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Tuberculosis Quarantine; Bush Meeting With Putin; Immigrant Death; New Hampshire Voters

Aired May 30, 2007 - 06:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Under quarantine and under armed guard. For the first time in more than 40 years, federal health officials have ordered a quarantine. The Atlanta area man diagnosed with a rare and often fatal strain of tuberculosis. Meanwhile, though, health officials are just scrambling to find airline passengers he may have put in danger with his global travels. We'll get the details now from CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): It's called XDRTB, Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. A horrible disease.

DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CDC: Many of the people who have XDRTB do not survive their infection.

COHEN: And now health authorities have learned that a man with this disease was on two transatlantic flights. He traveled on Air France Flight 385 from Atlanta to Paris on May 12th. He flew again on May 24th on Czech Air number 0104 from Prague to Montreal. Then drove by car into the U.S. the same day.

The CDC is urging passengers on these flights to get tested for TB.

GERBERDING: We have no suspicion that this patient was highly infectious. In fact, the medical evidence would suggest that his potential for transmission would be on the low side. But we know it isn't zero.

COHEN: That's why the CDC took the highly unusual step of ordering him to be isolated at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. So who is this man public health authorities are so worried about? He's a resident of the state of Georgia and he knew, and so did health authorities, that he had TB when he got on the plane from Atlanta to Paris. But they didn't know he had the drug resistant kind of TB. They only learned that once he was in Europe. U.S. health authorities contacted him in Europe and told him not to fly home, but he did anyway. And that leaves health authorities searching for the other people on those airplanes who might have been infected.


NGUYEN: And Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from Grady Memorial Hospital here in Atlanta.

What more do you know about this man's condition as of today?

COHEN: Well, this morning's "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" says that the man who's in isolation at Grady Hospital, right behind me, is a lawyer. And he told the newspaper that he's fine. He has no symptoms. He feels fine, even though he does have this drug resistant form of tuberculosis.

He told the newspaper he wanted to go on his honeymoon to Europe. He wanted to get on the plane and go and no one told him not to. That's what he says. Health officials dispute that.


NGUYEN: What are the chances -- I know they're looking for the people that were on his flight -- but what are the chances, especially with this form of tuberculosis, that he may have infected others?

COHEN: Well, you know what, there was an interesting study that was published in "The New England Journal of Medicine" of something very similar. Someone with TB got on two planes. There was a total of 925 other passengers. And they did a really good job of following up with those passengers. Only 15 of them had TB and they had the latent form. In other words, they weren't actively sick. So fifteen out of 925. It's a relatively small number.

This disease is not as infectious as let's say something like chicken pox. It's infectious, but certainly husbands and wives live in the same house and don't always get TB from one another. So, is it infectious, yes. Is it one of the most infectious diseases, most communicable diseases, no.

NGUYEN: Of course, we'll be following this as he undergoes treatment for possibly quite some time. Elizabeth Cohen joining us live from Grady Memorial in Atlanta.

Thank you.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And this just in to CNN. We are learning this morning that President Bush is adding a meeting to his July schedule. An important meeting at that. Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The meeting will take place, we understand, July 1st and 2nd, tentatively set for the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. And the visit comes amid some tension between the two countries. Certainly Russia being critical of the U.S. administration and Washington concerned about perceived rolling back of democracy by the kremlin.

So, once again, we are learning that the president has adding a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That meeting scheduled for July 1st and 2nd. Tentatively set, we understand, at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is working on the story and we will talk to her in just minutes right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Powerful thunderstorms on the move across the front range of the Rockies. Take a listen. Hail. Rain in other parts of the country, but hail right now coming down in buckets in Denver. So thick, look, it actually looked like snow. I thought it was for a moment there. In places it was the sizes of grapes and four inches deep. South of Denver, tornado warnings. And in Fort Collins, lightning popping up all around. It damaged two homes, setting one on fire.

NGUYEN: All right. So let me get this straight. It's June. We have tornadoes, hail, and then this dangerous lightning.

Chad Myers, it seems like this should be around, what, springtime when you see this breakout?

HARRIS: Yes, early spring.


NGUYEN: Well, things are going swimmingly for other folks. These two folks. These humpbacks. Yes, those whales have made good progress over the past 24 hours. Moving in the San Francisco Bay and closer to the open sea. And, at last check, mother and calf were less than 10 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. So, as you recall, they did get turned around and stuck up river more than two weeks ago, but they are headed home it seems. And hopefully that will happen very soon.

HARRIS: Iraqi and coalition forces fan out rounding up dozens of suspected insurgents. The U.S. military says five people picked up in Sadr City today were involved with smuggling weapons and militants from Iran. Still no word on the fate of five missing British men. They were kidnapped from an office at the finance ministry yesterday.

Let's get you to our White House correspondent now, Suzanne Malveaux. As we reported just a couple of moments ago, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet in early July.

And, Suzanne, do I have the dates right, July 1st and 2nd?


This is really interesting that this is actually taking place. It's also really important. The president's going to have a chance to meet with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, at the G-8 Summit in Germany. That is happening in June. June 6th to the 8th. So they'll have a chance to sit down and talk one on one.

But the fact that they are also going to follow up those discussions three weeks later in July, the 1st and the 2nd at Kennebunkport really speaks volumes about this relationship. I want to read to you very briefly a White House statement.

They say the president looks forward to the visit as part of the intensive, bilateral dialogue with President Putin. Cooperation between the United States and Russia is important in solving regional conflicts, stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism and extremism. The presidents will discuss a wide range of issues, including Iran, civil nuclear cooperation and missile defense.

The relations between the United States and Russia really has cooled here. And this is an attempt to try to warm those relations once again. Russia is a critical ally when it comes to that missile defense shield.

A lot of problems and disputes between these two countries when it comes to sanctioning Iran. Just yesterday, Tony, we were talking about the president coming out, tough sanctions against the Sudanese government. The two members of the U.N. Security Council and allies who were disagreeing with this administration, Russia and China.

So, obviously, there's a lot on the table. There are a lot of disagreements between these two leaders. It is very important that they're going to get together one-on-one, in a more personal way in Kennebunkport, to try to hash some of this stuff out.


HARRIS: White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux for us.

Suzanne, thank you.

Fred Thompson 2008? Well, the guessing game may be over. Former Tennessee senator and TV star Fred Dalton Thompson is reportedly planning to enter the 2008 presidential race. The Web site, the, says Thompson plans to announce his entry into the race over the July 4th holiday. Boy, it's going to be a busy time. The report cites advisors to Thompson. The Politico says Thompson has already raised several million dollars and is backed by insiders from three past Republican administrations.

NGUYEN: Prayer from the pope. Yes, the parents of a missing British girl take their anguish to the Vatican. We have those details in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Heroes in Iraq. U.S. troops and Iraqi police. Filling the law and order void with deadly consequences. That story ahead in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: And the new hurricane season just two days away, can you believe it? We'll find out what researchers are doing to make homes and businesses safer. You're in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Welcome back, everybody. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Betty Nguyen.

Well, move over, Jack Kirorat (ph), CNN goes on the road and we answer the question, is it cheaper to drive this season or to fly? Find out straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: Illegal immigrants on edge in upstate New York. Fears stoked by a mysterious death. CNN's Randi Kaye investigates.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): This Guatemalan came to the United States 14 years ago for a better life. Last month he was found struggling to breathe, on this deserted dirt road an hour outside New York City. He died later at the hospital. An accident? No. The medical examiner calls it homicide. Forty-two-year-old Rene Jauier Perez died from internal injuries, he says, likely caused by blows to the abdomen.

FERNANDO MATEO, HISPANICS ACROSS AMERICA: Murder is no way of deportation.

KAYE: Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America, is demanding action. Perez was homeless. The third Guatemalan immigrant killed in this community in the last four years. Two others were found strangled to death. Their murders remain unsolved. Some of the estimated 3,500 undocumented Guatemalans here wonder who's next?

MATEO: If they were, as I said, white, black, or gay, this would have been a national outroar. But it's three undocumented immigrants. It doesn't matter.

KAYE: What does matter in this case, the stunning announcement three Mount Kisco police officers are being investigated, their cars seized and examined. No charges, but there is more work to do.

CHIEF CHRIS MENZEL, BEDFORD POLICE: We know for certain Mount Kisco police officers did also have contact with Mr. Perez just prior to his death.

KAYE: That contact took place at this Mount Kisco laundromat. Perez, for some reason, had called 911. Police responded. Call logs show they arrived at 10:47 p.m. One hour and eight minutes later, 11:55 p.m., a passerby found Perez in neighboring Bedford on the side of the road.

So many unanswered questions. Did Mr. Perez leave this laundromat that night with police or alone? If he was alone, how did he manage to get several miles away to where he was found, especially if he was severely injured.

And how will one officer be able to explain a 44-minute gap in his whereabouts after he left the laundromat? He said he was going to check on an arriving train. His attorney tells CNN, he doesn't believe his client will be charged. The attorney for another officer says he has no doubt about his client's whereabouts. He could not have been involved.

Joe Dimauro's seafood store is just down the street from the laundromat. Dimauro says he had often seen Perez stumbling around.

JOE DIMAURO, OWNER, MOUNT KISCO SEAFOOD: The guy was obviously an alcoholic and had major problems. And who knew. Who knows. Maybe he got hit by a car. Maybe he took a dive somewhere.

KAYE: Dimauro says he doubts police harmed Perez, who had a reputation as a drunk and a nuisance. Perez reportedly has had hundreds of run-ins with the law. Some wonder why he wasn't deported long ago like other undocumented workers.

MATEO: Should they be deported if they are found guilty of committing a crime? Yes, they should. Should they be murdered? No, they shouldn't be.

KAYE: Mount Kisco's mayor pushed for the officers in question to be reassigned to desk duty.

MAYOR MICHAEL CINDRICH, MOUNT KISCO, NEW YORK: If the truth doesn't come out, this cloud will darken this community for a long, long time.

KAYE: No witness, no clues. The cloud may hang around for a while unless someone comes forward.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Mount Kisco, New York.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dana Bash in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I'll tell you what voters here are already saying about Republican Fred Thompson and what they're saying about the many, many candidates who have already been here talking to voters. More on that coming up in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Betty, you mentioned, what, last hour that this could be kind of a tricky day for U.S. markets.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes.

HARRIS: Pretty steep, sharp sell-off of Chinese stocks. And that could make it a rough day for U.S. stocks and the markets here. As you can see, the Dow is down, what, 17 points. We understand the Nasdaq is down five. So we're going to keep a close eye on the markets for you this morning with Susan Lisovicz right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: The first in the nation primary and a key battle ground state in the presidential race, New Hampshire. CNN's Dana Bash is part of the best political team on television and she joins us from Manchester, New Hampshire this morning.

OK. Fred Thompson is making news this morning with word of a presidential announcement coming. What are people in New Hampshire saying about Thompson?

BASH: You know, it's really interesting, Betty. We went to a minor league baseball game last night here in Manchester, New Hampshire. There were a lot of Republicans there. And before this news even got out, we talked to Republicans and there was definitely a sense of they were dissatisfied with the Republican field.

It's very large already, as you know, 10 candidates. But there wasn't really a lot of excitement for the people who are already running. But what we heard from several Republicans, again just kind of random voters here, is that they were hoping that Fred Thompson got in to the race.

And it does sort of exemplify what you're seeing in polls, national poll. For example, I think "The Wall Street Journal" had a poll that said about 56 percent of Republicans were not satisfied with the field.

So, you know, Fred Thompson is yet to actually set foot in any state, especially this very important, first in the nation primary state. But if he does, it could be certainly interesting. It could shake things up here. We're hearing, by way of our Candy Crowley, that he might actually be up here in the next couple of weeks.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, that being the case and this being the first primary, what are people talking about when it comes to issues there?

BASH: You know, I think what struck me the most in talking to voters, Republican and Democrat, is how much the Iraq War has changed in terms of the approach to it, vis-a-vis the campaign and the candidates that the voters are talking about. Just in covering the past couple of election cycles since the war has been going on, it seems to have diminished only in that -- it certainly is a big issue and it is an overriding source of anxiety for all voters. But people seem to sort of be -- to understand that they think that the candidate, no matter who they are, if they become president, are going to have to start to draw down troops because what people say is, that is essentially the will of the people.

There seems to be a lot more focus, Betty, on issues closer to home. Across the board you hear health care is a very important issue. We talked to several people who simply don't have health insurance. They say they have to pay for it for themselves. They haven't been able to get operations that they want. That is not unique. That is across the country. And that is why it is a top issue. Again, people are focusing more close to home. It's quite interesting.

NGUYEN: Well, have you been able to gauge at all which candidates are generating a lot of enthusiasm there?

BASH: You know, what's most exciting about this state, about New Hampshire, is that people keep their cards pretty close to their vest. Certainly there are activists who sign on with candidates pretty early on. We met some for McCain this morning, for example. Some for Hillary Clinton yesterday and Barack Obama.

But basically, at this point, remember, we're six months, maybe about six months before the New Hampshire primary. Most people are what they call candidate shopping. They are going to take their time because unlike most of the country, they actually get to meet the candidates one, two, maybe three times. They get to really size them up one on one in person.

And they say, look, we're going to wait -- most people say we're going to wait until we actually get a chance to do that, really talk to them, get a sense of where they stand, get a sense of their character and where they stand on the issues before we make decisions. That's what makes New Hampshire really a great place to cover in terms of politics.

NGUYEN: Well, yes, and it's holding on to that first-in-the- nation primary. But, a lot of other states trying to move up those dates so that they can be possibly become the first, threatening New Hampshire's status. What are people there saying about that?

BASH: Most people are fiercely protective of that. You know, it's the law here that they have to be -- the state law -- they have to be the first-in-the-nation primary. So there is certainly talk that right now it's in January. Maybe it would be December. Maybe it would even be November. There's not a lot of happiness about that because already you hear a sense of malaise or a kind of frustration that this is happening so, so early. But for the most part, people in New Hampshire take such pride in what they call the interviewing process for the rest of the country, they say, you know, whatever it takes in order to maintain that first-in-the-nation primary status, we'll do it.

NGUYEN: All right. We'll be watching.

Dana Bash, thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

NGUYEN: And the candidates debate in the first big battleground of the campaign. That is live next week on CNN. The Democrats face off on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, the Republicans at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday. You'll see it live only here on CNN.

HARRIS: Health experts tracking down international flyers. A passenger diagnosed with an extreme form of tuberculosis. It is the kind that can kill you. The investigation in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Also, Russia's new missile. Can U.S. defenses stop it? Weapons-based diplomacy. That is ahead in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Well, good morning, everybody. You are in the NEWSROOM. I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.

Good to see you, Betty. It's busy around here this morning, isn't it? NGUYEN: Oh, my, what a day.

HARRIS: Boy, let's get started.

Isolated under government order. A man infected with a rare potentially deadly form of tuberculosis triggers a global health alert. He is under federal quarantine at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta right now. Officials are contacting passengers aboard two transatlantic flights the man took to and from Europe. According to the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," the infected man says he was never ordered not to travel.


ALISON YOUNG, "ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": He wants people to know, the reason he spoke to the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," is he does not -- he did not believe he was putting anyone at risk. He notes that he has been under treatment and under supervision of government health authorities since January when he was first diagnosed.

And he says he has done everything that they've told him to do. He says that they had told him prior to the call in Atlanta, no one had told him to take precautions or to isolate himself. He said he would never put his family, his child at risk, his fiancee, none of these people have tested positive for tuberculosis. And he didn't -- he says he didn't believe he was putting anyone at risk.


HARRIS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that passengers who sat within two rows of the man be tested for TB.

NGUYEN: All right, let's give you a closer look at this specific strain of tuberculosis and why it has health officials so concerned. It's called XDR, that is short for extensively drug resistant. Now, some countries have excellent TB programs show a cure rate of only about 30 percent for patients with this strain.

There are several symptoms of TB, and here they are: weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.

HARRIS: Heading off a new cold war, the White House announcing a short time ago plans for a meeting between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. They will be in Kennebunkport, Maine, July 1st and 2nd. The two leaders have plenty to discuss, including Russia's newest weapon.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr takes a look.


BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia said it test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile designed to defeat the U.S. missile defense system. The Russian missile has multiple warheads, each can hit a separate target, hard for the U.S. to defend against.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear the test is part of Moscow's opposition to U.S. plans to place its own missile defense shield in Europe.

PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): We consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg and stuff it with new types of weapons.

STARR: Washington is trying to convince Moscow the U.S. program isn't aimed at shooting down any of Russia's hundreds of missiles, but rather, to counter a launch from a known enemy.

TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We've got a system that we are planning that involves only ten interceptors, very limited quantity, that is designed to defend against a limited attack by a rogue nation, including a nation like Iran.

STARR: President Bush isn't backing down.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sent Secretary Gates to Russia recently to have a full and transparent conversation with President Putin and his cabinet to make sure that the Russians understand that this missile shield is not directed at them but in fact directed at other nations that could conceivably affect the peace of Europe.


HARRIS: Barbara Starr joining us live from her post at the Pentagon. Barbara, good morning to you. What is next for the U.S. missile program?

STARR: Well, Tony, you know, they did have a test scheduled last week. They had some minor technical issues, so it's going to be rescheduled for later this summer. But the Pentagon says they are sticking with the program, they've already spent $23 billion on it, so they're not stopping now, Tony.

HARRIS: So, is this issue likely to come up in the meeting we just announced a short time ago between the Russian president and President Bush in early July?

STARR: Oh, I think it may be well at the top of the list. This is something that the Russian government is very upset about. The U.S. plan, actually, calls now to put some of that U.S. missile defense shield, some components actually in Poland and the Czech Republic, that of course borders up on Russia's flank, and it makes them -- it's something that Moscow's very nervous about. So, consider that to be maybe even the number one topic this summer.

HARRIS: Item number one. All right, our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr this morning. Barbara, thank you.

STARR: Sure. NGUYEN: Well, this just in to CNN. We are learning out of Miami that a Brinks worker was robbed inside a WalGreen's store around 8:45 this morning. Again, coming from the Miami Beach Police Department. What we know is that two Latin males approached the Brinks worker as he exited the manager's office.

They stole at least five bags of cash, receipts, checks. The good news is no shots were fired, no one was injured. The robbers were able to run out of the store and remain on the loose. And there may be some surveillance video of this according to police. And if they do get that, that may help in determining who indeed stole all of this money and checks from the Brinks worker this morning in Miami. We'll stay on top of it.

HARRIS: Sharing their sorrow with the Pope, the parents of a missing 4-year-old girl met with Benedict XVI today during his weekly general audience. The pontiff blessed the couple and a photo of their daughter. Madeleine McKann (ph) disappeared from a resort in Portugal on May 3rd while her parents were at a nearby restaurant. The British couple tried to draw attention to their daughter's case.

NGUYEN: Well, this will draw some attention. Take a look. In Minneapolis, fire engulfed a house, in fact, flames spread so quickly, firefighters wasted no time getting out. Just take a look.

HARRIS: Oh, man.

NGUYEN: Got to do what you got to do.

One firefighter dives head first down a ladder to escape that inferno. The 15-year veteran was not hurt and the technique is actually considered, Tony, perfectly acceptable when every second counts.

HARRIS: Really?

Another drop in gas prices, sure, sure. Of course, another drop in gas prices. The Memorial Day holiday weekend is over.

NGUYEN: After the holiday.

HARRIS: Sure. Gas prices slid almost half a penny overnight to just under $3.20 a gallon.

Our consumer reporter, Greg Hunter got a lesson in the cost of filling up. He just finished his road trip from Columbus, Ohio to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and here's what he found.


GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: High gas prices, even so, you're still going to take a vacation to some place like Myrtle Beach, right? But the question is, with those high prices, should you drive or should you fly? That's what we hit the road to find out.

(voice-over): It was anything but a free ride on this road trip. We felt the pinch of those steep gas prices. Starting with $3.37 per gallon in Columbus, Ohio, $2.95 in White Field, Virginia, $3.09 in Greensboro, North Carolina, and $2.99 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Before setting out, we tried to cut costs, stocking up on drinks and other supplies, spending more than 69 bucks on day one. Day two, we ate drive-through for lunch and a cafeteria dinner. But our gas cost almost as much as our food. With hotel and other expenses, the day's total was more than $410.

Some simple pleasures weren't costly at all, like roadside strawberries. And some were free, like these majestic views of West Virginia, and unusual monuments in North Carolina, a state famous for its furniture industry. And even though yours truly cooked dinner for the group, day three expenses, with $61 in gas, pushed that day's tab to $156.19.

(on camera): This is a relaxing break from driving.

(voice-over): All told, our go cart at $6.50 a pop, was the cheapest ride we had.

(on camera): OK, so the moment of truth. Which is cheaper, flying or driving? Well, our road trip cost $635 one way. You got to go home, so double that: $1270.78. The cost to fly, this includes your flight, your rental car and parking at the airport: $1369. About $100 difference, still cheaper to drive than to fly.

Greg Hunter, CNN, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


NGUYEN: Well, from that to riding the Tehran subway. CNN's Aneesh Raman finds out what average Iranians think about America. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: He looks taylor-made for the role. President Bush set to put Wall Street exec, Robert Zellic (ph) in charge of the World Bank. The announcement live at 11:05 Eastern. See it right here, in the NEWSROOM.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange. As if record high gas prices aren't enough, another huge problem for retailers: organized crime. I'll have details when NEWSROOM returns. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


NGUYEN: All right. Talking to Iran, historic talks in fact, held in Iraq just two days ago. But now, a warning from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She says talks of U.N. action on Iran's nuclear program must include a full range of sanctions. Rice makes those remarks on her way to the G-8 summit in Berlin. So what do the people of Iran think about that?

CNN's Aneesh Raman rides the subway in Tehran to find out. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No confusion and no delays. Underground in Tehran the trains run without a hitch. More than a million trips a day are taken on the Iranian capital subway. Built with French and Chinese help, and equipped with Austrian rolling stock, but of course, no U.S. technology. It's where we've come to see what people think of Monday's historic talks.

In the first car reserved for women, a range of outfits and a range of opinions.

"Good relations have to start somewhere and go slowly between these two countries, this woman tells us. God willing, from here it will get better."

But before it does, from those less eager to befriend the U.S., a mood of distrust.

"Some governments" she says, referring to the U.S., "are bullies and power hungry and don't want to understand, just dominate."

(on camera): Among most of the people we spoke with, there is optimism. But they also keep in mind that this is just another point along a process that could easily derail.

(voice-over): And quickly, an American Tuesday was charged with working against the regime, another officially in Iranian custody. Neither story getting much coverage here, nor did Monday's talks in Baghdad, a sign perhaps of limited expectations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't seen much. Even I think there is a kind of pressure. They don't make it sound like headline. Not that much.

RAMAN: The people here used to their country and the U.S. heading in opposite directions, but the great majority hope that a head-on collision can now be avoided.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Tehran.



NGUYEN: And coming up, translators silenced: Is the military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule leading to a critical communication problem in Iraq? That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

And brace up. The new hurricane season just two days away. We'll find out what researchers are doing to make homes and businesses safer, in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: You know, I'm just trying to come up with different ways to sell this because it's so good, and we spend our time on it.

NGUYEN: Yes, and how about this. A gentle reminder.

HARRIS: Yes, a gentle reminder to you to download the CNN NEWSROOM podcast, the most downloaded podcast on the planet.

NGUYEN: Question mark, don't forget that.

HARRIS: Pinocchio theory, nose is growing, nose is growing. Take us with you anywhere. We will be soon right there on your iPod, the CNN NEWSROOM podcast available 24/7. Download us today.

NGUYEN: Well, more territory coming under Iraqi control. Iraqi police and soldiers taking over responsibility today for three provinces in the northern Kurdish region. Take a look at them. The security handover took place in Dahuk, Irbil and Sulaymaniyah provinces. And this means seven out of 18 provinces will be under the control of Iraqi security forces. The other 11 remain under U.S. or coalition control.

HARRIS: Communication breakdown. Critical translators in Iraq silenced. Said to be casualties of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

CNN's Brian Todd takes a look.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ian Finkenbinder was what they called mission critical in Iraq. Fluent in Arabic, he moved with his army unit into some of the most dangerous areas, gathering vital intelligence.

IAN FINKENBINDER, FORMER ARMY TRANSLATOR: Things like location of weapon caches, locations of insurgent headquarters, who was insurgents, et cetera, et cetera.

TODD: A skill U.S. forces now need more than ever. Finkenbinder could be back in Iraq helping them, if he hadn't made one remark.

FINKENBINDER: I was a gay soldier and would like to continue serving in the army as an openly gay soldier.

TODD: The army had to kick him out. Under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulations, gays in the U.S. military have to keep their orientation a secret. The Defense Department couldn't tell us how many Arabic speakers had been discharged because of their orientation, but advocate groups say the total is nearly 60 since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was introduced in the early '90s.

STEVE RALLS, SERVICEMEMBERS LEGAL NETWORK: There is a serious detriment to our national security when we disqualify gay and lesbian Americans who are trained, want to serve, and are ready to serve.

TODD: Democrats in Congress also believe there's a dangerous shortage of Arabic speakers in uniform, on the ground in Iraq and in military intelligence, and they're calling for a change in policy. REP. MARTY MEEHAN, (D-MA): We cannot kick out highly qualified service members because of their sexual orientation.

TODD: Those who defend "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" say the military might lose other critical personnel if gay specialists were allowed to serve openly.

PETER SPRIGG, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: The military is a traditional, conservative institution, and there are many people there who simply would not serve with an open homosexual if -- if they were asked to do so.

TODD: Still, Ian Finkenbinder says many people in his unit knew he was gay before he made his statement, and had no problem with it.

(on camera): On the charge that the removal of gay Arabic speakers has damaged national security, a Pentagon official told us they would address that issue if there are congressional hearings. In the meantime, the military has launched a campaign to recruit more service members with those language skills.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


NGUYEN: Well, let's talk the politics now. Fred Thompson, senator, actor, Republican, is he ready to put presidential candidate in front of his name? Find out in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Where are the whales? Two lost injured humpbacks struggle to swim home. They're close, I mean, they're really close. We'll check on their progress in the CNN NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: All right, so you have howling winds, pounding rain, flying debris. All part of a hurricane. And the new season just two days away. Then as it draws closer, researchers are looking for better ways to help homes and businesses bear the brunt of a storm.

Here is CNN's John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty feet up, a 2 by 4 impaled in a palm tree. This is one of the most telling images of Hurricane Andrew's power. When you look at this, it's pretty clear why Andrew's winds blew through thousands of homes, even many protected by shutters or plywood.

(on camera): So, just how good are those window coverings you bought going to hold up during a hurricane? We decided to find out. The folks here at this product testing laboratory in Hialeah agreed to help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready, fire! ZARRELLA (voice-over): The Fenestration Laboratory tests products to see if they meet the requirements of the Miami-Dade Building Code, the toughest hurricane code in the nation. For one test, we brought plywood.

(on camera): Jose, we've got a half inch plywood panel up here. Tell me what we're going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, what we're going to do is a large missile test where we propel a 2 by 4 cannon -- out of a cannon at 50 feet per second.

ZARELLA: And what does that simulate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is simulating flying debris, impacting the protective device, protecting your opening of your house.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The technician loads the cannon with the 2 by 4. The impact spot has been marked at the center of the plywood sheet.


ZARRELLA: The 2 by 4 has blown a hole clear through the half inch thick plywood. You need at least 5/8 inch plywood to stop the projectile. In slow motion, you can see just how easily our simulated flying debris penetrates the plywood.

Next, we tested a half inch thick sheet of chip board or particle board. It's no match for the 2 by 4. Keep in mind, during a hurricane event, it's not a concrete wall that's behind that piece of plywood.

(on camera): In other words, we've got to realize that this is covering a window.


ZARRELLA: And that 2 by 4 would have gone through there, right through here, and ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Broken the glass, and then you would have had wind flying into your house.

ZARRELLA: And then, once you get wind in your house, then ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you will apply negative pressure, and that's when you start having windows blowing out.

ZARRELLA: And your roofs come off and that's when you've got a real mess on your hands at that point, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes you do.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): This animation from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes shows how it can happen when flying debris breaks a window and allows the wind into your home, creating uplift on your roof.

Finally, we tested steel panels. We were pretty comfortable they would do the trick.


ZARRELLA (on camera): We finally found something that actually stopped the projectile. The steel shutters.

(voice-over): But steel or aluminum panels are not something you can install at the last minute.

(on camera): If you have no choice but to put up plywood, try to get 5/8 or 3/4 inch thickness. If that's not available, go ahead and get what you can. Some form of protection at least gives you a chance to keep your home in one piece.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.