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Joint Chiefs Chair Addresses Troops; Climate Change E-mail Fallout; U.S. Citizen Charged With Terror Plots
Aired December 7, 2009 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for your top of the hour reset. I'm Tony Harris in the CNN NEWSROOM.
It is 6:00 in the evening in Copenhagen where the world gathers to stop the planet from overheating. But leaked e-mails raise questions about the science of global warming across the nation.
Across the nation, 2 million children have a parent in the military. A new survey looks at the stress it is fueling for these kids.
And it is 11:00 a.m. In Kansas where scammers and con artists are using the federal stimulus program to rip off Americans.
Let's get started. First up, rallying the troops. Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen speaking directly to U.S. forces who may be leading the Afghanistan troop surge. First at Fort Campbell, Kentucky this morning and next hour, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Our Chris Lawrence is there and he joins us on the phone.
And Chris, maybe we should start by explaining why you're on the phone and not on camera. My understanding there is a pretty routine security sweep going on right now.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Tony.
I'm standing out here with a few hundred Marines. Everybody has been cleared out of the building right now as we anticipate Admiral Mullen will be arriving within the hour. So, yes, the security people are going through and doing their sweep right now.
HARRIS: Got you. And Chris, I understand you're getting some new numbers on troop deployments.
LAWRENCE: Exactly. About 16,000 American troops have been officially notified, given deployment orders to Afghanistan. That's more than half of the total number that was authorized by President Obama.
Now, first out of the gate will be about 1,500 Marines from an infantry battalion right here at Camp Lejeune. But the bigger push is going to come in March and April. That's when another 6,000 Marines will deploy from here with a smaller group coming from Camp Pendleton, California. On the Army side, the 10th Mountain Division will be deploying sometime also in the spring. Their job is going to be to train some of the Afghan soldiers and police. And all of these combat forces are going to be backed up by about 4,000 support troops who will also be deploying into the spring as well. So, you know, by the beginning of the summer, we're going to see half of those 30,000 troops on the ground there in Afghanistan.
HARRIS: And Chris, how are the families reacting and preparing for these deployments and possible deployments?
LAWRENCE: The official announcement came today, but I was speaking with a wife just last night. They kind of knew -- she knew her husband would be leaving within a month. They've already started to get their finances in order, talk to the kids, explain to them that, you know, dad's not going to be around for quite awhile.
It's definitely an adjustment period, but she's been through five deployments now. So she said, you know, it's something that they've kind of gotten used to at this point.
HARRIS: All right. Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Chris, appreciate it. Thank you.
And checking the wire now on the day's other big stories.
President Obama holding more meetings on Afghanistan today at the White House. He has a closed-door session scheduled with his top commander in the Afghan war, General Stanley McChrystal, and the U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry. The meeting comes ahead of a string of congressional hearings this week on the president's war plan. Both McChrystal and Eikenberry are set to testify.
A national holiday in Iran. Have a listen.
This video posted on YouTube shows demonstrators. As you can see, they jammed college campuses today, still angry over last June's presidential election results. Blogs say police cracked down at universities across Tehran. Reporters were warned against covering today's events.
In Peshawar, Pakistan, at least 11 people are dead, including two police officers, after a suicide explosion outside a courthouse. Officials say the bomber blew himself up as police tried to stop him from entering. Thirty-six other people were wounded.
Driving on the roads in Utah this time of year can be a bit tricky. And apparently, so can walking. That's why troopers are telling people to slow down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. SHELDON RICHES, UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: We've got people coming up behind us 60 miles an hour, 70 miles an hour. It's only a matter of time before they get in a crash that they cause, and they're going to cause somebody else damage or damage or injuries to themselves.
MINDY BLAKE, DRIVER: The car in front of me lost control, hit the barricade, bounced back into the freeway. And that's when I hit him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Boy, the snow and ice contributed to hundreds of accidents and close calls over the weekend.
World leaders are gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a summit on climate change. It could lay the groundwork for reducing greenhouse gas emissions well into the century, but leaked e-mails on climate change are causing political problems for Democrats in Congress.
The story now from CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With world leaders in Copenhagen hoping to cut a deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions, there are calls in Washington for hearings into a slew of stolen e- mails that global warming skeptics allege show leading scientists cooking the books on climate change.
REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R), WISCONSIN: They read more like scientific fascism than scientific process.
ACOSTA: It all started when the University at East Anglia in Britain discovered hackers had seized a file of more than 1,000 e- mails revealing researchers' private discussions on global warming. Climate change deniers have zeroed in on this e-mail that references an American scientist's trick to "hide the decline." That researcher, Penn State's Michael Mann, has since become the target of conservative critics who say he was trying to conceal a drop in global temperatures -- a charge he denies.
Across the blogosphere of skeptics, Climategate was born.
The controversy could not have come at a better time for Republicans. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe has fought Democrats on climate change legislation for months.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: One cannot deny the e-mails raised fundamental questions concerning, among other things, transparency and openness in science, especially taxpayer-funded science.
LISA JACKSON, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: You call it climate-gate, and I call it e-mail theft-gate.
ACOSTA: Last week, Republicans fired up a letter to the EPA, demanding it'll delay new limits on greenhouse gas emissions until the agency can demonstrate the science underlying these regulatory decisions has not been compromised.
The head of the EPA says the e-mails don't affect the scientific consensus on global warming.
JACKSON: I have not heard anything that causes to believe that that overwhelming consensus that climate change is happening and that manmade emissions are contributing to it have changed.
ACOSTA: GOP leaders are warning President Obama to reject any new climate change agreements in Copenhagen.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: We're not a dictatorship. The president can promise whatever he wants. The Congress has a role, if there is some proposed treaty, the Senate will vote on it.
ACOSTA: But in an era of green jobs, Democrats say denying global warming is not just bad science, it's bad business.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: If we ignore it, put our head in the sand, we're going to find countries like China leap flogging us, moving forward. That's going to create jobs for China, but not for America.
ACOSTA (on camera): Despite what these e-mails say, many respected climate scientists say the larger data still supports the global warming theory. And the controversy is not stopping the president from going to Copenhagen for the conclusion of the summit. Environmentalists hope that's a sign Mr. Obama wants to be there in person when a climate agreement is unveiled to the world.
Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
HARRIS: All right. We've got a bit of breaking news here we want to get to our Drew Griffin on.
And Drew, help us with this story now. We're talking about a U.S. citizen who was charged with planning an attack on a Danish newspaper, correct?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You'll remember a couple months ago, these two guys in Chicago, the Chicago area.
GRIFFIN: Pakistan natives were arrested for supposedly planning an attack on the Danish cartoonist...
HARRIS: I see.
GRIFFIN: ... who did a cartoon, derogatory, about Muhammad.
Well, now we have breaking news coming out of Chicago. A source very familiar with this investigation is saying these two men are going to be charged with aiding in the attacks in Mumbai. That was Thanksgiving last year, November 26th. You may recall, Tony, the hotels burning, or the gunfire that was going on.
HARRIS: Oh yes. No question.
GRIFFIN: Now what we're learning from our sources is that these two men in Chicago actually were part of that attack in the planning stage. They were seen around Mumbai doing some kind of surveillance there. The FBI is currently in New Delhi talking with Indian officials.
This is pretty big news because we've been talking about these homegrown terrorists for the last year now. Now we have these two men who were actively involved in planning a terrorist attack overseas. And the FBI, again, apparently going to link them with these Mumbai attacks.
HARRIS: And I see one of the names mentioned here -- was just checking -- is David Headley of Chicago.
GRIFFIN: That's right, David Headley, and the other fellow's name is Rana, Tahawwur Rana. And one of them ran an immigration service, and it was under that umbrella of immigration service that he was able to travel around and do a lot of the surveillance that the FBI will allege that he is doing.
Again, the announcement expected out of Chicago almost momentarily that these two men in Chicago involved in a terrorist attack across the world.
HARRIS: Yes. OK. Drew, appreciate it. Thank you.
And let's button up our coverage out of Copenhagen as world leaders address the issue of climate change. We also want to hear from you.
For the next two weeks, we are going to answer your questions about the issue. Go to CNN.com/Tony. Leave us a comment with your questions, and then we will present the answers and break it all down for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
You can also send us an iReport or you can call us. Here's the number: 1-877-742-5760. We want to hear from you on climate change.
The passionate debate over global warming and the climate change shifts into high gear, certainly in Copenhagen. But what is the truth about global warming?
Tonight at 8:00, a special edition of "CAMPBELL BROWN" looks at the science, the skepticism and the secrets surrounding global warming. Truth or -- trick or truth? That's tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
And now we're going to talk about traffic in Chicago in just a moment. Slick roads, slow going, ,to be sure. We will check in with our Jacqui Jeras, who has the early weather picture for us. First, though, you will be tapping your feet with our "Random Moment of the Day" in 90 seconds.
HARRIS: Left behind when mom and dad ship off to war. We're taking a look at the effect long deployments have on children. Nearly two million children have a parent in the military and know what it is like to deal with long deployments.
Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here.
And Elizabeth, what are we learning about the impact of these deployments on children?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were some researchers who wanted to know, you know -- look, there are so many children who end up without a parent temporarily with while they're being deployed. What exactly is the effect? Because it hasn't really been well studied.
So, they took a look at kids whose parents -- or had one parent -- who was deployed, and here's what they found. It's not terribly surprising but it is important to know.
Thirty percent of the kids who were in this study of 1,500 military families, 30 percent reported anxiety. And the longer the deployment, the more difficulties those children had. And on average, these parents were deployed for about 11 months at a time.
HARRIS: Are certain groups of young people more affected by mom and dad going off to war?
COHEN: There were. There were definite trends that they found in this study, and they're sort of interesting.
What they found is that teens were more affected than younger children when a parent was deployed. They also found that girls were more affected than boys. And also, the kids who live off of the military base were more affected than kids who lived on the military base.
HARRIS: Any explanation for this?
COHEN: Well, the first two groups there, the teens and the girls, they think that when a parent goes away, it's sort of the responsibilities at home get shifted more to older kids, more to teens than to their little siblings, and also, perhaps, get shifted more to the girls than to the boys. Perhaps that's why they had more anxiety.
Now, as for why kids living off base seem to suffer more than kids on base, who knows? But it may be that if they're living on base, they're sort of in more of a community.
HARRIS: Right. Right.
COHEN: They have more support. That might be why.
HARRIS: Do we know what happens when the parents get back? Does everything get better?
COHEN: Not completely. It's sort of interesting. You might think in sort of a happy storybook ending, mom or dad comes back and everything's fine, but that's not what happens.
There is still anxiety, there is still a tough time kind of readjusting to having this person back in your life, because you've kind of adjusted to not having them. And also, sometimes vets come back with their own mental health issues from being in the war. Sometimes they come back with substance abuse issues. So it's not always coming back in an easy way.
HARRIS: Boy, a topic that was discussed heavily in a movie I saw over the weekend. Boy, I can't remember the stars of it, but it was touched on poignantly. And someone will remember and I'll remind you of it.
Thank you. Thanks, Elizabeth. Appreciate it.
HARRIS: Talking war, economy and health care. CNN's John King visits one small town to talk about the hardest-hitting issues facing the country right now.
We're back in a moment. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: All right. Let's get you to our top stories now.
The people of Juarez, Mexico, hit the streets to protest the drug violence. More than 4,000 people have been killed by drug cartels in the last two years -- the city right across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Four people were charged today in a deadly nightclub fire in Russia. One hundred thirteen people have now died from their injuries.
Police believe the fire may have been started by an indoor fireworks show. They say some of the victims were trampled to death. Russia's president has declared today a national day of mourning.
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey. A Senate committee could approve the measure today, setting up a vote in the full Senate Thursday. Supporters are racing to get the bill to Governor Jon Corzine before he leaves office next month.
President Obama is facing tough issues from the war in Afghanistan to the economy right here at home. So how is he doing?
Chief National Correspondent John King visited the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He talked with locals about the economy and the troop surge in Afghanistan.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me start by asking you about the president's big announcement this week to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan.
Do you think it's a good idea to pay much attention to that? Are you worried that it's been eight years?
SHANNON RAINOSEK, MANAGER/OWNER, FRONTIER RESTAURANT: You kind of forget that there's all this stuff going on overseas and what the goal was. But if it helps to bring down al Qaeda, then, you know, I think it's necessary.
KRYSTLE ARCHIBEQUE, COLLEGE STUDENT: I think that I don't necessarily agree with, you know, some of the issues that Obama, you know, has put forth. But I do agree with sending the troops out. We do need them.
PEDRO MORENO, RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTITIONER: I think that 30,000 more troops going to Afghanistan is something that we were not really ready for. We weren't planning for this.
I personally feel that it is necessary. If we don't do it, I don't think anybody else in the world is going to do it. So we find ourselves being the big police of the world.
KING: For eight years, the country, whether you supported him or not, got used to George W. Bush as a wartime president in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It just became familiar to see the president, under the Bush administration, talking about war.
When you look at President Obama, do you trust him as the commander-in-chief, in that role? Are you comfortable with him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
MORENO: I just saw a bumper sticker that says "McCain and Palin." And then on this other side, it says, "Are you sorry yet?" That tells us a lot.
KING: How is the economy doing here? You know, people across the country say, is it still getting worse? Has it bottomed out? Is it starting to get better?
What's your sense?
ARCHIBEQUE: I think it's gotten better here. I mean, I don't really, you know, know. But, you know, Black Friday came around and there was, like, lines outside of Best Buy and Home Depot and stuff. So, you know, I think it's gotten better. KING: Some evidence it's getting better. You believe that?
RAINOSEK: I think it's holding its own. I don't think it's getting worse. It may be improving slightly, but Albuquerque doesn't get affected often because of...
MORENO: I was just going to say that.
RAINOSEK: ... because we have a lot of government-related jobs. We have the base and the labs. So, you know, a lot of times, the economy is going gangbusters everywhere else, and we're sort of meandering along. So...
MORENO: And we're not a high-spending state, either.
KING: Do your views about the economy affect how you view the holiday season? Will you spend a little more this year than last year, a little less this year than last year because you're a little nervous, or because you don't maybe have as much money in the bank or...
ARCHIBEQUE: Well, I don't really believe in spending money during the holidays anyway, just because, you know, I like giving gifts from the heart and not really, like, being materialistic about things. But who knows? Maybe.
RAINOSEK: Probably putting more thought into it. But I don't have a lot of fears that the economy is going to, you know, tank tomorrow. So I don't think it's going to really affect what I do. My husband, on the other hand, will probably affect what I spend.
KING: He's a little more pessimistic?
RAINOSEK: He doesn't like me to spend a whole lot of money, but...
KING: Why? Is he pessimistic about the economy, or does he think he has a good excuse to tell you not to spend so much money?
RAINOSEK: No, he thinks he has a good excuse to tell me not to spend a whole lot of money on gifts.
MORENO: In my 17 years of practice, I believe this is the worst year ever, financially. It took a while for the crisis to get to me, and then I started finding out that we don't know. And there were many patients who were not telling us that they had no insurance coverage, and we were still providing the same health care. So this is not a good year for us, and I think we want to kind of stay back a little bit on the shopping.
HARRIS: CNN's John King reporting. A world summit on climate change. What's in it for you? We will tell you what really is happening right now in Copenhagen and why it matters to all of us here in the United States.
HARRIS: The Obama administration will announce today that carbon-based emissions are a threat to public health.
Let's go to White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, who is following this for us.
And Suzanne, is this announcement tied to the Copenhagen summit, or are we to believe that the timing is coincidental here?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me explain how this happened...
MALVEAUX: ... because it certainly wasn't coincidental.
But EPA, if it wants to regulate carbon emissions, under the Clear Air Act, it is required to produce what they call an endangerment finding. That is required by the Supreme Court. It means that the EPA has to take a stand here on carbon emissions, whether or not it is just a change in the environment, say droughts or heat waves, hurricanes, whether or not this actually poses a threat to public health as well as welfare.
And so the EPA is saying, yes, in fact, it does. That's what we're going to hear from the administrator, so that the EPA can go ahead and regulate, perhaps, carbon emissions. They're just fulfilling a requirement here, Tony. This is something that we actually know and suspected as early as April because the EPA said that they, in all likelihood, would actually produce this finding. They had to go through a process.
So now it's official, this announcement. But what it does is, what makes it so important is the timing of this announcement. This allows the EPA, Lisa Jackson, the administrator, and the Obama administration to go to Copenhagen, to this climate summit, with the idea that we are taking climate change, we're taking greenhouse gas emissions seriously here in the United States. We're taking it seriously. The message is perhaps these other countries will take it seriously, too.
Lisa Jackson is going to be on a plane right after, Tony, her announcement about this. So she is going to be making presentations over there. That is ahead of President Obama's trip, which is going to be next Friday. So they are obviously building this case here that the United States takes this problem of climate change seriously and that this is their finding, their ruling, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.
HARRIS: All right, Suzanne Malveaux at the White House for us. Suzanne, appreciate it. Thank you.
One hundred and ninety-two nations kicking off two weeks of talks on climate change. It is billed as the most important U.N. summit ever on the issue. Let's go live now to CNN's Phil Black at the conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
And, Phil, as we did last hour, let's just sort of break this down for our viewers. One hundred and ninety-two nations in all attending. And what's the goal?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, those 192 countries are all going to come to some sort of agreement on how to go forward with climate change. It involves each of them making a commitment to either reducing their total carbon emissions or slowing the growth of their carbon emissions if they are developing countries. So, 192 countries. They -- all the commitments that they make will be individual commitments, but each commitment has to be acceptable to everyone else. So it's a big job.
But out of all of those countries, two matter more than any others, the United States and China. Between them, they account for more than 50 percent of global carbon emissions every year. So unless they come on board, unless they sign up with real reductions that satisfy everyone, this deal is simply never going to work. And at the moment, both of those two countries have offers on the table, but everyone here says that's a good start, but it's not enough. They've got to go further.
I want to show you something now. I want you to take a listen to the Swedish environment minister and hear him explain why he says the United States and China have to go further, be more ambitious, be more generous in what they're offering here in Copenhagen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREAS CARLGREN, SWEDISH ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: The bids on the table are too low and we still expect parties to deliver more. And that's certainly mostly about the United States and China. If they wouldn't deliver more, then we wouldn't reach the target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: So what can President Obama offer when he visits here towards the end of the conference? Well, he is significantly tied up by what Congress will be prepared to deliver. The U.S. climate change bill is currently stalled in Congress. In the Senate, sorry. It talks about a 20 percent reduction on carbon emission levels.
Can he go further than that? The people here certainly hope he can. And they're optimistic because he is coming here towards the end of the conference when those final details, as the business end of the conference, when those final details will really be fleshed (ph) out, Tony. HARRIS: All right, so, Phil, look, as you know, the summit starts, begins under a bit of a cloud, sorry, over leaked e-mails that seem to suggest that the world's main source for climate change data may have been exaggerating the evidence. Much talk of the controversy so far?
BLACK: Well, that issue, those universities leaked from an English -- e-mails leaked from an English university that climate skeptics say points to a conspiracy among scientists to exaggerate climate change have been getting all the coverage in the lead-up to the start of this event. And, yes, they are being talked about here, as well.
Having said that, scientists have been spending their time rebutting those claims and they insist that even if a question mark hangs over this one body and it's one body of -- and its evidence, there is a mountain of evidence from thousands of scientists around the world who have all come to similar conclusions independently. And for that reason, climate change science stands -- Tony.
HARRIS: All right, Phil Black for us in Copenhagen, Denmark. Phil, appreciate it. Thank you.
Here's a look at how this controversy unfolded. On November 17th, more than 1,000 e-mails were illegally downloaded from the Climate Research Unit's database and posted on the Internet. The e- mails appear to show ways that some of the world's leading scientists were trying to cover up data about climate change. Skeptics say these e-mails prove that scientists are manipulating data to strengthen the argument for manmade global warming. The University of East Anglia and the United Nations are investigating the leak and the head of the Climate Research Unit has stepped down.
As world leaders address the issue of climate change, we also want to hear from you. For the next two weeks we are going to answer your questions on the issue. Just go to cnn.com/tony, leave us a comment with your questions and then we will present the answers and break it all down for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM or you call us at 1-877-742-5760. We want to hear from you on climate change.
That global climate summit has convened in Copenhagen and here's what we know about the gathering. It began, as we just mentioned, amid controversy surrounding a series of e-mails questioning the extent of climate change. The talks aimed to strike a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol for reducing gas emissions. The U.S. never ratified that pact. Two hundred nations did. Representatives from 192 countries are attending the conference, which wraps up December 18th.
CNNMoney.com's Poppy Harlow joins us live from New York now.
And, Poppy, it is the question that I've been driving to all morning here. Why does what's happening in Copenhagen now matter for average Americans?
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Yes. It matters for everyone, Tony. I'd say three main reasons. First of all, the future of our environment and the global environment. Next, green job creation. Something the president has talked about time and time again. And finally, the cost of energy in this country. Will we see a cost put on carbon emissions? Those are all big questions.
The bigger, broader questions being addressed in Copenhagen right now are these. Let's take a look at your screen. You'll see what I'm talking about. First of all, how much will each individual nation commit to reducing their greenhouse gases? Secondly, how are they going to do that, how will it be achieved? And finally, how much money will developed nations, like the United States, give developing countries in order to help them cut their emissions because, again, this is a global push.
Developed nations play a huge role. Let's talk about two. Let's talk about our country, the United States, and the EU. Here are the pledges being made thus far. By 2020, the United States has pledged to cut our emissions by 17 percent, measuring from those 2005 levels. That is a lofty goal. Some are pushing for more. In the EU, the goal is to cut those emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels.
Now, another huge issue is, what do you do with developing nations, Tony, where these economies are growing very, very quickly. Look at China. Look at India. Two places where their economies are booming much more so than in the United States, but, therefore, their emissions are also increasing more than ours are.
We talked to Stephen Cochran. He's the director of the Environmental Defense Fund's National Climate Campaign. He is all over this Copenhagen issue. Here's his take on what's happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE COCHRAN, EDF NATIONAL CLIMATE CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR: These things go back and forth. This is a dance. We want to make sure -- I mean this is a global problem. The people who say its global and needs global solutions, they're right. China is going to needs to move forward. India is going to need to move forward. Other countries, it's critical that we all do this together. If we do it right, we can actually lead the world with technologies and innovations and actual produce the jobs here at home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And that is key, producing the jobs here at home. That's exactly what the president, Tony, has talked about time and time again. But we need the legislation passed in order to get the commitments from around the world to see that happen, Tony.
HARRIS: OK. Poppy, President Obama, as you know, has changed his plans and will now be in Copenhagen near the end of the summit.
HARRIS: How significant is this? HARLOW: It's very significant. I mean read into it what you want, but the president will now be there December 18th. The summit ends on the 19th. One of the environmentalists I spoke with this morning, Howard Gould (ph) said, pay a lot of attention to this because this is President Obama signaling, I'm not just here out of courtesy. The U.S. is deeply involved in this. I'm going to be there when the policymakers and the decision makers are meeting at the end of the summit. And if any final decision comes down, the president will be there for that.
So, Tony, I'd read a lot into this. It's very significant that the president has changed his trip. Keep in mind, though, a battle going on in the United States. Our House has passed a climate change bill this summer. The Senate has yet to move forward on that legislation. So he's got his own battles to fight here at home.
But it's a developing story. You can see updates throughout Copenhagen. We'll pull up our top story for you right there. We don't have it for you. Go to cnnmoney.com.
HARRIS: Any moment now. Waiting for it, wait for it, wait for it.
HARLOW: Any moment.
HARRIS: All right, Poppy. Good to see you. Thank you.
HARLOW: Thank you.
HARRIS: And let's get you caught up on our top stories now.
In Russia today, four people were charged in a deadly nightclub fire. Police believe it may have been started by an indoor fireworks show. Some of the 113 victims were reportedly trampled to death. Russian president has declared today a national day of mourning.
A national holiday in Iran. This video posted on YouTube shows demonstrators jammed the college campuses today, still angry over last June's presidential election results. Blogs say police cracked down at universities across Tehran. Reporters were warned against covering today's events.
Possible salmonella contamination prompting a California company to recall almost 23,000 pounds of ground beef products. Most of it sold in Arizona and New Mexico. Beef Packers Incorporated produced the meat on September 23rd. The company wants you to check with your local store to see if you may have bought any of it.
President Obama's stimulus package is creating plenty of opportunities for con artists. A look at how thousands of Americans are getting scammed.
HARRIS: Let's see. Oh, as always, I nearly jumped to the markets ahead of our little push to cnnmoney.com because Poppy Harlow and Ali Velshi and all of our Money team doing a terrific job for you, bringing you the latest information on your finances. And in addition to that, some solid analysis. OK, always cnnmoney.com. Make it your homepage.
And let's get you to the big board. New York Stock Exchange right now. Oh, better than three hours into the trading day. And you can see, we're in positive territory, up 36 points. The Nasdaq is up 2. We are following these numbers with Felicia Taylor, in for Susan Lisovicz today, throughout the day right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
The federal stimulus program. Now everybody wants a slice, including, it seems, scam artist who target the desperate. Here's CNN's senior correspondent Allan Chernoff.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frances Culley was thrilled when a card arrived in the mail telling her she was approved to access a government grant of $25,000. Part of the economic stimulus program.
FRANCES CULLEY, STIMULUS SCAM VICTIM: We were guaranteed $25,000. So we sent it back in.
CHERNOFF: With no strings attached. When Frances called the number listed on the postcard, she heard this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our government released over $700 billion into the private sector. What you probably don't know is there is another $300 billion that must be given away this year to people just like you.
CHERNOFF: Frances and her father, Warren, had reached the Grant Writers Institute. They were told their payday would be triple what the postcard had promised.
F. CULLEY: They told him that we would definitely be getting $75,000. That it had been approved and it would be here within a couple of weeks.
CHERNOFF: All she had to do was send $500 to the institute and they'd take care of all the paperwork to get the grant. Warren put the payment on his credit card and Frances, anticipating her piece of the stimulus, hired a contractor to renovate her Salina, Kansas, home. Something she had wanted to do for years.
F. CULLEY: Its floor, the cabinets, the counter tops. You know, the new bathroom. All those things that I had wanted forever.
CHERNOFF: Things Francis couldn't afford because she was deep in debt due to medical bills for multiple knee operations and cancer treatments. But all Frances ever got from the Grant Writers Institute was this letter requesting $75,000 from the Nathan M. Warburg Foundation. The Federal Trade Commission says there is no Nathan M. Warburg Foundation. No guaranteed grants as part of the government stimulus program. Frances and Warren had been taken. WARREN CULLEY, STIMULUS SCAM VICTIM: They stole from a lot of people in this United States.
CHERNOFF: A quarter of a million people, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which charges scam artists have taken about $27 million so far through false claims tied to the economic stimulus.
MONICA VACA, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: These are opportunistic fraudsters. These are con men who exploit any news story, the news story of the day, to reach into people's wallets to get their money.
CHERNOFF (on camera): The FTC sued the Grant Writers Institute and gained a court order stopping the organization from making its pitch. The Grant Writers Institute and its officers deny the FTC charge of deception. They claim in court papers, defendant has acted in good faith and in a manner that is reasonable and justified. The defense attorney declined CNN's request for an interview.
Allan Chernoff, CNN.
HARRIS: The war in Afghanistan. A fight for towns and villages. But, more importantly, winning the hearts and minds of civilians. An up close view of the strategy next in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: You know, lots of focus right now on the war in Afghanistan. So we've got to keep in mind, troops are still heading to the front lines in Iraq. You're looking here at more than 3,300 soldiers heading out from across east Tennessee to prepare for that mission. They will train until February at Camp Shelby, Mississippi before heading overseas. The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment is the largest in the Tennessee National Guard.
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2ND LT. ALEX CAMPBELL, 278TH ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT: A few will say that the National Guard is part-time soldiers. But, you know, we're going over there and we're doing a full-time mission. And this right here, this is real.
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HARRIS: Yes, it is very real. This is the regiment's second Iraq deployment.
In just a few hours, President Obama meets with his top commander in the Afghan war, General Stanley McChrystal. The president is banking on General McChrystal's strategy to turn things around and end the war in Afghanistan. The story now from CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As America moves to put 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan to take the fight to the Taliban, Captain Brandon Anderson says when he rolls out of his bases in Zabul (ph) province, he doesn't want to fire a single shot. Taliban fighters fired rockets on an American base from this village. Anderson says the villagers were afraid he'd shoot back.
CAPT. BRANDON ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY: That's what the insurgents said they'd do. They say you drop bomb. Are you going to do that? And I said, no. This is my battle space and we're precise and we're disciplined in the use of force. So we'll target the insurgents, but we're here to keep you safe.
PLEITGEN: This is the essence of the counter insurgency strategy laid out by the commanding general for Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal.
GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES AFGHANISTAN: We have young sergeants, young officers who have been on the ground and dealt with people and understand counter insurgency and understand, at the end of the day, it's relationships and it's relationships with people.
PLEITGEN: It also means offensives against the Taliban. Only a few days ago, the Marines launched a major operation in Helmand province, a stronghold of the insurgency. Most of the additional soldiers will head to southern Afghanistan, where more than 34,000 NATO troops are already on the ground. British General Nick Carter commands this region.
MAJ. GEN. NICK CARTER, BRITISH FORCES: This is about creating momentum. It's about regaining the initiative from the Taliban and counter insurgencies are ultimately about winning an argument. They're about persuading people that the forces of the government are better supporting than those of the opposition.
PLEITGEN: Back in the village, Captain Anderson is having trouble winning that argument. The village elder refuses to be shown on TV for a simple reason.
PLEITGEN (on camera): Do you think that the Afghan army, the Afghan police and the Americans can protect you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Taliban spent 10 minutes in this village. They can kill one person a second. Can you come here that fast?
MCCHRYSTAL: We don't talk about the number of insurgents that we've killed, because it's not about how many you've killed. It's about preventing them from having access to the population.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we'll work together to help you stay safer.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): The president is putting his faith in General McChrystal's strategy, hoping the U.S. and its allies can win over frightened Afghans, like the ones in this village.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kabul.
HARRIS: Got to tell you, most everything on the agenda at the U.N. climate summit this week has roots in another summit in Kyoto 10 years ago. We'll look back.
HARRIS: You know, the global climate change summit getting underway today in Denmark comes 12 years after the Kyoto summit, which produced the world's first major climate treaty. How successful was it is? CNN's Anna Coren takes a look.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than a decade ago, leaders from around the world gathered at this building behind me to form what would become the Kyoto Protocol. It was the first time the international community had come together to tackle the issue of climate change. After 10 days of discussion and sometimes heated debate, the treaty was signed on the 11th of December, 1997.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Decided.
COREN (voice-over): The agreement called on industrialized nations to cut emissions by an average of about 5 percent by 2012. There were disagreements, but it was viewed as an important move by the international community on climate change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank you.
COREN: For some who were there at the original summit, it was a feeling that something momentous was taking place despite the negotiations being fraught with disagreements.
YURIKA AYUKAWI, WWF MEMBER AT KYOTO SUMMIT: It was a first step. That was the first time that the developed countries ever made a commitment with our targets and timetables. So in a sense it was very good.
COREN: But the treaty failed to gain traction. The Kyoto Protocol depended heavily on the commitments of the so-called annex one countries who were seen at the time as the biggest polluters. The United States was responsible for one-third of the world's emissions in 1990. But Washington refused to sign and other key members, like Australia and Russia, delayed passing the treaty.
So, the Kyoto Protocol sat idle for eight years. It needed industrialized countries to commit to a global cut of more than half the emissions from 1990 levels. It was only in 2005 when Russia signed on that the Kyoto Protocol officially came into force. Today, with only three years left on the treaty, the EU is the only major player expected to meet their targets.
Another shortcoming of Kyoto was that developing countries, like China, India, and Brazil, weren't required to meet the same cuts. The upcoming Copenhagen summit was intended to pick up where Kyoto left off. The Copenhagen agreement would reflect a growing awareness about climate change and a new world dynamic.
TIM FLANNERY, ENVIRONMENTALIST: We're seeing a big shift in the politics and in the economics and in the business sentiment around this. I'm quietly confident that we'll get to where we need to get to. And as I've put it, we've got every reason to be confident, but not a second for complacency.
COREN: But at the recent APEC meeting in Singapore, leaders agreed that finding a successor to Kyoto at Copenhagen would be highly unlikely. It's been a long journey from Kyoto to Copenhagen, but where we ultimately end on this climate change issue remains a mystery.
Anna Coren, CNN, Kyoto, Japan.
HARRIS: We are pushing forward with the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM right now with Kyra Phillips.