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Mozambique Hit By Cyclone; UNICEF Appeals For Donations For Relief Supplies

Aired February 24, 2007 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: If this looks bad from the air, it's a whole lot worse on the ground. A sink hole swallows several homes and a teenage brother and sister in Guatemala City, and it may not be done yet.
His uncle calls him ingenious. A Florida sheriff calls his escape a miracle. But they still want to find Clay Moore's kidnapper; an update on the man hunt.

And could "An Inconvenient Truth" add a tantalizing twist to the 2008 presidential race? It's all up to Al and maybe Oscar.

And speaking of Oscar, his big night is now just one day away. Places, please.

Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield, you're in CNN NEWSROOM.

Blizzard conditions in the heartland today as a major weather system moves eastward. Interstate 70, east of Denver littered with the wreckage of cars and trucks that didn't heed warnings to stay off the treacherous roads.

It's a major weather story of the day. Extreme thunderstorms that could spin off strong tornadoes. Standing by live, in our Severe Weather Center, Jacqui Jeras keeping a close watch on it all.


WHITFIELD: Meantime, in Iraq, a truck bombing at an Iraqi mosque whose leader has taken a stand against the insurgency. At least 39 people were killed in the blast in the city of Habbaniya, in Sunni dominated Anbar Province. At least nine people died in Baghdad today in car bombings there; mortar attacks and roadside blasts, as well.

Even so, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the new security crackdown is yielding results. He claims a drastic drop in sectarian violence. Disruption of terrorist plots, and the detention of more than 400 insurgents.

Today, in southern Iraq, measured reaction to Friday's detention by U.S. soldiers of the son of the country's most powerful Shiite cleric. Thousands of protesters held peaceful marches in several major cities.

Displaced and desperate: A cyclone pounds Mozambique. What's being done to help those hardest hit there? We'll have a live guest.

And take a look at this: A massive sink hole. Have you ever seen anything like it? Well, this taking place in Guatemala's capital, and it swallowed homes and people. That story, straight ahead.

And he's safe at home right now, but police are still trying to find his alleged kidnapper. Stay with us. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


Pandemic flu, major hurricanes, smallpox -- now, IEDs, improvised explosive devices. Only one of those nightmare scenarios has struck the U.S. in real life, in recent decades. But the government wants to be ready for all of them. The executive branch has drilled for each one over the past 14 months, most recently, today. CNN's Elaine Quijano is watching from the White House, and today the focus was IEDs.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good afternoon to you, Fredricka.

The White House, first of all, is emphasizing that, of course, this was based on a fictional scenario; the exercise that took place today. And that there have not been -- that this was not based on any threats to the United States.

The government, as you said, though, wanting to make sure that officials are in fact ready if terrorists decide to use IEDs, or improvised explosive devices on U.S. soil. The three hour session was led by the president's Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend. Also, taking part, officials from the Justice Department, from the FBI, the Pentagon, as well as the president's Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

This is the fourth time in a little over a year that the Bush administration has conducted emergency drills of this kind. As you know noted, past ones is included focuses on an outbreak of smallpox, an outbreak of pandemic flu, as well as a major hurricane.

Now, President Bush, himself, did not participate. We understand the president's Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend will be briefing him on the results of what happened here today. And White House Spokesman Scott Stansell (ph), saying a short time ago, that after Hurricane Katrina struck, in particular, there were a lot of lessons that the government learned. And Stansell (ph) said that today's exercise demonstrated that the federal government's ability to respond to disasters has been strengthened -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And so, is the White House addressing that -- making it even public -- that there are drills like this, even though there are no known threats, that this may unnecessarily alarm people?

QUIJANO: Well, they know that certainly when people hear about the scenario that is envisioned, that was envisioned for this particular exercise, that it will set off alarm bells. But they want to make sure people understand they are trying to prepare for the worst. For the possibility that something like this could, in fact, happen.

You remember, of course, this administration was criticized sharply for of course, it's response to Hurricane Katrina, a set of circumstances there they said officials could not have possibly imagined.

Now, they want to be proactive and they want to demonstrate while at the same time show they are being very proactive in trying to protect the homeland, at the same time, trying to take care, as well, not to set off panic among the American people -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Elaine Quijano at the White House. Thank you.

Clouds of locusts are plaguing Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The swarms started early this year. Officials say the grasshopper-like insects have already destroyed about 5,000 acres of corn and other crops. Like something out of a Hitchcock movie, right?

Well, to the south, in Guatemala now, an entire neighborhood in the capital has been evacuated because of this. You are looking at a massive sink hole. Two teenage siblings died after it swallowed their home and nearly a dozen others.

And relief officials fear a humanitarian disaster is in the making now in Mozambique. The former Portuguese colony is located on the southeast coast of Africa. A cyclone cut through the country on Thursday, and officials fear torrential rains will compound the misery of 120,000 people, already displaced after weeks of flooding.


MOSES MABUNDA, VILANKULO PRESIDENT: There is a lot of destruction here. Homes are -- have been destructed, and even roofs, roof tops have been blown up.


WHITFIELD: Joining me from New York is Chip Lyons, he is the president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

So, good to see you.

CHIP LYONS, PRES. U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF: Good to see you, Fredricka. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: How great is the need in Mozambique?

LYONS: Well, Mozambique was recovering as you said at the beginning from severe rains and flooding already, and then to have a cyclone come, just so severely compounds --

WHITFIELD: All right, Chip, I'm sorry to interrupt you for a moment. We have some other breaking news, weather related, in this country. I'm going to get back to our conversation in a minute.

But first let's go to Jacqui Jeras in the Weather Center. JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We have a tornado on the ground now. Law enforcement officials confirm there's a tornado on the ground in Dumas, Arkansas, southwest of the Crumrod (ph) area. This is moving to the north and east at 60 miles per hour. A very fast moving, very dangerous storm.

This is the cell of concern right here. Here is the town of Dumas. This is the area where we'd be looking for that tornado to be. Again, in the town of Dumas we're getting some reports of some damage coming in.

Other locations under the gun at this time, Watkins Corner, Lake View, Lexa, West Helena and Helena. Again, reporting a confirmed tornado on the ground with some damage.

As we get more information we will continue to bring this to you. Again, this is in Phillips County. Also, Arkansas County and Desha (ph) counties are also possibly threatened by this tornado.

Again, it's moving very quickly. You need to be taking cover immediately. Get to the lowest level of your home. Away from doors and windows; into a bathtub is a good idea. Cover yourself up, if you can.

If you are in the basement, if you have a basement, get to the southwest side, as this is moving up to the north and the east. And that will be the most protected area for you to be.

So, a dangerous situation. We have our tornado watches still in effect across the area. This will be an ongoing event, throughout much of the night. I also understand we have some new video coming in. There's very strong winds associated with this storm system.

And this is a live picture from WFAA out of Dallas, Fort Worth. You are under a blowing dust advisory, but the winds are gusting around 45 miles per hour. And look at the visibility. The whole sky just looks brown right now. So, very hazardous situation. This is all part of the same storm system, affecting you from Dallas, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and into the Dumas, Arkansas area, where we have a tornado on the ground at this time -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Some incredible conditions there. Jacqui, we are going to continue to check in with you and follow up on this reported tornado on the ground in Dumas, Arkansas, as well as those severe weather conditions in Dallas.

Meantime, let's go back to, talking about severe weather, how about in Mozambique, where a cyclone hit that area. About 120,000 people have been displace displaced. And Chris Lyons is the president of the U.S. Funds for UNICEF.

Chris, let's go back to where we were, in the need there in Mozambique. So, 120,000 people displaced, how it is that UNICEF, and anyone else, can help? What's the greatest need, Chip?

LYONS: We've been able to rush teams and supplies in the last 24 hours of the 120,000-plus, probably half are kids. UNICEF is focused on what they need most. And so, particularly you worry about shelter, but clean water, sanitation, even providing tents, so the kids can come together, in a kind of form of classroom, which over the coming days, helps them deal with the trauma.

We have been able to release $300,000 from a donor-created emergency fund, people that -- you know, helping UNICEF is about, sort of extending the UNICEF's reach. We're voluntarily funded. They can contact us at They can call 1-800-FORKIDS.

There is access to the affected areas. And we have to focus on the public health issues, make sure that cholera and other kinds of things that can occur in these situations are prevented from the outset.

WHITFIELD: So, just to underscore one point you said, you said there is access to the public areas. And when you have a kind of natural disaster of this kind of magnitude in a place so far away, especially from this country, and the comfort, you know, that people have in their lives here, it's hard to convey to people just how difficult it is to, you know, traverse areas like this, to get the aid to everyone.

So, can you kind of give us an idea of how easy or difficult it will be in order to get some of that aid to the people who most need it there?

LYONS: Well, UNICEF is on the ground, and has been working in Mozambique for some time. There are teams on the ground, there are supplies on the ground.

Mozambique is a poor country; maybe $400 per capita, per annum. But it's also had the fastest growing economy in the last 10 years. There's been tremendous progress after Mozambique's civil war of a number of years ago. It really is a country on the move.

And these rains and floods, and now the cyclone, is a huge setback, but people do have access from a variety of directions, there are UNICEF teams on the ground, some supplies getting in, and we're hopeful that in the next number of days of being able to provide additional funding so they can do more.

WHITFIELD: Are you able to work with other aid groups? We've seen in other very come colossal-type natural disasters, that was one of the problems, is getting a lot of aid groups, nongovernment agencies to work together. Because communication was a challenge.

LYONS: Communication is a challenge. One of the facts is that UNICEF and other organizations are quite experienced and practiced at this, because of the volatility of weather and other emergencies. There is a good system under the leadership of the Mozambiquen disaster management group in the country.

So, UNICEF is taking the lead in a number of sectors, water, health, education, but working closely with a number of nongovernmental organizations and other partners. But, Fredricka, let me emphasize. CNN is a little out in front on this. It hasn't gotten the kind of coverage yet that it really needs, and --

WHITFIELD: How worrisome is that to you?

LYONS: Well -- it is from the standpoint of, we can only do what the, sort of American public expects or hopes UNICEF to do if we receive support for that, being voluntarily funded. So, if a cyclone hits, and there's this kind of emergency for people, if the public isn't aware of it, they don't know to respond. And you're helpful in helping us tell the story.

WHITFIELD: Well, Chip Lyons, we appreciate your time as president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

LYONS: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: And getting the message out, and letting people know about the need there in Mozambique. Thanks so much.

LYONS: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Well, coming up -- you might know the man who kidnapped this young boy. Perhaps, if so, police would love to hear from you. The latest on the man hunt, straight ahead.

And the heart stopping video of the day involves this bus driver. Well, you don't see the bus driver. You see the three-year-old kids who jumped off the bus, and the bus driver right there. We'll let you know what happened in the end.

And meet a judge who just says no to illiteracy and poverty in his community. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: In Florida, a manhunt is underway for a kidnapper. Here is a sketch of a man police are looking for. Wanted for the abduction of 13-year-old Clay Moore yesterday. The boy was later found in a remote area of Manatee County, not far from where the bus stop is located where he was allegedly taken from. From CNN Affiliate WFLA, here is Peter Bernard.


PETER BERNARD, REPORTER, WFLA TV (voice over): He went from his school bus stop, Manatee sheriff deputy gave a relieved looking Clay Moore a ride back to civilization and the people that care for him.

Deputies say a man that looks like, this is responsible for this crime. They say he is likely from the area, judging from the remote location where he took Clay.

DAVID BRISTOW, MANATEE CO., FLA. SHERIFF'S DEPT.: When he took the child, Clay, out to the remote area, it appeared he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew the area.

BERNARD: While deputies won't confirm it, Clay's aunt tells our coverage partners at "The Sarasota Herald-Tribune", his abductor used duct tape and some of Clay's own clothes to tie him to a tree by his feet and hands. The aunt says the man stuffed Clay's sock in his mouth.

She says her nephew used a safety pin to work the binds loose. Then walked some distance to flag down a farmer for help.

Students at the bus stop who saw the armed abduction say they ran behind a house to hide.

RABAH JAFFAL, WITNESS: Some guy just pulls up in a red truck and tells the kid to get in the truck or he's going to shoot, he pulls out a gun, the kid gets in the truck and they take off.

ALEXIS JAFFAL, WITNESS: He told him to get in the car. And then he had a gun in his hand. He wouldn't get in the car so they were like -- Clay looked like he was ready to cry.

BERNARD: At a quickly set up command post, Clay's frantic parents waited on every development, fearing they would hear the worst. But around 1:30 in the afternoon, the Sheriff Charlie Wells told everyone:

SHERIFF CHARLIE WELLS, MANATEE CO., FLA.: Well, we got good news. Clay Moore is OK. And he's with my deputies right now, out in east county.

BERNARD: After a checkout at the Manatee Memorial, Clay returned to his Kingsfield Estates home. His family asked the media to let them be right now.

BRISTOW: They've been through, by far, the most traumatic day they've ever been through -- and hopefully, will ever go through.

BERNARD: Looking ahead to Monday, if the attacker isn't caught, residents will see more activity around this area.

MAJ. CHUCK HAGAMAN, MANATEE CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We're going to beef up patrol, and have more patrol units out roaming the areas of the bus stops on the hours the kids go to school.


WHITFIELD: That was Reporter Peter Bernard from CNN's Tampa Bay affiliate WFLA.

One again, sheriff's deputies in Manatee County, Florida are trying to find this man. We just spoke with Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, just a short while ago about the suspect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRISTOW: This person is probably Hispanic. We're about 90 percent sure he is a Hispanic male. And the car description still is probably the best thing we have to go on. A dark red metallic four- door pickup truck, older model, probably in the '80s, with blue cloth interior, and also a pinstripe, either faded yellow or white pinstripe down the middle of the truck.


WHITFIELD: So, if you see the suspect, or truck as described, please call the Manatee County sheriff's office at the phone number you see on your screen: 941-747-3011.

And now to headlines "Across America": Some great video out of Springfield, Missouri where a bus driver became a guardian angel, of sorts, for this three-year-old who just hopped off the bus. And right onto a busy road. The driver, though, Chris Leslie got out, whisked the child to safety before oncoming traffic made for a potentially a very unhappy ending.

And from uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the Duke power building, downed in a matter of seconds, from a controlled implosion early this morning. Four new buildings are slated for that very site.

And how will one person stoop or steel from another? How low, rather? Surveillance tape captures a purse snatching in progress at a New England doughnut shop.

Just look at this suspect, who apparently wasn't even put off by the fact that a child was in that stroller, and had the nerve -- or actually playing the child, taking the kid out of the stroller, but still carried out the purse snatching.

A beautiful reunion Orlando's International Airport yesterday. Faith, the famous two-legged dog reunited with her owner. The bi-pedal pooch was somehow misplaced on her flight from Oklahoma to Orlando.

And, yeah, she's quite the picture all right. Faith was born with three legs, one of which never developed.

Police in Richmond, California, have arrested a 24-year-old woman who they say abandoned her newborn baby. Police say a woman walking her dog found the infant wrapped in a bag under some bushes. The child's alleged mother, Kalita (ph) Thomas is in jail on attempted murder and child endangerment charges now. Police don't have a motive. The baby is said to be doing well, however.

And Jacqui Jeras is back with us now, in a moment, with another check of some pretty severe weather across the board, from snow to tornados, you name it.

And in this college town a big problem. Poverty, illiteracy, and a very high dropout rate. Meet a man that wants to do something about it -- and is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: To our top story. Severe weather, blizzard conditions in the Northern Plains States, and extreme thunderstorms further south with several tornadoes being reported. For the very latest, Jacqui Jeras is in the severe weather center. Jacqui?


WHITFIELD: Now to the uncovering of the spirit of America. A judge in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia has had enough. He's seen how high levels of poverty and illiteracy have woven themselves into the destructive fabric of this very small southern town.

Now he's doing something about it.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): Atlanta, Georgia. A major city. A gem in the Deep South. A little more than 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, there's Athens. A small town with a big college feel. It's home to the University of Georgia, with more than 30,000 students, one of the South's largest universities.

But the U.S. Census Bureau says more than 28 percent of the people in Athens-Clarke County live in poverty. More than twice the national average. And 21 percent of the area's adults have trouble with reading and writing. A third of the high school students don't graduate on time.

JUDGE STEVE JONES, GEORGIA SUPERIOR COURT: All right. Here's your next case.

WHITFIELD: Staggering numbers that Superior Court Judge Steve Jones says he's not accepting anymore.

JONES: We all have responsibilities, I believe, to help people. Especially if you are a judge yourself.

WHITFIELD: The judge tackles illiteracy, poverty, and the high school dropout rate not just from his courtroom.

JONES: Very few decisions I make, if any, that doesn't affect somebody's life.

WHITFIELD: But also in the community. Judge Jones is chairman of Partners for Prosperous Athens. A not for profit organization designed to stomp out Athens' socioeconomic problems. For good.

JONES: Partners for Prosperous Athens' main mission is to try to reduce poverty in Athens-Clarke County. We have already brought it to the attention of the individuals in the county.

WHITFIELD: Individuals including UGA's leading man, Dr. Michael Adams, president of the University of Georgia. Who says he's seen first-hand the results of Judge Jones getting out and meeting people face to face.

JONES: How much do you think you would work if you could?

DR. MICHAEL ADAMS, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSIY OF GEORGIA: He can sit on the bench and make a decision, he can talk to young people, which I have seen him do, about why they need an education.

The thing that I admire is that he's really given far beyond what I think we normally would have a right to expect.

WHITFIELD: But even Judge Jones sometimes finds himself overwhelmed by the effects of poverty in Athens-Clarke County.

JONES: There are times when I go home, say, it's too much. I can't handle it. I can't do it. It's more than I can handle. But then you have to keep things in the right perspective.

WHITFIELD: But for him, the fight is not choice. It's a must.

JONES: How can you drive past housing and see people suffering without it affecting you?

How can you see people come in a courtroom, 17, 18, 19 years old, with chains around their waist, and chains on their legs and you sentence them to jail and you see their lives (ph) and not affect you?

How can you see kids dropping out of high school, knowing they have got to have a diploma, and it doesn't bother you? Athens can't do that. Athens can't say we've got good and we're not going to worry about the rest. The citizens of Athens-Clarke County have said we see the problems, with our brothers and our sisters, and we are going to do something about it.


WHITFIELD (on camera): And this just in, we talk about severe weather hitting many parts of the country. Well, now in Bristol, Wisconsin, we are hearing about a reported very tragic accident involving a snowplow and a van. Somehow the two collided, and the end result, three people are dead. It is believed that ice and snow may have further compounded the situations there. And help lead to this accident. More information as we get it.

Meantime, the candidates are on the trail again today. What's up with the campaign? Will Al Gore's movie win an Oscar? And will he use the occasion to announce his campaign for president? Or something? Bill Schneider weighs in.


WHITFIELD: Pressing the flesh, kissing the babies, you know what I'm talking about. Presidential candidates warming up the campaign trail this weekend.

Former Senator John Edwards is stumping in New Hampshire. He has stops planned in four cities. Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are working on their game plans. Meanwhile Republican Senator Sam Brownback is in Iowa, speaking to college Republicans at a convention in Des Moines. And New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is taking it on the road to Florida this weekend.

Well, picture this. A man dreams his whole life of being president, after two terms at vice president, he runs for the top job, wins the most votes but still loses, years go by, he's an environmental activist and accidental movie star, playing himself. His movie could win an Oscar. And then, well, that brings us to CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): It's Academy Awards night. Best documentary feature is up, and the Oscar is favored to go to "An Inconvenient Truth" starring Al Gore

LAWRENCE BENDER, PRODUCER, "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH": Al Gore will be at the academies. Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will be in the audience.

BENDER: He'll be in the audience.

SCHNEIDER: Lawrence Bender and the film's other producers come up to accept the Oscar with Gore. The audience roars its approval. This is liberal Hollywood. Gore speaks

MARTIN KAPLAN, DIRECTOR, NORMAN LEAR CENTER: There's some speculation that he would even use his Oscar as the occasion to announce that he's running. Imagine that. A billion people worldwide. Take that, Jay Leno, as an announcement venue.


BENDER: It's electrifying because -- not politically, because, Is Al Gore going to run or not going to run?

There's nothing going to happen like that. It's electrifying because the man who is responsible for solidifying the forces to, about, around global warming is going to -- and now been acknowledged.

SCHNEIDER: Could an Oscar start the momentum for a draft Gore movement?

KAPLAN: People think that he's paid his dues, he's had more of an impact on issues that people care about than many people who have been in office, and I think there's a feeling that he's finally lost that student council president condescension which was fingernails on the blackboard to a lot of supporters.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats are desperate to win. Doubts have begun to surface about the electability of the party's current frontrunners.

How is this for an argument? Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.

BENDER: He was right on Iraq. He was right on global warming. He has an issue that is so formidable, and has attacked it, tackled it, so, I would love to see him run, sure, but I don't -- I don't see that in the cards.

SCHNEIDER: But once that envelope is opened, there will be a new card to play.

(on camera): Maybe Mr. Gore will get up and say, I have a new song to sing. Because, after all, his film has been nominated in the best song category, too. Bill Schneider, CNN, Hollywood.


WHITFIELD: All eyes on Hollywood, all eyes on politics, all eyes on you, Rick Sanchez.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNANCHOR: And you. I was listening to you on the radio coming into work. Did you sound great or what?

WHITFIELD: On satellite radio?

SANCHEZ: Did you sound great or what?

WHITFIELD: I don't know.

SANCHEZ: You did.

WHITFIELD: What can I say? You're so funny.

SANCHEZ: Those pipes!

WHITFIELD: OK. Whatever you say.

SANCHEZ We're going to be revisiting what's going on in Hollywood, too, and asking some interesting questions like this one. What's the favorite movie of a guy like, let's say John McCain, for example, and some of the other people who are running for president. And what does that say. See him right there? What do you think the favorite movie is of a guy like Rudy Giuliani, for example?

WHITFIELD: I think ...

SANCHEZ: "Crimebusters."

WHITFIELD: There you go.

If they asked me, what's your favorite movie, I wouldn't be able to come up with one.

SANCHEZ: There's too many of them.

WHITFIELD: And now to know that whatever your reply says, it says something about you? These candidates have to watch out. SANCHEZ: All the movies that are going to win? Nobody's ever seen those. Those are the Fifi movies, chi-chi, those critics love them, but people don't see them


SANCHEZ: By the way, we're going to look into hip hop tonight at 10:00, and that's really good. The good, the bad and the ugly about hip hop that's tonight here at 10:30 and hard news from 10:00 to 10:30, the good stuff. Back to you, Fred

WHITFIELD: All the good stuff. Good stuff throughout the evening.

SANCHEZ: Did I get that in 90 seconds?

WHITFIELD: Yeah. I think you did pretty good. I didn't have to give you a cue or anything.

SANCHEZ: There you go, Clair.

WHITFIELD: Maybe that's a cue. All right. Thanks a lot, Rick.


WHJITFIELD: All right, coming up, the risks associated with a widely prescribed group of drugs. The government wants patients to know all about them.

And the Oscar buzz. Can't get enough of that. CNN's Brooke Anderson is live from the red carpet. Can't get enough of you, Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank you, Fredricka. I'm here on the red carpet at the Goodeye (ph) theater where the Oscars will be held tomorrow. And the Academy Awards of course honor film, but also the glitz, the glamour that surround the ceremony, that red carpet parade, a sight to behold. Coming up, the styles, the jewels, the diamonds of the stars. Stay with us. CNN NEWSROOM is coming right back.


WHITFIELD: Just moments ago, out Jacqui Jeras reported at least one tornado touching down in Dumas, Arkansas. Well, on the phone with us now with the emergency management out of Dumas, Arkansas, Tina Owens, and Miss Owens, tell us about what's going on there?

TINA OWENS, ARKANSAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Well, we have received some reports that there was a tornado touchdown in Desha County, where Dumas is located. Right now we are sending personnel out to assess the damage. We have received reports of minor damage and some injuries. At this time, we are trying to see what we have going on out there.

WHITFIELD: How difficult it is going to be for your folks to actually get to that location?

OWENS: Well, it seems to be right now pretty easy for them. They haven't reported back any - too much damage on the road. I hope that we continue to hear good reports coming from them to be able to get to everyone.

WHITFIELD: What can you tell us about Dumas, very populated, fairly remote, what?

OWENS: Fairly remote. Not a lot of population. So hopefully it hit in an area with not too many people affected but we are concerned, of course, about the ones that were affected, so ...

WHITFIELD: Parts of Arkansas right in the middle of what's been called tornado alley. Is this an area that's been brushed by tornadoes before?

OWENS: Yes, pretty much most cities in the state of Arkansas, we are in tornado alley, as you said. They have seen some in the past. So we're pretty much familiar with what they need to be doing. So we hope to find everyone in fairly well condition.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, hopefully, Miss Owens, you are able to find everyone in great condition, thanks so much for your time.

OWENS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Meantime, some health news. The government is telling the makers of drugs used to treat ADHD or attention deficit- hyperactivity disorder, to warn patients of the possible risks associated with the widely prescribed drugs.

Joining us with reaction is Dr. Bill Lloyd, he is a professor at the University of California Davis Medical Center. Good to see you. What are the warnings?

DR. BILL LLOYD, UC-DAVIS MEDICAL CENTER: Well, Fred, we know that four percent of children and four to seven percent of adults have a problem with this, and many receive medications like Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine and Strattera.

The FDA for the second time this year is telling the makers of these drugs to warn their patients about possible problems involved heart disease and psychiatric problems, particular in individuals that already have heart problems or a history of psychiatric disease.

WHITFIELD: How will they warn folks? Is this meaning on labels? Special markings on the bottle, what?

LLOYD: The first go around, they told them, you need to change the writing that is inside the paperwork that accompanies the drug. Like anybody reads that, right?

WHITFIELD: Yeah. Nobody reads.

LLOYD: Now, they are telling them we want you to make a special brochure that will be issued to anyone receiving these medications right at the pharmacy, in big type with a clear explanation, warning them that a very small percentage of patients taking these drugs could have heart problems, or could have psychiatric problems, they could become paranoid, manic or start hearing voices.

So if you are on these medications, check with your doctor, and get hold of that brochure.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Bill Lloyd. Good warnings. Good information. Thanks so much.

LLOYD: I'm voting for happy feet!

WHITFIELD: Oh, OK. I haven't seen it, so, I'll vote, too. Thanks so much.

All right. Well, let's talk a little bit more about those Oscars. The stars of the silver screen go for the gold tomorrow as they are gearing up for the Oscars. They are breaking out some pretty serious bling. Which stars will be wearing the hottest rocks? Our Brooke Anderson is in Los Angeles with a few samples. Are you wearing them, too?

ANDERSON: I am wearing some rocks temporarily right now. I'm a little bit nervous, Fredricka. We have got what, Greg, about a million - over a million dollars worth of diamonds here. This is Greg Kwiat from Kwiat Diamonds to give us a little sneak peek on what we may be seeing tomorrow on the red carpet. But first, I want to ask you. Your diamonds are conflict free, right, because we know the movie "Blood Diamond" has really shed some light recently on the atrocities that do happen with conflict diamonds

GREG KWIAT, KWIAT DIAMONDS: Absolutely. It is important to start by saying Kwiat diamonds are100 percent conflict free. It's an important issue. And the best thing coming out is people are asking the right questions. At Kwiat we wanted to give back this year at the Academy Awards, so, we created with Loreal Paris a one of a kind - sorry a very special red carpet contact.

We are auctioning a couple of them on eBay. It features 90 Kwiat diamonds set in 18 karat yellow gold, and the proceeds will go to charity, including the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

ANDERSON: And you have got beautiful stunning pieces here. A brooch, and alsothis cocktail ring. Is that something we are going to be seeing the stars wear, huge rings like that?

KWIAT: Absolutely. I think powerful cocktail rings are going to be a trend this year on the red carpet. We are seeing a lot of people that want to show off that hand when they raise their hand, raise that Oscar to the sky. You want people to see the sparkle from your ring.

ANDERSON: We may be seeing some backwards waves or something from the stars as they stroll down ...

KWIAT: Absolutely. ANDERSON: You have teamed up with Stuart Weitzman (ph), the shoe designer for a special shoe for a very special shoe for a very special young lady to wear.

KWIAT: Absolutely. This dream shoe, we created, Kwiat and Stuart Weitzman created, for Anika Noni Rose (ph) to be wear down the red carpet.

ANDERSON: From "Dreamgirls."

KWIAT: From "Dreamgirls." Absolutely. A talented actress and this is just going to look unbelievable on feet. Over 30 carats of diamonds, we really enjoy working with Stuart, great collaboration. And it's a special night on Oscar night.

ANDERSON: So she'll probably be pulling that skirt up a little bit to show off the shoes. And I spoke to Stuart, he says he always likes to choose an up and coming star, not someone who has been around. Someone who is making that big debut on the carpet.

And I want to ask you, I have talked to a lot of fashion designers that say they work with the celebrities and their stylists leading up to the Oscars, but it is anybody's guess on that day. They are crossing their fingers, watching from home or on the carpet. Is it the same way? I know you have an interesting story about Jamie Foxx last year.

KWIAT: Absolutely. One of the craziest things about Oscar night is all the preparation is in place, but you don't know what is going to happen until the star steps out of the window. Last year, we dressed Jamie Foxx in beautiful earrings for the academy awards.

We had also created a one of a kind 15 carat brown diamond ring but unfortunately a last minute tuxedo change and he didn't wear the ring so it was bittersweet. We saw the diamond earrings, not the ring.

ANDERSON: Right. And it just proves, they can be unpredictable at times, as can the Academy Awards. Greg Kwiat from Kwiat Diamonds. Thank you as always. Good to see you.

Fredricka, 79th Annual Academy Awards happening right here tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: Very nice. Very nice little pieces of rocks there, too.


WHITFIELD: We'll be watching. Thanks so much. We'll be looking for the bling out there. Thanks, Brooke

Well, CNN is live from the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Don't miss our special, "Hollywood's Gold Rush," that's tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern. And after you have seen the big show and all the winners and all those diamonds, CNN is your all access pass to the after party the winners, and all the Oscar action. That's tomorrow night at midnight Eastern, right here on CNN.

Well, coming up, one of CNN's most popular stories.


WHITFIELD: So one of the most popular stories at A Kansas City man who has lived to tell the story of being dumped into a garbage truck. The truck's driver heard him screaming above the roar of the trash compactor. The man had been sleeping in a dumpster.

Details of those stories plus a whole not more at

And can the United States really get its troops out of Iraq as quickly as some candidates expect? Rick Sanchez has a guest who says no. Rick?

SANCHEZ: That and a whole lot more. Thanks so much, Fred. Let's get right to it.

We're going to be taking you from Denver to Kansas to Arkansas. Huge storm is wreaking havoc. The system has already spawned hail and tornadoes. Also caused hundreds of miles of highway to be shutdown. How would you like to be trapped in something that looks like this?

Also, armed and dangerous. A manhunt is underway right now in Florida for a suspected kidnapper.


HARRISON FORD, ACTOR: I'm going after that truck.


FORD: I don't know. I'm making this up as I go.


SANCHEZ: Which presidential candidate may see himself like that? Well, we're not making anything up here, folks.