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Third Week of Boot Camp in "Soldier's Story"; Silver Star Recipients at Fort Bragg; British Airways Scrambles to Prevent Christmas Chaos; About 800,000 Children Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine Recalled; Some Staff at Heathrow and Aberdeen to Start a Series of 48- Hour Rolling Stoppages on Dec. 22

Aired December 16, 2009 - 13:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Time to push forward now with the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM with that man, Drew Griffin.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: Antoine, thank you. He had big-boy pants on today, that's for sure.

We are working on a lot of stories. How clean is your child's school cafeteria. When kitchens aren't inspected, students their lose lunch. Kitchens aren't inspected? Well, it happens a lot.

And home for the holidays sounds terrific unless -- uh-oh -- you booked a seat on one of those planes. British Airways and the cabin crews go on strike?

And if anybody's going to have a gun on an airplane, who better than the pilot? We're going to show you where the flyboys and fly girls learn to shoot.

What good is good food if the people who cook it are sick, or the freezers are on the blink, or rats are in the pantry? For a week we brought you the stomach-turning details from a "USA Today" investigation about food safety in our kids' schools, public schools.

The paper showed us how meat and chicken that winds up on your child's lunch tray likely wouldn't even make the standards of Jack in the Box, Burger king or Costco. We met the chef and restaurateur who heads up the school lunch program in Baltimore. He says food isn't rocket science; it just has to be a priority.

And now we visit the kitchen. By federal law, health inspectors are required to visit those public school kitchens twice a year, but "USA Today" reporters went out and found that more than 26,000 schools didn't get the two inspections that they were supposed to get in the 2007-2008 school year. More than 8,000 schools weren't even inspected once.

Get this: the feds don't even know which schools are being overlooked, because states don't report the names, just give them some numbers. And from that, we get a map showing which states have the least-inspected public school cafeterias. The bottom five: Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, and Maine, where less than 2 percent of schools got inspections in 2007 and 2008.

Joining us now, the "USA Today" reporters who have been breaking these stories, Peter Isler and Blake Morrison.

Blake, let's start with you. What -- what does this tell us about the inspections, the fact that there are so few inspections, and has that led to problems with our kids eating this food?

BLAKE MORRISON, "USA TODAY": Well, it sure has. We talked about a school, for instance, in North Dakota where a worker who was trying to be conscientious, she came to work when she was sick. She thought she probably was better. She cut lettuce without wearing gloves, and as a consequence, two days later, there were 60 people from that school who were out ill, including 52 students.

It's a situation where you expect that inspectors go to those schools, they might be able to say, "Hey, look, make sure you wear gloves and don't come in when you're sick."

But the reality is there were 8,500 schools that didn't receive any visits from inspectors at all in the '07/'08 school year and another 20,000 or so that are failing to meet the federal requirement that obviously Congress feels is extremely important.

GRIFFIN: Peter, how much of this would be improved if these inspections took place? Because, quite frankly, when I'm reading your report, I'm thinking who's the dummy that shows up sick, dishes out lettuce, probably coughing and sneezing all over this food? A lot of this is just common sense.

PETER ISLER, "USA TODAY": Well, yes. We found that the single biggest cause of foodborne illness in schools is something called norovirus, and norovirus is almost always traced back to problems with the handling and preparation of food. Norovirus accounted for upwards of 30 percent of all the illnesses that we saw in schools from 1998 through 2007.

So, when the inspectors come in, they can identify not only things that workers can be doing better, but the hand washing practices, wearing gloves and so forth, but also other really important issues like making sure that food that's supposed to be kept cold is kept cold enough, food that's supposed to be hot is kept hot enough. Refrigerators are working. Rodent control and vermin control is in place and all effective. And these are things that are very important, and that is why the requirement is in place.

GRIFFIN: Blake, these sound like, you know, things you should learn from your grandma or your mother or anybody else who handles food. Is it really that bad in our schools that we have hired professionals who are serving -- cooking and serving food to our kids who don't know these basic food sanitary rules?

MORRISON: Well, Drew, that's the mystery. I mean, if the schools aren't inspected, we don't really know who is serving the food to the kids. I think most of the people who do it are very conscientious. They may try.

But in reality, the facilities, as shown by some of the inspections that do take place, are often lacking. Some of them don't have basic hand washing facilities with hot water. And you can't get germs off your hands if you aren't washing them with soap and hot water.

So, these are the realities that are faced at a lot of schools around the country. But, again, if we don't know, if we never inspect, we're not sure. And this is the last line of defense for some 31 million students who are uniquely vulnerable to foodborne illness and who rely on the government to provide them lunch.

GRIFFIN: Last question, guys. The rules were in place for these two inspections were for about five years. Right? Obviously, they're not being enforced or they're not being carried out. Should we be looking to Washington to solve this, or should this be a local school issue with parents going in and demanding their kids' cafeteria is clean? I'm just wondering what your take is on that -- Peter.

ISLER: Well, I think -- I think that, you know, ultimately the answer for parents is to go out there and to look at these inspections themselves. Under the law, parents are entitled to see the inspection reports. They just have to go into the school and ask for them. If they go to, there's a template letter there that they can use to request their school's report. And they can see not only whether the inspections are being done, but if they are being done what they're finding.

Enforcing the law on a larger scale is difficult, because the federal government only has so much power. They can't really kick schools that don't get the inspections done out of the program, because so many students depend on the food that the government provides for their lunches, some 31 million kids a day. So ultimately, I think that parents need to take charge and get out there and look at these things.

GRIFFIN: All right, guys. Thanks a lot. Peter Isler, Blake Morrison, great stuff, all week from "USA Today" on the school lunch. Is there something coming tomorrow? I just don't know.

MORRISON: We're not sure. I guess we'll see.

GRIFFIN: Good job. All right. Thanks, guys, for joining us.

MORRISON: Thanks very much.

GRIFFIN: Well, coming up, it's huge, loud. That, my friend, is Elvis on steroids. Didn't think a recession would slow down Las Vegas, did you? Well, it did. But the city's biggest gamble is making its debut today. We're going to take you there. We're going to take you there, as they say in Las Vegas, live.


GRIFFIN: A hot-button issue in the workplace. When you send a text or e-mail using company property, do you give up your right to privacy? Well, that question is at the center of a case at the U.S. Supreme Court. They'll take it up next term.

CNN's Bill Tucker has the story behind it.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Texting has already changed the social scene and the workplace. Now it's about to change the legal landscape.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving an Ontario, California, police officer who used a government-issued texting pager to send private, personal texts, some of which were explicitly sexual. Department policy allowed for personal use, so when the police department requested records of those texts, the officer, Sergeant Kwan, sued, saying his privacy had been violated.

His lawyer explains.

MICHAEL MCGILL, ATTORNEY: They never put out a policy in writing. They never explained to them unequivocally that it does apply, that there is a no-privacy policy.

TUCKER: Kwan lost his first trial, but California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision, agreeing with the sergeant. Now, the Supreme Court is stepping in and putting the case on their calendar for next year.

ORIN KERR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: This will be the first case that the Supreme Court has ever taken which will give the court an opportunity to apply the Constitution to text messages and, by extension, to the Internet, so it could be an extremely important case.

TUCKER: At the core of the case is the question of an expectation to a reasonable right of privacy. Should or can an employee expect his or her private communications to stay private? Lawyers arguing for employers say the expectation doesn't exist for employees working on company-issued equipment.

CHERYL WILLERT, CIVIL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If I have a piece of equipment, whether it's a telephone, whether it's a computer, whether it's a video monitor, and it belongs to me, and I allow you, in the furtherance of your performing a job for me for which you were hired, I should clearly have the ability to monitor what is going on.

PHILIP GORDON, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY: Employers need, need, that ability. It's important to the way employers run their business.

TUCKER: Privacy advocates argue that, while the equipment belongs to the boss, the content of an employee's personal texts don't.

Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.


GRIFFIN: The House is rushing to finish its work so members of Congress can get out of town. You think the planes are out there warming up, waiting? Well, maybe they are. That's a little tease.

But first, a proposal, though, to raise the federal debt ceiling by about $200 billion. That would get the government through another two months or so without defaulting on its debt. President Obama and Democratic leaders would actually like a higher debt ceiling, but Republicans and some conservative Democrats said, "No way."

The House also planning to vote on two spending bills, both aimed at helping people who are out of work right now. One bill would extend the deadline to apply for jobless benefits and that COBRA health subsidy. It would also continue the stimulus-funded, $25 boost in benefits and would provide more money for Food Stamps.

In a separate bill, it would shell out $75 billion in TARP money in what they're saying would save or create jobs. Here's how the breakdown would go: $27 billion going to states to pay teachers, police and firefighters; and $48 billion, then, would be spent on projects designed to put some people to work.

In a city where bigger is always better, the biggest development of them all is opening its crown jewel on the Las Vegas strip. It's the Aria Resort and Casino inside the new City Center development. Thousands of new hotel rooms, millions of square feet of retail and casino space, all coming online in the middle of a major recession. It's being called the city's biggest bet ever. And our Dan Simon is there live.

Boy, Dan, when I just look at the numbers, I just wonder who is going to fill up the rooms? Who's going to be in those casinos? Has this thing taken any life yet?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's an $8.5 billion bet. Let me just sort of give you the Vegas bullet points and explain why this is such a big deal.

Vegas has seen 22 months of declines in gaming revenues. They've got a 13 percent unemployment rate here. They lead the nation in foreclosures. So they're looking at this City Center resort as a way, perhaps, to bring visitors in on a mass scale and revive the Vegas economy, if you will. And they think they actually have the ability to do that, with City Center.

What is City Center? Well, it's 67 acres. It's six towers. They wanted something on such a grand scale, something that has never been seen before in the history of Las Vegas, if you can believe that.

It's not a theme property. What it is, is they were going for this sort of urban mixture of condos and hotels, and provide a city feel. Hence the name City Center. But it's such a big bet, as we talked about.

What it's meant is, because they can't fill up all the rooms here in Las Vegas, they had to lower the rates here at City Center and other properties. So, getting a room at a world-class resort in Las Vegas, you can get one now for under $150. So what's that meant is other resorts in town have had to lower their rates, and it's become very difficult for casinos to remain profitable.

One gaming analyst put it this way.


DAVID SCHWARTZ, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS: If it succeeds in drawing people from other casinos, then obviously, it's going to cannibalize the market. If it succeeds in drawing people who hadn't been going to other casinos, it's really going to grow the market. And it's really hard to say which it will do.


SIMON: So you're inside, Drew. This is the big lobby of the Aria Hotel and Casino. They're having their big debut tonight. You can see that the band's getting ready to my left here. There's going to be a big splashy news conference at 11 o'clock local time.

But there's just so much at stake with this -- with this resort, not to mention the cost, $8.5 billion, but because everybody's sort of pinning their hopes that this -- this is going to be the project that brings Las Vegas back.

And there is some precedence for this. They're not just saying, well, it's so big that it's going to bring people in. If you look back at Vegas history, short-term history, the Mirage, everybody probably knows what the Mirage is. That opened in 1990, and that created a renaissance for Las Vegas. It started bringing people in, in a big way.

And then a few years after that you had the Bellagio, and there was another sort of renaissance in Las Vegas. And they're hoping -- they're hoping that this City Center is going to do the same thing for the local economy here -- Drew.

GRIFFIN: Well, Dan, let me ask you. I mean, I see what you're showing us there, and I notice Tim Hart, I think, backpedaling on his camera there, trying to show us everything. But you know, the Mirage, that's the one with the volcano, right? Is that right?

SIMON: Right.

GRIFFIN: And the Bellagio -- the Bellagio has those fountains. Does this thing wow you in any way? Because right now I'm kind of looking at a casino floor that looks kind of like a mall with gaming things. Is it a big deal that you're seeing?

SIMON: It is. And, you know, let's try to take a wide shot of this area. Keep in mind, this is just the lobby of the Aria Hotel and casino. But perhaps, if you get a vantage point outside, you can really get -- you can really appreciate the magnitude of this thing. You're talking about six towers.

And let me tell you something, this place has obviously, you know, world-class restaurants. They've got 42 or something restaurants and bars. Obviously, lots of pools and spas. And the artwork is tremendous. Millions and millions of dollars on artwork.

But you talked about the Mirage and the Bellagio and the volcanoes, but this thing is different. It's not a themed resort. What they were going for is just something that had really unique architecture and sort of this urban feel to it. And there's also -- we didn't talk about this, Drew, but there's also an enormous shopping center, 500,000 square feet of space for shopping with all the exclusive stores.

So, yes, it is a big deal, but it's different. It's a lot different than those other properties you're talking about.

GRIFFIN: All right, Dan. Well, for the sake of all the people that it's employing and everybody else in Las Vegas, I -- I hope it's a go. We'll see how it goes tonight. Dan Simon, live in Las Vegas, thanks.

Well, "TIME" magazine says that the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, is the most powerful nerd on the planet. Backhanded compliment? Maybe. And his rise to global economic overlord makes him "TIME's" person of the year.

"TIME" says, in the face of a global meltdown, Bernanke, quote, "conjured up trillions of new dollars and blasted them into the economy. He just didn't reshape U.S. monetary policy; he led an effort to save the world economy."

Taking human resources to a whole 'nother level, some people are calling in the God Squad. Corporate chaplains coming to the cubicle near you. We may need one before the show is out.


GRIFFIN: Here's our top stories.

The first lady's getting a chance to play Santa today, or maybe Mrs. Claus, with a trip to the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia. Michelle Obama delivering toys and gifts that were donated by White House staff for the Toys for Tots warehouse over there.

Another couple without an invite gets into an event at the White House. This one was OK, though. It happened back on Veterans Day. Get this: a Georgia couple shows up for a prearranged tour on the wrong day, so instead of being sent away, they were screened by security and ushered into a breakfast attended by the president. The couple calls it dumb luck. The White House calls it a nice gesture.




GRIFFIN: Man, look at that. That ain't nice. That's got to hurt. Deadlock on the inside, protests on the outside at the climate conference today in Copenhagen. Several hundred demonstrators have been retained after clashing with police. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) forces fired pepper spray and used their batons. Inside, talks on a final- day deal have stalled on a dispute between rich and poor nations.

Chad Myers, I looked at this tease, and I can't believe it, because tomorrow I am heading to the northeast.


GRIFFIN: Boy, break out that coat.


MYERS: Hey, Drew...


MYERS: ... ever heard of something called Seat Guru? Do you know that Web site?

GRIFFIN: No, but I think I should.

MYERS: I think you should. And the person behind me when I flew back from Las Vegas on Saturday should have known behind it, too. They got to their seat and they went, "Oh, no window."

How do you find out? How would you find out in advance that the seat you booked doesn't recline or doesn't have a window or is right next to the bathroom, whatever it might be?

Click on your airline. You can go from Continental to Check (ph) to Delta, all the rest. They're all on here. And you pick out what plane you have, the 757-200. And then if you would look -- I'm going to open up this window because I've already done it -- you would realize that on the plane, rows 15 and 16 don't recline.

GRIFFIN: Yes. Yes.

MYERS: And you would also figure out, if you clicked on that yellow box, that row 13 does not have a window. So, the big, long, four-hour flight you think you're going to look at the Rockies on the way home, and they go, "No, you don't get to look at anything except the wall."

GRIFFIN: Yes, I did know how to find that information. But I didn't know there was a special Web site. Seat Guru.

MYERS: My favorite. Everybody here in the building says, "Please don't tell everybody about that Web site. That's how we get good seats." But you know what? That's what it's all about.

GRIFFIN: All right. Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: Sure.

GRIFFIN: There are laws about separation of church and state and religion in public schools. Less clearly defined, though, what about God at work and how much leeway your boss might have on matters of faith?

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez looks at a company that counts spiritual health care among its benefits. Part of our special series, "In God We Trust."


WES SULLIVAN, CHAPLAIN: I'm Chaplain Wes Sullivan. And I'm a spiritual EMT.

JAN SPEARS, CHAPLAIN: I'm Chaplain Jan Spears.

How are you today?

I love visiting people in the workplace.

DIANA CISNEROS, CHAPLAIN: I'm Chaplain Diana Cisneros.


and I'm a bridge of care to people.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are chaplains for hire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything is fine with your husband?

GUTIERREZ: Some call them the God Squad of corporate America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get to take that frustration out that you were hoping to do?


GUTIERREZ: Randy Turnbow, an aerospace company CEO based in Compton, California, says the spiritual well-being of his employees is as important as a good health plan.

(on camera) Are you a deeply religious person?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'd say I am.


GUTIERREZ (voice-over): So for $10 a month per employee, Turnbow hired Marketplace Chaplains USA, a nonprofit organization that sends chaplains to more than 400 businesses across the country.

(on camera) In economic hard times, does it make any sense to have a chaplain on retainer?

TURNBOW: It does in this way. The businessman usually cares about the bottom line. If your employees are feeling better, they come to work with a better attitude. They work harder. SULLIVAN: All right. How's it going?

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Wes Sullivan is a former Army chaplain.

SULLIVAN: How is Darnell doing?

GUTIERREZ: He makes office rounds once a week. Sometimes he hears about work. Sometimes it's life and death.

JOE LIPSEY, EME EMPLOYEE: Five years ago my son, he -- yes, he got jumped on, and he was in a coma. So, you know, you came...

SULLIVAN: That's all right. That's all right.

LIPSEY: He came through. We talked about it. You know, he told me it's going to be all right. We prayed. Prayed a lot.

GUTIERREZ: Chaplain Diana Cisneros says employees asked her to lead this lunchtime Bible study on their time, with the company's permission. Despite appearances, she says, she doesn't proselytize.

CISNEROS: We're not here to push religion. We're not here to push spirituality.

MICHAEL DOSS, AMERICA ATHEISTS: You know, they say they're not proselytizing. You know, they say they're not preaching at them, but it's really going to be hard to know.

GUTIERREZ: Michael Doss is with the American Atheists movement. He says the workplace is no place for public prayer.

DOSS: Crossing the line between the workplace and church is a very dangerous situation.

GUTIERREZ: Doss said the mere appearance of a chaplain could make nonbelievers uncomfortable, that if employees have problems, they should turn to professionals instead.

DOSS: Are they going to give me advice that's kind of, you know, trying to drive me towards faith or Christianity or any of these things to solve my problems?

SULLIVAN: We don't come in and pound somebody over the head and say, "I am an evangelist. You need to know Jesus!"

GUTIERREZ (on camera): Would you ever have any issue if they did come in and proselytize?

TURNBOW: Oh, yes, I would.

GUTIERREZ: You wouldn't allow that to happen?

TURNBOW: No, I wouldn't allow that to happen.

SULLIVAN: What's going on with you? GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Sullivan says none of the employees are under any obligation to talk to him. And in the four years he's been a chaplain here, he said he's gotten zero complaints.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Compton, California.


GRIFFIN: Balancing faith and finances, Christine Romans looks at how we worship, and how we spend when money's tight. "In God We Trust: Faith and Money in America" that's Saturday night at 8 Eastern, only on CNN.

And in just a few minutes, the U.S. Army will honor two soldiers, really interesting guys, heroes, really. One, a medic, who actually went into battle and dragged one of his comrades to safety while under fire, and the other, in 56 hours, went into the firefight 7 times. We're going to tell you about them, coming up.


GRIFFIN: A couple of real heroes now being honored at Fort Bragg. Soldiers whose valor in Afghanistan earned them the third - highest military award, it's called the Silver Star. First master sergeant, Anthony Siriwardene . He's an immigrant from Sri Lanka, was cool as he was competent, seven fierce battles over a 56-hour period. The Army said his skills and his calm under fire helped take out the enemy and save his comrades' lives.

Number two, Staff Sergeant Linsey Clarke, a medic. What did he do? He ran through firefight into a burning vehicle, pulled out a buddy and put a tourniquet on that guy's leg, and then dragged him back as he was being fired upon to safety. Both the men showing valor without regard to their own safety, and that's why today both heroes got a Silver Star.

Before the troops see battle, they have to get through boot camp. The drill sergeant has nine weeks to turn civilians into soldiers. It really is a crash course in endurance, toughness, and teamwork and CNN's Jason Carroll got a look into the hard life of a new Army recruit.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Drew, the drill sergeants you're about to see have a very serious job. They've got to turn men and women into soldiers, and they have just about nine weeks to get it done.



CARROLL (voice-over): It's week three of basic training for Will McLain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.

CARROLL: McLain and 193 new recruits have entered what's called "The Red Stage".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to do that in combat?



CARROLL: The emphasis? Physical training -- PT.


DRILL SGT. JOSEPH RIX, US ARMY: All right, Private. That was like one and a half miles. Are you seriously coughing and crap?

CARROLL: The voice always egging them on.

RIX: You better (ph) sound off, one, two, three.

CARROLL: Drill Sergeant Joseph Rix.

RIX: Just trying to get them ready when they get to that first unit, if they have to deploy. They have a little bit of a head start, more than what -- what we did when we went through basic training.

CARROLL: On this day, after a quarter mile run, McLain has time for a quick break, while outside...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've done a total of 25 pushups and one (ph) lap. Get up.

CARROLL: A private who cannot make it...


CARROLL: ... gets no coddling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurry up! Oh, man, here we go again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get outside and get him in here! Move!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three -- lift!

CARROLL: McLain and the others finally dragged him to a bunk and he recovers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurry up and get him up!

CARROLL: Later, more would stumble...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better figure it out, private.

CARROLL: ... carrying 40-pound duffel bags.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now put your pistol belt back on. Specialist (ph), give me that. (INAUDIBLE). It's gone already.

CARROLL: This time...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get it up (ph), private.

CARROLL: It's McLain's turn on the ground.

CARROLL (on camera): I know he was in your ear whispering some words of encouragement, shall we say?

WILL MCLAIN, U.S. ARMY RECRUIT: We can go with that.

CARROLL: We can go with that.

MCLAIN: You can't take it personally. You know they're just trying to make you a better person, a better soldier.

CARROLL (voice-over): Then, a crucial test of whether their training has paid off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thumbs up, private. You have a good seal on your mask.

CARROLL: Their masks must come off while this chamber fills with tear gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three. One, two, three.

CARROLL (on camera): Now he's going to have to come back and do it again, right?

DRILL SGT. BASHIR ANTHONY, US ARMY: Right. Yes. He'll have to go back and do it again.

CARROLL (voice-over): McLain and the others tough it out, 30 painful seconds.

CARROLL (on camera): It must have felt like an eternity.

MCLAIN: It felt at least like five minutes -- at least. Because you're standing like, OK, open the door. Open the door. Open the door.

CARROLL (voice-over): It's a boost of confidence for McLain who met another goal since we last saw him -- losing weight, 10 pounds in just three weeks.

MCLAIN: I'll have to go get some new pair of pants before the end of this.

CARROLL: McLain also finds he's good at hand to hand combat, winning two matches. His battle buddy -- all army recruits are assigned one -- Demetrius Daniels, cheers him along.

CARROLL (on camera): So how do you two balance each other out?

MCLAIN: Well, he's fast and (INAUDIBLE). DEMETRIUS DANIELS, BATTLE BUDDY: He's a smart guy and he -- he helps me -- all right, sometimes I'm overwhelmed with helping other people on the team.

CARROLL (voice-over): Their training is also about teamwork, so when one private dozes off during weapons training, everyone pays the price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.

CARROLL: A punishment what drill sergeants call corrective training.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Privates, you got to realize I've got nothing but time. Get off the ground!

CARROLL: This lesson on teamwork...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all should not be sleeping, man.

CARROLL: McLain just beginning to learn.

MCLAIN: You know, I try to be independent and I do a lot on my own, but going through boot camp, you can't be like that, man. It really teaches you to use teamwork, and then you really look deep inside yourself and realize this is what you want to do.


CARROLL: Despite all the struggling that you see going on there, none of the recruits from Will's company have dropped out so far. On average, the Army tells us just about seven percent of all recruits dropped out of basic training this past year. Drew?

GRIFFIN: Jason, good story.

Well, recalled a bunch of doses of swine flu vaccine for kids. Now, if the kid already got the shot, what should you do? don't panic. Hold on, Elizabeth Cohen's here with the answers.


GRIFFIN: Here's your top stories.

British Airways scrambling to prevent Christmas chaos. It's seeking a court order to block a planned12-day holiday strike by cabin crews. At the same time, it's holding emergency talks with the unions.

Hope dim on Oregon's Mount Hood. Authorities say there's really little chance two missing climbers are alive after being on the frigid mountain for five days now. Even if rescuers knew where the two are, heavy snow is keeping them from reaching the climbers.

And chaos in the cockpit. Do you remember that Northwest flight that overshot the Minneapolis runway by, hmm, 100 miles or so? Well, new documents from investigators revealed the two pilots were completely clueless about what was happening until a flight attendant called them on the intercom and said, "Hey, do you know where we are?"

Hundreds of thousands of doses of the swine flu vaccine meant for little kids now being recalled. But hold on, no need to panic. Why? Because we've got you here. CNN's patient advocate, Elizabeth Cohen, what is the deal?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This sounds so crazy, right? We're all told to get the H1N1 flu vaccine and then they say, oh, 800,000 doses, we're taking them back.

But it is not a safety concern. It is a potency concern. What they found at Sanofi Pasteur, when they tested some of the vials, they found that some already on the market were not quite as potent as they should have been. In fact, they were about 12 percent less potent than they wanted them to be.

So, here's some facts so you can arm yourself with information. These vaccines that are being recalled, came from Sanofi Pasteur. They were for kids ages 6 months to 3 years of age. And it's 800,000 doses, those doses could have ended up anywhere in the United States.

GRIFFIN: Including in kids' arms. What do you do if your kid had one of these?

COHEN: If your kid had one, what you're supposed to do is nothing. You're not supposed to worry, you're not supposed to do anything. The CDC said chances are they are still protected against the H1N1 flu. You want to make sure they get a second dose. All kids this age, in fact, are supposed to get two doses of H1N1 vaccine. Especially important for folks who might have gotten this vaccine since it may be a tad less potent than it should be.

GRIFFIN: And are they -- are they still out there? Are these doses still out there? Are they, you know, yanked from the shelves like we've seen other products being yanked from shelves?

COHEN: Well, hopefully they're being yanked from the shelves instantly, but I do have to say it's possible your pediatrician or some other place you go to for a shot might not have heard the news and might still possibly giving them to kids.

So, you want to be an "Empowered Patient,." If you're going to get your child an H1N1 vaccine, you want to ask is it from Sanofi Pasteur? And if so, go to -- obviously, you have to do that beforehand -- and print out an article that a colleague of mine, Mary Ann Falco (ph) wrote. She has all of the lot numbers and all the other information you would need. If you're getting a Sanofi Pasteur vaccine for your child under the age of 3, say, hey, any of these from these lot numbers? Because that's a problem.

GRIFFIN: Right. A lot of doctors keep you around in your waiting room, so check it out yourself, doc.

COHEN: That's right. .Exactly. Exactly. GRIFFIN: All right, thanks, Elizabeth, appreciate that.

Well, abortion is shaping up to be the next big hurdle in the health care reform bill. Democrats are hoping to get a bill done before Christmas, but that's not going to be easy. Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson wants more restrictions added on federal funding for abortion. He did meet with President Obama yesterday. And earlier on CNN, two senators highlighted the divide.


SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: And as it relates to abortion, let me just say -- and Senator Hatch is a friend of mine -- but we have a profound difference on this.

We all agree, there should be no federal funding. But this goes farther to say if you get tax cuts from the federal government, you can't purchase health insurance with your own money that includes this provision.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: All we're trying to do is stop -- is stop them from charging the taxpayers for abortion. And also allowing people with conscience to not have to participate in the acts of abortion.


GRIFFIN: As we all know, the Republicans are united in their opposition to the Senate bill, so Democrats need all 60 votes in their caucus to get this thing passed.

Sometimes lullabies just aren't enough, but drugs aren't the answer, especially at day-care centers.


GRIFFIN: Ever wonder what airline pilots pack? Maybe one of those. We're going to take you inside the secret training facility where pilots take down terrorists.

And Nancy Pelosi's flight plans under fire. Next hour, why Madam Speaker and some colleagues are really jetting through the House business today.

First, nap time means nap time, got it? Some parents in suburban Cincinnati are losing sleep after learning their kids may have been given melatonin at a church-run day-care center. Supposedly caregivers put the stuff in the candy to help kids float off to dreamland.

Parents got a letter on Monday from police, who say they are investigating. The church pastor says two day-care workers have been fired, and the center is cooperating with the cops. And melatonin, well, that is a hormone in our brains that regulates sleep cycles, and it's sold as a dietary supplement. It's neither approved nor regulated by the FDA. Despite the name, the Salvation Army is not used to being invaded. The charity is still stunned by a sneak attack that will cost some kids in North Carolina their Christmas. Gunmen hit a secret facility where money from Salvation Army kettles is collected and counted. Their haul? $4,000 meant for Christmas presents and a shelter. Not only that, this could be the theft that keeps on giving. These guys got away with about a dozen of the red kettles and could be on the corner right now hustling for their own donations.

Some folks in California definitely feel the Salvation Army's pain. Their group, Christmas for Everybody -- Everyone, excuse me, collects coats, other clothes and toys for families in need. These folks say they've been robbed for the fifth time this month. Hundreds of brand-new winter jackets among the stuff stolen.

I'll be home for Christmas, but maybe not. About a million travelers' holiday flights suddenly are up in the air. We'll tell you why in a second .


GRIFFIN: First the planes, now the trains. Holiday travel in the UK could turn into a headache. Today Eurostar train drivers based in the U.K. say they will strike Friday and Saturday and again on the two days after Christmas. Eurostar plans to use drivers from France and Belgium instead. The train line runs between London and both Paris and Brussels.

Now that news is landing as British Airways takes thousands of its own employees to court, seeking to block a strike that is set to start just before Christmas and go into the new year. CNN's Jim Boulden has more on this giant holiday headache.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 'Tis the season for jingle bells and wedding bells in climes warmer than our own, like Cape Town, South Africa, where Lily Kirkbride's aunt will be getting married. She's meant to be flying out on Christmas Eve with 15 other family members on British Airways.

NICOLA KIRKBRIDE, BRITISH AIRWAYS PASSENGER: It means we won't all be together for Christmas, which the children obviously are looking forward to. My sister won't have her mother and father or family around her on the day of her wedding. Most of her wedding party are actually going with British Airways. So they're there in Cape Town, we're here in England. It's going to be a complete disaster, basically.

BOULDEN: Those not willing to be held to ransom have already sorted out a backup. A family of four are due to fly out on BA to Miami on December 23, returning on January 2. They paid $4,800. And now they just spent another seven and a half thousand dollars for new tickets on Virgin Atlantic, flying out on Christmas Day, the only flight available, which means they'll miss Christmas in Miami. Even though it's the cabin crew who has put down their tools, the head of the airline will be seen as the Christmas Grinch for staffing changes that triggered a strike vote by Unite, the union that represents cabin crews.

WILLIE WALSH, CEO, BRITISH AIRWAYS: This is a massive overreaction on the part of Unite to what are minor changes introduced by British Airways and I would strongly urge Unite to stand back.

BOULDEN: Now BA says the ballot isn't valid and is looking into an injunction to stop the strike. Clutching at straws maybe, but as the heat stays on BA, other airlines are moving quickly to capitalize.

Virgin Atlantic is adding larger aircraft to long-haul routes to accommodate BA passengers. VMI has just put an advert in one of the national newspapers, reassuring passengers they don't have to be grounded by BA's labor troubles. Meanwhile BA is working out an emergency schedule where short-haul flights will be ones the most affected.

MALCOLM TARLING, BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF TRAVEL AGENTS: Cancellation due to industrial action (INAUDIBLE). If, however, you are forced to abandon your trip due to delays, then some policies will cover you in those circumstances. But the key here is to talk to the tour operator, the air carrier, that's their responsibility to make alternative arrangements.

BOULDEN: And as BA prepares to put its planes to bed, passengers wait to see if their flights and Christmas plans will be cancelled.

Jim Boulden, CNN, London.


GRIFFIN: Well, he made it to London OK this morning, but the return could be a little turbulent next week. CNN's Michael Holmes joins us live from Heathrow with the latest. Michael, how are things going over there?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Drew, I could be here forever now, and I may have just moved countries if this continues the way it is going. I have other news for you, too, that makes things even worse if you wanted to get into or out of London about from next Tuesday.

Let's start with the BA strike, though. They are in the high court today and BA is taking the union Unite to court, because they say a whole bunch of the people who voted to strike were eligible anyway. That got adjourned until tomorrow. It is possible that the court could say, union, you have to go back to work and you can't have these strikes starting next Tuesday, but a lot of people think it is unlikely, because the number of workers involved is not huge.

BA and the union did get together today. They actually spoke, and we don't know fit was polite, but they spoke. That started a couple of hours ago, three-and-a-half hours ago, actually, and no word since they got together on what has happened, if anything with that meeting.

I've got to tell you that if things were not bad enough if you are a BA customer with this strike meant to start on the 22nd, we got word just a little while ago that baggage handlers and check-in staff at Heathrow and Aberdeen -- and you have to remember that Heathrow is one of the largest airports in the world, they will start a series of 48-hour rolling stoppages that will impact Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Thai, KLM, Atlantic. That's meant to start the first of the 48-hour strikes on the 22nd.

So -- I don't know. If things are going the way they have been going, Drew, I would not come through here on the 22nd.

GRIFFIN: Wow, that is does like a nightmare. But what is your take on the BA situation? First of all, all of the flights today, right? There's no wildcatters not showing up for work, and does it look like the judge will put enough pressure on the guys so that they will work it out before next week?

HOLMES: Well, the thing that with the court thing is that, you know, there are thousands and thousands of these cabin stop involved, and only a few hundred were the ones who were technically not eligible to vote to go on strike, so it would have probably have affected the outcome, so if the judge decides to leave the vote the way it is, he won't make the union not go on strike.

But, you know, the impact today, no. No wildcat strikes. Nothing's going to happen until the 22nd, and everybody is hoping it is called off before then, of course. And it's going to a million people, Drew. Just think of that. You just heard in Jim's story, a couple of people. We have heard of other stories, too, it's a million different stories out there involving human beings and their Christmas. So, there is a lot of annoyed people.

Quickly, I spoke to a couple of people in Atlanta before I left to come here, and they left London to go to Dallas, to go the Guatemala. Then they -- were told to go to Atlanta to go to Guatemala. Then they got told that the flight back from Guatemala was the 22nd, nothing guaranteed, so you know what they did? They turned around and went back to London and had their holiday in airports.

GRIFFIN: Wow, we do expect more stories like that if this indeed does take place. All right, Michael, get a room. It looks like you will be settled in there for a while.

HOLMES: Indeed. Thanks, Drew.

GRIFFIN: Work stoppages are not the worst thing to happen to the traveling public.