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Canada's Oil Boomtown; Courting Latinos: McCain, Obama Seeking Hispanic Votes; Impact of Oil Price Spikes Hits Airline Employees

Aired July 8, 2008 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kyra Phillips, live in New York.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Right at the top, we begin with issue #1, the nation's economy and your money. More and more of it tied to oil's fortunes, and it does seem to cost a fortune these days.

People are losing their jobs because of high fuel costs. Airline employees hit especially hard. We've got layoff news and an airline update.

Also today, a Texas baron tells us how to use less oil. And we visit a Canadian town trying to produce more of it.

Hundreds more airline jobs are scheduled to depart as the industry struggles with fuel costs. The latest cut backs announced by United, Frontier and AirTran. Both United and Frontier moves will affect Denver-based employees.

UAL is laying off 50 customer service reps and 100 ramp workers starting this week. Frontier's 456 layoffs will start September 1st. That's Labor Day.

One hundred and fifty-five pilots are losing their jobs. And at AirTran, nearly 500 employees are going, 180 pilots and 300 flight attendants.

Along with all of these jobs the airline industry are cutting, they're cutting flights, as well. What else should you have on your radar before your next trip? I'll ask an industry expert right past the half hour here.

Now let's get back to business.

Gas prices aren't down, but they aren't up, either. AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular is $4.11. That's the same as yesterday, way different, though, than a year ago. Do you believe we were paying just $2.96 last July -- $2.96, now it's $4.11.

OK, let's check what the markets are doing today. You see the Dow Jones down 12 points. Down a little bit today. We'll get a full check on it from Susan Lisovicz in just a little bit.

Kyra, take it away.

PHILLIPS: Well, he is filthy rich thanks to our nation's addiction to oil. But even this Texas baron thinks it's time for an intervention. Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens unveiled an eco- friendly energy plan this morning. Take a listen.


T. BOONE PICKENS, FOUNDER, BP CAPITAL: We are exporting dollars, $700 billion a year, for the purchase of foreign oil. That's what I'm after. I've got to reduce that or we're going to break the country.


PHILLIPS: Well, Pickens says that his plan will cut our dependence on foreign oil by a third. He's calling for investment in renewable resources like wind power, and he wants to shift to natural gas as a main transportation fuel.

Now, Ali Velshi is the one that actually did that interview with him today. We're going to talk about that more in a minute. But first, not the treasure hunt, but the energy hunt.


Well, listen, between T. Boone Pickens and what Don was telling us, the price of gas, I mean, what a relief, only $4.11. It hasn't gone up.

So CNN is out on an energy hunt. We are going around the world to find sources of energy, whether it's oil or other things, and we kicked it off with our first trip to northern Alberta, Canada, a place called Fort McMurray. It's called the Canadian oil sands.

It's the biggest deposit of oil in the world, more than Saudi Arabia, even. But unlike Saudi Arabia where the oil is underneath the sand, in northern Canada, it's right there in the sand.


VELSHI (voice-over): One-third of the world's known oil deposits are right here in the dirt. So that's where we headed on our "Energy Hunt," from New York to Fort McMurray, Alberta.

(on camera): All right, this is it. We are literally walking on black gold. This is what we came here to see.

This is oil sand. It's sand that's encased in water and oil. In fact, this is about 10 percent crude oil.

(voice-over): Large quantities of oil embedded in sand only occur in two places in the world, Venezuela and Canada. Giant shovels scoop up 100 tons of oil-laden dirt at a time. Hundreds of trucks move across the landscape all day and night, every single day.

(on camera): You need a lot of earth to make oil. It takes about two tons of oil sands to make one big barrel of oil.

Now, this big hauler holds 400 tons of oil sands, so once that's all filled up and made into oil, you'll have about 200 barrels of oil.

(voice-over): That's right, two tons of oil sand makes one barrel of oil. But at today's oil prices it's wildly profitable. That's why major players like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and others squeeze 1.5 million barrels of oil out of this land every day, and they send most of it to the U.S.

It's costlier than getting it from a simple land well because the tar-like oil has to be separated from the sand. And that uses lots of natural gas and warm water. The result is a heavy molasses-like oil which has to be upgraded into a lighter, high quality form of crude that can then be easily refined into gasoline, home heating oil, and other petroleum products.

Canada produces much more oil than it needs. So the excess oil is sold and sent by pipeline to its best customer, the United States. Notice, there's no pipeline to Canada's west coast. There is one proposed, and it's backed by China.


VELSHI: Now, the thing is that that pipeline to the west, if it ever does get built to western Canada, what that means is that oil becomes accessible to other countries, including China. Right now those pipelines go right from Alberta into the United States. It's actually easier to get it into the states than it is to get it into eastern Canada, for instance, Toronto or Montreal.

So, there's the issue, that right now we get all of that excess oil, but it's a big market out there.

PHILLIPS: Well, and I'm thinking, OK, why didn't we deal with these oil sands years and years ago? Very expensive process.

VELSHI: Right. They've been building that for about 40 years.


VELSHI: But until oil hit about $50 a barrel, it wasn't economical to do it because you have that whole extra process before you get a barrel of oil. You've got the dirt, you've got to clean it up. It becomes that molasses-like stuff. Then it becomes oil.

PHILLIPS: OK. So now we know it's worth it because of oil prices.

VELSHI: Right.

PHILLIPS: But will it work?

VELSHI: Well, there's lots of it. And at these prices, there's a lot of oil there.

They are moving like nuts right now. In fact, the most conservative estimates are that in the next decade, they'll go from about 1.5 million barrels a day, which is what they're doing now, to probably close to five million barrels a day, which would just make it the biggest single source of our oil imports in the world.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let's talk about T. Boone Pickens.


PHILLIPS: Boy, one of the wealthiest men in the world.

VELSHI: Right.

PHILLIPS: And you like seeing people like this come forward and say...

VELSHI: He's an entrepreneur, yes.

PHILLIPS: ... OK, I'm rich, but I'm an entrepreneur and I'm going to think alternatives.

VELSHI: He's rich, he made a lot of money in oil. He still is invested in oil. But he says that even more than the Department of Energy, he says you can get 20 percent of this country's electricity from wind. So he's been the biggest investor in wind turbines, he's creating the world's biggest wind farm in Pampa, Texas.

PHILLIPS: But those have been a disaster in some places. I remember Palm Springs, California, when I was growing up.

VELSHI: Well, there were lots of problems with those.

PHILLIPS: Yes, they didn't work.

VELSHI: They seem to have perfected this.


VELSHI: GE is the biggest -- GE and Siemens make these things now. He's ordered a bunch of those.

Now, here's what he says. If you replace 20 percent of the country's electricity with wind, you then take the 20 percent of the electricity that uses natural gas. You've now freed up that natural gas, you use that natural gas to power cars, which, you know, that technology exists. And then you freed up oil. And he says you can reduce the imports of oil by 38 percent in the country.

There's a lot of "ifs" in there. There's a lot of things that have to happen. But he is challenging the candidates to say, look at my plan and tell me whether you can do that, or do something else.

PHILLIPS: All right. So even though we're a greedy country, it's forcing us to enterprise, which is good. There's good in all of this.

VELSHI: That's the point. I like it because it's a challenge.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Ali.

VELSHI: Good to see you.

PHILLIPS: All right.

Well, here's a sign of the times. The Florida lottery has a new game for the summer. One of the prizes, free gas for life. Winners may pick a gas card worth $2,600 a year for life, or they may go with a lump sum of $52,000.

Now, the economy is issue #1, and we're going to bring you all the latest financial news weekdays, noon Eastern. Ali Velshi, as you know, on the show every day, Monday through Friday. It's info that you need on mortgage meltdowns, the credit crunch, and a whole lot more.

"ISSUE #1" at noon Eastern.

LEMON: All right, let's talk some politics.

John McCain and Barack Obama go toe-to toe over the top issue in the race for the White House. The economy, of course, front and center again today for both men. Obama spoke at a town hall this morning in suburban Atlanta. And a short time ago, McCain addressed a Latino group in Washington.

Latinos are the nation's biggest minority group, and their votes could be critical in the battle for the Oval Office. McCain addressed the League of United Latin American Citizens, one of the nation's biggest Hispanic organizations. Now, in his speech seen right here on CNN, the Republican candidate talked about creating jobs by using an American resource -- coal.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Clean coal technology will create jobs in some of America's most economically disadvantaged areas. Our coal reserves are larger than Saudi Arabia's supply of oil. Clean coal demonstration projects alone will employ over 30,000 Americans.


LEMON: Well, Obama speaks to the group little bit later on today.

At his town hall this morning just outside Atlanta, Obama talked about pocketbook issues, among other things. He vowed to reform bankruptcy laws to help financially strapped military families and homeowners. He also talked about the Iraq war and he had some tough words as he compared his plans for Iraq to those of John McCain.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I hear John McCain saying we can't surrender, we can't wave the white flag, nobody's talking about surrender. We're talking about common sense.

We cannot be there forever. We can't be there for 50 years. We can't afford it.

Our military families can't bear that burden. We've got to get more troops into Afghanistan.

I am going to bring this war to an end. So don't be confused. I will bring the Iraq war to a close when I'm president of the United States of America.


PHILLIPS: Well, let's focus more now on the Latino vote.

President Bush one 44 percent of that bloc four years ago to help him win reelection. John McCain and Barack Obama are both addressing three major Latino groups this summer, including today's appearances in Washington.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger now joining me.

Now, Gloria, let's start talking about immigration reform. I mean, this is the issue that almost killed McCain's campaign in the primaries, right? So how did he change his approach today?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's been a very tough issue for John McCain. He led the fight for immigration reform, along with Ted Kennedy in the Senate. Conservative Republicans hated him for it. His small donations started to dry up, and it really almost cost him the nomination. And it's been a problem for him.

But today, Kyra, we heard him mention the words "comprehensive immigration reform," which is something he stayed away from the primaries. He talked about securing the border first a lot in the primaries because that does appeal to Republican voters. Today, we heard him talk about doing both things -- first securing the borders, then having a comprehensive plan for reform that would be a path to citizenship.

PHILLIPS: All right. Securing the borders to a border fence. In our newest CNN Poll, 52 percent of Americans say they favor a border fence.

So which candidate will this help, Obama or McCain?

BORGER: Well, it's going to help McCain. And it's interesting, because I was on the Straight Talk Express back this winter with John McCain, and I asked him why he's talking about that fence so much. And he said, you know, when he led immigration reform in the Senate, he learned one thing, which was Americans didn't really trust their government to secure the borders before moving to comprehensive reform.

He said, so I've got to let Americans know that I'm going to that, I'm going to build the fence. And it's a very popular issue with Republicans. Not so much with the Hispanic voters he's talking to today, but with the rank and file Republican base.

PHILLIPS: All right. Obama speaks to this same Latino group later today. Let's listen to what he said about Spanish language earlier today, and then I'm going to get your thoughts on the other side.


OBAMA: Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English -- they'll learn English -- you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual?


PHILLIPS: Well, Obama's angling for an edge with those Hispanic voters.

BORGER: You think?

PHILLIPS: Yes. A little obvious, yes.

BORGER: Yes, obvious. A big issue on the Republican side, particularly among conservatives, is English first, that everybody in this country ought to speak English first.

And what he is saying is, you know, just make sure that your children are literate. And then eventually everybody will get to speak English.

Obama believes that he can really win these Hispanic voters. And don't forget, he was losing these voters to Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

He's ahead of John McCain with these voters; by some polls, a 40- point margin. But he really believes he can make inroads with them.

And McCain, you know, also can be competitive because, don't forget, he's from Arizona and he has been for immigration reform. So you could really have a fight here over these important voters.

PHILLIPS: Gloria Borger, good to see you.

BORGER: Good to see you.

PHILLIPS: Well, check out our Political Ticker for all the latest campaign news. Just log on to, your source for all things political.

LEMON: An American soldier was killed today in a roadside bombing near Baghdad. The first U.S. combat death in the war this month. Five U.S. soldiers were wounded.

The military also says that a roadside bomb killed four contractors and injured eight others near the northern city of Mosul. They didn't say whether the contractors were foreigners or Iraqis.

Iraq's national security adviser today insisting on a timetable for troop withdrawal before accepting any security deal with the U.S. Now, his comments are the strongest yet on this controversial issue.

President Bush says he's opposed to a timetable, that any withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground. Well, some type of deal is needed, because a U.N. mandate keeping them there expires at the end of the year.

U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan are getting more air power support. The U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln has moved from the Persian Gulf into the Gulf of Oman.

Now, its planes now can fly missions over Afghanistan where Taliban attacks have been on the rise. The move also reflects the fact that violence is down in Iraq.

PHILLIPS: More California homeowners pack up and leave as wildfires spread their destruction. We're going to have the latest on the hundreds of fires that are still burning there.

LEMON: And local police officers across the U.S. can quickly identify potential terrorists with some high-tech help. But they're not always taking advantage of it. We'll find out why.

PHILLIPS: And we'll meet China's Olympic super cop. He can greet tourists in more than a dozen languages.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.



PHILLIPS: Well, earthquakes are rocking opposite ends of the globe. A strong quake with a magnitude of 6 hit off the coast of Japan's southern island of Okinawa. It happened more than 1,000 miles from where the G8 summit is taking place. No reports of injuries or damage.

And today's other quake, also with a magnitude of 6, struck southern Peru. The building collapsed and rocks fell into some roads, disrupting traffic, but no reports of injuries.

And a horrific and deadly crash, could it have been prevented? Federal investigators say yes.

LEMON: All right. Take a look at this couple. They desperately need your help.

Dave needs a new kidney and his wife is making an amazing offer to anyone, anyone who will help. We'll talk with both of them straight ahead, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.



PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone, I'm Kyra Phillips, live in New York.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon, live here in the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Time now to tell you about some of the stories we're working for you today, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Hundreds of people are fleeing in a northern California town. They're fleeing it as winds blow a wildfire closer to their homes. It's one of more than 300 active fires the state is dealing with.

The sky high cost of fuel costing hundreds more airline jobs. United, Frontier and AirTran are all announcing new layoffs. Customer service reps, ramp workers, flight attendants and pilots, all affected.

The funeral for a conservative icon going on this hour in North Carolina. Five term Sneator Jesse Helms, is being laid to rest in Raleigh. Vice president Cheney is among the mourners.

PHILLIPS: Well, the FDA issues the most urgent warning against the common class of antibiotics. Included are the drugs Cipro and Floxin, which are often used to treat bacterial infections.

Medical correspondent Judy Fortin is here with details on why the government is making the move. Making a lot of us nervous because I mean, Sipro is something we take when we go overseas, Judy.


The FDA says just a short time ago, they won't tell us how many people may be affected by this order. But here's what's happening. The FDA is ordering drug manufacturers to add the government's strongest warning, a black box label, to a potent class of antibiotics. Saying they increase the risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture.

Now, we're talking about drugs that are used to treat bacterial infections. They're called floroquinolone antimicrobial medications. We're going to show you the full list on the screen. But it includes: Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin and generic ofloxacin. The FDA says tendon ruptures occur three to four times more often in patients taking these types of drugs, than those who don't.

The FDA reports the most common injuries occur in the achilles tendon. And in some cases, both achilles tendons are affected. There's that list I talked about right now. Others tendons at higher risk include those in the biceps, the shoulders, the fingers and the thumbs. Now, Kyra, it's important to point out that tendon problems have been listed as a side effect of taking these types of drugs since 1992. Now the FDA is imposing an urgent warning -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, does the FDA know why this is happening?

FORTIN: Well, experts really don't know for certain. But they have some hypotheses, including that the drugs may have a direct toxic effect on the body.

And based on animal studies, the drugs may interfere with tissues in the joints. The FDA also said just a short while ago, that the risk of developing drug-associated tendonitis and tendon rupture is increased in people older than 60. In those taking corticose steroid drugs and in kidney, heart and lung transplant recipients -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, what should you do if you're taking one of these drugs and you think that something might be wrong?

FORTIN: Well -- and here's the important information.

The FDA is telling patients experiencing any pain, swelling and inflammation of a tendon. Or if they have a tendon rupture to stop taking the medication immediately and talk to their doctor about switching to another drug. And patients should also avoid exercise and using the affected area at the first sign of tendon pain, swelling or inflammation.

So, some important information and hopefully people will pay attention.

PHILLIPS: Judy Fortin, thanks so much.

FORTIN: You're welcome.

LEMON: All right, back now on the issue number one beat. We've been telling you about the next round of layoffs that will hit airline employees. So how will they hit you, the traveler? You really need to pay attention to this. We're going to tell you how it's going to affect you.

Now let's get insight now, from Rick Seaney, he's the CEO of It's Seaney right? I said it correct?


LEMON: All right, I just want to make sure. OK, The cost of fuel is going up. And obviously the airlines are going to add that, right into the cost of your ticket.

But really, what should consumers be concerned about? How are they going to feel it? The cost of the tickets going up. They're going to add new fees for carrying on bags or for even bags you check. In other ways, how will it affect people and their families?

SEANEY: Well basically, it's just going to become harder to afford air travel. We've seen a big downturn across the country to resort places like Orlando. Airlines are going to be cutting back some of those routes in the fall. And the bottom line is for a family of four, prices are not only going to be higher, but you have to worry about those first checked bag fees and a variety of other fees. And even redeeming your award tickets now have fees. So, it's just more expensive to fly. And it's basically all related to fuel costs.

LEMON: Yes, and you know what, Rick? I mean, some people will say, flying really it's kind of an elite thing. People who don't have a whole lot of money, don't fly. They have to drive. But it's all the more important now that gas prices are so high. Because you can't afford to fly, you can't afford to drive.

Tell us about some of the hidden headlines we're not hearing about.

SEANEY: Well, just today, Southwest Airlines has a pact now with WestJet, a Canadian airline. So now we should see prices to Canada actually going down a little bit over the next year.

LEMON: Really?

SEANEY: Yes. So, that should be good.

You know, the bottom line for consumers is, is that we're going to have about what we saw in 1998, a decade's worth of loss in the growth of air travel. A lot less seats out there, harder to find those flights on things like holidays. So you need to start looking right now for those holiday travel. And you can find deals out there. There will still be deals, but you're going to have to change your behavior. If you procrastinate on buying tickets, you're going to get stung in the end. We've had 21 airfare attempted increases this year. We're likely to see a lot more.

LEMON: I've got to ask you this. Is this going to become an economy, I don't know, or an atmosphere where people can't afford to fly anymore? Only wealthy or the upper middle class will be able to afford to fly, at least leisurely?

SEANEY: Right. I think if we see oil prices stay up $140 to $180 for a couple of years, that's definitely a possibility. I think what will happen if that does occur, is a lot of these resort destinations like Florida, Las Vegas, will actually start to subsidize airline travel. So I don't think it'll completely go away. I'm pretty optimistic that we'll solve the fuel issue in the next year and a half. I'm just not very optimistic in the short term.

LEMON: OK, I got one last question for you.


LEMON: And if you can do it really quickly for me.

Because I was reading, doing some research and found out one Flint, Michigan and a couple of other smaller airports, they're losing those routes. Because everybody is not going to a big city. Some people are going to smaller places to visit their family and friends. And those routes are going to be taken away because the airline industry isn't doing so well.

SEANEY: Yes, there's a lot of cities that are either going to be completely gone with no air travel at all, or they may have only a couple of flights a week. People that are holding tickets right now, there are going to be flights that are going to be canceled this fall. So, be aware of that. Check your -- make sure your flights are still there, that they're not going to be canceled and have a backup plan.

LEMON: Great advice. Rick Seaney, the CEO of Have a great day and happy flying to you.

SEANEY: You too, thank you.

LEMON: The economy, of course, is issue number one. And we'll bring you all the latest financial news weekdays at noon Eastern. It's information you need to know on the mortgage meltdown, the credit crunch and more. "ISSUE #1" noon Eastern, right here on CNN.

PHILLIPS: He had a pretty nasty headache after a couple of trips to the hospital. He found out why.


CHRIS CLEAR, HAD METAL PIN IN BRAIN: The blunt part of the pin actually hit me first and it hit me right next to the nose and came back and traveled all the way to the back of my head. And it ended up back here. It stopped by hitting the back of my skull.


PHILLIPS: We'll tell you what caused the accident straight ahead, in the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Well, don't look now, but oil prices are down, way down. Off about $9 over the last two days. Is it time to cancel those plans to buy a hybrid? I don't know.'s Poppy Harlow has our "Energy Fix" from New York.

Hey, Poppy.


Yes, oil prices way down this week. But let's keep this all in perspective. The price of oil is still around $136 a barrel. But over the last two days, we have a stronger U.S. dollar helping these prices, and a little bit fewer concerns about worldwide demand on the supply side there. Unfortunately, a lot of analysts believe that this downward trend is really just a blip on the radar.

Gas prices today holding steady for the first time in 10 days. We're at $4.11 a gallon. But a new government report says gas prices are likely to stay above $4 a gallon through next year. So at those prices, demand for hybrids is expected to remain strong.

In fact, battery supply problems, believe it or not, are making it pretty difficult to get hybrids like the Toyota Prius. So we called up a dealership, a Toyota dealership, in New Jersey to find out just how hard it is. Here's what they said, if you put down $500, in terms of a deposit, today, it's going to take about nine months to a year for you to get your new Prius. Dealers also, get this, they guarantee you're only going to get one of your top three color choices.

So, they're basically saying you're lucky if you get one at all, I guess.

PHILLIPS: Wait a minute, it's all about the color? I thought it was all about how much money we could save.

HARLOW: That's what I said here. I said, does that even matter? I guess people are very picky about their color. But they're lucky to just get one at this point.

PHILLIPS: Yes, and then comes the interior and all that.

OK, it sounds like a difficult energy fix to get, so what should folks do?

HARLOW: No, it is difficult. And what people should think about right now is whether or not they actually should be considering a hybrid at all. -- that Web site has been studying the true cost of owning a hybrid vehicle and regular vehicle, such as gas, maintenance, all those other costs combined. And what it found out was that hybrids were not even in the top 10 cheapest cars to own, even with gas at these levels. And only one, the Honda Civic Hybrid, would crack the top 10 list if gas hits $5 a gallon.

The top three most affordable vehicles right now: the Chevy Aveo, the Hyundai Accent, and the Honda Fit. Of course keep in mind, if your concern is greenhouse gas emissions, not just price, the equation will change for you. And, Kyra, if you're one of those people out there that really needs a larger vehicle, you have a big family, you may want to opt for a minivan instead of an SUV. You get a lot more space for the gas mileage on those - Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. But not as hip, sometimes. You totally look like one of those soccer moms cruising down the street, right?


PHILLIPS: All right, Poppy. Thanks.

You can follow your fortunes at We've all got the day's market, news, and numbers, expert analysis, and much more.

LEMON: Well, sharks hardly seem like the kinds of creatures that need our protection. But the number of these fierce ocean predators has been dwindling, and scientists can explain why.

John Zarrella has the story today, in today's "Planet in Peril" segment.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are what's called apex predators, the top of the food chain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait, we've got something. Maybe the ground, but there's something. Oh, it's a shark.

ZARRELLA: But sharks aren't doing well these days. For 20 years, boat captain John Milchman...

JOHN MILCHMAN, FISHING GUIDE: Keep this line cleared in case he runs.

ZARRELLA: ... has watched them nearly disappear.

MILCHMAN: It used to be where you couldn't hang a bait over the side of the boat without the sharks eating it right off the side of your boat even. And now sometimes you go hours without seeing one.

ZARRELLA: Milchman is working with researchers and university students from the South Florida Student Shark Program trying to learn what's happening to the sharks and what their decline tells us about the ocean. To do that, they have to catch them.

MILCHMAN: Let them in.


ZARRELLA: The seven-and-a-half foot lemon shark is pulled to the back of the boat, then it spins, turns, and barely misses. The shark is not done fighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch, he's going to try to bite the boat now (INAUDIBLE).

ZARRELLA: The students work quickly securing the shark. They measure and tag it, a biopsy is taken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got the mercury biopsy.

ZARRELLA: The students have laid out 10 lines.

(on camera): One of the key goals of this project is establishing a shark baseline. Because researchers can't determine whether shark populations are decreasing, or how fast, if they don't know how many there are to begin with.

(voice-over): The numbers they catch, the time of the year they're caught, will help answer the question. One trend they're already seeing.

NEIL HAMMERSCHLAG, CO-DIR., SO. FLORIDA STUDENT SHARK PROG.: Those species, the big ones, are declining and --- their food, their prey. The smaller sharks, meanwhile, are starting to increase in numbers.

ZARRELLA: Researchers say as the big sharks vanish, the ocean's food chain is thrown out of whack and that trickles down to nearly all the undersea plants and animals. Why are the big sharks numbers decreasing? The researchers say overfishing, pollution, and habitat- loss are the primary culprits.

On this trip two more sharks are caught. One of them a seven- and-a-half foot bull shark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, that's a big shark. OK, awesome. Bull shark. That's amazing. This is what we're out here today to find.

ZARRELLA: All the sharks are tagged then released, and now, possibly, providing clues to their own survival.

John Zarrella, CNN, on Florida Bay.


PHILLIPS: So have you ever had a child who balks about going to Sunday School. Well here's a church any kid would love.



How are you?


LEMON: A Beijing cop who loves to talk, in 13 different languages. Find out why he's likely to be a big hit at the summer Olympic games in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: All right. Who says a preacher can't be a kid at heart? Remember the old children's rhyme, here's the church, there's the steeple, look inside see all the people? Well this replica of the historic Emanuel Lutheran Church in Brandon, Wisconsin was a labor of love for the Reverend Stuart Dornfeld. He says it can seat 150 people on a good Sunday. Dornfeld has been at real church for about three years. He says building the model helped him escape some of the pressures of his pulpit.


PHILLIPS: A freak mishap involving a metal pin from a rotor tiller leaves a Colorado teen with quite a survival tale.

Nicole Vandeputte with CNN affiliate KOAA explains.


NICOLE VANDEPUTTE, KOAA REPORTER (voice-over): Chris Clear's unbelievable story starts in April.

DAWN CLEAR, SON HAD METAL PIN IN BRAIN: It's changed his life because of what happened to him.

VANDEPUTTE: As a volunteer firefighter in Penrose, his free time was spent saving lives, until the accident. He was helping a friend move a rotor tiller when something snapped.

C. CLEAR: At first it just felt like a rock hit me in the face. It didn't feel like anything actually went into my head. It just -- like a rock hit me.

D. CLEAR: He said, do you think that you know, that it's bad? And I said, yes, it looks bad. I said, I think your nose is broke.

VANDEPUTTE: Chris went to St. Thomas Moore Hospital in Canyon City. He says he had unbearable pain in his neck so that's where the first X-ray focused.

D. CLEAR: They just sent him home, said it was a cervical sprain.

VANDEPUTTE: But the pain got worse.

C. CLEAR: It hurt bad to turn my head either direction or leaning back or leaning forward. If I like, looked down it hurt real bad. Or if I leaned back real far, it made the pain worse.

D. CLEAR: If he went forward then the pin would come forward. If he lay down, then the pin would sink back down.

VANDEPUTTE: That's right. A large metal spike from the rotor tiller was lodged in his brain. It was that, not a rock, that hit him.

C. CLEAR: The blunt part of the pin actually hit me first. And it hit me right next to the nose and it came back and traveled all the way to the back of my head. And it ended up back here. It stopped by hitting the back of my skull.

VANDEPUTTE: Twenty-four hours after the spike pierced his brain, another X-ray and a second trip to the hospital finally found it.

D. CLEAR: He said, you need to sit down. And he said, Chris has a metal pin in his brain. My knees buckled and I just hit the floor.

VANDEPUTTE: An ambulance rushed Chris and his mom Dawn, to a Denver hospital.

D. CLEAR: Death was the number one, which that we knew going into it. That he would not come out of the surgery. And then of course, the ones after that, paralysis, mobility, speech.

VANDEPUTTE: Luckily, that pin just missed several major arteries. And after nine hours of surgery -- D. CLEAR: It was like we were in a movie. That double door opened up and there the doctor was holding this pin, you know, like this.

VANDEPUTTE: Two months later, Chris is working again as a volunteer and training to be an EMT.

D. CLEAR: That's the second miracle.

VANDEPUTTE: He says he feels fine. There's not even a scar. Just the pin.


PHILLIPS: Wow. Well Clear says that there is one lasting side effect. He used to have a sweet tooth. Now, because of where the pin hit, well, not so much anymore.

LEMON: All right. The Obama children -- don't see much of them, right? Well, not anymore. The media gets an unprecedented access to the Obama family. Access -- that is the keyword here, "Access Hollywood." How Hollywood is playing a new key role in the run for the White House. We're going to talk to Stella Foster, a "Chicago Sun-Times" columnist about this.

Is it the right venue? In the NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Let's talk now about the Beijing Olympics.

Only one month to go before the opening ceremonies of the summer games. Will this huge, crowded city be ready? Well it's already won the race on venues. All 37 are ready and have been for months. But it's still losing the battle for clean air. Officials are tackling the problem by banning cars from venue areas and shutting at least -- at least some factories until the games are over.

PHILLIPS: Even before the opening of the Olympics next month, visitors are encountering one unusual cop. For one thing, he's very friendly, even smiles. For another, he speaks their language.

CNN's Emily Chang reports.


EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officer Liu Wenli patrols the highest pavilion (ph) in Beihai Park, where there's a spectacular view of the Forbidden City and even better hospitality.


How are you?

CHANG: Officer Liu can greet tourists in 13 different languages.



WENLI: French, for example, very difficult pronunciation.

CHANG: English is his favorite.

WENLI: (INAUDIBLE) ... NBA. Michael Jordan is great.

I feel American people are very (INAUDIBLE) to get along. They have a big personality. They are really open-minded.


CHANG: It's a fitting welcome for foreigners, in perfect time for the Olympics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't had quite that degree of friendliness before.




CHANG: Officer Liu has become a bit of a celebrity in China. He says he's never taken an English class, but taught himself by watching movies.

(on camera): I hear you like to watch movies?

WENLI: Yes. My favorite actor is Sean Connery. The movie I like best is "Saving Private Ryan," and "The Rock."

CHANG: And what?

WENLI: "The Rock."

CHANG (voice-over): There are times when you can't quite understand him, but he is almost always entertaining, especially his New York accent.

WENLI: Hey, what do you want? Forget about it? Do you understand? What's up, man? (INAUDIBLE). Yes.

CHANG: Emily Chang, CNN, Beijing.


PHILLIPS: No red carpet, no paparazzi, but that's not stopping the Obama family from going Hollywood.

LEMON: Plus, what would you give to save your spouse's life? This woman is willing to give her kidney, or rather trade it.

PHILLIPS: And it's the last thing Californians need, another fire. But they're getting it and they're getting out.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live in New York.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.