Return to Transcripts main page


Teen Pregnancy Pact; Oil Price Relief; Bigger Breakfast, Bigger Weight Loss?; Comedian and Social Critic George Carlin Dies; Anaheim Police Chase Down Suspect on Highway

Aired June 23, 2008 - 09:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony has the day off. See events come into the NEWSROOM live on Monday morning, June 23rd.
Here's what's on the rundown.

The Saudis announce they'll pump more crude, but oil prices move higher anyway.

A small town mayor is sitting down with school leaders today. Did a group of high school girls get pregnant on purpose? New details.

And eat a big breakfast, lose weight. Go ahead, pile on the pancakes, in the NEWSROOM.

Oil anxiety. Is there relief in the pipeline?

Saudi Arabia says it will boost production as early as next month if it's needed. So far, that pledge hasn't reigned in prices on world oil markets. Analysts shrug off the increase as minimal.

But here's the breakdown for you. The Saudis say they can churn out an additional 200,000 barrels a day. That's on top of a recent increase of 300,000 barrels a day. That means next month's daily output could total about 9.7 million barrels every day.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister says that number can be increased further if needed.

The Saudi pledge, what does it mean to your wallet? That's what you're really wondering. Let's check in now on the world market.

CNN's Susan Lisovicz is keeping an eye on those prices. She's joining us from the New York Stock Exchange.

So Susan, will we see a price drop at the pump because of this weekend's meeting? Kind of doubt it.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you answered that question, Heidi.

If we're looking at what we're seeing in electronic trading, right now oil prices are flat trading at about $135.50 a barrel. So that's about $3 or $4 off the all-time high that we saw just last week. That's pretty high. And you know gas has been the trickle-down effect. You know they're still catching up to what we're seeing with oil trading.

You know, one thing that's interesting here is Saudi Arabia has a vested interest in putting out more demand. First of all, it's the world's largest oil producer. You may have said that, Heidi. I may have missed that.

But the fact is, when oil prices are reaching these levels, it dampens demand. We've already seen people using more transit. They're traveling less. They're consolidating their trips to the market, whatever. And that hurts Saudi Arabia ultimately.

So Saudi Arabia wants to make sure that people are using its...


LISOVICZ: ... most precious resource. And what it's been doing this year has been doing modest, modest hikes. This 200,000 isn't a lot, but it's about the third one that it's done this year.

An oil analyst I was talking to this morning says 700,000 barrels a year and it's been promising a lot more.

Not seeing much of a change in oil prices so far. And stock prices we're seeing a little bit of an uptick, so we could get a little bit of a bounce after a rough week last week. The Dow below 12000, close to the lows for the year -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. CNN's Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange.

Of course, Susan, we'll check in more with you later on and get a good look at those numbers.

Meanwhile, parts of the Midwest still on edge this morning, hoping they can hold off flooding from the Mississippi River. But some lost the battle against the river. Levees couldn't hold back the floodwaters and that forced thousands of people from their now water logged homes.

The river is expected to crest today among more parts of the Illinois/Missouri border.

Here's a look now from the air of Winfield, Missouri this morning. Upriver the waters has started to recede but downstream some communities may still see the water rise 10 feet over flood stage.

Now, if only their sandbag walls can hold. Look at that.

As the floodwaters begin to recede, what's left behind is another nightmare for communities -- the clean-up.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this morning.

So Ed, how do things look there? ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.

Well, residents here in Cedar Rapids have been told to discard everything, start putting everything on the curb. And this is what you see almost everywhere you go around this city.

And as bad as it looks, city officials say they hope to have this first wave of debris cleaned up in about 30 days.


DAN PIERCE, FLOOD VICTIM: 1900 is when it was built so it's 108 years old now.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Floodwaters destroyed the first floor and basement of Dan Pierce's home. More than 100 years of family history now sits on the curb.

PIERCE: The water line is about halfway up my first floor. So every room -- every room was packed to the brim with stuff. Underneath this pile someplace is my grandmother's sewing machine that she used in the '30s.

LAVANDERA: Drive the streets of Cedar Rapids and it's an endless stream of trash, block after block of flood debris piling up.

There's so much stuff that officials are worried it will completely fill up the city's landfills. Early estimates are that there's 1 million cubic yards of debris that needs to be removed. That would fill about four football fields stacked 60 feet high.

KARMIN MCSHANE, EXEC. DIR., SOLID WASTE AGENCY: We were pretty shocked when we heard the number. It's -- it certainly going to challenge the local facility.

LAVANDERA: Landfill officials say this newly opened garbage pit was supposed to last the city 20 years, but all of the flood debris will likely fill it up in just a few months.

MCSHANE: Obviously people want to get it out and want it disposed of. You know for the safety of everyone, we want to manage it as quickly as possible.

LAVANDERA: And the trash just keeps piling up.

Westside Sewing has been a downtown Cedar Rapid fixture for 80 years. The store front reduced to slush and grime.

DAVID PEREZ, CEDAR RAPIDS RESIDENT: I walked around the corner, I mean, my mouth just drops open. I was so shocked. It's unbelievable. You can see so much on TV. You know I've been seeing it day after day but until you get inside of it and see what's happening, you really can't imagine it looking at the television screen.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LAVANDERA: And city officials say they plan on dispatching about 120 dump trucks through the streets and in the coming weeks they will be picking up all of this trash. And they say, well, the key to making this work as smoothly as possible is to separate various piles.

This is kind of a good example. Here you have everything that will go to the landfills and then they want the hazardous waste like paints and gas, well, that type of thing, in other piles and then appliances and these types of materials in separate piles.

All of this is -- will be divided up and thrown away in a very tedious and a very -- a way that has a lot of red tape to it as well.


LAVANDERA: So they say that divvying up the piles really helps the clean-up process move a lot smoother -- Heidi?

COLLINS: Boy, it's just a massive pile there behind you. And I know it goes for street after street. I hadn't really thought about the landfills. Appreciate that.

Ed Lavandera for us this morning in Cedar Rapids.

Firefighters stretched awfully thin in northern California. They're fighting hundreds of fires called by lightning strikes. Some are small, less than an acre in remote wooded areas. But others have spread over several square miles now and are threatening homes. Hundreds of residents have been forced to evacuate.

Here's a good look at a map. The fires are burning from south of San Francisco all the way to the Oregon border. There were 75 fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest alone.

Want to head on over to Rob Marciano now standing by in the Weather Center, talk a little more about those fires, and then, also, some storms in the northeast.

Is that right, Rob?


COLLINS: Yes. Boy, it's a shame, that's for sure. I'm glad you're watching that. I can't believe how many are going on there.

Rob, we'll check back with you a little bit later on.

Meanwhile, this news now. A comedic genius silenced.

George Carlin died of heart failure at the age of 71. The influential comedian made audiences laugh and think for five decades. Award winning comedy albums in the '70s, hundreds of TV appearances, but it was his take on American language that was classic Carlin. His most famous routine, seven words you can never say on TV.

CNN's Brooke Anderson takes a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Comedian George Carlin's seven dirty words you can't say on television immediately became a show business legend.

GEORGE CARLIN, COMEDIAN: Now, that was the original list. (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

ANDERSON: A word for excretion.


ANDERSON: For urination.


ANDERSON: For having sex.


ANDERSON: For breasts. And three words still so radioactive, we can't even describe them.

In 1972, that unforgettable bit of stand-up stunned a Milwaukee audience, which included some children.

ELMER LENZ, ARRESTING OFFICER: I heard all this foul, profane language. It really -- it really shocked me. And I'm thinking, here my 7-year-old son is in the audience.

ANDERSON: Carlin was immediately arrested for disorderly conduct.

CARLIN: I didn't know there were, but it wouldn't have changed anything I did if I had known there were children in the audience. In fact, children need to -- I think children need to hear those words the most, because they're -- as yet, they don't have the hang-ups. It's adults who are locked into certain, you know, thought patterns.

ANDERSON: An unapologetic Carlin was released and the charges were dismissed. But then a New York radio station aired Carlin's follow-up act "Filthy Words."

DAVID TILLOTSON, ATTORNEY: There was a complaint by a man that was supposedly driving with his 12-year-old son in the car when these words came pouring out over the radio.

ANDERSON: That complaint got to the Supreme Court, which supported FCC regulation of profanity on the public airwaves. And it established which words were off limits.

CARLIN: I wanted a list because nobody gives you a list.

DOCTOR DEMENTO, RADIO HOST: There for the first time you had kind of a quantification of what is obscene that was something you could really put your finger on. It's all there, the nastiest words are all right there.

CARLIN: Foul...

ANDERSON: Thirty-five years after the seven dirty words you can't say on television, the debate George Carlin triggered is far from over.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: The mayor and the principal meeting this morning. He says he thinks 17 students got pregnant on purpose. The mayor raising doubts today in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Tackle a big stack. A pile of pancakes first thing in the morning may actually help you slim down.

We'll explain, in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Everybody seems to be talking about this one. A possible pregnancy pact involving teenaged girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

We told you the story on Friday. Now the town's mayor says there's actually no evidence of a pact. She's meeting today with school and health officials to talk about the situation.

CNN's Randi Kaye has some background on the story.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): High school is hard enough, so why would a group of girls from Gloucester, Massachusetts, a fishing village outside Boston, choose to get pregnant?

In all, 17 girls are having babies, some as young as 15. Not one of them is married.


KAYE: High school administrators are reeling after learning there may have been some sort of pregnancy pact. Even more shocking, the superintendent believes at least one girl had sex with a 24-year- old homeless man just to be part of the group.

The pact is so secretive, we couldn't even find out the girls' names. This man told us the girls tried to convince his stepdaughter to get pregnant, too.

TED SORENSON, STEPFATHER OF GLOUCESTER TEEN: There was a tremendous amount of peer pressure, negative peer pressure for as many girls as possible to join in this pact. And luckily, my stepdaughter was smart enough or scared enough to say no.

KAYE (on camera): School officials first began to take notice last October when so many girls started showing up at the nurse's office to find out if they were pregnant. The nurse reportedly gave as many as 150 pregnancy tests.

The superintendent says the girls went back over and over until they got the results they wanted.

FARMER: There's some talk of high-fives and that kind of thing.

KAYE (voice-over): Amanda Ireland, who just graduated from Gloucester High, had a baby her freshman year. She knows one of the girls in the alleged pregnancy pact.

AMANDA IRELAND, GLOUCESTER H.S. GRADUATE: I asked her if she was keeping the baby and she said yes.

KAYE: The superintendent says a handful of the girls have already delivered.

Ireland can't understand why anyone would choose to get pregnant so young.

IRELAND: It's definitely not all peaches and cream.

KAYE: The superintendent says the men who fathered the children are not students. They're older, in their 20s. If the girls agree to name them, he says, they could face statutory rape charges.

And there's more.

The school's doctor has resigned after coming under fire for handing out contraceptives. It's against district policy.

DR. BRIAN ORR, CLINIC'S MEDICAL DIRECTOR: We were on our way to try to do things that any parent, any adult, any community would want, decreasing the initiation of having sex and decreasing the number of sexual partners.

KAYE: Also, sex education is only taught freshman year.

(on camera): Why isn't it offered beyond that?

FARMER: Well, we are very poorly funded by the state of Massachusetts.

KAYE (voice-over): Plus, with the economy so weak here and parents scrambling to make money, this mother of five says children may not be getting enough attention at home.

SHEILA HORGAN, GLOUCESTER RESIDENT: I think parents are so busy trying to make money to survive that in this economy that they're not focused on their children. KAYE: Others blame Hollywood movies like "Juno" that glamorize teen pregnancy.


J.K. SIMMONS, ACTOR, "JUNO": You're pregnant?

ELLEN PAGE, ACTRESS, "JUNO": I'm sorry. I'm sorry. And if it is any consolation, I have heartburn that is radiating to my kneecaps. And...

ALLISON JANNEY, ACTRESS, "JUNO": I didn't even know you were sexually active.


HORGAN: It ruins their whole lives. It affects these children. Who is going to take care of these children? You know? Who's going to be responsible for these children for the rest of their lives?

KAYE: It's a question many here wish the girls in the pregnancy pact had asked themselves nine months ago.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Gloucester, Massachusetts.


COLLINS: School leaders and local officials will be meeting today to talk more about this.

We're going to follow that for you and bring you more as the day goes on here on CNN.

Meanwhile, eat a big breakfast, lose a lot of weight. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen drops by to explain.


COLLINS: How's this for a diet plan? Eat bigger, be smaller. A new study compared sedentary, obese women trying to lose weight. One group packed on the carbs and lean protein at breakfast, the others stuck to a low carb morning meal.

At the end of eight months, women eating the hefty breakfast lost an average of 40 pounds. The low carb eaters lost just nine.

Medical correspondent Elizabeth -- Susan Cohen, where did that come from? Elizabeth Cohen is here now to talk a little bit more about it.

A lot of people have been talking about it in the NEWSROOM today because we want to know how big a breakfast are we talking about here. Can go crazy?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for me, you can't go crazy. For me, this was pretty big. I mean I don't think that I have a breakfast this size usually.

Let's take a look at what we mean by a big breakfast.

The folks who had the big breakfast had two pieces of bread with a pad of butter, three slices of cheese, three slices of turkey, roast beef or chicken, two 8-ounce glasses of low fat milk and coffee with milk.

And here -- this is sort of the more measly breakfast. It's a high protein breakfast -- one egg, some butter and -- I don't know what you do with the butter.

COLLINS: Put the butter on what? Yes.

COHEN: Put around the bacon, I don't know. Three slices of bacon and a four-ounce cup of milk and a cup of coffee with no milk or cream.

And some people, actually, when they ate the big breakfast, Heidi, they also ate a little piece of chocolate.


COHEN: And apparently that seemed to help for some of them.

COLLINS: I'm just thinking about the chicken and the roast beef in the morning.

COHEN: Yes, I...

COLLINS: I think can pass that.

COHEN: Yes. That's one dietitian said that. She thinks who can really eat that in the morning? But you know, maybe some people can.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, if you really do eat more in the morning, how, then, does it help you lose weight? Do you eat less throughout the day because you packed it all on in the morning or something?

COHEN: Well, they told these women to eat the different breakfasts but then they were supposed to eat matching menus for the rest of the day. So the breakfast was the only thing that was different.

Now some people theorize that your body uses calories more efficiently in the morning and that if you don't eat, you sort of go into this ravenous mode and just start eating everything in sight later in the day.

But I have to say we -- we showed this study to some folks who were really quite skeptical. The Atkins people don't like it because it kind of disses high proteins. And even other dietitians and experts said, you know, this hasn't been published yet, we're not really sure that it's right.

So not everyone is so... COLLINS: Yes.

COHEN: ... hit with the study.

COLLINS: And I do see a big gob of gluten over there. You certainly don't want that either.

COHEN: Not for everyone, right.

COLLINS: But if I -- right.

COHEN: This is not a Heidi Collins breakfast, right.

COLLINS: If I'm eating a couple of eggs, hard boiled eggs, and some grapes and some turkey bacon, because they'll make fun of me -- that's my little breakfast -- I'm doing it right, right?

COHEN: Well, I just can look at you and say that you're doing it right.

COLLINS: Oh yes.

COHEN: You're not obese. You don't have insulin resistance. You're looking good.

COLLINS: We paid her just enough to say that, too.

Elizabeth, thanks so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

COLLINS: This one we'll be talking about, I bet, today. Appreciate that.

On to the oil story. Now Saudi Arabia promising to do something about oil. Is it enough, though, to bring relief at the gas pump?

And recession. Super investor Warren Buffett thinks we're already in one. Former fed chairman Alan Greenspan says it's likely.

Ali Velshi has some tips to keep you "Right on Your Money.


ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Record high gas prices, falling home values and the lowest level of consumer confidence since 1980 are all signs of a possible recession.

Personal finance expert Jonathan Clement says follow these steps to keep yourself recession proof.

JONATHAN CLEMENT, PERSONAL FINANCIAL EXPERT: First, you want to accumulate cash. You haven't got a lot of money sitting in the bank, you haven't got a lot of money sitting in a money market fund, this is the time to accumulate it. Two, get your debts under control. Pay off those credit card debts. Don't take out new car loans. Think twice before trading up to a bigger home.

And three, keep funding that 401(k) plan. You should continue to put enough into your 401(k) to get that full (INAUDIBLE). Even if you lose your job or even if you end up cashing out that 401(k) plan in paying income taxes and tax penalties you're still going to come out ahead.

VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.



COLLINS: Relief from high gas prices? Perhaps.

CNN's Wilf Dinnick tells us what came out of the weekend summit of oil producing and consuming nations.


WILF DINNICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The king of Saudi Arabia is promising the world more oil. The kingdom will boost production to levels not seen here in more than 25 years. And an adviser to Saudi's oil minister says that should ease demand.

IBRAHIM AL-MUHANNA, SAUDI ARABIA OIL MINISTER ADVISER: None of them asking for more. If they ask for more in the future, we will be happy to have more oil on the market.

DINNICK: To do that, Saudi Arabia will invest in its refineries and new oil fields to be able to pump even more oil in the following year.

All the parties at this conference agreed there must be more investment in the oil industry around the world.

William Ramsey leads a watchdog group that represents many western nations, including the United States.

WILLIAM C. RAMSAY, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: It may not help at the pumps tomorrow or the next day. The intent is to begin mobilizing enough of an effort, enough of a consensus effort, and a common effort so we begin dealing with the underlying issues, begin to fix those in the short term, medium term.

We can get around some of this so we can see prices back to some kind of a reasonable level.

DINNICK: Those issues vary. To investigate those traders in the oil markets buying and selling, accused of trying to earn a quick buck and sending up prices, or whether to invest in more alternative energy like wind and solar power. (on camera): All the participants at this conference created a working document, things that can be done by all members to help bring down the price of oil. But no list of priorities, things to tackle first. So concerns are just how effective that document will actually be.

RAAD ALKADIRI, PFC ENERGY OIL ANALYST: What they're going to do is clearly try and put together a working group and they're going to hope that that bridges some of the gap. But I have to say coming out of this meeting while that isn't impossible, there's certainly some work to be done still.

DINNICK: And no one at this conference would say just when all this might bring down the price of oil.

ALI AL-NAIMI, SAUDI ARABIAN OIL MINISTER: I'm going to repeat this again. If I were in the business of guessing what prices are going to be, I would be in Las Vegas. Thank you very much.

DINNICK: A follow-up meeting in London is being set for this October. A chance to see whether any of the recommendations from this conference are being put to use.

Wolf Dinnick, CNN, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


COLLINS: All right, quickly we want to show you the opening bell. There we have it happening there with Loews today. We are understanding that the opening will be a little bit higher today. Hopefully that will be the case. We'll be watching for it but I'm sure you know Friday not such a great day, a rotten close to the week, down 220 points for the Dow Jones industrial averages. There's a live shot for you of the New York Stock Exchange. We'll be talking to Susan Lisovicz about oil prices as well.

Meanwhile, it's true, we are all feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices. Now the world's largest oil producer says it can help by churning out more. You just saw Wolf Dinnick's piece. So it sounds like great news, right?

Well, not so fast. CNN financial editor Todd Benjamin joining us now from London to explain a little bit more about why we are not feeling this right away at the pump and even though the Saudis said yes, we're going to increase production, there still seems to be quite a bit of disappointment.

TODD BENJAMIN, CNN FINANCIAL EDITOR: Absolutely. Never have so many gone so far to be so disappointed.

This meeting was a bust. That's the bottom line on it Heidi. The reason it was a bust, we knew a week ago that the Saudis were going to increase production by 200,000 barrels a day. Ban Ki-Moon, the secretary-general of the U.N. had said that. Then some people were thinking they could increase production by as much as 500,000 barrels with a new oil field. But that didn't happen. So I think there was tremendous disappointment. As far as I'm concerned it would have been better for everybody to stay home and save the jet fuel.

COLLINS: What did everybody want them to do? What would have been a good outcome to this meeting?

BENJAMIN: Well I think to boost production by a lot more. Now, the Saudis have about 1.5 million barrels still in spare capacity. But I think they see themselves as a market stabilizer. I do think they feel that it is not a situation of supply and demand but more speculation and they want to keep some of that oil in the ground in case they need it domestically for some sort of emergency.

COLLINS: So much talk, isn't there, about long-term solutions and everybody -- all weekend long I heard, well, you know, that's not going to change anything right now. That's not going to change anything right now. Well, duh! But something has to be done. If we're talking about long-term solutions, is this part of it?

BENJAMIN: I think this gets people thinking but you're absolutely right. We're at a tipping point for the auto industry, for the airline industry, for consumers. And, you know, I'm old enough, unfortunately, to remember the first oil embargo in 1973. Here we are 35 years later and we're facing the same crisis, the same issues. Who's to blame?

You can't point your finger at the Saudis. You can't point the finger at the speculators. You can't point the finger at the Chinese. They want to raise their living standards just the way we have. We want cheap TV sets, there has to be a tradeoff, all right. They want to have cars with their wages and so forth. I think until we come to grips with let's not blame but let's find solutions we're going to have the same sort of problems.

Most Americans, granted distances between jobs and homes can be very long in America, but a lot of Americans could walk in places where they don't. An American's definition of walking a dog is basically steering wheel on one hand and the leash out the window. There's a lot that can be done but we're not doing it yet. I think we're a long way off and that's why I think oil is going to 150 bucks a barrel and possibly as Goldman Sachs says $200 bucks a barrel within two years. It's that simple.

COLLINS: Well I certainly hope that's not the case along with everybody else I'm sure. But we'll have you back on if in fact that does happen.

Todd Benjamin, appreciate it so much, live from London this morning.

And as we say goodbye to Todd, take another look at the opening bell. And New York Stock Exchange looking, like we said it would possibly be, to the positive, a little bit anyway today. Still below that 12,000 mark though. Resting right now Dow Jones industrial average is at 11,863.

Election crisis in what was once Africa's example of an independent democracy, Zimbabwe. The opposition party's candidate is pulling out of the presidential runoff as reports of violence, torture and intimidation wrack the country. CNN's correspondent Nkpile Mabuse is joining us now in Johannesburg, South Africa with the very latest.

Good morning to you there.

NKPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, the big question right now is what happens next. Morgan Tsvangirai has pulled out of the runoff. But the Zimbabwe electoral commission is saying it has not received a formal letter from the opposition leader informing it that he is pulling out.

So as far as the Zimbabwean electoral commission is concerned, the election will go ahead as planned on Friday, June 27. Robert Mugabe's party also saying that the runoff will go ahead. But regional leaders, the chairperson of the regional body senate is saying this election is not going to be free and fair and it should be postponed.

COLLINS: Nkpile, before we let you go, I just wonder what is the rest of the world thinking about this. Obviously, this situation has grown into a crisis there. Is the rest of the world really paying attention?

MABUSE: Robert Mugabe has received international condemnation. The killings, the torture that is allegedly going on in Zimbabwe according to human rights organizations, this kind of environment is not conducive for a free and fair election.

In the past African leaders have remained silent, but now we're hearing more and more pressure coming from African leaders condemning what's going on in Zimbabwe and saying this election is not going to be free and fair and should be postponed. There's a lot of pressure on Robert Mugabe at the moment.

COLLINS: Is it enough pressure, though?

MABUSE: Well, enough pressure, we'll have to see, because if Robert Mugabe can be brought to some kind of negotiating table and be hauled off (INAUDIBLE) and told that these elections need to follow the standard and guidelines of a democratic country in sovereign Africa. And if he is made to create conditions in Zimbabwe for a freer and fairer election to take place in that country, then the pressure would have worked. But if these African leaders and international community stop at just speaking, we're unlikely to see Robert Mugabe changing his ways.

COLLINS: I bet you're going to be right about that one.

Nkpile Mabuse, we appreciate it. Johannesburg, South Africa this morning, thank you.

In the Philippines now, a race against time and the ocean. The Princess of the Stars ferry capsized Saturday during a typhoon about a mile off one of the country's southern islands. On board 749 people. This is what it looks like this morning. Rough seas have stalled efforts to get inside the hull. It's believed there could be survivors in air pockets. Rescuers have found at least 33 survivors and at least six dead. A U.S. navy ship is joining the search and rescue effort now. The ferry capsized after losing power during the typhoon.

Extreme weather taking its toll in the west and Midwest. Here's new video shot from a helicopter over Winfield, Missouri, just north of St. Louis. In many areas levees couldn't hold back the Mississippi River. The river is expected to crest in some of those areas in Missouri and Illinois today, bringing some much-needed relief.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's a fire emergency in northern California. Lightning strikes started more than 600 fires there over the weekend. The largest is in California's wine country, Napa Valley. That fire has burned almost six square miles. Evacuations have now been ordered and firefighters are trying to contain wildfires all the way from around San Francisco to the Oregon border.


COLLINS: Listen, hey, before we let you go, I'm sure you've heard the sad news about George Carlin who died overnight of heart failure. He was 71 years old.

But you know, Rob, he was never one to really miss anything. He had such a play with words. He even a while back did a little stint on CNN meteorology.


COLLINS: Listen to this.


CARLIN: Like to sound important. Weathermen on television talk about shower activity. Sounds more important than showers. I even heard one guy on CNN talk about a rain event. Swear to God. He said, Louisiana is expecting a rain event. I thought, holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED), I hope I can get tickets to that!


COLLINS: He's pretty good, right?

MARCIANO: Actually, when I lived in Louisiana my friends would make fun of me because I used to say tornadic activity and lightning show. These are all free. So, George -- it's sad that he's gone but I could have told him he could get tickets to these events for relatively cheap.

COLLINS: And they do sound very, very smart the way that you say them.

MARCIANO: That's our main concern really is to sound smart.

COLLINS: Exactly, I know. All right we'll come back to you later. Get a little bit smarter and we'll come back a little later on, all right?

Thank you, Rob.

Meanwhile, students struggling to pay for college now looking to hold candidates' feet to the fire.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you still believe any politician when they say education is the future?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want empty rhetoric. We want rhetoric that's going to be backed up. If you say you're going to back up education, how?


COLLINS: How the candidates say they'll help.


COLLINS: Quickly want to get this information to you. Coming into the NEWSROOM here, the best that we know it at this point, just have a map to show you right now because we're talking about Anaheim, California. I'm sure you're familiar at least a little bit with that area. We're waiting for some live pictures to come in of a really bizarre situation happening there.

According to the Associated Press Anaheim police have actually killed a man now who was suspected of shooting one of their own officers. Believe that that happened yesterday. Then after the shooting, there was this major, dramatic freeway gun battle, if you will. Again, according to the Associated Press, that happened this morning as they tried to pull over an armed man who was traveling on Riverside Freeway. So the story is a little bit sketchy at this point but certainly a lot going on right now in Anaheim, California.

As you might imagine, traffic is an absolute gridlock right now. Apparently some of the freeway lanes will be shut down until noon while police do an investigation here to find out what exactly is going on. But that at this point is what we know. We'll try and get more details and clear it up for you as we await those live pictures coming into the NEWSROOM.

High energy prices driving the presidential campaigns today. Barack Obama talks about the economy with working women this afternoon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He vows to crack down on energy speculators with new federal regulations. Obama blames traders for skyrocketing oil prices.

John McCain expected to talk about energy independence in California today. McCain wants the government to offer $300 million to anyone who develops new super auto batteries, one that's cheaper and more powerful than those driving hybrids and electric cars right now. Even non-math majors have to crunch numbers. College students look for solutions to soaring tuition. Do the candidates have answers to that?

CNN's Chris Lawrence explains.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Oscar Mainia came to college to study political science. He's feeling more like a finance major as he tries to figure out how to afford tuition.

OSCAR MAINIA, UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA STUDENT: If I wasn't working I doubt I would be able to pay for it.

LAWRENCE: Mainia has had to increase his work study so much, he filed an appeal to qualify for more hours. California recently raised tuition for the sixth time in seven years. Some students plan to hold the next president accountable for higher education. Do you still believe any politician when they say education is the future?

MAINIA: We don't want empty rhetoric. We want rhetoric that's going to be backed up. If you say you're going to back up education, how?

LAWRENCE: Senator Barack Obama would give students a tax credit in exchange for 100 hours of volunteer work.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your country will offer you a $4,000 a year tuition credit if you offer your country community or national service when you graduate.

LAWRENCE: But so far Senator John McCain has been vague.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to provide a quality education.

LAWRENCE: Since the credit crunch has made it harder for Americans to get loans, McCain is proposing a continuity plan that would make sure student loans aren't disrupted this fall.

MCCAIN: We need to spend more funds in the right way.

LAWRENCE: Obama has only voted for two bills that specifically help students pay for college. McCain's got a longer track record but mixed results.

OBAMA: He's voted time and time again to stop us from making college affordable.

LAWRENCE: Here are the facts. Last year McCain voted against a bill that increased Pell grant funding and allowed some low income students to defer their loans. But that same bill increased the fee students paid to open a loan. And Obama ignores McCain's 1998 vote to lower student loan interest rates and increase work study aid to $1 billion. With the average cost of textbooks alone soaring to $1,500 a year, students like Mainia plan to hold candidates to their word. The first in his family to go to college, he's wondering if he'll have enough money to come home with a degree.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Berkeley, California.


COLLINS: Fashion designer Donatella Versace likes Barack Obama's style. In fact she's dedicating her latest collection to him. She calls Obama the man of the moment. She says her latest fashions are for, quote, a relaxed man who doesn't need to flex muscles to show he has power. Versace is also offering Obama a tip, lose the tie.

Think he'll listen?

Replacing Tim Russert. NBC says Tom Brokaw will moderate "Meet the Press" to fill the vacancy created when Tim Russert died. He will host the program through the November presidential election. He begins on Sunday. Brokaw anchored "NBC Nightly News" for 20 years.

Singer Amy Winehouse facing choices. Her father says she has emphysema and will die if she doesn't change her ways. Can she reverse the damage?

Elizabeth Cohen weighs in.


COLLINS: First we want to get you some more information. This story we've been telling you about in Anaheim, California. You see the major traffic tie-up there. All of this is in result according to the Associated Press and some of the local affiliates there of a man who was suspected of shooting an Anaheim police officer. That was yesterday morning.

Since then they've been trying to track this guy down and there was some really incredible gun battle on the highway there that you see, Riverside Freeway, to be exact. Apparently this man exchanged fire with at least two different Anaheim police officers, then was killed, even apparently according to these sources, a woman was also shot in sort of a stray bullet there. So just a crazy situation. Apparently that suspect is now dead.

We're not going to get any closer with these pictures because we have seen some of them and the initial call was to -- for police officers to respond to a man who was exposing himself. Well, this person who they have shot is lying there naked in that freeway. So we're going to stay wide with these pictures and just kind of keep you updated on this situation because, as you can see, that eastbound lane of the Riverside Freeway.

It's certainty closed down at this point. And obviously causing a major traffic tie-up there. Once again, those live pictures coming in from our affiliate KABC in Anaheim, California. We'll watch it for you.

Troubled diva. Singer Amy Winehouse's father says she has early stage emphysema and an irregular heart beat. He tells Britain's "Sunday Mirror" she damaged her lungs with cigarettes and crack cocaine. Mitch Winehouse says if his daughter goes back to smoking drugs, it will kill her. Medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joining us now.

Can someone so young really have emphysema? Is that what we're talking about?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The short answer is yes. I've been speaking with pulmonologists and they say, yes, even in your mid 20s you can have emphysema if you've been a heavy smoker for a long period of time. They added, look, she probably isn't feeling it. She's belting out this song here, this is just 15 months ago. She couldn't do this if she had full blown emphysema and was feeling that hallmark shortness of breath.

However, these doctors said probably what's going on -- they don't know because they don't treat her. But probably what's going on is that they saw the beginnings of emphysema in a CAT scan or an MRI and they said that, however, if she keeps smoking, she could certainly progress to emphysema. How fast she would progress depends on a lot of things including her genetics.

COLLINS: Is it reversible once you have emphysema? Because I know we talk all the time about someone who smoked and their lungs get this deep gray color but they can get healthy again if they quit smoking.

COHEN: You can't actually reverse the damage done from emphysema that's what I've been told from the chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. He says you can't grow yourself a new lung. However, if she stopped smoking right now, she certainly can stop the progression of her disease. And certainly at her age, that's a lot.

COLLINS: Yes. The thing is, is that I don't know if we're really just talking about cigarettes here. She's been in the news quite a bit for crack cocaine.

COHEN: Right. Her father talks about her smoking crack cocaine. I asked the pulmonologist and he said, you know, it's interesting, emphysema is really caused by cigarette smoking. He said the crack smoking would aggravate it but wouldn't actually cause it. Now of course crack does all sorts of other horrible things to your health. But when you talk about emphysema he said it's really the cigarettes that are the main culprit.

COLLINS: All right, well we appreciate that. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen for us.

Thanks, Elizabeth.

Quickly want to get back to this story that we've been telling you a little bit about the best that we can at this point in Anaheim, California. You see there the eastbound lanes of Riverside Freeway completely closed down. You see all those police cars as a result of a shooting that happened yesterday of an Anaheim police officer. There was a suspect obviously who had gotten away yesterday morning. Police have been trying to track him down ever since.

Apparently they believe they have found him and a pretty ferocious gun battle happened right there on the freeway. The suspect is now dead. There was also a woman who apparently caught a stray bullet. Not sure of her condition at this point. And I know two other police officers were involved in this shooting as well. So we're going to keep our eye on this one for you. But right now that live shot there shows you how tied up everything is. Obviously at a complete standstill right now. KABC, Anaheim, California, we'll follow that one for you.


COLLINS: Good morning once again everybody, I'm Heidi Collins. Tony has the day off today.

You'll stay informed all day right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.