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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Dealing Dogs; Rescue Effort Continues For Over 1,000 Caught in Deadly Philippine Mudslide; Mexican Rescue Workers Search For Trapped Miners
Aired February 20, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight with a story that will make some of you mad. It will make some of you sick, as it has some of us, and reduce some of you to tears, no doubt. It's a story about dogs and a dirty corner of the economy that, by and large, goes unseen.
The dogs are sold every year for research, about 42,000 of them, according to animal rights activists. Now, whether your agree or disagree with the need to experiment on animals, we think nobody would argue with this: They ought to be treated as humanely as possible.
As you're about to see, and as the makers of a new HBO documentary found out with hidden cameras, some of these dogs are treated barbarically.
COOPER: The images are shocking: a handler striking a dog he's trying to weigh.
These pictures were taken by "Pete," an undercover investigator for an animal rights group called Last Chance For Animals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEALING DOGS")
"PETE," UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATOR: This is the camera looking at you. This is the camera itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Pete got a job at the Martin Creek Kennel in Arkansas, which buys dogs, and then sells them to veterinary schools and research labs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEALING DOGS")
PETE: The kennel was extremely filthy when I first started working there. But it was my job to clean it.
I am the hose man at the kennel, so it's my job to work a high- pressure hose and spray the dogs (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of about 150 pens.
When I'm hitting the [ bleep ] with a high-pressure hose, the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sprays all over the dogs, all over their food, and all in their water. Feces get blown all over the pens. And that's the way that I'm supposed to do it. That's the way I supposed to hose it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Martin Creek Kennel is what's called a class-B dog dealer.
SARAH TEALE, FILMMAKER, "DEALING DOGS": A class-B dealer is someone who deals with what they call random-source dogs. They buy them in flea markets. Sometimes, they get them from shelters.
TOM SIMON, FILMMAKER, "DEALING DOGS": They're paying anywhere from $10 to maybe $25 per dog. And they're selling them for anywhere from $250 to perhaps $400 to $500 a head.
COOPER: It's all legal, if the rules are followed. But Last Chance For Animals found that Martin Creek Kennel violated the animal welfare laws that govern class-B dealing.
They say the kennel bought stolen animals, oftentimes, people's pets. They were treated horribly, starving to death., left to die from untreated wounds, and crammed, four at a time, into pens. These are what Pete calls the trenches, the kennel's dumping ground for dogs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEALING DOGS")
PETE: Up at the trench, there's a table sitting right next to the trench with a bloody knife on top. And the whole table is just covered in dry blood. The area around the table is just littered with dog organs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's because, according to Pete, dogs with heartworm were shot to death, and had their hearts cut out -- the worms sold to research labs.
Pete spent almost six months undercover. And his 70 hours of hidden camera footage was given to the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock. The kennel owner, C.C. Baird, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money-laundering. He was required by law to show where each dog he sold came from. He admitted to falsifying that paperwork and faces up to 10 years in prison.
Baird also was sued by the USDA, charged with more than 500 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, like falsifying health records and failure to supply the barest standards of care for the animals. He settled out of court, agreeing to pay more than a quarter-million dollars, the largest fine ever imposed under the Animal Welfare Act.
The kennel was shut down, and Baird's license to buy and sell dogs was revoked.
Pete says, 600 dogs were saved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEALING DOGS")
PETE: C.C. Baird's Martin Creek Kennel was a little piece of hell on Earth. Some justice got served, but there are a lot of other places just like it out there. And that means there's a lot more work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well , we tried to reach C.C. Baird several times for comment on this story, but were unsuccessful.
More now from the man you just met, the undercover investigator we are calling Pete. When we taped the interview you're about to see, Pete was right in the middle of another investigation, so we agreed to shoot him in silhouette.
COOPER: So, Pete, were -- were you scared, doing this?
PETE: You know what? To be honest, yes, I was scared.
COOPER: What did you think would happen, if -- if -- if they were suspicious, or if they caught you?
PETE: Well, these people, they had guns on the property. And two of them were all -- carried guns on their person at the property.
They knew that they were doing things that were illegal. So, my concern was, if I was caught, they wouldn't want me to leave. And I wasn't going to let them hold me, so that the situation might become, ultimately -- we -- we might end up getting into a fight, and that a weapon might be drawn.
COOPER: I -- I mean, there -- there are so many things in the film which are just completely shocking, that sort of graveyard of animal, where they were actually cutting out the hearts of dogs for -- well, I didn't quite understand that. It was for the heartworm?
What they would do is, they would test the dogs to see which dogs were heartworm positive. Then, they would take those dogs, shoot them in the head, drive them out to a giant trench, and cut them open, so they would pull the heartworms out of their hearts to then sell those off to research.
COOPER: You -- you also talked about the dogs being cage-crazy. What -- what was that like? What -- what is that?
PETE: Well, these -- dogs are very social animals, especially the kind of dogs that were most predominant at this facility -- were beagles, walkers, hounds, dogs that are hunting dogs, and like to roam and be out on the land.
Well, they're stuck in cages, packed together, so, they get neurosis, which is being cage-crazy. I would see dogs cannibalize each other. And, when I could, I would try and break up the fight. But it -- it was very often I would go into work, and I would see a dog with some of its body parts shoved through one end of the cage. And it was just ripped to pieces. And, so, then, I would drag them out, and throw them on -- on a pile of dead dogs, which we could cover up with wooden boards at the facility.
COOPER: And -- and you see them, I mean, punching a dog, slapping a dog at one point, you know, tossing them into these vats. For you, what -- what -- what was the most shocking thing you saw?
PETE: To tell you the truth, the most shocking, for me, was that there was one little beagle that I made the mistake of -- of personally naming.
I didn't tell anyone that I named this beagle, but I named him Rebel. He had worms. They decided to put him in an indoor facility to collect the worms out of his poop, but they didn't treat him. So, they let Rebel degenerate to the point, where he eventually died of his condition.
I went in to check on him one day, and he was just emaciated and completely dead. And that was the worst to me, because they didn't just break his body. They broke his spirit. And that's what led him to dying.
COOPER: There are, you know, going to be some people who say, this is -- this is extreme, that, you know, animals shouldn't be abused, but -- but, you know, they -- they -- maybe they -- there's medical reason to -- to use them for research, or -- you may not agree with it.
Are you trying to shut down any use of animals anywhere for any purpose?
PETE: You know what? My personal belief is that animals are not here for us to exploit.
But the statement that I want to make is that random-source animals should not be used for research. People should not obtain animals from pounds, or from pet thieves, or from -- or -- or from anywhere else, and, then, obtain them and sell them off to research labs. That's why the Pet Safety and Protection Act has to be passed.
COOPER: Well, it's a remarkable document. You can see it tomorrow, "Dealing Dogs," on HBO tomorrow night.
Moving on, in the Philippines tonight, hundreds of United States Marines have joined the search for survivors, following Friday's mudslide -- a disaster that turned a village of nearly 2,000 people into what is really a mass graveyard. There, you see the efforts to dig. But it is getting difficult, as you can see, the ground turning -- well, it is turning back to solid, almost like cement -- among the missing, 246 schoolchildren and seven teachers, including one teacher who reportedly sent a text message that read, "We are all alive. Dig us out."
CNN's Hugh Riminton has more. And, we want to warn you, some of these images may be disturbing to watch.
HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The search is being spurred on now by what a top Philippine official calls increasingly positive signs of life from the school site where nearly 250 children were engulfed -- reports of scratching sounds and rhythmic tapping.
But, where the Marines dug, the holes simply fill up with water again. A local TV report of 50 survivors being found raised false hopes. The searchers continue to find only the dead. The work goes on, teetering between resignation and stubborn hope.
SENATOR RICHARD GORDON, CHAIRMAN, PHILIPPINE RED CROSS: There may be still people alive there. Even if we think there is none, the positive -- the -- the -- the hope is that there are air pockets there that we can pick up, no?
RIMINTON: More U.S. Marines have been flown into this isolated valley. They work alongside mountain rescue teams from Malaysia and Taiwan -- the task for all of them, local and international, grueling, unremitting, slow.
Specially-trained dogs have arrived from Spain for a personal presidential welcome from Gloria Arroyo.
PEDRO FRUTOS, K-9 CREIXELL DOG HANDLER (through translator): We know it's difficult, but we will try our best. We expect a lot of mud, a lot of work, but, with the help of the army, we still have some hope.
RIMINTON (on camera): The international presence has given new energy to the search, just when it was needed most, when the size of the task, the sheer daunting nature of the work up on the mountainside, had left the initial wave of rescuers both exhausted and demoralized.
(voice-over): As the dead now begin literally to pile up, an urgent call for there to be no rush to bury them.
GORDON: We now express our concern, our serious concern, about this matter, because we should not be burying bodies until they are properly identified. We would like to make sure that bodies -- that people who die are given their proper dignity.
RIMINTON: Even now, less than 10 percent of those thought to have died have been retrieved.
COOPER: Hugh, this is a horrific -- horrific story.
What is it like being there?
RIMINTON: There's nothing that -- the words really do fail in a case like this.
The -- the -- behind me is the hillside, with the huge scar, where this mountainside fell down over 2,000 feet from the ridgeline, cascading down into the river flats below, right through the path of where the village is.
The U.S. Marines who came in here, fit men, recently in Iraq, it took them two hours to walk just over a -- a mile. And that was on the level part of it. Everywhere you go, you can sink in up to your waist in these pots of -- I say quicksand, but, really, it's quick mud.
COOPER: So, Hugh, from where you're standing, where exactly was the mudslide? Where was this village?
RIMINTON: OK. No problem.
If you look up here, you will see there is a -- somewhat lost in the top of the cloud, you will see that there is a brownish scar on -- on the hillside, in among all the jungle.
Now, that goes right up to the top of the ridgeline. And it's -- it's -- gets wider as it goes down. It comes -- you can't even really see the length that it -- it's -- it's come out nearly a mile -- in fact, more than a mile -- out on to the flats.
That is the force of all that weight of rubble cascading down off the top of the mountain. Now, some were in there. Is -- well, theoretically, anything up to 1,800-odd people, and hundreds of people have been now, as the search continues to expand, going out there every day.
COOPER: How big an operation is going on right now?
RIMINTON: Well, you know, it -- the other element here is rainfall, the continued rainfall. It was absolutely fierce, a tropical downpour, during the course of the night.
They think they can work that to their advantage, because it has washed away all the scent of the people who were searching. They have now got dogs that have flown in from Spain, believe it or not.
They're going to go out now on to what is a fresh field of scent, if you like, no human scent from these searchers. Anything they find, if they can sniff any -- anyone alive, which is the great hope, or further bodies that they can recover -- it's an enormous task that they're trying to do to find anyone alive, let alone haul them back out on to the surface.
COOPER: It -- it is just so horrible, and, as you said, only a small fraction of -- of the -- the bodies have been found so far.
Hugh, appreciate your report. Thank you -- Hugh Riminton.
COOPER: Well, searching for clues behind the deadly mudslide -- as we have seen in the Philippines, they can strike without warning. The same thing happened in California more than -- more than two years ago.
Coming up, a geologist tells us the warning signs of a potential mudslide.
Also, tonight, should an Arab-owned company control six of the busiest ports in the U.S.? The president says yes. Many others on Capitol Hill including, even Republicans, disagree. Find out why they believe our security may be at risk.
And, later, I joined Oprah Winfrey in Houston, Texas, where she's building houses for Katrina evacuees. Why do so many victims still not have permanent housing? We will take a look at that.
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, remember, they said that only about 10 percent of the victims of this mudslide have so far been recovered. And it's very possible, as you're going to hear from my next guest, that -- that most of these victims will never be recovered, that they will simply be left, encased in the mud, where they died.
The mudslide that may have killed thousands in the Philippines began with what several survivors said sounded like an explosion. From that moment, it took just two minutes for this unstoppable river of dirt and rocks and debris to literally swallow an entire village. Those people there are standing on what used to be a village.
The catastrophe was triggered by weeks of torrential rains in the Philippines. And we wanted to understand exactly how those landslides occur. And -- and even the ones that have occurred in the United States, what caused them?
Randall Jibson is a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He's an expert on landslides. And he joined me earlier.
COOPER: Randy, I just want to show you this, the video that we have from La Conchita of -- of this landslide. If you could, just describe what it is that we're looking at. What is happening here?
RANDALL JIBSON, RESEARCH GEOLOGIST, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: Well, you have got some material that has mobilized because of water pressure deep in the hillside. And you can see...
And it's moving very rapidly down into the community.
COOPER: And you...
JIBSON: You can see in the lower left the green material, which is the vegetation that used to be on the hillside, that's just rafting downward now.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, it looks like it's carrying with it all this vegetation here. So, it's deeper than the roots of trees and -- and bushes go, correct?
This is several tens of feet deep. And this material is just rafting long. We -- we sometimes make the analogy -- it's like pushing a tablecloth -- cloth across a table, where it's wrinkled and rolling, but it's sliding on this very slick surface.
COOPER: We also have a graphic where -- that sort of shows how -- what happens in a landslide. If you could, just sort of describe it.
JIBSON: Well, we have a hillside here.
And, deep within the hillside, of course, there's some water at some level. And that water exerts pressure on the hillside. And when the rain falls, it percolates down through the hillside. It increases this underground water pressure, until it finally overcomes the strength of the slope, and a landslide occurs.
COOPER: So, any houses that are built on that -- that hillside would -- would go down with it?
JIBSON: Anything built on it and anything below that slope could possibly be in great trouble.
COOPER: Now, in this La Conchita video, we see -- we see underbrush. We see trees going down.
In the Philippines -- in the case of the Philippines, there has been talk that overly aggressive logging might have contributed to the landslide. You don't think that's the case.
JIBSON: Well, it's unlikely, because that landslide in the Philippines appears to have occurred several tens of feet below the surface.
That would have been below the root zone. And it's unlikely that any of the vegetation on the surface would have had much of an effect on the landslide. COOPER: We see people walking through this -- this destroyed area in the Philippines. You think it -- I mean, they have only found a -- a small percentage of the victims at this point. At a certain point, it's not possible to -- to find anymore; is that correct?
JIBSON: In general, that's correct.
This material has a consistency similar to wet concrete. And people are entombed in this material. And it's very, very difficult to excavate, with any degree of success. I have seen these things in the past. And it's almost impossible to recover to the bodies, unfortunately.
COOPER: How fast is it moving?
And, when you look that this La -- La Conchita video, it -- it looks like it's moving incredibly fast.
JIBSON: At La Conchita, up on the hillside, it was probably moving 20, 30, possibly 40 miles per hour, which doesn't sound fast if you're driving on the freeway, but you can't outrun that. You can't get out of its way. And, so, you're not likely, at all, to be outrunning a landslide like...
COOPER: And in -- in the Philippines, there were homes built at the base of the hill. Those were, of course, wiped out. Are there any warning signs that -- that can save people that, you know, a landslide like this is coming?
JIBSON: Well, apparently, there had been two weeks of very, very heavy rainfall in the Philippines, over two feet of rainfall.
And, certainly, if you live at the base of a slope in a situation like that, when you have had prolonged rainfall, you should be very vigilant, and might consider -- at least temporarily -- evacuating. Sometimes, slopes begin by making popping or cracking sounds. Sometimes, you might see cracks forming.
But, other times, a landslide can occur with virtually no warning whatsoever.
COOPER: It's just terrible.
Randall, thank you. Thanks for your expertise.
JIBSON: You're welcome, Anderson.
COOPER: It -- it is just hard to imagine what that must be like, seeing that wall of mud just coming towards you, 30, 40 -- 40 miles an hour. Unbelievable.
Erica Hill joins us from Headline News with some of the other stories we are following -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
President George W. Bush spending this Presidents Day talking up his energy plan -- speaking in Milwaukee, the president says he knows it's a shock to hear a Texas oil man say it, but, in his words, America is addicted to oil.
The president touted a future when hybrid vehicles, powered on batteries and ethanol, would be 100 percent gasoline free. His goal here, to reduce oil imports from the Middle East by 75 percent by the year 2025.
In Austria, British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison, after admitting he violated an Austrian law which forbids denial of the Holocaust. Under Hitler, more than half of Austria's Jews are believed to have been killed in the Holocaust. And while Irving does now acknowledge the Holocaust, he does think fewer than six million Jews were killed.
In California, a 62-year-old woman impregnated through in vitro fertilization gave birth on Friday to a healthy six-pound, nine-ounce baby boy. The oldest woman on record to give birth, by the way, was 66, and lives in Rumania.
And this is a real cat. Talk about living large -- very large -- in China. This 9-year-old tips the scales at 33 pounds, boasts of waist of 31 inches. But this guy needs a little help getting around. The cat's owner actually has to help him climb into bed, and even wraps the cat in his very own blanket.
HILL: Gives him a little bit...
COOPER: Oh, my God.
HILL: Look at that. Isn't that insane?
COOPER: Oh, my God.
HILL: He eats six pounds of chicken a day, Anderson.
COOPER: It was that last picture that did it for me, the one where...
COOPER: ... he's holding it.
HILL: I know.
COOPER: Thirty-one-inch waist?
HILL: That's bigger than my waist, all right? Like, come on.
HILL: It's like a balloon with legs.
COOPER: Oh, man.
COOPER: Oy. Good lord.
COOPER: Put that cat on a diet.
COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks.
Good business may be bad vibes, for sure. Coming up, we will look at the controversial plan to put the security of American ports in the hands of a nation that was a -- well, a financial base for al Qaeda.
And heartache in Mexico -- the latest on efforts to reach 65 miners trapped since Sunday -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Time is running out for the Mexican miners trapped since Sunday. Hope, too, is in short supply -- next on 360.
COOPER: It was just last month that a spate of mining disasters in West Virginia shook our faith in miracles.
Tonight, it looks like a similar disappointment is in store for a small town in Mexico. It was a long day, with little progress, in San Juan De Sabinas, not far from the Texas border, where an explosion on Sunday trapped about 65 miners deep underground.
And, with rescue operations proceeding slowly, it looks to be a very long night, indeed.
CNN's Morgan Neill is there.
MORGAN NEILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With their co- workers trapped two-and-a-half kilometers underground, their fate unknown, these hardened miners do their best to help. But don't look to them for optimism.
"Do you have hope for them?" this miner is asked.
"No," comes the blunt answer.
He, like the other miners, knows the dangers. More than a day since an explosion underground, with tanks holding just six hours worth of oxygen, the math is straightforward. Nothing has been heard from the 65 trapped miners. The rescue effort, relying on picks and shovels, is going slowly. The presence of methane underground makes it hazardous.
The relatives of those below huddle together, seeking comfort, against the shock of what has happened. They pay close attention to the periodic updates given by authorities here. But even they aren't optimistic.
"First of all, we have faith," she says. "In the end, it's the one above who holds the final card."
NEILL: Anderson, that's a message we have been hearing a lot around here.
I went to the hospital today to visit one of the survivors. And you -- I asked him what -- what kind of hope does he hold out for those co-workers trapped in the mine behind me. And he simply looked up at the ceiling, and said, "That's not in my hands anymore" -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, Morgan, how deep are -- are they? I mean, if they're digging with picks and shovels, and they're very deep, that -- that can't be good.
NEILL: Well, that -- that's certainly a -- a sentiment many people here would agree with.
The latest that we have gotten -- and we had an update from officials here about an hour-and-a-half ago -- and they said they have gone from 400 to 450 meters today. So, the going is very slow. But they tell us, constantly, that's because this is very dangerous work -- Anderson.
COOPER: Have -- have there been other accidents in -- in this area?
NEILL: Yes, there have been in this state. It's -- it's -- it's one of the most important mining states in the country.
Some 30 years ago, there was a -- there was a blast that killed 150 people. More recently, eight years ago, there was one that killed 37 in this very state.
COOPER: Well, we saw how difficult operations here are in the United States. You can only imagine how they are in Mexico. Morgan Neill, appreciate you staying on the story. Thanks, Morgan.
Several American ports controlled by an Arab company -- the White House says the deal is safe. Many believe it could lead to a security risk. We will take a look at the growing debate and the company behind it.
Also, "Keeping Them Honest" -- those trailers that should have housed thousands of Katrina victims, well, police officers in New Orleans can use them now. So, why aren't they allowed to? We're following the red tape -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: An accident waiting to happen, that's what Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat, said about the Bush administration's deal to give an Arab-owned company control over six of the busiest U.S. ports. And it's not just Democrats who are concerned. Several Republicans, including two governors, even former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, are also troubled. They want to know why a nation that had ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda should oversee what enters this country.
CNN's Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A container ship pulls into the Port of Baltimore, one of more than 2,000 that will pass this year. Baltimore's mayor now believes his port will be more vulnerable if managed by an Arab company.
MAYOR MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), BALTIMORE: At a time of terrorist threat, when for years we've been saying that our ports are vulnerable, we should not be surrendering any American port to a foreign government, let alone to the United Arab Emirates with their background.
TODD: Baltimore, along with the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami and New Orleans, may soon have many operations taken over by Dubai Ports World, a firm under the control of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates. The deal was approved by a committee of 12 federal agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense.
Federal officials defend that decision.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We build in conditions or requirements that -- for extra security that have to be met in order to make sure that there isn't a compromise to national security.
TODD: The Department of Homeland Security will screen cargo, but Dubai Ports World would protect the terminals themselves. The company is based in the United Arab Emirates, which the 9/11 Commission has said was home to two 9/11 hijackers and was a major financial base for al Qaeda.
CNN security analyst Clark Kent Ervin worries that connection creates more risk for U.S. ports where only a small percentage of cargo is opened and inspected.
CLARK KENT ERVIN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: All the experts agree that probably the easiest, and therefore the likeliest way, for a weapon of mass destruction to make its way in to the United States would be through a port.
TODD: A Dubai Ports World official tells CNN, "We intend to maintain or enhance current security arrangements." And the UAE's foreign minister says his government has worked very closely with the United States to fight terrorism before and after 9/11.
TODD: But critics of this deal, including members of Congress, say the whole thing should be overturned because of the UAE's past connections with terrorism. Senators in both parties are calling for hearings, and there is talk of legislation to block this deal, although the administration could overturn that -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's obviously gotten very political, but how is this going to work on the ground? Who would be in charge of security, Department of Homeland Security, or this company, Dubai Ports World?
TODD: It's actually going to be a collaboration. The Department of Homeland Security says the Customs and Border Protection division of that department is going to screen all the cargo, both in the United States and at points of embarkation overseas. But the company that runs the terminals, the Dubai Ports World, is going to hire some security personnel, and it will take care of the actual physical security in the terminal. But the personnel hired are going to have to be screened by DHS, the background checks.
COOPER: Would they be U.S. citizens or would they be nationals of the United Arab Emirates?
TODD: Unclear about that right now, Anderson. This company does have a history of hiring nationals from other countries to work at its ports. I think that's still part of the deal that still has to be worked out. That's clearly very -- kind of a sticky issue at this point.
COOPER: It certainly is.
Brian Todd reporting tonight.
While the White House and lawmakers argue, we think you should know more about Dubai Ports World. This company, as Brian Todd reported, that's the United Arab Emirates business that may soon operate six U.S. ports. Here's a closer look at the company behind the controversy. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER (voice over): The "D" stands for Dubai, the booming city state on the Persian Gulf. The "P" stands for Ports.
The company began in 1976 building and managing Dubai's two ports. The city and the shipping facilities growing together, one of the ports now in the top 10 worldwide.
In 1999, DP went international, fueled by money from its owner, the government of Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates.
JULIAN BRAY, EDITOR, LLOYD'S LIST: Dubai and Dubai Ports are both regarded as being very credible companies. And it's regarded with a measure of disbelief that anybody can seriously be accusing DP World as being suspect from a security perspective.
COOPER: Critics have expressed concerns about the UAE's alleged links with terrorists and the 9/11 attacks, but no one has claimed links with DP World. It now runs ports in all sorts of places: Saudi Arabia, Romania, Morocco, Australia, Germany, India and China.
When it agreed to buy British-owned P&O, one of the world's biggest port shipping companies, for about $6.8 billion, DP World got rights to manage not only the American ports, but British ones as well. That didn't seem to raise any eyebrows in London.
BRAY: When this transaction goes through, Dubai will have bought two of Britain's biggest container terminals, one in South Hampton and one in London, Tilbury. And we understand that the U.K. government has no security issues with this transaction.
COOPER: Bray says DP World's buyout of P&O is all about Dubai's competition with another city state that relies on shipping and international trade, Singapore. Each country's port business trying to outdo the other.
BRAY: This is all obviously part of this -- this big picture drive to internationalize Dubai, parallel with what's been going on in Singapore.
COOPER: Well, police and emergency worker in New Orleans in desperate need of housing right now, and FEMA has all of these mobile homes good to go. It's a no-brainer, right? Maybe not. Coming up, we're keeping them honest.
And Oprah on the Katrina watch. I had a chance to talk with her this weekend. We'll show you some of that interview when 360 continues.
COOPER: So, a new week and a new installment of FEMA's mobile home saga. Last week, 360 reported FEMA's latest position, that every one of some 11,000 mobile homes parked in a muddy Arkansas field is, in fact, still usable. And to protect them, they say they're spending up to $8 million for a gravel parking lot in Arkansas.
Well, this week we find out that there is someone in New Orleans who wants those mobile homes. In fact, really needs them and really needs them quickly, the police and their families, those still living on a cruise ship on the banks of New Orleans.
So it should be easy to get those mobile homes from Arkansas to the police and their families in New Orleans, right? Wrong.
Susan Roesgen's keeping them honest.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Life on a cruise ship doesn't sound so bad, but after nearly six months on a cruise to nowhere, hundreds of emergency workers in New Orleans are ready to get off.
HADEN BROWN, FIREFIGHTER: In the beginning it was OK. You know, it was almost like a vacation, but, you know, after a while everybody's cluttered in one room and it's kind of -- it's just real close, tight-knit. You know?
ROESGEN: Haden Brown and his 8-year-old daughter are two of five family members living in one ship cabin, and they're eager to move someplace bigger. They could apply for a FEMA trailer like this one, but at 25 feet long and eight feet wide, it's not much roomier than a cabin on the ship. What many emergency workers would like to have instead is one of these, one of the 11,000 mobile homes sitting unused in Arkansas.
Most are twice as big as a travel trailer, 50 feet long and 15 feet wide, with three bedrooms and two baths. The problem is FEMA says these mobile homes can't be sent to New Orleans because the rules won't let a mobile home be put in a place that's likely to flood. And most of the New Orleans area is a floodplain.
But standing in the parking lot of an abandoned New Orleans shopping center flooded by Katrina, Bob Stellingworth and Henri Wolbrett see a perfect opportunity to break the rules.
BOB STELLINGWORTH, NEW ORLEANS POLICE FOUNDATION: We envision in this parking lot 31 acres of mobile homes that would be here for a year to 18 months and then eventually go away so this area can be redeveloped as the policemen, firemen and EMS people go back to their normal lives.
ROESGEN: Stellingworth and Wolbrett lead the New Orleans Police Foundation, a local civic group, and they say they've gotten the go- ahead to lease the land around the shopping center if FEMA will agree to move about 300 of those mobile home in Arkansas down south. So far, no luck. And time is running out.
FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews told CNN, "If we can move mobile home in for the first responders, we can move them in for evacuees too. But the problem is the floodplain issue, which involves not only federal but local regulations."
She went on to say that "FEMA had every expectation that the mobile homes in Arkansas would be utilized." But she says FEMA "has been faced with undue resistance from Louisiana officials."
Louisiana officials have said the resistance really comes from FEMA. The New Orleans Police Foundation says without housing for the city's emergency workers New Orleans is in trouble.
HENRI WOLBRETT, NEW ORLEANS POLICE FOUNDATION: And you certainly can't rebuild a city without first responders. People need to feel secure, not only because of hurricane protection, they also need to be certain that when they pick up the phone and dial 911 somebody's going to answer.
ROESGEN: Here along the Mississippi River tonight, the cruise ship companies, the company that owns these two cruise ships, plans to take them away right after Mardi Gras so tourists can sail again down to Cancun. FEMA officials here in New Orleans tonight say that FEMA has 50 FEMA representatives on each of the two ships to help the first responders find housing. But Anderson, so far, FEMA will not budge on bringing down any of those Arkansas mobile homes.
COOPER: All right. So the mobile homes won't work out. The trailers are maybe at best -- are there any other options? I mean, these are police officers and their families we're talking about.
ROESGEN: Police officers, EMS workers, firefighters. FEMA says it's also looking at an apartment complex in eastern New Orleans, but the New Orleans Police Foundation says that apartment complex actually was flooded, has been gutted, and won't even be ready until April.
So we're hearing two different sides again tonight, Anderson, both from FEMA and from local officials who say we're not getting together and these folks don't have housing. And they need it by the day after Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday.
COOPER: I mean, that's the -- you want to get these guys in a room and just let them hash it out because it just seems like one side says one thing, the other side says another thing. And you don't know, you know, who's coming or going.
So when is -- when is the drop dead date on this? When does that boat pull out?
ROESGEN: That boat pulls out -- both boats pull out March 1, which is the day after Mardi Gras, which is next Tuesday, Fat Tuesday.
ROESGEN: So we have basically one week left.
COOPER: Unbelievable. All right, Susan.
Appreciate it. Keeping them honest tonight.
Well, if the mobile home story makes you kind of crazy, you're not alone. Like so many botched responses to Katrina, it's a case where the people who would most benefit from some common sense and good faith are not in a position to do much about it.
But Katrina victims do have their champions. Oprah Winfrey is arguably one of the most influential. She's behind the Angel Lane Subdivision in Houston. It's a new community that she's building for people who have lost their homes in the storm.
She was in Houston this weekend. And she and I got a chance to talk about Katrina relief and, in particular, people being evicted from the hotels they've been allowed to live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I don't understand this, people being thrown out. What is the -- what is -- are they expected to do?
COOPER: Well, you know, there's only so much -- FEMA will say, look, there's only so much we can do. We've given away, you know, tens of billions of dollars, and at a certain point, you know, after six months or so, there's -- there's not much more we can do.
There's such resilience of people in New Orleans and in Mississippi. And that is something that I don't think we should overlook.
The people are, you know, waking up every day, not knowing what the day will hold, but they're putting one foot in front of the other and they're moving forward. And they're trying to rebuild their lives. And, you know, we can all help. You know, we can go there.
WINFREY: Yes. And we owe it to them. Don't you think we owe it to them?
WINFREY: Who is taking charge?
COOPER: There is no -- there is no central -- and that's one of the things that's so frustrating for people.
WINFREY: Yes, nobody is taking charge.
COOPER: Right. Yes. And people who want to go back, they don't know who to talk to. There's no, like, central office that has all of the answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, you can catch the rest of the discussion on Oprah's show tomorrow. I'll be asking Oprah the questions also tomorrow night on 360.
It's a ritual coming up where mind and body merge. A religion of sacrifice, self-mutilation. It's the mystical world of Sufism. It's part of our special on "Medical Mysteries" ahead on 360.
COOPER: "Medical Mysteries" that have science stumped. That's coming up.
But first, Erica Hill from "Headline News" joins us with some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.
HILL: Hi again, Anderson.
All right. Drivers, you could soon be paying a little bit more to fill up your gas tank. All this related to violence in Niger.
Today oil prices rising more than $1.52, over $61 a barrel in the futures market. That jump linked to militant attack in Niger which have cut off about 20 percent of the country's oil production. Expect to see more of that tomorrow, too, on the street.
A big change, meantime, at RadioShack. The company's embattled president and CEO resigning today amid questions about his resume.
The "Fort Worth Star-Telegram" first reported David Edmondson's resume had errors, including claims he earned two college degrees. The school, though, didn't have any records of that. An acting CEO will lead RadioShack through a transformation as it closes up to 700 stores. That's after fourth quarter earnings fell 62 percent.
And unless you're the lucky one, this one is going to make you just a little jealous. Someone out there is holding a winning Powerball ticket worth a record $365 million.
It was sold at a convenience store in Lincoln, Nebraska. The ticket holder has the option of taking the cash in installments over 30 years or one lump sum of a call $124 million smackers after taxes.
And chocolate lovers rejoice. Next month, Mars Incorporate, the maker of M&Ms and other candy, plans to launch a line of dark chocolate which it claims comes packed with health benefits.
It is called CocoaVia. The sweets will be packed with antioxidants and vitamins, according to the company.
Experts though, warning here, Anderson, you really can't call this health food. Whatever. That's up to them.
COOPER: Chocolate. Erica, thanks.
I'm not big on dark chocolate. You?
HILL: Actually, dark chocolate is my favorite.
HILL: Are you a milk chocolate guy?
COOPER: Yes. I don't get the dark chocolate.
COOPER: We can talk later.
HILL: We will.
COOPER: Erica, thanks.
On the radar tonight, our reporting on the bird flu. Viewers on the blog equating this potential disaster -- and for now it's only that, a potential disaster -- to the real thing.
Robert on the blog wrote -- he was in New York -- he writes, "As with Katrina, our federal government has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it is incapable of dealing effectively with anything like this. Read between the lines." He says, "This is our future."
From Bubba in Sioux City, Iowa, "Oddly enough, it's similar to terrorist attacks," he says, "on the U.S.. We tend to believe that attacks just happen overseas. 9/11 caught us off guard, and it is sure to happen again if we let our guard down."
But A.B. in Miami Beach has a different take. "It must be remembered," he writes, "there has been no human-to-human transmission of bird flu. Even if it reaches the U.S. in less than one year, there would not be a large demand for medicines or hospital beds as human infection would remain relatively rare."
And Lee writes in from Indianapolis with a simple request: "Please continue the warnings. So many haven't even bothered with the simple flu shot."
And we will with the hard fact that we all need to make some sense of a story that could be with us sooner than we know.
And if you've got something to say, here is how to say it. Go to cnn.com/360, click on the blog. Let us know what's on your mind.
We want to thank our international viewers for watching.
But just ahead, well, they can chew light bulbs and pierce their bodies and barely feel a thing. Take a look at this guy. He's biting on a fluorescent light bulb and he doesn't even bleed. The story of mind over body. Also, children who are dying just to feel pain and dying because they can't in some cases. A little boy who feels no pain. A cruel mystery waiting to be solved.
Plus, she couldn't believe she was beautiful in the first place. Now this woman is hooked on plastic surgery. What does she see when she looks in the mirror?
I'd like to know the answer to that.
Mysteries of medicine and the mind, a special hour of 360 next.
COOPER: People who feel no pain or sleep every hour of every day. Stories not even science can explain. Unraveling "Medical Mysteries," next on 360.
COOPER: Good evening again.
We like to believe that modern medicine has an answer for everything. Tonight, the evidence it does not. Medical mysteries, a special edition of 360.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, a secret ritual Westerners are rarely allowed to see, extreme Sufi sects mutilating themselves without feeling pain. You won't believe your eyes.
Addicted to plastic surgery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem that I have is when I'm looking in the mirror.
ANNOUNCER: What would make this woman have 30 procedures before age 30? Vanity? Doctors say there's more to the mystery than that.
And imagine living life in the shadows. One of only 100 people in the entire country. For this little girl sunlight can be deadly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the time she grows up, she might actually have a cure.
ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Medical Mysteries."
From the CNN studio in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: We begin in a place where the mind and body merge and science and religion intercept, a journey that begins halfway around the world in Kurdistan with a ritual rarely seen by anyone outside the mystical branch of Islam known as Sufism. A religion that involves self-mutilation in the name of connecting to god.
We want to stress that not all Sufis practice what you're about to see. And a warning as well. What you're about to see is hard to watch. The images extremely graphic, but they're also very illuminating. What they suggest about the connection between our minds and our bodies is nothing short of remarkable.
Here's 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.
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