you look on that stage and see somebody who -- I'm worried about getting another Jimmy Carter. Remember when Ronald Reagan was sworn into office, when he had his hand on the bible swearing to protect and defend the United States, Iran let go of our hostages. When he said Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall, it came down. Is there anybody on that stage that can do that?

SIMMONS: Shari, you know what they will say is to quote another Reagan line be is, take a look back and eight years ago are you better off today than you were eight years ago when Bill Clinton was in office and the democrats are in charge. That's certainly something Hillary Clinton is going to say to the American public.

JACOBUS: I'm sure it's laid out already. When we were attacked on 9/11 George W. Bush made the point, he said we will find you, and if we can find you, we will track you down and we will kill you. We have caught and captured and killed a lot of al Qaeda and we have not been attacked on American soil in six years. Are we better off? I'd say that's a pretty good thing. Most Americans expected that to be the beginning of more. I think history books will be very kind to this president. Is there anybody on that stage tomorrow night that can come close to that? I'll tell you, as long as they're talking about themselves a children rather than grown-ups, they're hurting their chances.

SIMMONS: Shari, I can't believe you even brought up that line after George Bush said we're going to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden who is responsible for killing all these Americans and international people on our soil, he's still free in Pakistan.

JACOBUS: Look at all the al Qaeda members that have been captured. If you're intellectually honest, you have to think about this. Look at all the al Qaeda members, the most dangerous men and women in the world, that have been caught, captured, and killed.

SIMMONS: How many times have we caught the number three al Qaeda member?

JACOBUS: You want this to be --

HARRIS: All right. I got to get -- that's great, but I got to get one more question in here. Can I get one more question in here, please?

SIMMONS: Sure.

JACOBUS: Go ahead.

HARRIS: Thank you. Did Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, do Hillary Clinton a favor today by withdrawing the licenses for illegal immigrants? That whole program just ahead of tomorrow night's debates. Shari, what do you think?

JACOBUS: I think the damage was already done. She shows she can't take a stand on this.

HARRIS: Jamal, that was a gift to Hillary Clinton.

SIMMONS: I don't know if it was a gift because it puts it back in the news again today, which is not something that's helpful to Hillary Clinton, but I think what's going to happen before we get out of here is I think people will see the Nevada caucuses will be very important and other issues will be on the table, not just national security, but things like water resources, what happened with the population --

HARRIS: Let me squeeze one more in here. I know I'm being rude but I apologize because I'm not Fredricka, but let me squeeze one more in here. Why plant questions, Jamal? That's just -- why plant questions?

SIMMONS: Well, I think that's going to be a question that Senator Clinton is going to have to answer for herself. They've got a bunch of different reasons.

HARRIS: You don't like that, do you? Come on. SIMMONS: It's not something that you typically do, but it's something that Senator Clinton is going to have to answer. I think she has shown she's gotten much better. She has her opponents to thank for that, although her opponents will hold her feet to the fire on this tonight and a bunch of other issues.

HARRIS: Jamal, I'm going to lose you -- we just lost you. And Shari, take that on. It doesn't -- it's not right.

JACOBUS: When anybody in the political arena does this, you're going to take a hit, and with the Bush administration, what they just went through with FEMA and that press conference. For Hillary Clinton to do this, I think it hurts her more because she has this sort of persona of being terrified of anything spontaneous and has to be in control. And when she again said, well, I didn't know anything about that, she's passing the buck a lot, the college girl who was given the answer said that when the Clinton staffer approached them, they said don't worry, ask the question or raise your hand and she will call on you, which to me indicates that Hillary Clinton new darn well what was going on and quite frankly has been caught in a lie. She does have a lot to answer to.

HARRIS: Shari, got to go.

JACOBUS: Okay.

HARRIS: Shari, got to go. Thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

And again all bets are off as the democratic candidates hit the Vegas strip tomorrow night. Join Wolf Blitzer and the best political team on television for the debate starting at 8:00 eastern right here on CNN.

WHITFIELD: We're following two breaking stories. We'll have much more of this in the NEWSROOM. Number one, what has shaken Chile and exactly what is in store for any other place in or around the pacific?

And then in Wisconsin, why a prison inmate takes a hostage -- takes hostage of a dental hygienist, and why that prison is now on lockdown. Much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: We're following two big breaking stories. A major earthquake taking place in northern Chile; 7.7 magnitude quake. You're looking at the damage. 800 miles away from the center point of that quake there in Santiago, the capital. You can see right there some of the damage. No reports of any injuries and it's unclear exactly who, if anyone, lives in the northern Chile region because it is very mountainous. It's also a place where there is a desert and other parts of the year it is also very rainy.

Meantime, head very far north here in the states to Wisconsin, and a prison is on lockdown because an inmate has taken a dental hygienist in the health unit of that prison there in Waupun, Wisconsin, hostage. So the entire facility is on lockdown, impacting 1200 inmates there. You're looking at live pictures of the facility there northwest of Milwaukee, about 80 miles or so. We're continuing to watch for developments there on both fronts in Wisconsin as well as in Chile.

HARRIS: Busy, busy, busy hour. Let's get you to the New York stock exchange now and take a look at the numbers. The big board, the Dow up 23. A good sign. Bouncing back from a crazy roller coaster ride this week so far. Down and then up, up 319 points or so yesterday, and an even Steven kind of day so far. The Dow up 24 points, and the NASDAQ, I understand, is flat. Watching the numbers all day for you here in the NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: Can't be too excited. Can't get disappointed.

HARRIS: Exactly. Ride the wave, everyone.

Al right. Take a look at these pictures. Red light cameras caught -- they're designed to catch red light runners. Take a look at this horrible crash. Police are telling us now - this, by the way, happened in Springfield, Ohio, and police say nearly 30 seconds after the light turned red a car went through the intersection crashing, as you can see here, into the semi. We have showed it to you a couple times in slow motion. Now look at the aftermath. You know, as you were looking at that, it seemed like the car should be able to make -- no, no. The car was dragged about 150 feet. The car's driver serious condition and the truck's driver wasn't hurt at all.

WHITFIELD: I can't even see brake lights on the vehicle. It just must have happened to quickly.

All right. Well, speaking of traffic and being on the road, how about having a fight? In the fast lane. Take a look at this traffic camera video right here. You see two men throwing down here in the median. They don't care. Traffic is moving all the way around them. They continue to take their fight into the street. This is phoenix, people. What is going on? And they stop traffic. Neither of them got hit, as you can see, but narrowly escaping it. Folks, come on. Can we find a better forum in which to have a disagreement?

HARRIS: All right. CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now. "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next. I'm Tony Harris.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Have a great day.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com