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South Carolina Police Arrest Two on Bomb Suspicions; Bush Meets with Afghan Prez Karzai

Aired August 05, 2007 - 16:00   ET


REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: Not a single Democrat candidate paused in their rush for the exit to say to our Marines, good job.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Up next in the NEWSROOM, Republicans slam the Democrats and each other in a presidential debate.

Plus, divers are back in the water this afternoon, searching for bodies under the fallen bridge in Minneapolis.

And new information on a still-developing story out of South Carolina. A car, explosive devices, and two men reportedly of foreign descent.

Hello and welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with a story we broke last night. Police in Charleston, South Carolina, pulled over a car for speeding and found bomb-making materials inside the vehicle.

Two men of Middle Eastern descent are detained. Let's go live now to Charleston where Venton Blandin, with our affiliate WCIV is standing by with latest information -- Venton.

VENTON BLANDIN, WCIV REPORTER: Fredricka, this is a developing story, as you mentioned. We do know now that two men of Middle Eastern descent were arrested last night. And all that we know right now are that there are 24 years old and 21 years old.

They are college students from the state of Florida. And right now they're being held at the Berkeley County Detention Center. And they could be facing several charges. But the only charge that we know of now -- and I should point out that no one has been charged at this point. But the only charge that has been told to us which will come from this, is the one from last night, and that's possession of an unlawful explosive.

And these explosives that were found in the truck are fuses and igniters. I'm not sure exactly what those items are. But police are telling us that they are fusers and igniters. So because of that, they could be held on several charges. We know there's a court case tomorrow. All this is developing now. And also they are known to not be U.S. citizens. That may seem obvious, but they're not U.S. citizens, so there are other agencies that will be handling this. So that's one of the things we know now.

And tomorrow we expect a press conference here with local police at a local courthouse. And we'll bring the very latest then.

WHITFIELD: And then can you...

BLANDIN: Live from Charleston...

WHITFIELD: I'm sorry, Venton, can give me an idea of why they were pulled over? What were they suspected of doing?

BLANDIN: Well, yes, back to the story yesterday, Fredricka, the very reason for the stop was just a routine traffic stop. I asked the police out there was it speeding? Was it improper lane change? Was it running a red light? They wouldn't get into details for us. But that was the whole thing. It was a routine traffic stop.

And earlier, as I believe Rick Sanchez said, he was talking about something from another jurisdiction putting an alert out. We were unable confirm exactly what that was, but we're hearing that now. Police won't go into that right now. They're just pretty much saying it's a routine traffic stop.

And we should let people know that the roads were shut down in the area for about 10 hours. And this was a big deal late last night.

WHITFIELD: Yes. That's pretty significant, 10 hours for roads to be closed. Well, give me another idea whether police are telling you anything about how they made the discovery of these suspicious items once this possible routine check was made.

BLANDIN: Well, that's the thing. I guess it was pretty routine, but they told us it was a routine traffic stop. They pretty much hit that message home to the reporters out there. It was a routine traffic stop. And I guess, as you will with any stop, you would go check to make sure you don't have anything because that's for safety reasons.

But they did tell us they found some type of explosive in the trunk. That was yesterday. This started, I believe, about 6:00 yesterday evening. We didn't get word on that until probably close to around 11:00 p.m. local news. And there was some type of explosive device.

We didn't find out today that there was a fuse and an igniter. And I believe there are several pieces which are leading back to the several charges which we will hopefully find out tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: And is it your understanding that these materials -- suspicious materials were destroyed?

BLANDIN: We did -- I can tell you, Fredricka, I was out there until about maybe 4:30 this morning after being there all day yesterday, and it was like a -- just a small pop. I'm sure you've seen a lot of detonations happen, and it wasn't anything. But it was a very small pop.

So they told us it was destroyed. So that's why it's surprising for me personally to find out that, well, this was a much bigger deal than previously thought, because fuses and igniters, I specifically asked the question, South Carolina is allowing fireworks here, so what does the charge mean, possession of unlawful explosives?

Most people might think sparklers, fireworks, but it was definitely not that. So now it's fusers and igniters. But we're not even sure exactly how many, what they were, how big, how dangerous or anything like that.

WHITFIELD: All right. Venton Blandin, thank you so much. We understand not only our local jurisdiction investigators on the story, but apparently federal authorities are also investigating this case. Thanks so much, from Charleston.

Well, the tough times continue in Minneapolis this weekend. Divers are now back in the water searching for missing victims of the bridge collapse. There are at least eight. Here's what we know about the investigation and the recovery effort.

The National Transportation Safety Board is using computer modeling to figure out why the 35W Bridge failed Wednesday. They have also set up a helicopter to take aerial photos, underwater video cameras and side scan sonar are sending back images from beneath the Mississippi.

An FBI dive team is joining the operation as well, and the U.S. Navy might also get involved. Meantime, the NTSB has begun interviewing workers and officials from the construction company working on the bridge when it collapsed. The NTSB chairman gave an update and a caution earlier today.


MARK ROSENKER, NTSB CHAIRMAN: During our time on scene, we've taken a look at a lot of debris. And, unfortunately, we've not come up with an answer. We're not going to come up with an answer overnight. I told you this is going to be a very long and thorough process. That is the only way you can guarantee that we find out exactly what happened and make any type of recommendation to prevent it from happening again.


WHITFIELD: And Rosenker said that the NTSB's final report will take longer than expected, probably 18 months instead of 12.


WHITFIELD: Well, in Washington, lawmakers are closing critical gaps in U.S. intelligence capabilities, at least, that's how the White House views passage of an amended version of FISA. The House passed new changes to the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (sic) last night. The measure expands the intelligence community's ability to intercept foreign phone calls and e-mails routed through U.S. equipment without the need for warrants.

Critics say the bill goes too far and could enable the government to spy on Americans communicating with people overseas without proper oversight from Congress or the courts.

Terrorism is expected to be just one of the items on the agenda as Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits the U.S. President Bush is hosting the Afghan leader at Camp David today. Our Suzanne Malveaux is live from Washington with details on their meeting -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Fred, Afghan President Hamid Karzai just arrived at Camp David today. This evening it's going to be about social events, getting a chance to be reacquainted. Tomorrow the two leaders will get down to business.

And as you may recall, Fred, this was a country that was really held up, supposed to be a model of democracy in the Middle East, but now this is a country that is in trouble.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, sits in the middle of what's often called the forgotten front in the war on terror. Six years after the U.S. routed al Qaeda and its Taliban supporters from his country, he's besieged by crises.

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: The situation in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely deteriorated.

MALVEAUX: The Taliban has resurged as a powerful militia aimed at destroying his government's fragile democracy. And the mastermind of the September 11th attacks is still nowhere to be found.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We are dedicating significant resources to trying to find him.

KARZAI: We are not closer, we are not further away from it. We are where we were a few years ago.

MALVEAUX: President Bush's two-day summit with Karzai is aimed at taking stock as to where Afghanistan is today. It is not a pretty picture. One of the reasons why, U.S. officials say, is the role of Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan. Its leader, Pervez Musharraf, made a deal with tribal chiefs to go after the terrorists along the border, but it ultimately backfired.

Now the border has become a breeding ground for an emboldened al Qaeda.

KARZAI: They're right now kidnapped Korean citizens. They have killed international security forces. That's exactly what we're trying to prevent. That is exactly what we are trying to do together with Pakistan. MALVEAUX: With some $10 billion of U.S. aid investigated in Afghanistan, and some 20,000 troops, President Bush is pressing for greater progress. But Karzai's allegiance is not just with the U.S.

KARZAI: So far Iran has been a helper and a solution.

MALVEAUX: That alliance concerns U.S. officials who believe Iran is trying to undermine this pro-American government.

GATES: I think they're doing some things to help the Afghan government. I think they're also doing things to help the Taliban, including providing weapons.


MALVEAUX: And, Fred, following President Bush's and Karzai's summit -- this two-day summit, we understand that Karzai will be meeting with Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf to try to reinforce the need for those two governments to cooperate in fighting terrorism -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much. Of course, the president and Hamid Karzai meeting this hour. We'll be able to bring you tape as soon as we get it.

Well, the home prince, one swing from king. Barry Bonds ties one of baseball's most coveted records.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Barry Bonds makes history here in San Diego once, could he do it again this afternoon? We'll have a live report coming up.

WHITFIELD: Also ahead, Republican presidential hopefuls in a grand old debate not sparing Democrats or each other.

And later, the man behind the icon, his kiss captured the joy and relief of a war-weary nation. But his identity was a mystery until now. Find out when we come back in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Move over, Hank. Slugger Barry Bonds swinging himself into pro baseball history with that one right there. He hit his 755th career home run last night at San Diego. Bonds taking Clay Hensley's fastball deep over the left centerfield wall, tying "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron's long-standing home run mark.

Well, Bonds has a day to take it all in. He won't play in today's series finale in San Diego. CNN's Kara Finnstrom is live at Petco Park with reaction to Barry's record-tying blast.

And so he's going to take a break and maybe swing into the history books tomorrow?

FINNSTROM: Well, that's what we're hearing. He's not in the lineup for tonight. But fans coming in are still hopeful that he might be brought in as a pinch hitter and that they might get a chance to witness history. But that's probably being a little bit hopeful.

But let's get right to that home run last night that did set history. As soon as that bat cracked, everyone here seemed to know that that was it. A kind of collective breath across this sold out Petco Stadium. Everyone just kind of standing there and watching it. And then cheers just erupting throughout the stadium.

This was a moment when everyone seemed to just kind of sit there and take in history, the magnitude of what was done. But it was really different from what we've been witnessing here both before and after that moment. We've been here for a couple days, watching him continue to get up at bat. And there has really been an odd mixture of emotions.

On one hand, fans are firing off those flash bulbs or cameras across the stadium, hoping to see history in the making. On the other, there has been this loud chorus of boos every time he gets up. And folks holding up big signs with asterisks on them, referring to allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs that have really dogged Barry Bonds.

He has repeatedly denied them. He has never tested positive for steroids. But he hasn't been able to escape the accusations. He's also facing a federal government investigation on perjury.

So all of this kind of being weighed by the fans here yesterday. As they left, we asked them whether they felt all of this tainted this record.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... from San Francisco to see the Giants play, and I saw Barry Bonds tie the home run, and, wow, awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's history in the making. You've just got to watch and you've got to cheer. I'm just glad I was here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came to see the home run, and he hit it, maybe he'll hit another one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he deserve the record?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No, he doesn't. Honestly, it's history, but I don't think he deserves it, but it is what it is, and A-Rod's going to break it in five years.

BARRY BONDS, GIANTS OUTFIELDER: The toughest thing I've ever done throughout my career is this. And, you know, it just -- it's a little bit different than any other milestone I've ever gone through. It's like, Hank Aaron, I mean, it's Hank Aaron. And I can't explain the feeling of it. It's just Hank Aaron. And it -- you know, I had rashes on my head. I felt like I was getting sick at times. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FINNSTROM: Now, if he doesn't play tonight at all, that gives him a chance to break the record at home, where, of course, he is most loved. Want to give you a look at some of the souvenirs coming out of this chase of the record. This one, "755," it says on it. A positive souvenir. But we've also got some like this, with a steroid instead of a bat.

Of course, the best souvenir from last night's game, that ball, which was caught by a plummer out of nearby La Jolla. And, Fredricka, that will be worth a fortune.

WHITFIELD: So anybody knows what his story is? If he plans to hold on to it or if he plans to sell it?

FINNSTROM: Haven't heard yet. But all we know is he's a 33- year-old plumber from La Jolla who got awfully lucky last night.

WHITFIELD: He sure did. All right. Thanks so much, Kara Finnstrom. And of course, we're not done with the whole Barry Bonds historic home run. Coming up in a few minutes, we'll be joined by Sports illustrated senior writer John Donovan. He is covering Bonds and that's straight ahead in the NEWSROOM

Republican presidential hopefuls hit the debate podium today. Red hitting out at the blue.


HUNTER: Not a single Democrat candidate paused in their rush for the exit, to say to our Marines, good job.


WHITFIELD: They also took some jabs at each other. More on the GOP debate coming up.

Plus, a Democratic presidential hopeful celebrates two birthdays. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Taking the gloves off in Iowa. Some lively showdowns today as Republican presidential hopefuls gathered for their first debate there. Nobody came to blows, but there were some serious ego bruising taking place. Senior political analyst Bill Schneider has the story.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): What the Republican candidates wanted to talk about was terrorism.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: In four Democratic debates, not a single Democratic candidate said the word "Islamic terrorism."

SCHNEIDER: Asked about abortion, John McCain's answer was about terrorism.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I also firmly believe that the challenge of the 21st Century is the struggle against radical Islamic extremism.

SCHNEIDER: Here's how they intend to defend the Bush administration's record.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENITAL CANDIDATE: And I know they make mistakes, but they have kept us safe these last six years, let's not forget that.

SCHNEIDER: You know how all the other Democrats are taking swipes at Barack Obama for his foreign policy statements? Romney couldn't resist.

ROMNEY: I mean, in one week, he went from saying he was going to sit down for tea with our enemies but then he's going to bomb our allies. I mean, he has gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove.


SCHNEIDER: Sometimes they were forced to talk about other subjects, like the war in Iraq.

MCCAIN: We are winning on the ground, and there are political solutions being arrived at all over Iraq today, not at the national level.

SCHNEIDER: Asked about their mistakes, they've made a few.

GIULIANI: Description of my mistakes in 30 seconds?


SCHNEIDER: But then again, too few to mention.

GIULIANI: Your father is a priest. I can only explain it to your father, not to you, OK?


SCHNEIDER: Romney is the Republicans' national frontrunner, and Giuliani is the frontrunner in Iowa. Both exposed their vulnerability on abortion.

ROMNEY: I changed my position.

SCHNEIDER: A flip-flop?

ROMNEY: And I get tired of people who are holier-than-thou because they've been pro-life longer than I have.

SCHNEIDER: Giuliani spun his support for choice as an anti- government position.

GIULIANI: But I think ultimately that decision that has to be made is one that government shouldn't make.

SCHNEIDER: Both frontrunners have a problem, as their rivals were eager to point out.

TOMMY THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican Party is a party of pro-life. So anybody that's not pro-life is going to have difficulties.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): The Republican candidates did not seem eager to defend President Bush, except on one issue, keeping the country safe.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Los Angeles.


WHITFIELD: So was there a clear-cut winner in this debate or is it still an open field for the Republicans? Next hour we'll hear political expert Jonathan Martin from See how your scorecard tallies up with us. Right here on CNN.

And stay tuned to CNN for the upcoming YouTube GOP debate coming up this fall. Hear the Republicans answer the questions that mean the most to you, yours, your questions. CNN, home to the best political news team on television.

An historic event in Atlanta is attracting some big political names. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta last night. Former President Bill Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will address the conference this week. 2007 is not just any year for the SCLC. It marks the 50th anniversary of this landmark civil rights organization.

In the next hour, we'll look back at the history of the SCLC and some of its remarkable leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his son.


MARTIN LUTHER KING III, FMR. SCLC PRESIDENT: I didn't want the shackles of trying to make a comparison between Martin Luther King Jr. and Martin Luther King III. It's an unfair comparison. Because no one can live up to or fill the shoes that Martin Luther King Jr. actually filled.

I had to come to the conclusion that I, myself, only -- the thing that I must do is to build on to what my father actually started.


WHITFIELD: Pretty big shoes to fill. Well, they called themselves rag-tag preachers trying to Change America. And we'll see how they did in our CNN special report on the SCLC's 50th anniversary, that is coming up today at 5:30 Eastern.

Oliver Hill, a civil rights lawyer at the forefront of the legal effort to desegregate schools, has died. Hill was one of the lawyers who argued the landmark Brown versus Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Hill was part of a legal team that worked against racially segregated public schools. A family friend says that Hill died peacefully during breakfast today at his home in Richmond, Virginia. He was 100 years old.

Barry Bonds, his next homer rewrites history. He tied the "Hammer's" long-standing home run mark last night. Look back at his career and a look ahead. His legacy, right after this.

And we update the developing news, explosive devices found in a car in South Carolina. Two men are detained.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST, THE NEWSROOM: Hello and welcome back to THE NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with a story we broke last night. The discovery of those explosive devices near Charleston, South Carolina. Here is what we know so far, police say they pulled over during a routine traffic stop last night, a vehicle and found bomb-making materials inside that vehicle. Law enforcement sources say the materials include fuses and igniters. The explosives were detonated. The occupants of the car, two men, reportedly non-U.S. citizens and they have been detained but have not been formally charged with anything. We are following this developing story and we'll bring you updates as they happen.

Barry Bonds, number 755. Served up last night in San Diego. Bonds taking a high and outside fastball, opposite field last night, to tie the career home run mark set by Hank Aaron 33 years ago. Baseball purists castigate Bonds as a cheater for his alleged use of performance enhancing steroids. But Bonds backers say Barry deserves all the accolades given to Aaron, Babe Ruth and other baseball greats. There's much more to this man than his controversial home run quest. CNN's Larry Smith takes a retrospective look at Bonds' 21-year pro baseball career.


LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When he made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, Barry Bonds didn't look like a future home run champion; he hit just 41 homers in his first two years. However, that was one more than home run champ Hank Aaron had managed in his first two seasons in the big leagues. But Bonds had star written all over him. With a young outfielder in the line up the Pirates began winning, capturing three consecutive division titles from 1990 to 1992.

In that last year, Bonds won his second most valuable player award and used that cache to land a lucrative free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants. Playing for the franchise for which his father Bobby and god father, Hall of Famer Willie Mays, had once played. Bonds evolved from a great player to a super star. His 34 home runs in his final season in Pittsburgh was a career high, but in the next dozen years, he would fall short of that total only once.

His biggest year came in 2001 when he hit 73 home runs, shattering the single-season record set by Mark McGuire just three years earlier. And becoming the most feared slugger in baseball history. Shortly after that, his name became linked with the Balco steroid scandal. In grand jury testimony that was illegally linked Bonds allegedly admitted that he may have unknowingly taken the performance enhancers known as the clear and the cream. Publicly Bonds have denied ever using steroids and has never tested positive.

Even as he stands on the edge of greatness, a federal grand jury is probing his alleged perjury in the Balco trial. His trainer and childhood friend Greg Anderson has been sitting in a jail cell since November, held in contempt for refusing to testify against Bonds.

Despite the distractions, Bonds is one of the most decorated ballplayers ever. His seven most valuable player awards are the most of any sports. He is a 14 time All Star, and his defensive prowess won him eight gold gloves. And he's the only player ever to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases. Now, at 43 years old, he's ready to claim baseball's greatest title for himself. And he may not be done. Earlier this year Bonds expressed a desire to play in 2008 and take a shot at getting 3,000 career hits.

Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: So when is the last time such controversy surrounded a sports record? Roger Maris and his 61 home runs? Maybe not. He never had the baggage that Barry's been carrying the past few years. Let's get with "Sports Illustrated" senior writer, John Donovan who joins us live by phone from downtown San Diego. Glad you could be with us. Can you remember such a cloud hanging over any other sports record like this?

JOHN DONOVAN, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED" (via telephone): This has got to take the cake. You mentioned Roger Maris in '61. A lot of people didn't like that because he was playing in a longer season and, of course, he was trying to get past Babe Ruth. But this is a whole different thing. Nobody's had the distraction and all the talk around the whole record that Barry Bonds has had. This is probably the one.

WHITFIELD: And we heard from fans earlier. Maybe you can give me an idea of what the fans have been telling you. At least one fan saying, yes, it's a record, but he doesn't deserve it. Do most of the fans there, at least in San Diego, feel that way?

DONOVAN: The reaction here last night when he hit 755 to tie Aarons' record, was really interesting. Most of the fans booed him when he came to bat, but once he hit it, everybody was standing and the cheers absolutely drowned out the place. Fans are conflicted. They like to be there, be part of history, but they wonder about it.

WHITFIELD: So you have to wonder what Barry Bonds feels like. We saw that clip of his post-game comments where he didn't look incredibly euphoric, kind of seemed tempered with this, wow; this is kind of a big deal. This is Hank Aaron; this is the man's record.

DONOVAN: I think more than anything else, Bonds is relieved. It took him a while, more than a week to get to this record. It was 28 plate appearances from the time he hit the record-tying home run last night. So I think he was relieved. He said it was the hardest thing he ever had to do in his life. Everybody expects this next one to come pretty easily. It's not coming today, he's not playing today, but they're back in San Francisco tomorrow night. We'll see if he can do it then.

WHITFIELD: So if that comes, you think that after this feeling of relief that maybe there will be the kind of euphoria if he is to, you know, set a new record in his home field of San Francisco?

DONOVAN: Well, definitely euphoria in AT&T Park, there is no question about it. They love him there. He can do no wrong there. A lot of people were saying he was kind of stretching this thing out until he could do it in AT&T Park. He's got seven games starting tomorrow night to break the record.

WHITFIELD: So what do you suppose, you know, in sports history, we're talking about one of the most coveted sports records, you know, that has been -- with a life span of three decades, Hank Aarons. Everyone heralded it, no matter what sport you were in, but do you think Barry Bonds will get the similar kind of association, or will he be as heralded, as embraced as, say, Hank Aaron has been for so many years?

DONOVAN: No, Hank Aaron, obviously, had his detractors when he was going for the home run record, when he was trying to pass Babe Ruth in 1974, but it's an interesting point because over history he's become basically revered. Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, has become a close friend of his. Bud Selig's reaction to Barry Bonds or nonreaction, as it was, is kind of reflective of how much he thinks of Hank Aaron.

I don't know that Barry Bonds will ever be put on the same pedestal that Hank Aaron is now on. There will be a lot of people for a lot of years who will remember all these allegations against him. Just the way he treats people around him and some of the other things in his personal life. Certainly in years to come, it's going to be a discussion and 20, 30 years from now, he'll be recognized as the home run king. Whether he'll be recognized as the great home run king or the true home run king is another matter altogether.

WHITFIELD: All right. John Donovan, we look forward to your story in "Sports Illustrated" thanks so much.

DONOVAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: One of man's best friends is not Barry's best bud, but he is the pet of a CNN I-reporter. Meet Ollie, the beagle from Beaverton, Oregon. Ollie's owner says his hound had an unusual reaction last night when Bonds came up to bat. Yep, he barked and barked and barked some more. Phil Cassidy says Ollie can sniff out squirrels, raccoons and other critters but openly wonders if Ollie smells something else from Bonds or who knows, maybe Ollie needed attention from last night's baseball hoopla.

That from one of our I-reporters. And his interpretation of his dog's behavior. Hey, we don't write this stuff or make it up. Somebody else gives us the material. Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know hard to believe.

Hey, we're talking about some extreme heat, Fredericka, the next couple of days. In fact, a few more cities just got in on the advisories. We will let you know where that is, and also talk about fire danger. It's increasing across parts of the west. Your forecast is coming up.


WHITFIELD: A big wildfire that's been burning in California for the past month is causing new concerns. The fire in the National Forest has changed directions and is now moving towards key power lines that supply part of Santa Barbara County. Fire fighters are expected to get 50 more fire engines today.

Jacqui Jeras is in the Weather Center. Yesterday we talked about how this is pretty remarkable that this fire has been fuelled for a month now and still a continuing threat.

JERAS: It's amazing. With the changeable winds, certainly making things difficult to get a good handle on that. And winds really driving the factor here with the fires across much of the west. We have to look in the upper levels of the weather, my friend to see what is going on. We have what we call an upper-level troft here coming from the west. We have hot, dry air and we have some cooler more humid air from the west. And where those two kinds of come together we've got the fast-channel winds in the upper atmosphere.

With those strong winds and the instability in the air, we could get some dry thunderstorms. We're very concerned in parts of Oregon, and into Nevada and into the Sierra area today. That fire down here, that also showing you some strong winds, we have 15 fires, by the way, too, burning across parts of Montana. The winds will stay strong there the next couple of days.

Now as that troft digs in from the west our ridge, as we call it, is going to be building across the nation's mid section and across the southeast. Look at the heat indices on this map today, just incredible, Kansas City, 106 degrees at this hour, St. Louis feeling like 97. Let's take a live picture out of the St. Louis area at this hour. Beautiful shot there of the St. Louis arch, but feeling nasty outside with all of your humidity.

Unfortunately, this will be sticking around for a number of days in STL. Excessive heat warnings in effect for you and also advisories in Memphis, even into parts of Mississippi. New cities added to the list of advisories for tomorrow and this afternoon, Charleston down towards Savannah where the heat index will be between 105 and 110 degrees. Here you can see the numbers across the board here. Lots of triple digits all over the place. And this is going to be the common story all week long. St. Louis, look at your five day forecast, probably going to hit 100 degrees, we think, by the end of the week as this ridge builds. That's one of the biggest problems is that this is going to be sitting around for a long time. It's not going to be just a fast wave of hot air.

On top of that, when you get a system like this not moving and the air mass just stagnant, the air quality becomes very, very poor. Here's a list of cities that have ozone action days and we'll likely see many more in the southeastern quadrant with unhealthy air for tomorrow.


WHITFIELD: All right. Jacqui, thanks so much. If you're on the east coast, hit the beach.

JERAS: Yes, not a bad idea. Just not between 3:00 and 6:00.

WHITFIELD: Thanks a lot.

Well talk about fighting humor, it is the latest in dog treats and social commentary as well. The Michael Vick chew toy for pooches who are fightin' mad. Sit and stay. That story is coming up in THE NEWSROOM.

Also ahead, it's the ultimate kiss and tell. A famous photo, a forensic analysis and a long-awaited I.d. You're with CNN.


WHITFIELD: News across America now, a 22-year-old Florida man is in custody. He allegedly jumped the fence of the White House this morning. That's him being led away in the white jumpsuit there, long pants, hands behind his back. Justin Manual (ph) is charged with unlawful entry; earlier reports suggest he was at least partly naked at the time of the incident.

Police in Las Vegas are investigating their second casino shooting in the past month, the latest happening early Saturday inside Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino. Witnesses say a fist fight preceded the bullets, two gunshot victims were treated and released. Police say the gunman is still on the loose.

Well, chew on this. Michael Vick, ouch. The entrepreneurial bug has bitten one person and inspiring him to create the Michael Vick dog chew toy. A press release says part of the proceeds will help a Florida animal shelter. The website is Vick has pleaded not guilty to federal dog-fighting charges.

We're hearing a lot these days about product recalls made in China. There's concern in Washington now that the government agency that's supposed to protect consumers from bad products is losing the ability to do so. Here is CNN's Gary Nurenberg. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The governments Consumer Product Safety Commission has negotiated major recalls this summer, including more than 3 million Chinese-made Fisher-Price and Thomas the train toys, too much lead.

SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: There are a lot of unsuspecting people buying products today that are dangerous for American families.

NURENB ERG: Illinois Senator Richard Durbin believes the CPSC doesn't have the budget or authority it needs to protect consumers.

DURBIN: In terms of effort, I'd give them a high grade. But in terms of performance, I'm afraid it's a failing grade.

NURENBERG: CPSC commissioner Thomas Moore says budget cuts are causing employees to look for other jobs because they have no confidence the agency will continue to exist or will exist in any meaningful form.

RACHAEL WEINTRAUB, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: Consumers should not panic, but they should be wary.

NURENBERG: Rachael Weintraub is with the Consumer Federation of America.

WEINTRAUB: The budget of the Consumer Product Safety Commission was essentially decimated in the early 1980s. The commission has never really gotten back to what it was before that time.

NURENBERG: And since that time, foreign imports have soared, particularly from China.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The CPSC has been sending technical staff to China meeting with manufacturers, educating them, letting them know that the CPSC and the U.S. marketplace has laws, rules and regulations.

NURENBERG: But the agency still operates with significant impediments. It's supposed to have three commissioners, it only has two. It took a congressional act last week to allow the CPSC to perform many of its function with only two commissioners. And then only until January, the agency has asked for additional money and power. In the meantime --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Americans need to be on heightened alert.

NURENBERG: Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: Well, you know her; she's a legend in the press room, no question too tough for her to ask. The feisty and famous White House reporter Helen Thomas. She was hard on former president, now she's coming down on journalists. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HELEN THOMAS, HEARST NEWS SERVICE: I think that the reporters in the aftermath of 9/11 were afraid to challenge the government, were afraid to be seen as un-American, unpatriotic. And as a consequence, they really let the country down.


WHITFIELD: All right. Well, she's covered every president since John F. Kennedy. So who was her favorite and who was her least favorite and what are journalists lacking today in her view? She answers those tough questions with CNN's Rick Sanchez tonight at 10:00 Eastern. You don't want to miss that one.

Many men have claimed the honor, but now a World War II vet might have the evidence to prove he's the smooching sailor in the famous photograph. That developing story coming up in THE NEWSROOM.


JERAS: I'm CNN's Jacqui Jeras with today's allergy report. We are increasingly seeing more green on the map over the last couple of weeks, which is good news. When you see blue and green, that means the pollen count is low or zero, not at all. Still having, though, a lot of problems across the Great Basin and across the Rockies. The yellow and orange means moderate to high pollen count and the biggest culprit still that ragweed that just doesn't want to go away.


WHITFIELD: It was the photograph that captured the jubilation of a nation. A sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II. For decades, his identity was a mystery, until now. Stephanie Wiliam (ph) with CNN affiliate KTRK has details.


STEPHANIE WILIAM (ph), KTRK: Houston's Glenn McDuffy was in Times Square when he found out World War II had come to an end. Reason enough for the sailor to celebrate.

LOIS GIBSON, HOUSTON POLICE DEPT: He lost it, jumping around hollering and this girl put her arms out like this wide open. And she had great, big full lips and he just came over to her and kissed her.

WILIAM (ph): For years, people have wondered about the mysterious sailor. Who is he and where is he now. Questions Lois Gibson says she has answers. As a forensic artist for the Houston Police department Gibson is a pro at identification.

GIBSON: You watch them reach maturity, they say the same, and your skin just goes south. So the bones and the scull are the same.

WILIAM (ph): After numerous measurements including his wrist, knuckles, forehead, and ears, Gibson is certain Houston resident Glenn McDuffy is the mysterious sailor in the famous "Life Magazine" photo. A claim he has made for years.

GIBSON: The hairline, he lost hair, he is older give him a break.

WILIAM (ph): There were other clues as well.

GIBSON: When he talked to me, he's the only one that knows the full names of these other two sailors.

WILIAM (ph): Gibson says she has always wondered why the sailors arms seemed hooked in an odd manor. McDuffy had the answer; he saw a photographer coming his way and moved his hand so the nurse's face would show.

GIBSON: Glenn McDuffy kissed the nurse; Glenn Mcduffy is the one that kissed the nurse that celebrated that the war was over.


WHITFIELD: That's pretty fascinating. A mystery for more than 60 years now apparently solved. That was our Stephanie Wiliam (ph) with CNN affiliate KTRK in Houston, Texas.

The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.


UNIDENTIFED MALE: I just had to laugh at what I saw Barack Obama do. I mean, in one week he went to saying he was going to sit down with tea with our enemies but he's going to bomb our allies.


WHITFIELD: Up next in the NEWSROOM, Republican presidential hopefuls call out their Democratic rivals. They didn't spare each other either.

Plus, uninvited and undressed at the White House. Now he's glad in handcuffs, among other things.

Hello again. I'm Frederica Whitfield, and you are in the NEWSROOM.