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Holiday Tarvel Season; Mandatory Vaccinations; Tragedy in Bangladesh

Aired November 17, 2007 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN, ANCHOR: So, ready to hit the skies, or the wave. It's 38.7 million of your closest friends. The holiday season is upon us, ready or not, (inaudible)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got this letter yesterday in the mail stating I had to be here today. This is crazy.


WHITFIELD: And if she didn't show up today, she'd go to jail. Why? Because her child didn't have the required shots, they say.

And our top story, nature's fury meets grinding poverty to create a growing tragedy in Bangladesh.

Hello, everyone, I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. The grim task of recovering victims of a monster cyclone is under way in Bangladesh. Officials say the number of confirmed dead has climbed to more than 1,700. That figure is expected to go higher. CNN's Dan Rivers is in southern Bangladesh.


DAN RIVERS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what a category 4 cyclone does to an average house in Bangladesh. The rice harvest is also ruined. These farmers are among the poorest people in the world. And no many have lost everything. Among them, Shanima Fakir, her humble home of 17 years is destroyed.

SHANIMA FAKIR, SURVIVOR (through translator): She says she was terrified when the cyclone hit and thought she would die. Somehow she managed to scramble out with her four children. The whole family is now homeless.

RIVERS: What made cyclone Sidr destructive is that many of the houses is made of very flimsy materials. This one is just made of bamboo and wood and at best made of corrugated iron. None of them, stood a chance.

This remote part of southern Bangladesh is crisscrossed by a huge river delta. The shores now littered with a debris of a violent storm surge which left many villages in ruin. And you can just see how vulnerable this land is to flooding. To many people, there was nowhere to run. The road into the worst hit area is littered with huge fallen trees. Clearing them could take weeks. These people lack chainsaws and machinery so much of the work is being done by hand or by trunk. Although these elephants are expert in this type of work, they are woefully inadequate for the task ahead. Repairs to the downed electricity lines are also low tech. There's talk of the U.S. Marines coming to help. These people desperately hope that talk turns into action. Dan Rivers, CNN, Barisal, southern Bangladesh.


WHITFIELD: And just seeing those pictures of the victims, it's not hard to feel for the people there. If you're a Bangladeshi immigrant, the feeling goes beyond sympathy. CNN's Allan Chernoff is in New York community touched by this disaster.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: In the market, stores and on every street corner, the talk in Jackson Heights is in Bangladesh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about your family? How are they? Did you get any news?

CHERNOFF: New York is home to a large population of Bangladeshi immigrants.

KAZI SHAMSUL, NEWSPAPER EDITOR: Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Astoria, Brooklyn. A lot of people, a lot of Bangladeshi people are residing here.

CHERNOFF: Most of them know someone affected by cyclone Sidr.

SHAMSUL: People are in terrible situations.

CHERNOFF: Kasi is working overtime covering the storm for his newspaper.

SHAMSUL: I'm calling Bangladesh and checking news in the computer, and on the web site from Bangladesh. And I'm talking to my people in Bangladesh.

CHERNOFF: Kasi lived through a cyclone that killed 500,000 people.

SHAMSUL: I cannot even describe to you, it's so painful.

CHERNOFF: Images of cyclone Sidr bring back memories of past disasters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My sister is living in Bangladesh.

CHERNOFF: And fear for families awaiting word.

MOSHIN NONI, STORE OWNER: So many customers are asking me about these things, you know, and everybody is a little bit worried about their family.

CHERNOFF: The biggest worry - families who refuse to evacuate.

SHAMSUL: Most of the people are poor. They know when they are leaving the place, they are leaving all of their things.

CHERNOFF: And with phone lines down, tensions run high.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because, you know, communication is no good right now because they are not, they can't reach their relatives.

CHERNOFF: Until they get news, residents rely on each other for support.

NONI: I hope everybody is fine back home.

CHERNOFF: Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: And you can impact your world and find ways to help the storm victims of Bangladesh by going to

And which would you prefer? For our immunization or incarceration? That's the choice before hundreds of parents in Prince George's County, Maryland. They face possible jail time because their kids have not gotten required vaccinations for school. CNN's Gary Nuremberg has been monitoring the situation all day long in Upper Marlborough, Maryland. Are the doors still open? Are people still getting these shots.

GARY NUREMBERG, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: You know, they had a very good turnout and they locked it up a couple hours ago. Authorities were happy with what they saw. But this was a day when parents who had not had their children vaccinated for disease got a very strong message - either show up at this courthouse today, or you can end up with the kind of detention that's far more serious than being stuck in a homeroom for a couple hours after school.


NUREMBERG (voice-over): The parents lined up outside a Maryland courthouse on a chilly Saturday morning because the school system asked authorities to threaten them with jail for failing to [ no audio ]


NUREMBERG (on-screen): Lost our feed. Well, we have apparently lost the video of what happened here in Prince George's County, Maryland today, but the story is essentially this. September 20th was the deadline for having children inoculated for several diseases but there were 3,200 parents in this school district who did not meet that deadline. Over time the number dwindled a little bit but at the beginning of the month, there were still more than 1,700 kids who have not been inoculated. What happened? A judge in this courthouse and state's attorney said, show up, get the inoculations or we'll send you to jail. Hundreds showed up here today to do that. However, as the day ends, there are still plenty of names on that list of parents who have not had their children inoculated. Authorities say they will talk next week to decide whether or not they'll make a recommendation to the judge to in fact send those parents to jail. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Gary Nuremberg, great job. Thanks so much. Sorry about that tape. We will try to get it together for the next opportunity here in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: And be sure to stick around next hour because Tony Harris will indeed tackle this contentious issue with some heated debate that's expected next hour here in the NEWSROOM.

And they're off. Right now you're looking at traffic cams from across the country. Filled with early bird travelers, they are getting a jump-start on the thanksgiving holiday. You get an idea of some passes that are very busy and others that are not, thanks to giving us all of those images of roadways across the country.

Let's not forget the airports. They're also bustling with people traveling now instead of waiting until next week. The idea is to avoid jammed airplanes and the long delays. But is that strategy working? Let's go live to CNN's Jim Acosta is at New York's busy La Guardia Airport. Busy whether the holiday or not. How is it looking today?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Not too bad, Fredricka, considering that we are just a few days from the Thanksgiving holiday crush and it seems every year passengers are served the same old leftovers from last year's holiday travel season. That is flight cancellations, flight delays, long lines. But actually those delays and cancellations, government officials say they have a solution. They are calling them basically express lanes in the sky. The government is going to open up what is usually restricted military air space that's used for exercises that are done by the military off of the east coast. And they are going up those lanes to commercial aviation traffic. So, that means your airline will be able to use the same type of flight space that is used by military aircraft. And what they are hoping is that they will open up that busy bottleneck in the northeast. Because the northeast is basically responsible for one-third of all the delays across the country. Because planes taking off from Chicago or Denver or Dallas, if they are coming up to the northeast, those flights are going to be affected. And passengers are taking a look at this proposal with some optimism. They are hoping that this time around, they can see some improved performance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The past three took, we were delayed for a day or more. But we like to go away. So we put up with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to California, which means we are literally going across the country. We have to stop in Dallas. So I'm very nervous about delays and the possibility we can miss our flight and be stuck.

ACOSTA: So, how do we know if this is actually working. Well, basically we have to wait until after thanksgiving is over. Those flight delays, those cancellations, if those numbers do come down, then perhaps what members of Congress have been clamoring for, for some time, that is the use of this restricted military air space is working. Now, keep in mind, if you're coming to the airport over the next four or five days, these long lines that sometimes stack up at the security checkpoints, that's not going to change. These new, improvements that the government is hoping to put in place over the holidays have nothing to do with those long lines at security. Make sure you still head for the airport way ahead of your estimated departure time. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: That's right. Get there early and be sure your seat isn't given away to somebody else either. Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

Well, this year indeed has been the worst on record for on-time air travel. So, what's behind the dismal delays? CNN's Josh Levs keeps them honest with the truth about travel. That's coming up in about 25 minutes from now.

Let's check in with Jacqui Jeras to find out about those delays that just might be weather related.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Hey there, Fredricka. You know, overall today, it hasn't been too terrible. In fact most of the weather-related delays for you are certainly going to be on the ground rather than in the air. We do have a ground delay in San Francisco right now. That is due to some runway issues. It has nothing to do with the weather. We did have a ground stop for Cleveland that has just been lifted. So things are looking a little bit better there that had to do with low clouds and fog, and some of that rain which has been coming down. This is one of the big quarters being impacted today. Right along i-80, i-70 being affected as well as 71 and 88 and even i-94 over there into the midwest. In the Pacific northwest, things are starting to clear out a little bit more along the i-5 corridor. Watch for improvements now as we head into the afternoon hours but still kind of rough going along i-84 and also into i-90. I- 10 is going to be a little on the slick side across much of eastern Texas on over just west of New Orleans. And this kind of a hot spot and once again we think for tomorrow. Here's your expected delays in the air for tomorrow afternoon. We might have some minor delays at La Guardia and JFK, Pittsburgh, 15 minutes, we think at best, due to the rain and a little bit of snow mix. Minneapolis could have a little bit of light snow causing delays there. There you can see Houston once again. That's about it in the southeast. In the west, yeah, you could have a little more trouble here due to the strong pacific system and that system, Fredricka, affecting the nation's midsection whipping for your Wednesday. So this is the big holiday day. Yes, it's going to be affecting a lot of people. Looks like the northwest and southeast is going to be your best bet for travel.

WHITFIELD: Wow and then if you get there with all of that nasty travel, be prepared to stay a little extra longer just in case.

JERAS: You never know.

WHITFIELD: You know. Thank you so much, Jacqui.

Well, you would think in the past six years since 9/11 airport security would have really improved. Well, think again. I will get some answers in 15 minutes as to why there's still so many questions about the screeners.


WHITFIELD: Well, some diplomatic straight talk for Pakistan's political crisis. Today U.S. envoy John Negroponte met face-to-face with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. The big topic, of course, is how to end Pakistan's two-week-old state of emergency. Negroponte also pushed the idea of holding free and fair elections there sometime soon but there's no sign that Musharraf will actually act on that advice.

A secret newly released audiotape is shedding light on what U.S. forces sometimes face on the battlefield in Iraq. It speaks to what's often called the fog of war. Here now is CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN, CORRESONDENT: A window into the confusion of combat. The aftermath of a marine unit's firefight in Iraq. August 2006, after taking hostile fire on their patrol boat on the Euphrates river near Ramadi and returning fire, the unit is briefed by their commander officer, Captain Shane Cote.

VOICE OF CAPT. SHANE COTE, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Earlier up on the roof there were like five women and a little girl, OK. We [ bleep ] that area up. I think, I saw one of you kill a [ bleep ] cow, alright. I know, I understand, I understand. Here's my point though. If we did any collateral damage, there will be people here asking. Your answer, for the sake of yourselves and me, better be, you were [ bleep ] shooting at muzzle flashes.

TODD: Cote spoke of collateral damage but never definitively said women and children were killed. Only what the marines should say if anyone asked about it. The story was first r reported by "The Marine Corps Times," a private newspaper not affiliated with the military. A seasoned military attorney says Cote's remarks might have implied he was telling his marines to get their stories straight and to cover something up, which would be obstruction, or it could mean something else.

BRENT HARVEY, MILITARY LAW ATTORNEY: I think it's equally able to be interpreted as him saying, "I hope for your sake that you were shooting at muzzle flashes and that's what you saw, which would be the appropriate way to go about it."

TODD: A marine spokesman tells CNN, an investigation found no evidence of noncombatant deaths, meaning no women and children were killed, and there was no criminal misconduct, no court-martial. But Cote was relieved of his command last year and involuntarily transferred to an inactive section of the Reserves for what marines call various leadership issues regarding this and other incidents. We tried repeatedly to reach Captain Cote for his side of the story. Through the marines, his wife said he would be interested in speaking with CNN in the future but the timing is not right to speak now. The audio was secretly recorded by a sergeant in Cote's unit. But the marines say investigators verify it was Cote on the tape and it was not edited. The sergeant, Henry Butts, said he gave the audio to superiors. Sergeant Butts tells CNN, he never got along with Captain Cote and he had been taping his own conversations with the captain for some time.

VOICE OF SGT. HENRY L. BUTTS, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It was like I was the worse marine on the planet, you know, in his eyes. I think he hated me. I don't know why he hated me.

TODD: But Sergeant Butts also admits he was not there during the fire-fight in question. Sergeant Butts is still an active member of the Marine Corps. Marine officials tell us other administrative decisions regarding Cote's status are pending. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: In this investigation, he left the U.S. to play pro- basketball in Brazil. Well, now, Tony Harris is missing in a vast foreign country. The last person to hear from him, his pregnant wife. We hope to hear from her coming up next in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: In Los Angeles, California, take a look at this. They cordoned off an area on a street there in Los Angeles because if you look closer here, you will see that a crane simply fell, a crane that was near a billboard fell and actually injured a woman and her small child. There you can see the crane that was kind of attached to perhaps an 18-wheeler-type vehicle and the bottom side of that vehicle. But down below of course was a woman and her child. They were slightly injured. Thankfully not seriously injured but indeed it was a frightening moment to take place there in Los Angeles. And so apparently the billboard company is now trying to investigate exactly how this happened. About ten workers were on that crane working. They were scattered about. None of them seemed to receive any serious injuries either. So, that's the good news out of what was a pretty frightening scene there in Los Angeles.

Meantime other things happening. Right now police in Glendale, Arizona have arrested a suspect who tried to elude authorities by ducking into a hospital. Glendale is the suburb of Phoenix, and for a short time police put the hospital on lockdown as they searched room- by-room for this man. Originally, he was believed to be carrying a gun when he ran into the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center. Police say the suspect actually changed some of his clothes while in the hospital. They arrested him when he tried to walk out of the building. There you see the arrest right there. The suspect. It's unclear how many patients and workers are inside the hospital still. But the lockdown has been lifted.

Meantime in Illinois, authorities are looking for Sergeant Drew Peterson's fourth wife. A highly regarded pathologist doubts how the third Mrs. Peterson actually died. Former New York City medical examiner Michael Baiden reviewed the remains of Kathleen Savio, which were exhumed this week. His initial findings indicate Savio's death was no accident.


MICHAEL BAIDEN, FMR. NYC CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: The evidence - and I read through that coroner's inquest, was presented by a police officer, who had not been present at the autopsy and would not go into the scene of death. The jurors initially voted 3-3, three for homicide and three for accidents, and one of those jurors for accident was a local police officer who knew the husband and spoke highly of the husband. And one of the people for homicide then switched over to accident.

Well, Stacy Peterson's disappearance last month prompted the new investigation into Savio's death actually. Her husband claims Stacy ran off with another man and is alive. Drew Peterson resigned from the police force this week.

Well, perhaps you wonder just how good a job airport security is doing these days. Well, it's your safety after all but in these post 9/11 times, you won't believe what some people got past those screeners.


WHITFIELD: A live look right now of New York's La Guardia Airport. Pretty good flow of traffic there. Travelers coming and going. Just five days away from Thanksgiving now. And many folks are hitting the trail long before the turkey hits the oven. A record number of you are expected to travel and many are getting a head start this weekend hoping to beat the traffic squeeze. And so that means this is a pretty bad time to hear this. Investigators were able to smuggle bomb parts past airport security six years after 9/11. How can this be happening? I asked CNN security analyst and former inspector general with the Department of Homeland Security Clark Kent Ervin.


WHITFIELD: Hi, Clark. Should we be concerned? All those long lines and the screenings that we go through and come to find out they are not seamless after all.

CLARK KENT ERVIN, CNN, SECURITY ANALYST: We really should be concerned Fredricka. I think it is really inexcusable, almost criminal, that here we are six years, more than six years after 9/11 and it's still just as easy to sneak guns and knives and bombs past screeners as it was on 9/11 itself.

WHITFIELD: Why is that? Is the problem, does it highlight that there's a problem with the procedure, or are there inefficiencies in the screeners themselves? ERVIN: Well, I think it's primarily two things. One, I think there's insufficient training of screeners. They need to be trained on a regularized basis and as close to real world conditions as possible. Point one. And that's related by the way to the number of screeners. We have too few screeners and because there are too few screeners they can't really spare any time for training.

The second issue is technology though. There are certain technology, back scatter for example, that can see through clothing. A number of explosive detection technologies that are still only in the pilot or testing phase all these many years after 9/11. These technologies need to be widely deployed at checkpoints throughout the country. A combination of more training, better training and better technology will get us as close to 100 percent detection as is humanly and technically possible.

WHITFIELD: Ok, so the technical matter that will take a little time. But in the meantime, then, what about better training for the screeners? Or does it mean really starting from square a, getting new screeners all together. Does it say something about the personnel that are being recruited, the folks that are getting the jobs? Are they trainable?

ERVIN: Well, you know I think it depends on the person, of course. But in general I think that people are trainable. If it were up to me I would appropriate significantly more money so that we could pay people better.

WHITFIELD: It seems like you would want to recruit perhaps law enforcement folks, people who already have a certain basis or foundation of trying to spot, you know, what we don't want to get on a plane and then you train above and beyond from there.

ERVIN: That's exactly right, Fredricka. We need to pay them better. If we do pay them better, we can attract higher caliber people. And as you say, I would be particularly attracted to a proposal to have law enforcement personnel or people with that background as our screeners. Because at the end of the day it is true that there are many layers to our aviation defenses as TSA stresses. But as these layers go, I would argue that the most critical one is the screeners because that is the last time, the first time and the only time that passengers are checked for weapons on their bodies or their carry-on luggage. If it's not caught there, it's not going to be caught before and when they board an airplane.

WHITIFELD: All right, so all of that is somewhere in the future. How about right now, you're heading to the airport. You're traveling for the holidays. Might you need to go ahead and expect even longer delays because they're going to be a lot more aggressive at the screening checkpoints?

ERVIN: Well I think that's right. It's the holiday season. So, of course, that means more people in general. And then secondly, because there are so few screeners as I said beforehand and because we're in a heightened threat environment, for all those reasons the lines will be even longer. So I think it's incumbent upon people to arrive even earlier than they normally would in order to minimize the inconvenience to the extent that that's possible to do.

WHITFIELD: All right, Clark Kent Ervin, thanks so much. Good to see you.

ERVIN: You too.

WHITFIELD: As you heard Ervin say, the security checks will cause airport delays. How much backup can we expect? Is there some quality tarmac time? Straight ahead, the truth about airport delays next in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: All right, you don't want to miss that replay this evening. Meantime, 2007 a year many air travelers would like to forget. Flight delays were the worst ever. Bad weather gets blamed a lot of the time but guess what? There are other things to blame as well. CNN's Josh Levs has been keeping them honest, doing a little digging. Don't believe everything you hear when it pertains to weather.

JOSH LEVS: No, good point. Because they make us think weather is responsible for so many of these delays. What we're going to show you right now is the reality is actually quite different from that. The thing is, we are always, every year hearing all of these promises from the government and, yet, worse than ever this year. So we're going to show you right now what they have actually accomplished.


LEVS: The fastest form of travel comes with ridiculously frequent delays. The government knows it has a problem.

BUSH: The skies are too crowded.

MARION BLAKEY, FMR. ADMINISTRATOR, FAA: As we look at it annually over the whole year, it's a $10 billion problem for the United States.

LEVS: But for all of the talk, we're not seeing the problems fixed. 2007 is the worst year for flight delays on record. One of every four flights delayed. Why?

BLAKEY: Well I can tell you right now that the biggest problem is always the weather.

LEVS: Not exactly. The Department of Transportation says nearly half of flight delays can be linked to weather but the department says many of those could be avoided with corrective action by the airports or the Federal Aviation Administration. So if a better system were in place, many delays currently blamed on weather just wouldn't happen. The number of delays due to extreme weather that prevents flying -- just one percent of all flights for the year. What about security concerns? Are they causing many delays? Nope. The government says less than a tenth of one percent of all flights were delayed because of security. So what are the biggest reasons for delays? Aircraft arriving late, the national aviation system and air carrier delays. Why is this happening? Airlines acknowledge they have work to do when it comes to organization and efficiency and the FAA itself says this.

ROBERT STURGELL, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, FAA: More people are flying than ever and more smaller planes are carrying them.


LEVS: That is one of the biggest concerns. Now we have heard Jim Acosta mentioned it earlier that President Bush is talking about some changes. But the thing is, those are temporary changes for the holidays. Some officials are already very skeptical. We don't know if it will make any difference. And the fact is, Fred, right now there is nothing to tell us it will be any better next year, sorry.

WHITFIELD: So we're not even sure if it's going to be carried over after the holidays.

LEVS: They're going to see if this works, if it makes a difference. But they're not even talking about a plan for next year so we don't know.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks for digging.

LEVS: I did my best, thanks.

WHITFIELD: This is a heartbreaker of a story. A Washington man is missing in Brazil, and his family is less than pleased with the U.S. embassy officials there. Tony Harris is a former basketball player for Washington State University. He played pro hoops overseas for a number of years. Harris returned to his old team in Brazil October 31st but no one has heard from him in nearly two weeks now. His last known contact was with his wife, Lori and she joins us now live from Seattle. Lori, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: Now I understand that you are heading to Brazil. If not later on today, then some time this weekend. At the same time you're nine months pregnant. How did you come to this decision?

HARRIS: I'm not going to Brazil, my doctor won't let me. But my stepfather and his friend are going to Brazil for the family.

WHITFIELD: Ok and what are they hoping to accomplish once they get there?

HARRIS: I think that their main goal is really to, first, be a family presence, to be a face for the family there in Brazil to let them know that we are all very concerned and that we are going to stick around and make sure that, you know there's no, I guess, no stone left unturned and that the consulate and people on the ground are really doing what they're telling us they're doing. And to also be in the media in the hopes that if Tony is in a state of hiding out of fear, that if he needs to see a familiar face on the news, he may realize that it's safe and that it's ok to come out and he can come home.

WHITFIELD: So when was the last time you talked to him? And what was that conversation like?

HARRIS: The last time I talked to him was November 4th at about 5:00 a.m. our time here in Seattle. And he was in a taxicab, and he was on his way to -- we had a plan. He was going to stay with a friend until Monday. So he was going to catch a bus that was going to be quite a long bus ride and that was the last time I talked with him.

WHITFIELD: Just a moment ago you said, you know, you're hoping through media reports, etcetera, he will learn of how many people care about him and maybe that will help bring him home. Are you erring more towards the fact that this may be voluntary that he's missing or do you think that something has gone awry?

HARRIS: Well, you know, all we can do is really speculate. I think my hope is that -- I mean, he was leaving Brazil because he was distressed.

WHITFIELD: Over what?

HARRIS: He had some bad feelings about some things. He was told when he got there, that his old coach that he did not get along very well with, had said some things about him when he left last time. That made him feel very concerned. He thought that it could put him at risk.

WHITFIELD: More so than being concerned about his job, but you're saying he actually felt like his life was being threatened?

HARRIS: I don't know if it was being threatened, but he didn't feel safe. He felt like as the days passed that he just grew uneasy and decided it wasn't worth it and he just wanted to come home. We came up with a plan to come home because the team had his passport at that time for some reason and he wasn't able to get it back. We were going to wait until Monday where he could get a replacement passport and come home. So my hope is that something happened in the cab that may have spooked him or made him feel uneasy and perhaps he ran out of fear. I don't believe he is just lolly gagging around in Brazil and just not wanting to come home. I just am not real sure what's going on.

WHITFIELD: Well we hope indeed that you do hear from him and any of your loved ones who go to Brazil to try to find him will find him, your husband, Tony Harris. Lori Harris, thanks so much for your time and all of the best. I know you're expecting to deliver any week now.

HARRIS: Yep, three weeks.

WHITFIELD: Best of luck in that as well.

HARRIS: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Thanks for your time. Here's a question for you -- would you reuse someone else's syringe to give yourself a shot? Probably not. But a doctor is accused of doing just that to hundreds of patients for five years. All of that straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Most of us really trust our doctors to protect our health, right? Well, listen to this -- a Long Island doctor is in hot water for allegedly reusing syringes. He's accused of exposing hundreds of patients to HIV and hepatitis. Eileen LePalmer with CNN affiliate News 12 Long Island has the story.



EILEEN LAPALMER, NEWS 12 LONG ISLAND (voice-over): Cathy Schmitt of Massapequa is one of at least 630 patients now left wondering if she contracted hepatitis c, b or even HIV after getting medical injections in 2005 to deal with back pain.

SCHMITT: It's pretty scary, because we let the doctors, you know, do whatever.

LAPALMER: As you can see in this letter obtained by News 12 Long Island, the New York State Health Department found that Dr. Harvey Finkelstein of Plainview, was reusing syringes and medical vials on multiple patients. It's confirmed that because of this practice hepatitis C was passed between two of his patients some time in the years between 2000 and 2005. 98 of his patients like Schmitt were notified in 2005 and now another 630 have just gotten a letter urging them to be retested immediately.

SCHMITT: It's fainting because it not only affects me as a patient but now my entire family. You know, my husband, my kids.

LAPALMER: Dr. Harvey Finkelstein is still in practice at his office on Old Country Road in Plainview. We tried to talk with them but were greeted by security.

You do need to give him a chance to respond. Did he ask you not to let us in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not saying anything.

LAPALMER: The state office of professional medical conduct reviewed the case and did not issue Dr. Finkelstein any citation and did not notify his patients until now, nearly three years after the Nassau County Health Department says it first reported Finkelstein.


WHITFIELD: Wow!. Well New York Governor Eliot Spitzer says that lag time in notifying patients is unacceptably slow. State health officials blame the delays on negotiations with Finkelstein's attorneys to get the patients' names.

Also tragic and very unsettling, four transplant recipients infected with HIV and hepatitis. Here's how it happened. An Illinois organ donor died in a car accident and was tested for HIV and hepatitis. Both blood tests were negative. Even though the person was identified as a high-risk donor, the organs were released. So is there a flaw in the system? Dr. Bill Lloyd joins us now from Sacramento. Four people becoming infected as a result of receiving these organs. It seems outrageous and it would seem, Dr. Bill, that there is a safety net to prevent something like that from happening. Is there not?

DR. BILL LLOYD, SURGEON: Hundreds of thousands of organ transplants happen every year, Fredricka and in 21 years, this has never happened. The last time was 1986. The circumstances are that the gentlemen who was the donor, the high-risk donor, contracted these infections, HIV and hepatitis c, so close to the time of his death that he did not develop antibodies until the normal screening test came back negative. After the fact, 10 months later when they tested the recipients, lo and behold, they were positive for these infections. One important part we have to make aware of here is the fact that because this was a high risk organ transplantation, all of the recipients should have been retested three months after their surgery. That didn't happen. In fact it didn't happen until eight months later when one of those recipients had to have another surgery, another operation. It was then they discovered that, that individual actually had contracted HIV and hepatitis c and, of course, the other three as well.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So take me back to a high-risk donor. What makes you a high-risk donor? Is that in and of itself a red flag?

LLOYD: Sure, a high-risk donor does not necessarily mean that they have disease. What it means is because of their choices, because of their lifestyle or other events in their life, they may in fact could potentially transfer HIV, hepatitis or other serious illnesses. About one out of 10 organ donations involve these high-risk donors. Now you say why on earth would we ever use somebody's bad liver? Somebody who may have one of these serious infections? The answer is because we need these organs so much, so many people go to the grave with healthy organs that we have to rely sometimes on high-risk organs and balance the risk of using a potentially infected organ versus letting an individual die for failure to get their transplant.

WHITFIELD: Wow! That is remarkable stuff. Dr. Bill Lloyd, thank you so much. Good to see you.

LLOYD: We'll talk again soon.

WHITFIELD: Much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM with Tony Harris. That will make you take pause, right? Wow!

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, yes it will. And something else that will make you take pause, particularly if you're a parent of a teenager, of a child. You know these kids are going to these social networking sites, the Myspaces, the Facebooks and we have the story of a young girl out of -- this is really a cautionary tale, out of suburban St. Louis. Young girl, teenager, having all kinds of self- esteem problems and issues in her life. Her parents think they are doing the right thing, try to socialize her a little more. They help her set up a Myspace page. She starts to get some attention from a young guy, she thinks, who is helping her boost her self-esteem, until this young guy, who they think is a guy, starts to turn on her in the worst possible way and starts to send her all kinds of horrible messages. What happens next will absolutely shock you. And then the twist on that will leave you dumbfounded. That's coming up in the 5:00 p.m. hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good to see you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Good to see you, too. We'll be watching. Thank you so much, Tony.

We will be right back with much more in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: In our "health for her" segment today, protecting your bones. If you want strong bones in old age, start taking care of them while you're young. Here's our Judy Fortin with tips.


JUDY FORTIN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Use it or lose it. Bone mass that is. Technically loss of bone density is called osteoporosis. And if you're a woman over 50, you're estrogen count is downsizing, leaving your bones quite simply at a loss for an essential ingredient.

ETHEL SIRIS, NATL. OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION: The structure of the bone is altered in the process of losing it, and the bone becomes less well put together and more fragile.

FORTIN: According to the National Institutes of Health, half of all women over 50 will break a bone, weakened by osteoporosis. There are some ways to fight back, but you need to start early. Women in their 30s and 40s can generate more estrogen, which will help keep their bones stronger longer, by adopting healthy habits.

SIRIS: You shouldn't smoke, you shouldn't drink too much, you should stay physically active.

FORTIN: And be a calcium collector, about 1,000 milligrams a day, roughly three daily servings and help those bones absorb the calcium by getting 400 to 800 units of vitamin d. Add to that the right kind of workouts. For the best results in keeping bones strong, researchers recommend weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging or tennis. Taken together, this could be the right recipe to make strong bones a lifelong fact. Judy Fortin, CNN, Atlanta.



WHITFIELD: Well, a poker face can come in handy in a Las Vegas casino, but in court, O.J. Simpson has anything but. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The court, once things get under way, O.J. is a head-holding, eye-rolling, lip-licking smorgasbord of facial expressions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can just see that he's like a little volcano.

MOOS: A volcano of outraged disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That if I spoke to the "National Enquirer," he was going to sue me.

MOOS: A volcano that shakes rather than quakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I carried a gun at the request of O.J. Simpson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I brought my weapon because O.J. Simpson wanted me to have a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you doing with it in the room?

MOOS: O.J. is a dream come true for a body language expert and author of the book "Emotionominics." He does a lot of blowing his cheeks out.

VOICE OF DAN HILL, AUTHOR, "EMOTIONOMICS": He blows his cheeks out in exasperation, he rolls his eyes, he shakes his head. But I think the thing that's going to give him the most trouble is the smirking. It's kind of this contentious --

MOOS: The smirk of disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I see. So, for money.

MOOS: Remember how Al Gore got panned for sighing over George Bush's debate performance?

BUSH: In the state of Texas that's where the governor gets --

MOOS: O.J. makes Al Gore look like an amateur. Even when O.J.'s bored, he's demonstrably bored.

HILL: The whole issue with O.J. is lack of control and he has a lack of control with his facial expressions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That you could see or --

MOOS: He purses his lips.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was your suit buttoned, closed or was it open?

MOOS: He licks them and comes back for seconds. If looks could kill, O.J. would be guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said show them your weapon and look menacing.

MOOS: Years ago "Time" magazine decided to interpret Simpson's mug shot by making it darker. I bet O.J. rolled his eyes over that one. Talk about expressive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you walk to the bathroom?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you walk to the television?

MOOS: O.J. gets startled by his own name.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: All right, from the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the NEWSROOM with Tony Harris starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please Meghan, breathe.


HARRIS: Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, the dangers of cyber bullying and one family's heartbreaking story. This is a story that will leave you shocked, sad and probably very angry.

Plus, in Bangladesh, well a dire situation, thousands in need of help. We have new video and new details about the massive cyclone that brought massive devastation.


DAN RIVERS: What (INAUDIBLE) destructive is that many of the houses are made of very flimsy materials. This one is made of bamboo and wood and (INAUDIBLE) are made of corrugated iron. None of them stood a chance.


HARRIS: But first, an ultimatum for thousands of parents, your child gets a shot or you go to jail. The deadline, today.

And hello everyone, I'm Tony Harris, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.