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AMERICAN MORNING

Heat Wave Hits Northeast; Tar Balls Discovered Off Coast of New Orleans, Texas; "A Whale" Dives In: Rough Seas Hamper Super Skimmer; Managing Your Credit; Alec Baldwin Gives Back to Alma Mater; Aging Out of Foster Care; The British Are Coming; High Temperatures in New York; Why Do Some People Live Longer?

Aired July 6, 2010 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and good morning. Thanks for being with us. Tuesday, July 6th. Welcome to "AMERICAN MORNING." I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Thanks so much for being with us.

Lots to talk about this morning. It is crazy hot in the northeast in the middle of an extreme heat wave, and today is expected to be the worst day of them all. It could hit 100 degrees in New York, Philadelphia, and D.C. This is the kind of heat that can be dangerous, even deadly, particularly for the elderly.

CHETRY: We are finding tar balls in new places unfortunately, watches of oil no watch patches of oil found in Texas for the first time, nearly 400 miles from the ruptured wellhead. Authorities are also discovering tar ball along Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain. In a moment we'll take you there for new details on where the oil is heading now.

ROBERTS: Plus, Alec Baldwin giving back to his alma mater to help students in need, a seven figure check for scholarship. He also has a message for the kids. Hear what he has to say in our series "Big Stars, Big Giving" just ahead.

CHETRY: First, it's going to be another scorcher, maybe a heat wave for the history books. Today is expected to be the hottest day of them all. Right now, the mercury is rising across the country, especially along the eastern seaboard.

ROBERTS: The National Weather Service says the heat could be dangerous in places like New York City, Philadelphia and Washington. And as we've seen before, it could be deadly. We have Jacqui Jeras in the extreme weather.

But first, Jim Acosta live for us in the national mall. And didn't your mom tell you to never stay in the sun when it is that hot? JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You can't blame the hot air on the politicians this week in Washington, John. There is a good old-fashioned heat wave setting in on the east coast from Richmond, Virginia, all the way up to where you are in New York city. There could be triple digit temperatures in the forecast. And the mercury is rising to record highs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): There is little doubt these are the dog days of summer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The dog needs to have fun too. She needs to cool off. I'll go to the pool later.

ACOSTA: From this creek in northern Virginia to the national mall in Washington, D.C. to the beaches of the Jersey Shore, the city pools in New York and Pleasure Bay in Boston, the goal was simple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to beat the heat.

ACOSTA: But while some people enjoyed a long holiday weekend, not everybody got to lounge around. This construction crew in New York put in a day of hard work under a blistering sun building scaffolding on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really tough. You sweat all day. It is not good. You have to stay hydrated.

ACOSTA: The threat in the city is serious. During a 2006 heat wave, 46 people died of heat stroke in the city. Most of them were older New Yorkers or had known risk factors. But lack of air- conditioning also contributed to a number of deaths.

So today, the city will again open scores of cooling centers like this one. And with people snapping up air conditioners of their open as holiday sales and businesses opening back up after a local weekend, the local power company, Con Ed is working to make sure it is ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are prepared. We have prepared as much as we possibly can.

ACOSTA: Some 17,000 customers in New Jersey got a taste of what could happen if the grid failed, spending four hours Monday without power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very uncomfortable. We hope that the food doesn't spoil.

ACOSTA: With the weekend serving as a warm up and temperatures expected to head to triple digits along much of the northeast coast today, it's a good time to remember the old adage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the humidity that really gets everybody. You really have to be careful.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: Now the National Weather Service has issued heat advisories for cities up and down the east coast because that mix of high heat and intense humidity could be very dangerous for the elderly and the young. John and Kiran?

ROBERTS: Jim Acosta for us at the national mall. Thanks.

CHETRY: We are going to be getting advice from the emergency management coordinator of New York about what to watch for and how the city is prepping.

(WEATHER BREAK)

ROBERTS: Downtown Toronto under extreme heat alert late last night, and that was just the start. A transformer fire left more than 250,000 people in the dark for four hours. Hundreds of people were stuck on trains. The outage even stalled preparations for a state dinner held for Queen Elizabeth.

The power company says electricity has been fully restored, but the queen was so upset, she said, I'm ditching Toronto and coming to New York where she said, they always keep the power on. Just kidding.

CHETRY: The oil spill is of course continuing, and the misery is mounting on the Gulf coast this morning. We are 78 days into the gulf coast disaster. A Navy blimp is on route to Alabama. It can stay in the air for up to 12 hours, much longer than helicopters or airplanes. It will be used to monitor slicks and detect threatened wildlife.

ROBERTS: Also, BP's oil recovery effort is falling short of its pledge to regulators. According to the "Washington Post," the oil giant said that it had the capacity to collect nearly 500,000 barrels of oil per day. But it has only collected about 60 percent of that over 77 days.

And authorities confirming that tar balls from the ruptured BP well have washed up near Galveston, Texas and along the southern part of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain. That's where our Brooke Baldwin is this morning. Brooke, you have been looking for those tar balls. Have you found any yet?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I haven't, John. Trust me, my crew has been poking a little fun at me. I have just been looking. Now that the sun is up, I haven't seen any. It is a beautiful Tuesday morning here, and it doesn't smell oily. The only thing I smell is fish.

But, yes, you said it. It was first reported yesterday that these tar balls are now officially here in Lake Pontchartrain, which is a huge deal of course to the people of New Orleans, the story now very much hitting home.

And when you talk to some of the people who have definitely seen these tar balls, here is how they describe it. They say they are as small as a marble or as large as perhaps a golf ball, but imagine some of these fishermen out on their Fourth of July holiday weekend yesterday and they are seeing some of the tar balls, saying it is simply devastating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gets on your fingers and you wash it and wash it and it smears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think we would see it in here but looks like we are going to. That's sad. It really is. What else can you say about it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: It's sad. Some people say it is alarming. One man I spoke with had who is more or less in charge of making sure this lake is clean, John Lopez essentially said to me he is not surprised. He said, look, he has been out here on these reconnaissance missions coming out weekly because he said this was the inevitable, the fact that evidence of this oil far, far out from that April 20th explosion has finally crept into his precious lake.

He said really the winds are to blame for being that driving force pulling some of this tar and some of the oil into the lake. Here is John Lopez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JOHN LOPEZ, LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN FOUNDATION: It was this east wind we had the last few days that pushed it back toward the labeling. It's certainly not something that represents a catastrophic oiling or a threat. It is the leading edge of something larger that could be coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: At least, John and Kiran, we are not talking about a huge amount of oil estimates. We are saying somewhere in the 100- barrel range. You can imagine. They had some of these boats out yesterday with their fishing nets trying to skim some of these tar balls and pick them up. And I am told they will be back out here today cleaning up, weather permitting.

ROBERTS: Brooke Baldwin, thanks so much.

A viral video of Israeli soldiers dancing while on patrol in the West Bank may have those troops in big trouble this morning. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: It was originally posed on YouTube. It was later taken down, but too late. Once these things get out, they get out. The user says the dancers are Israeli infantry men. It shows them busting out to Keisha's hit, "Tick Tock." The Israeli military called the video, "a stunt," and said that the troops commanders have been informed about their behavior.

CHETRY: It was supposed to be the answer to so many prayers and hopes, this super tanker we have talked about, "A Whale," capable of taking in hundreds of thousands of barrels. It's just miles from the BP leak, but there's still a lot of oil in the water. What is the latest with A Whale and its efforts to skim? We'll find out in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: It's coming up on 14 minutes after the hour.

It's just one setback after another for cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Crews are still doing a test run on the massive skimmer ship, the A Whale, to determine exactly how much oil it can pick up. So far, the tests have produced pretty mediocre results. CNN's Allan Chernoff takes a look at this whole operation from New Orleans this morning.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, the A Whale so far has been more of a minnow when it comes to cleaning up oil. Rough seas have harpooned its ability to skim oil near BP's gusher.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF (voice-over): Tests of A Whale's ability so far are inconclusive, meaning the massive converted oil tanker, three and a half football fields long, has yet to prove it's Taiwanese owner's claim that it can skim between 15,000 and 50,000 barrels of oil off the seas during the day.

CHERNOFF: It is supposed to be able to skim greater quantities than any other vessel on the planet.

CAPT. BRIAN KELLEY, COAST GUARD CHIEF OF STAFF: That's what they claim.

CHERNOFF (on camera): That's what they claim.

KELLEY: Yes.

CHERNOFF: So far?

KELLEY: And that's why we're testing right now.

CHERNOFF: So far, has it delivered?

KELLEY: Right now, they're under a testing evaluation. And we haven't completed that yet. As a matter of fact, the ship just asked for an extension to their testing evaluation period, which we accepted and approved. So they're going to be able to continue that test until Thursday morning. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We haven't seen a very large amount of product. Early indications indicate not a lot was collected.

CHERNOFF (voice-over): That so-called product, crude oil floating in the sea, hasn't been concentrated enough according to BP for "A Whale" to skim effectively, even though it appears the ship has been surrounded by pools of oil just a few miles from the gusher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got oil coming up from over a mile below the surface. And it doesn't always come up in one spot.

CHERNOFF: "A Whale" may still prove itself, but the vessel will have to do so before BP officially hires it to join the cleanup fleet. And if that's to happen, the sea will need to cooperate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you've got seas, six foot, eight-foot seas, it's not going to lend itself to a good capture of the oil.

CHERNOFF: As crude continues gushing into the gulf, skimming has been scant. Only 1,100 barrels of oil were skimmed in a 24-hour period, from Sunday to Monday, less than the amount pouring out of the blown-out well in an hour using the most conservative estimate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see two barges inside that.

CHERNOFF: The Coast Guard has been able to pinpoint traveling pools of oil from the sky.

KELLEY: The aircraft get on top of the oil. They can identify what type of oil it is. And then they can vector in the skimmer vessels right to the spot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF: The Unified Command anticipates seas will soon calm, which should give skimmers, including "A Whale" an opportunity to more effectively do their jobs -- John, Kiran.

CHETRY: Allan Chernoff, all right, fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, on the Most News in the Morning, coming up next, has the bad economy made Americans more responsible with their credit? Well, as Christine has told us, yes, but that doesn't mean companies are not still trying to go after the people who can afford to spend. She'll explain coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Christine Romans is here now "Minding Your Business" at 20 minutes past the hour. We've been talking a lot about credit. People sort of reining it back in. I mean, it's difficult times and how companies are still trying to, as John put it, separate us from our money.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And it doesn't seem because the credit trends have been amazing. The folks at Equifax ran some numbers for us again and showed me that consumer debt has declined, believe it or not, $690 billion since October, 2008. And there's two reasons. We're paying down our debt, yes. But also, they're reeling it in. You know, the people who lend you money are reeling in what they lend you and you can see that dramatically in things like home equity loans of credits and other things that just aren't available anymore.

The credit score according to Equifax is actually rising. Yes, rising. You know, when I --

CHETRY: That's a good thing, though.

ROMANS: That's a good thing. Seven hundred four is the average number, they say. That's their number, the Equifax number. And they say what's happening, it's been rising really for -- stably rising for four years. Why? Because people on the bottom end are just falling off because of foreclosure. But a lot of other people are slowly paying down their debt. They're scared about how much debt they have. They're seeing that the banks are reining it in and they are paying down their debt. So people on the top have improved. People on the bottom have gotten worse.

And I wanted to show you a number that just shocked me. In May 2006, we set a record for the number of home equity lines of credits we opened. In one month, 330,000 home equity lines of credit in one month. If that doesn't say bubble to you --

CHETRY: Right.

ROMANS: And that people at Equifax say we're using it to do things like buy electronics, to buy cars. I mean, we were living our lives out of our house money. By March this year, only $74,000. That tells you what has happened.

CHETRY: But they were such a big push on -- I remember during that period I said to my husband, shouldn't we be taking out a line of credit? I mean, it's everybody -- it's also one of those everyone is doing it. Are we missing some boat (ph) here? And really, I mean, isn't that what helped get us to where we were in 2008?

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely. You had all of this free money out there, this free money being pedaled everywhere. And now, it has been reined in. I mean, the idea that one in 750 Americans were taking money out of their home in one month is just remarkable. And in hindsight, of course, it looks like this inflection point for the bubble. But the folks in Equifax I thought was so interesting -- 704, the average Equifax risk score, they call it, and is actually rising.

ROBERTS: Well, do you have a "Romans' Numeral" for us?

ROMANS: I do. And my numeral is seven years. And this has to do with your credit report. You can get that for free, by the way, at annualcreditreport.com. You should to clean up any kind of mistakes that are on there.

CHETRY: Is this how long it takes to get something that's erroneously put on your credit report erased on average?

ROMANS: It's -- oh, you know what, actually it's pretty quick to get something taken off if you know. Most people don't know. Seven years is how long one late payment stays on your record. You miss a credit card payment once --

ROBERTS: Wow.

ROMANS: -- once, it stays on there for seven years. So that's why you have to pay your -- three things to do to raise your credit score right now, folks. Go to annualcreditreport.com. Clean up any mistakes. Pay your bills on time, pay down your debt. Your score will rise right away.

ROBERTS: All right. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning, thanks.

CHETRY: So that you can borrow more money.

ROMANS: Exactly. So you can borrow more money.

CHETRY: Thanks, Christine.

Well, back to that Emmys, three Golden Globes, enjoying the most success of his entire career, Alec Baldwin is giving his time and his money back to students at his alma mater. He speaks about it with our Alina Cho. Part of our special series, "Big Stars, Big Giving."

Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

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ROBERTS: You might imagine that that wasn't supposed to happen like that. Something else was supposed to happen, but didn't. But here we go.

Twenty-six minutes after the hour. Your top stories just a couple of minutes away now. But first, an "A.M. Original," something you'll see only on AMERICAN MORNING.

He is the unofficial head of one of Hollywood's most recognizable families.

CHETRY: We have the Baldwin clan. And Alec Baldwin is enjoying some of the biggest success he's seen in his career. And he's using that as an opportunity to give back. Our Alina Cho is here with our series "Big Stars, Big Giving" this morning. And today, you got to sit down with Alec Baldwin.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did. He's a fascinating, charming guy. Guys, good morning. Good morning, everybody.

CHETRY: (INAUDIBLE) "30 Rock," right?

CHO: What's that? "30 Rock," "It's Complicated," yes, I mean, he's having a great time. You know, Alec Baldwin, if you think about it, really is best known for his humor, but he's really a serious actor with a serious cause. He's a graduate of New York University. And he's committed to helping drama students there in a major way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHO (voice-over): He's the politically incorrect boss on "30 Rock."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Watching your lefty homo erotic propaganda hour, yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Unless it all hang out in "It's Complicated." Alec Baldwin is riding high on the big and small screen. Five Screen Actors' Guild awards, three Golden Globes, two Emmys, back to back.

BALDWIN: Now that I have that --

CHO: Now that he has that -- the 52-year-old actor is doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could do it over again, what advice would you give yourself?

BALDWIN: How many people here sing? Everybody but you. Right.

(LAUGHTER)

That's important.

CHO: Baldwin recently donated $1 million to his alma mater, the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, to provide scholarships to students who love the craft and demonstrate financial need.

BALDWIN: I have to sit in on some of the auditions and they said to me, well, we think it would be a little --

CHO (on camera): Distracting?

BALDWIN: Distracting or off putting for them if you were in their audition.

CHO: I think so.

BALDWIN: And I said oh, I said that's funny I never thought of it that way. I thought that they would enjoy that.

CHO (voice-over): Baldwin is passionate about giving back, in the same way he is passionate about classical music. So much so, he signed on to be the radio announcer for the New York Philharmonic.

BALDWIN: It's the thing I wish I've done with my life. CHO (on camera): Really?

BALDWIN: Yes, totally. To conduct, to be the executive director of a symphony, what can be better than that?

CHO: Can we talk a bit about the laptop scene?

BALDWIN: If you want to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE MARTIN: Mother (ph).

BALDWIN: What? No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: It tells me a lot about you, Alina. But go right ahead. We'll do that if we must. If you need to satisfy some need you have.

(LAUGHTER)

CHO: Oh, my God.

BALDWIN: Shave the hair. Spray tan. Man, I look like a gigantic lobster up there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I've never really known how to live without you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO (voice-over): It worked. "It's Complicated" has grossed $219 million worldwide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will do you it?

BALDWIN: I don't know. I'm not an actor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: But Baldwin, a tabloid fixture, says acting has taken its toll. So he plans to quit once his contract with "30 Rock" expires in 2012.

BALDWIN: As much as I like acting, I know that I would love to have a different life. A private life. Yes. I mean, I think that doing this now for a living has become really, really hard. It's really hard. And I would rather go do other things and have whatever amount of time I have left in my life, have more of a normal life.

CHO (on camera): But is that possible? You're already famous? BALDWIN: I think it's -- well, maybe, I want to see -- I want to find out how close can I get.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: Baldwin tells me once he's done with "30 Rock," he plans to take a year off to think about it, mull over his options. Meanwhile, remember, his name is on a scholarship now. And NYU says the first Alec Baldwin scholar -- has a certain thing ring to it, right? -- has been selected. Now, though we don't know his name, guys, we do know he is the son of working class parents. NYU says he shows a lot of promise and talent. So that's sort of keeping in line with what Alec Baldwin envisioned for a scholarship, right?

That's right. Absolutely right. The first scholar --

CHETRY: That check when it comes due at NYU is nothing to sneeze at.

CHO: No, it isn't. Well, over $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a year. I mean, it's a lot. It's $20,000 back in the day.

ROBERTS: How long is he staying with "30 Rock"?

CHO: Until 2012.

ROBERTS: OK.

CHO: And so he has a little bit of time.

ROBERTS: There you go. Perfect. Thanks, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

ROBERTS: Crossing the half hour, your top stories this Tuesday morning. Blistering and we do mean blistering heat expected across the northeast today. Dangerously hot in many areas. 100 degrees and higher possible in places like New York, Philadelphia and the nation's capital. And the heat wave may not break for the rest of the week. It was 10 degrees warmer in Philadelphia than it was in Atlanta yesterday.

CHETRY: Wow, the front line of the oil fight now stretching to Texas where authorities say that tar has washed up in Galveston. It is more than 400 miles west of the oil spill. Tar balls also found in Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain. Cleanup crews have collected about 1,000 pounds of tar balls from the area.

ROBERTS: And West Virginia senator, Robert Byrd, will be laid to rest in Arlington today. The longest serving member of Congress died last month at the age of 92. He will be buried next to his wife, Irma. He was an outspoken critic of the Iraq war and called his onetime opposition of the civil rights act "the greatest mistake of my life."

CHETRY: Well, when most teens leave home for the first time, they still have their parents to rely on for advice, for skills, financial help often times. But for young adults in foster care, once they are dropped from the system, most of the time, they literally have no one to turn to.

And in California, the help that was available has been scaled back because of the budget cuts. So how do these young adults get by? Well, here is Thelma Gutierrez with one teen's story in this "A.M. Original."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLA, FOSTER CARE TEEN: This is my room. This is my bed. I have food. I have clothing. I have some place where I can call home.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just imagine how frightening it would be to turn 18 and then to be turned loose out here without an education, money, apartment, or game plan for the future. That's what Carla is up against as California cuts $80 million from child welfare services. We follow her emotional journey as she transitions out of the system.

CARLA: I'm really stressed out these past few weeks and days have been just terrible.

GUTIERREZ: this bedroom in her foster home is the only real bedroom Carla has ever known.

CARLA: My mom, she started having mental problems, and that's when everything just went bad.

GUTIERREZ: From the age of 10, she says, she and her mother lived in homeless shelters in Orange County.

CARLA: I pretty much didn't get to be a kid.

GUTIERREZ: Carla fell behind on her education too. At 16, when the state found out she wasn't in school, she was taken away from her mother and placed in foster care.

(on camera): Has it been a good experience or bad experience?

CARLA: Well, for me, it has been good. I have, you could say, a family.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Now just as Carla says she is finally feeling like she is part of a family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole number is divisible by three.

GUTIERREZ: And beginning to catch up in school and making friends for the first time, Carla turns 18, the age when foster children emancipate or age out of the system.

(on camera): Do you feel that you go out there and make your money and pay for your bills and take care of yourself?

CARLA: No, not yet.

GUTIERREZ: Once you are emancipated, could you turn to your father for help?

CARLA: It has been really hard for me the fact that I never met my dad. When I was newborn, he just left me with my mom and he got remarried again. So he practically left my mom with nothing and nowhere to go, knowing that he had a daughter on the way.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Tomorrow, the hearing where Carla is cut loose from the state. And the painful good-byes to her foster family as she moves on to the next phase of her life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: That was Thelma Gutierrez for us following one woman's story as she embarks on what's going to be a huge challenge for her.

ROBERTS: Yes, we'll see how she does. We will keep following that, by the way.

35 minutes after the hour. If you live in New York City, you might want to practice this. Because the queen is in town. Richard Roth and Richard Quest talk about this, the first visit from the queen to New York City since 1976. What's in store for her today? We'll have that for her coming right up. Stay with us.

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CHETRY: Feel free to stand for this. I understand. 38 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. It is the British - it is the return of the British monarch. Queen Elizabeth II will be in New York City today.

ROBERTS: Yes, it is a rare royal visit. And it's really creating a stir. And who better to cover the QEII than Richard squared - Richard Quest and Richard Roth. Richard the first, Richard the second or - I don't know. We got royal Richards here. Richard, the lion hearted as in Richard, the kingmaker.

Guys, this is going to be a whirlwind tour for her majesty. She's only going to be here for five hours. And Richard, solemn duty today as well. She is going to dedicate this British Garden.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the visit falls into three distinct areas - she will be at the United Nations, she will be down at the World Trade Center.

CHETRY: In Ground Zero.

QUEST: At Ground Zero where she will lay a wreath and she will then go to a dedication at the British Gardens in Times Square in New York where she will be meeting also relatives and family from some of the 67 British citizens who died during 9/11. RICHARD ROTH, SR. UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Her grandson was there last year, Prince Harry. He laid a Magnolia tree there for the queen. She is also visiting Ground Zero, World Trade Center, families there also, American families who lost loved ones.

CHETRY: And you were mentioning, Richard, how important it is, the speech that she is going to be giving at the United Nations. She hasn't spoken there since she was what? 31 years old.

QUEST: 1957. Look, the thing is it's not going to be a - speech. Don't expect fireworks. Don't expect that. That's not the way the queen does things. It is going to be a restrained discussion or speech about leadership and the challenges facing the United Nations. She is coming talking as leader of the Commonwealth of Nations and the sovereign, the head of 16 independent or 16 countries in her own right.

ROBERTS: So why now?

ROTH: Well, has she been more on this, not a farewell tour, you hear that often but she is still going strong in her mid-80s.

ROBERTS: 84 years old.

QUEST: Yes. That's the interesting part about this. The palace is quite clear it is not a farewell tour. It's not a see you later, guys. It is not that at all. So but asking them why the United Nations invited her now and why they have wanted to do that, that's when you start in a bit of a blank wall. You never really get a satisfactory answer as to why now?

ROTH: I would like to know how far in advance do they plan these schedules. Does she know if she is talking to the world, she is talking at the U.N. during the first World Cup semi-finals, in the Uruguay-Netherlands. I mean, why?

QUEST: We knew the date of this several months ago with exactly when, where, and how. What is interesting -

CHETRY: Because when the U.K. got knocked out, she wouldn't have been able to come out.

QUEST: so that's the way you treat friends when they visit.

ROTH: We're both knocked out. There's misery among company here.

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE) of American television when your opponent is down, keep your foot on his neck.

QUEST: Oh -

ROBERTS: he's talking about planning -

QUEST: The foot on the throat, hey?

ROBERTS: Talking about planning with the queen, even you know, there is elaborate planning that goes into these visits -

QUEST: Yes.

ROBERTS: But even the best of planning sometimes goes awry. Remember her 1991 visit where she was standing beside President H.W. Bush and they had the podium a little bit the wrong height and produced the famous talking hat.

QUEST: You and I are old enough to remember the talking hat.

CHETRY: We had everyone digging around for this.

QUEST: The palace was furious about this, because at the time it made her look stupid, which it did, frankly. Of course, you remember, she then went on to say when she addressed Congress the next day. She started off with the line, "can you see me now?"

CHETRY: So she was a good sport about it?

QUEST: Absolutely.

CHETRY: We also have some video, Richard, about her first visit to the city. This was back in 1957. The last time that she addressed the United Nations as you have been saying. Let's show a little bit of that. I mean, a very different-looking queen, of course. This is going to be a solemn visit as well back to the United Nations. I mean, as you said, she is going down to the World Trade. She is going to be dedicating the British Memorial to the 67 British -

ROTH: I think the U.N. hasn't changed much, even though there is a lot of renovation work. She is also coming, by the way, during one of the hottest days, if ever, in New York City. And in Toronto last night, there was a bit of a power failure whether Prince Phillip was speaking and they had to dim the lights a bit. So she is coming here 100 degrees. But it's a solemn event. She is not going shopping and going to a Broadway play like other royal presidents, prime ministers who are coming to the general assembly.

QUEST: I got one question for you.

ROTH: Which I probably don't know. But go ahead.

QUEST: I'll try it anyway.

Sorry, guys, you just talk amongst yourselves over royalty and the United Nations.

ROTH: You are supposed to talk to the anchors here in America.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Talk amongst yourselves.

QUEST: Why now, Richard? Why does the U.N. want her now?

ROTH: Do they want - look, who wanted who here? I mean, Ban Ki- Moon, the secretary general, would like any high-level visitor, it increases his prestige, also the U.N. but the U.N. is full of renovation there. It is not the best time to visit. It is so short. Look, they will take whoever they can get there because the image of the place, I think, has suffered over the years. It is so short.

ROBERTS: Speaking as a person who bridges both worlds, growing up in a Commonwealth country, I think we ought to lay down the gauntlet here, Richard.

ROTH: I mean, it is an impressive visit but why doesn't she come in September during the general assembly -

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Because its political. It's political.

CHETRY: One other quick question. A lot of the attention paid to the queen's wardrobe, of course, the royal wardrobe. What do you wear in 100-degree heat so you can be comfortable?

QUEST: That's easy for the queen. Remember, she goes to Africa, she has been to the Caribbean. She is well used to that. The dresses, the outfits will have been well tailored and well planned for every eventuality. That I am certain about. You are not going to see that royal brow perspire.

CHETRY: Not a drop.

QUEST: Not a drop.

ROBERTS: Richard Quest, Richard Roth, as always, great to see you and it's good to see the queen back here, too. Because (INAUDIBLE) declared her in 1976 to be an honorary New Yorker. So, welcome back.

CHETRY: Forty-four minutes past the hour right now. Jacqui Jeras is going to be coming along with the travel forecast. As we know, it's going to be hot. We're probably breaking records all across the East Coast. She has a look at how it could affect travel today.

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CHETRY: Remember this?

ROBERTS: What, the music?

CHETRY: Yes.

ROBERTS: OK, 13 minutes to 8:00 in the morning. It seemed like an obvious musical choice, 83 degrees right now in New York City under sunny skies. Later on today, it is going to get hot in here, 101 degrees in the Big Apple.

CHETRY: But please, don't take off all of your clothes.

ROBERTS: Because it is always the people who shouldn't that do, right?

CHETRY: That's the problem.

ROBERTS: I could never figure that out. You go to a nude beach and it is like, wow, you shouldn't be taking off your clothes, no, stop, please, why are you doing that? Let's get a quick check this morning not that I frequent nude beaches (INAUDIBLE) --

CHETRY: He just read about it.

ROBERTS: Martha's Vineyard, you know, you walk to the gay head. You can't help it sometimes. Let's get to Jacqui. She's in Orlando this morning. Hey, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Just keep talking yourself right out of that hole. No problem.

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE) holes - stop digging so - take it away, Jacqui.

JERAS: All right, guys, you know, we are talking about extreme heat today. Record heat will be very likely. So that's why this is really historic because we will likely see numbers that we have never seen before on this date.

But, you know, the temperatures on the thermometer not as important as what we are going to be feeling. That's going to be between 100 degrees to 105 degrees today. The record high in New York City, 101 and we will likely tie that, 102 in Washington, D.C. 98 in Raleigh. You had Boston up there at 95 degrees.

This is going to be the worse day that you are going to see. Temperatures will cool off slightly tomorrow into the 90s. It will be feeling a lot better by the end of the week. Hang in there and get through today safely and somebody check on the queen for me, by the way.

They're worried about her in that heat laying that wreath out there later on today. The nation's mid-section doing OK in terms of temperatures. A cold front sweeping through the area that we're going to see showers and thundershowers and still concerned about some of the rising floodwaters here, particularly in Iowa.

Slight risk of severe weather across parts of high plains and there you can see that red area in Western Nebraska, South Dakota into Wyoming and Colorado as well. We could expect to see some delays because of those thunderstorms, but also, believe it or not, we could see some delays because of the haze.

Air quality tends to be very bad with hazy conditions when we have a high pressure in places like we do in the northeast so D.C. and Philadelphia could have 30-60-minute delays because of that, Detroit, 30-60 as well. Miami, Fort Lauderdale with some showers and thunderstorms, a little rain in Chicago. It could hold you up pretty minor we think though maybe only 15 minutes. San Francisco looking at some problems, 30 to 60 minutes can be expected there. We're also keeping our eye on the tropic. We had a little area of disturbed weather that made its way up towards Louisiana yesterday. Still bringing heavy showers and thunderstorms there and then another area that has some potential for tropical development across the Yucatan, this will bring some heavy showers and thundershowers along with gusty winds.

The forecast computer model is bringing it over towards the similar track as Alex, but at this time, we don't think the likelihood is too great that this will be a significant storm. But John and Kiran, certainly going to churn those waves and keep things active with some high seas across the Gulf of Mexico and certainly impacting the oil spill efforts. Back to you.

CHETRY: Jacqui Jeras for us. Thanks so much. We're going to take a quick break right now. Our top stories just minutes away including tough times for teens competing against college grads, adults for the same jobs. We're going to talk to one who refused to just sit on the beach. She actually started her own business.

ROBERTS: A well-oiled machine. A NASCAR driver named to the President's Fitness Council. Carl Edwards tells us how he stays healthy on the road and after four or five hours on the track.

CHETRY: Also, it's a bird, it's plane, no, it's actually a super nerd. A real-life cape crusader trying to do what's right in tights, taking the city by storm. Those stories and much more at the top of the hour.

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CHETRY: Fifty three minutes past the hour. Time for your "AM House Calls." Stories about your health. Scientists are getting closer to unlocking one of the world's biggest genetic mysteries. It is why do some people live so much longer than others?

The latest research is coming from a team at Boston University. Again, here with this morning is Dr. Thomas Perls, Associate Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics at BU School of Medicine and also the director of the New England Centenarian Studies, studying people that live past 100.

Not just people hanging on, but it was people who actually lived quite healthily into their later and later years. What sets them apart from most of us?

DR. THOMAS PERLS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND GERIATRICS AT BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, what's typical of centenarians is that they live the vast majority of their lives in good health. Ninety percent of them are disability-free at the age of 93.

So it's actually fantastic news to become a centenarian. In the paper that we have in science, this week, we find that genetics plays an increasingly important role going from say 100 up to 110. At the same time, remember that we all have the genetics, I think, to get us to our mid to late 80s and in very good health. We just have to take advantage of that with good lifestyle habits.

CHETRY: So that was the interesting thing that came out of the study. How much does -- how long your parents live and how long your sisters and brothers and grandparents live. How much does your lineage factor into whether you live to 100?

PERLS: Well, we think that genetics -- if you have a genetic predisposition that's really, really good news. If for some reason we didn't catch it with a test that we did, you would still very may well have the predisposition. This test is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. You know, I think that the genes make it a lot easier to get to 100 or 110 than otherwise.

CHETRY: I took your quiz, by the way because it is fascinating. I gave it to my husband as well. I got a 93 by the way, which - I mean, that's not bad.

PERLS: That's fantastic actually.

CHETRY: But I'm not going to be a centenarian. One of the things that was interesting or may not be is that -- looking at your own family's history. It asks you -- had I had any grandparents who lived over the age of 90 and the answer is no, unfortunately. And also, close family members who have had history of heart disease or diabetes. How much of that is preventable?

PERLS: Well, you didn't get to the 103 or 108 on this quiz that has really not anything to do with the genetic paper that we had just come out because you didn't have this longevity in your family. And you know if people in your family smoked, for example, we don't know how old they could have gotten to be.

CHETRY: So smoking is a huge factor in here. You talk about your centenarians. You said substantial smoking history is rare. Also, very few are obese and you say in the case of men they are almost always lean.

PERLS: That's right. So even if you got these great genes it does not mean you can rest on your laurels. You really need still very good health habits to get there.

CHETRY: What about - what are the biggest risk factors, is it obesity and smoking?

PERLS: I would say yes. Especially smoking in that quiz, it is -- takes 15 years off your life so it's a huge, huge factor. Obesity is very, very important. I applaud Michelle Obama what she is doing because it is a huge epidemiologically important factor.

CHETRY: It is and we are seeing kids younger and younger. You know, you are talking about kids possibly being on cholesterol lowering medication in their teens and preteen years which just astounding. The other question that I had is about dealing and managing with stress. You say that these centenarians understand how to manage stress. They also understand the importance of getting rest.

PERLS: It was really interesting when we did some personality testing. Not so much on the centenarians, but their kids who are very much following in the footsteps of their parents. One of the clues to us how strongly familial this is, is that they scored very low in a feature called neuroticism. They're not neurotic. They don't dwell on things. They don't internalize stress so they manage their stress very well.

CHETRY: No wonder I'm not living to a 100, I get it.

PERLS: Yes. It isn't so much the amount of stress. It's how you manage it that's so important.

CHETRY: Well, it's very fascinating and we're going to link it up with our website if other people want to take the quiz, which as you said it's not linked to this new study. But the new study is also fascinating as well because there are lessons to be learned here.

You are not talking about just living to 100 but living pretty healthily the whole time so that's amazing.

PERLS: Right.

CHETRY: Always great to talk to you this morning, Dr. Thomas Perls from the Geriatrics Center at Boston University School of Medicine. Good to talk to you.

PERLS: Thank you.

CHETRY: Right now, we're going to take a quick break and top stories coming your way in just two minutes. It's 58 minutes past the hour.

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