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Fiery Balloon Crash in British Columbia; Fires Rage in Greece; Midwest Flooding; Internet Stargazing

Aired August 25, 2007 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Straight ahead this hour, a ball of fire falls from the sky. We'll show you how a ride in a hot air balloon went horribly wrong.
Also, massive fire sweep through one of the world's most beautiful tourist destinations. Now dozens are dead, more are fleeing the flames.

From fires to floods in the Midwest in this country, hundreds of homes are still underwater, thousands without power. And more storms are in the forecast.

Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Those stories coming up next in the NEWSROOM.

First up, a hot air balloon turns into a deadly inferno. It happened last night in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. Two people were killed, 11 were hurt after their balloon caught fire shortly before takeoff, forcing screaming passengers to jump out. The fire caused the balloon to lift off anyway, and then fall from the sky, slamming into an RV park. Witnesses describe the disaster.


NIGEL VONAS, WITNESS: What it looked like to me was that something or somebody was trying to deal with the flames, it looked like. Of course I looked down right away to get my camera. By the time I looked up, it was absolutely engulfed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very abrupt, just engulfed in flames and started coming down quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you saw someone?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw something either jump off or something come off of the flame.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was heading right for you. We didn't know whether to start running or what, so we just stood there, but we were prepared to run, because it was coming in low over the trees right at the edge of the golf course.

VONAS: In my mind, I was thinking somebody is dying right now, right this minute, right near me, which is a rather scary thought. So you have feelings of excitement, of seeing something you've never seen before, but you also have morbid feelings, and you don't know to what magnitude that death is occurring.


WHITFIELD: And again, CNN has confirmed two people were killed in that balloon crash. The bodies of a mother and daughter were found just a short time ago. We also talked to a spokesman for the balloon company. He expressed his regret and says they are trying to determine exactly what caused what he called a freak fire.

More fires to tell you about, this time, fierce flames sweeping southern Greece. More than 40 people have been killed. The nation is now under a state of emergency. Details now from reporter Anthee Carassava in Athens.


ANTHEE CARASSAVA, JOURNALIST (voice-over): Greeks are calling it a national tragedy. More than 150 forest fires racing through thousands of acres of pine and olive trees in southern Greece, destroying scores of hamlets, killing dozens of people, including a pair of French tourists.

Trapped in the highlands of the western Peloponnese, scores of people, mainly elderly and disabled, have been phoning into local radio and television stations crying for help.

Emergency services say they are overstretched, but on Saturday, rescue crews moved to evacuate nine villages around the worst-hit region around the town of Zacharo, where at least 10 people were burned to death while trying to flee ferocious flames that surrounded them.

Among the victims, three firefighters and a mother of four children. "My house in Zacharo," says this man, "was burned to the ground. I lost everything. Three houses next to me were also destroyed. This is a big disaster."

Further south near the seaside village of Areopoli, rescue teams trying to assess the damage found the charred bodies of a French pair of tourists who were caught in an inferno during an afternoon hike. Their bodies, say officials, were found clutched together.

Scores of hotels and villages have also been evacuated as dozens of people were seen speeding to local hospitals for treatment of severe burns and respiratory problems.

Counting more than 3,000 brush fires this year alone, Greece is grappling with its worst season of fires in decade. Urgent help has been requested from the European Union, and Athens' beleaguered government has pledged more than $1 million Euros in aid for the flame-hit regions of the Peloponnese.

Even so, public outrage has mounted over the government's handling over the deadly state of forest fires, and pundits now question whether the prime minister, Costas Karamanlis, will proceed with the elections next month after suspending campaigning this weekend. Anthee Carassava, for CNN, Athens.


WHITFIELD: And CNN i-Reporters in Greece are sending us their pictures. This one from 12-year-old Matt Veilleux taken from a balcony in Athens. It shows smoke billowing over the capital. His dad says they've been watching planes attempt to put out those fires.

And this picture right here shows the orange haze over Athens. CNN i-Reporter Aggeliki Maniati says it looks like evening, but it's actually afternoon in the picture. Aggeliki lives in the center of the city and she says, when she woke up this morning, her apartment was smoky and ashy.

And now to this country, where much of the Chicago area is coping with the aftermath of some violent storms. In parts of the region, floodwaters are rising, and tens of thousands still without power. Antioch, Illinois, one of the areas slammed by the storm, and that's where we find CNN's Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Yes, Antioch, Illinois has been dealing with these floodwaters for several days now. These residents have been telling us since last Monday they've been dealing with these rising waters.

The good news is from talking to a local emergency management official here in Antioch, he tells us that the floodwaters at least in this town are starting to go down.

What that means is there are areas downriver from us, along the Fox River here, where the waters will go up, but from what we understand, they are now opening the locks or have already fully opened the locks so the point where they can flush this river floodwater out of here.

So that's good news for people here. Let's paint the picture here, set the stage behind us. This community behind me, this was the community that just completely flooded earlier this morning and yesterday. The floodwaters crested overnight, now these folks have their water pumps and they're now pumping water over a wall of sandbags, pumping that water back into the Fox River, which is just really moving at a steady clip behind me.

If I just kneel down here, you can see just how quickly these waters are moving. You might be asking why am I wearing these waders if I'm not getting into the water? It's because if I took one step here, I would be downriver in about 20 seconds.

But across the river from where we're standing, this was a major concern for the community over the last couple days, because these mobile homes, as you can see, are just parked right next to the water's edge here, and they could have instantly become houseboats had this water risen any further.

That is what they were expecting for several days here. There were forecasts for some heavy rains yesterday and today. Those forecasts have changed, and now it appears that they're not going to see any significant measurable rainfall in this area for the next 24, 48, maybe 72 hours.

If those conditions improve, we'll see a lot more of what these kids are doing across the river here. We're seeing these kids starting to pull out the rod and reel and go fishing here on the Fox River. So life starting to get back to normal, Fredricka, if these kids are any indication.

WHITFIELD: Yes, these kids trying to find some fun in this misery. Jim Acosta, thanks so much. Let's check in with Jacqui Jeras. Jacqui, is that really the case, hopefully, no more real significant rain to hit the area, giving folks a break?


WHITFIELD: Well, in India, a rising death toll there. Officials now report at least 31 people killed and at least 40 injured in two explosions. They happened just minutes apart in the southern city of Hyderabad. One blast was at an outdoor auditorium, the other in a snack shop in a crowded commercial area.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the blasts. One official said it was definitely terrorist activity.

Coming up next in the CNN NEWSROOM, religion by the numbers. Which is the biggest, the fastest growing? Surprising numbers in a Reality Check with Josh Levs.

And Michael Vick's troubles continues. Our legal guys will join us to talk about what's next for the star athlete.

And big bucks are at stake in the lottery this weekend. Powerball fever is striking as the pot tops $300 million. A live report coming up in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: More now on the Chicago area flooding. Let's take you downriver from where you just saw our Jim Acosta to CLTV'S Regina Waldroup. And she's with us now from Des Plaines. I understand Senator Dick Durbin is among those getting a bird's-eye view of the kind of damage. What is he seeing there?

REGINA WALDROUP, CLTV CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. Senator Dick Durbin came here, he took off his shoes. He walked through some of the floodwaters. He went into some of the homes and he talked to residents and promised them that he would continue to set aside federal dollars for things like levees so they wouldn't see flooding like this again.


WALDROUP (voice-over): A barefoot Senator Dick Durbin rolled up his pants and slogged through the water-logged streets of Des Plaines surveying the damage to the neighborhood. SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: This could have been a lot worse in Des Plaines. In the fact in the past, it's been a lot worse. And what we've done at the federal level, each year on a systematic basis, earmark money for these projects.

WALDROUP: Thursday's torrential storms pushed a swollen Des Plaines River to a problematic stage for many residents. They feared the rising flood waters would invade their homes, so they piled up sand bags to try and keep the water out.

For the homes that don't sit on low points, that seemed to work. But for those that do, everything from their backyards to their basements are under water. Now this picnic table that the Curtis's (ph) used to eat on, but now it sits partially submerged in water, and their kids, they say minnows swimming around in what is now a river running through their backyard.

SUSAN GARRETT, ILLINOIS STATE SENATE: It's been horrifying, the constant worry, not having electricity, having trees come down.

WALDROUP: But water levels are holding steady now, thousands out here still don't have power, and ComEd says it could take days before they're back online.

TONY ARREDIA, MAYOR: It's not only just water, but we got hit with three things. We got hit with the rain, the power, and then the limbs. I just showed the senator some of the trees that came down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got lanterns upstairs, we have a bilevel. We have to carry a lantern around and find our bed.


WALDROUP: Now, Fredricka, I don't know if you can hear, but there's a hum in the background. And that hum is from generators. A lot of folks have generators here, they're helping their neighbors out by letting them plug into them, trying to get some power. ComEd has brought in 200 more crews from out of state, some as far as Tennessee and Texas to try to help everyone get back online from the city to the suburbs. Fredricka, back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right Regina, thanks so much. And hopefully those folks coming in for help are bringing in some more boots because it's not a good idea to go barefoot in that floodwaters. Senator Durbin, you should know that. All right Regina, thanks so much.

All right, well there are some pretty frantic calls for help taking place at another time. Dispatchers trying to grasp what was happening moments after the Minneapolis Bridge collapse. Just released, 911 tapes reveal how the disaster unfolded.


911 DISPATCHER: 911, do you have an emergency or can you hold.

CALLER: Yes, I need everything you got. The whole bridge over the river fell down. There's car all over the place.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, where sir?

CALLER: I want to say 35W over the Mississippi down by the U. There's hundreds of cars. I'm over the river. Bring everything you got.

911 DISPATCHER: OK sir, we're getting them started, OK?

CALLER: Oh, hurry up.


WHITFIELD: The Minneapolis emergency communications center released those tapes and transcripts from about 40 calls -- 13 people died in that bridge collapse.

"God's Warriors," this week CNN took an unprecedented work at how religion shapes our world. Every day we hear about international tensions and violence involving religious groups. Just how big a force are they, religious groups? Surprising numbers are out and CNN's Josh Levs has been tracking it all. No surprise, religion is a huge influence worldwide in every corner.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. And you know what happened? This week when we had God's Warriors going, I got to thinking about that. And then also we have this other story that we're looking at this weekend. We have got brand-new video from a new, huge Hindu temple that's opening in the United States. It's actually in the Atlanta area.

And it's composed of tens of thousands of stones, it's really amazing stuff. One of our executives here at CNN said she was driving along the road, saw it and nearly drove off the road. Imagine driving down the street and seeing this. To me, it is a reminder.

WHITFIELD: Where is that? I want to know.

LEVS: It's in an area called Lilburn, Georgia. And that's from the Swami sect of Hinduism. And so this, plus "God's Warriors" really got me thinking about the massive force that religion is, as you were just saying and it got me wondering what the real numbers.

You hear a lot of claims, a lot of assertions. But you know me, I try to track this stuff down. Here you go. This is what we're calling the world's religious breakdown.


LEVS (voice-over): In recent years, the size of one major religious group has been getting a lot of attention.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: Well over a billion Muslims in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost 1.5 billion. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's 1.2 billion Muslims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1.6 Muslims in the world.

LEVS: There are only estimates. The population is spread across the world, including some countries where it's especially tough to get solid, up-to-date numbers, but we do know how the biggest religions stack up, numbers wise.

The world's total population is at 6.6 billion, according to the World Book put out by the CIA - 33 percent, one third of humanity identifies as Christian, that's well over 2 billion people.

The Muslim population is second biggest, at more than a billion, then Hindus at about 900 million. Buddhists at about 400 million, Sikhs at about 26 million and the Jews at about 15 million.

This chart shows how big a chunk of the world's population each of those groups takes up. About 13 percent of people follow other religions, two percent are Atheists and 12 percent are not affiliated with any group.

Figures on religion come with an important caveat. Parts of the world don't have religious freedom. For example, Saudi Arabia reports that 100 percent of its population is Muslim. The U.S. State Department notes that Saudi law requires that all citizens be Muslims.


LEVS: And Islam is actually one of the faster-growing religions in the world. It's growing at a rate faster than the world's overall population.

And Fred, that's largely because of birth rates. In mostly Muslim nations, higher birth rates. Therefore, Islam is on the rise.

WHITFIELD: So how about in this country?

LEVS: In this country, the figures are really different. That's really interesting. Let's take a look at that. In this country you find quite different figures. About three quarters of America, Christian. And you can see there, half of America identifies as Protestant, about a quarter Roman Catholic, 2 percent Mormon. Then Jews and Muslims just make up each about 1 percent. You see that other figure there, that's because the other religions don't add up for 1 percent, not one of these reaches 1 percent.

WHITFIELD: That's pretty significant.

LEVS: Yes, it is, I know. And then you see the bottom? One in 10 Americans, only one in 10 say they don't identify with any religion. They could by atheists or agnostics, but it could also just be people that don't identify with any specific religious group out there.

WHITFIELD: It is very complex, but I'm glad you broke it down. We learned a little bit of everything about that. Thank you.

LEVS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Well, tonight a special encore presentation of "God's Warriors." That's at 9 Eastern. Christiane Amanpour will take you to the front lines where religion and politics collide. "God's Warriors" tonight at 9 Eastern, only on CNN.

And straight ahead in this hour, Michael Vick is not alone in his dog troubles. Huh-uh, the home of rapper DMX is searched and dogs are seized there. We'll have the latest for you in when the CNN NEWSROOM continues.

And we'll introduce you to one of our CNN Heroes, who's working with orphans in Peru, hoping to make a difference in their lives.


WHITFIELD: Today's CNN Hero left Peru when she was just four- weeks-old. Now Ana Dodson is a remarkable 15-year-old girl who has been returning to her native country to improve the lives of orphans, lives which could have easily mirrored her own.


ANA DODSON, CNN HERO: If my parents hadn't adopted me, I would probably either been on the streets or in an orphanage. I was born in Peru. My mom first got me when I was four-weeks-old. I really wanted to see an orphanage. I felt this great pull toward these girls who had nothing and I was like, wow, I could have been one of these kids.

But there was one girl, Gloria, who came up to me and she said, Ana, I know that you'll never forget me and I know that one day you'll help us. That just really made me decide I need to something.

My name is Ana Dodson. And I've started an organization called Proven Hearts that helps orphans in Peru.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hello, Ana. I want to tell you that you're a good friend with a big and generous heart. They have given us vitamins. And we are now in very good health.

DODSON: We have sent a stipend of money for food and for their education. Each day after school, a tutor comes over for three hours. We've done renovations, painted the orphanage, and there are 19 children right now. The change I've seen in them is amazing. One girl said, we are now getting fat because of the vitamins!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Anita, I will always carry you in my heart, no matter what happens in life.

DODSON: This orphanage, it is to the point where these girls can dream.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Well, can you believe there's even more about Ana Dodson and her organization? And it's on our Web side, where you can also nominate a hero of your own. Winners will be honored right here during a live global broadcast on December 6th hosted by our own Anderson Cooper.

Well, the Michael Vick saga continues. What does the future hold for him now? We'll talk to our legal eagles about that and more.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the CNN Severe Storm Center. The Midwest flooding continues, but improvements right around the corner. People also looking for those temperatures to go down. Find out when that will happen, coming up in your forecast.


WHITFIELD: Here's some of the stories making news right now. A state of emergency is in effect in Greece, where a series of wildfires have killed at least 44 people. One of the fires is on the fringes of Athens. Greece's prime minister says the fires may have been set by political extremists in an effort to influence upcoming elections.

A pair of explosions in Hydrabad in southern India have killed at least 31 people, injuring scores more. At least one of those blasts an explosion in an outdoor auditorium is blamed on a bomb.

The worst appears to be over in the Midwest. Rivers in northern Illinois are cresting, and no significant additional flooding is expected. Water levels are also still high in northwest Ohio. More storms in Ohio this weekend could keep that water from receding, making it impossible for some families to finally return home. When they do get home, Jacqui that is never fun. Once the waters recede, you've got that thick mud, you know, you have to sweep out of your homes and that causes damage in and of itself.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, and not easy to clean up, that's for sure. Something else to keep in mind too Fredricka, is that even though many of the rivers have crested or are cresting today and starting to recede, it's going to take a long time for them to get back within their banks, for example, the Fox River in northern Illinois is not expected to be within its banks until next weekend, next Saturday. So that's a long time. Use a lot of caution traveling here. And this is just a map to give you an idea of how extensive it is. Every black and dark blue dot that you see is where rivers are running very, very high. The red and yellow is where things are low. So you can see that across the Dakotas, through Iowa. Look at all the black dots in southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and all the way over to Ohio. Still a lot of blue over there in Pennsylvania, too. So it's going to be a rough situation ongoing. The rainfall coming up will be pretty minimal. We're see some into parts of Indiana, on into northwestern parts of Ohio, but maybe another half of an inch on top of what you already have, and it is going to be widely scattered, so not everybody is going to be getting the rain. And much drier here across Minnesota, Iowa, northern Illinois, but the flood warnings are in effect, because it does take a long time for those rivers to go all the way back down.

Now that system that's been stalled out is finally on the move, creating some severe thunderstorms here into parts of upstate New York. Ahead of that system, the heat has been really brutal. Look at the heat advisories in effect from New Hampshire all the way down to the Carolinas. It's going to be feeling like 100 to 110 degrees. Look at Boston. You didn't even hit 70 degrees earlier this week, and now you're looking at a heat index of 101. It feels like 102 in DC. Much cooler air though across the upper Midwest, that's what and we're looking for those highs tomorrow to cool a little bit across the northeast, but still remaining very hot across much of the south. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Wow, well Jacqui I don't think I've ever recalled seeing that Boston can be hotter than Miami on the same day.

JERAS: It doesn't happen too often.

WHITFIELD: We're witness to it now. All right, thanks a lot.

Just in case you needed a closer look at the flood conditions in Illinois, because you don't believe the moving video, well here are some still images. Douglas Partridge of Sycamore, Illinois took these i-Report photos. He says this 200 home trailer park is completely flooded. And you can see that it is. Remember that, when you see news, you can share your photos and videos as well. Just go to on your computer, and click on the "i-Report icon" at the top of the screen.

Another celebrity in a controversy involving dogs, this time its rap star DMX. His lawyer describes the rapper's dogs as practically family, but authorities in Arizona have removed several dogs from the rapper's home. CNN's Kara Finnstrom is on the story in Cave Creek, Arizona.


KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We understand that sheriff's deputies have been investigating for about two weeks here leading up to Friday's raid. This is the home of DMX right behind us here, you can see on the gate far back there, you can see "beware of dogs." Sheriff's deputies tell us when they did conduct that raid, they found 12 dogs on the premises that were a mix of pit bulls and English mastiff. They say that those dogs appear to have been poorly fed and were dehydrated, so they actually took them into custody. They also found three dogs that had been buried, the bodies of three dogs on this property. They say at least one of those dogs had been burned and they say they found some drug paraphernalia, some drugs and some weapons. So what does all this mean for their investigation? Here's what the sheriff had to say.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: We found about 12 pit bulls, some in the house, some in the yard. They were not fed properly, water. We took the dogs down to our M.A.S.H. unit, our jail. FINNSTROM: And the sheriff made it clear it's not clear whether any charges will be levied against DMX. He has been away in New York and his attorney says he was very disturbed to find out that his dogs weren't being properly taken care of by the caretaker who he left in charge.


WHITFIELD: And in the 4:00 p.m. eastern hour, we'll be talking live to the attorney for DMX to find out exactly what kind of circumstances are in fact taking place there at his Arizona home.

Meantime, the other sports star that we want to talk about now, quarterback Michael Vick. Will he get sacked by the NFL? He has been suspended without pay for his admitted involvement in a dogfighting conspiracy. Vick is scheduled to formally enter his guilty plea in federal court on Monday. CNN's Drew Griffin has details.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Vick, who months ago was throwing for touchdowns as the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons now has thrown himself before the mercy of a federal court, admitting in court papers to dogfights. The one-count plea to be entered by Vick in Richmond, Virginia Monday, charges Vick with conspiracy, a charge that could bring as much as a five-year prison term. Responding to a possible plea deal earlier this week, one of Vick's defense attorneys indicated the agile quarterback couldn't run from his past.

DANIEL MEACHUM, MICHAEL VICK'S ATTORNEY: He's accepting responsibilities for those charges, and he's trying to put the pieces of his life back together, and asks that you pray for him and forgive him for any wrongdoings that he may have been involved in.

GRIFFIN: Three co-defendants have already pleaded guilty. And all three gave graphic details about how Michael Vick's Virginia property was the headquarters of Bad Newz Kennels, that dogs were raised there to fight, that Vick not only financed the operation, but took part in gambling, and that Michael Vick personally killed underperforming dogs by drowning and electrocution. In his plea agreement, Vick's lawyers appeared to be trying to minimize the damage, specifically saying while Vick financed the operation, even put up money for purses, he did not bet on the dogs. He did admit, however, to agreeing to the killing of six to eight dogs that did not perform well in so-called testing sessions. The dogs were killed by various methods including hanging and drowning, and the summary states, "Vick agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of his co-defendants Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips and himself Vick."

Neither Vick nor the prosecution had anything to say about the plea deal beyond the court filings. Once the plea is entered in court Monday, a federal judge will decide whether to accept it and then set a sentencing date. A source familiar with details of the case, says prosecutors will ask the judge to send the star quarterback to prison for no less than 18 months. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: So Michael Vick's fans won't be waiting to see what plays he'll call this season. Instead they'll be waiting to see how his guilty plea plays out in federal court on Monday as Drew was explaining. Let's ask Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor, good to see you as well.


WHITFIELD: Ah guys, this is so disappointing all the way around, isn't it? It's just a heartbreaking case, just start to finish. So let's talk about what could take place on Monday because that is really I guess most immediately what is the next legal action to watch. So, Avery, this judge doesn't have to necessarily accept this plea deal, does he?

FRIEDMAN: Well, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson is a very tough guy, Fredricka. He will generally go along with the recommendation of the U.S. attorney, but I think at the end of the day, you're looking at about 18 months based on the federal guidelines.

HERMAN: Here's the thing, Fred, with Monday. They have -- I have a copy of the plea agreement here, which is 11 pages, and I have a copy of the statement of facts, which is 10 pages. And while they're carefully crafted by his attorneys, when he stands up there Monday, the judge is going to say, Mr. Vick, tell me in your own words what is it that you did? And that's where this guy could get himself in big trouble. Avery is right, this judge is a very tough hard nose judge and he also owns a little bijon, this judge. So, he's --

WHITFIELD: He's a dog lover. So yeah, you're right, because in this agreement, you know not only does he just say, ok, I'm pleading guilty to this count one of trafficking these dogs for the purpose of illegal dogfighting, but it goes on to say that, you know, I was an active participant along with my co-defendants in, as Drew pointed out, the hanging, the killing, the disposing of these dogs. So why would that not open up the way for more potentially federal charges if not state?

FRIEDMAM: Well you're not going to see federal charges, but you know what's interesting? The commonwealth of Virginia isn't saying a word right now. There is no question but that he's still facing jeopardy under state law. That may happen -- a lot of people are thinking it's going to go away. I'm not quite sure.

HERMAN: Fred, he pled guilty to sponsoring a dog, an interstate dogfighting, that's what he pled guilty to. But there's another component of the plea agreement that nobody is talking about.

WHITFIELD: What is that?

HERMAN: And that is this -- he has agreed to cooperate with the federal authorities. If he should provide substantial assistance to the feds here, Fred, it's going to turn the world upside down, because he could get no prison time if he does that.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so when I saw that, does that mean, in cracking other cases in other states, etcetera, that kind of cooperation?

HERMAN: Nationwide, nationwide, giving up other --

FRIEDMAN: This is totally huge, I absolutely agree with that.

HERMAN: Giving up other football players.

WHITFIELD: So maybe there's the contrition that some folks said they weren't reading, they didn't get where the contrition was in all this, maybe that's what it is.

FRIEDMAN: I'm sorry for getting caught? He's been doing this since he was at VT for goodness sakes. And the fact that he's saying well I underwrote the gambling operation, but I didn't really gamble per se, we're parsing at this point.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, and that in contrast, I guess Richard, to initially saying I don't know what was going on, I haven't been on my property in a long time, I don't know what's going on, you know I kind of handed my property over to my cousins, and I haven't been there in a while.

HERMAN: Well DMX should learn from that.

WHITFIELD: An about face, right?

HERMAN: I was in a back room, I had no idea what was going on.

FRIEDMAN: DMX should learn from that. That defense is not going to fly.

WHITFIELD: Funny you should mention DMX, the rapper, because we are going to be talking to his attorney actually in the 4:00 p.m. eastern hour, so you need to listen, because I'm sure all three of us will be talking again about that case.

HERMAN: Not the Michael Vick defense.

WHITFIELD: No, it's not the same thing, we don't think, but it's another dog related.

HERMAN: Fred, in the plea agreement, he says he did not participate in the actual method of the killing of the dogs, and he says he clearly did not make any wagers on the dogs, and he didn't benefit financially on any of the gambling.

FRIEDMAN: Although he collectively murdered them. WHITFIELD: So that's why all of us will be talking again about maybe -- what does this do for his career? We'll probably be talking about that next week, because the whole gambling thing, we know NFL's zero-tolerance policy on that.

FRIEDMAN: He did, but he didn't.

HERMAN: Avery and I have a little wager on that, too.

FRIEDMAN: Yeah, we have something going on this one.

WHITFIELD: Ok, well I have a feeling you guys have something going on the next topic that we're going to be talking about too coming up. Could those baggy pants that you see everywhere soon be illegal, people? That, right there. Should that be outlawed? Should you be fined? Should you go to jail for your fashion sense in that respect? We're going to be discussing all that, because in Atlanta, at least one city councilman is saying we want to outlaw this.

Also ahead, Power Ball madness, well it's back. You may want to rush out and buy a couple of tickets, when you find out how much the jackpot is.


WHITFIELD: Don't laugh, this is the police, come up with your pants up. If an Atlanta city councilman gets his way, you may one day hear such a command. He says saggy pants are an epidemic, so he wants a law banning any public exposure of underwear. At least one town in Louisiana is trying the same thing. So far they have the law on the books, but critics say such dress codes just won't hold up in court. Our legal experts are here, and I don't think they're wearing saggy pants. No, not today.

FRIEDMAN: You have no idea.

WHITFIELD: I feel like I know you guys. All right, well, can you enforce this, Richard? Can you try to enforce this kind of indecency, I guess, approach to fashion?

HERMAN: Fred, you know, I have to tell you, you know, this is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long time.

WHITFIELD: Is it, but there are lot of jurisdictions that have tried it.

HERMAN: They may have tried it, but they're not going to go anywhere with this. They're trying to make it like a parking ticket or something, like it's some sort of violation to do this. But this is really -- I mean, there are so many important issues for the city council to address, they're wasting taxpayers' money on this stuff? This guy should resign, whoever's promoting this. Please, they're so many important -- Avery, come on, you can't be serious.

FRIEDMAN: Hey, let me tell you something, I totally agree. This is a whole new meaning to "just say no to crack." This is a case, and you know, I'll tell you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Delayed reaction, I just got it.

FRIEDMAN: Who are you voting for down there in Atlanta? These people on the city council, let me tell you something. For white kids running around certainly in the suburbs, that isn't an issue. This is a race oriented law, it's unconstitutional, I don't know what planet these guys are on. We agree maybe for different reasons, but that law is going right off the books.

WHITFIELD: Really, but this city councilman says it's strictly indecency, it is showing that you have some sort of pride in yourself and why would you expose others to your stuff.

HERMAN: Fred, this city councilman thinks that's obscenity or indecency, the other judge sued for $5 million for his pants, I mean these people are nuts.

FRIEDMAN: What's with the pants in America? Holy smokes, what's going on? And the other thing Fredricka, which is important, among the other things, if you're wearing a jogging bra under let's say a tank top and it shows, that's also covered under this law. So, you know, this is a law that we understand is going no where.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, a little too broad-brushed, maybe a little too ambitious. So then why in Louisiana, is it Del Combre, where they actually have this law on the books, it means a $500 fine if you are showing your underwear. How's it they're able to successfully get away with it?

FRIEDMAN: I'm actually making reservations at the hotel next to the federal courthouse down there in Louisiana. That law is going nowhere fast.

HERMAN: Are you going to wear your baggy pants for that Avery, are you going to wear them down there?

FRIEDMAN: After you do.

WHITFIELD: So Avery, one more time, the memorable line of the day, what's the crack that you mentioned?

FRIEDMAN: Oh, "just say no to crack." That's what I think that means.

WHITFIELD: Oh, you kill me.

HERMAN: Now they no there's no eight second or five second delay on this show, right?

WHITFIELD: Yeah, no, not today.

HERMAN: Fred, more importantly, we're all partners in that power ball, right? Come on, we're all partners in that.

WHITFIELD: Ok, all right guys, thanks so much. I appreciate you bringing some humor to what some find a pretty serious matter.


WHITFIELD: All right Avery, Richard, have a great weekend.

HERMAN: Take care.

WHITFIELD: All right, powerball ticket holders, well they are counting down the hours and checking those numbers. The lottery jackpot estimated at $300 million is at stake in tonight's drawing. Powerball tickets are going fast in 29 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the nation's capital. Gary Nurenberg is standing by in Washington. So, do you have your numbers memorized so that when you hear the numbers you don't even need to check the numbers on the ticket?

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are in my pocket and you can't get to them. You said they're going fast, Fredricka, between 1:05 and 1:06 this afternoon, D.C. lottery officials say they sold 781 powerball tickets, a quarter of a million tickets today alone by 1:00. Fred, I'm trying to figure out this behavior, and the best I can do is a high school metaphor. This is like all the guys in Fredricka's high school. They knew there wasn't much of a chance to go to the prom with her, but they said, hey, we'll ask anyway.

WHITFIELD: That wasn't me.


NURENBERG (voice-over): If we are not a nation of dreamers, the lines wouldn't be this long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The odds are that the higher it goes, the sooner somebody is going to win.

NURENBERG: For every dollar spent on a single powerball ticket, there is a voice, a little voice in the buyer that whispers "maybe, just maybe."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a lot of plans.

NURENBERG: The reality is, maybe not. Chances of winning the powerball lottery, 1 in 146,107,962, which means they most likely won't win, but governments in the 29 states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia that have powerball do win, they get millions in revenue without hitting taxpayers for the money.

JEANETTE MICHAEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DC LOTTERY: Each state has a different beneficiary. Here in the District of Columbia it goes to the general fund, but in many other states it goes for education, in other states for the elderly and the environment, so it depends on the state.

NURENBERG: Some dreamers have made a bargain in order to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I made a pact with the guy upstairs a long time ago, if I did, I would do some volunteer work, make a difference in the world.

NURENBERG: What about that divine intervention thing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No I'm not going to buy one, because it wouldn't be fair. I have too much help. Good-bye, have a good day.


NURENBERG: Sister, thank you, we just don't need that kind of competition. Fred?

WHITFIELD: I love that. She's totally grounded us all now, you know. We don't need to win the lottery or you know mega millions or anything like that, but it sure is fun to play, isn't it, Gary?

NURENBERG: Oh, it's a ball. You have to ask what the nun would do if she had won.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, exactly. All right, well good luck to you and everybody else. Thanks a lot, Gary Nurenberg.

All right, so how would you like to take a trip across the galaxy, winnings or no winnings? Take a seat at your computer, grab your mouse and get ready to blast off, destination space, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Travel the galaxy. Interest you? And be home in time for dinner. Google shows you how. Here's CNN's Phil Black.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First there was Google Earth. Pick a destination, say Buckingham Palace, and it takes you on a ride around the globe, zooming in from space for a close-up aerial view of the queen's house. Now Google has taken the same idea and turned it upside down.

ED PARSONS, GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGIST: We can use that same basic technology, in reverse and look outwards and use the imagery that the astronomy community has created, and produce a really exciting new tool.

BLACK: That new tool is Google Sky. It's designed to explore what lies beyond earth. Starting with the backyard view of space from anywhere on the planet. The stars and constellations as you would see them above.

PARSONS: From that point you can then start to zoom. And as you zoom out, we'll bring in imagery that may have been produced by NASA from the space telescope, from terrestrial telescopes and show you pictures of nebulae, show you pictures of distant galaxies. Show you the planets as they move throughout the year.

BLACK: The images and information are all available elsewhere, but Google says this is the only way you can navigate humankind's collective knowledge of space in one location.

(On camera): Scientists say this is exciting, because throughout human history, people have stared into space and wondered. Now they hope, having all this information available so easily in one place, will inspire a new generation to look up and study what lies beyond.

DR. FRANCIS DIEGO, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: There are no limits and when you put this in the hands of millions of people literally to the great public, in a way that has never done before, this is public outreach for science in a way that is going to be very revolutionary.

BLACK: Like Google Earth, the sky software delivers a different view of existence to your desktop, but without the same potential for voyeurism. Phil Black, CNN, London.


WHITFIELD: And coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM at 4:00 eastern, women beware, staying silent in marital spats that could be a killer. We'll talk to a doctor about speaking up and out can be much more healthy for you.

And a check of the day's headlines is coming up next and then the CNN Special Investigations Unit, James Brown.