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Hurricane Dean; Texas Evacuations; Utah Coal Miner Disasters; Spring U.S. Troops Withdrawal; Afghanistan Suicide Bomber Attacks Kandahar; Hijacking Drama; Tony Snow Bowing Out; Math Doesn't Suck; Billy Graham Hospitalized

Aired August 18, 2007 - 12:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Straight ahead this hour, Hurricane Dean, building strength turning into a major storm. Our i- Reporters are sending in video and pictures and we're tracking this storm from our Hurricane Headquarters.
Also, will this man be the next president of the United States. He hasn't even said he's running, but former Senator Fred Thompson is in Iowa. We catch up with him.

Plus, she's best rembered as Winnie from "The Wonder Years." Now Danica McKellar is all grown up and wants young girls to know "Math Doesn't Suck." We'll explain.

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

Taking no chances, disaster officials from the Caribbean to the U.S. Gulf Coast get ready for Hurricane Dean, the powerful storm a killer as it sweeps through parts of the eastern Caribbean.

Next up, a rendezvous with Jamaica. A hurricane warning now in place there. The Atlantic sees its first hurricane is expected deal a powerful blow to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. In just days from now, the Texan Gulf Coast could be bracing for its impact.

Hurricane warnings also in place along much of Haiti's southern coast. CNN's Karl Penhaul is on the phone now from Port-au-Prince.

Karl, what are you feeling there?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, the latest warnings from that hurricane center we do know that there are maximum sustained winds at this time of about 150 miles-an-hour, meaning that this is a Category 4 force hurricane. It is expected on the current path, to sweep past the south of the peninsula of Haiti, we could, according to local officials here, be feeling the first effects of that around nightfall, around 6:00, 7:00 p.m. Local Time. We expect to start the event with a heavy downpour of rain and then as the night progresses, we expect those winds to build up and expect the hurricane force winds to be sweeping over Port-au-Prince sometime around dawn Sunday.

I've come in a couple of hours ago to the airport of Port-au- Prince and so far, there is no sign of any preparations going on. And the United Nations staff here in Haiti, you have a heavy presence here, have said that they are warning the local population to seek refuge in churches and very strong buildings on the southwest coast of Haiti. It also warns that nobody should undertake any sea travel and they are advising people to try to get indoors by 6:00 p.m. tonight and stay inside to try to weather this storm. But because of the extreme poverty that does exist in Haiti, many people simply don't have the money to board up their houses and to take the kinds of precaution that we've seen elsewhere in the Caribbean, which we see, of course, every year in the United States -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Karl Penhaul, thanks so much.

And one huge concern there, out of Haiti, when you have huge storms like this, the kind of deluge that takes place, it also causes pretty massive and sometimes killer mudslides. We're all hoping the best for the folks, there.

Meantime, let's check in with Bonnie Schneider who is in the hurricane headquarters, right there. And Dean is really pretty unpredictable, isn't it, as most hurricanes are? You go from three to four, five, and back down to four. What's it doing here now?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's still pretty intense at a Category 4 and almost Category 5 intensity. What's happening is we are going to see those slight fluctuations in intensity because the storm is so massive and so large that it not only has one eye wall, it actually -- often in these storms has two eye walls and what happens is the inner wall and the outer wall kind of fight each other for energy and we see the inner wall collapse, the outer wall maintains its energy and the storm contracts and relaxes. That means an eye wall replacement cycle is taking place. We're seeing now in our satellite loop and it also means we're going see fluctuations in intensity with the storm.

One thing is to note, this is a new update. We have a hurricane warning in effect now for Jamaica. We're reporting earlier a hurricane warning continues for Haiti and for the Dominican Republic, specifically where Port-au-Prince is on the south side of that island and because we are expecting hurricane conditions within the next 24 hours. Right now the storm has maximum winds at 150, but gusts are up to 185. That's some pretty intense wind with the storm.

And looking at the path, and we were talking about the fluctuations, right now there isn't anything to weaken the storm dramatically except for a direct hit with land that may indeed happen with Jamaica and with the Yucatan. But, right now as the storm comes over these warm, deep waters here through the western Caribbean, and also does not have a lot of wind to break it down, in terms of wind sheer, that's what we saw often last year with storms, why they didn't really get very far. This storm has an open road to travel and as it does it is likely to intensify, possibly even to category five status, 160 miles-per-hour winds by Monday morning.

And then as the storm works its way to the west, it may make a direct strike on the Yucatan, that would bring it down to Category 3 intensity and work its way towards the western Gulf of Mexico. Now, looking at our computer models, which we've been doing throughout the morning here at CNN you can see we got 15 different models here. Most are taking the storm over Jamaica and then over once again the Yucatan. One lone model taking it to the north, but most are in agreement, the storm will stay on its westerly track moving into the western half of the Gulf of Mexico.

So, right now, the immediate threat is Haiti and the Dominican islands and into Jamaica.

WHITFIELD: And great concern, too, you talk about the Yucatan and it being possibly a Category 3 at that point on the other side when it gets back into the gulf, there's the potential once again of it gathering more fuel right over such warm waters.

SCHNEIDER: Yeah, 86-degree water temperature in the Gulf, deep water and that could definitely cause it to intensify.

WHITFIELD: All right, Bonnie Schneider, thanks so much. Keep us posted, there.

Well, nerves are certainly on edge in Jamaica as Hurricane Dean takes aim at that island. With us now on the phone from Kingston, Jamaica's director of tourism, Basil Smith.

Thanks so much, Mr. Smith, sir, for taking the time. So, how are you all bracing for this storm?

BASIL SMITH, JAMAICA DIR OF TOURISM: Well, we are making preparations, Fredricka. Thanks for your concern.

WHITFIELD: Preparations in what way?

SMITH: Preparations in what way. Well, there's a variety of preparations, as far as the tourism industry is concerned. Airlines are cooperating by sending in additional flights to some extent, or rescheduling flights (INAUDIBLE). There's no firm announcement as to exactly what time that the airports will close, but we expect them to close sometime late afternoon or early evening, today.

Cruise lines have already announced that they are not sending any cruises to Jamaica for next week. Emergency centers are being prepared for residents of Jamaica and also for hotel guests who might staying in smaller hotels and uneasy about (INAUDIBLE) and moved to larger hotels on the north coast of the island.

WHITFIELD: Right, because, Mr. Smith, oftentimes, you know, even if you have a mandatory evacuation for the tourists to leave certain hotels, which do choose to close down, it always happens that there aren't enough planes to get everyone out. So, you end up having a number of stranded tourists. So, how do you prepared for them? Where do you put them? Because, sure enough, there are going to be handful of folks who are, you know, unable to make it to a...

SMITH: Some people have to stay. Which they are surprised to hear. But what we do, we move them from the smaller hotels where it's appropriate and them to the larger hotels. In the larger hotels (INAUDIBLE) are generally in the corridor of the hotel, in a windowless area. People are made comfortable there, food supplies are provided and people are offered the option to renew their vacation at on another time, during a mutually convenient time in the future. And get them out at the earliest opportunity after the storm.

WHITFIELD: All right, Mr. Basil Smith, thanks so much. The director of tourism there in Jamaica. We wish all the best as you look towards this threat of Hurricane Dean.

SMITH: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Hospital and nursing home patients, the elderly, serious concern as well for disaster officials along the U.S. Gulf Coast as they prepare for Dean's possible impact.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After Katrina passed, 34 bodies were found at Saint Rita's nursing home, patients who should have been evacuated but were not. To avoid a similar tragedy the Department of Health and Human Services is already tracking Hurricane Dean and doing computer simulations of its potential impact on the Texas coast, a possible point of landfall.

REAR ADM W CRAIG VANDERWAGEN, DEPT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERV: And as you can see, these hospitals in here are at extreme risk for flooding.

MESERVE: Already there are daily conference calls among state and federal officials to plan and coordinate. Federal officials praised Texas for the attention it has given elderly and special needs populations.

VANDERWAGEN: They have planned evacuation sites based on the level of disability for these people, very sophisticatedly and very pointedly. Very nice plans identify a specific conveyance for a specific individual to a specific location.

MESERVE: But, Texas officials don't believe that they've accounted for them all. They are urging people with special needs to register for transportation in the event of an evacuation.

MIKE MONTGOMERY, HARRIS CO EMERGENCY MGMT: The bottom line is that it will never be too late. We will never give up on people with special needs.


WHITFIELD: Authorities there in Texas say the decision to evacuate people with special medical needs may have to be made as early as tomorrow.

Well, forecast models show only a slim chance of Hurricane Dean hitting Louisiana. But that's enough to put the Katrina-battered state on high alert. Governor Kathleen Blanco has already declared a state of emergency. And she requested a federal declaration that would allow federal aid to float into Louisiana if Dean strikes any part of the state's coast. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita battered Louisiana just under two years ago.

As Hurricane Dean barrels across the Caribbean, it is forcing NASA to alter plans for space shuttle "Endeavour." Mission control is knocking two hours off today's final space walk. That way "Endeavour" can return to earth a day early, on Tuesday now. If Dean veers toward Houston, mission control could be forced to relocate to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In Utah now, still no sign of six coal miners trapped underground for nearly two weeks, now. Now, the state is struggling with a related death disaster, the death of three rescuers. Dan loathian is in Huntington, Utah.

And so, what are the families doing this morning -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. You know, this is -- this has been a tough time for the family members. Initially for the family members of those six trapped miners and then for those family members of those caught in that second collapse on Thursday. The family members now, of the six trapped miners, have been meeting at the Desert Edge Christian Chapel in town. They were moved there, that's where they will get -- they will get daily briefings from officials there as to what is going on at the mine location.

They were initially meeting at a school, presumably that school will have to be used for classes beginning Monday. So, they have set up now at the chapel. Officials will give them a briefing later today and then after that briefing, expected to come up here to our location where they will give us a briefing about the latest developments. But certainly, a very difficult time for these family members because they've been holding out hope and as you mentioned, almost two weeks now, that these miners would be found alive. And of course, that becomes much more difficult with each passing day.

WHITFIELD: And then, Dan, at the search location, there is the issue of the fourth hole being drilled. Where are we on that?

LOTHIAN: And that's right. Officials continue to make good progress on that fourth hole. Essentially what they're trying the do is go down a little more than 1,400 or so feet, bore into an area where they believe the miners may have gone for some safety. If they are able to get to that particular pocket, that area, they'll send down a microphone, they'll send down cameras. If they are able to find those miners alive, then they can supply them with food and water and what other supplies they might need to stay live until they can make a much larger hole, send down a capsule and then retrieve the miners that way.

But that -- the hope is that they will be able to break through that hole sometime this afternoon, perhaps this evening. And at that point they can get a better idea as to whether or not these miners are indeed down there and if they're alive.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dan Lothian, thanks so much for keeping us posted there from Huntington.

And today at 4:00 p.m. Eastern I'll host a CNN one-hour special. "Tragedy at Crandall Canyon Mine," the special program is only here on CNN, 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

So, how long will the so-called surge last in Iraq? Find out what a key U.S. military leader is saying.

And stay with us throughout the day as we track the progress now of Hurricane Dean.


WHITFIELD: Some U.S. Troops could start withdrawing from Iraq next spring. That's the view of the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq. It comes ahead of the much-anticipated progress report on the war due out next month. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: In Charleston, South Carolina, new bomb resistant armored vehicles were loaded onto transport aircraft bound for Iraq, trying to help protect U.S. troops against IED attacks.

Meanwhile, in northwestern Iraq, wounded villagers are still recovering from this week's massacre that left hundreds dead. But, these disturbing pictures aside, the No. 2 commander in Iraq reports some optimistic statistics. Total attacks are at the lowest level in a year, attacks against civilians are at a six-month low, IED attacks are down. In fact, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno went so far to say what his boss is most likely to recommend in September.

LT GEN RAYMOND ODIERNO, U.S. ARMY: The surge we know as it is today goes to April of '08. We believe at some time around that time we'll begin to reduce our forces down to presurge levels.

STARR: Odierno said the surge level of 160,000 troops could be back down to around 130,000 troops a year from now. But if Petraeus offers that plan when he briefs Congress next month, Democrats are lakely to object wanting a quicker drawdown. Analysts predict a September face-off.

COL DOUGLAS MACGREGOR, U.S. ARMY (RET): The argument that the generals will make, or are trying to make, by creating the illusion of success on the ground for the surge, is that Congress is deserting them. That Congress pulled the rug out from under them and ultimately stabbed them in the back.

STARR (on camera): For all of his optimism, General Odierno also noted that unless the Iraqi government makes political progress, especially in reaching out to disaffected Sunni, it may be very difficult to keep security progress on track.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


WHITFIELD: And in Afghanistan a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into an American security convoy today. A government spokesman says at least 15 people were killed, 25 wounded. The attack happened in the southern city of Kandahar.

A hijacking drama ends without bloodshed. Two hijackers took over a Turkish plane shortly after takeoff from northern Cypress. Officials say the hijackers claimed to have a bomb and demanded to go to Iran or Syria. Instead plane made an emergency landing in southern Turkey. And as you can see in this picture, many of the 136 people onboard managed to escape. Those who didn't were released unharmed and the hijackers surrendered after three hours of negotiations.

Tony Snow bowing out. CNN has learned White House Press Secretary Tony snow plans to step down as early as next month. Sources say Snow need to make more money to help his family, including college-bound children. Snow took a significant pay cut from his broadcasting career on to take the White House job, but has remained passionate about the post and the administration's messages and especially about Iraq.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've to choose whether to stay or leave Iraq. The decision will influence the entire world. And it's going to stand for future generations of American for good or ill. They will recall this either as America's finest hour or its final hour in a nation of consequence.


WHITFIELD: No official word on who might replace Snow, but speculation surrounds his deputy, Dana Perino.

Well, many of you fell in love with her as Winnie on "The Wonder Years." Well, now she has a message for young girls. Math and science can lead to a bright future. Danica McKellar, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: On "The Wonder Years" Kevin Arnold had a crush on her, and so did a lot of teenage boys watching the show. You may remember Danica McKellar as Winnie Cooper. Well, she's grown up since she left the silver screen and went on to college, majoring in matds at UCLA and even co-writing a math theorem and now she's writen a book, that one right there, to encourage middle school girls, in particular, to pursue math and science. It is called, the book is, "Math Doesn't Suck." Well, Danica joins us now from Los Angeles. Good to see you, Danica.

DANICA MCKELLAR, AUTHOR: Good to see you, too.

WHITFIELD: Well, this was really an incredible venture because, of course, forever, everyone wants to associate you with "The Wonder Years," but come to find out you're a real wonder kid when it comes to math. How did this come to be? Had it always been a passion of yours?

MCKELLAR: I always liked math. I had a rough patch in middle school, but, like a lot of kids do, nut then I started really loving it in high school. And when I got to college, I ended up majoring in it and really falling in love.

WHITFIELD: So, what do you think the turning point was for you?

MCKELLAR: For me, I had some really good teachers in middle school that helped me not be afraid of math. So, I think that's what goes on. Kids, especially girls, are really afraid of math in middle school and because of that, because I saw the benefits of having a teacher that just said look, it's not that bad, it's not this big scary thing. We can make it fun, we can make it interesting, and relevant.

WHITFIELD: So, you had a teacher or two that really broke it down for you and kind of opened the doors for you. Buy, now for the other middle school girls, particularly, you know, since that's your target group, you know, maybe they can't rely on that teacher. What is it about your book that helps them kind of see that math doesn't need to be so intimidating?

MCKELLAR: (INAUDIBLE) for them to see the math doesn't suck. You know what, I put it into context -- when I was in middle school, what I did want to be doing? I wanted to be reading teen magazines and hanging out with my friends and doing girly things. And so I put math in that context. A lot of text books have math problems that are centered all around boy things like sports and baseball averages and things like that and so I just said well, hey, you know, what if we did that but with girly things and so it puts it into context that is non-intimidating that's very familiar do them and friendly.

WHITFIELD: Did you do research by kind of polling other young people or were you really kind of drawing upon your own experience and your own feelings and reflecting back when you were in middle school?

MCKELLAR: Well, the stories in the book are very much because of my own experience. I talk about my experiences in math in school and acting as a kid and all that stuff, in the book. But, I did a ton of research for this book in terms of the math and what kids are confused by, which topics to focus on. I talked to a lot of middle school teachers and a lot of kids, too.

And actually wrote a lot of quotes from kids. I did surveys asking kids what they thought of -- girls, what they think of smart girls, what do they think of dumb girls, what do you think of math. And so there's quotes scattered throughout the book.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's great. So, you really are a role model too, now when it comes to math and science. And while -- you know, this book is great and math doesn't suck and now you're helping to kind of, you know, I guess get a lot of young people rethinking things. Now, how about for you, folks want to know, you know, are you going to hit the screen again? Are we going to see you on the silver screen again? MCKELLAR: Oh, sure. Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: What capacity?

MCKELLAR: Well, I just got back from Hawaii. I shot a movie there for the sci-fi channel. And in two weeks I shoot an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" that CBS show. I still act. I mean, I'm going to -- I'm about to go on a book tour, as well. So, this book is definitely taking a lot of time, but acting is something that I won't give up.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, you are just doing it all. That is so great. Congratulations on your new book and your continued success in acting as well. Danica McKellar, thanks so much.

MCKELLAR: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, we'll get the latest track for Hurricane Dean.

And as time stretches on, family members of those Utah miners talk about the emotional pain that they are facing.


WHITFIELD: We are learning Billy Graham has just been admitted into a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. Between understand that he has been taken to the Mission Health and Hospital in Asheville. It is near his home of Montrete. He was admitted there for apparently for observation and he's listed in fair conditions to evaluate and treat some sort of intestinal bleeding.

So once again, evangelist Billy Graham now being hospitalized for observation there in North Carolina for what could be some intestinal bleeding.

Now we want to talk a bit about Hurricane Dean. Threatening much of the Caribbean, and even the Yucatan Peninsula when it makes its way and then potentially the Gulf Coast, Texas in particular. Let's check in with Bonnie Schneider on what it is doing right now.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There's so much to talk about when you are talking about Dean. Because the storm has grown in size and intensity. You can see it actually looks like the eye wall is collapsing when the loop goes through. There is a well-defined eye and it closes up. Not for long. The eye wall is actually going through an eye wall replacement cycle. An indicator of a very intense storm. When you actually have two eye walls forming one inside the other. And that means the storm is contracting but eventually it expands and grows, we may see fluctuation in intensity as a result.

The winds are at 150. But once the winds get above 155, we will have a Category Five storm on our hands. Category Four is strong enough. And this is a dangerous situation for Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic. Especially Jamaica through the mountainous regions of the island. We could see up to 20 inches of rain within the next 24 hours as the storm is likely to work its way through that region.

Taking a look at our computer models. Most of them are taking the storm directly through Jamaica and then across to the Yucatan eventually into the western Gulf of Mexico. That's when you have a wider range of what will the storm do next. This is more of a Tuesday-Wednesday.

Let's talk about the immediate threat and what we are looking at now. The storm is 519 miles from Kingston, Jamaica. At this time Category Four intensity. By tomorrow, we will be teetering right on the Category Five intensity with winds at 155. And then when we get to Monday, boy, 160 maximum winds. Coming over the very warm waters just entering the Yucatan Channel. And this is where have you the water temperature increasing to about 85, 86 degrees. We are also watching landfall possibly on the Yucatan.

Now this is going to be also very dangerous for Cancun and Cozumel if there is a direct strike. This area was really hit hard in 2005 with Hurricane Wilma. It does not look good in terms of most of the computer models as I was mentioning earlier. Many of them do take it through the Yucatan. Weakening a bit to a Category Three storm. That's still a major hurricane. We will watch as it comes over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The cone of uncertainty stretches from Texas down through northern Mexico. And Fredricka, you were mentioning earlier the water temperature and the relaxed wind shear. You're right. That environment is ripe for re-strengthening once it gets into the gulf.

WHITFIELD: All right. Frightening stuff. Thanks so much. Bonnie Schneider.

Meantime, we have been receiving a lot of I-Reports from a number of you. Particularly in the Caribbean. Letting us know what you are experiencing from Hurricane Dean. Michael Sabourin is one of them. He is an executive chef at a resort in St. Lucia. He is on the phone with us now. You have also supplied some photographs as well, Michael. So tell me what you have experienced throughout all of this.

MICHAEL SABOURIN, CNN I-REPORTER (on phone): Well, it has been fantastic experience, I suppose. We have been working very hard around the clock. Finally we were able to get some sleep today. But very strong winds. Lots of rain. It finally cleared up. We got electricity back last night, around 3:00 a.m. in the morning. But I believe the whole island now has been with power. So everything is back to normal.

WHITFIELD: Well, a lot of people instinctively want to ask folks when they are on an island and are faced with a hurricane, how come you don't find a way to get to a mainland? What's the reason why you and many others have to stay in St. Lucia?

SABOURIN: Well, basically, with the position I have, and responsibility to the guests at the hotel, all the management teams want to stay, want to make sure everybody is taken care of and we also have our own families here. And not everybody can leave the island. So we have to take care of all the guests and make sure they are OK and the safest place for them to be is at the resort.

WHITFIELD: And many resorts are oftentimes the only places that have like a generator or that really have the kind of thick walls that are - that would do much better to withstand hurricane force winds than a lot of private structures and homes. Is that the case at your hotel, you felt this was the safest place for you and other tourists, maybe your loved ones to be?

SABOURIN: Oh, definitely. Not only that, the structures are, you know, built according to hurricane specs. We have a lot of the food supplies and every precaution was taken to ensure we would be OK for a week without power and not everybody can leave. So definitely the safest place to be.

WHITFIELD: Well, Michael, we are glad you are well. As is your family. You are working there at the Sandals Resort. Glad to hear that all the other employees and tourists that decided to stay there in St. Lucia during the storm are fine as well. Thanks for your pictures as well.

SABOURIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All the best.

SABOURIN: I hope everybody in Jamaica will be safe as well.

WHITFIELD: We have all got our fingers crossed.

SABOURIN: Well, as Hurricane Dean hits, you may be looking for ways to help the people affected. And CNN can help you help them. Just go to Click on to natural disasters for a link to various relief agencies. Impacting your world now just a click away at

WHITFIELD: Frustration and fear now grip the families and friends of those six miners trapped in Utah coal -- in the Utah coal mine, rather. With the underground search suspended, they are left grasping for hope. Our Dan Simon reports.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Azure Davis, mining runs in the family.

AZURE DAVIS, FAMILY MEMBER OF MINERS: My dad was a miner. His dad was a miner. His grandpa was a miner. Everybody in my family, that is just a way of life.

SIMON: Now mining has taken a toll on her family. Her cousin, Kerry Allred, is one of the six miners trapped 1,500 feet underground for 12 days. And last night, another cousin, Dale Black, was one of the rescuers killed.

DAVIS: It is just hard.

SIMON: Today she and her friends invited us over. They wanted to share their pain and frustrations. First, over the slow process in digging for the miners.

DAVIS: How do they not know at least the vicinity of where they are at?

SIMON: And now with the underground search coming to a halt. That's because Davis says she believes in her heart that her trapped cousin is still alive.

DAVIS: I can just imagine being trapped myself and hearing rocks fall and thinking OK, they are close, they must be close by. That's got to be really hard.

SIMON: All of Davis' friends here disagree with the decision to stop the rescue.

SONYA GRAFF, DAVIS' FRIEND: My biggest fear was that they will stop. They would stop looking. There is a grandpa out there. Somebody's husband out there. Somebody's dad. I'm a daddy's girl. You know. And I know they have families that need them.

DEANNE GRAFF, DAVIS' FRIEND: If I had the skill to do it, I would go in and dig with my hands. Because the families need closure. And it is not fair to the families.

SIMON: Mining is still the lifeblood of this central Utah community. But today two miners tell us the profession is get too dangerous. Randy Howell says he retired several years ago after getting hurt.

RANDY HOWELL, FORMER MINER: I have been covered up in that much coal in the mine before from imbalances. And I guess I just got lucky that -- I don't know anymore about these mines. I don't work there no more. I put 26 years in the mine. My sons -- my son works in one now. And I wish he would go to school. And do something else.

SIMON: For nearly two weeks, this community has been on edge. Now it begins grieving. And with six miners still trapped, this emotional ordeal is so much harder.


WHITFIELD: And today at 4:00 p.m. Eastern a CNN special. Tragedy at Crandall Canyon Mine. Join me for a special one-hour program that is only here on CNN. We will be back in a moment with a sneak peek at Christiane Amanpour's report on "God's Warriors."


WHITFIELD: Well, it looks and sounds like a rock concert. But it couldn't be further from American pop culture. CNN's senior international correspondent Christiane Amanpour looks at one Christian conservative leader's battle cry and his war against what he says is a decadent society in a new CNN documentary, "God's Warriors." Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RON LUCE, EVANGELIST: Let me hear your battle cry tonight!

Whoever speaks up most gets to shape the culture.

I'm looking at a whole army of young people who want to speak out!

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): San Francisco, AT&T Park. This is Battle Cry. And these 22,000 screaming teenagers and adults are Christian conservatives armed with their faith and prepared for battle in perhaps the most liberal city in America. Ready to fight what to them are the evils of secular society and pop culture. Sex, drugs, violence, and pervasive pornography on the airwaves, the Internet and in video games. They are God's warriors for Jesus.

LUCE: ... rebellion. We are here to rise up, reject the pop culture and re-create it with the creativity that God has given us..

AMANPOUR: The man leading this struggle is Ron.

LUCE: So, I have a question for you tonight. Do you have a voice?


LUCE: I didn't hear you. I said, do you have a voice?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christiane Amanpour, Ron Luce.

AMANPOUR (on camera): How are you?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): I traveled to San Francisco and met Luc as he rehearsed for that night's Battle Cry event.

(on camera): It's like Sarajevo.

(voice-over): I wanted to know why he's declared war on the American lifestyle.

LUCE: We call them terrorists. Virtue terrorists that are destroying our kids.

AMANPOUR: Virtue terrorists.

LUCE: They are raping virgin teenage America on the sidewalk. And everybody is walking by and acting like everything is OK. It is just not OK.

I want us to read this.

AMANPOUR: The language is extreme. But many Christian parents agree with Luce. They don't like a culture where kids know more about Paris Hilton than the Bible. But his hard line against abortion and homosexuality is what draws the controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Battle Cry is not a harmless movement. Its program is fiercely anti-woman, anti-gay, pro-war and pro-obedience.

AMANPOUR: Critics say under the guise of saving teenagers is imposing his conservative values on the rest of society.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Represent a far bigger agenda, Christian right theocratic agenda. It goes from Roy Luce, the leader of Battle Cry, Pat Robertson, all the way up to George Bush.

AMANPOUR (on camera): How do you answer that? They say that this sounds like a message of bringing back your values but it is actually a message of intolerance and of hate.

LUCE: You can say it is divisive. Well, maybe it needs to be divisive.


WHITFIELD: The six-hour television event premieres next week. "God's Jewish Warriors" on Tuesday, August 21st. "God's Muslim Warriors" on Wednesday, August 22nd. And "God's Christian Warriors" on Thursday, August 23, all at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. And if you would like to know more right now you can go to



WHITFIELD: He's not even a presidential candidate yet. But is he acting like one? Former Senator Fred Thompson already shaking hands and mixing with vote in a key state, Iowa. Details now from our chief national correspondent John King.



JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Hollywood speak, this is Fred Thompson's Iowa premiere. Not yet an official candidate but this a critical signal.

THOMPSON: Good to see you.

KING: The actor and former Tennessee senator still choose his words carefully.

(on camera): Do you think you can get in this race a couple weeks from now as planned and do what it takes to win the Iowa caucuses?

THOMPSON: Yeah. I do. I really do. We will be getting in if we get in. Of course we are testing the waters, phase, legality. We will make a statement sure shortly that will cure all of that.

KING (voice-over): But the timing you may call a wait for me visit was no accident. Rudy Giuliani still leads national polls of the Republican race. But former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is at least at the moment more and more the candidate to keep an eye on.

WHIT AYRES, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Mitt Romney is now first in Iowa and first in New Hampshire with the most money in the bank and a lot more money where that came from. That's a pretty good impersonation of a front-runner.

KING: This public stroll at the Iowa State Fair came after private meetings with Iowa GOP activists and elected officials, including Christian conservatives who traditionally had huge influence in the state's kickoff presidential caucuses.

AYRES: The real question now is what happens with Fred Thompson. Does he come in and consolidate conservative wing of the party or does the conservative wing get disillusioned with Fred Thompson as they have with many other candidates?

KING: Steve Sheffler is a veteran activist who runs the Iowa Christian Alliance and was among those invited to a private meeting with Thompson.

STEVE SHEFFLER, IOWA CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE: I think by and large, people felt comfortable when what he had to say. But again, I think, you know, first time meeting with these people is not going to be where people will say a light went off in my head and that is who I am going to support.

KING (on camera): Many social conservatives complain of what they call lip service from the candidates for president but Senator Thompson tells CNN that over time he is sure he will convince them that a President Thompson will not push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage but also push aggressively to overturn the Supreme Court's landmark Roe versus Wade abortions rights decision.

John King, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.


WHITFIELD: And coming up, the not so perfect life of a fairy tale princess. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. A sneak peek of the SIU documentary "Growing Up Diana." a side of Princess Diana you have never seen before.


LAURA BEGLEY, "TRAVEL & LEISURE": Are you tired of waiting in long lines at the airport? Here are some tips to get you to the gate faster. One important tip to keep in mind is that the smaller the airport the shorter the lines. So if you are choosing between several airports in your home cities, go for the smaller one. Or if you are looking at a city to connect through choose the smaller airport because it will be easier to get through. It is a good idea to travel during off-peak times.

According to the TSA the peak times are 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. And 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The TSA has a useful function on its Web site that will allow you to see average wait times at airports security gates across the United States. Know the regulations about liquids and take your laptop out of your bag. Take your shoes off in advance. And if you can, print out your boarding pass at home. It is one less line to wait in at the airport.



WHITFIELD: A princess on her own. Life in the castle wasn't exactly a fairy tale for Britain's Princess Diana. Soledad O'Brien's upcoming SIU documentary "Growing Up Diana" marks the 10th anniversary of Diana's death. In this preview we glimpse Diana a nervous novice in the royal family.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fact she was uneducated in a lot of ways, worked against her and her ability later on when she kind of needed it.

JAMES COLTHURST, DIANA'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: I think it made a big difference and didn't give her some mechanisms to cope with some of the situations she was in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today we have two very special guests.

COLTHURST (on camera): One day she -- said I have to give this speech on Monday. What do you think?

O'BRIEN: What did you think?

COLTHURST: I thought it was really boring. I said, well, how would it be if you had one that was a bit more you and a bit more life in it. It would help the charity if it had life in it.

O'BRIEN: What did she think of that?

COLTHURST: She said, you go and write one and see if it is any better.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): And he did. With the new speeches Colthurst wrote for Diana she moved from a fashion page to the front page. So for several years after the wedding, Diana and her old friend secretly collaborated.

COLTHURST: Very often they would come and - arrive with a sort of fairly amorphous envelope.

O'BRIEN: Colthurst still has some of the speeches. He's never shown them to anyone before now.

(on camera): Can I take a look?


O'BRIEN: "Dearest James, I wonder what your views are. Lots of love to you both. D."

Really, this says can you rewrite this for me.

COLTHURST: That right. And that's what had to happen.

O'BRIEN: It must be clear to everyone from the media world that AIDS has raised enormous issues. Moral, spiritual and emotional which transcend it is physical disease itself.

COLTHURST: There was some good stuff in it. The other thing it was much too long. And I tried to work on three to four pages was enough.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Colthurst says it took nine hours to rewrite one of her speeches. On top of that, Diana would call up to 10 times a day.

(on camera): Was it wearing for you?

COLTHURST: Very hard. I had -- you know, I had a day job as it were. Suddenly the pager would go off. I would have to find a phone and maybe an excuse why I wasn't there. I couldn't tell them who was calling.

O'BRIEN: It's the Princess of Wales calling to get help on a speech.

COLTHURST: Well, I couldn't do that so I just had to answer the call. They just had to believe it was necessary.

O'BRIEN: And the secret collaboration went well. Diana became famous for her public speaking.

DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: HIV does not make people dangerous to know. So you can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it.


WHITFIELD: Well, Soledad joins us now. So, Soledad, what a surprise that woman that exudes so much confidence later on had such trepidation about speaking on her own that she would consult so many friends to help her on this public speaking?

O'BRIEN: In a way, Fred, I always thought it was an indication of how smart she was in knowing what she didn't know. And so she sort of glommed -- I think Glom is actually a fair word in this case. Glommed on to the friends to make sure she was getting the assistance, she had something important to do and was not quite sure she was getting good information from the palace. That really was not all that interested in seeing her succeed as much as she wanted to. And she knew she had to rely on her friends.

So I thought she was actually -- her friends would describe it as being incredibly intelligent. Even though she was not particularly book smart. Being intelligent about figuring out who she needed to connect with. Those speeches would reflect her the best way possible. And they really did.

WHITFIELD: Yeah. And it underscored that she would consult with those that had already established trust in terms of their friendship. She didn't go out to some professional to say hey, you know, P.R. folks, help me out. Tell me how to craft this speech for me.

O'BRIEN: Well, remember, every single person would talk about what they had done for the Princess of Wales. So she couldn't just go to a speechwriter and say listen, I have to hire you to do this. She had an office but it wasn't staffed with her people. It was staffed with people from the palace. So she didn't trust them. You see as we did our research, we would see time and time again the number of times she would turn to people who she had known from her childhood, frankly, or from her early adulthood who would be there to help her out.

And because they liked her and were friendly not only would help her but also would keep their mouths closed about what exactly they were doing. It would be a secret. And she needed that kind of relationship. Because she didn't have a lot of trust in the other relationships she had.

WHITFIELD: All right. Soledad O'Brien. Thanks so much and we'll look for the special, "Growing Up Diana."

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Fred.