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Russian/Georgian Crisis; U.S. Tourists Attacked in Beijing; Mississippi Bus Crash
Aired August 10, 2008 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Exclusive pictures right now. U.S. citizens being evacuated from the Georgian capital of Tblisi.
Anthrax, Ebola and worse: Are the nation's biolabs holding these kinds of germs secure? Ebola. We will talk to two men who have investigated the system.
And another fatal tour bus crash on the nation's roadways. This one in Mississippi.
Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. This breaking story out of Tennessee. We want to report to you sadly, singer, entertainer and pop culture icon Isaac Hayes has died at the age of 65. His body was found in his Memphis home today. Hayes won an Oscar for the 1971 theme music for the movie "Shaft." Most recently he gained new fans for his portrayal of the character Chef on the animated series "South Park." Again, Isaac Hayes dead at the age of 65 there in Tennessee.
We want to get the latest now exactly on what may have happened there in Memphis, Tennessee, from Steve Schuler. He's the public information officer at Shelby County. Apparently, we lost our transmission with him. We will try to get back with him. We understand from some preliminary facts that some family members, including his wife, had gone out to the grocery store for about an hour. When they came back, I think Hayes' body was found near a treadmill. The treadmill was on there at the home. And then, of course, they called 911 right away. Of course, when we get any more information from investigators there, those who responded, emergency responders to the scene, will be able to give you a few more details.
But again, sad news now are coming out of Memphis, Tennessee. Which is where Isaac Hayes has been living for quite some time now. Even kind of involving himself in another offshoot of his career, for a long time he was a deejay at a radio station there, music station there in Memphis, Tennessee. But sadly, information that is now spreading like wildfire, from Memphis, Tennessee and beyond, Isaac Hayes dead at the age of 65.
Meantime, news, I want to update you on overseas, Russia flexing its military might against a close American ally today. As Georgia insists that it is doing all the right things to restore calm in two separatist regions friendly to Moscow. Georgian leaders have called a cease-fire and say they have withdrawn troops from a key city but Russia says that Georgia military is just regrouping. So against a growing international outcry, Russia is mounting new air attacks against some Georgian cities. The Russians now also claiming they have sunk a Georgian warship.
The United Nations reports 20,000 people have already fled in the fighting. A lot of details and a lot of conflicting reports coming out of this region. Meantime, a U.S. official said the military has accepted a request from Georgia and has begun flying Georgian troops home from Iraq. Meantime, Georgia's president tells our Wolf Blitzer earlier today that he needs America's help on a bigger scale to resolve this crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, GEORGIA: I think the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world. I think the U.S. has lots of leverage, and I think there are lots of diplomatic means that it could be done through. Basically I think this is not about Georgia anymore. This is about basic values of humanity, of American values that we always ourselves believed in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: World leaders a keeping a close eye on the escalating crisis in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Many are attending Beijing, attending the Olympic games there, including President Bush. Well, today he called on French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was not on the games, by the way. He is at the European Union, however, to hold talks with both Russia and Georgia. And he had a message for Moscow as well. Here now is CNN's John Vause.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): The United States has again called on Russia to end what it calls a disproportionate military response in Georgia for the senior White House official on Sunday warning that should this violence continue, it will have a significant longterm impact on U.S-Russian relations. U.S. President George Bush, who is in Beijing for the Olympics, had earlier called on both sides to stop the fighting.
But according to Georgian officials, the violence has only escalated, accusing the Russians of launching an air strike not far from the Georgian capital. White House spokesperson Dana Perino speaking to reporters in Beijing, said it was time for the Russians to stand down.
DANA PERISNO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are 100 percent focused on solving this peacefully. President Bush does think that the Russian response is disproportionate. We are very concerned about the innocent people, especially inside Georgia. We respect Georgia's territorial integrity and we expect Russia to do the same.
VAUSE (voice-over): White House aides say President Bush is being continually briefed on the crisis in Georgia. On Sunday though he met with China's President Hu Jintao. But again earlier, President Bush said that regional peace is now under threat, especially as the violence continues to escalate, way beyond the original conflict zone. The White House said they will now be a key test for the Russians with Georgian troops starting to withdraw and also a call for a cease-fire from the Georgian government. John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
WHITFIELD: We may soon know the long-term plan for U.S. troops in Iraq. Iraq's foreign minister said there has been some progress in negotiations with the U.S. officials. In fact, he says the two sides are very close to a deal in a longterm security plan. One stipulation, the Iraqis are demanding however a clear time line for withdrawal of U.S.-led forces. That would be a big departure from President Bush's stance at the very start of the war in 2003.
An American soldier and four Iraqi civilians had been killed in a suicide bombing. The bomber struck as U.S. and Iraqi forces responded to a roadside blast in Tarmiya, about 30 miles north of Baghdad. Twenty-four people were wounded, including two U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter.
Tributes are pouring in this weekend as friends and fans remember Bernie Mac. The actor/comedian died yesterday from complications of pneumonia. Well, Don Lemon looks at Mac's rags-to-riches career.
BERNIE MAC, ACTOR: You know, the title --
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bernie Mac had a dirty mouth. But, boy, was he funny.
MAC: I just want to have fun.
LEMON: Funny enough to make him a superstar and a box office hit. Good friend and fellow comedian Steve Harvey was in town attending a parade when Mac died at a Chicago hospital not far away.
STEVE HARVEY, COMEDIAN, FRIEND: I mean, it really, really knocks you down a little bit. But you know, my heart really goes out to his wife of over 25 years, his kids, you know. Bernie was a great family guy, man. Great, great family. Great father, you know. My heart goes out to those people.
LEMON: His wife Rhonda tells me they were high school sweethearts and married a few years later. His sense of humor charmed me, she says. We did not have a thing. He told me, "girl, you better get on board this train because I'm going to be rich one day." I said OK.
Before Hollywood came calling, there was the south side of Chicago where Bernie Mac honed his comedic skills in comedy clubs like this one, right in his own neighborhood. It was a true rags-to-rich story. His wife tells me Mac not only worked the local comedy chitland circuit, as she called it, but to make ends meet he would do stand-up on subway trains and would take odd jobs anywhere he do.
In 1990, his big break, Mac won the Miller Lite comedy classic. A $3,000 prize. "As a family, we jumped for joy when he won. We put most of it in the bank and we had a small party. Mac hit the road hard as an opening act, then a feature performer. The movie roles came. So did a hit TV show. Mac came down with pneumonia, brought on by a disease he was diagnosed with in 1984, sarcoidosis.
Deedee Davis plays his daughter on the show.
DEEDEE DAVIS, CO-STAR: I remember we had to do scenes without him because he was sick. I didn't know what he was sick with, but I guess it came back and it got worse.
LEMON: Was this towards the end of the show or?
DAVIS: This was towards like the end.
LEMON: He recovered and the disease went into remission until this summer when he developed pneumonia again. His wife said he went to the hospital three weeks ago Thursday. He had trouble breathing. He had a fever. His back was hurting. Doctors induced him into a coma. They expected him to recover. But on Friday close to midnight. He opened his eyes and Rhonda said, I know you're tired but don't leave me. He shrugs his shoulders, closed his eyes. And his blood pressure dropped low. He went into cardiac arrest. They revived him once for about an hour. They tried reviving him again and then, she said, he was gone. Don Lemon, CNN, Chicago.
WHITFIELD: Well, Bernie Mac's friends and cast mates were shocked by his sudden passing. From "Ocean's" co-star George Clooney. He said "the world just get a little less funny. He will be dearly missed." And comedian Chris Rock says he appreciated Mac's friendship even more than his humor, saying "Bernie was one of the greatest friends a person could have. Losing him is like losing 12 people because he absolutely filled up any room he was in. I'm gonna miss the Mac Man."
Comedian Bernie Mac was 50 years old. He is survived by his wife, his daughter, and grandchild.
A casino tour bus has overturned in Tunica, Mississippi. Two people were killed in the crash and dozens injured. The bus had just left a Harrah's casino and was headed to the airport. The accident comes two days after a charter bus carrying a church group overturned in Texas killing 17 people.
Maryland police are trying to figure out what caused a deadly crash on the Bay Bridge this morning. The driver of this tractor trailer was killed after he careened off the bridge, into the water, two other people were hurt in the three vehicle accident. The Bay Bridge connects the Baltimore, Washington area with Maryland's eastern shore. It is more than four miles long and 185 feet high in some places.
And take a look at this. Severe storms in the northeast. Are you going to be affected?
WHITFIELD: More now on a breaking story, a sad story to report to you. We are now just learning 65-year-old Isaac Hayes, singer, composer, as well as a songwriter. His body was found in his Memphis home today by his family members. He was 65 years old. Steve Shular, who is the Shelby County public information officer, is with us now on the phone. Mr. Shular, tell us a little bit more about how these circumstances came to be. We understand from initial reports that family members found Mr. Isaac Hayes in his home near a treadmill. What more can you tell us?
VOICE OF STEVE SHULAR, SHELBY COUNTY SPOKESPERSON: Yes, ma'am. That happened this afternoon about 1:00. Shelby county sheriff's deputies received a 911 call about 1:00 central time from family members. They had gone out to about noon today to a grocery store and came back and unfortunately found him unresponsive in the bedroom.
WHITFIELD: So the initial suspicion is perhaps a heart attack. What medically are you able to share with us based on emergency responders who did arrive?
SHULAR: Well, one of our deputies arrived shortly after the scene. Once she got on the scene and gave CPR to Mr. Hayes and two other paramedics and spokesman, the Shelby County Fire Department also arrived. Family members believe at this point it is a medical condition that might have led to his death.
WHITFIELD: Did you know anything or have you learned anything since the discovery of Mr. Hayes' body about any prior medical conditions? Did the family reveal anything about his health in recent days?
SHULAR: Well, in talking to the family, they did indicate he was being treated for a number of medical issues. I'm sure the folks at the hospital will have more information about that as the afternoon goes on.
WHITFIELD: All right, Steve Shular of the Shelby County Public Information office right there in Memphis, Tennessee. Thanks so much for your time.
A sad news to report there out of Memphis, Tennessee. 65-year-old Isaac Hayes, known for so many talent as a songwriter and composer. He, of course, is the talent that made the song "Shaft" from the movie "Shaft" so famous, becoming really the first Academy award recipient by a black American in the nonacting category, with the writing and composition of that song.
Isaac Hayes, also as of recent becoming very well known for his role in "South Park." That strip right there, comedic cartoon strip, adult comedy, if you will, playing the Chef. Again, this sad news coming out of Memphis, Tennessee, which has been his longtime home. 65-year- old Isaac Hayes, now dead.
We are going to continue to follow the developments there. Certainly a very sad day.
Our Jacqui Jeras is in the weather center. Jacqui, who didn't know Isaac Hayes' music and love his sound?
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know, everybody I know sure did. A lot of "South Park" fans out there, too, for the younger generation, maybe that didn't know him.
We've got some stormy weather to talk about today, Fred. Real nasty at times here across the northeastern corridor. We've got some fresh video that just came in from Allentown, Pennsylvania that we want to show you because it is indicative of what these storms had been doing, putting down some really heavy winds and also a lot of hail. Penny to golf-ball size hail today covering the ground in some areas. There you can see it there.
Looking a little more like winter than the summertime. These storms have been severe across parts of Pennsylvania and throughout much of New England as well. And the severe weather threat continues at this time. Let's go ahead show you where the watches are in effect at this hour, really extending from Maryland on up into parts of New Hampshire and also Vermont. Hail and wind really the primary concerns. We are not really looking for much of rotation. But look at this whole line across Pennsylvania and through upstate New York. All of those orange boxes that you see, those are severe thunderstorm warnings.
So many of these storms are producing severe weather. Mostly hail and a lot of lightning as well. Not a good day to go outside. You need the umbrella in New York City, too. If you're trying to travel out here, pretty much not doing it at this hour. Ground stop in most areas you are not able to take off to arrive at these airports. So tough getting into Logan right now, also New York City, JFK, La Guardia, both had trouble. There you can see a ground stop at Philadelphia, Teterboro as well and now Washington-Dulles getting into the action as those thunderstorms just moving in from the west.
We also had a bit of flooding, flood watches in effects for parts of New York state and New Hampshire and into Maine. And also some flooding across parts of Arkansas, extending down into Mississippi. A stationary front here that just doesn't want to budge and could put down another two to three inches of rain. So nasty stuff going on, mostly in the east today, Fredricka. Temperatures have cooled down across much of the nation. So a lot of folks are actually dealing with a pretty nice weekend.
WHITFIELD: Oh, that's good to hear. All right. Thank you so much, Jacqui.
Well, flames light up the night after a series of explosions in Canada. Pretty shocking news. We will bring you the very latest and the world is so excited about the Beijing Olympic games including this man. It's all in the family.
WHITFIELD: U.S. and Russian diplomats clashed today in the U.N. security council over the Russia-Georgia crisis. The eruption of angry words almost reminiscent of cold war days. CNN's Richard Roth is live from the U.N. with more on that. Richard.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, usually on a summer Sunday in August, ambassadors are at golf courses or swimming pools. But this was acid hot inside the security council chamber. Four urgent session called regarding the fighting in Georgia and the U.S. and Russia sparred and went at it. The United States ambassador Khalilzad saying to the Russian ambassador that Secretary of State Rice got a phone call from the Russian foreign secretary Labrov, who said that Russia wants the President of Georgia out and the U.S. delegate challenged the Russian ambassador over that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: I am sorry to take the floor again but I want to restate my question again to Ambassador Churkin. He did not respond to that question. Is the goal of the Russian Federation to change the leadership of Georgia?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: The Russian ambassador at first waved away any prospect of a response, letting the Georgian ambassador comment. But when it came back to him, this is what the Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURCKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): I suggest that I give a complete response. Maybe the ambassador wasn't listening. Maybe he wasn't listening when I gave my response. Maybe he didn't have his ear piece on. I suggest that I gave a full response to that question. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: Later before journalists, the Russian ambassador said that some democratic leaders or semi-democratically elected leaders outlived their usefulness to their own people. Clearly stating Russia's objections to the leader of Georgia and the U.S. ambassador said later the Russians are overreaching and it definitely felt like 1962 here. Of course, the furniture still looks like 1962. Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: OK. Richard, appreciate that. And something tells me that we're just at the tip of the iceberg in all of this anyway. It is a real mess. Thank you so much, Richard Roth at the U.N..
All right. To Toronto, Canada now. A neighborhood of 12,000 people remains empty after a series of explosions there and massive fire at a propane company. People living within a one-mile radius were evacuated overnight. Witnesses say their houses shook like they were in an earthquake or something. Others report seeing a massive fire ball. Firefighters spent most of the day battling those blazes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIV. CMDR. BOB O'HALLARN, TORONTO FIRE DEPT.: There were reports of more than one explosion. And I know when I was on the street on Murray, I did see shrapnels, large fairly heavy pieces of metal that took to me like they are from tanker parts. So, I don't know how many exploded but there are definitely tankers there that have parts blown out of them that some of the people on the scene have reported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And late today, police confirmed that one firefighter was taken to the hospital without vital signs.
Well, security has been tightened even further in a remote western portion of China after violence overnight. Police say attackers targeted a shopping center, hotel and government building with homemade bombs. A security guard was killed and at least seven suspects died in clashes with police. The region is home to Muslim separatists who have vowed to disrupt the Olympic Games. A similar attack last week killed 16 police officers.
Well, not too far away, entire villages had been cut off by devastating floods in another Vietnam. At least 93 are dead with dozens more still missing. Vietnamese troops were deployed to help with the rescue efforts. A tropical storm has been soaking the region for several days now.
And here in this country, Ben Curtis has the lead, heading into the final round of the PGA championship. The 2003 British Open champ padded his position with a birdie on the first hole and that gave him a three-shot advantage on his closest rival, the world's number one, Tiger Woods. Well, he's still missing. He has been in rehab from knee surgery.
All right. Straight ahead, we're going to update you on all things Olympics.
WHITFIELD: Happening right now. Plumes of smoke hanging over the Georgia capital, Tablisi, this afternoon as another round of Russian air strikes takes place. The U.S. is warning Moscow further hostilities could threaten American-Russian relations.
And China ramps up security after the stabbing of two American tourists, Todd Bachman, father-in-law of Olympic volleyball coach Hugh McKuchen, died in the attack. His wife, Elizabeth is hospitalized and is in critical condition. The attacker leapt to his death afterward.
America's Olympic swimmers getting a standing o from the president and first lady, Laura Bush. They watched swimmer Michael Phelps capture gold in the 400-meter individual medley. Phelps also beat his own world record in that event. He made Ryan Lochte, well he grabbed the bronze. After the race, the president told Phelps it was a thrill to watch him swim. Phelps, he thought it was so cool that he gave Mr. Bush an Olympic swimming jacket and a close-up look at his medal.
Olympic athletes all fighting tooth and nail to come home with the medals right around their necks. So who is beating who so far? You know about Michael Phelps. What about the others? CNN's Larry Smith has the highlight starting with the U.S. basketball team.
LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four years ago in Athens, team USA came away with a disappointing bronze medal in basketball. Not what the Americans wanted with the team full of NBA players. The philosophy changed and now they are a team once again. That is if you look at game one as any indication here in Beijing. The Americans knocked off China 101-70 using a team effort to do so. Dwayne Wade never missed a shot as he scored 19 points. Lebron James added 18 for the Americans. Yao Ming had 13 for China in the losing effort.
Well, maybe politics should take the lead of the athletes at least in this case. On Sunday a Georgian and a Russian each had a gun in their hand but not pointed at each other. They were competing in the women's 10-meter air pistol competition. Russia's Natalia Paderina took silver. Nino Salukvadze took bronze and despite the conflict back home, the two embraced on the medal stand. China's fourth gold of the games. China has six goals and eight total medals in these games. Georgia and Russia by the way will face off Wednesday in beach volleyball.
Let's go to the pool. Michael Phelps has one golden hand with more to come. He shattered his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley. Now there is no quest for the 23 year old American and he has a quest for a record eight gold medals as he's back in the pool Monday morning Beijing time in the semifinals in 200-meter freestyle and in the men's 4 by 100 meter relay.
Well was a center figure in the biggest scandal in the 2004 games in Athens and because of that, the IOC has barred the Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou from these Olympics. Thanou and fellow Greek sprinter Tassos Gousis missed a drug test on the eve of the Athens game, creating a world wind speculation that ended with their withdrawal from the games. Now Thanou is saying that she possibly could decide to appeal this decision.
Larry Smith, CNN, Beijing.
WHITFIELD: Well today's best athletes aren't the only ones in Beijing for the Olympics. Among the millions descending on the Chinese capital, champions of yester year. I happen to know a handful them, one particularly well, that would be my dad, Matt Whitfield, five time Olympic medalist in the 1948. I was home in Washington recently and helped him pack because next week, we're off to Beijing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD (voice over): Hello. Let me reintroduce you to my dad, Mal Whitfield, 1948 to 1952 Olympic medalist, gold, silver, bronze. I first introduced you to marvelous Mal a few years back when London became the host of the 2012 games. Were you for it?
MAL WHITFIELD, 1948 & '52 OLYMPIAN: I was so excited that London had been chosen.
WHITFIELD: Now you and me off to Beijing.
M. WHITFIELD: I have not had a good night sleep. I will sleep on the train.
WHITFIELD: Clearly, we are both over the top thrilled as we pack our bags for China. One reason? M. WHITFIELD: What happens in the Olympic Games, it becomes a family? People meeting people from all over the world.
WHITFIELD: Together to celebrate and witness greatness. The other big reason for our excitement, you're looking at him.
M. WHITFIELD: For me going to Beijing will be the most exciting experience I've ever had in my life. Why? Because, first, I'm almost 84 years old and the time I have spent in sports since I was 8 years old. So I wanted to be an Olympian.
WHITFIELD: After so many years seeing other Olympians of his day. He doesn't know for sure who will be there, but hopes on Olympians like long jumper Herb Douglas, Harrison Dillard (ph). The only man to win gold at the 100-meter sprinter and hurdler. Gold medal diver Dr. Sammy Lee, still both a cut-up and pinup, despite recent back surgery.
SAMUEL LEE, 1946 & '52 OLYMPIAN: Mal and I both being from Los Angeles it's funny.
WHITFIELD: And still vividly reflective at age 88.
LEE: So-called experts who say that you're the wrong color, the wrong size. It inspires you to be tougher and get more dedicated.
WHITFIELD: Despite discrimination, segregation, the depression and military drafts during World War II and the Korean War, they stayed on course to make Olympic history. Dr. Lee winning two golds in the 10- meter platform in 1948 and 1952 and a bronze on springboard. In the same back-to-back games, dad collectively winning three golds, a silver and bronze.
M. WHITFIELD: I ran three events, 800 meters, 400 meters and 400 relays. But it was all worth it.
WHITFIELD: Dad's weakened knees keep this retired American diplomat in a wheelchair these days. It may not be easy but we hope to traverse China with the same vigor and pace of our recent visit to Washington's World War II memorial.
M. WHITFIELD: I feel very comfortable. I feel at home.
WHITFIELD: Being here conjures dad's memories of had, inventive, dark in night training as an Olympic hopeful in between flight missions and being an air force sergeant based in Japan.
M. WHITFIELD: There's no deviation of training.
WHITFIELD: A fighter then and a fighter now, who says the constant shooting pain in his joints is already feeling healing powers from the surprise-filled journey to Beijing. His only fear, old friends don't recognize him.
M. WHITFIELD: As ugly as I am, they will remember the face and the laugh.
WHITFIELD: Weeks after his final surgery --
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I'm recuperating and the goal of going to Beijing is stimulating me to get healed fast. .
WHITFIELD: And the prospect of these oxygenian (ph) Olympics meeting at the 29 Olympiad inspires me. Let the games and our adventure begin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And CNN you follow the summer Olympics on our website, CNN has teamed up with "Sports Illustrated" for the fan zone. All of the results from Beijing. The address is CNN.com/fanzone.
They are capable of producing some of the most deadly biological agents on the planet. How safe are the government's biotech labs? New questions being raised in the wake of the anthrax investigation.
WHITFIELD: This just into CNN. The Democratic National Convention has formally announced its headline primetime speakers. That will be Michelle Obama, she will be the headline speaker, Primetime Monday night and Hillary Clinton will be the headline speaker Tuesday night once the convention begins.
Meantime, this is quite the quandary. How secure are the labs and scientists who work with anthrax and other biological materials? That question being asked. The issue coming to the forefront after former army scientist Bruce Ivins committed suicide. Ivins was the Fed's chief suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Nelson Hernandez and Philip Rucker have been investigating all of this for "The Washington Post."
They found it to be rather interesting and very revealing because based on your all research and based on some of the interviews and sources that you use, your comparisons in your article is that security involving these 14,000 scientists who handled some of the world's deadliest germs is not as strict as that for national security jobs at the FBI and CIA. But once your sources told you that, did they explain why?
PHILIP RUCKER, "WASHINGTON POST:" Yeah. What we found is that there are a lot of guidelines stated by the federal agencies that oversee the security process but there are very few rules that are actually mandatory. So a lot of these labs are at private universities where the universities vary in the way that they screen people and the way they oversee people. The screening is done by ultimate agencies. It's spread across the Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control.
WHITFIELD: That is interesting. So a lot of these ads are taking place at university settings and not all of them are saying like military bases. The levels of security on a campus will be far different from a military installation. But given that we are talking about some of the deadliest diseases and germs in the world, do these particular labs, are they held to a certain standard, however, that perhaps widespread the university is not? NELSON HERNANDEZ, "WASHINGTON POST:" They are trying to improve the standard at the various institutions especially in the wake of the anthrax attacks. But one of the surprising things we found in the course of our reporting was that there was something of a culture clash they call it between scientists and security. And a lot of the folks who handle the security want to improve standards especially in the wake of the anthrax attacks but the scientists feel that holds them back in their reasoning.
WHITFIELD: That's interesting. Does that then explain why in the article you talk about how psychologists and even fellow scientists of Bruce Ivins had kind of conflicting views about what to do about what they thought, some thought to be peculiar behavior. He even admitted at a time or two that he had homicidal thoughts and that no one did anything more about that, namely, there were other scientists who thought that he seemed like a perfectly decent, normal kind of guy. Phillip, I will let you answer that.
RUCKER: That's definitely right. What we are finding is that in the security screening process, not only does your clearance last for five years, but there are also very few thing that's would prevent you from gaining that clearance. You either had to have been committed to mental health institution or be sort of a known terrorist or an agent of a foreign country. But there's a lot of grey area there that's not covered by the clearance regulations that are in law right now.
WHITFIELD: Nelson was it your discovery as I read this article that security is indeed very lax when you're talking about these bio labs? Or is the issue that federal authorities or anyone who is providing security for these bio labs wouldn't want to publicly reveal exactly what steps or security measures that are in place?
HERNANDEZ: I would see it's a mixture of both. One of the things that we found in the course of reporting the story is that there's been a traumatic expansion in the number of these labs since until 9/11. And there's been difficult keeping up security at that level. Another thing that we found, it's not that so much that the security measures are secret but they are difficult to enforce.
Ft. Detrick, for example, where Bruce Ivins was from, had something called the personnel reliability program. This program is largely dependent on people like Bruce Ivins reporting himself to his superior officer, commanding officer and saying there's something wrong. The other thing it counts on is co-workers turning you in if they see any sort of abnormal behavior. In this case, clearly, that didn't work.
WHITFIELD: I guess there's a silent code, right among many of the scientists who feel like they don't want to betray one another.
HERNANDEZ: That's absolutely right.
WHITFIELD: All right. Philip Rucker and Nelson Hernandez thanks so much. Some pretty in depth reporting that you all do for "The Washington Post" there. I can't imagine the FBI or CIA or some of the other national security agencies were that excited about your story, however. RUCKER: Thank you, Fredricka.
HERNANDEZ: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much.
Gorillas in the mystery and more on an unexpected discovery in Africa.
WHITFIELD: The discovery of thousands of endangered of gorillas in Africa delighted and even surprised scientists. How could so many of these primates exist without anyone knowing it? CNN's Rusty Dornin reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was a three-day trek through forbidden swamp and jungles into some of the most remote areas of Equatorial Africa. The discovery by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society in the northern Congo Republic stunned not only primatologists but the world. These are some of the photos taken on that trip. Researchers now estimate there are 125,000 lowland gorillas in this area, more than double the number thought to exist in all of Africa.
How did that many gorillas elude the experts? First, it's an area nearly the size of West Virginia 18,000 square miles. It is vast, it is unchartered, great areas of it are unchartered. It's almost as big as the Amazon. Second only to the Amazon. These gorillas are in a particularly swampy area. So it may be local people knew about these animals but visitors just don't go to those places.
Gorillas make nests before they sleep at night. Survey teams counted the number of nests. But the threats facing this endangered species are numerous. Wars and the Oweboebola (ph) Virus has wiped out thousands. Habitat destruction means that hunters can get much closer to the animals.
The logging companies come in. They build roads and as soon as they build roads, the trucks are coming in and out and the trucks go out with commercially hunted meat. This is what we call bush meat.
Despite this amazing discovery, experts say the future for gorillas is still at best, uncertain. Although there may be a lot more isolated pockets of the prime mate in central Africa. Primatologists hope this discovery may mobilize more researchers to go out and find them.
Rusty Dornin, CNN, Atlanta.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: If you would like to help protect these gorillas in their natural habitat visit our Impact Your World page. There is more information plus links to groups trying to help all at CNN.com/impact.
And take a look at this young woman right here. A member of an endangered group.
WHITFIELD: Trouble down on the farm. Has to do with vets who treat farm animals. The profession is facing a huge shortfall and now Congress is actually trying to help. CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.
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BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the classroom for Suzanne Gregory a fourth year veterinary medicine student at Virginia Tech. She's helping Dr. John Kirwin do ultrasounds on dairy cows.
SUZANNE GREGORY, VETERINARY MEDICINE STUDENT: Perhaps a better name is a dirty, physical job and it takes dedication. You have clients relying on you to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
KEILAR: It was a natural choice for Suzanne. She comes from a family of farmers in southern Virginia but her fellow students are increasingly choosing to care for household pets instead, deterred by long hours, the rural location of jobs and modest pay. By 2025, the American Veterinarian Medical Association expects the vet shortage to grow to 15,000, most of them large animal doctors. That could leave farmers like Marion Phillips without a central care for their livestock.
MARION PHILLIPS, FARMER: In most cases, they are our life line. If we did not have these vets out here, we would lose a lot of money through death of cows, for different problems.
KEILAR: Congress has taken note as experts warn a vet shortage could also weaken the security of the nation's food supply against threats like foot and mouth disease or even cripple the nation's defenses against bioterrorism.
SEN. WAYNE ALLARD, (R) COLORADO: Anthrax has been a longtime disease that's been around for a long time and veterinarians are the ones primarily had to deal with it. Veterinarians are very familiar with these types of diseases.
KEILAR: Colorado Senator Wayne Allard, a vet himself, sponsored legislation to give grants to schools preparing large animal vet students with jobs in the public sector it passed recently and so did the farm bill which includes legislation to kick-start the program to forgive school loan debt for new vets who go to work in underserved rule areas. Many in the profession tell me these are steps in the right direction but they say much more needs to be done.
Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.
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WHITFIELD: The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.
The escalating conflict in the Soviet Republic of Georgia. World leaders try to find a peaceful way out. We will take a hard look at the source of the bad blood between Georgia and Russia.
In this country in Mississippi, a trip to a gambling hot spot turns deadly when a tourist bus rolls over. The latest on that shocking crash.
In Saudi women, Olympic-level athletes who are not at the Olympics. We will tell you what these mavericks are doing to change that.
Hello, I'm Fredericka Whitfield and you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We begin with breaking news from the entertainment world. Soul singer Isaac Hayes has died. Hayes was found unconscious at his Memphis, Tennessee, home today beside his still-running treadmill. Paramedics were unable to are revive him. Hayes had a stellar career in the music industry, winning an Oscar for best original song for the theme to the film "Shaft." He also won three Grammy Awards, including one for the title track of his album "Black Moses." Most recently he gained new fans for his vocal talents on the animated series "South Park." 65- year-old Hayes provided the voice of Chef.
The United States and Russia are crossing swords over the Russian offensive in Georgia. Angry words today and another emergency meeting of the U.S. Security Council called in response to the crises gripping the Black Sea region.
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ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: We must condemn Russia's military assault on the state of Georgia, the violation of the countries soventry to keep the integrity, including the targeting of civilians and the campaign of terror against the Georgian population.
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (via Translator): This statement, Ambassador, is absolutely unacceptable, particularly from the lips of the permanent representative of a country whose actions we are aware of, including with regard to civilian populations in Iraq and Afghanistan and Serbia.
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WHITFIELD: The Russians now are claiming they have sunk a Georgian ship. If so, a major escalation with Russia on the attack from the ground and the air. Georgia is pleading for cease-fire and being rebuffed by the Russians.