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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

At Least 12 Americans Killed in Chile Bus Accident; Search For Katrina Victims Continues in New Orleans; The Hurricane Threat

Aired March 22, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We are in the Bywater neighborhood here in New Orleans tonight -- a lot to show you.
We begin, though, with breaking news. A bus carrying passengers back to a cruise ship plunged down the side of a mountain in northern Chile. At least 12 people are dead. All of them were Americans.

With us now on the phone is John Vance, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Santiago.

Mr. Vance, thanks for being with us.

What can you tell us about this crash?

JOHN VANCE, SPOKESPERSON, U.S. EMBASSY IN CHILE: Well, at this point, it sounds like you have covered it.

Information is still pretty sketchy, Anderson. It was a group of tourists coming off a Celebrity Cruise ship, returning from a day excursion. And, about 38 kilometers outside of Arica, which is Chile's northernmost city, apparently, the bus went over a steep embankment. And -- and 12 American, to our knowledge, have been killed.

COOPER: Are you aware of any survivors?

VANCE: There are reports that there -- there are several injured people as well. I'm not certain of their nationalities or their precise numbers.

COOPER: There had been one report that there were two Americans who had been injured, but you can't confirm the -- the nationalities of -- of the injured?

VANCE: No, not at this point.

COOPER: Well, do you know what sort of medical care -- how remote is this area? Where is it in -- in Chile?

VANCE: Well, Arica is only about six miles or so south of the -- Peruvian border. It's -- it's a pretty good-size town.

And I would characterize medical care there as -- as pretty good.

COOPER: Again, we are just getting reports that we have not been able to confirm. And I know that you are basically in the same situation.

There had been a report that the cruise ship had tried to -- has -- has sent their doctor or their nurse to look after the -- the care of any survivors. Are you aware of that?

VANCE: No, I'm not. That's the first I have heard of that.

COOPER: OK. Well, we will -- we will -- again, that -- we do not have that confirmed. So, we will continue to try to find that.

We're seeing now pictures, actually -- and these are the first time I'm seeing these images and our viewers are seeing these images -- disturbing pictures of -- of people being taken out of ambulances, going to a hospital.

At -- at this point, are you in communication -- who are you in communication with? Who are you able or trying to verify information with?

VANCE: Well, the embassy is being very proactive in reaching out to all of the Chilean authorities, the folks who are currently on the scene and -- and who are coordinating the -- the rescue effort and the entire affair for the Chilean government. We're in touch with them, reaching out to them, as well as with the -- the Celebrity Cruise company.

And, so, that's -- we're trying to gather the information as quickly as we can, Anderson, and then get it to you folks.

COOPER: I certainly understand that. And, obviously, there will be a lot of people at home wanting to try to find out the identities of these people.

Is there a number for people to call, or should they just stay tuned as this information comes in?

VANCE: Well, at -- at this stage, I would refer them to the -- the Celebrity Cruise Lines.

I know that they have been putting statements on their Web page. And I would think that among those are -- are contact information. And that's the way I -- I would pursue it, if I were family members at this point.

COOPER: In -- in fact, I -- I have just been told there is now a full -- a phone number put forward by the Celebrity Cruise Line, that for family of passengers.

You can call toll free, 1-888-829-4050. That's 1-888-829-4050. That is only for families of passengers. Obviously, that number is going to get very busy very quickly. So, it -- it's just for families of passengers who might have been on that Celebrity Cruise line.

Mr. Vance, joining us from the embassy, appreciate you -- you getting in touch with us.

We will continue to try to follow this story over the next two hours or so.

Thank you very much.

We move on now to Iraq and politics and selling that policy -- the president hitting the road again today, this time in Wheeling, West Virginia, trying to put across a message that fewer Americans than ever say that they are buying, his vision for Iraq.

Here's CNN's White House correspondent, Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a West Virginia town hall, the president voiced impatience that Iraq's political fractions can't reach agreement on a new unity government.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's time. It's time to get a government in place to start leading this nation and listening to the will of the people.

BASH: That nudge fit nicely with the day's goal: stand face to face with average Americans, take questions, and show, up close, he understands their worries about the war. His overriding objective was clear before he called on anyone.

BUSH: If I didn't think we would succeed, I would pull our troops out. I cannot look mothers and dads in the eye...


BUSH: ... I can't ask this good Marine to go into harm's way, if I didn't believe, one, we're going to succeed, and two, it's necessary for the security of the United States.


BASH: The White House hope is this more folksy appearance helps stop of the erosion of support for the war Mr. Bush now admits is sucking up what's left of his political capital.

LINDA DIVALL, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I think what's important here is, he really understands their wanting to learn from him what is happening.

BASH: Over and over, he tried to prove he gets it.

BUSH: I fully understand there is deep concern among the American people about whether or not we can win.

The anxiety that a lot of our citizens feel.

And I can understand why people are concerned.

BASH: The Chamber of Commerce distributed most of the 2,000 tickets to today's event, but Bush aides also gave about 200 to the local newspaper. Yet, if the hope was a tough grilling to show the president can stand up to criticism, it didn't happen here.

This woman echoed a Bush line, that the media focuses too much on the bad in the Iraq. And not the good.

BUSH: I know you're frustrated with what you're seeing. But there are ways, in this new kind of age and able -- being able to communicate, that you will be able to, you know, spread the message that you want to spread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank God that you're our commander in chief.

BASH: This man, obviously a Bush supporter, encouraged the president to keep traveling and talking about the war.

BUSH: I'm going to spend a lot of time answering questions and just explaining.

BASH: GOP strategists, like Linda Divall, say they hope the president really means that.

DIVALL: Obviously, just doing one or two speeches every now and then is not the way to win the war on public opinion. It's going to require this president to be constantly engaged, continue to communicate with the public on a regular basis.


COOPER: And -- and, Dana, clearly, this president is -- is -- is doing just that these last several days, and doing it in a different way than he has before, far more unscripted, far more just sort of off-the-cuff talking. How much longer does he plan on doing it at this point?

BASH: That's a very good question.

You know, when you talk to people around town, Republicans who are very worried about this, especially how this is going to play in this year's election, they say they hope he keeps doing it a lot.

The White House says he is going to pick this back up probably in April. But, you know, one of the big problems here, as you remember, Anderson, the president did give speeches, a round of speeches, on Iraq in December, and he essentially didn't do it again until recently. He waited about three months to pick it back up again. That, many believe, of course, with the violence in Iraq, really hurt the president in a way that we really haven't seen so far, when it comes to Iraq -- Anderson.

COOPER: Is it a sing -- is it a sign of confidence that this White House has that they're -- they're -- they're putting the president forward in this way. Or is it just a sign of feeling that they're on the ropes and they -- they got to go -- you know, they got to do something?

BASH: The latter, the latter. I mean, there's no question about that. They -- they really -- there has -- actually, I can tell you, there has actually been debate, Anderson, about the approach inside this White House, whether or not it makes sense to put the president out there and have him take tough questions -- we didn't see a lot of them today, but we did on Monday -- whether or not that's a good idea.

The president, according to senior aides, actually enjoys it. But some of the staff say, wait -- wait a minute; maybe that's not such a good idea. But they essentially say, point blank, they need to do this. They really don't have any choice. Unclear if this is going to work, if this is going to change public opinion. But they really don't have a choice.

COOPER: Dana Bash, thank you, from the White House tonight.

More now on the political impact that Dana alluded to. Democrats have made much of the team they are fielding this election season, with a special focus on the handful of Iraqi veterans. Of these candidates, there is one in particular. Today, she got that much closer to her goal of winning a seat in Congress from a district that has been solidly Republican for generations: She won the primary.

Reporting for us tonight, here's CNN's Candy Crowley.


TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you. It's good to meet you.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's the Polaris in a galaxy of Democratic hopes this election year, running in the once solidly Republican, now evolving, west suburbs of Chicago for a seat long held by Republican Henry Hyde.

DUCKWORTH: Vote the issues. That's all I'm going to say.


DUCKWORTH: Vote the issues. And, you know, we will probably find that we share a lot more...


DUCKWORTH: ... in common.

CROWLEY: Tammy Duckworth is a natural, a newcomer, young, female, an Iraqi war veteran, who says she opposed the war and proudly served.

DUCKWORTH: When I came home and I had all that time to think, I -- I started thinking more and more about different ways that you can serve and -- and the changes that needed to be made.

CROWLEY: Duckworth won her primary bid, fueled by national Democratic dollars and power endorsements: Kerry, Clinton, Cleland. DUCKWORTH: Good to meet you. This is Senator Max Cleland.

CROWLEY: Max Cleland, a Vietnam vet and a triple amputee, campaigned for her recently.

MAX CLELAND (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: You're taller than I am now.

DUCKWORTH: I know. I don't think...

CROWLEY: They hadn't seen each other for about a year, since the day he visited Walter Reed Hospital.

DUCKWORTH: They just fitted me the other day. They put this cover on the last time I was out. And they fitted me for the cosmetic covers. And I will get that. Then I will get the runway feet, which will allow me to wear a little bit of a heel.

CROWLEY: She was a Black Hawk pilot with the Illinois National Guard, flying at treetop level near Baghdad, when a rocket-propelled grenade landed in the chopper.

DUCKWORTH: Listen, my legs are gone. They're never going to grow back, and if this gives me a platform to talk about those issues that are important to people of this district, to talk about education, to talk about health care, then that's fine.

CROWLEY: Cleland is the ex-senator from Georgia, proof that war hero credentials are not a political guarantee, but he gets why she has to try.

CLELAND: When you lose so much, you get back, in terms of your own healing, what you give out to others.

CROWLEY: It will be a brass-knuckle marquee race against a tough opponent. Duckworth is up for the run.

DUCKWORTH: Nothing is as tough as surviving a rocket-propelled grenade blowing up in your lap. And that's what I tell myself.

CROWLEY: Like most of the veterans running, Duckworth says her race is not about her service or her injuries, but if that's what makes them listen, so be it.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, Tammy Duckworth is one of nine combat veterans running for Congress.

David Gergen, on the other hand, is one of a kind, presidential adviser, political strategist and teacher of policy now at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Good to see you again tonight, David. DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: You know, Joe Klein recently wrote in "TIME" magazine that these Iraq war veterans -- and I quote -- "may also represent the beginning of the Dems' long climb back to credibility on national security issues."

Do you think that is really true?

GERGEN: I think it has been a very shrewd move.

You know, in the last few years, the Republicans are the ones who -- who have made the good calls in politics. They have selected good candidates. They have been more aggressive. And the Democrats have often been -- been -- been playing second fiddle.

This time around, the Democrats have found an answer in these Viet -- in these Iraqi veterans. I think they're an attractive group. Unlike Vietnam, when veterans came back and were treated so shabbily, Americans celebrate people who serve in Iraq.

You know, they're -- the -- and many a family has told the story of bringing a son or a daughter back from Iraq, going into a restaurant in a local community, and having everybody in the restaurant stand and cheer.

So, I think the Democrats are making a shrewd move. And Tammy Duckworth is perhaps the best, in -- and because, you know, how can one not feel a certain -- a -- a great deal of not only sympathy, but respect for someone who has come back?

You know, Franklin Roosevelt taught us that people who have -- who have lost their capacity to walk can still get elected and can inspire others. And Tammy Duckworth, I think, in her capacity, she has got a tough race, but she's an inspiring figure.

COOPER: Is -- is the war such a polarizing issue that a candidate can win just on Iraq or just campaigning on that, or -- or do they have to go out and talk about bread-and-butter issues as well?

GERGEN: They have got to talk about other issues. They have got to be more than a one-trick pony.

But I -- I -- in fact, as John McCain has shown, a -- as a -- as a true hero, as a POW, you know, he has made his name not talking about Vietnam, but about -- talking about other issues. John Kerry got himself a little too close to talking about Vietnam too much, as you remember, in his campaign for the presidency.

So, I think they have to talk about bread-and-butter issues. But they come in, Anderson -- like Tammy Duckworth and these other veterans, they come in with moral authority. And that moral standing means a great deal in politics that has so debased by the -- by the rhetoric of recent years.

No guarantees of victory here -- and I think, if they simply run against the war, they're not going to get -- they're not going to win a lot of races. But if they come in as people who have -- who have served the country, who have given back, in this case, given her legs, then people look at them and say: "Wow. I'm going to listen to what this person has to say. And that gives that -- and -- and I'm going to respect the person just for walking in here."

COOPER: The -- the larger issue, though, for Democrats, I mean, it's -- it's a pretty bleak picture. They don't really seem to have a policy, or at least one -- they're not certainly unified behind any single policy on Iraq.

I mean, is it enough for them, in these next elections, in the upcoming elections, for them to just criticize how, you know, the -- the -- the Bush administration got into the war? Do they actually have to step forward with a proactive policy about events on the ground?

GERGEN: That's a good question.

I -- I think the importance of these Iraqi veterans coming back and running -- and they have got some -- a dozen of them now on the Democratic side -- I think it helps to inoculate the Democrats against -- about being weak on -- on -- on fighting, that they -- you know, that they don't serve and all the rest of it is that is often thrown at them.

But it does not solve their problem about having a message about where we grow from here, not only in Iraq, but in Iran and the Middle East, more generally, with Hamas and -- and among the Palestinians.

On -- on that issue, Senator Feingold is one of the Democrats now, I think, who is finding a voice, point -- putting -- pointing out a -- or -- or planning out a very sophisticated strategy. And I do think, if the Democrats -- the Democrats will need to come forward with a more sophisticated view of what they would do.

They cannot simply be against the president. But having voices like Tammy Duckworth starts them down that track.

COOPER: Interesting.

David Gergen, thanks.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Ahead tonight on 360 -- here in New Orleans, the unsung heroes, the dogs and their handlers who are working almost nonstop, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, as long as there is light, looking for bodies in the rubble of Katrina. And they are still finding bodies. We went out today on a grim and gruesome search. We will show you the results ahead.

Also, with hurricane season fast approaching, how bad is it going to be? Well, let's put it this way: There is plenty of reason to worry tonight.


WILLIAM GRAY, PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: We have a very active forecast out. As of now, it's 17 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five major ones.


COOPER: And from prime suspect to defendant -- the accused killer of a New York graduate student speaks out for the first time. We will tell you what he said before a grand jury indicted him.

That's coming up on 360.


COOPER: And you're looking at a live shot inside Vaughn's restaurant and bar, one of -- one of our favorite spots here in -- in the Bywater section of New Orleans.

There's dogs in the bar. There's -- it's a very typical New Orleans neighborhood bar, with some great music that we will be playing for you later on tonight.

First, some good news, though, here in the Gulf: Officials say that all of the nearly 5,200 children who were missing or displaced after Hurricane Katrina and Rita have now been found. Four-year-old Cortez Stewart was the last child to be reunited with her family. As we showed you last week on 360, her arrival in Texas ended the largest child recovery effort in U.S. history.

Now, the bad news: The death toll from Katrina in Louisiana alone is about 1,100. Nearly 1,500 adults are still missing, and there is no telling how many bodies may still remain buried in the rubble of New Orleans. It is a story we have been following for months, a story tangled in red tape and frustration and anger.

In December, you will remember, the search for those bodies was halted when money ran out. The searching resumed just this month. It's a tireless work for the dogs and their handlers who are doing it. We learned just how tough the job is when we went out with one of the cadaver teams today.


COOPER (voice-over): For Rusty, a cadaver dog, the work of recovering Katrina's victims begins early every morning.


COOPER: Rusty is trained to lay down when he smells human remains.

BUFORD: That's a positive alert for the presence of -- of -- of the scent, deceased scent. So, what they will do is, we will toss the roof and make sure there's not anybody underneath there. COOPER: Wayne Buford is Rusty's handler. He's director of the Search and Rescue Council of Missouri and has been searching for the dead in New Orleans since October.

BUFORD: There's obviously some fluid or something there. I don't know that there are going to be bones there, but the chances are, we are going to -- we are going to be dealing with a fluid issue again.

COOPER: Body fluids are a problem for Rusty.

When a corps decomposes, its fluids drain into the soil and can be spread around by water. So, the presence of fluids doesn't necessarily mean there's a body nearby.

(on camera): So, on the ground here, there's -- I mean, there's basically body fluids. And the dog is picking up that scent?

BUFORD: Picking up that. And they tell you that it -- that there's something there. And you tell them, you know, good boy, good girl. Go on. Go back to work.

COOPER (voice-over): At this spot today, they find a bone. But Wayne believes it belongs to an animal.

BUFORD: This one has been here for a while. You can tell by the way it is on the end. And you can tell by the way it is with the -- the powder and everything coming off. So, this -- this is an older one.

COOPER: For Wayne and Rusty, the days are long and filled with danger. Two of Rusty's paws have been sliced open by glass.

BUFORD: He will work with the bleeding. And you see, that's a nasty slice. It's hard on the dogs.

COOPER: Once Rusty indicates the presence of remains, a bulldozer is brought in to rip apart the house.

BUFORD: One of the things that we pay -- pay especially close attention to, since the levee broke early in the morning, we especially pay attention to the bedroom and the bed. We have found a lot of people, a lot of deceased, on the beds that were there together.

COOPER: In the past few days, they have found two more storm victims. Each house is gone through carefully and cautiously.

(on camera): There's only so much of this work which can be done with heavy machinery. The bulldozer has now ripped apart the entire house and spread the debris out on the ground. As you can see, firefighters have moved in.

And they're literally walking through the rubble, searching, inch by inch, piece by piece. When you're here, you realize that it's very personal work. There's an intimacy to it that -- that you kind of don't expect. It's -- it's one human being searching for another human being.

(voice-over): Wayne Buford has been recovering the dead now for some 30 years. The scale of this disaster, however, is unlike anything he has ever seen before.

BUFORD: So, you don't think about it at the time. You do the job that you have been trained to do. You work with the animals. You just get out here and do it every day.

COOPER: Wayne and Rusty find no remains in the three houses they searched today. And after 12 hours of working, they finally call it quits.

Tomorrow, they will go to another block, search another house, hoping to bring another storm victim home.


COOPER: Well, there's only a few dogs in the country who are capable of doing this kind of work, and doing it on this kind of grueling schedule. And we are talking about 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Rusty and Wayne are -- are -- are some of the best. And there are a number of others here, working hard as well.

And everyone here is very thankful for what they're doing.

Ahead on 360 -- a new government report that just shows how many taxpayer dollars, money that you and I have given the government, were wasted in the wake of Katrina.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following tonight -- Erica.


And we start off tonight with a major manhunt in New Mexico. Hundreds of federal, state, and local officers are scouring the Albuquerque area tonight for this man. We're about to show you his picture. Michael Paul Astorga is the chief suspect -- the man on your screen there -- in the fatal shooting today of a sheriff's deputy. It happened during a traffic stop. Astorga was already a fugitive, facing a first-degree murder charge in another killing, before today's alleged shooting.

Meantime, in Pennsylvania, a remarkable recovery for a dancer and drum maker. Vado Diomande thanked his doctors today at the hospital where he's being treated for inhalation anthrax and is expected to be released soon. You may remember this story. He's believed to have contracted anthrax while working with some animal hides that could be used to make drums. Well, he collapsed more than a month ago during a dance performance.

In Detroit, hundreds of teachers stayed home today in what school officials described as a sick-out to protest a temporary pay cut. More than 50 schools were forced to close. The teachers are upset, because some principals and administrators are seeing raises, while the teachers had agreed to give up five days of pay to help balance the district's budget.

And, all right, Anderson, go ahead. Try to top this one tonight, pocket-size pigs.


HILL: OK, not yet, but soon -- lovely sound effect.

The British farmer who bred these little guys says they're not going to get, at this point, any bigger than a lapdog. It took him six years to get them this size.


HILL: That's a little distracting. The breeder says he's not going to stop until he shrinks them to pocket size. So, then you could have one that you could bring with you when you go on a shoot. If you can't bring your dog, you could bring your friend the pocket pig.

COOPER: Oh, no, no.

HILL: Just a thought.

COOPER: Pocket pig. You know Paris Hilton is going to latch on to one of those things as soon as possible.

HILL: Oh, gosh, that's horrible. That poor pig.




COOPER: All right, Erica.

HILL: Save the pig.

COOPER: Thanks very much.


COOPER: Thanks very much, Erica.

As bad as it got here in New Orleans -- and we know -- we all know it just got terrible -- could it get even worse here and elsewhere? Coming up -- the forecast for hurricane season 2006. It is less than three months away, and it could be a very rough one, indeed.

And new developments in the savage murder of a New York graduate stunt. The alleged killer, on the eve of his arraignment, is speaking out. We will also talk with his attorney ahead -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Just weeks away from hurricane season -- will it be a bad one once again? The prediction -- 360 next.


COOPER: And we are coming to you live from Vaughn's lounge, one of our favorite spots that we discovered, actually, just on our last trip here to New Orleans, where, every Wednesday night, Washboard Chaz and his band play. He literally plays the washboard, the kind, you know, people used to do laundry on. He will be playing a little bit later on tonight on 360.

Now, that's the scene inside, where things are just starting to heat up here at Vaughn's.

Seventy-one days, that is all that is left between now and the next hurricane season. And that is not welcome news for the Gulf Coast, which is still, of course, suffering from last year's storms. So much work remains. Take a look at those images from this last season.

In many neighborhoods, we are still talking about demolition. We are still talking about searching for bodies. We are not even close to rebuilding in some parts of New Orleans.

So, now, the question everybody wants an answer to is, how bad is this next hurricane season going to be?

With that, CNN's meteorologist, Rob Marciano, joins us.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): With spring now officially here, hurricane season is coming fast.

The images of Dennis slamming into Florida, Katrina devastating the Gulf Coast, followed by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma, are all too vivid. And there are good reasons, experts say, that this year could be worse.

Dr. William Gray has been studying hurricanes for 50 years. Every year, he predicts how many hurricanes will form in the Atlantic.

WILLIAM GRAY, PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: We have a very active forecast out. As of now, it's 17 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five major ones. This is the most we have ever -- highest numbers we have ever made this early in the season.

MARCIANO: That's not good news for the millions who live along the East and Gulf coasts. Dr. Gray says, since 1995, the average number of major hurricanes

MARCIANO: Dr. Gray since 1995 the average number of major hurricanes has more than tripled, rising from 1.5 a year to four per year.

Dr. Judy Curry, an earth and atmospheric science professor at Georgia Tech, sees no relief in the future.

(on camera): What would be you're outlook for the next 10 to 20 years?

DR. JUDY CURRY, GEORGIA TECH: We're going to be under this double whammy for the next 20 years.

MARCIANO (voice over): So what is going on? Why are we seeing more, stronger hurricanes? Dr. Curry thinks global warming is to blame. She says the oceans are getting warmer, about a degree Fahrenheit increase since 1975.

Most experts agree global warming is real. Glaciers in Greenland are melting, and in the United States this January was the warmest on record.

(on camera): Would you go on record to say that the storms are getting worse because of what people are doing in the atmosphere?

CURRY: Yes, our best understanding of this problem is that increase in sea surface temperature is being caused by human-induced activities.

MARCIANO (voice over): Dr. Curry says it's our fault the Earth is getting warmer. But Dr. Gray, the hurricane expert, disagrees.

DR. WILLIAM GRAY, COLORADO STATE UNIV.: As far as causing the globe to warm, we have not done that.

MARCIANO: Instead, Dr. Gray says the warming is natural, a regular feature of global cycles and not from greenhouse gases.

GRAY: This looked as bad a storm as I've ever seen...

MARCIANO: And believe it or not, Dr. Gray says so far we've been lucky. The intense hurricane cycle we're in has been going on for 11 years.

GRAY: We were very lucky the first nine years of this active period. Very unlucky the last two years. And this is just how nature works.

MARCIANO: With the start of the hurricane season only 71 days away, June 1, it has many people, especially in the Gulf, hoping that the experts are wrong.


COOPER: So, Rob, I mea, you have two experts there divided on global warming. Why the division?

MARCIANO: Well, and a huge division at that in two ways. One, they disagree that global warming causes an increase in the intensity of hurricanes. Dr. Gray says there's a whole lot more to it than that. And they obviously disagree as to, you know, are we actually in global warming. Dr. Gray actually think we may actually cool.

But besides the point, they do agree that warmer water increases the strength of hurricanes. It actually feeds hurricanes. So they agree on that part alone.

And what's happening this year, well, we have a La Nina, which makes for a nice calm atmosphere in the Atlantic. And hurricanes love a calm atmosphere on top of those warm waters.

So it's not only just the warm water, but it's what happens above that water that is important. And it looks like this year all the ingredients are lining up. And they both agree on this, by the way, that it looks like it's going to be an extremely active, maybe more active hurricane season than last year.

Hope not.

Back to you.

COOPER: Yes. I hope not a lot.

All right. Rob Marciano, thanks.

Coming up, the accused killer of a graduate student tells his side of the story. Police say he murdered Imette St. Guillen. Tonight, Darryl Littlejohn finally speaks out about the charges against him. We'll talk to his attorney ahead.

And billions of dollars in federal aid for Katrina victims. It is a rich pile and it seems a lot of people are stealing slices of it. Tonight, we are keeping them honest.

First, she's helping thousands of moms make strides in fitness and life. Lisa Druxman is on the rise.


LISA DRUXMAN, FOUNDER, STROLLER STRIDES: Are we ready to stroller stride?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These moms are wheeling their way to better health with that kids in tow thanks to Lisa Druxman. The former personal trainer and health club manager founded Stroller Strides five years ago after the birth of her first child. The hour-long classes combine power walking with body toning.


DRUXMAN: I was working out with my own son because there was no way I was going to drop him off in a gym day care. And I thought, well, if I did this with a couple other moms that would be a great way for me to get that social contact.

So I did this grand opening class. We had 40 moms show up. And that day I realized, wow, this really could be a business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, Stroller Strides has over 300 locations nationwide and over 16,000 participants at all fitness levels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a great way to feel better about yourself and have a great group of supportive people around you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're doing great! I'm so proud of you.

DRUXMAN: Childhood obesity is a real hot topic right now. Kids are not getting in shape. And moms who come to our classes want to instill fitness and health in their kids. And so they're a great model for the next generation.



COOPER: That is the mother of Imette St. Guillen, the graduate student murdered in New York, leaving Boston for New York today. We can only imagine the suffering and heartbreak that she and her family are going through.

Tomorrow she's expected to be in the court of the arraignment of her daughter's alleged killer, Darryl Littlejohn. The career criminal worked as a bouncer at the bar where Imette spent her last night alive. And we've heard a lot about this case, but we haven't heard from him until tonight.

CNN's Rick Sanchez reports.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): From prime suspect to defendant, Darryl Littlejohn, the man police say raped and strangled student Imette St. Guillen, then dumped her body by the side of a Brooklyn road, looked calm as he prepared to speak out for the first time today to a New York reporter from WCBS TV.


SANCHEZ: Littlejohn's attorney says he was indicted by a Brooklyn grand jury today for first degree murder. He worked as a bouncer at The Falls, the Soho bar where Imette St. Guillen was last seen alive.

It was 4:00 a.m., closing time, February 25. Her battered body was found the next day. Police say Littlejohn was the last person to see Imette alive on the day she died.

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: There are witnesses that put the victim in the company of Mr. Littlejohn when she left the bar that evening. SANCHEZ: He admits he escorted her out of The Falls at the request of the bar's manager. Police spent days searching Littlejohn's home in Queens and confiscated this car, but he wouldn't talk about the evidence, especially the one piece of evidence police say proved to them they had their man.

KELLY: DNA determination that the defendant's blood was found on the ties that were used to bind the victim's hand here. And there's other evidence, of course, that puts him in proximity of the victim.

SANCHEZ: That other evidence, police say, includes carpet fibers that match those used in a rug in Littlejohn's home and a trace that places his cell phone near the site where Imette's body was found.

Littlejohn looked adamant as he refuted reports that he was the only employee at The Falls who refused to allow police to take a DNA swab for their investigation.

LITTLEJOHN: It was never a question about be consenting to give my DNA. When they first approached me at The Falls I provided them with my real name, my real address, Social Security number, birthday, so on, so forth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you cooperate with the police investigation?

LITTLEJOHN: I cooperated fully.

SANCHEZ: Darryl Littlejohn, who has a long criminal record that includes drugs, robbery, and gun convictions, is already on jail awaiting a hearing for violating his parole by working in a bar and missing his curfew. This morning, Imette St. Guillen's family left their home in Boston, headed for New York, where tomorrow, in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Darryl Littlejohn is expected to be officially charged with her murder.

Rick Sanchez, CNN.


COOPER: Well, after the break we're gong to talk to Darryl Littlejohn's attorney to find out how he will defend himself in court. That's coming up right after the break.

Also ahead tonight, you may think you have nothing in common with someone living on the other side of the world, but you are wrong. We all have experienced similar dreams. We'll look at the 10 most common ones and see what they mean when 360 continues.

And the music of Washboard Chaz and the Palmetto Bugs live from Vaughn's Lounge in New Orleans.


COOPER: Well, the signs and the sounds of life here in New Orleans, Vaughn's Lounge, Washboard Chaz and the Palmetto Bugs performing. You will be hearing their music throughout the next hour and a half here on 360. We are right outside Vaughn's, so that may explain the music as we continue tonight.

Before the break you heard from the alleged killer of Imette St. Guillen, Darryl Littlejohn, in a jailhouse interview. And in a soft voice he indicated -- the man indicted for the brutal murder said police have the wrong guy.

Kevin O'Donnell is Littlejohn's defense attorney. He joins me now from New York.

Kevin, thanks for being with us.

Does your client -- he says he's the wrong guy. Does he have an alibi for the time of this murder?

KEVIN O'DONNELL, LITTLEJOHN'S ATTORNEY: Anderson, as you heard him speaking with Scott Weinberger (ph) earlier, he said that he walked her out of the bar at the end of the night. He's not hiding from that. He was doing his job, and at the end of the night when they were closing his job was to make sure that the bar is empty.

And he walked her out. And that was the last he saw of her.

COOPER: And obviously, you know, you're not presenting your case at this point. What about -- you know, the police say, look, there are cell phone calls in the vicinity of where her body was found.

O'DONNELL: Well, again, Anderson, that's not something that I can comment on at this time because I don't have any access to any of those records. I'm looking forward to getting those records. I'm not in a position yet to issue any subpoenas because there's no court action. It's not before any judge.

So I'm incapable of issuing subpoenas. But once he's indicted I will be in a position where I can have a judge sign subpoenas and take it from there.

COOPER: You've been told that your client has been indicted. Do you know specifically what he's been charged with?

O'DONNELL: No, I don't know that yet, Anderson. I'll find that out tomorrow.

COOPER: Do you think -- I mean, do you think it's going to be the first degree murder which would leave the door open for the death penalty?

O'DONNELL: Well, the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in New York, so it's not a death penalty-eligible case.

COOPER: And have you spoken with him since word of the indictment came down?

O'DONNELL: I haven't spoken to him today, but I will have a long conversation with him tomorrow. And he's not surprised by this indictment. And quite frankly, neither am I. A week and a half ago, Commissioner Kelly named him as the prime suspect, so it wasn't a question of the he was going to be indicted. It was a question of when.

COOPER: And what is he doing every day? I mean, how does she spend his time now?

O'DONNELL: Well, obviously, Anderson, he's quite concerned. He still feels like he's the scapegoat. As you heard -- I don't know whether you heard him speak to Scott Weinberger (ph) yet, but he's the likely suspect.

He was there. Allegedly, he was the last person to usher her out, to see her. But it's his position that he wasn't the last person to see her alive. It was the killer that was the last person to see her alive.

COOPER: When you heard the police commissioner, Ray Kelly, talk about the DNA match on the blood on the tie used to bind Imette's hand, saying it's a one in a trillion chance that it belongs to anyone other than your client, has Darryl Littlejohn given any explanation as to why his blood would be on that tie?

O'DONNELL: We haven't gotten into that yet, Anderson. And quite frankly, I haven't addressed that situation to anybody because I haven't had access to that.

What Police commissioner Kelly says to anybody, quite frankly -- and I say this respectfully -- I have just as much respect for the commissioner as anybody does -- that's not evidence. It's information. It's not evidence until a judge says it's evidence.

COOPER: Kevin O'Donnell, appreciate you joining us. Thanks.

O'DONNELL: My pleasure.

COOPER: Well, before we go to break, a quick update on the breaking news we began with tonight.

At least a dozen Americans killed when the bus they were riding in went off the road in northern Chile. They were among 16 passengers heading back to a cruise ship, returning from a mountain excursion to a national park on the border with Bolivia.

Just two Americans and two Chileans survived the crash, according to local authorities. The Americans were passengers on the Celebrity cruise liner Millennium, which was due back in Ft. Lauderdale on the 2nd of April. We are trying to gather more information on this and we will bring it to you throughout the evening.

New revelations tonight on how chunks of Katrina relief money -- and we're talking about millions of dollars -- have been misspent. Emergency housing never used. Emergency beds never slept in. Ice cubes and tax dollars just melting away.

Is anyone, anyone watching the government's cookie jar? We're keeping them honest tonight.

Plus, one lawyer calls it the bayou of Guantanamo, people arrested and held for months without being charged right here in New Orleans. We go inside the city's battered justice system when 360 continues.


COOPER: And we are coming to you live from Vaughn's Lounge, where Washboard Chaz -- that is Washboard Chaz -- that is washboard and that is Chaz, and no one plays it better than -- and the Palmetto Bugs play every Wednesday night.

This is really a local bar, a place where, as this neighborhood slowly begins to come back to life, people return and they come to this bar to find out who else is around and how everyone else in the neighborhood has done. It's a place where people come and see one another again, often for the first time in months.

When you're here in New Orleans, and you see how great the needs are, a new government report about wasted relief money is really hard to swallow. Millions of dollars we're talking about. Millions of dollars, and nobody knows how much.

Millions of dollars have been lost. And we're talking about mismanagement, waste, or even worse.

Get this, more than 200 people in at least 13 states have already been charged with Katrina-related fraud or corruption.

CNN's Joe Johns tonight is keeping them honest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The desperation that these people are going through...

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Right after Katrina, survivors need the basics and fast -- beds, ice, a place to stay. And how did the government respond? Not well, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office, which found that poor planning and miscommunication led to millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted.

The report says FEMA awarded contracts for supplies that weren't needed and failed to use supplies already on hand. FEMA's new boss, David Paulison, is putting the best face on it.

DAVID PAULISON, FEMA DIRECTOR: But these are positive things for us to use as a tool to make this a better organization.

JOHNS: According to the five-page report, FEMA paid one company $10 million to fix up and furnish 240 rooms in a military barracks in Alabama. And only six people moved in before FEMA closed the facility.

Three million dollars were spent on 4,000 portable camp beds, never used. And there was the ice. Many tons were bought and paid for, but because of poor communication between FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, at times the ice wound up stranded, lost or wasted.

Watchdog groups aren't surprised.

BETH DALEY, PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT: We don't have enough people who are responsible for making sure that what needs to get done gets done. The government is basically an open money bag for big companies doing business with the government.

JOHNS (on camera): The worst may be yet to come. The GAO says it's continuing its investigation, as are inspectors general of the other government agencies involve. FEMA says it's tightening up the way it issues contracts, but frankly, this is nothing new.

PAULISON: Well, I went through Hurricane Andrew in '92, and I did see a lot of those things. Even our own local government organization. All I can tell you is what I'm going to do with FEMA, and we are going to put a lot of these things in place. We've already done some of those.

JOHNS (voice over): The next hurricane season begin in 10 weeks.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, sticking with money matters, Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS has some of the top business stories we're following.


COOPER: I want to thank our international viewers for watching.

Just ahead, the latest on our breaking news story, that deadly bus accident in Chile that has killed at least 12 Americans. We'll have an update.

And the president is right now in traveling salesman mode, bringing his message on Iraq to the country. Are more Americans now backing his plan? We'll look at that.

Also, in the wake of the storm, the cleanup, the broken legal system, the trailers. After all this time, why can't they get things straight? Tonight we are keeping them honest from New Orleans.

You're watching 360.