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News in the Investigation Into Sean Taylor's Murder; World AIDS Day

Aired December 1, 2007 - 16:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have more than one confession, I will put it like that.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: More than one confession. And now reports of at least one suspect in the Sean Taylor murder had been in that house before.

From the heart and from around the globe, battling a killer on World AIDS Day.

And winter whiteout in the Midwest of this country. We are tracking extreme weather here right now in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Hello, everyone, you're in the NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. December is here and it came with a bang in the upper Midwest. The first big storm of the season is blasting Iowa and plastering points eastward with ice and heavy snow. Jacqui Jeras is in the weather center. She will tell us just where the storm might be headed next. But first, we take you live to a snowy Minneapolis and CNN's Susan Roesgen.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, I bet you don't get much use for one of these. I bet you don't even know what this is.

WHITFIELD: Not anymore.

ROESGEN: but up here, listen, this is what you need because this is what drivers all across seven states are dealing with. Seven states, Fredricka, have a winter storm warning. I want to give you a look at now again at the traffic on 494 in Minneapolis. You can see the traffic is flowing smoothly and pretty quickly, I might say, for this kind of weather. But we checked. There had been no major accidents of any kind here in the Minnesota area. There have been some spinouts, as they call it. There have been fender-benders but nothing major. Where it is really bad, Fredricka, is in Iowa.

In Iowa, the state highway patrol there is urging people not to drive at all if they can avoid it in the south central part of the state. They have had at least two major accidents on Iowa highways. One involving a five-car pileup and another involving a semi truck. Very dangerous conditions in Des Moines, Iowa. And they think it will get worse as the roads get icier tonight. Also in Iowa, 2,000 people have lost power. Now again, that's not the situation right now in Minnesota. We seem to be holding steady but here, too, we could see a worsening condition tonight. You can see it is still snowing. You can get a look at about how much snow we got on the ground here. They are expecting between six to ten inches. And this for a state, Fredricka, that got just four inches in all of last December. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Oh, wow, this may be the precursor to a pretty wet winter then. Susan Roesgen, thank you from Minneapolis. And it happens to be the home state of our own Jacqui Jeras, who right now is at home but I guess in your Atlanta home. I guess you're really feeling for your folks there in Minnesota.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: I am. I used to live in Des Moines as well. And I'm feeling for those people a little bit more because they're really suffering now with the ice. This is so much worse than what you're dealing up north in Minneapolis with the snow because it's not quite as slick and it's a little bit easier to see snow than it is to see ice on the roadways.

Let's go ahead and show you the big picture where all the warnings are in effect right now. All of the red highlighted areas here, that's where you can expect to see snow. Here's the ice accumulations and, notice, Des Moines, right smack in the middle there, your advisory has been dropped. That's because you've changed over to rainfall at this time. But that's not before picking up about a quarter of an inch of accumulation. Down here in Indianola, right there, an eighth to a quarter of an inch of accumulation. You go east down i-80 there and that's where some of the worse is right now. Notice the pink in the southeastern Iowa, as much of half an inch has come down there and we're getting reports now in Princeton, Illinois, of lots of accidents, power outages and about a quarter of inch of ice. Here's Minneapolis where Susan is. Three to five inches on the ground now. We're expecting to see even maybe as much as ten inches before all is said and done. Chicago gets in on the action and also, Fredricka, this is starting to move to the Great Lakes then to the northeast. We'll talk more about what kind of impact they can expect when the storms arrive later on tomorrow. That's coming up in the next half hour.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll look for that. Thank you so much, Jacqui.

Meantime, let's move very far south, to south Florida, where charges and a motive today are being revealed in the shooting, shooting death that is of pro football star Sean Taylor. Four men are in custody. Police believe at least one of them had been in Taylor's home before at a birthday party for Taylor's sister. Our John Zarrella is on the case in Ft. Myers, Florida.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Three of the four young men charged in connection with the murder of NFL football star Sean Taylor appeared before a Lee County judge this morning. Now, the first to appear was 17-year-old Eric Rivera. Rivera is charged with first degree felony murder. And that could bring him 25 years to life in prison if convicted. There are also charges of robbery and burglary, using a firearm. Now, according to police, he did confess to driving from Miami, from Ft. Myers to Miami to burglarize the home of Sean Taylor. But his attorney says perhaps that confession was not obtained legally. In other words, he was not mirandized before he gave that confession, unclear at this time. Two of the other men also charged, Venjah Hunte and Charles Wardlow, also before a judge. Their appearances were via video hookup with the courtroom. They face the exact same charges. Now, the juvenile's attorney, that is Rivera's attorney, said that these kinds of cases he sees all the time.

WILBUR SMITH, SUSPECT'S ATTORNEY: It's a tragic story you see over and over with young black men killing young black men. Although Sean Taylor was different. He certainly had no culpability. It's still just a tragedy that maybe this being a nationally, national attention drawn to it. You know, maybe someone will wake up and say, maybe we ought to address that problem while it's occurring? I have dealt with it for the 35 years I have practiced, and it's really sickening.

ZARRELLA: The fourth defendant in the case, Jason Mitchell, did not appear before the judge this morning. He was we processed very late yesterday. They did not have time to get him over today. His processing, his appearance before the judge will likely take place tomorrow. At some point in the coming days, all four individuals will be transported to Miami, where they will again go before a judge and face these murder charges. John Zarrella reporting from Ft. Myers, Florida.


WHITFIELD: And on this World AIDS Day, killer AIDS in Africa. A photographer uses his camera to show the dramatic effects of certain life-saving drugs. The proof is in his pictures.


WHITFIELD: AIDS had impacted every corner of the world over the past 20, 30 years. Millions have died and millions more are sure to be diagnosed and for that very reason we are dedicating a large part of our broadcast to World AIDS Day. Over the next 90 minutes, we will take you to our nation's capital, home of the highest AIDS infection rate in this entire country. You will also hear music being played around the world today. We are in Johannesburg, South Africa for the World AIDS day concert.

Plus your tax dollars fund a lot of abstinence initiatives. Which you might think prominent health organizations support. Well, they don't all support it. We'll tell you what they are really saying about it.

And you'll see some extraordinary still pictures out of Zambia and hear from the world renowned photographer who actually took them. It's a photo essay with a message even he never expected. And, finally, magic message. A journey 16 years in the making. You will hear it firsthand when I talk with him and his wife, Cookie.

Well, no matter what has changed in the fight against AIDS, one thing remains constant - Hope comes at a price. Anti-retroviral drugs cost about $10,000 a year per patient. Activists pulled off a miracle. They got that down to $140 per patient in Africa. But unfortunately, that's still out of the reach for many patients there. I spoke with a photo journalist who saw firsthand how quickly these drugs improve the lives of Zambians who were dying from AIDS.


ANTONIN KRATOCHVIL, PHOTOGRAPHER: Hey, look up, look up. That's good.

WHITFIELD (voice-over): In 40 years of photography, Antonin Kratochvil has traveled paths like this in the African bush before. Unpredictable, dusty and sometimes frighteningly sad. But an assignment in Zambia for a "Vanity Fair" spread on AIDS was eye opening, even for someone who has witnessed calamity and chaos.

KRATOCHVIL: In the past when I photographed AIDS in Africa, it was always that it meant death to these people.

WHITFIELD: The idea during his first ten-day journey - find AIDS victims in tiny villages who for too long have gone without any advanced medicine, take their picture.

KRATOCHVIL: Can you ask him to look at me? A view of his face.

WHITFIELD: And then come back 40 days later with camera in hand after these poor people like Sylvia, Nigel and Vanda received anti- retroviral drugs supplied by the global fund along with corporate donations to fight AIDS.

KRATOCHVIL: I wasn't sure this was going to work. I was, you know, embracing myself for the worst. But when I came back, it was sort of, you know, a happy story.

KRATOCHVIL: We will help you. Do you feel better?


KRATOCHVIL: You run around? Like a (Kudo)?

WHITFIELD: Remember Sylvia? So we are looking at Sylvia right now. A very gaunt, really looking like she's on death's door. When you went back, what did you see in Sylvia?

KRATOCHVIL: I went back to her house and I found her and she came out running, which is a good sign. And she gained about five or six pounds and she was very happy because when I first photographed her, she was kind of, you know, grouchy and, you know, very sick. And when I came back, I couldn't believe it. So, it really worked, this drug really works. I was very impressed. WHITFIELD: She looks radiant. There were others who had quite the transformation as well. Nigel was one of them.

KRATOCHVIL: Right. It was at the ending with Nigel that I photographed him lying in bed and when I came back, he was running around, playing with his kids outside of this building he was living in. I mean, you have to remember that these people are really, really poor and they cannot really afford these drugs. So, you know, to have the foundation giving them and it's very important.

WHITFIELD: Vanda was one of the 17 that you initially met. But on your return. not everyone made it. The ARVs did not come soon enough for some. He was one, right? He died before you were able to make your return?

KRATOCHVIL: That's correct. I came back and I looked for him and they said he is deceased.

WHITFIELD: This weekend, Kratochvil is traveling the U.S. with these images, showing how medicine and a commitment to care, save lives, even in the most desperate and seemingly hopeless of places. What message comes with these images?

KRATOCHVIL: People need help in this country. Not all of them, of course. But you know, these drugs cost 40 cents a day for Africans and they cannot afford them. So, I think, you know, by sharing the wealth and being aware, to create awareness for these people that it actually doesn't take that much for them to survive the disease.


WHITFIELD: And by the way, the video that you saw in that piece and the video that you're seeing right here was actually shot by Kratochvil's 14-year-old son. He brought the boy with him, his son, thinking no words could ever do justice to what the two would see together there in Zambia.

Well, CNN's Josh Levs is looking at U.S. efforts to combat AIDS and a controversy involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

JOSH LEVS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. Now, the U.S. is helping lead the international fight against the disease but a government report said a rule set by the U.S. is actually harmful to the effort. We are going to tell you all about that coming up in the newsroom.

WHITFIELD: All right. We look forward to that. Thanks, Josh. You're watching CNN, the most-trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: Well, President Bush's preferred global strategy against AIDS - ABC, abstinence, be faithful, condom use. But has promoting abstinence and fidelity been working? Our Josh Levs is here, "keeping them honest." You would think, maybe some progress? LEVS: No one doubts that abstinence programs are a good idea. No one doubts that they have a role. But what happened is, the way that the U.S. government had set up funding restrictions, there's actually a rule over how money gets used involving abstinence programs, and that, according to a government report, could actually be damaging the effort.


LEVS (voice-over): The United States has committed billions of dollars to fighting the spread of AIDS worldwide. Some of it through teaching what President Bush called prevention messages.

PRES. GEORGE BUSH, UNITED STATES: Which is abstinence, be faithful, and use condoms.

LEVS: Of the $350 million the U.S. is spending this year to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, the majority, $200 million, is for programs encouraging abstinence and marital fidelity and discouraging casual sex. Health officials have long cautioned those activities don't work well everywhere.

DR. JIM YONG KIM, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: In some societies, women cannot choose to be abstinent so it's difficult to ask them to be abstinent. In some societies, the highest risk for becoming infected with HIV is being married.

LEVS: The United States require each country to spend 33% of prevention funds on abstinence program. Two congressionally mandated reports say that rule can damage effort to fight AIDS. The National Institutes of Medicine found no evidence that abstinence programs work alone and the institute says the funding requirement can make it harder to tailor activities to a country's individual needs. And while U.S. officials allow countries to apply for exemptions from the 33% rule, the government accountability office say some non-exempted countries had to cut funding for other prevention programs. But the U.S. State Department said the 33% deadline is a helpful part of the U.S. push for countries to provide evidence about their programs and their needs. The department said when the evidence is there, the rule is weighed. And the department argues that the increased emphasis on abstinence has helped create a more balanced strategy in combating AIDS.


WHITFIELD: All right. Is it fair to bring presidential politics into all this? Yes, we've heard almost all of the candidates talk about health care in a broad spectrum kind of way. But now AIDS, especially this weekend, people are focusing on this health matter. And, while we're talking...

While there are voters out there who get really concerned about individual things and they really follow this kind of thing. And yet, in fact, just a couple of nights ago Hillary Clinton took a relatively big step by announcing that if she were to win, she would actually get rid of that rule altogether. The two other leading democrats, John Edwards and Barack Obama, they've also slammed the 33% rule. But she went a step further saying that she would get rid of it if she wins. So, you know, they are talking about it.

WHITFIELD: OK. Very good. Thanks so much, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Take a look at these images right here. This woman, British teacher, teaching in Sudan. Well, she allowed her students to name a teddy bear, Mohammed. Well, that's blasphemous for Islamic law there. People don't like it. They want her lashed. Instead, she got 15 days in jail. Well, can British negotiators win her freedom from Sudan?


WHITFIELD: Happening right now, voices around the world speaking in unison on this world AIDS day. It's half past the hour. The numbers are going down but former South African President Nelson Mandela said 33 million people are still struggling with AIDS. He had a star-studded concert in Johannesburg raising money to change those numbers.

Bond denied in this country for three of four men arrested in the Sean Taylor murder investigation. The hearing took place today in Florida. The fourth suspect will be in court tomorrow. Police say they have more than one confession. Taylor's funeral is set for Monday.

And the inevitable in the Midwest, snow, ice and freezing cold. Sounds like winter. Well, traveling anywhere is tough, especially if you're going by air. By the way, Minnesota is bracing for 6 to 16 inches of snow. Jacqui Jeras is in the weather center. Something tells me you wish you were there.

JERAS: I do. You know, I love the snow. I really do.


JERAS: Yes, I do.

WHITFIELD: I kind of thought you were being facetious.

JERAS: No. Well, you know, no one likes cold but if it has to be cold...

WHITFIELD: Yes, I know. No one wants to be uncomfortable. Right, if you have a parka, hat, mittens, snow is OK.

JERAS: Yes. It looks pretty. You know, it's a lot better than rain or ice, I think, in the winter.

WHITFIELD: It does. It's beautiful.

JERAS: Well, whatever. Anyway, enough about me and my preferences. What about yours? What are you going to be expecting here over the next couple of days. Here's where we have our warnings in effect across the Midwest. Red is where we will going to be mostly seeing the snow, where we have the blue is kind of in between and the ice has been one of the biggest problems all day. Power outages, very slick roadways. And in fact, they are not recommending any travel down in eastern Iowa, especially south of i-30 corridor here. We're starting to see some of those transition. So, this is going to be a fickle storm for a lot of the big cities in the Midwest. And even hitting into the northeastern corridor because a lot of you are going to start out with snow. You're going to switch to freezing rain, switch to rain and then eventually you get the back side of the storm coming on through so you're going to be changing back to the snowfall.

The I-80 corridor I would say is most dangerous right now between Des Moines and Chicago. Because we are seeing ice buildup and then we are seeing some snow on top of that and then we are starting to see the rain coming into the area. There you can see Milwaukee, the snow's been coming down the last couple of hours. Just up the road a piece over in Madison we got a tower cam we want to show what you conditions look like in Madison. You could be picking up a good three inches of snowfall, we are expecting into the Madison area and you're likely to change it over to freezing rain. Look at that. You got a good number on the ground already, probably about an inch is what we are looking at, at this time.

All right. Let's go back to the map and show you what we are expecting. The Chicago area, there you can see the freezing rain line is just starting to push in from the west. So you're snow right now but you're likely to see some sleek and freezing rain coming into the picture by this evening. Airports, we have been seeing some problems at Chicago O'Hare, Newark. This is just volume delays. Things have cleared up in the Milwaukee area.

I've got an I-report I want to show you. Really, thanks to our i-reporters for helping us cover this store. This is from Paul Emmerich. He is from Blair, Nebraska, that's just north of Omaha. He said the weather has just been miserable here all day, temperatures around 31 or 32 degrees. That's what we call freezing rain, Fredricka, where it comes down as rain and then it freezes on contact. That's what is so hazardous on the roadways. It gets all over your car. It gets on power lines and tree branches and that's why so many people are going to be without power throughout this event as well.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Pretty remarkable stuff. All right. Thanks, Jacqui.

All right. The suspect who engineered that hostage drama at a Clinton for President office could face federal prosecution at some point. Leeland Eisenberg is in a New Hampshire jail facing state charges of reckless conduct and kidnapping. Emerging details about Eisenberg's past suggests that he has some serious issues. With the latest now, CNN's Allan Chernoff, who is following the story. Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. Good afternoon. Well, you can see behind me the Clinton office right here has been closed. In fact, all of the Clinton offices have been closed throughout the state today. The hostages, the former hostages, well they have stayed far away from here. We have actually been trying to contact them. They have not returned our calls. You can understand that, I suppose, after the ordeal that they went through yesterday. Although I should point out that just two doors down is the office for Barack Obama and it was open today.

The real action will come on Monday, just ten doors down from here, a very small main street and that is where the Rochester district court is located and, as you said, Mr. Eisenberg will be arraigned in that court on Monday. He is facing four counts of kidnapping as well as a count of criminal threatening and an explosives charge, even though he wasn't actually wearing any explosives. It was merely some road flares that he had used duct tape to attached to his body. Now for more than five hours he did hold the hostages here, and there was a long negotiation with the state police.

In fact during all of this, he even called CNN and said, "I need help." He said "I'm trying to get help" but he said he was unable to afford help at a psychiatric hospital in the area. He certainly, as you said, does have a very troubled past. Neighbors say that he had been drinking heavily and also we have learned that in 2002, he filed a lawsuit claiming that he had been raped by a priest. So, Fredricka, clearly, a very troubled man. And fortunately, the whole incident here did come to a very peaceful ending yesterday evening. Fredricka, back to you.

WHITFIELD: Yes, very sordid all the way around, indeed. Allan Chernoff, thank you, from Rochester.

And new developments in the crime of naming a teddy bear, Mohammed. Two British lawmakers are in the capital of Sudan, trying to get jailed teacher, Gillian Gibbons on a plane and out of the country. The two politicians working for Gibbons' release are themselves Muslim.

Here's CNN's Paula Hancocks.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gillian Gibbons is spending her seventh day as a prisoner in Sudan after she was found guilty of insulting religion. She's being held in a secret location for her own safety. Two British lawmakers traveled to Khartoum Saturday to see her and they spoke to CNN.

BARONESS SAYEEDA WARSI, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Considering the difficult circumstances that she has now been in for a while, she is remarkably upbeat. We spent about an hour with Gillian and discussed a number of matters, and then tried to give her as much hope as we could.

HANCOCKS: The two Muslim lawmakers are not representing the British government, but they are hoping to secure Gibbons' early release.

LORD NAZIR AHMED, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: There has been a lot of pressure on the government of Sudan and, obviously, we are very concerned about Gillian and the president has the powers for a pardon. And that may be discussed if we get the chance to meet with him.

Gibbons' crime, to allow her 7-year-old students to name the class teddy bear Mohammed. Her family and friends say it was an innocent mistake with no insult intended. Hundreds of Sudanese men took to the streets on Friday calling for a stiffer sentence for Gibbons, some even demanding the death penalty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't accept it from anybody. If they can do it in Europe, they cannot do it here in Sudan.

HANCOCKS: Gibbons is said to be holding up well, talking to her 25-year-old son by telephone. She said she did not want any resentment towards Muslims because of her sentence.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, London.


WHITFIELD: And in the U.S., back to the topic of AIDS, the African-American community has the fastest growing number of AIDS cases.


EARVIN "MAGIC" JOHNSON, HIV/AIDS ACTIVIST: We must change the mindset. We must change the attitude when it comes to HIV and AIDS.


WHITFIELD: Up next, my interview with former NBA superstar Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie talking about living with AIDS.


WHITFIELD: Well, if you want to change your look and you're thinking about a little nip and tuck, well, first things first, find the right plastic surgeon. Our Judy Fortin tells you how in today's "Health for Her" segment.


JUDY FORTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Our pursuit of perfection is at an all-time high. According the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost 11 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were done last year at a cost of $11.5 million. But before you decide whether to nip or to tuck, there are a few things you should consider.

First, know what you're getting into.

DR. KENNETH ROSE, PLASTIC SURGEON: I have a lot of patients who come to the office, who have had surgery with someone else, for example, and are unhappy with the results and the -- I ask them, well, didn't the surgeon there tell you about the risks of the surgery? And they said, no, no. They just said oh, you are going to look beautiful. Don't worry about it.

FORTIN: There are ways to take some of the worry out of the situation. Start by choosing the right doctor.

ROSE: There's a lot of people doing plastic surgery these days but surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are really the only surgeons recognized to perform plastic surgery.

FORTIN: And make sure your doctor has all of the right backup tools, with more and more procedures being done outside of the hospital in doctors' offices or free-standing surgical centers, it's important to make sure your doctor is affiliated with a local hospital, just in case there are complications.

ROSE: And if he's not, then quite honestly, you're going to be somewhat unceremoniously dumped at the emergency room exit -- entrance and you are going to be taken care of by people that you never even met before.

FORTIN: And finally, remember, surgery is surgery.

ROSE: So every surgery, whether it's hangnail surgery or brain surgery has potential a complication.

FORTIN: And knowing what those complications might be could mean the difference between getting some work done or leaving well enough alone.

Judy Fortin, CNN, Atlanta.



WHITFIELD: One of the most prominent celebrities to spread the word about AIDS and dispel misconception is Magic Johnson. It has been 16 years that the NBA legend announced that he was HIV positive. The disclosure was indeed a bombshell, coming at the height of his career. And back in 1991, many thought his condition was certainly a death sentence.

Well, I talked to Magic and his wife Cookie about their survival.


WHITFIELD: Magic, well, what is your secret to remaining so healthy, being so vivacious, and at the same time, being really a model for those who are HIV-positive and those who have AIDS, to be hopeful about being healthy?

M. JOHNSON: Well, I think the main thing is taking my meds, making sure I do that, making sure that I work out, and then Cookie makes sure that I'm eating right, and then have a positive attitude about it. And so, I think because I have a positive attitude as well, and that I accepted that, hey, I'm going to be dealing with this disease for the rest of my life, I think everything has gone well.

Now, we have to remember, a lot of people have died since I announced, and a lot of people will die. So, this disease is still out here in a big way, but I'm just trying to make sure that people know about HIV and AIDS, they can now join with myself, with the I Stand With Magic Campaign, that both myself, the Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott have created. And I think that if they need to know information that they don't know, they can logon to www.istandwithmagiccampaign.

WHITFIELD: And so, Magic, for you, has the main ingredient to your remaining so healthy, has it been because about access to drugs? Because there are so many HIV-positive/AIDS patients who will say because they either lack the insurance or perhaps they lack the funds, they can't afford all that's available.

M. JOHNSON: Well, I think that having access has definitely been a key. But when we think about those people who may not have the money, they should look at a lot of different HIV and AIDS organizations where they live, because a lot of those organizations help those who can't afford to pay for their drugs, buy them for them. Then there's some churches in those same cities that will help them as well.

So, no question that I'm doing well because I have the access to the 26 drugs that are available to everybody, but also to make sure those people who are living with HIV that can't afford their drugs, make sure you contact a lot of the HIV and AIDS organizations in your city or in your state, and they'll probably be able to help you.

WHITFIELD: And Cookie, as you campaign, as you've helped spread awareness, what's your greatest concern about what we're seeing is a certain level of complacency, especially among the younger generation now, who almost feel like AIDS is something that they don't even need to worry about?

COOKIE JOHNSON, HIV/AIDS ACTIVIST: Yes, that's part of my message. I'm really worried about that because there are so many young people out there that think that it can't happen to us. They've gone back to that it can't happen to me, and that's part of my message. I want to get out there and let everybody know that you need to educate yourself. You need to get out and get tested if you are sexually active. And you need to take -- make sure you take the precautions for protective sex.

WHITFIELD: What's the message this World AIDS Day weekend that you, Cookie, want to convey to people about? Whether it's changing their lifestyles or whether it's about research, what's the main point that you would like to hit home this weekend?

C. JOHNSON: The main point is, go out and get tested.


C. JOHNSON: If you're sexually active, you have to go get tested, because early detection will save your life. With this disease, it's manageable if it's detected early and if you get on the medication early. So, that's the main thing.

WHITFIELD: And, Magic, for you this weekend, what's the message you really want people to take away?

M. JOHNSON: Well, I think the main thing is just like Cookie just said, just get out and get tested. When you think about it now, more and more young people are coming and being diagnosed with HIV. Then, you've got -- there was just a report just a couple days ago that now our moms and dads and our grandparents are coming and being diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, because they're more sexually active.

So, I think that get out and get tested, go back and get your results, but also educate the whole family about HIV and AIDS, because it's here, it's not going anywhere, and we must do a better job educating the whole family about this deadly disease.

WHITFIELD: And, Magic, quickly, before I let you guys go, what is the difference between now and -- was it 1991, when you made your condition public?

M. JOHNSON: Well, I think the difference now is that we have -- when I announced, we had one drug. So, now we have 26 drugs. The difference now is that before, in '91, it was considered a gay white man's disease. Now, it's a black disease. And so, there's a lot of things that have changed. But the numbers keep rising in the black community, and they're not going down.

And that's why it's great that Cookie has joined me to get out on the road to go talk about it, because she's going to be able to hopefully help black women, because when you think about New York City, it's the number one killer of black women. And also, just around the country it's the number one killer of black women. So, she's going to talk to women across the country.

So, we must change the mindset, we must change the attitude when it comes to HIV and AIDS in the black and brown community.

WHITFIELD: Magic and Cookie Johnson, thank you so much. Nice talking to you guys.

M. JOHNSON: Thank you.

C. JOHNSON: Thank you.


WHITFIELD: Well, another health matter right now to address. Something of what many of you think is your winter cough. Well, we know a lot of you at home are probably nursing a cough but it may not be simply because it's a winter cold. In fact, it was a persistent cough that brought Vice President Dick Cheney's irregular heartbeat to light this week. And coughing can signal some pretty serious health concerns as well. For more, let's turn to our Dr. Bill Lloyd. He's live from Sacramento.

And, so most of us associate that cough with a cold. You say it really comes from a variety of forms?

DR. BILL LLOYD, SURGEON: It sure does, Fredricka. A cough is the body's normal reaction to clear the airways, but from Dick Cheney's experience this week, we have learned there's lot of different health problems that can cause a lingering cough that has nothing to do whatsoever with a cold.

WHITFIELD: Like what? What are some of the other conditions?

LLOYD: Well, let's break it down. You can start with your nose. Anyone with post-nasal drip, perhaps from a chronic sinus infection, they will be coughing all night as soon as they lie down. People with heart problems like the vice president, not just an arrhythmia, but people heart valve disease, they can stimulate chronic coughing as well.

People with stomach problems like reflux or heart burn, here we go again. Lie down in bed and the stomach contents move up and you will be coughing all night as well. There's a variety of medication that's can cause chronic coughing as well. These tend to work in the brain and they affect the brain's coughing center, stop the medication, substitute something else and your cough will go away.

And then there's mechanical reasons like a chubby thyroid, people with swollen thyroids can get into trouble. And guess what, Fredricka, even chronic ear wax, impacted ear wax can lead to a lingering cough.

And we left off one last important one, undetected asthma. And someone who is walking around, ahem, ahem, ahem, they in fact could have asthma and not even know it. So you have got a persistent cough, you had better check it out.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So these are remarkable things that you really cannot self-diagnose. So at what point do you say, you know what, I have got a cough and I need a doctor to look at it?

LLOYD: Well, take a look at this, let's break it down and think of the warnings that come with someone who has a lingering cough. You may know somebody. Anyone who had a cough that has lasted over seven days, particularly if they have had a recent cold. The cold is gone but they're still coughing. They should see a doctor.

Anyone complaining of chronic tiredness or shortness of breath, people who normally sleep well but now having trouble sleeping, they might have a problem related to that chronic cough. Or fever or nighttime sweats, a loss of appetite.

And one more important one is bedtime noise. Because coughers cause more troubles than snorers. That's right, bed partners of chronic coughers leave more often than the partners of snorers. So again, seven days past a cold or anyone, Fredricka, who had a lingering cough more than four weeks needs medical attention.

WHITFIELD: And so we are talking about things that are not necessarily age specific. This really can range, whether it's a small kid or whether it's, you know, an older person.

LLOYD: Absolutely right. And the magic guidelines, again, whether it's a child with a cold, seven days afterwards, if they are still coughing, they are going to be needing to see a doctor. If there's an older person, same story again. They may had never had a cold, but they're walking around the house coughing all the time as they travel around the house.

Now take a look at this. Here is some ordinary cough syrup and familiar throat lozenges that people take for a cough. If you have one of these other health conditions, these aren't going to do you any good at all. So don't invest in symptomatic relief. A persistent cough needs a doctor's examination.

WHITFIELD: I like that warning, especially after the seven-day period that you mentioned. That's when you really need to pay attention, something may be awry here.

LLOYD: It's a long winter.

WHITFIELD: It is indeed. All right. Dr. Bill Lloyd, thank you so much.

LLOYD: We will talk again soon.


All right, well what went wrong here? Piecing together the details of yesterday's train collision on Chicago's South Side. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: All right. News "Across America" right now begins in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Volunteers are back out looking for the missing wife of a former police sergeant, Stacy Peterson has not been seen or heard from in weeks. Her husband Drew says she left him for another man. Newly released police records suggest that Stacy Peterson once fought with her husband's ex-wife. Kathleen Savio was found dead three years ago. Authorities are taking another look at that case. She was also a former wife of that police sergeant.

Federal investigators are trying to figure out why an Amtrak train hit a freight train Friday on Chicago's South Side. Dozens were injured but only three needed to stay the night in the hospital. Investigators say their investigation could last weeks, if not months.

And sad news from the Georgia Aquarium. A female beluga whale died just after midnight. Marina had stopped eating more than a week ago and had been in declining health ever since. A necropsy should determine the exact cause of death. She is the second beluga while to die this year in the world's largest aquarium. The last one had a bone disease that he got at another facility.

Rob Marciano is taking us throughout the evening here in the NEWSROOM. You have been to the aquarium, right? ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: I have.

WHITFIELD: I mean, it's right in our backyard.

MARCIANO: It's so peaceful to watch those beluga whales as well.

WHITFIELD: A lovely place.

MARCIANO: It is certainly sad.

WHITFIELD: I know, it's sad to hear about something like that.

MARCIANO: So Tony Harris burning some vacation time so I will be with you in about 10 minutes. Lots of news and information for you. Jam-packed in that hour, for sure. And as luck would have it, we are leading with weather. It is the first big snowstorm, and ice...

WHITFIELD: I was going to say.

MARCIANO: That is right. I kind predicted that.


MARCIANO: But it has grander implications than just snowball fights. Travel obviously. In this winter whiteout, ice storm, blizzard warnings, the whole run of them. And guess what, the Des Moines, Iowa, Airport, as you have been reporting, shut down. So politicians trying to get in there to do their thing, having a hard time.

If that wasn't enough, of course, Senator Clinton's campaign offices in Rochester, New Hampshire. We are going to have an update on that.

Plus a lot of people buying Christmas trees.


MARCIANO: And you know, all of the cool kids are staying green.

WHITFIELD: Oh, good.

MARCIANO: So we are going to talk about what you need to do, what you need to know, what kind of tree to buy.

WHITFIELD: And we don't just mean green as in the color of your tree, we mean...

MARCIANO: No. What kind of tree to buy.

WHITFIELD: We mean environmentally friendly and all of that.

MARCIANO: Environmentally friendly, what you should be putting on your tree. It is going to be fun-filled...

(CROSSTALK) WHITFIELD: Good. Back to the old-fashioned days of stringing the popcorn.

MARCIANO: Maybe, my mom still does that.

WHITFIELD: I like that, really?

MARCIANO: Yes, she is old school. It looks great.

WHITFIELD: Maybe I'll do that this year. I like it.

MARCIANO: Stick around. Ten minutes from I will have all of that for you.

WHITFIELD: All right. I'll be taking copious notes for tips. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: You got it.

WHITFIELD: Well, you know this guy. He defied death many times in front of many people. Don't you love him? This, too, kind of reminds you of the good old days, right? Now the world must say good- bye to Evel Knievel, a man born to be wild.


WHITFIELD: Well, if you grew up in the 1970s, he might have been one of your heroes. At the very least, you did not want to miss one of his stunts on television. Now America's legendary daredevil and pop icon Evel Knievel is dead at the age of 69.

Our Randi Kaye takes a look at his high-flying career.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trucks, sharks, even Idaho's Snake River Pass. If it could be jumped, Evel Knievel wanted to try it.

EVEL KNIEVEL, PROFESSIONAL DAREDEVIL: My name is Evel Knievel, I'm a professional daredevil.

KAYE: Clad in red, white and blue, Knievel thrilled audiences for decades. Still, with so much success, he may be best known for his greatest failures, the 1974 attempt to jump Idaho's Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered cycle, and an unforgettable crash in Las Vegas while trying to jump the fountains at Caesar's Palace. Knievel always walked away, but with more often than he liked, with a pretty good limp.

Before he retired in 1980, he had suffered 40 broken bones.

KNIEVEL: Teddy Roosevelt said on time that it's better to try and win glorious triumphs and victories even though you're checkered by failure and fate, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy victory or defeat because they have lived in such a great twilight that they have never tried either one.

KAYE: Knievel was born Robert Craig Knievel in Butte, Montana, and raised by his grandparents. He traced his career back to the first daredevil show he ever saw, when he was just 8. He was a ski jumper and ice hockey player in high school, then went on to work in Montana's copper mines. He served in the Army, even sold insurance.

But he was happiest in the seat of his bike.

KNIEVEL: I was the luckiest guy in the world that I got (INAUDIBLE).

KAYE: In 1999, Knievel married his long-time girlfriend in Vegas. They later divorced. It was his granddaughter who confirmed his death. His health had been deteriorating for years. He suffered from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis. The Associated Press quotes long-time friend and promoter Billy Rundle, who said Knievel had trouble breathing at his Florida home and died before an ambulance could get him to the hospital.

Rundle told the AP: "You just don't expect it, Superman just doesn't die, right?" Knievel's death comes just two days after he settled a federal lawsuit with rapper Kanye West over the use of his trademark in a popular music video. Evel Knievel was 69.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: Forever looking good in that red, white and blue.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the NEWSROOM with Rob Marciano begins right now.

MARCIANO: Now that the drama is over, the questions begin. Why would someone take hostages at Hillary Clinton's campaign office. The clues lie in the suspect's complicated past.

And on this World AIDS Day, music and messages from South Africa, where the disease shows little mercy.

And December hits the Midwest like a cold hammer, Travel is a nightmare, and even the campaign trail got iced.