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Low Expectations for Peace; Fight Against Climate Change; Forward on Health Care Reform
Aired September 22, 2009 - 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. It is Tuesday, September 22nd, the first day of autumn. And here are the stories in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Barack Obama face to face with both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, wading into the Mideast morass that stumped so many U.S. presidents.
It is viewed as the plan most likely to succeed. The Senate Finance Committee opening debate on health care reform and gearing up for changes.
A Georgia amusement park under water, and the roller-coaster weather ride is not over. Man. Rain stays in the South's forecast.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Let's quickly get you caught up on the day's hot headlines, then take the time to break down the big issues to find out why they really matter. And leading the way this hour, the president playing Middle East peacemaker.
Talks under way right now in New York. President Obama meeting separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. All three leaders scheduled to come together about 30 minutes from now. Live reports ahead from Jerusalem and New York.
President Obama is fresh from the floor of the United Nations. His first speech there focused on fighting global warming. The president reassuring a climate control summit about his commitment to the cause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For too many years, mankind has been slow to respond or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country as well. We recognize that.
But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I'm proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: And live pictures now. The Senate Finance Committee is taking up the health care reform plan put forward by its chairman, Max Baucus. Senators will debate more than 500 amendments. Even Baucus is offering changes to his plan to attract support.
We will outline those later and talk to CNN's Brianna Keilar. She's on Capitol Hill.
A terror investigation widens. A source tells CNN agents are looking for about a dozen additional terrorist suspects. They are linked to an alleged plot to blow up transportation hubs. Three men were taken into custody over the weekend, two in Denver, one in New York. They are charged with making false statements.
Misery across the South this morning as storms rob people of their homes, highways and, in some cases, their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the highest water that I've seen, and I have been living here all my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's really set in that this is real. This is -- we're flooded out. We don't have a home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: We are covering all of this today with Jacqui Jeras in CNN's Severe Weather Center and Rob Marciano. He is on the ground here in Georgia.
That is a look at the day's big stories. Now let's go in depth in the CNN NEWSROOM.
President Obama is about to host trilateral talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the possibility of a breakthrough slim to none, according to most observers. Past failures dashing hopes for future peace.
Our Paula Hancocks takes a look.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1993: the historic handshake between the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. U.S. President Bill Clinton overseas the Oslo Peace Accords.
1998: Benjamin Netanyahu, on his first term as Israeli prime minister, joins Mr. Clinton and Mr. Arafat for the Wye River Memorandum.
2000: a Camp David summit with another new Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak.
2007: U.S. President George W. Bush brings together Israel's Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
2009: all previous attempts at peace in the Middle East have failed in varying degrees. U.S. President Barack Obama will try to restart Israeli/Palestinian peace talks Tuesday with a trilateral meeting. While Mr. Obama may be following in distinguished footsteps, he also faces increased cynicism from failures past. Word on the Israeli streets of west Jerusalem is mixed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's some difficult questions that have been sort of sidelined. And I think without really addressing them up front, it will be hard to come to any sort of meaningful outcome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope this time that we're not going to waste any time anymore and just drag on and drag on for no reason.
HANCOCKS (on camera): Israeli journalists don't appear to be holding out much home for this meeting. Here's just a couple of the newspaper headlines this week -- "Summit, Yes; Expectations No." "The U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell returned empty-handed, but President Obama insisted."
(voice-over): The streets of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank are quiet for the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, but those we found had little hope. This man says Israel's not ready to offer anything except for a photo opportunity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the last 10, 15 years, all of the peace talks never get one step ahead. So, this time they have to prove it and start on the right track. If we can't start right track now, they never will.
HANCOCKS: Sixteen years after the Oslo Peace Accords were signed, the faces may have changed but the goal remains the same -- an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal that works.
HARRIS: Our Paula Hancocks joining us live from Jerusalem.
And Paula, the expectations are so low for the meeting today. I'm wondering what, if anything, could be accomplished by the president in this trilateral meeting. As you mentioned, Senator Mitchell, special enjoy there, leaves the region after six days of talks without any key concessions.
What's the possible reset here?
HANCOCKS: Well, you know, Tony, expectations really couldn't be lower on both sides of the conflict over here, and really both sides didn't want to be seen as the impediment to peace. The U.S. president, Barack Obama, is willing for this trilateral meeting. And even though the Israeli leader, the Palestinian leader, didn't necessarily want it or think it would come to anything, they didn't want to seem as the ones that were unwilling in that impediment to peace. Now Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said since the American administration had asked for a freeze on settlements, we won't meet, we won't have peace talks with the Israelis until there is that settlement freeze. There hasn't been a settlement freeze, at least not as far as we know publicly.
But, of course, the Hamas group in Gaza which is in charge of Gaza -- remember Abbas is only speaking for half the Palestinian people -- have said they believe that he's betraying the Palestinian interests. But, of course, the upside is the expectations are so low, they are at rock bottom, that maybe any agreement they can come to, even if they say in the future we will start talking peace, could be seen as progress -- Tony.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes. OK.
Paula Hancocks for us in Jerusalem.
Paula, appreciate it. Thank you.
President Obama said Middle East peace is a top priority early in his presidency. Let's continue this discussion now with CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.
And Suzanne, essentially the same question to you. But let me shade it this way. Look, this is the first time President Obama is meeting with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority together. Will he be able to maybe get what Paula is suggesting, an agreement to talk down the road?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think what you're going to see, Tony, is two things that they're doing here, the administration. Obviously, they're not going to have any major breakthroughs, but what they want to show is that the president is engaged, that he does care about the process, that this is still a priority.
You may recall the last year under President Bush, President Bush made huge declarations about Middle East peace. He had Secretary Condoleezza Rice out there making numerous trips. But he wasn't necessarily personally involved in bringing the leaders together. So, you have a difference here.
You have President Obama wanting to show that, yes, at the highest levels of his government, he's backing up his special envoy, George Mitchell, and trying to get these two at the table. The other thing that is happening here is that he is demonstrating that he is the one guy who can bring these two leaders together even, if they don't discuss very much in that room of significance, of substance. That he is a powerful enough player that people respond to him, and that he is going put them in the same room and at least begin, at least start this process, and that that will be continuous.
I think those two things the Obama administration sees as real feathers in their cap. Now, it doesn't mean that you're going to have any major, significant news coming out of this meeting. At the very least, you've got a picture of the three of them sitting down and saying here is where the process begins, and we will continue until we get something out of this.
The question is, Tony, of course, whether or not that ever happens, but this is just the beginning. It's just the first eight months in his administration.
HARRIS: And we'll have the picture of the three men together in the next half-hour. And when we talk again, if not later this hour, next hour, Suzanne, I want to know if there's any risk to the president's world standing, world authority, if you hold this trilateral meeting and nothing discernible comes from it.
Let's talk about that next hour.
HARRIS: Suzanne Malveaux for us in New York with the president.
And take a look at this.
Where's the video, here?
Water. Just -- wow, where is this? Water everywhere.
This is in Marietta, Georgia. We're talking about roads flooded, streets, homes, cars. This is from an iReport sent to us.
We will check in with our severe weather team. We're talking about meteorologist Jacqui Jeras and Rob Marciano. We're coming back in just a moment.
HARRIS: Let's check in on our top stories right now.
At a military parade in Tehran today, Iran's president declared the country stronger than ever and capable of defeating any attack. It comes a day after Israel refused to rule out force as a means to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear weapon.
Crackdown in Honduras. Police use tear gas to disperse supporters of ousted president Manuel Zelaya. It happened today outside the Brazilian Embassy. That's where Zelaya has taken refuge since secretly returning to the country Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ran out like a devil, ready to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS: Ready to fight. Don't mess with Bill. Despite the fact that he is 88 years old and drives a motorized chair, he's not about to let anyone get away with his money. Let's make that 88 years young.
Says he fought off three would-be robbers who tried to make off with his safe Sunday. They finally ran away. Bill still has his safe.
The worldwide fight against global warming priority number one at the U.N. this morning. A climate control summit underway right now.
Our Christine Romans joining me live from New York. And she has been talking to an actor who has long been involved with environmental causes.
Christine, good to see you. Look at you talking about climate change with a Hollywood legend.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Indiana Jones trying to outrun that rolling boulder of climate change; right?
Look, Harrison Ford is an actor, but he's also an activist. And he's got a lot of credibility on this green card, if you will.
You know, some actors and celebrities, they have politics or personal -- you know, the things they like to really push. But he really has been doing this green activism for some time. And he says he's trying to gain momentum from the U.N. to the G-20, to this Copenhagen summit in December, to really say we're all in this together -- politicians, people and companies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Environmentalists have sometimes said that companies are part of the problem, that corporate America and big multinational -- problem. You're embracing certain companies and CEOs saying, look, let's do this together.
HARRISON FORD, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: I think, why deny anybody a place at the table?
FORD: They may be part of the problem. Some of them are. But they are a great part of the solution. Our alliances with corporations have shown us that they feel responsible to their consumers and their employees, and they know that serving the environment is good business, it makes sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: He is particularly interested in deforestation. At this event that I went to, it's called Team Earth. There were a bunch of companies there, Wal-Mart, SC Johnson, Harris, Starbucks, the president of the country of Guyana. But Harrison Ford clearly the star power here.
He's trying to use his reputation and his influence because he's a worldwide movie actor to try to really bring attention to something he thinks is incredibly important. And they are trying to -- he and a lot of other people are trying to gain momentum on this issue.
There's a lot of talking, Tony, a lot of hot air, talking, talking, talking about climate change, but a lot of people feel like we're at a critical juncture. And today, the leaders of the two countries which are the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are both laying out their -- the United States and China -- both laying out their strategies.
I asked him about in Indy 5 -- I couldn't -- you can't ask him without asking what's he doing in his work life. He says if there's a good script, he'll do another Indy movie. So...
HARRIS: Yes, exactly.
And back to this whole climate change issue, it would be easier to get some of these things done and to do more than just talk if the global economy were performing a little better right now. A lot of this stuff is expensive. So...
ROMANS: And I asked him that, too. And you can see his answer and the whole interview on "YOUR $$$$$," Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Sunday at 3:00.
HARRIS: Ooh, don't do that. I want to tease it for you.
Christine, appreciate it. Thank you.
And again, can't encourage you enough to watch Christine and Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi this weekend on "YOUR $$$$$." It is a special edition from the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
Senator Max Baucus' health care proposal now in the hands of the Finance Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), CHAIRMAN, FINANCE COMMITTEE: No one should die because they cannot afford health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Well, the markup begins, and so far there are more than 550 amendments.
HARRIS: A lot to get to here. The full Senate Finance Committee opened debate today on a health care reform bill. The 23 members will consider more than 500 amendments this week already.
The bill's chief architect, committee chairman Max Baucus, is considering changes to his own plan. Let's outline them.
First, reducing the penalty levied on middle class families that don't buy health insurance. Also, increasing financial assistance to moderate income families to help them pay for insurance. And Senator Baucus is looking at reducing the impact of an excise tax on high-end insurance plans, so-called Cadillac coverage.
The Baucus plan is widely seen as a middle-of-the-road bill. The bill that can pass the Senate in a track has (ph) support from Blue Dog conservatives in the House. But one Senate Republican accuses Democrats of rushing to the finish line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: I have a feeling that the White House and leadership on your side grew impatient and, through artificial deadlines, forced us to where we are today. It seems to me that some people in the Senate would rather have it done right now instead of being done right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: CNN's Brianna Keilar is watching the maneuvering at the Capitol today. Well, that's an interesting vantage point there, Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Tony. and you know, we're paying a lot of attention to what's going on in this room behind me. This is -- and maybe we don't always pay as close attention to something like this, Tony, what we call a markup, where these members of this committee are taking a bill, and they are going through it really line by line, taking out things they don't want, making adjustments to things, making changes.
And we're paying such close attention this time because what happens down here, and these amendments here, all of them...
HARRIS: Look at that.
KEILAR: ... over 500 of them, what they make -- the changes they're making, Tony, really seen as so integral to whatever type of health care reform bill comes out of the Senate. And that's why we are just pouring over all of these amendments and waiting to see if maybe this committee behind me is going to get to some of these today.
HARRIS: Right. So, 564 amendments. I saw that number this morning. And tell us about some of the more contentious ones.
KEILAR: I won't go through all of them.
(LAUGHTER) KEILAR: But there's certainly a few that I thought were particularly interesting. One from Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat from West Virginia. Big proponent of the public option, the government-run insurance plan. He has added an attemendment to add a government-run insurance plan, that public option.
So, you can see Democrats and Republicans trying to change this bill here because it doesn't include that public option as you know. Also, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, has proposed an amendment, a change that would force employers to help cover their employees. Right now there are incentives for employers to do this, but it's not a mandate.
And then also, this is an opportunity, Tony, and we're going to be seeing, certainly, a partisan tone throughout this process over this next week. Republicans are going to force some tough votes for Democrats. For instance, John Ensign of Nevada, he is going to -- he has an amendment that would change the word "fee." Every time the word "fee" comes up in this bill, he wants it changed instead to a "tax."
So, we've actually been going through that bill and trying to highlight exactly where every time this would change, and it's quite a lot. We're going to show you that next hour.
HARRIS: Tax, fee, penalty. I suppose at the end of the day, it has to be paid for somehow.
Congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar for us. Brianna, appreciate it. Thank you.
Investigators say they expect to make more arrests in an alleged terror plot. This after three men originally from Afghanistan were arrested Saturday.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in New York with the latest on the widespread investigation now. What are you learning, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, we can tell you that CNN has learned that the Joint Terrorism Task Force is looking for a dozen more people connected to a suspected terror plot to detonate bombs in the U.S., most likely on subways and trains. In addition, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security this morning reminding police across the country that hotels, sports stadiums and entertainment venues may also be potential terror targets. Now, an earlier advisory had alerted police to the possibility of homemade peroxide-based explosives.
So, where do things stand? Well, two men, one in New York, another in Denver, remain in custody on charges of lying to investigators. The father of one of the men was released yesterday on $50,000 bail. He is on home confinement with an electronic bracelet. You're looking at the Denver raid earlier last week.
Now, among the strongest leads, according to a variety of law enfnforcement sources, a computer file belonging to the Denver suspect, Najibullah Zazi, with handwritten notes on how to make and detonate a bomb, video of Grand Central Terminal here in Manhattan, backpacks allegedly discovered in one of the New York apartments raided last week and attempts by a group of Afghan men in Queens to rent a U-Haul truck with cash and no identification. U-Haul employees identified one of the men as Ahmad Afzali, a New York imam who authorities say tipped off Zazi, who you see there being taken into custody, telling him that he was under surveillance.
Now, the imam's lawyer says all of this simply not true. But the imam is in jail pending a detention hearing Thursday on charges of lying to investigators. There you see some video of raids that took place earlier last week at the start of last week, and that's what led to all of this investigation coming to light -- Tony.
HARRIS: OK. Deborah Feyerick for us with the latest on this investigation in New York. Deb, appreciate it. Thank you.
In business news, it is renowned for crab cakes -- yum! -- its Naval Academy and a baseball player who rarely missed a game. But during this recession, perhaps its best attribute is that it is the state with the biggest paychecks. I didn't know this.
Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on a new Census Bureau survey. Good morning, Susan.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You getting homesick? You getting homesick, Tony?
HARRIS: Absolutely. Crab cakes and a big paycheck. I like that a lot.
LISOVICZ: The Inner Harbor.
LISOVICZ: Camden Yards.
HARRIS: Oh, you know my city well.
LISOVICZ: I actually wrote it thinking that Tony's just going -- he's just going to get homesick just hearing it.
HARRIS: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
LISOVICZ: The biggest paychecks are in your home state. Maryland, Tony Harris, number one for the third year in a row where the median income is $70,545. Followed by my home state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alaska and Hawaii. On the other side of the scale, smallest paychecks are in the South. Mississippi's median income just under $38,000, followed by West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama, all in the South -- Tony.
HARRIS: Look at that. But here's the thing. What happens to those numbers when you factor in the cost of living in these places. My guess is the picture changes pretty dramatically. LISOVICZ: Absolutely, Tony. The cost of living in Bethesda, Maryland, 50 percent higher than Tupelo, Mississippi. Let's look at something small like a dozen eggs. In Bethesda, Maryland, just under two bucks. In Tupelo, Mississippi, 1.50.
Now, let's look at a big-ticket item. Median home price in Bethesda, $530,000. Tupelo, 220 grand. Huge difference.
LISOVICZ: The South and Midwest offer the best bang for your buck. That's once you factor in your purchasing power.
Here on Wall Street, well, we're seeing some purchasing. We're seeing some buying after yesterday's very mild sell-off. Dow industrials right now up a quarter of a percent, as is the Nasdaq -- Tony.
HARRIS: Awesome. Awesome.
Hey, you know, I didn't get a chance to watch the Letterman show last night. You know, they tape it up there where you live and where you hang out. Did you see a little bit of it last night?
LISOVICZ: I saw some clips from it.
HARRIS: So, we're going to run one for you right now. Hang with me on this. President Obama, as we just mentioned, sort of dropped by the "Late Show," and we understand the timing was deadpan needle- point. Host David Letterman asked about all those claims that racism is behind political attacks. Here's how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, I think it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Really?
OBAMA: This is true. This is true?
LETTERMAN: So, how long have you been a black man?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: All right, OK, all right. I'm going to leave that alone. Anything I say at this point is only get me a memo of some kind.
But Susan, we've got more. Apparently, the president looked nervously ahead to the day when his daughters begin dating. I can't wait for that. Why don't you just stick around for that moment with the president and David Letterman.
Susan, appreciate it. See you next hour.
LISOVICZ: You got it.
HARRIS: Thank you.
Still to come, 1 million Americans that are currently out of a job could be getting more benefits. I want you to read all about it if you have a few seconds here of your time. At CNNmoney.com, you can read the House bill.
We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: Let's get you caught up on our top stories now. President Obama right now hosting bilateral talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The three leaders are meeting in New York. The objective is to rekindle Mideast peace talks.
A massive crackdown on one of Los Angeles's most notorious gangs. Before daybreak this morning, police raided dozens of homes, searching for about 90 alleged members and associates of the Avenues gang. They are accused of everything from drug dealing to murder.
Afghanistan's president is adding his voice to debate over whether the U.S. should send more troops. President Hamid Karzai says he agrees with the Afghan's war top U.S. general. U.S. General Stanley McChrystal has warned the war, now nearly eight years old, will likely result in failure if more troops aren't sent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: Where General McChrystal is asking for more resources in all aspects to boost the effort against terrorism, he has our support there, too, fully. So, the overall report as far as Afghanistan is concerned, is one that has the right approach, and we back it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: There's a lot of dissent of Capitol Hill and in Afghanistan over whether sending more troops will do the trick. Some senior military leaders in both countries say there's another option: recruiting the help of armed militias.
CNN's Michael Ware is on the ground in Kandahar and talking to tribal warlords.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The war in Afghanistan is not going well. U.S. commanders tell me something dramatic has to change if the American mission here is to be saved. For months, the White House has been talking about sending in more troops, but they will never be enough, and politically back home, the with will to fight this war is deteriorating rapidly.
(on camera): It's clear that the way this war is currently being fought is simply is not working. The Taliban are as strong as ever. Right now, American strategy for fighting this conflict is undergoing a massive review. And it's obvious that there's simply not enough international nor Afghan troops to do the job. That's leading many to call for something that's all too familiar here in Afghanistan, the involvement of the tribe or simply a return of the warlords.
(voice-over): Senior military sources say they may draw upon the lessons of Iraq and enlist tribal militias to fight the Taliban where U.S. troops cannot. This man is the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He's also the powerful leader of a tribe. He tells me the only way for a U.S. victory here is to use the tribal forces.
AHMED WALI KARZAI, BROTHER OF HAMID KARZAI: You can win very easily. The right approach would be go back to the tribes.
WARE: He says with support of tribal forces, the U.S. could take away the support that Taliban needs to survive.
KARZAI: We must cut off the sources -- the transportation, the food, the drinking water, the weapons, hide my weapons, bury my dead and take my wounded to the hospital. These are all the things that it comes from the community. And people are not supporting this. They have no choice.
WARE: The other Kandahar tribal leader, (INAUDIBLE), says the U.S. needs a different kind of support. He was a hero of the Soviet war. He says America must turn again to the same Mujahadeen, who with the CIA help defeated the Soviets.
"If America doesn't lend a hand to the Mujahadeen," he says, "it will have lost this war in Afghanistan."
Lose the war, he says, because the Mujahadeen are already disenchanted with the U.S.-backed Afghan government in Kabul.
"The Mujahadeen in this city are disabled. They lost legs, arms, eyes and are left to sell vegetables," he says. "And the Afghan government just shuts them out. Who are these government people? They came from America and now are cleaning toilets in America as exiles while we were here hitting Russian tanks."
While rearming and employing these men, America may be able to appease them and prevent more from slipping over to the Taliban side. Already, a senior Afghan government official in Kabul confirmed to CNN a pilot program in southern Afghanistan is under way, creating what the government calls national local protectors.
American military sources say the U.S. plans to place Green Beret advisers with these militias to provide guidance, air support and to prevent abuses. Whatever you call them, militias, warlords, national local protectors, the option is one that the United States will need to seriously consider.
Michael Ware, CNN, Kandahar.
HARRIS: OK, we have been asking you to send your thoughts about U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Here's what some of you are saying to us.
Mark says, "Get out of Afghanistan now and put the U.S. military on the Mexican border where they can do us all some real immediate good." KJ says, "No, I think we need to shift rapidly from Iraq to Afghanistan, apply maximum pressure in Afghanistan for six months and then start a gradual withdrawal."
As always, we welcome your input. Just send your thoughts to me at CNN.com/tony.
Tough questions. Tough interviews. That's what you'll see beginning this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Christiane Amanpour grills international leaders about global stories that matter to you. "AMANPOUR," CNN every Sunday at 2:00 p.m. after GPS.
The underwater discovery of an ancient port delays construction of a subway tunnel connecting two continents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN MAY, CNN IREPORTER: This is Bogs (ph) Creek at the foot of Blood Mountain. I'm sure all you trout fishermen would know where Bogs Creek is. Anyway, it's taken our little small Trout Creek and turned it into a raging river, which is all ending up down there towards you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Can you believe this? Storms really changing the landscape all across the Southeast.
If you get a moment, if you're not trying to dry out your basement, pump all the water out or save your car or your precious belongings in your homes, send us what's happening in your neighborhood. Send your photos, your video to CNN.com/ireport. We'll try to get those on the air as quickly as we can.
And Jacqui Jeras, you know, we have a little sliver of a window here from our fifth-floor newsroom perch here at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes.
HARRIS: And I'm looking out of that window right now...
JERAS: And you saw it?
HARRIS: ... and I see as if on cue, the sun.
JERAS: I have a better picture for you, my friend.
HARRIS: You do?
JERAS: Yes. Check it out.
JERAS: You see it out there?
HARRIS: I don't -- I'm ready to do the happy dance. Are you kidding me?
JERAS: Let's see it. Come on.
HARRIS: It's a little goofy. It's -- you know the kid from "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," Carlton? It looks little bit like that. It's a little embarrassing, yes.
JERAS: A little like that. Hmm, I know that visual, my friend.
HARRIS: And it's bad, isn't it?
JERAS: Kind of like mine.
HARRIS: Sun, love it.
JERAS: I know. It's beautiful. And you know, it's the first time we've really seen much of the sun in about seven days, so it's great to see that.
But one thing that you have to think about when we start to see that sun, that creates a little bit of instability in the atmosphere. That provides a little bit of lift. And with as much moisture as we have, I should check what the dew point is, because it's got to be crazy.
HARRIS: One hundred fifty or something?
JERAS: Yes. I mean, it's so ripe in the atmosphere, so, it's not going to feel comfortable, even though it does look good. And we get any kind of little instability, and that can help to trigger more showers and thundershowers.
HARRIS: As promised, more of President Obama on "The Late Show with David Letterman." Here he puts on his dad cap and talks about his daughters and the b word -- boys!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LETTERMAN: What do you think it is like for them to have their father be the president? What does that do to the kid experience?
OBAMA: You know, so far, I think it's fine. This is seriously something Michelle and I think about all the time. They're young enough where they don't notice it that much.
I worry a little bit when they get to be teenagers, right? because I suppose they'll want to go out on dates. And I'll have all these men with guns surrounding them.
OBAMA: And -- that may end up...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: And here's what we are working on for the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Getting out of debt. We will follow one woman on her quest to rid herself of an $80,000 credit card bill. Are you kidding me?
Plus, a new twist in the John Edwards sex scandal. A claim that after Edwards fathered a child with his mistress, he convinced someone else to claim paternity?
We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: Folks in Turkey will have to wait at least another four years for a much-needed subway project to be completed, after construction workers stumbled upon an ancient seaport.
Here's CNN's Ivan Watson on the latest on the subway dig.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a common sight in Istanbul's traffic-choked streets, angry drivers. Most residents quick to tell you, and each other, the city's transport system is overwhelmed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Istanbul is a dynamically changing city. Every year increasing population. So, therefore, we are in need of radical systems.
WATSON: The radical solution, build a new subway tunnel beneath the Bosphorus Strait, the spectacular body of water that cuts the city in two.
NUSRAT ILBAY, ENGINEER: We will connect two continents, Asia and Europe. WATSON: First engineers dredged a trench. They then submerged and buried 11 massive tunnel segments, each longer than a football field. Workers now toil in the gloom of this 1.4-kilometer-long tube on the bottom of the sea. Since Istanbul is located in an active earthquake zone, engineers have had to prepare for the worst. Building an emergency bunker beneath the sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the sea comes in, and the water level comes to that level, everybody gets inside, close the sealed door and...
WATSON (on camera): Survives in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON (voice-over): When this tunnel is completed, subway trains are expected to carry more than 1 million people a day between Europe and Asia. But, in their rush to modernize Istanbul, city planners ran into an unforeseen obstacle, the lost fourth-century Byzantine port of Theodoseus, discovered right where one of the subway stations is to be built.
PROF. YUCEL YILMAZ, GEOLOGIST: I think it's one of the unique projects, not for us but for the world.
WATSON: Here, hundreds of meters from the sea, an army of workers and archeologies have uncovered a fleet of 34 thousand-year- old boats.
(on camera): This is the biggest ship that's been discovered at this archeological site, a 40-meter-long cargo ship that archeologies have nicknamed the Titanic. They believed it carried wheat from Egypt to Constantinople.
And look -- next to the ancient timbers that are being preserved as they're uncovered here with water, you can see remains of when this was a port -- an old sheep bone, old ceramics that we can see here from more than 1,000 years ago, and even oyster and clamshells from when this was a natural harbor.
(voice-over): Excavating this treasure trove of history has delayed construction of the tunnel by at least four years and added untold millions of dollars to the new transport project. In the rush to move forward, an accidental discovery of this city's ancient past.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.