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Drew Peterson Arrested on Murder Charge; Unemployment Rate Climbs to 8.9 Percent; Firefighters Continue to Battle California Wildfires; U.S. Troop Surge Begins in Afghanistan; U.S. Air Strikes Kill Dozens in Afghanistan; Preteen Enjoys Life as College Sophomore; Wind Turbines Promise Green Jobs; Teen Cancer Patient Fights to Refuse Chemotherapy

Aired May 8, 2009 - 09:59   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And here are some of the other stories that we are keeping an eye on right now for you. A former U.S. soldier could face the death penalty for crimes in Iraq. Steven Green was convicted by a Kentucky court of raping and murdering a 14-year- old Iraqi girl and her family. He'll be sentenced Monday. Four other soldiers have already been sentenced in the case.

Former baseball star Dom DiMaggio, well, he died. Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio's little brother spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, but he interrupted his baseball career to serve in the Navy during World War II. Dom, Joe and oldest brother Vince were All-Star outfielders. Dom DiMaggio was 92 years old.

And the checks, they are in the mail. Stimulus payments are on the way to 55 million Americans who are already on Social Security. The payments are part of the stimulus bill President Obama signed back in February. The $250 checks, we'll, they're being mailed out or direct deposited into bank accounts.

And we are following new developments in two big crime stories this hour. Murder suspects in custody today. CNN's Susan Roesgen is in Joliet, Illinois, where former police officer Drew Peterson has been charged with his third wife's murder.

And CNN's Susan Candiotti is in Middletown, Connecticut, where a man surrendered in the killing of a college student. Well the campus of Wesleyan University only beginning to return to normal following a lock out. The school is planning a memorial vigil later today for Yohanna Justin-Hinich who was gunned down at a bookstore cafe on Wednesday. The man accused of killing her, Stephen Morgan, well he is in court this morning.

And our Susan Candiotti is outside the courthouse, where the hearing which was scheduled for 9:30 this morning, has been postponed. So, what's the latest there?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just been pushed back a little bit until 11:30 this morning. Good morning to you. A scraggly-looking Stephen Morgan showed outside the court house here. As he is getting ready to face first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of the 21-year-old Wesleyan junior. She is -- her -- by the name of Yohanna Justin-Hinich. Now the arrival of Morgan happened just about an hour or so ago and under unusual circumstances. He was brought over in a police car lying down on the back seat, and there was a blue wrap covering the top of him so that you could not easily see him. They drove him over to the courthouse, and he was brought out in the garage and eventually into the courthouse, where he will face a judge on camera at about 11:30 or so this morning.

Of course, he is being held on $10 million bond for allegedly shooting that young woman in a bookstore on Wednesday near the Wesleyan University campus where she worked. Last night, Stephen Morgan showed up at a convenience store in a town called Meriden, about half hour or so away from here. And I talked with the convenience store clerk about what happened when he showed up.

She said he came into the store, he picked up a drink, a bottled drink, a Kiwi smoothie, started drinking, and then paid $2.95 plus tax for it and then asked if there was a pay phone. She said there wasn't, but she said he could use the phone in the store because he looked like he needed some help. He started doing that, but she said he had trouble dialing the number. So, she offered to dial it for him. He said he wanted to call the police. She dialed it, handed him the phone. He walked away down an aisle, then came back, handed her the phone.

And she said within a minute the police showed up outside, wrestled him to the ground, threw him to the ground, put the handcuffs on him. And she said that the police what happened. And they said, you did something. She said, I didn't do anything wrong. And they said, you did something, right? This is the man who was suspected in the murder of the college student. She said she started to cry because she was so nervous about what had happened.

Well, as we had indicated earlier, there will be a vigil on the campus later this day that will happen. Of course, classes were canceled yesterday, and final exams are scheduled to begin on Monday. But this is a day of mourning on the campus of Wesleyan University. Back to you.

NGUYEN: Hey, Susan, quickly, is there any kind of relationship between Morgan and the victim? Did they know each other prior to this?

CANDIOTTI: Well, of course, that's the key thing. Looking for a motive. And yes, evidently there was some interaction, according to a law enforcement source, going back at least to the summer of 2007 when both of them took a course at NYU, New York University.

At that time, during that period of time, the young woman contacted campus police and filed a police report with New York Police Department saying that Morgan had allegedly sent her some threatening e-mails and made some threatening phone calls, but she decided not to pursue those that case in any kind of criminal charges.

So, the police did not investigate the matter further. So yes, apparently they did come into contact with each other during that period of time at the very least.

NGUYEN: All right. Susan Candiotti joining us live. Thank you, Susan.

I want to get you now to that other high-profile case. Drew Peterson facing murder charges in connection with the killing of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Peterson also remains the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Well, a spokeswoman for Stacy Peterson's family had this reaction after Drew Peterson's arrest late yesterday.


PAM BOSCO, STACY PETERSON'S FAMILY SPOKESWOMAN: I think we're just very thrilled that we're here at this point in time. I know we're not focusing on Stacy today, but we're just happy for the Savio family. We always said if Stacy and Kathleen had one thing in common, and that was Drew Peterson.


NGUYEN: Our Susan Roesgen is outside the Joliet, Illinois jail where the former police sergeant remains locked up. Susan, what do you expect in court today?

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is expected to be in court today, Betty for his arraignment, his first appearance but actually not in court physically. He won't be able to leave the jail behind us here. He's going to appear if he does make this appearance on video screen by a video link. His lawyer's trying to fight the court appearance because his lawyer's in New York, Betty, and wants to be back here for this first arraignment.

In the meantime, Drew Peterson is still locked up in the jail here on a $20 million bond.


ROESGEN (voice-over): They arrested him easily at a traffic stop. Illinois State Police took former cop Drew Peterson into custody for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. It is the latest twist in an investigation that started a year and a half ago.

In October 2007, Drew Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared.

LARRY KING, HOST, CNN'S "LARRY KING LIVE": Were you ever physical with her?

DREW PETERSON, HUSBAND OF STACY PETERSON: Never. And I kind of challenge anybody out there to find anybody that has ever even seen me mad. So...

KING: You don't have a temper?

PETERSON: No. It's...

KING: Are you in love with Stacy?

PETERSON: Very much so.

ROESGEN: Peterson said he believes Stacy, who is 30 years younger than he is ran off with another man. But police named Peterson their number one suspect in her disappearance. Then they decided to exhume the body of wife number three, Kathleen Savio. Kathleen and Drew had been divorcing three years earlier when she drowned in her bathtub, originally ruled an accident, but a second autopsy revealed bruises and a gash on the back of her head, and the coroner called it a homicide.

Peterson is now charged with that murder indicted, by a grand jury Thursday. And although he often laughed and joked with reporters during the investigation, he's locked up now on a $20 million bond.

JAMES GLASGOW, WILL COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY: We want to send a strong message that it's a great and serious matter. It's not a laughing matter that has been made with this case.

ROESGEN: Peterson's lawyer, Joel Brodsky, says he's going to fight that $20 million bond and the second autopsy.

JOE BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON'S ATTORNEY (via telephone): It's going to be a very tough case for the prosecution. And, you know, we're going to defend it tooth and nail.

ROESGEN: Peterson's lawyer also says his client won't be tied to Stacy Peterson's disappearance. Because although she's been gone for a year and a half, no body has ever been found.


ROESGEN: And, in fact, Betty, the tip line to try to find Stacy Peterson is still open. Police say they have had more than 300 tips in the year and a half since she was reported missing. I have here, in fact, one of the fliers.

They still have these fliers looking for Stacy Peterson here. Again, Drew Peterson has not been charged in any way with her disappearance. Though he is the number one suspect in her disappearance. He is now charged with murder in the drowning death of Kathleen Savio, wife number three -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Susan Roesgen, thank you for that.

And this morning, there are new unemployment numbers, and maybe some new signs that the economy is slowly getting better.

First the bad news, though. The national rate has climbed to 8.9 percent. That is the highest since the fall of 1983. All right. Let's get you some good news. The pace of job losses, well that is slowing. 539,000 jobs disappeared in April, that is the fewest in six months.

And here is a closer look at the numbers. Adult men saw their numbers climb from 8.8 percent to 9.4 percent. Adult women saw their unemployment claims bumped up only slightly, and then along racial lines, African-Americans took a big hit. Their jobless rate jumped from 13.3 percent to 15 percent.

Hispanics saw their rate actually decline 0.1 percent. In this hour, these latest unemployment numbers are under the microscope on Capitol Hill. The joint economic committee is looking at the causes and the ripple effects.

Also, next hour, President Obama will outline new help for the nation's unemployed. And among the highlights, new rule that would allow the unemployed to enroll in college or training programs without surrendering their benefits. President Obama is due to speak at 11:30 Eastern and we will carry that live for you.

All right. So, another challenge for President Obama will be getting a new Supreme Court nominee confirmed. And he hasn't picked anyone to fill retiring Justice David Souter's seat just yet. But that could come any day now. Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch will be there for the confirmation hearings as a member of the judiciary committee.

Senator Hatch joins us now from Capitol Hill this morning. And Senator, I got to ask you. You know, we've heard that it may come any time this week. Are you still hoping within the next few days?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Well, I expect the president to nominate somebody, certainly within the short period of time, because they want to get this person confirmed before the August recess. And it really takes a long time once they nominate them. Then the ABA, the American Bar Association, has to come in and review their record, and of course, the committee has to review the record. Both of them, the Democrats and the Republicans, and it takes a considerable amount of time to do that.

NGUYEN: Yes, it does. But I know you had a conversation with the president this week. What did he tell you about the kind of person he's looking to nominate?

HATCH: Well, you know, I had raised on network TV that he had said privately that he is interested in somebody who has empathy. And then he also said that he is interested in somebody because of their personal politics, their personal feelings, their personal preferences. Well, those are buzzwords usually. And for an activist judge, so I just quoted him, and he called me and said Orrin, he said, I'm not going to pick somebody who is out of the mainstream.

He said, I'm not going to pick somebody who is radical or extreme. And you know, I'll take him at his word, but I hope he keeps that promise because I think if he does, there'd be a war here. If he doesn't, you know, he'll probably have a slam dunk with whoever he chooses.

NGUYEN: And I know that you're interested, of course, on a personal level. But as well, as a Republican, what kind of person are they looking for? HATCH: Well, of course, the Democrats have the presidency. So, you know that he couldn't get by unless he picked somebody who was pro-abortion. I mean, that's just a must in the Democratic Party today. So, you know, we kind of expect that. And he's certainly going to want to have somebody on the liberal end of the equation.

And they tell me that he's very interested in looking for, you know, Hispanic or a woman or an African-American. But I think he's going to certainly try to find a woman, could be a Hispanic woman, could be an African-American woman.

NGUYEN: Senator, how important that to you that it be a minority and a female?

HATCH: I have no problem with that at all. In other words, look, when we vote for a president and, of course, I did not vote for President Obama. But he won and he won going away, that president has one of the most important duties he does is the appointment of judges.

And in this case, when you vote for a president, you're going to get his philosophy. You're going to get judges from his point of view. Which in this case will be very liberal judges. It's not just the Supreme Court that's concerned here. You know, there are thousands of cases finally decided by the Circuit Court of Appeals in this country. The level right below the Supreme Court that will never be decided by the Supreme Court.

So, it's really important when you vote for a president, you vote for somebody who is going to appoint or nominate really, really good people for judges regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative.

NGUYEN: Well, we'll see and maybe we'll see very shortly. Senator Orrin Hatch, thanks so much for your time today.

HATCH: Nice to be with you.

NGUYEN: More homes threatened in southern California. Wildfires there tearing through neighborhoods. Devastating families and forcing thousands to flee. Our Rob Marciano is keeping an eye on the weather center for you -- on the conditions, as well. And he joins us now from that weather center. Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Betty. Winds have battled there for firefighters in southern California. And also winds with damaging winds with storms that are ripping across southern Missouri this morning. And we're getting reports in of some structural damage near the Springfield area. We'll talk about that, plus the fires when the CNN NEWSROOM comes right back.


NGUYEN: Firefighters are trying to get ahead of a spreading wildfire in Santa Barbara, California, this morning. Check this out. Look at those flames there. Now four-day-old fire has burned through four square miles so far, and it's moving through neighborhoods and destroying homes. At least 75 have burned. And those neighborhoods were cleared out ahead of the approaching fires. As many as 30,000 people were ordered to evacuate.

Rob Marciano has been following it all for us very closely. And Rob, any chance that the weather's going to be helping out any?

MARCIANO: I think the winds are going to start to slacken a little bit, not so much today, but tomorrow. Either way, it's still under critical fire danger. Satellite picture, not really showing much in the way of moisture. So no hope for rain down here. Kind of in the dry season, anyway.

And with that, we're looking at -- well, no hope from -- I'm sorry, say that again, Michael? All right, we'll get to that in a sec.

Wind speeds here will definitely be 40, 50, 60 miles an hour. Levels of humidity will be low, for sure, 10 to 15 percent. And because of that, we've got issues. All right.


NGUYEN: All right. I want to get you back to those fires out in Santa Barbara, California, Rob. Because look at these pictures. Look at that smoke just billowing up into the air. And we are going to be having a live report coming up very shortly on the ground in Santa Barbara. The latest as some 30,000 people have been ordered to evacuate because of this wildfire.

In the meantime, though, children exposed to hormone gels developing unusual sex characteristics. It's a serious matter that's prompting a warning by the FDA.


NGUYEN: The Obama administration wants to make sure all U.S. citizens are informed about the swine flu. So it's taking part in a Spanish-language town hall of the H1N1 virus this afternoon. The White House says it's an opportunity to communicate accurate information about the virus and answer questions from the Latino community about government efforts to fight the swine flu.

All right. This is a really interesting story. We have a warning today for parents who use testosterone gel. The FDA says children exposed to the gels can develop inappropriate sex characteristics and become overly aggressive. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here to talk about this. Elizabeth, what is this all about?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these testosterone gels are used for legitimate purposes, more than a million men and some women, as well, use them. What you do is you rub the gel on the upper part of your body, like your shoulders, to treat various illnesses. What's been going on is that in at least five cases, those parents have then touched their children. So, the children are getting a little bit of testosterone gel, as well. NGUYEN: Maybe if they hold their child.

COHEN: Or if they hold their child and touch their shoulder. That kind of thing. Some of these kids, and we're talking about kids between the ages of nine months and five years. We're talking about little kids. They've developed problems like pubic hair and large genitals, aggressiveness. That kind of thing. And obviously, this should not happen.


COHEN: This is a problem. That's why they're putting out this alert.

NGUYEN: All right. So, what should parents do? Just stop using it? I mean, what can they do?

COHEN: No, you don't want to stop using it. There's a really simple solution: Wash your hands after you use this gel, and when you put it on your body, let it dry. Make sure it's dry and fully absorbed before you pick up your child. It's very simple, but parents just need to know that.

NGUYEN: All right. So, a quick fix to that. You know, this is, speaking of, "Empower Friday." And we have some questions on prescription drugs. I want to get to one of our viewers. This is from Bob that says, "I'm surprised you don't recommend buying offshore. I'm taking a drug for which there is no generic. And I want to know if I can buy a -- in fact, he can buy a quantity of 100 from an offshore pharmacy for $57 with no insurance whatsoever." So, that's quite a discount, it sounds like.

COHEN: It is. We actually contacted Bob, Betty, and we said, hey Bob, what are you paying when you buy it in this country. He said about $200.

NGUYEN: Yikes.

COHEN: So, $57 from overseas when he orders online, $200 when he gets it here.

NGUYEN: Big difference.

COHEN: Big difference. So, we contacted the "Consumer Reports," and we said, what do you think about people like Bob who buy things offshore? And they said, you know, buying offshore makes us nervous. Because you don't know what you're getting...

NGUYEN: Right.

COHEN: But we did a little more digging, and we found out that four states, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin have an arrangement with one Web site called Isaverx...

NGUYEN: OK. COHEN: ... where the Web site orders from Canada and from the U.K., and they get a discount. So, those four states have partnered with this site, which gives me much more confidence in sort of any old site, you know, or something like that. So, that is an important site to know.

But plus I want to give other suggestions...


COHEN: ... for people who are trying to save money. You don't have to go overseas. First of all, go to your pharmacy and ask them to print out their list of $4 generics. Bring that list to you doctor and say, the expensive thing you gave me, could I use one of these instead? Also, pharmacies have discount cards, and a lot of states have prescription discount cards. You don't have to be in any particular insurance or any particular group. You can just sign up for it in the case of the pharmacy and the state cards. So, look into all three of those options.

NGUYEN: That is some good advice there. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. We do appreciate it.

I want to talk about this now for just a second. A deadly U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, and an uproar over the death of civilians. What the military is saying right here in the NEWSROOM.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN, the most trusted name in news. Now back to the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: All right. So, after much speculation and anticipation, Wall Street finally getting what it's been waiting for months. The results of the banks stress test. And all 10 of the 19 banks tested got a homework assignment, if you will. They need to raise some extra cash. Stephanie Elam is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on this. Hey there, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Betty. And they've got all summer long to work on this homework because the assignment is due in the fall. Ten banks need to raise a total of $75 billion.

On the top of that list, Bank of America, they need to raise $34 billion, followed by Wells Fargo, GMAC, Citi, and Morgan Stanley. Also several regional banks will need to raise capital, as well.

Now, the government assumed for these tests that their basis for doing these tests that there'd be an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent and 22 percent drop in home prices. Some critics say the test wasn't stressful enough. We know we just heard the unemployment rate, it's up to 8.9 percent.

And the reason why unemployment continues to rise. That's their issue there, but overall investors are pleased with the results and that a better than expected jobs report is lifting stocks. Bank stocks are also rallying. So, if you take at a look at the numbers there. The Dow on the up side by 56 points. We are off of our highs in the session, we were up in triple digits earlier. Nasdaq recently turning to the red, off two points at 1713, Betty.

NGUYEN: All right, Stephanie. Let's get back to this homework assignment for just a minute. Where are the banks going to get all of this money?

ELAM: Well, there are several options here. And right after this news broke yesterday, several banks came right out with their statements saying what they plan to do. One common theme, they do not want any government money. And the reason is pretty obvious: It comes with strings attached. Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, they say they plan to sell stock. B of A, they're going to sell some assets and some stock. And Citi is converting preferred shares to common stock, Betty. So, they're going about it in a few different ways.

NGUYEN: All right. And you know, the government has said that it won't let any of these banks fail. Since we already have that assurance, what do these stress tests mean for both you, me, people at home watching?

ELAM: It means if you have a bank account with these banks, you're fine. You don't need to worry about it. The government's really hoping here that this clarity will boost confidence so that people really will understand that their bank has enough money and it has the ability to raise it.

And so, the idea being if we're more confident, then we'll go out and spend more. And keep in mind that consumer spending counts for two-thirds of our economy, so we really do need the consumer to get back out there on the market and make it happen and make things strong again, Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Stephanie Elam joining us live. Thank you, Stephanie.

ELAM: Sure.

NGUYEN: Well, a wildfire burning out of control in southern California has forced more homeowners to evacuate. The fire has moved into neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, California, destroying at least 75 homes so far. Officials have expanded evacuation orders to around 30,000 people now, and there are more than 2,000 firefighters on duty fighting this.

CNN's Kara Finnstrom joins us now live from Santa Barbara. Any chance that this fire is going to slow down any?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, hopefully as we head into the weekend because that's when the winds are supposed to let up. But those winds have been so problematic up until now for firefighters. They've picked up again overnight, and that really sent this fire into some new neighborhoods and gave it, unfortunately, some new life. But joining us live right now is one of the firefighters who has been out on the front lines. His name is Tony McHale. And the conditions out there have been so brutal. Explain to our viewers at home a little bit about what you and all these other firefighters have been facing.

TONY MCHALE, VENTURA COUNTY FIREFIGHTER: Absolutely, we are facing significant conditions here. This is probably one of the ultimate challenges with wildland firefighting because of the urban interface. Santa Barbara, the size of the city, the neighborhoods that are up against the wildland areas present us with all kinds of challenges: access, steep terrain, questions about water supply, types of building construction that we're encountering. And then of course we're dealing with the all-important weather factors.

And we have a lot of things coming into alignment. We have high temperatures, and of course, the winds. And this area is famous for what they call sun-downer winds, and those present us with incredible challenges. In fact, when you're facing really difficult fire conditions that are wind-fanned, it's kind of like trying to put out a blowtorch with a squirt gun. And it's a huge challenge.

FINNSTROM: Three of your firefighters are among the 10 firefighters who have been injured fighting this wildfire. They've received -- two of them received some pretty significant burns. Can you kind of explain their injuries to us? And tell us how they're doing now.

MCHALE: Yes, that's correct. A few days ago when we got on scene, three of our firefighters -- it was actually an engine company and another unit that was up there, they were overrun. The forces came into alignment, and their engine was overrun, and two of them did sustain burns.

We heard, though, good news yesterday that two of them were upgraded from serious to good. I know they still have a little ways to go, the burns that they have are significant and very painful. It's something that we all -- it's one of the reminders we have as firefighters of how inherently dangerous our job really is. And we can do everything we can, train, we're professionals, but the job is dangerous.

FINNSTROM: And we thank you so much for joining us. We know you're about to get up there on the line again. Stay safe.

MCHALE: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

FINNSTROM: All right, Betty, again, the good news for these firefighters is that we are expecting a change in the weather this weekend. Those winds expected to die down, the temperatures expected to cool, and they're really hoping that will allow them to get in there and hopefully try to get this blaze under some type of control.

NGUYEN: Yes, and that change can't come soon enough. Thank you, Kara. We do appreciate it. All right, I want you to check this out -- trapped in a car surrounded by rising flood waters. We want to give you this video. It is a frightening scenario that actually happened to a couple in Montgomery, Alabama. Luckily, though, two strangers came to their rescue. The men waded out into the fast-moving waters to pull the couple out of the car and on to dry land.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they pulled off in that ditch, I didn't know how far down he was going to go. I just knew he needed some help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I jumped out and run across, and these other two guys was already here. And he got his Jeep across there, and we was going to try to pull them out, but there was nothing to hook it to.


NGUYEN: Rob Marciano joins us now from the CNN weather center. You know, Rob, part of the problem is, a lot of people don't know how deep that water is, and they don't think it's that deep, so they drive through it, and then they get caught away.

MARCIANO: Yes, and then in that particular instance, it was deep. And in many cases, you could see just how deep it was. I mean, those storms were sitting over Montgomery County for a good couple of hours and just dumping inches upon inches of rainfall in one spot. And that was the result.


NGUYEN: In Afghanistan, the first of President Obama's troop surge has arrived in the country. But there are some concerns that they're actually getting there ahead of crucial equipment needed to battle the Taliban. Defense Secretary Robert Gates heard those complaints when he visited the war zone yesterday. And he says Afghanistan's relatively limited infrastructure is partly to blame. The president has ordered some 21,000 new U.S. forces to Afghanistan.

And a top U.S. military official says dozens of people were killed in U.S. air strikes this week in the western part of that country, some of them civilians. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has an update for us. She joins us now live. Barbara, what are you hearing from the military about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, two senior U.S. military officials are confirming the essential details. And of course, the killing of Afghan civilians, men, women and children, is something that the U.S. says it deeply regrets, but it believes the Taliban were using these people as human shields, if you will, on Tuesday, when the U.S. launched a number of air strikes in western Afghanistan's Farah Province after troops -- Afghan troops came under gunfire -- heavy fire from Taliban and insurgent forces. What these U.S. military officials are now confirming, the preliminary results of the investigation are that when the U.S. dropped some 13 bombs on eight buildings, eight targets, these people were inside being held by the Taliban, the U.S. believes, and were killed in these air strikes. They don't know exactly how many, of course, were civilians. They're still trying to figure all of that out.

What they are telling us is that they hit a number of buildings that were actually in the middle of poppy and wheat fields and that they were taking heavy fire from these buildings, so they had every reason to believe, they say, that these were insurgent areas. The investigation continues. More details expected to be coming out in the days ahead.

But it couldn't come at a more difficult time for the Obama administration and the government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. These civilian deaths always very controversial. There's a lot of angst in Afghanistan about these types of situations -- Betty.

NGUYEN: No doubt. All right, CNN's Barbara Starr. Thank you for that, Barbara.

You know, civilian casualties are becoming a politically sensitive issue for the government and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It's something that he talked about this week during his visit to Washington.


HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: I'm glad that this recognition is there in the United States government and the parliament, the Senate and the House. We will work together to address it. It causes pain to Afghans. It's something that we want to have addressed very, very much seriously and quicker and in a manner that will eventually rather sooner end casualties to the Afghan people, something that we have spoken about in very clear words.


NGUYEN: Our Wolf Blitzer has a one-on-one interview with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and you can watch that in "THE SITUATION ROOM" tonight at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

All right, so, facing the challenges head on. One graduating high school senior already has a leg up on his college career, and he's only 12 years old. Here's a live picture of him. We're going to meet this amazing young man and find out more about his early climb to academic excellence.


NGUYEN: Well, the Class of 2009 comes in all shapes and sizes, as well as ages, apparently. We've been talking this week about the challenges facing high school and college seniors. But now, we want to introduce you to one kid who is conquering all of those challenges. His name is Sky Choi. He is a 12-year-old high school senior in Miami who is more than ready to tackle college. He joins us now live. Sky, I mean, just looking at what you've done so far at the young age of 12, I mean, by the age of 3, you could speak English and Korean. By the time you finished preschool, you were doing third-grade math.

I know you don't like the word "genius," so, do you feel you're gifted? Or do you feel you've had to really work hard at this?

SKY CHOI, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Well, I feel that I am different, but it doesn't really matter if you're smart or not, it's whether that you work hard.

NGUYEN: And that's been the key to your success?

CHOI: Yes.

NGUYEN: And, you know, speaking of success, you've already started taking classes at Florida International University. In fact, this fall, you're going to be a sophomore. What's it like to be the youngest student on campus?

CHOI: Well, I feel, actually, perfectly comfortable in that environment.

NGUYEN: Really? Are you making friends? Are you hanging out with some of the other students, because, mind you, many of them are 18 and older. They're dating, they're living on their own, they're driving cars.

CHOI: Actually, like, a lot of people are my friends.


CHOI: Yes.

NGUYEN: So, you feel like you've been accepted, and you're learning that side of life, as well, aside from the academic?

CHOI: Yes.

NGUYEN: All right. Very good. You're studying to be a physicist. Ultimately, what do you want to do with that?

CHOI: Well, what I want to do with it is I want to do research. I also want to teach classes along the way, publish papers, you know...

NGUYEN: You know, the regular stuff that...

CHOI: ... what a normal physicist...

NGUYEN: ... a 12-year-old does. What do you do for fun besides study? CHOI: Oh, I actually do tae kwon do. It's a martial art. I'm a third-degree black belt.

NGUYEN: Oh, that's very good. And I see right there you're playing with some kind of a Game Boy, or is that outdated? Is it like a PlayStation now?

CHOI: Oh, yes, I play with my phone. So, I play games on that. And I also play this complex Asian game called Go. It is 2,000 years older than chess.

NGUYEN: Oh, really? It all seems so smart, these things that you're doing. I mean, what do you do just to chill out? I mean, do you have a girlfriend? What are some of the things that other 12- year-olds do that you do, as well?

CHOI: OK, I sleep.

NGUYEN: I know kids do plenty of that. You know, you've excelled at such a young age. You're, you know, attending college, going to be a sophomore in the fall, as I mentioned. Do you feel like you're missing out at all on some of these things that kids your age will eventually do when they get into high school like prom and homecoming and all of those kinds of things?

CHOI: I actually don't regret any of this at all. I mean, I'm actually having a very fun experience, and I like to hang out with older people.

NGUYEN: Yes, and you're very mature, obviously, for your age and very smart. One last thing I want our viewers to know about you. You have started your own nonprofit, this charity that helps Iraqi children. Tell us just a little bit about that.

CHOI: Well, it is -- well, you know Iraqi refugee children, they helped us, and once they get here, they don't, you know, have anybody. They don't really have any friends yet. So, what we do is, we send care packages. We send toys, you know, toys, you need toys, of course. And, you know, cards and make them feel welcome.

NGUYEN: Yes, absolutely. Well, you know, you're quite a kid to watch, and I'll be interested to see where you are five years from now. Heck, a year from now, you're excelling so fast. Thanks so much for spending a little time with us today.

CHOI: Thank you.

NGUYEN: The nation's financial crisis, almost all of us feeling the pinch. And that means dealing with the unexpected: unemployment, foreclosure and empty savings accounts. I know you have questions. Well, CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis has answers, and she is manning "The Help Desk."


GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: We want to get you answers to your financial questions. Let's go straight to "The Help Desk." Donna Rosato is a senior writer for "Money" magazine, and Ryan Mack is the president of Optimum Capital Management.

All right, let's get to the first question, guys. It's from a viewer in New York who asked, "Do you think it's a good idea to use my 401(k) to pay for graduate school instead of taking out a student loan? Are there penalties and tax implications?"

Donna, everybody's talking about, how do I retrain, and how do I pay for it?

DONNA ROSATO, SENIOR WRITER, "MONEY" MAGAZINE: It's a great idea to go back to school if you're -- and it's good to educate yourself more, but remember, your 401(k) is for your retirement, and you don't really want to dip into that pot now if you don't have to. Now, if you do have a 401(k), you can borrow from it if you're still employed, and you may be able to -- but if you borrow from it, you're going to have to pay it back. You have to pay it back with interest.

And then if you leave your employer, say you want to go to grad school full-time, you have to pay the whole thing back. Now, if you're talking about just taking it all out and cashing it out, there are taxes and penalties. You'll pay a 10 percent penalty, and you'll federal and state taxes, as well. It's a big price to pay.

WILLIS: That could be as much as 40 percent out the door right away. Generally doesn't pay to break into the 401(k) because interest rates on student loans are so low.

ROSATO: Exactly.

WILLIS: Let's go to Carolyn's question: "My brother lost his job in December. He contacted the bank in January to see if he could work out his mortgage. When he didn't hear back, he called again and again. Finally yesterday, he reached someone who told him that since he couldn't show an income, besides obviously unemployment benefits, he didn't qualify for assistance. Where else can he go for help to avoid foreclosure?"

Ryan, the dirty secret of foreclosure is, if you don't have an income, you can't get a new mortgage.

RYAN MACK, PRESIDENT, OPTIMUM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Exactly. Well, the first thing is to get a job. You have to make sure you have some sort proof of income. Get a part-time job. I mean, go down to your local community center and see what -- if there's any jobs available. Ask your local politicians for job listings if they're available.

The major four things we have to do is, first of all, (INAUDIBLE) don't ignore the problem, go to the mortgage lender with a plan, know your options -- restatement, forbearance, maybe a short sale. That's the last option, but it is a viable option -- and finally, stick to the plan. Once you get a plan to come together, stick to it, and you should be fine. WILLIS: All right, guys, great answers. Very good questions. Indeed, "The Help Desk" is all about getting you answers. Send me an e-mail to or log on to to see more of our financial solutions. And "The Help Desk" is everywhere. Make sure to check out the latest issue of "Money" magazine on newsstands now.


NGUYEN: Well, economists, they are looking for fresh signs of recovery. Often refer to them as green shoots. So, could they be sprouting into green jobs? Poppy Harlow joins us with an interesting new field of growth.


NGUYEN: Job losses, they slowed in April, and there is another bright spot: Green jobs on the way.'s Poppy Harlow has our "Energy Fix" from New York. Hey there, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Hey, Betty. Yes, I mean, jobs are certainly the focus today, and green jobs, we're hearing so much about that. The president actually may touch on this when he speaks in the next hour. There's a Dutch wind turbine company named Vestas. It's actually the biggest wind turbine maker in the world.

They have cut jobs in Europe, and they've added jobs in the United States. They're building five factories in Colorado. They say that's going to create about 2,500 jobs. They're opening a research facility, they say, near Houston. That's going to employ about 100 more people.

And it's interesting because Vestas isn't the only European company doing this. A German conglomerate, Siemens, just this week announced it's going to open a wind turbine plant, as well, this one in Kansas. It's going to break ground this summer. And Betty, that should create about 400 jobs. So, it's very interesting to see these European companies coming in and taking advantage of the stimulus tax credit.

NGUYEN: Yes, you know, there's so much talk about jobs out there, I mean, but give us some specifics. What kind of jobs are we talking about?

HARLOW: Yes, most of these are manufacturing or assembly line jobs, kind of good news for former autoworkers. A lot of them are getting -- Some of them, rather, getting hired here. There's a company called SOS Staffing. It recruits for a lot of these big wind energy companies. But it says it's getting about 400 to 500 resumes for every opening. So, it's still very, very tough to get these green jobs.

The company says some hires are actually moving from states like Michigan where, of course, the auto industry has been hit so hard. These new jobs, they're opportunities for a lot of these unemployed autoworkers. One example of that, a company we've been talking to is MasTech and Mariah Power. They came together. They actually turned, Betty, an old auto plant in a small town named Manistee, Michigan, into a wind turbine plant, and they just opened it a few weeks ago.

And Betty, they've said they're committed to hiring locally, which is good news. So, some green jobs on the way. Hopefully, many more to come.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. All right, Poppy Harlow, we appreciate it.

You know, less than an hour from now, President Obama will outline new help for the nation's unemployed. And among the highlights, new rules that would allow the unemployed to enroll in college or training programs without surrendering their benefits. President Obama is due to speak at 11:30 Eastern, and we will carry that live.


NGUYEN: Well, this story may have you talking. A Minnesota couple is refusing to allow their cancer-stricken son to get chemotherapy. They say the medical treatment goes against their beliefs. But a county prosecutor says it could save the boy's life, and he is asking a judge to order the boy into treatment. Here's Karla Hult with our affiliate KARE.


KARLA HULT, KARE-TV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Daniel Hauser could be like any other teenager in southern Minnesota, tending to his cows...

DANIEL HAUSER, CANCER PATIENT: I think that's part Jersey and Swiss.

HULT: ... talking about school.

D. HAUSER: I've been feeling really great lately.

HULT: But this 13-year-old is also at the center of a controversial child protection case, one that raises the question: Does a parent have a right to choose his child's medical care over the advice of doctors?

COLLEEN HAUSER, DANIEL'S MOTHER: It's really about our rights. It's more about our religious freedoms here.

HULT: Last January, Colleen and Tony Hauser learned their son had a common form of Hodgkins lymphoma. Doctors at Children's Hospital and the Mayo Clinic recommended a full six rounds of chemotherapy.

C. HAUSER: He was sick. He was awfully sick.

HULT: Daniel started with one, and then Daniel and his parents said no more. They're instead treating Daniel with traditional medicine, one that follows a diet of whole, fresh foods, and one that's in line with their beliefs. The family's both Catholic and members of the Nemenhah Band, a Native American organization.

C. HAUSER: And it is our religious freedom and right to do this.

HULT: But prosecutors argue those rights don't apply when a child's life is at stake.

JAMES OLSON, BROWN COUNTY ATTORNEY: The child probably would've died.

HULT: Brown County Attorney James Olson says doctors contend Daniel has a 90 percent chance of recovery with chemotherapy and radiation. He says that percentage plummets without that care.

OLSON: Because on the one side, you have parental rights to make choices with regard to their children. You know, health choices, everything else. On the other side, the state, the compelling interest here is the protection and welfare of children.


NGUYEN: And the parents are expected to defend their decision in court today, and the county attorney will be seeking a court order forcing the boy into treatment.

I'm Betty Nguyen. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Tony Harris.