Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

NBA Ref Accused of Fixing Games; Texas Floods Trap Amtrak Train

Aired July 21, 2007 - 16:59   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM, flash floods in Texas that turned into one wild ride. This became serious real fast.
Cheney in charge. Yes, that's right, number two becomes what many say he has been all along, number one.

But first, a ref and some riff-raff. That is what they are calling it. This could blow the NBA wide open with scandal. In fact, investigators are saying the fix may be in.

And hello, again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. The NBA has a nightmare to contend with. Now you have heard the players being accused of fixing games. Well, how about a ref? The very person that's hired to make sure that the game is played within the rules, bending the rules to make money. That's what investigators are alleging, there may even be a mob tie to this one and an arrest is expected soon. There is a lot to talk about, but let's start now with the very latest on the story, live now from New York, here's CNN's Jim Acosta.

Jim, bring us up to date.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, the Basketball Referees Association has confirmed to CNN that an NBA ref is the subject of a federal investigation. The union says the FBI is looking into whether the referee was betting on games he was officiating. The ref in question is league veteran Tim Donaghy.

Law enforcement officials tell the Associated Press they're looking into whether Donaghy made calls on the court to affect the point spread or margin of victory in certain games, potentially impacting millions of dollars in bets, all allegedly in an effort to cover his gambling debts with mob-connected bookies.

Donaghy's friends, some are commenting -- there wasn't any comment at Donaghy's Florida home. But in Philadelphia -- outside Philadelphia, rather, at his high school alma mater, his former coach says he's devastated.


MIKE GARDLER, COACHED TIM DONAGHY: I just think this country is crazy with gambling, with slots and with horses and with lines and betting and all kinds of crazy stuff. So you hear so much stuff. I hope it's not true. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: As for the National Basketball Association, the league's commissioner, David Stern, is coming down hard on Donaghy, releasing a statement that says the ref "betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports." Donaghy's lawyer, a former U.S. attorney here in New York, has not commented -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: There's talk that there might be an arrest sometime this week. Is that right, Jim?

ACOSTA: It's possible. There has been some reporting on this. We have not gotten that reporting confirmed, but that is out there. I did talk to his attorney, who is a former U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, and he says that there may be more to tell in a couple of weeks here, and when we say a couple of weeks, I don't know, that may mean it may not happen next week, it may happen the following week. We'll have to wait and see.

SANCHEZ: This is an amazing story. Thanks so much, Jim Acosta, following that for us. Let's go to reporter Shira Springer. She has done some digging in on this story, on this ref in question and on the investigation itself. She covers the Boston Celtics for The Boston Globe. And she is good enough to join us now from Beantown.

Shira, thanks so much for being with us.

SHIRA SPRINGER, BOSTON GLOBE: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: How many games are we talking about? Do we know?

SPRINGER: I don't think we know yet. There have been some estimates that say it is 10 to 15. There have been some estimates that say it's considerably more. From my understanding they're looking at two years in question: the 2005-2006 season, and this past season.

SANCHEZ: So these, obviously, they're trying to pinpoint the games that he both officiated or refereed, while he may have had bets on those games. That would be probably the worst violation you could have, right?

SPRINGER: Yes, I think, you know, the worst violation would be that he was officiating games and influencing the outcome of those games, because of some bets that either he placed on them or some of his associates has done that.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, refereeing, as I'm sure you know, or anybody who has ever played any game knows, is subjective. I mean, especially in basketball, the difference between what is a foul and what isn't a foul is all sometimes at the discretion of the ref.

So if he had money on the game or had a reason to influence the game, that in and of itself would give him cause for influence. I mean, it makes it suspect right away, right? You can't say, oh, yes, well, we he had money on the game but he didn't do anything, or there's nothing obvious there that he did illegal, right?

SPRINGER: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, certainly putting money on an NBA game when you're an NBA referee is reason for suspicion. Obviously I think the FBI has more than that, if this has become public at this point. Though in talking to some oddsmakers in Vegas, you know, they are trying to figure out exactly how he could have influenced games in terms of making an impact betting-wise.

And many of the Vegas oddsmakers that were spoken to yesterday when this story broke were quite surprised that this actually had happened, and one referee was capable of doing this.

SANCHEZ: How many others could possibly be out there that could be doing something like this?

SPRINGER: I think at this point that Tim Donaghy is the one ref involved. From what I've heard, there are no other officials being implicated in this investigation.

SANCHEZ: Didn't his high school -- and this not to indict anybody, but he went to an area of what, just outside of Philadelphia, you've done some reporting on this, where many NFL -- pardon me, NBA referees have come from?

SPRINGER: Yes. He's actually part of a fraternity of referees that come from Cardinal O'Hara High School just outside of Philadelphia. There are four referees, including Tim Donaghy -- well, he's now no longer, but there were four referees in the NBA that hailed from his alma mater.

SANCHEZ: That's amazing. One wouldn't think that -- OK. Let's talk about the NBA real quick. Because this could seriously affect their credibility with their fans. What is David Stern doing about it at this point and how concerned do you think they are?

SPRINGER: Well, I think we are they're very concerned. I mean, the word that comes to mind right away is scandal. If this thing plays out the way many people expect it to play out with the investigation leading to an indictment and charges against Donaghy, this is something that will rock the NBA.

What is David Stern doing now? I think it was very interesting that initially they put out a very curt statement that said the NBA was cooperating with the FBI in this matter, and then later yesterday afternoon they put out a lengthier statement, I think.

David Stern recognizes -- and the NBA recognizes as well that the best course of action in a case like this is to be as open as possible, given all the legal parameters and logistics, but you want to keep fans. You want to keep media. You want to keep other referees, players, coaches, NBA executives and owners as informed as possible about the process, because you don't want there to be any suspicion about what is actually going on.

SANCHEZ: And they say -- and they would only say they're doing this, it appears they are doing this. I mean, obviously, they are always going to say, we're cooperating fully with the investigation.


SPRINGER: It appears they are.

SANCHEZ: OK. Shira, good reporting. We'll be checking back with you. We get the feeling that this thing is going to blow up even more throughout the week. We appreciate it.

SPRINGER: I think so.

SANCHEZ: President Bush is back in the saddle, back in charge this hour. He ceded power to Vice President Dick Cheney for a short while this morning. Mr. Bush was sedated for a half hour as the doctor removed five polyps as a part of a colonoscopy that he had to have done. With the story for us live from the White House, here's Elaine Quijano now.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Rick. That's right, President Bush is said to be in good spirits and has resumed his presidential duties after the colonoscopy earlier today at Camp David. To show that he is back in charge, the White House released a photo showing the president taking a walk at Camp David along with his chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and the presidential dog Barney.

Now doctors did find five small polyps, each of them less than a centimeter. A White House spokesman said none of those polyps appeared worrisome to doctors, but the growths were removed and will be examined.

Now because the screening itself required anesthesia, President Bush invoked the third section of the 25th Amendment, handing over presidential authority to Vice President Dick Cheney. It's the third time since the amendment was ratified in 1967 that a president has used it.

According to a White House spokesman, during that temporary transfer of power, nothing occurred requiring Mr. Cheney to take official action as president. We should mention this is not the first time that doctors have actually found polyps during a colon cancer screening for Mr. Bush. In the late '90s, when he was governor of Texas, during similar exams, doctors found four growths at that time as well.

They removed all four growths. As for the results on these five polyps that were removed today, Rick, we expect those results perhaps as early as Monday -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right, thanks so much. We'll be checking back with you. Hopefully the president is doing just fine, Elaine.

Keeping them honest. You can do that with us right here on CNN, as we host the first of its type, YouTube Democratic debate this Monday. Submit some video questions for the candidates on YouTube or you can just go to for a link to the site. We're going to pick dozens of your questions for the live event. Republicans, by the way, are going to be debating in September.

Monday night's main event between Democrats is going to be broadcast from South Carolina. The Palmetto State has a lot of political clout. Joining us now from Charleston is CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Hey, Candy, how are you?


SANCHEZ: Fine, fine. Just, you know, a lot of people are wondering why South Carolina?

CROWLEY: South Carolina is the first southern primary to begin with. It's also the primary that has become kind of known as the make or break state. Candidates come in here out of Iowa, out of New Hampshire, and coming into South Carolina, it really can be pivotal, particularly if you haven't won in any of the first two states.

George Bush, for instance, came out of New Hampshire in 2000, having been beaten by 19 points by John McCain. John McCain had all the momentum, they rolled into South Carolina. George Bush won and it really shut John McCain down. So it has become this pivotal state. In addition to being the first southern primary, it has also gotten this reputation.

SANCHEZ: Do I hear right that Hillary Clinton is on the rise in South Carolina? How would you explain that?

CROWLEY: Well, she's about 14 points ahead of Barack Obama at this point, so you're right. That's a nice sizeable lead. A couple of things. First of all, there is her husband's relationship with the African-American community remembering that 40 to 50 percent of the primary vote on the Democratic Party is African-American in South Carolina.


CROWLEY: So that gets her a long way. As well as the fact that she's a known entity. People feel as though they know her policies, they know where she would take the nation. And Barack Obama continues to be a bit of a question mark.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, I was just going to say, what was that number you just gave us, 40 to 50 percent of the primary voters African-American?

CROWLEY: In the Democratic Party, yes.

SANCHEZ: Wow, that is a big number. Would you expect if that were the case, if there's an African-American candidate on there that he'd be doing much better? Barack Obama in this case?

CROWLEY: Well, it's interesting because -- yes, absolutely. It's interesting, because we do talk to a number of people here who say they think Barack Obama is a rising star, but they're just not sure what he stands for, and there's no necessary vote here for a black voter to vote for a black candidate. They are looking around at the panoply of people they have in front of them.

And don't forget John Edwards, who was born in this state, who won South Carolina in 2000 and 2004 when he ran. So there's a lot in the mix here, and you cannot definitely count on the African-American vote as a solid voting block.

SANCHEZ: How about these YouTube debates? Tell our viewers why we, at CNN, if you have a better explanation than anyone else, I heard you on the radio yesterday on my way home talking about this, and you were being asked what would make an average person with a camera better facilitated to ask a question than the rest of us? Why are we doing this?

Oh, I think we lost Candy. All right. We'll continue to dig into that. Candy Crowley, good enough to join us and bring us up-to- date on what's going on there in South Carolina.

You can get a detailed inside look at how the first CNN/YouTube debate is going to work, with the fancy music in the background and all. And now you can take part. Just watch John Roberts and Kiran Chetry's debate countdown special. That's tonight at 7:00 Eastern.

Don't forget as Candy just told us, Monday, Anderson Cooper is going to host the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate, first of its type event, one that you will not want to miss. Amazing stories and amazing video.

Just ahead in the NEWSROOM, first, a dramatic river rescue in Texas that we've been following all day long.

And then in Massachusetts, an historic building now history thanks to some flames and some smoke.

Also, an important food recall. The FDA is worried that word is not getting out. We're going to tell you what you need to know. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


SANCHEZ: Here's an update on that story that we've been telling you about, the flooding along the area there in San Antonio, and as you watch these pictures, you're probably wondering why you are looking at these primates. Well, this is a primate research center. Those are primates where they do all types of investigations. This is the Southwest National Primate Research Center, and because the rivers have flooded, so has this research center.

You're looking at some of the pictures for the very first time. It's not wide enough to be able to tell if there's actual parts of this area where they can find some non-flooded area for these primates, but -- for these monkeys, but hopefully there is an area. Kind of tough to tell, obviously enough. And we don't know -- oh, there you go. So it's not completely -- that's the good news is that it's not completely flooded so they won't have to actually go in there at any and try and extricate the monkeys.

We don't know what specific type of research is being done with these monkeys or whether they, themselves, have any communicable disease, as often is the case. But it's a story that came to us just moments ago. We're following it. Interesting pictures to look at there. You see the monkeys probably will be able to move from that area and go to high ground not far away, within their own little compound there, as you saw the one shot moments ago.

So that's good news. We'll follow it though and if we get any updates on this story, hopefully we'll be able to get in touch with someone there at the center that will be able to bring us more information.

Moving on, a downtown mill complex in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, gutted by this massive fire. People miles away could see the smoke, the fire damaged or destroyed dozens of small businesses that had set up shop inside the old mill.

Two products made in China have been recalled, first is this Black & Decker weedwhacker, officials say pieces of the trimmer string can come loose, fly out and hit anything or anyone who happens to be standing around it. You know those things can be quite dangerous and serious injuries have already been reported.

Complete information on this, you go to, that's This lounge chair is also being recalled. You can find information about it on the very same government Web site. The mesh covered lounge chairs are sold under the Rockingham Deluxe label. They have faulty support brackets and weak frames that can cause the chairs to collapse.

Harry Potter sales are always through the roof but have books really made kids read more? CNN's Josh Levs has been looking into this for us. He is going to join me right here on the set to talk about it when we come back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. We have an interesting situation to tell you about. Just moments ago we were telling you about those primates that were stuck in the area where there has been terrible flooding just outside of San Antonio. We're now being told it's affecting an Amtrak train as well. In fact, we're told that the train is stuck and people who are on that train are using their cell phones to call us, to tell us that they feel absolutely stranded. In fact, one woman in particular is Maria Brennan (ph), she reached out to us moments ago. In fact, I believe we have her on the line now.

Maria, are you there? Maria Brennan...


MARIA BRENNAN, STRANDED TRAIN PASSENGER: ... when they're interviewing me I've got to...

SANCHEZ: Hey, Maria?

BRENNAN: I've got know what I'm saying. I cannot be emotional. And I am emotional, but...

SANCHEZ: Maria, this is Rick Sanchez here at CNN. Can you hear me?


SANCHEZ: You can almost listen on another interview, I think she's dealing with someone else right now as we show you some of these pictures of what's going on in the area around San Antonio. That is, you are hearing her voice there. I don't think she was cognizant of the fact that we were trying to reach out to her and talk to her as well. So you know what we'll do. Let's try and see if we can reach Maria in just a little bit. She's very frustrated. You can almost hear it in her voice.

She says she has been stranded on a train for quite some time. She left from Chicago, making her way toward Texas, and before she got to San Antonio, she's -- apparently because of those floods that we've been telling you about, she ended up stranded. So we're going to be bringing you her story in just a little bit.


SANCHEZ: All right. We told you a little while ago about a woman who feels like she's stranded on a train. The train was trying to make its way down to Texas all the way from Chicago, and suddenly, she feels like she's stuck. She's reached out to us, she tried to call us a little while ago. As you probably have noticed, we reached out to her a little while ago, but she was busy talking to somebody else. Let's see if she can hear us now.

Maria Brennan, are you there?

BRENNAN: Yes, I am here.

SANCHEZ: Maria, what's going on?

BRENNAN: OK. What's going on is this morning at 6:30 the Amtrak Southwest Chief departed San Antonio to head out to L.A. At 9:10 this morning, we got stuck in Knippa, Texas.

SANCHEZ: So wait a minute, let's break this down for the viewers. Since 9:30 this morning, the train that you're on has not moved, correct?

BRENNAN: Has not moved, yes.

SANCHEZ: What's around you? When you look out the windows, what do you see?

BRENNAN: What do I see? I see a train next -- on the right-hand side, and a local street, and nothing else.

SANCHEZ: Do you see water?

BRENNAN: I see water, yes.

SANCHEZ: Do you see water as in flooding, as in water that's not supposed to be there?

BRENNAN: There's -- OK, there's traffic moving on the street. There's water, but it's not like high water.

SANCHEZ: But you see -- is there any flooding there? I'm trying to figure out if the reason your train is stuck is because the waters have just gone too high. What are they telling you?

BRENNAN: Well, they told us after we stopped is that there is -- there has been a washout in the front of the train, and at the back of the train.

SANCHEZ: A washout, that means that part of...

BRENNAN: The rails are gone.

SANCHEZ: Part of the rails are gone. That's what they've told -- and both in front of you and behind you, so until they fix them...

BRENNAN: And behind it. Yes.

SANCHEZ: So until they fix that, they can't move the train.

BRENNAN: They cannot move the train, and what I'm calling about is, we've been sitting here for seven or eight hours now and we do not know what's going on.

SANCHEZ: Well...

BRENNAN: The crews on this train has not gotten around to find out whether are people OK, do they have food, do they have water? The bathrooms are getting filthy, and they have no plan.

SANCHEZ: Do you have food? Do you have water?

BRENNAN: Well, we have food. We're eating Denny's food that we purchased at 3:00 this morning for lunch.

SANCHEZ: We're going to try and put a call in to Amtrak, and see if we can get...

BRENNAN: Well, there is -- and Amtrak has food.

SANCHEZ: So what train are you on?

BRENNAN: We are on the Amtrak Southwest Chief.

SANCHEZ: But what are they saying about when the train will move?

BRENNAN: They are not saying. They do not know. We asked the conductor -- the assistant conductor, we said, how long are we going to be here? You know, and he doesn't know. I said, a couple of hours? I said a day or two? He said, maybe. And he answered that without a care, whether are we actually going to get out of here.

SANCHEZ: Well, I'm sure he's concerned himself. I think the last thing he wants to do is get stuck out there. Is there any plan for possibly getting you and as many other people around you off the train?

BRENNAN: Rumors, rumors that are going around is that we were supposed to be bussed out of here, but one of the passengers called the Amtrak phone number, and he communicated to them that we've been stuck here, and that -- and he -- as concerning whether are we going to be bussed out of here. And they have not even heard of that. They said there's no plan.

SANCHEZ: Knippa. Hey, hold on just a moment. We're trying to get a handle on just what would have caused this washout, how close you are to the actual flooding area that we've been talking about on the news. Let's go over to our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras.

I don't know if it's pronounced Knippa or Knippa, Jacqui. But have you found this thing on the map and does it jive with some of the flooding area you've been talking about today?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Actually, if our director could take GR113 (ph), this is our Google Earth animation. I'll give you an idea of where this thing, is to the west of San Antonio, it's in Uvalde County, and is very near U.S. 90. There you can see it. And I'm going to zoom in a little bit here, sorry for the rough on the fly, but there you can see the river right there.

That is the Frio River and a flood warning is in effect there. And the river has gone out of its banks so there you can see the town of Knippa. There you see the river right on off to the west, right over there. So I imagine that this flooding certainly is a problem and likely the big hang-up there for that train.

SANCHEZ: Yes, so if there's part of -- what she's saying is, it's not so much that there is water on the railway, it's that part of the rails have washed away both in front of her and behind her. Well, obviously that's serious enough to not want to move the train because you're going to end up with bigger problems.

Hey, Maria, how many other people are other people are on this train? Do you have any -- obviously I don't want a specific number, but is it loaded?

BRENNAN: We have no clue how many people. I know that there's probably 100 people per car, and there's about six to seven cars.

SANCHEZ: And there's 100 people so there could be as many to 500 to 700 people on this plane -- train.

BRENNAN: There are handicapped people downstairs, there's babies, there's elderly people and we're not allowed to get off the train to walk around, and what happens, you know, when you can't go out and stretch your legs?

SANCHEZ: Is it still, for example, do you still have air conditioning?

BRENNAN: We have air conditioning, yes.

SANCHEZ: So it's still somewhat -

BRENNAN: We still have power.

SANCHEZ: It's still somewhat comfortable there?


SANCHEZ: And they're telling you just sit back, relax, read a book, do what you can, we'll try and fix things but not giving you any sense of when they're going to be fixed?

BRENNAN: No, they're not.

SANCHEZ: Wow, that's a pretty serious situation to be in there, Maria.


SANCHEZ: Thanks so much for reaching out to us. What we'll do here obviously is we're going to try to reach out to Amtrak and find out what plans they have.


SANCHEZ: Obviously it's not something that they are at fault. I mean, you know, if this was a natural situation which has runoff has caused this situation on the tracks, they're trying to do everything they can. We'll hopefully get a response from them. Maria, is there anything else you want us to do at this point?

BRENNAN: No, I just want to know, you know, that what's going to happen to us. We need help. We want to get out. We want to get out of here, because if the train is not going anywhere, then they need to do something, bus people out of here, if they have to, so that we can get on and move on into our next destination.

SANCHEZ: You said you're hearing some talk they might be bringing buses to get you out. We'll try and nail that down for you. In the meantime, hold on and thanks so much for reaching out to us.

BRENNAN: OK, thank you.

SANCHEZ: We appreciate that. Wow, what a situation.

The boy wizard named Harry has created magic in the publishing world -- 325 million copies of Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide. About a third of them have been sold right here in the United States. More than 121 million copies, and the Potter phenom translates globally as well. The books have been published in more than 60 languages. That's amazing.

Anticipation for the new book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows," was so intense, in fact, that its first printing is a record-setting 12 million copies. The Potter magic transcends geographic boundaries, by the way. Right now, eager readers around the world are devouring the final act, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows."

The seven-book series has sold millions and millions of volumes, but has it really enticed kids to go back into reading as many people says it has? Josh Levs joins us to talk about this.


SANCHEZ: I guess they're reading these books, right, kids are excited.

LEVS: They're excited about it. I was thinking someone should get copies of the people on the train, give them, keeping them busy for at least the next few hours.

SANCHEZ: Can you imagine getting stuck on a train like that?

LEVS: It's horrifying and we hear stories like that all the time, people in various forms of transportation, stuck on a plane. It's awful.

SANCHEZ: You know, you can't really castigate Amtrak too much for this. What can they do if there's no rail, they can't move the train.

LEVS: Of course, we hear the stories a lot and it is tough and we know we're thinking of the people, we know it's tough to be stuck there.

SANCHEZ: So the question to you, my friend, are more kids going to be reading in general as a result of this?

LEVS: Right, let's get back to that. That's the question. The theory is, in general, in America, that Harry Potter has gotten kids reading in general, in America.

Is that the case? Well, I found out this week about a brand new federal study that has yet to come out. We found out what it's going to say and the answer to that question is, not so much.


LEVS (voice-over): It's always been a big part of the buzz about Harry Potter, millions of kids excited not just about movies, but about books. There's a widespread belief that...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry Potter has really made kids real.

LEVS: But are kids who grew up on Harry Potter really reading more before than the generations before them? A landmark federal study due this fall says no.

The National Endowment for the Arts says it has found a drop in pleasure reading among adolescents. In fact, the report finds the decline has continued at the same rate since before Harry Potter books existed.

The biggest reasons include video games, TV and the internet, but wait a second, the internet, that's reading, right? The federal study found even when you include reading online, the overall figures are still dropping.

Still, many parents believe Harry Potter has worked some magic in getting their kids to read. It's possible the decline in adolescent reading would be even bigger were it not for the boy wizard.

A survey commissioned by Scholastic, Harry Potter's U.S. publisher, found that 51 percent of kids who read Harry Potter said that afterwards they started reading for fun in general. 89 percent of parents said the books helped their kids enjoy reading more.

The National Endowment for the Arts says it's too bad there aren't more Harry Potter-style book crazes for young readers, but these things just don't happen very often.

JENNIFER BROWN, CHILDREN'S BOOK EDITOR: I really can't think of another series that has generated this kind of excitement. Possibly Charles Dickens did when he read from his serials when he was publishing his books.


LEVS: And that was back in the 1800s. So the question now is will it be another 150 years before there's something this big or in the meantime, will educators come up with something to try to get kids excited about reading?

SANCHEZ: I can't believe you didn't do the story wearing a wizard hat or something. The least you could have done for us.

LEVS: They suggested it. We actually had a book up here earlier today but people kept smudging it. It's so precious, people kept taking it too much.

SANCHEZ: People are taking it, kind of like an iPod.

LEVS: More precious than an iPod.

SANCHEZ: iphone or whatever.

LEVS: I actually felt excited touching it today.

SANCHEZ: What are they doing to try to get the kids to read?

LEVS: Here's what they're looking at right now. Since Harry Potter ultimately didn't cause a major change in America, they're looking at maybe harnessing TV or the Internet, trying to find ways to take the things that kids are interested in, video games, and build a reading component into that.

It's been tried. PBS has tried it in the past. It didn't stem the decline in reading. But that's what they're looking at right now, how can you use new technologies to get kids excited about reading?

SANCHEZ: Do you know how hard it is, as a dad to get my boys, my kids away from those video games sometimes? It's like you're taking away the most precious things to them. It's like stop it, read a book!

LEVS: This is what they have, 100 years ago there wasn't a problem.

SANCHEZ: Good stuff, man, thanks.

LEVS: Thanks a lot.

SANCHEZ: These young Kenyan women, ready? These young Kenyan women delaying a controversial right of marriage with a little help from this week's CNN hero report. We'll tell you all about that. We'll tell you about it in a little bit. Stay with us. You're in the NEWSROOM.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez. Our CNN Hero is trying to change an African tradition and stop or at least delay a painful rite of passage for many young Kenyan girls.


MARGERY KABUYA, CNN HERO: A girl here can get married as young as 10. Certainly by 13 a lot of them are already married. Girls are very, very important because they are a source of wealth. That is why it is very difficult for a Maasai man to let a girl do anything else but get married.

Before a girl gets married here, they must go through the female genital mutilation. When you delay marriage, you delay circumcision. My name is Margery Kabuya. And we started a school for Maasai girls. We say what we're going to do is we are going to use the same process of booking the girls. The girls used to be booked for marriage. Now they're just being booked for school. We go through the exact same ceremony. We monitor the girls. When they are six, another blessing is done and we say the girl goes to school. We're not saying the girl should not get married. We're just saying marry them off later.

We have managed to delay -- at least delay the female genital mutilation. We will grow up into responsible girls, right? I think the best thing is that it has given them opportunities that they would never have had. It has opened them and their parents to a different lifestyle.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: And by the way, if you'd like to make a contribution toward Margery's work or nominate your own hero for special recognition, we'd be happy to help you. You can find more information on our Web site,

We wanted to let you know that we're following this developing story out of Texas. I mean, look at these folks who are trying to get other folks who may be stranded there in these waters and then there's the story of the folks maybe as many as 700 of them, stuck on an Amtrak train. You just heard Maria Brennan's story a little while ago. We're trying to see if we can nail down some more information, maybe get back to that situation with Maria. We'll have it all for you right here. Stay with us. As the story develops, we'll be all over it.



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: 14-year-old Caroline Davenport is indoors playing a video game, but not slumped on the couch. She's rocking to the beat as she competes in her neighborhood Dance Dance Revolution tournament.

CAROLINE DAVENPORT, TOURNAMENT PLAYER: It's active and it's something to do on the long hours of the summer where you have nothing else to do.

GUPTA: It's the latest craze in video gaming. Video active games that require kids to get up and get moving. Tournament organizers say they're helping kids stay fit.

CHRISTOPHER BORAWSKI, WHEATON LIBRARY: It helps them, it keeps them moving. They have to move very fast. Gives them a workout.

GUPTA: Dancing is obviously better exercise than playing a stationary video game on a sofa, but we wanted to know just how much better. Researchers in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are finding that kids playing these kinds of active video games burn twice, sometimes, sometimes three times the amount of calories than kids playing traditional games.

LORRAINE LANNINGHAM-FOSTER, MAYO CLINIC: When we did allow children to play the games at higher settings, they could actually burn five or six times the number of calories they would while they were playing the traditional handheld game system.

GUPTA: The study used the Sony iToy and X-Box's Dance Dance Revolution. And researchers are planning further studies on the newest in the video craze, like Nintendo's wii, popular with children and their parents.

As for Caroline, she's lost 10 pounds since she started playing in tournaments and she's having fun as well. It's the perfect combination, experts say, for successfully fighting childhood obesity. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting. (END VIDEOTAPE)


SANCHEZ: Let's bring you up-to-date on what's going on. Here is the situation we've been following out of the area around San Antonio, Texas. You've heard the report there's an Amtrak train that's stuck there now, can't move. Part of the rails have been washed out in front of it and behind it. So they're stuck, could be as many as 500 to 700 people on board. We've been talking to one of them. Stay with us because we're going to be all over this story.

But here's another story that we're going to be all over. This one has to do with a product recall. The product that's been recalled is Castleberry food's recalling its chili sauce and some of their meat products.

Let's talk to somebody who knows an awful lot about this, this is Dr. Robert Brackett, he happens to be the FDA's director of food safety. So talk about a guy who has got his hands full. What are we talking about with this, a chili sauce, it's kind of like a ketchup?

DR. ROBERT BRACKETT, FDA FOOD SAFETY DIRECTOR: Well, this is the chili sauce. This would be the sort of sauce that one would put on chili dogs, so it's sort of a condiment that you put on there. The reason why we are recalling it, we want to warn your viewers that we have a situation now that's actually developed quite seriously. Last week we put out an announcement about a recall of a certain time frame of products.


BRACKETT: April 30th to May 22nd. Well now in the last 24 hours because of the investigation, what we found out is that, first of all, there was some problems with the equipment over a complete line of processing equipment. But more importantly some of our testing found that 16 out of 17 samples had this Botulinum toxin in. Well this is obviously very dangerous.

SANCHEZ: Wait, wait, wait, hold on, botulism?

BRACKETT: Botulism is the disease that is caused when someone eats this toxin.

SANCHEZ: So 16 of the 17 shipments of this thing?

BRACKETT: Not shipments. These are individual cans. We will take samples of cans and test and that's very, very rare.

SANCHEZ: So that means it's very prevalent.


SANCHEZ: So if tomorrow you went to the store or in the past week you went to the store and bought Castleberry foods chili sauce, there's a high chance, a big that you could end up with this problem, this disease?

BRACKETT: Well, there's a good chance, and that's the reason I'm here. The recall is now going to be expanded by the company not to just those dates, but any days. So any time the consumer has any products listed, and we have a complete listing more this evening, they should discard those items.

SANCHEZ: It's not everything made by Castleberry Foods, is it? It's just a bunch of stuff made by them?

BRACKETT: There are a number of products that were produced on that canning line that are suspect. But in particular, what they're going to be are the three chili sauces that we have listed.

SANCHEZ: If you have them in your refrigerator, throw them out.

BRACKETT: Throw them out, don't use the garbage disposal.

SANCHEZ: Forget the dates, forget everything, just throw them out.

BRACKETT: In fact, it's to double bag them, tie them real securely and then put them in the trash that's not going to be recycled.

SANCHEZ: Botulism, serious, right? Can you give us 20 seconds on what botulism is so people understand the severity of this.

BRACKETT: Sure, Botulism is an illness you get when you consume the Botulinum toxin. It basically shuts down your nerves and causes paralysis. It starts from the head, you end up with droopy eyes and droopy mouth and eventually progresses down so the person has difficulty breathing.

SANCHEZ: Could it kill you?

BRACKET: And it can be fatal, yes, always very serious.

SANCHEZ: Hey doctor, thanks so much for bringing us up to date on that. I appreciate this. We'll be in touch. And as soon as you have the total list, we'll put it on so people can get the information.

BRACKETT: We'll be getting all of the details to you through the evening.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate it, doctor.

Well what's the impact of YouTube on politics? That report coming up in just a little bit.


SANCHEZ: There's that picture we've been following for you, it's part of the scenario that's taking place right now, rather serious situation, not far from San Antonio. This thanks to KSAT, the other station that's been helping us out, out there, bringing us these pictures.

We don't have pictures yet of the actual Amtrak train which is stuck, apparently as a result of this flooding, but we did do an interview not long ago with one of the stranded passengers. Here's what she had to say.


BRENNAN: They are not saying. They do not know. We asked the conductor, the assistant conductor, and we said how long are we going to be here, and he doesn't know. Is it a couple of hours? Is it a day or two, and he said maybe.


SANCHEZ: That's Maria Brennan. Since about 9:00 this morning, their train has not moved because part of the rails have washed out in front and behind their particular train. Don't know what Amtrak is going to do about this situation.

We're hoping to be able to get information from them. We're also hoping to be able to get some pictures of the actual train where this is taking place where one of those affiliates.

If you happen to be in the area, and you want to send us a picture of this, we would gladly accept it. Just go to and you'll get the instructions there how you can file your own i-Report on this.

By the way hard to imagine that just a few years ago YouTube and that type of technology didn't exist. Now it seems to be universal. And the go-to place for many people when it comes to politics is the YouTube impact, and it's coming up next.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. We're here in B control. Don't think YouTube has influence? The presidential race so far? Check out Jacki Schechner's report.


GEORGE ALLEN, FORMER SENATOR: Macaca or whatever his name is.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORT (voice-over): It was one of the most talked about moments in last year's campaign, Senator George Allen's controversial remark to a young campaign aide working for his opponent.

It was caught on camera, and it was a hit on YouTube, and Allen lost his seat in the pivotal Virginia race that helped Democrats win control of the Senate.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: If it wasn't for YouTube, it's conceivable that today George Allen would be one of the front- runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

SCHECHNER: The presidential campaign has had its own share of YouTube hits.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The old beach boys song, "Bomb Iran". Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

SCHECHNER: And YouTube is forcing presidential hopefuls to explain past positions by giving full debate clips new life.

MITT ROMNEY (r), PRSEIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Thompson, do you support or oppose laws that prohibit abortions for convenience?

FRED THOMPSON (r), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not believe that the federal government ought to be involved in that process.

AMY WALTER, THE HOTLINE: But has it had impact, of course, but I think to me what's more interesting is, from the strategist's point of view, which is, when to react and when not to react to YouTube.

SCHECHNER: The site spotlights one candidate each week and they can ask anything they want.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: What do you think our campaign song should be?


SCHECHNER: YouTube is empowering average Americans to impact the political process like never before. Candidates no longer have total control over their message and that's forcing them to change the way they campaign. Jacki Schechner, CNN, Washington.

SANCHEZ: And drum roll please. Again, the first CNN/YouTube debate Monday 7. To submit your question on video, just go to YouTube or to From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Rick Sanchez. Lou Dobbs starts right now.