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President Bush Makes 15th Visit to Gulf Coast Since Katrina; GOP Leaders Call for Ethics Committee Review of Senator Craig Case

Aired August 29, 2007 - 11:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning again, everyone. You are with CNN. You are informed.
I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Wednesday, the 29th of August.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Bells toll, a president comforts. The Gulf Coast is struggling to rebuild, struggling to heal two years after Katrina.

HARRIS: Republican leaders calling for an ethics investigation. Senator Larry Craig says his sex sting arrest is a misunderstanding.

COLLINS: Forty cyclists wiped out by a single SUV driver.

Crunch time in south Florida, in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Marking the moment of the country's worst natural disaster, bells rang out in New Orleans moments ago on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. They signified the time the levees broke two years ago.

Also taking place this morning, ground breakings on a victims' memorial and mausoleum. It will hold the remains of more than 100 storm victims. They've never been identified.

More than 1,800 people died in Louisiana and Mississippi as a result of Katrina. The scene beyond belief. Eighty percent of New Orleans flooded, homes demolished, thousands stranded in the Superdome without food and water.

President Bush is visiting the Gulf Coast to mark the anniversary of Katrina. After speaking in New Orleans, he heads to Mississippi.

COLLINS: We begin our coverage in New Orleans now, where there are a few signs of progress. But as you might imagine, frustration over the slow recovery.

CNN's Sean Callebs joining us live now with more on this story.

Good morning to you once again, Sean.


It's interesting. We're here in Gentilly, the east side of New Orleans, where behind me, you can see a number of workers are putting siding up on the McGees' house here. They had about six feet of water, while across town very somber ceremonies going on.

I want to take you where Mayor Nagin, General Honore were, or still are, just a short while ago, at 10:38 Eastern Time. That, of course, the time that the levees gave way. It is being marked -- has been marked with bells ringing.

This went on for some time. Very emotional for the people who have been there. Two years later, it is impossible to forget what this city has had to endure and what it's still struggling with for so long.

Across town at MLK Elementary School, President Bush is meeting. He talked about the commitment to education, he talked about his commitment to, indeed, the entire Gulf Coast, and he once again asked people not to forget about the people in this area.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: During the moment of reflection, it is a time to ask for the almighty's blessings on those who suffer, those who lost a loved one, and remember that there's always a more blessed day in the future.


CALLEBS: We were at MLK Elementary on Monday shooting a story. Standing to the president's left, Dora Sicks (ph), a very colorful principal at that school. She said that a lot of the students at that school, they have very strong opinions about how the government-led efforts has proceeded here in the city. And she told her students, "You can share your opinions with Oprah, but don't share it with the president of the United States."

So, you can see a lot of those school kids, maybe some of them biting their lip.

Also interesting to note, at the same time the president was speaking at the elementary school, Mayor Nagin across town. Both of them referenced the president's visit to Jackson Square right after the hurricane.

At that time, the president standing there adamantly saying that he would not forget the people of this area, and the government will not leave this area until it is back to where it was before Katrina. But the two have a dramatically take on how that has played out over the last two years.

Mayor Nagin again imploring the government, federal government, not to forget the city, to stand up to its promise. The president, meanwhile, saying that he has done what he said. They have provided money, it just hasn't been spent yet -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Sean, I know you live in New Orleans. Is there an overriding feeling or an overwhelming feeling about the progress, or are there different camps, people who see some progress and people who say, you know what? Absolutely nothing has been done and there is just no excuse for it?

CALLEBS: I think if you talk to citizens, if you get away from city hall, you talk to anybody, you can poll them from any section of town, they are completely, completely frustrated, disgusted, angry, disappointed, choose whatever word you want, about how the recovery effort has gone here. It has been difficult. I mean, that is being kind.

If you talk to a lot of people, it's been a mess. If you -- the money that came to do the home repair behind me came from what's called the Road Home Plan. That is where the federal government created some $8 billion that is supposed to be doled out to people who applied for it.

More than 180,000 homeowners applied for this Road Home money two years after Hurricane Katrina. About one-fifth of those people have received any money. So, I don't see how anybody can say that the recovery effort has gone well. But then again, a lot of people argue, Mayor Nagin has never been able to share his vision of how he wants this city to rebuild. So, why would you rebuild in an area that is still prone, still very prone to the threat of a hurricane or flooding?

COLLINS: Yes, very precarious. All right.

Sean Callebs giving us the picture there. And a personal one, too, from New Orleans as a resident there.

Thanks so much, Sean.

HARRIS: Well, the figures are absolutely staggering. Here is a look at the destruction from Hurricane Katrina by the numbers.

More than 1,800 people in Louisiana and Mississippi were killed, 270,000 Americans were displaced by Katrina. Many have yet to return. Some don't plan to.

The storm devastated 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast. That's an area about the size of the U.K. Katrina caused more than $81 billion in damage. Insurance losses from the storm the largest in the history of the industry.

COLLINS: As we've been saying all morning, certainly a long road ahead for the New Orleans and Mississippi coast. If you would like to make a difference though, it is not too late. You still can as part of our Impact Your World campaign.

Just go to There you will find a number of resources for the Gulf Coast recovery.

HARRIS: Senator Larry Craig and his men's room sex scandal. Republican leaders calling for an ethnic probe into his arrest.

CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Yellin is on Capitol Hill.

Jessica, good morning to you.

Is there pressure building on the senator to do more to explain these events than what he did in that news conference yesterday?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Tony, that his explanation yesterday is certainly not getting a warm reception. Here on Capitol Hill, there have been no calls for public understanding or withholding judgment.

Instead, what we've heard is the Senate Republican leadership calling on the Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into the incident in the bathroom and into Larry Craig's plea. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, as you know, Larry Craig supported for president, has called this incident another disappointing example of hypocrisy in Washington, D.C., and the head of the Idaho Values Alliance is calling on Craig to resign. He says that he was giving the senator a chance to explain, but after listening to what he said yesterday, he was unconvinced.


BRYAN FISCHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IDAHO VALUES ALLIANCE: I was unsatisfied. I thought his explanations were unpersuasive. And, you know, the bottom line is that the senator really left us with no option but to accept the fact that his guilty plea really did represent an acknowledgement on his part that he was engaged in inappropriate behavior.


YELLIN: Now, Senator Craig does have some backers. The junior senator from Idaho and the head of the Republican Party in Idaho are both calling for patience and standing by him.

Senator Craig has said that he has contemplated retirement. This predated the scandal. And yesterday he reiterated that he will make an announcement about his future next month.

The big question is, with all the publicity around these charges and the possibility of an ethics investigation hanging over his head, will he just decide it's easier to retire?


HARRIS: Jessica, I'm curious about two points here. I'm wondering why Senate Republicans are calling for the investigation. I think I understand that one, but have any Senate Republicans called for Larry Craig to resign?

YELLIN: No. No one has publicly or even privately said to me, at least, that he should resign. But they do say that the reason that they're calling for an investigation in this instance, when they haven't in instances of past scandals, are because, one, there is a guilty plea. So it's not just an accusation.

And also, they were really bothered by the part of the police report that says Larry Craig showed the officer his business card that he is a U.S. senator and said, "What do you think of that?" They just didn't think that sat well with them and they are asking for this inquiry.

HARRIS: Congressional Correspondent Jessica Yellin for us.

Jessica, appreciate it. Thank you.

COLLINS: This just in a short time ago here at CNN. The Taliban have released four more South Korean hostages in Afghanistan. Now seven remain in captivity. They are among 23 South Korean Christian aid workers abducted by militants last month.

The kidnappers executed two captives. Two others were freed earlier.

South Korea promised to halt all Christian missionary work in Afghanistan. Seoul also moving forward with its previous decision to withdraw 200 non-combat troops from the country.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalating this morning. Tehran issuing a strong protest after U.S. troops arrested eight members of an Iranian delegation. The group was blindfolded and hands were cuffed from a Sheraton hotel in Baghdad last night. They were later turned over to Iraqi authorities.

Iraq says the Iranians work for Tehran's power ministry and were invited by the Iraqi government to sign an electricity supply contract. They came under suspicion while driving through a U.S. checkpoint with unauthorized weapons.

HARRIS: Shiite-against-Shiite violence in Iraq. The deadly attacks prompt anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to order his militia to halt activities for six months. A senior aide also announcing three days of mourning after nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds injured in turf battles in Karbala and Baghdad.

Karbala is under a curfew. A massive religious festival called off.

COLLINS: Another U.S. troop killed in Iraq. The military says the soldier was killed during combat operations near Kirkuk. That raises the death toll in the Iraq war to 3,733.

HARRIS: No evidence NASA astronauts were flying drunk. Sources tell CNN the new findings are outlined in an internal NASA review expected out today.

An independent committee had reported two alleged cases where astronauts were intoxicated and flight surgeons and other astronauts and others had raised concerns. NASA tells CNN the report does not include any names.

COLLINS: Former astronaut Lisa Nowak may be planning to plead temporary insanity. Nowak has pleaded not guilty to charges that she tried to kidnap a romantic rival. Her attorney filed papers this week, reserving the right to an insanity defense.

According to the documents, Nowak has suffered from numerous psychiatric disorders. Nowak's attorney says she has also struggled with "marital separation" and has lost 15 percent of her body weight.

HARRIS: Cities and towns along the Mississippi Gulf Coast practically wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. Two years later, they are still struggling.

COLLINS: In New Orleans, the mayor's new neighbors camped right outside his window.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: You want to take a look, walk out with me on your balcony and take a look at that and talk about that issue?

MAYOR RAY NAGIN (D), NEW ORLEANS: No, I know exactly what you are talking about. You know, homelessness is something that was here prior to Katrina.


COLLINS: Homelessness in New Orleans, a growing problem.

HARRIS: One of Hollywood's most successful actors, police say he attempted suicide. What's behind Owen Wilson's troubles?

COLLINS: A sunny afternoon in Miami. A great time for a group bike ride. Maybe not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were cycles flying all over. There were parts (ph) of the car flying all over.


COLLINS: Car hits cyclists. Dozens hit the ground.

Wipeout ahead.


HARRIS: On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Katrina almost wiped the town of Waveland off the map.

CNN's Kathleen Koch is in Waveland, just down the road from her home town of Bay St. Louis.

Kathleen, great to see you.

Earlier, you brought us a moment of silence, clearly one way people there are marking this anniversary.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are. They are marking it with ceremonies. But first I would like to show you, Tony, just a glimpse of what things still look like here two years after Katrina.

When you look at especially the waterfront areas of Bay St. Louis, Waveland, and towns up and down the Mississippi Gulf Coast, you see empty slabs, you see pilings where homes used to be, weeds growing up, "For Sale" signs, and maybe on or two homes popping up. But still, they are marking this anniversary with ceremony. Some of them solemn.

There was actually what they called a celebration here earlier. People coming together, committed to rebuilding and really feeling like they have a lot to celebrate.

But still, we've been speaking with people as we've been here since Saturday. And some of them are tired. They are fatigued. They are losing hope. And we talked to a couple and they sent out what they said was a message to America.


LINDA FALLON, KATRINA SURVIVOR: I would like them to know that we still need all the help and caring and volunteers. That we need it bad. People just don't realize. They just don't realize.

REV. DAVID MACDONALD, CALVARY IND. BAPTIST CHURCH: We get crews coming down, but they are thinning out as the years -- months go on. So it's trying to let people know there is still a need down here, especially in housing. And just the mental and the spiritual needs that are down here just still overwhelming.


KOCH: Well, certainly, two years ago, you couldn't stand where I'm standing today. The 143-mile-an-hour winds had been strafing the towns of Bay St. Louis and Waveland for hours. The 30-plus-foot storm surge had already come in, ripping apart homes and businesses and lives.

But still, despite the frustration and growing cases of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder, growing numbers of people thinking seriously about suicide, people are clinging to some hope. The storm didn't destroy their spirit -- Tony.

HARRIS: Kathleen, I'm a little frustrated. I'm listening to Linda Fallon in your piece there, and I'm wondering, have we just not done a good enough job of telling the stories of the coast? Have we not done enough to highlight the struggle and frustrations of folk whose lived through this two weeks ago? And when you talk to folks, and the express their frustration, where do they target their frustration? KOCH: They target their frustration in a lot of directions. They want more help from the government, they want insurance reform so people don't suffer after a disaster like they did here.

They don't blame the media so much, though there is certainly a level of frustration here in Mississippi, in particular, that New Orleans gets so much attention. There the levees broke. You know, that was a failure of human engineering, years of misappropriation of funds that should have been used to fortify and improve those levees.

Here, we caught the brunt force of the hurricane, Mother Nature.

HARRIS: Absolutely.

KOCH: And so people are frustrated that they think their story isn't told enough, though we try to get out there and do it as much as possible. But they feel forgotten, and that makes the pain even deeper.

HARRIS: Kathleen Koch for us this morning.

Kathleen, thank you.

COLLINS: Two years after Katrina, New Orleans has twice as many people living on the streets. And the mayor gets a daily reminder.

CNN's Susan Roesgen reports.


ROESGEN (voice-over): On a hot and sticky night, people who have no place else to go sleep on cardboard and concrete. Some of them were homeless before the hurricane, but many were not. And to make the point, they have started sleeping right across the street from city hall.

What's the city doing about it? "Keeping Them Honest," we asked Mayor Ray Nagin.

NAGIN: We're trying to provide these services that we need help to do. And that's -- that's where you are being unfair.

ROESGEN (on camera): Well, do you agree that it is a city responsibility?

NAGIN: It would be a normal city responsibility under normal circumstances. These are so far away from normal circumstances.

ROESGEN: You know, right outside your window there, we could see this new homeless camp that has sprung up. Have you gone over there to look? Could we -- you want to take a look, walk out with me on your balcony and take a look and talk about that issue?

NAGIN: No, I know exactly what you're talking about. You know, homelessness is something that was here prior to Katrina. ROESGEN: So we just finished our interview with the mayor, and this is what he didn't want to do. He didn't want to come out here on the balcony right outside his window to look at that homeless camp across from city hall.

(voice-over) These are the mayor's new neighbors, some of the 12,000 homeless, twice as many as before Katrina. Mayor Nagin says the city has provided all the services it can up to this point. But some of the homeless have joined together here with a message for the mayor: you're not doing enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hear a lot of talk about what you're doing, and we're doing this and we're doing that, but yet we see nothing taking place. We want to see some action take place down here.

ROESGEN: Many say they have jobs but can't make enough money to pay for a place to stay. Like this janitor, Morrow Trotter.

MORROW TROTTER, HOMELESS: I work, and I still can't afford housing. So we've got people up here that can't even afford houses that have jobs, go to work seven days a week.

ROESGEN: Since Katrina, housing in New Orleans has been in short supply, and rents have gone up a full 30 percent, with many returning evacuees not even knowing it until they get here.

Linda Gonzales is a nonprofit shelter director who tries to help.

LINDA GONZALES, SHELTER DIRECTOR: Well, you see people that were not homeless before are now coming back and finding that they cannot make it because of the rent. So they try, and then all of a sudden they realize they can't keep up with the rent. They get behind a month or two. Then they call us, and they say, you know, can you help us?

ROESGEN: For many, there just is no help, only the prospect of more nights spent in the shadow of city hall.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.


COLLINS: You can see some of our special coverage of the Katrina anniversary at See your I-Reports of rebuilding, 360 panoramic views of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and much, much more.

Go to In addition, you can go to today for live coverage on the net of many Katrina-related events happening throughout the day.

HARRIS: Not feeling so hot? Could it be something you ate? Possibly something more serious?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta with some tips on how to tell the difference. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Millions of people get heartburn, but many may have a more serious condition and not even know it.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, stopped by earlier to talk about it.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: But it can be indicative of something more serious, which is this Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. The reason it can be more serious is that if it's untreated, that acid constantly bathing the lower part of your esophagus can lead to cancer, it can lead to ulcers, it can lead to these strictures so that your esophagus actually closes off a little bit, which can be a problem.

What exactly is happening here? Take a look at this animation.

You eat some food. Basically, it falls down into your stomach, and some of that acid that's in your stomach there actually regurgitates, if you will, back up into the esophagus, as you can see there. It's regurgitating back into the esophagus. Sometimes it will make it all the way back up into the back of the mouth itself, which is why people have sort of a bitter taste sometimes in the back of their mouth.


GUPTA: People may be watching this, Heidi, and saying, well, how do I know if I have heartburn, or is it Gastroesophageal Reflux? Here's a few simple questions you can ask yourself to try and figure that out.

Number one, do you have this sort of feeling of pain or burning behind the chest? Does that sometimes cause a bitter taste in the back of your mouth? Do those things occur primarily after meals, and I'll say first thing in the morning, as well? Does it occur two or times more per week?

Also, does taking over-the-counter medications, anti-acids, seem to offer some relief? And does taking prescription medications not offer complete relief?

If you answer yes to two or more of those questions, you might, in fact, have this reflux problem, as opposed to simple heartburn.

COLLINS: Well, it seems so very common. I mean, my husband, I know, you know, carries around a handful of Zantac or Pepcid AC, or whatever. But there's got to be a way to treat it for good, or is it just something that you deal with kind of for the rest of your life?

GUPTA: What Matt's doing is how most people treat it. There are some other things that you can do that aren't even medications. For example, just keeping a food diary, figuring out what the trigger foods are. Also, just raising the head of your bed up so that at night you don't reflux into your...

COLLINS: So done that. It's really comfy.

GUPTA: And another thing is not eating at all within two hours of bedtime. Those things seem to help.

The medications that Matt's taking, those things do help, as well. But I think what you might -- what Matt might need or a lot of people might need is actually an endoscopy. They put a little tube down the stomach, take a look at the esophagus and find out exactly what the problem is.

Sometimes it might be a bacterial infection that's causing the problem. It might need to be treated with antibiotics.

COLLINS: Yes. We have done the esophagus -- esophageal -- anyway -- endoscopy.

Anyway, you mentioned the trigger foods, though. What are the most common ones? I mean, I think we hear a lot about, you know, chocolates or acidic foods. Am I right with that or...

GUPTA: You are absolutely right, although I will say that people seem to have all sorts of different triggers. What might be a trigger for one person may not be a trigger in somebody else. So, you've got to know your own triggers, which is why that food diary comes into play here.

But caffeinated foods, spicy foods, carbonated beverages, especially at night, those can all be triggers. So...

COLLINS: He is doing it to himself, the Big Gulps a-plenty. I mean, like, two or three a day, yes.

GUPTA: Right before he goes to bed?

COLLINS: Yes. Yes.

GUPTA: Tell him to cut that out.

COLLINS: OK. I'll tell him you said so.

Thanks so much.

GUPTA: All right.


COLLINS: If you have GERD, Sanjay recommends you figure out your trigger foods -- those are the ones that we talked about -- raise the head of your bed, and don't eat two hours before bedtime. It just might help you out with that. To get your "Daily Dose" of health news online, log on to our Web site. You'll find the latest medical news, a health library, and information on diet and fitness.

The address,

Good morning once again, everybody.

I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.

Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM.

Remembering the horror. New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast marking the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As part of the somber ceremonies today, President Bush and the first lady are visiting both areas.

On that dreadful day in 2005, Katrina made landfall early in the morning south of New Orleans. It flooded 80 percent of the city, then took aim at coastal Mississippi. Its high winds and incredible storm surge flattened much of the state's 70-mile shoreline.

After it was over, the body count was absolutely shocking. More than 1,800 people killed in Louisiana and Mississippi. Katrina, the worst natural disaster in American history.

COLLINS: A sobering look now at Katrina's impact on New Orleans. Before the storm, 128 public schools were open in New Orleans Parish. One year later, 53 were open. A slight rebound this year to 83.

As the storm hit, 23 hospitals were open. Right now, 13 are operating. Before Katrina, 368 city buses were running. Today, 69 are running. The jobless rate before Katrina, just over 5 percent. No drastic change though. Right now it's about the same, climbing just over 0.5 percent from the first anniversary.

But a drastic drop in the labor force. Just over 200,000 people were working when Katrina struck. That dropped to 137,000 last year. Right now, the labor force is at 158,000.

The population still way down. Before the storm under 200,000 households were receiving mail. That number more than cut in half on the first anniversary. Right now it's up to 133,000 people.

Under arrest, now under investigation from his own party. Republican leaders are calling for an ethnics probe of Senator Larry Craig. The 62-year-old conservative was arrested in June during a police sting in a men's room. Minneapolis airport police say Craig sought sex with an undercover officer. Craig denies inappropriate behavior. He says it was a mistake to plead guilty to a lesser charge. At least one conservative group in Idaho is calling on their longtime lawmaker to resign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRYAN FISCHER, EXEC. DIR., IDAHO VALUES ALLIANCE: Well, rumors about Senator Craig's sexual proclivities have been circulating in Idaho for years. I've always discounted them because they came from anonymous sources. They could not be corroborated, could not be verified.

And what made this circumstance different in my judgment is that you did have the witness of the police officer, and Senator Craig essentially, by his guilty plea, accepting that the police officer's report of what happened was accurate. And I did not feel that the senator did anything or said anything yesterday that would lead me to any other conclusion, but that he acknowledged inappropriate behavior.


HARRIS: Senator Craig is up for re-election next year. He hasn't said whether he will seek a fourth term.

COLLINS: Firefighters gained ground in Greece, getting a better handle on raging wildfires there. But high winds later in the week could spark new devastation. More than 60 people have already died. Thousands are homeless now. The government is under strong criticism for its response, too. It's offering victims about $4,000 for a lost house, and about $14,000 for a lost loved one.

HARRIS: How about this? Wall Street looking to get back in the groove this morning. So far, so good. The numbers looking up after Tuesday's meltdown.

COLLINS: South Florida wipeout. A single car takes down 40 cyclists. An amazing scene coming up, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Actor Owen Wilson is said to be recovering after an apparent suicide attempt this weekend.

CNN's David Mattingly reports.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On screen, he's often charming and slightly out there slacker. And in the smash hit "Wedding Crashers" Owen Wilson played the guy who got the laughs and got the girl.

But in real life, Wilson's easy going persona may have been masking serious personal problems. Police say that on Sunday, they were called to the block in Santa Monica, California, where Wilson's gated mansion is located. Police logs reveal they were responding to a suicide attempt.

LARRY SUTTON, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: There are a number of reports out there that say he attempted to commit suicide, that he attempted to slit his wrists. None of this has been confirmed by the authorities, either at the hospital, or the police who responded to the call. Word is, though, it was pretty serious.

MATTINGLY: Wilson last made celebrity headlines three months ago during his high-profile split with actress Kate Hudson.

SUTTON: As far as we know, his breakup with Kate Hudson is something that happened a few months back, and he got over it. It doesn't seem like that's the kind of thing that would put him over the edge.

MATTINGLY: Wilson was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and visited by family, including brother and fellow actor Luke Wilson. Hospital official say Wilson is in good condition, but would not reveal specifics.

In a statement released by his publicist, the actor said, "I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time."

With a string of successes, Wilson is an actor in demand, and as long as audiences continue to laugh, many predict his career in comedy will likely overcome a private life filled with drama.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.




HARRIS: Saggy pants -- hang on in Atlanta. A proposed ban delayed.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange where we have a ban on bears. We are seeing a nice bounce back rally. The numbers next. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


HARRIS: Pants hanging down. Do your pants hang low? No need to pull them up in Atlanta, at least for now. A long-time city council member had proposed banning droopy pants that show your underwear. Droopy drawers. Critics say it should be a personal choice. Council heard from people on both sides of the issue. But put off a vote.

COLLINS: Safety in numbers. That's the rule, but not the case for 40 Miami cyclists after a single car takes the entire group out. Natalia Zea of affiliate WFOR was at the scene.


NATALIA ZEA, WFOR: Just take one look at this station wagon and you can tell how hard the cyclists hit. Dents along it's side, glass shattered, bicycles scattered on the street and sidewalk. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were cyclist (ph) flying all over -- the glass of the car flying all over. One of the rider was -- the hands were underneath the tire of the car. It was amazing. Devastating.

ZEA: More than ten cyclists were hurt, five rushed to nearby hospitals and two air-lifted to Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition. Many were treated on the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on the back of the group and I fall down just for a little bit, not on the front of the group. People on the front of the group was -- they're really hurt.

ZEA: The cyclists are from different bike clubs. Many of them race professionally. They say they were riding in a pack of 40 down the street, in part to be more visible to drivers. Carlos Ortiz (ph) usually rides with them every Tuesday and Thursday. This time he had to work late.

CARLOS ORTIZ: I'm extremely blessed. Lucky isn't enough. I am blessed.

ZEA: Now, he's worried about friends and their families.

ORTIZ: I know they are great guys, great family people. Usually their families, their wives they usually here. They are usually here just supporting them in the rides. I cannot just imagine how they feel right now.

ZEA: The driver looked shaken up. He told police he couldn't see the cyclists because these cars, including a Miami-Dade County van were illegally parked in the bike lane. Small mistake that could end up costing two men their lives.


COLLINS: Cars parked in the bike lane have been a problem in that Miami neighborhood. In 2002, a cyclist was killed after he crashed into a landscaping truck.

HARRIS: YOUR WORLD TODAY coming up in just 15 minutes at the top of the hour. Colleen McEdwards standing by with a preview for us. Colleen, good morning.

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Tony, Heidi. How you guys doing?

HARRIS: Great.


HARRIS: Good to see you.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, you too. We've been watching your coverage all morning of the state of New Orleans, in what state it's in two years after Katrina. We are going to have more on that. Also, we're going to go to Iraq though. We're going to look at this new move by the Shia Cleric Mutada al-Sadr, he's asking his militias to lay down their arms, at least temporarily.

Right now, we are getting our Michael Ware lined up to talk about that. How significant is this? What does this mean? It's going to be interesting to hear from Michael on that. Also good news for those church volunteers who were held in Afghanistan. We'll tell you more about what's going on in these pictures right here.

Also, take a look at this celebration. Got the pictures there. You'll see them. Why are these people so happy? Well, think 17 years ago, think South Africa and think a very cool statue, as you caught a peek at it there, in that very important person's honor. We'll show you the celebrations around that guys.

HARRIS: 89 in July.

COLLINS: Yes, amazing.

HARRIS: Wow, all right Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: OK. See you later.

HARRIS: Thank you, sure thing. To business news now. Here is good news for a change about the housing market. Mortgage rates are inching lower, but that doesn't seem to be enough to boost loan applications. Susan Lisovicz following all the trends, the numbers for us from the New York Stock Exchange. Suzanne, good morning.


COLLINS: Days after a 737 jet blew up on a runway in Okinawa, the FAA orders airlines to speed up inspections of Boeing 737s worldwide. Tell you about it after the break.


COLLINS: Added urgency this morning to inspections of Boeing 737s. The FAA says two planes turned up with problems. The issue: faulty bolt on a part of the wings.

CNN's Christian Maner (ph) explains.


CHRISTIAN MANER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene in Okinawa on August the 20th: 165 people who earlier escaped after a China airlines 737 burst into flames shortly after landing.

Investigators are concentrating on a front part of the wing called the slats, which is used to increase lift during take-off and landing. Preliminary findings point to a nut that came loose after a maintenance mistake and punctured the fuel tank leading to this fire. Air regulators around the world have ordered carriers to inspect their planes without delay.

HOWARD WHEELDON, BGC PARTNERS: There is only one level that is higher. All aircraft could actually be grounded. This is a forecheck so we can be reassured that all aircraft in the air after these checks will be absolutely safe.

MANER: Boeing has already acknowledged four previous incidents when the slat nut came loose. The U.S. company issued service bulletins in 2005, '06 and '07 for those incidents. Only one of them caused a real problem, a fuel leak. But in that case, there was no fire or further damage. The latest inspection order shows just how seriously the authorities are now taking the issue.

WHEELDON: We should be worried. Any accident, any incident is serious in this industry. We don't get, thankfully, too many of them. But this one has been taken seriously and I'm very comfortable with what Boeing and indeed, the -- both the FAA and CAA have instructed.

MANER: Known as emergency ADs (ph), these instructions aren't uncommon. The planes haven't been grounded and airlines should be able to fit the inspections around their normal flight operations. With 2,228 of the affected planes flying today and another 1,663 on order, the 737 is the most popular plane in the skies today. Airlines, Boeing and the regulators want to reassure the public and ensure there's no repeat of the events in Okinawa.

Christian Maner, CNN, London.


HARRIS: And still to come in the NEWSROOM this morning, real- life wedding crasher, police say this thief made off with the happy couple's gifts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would love to see the guy get caught, you know, and don't let any other kids go through that. I mean, this is uncalled for.


HARRIS: Absolutely. The well-dressed thief had a case of wedding bell blues.


COLLINS: Wedding bell blues for a California couple. Their reception drew a real-life wedding crasher, a five-fingered one, too. While the bride and groom were partying with family and friends, this fake guest raided the gift box. The thief made off with nearly $1600 in checks and gift cards.


PEGGY SMITH, GROOM'S MOTHER: You know that these were family members and they were friends. You know they wrote things in those cards that would be cherished forever when you look back on it, and those are gone. And they can't get that back.

PATRICK SMITH, GROOM'S FATHER: I would love to see the guy get caught, you know, and don't let any other kids go through this. I mean, this is uncalled for.


COLLINS: It's totally uncalled for.

HARRIS: Absolutely.

COLLINS: I mean, if I had an opinion. The wedding crasher thief may have struck before, at the same chapel, in fact. Now police have his picture, and I bet they'll be hanging on to it, too, try to nab him.

HARRIS: Come on, let -- can we help, people? Can we get to the bottom of this? I know there are bigger issues in the world, but can we help this couple out?

COLLINS: Have you ever crashed a wedding?

HARRIS: No, no, no -- well, my own. Yes.

COLLINS: Your wife didn't invite you?

HARRIS: Well, she had a second thought, sure, of course. It's me.

COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues just one hour from now.

HARRIS: Can you imagine, of course she did.

"YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next with news happening across the globe and here at home.

I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: I'm Heidi Collins, have a great day, everybody.