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Pat Tillman Probe; Rescue in Phoenix; Home Invasion; Cut College Costs; Afghani Taliban Kills Leader Of South Korean Missionary Group; Heat Waves, Floods Spread Death And Destruction Throughout Europe

Aired July 26, 2007 - 10:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris is off today. Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the rundown.
Cut down by friendly fire. Now details about possible punishment in Pat Tillman's death.

Also football players blocked. Villanova denied admission to three incoming freshmen. They're targets of a rape investigation.

And happening right now, ex-prosecutor on the hot seat. Criminal contempt proceedings against Mike Nifong.

It's Thursday, July 26th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

He left the football field for the battlefield, but who knew Pat Tillman was killed by his own troops. Today, word of possible punishments. Our Jamie McIntyre is live now from the Pentagon with some new developments in this story.

Good morning to you, Jamie.


Well, Pentagon sources tell CNN that Army Secretary Pete Geren is strongly considering a letter of censure against the highest ranking general who's facing punishment in the Pat Tillman case. If that letter of censure is recommended by Secretary Geren, it would mean that Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, who retired last year, would face a loss of a star from his uniform, from his rank, and a reduction in his pension.

Kensinger was criticized by the Pentagon inspector general's report issued last March for a couple of things. One of them was withholding information from the Tillman family at the memorial service. The DODIG report concluded that at the service, "although Lieutenant General Kensinger knew friendly fire was suspected, he decided to withhold notification from family members."

The report also found that when asked about it later, "Kensinger provided misleading testimony" to investigators. For that reason, in addition to the reprimand he's expected to get next week when a four star general hands down his decisions in the case, the Army secretary is considering the additional step of adding that censure. And, Heidi, all together nine officers, including four generals, were faulted for their actions surrounding the Tillman case. But none of them were accused of criminal wrongdoing. So none will face any courts martial.


COLLINS: No criminal wrongdoing, but are they saying that Kensinger lied?

MCINTYRE: Well, you know, the phrase they use in the report is "gave misleading information." But basically what they're saying is that he told investigators that he didn't know about the possibility that at Tillman had been killed from friendly fire until just before the memorial service. That he didn't feel it was appropriate to bring it up.

But the investigators believe, because they've checked other documents and talked to other people, and said he actually knew at least a couple of days ahead of time, and so he wasn't being completely forth coming when he gave that answer to investigators. But again, they didn't use the word "lying," but it doesn't appear that he was giving an accurate picture of what he knew and when he knew it.

COLLINS: CNN's Jamie McIntyre live from the Pentagon this morning.

And, Jamie, thank you.

And word now from the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. More than 50 insurgents have been killed. It happened in southern Afghanistan. A 12-hour battle that ended early today. The coalition says Taliban militants fired after an Afghan patrol. Afghan and coalition forces fired back and called in war planes. No reports of major injuries to civilians or Afghan and coalition forces.

And word just in from the White House now. President Bush plans to host Britain's new prime minister, Gordon Brown, at Camp David this weekend. It will be his first visit since taking office last month. White House spokesman Tony Snow says the two leaders will likely discuss the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other issues, including the situation in Darfur and Kosovo. Mr. Brown is expected to pursue a cooler relationship with Washington than his predecessor.

In Pennsylvania, three incoming college football players get the boot after being accused of rape. Villanova University says it has denied admission to the three after a freshman says she was attacked on campus earlier this month. School officials say students have no reason to be on edge.


LIZ WALSH, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, SPOKESWOMAN: This incident involved individuals who are known to each other. Based on that, and on all the other facts we gathered, it was determined that there is not a continuing threat to other students or to the employees here on the Villanova campus.


COLLINS: Once again, the school says it is investigating.

Want to show you some pictures happening right now. We are looking at some live pictures from inside an administrative hearing for the disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong. Of course, this is regarding the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Today the judge is going to begin considering whether or not to hold Nifong in criminal contempt of court for his handling of the case. Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III. And you may remember he already has decided, ruled that there is probable cause to believe Nifong deliberately made false statements about the case.

So we will continue to follow that. We understand that he did go to the microphones just a few minutes ago. Going to work to get you some of that sound here in just a moment. You see again new video of Mike Nifong today in court.

Meanwhile, a start on the field gets his day in court. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick expected to enter a plea on dogfighting charges today. Vick due in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, this afternoon for an arraignment and bond hearing. Animal rights protesters promise to be out in force. The grisly allegations of dogs being abused and killed have sparked outrage. The owner of the Falcons spoke out earlier this week.


ARTHUR BLANK, ATLANTA FALCONS OWNER: The notion that anyone would participate in dogfighting is incomprehensible to me. However, we do need to remember that we're dealing with allegations at this point and want to be clear that we're not here today to pass judgment on Michael's guilt or innocence on the indictment. The courts will determine that.


COLLINS: The Falcons open their training camp today, but the NFL has barred Vick from camp while the league investigates the charges.

More on this still developing story next hour when we have a live interview with super agent Leigh Steinberg. His clients have been and still are some of the biggest names in sport. Steinberg will offer his opinion about whether Vick's image is one that can be salvaged. That's coming up next hour. Don't miss it. 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

A deadly freak accident on a Michigan softball diamond. It happened in Grand Rapids. Twelve-year-old Maggie Hilbrands was injured Monday. A coach hit a ground ball, she missed it, and the ball struck her in the neck. Rescuers preformed CPR, but the girl never regained consciousness. She died Tuesday. The tournament the girl was to play in this weekend now renamed. The first annual Maggie Hilbrands Memorial Softball Tournament.

Folks say buildings moved and windows rattled blocks away. Today it appears a leak caused those huge explosions in Dallas. You saw the story unfold here on CNN yesterday. Authorities say the owner of a gas facility was filling a tank. Some gas escaped and blew up. It caused a change reaction of explosion. Two employees were burned and at last check they were still in serious condition. A trucker was treated for back injuries as well.

Scraped knees, lost shoes, but a Phoenix girl and her dog are fine this morning after being rescued from a drainage canal. Here's Jennifer Parks of CNN affiliate KPHO.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was back down like walking on the edge of the canal. She started walking down the hill and he said, what are you doing?

JENNIFER PARKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Witnesses say 12-year-old Jesse Yosua was trying to cross the canal with her dog Daisy (ph).

DEBBIE O'BRIEN, WITNESS: She got half way there and it just sucked her right under the road.

JESSE YOSUA, RESCUED IN PHOENIX: And then like this big wave came and just pushed me and my dog under the bridge. And then we just tried to float and I tried to get to the side and stuff, but it didn't work.

PARKS: Jesse and her dog were now being swept away by the fast water. A half mile down stream, as News Hawk 5 watches above, fire crews attempt a shallow-water crossing to rescue Jesse.

YOSUA: I was just trying to get to like rocks or like a tree or something. And I was just concerned about my dog. I didn't care. I just wanted my dog.

PARKS: Ten minutes later, Daisy's out of the water and Jesse makes her way on to land, still in shock.

YOSUA: I was just making sure my dog was OK. I was with her the whole time.

PARKS: Her knees are skinned, her shoes are lost, but she's alive and it's a warning to others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That this is not like the ocean where the wave comes in and goes back out and you get a breath. This is constant.


COLLINS: The girl and her dog were swept half a mile down the canal before being rescued. Still ahead, forgetful father. A tragic tale. A man faces manslaughter charges after leaving his baby boy in a hot car.

Also, how to stay alive inside your house. Making your home less welcome to a home invader. Important tips coming your way ahead.

Plus, wife and husband hatch plan for him to marry another woman just to save her life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he said to me was, "I've put her life in jeopardy and I can't leave her behind. What do I do?"


COLLINS: But plans change with a violent attack. The story, though, ends with success.

And a cat sniffs death before it arrives, 25 times and counting. Kitty, stay away from my door, would you please?


COLLINS: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Europe's extreme sizzling in the south. Rivers swollen in the north. Freaky weather or a symptom of climate change? We'll talk about that coming up.


COLLINS: In California, an autopsy is likely today in the case of a baby left abandoned in a sweltering SUV. The boy, 11 months old. The father charged with suspicion of felony manslaughter. He tells police he simply forgot the boy when he went in to work.


DET. LT. DAVID CHILIMIDOS, CONCORD, CALIFORNIA POLICE: It appears that the 47-year-old father of that little boy left home earlier in the morning from his home in Swallow (ph) County, intent on dropping off his son, who he strapped in the car seat, dropping him off at a daycare center in the Concord area. Well, for whatever reason, the father forget about his son.


COLLINS: The local temperatures yesterday were in the 80s. That means the temperature inside the SUV could have reached 130 degrees.

In Connecticut, prosecutors haven't decided yet whether to seek the death penalty against these two men. They are accused of a brutal home invasion that left three family members dead. Cheshire Police say the men slipped into the family home and beat and bound Dr. William Petit Jr. Then they sexually assaulted Petit's wife and daughters and set the home on fire. Autopsies show the mother was strangled. The girls died of smoke inhalation. Dr. Petit is recovering today. The suspects were arrested fleeing the scene.

Experts say you can't prevent a home invasion, but you can make an invader think twice before busting through your door. CNN's Joe Johns explains.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): As violent crimes go, it doesn't get much scarier than this. The home invasion robbery defined as when people try to con or force their way into a home, often knowing the victim is there, for the purpose of taking money and property.

JOE MCCANN, FORMER HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: They're going to hit a home that looks like it's going to have some valuables to it. Where the occupants are not going to put up much of a resistance.

JOHNS: It's a terrifying scenario and it's apparently increasing. Though there's no official crime category under the heading "home invasion," in a recent report, the FBI says robberies in residences accounted for more than 14 percent of all robberies in 2005, up slightly from the year before.

To get a feel for this stuff, we asked two of D.C.'s top security consultants, former homicide detectives Joe McCann and Dwayne Stanton, to walk us through it at a nice corner lot house in the suburbs. For starters, what kind of guys would want to do this sort of thing?

MCCANN: First of all, it's going to be a smart criminal. Probably a career criminal. And most likely a violent criminal.

JOHNS: Victims are selected because of the cars they drive, the jewelry they wear or a repairman, say a gardener, perhaps, has cased the house. Some victims get followed home. Or maybe they stake you out for a while.

MCCANN: If they're looking for a big score, a big hit, they're going to take their time.

DWAYNE STANTON, FORMER HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: And their own investigation, so to speak. They also select neighbors. You know, well-to-do, affluent neighborhoods.

JOHNS: So what to do about it? A lot of it stuff is common sense. First, have a plan to get your family out of the house. A window or peepholes in the doors to see who's out there. Don't let strangers in. Good locks and a good alarm help, too.

MCCANN: Have the alarm system or evidence of an alarm system visible from the outside.

JOHNS: Keep the shrubs cut.

STANTON: Because somebody could hide behind the shrubbery.

JOHNS: After that, game's on. McCann suggests keeping copies of your car key, the one with the panic button, stashed around the house.

MCCANN: You just hit that button. Hit it.

JOHNS: Even if it's in your garage.

MCCANN: Even if it's in your garage or in front of your house.

STANTON: You're going to spook the person. There's no question about it.

JOHNS: They're going to run.

MCCANN: And get the attention of your neighbors.

JOHNS: And prevention is not all high-tech. Rover still works great.

MCCANN: Absolutely the number one deterrent. The bark will -- they just don't want it. Neighbors come out. Everybody comes out when they hear your dog barking.

JOHNS: You can't anticipate or prevent a home invasion, but there are ways you can reduce the risk of one.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COLLINS: The fate of 22 South Korean hostages in the hands of the Taliban. New concerns, renewed threats, one day after the militants executed the group's leader.


If the kids are heading to college this fall, we'll tell you about some expenses you may not have thought about. That's next on "Top Tips" in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Some great video to show you. Look at this. You are looking at about 100 head of cattle. It's a big cattle drive that is taking place in Huntington Beach, California. This video coming in from our affiliate there, KTLA.

It is the U.S. Open of Surfing, which is now under way. And apparently we're being told that this year's slogan is "Cowabunga: The Year of Herefords, Surfers and Sand." OK. It's an interesting combination. Live pictures there of the surfers. You've got the cattle. You've got the surfers. It's a natural combination, don't you think?

So the cattle are going to be sort of proceeding to the beach that you're seeing there, where the open will be underway. And they're going to bring together those themes of cows and surf culture for the Orange County Fair. Now that is a combination I have never seen before. So we're going to continue to watch these very interesting pictures coming in, once again, from Huntington Beach, California. Ye ha.

All right. No so ye ha on the Dow. Look at this. The Dow Jones Industrial averages down 97 points or so already. At the very opening, around 9:30 this morning, about an hour ago now, we did see the Dow go down 140 right off the top. So we're going to be talking with Susan Lisovicz in a little bit. We've already been talking about the price of oil a barrel, $77, the housing market. More in that in just a few minutes.

Summer is fading, and for many families, college is looming. Here now with tips on how to cut costs, CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis.

These are the types of tips that parent can probably never hear too much, Gerri.

WILLIS: Well, I'm telling you, the costs are exorbitant, I've got to tell you.


WILLIS: Let's start by talking about textbooks. Students can spend from $700 to $1,000 a year on textbooks. But here's where to go if you want to find cheaper books. Check out You should also check out and to do more price comparison. Hey, besides these online sites, Heidi, help may be on the way. Some states are cracking down on overpriced books at campus bookstores. So you're not alone if you think you're a parent out there and you can't afford it. Help is coming.

COLLINS: Yes, no kidding. And you've got to wonder how many people really take advantage of these discounts, though. There seem to be quite a few out there.

WILLIS: There are. Look, college-age students spend almost $28 billion a year on food, clothing and entertainment. But there are deals and discounts out there, as you say. Go to You'll be able to get discounts with Amtrak, Greyhound or Target. And check out You'll find discounts on movies and computer software.


COLLINS: And this one. No child or no student really wants to do, but the parents probably do, and that's remember to keep track of your debts when you're in college.

WILLIS: Well, you know, it's so tough. When you have nights out on the town, you all go out together, and figuring out that final tab can be a recipe for disaster. But there are some online budgeting tools. Check out I know it sounds funny, buxfer. And That's another free site. They track who is borrowing your books, your CDs, your money. You can track it all and there will be no questions about who owes who.

COLLINS: And what about protecting your biggest asset? What is that that we're talking about?

WILLIS: It's the kids, you know. College students are covered under their parents' health insurance, but you may find that the student health service center doesn't accept your insurance, mom and dad. So find out before your kids go to class. Check out student health insurance policies. They can be cheap like, $20 a month. So go to That's s-t-e-w, to see some options.

And if your child is going to be living in a dorm, look into renter's insurance. Listen to this. Colleges may not tell you about this insurance because they don't want to advertise the fact that there could be thefts or damage to property on campus. So you may be able to get a deal if you sign up for renters insurance through the same company you have your home owners insurance policy with.


COLLINS: Yes. Because, I mean, there's the DVD players, there's the stereos, there's the little itty, bitty refrigerators.

WILLIS: These kids have flat-panel TVs.

COLLINS: Yes, no kidding.

All right. Hey, "Open House" coming up this weekend. What are you going to have?

WILLIS: 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Protecting your kids online. What hidden treasures you may have in your attic that you don't know about. And when it pays to go green. It's all on "Open House," Saturday morning, join us.

COLLINS: Excellent. Gerri, we'll be looking forward to it. Thanks so much.

WILLIS: Thank you.

COLLINS: An NFL star, his image tarnished. Can Michael Vick make a comeback from dogfighting allegations? Super sports agent Leigh Steinberg weighs in, in just a few moments.


COLLINS: Among our top stories this morning, word of possible punishments in Pat Tillman's friendly fire death in Afghanistan. CNN has learned nine officers will be reprimanded. One, a retired three- star general, may be demoted. None will face criminal charges. They are accused of making critical errors in reporting Tillman's death. Although the Pentagon apparently knew early on Tillman was killed by his own troops, it was not made public for several weeks. Tillman turned down a lucrative football contract to join the Army after September 11th.

Also new this morning, in the shadow of the Duke lacrosse case, the disgraced prosecutor is in a North Carolina courtroom right now. Live pictures you see there. At issue, whether Mike Nifong should be held in criminal contempt for his handling of the discredited case. The judge has already ruled against Nifong on one matter. His ruling, there's probable cause to believe Nifong deliberately lied about the case.

The Taliban renew a threat to execute 22 South Korean hostage hostages. Militants have already killed the group's leader. Details now from CNN's Sohn Jie-Ae in Seoul.


SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): South Korean Pastor Bae Hyeong-gyu was supposed to be celebrating his 42nd birthday on Thursday. Instead he was slain by Taliban captors who threatened to kill him and 22 others South Koreans unless their demands were met.

For those who knew him, Bae was a kind soul, one who didn't shy away from challenges.

"He was very brave," says this fellow church-goer. "It's not easy to go to a place like Afghanistan." In this time of dire grief, Bae's parents turn to their church for comfort.

"We are praying that all this is a mistake," one newspaper article quoted his father as saying.

(On camera): Bae was leading a group of young Christian volunteers to a hospital and a children's shelter in southern Afghanistan, when their bus was held up by gunpoint by Taliban militants.

(Voice over): The South Korean government condemned the killing.

BAEK JONG-CHUN, CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY FOR SECUIRITY (through translator): The organization responsible for the abduction will be held accountable for taking the life of a Korean citizen.

JIE-AE: And on Seoul streets many expressed shock and dismay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was sad when I heard the news early this morning. As a fellow Korean, I think incidents like this must not happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I feel sorry that it happens to a person that volunteered to help those in need. I hope it will be resolved quickly so the hostages can come home soon.

JIE-AE: While negotiations continue for the release of the 22 Koreans still in Taliban custody, Bae's body will be flown back home for a burial. Sohn Jie-Ae, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: Dramatic river rescues in China, police risk their lives to pluck two boys from raging waters. Officials say water levels have risen to critical levels along vast Chinese rivers. More than 500 people have been killed since the start of summer floods.

While central England deals with severe flooding, southern Europe is suffering through its own extreme weather. CNN's Phil Black reports.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The extreme moods of European weather. As more of England is affected by flooding, a heat wave is dozens of fires in Italy and Greece, and the Balkans. Brutal temperatures, often about 40 Celsius, have led to the death of more than 500 people, mostly elderly across central and southern Europe.

Authorities in Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, report people collapsing in the streets, and deaths from conditions aggravated by the heat. As thermometers climbed governments advise their citizens to stay inside, conserve electricity, and drinks lots of water.

Some chose to frolic in it.

Beyond the cities, crop losses are said to be severe. The heat, lightning strikes, and arson are being blamed for forest fires from Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Greece and Italy.

Thousands of people, many of them tourists, have been forced to leave the worst-hit areas.

GUIDO BERTOLASO, CIVIL PROTECTION DEPT. (through translator): Between today and tomorrow they'll be given clothing. They'll arrive at the airport, they'll find their consular officers with their passports, and with a ticket to return home, at the expense of the Italian Civil Protection.

BLACK: Also being evacuated, for very different reasons, hundreds of people in central England. The floods have left more than 300,000 people without clean, running water, and still more are being affected. The swollen river Thames has now flooded past the university town of Oxford.

A week of simultaneous flooding and scorching temperatures that has left experts divided on the cause. A freak weather event, or symptom of broader climate change. Phil Black, CNN, London.


COLLINS: And Rob Marciano is joining us now live. Boy, the picture overseas, just horrible stories we're getting in.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, all of Europe, and even reports of tornadoes in areas that don't typically see tornadoes. So certainly a change in the weather pattern there, and you don't want to mess heat, as they know back from 2003. It is deadly. It is actually the deadliest form of weather related catastrophes.


COLLINS: He dodges defenders on the field and today NFL star Michael Vick will be a defendant in court. He'll be arraigned on dog fighting charges. Larry Smith is in Flowery Branch, Georgia, for the Atlanta Falcons opening training camp today, without Vick. That's going to be happening a little later on today, Larry.

LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. All the players are inside the gates, they're required to report to the facility here in suburban Atlanta late last night. There were meetings this morning, taking a break for lunch around noontime and they'll hit the field at 3 o'clock, Eastern Time today, again without No. 7, Michael Vick.

What a story this has been here the past week. Since that 18- page indictment came down, as he, again, as you mentioned, is in a federal court, answering his indictment as he's being arraigned on those charges of running that dog fighting ring.

Not the way the Falcons wanted to start their new season. A new head coach, Bobby Petrino (ph), who signed that multi-year deal worth more than $4 million, plus per season. And now he goes into a camp without a star quarterback. With a different quarterback, Jolie Harrington (ph), and we don't know when, if ever, Michael Vick will return to the Falcons. We'll have to wait and see what happens later today -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Larry, we know there are some protesters outside the federal courthouse. What about there? Are you seeing anybody setting up camp?

SMITH: No, it's been quiet. We got here a couple hours ago, and just about three or four people, just a handful, a very quiet protest down the road behind me, at the other entrance of the Falcons facility. I guess they already know the players are already inside and there's really not much traffic is going in and out.

Though we're hearing of the possibility of the Falcons looking at some other veteran quarterbacks who are currently free agents, and looking for a team on which to land, just in case Michael Vick's absence is prolonged one.

COLLINS: You haven't heard anything from teammates, I imagine. I think there's probably just a lot of people who are wondering what his fellow teammates think of the current situation.

SMITH: Absolutely, and we are one of them. The only thing we're hearing are some fans driving by and some non-fans shouting various things that you may or may not pick up on the microphones as we're standing here along the roadside.

The team so far have been off-limits, again, practices from 3:00 to 5:00. We'll of course, jump onto the field and try to grab some people. And try to find out just what the Falcons teammates think about this situation. It's not a positive. Michael Vick, as we talked about before, being told by the NFL to stay away from camp until the NFL can conduct its own investigation into the 18-page indictment. We don't know if Vicks absence from the team will be for a few days, a few weeks, or perhaps even longer.

COLLINS: Larry Smith will be watching the story for us all day long. Larry, thanks so much.

Damage control, handling a high-profile athlete in trouble. Super sports agent Leigh Steinberg weighs in on the Michael Vick case. A live interview coming up next hour in the NEWSROOM.

Standing in harm's way, how to fix health care for America's wounded warriors, we'll talk about that.

And this -- and road food, scrambled eggs to go, thousands of orders, but no waiting.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT, I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange, where we're seeing triple-digit declines for the second time this week. And ExxonMobil, despite sharply higher oil prices, is one of the culprits. An explanation is next. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


COLLINS: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could be facing a perjury investigation. He testified this week, that a White House meeting in 2004 was not about the controversial warrant less wire tapping program. But senators say that contradicts a letter sent to the Judiciary Committee last year, by former National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

The meeting involves eight congressional leaders, including four Democrats. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy says Gonzales has until next week to revise his testimony, or face a perjury investigation. The Justice Department says Gonzales stands by his testimony.

It's on his desk. President Bush given a report by a special commission looking into health care for veterans, especially at Walter Reed. CNN's Jamie McIntyre has that.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: While substandard conditions in off-base housing at Walter Reed is what blew the lid off the scandal, the commission found that generally the care at military facilities, like Walter Reed, is first-rate. It's getting the care that is the problem.

Take the case of Army Specialist Jonathan Town.

SPEC. JONATHAN TOWN, U.S. ARMY: I was told by the final out personnel that I would not receive any severance pay or benefits, and I actually owed the military $3,000. MCINTYRE: Town believes he's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of TBI, trauma brain injury, caused by a bomb blast. That's why of the six major presidential panel recommendations, two stand out. Aggressively treating post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury; and perhaps most importantly, taking the power to grant disability ratings away from the Pentagon, giving it solely to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

So in the future, the military would decide only if troops are fit for battle, not if they deserve benefits. The nine-member panel led by former Republican Senator Bob Dole and Donna Shalala, President Clinton's Health and Human Services secretary , urged fast action.

BOB DOLE, FMR. U.S. SENATOR: We want the White House, the DOD and The V.A. to take some steps as quick as possible.

MCINTYRE: President Bush, who took and afternoon jog with two wounded soldiers, says the recommendations will get top priority. Still, some in Congress fear the blue ribbon report will just be ignored.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D) VETERANS AFFAIRS CMTE.: I don't want to see another report on a dusty shelf on a White House, not enacted.

MCINTYRE (on camera): One of the commission's recommendations is to keep Walter Reed up and running at full staff until it's scheduled to close in 2011. That's a vote of confidence in the hospital whose shortcomings initially sparked the nationwide review. Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


COLLINS: The one-two punch of housing and energy is once again making investors extremely nervous. There's new damage to report on both fronts. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange now with details on this.

How's it looking now? Any improvement, Susan?

LISOVICZ: No, we are off on our lows on the session, Heidi.

But, yeah, we have damaging reports on two major concerns, on housing and on energy. First of all, three of the nation's largest home builders, D.R. Horton, Beazer Homes, and Pulte Homes, all reporting losses in their latest quarterly earnings, all three of those stocks down about 5 percent.

Add to that a dismal read on new home sales, which same out at the top of the hour. They dropped a worse than expected 6.6 percent in June. Prices continue to come down, and that comes after yesterday's news that June's existing home sales fell to their lowest levels in four and a half years.

Now, on the energy front, oil prices have been going the other way. They've been creeping back up. Now only about a dollar away from their all-time high. Investors had been hoping ExxonMobil's results would provide a boost to the Dow, but that's not happening. It's shares are down 3.5 percent. Among the worst, of the Dow 30 stocks.

Right now the blue chips are off session lows, but still triple- digit losses. Off 116 point. That's a loss of about 0.8 percent, given these levels. The Dow was down more than 150 points within minutes of the open. The Nasdaq composite is down 27 points or 1 percent -- Heidi.

COLLINS: So, it's interesting. What happened with Exxon? The company reported earnings of like $10 billion.

LISOVICZ: Yes, $10 billion, and it's not good enough on the Street, Heidi. Consider that; $10.3 billion, to be exact. That's down a bit from last year. A bit lower than Wall Street's expecting. Still ExxonMobil's revenue came in at more than $98 billion.

Consumer groups, of course, aren't happy. They say Exxon benefited from drives pain. Gas prices, of course, were at record levels during the last quarters. ExxonMobil defends itself saying its profit margin is in line with other industries. But the Street thought it could actually make a little more money in the last quarter.

Heidi, back to you.

COLLINS: All right. Susan Lisovicz watching everything for us at the New York Stock Exchange. Susan, we'll check back a little bit later. Thank you.

Well, just add bacon and grits, and you've got breakfast, right? Well, sort of. Take a look, a truck carrying eggs, hit an overpass on Interstate 95, near Richmond, Virginia. An SUV driver lost control and swerved into the path of the egg truck. Police say rain was partially to blame. About 200 gallons of fuel and oil leaked from the truck into a nearby creek. The interstates northbound lanes closed for several hours while the mess was cleaned up.

Bonds made in the turmoil of war.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that wherever Steven is, he's happy. He's looking down on this and he's smiling.


COLLINS: Saving a life at the cost of his own.


COLLINS: Atlanta police are still searching for a child killer. The victim, a nine-year-old girl who was inside her apartment, and sitting at a computer. A stray bullet struck her in the head. Police say there was an argument in a parking lot, and five or six shots were fired. The girl was apparently an unintended victim.

Tough choices: A journalist in Iraq comes up with a plan to get his Iraqi translator back to the United States. But the plan goes wrong. Here's CNN's Richard Roth.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After watching the attack on the World Trade Center, from the roof of his apartment, Steven Vincent, an art critic, decided to head to Iraq to work as an investigative journalist. He would later work with a female Iraqi translator.

LISA RAMACI, WIDOW OF STEVEN VINCENT: What struck me was that she was a woman. He said, she came up to him and stuck her hand out and introduced herself, which was the first time that had happened to him in this Islamic country.

ROTH: But Vincent's probing about corruption made him, and his Iraqi translator, Nour Al-Khal, unpopular in certain circles.

NOUR AL-KHAL, TRANSLATOR: Steven Vincent was the bravest man I had ever seen in my life.

ROTH: But Vincent was warned that once he left Iraq, his translator would be a dead woman.

RAMACI: What he said to me was, I've put her life in jeopardy and I can't leave her behind. What do I do?

ROTH: So the couple devised a scheme to get Nour out of Iraq. Vincent would convert to Islam, marry Nour, the pair would then fly to London and divorce. But after Vincent reported insurgents had infiltrated the Basra police department, he and his translator were abducted, beaten, and Vincent was killed.

AL-KHAL: He didn't move, he didn't talk to me. I was bleeding.

ROTH: The translator was shot several times, but survived. After the loss of her husband, Lisa Ramaci went on a mission to bring Nour to America.

RAMACI: I felt it was the least I owed her.

ROTH: Since 2003, fewer than 800 Iraqis have been granted asylum. Lisa battled American bureaucracy for 18 months, even testifying before Congress.

RAMACI: Please, let me help the woman who helped Steven, and in so doing, greatly aided me by being with him in his final moments.

ROTH: In late June, success.

RAMACI: You're eating standing up. That's a time-honored American tradition.

ROTH: Nour is now enjoying exploring New York City.

RAMACI: I know wherever Steven is, he's happy. He's looking down on us and he's smiling. ROTH: Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: Cubans celebrate their revolution, but without el presidente. A year without Fidel Castro.


COLLINS: A suburban home transformed into a prison of unspeakable terror. The heartbreak, the suspects, the outrage.

Today is Cuba's top holiday, Revolution Day, but Cubans are celebrating it without Fidel Castro at the helm. CNN's Morgan Neil looks at a year with Castro.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Viva la revolucion.

MORGAN NEIL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was Fidel Castro, one year ago, today, the last time he appeared in public. As he strode past the throngs on a revolutionary holiday, there was little to indicate what lay ahead.

Less than a week later came the stunning news. The president was temporarily handing over power, his aide announced.

For the first time since 1959, Fidel Castro was not in charge of Cuba. The government said only he had been forced to undergo intestinal surgery. He's widely believed to suffer from diverticulitis, inflammation of a pouch in the intestine wall.


But those who predicted Cuba's Communist system would collapse in his absence, were wrong. After a year with Raul Castro at the helm, very little has changed. Cuba's opposition remains divided and little known within the country.

The acting president has talked openly about some of the country's worst problems, housing and transportation, among them. But the only visible changes have been small. For example, DVD players and car parts are now allowed into the country.

There has been little to suggest that Raul is headed for the so- called Chinese model, opening the economy while retaining tight control over the political system.

As for Fidel Castro although he hasn't appeared in public, Cubans have seen him in several videos, most recently in this interview on Cuban TV in June. He had put on weight since earlier videos, but still looked frail.

Recently he's regained his place in the public consciousness by writing columns, called "Reflections of the Commander in Chief". HAL KLEPAK, ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE OF CANADA: This is a moment where he can sit back and do just that, reflect. But for a long time he didn't have a lot of time for it, as he ran the country.

NEIL: If he is planning a comeback Castro seems in no hurry to do so. In a recent column he writes that he's so caught up in watching the Pan-American Games he sometimes misses meals, and forgets to take his pills.

(on camera): Indeed few, if any, Cubans expect Fidel Castro to return anytime soon. With so few changes since he stepped aside, most people here will tell you it makes little difference in their day-to- day lives if he does or not. Morgan Neil, CNN, Havana.