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Russia Attacks Neighbor; Return of a Superpower; Interview With Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister
Aired August 11, 2008 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You're informed with CNN.
I'm Tony Harris.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on this 11th day of August. Here is what's on the rundown.
Georgia says Russian troops have seized a military base, and the U.S. and Europe are demanding that Russia end the incursion.
HARRIS: Talk about inflation, some prescription drug prices have doubled, even tripled, practically overnight.
KEILAR: Gas up your tank with fruit oil?
KEILAR: Yes. What's that about? Money may not grow on trees, but fuel apparently does. We're going to show you how -- in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Shades of the Cold War we're talking about here. Russian troops marching to neighboring territory, and the U.S. exchanges tough words with Moscow. At the center, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and its breakaway province, South Ossetia.
Russia has launched a massive military offense there to regain control. Georgia's president has signed a cease-fire agreement. Tomorrow, European Union leaders will meet with Russia's president, asking him to do the same. But Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, says the United States is damaging hopes of a quick, peaceful resolution.
He criticized the U.S. for airlifting 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq. Georgia, a close ally of the U.S., made the request. President Bush had earlier called Russia's military action disproportionate and the violence unacceptable.
CNN has mobilized its vast international resources to cover all the angles of this conflict, and that includes dispatches from the war zone.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance is in the midst of the violence.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you join me in the Georgian town of Gori, a short distance from South Ossetia, and one of the places that's been routinely targeted by Russian forces for attack. This is one of the residential compounds that has come under attack in recent days. Dozens of people were killed here, and you can see the devastation those bombs have caused here: the remains of a vehicle, the twisted metal there strewn over the whole area.
There are also military installations in Gori that have come under attack by the Russian air force. It's also the town that's been the scene of some dramatic images over the course of this day.
Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, was touring bomb sites in Gori, giving interviews, when there was some kind of security alert, and a member of his security team shouted to cover him, and he was torn away by bodyguards and pushed to the ground. Apparently, fearing an air raid, they piled extra flak jackets on top of him as onlookers fled. No jets were seen or heard, and no one was injured, but these images really underline just how dangerous, how volatile Georgia has become in parts on an everyday basis, as Russian and Georgian forces continue to be locked in this bitter conflict.
Matthew Chance, CNN, in Gori, Georgia.
KEILAR: This hour, President Bush is headed home from the Beijing Olympics, but the spirit of international goodwill of course overshadowed by Russia's military offensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia, and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia. It was just interesting to me that here we are, you know, trying to promote peace and harmony, and we're witnessing a conflict take place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: While in China, President Bush complained directly to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He also complained by phone to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
HARRIS: Also, plenty of talk at the United Nations. Heated words and accusations at the Security Council. The Russian ambassador saying the U.S. may be responsible for what's going on in Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: There are some who may think that, actually, the United States encouraged Georgia to launch this reckless adventure with the amount of advisers and visits, and Secretary Rice was there just a few days ago. And joint Georgian military maneuvers were finished just the 7th of August, hours before the launch to their military operation.
But as I said in the chamber, we don't want to believe that. We think that what may have been -- what may have happened has happened before. You remember the history of the war -- the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq back in 1991, who said what and what -- how it was interpreted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: The Security Council hasn't come up with a resolution yet on this conflict.
KEILAR: So who are the key players here to watch in this crisis? Well, there's Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He says a major part of the military operation has been completed in South Ossetia. He is expected to begin talks tomorrow on a cease-fire plan that's backed by the European Union.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also serves as the EU president, will promote the agreement through shuttle diplomacy. Tomorrow he'll visit the capitals of both Russia and Georgia, and in Tbilisi, he'll meet with Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili. He has already signed this agreement.
This really is a potential powder keg. Russia is reasserting itself as a superpower. Here's CNN's Tim Lister with more.
TIM LISTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A small town in Georgia may be the latest outpost in a resurgent Cold War. The fighting in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is not over mineral wealth or strategic real estate, it's about old-fashioned nationalism on both sides.
The people of Georgia have always resented Russian dominance before, during and since the Soviet era. President Mikheil Saakashvili wants his country accepted into the European Union and NATO.
When President Bush visited Georgia in 2005, he received a rapturous welcome and said of Saakashvili...
BUSH: The president is very clear about his intentions to meet the obligations to join NATO.
LISTER: To Moscow, an intolerable provocation. Regional observers say Russian leaders now see an opportunity to flex their muscles in what's known as the "Near Abroad."
MARK BRZEZINSKI, FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL: They're not unhappy that the Americans are distracted and bogged down in Iraq, with Afghanistan and with Iran. And second, they have almost an exaggerated notion of their own ability to shape things and to control things across Eurasia.
LISTER: As president, Vladimir Putin warned repeatedly that if Kosovo was allowed independence from Serbia, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia had the same right. The West went ahead and supported an independent Kosovo; Putin did not forget. But Moscow sees its fear of influence as going beyond Georgia, to include Ukraine, where the Russian Black Sea fleet is still based.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), ARMED SERVICES CHAIRMAN: If those Russian ships leave that port in the Black Sea, and if Ukraine decides that it is not going allow those ships back into that port because Ukraine has always claimed that as Ukrainian territory, that is a potentially much greater conflagration involving a wider regional area.
LISTER: There are also Russian separatists in Moldova that have long demanded independence.
In the past, Russia has used economic pressure against its neighbors, cutting fuel supplies to Ukraine and halting rail services to and from Georgia. Moscow also opposes plans for a natural gas pipeline that would connect central Asia to western markets through Georgia, but avoid Russia.
So even if this conflict is resolved, a wider struggle may continue.
BRZEZINSKI: There was tremendous unhappiness amongst the siloviki, the elite now in control in Moscow, about the demise of the Soviet Union. And success would be seen in some kind of resurrection of what had been the former Soviet Union or the former Soviet Bloc. This runs in contradiction with Georgia's and Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO.
LISTER: Once part of the Soviet Union, many of Russia's smaller neighbors, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, see their future as part of a democratic Europe, but Russia is clearly ready to assert itself in what it considers its back yard.
Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.
HARRIS: Just want to inform you, we may get an opportunity in just a couple of minutes to speak with the Russian deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov. He is speaking with our CNN International right now. We hope to make that connection in just a couple of moments. When we do, we will get Russia's point of view on the fighting in Georgia.
In a North Carolina court today, one of the two men suspected of fatally shooting Eve Carson during a car jacking. She is the former University of North Carolina student body president. Prosecutors may ask for the death penalty for suspect Demario Atwater. That announcement expected today.
KEILAR: In Texas, federal officials have shut down a bus company that was involved in that rollover crash that killed 17 people on Friday. Investigators say the owner is the same man ordered to shut down another fleet for safety hazards back in June, and they say they think he continued operating the buses, just under a new company name. Investigators say that a blown-out front tire on the bus had been re- treaded, which is a violation of safety rules.
And three people were killed in another bus crash, this one near Tunica, Mississippi. The passengers were headed to the airport after a casino trip. Dozens of others were injured. This bus owned by Harrah's Casino.
HARRIS: I mentioned just a moment ago that we thought we might get an opportunity to talk to Russia's deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov. He is with us live now.
And it's good talk to you, sir, Deputy Prime Minister.
Let me first ask you, just to set the record straight for us here and for everyone in the United States who is watching this story and has watched it develop since Friday, can you tell me why Russian tanks, troops, warplanes are in, have been in Georgia?
SERGEI IVANOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: That's a very easy question.
First of all, good afternoon. And thanks for the opportunity to be with you.
I've got an impression that American public thinks or tends to think that Russia attacked Georgia.
HARRIS: Well, that's what we heard from the president of Georgia, in those words.
IVANOV: Yes, exactly. Yes. Thanks for prompting me.
A big Russian bear attacked a small, peaceful Georgia. In fact, the situation is and was vice versa.
It was a big Georgia which attacked a small and tiny breakaway republic of South Ossetia. And only 24 hours after that, when the city of Tskhinvali, the capital of the province, and many villages has been totally destroyed, thousands of civilians were killed, burned alive in their houses, in their hiding, and also around 15 Russian peacekeepers have been killed by the Georgian army, only after that Russia sent its army to the territory of South Ossetia to protect the lives of the Russian citizens and to enforce peace.
HARRIS: OK. Mr. -- I understand that.
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, Georgia's president, as you know, says he was responding to the separatists in that region of South Ossetia who were causing the damage. It was an attempt to restore order to South Ossetia. IVANOV: Well, as far as I remember from our recent history, President Milosevic also used the same pretext in restoring law and order in Kosovo and genocide carried out by Georgians of Southern Ossetian territory. It's very similar.
HARRIS: Are you accusing Georgia's president and Georgia's military of ethnic cleansing here?
IVANOV: Of ethnic cleansing, yes, exactly.
HARRIS: You are?
IVANOV: I accuse the Georgian leaders of ethnic cleansing, because their political goal was to eliminate the population, a tiny population of Southern Ossetia, because without it, it's impossible to integrate back Southern Ossetia into Georgia. But as a result of what happened, now I'm totally sure that political settlement -- I mean between Georgia and South Ossetia -- will never be a reality in the coming decades.
HARRIS: Well, let me ask a follow-up then. So the charge now from you that Georgia was involved in ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia, is that the charge that justifies your forces moving into that province? I just want to be clear for the record.
IVANOV: Well, our forces have been -- yes. Let me explain. Maybe not many Americans know the fact that Russian troops have been stationed in South Ossetia according to the international agreement starting from the...
HARRIS: As peacekeepers.
IVANOV: Yes, as peacekeepers from 1992. And they kept peace for 18 long years after the attack, of course. And our peacekeepers were in small numbers and armed only with light weapons after being attacked with tanks, missiles, planes, together with local civilians. We didn't have any other option but send our reinforcements, Russian reinforcements, to the territory of South Ossetia.
HARRIS: I have to ask you, was there not another way to do this? Was there not a diplomatic solution to this other than sending your forces into sovereign Georgia territory?
HARRIS: I'm just asking, was there another way to approach this?
HARRIS: The United Nations, through negotiations with the United States, with the EU? Was there not another way to do this other than sending tanks across the sovereign border? That's my question.
IVANOV: The answer is very simple. Do you think that after more than 2,000 of your nationals being killed and massacred, you would appeal to the United Nations -- which we accidentally (ph) did, and the United Nations and the Security Council didn't pass any decision on the situation. We had to urgently defend the people who are still alive. That was the option, that was the choice, and we didn't have any alternative.
HARRIS: Do you believe that the United States in any way may have encouraged this action by the Georgian government by conducting joint military operations recently?
IVANOV: In my private view, I don't believe that the United States directly encouraged President Saakashvili to attack and massacre people in thousands. I don't believe in that.
But helping Saakashvili, which, let's be frank, it's a satellite, it's (INAUDIBLE) American satellite. That's a known fact. But encouraging him and providing some weapons and military instructions, maybe that gave Saakashvili a wrong impression that, whatever he does will be swallowed by the world community and the United States in particular.
That was a fatal mistake. That was a fatal mistake by Saakashvili.
HARRIS: There is a cease-fire agreement signed by Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, on its way to Moscow. Will that be signed?
IVANOV: It's not a cease-fire agreement. A cease-fire agreement is signed by two sides when they meet.
The Russian president has already said that, first of all, we need a written agreement between Georgia on one side, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway republic, that they will never use force in future to settle down their political disputes. In fact, Russia called for such an agreement for the last four or three years, and President Saakashvili always said that, I won't sign because I would never fight my own nationals.
He broke his word. He killed more than 2,000 of his own nationals in South Ossetia.
HARRIS: I'm just curious, why don't you, why doesn't the president, why doesn't the prime minister of Russia just call for the people of South Ossetia who feel more Russian than Georgian to come home?
IVANOV: All the people of South Ossetia, they are Russian citizens. And South Ossetia is their home. They live there for centuries.
Where shall they move? Of course, there are now refugees, but I'm sure later most of them will get back, because, in fact, in recent history, or last century history, ethnic cleansing and genocide has been carried out by Georgians twice already in the 20th last century, and in the 19th, last century. This war is a third attempt to totally extricate, eliminate, annihilate South Ossetians from their territory.
HARRIS: We have been speaking with the Russia's deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov.
It has been good to talk to you. Thank you for your time.
IVANOV: Thank you. Take care. Bye.
HARRIS: Thank you.
And we are efforting, trying to get some reaction from Georgia's president. And we will bring that to you as soon as we get it.
KEILAR: It will take eight Olympic Gold Medals to break Mark Spitz' record, and American swimmer Michael Phelps is well on his way.
HARRIS: Happening in Pakistan, a move to impeach President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan's lower house of parliament introducing a resolution demanding that he step down.
Our State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee is here.
And Zain, how soon could there be an actual vote to impeach President Musharraf?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, it could actually take quite a few weeks. The sense we're getting from people in the region is, essentially, this could be it for Musharraf, that he could be on his way out.
He does have a few options.
The first thing he could do is try and block a two-thirds majority vote in parliament that's needed to remove him, but the momentum is actually against him on that one. He could also resign, or he could use his powers as president, dismiss the government, and call new elections. That's unlikely, according to a lot of experts.
The U.S. won't support that. And most importantly, Tony, the Pakistani army, the powerhouse in the country, is really also unlikely to back it.
Just on another note, it's actually Musharraf's 65th birthday today, and there have been very few flowers, very few cards for him today, as there were last year.
HARRIS: Happy birthday, we're impeaching you.
What are the officials saying about -- I guess U.S. officials saying about all of this?
VERJEE: Well, they're saying that the political chaos is really going to be a distraction from their number one priority, which is fighting the war on terror. And they're really worried that the Taliban and al Qaeda will take advantage of this situation.
The U.S. plan, according to officials that we've spoken to, is just to let this process play out. The U.S. is hoping that either with or without Musharraf, the new leaders of Pakistan can focus and articulate properly a way forward that helps the U.S.
HARRIS: And you know what, Zain? Perhaps this is the most important question. Where does the Pakistani army stand on this?
VERJEE: Right, exactly. It really is. Everyone's wondering, because they really pull the strings in the country.
Publicly, the army has not really said anything about the impeachment. It's not really clear, Tony, exactly where they stand.
Experts have said that the army may not tolerate the humiliation of its former chief, but at the same time, they also don't want to make the mistake of opposing the will of the people. They're really trying to rehabilitate their own image.
The other thing that worries the U.S. on that one is if that if there is political chaos in Pakistan, the army may step in. And that would be a dangerous development, because that would take the army's eye off the frontier and off the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban.
HARRIS: Our State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee for us.
Zain, great to see you. Thank you.
KEILAR: Michael Phelps' relay team helping him keep his dream alive of eight gold medals, and our Larry Smith is in Beijing with just -- I mean, this is a fantastic come-from-behind win, Larry, and also some other Olympic highlights you have for us.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, when you think about, you know, this year in sports and all of the things that we have seen already, Tiger Woods and the dramatic victory at the U.S. Open, Kansas and the overtime thriller, the win NCAA basketball championship, the Giants' Super Bowl win over the Patriots, who were undefeated, this goes down still as one of the greatest sporting moments that we've seen this year, and even in quite some time.
The men's 400-meter freestyle relay, the Americans were trailing on the final leg of this. Michael Phelps, his dream of eight gold medals, a record. But then Jason Lezak, what a great run -- what a great swim, I should say, to nudge out the French just right at the wall by eight one-hundredths of a second.
USA taking gold. Cullen Jones was so excited, one of the anchor -- one of the legs for that relay team -- was so excited, he almost fell into the pool. The team would have been disqualified if that had happened. But he didn't.
Jones, the second African-American ever to win gold in swimming. And again, Michael Phelps, the road to eight, is still alive. He has two golds in pocket. He'll go for a third Tuesday morning, here Beijing time.
By the way, USA men's hoops off to a great start as well, 101-70. They beat China in their opener.
Four players in double figures, so not a lot of scoring by one or two guys. Very even efforts all of the way through for the Americans, as they will take on Angola in their second game that comes up Tuesday night here, Beijing time.
Let's go back to you.
KEILAR: And Larry, let's talk just a little bit more about swimming, because I can't get enough of it. But the French, right, they were favored to win that relay? And also, they kind of donned a little trash-talking, if you will, right, to the media?
SMITH: Yes, they were trash-talking on Friday. And, you know, as we learned before, if you go to trash-talk Michael Phelps, you better bring something. There's no question about it. So the Aussies found that out four years ago.
But the Americans, this was really such a tremendous team effort. Michael Phelps, when he swam that first leg, he left the pool. The team, USA, was only in second. And so they had to come from behind. So dramatic not only that they beat the French, and again, in such dramatic fashion, but it keeps Phelps' dreams for eight gold medals alive.
KEILAR: Yes. And Jason Lezak, an amazing anchorman there. We have to say that as well.
All right, Larry. Thanks so much.
Hi there. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Heidi Collins today.
HARRIS: And welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.
Russian troops on the move. Peace efforts seemingly stalled, at least for now. The president of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia has signed a cease-fire agreement, and he's asking for Moscow to do the same. But for now, more violence.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in the capital of Georgia.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Georgian authorities are saying that Russian warplanes are continuing to bomb sites all over Georgia. The Georgian president, Saakashvili, just got off a conference call with journalists saying he had to leave because there were Russian warplanes buzzing around his presidential compound.
Now, in other developments, the Russian forces issued a sort of an ultimatum to the Georgian forces to leave the region of Abkhazia. That is a second separatist region. The Georgian government telling us they have seen a large influx of Russian forces into that area. They are seeking about 9,000 troops and they fear that there could be an attack from separatists and Russian forces against the Georgian army from Abkhazia in the upcoming hours, or perhaps upcoming days.
Now, as far as the situation in Southern Ossetia, he is concerned that the Russian government is saying that most of that province has been taken by Russian forces, that Georgians had cleared that area.
The Georgians are telling us that the Russians attempted to go even further and attack a town that was outside of Southern Ossetia, a Georgian town outside of Southern Ossetia called Gori which was attacked by aviation and also by artillery and tanks (ph). The Georgians say that they've repelled that attack and that the Russians have retreated about 20 miles away.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tbilisi, Georgia.
KEILAR: The horrors of war, the desperation of those caught in the fighting. CNN senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, has the view inside of the war zone and we want to warn you that some of the images you are about to see are graphic.
CHANCE (voice-over): Russian guns pounding (ph) Georgian positions inside the city. Despite mounting international pressure for a cease-fire, towns and villages across the region are being struck. Even the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, was hit. Russian warplanes targeting buildings near the international airport. In Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's main town, the grim aftermath of a ferocious Russian onslaught. The bodies of dead, Georgian soldiers are strewn amid their burned-out vehicles.
Beating (ph) a retreat, we saw Georgian tanks lining the road out of town. Faced with overwhelming firepower, Georgia has abandoned the war-ravaged separatist capital, leaving it in Russian hands.
(on camera): This is as close as we are able to safely get to the town of Tskhinvali. As you can see it's just a few kilometers down this road. But Georgians have made a very rapid withdrawal from the area, leaving some of their military hardware behind strewn across the road.
They say they've done this in order to create the conditions for a cease-fire. But as you can hear, there's still a heavy artillery barrage underway.
(voice-over): Caught in the middle, civilians have been abandoning their homes for safety. People like Lia, (ph) who told me she's leaving South Ossetia with a heavy heart.
"I wanted to stay, but after four days of heavy bombing, I just had to go," she told me. "I've had to leave almost everything behind."
To the north, thousands of refugees are also seeking shelter. Russian hospitals treating gunshots and shrapnel wounds. And now there are concerns of escalation. Russia has deployed thousands of troops into another breakaway area of Georgia, Abkhazia, where separatists are launching fresh artillery and air strikes against Georgian forcers. This already bitter conflict threatens to become a much wider war.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Georgia.
HARRIS: And a short time ago, Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, explained why Americans should care about the escalating conflict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever tensions and hostilities might have existed between Georgians and Ossetians, they in no way justify Moscow's path of violent aggression. Russian actions in clear violation of international law have no place in 21st- century Europe. The implications of Russian actions go beyond their threat to the territory of integrity and independence of a Democratic Georgia. Russia is using violence against Georgia, in part, to intimidate other neighbors, such as Ukraine, for choosing to associate with the West and adhering to Western political and economic values.
As such, the fate of Georgia should be of grave concern to Americans and all people who welcome the end of a divided Europe and the independence of former Soviet republics. The international response to this crisis will determine how Russia manages its relationships with other neighbors.
We have other important strategic interests at stake in Georgia, especially the continued flow of oil through the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which Russia attempted to bomb in recent days, the operation of a critical communication and trade group (ph) from Georgia through Azerbaijani and central Asia, and the integrity and influence of NATO, whose members re-affirmed last April the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: John McCain last hour. And on Friday, Barack Obama condemned what he called the violation of Georgia's sovereignty and called for an immediate cease-fire, insisting that, "... aggressive, diplomatic action must be taken to reach a political resolution to this crisis, and to assure that Georgia's sovereignty is protected."
KEILAR: You can't afford to get sick, but can you afford to get well? Some prescription drug prices hitting the stratosphere.
KEILAR: You hear a lot about no cost and low-cost prescription drugs, but now we're hearing about cases where the cost of some drugs can actually double overnight and Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is here with more on this. So is this true, that overnight the prices can double?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Literally. People go to sleep and their drugs cost one thing, and they wake up and it costs twice or even more. It really is incredible. And folks at the University of Minnesota were testifying to Congress about this recently.
Some of these numbers -- they are huge. Let me show you a couple of them, Brianna. First of all, Acthar, which is a drug that is used for babies who have seizures, went up 1,310 percent at one time. All at one time. One price change got you that increase. Next one, Indocin, for inflammation, up almost that same amount. Norvir, a drug used by HIV patients, went up 400 percent all at one time. And Cognex, a drug for Alzheimer's, doubled overnight.
Now what does the pharmaceutical industry have to say about this? They, look, those are exceptions. They say, for example, last year drug prices went up about 1.4 percent -- and let me read you what they have to say. They say, "Medicines that help treat rare diseases are sometimes the exception because they are often more costly and risky to develop and manufacture. These types of increases are rare exceptions and not the norm."
KEILAR: Well, what about the drugs that a lot of people take, the ones that we see all the ads for on TV?
COHEN: Those have gone up too. Not as dramatically as the ones I just showed you, but those have gone up a whole lot more than the 1.4 percent that the pharmaceutical industry mentions.
Let's take a look at some of those. For example, Ambien, a sleeping pill, went up, over the course of five years, not all at once, but over the course of five years went up 160 percent. That's a lot. That's certainly -- I'm no economist, but that's certainly higher than the cost of inflation, I would have to say. Advair, which is an asthma drug, went up 53 percent over that five year period. Lipitor went up 30 percent during that period. That's a cholesterol drug. And Nexium, a heartburn drug, went up 30 percent -- Brianna.
KEILAR: So many people are taking -- especially those four drugs right there that you see. But -- so if you're one of these people and your drug goes up in price, what can you do?
COHEN: OK. If you have an unusual disease and there's one drug that can help you, you can go to the pharmaceutical company and ask them for help, or if you're taking a drug for cholesterol, blood pressure, something that is more common, you can go to your doctor and say, I know there are other drugs that likely could help me. Can we take a look at some other drugs that might not be so expensive? And if you go to CNN.com/tips we give you Web sites where you can learn how to ask the pharmaceutical companies for help, where you can compare drug prices -- CNN.com/tips, and you can get all those tips right there.
KEILAR: Good information and be prepared to spend some elbow grease right?
COHEN: Right, absolutely.
KEILAR: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks.
HARRIS: Getting fuel from fruit. An energy alternative growing in Florida.
HARRIS: John McCain touring a GE plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, this morning. With him, former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge. They've spent the last two days together. Ridge on the list of potential running mates.
KEILAR: And Democrats promising an all-star lineup two weeks from now at their national convention in Denver. Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, holding the spotlight Monday night and then Hillary Clinton takes center stage Tuesday, a nod to her strong showing in the primaries. Then on Wednesday, Obama's still to be named running mate will take the stage and so will former President Bill Clinton. He will also be in the audience Tuesday when his wife makes her speech. And then on Thursday, the convention moves to Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium for Barack Obama's speech, a larger venue there.
Notably missing from the speaker's list, former vice presidential nominee, John Edwards. He is dealing, of course, with a sex scandal right now.
HARRIS: An original king of comedy has died. Family, friends and fans remembering actor Bernie Mac.
KEILAR: That voice, you know it -- Isaac Hayes. And he has died. He was actually found unconscious at his Memphis, Tennessee, beside his still-running treadmill. Paramedics were unable to revive him. The pioneering singer won an Oscar for the theme to the film "Shaft" and he also won three Grammy awards. But some of you may know him better for his animated alter ego, he provided the voice of the Chef, a character on the popular show "South Park." Isaac Hayes was 65-years-old.
HARRIS: He was one of the original kings of comedy. Popular comedian and actor Bernie Mac has died. He rose from poverty to stardom, super-stardom, really, beginning his career doing stand-up and later expanded into hit movies and a popular TV show. After learning of Mac's death, "Ocean's 11, 12 and 13" co-star George Clooney said, "the world just got a little less funny." Bernie Mac died of complications from pneumonia at a Chicago hospital at the age of 50.
KEILAR: Well, so much for a spending slowdown. We have found one gadget that is certainly recession-proof. And Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna.
And it's got to come from Apple, right? It's Apple's new 3G iPhone. An analyst who's known for his accurate prediction says that just one month after its debut, Apple has sold 3 million iPhones. And he says, there's no sign of it letting up.
Back to you, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Susan. Thanks so much.
We've got some breaking news. Some new developments coming out of Georgia.
Let's go straight now to CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. He is in Gori.
Tell us the specifics of what's happening, Matthew.
CHANCE: Thanks, Brianna.
Well actually, we're just driving out of Gori because there's a whole convoy of civilian and military vehicles that has been flooding out of that city in -- just a short distance from the South Ossetia conflict zone.
I've just had it confirmed by Georgian officials that according to them. Gori is in the process of falling to Russian forces. Apparently Russian infantry units are approaching the outskirts of the city and have actually entered the city according to Georgian officials.
Now, this is significant because this is a city that is outside the immediate conflict zone of South Ossetia. It's very close to South Ossetia. It's the place where you know, there's a Georgian military garrison. And so lots of military operations have been conducted out of Gori by the Georgian forces. That may be one of the reasons why the Russian military have turned their attention to it at this stage.
But the point is at the moment, it's being evacuated by Georgian forces. They're moving out their artillery, their tanks, their personnel, to a location -- a fallback location closer to the Georgia capital Tbilisi. And many civilians are also making their way out of the city. those that were left there. Because remember, this is a city, this is a town that has been under frequent bombardment by Russian war planes over the course of the past several days, since hostilities broke out.
And so, there aren't that many civilians there anymore. But those that were there, many of them are now making their way out along with Georgian forces, Brianna.
KEILAR: And Matthew, stay with us. We're bringing up the map -- let's bring up the map again of this region.
You can see just southeast there of Gori, is Tbilisi. Which is the capital of Georgia.
So Matthew, the question is, is this the beginning of Russian forces moving into the capital? That is certainly the concern of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
CHANCE: It is the concern of many Georgians as well. But, it's not necessarily happening.
You know, the Russians have a stated position that they're here. They're conducting these military operations in order to bolster the peacekeeping efforts that have been under way -- their peacekeeping efforts they say have been under way in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
They haven't indicated that they've the intention of moving to, sort of occupy or invade the whole territory of Tbilisi. It could be that they're just taking Gori because it is a military staging post and they need to do it for military reasons because it's the place from which these military operations have been launched by the Georgians into South Ossetia.
But, the fact is, Brianna, we don't really know what the Russians are thinking at this point. Certainly, they have a massive overwhelming force. They can do whatever they choose to do in Georgia, including -- up to and including taking the capital if they want to.
KEILAR: And, Matthew, Russia of course, has come under tremendous international pressure for going into South Ossetia, which is the breakaway region that wants either to be independent or part of Russia. Now they are in Georgia proper, as you explained.
What kind of international pressure do you think we're going to be seeing here, even in the coming moments?
CHANCE: I think if we do see the Russians move in a permanent way into Gori, then obviously the international concern, the international pressure on Russia is going to be ratcheted up several notches.
There was a kind of understanding, a tolerance almost, of the Russians moving their forces into South Ossetia and Abkhazia. They already have thousands of peacekeeping forces in those breakaway regions of Georgia. They took the position that they were moving in reinforcements because of the terrible security situation, because of the hostilities that have broken out with the Georgian forces.
As they now start to step to outside of those conflict zones, I think that's a much more serious proposition and I think that international pressure will be much more concerned about that.
KEILAR: All right. Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. Obviously this is a very quickly developing breaking news situation. He'll be keeping an eye on it for us. HARRIS: This really something. I want to get you to the New York Stock Exchange very quickly here and give you a look at the big board before with you get to break.
As you can see, the DOW on a nice little rally right now, up 53 points. The NASDAQ and S&P up as well. Markets are following developments in Georgia very closely. The conflict there threatening to turn back the recent slide in oil prices. At least today, oil prices are flat.
We're following the markets throughout the morning, right here in the NEWSROOM.