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L.A. Interstate Reopens after Weekend Tunnel Fire; Rap Star Arrested on Weapons Charges; Homeland Security to Stage Dirty Bomb Drill

Aired October 15, 2007 - 13:00   ET


DON LEMON, CO-HOST: It was an all points bulletin like none in the history of Interpol, a worldwide alert for a child molester whose face police had digitally undistorted. Today, Interpol says it knows who and where the man is.
BETTY NGUYEN, CO-HOST: And all clear on I-5 except for the fog. Check it out. But the truck tunnel north of Los Angeles where big rigs melted and concrete exploded on Friday is still shut down. We expect to hear more in a news conference this hour.

Hello, everybody, on this Monday morning. Yes, what a mess it is out there on Interstate 5.

I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Kyra Phillips, here at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And we'll talk about those stories and more. I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We are awaiting a news conference, a live news conference at any minute. You see there on the left of your screen they're getting ready. It's from Los Angeles County, where a highway tunnel turned into a blast furnace. It happened over the weekend.

This was the scene there to the right of you. There it is. Now to the left of the screen on Interstate 5 around Santa Clarita. It was Friday night. Fourteen hundred degrees the temperatures were there. Exploding concrete.

An inferno sparked by a chain reaction crash, involving more than two dozen big rigs. Two adults and a child are dead from all of this.

Now, things have cooled off, leaving the mangled and melted skeletons of trucks there. Most of the busy interstate is clear for traffic.

What's still unclear is how the fiery pileup happened in the first place. But one thing is for sure: it was certainly terrifying.

Again, live pictures happening at a press conference.


TONY BRAZIL, TRUCK DRIVER: I come to a stop and they just start hitting me, one right after another. Turned me around in there. And I could just keep -- I could hear trucks hitting back further, just bang, bang, bang.

And I got out. These two were on -- this one over here was on fire, by that side. And a couple drivers come over the top of the truck: "Get out of here! Let's get out of here."

So I got my wallet and my phone, and I was able to squeeze between that truck there and the wall.

DEPUTY CHIEF JOHN TRIPP, L.A. COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: There were 20 people that were in that tunnel with the raging fire going, as we were trying to get to them, and they were able to assist each other. And I think that's very commendable to how all those people were able to help each other without the first responders able to get there and assist them.


LEMON: All right. Live pictures now from a news conference. As a matter of fact, we're going to listen in.

WARREN STANLEY, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: ... working on identifying the commercial vehicles and working with the trucking companies to do that.

What I would like to do is give you two phone numbers, if you could get this out to the public. If anyone on Friday night was a witness to the accident or has other information they can provide, if they could call our Newhall CHIP office here, here in Newhall, California, not too far from here, at 661-294-5540. Again, that number for our Newhall CHP office is 661-294-5540.

And as this is going to be our last press conference, if you have -- if you have any -- request any more information regarding the incident, you can contact our public affairs here in Glendale, California, and our public affairs number is area code 818-240-8200.

Again I'd like to thank all of the allied agencies that worked with us: Caltrans, L.A. County Fire Department, L.A. County sheriff's, Los Angeles Police Department. We couldn't have gotten through this incident without all of us working together under a unified command.

I'd also like to thank the media for getting the word out and the motoring public here in southern California for their patience in this incident.

As of right now I'm going to turn it over to District 7 Caltrans director Doug Failing, and he will provide you information regarding the roadway openings -- Doug.


I am Doug Failing. That's D-O-U-G Failing, F-A-I-L-I-N-G. I'm the director for Caltrans District 7 covering Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

At this point in time it is a -- for us -- a very good day here in California. We're very pleased that last night at 1 p.m. we were able to re-open traffic on the southbound Interstate 5 freeway.

Later on during the morning, or shortly after 3 a.m., we were able to re-open traffic on the northbound Interstate 5 freeway. So that we've been able to keep traffic moving forward here.

At this point in time we still have two closures that we need to report. The southbound Interstate 5 connector to northbound Route 14 is closed and will remain closed for a short period of time.

We're assessing what we need to do inside the tunnel where the connector takes off. That's the area where we had the most heavy damage on the walls of the tunnel. And we have to bring in some special things in order to make sure that we can safely allow traffic back onto that connector.

Also, the southbound truck bypass is closed and will remain closed for an indefinite period of time. We have been busy in there. We've been doing the shoring necessary to open the main line roadways. We have had crews in place doing extensive testing on the tunnel walls and the re-enforcing bar that was exposed during the fire.

And we are putting in place strategies already for design how we're going to approach being able to restore that tunnel to adequate capacity and being able to open it back up in traffic.

We don't have a schedule for that at this point in time, but I really want to appreciate the emergency declaration from our governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the support that we've had from our assembly and Senate people in making sure that we have resources so we can use the emergency procedures that you have seen us use on so many other contracts. We'll have...

LEMON: All right. So officials there in California talking about this massive pile-up involving over two dozen big rigs over the weekend. You see the pictures there.

And it was truly an inferno, not just saying that. Fourteen- hundred-degree temperatures.

They are asking for the public's help in this, saying if there are any witnesses who saw this -- are asking them to call this phone number. I'll tell you, and we'll try to get it up for you. Area code 661-294-5540.

You may have just been driving by, didn't think that you could offer any help. But again, they're asking. There's a number at the bottom of your screen there, 661-294-5540. If you saw any part of this crash and witnessed any of it, they're asking you to call.

Again, they're talking about testing they're doing on the tunnel. The good news in all of this, they reopened the southbound lane yesterday afternoon. And then early this morning, 3 a.m. local time there, they reopened the northbound lanes. There are some other closures around that, but also, we have no word on the victims yet in all of this. We'll continue to monitor that press conference and any developments in the story and bring it to you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Well, do you remember this picture right there? That guy that you're about to see is the target of an urgent global search. And now, international police think they know who he is.

Just in to CNN, Interpol says it has identified the suspected pedophile, allegedly shown on the Internet molesting young Asian boys. The man's face was disguised in a digital whirl, but police unwhirled it, using a secret technique, and put out the picture last week.

Well, they got hundreds of tips, leading them to identify the suspect as an English teacher who once worked in South Korea. Police now think he is in Thailand, but they haven't released his name or nationality.

We, of course, are following this story and will bring you the latest as soon as we get them.

LEMON: We certainly will, Betty.

Grammy-winning rapper T.I. takes center stage in a federal courtroom in Atlanta today after his weekend arrest in a gun sting. T.I., also known as Clifford Harris, is accused of buying illegal machine guns and silencers.

Our Catherine Callaway is just down the street at the courthouse, and she joins us now with the very latest on that.

He's expected in court this afternoon? Is that right, Kathleen (sic)?

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We found out early this morning they set that now for 3 p.m. today in the courtroom behind me.

We should tell you that, as you said, T.I., his real name is Clifford Harris. He was arrested in a federal sting operation this Saturday, accused of giving his bodyguard, who had turned an informant, $12,000 to buy three machine guns and two silencers, weapons that he's not supposed to own because he is a convicted felon.

Now Harris was arrested just hours before he was set to perform at the BET hip-hop awards here in Atlanta. The 27-year-old was the top nominee of the BET Awards. In fact, he had nine nominations.

But he is also an actor. He is star of the movie "ATL", and he is also expected to appear in a movie that hasn't been released yet, called "American Gangster".

His attorney, Dwight Thomas, defended his client this weekend on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DWIGHT THOMAS, ATTORNEY FOR CLIFFORD "T.I." HARRIS": He has confidence in the legal system. He has confidence that it will work, and I have confidence that it will work. And it will work in his favor.


CALLAWAY: Now, authorities say that they also found three guns in his car, the car he drove to allegedly pick up those guns from his body guard. In a search of his home in College Park, according to authorities, they found six guns at that home in his bedroom, five of those, according to authorities, were loaded.

Again, Don, we are expecting that hearing to take place at 3 p.m., and we'll bring you an update on what happens there.

LEMON: Absolutely will, Catherine. And I want to ask you about this. You mentioned, you touched on his criminal past or being a convicted felon. What do you know about his criminal past, more specifics about it?

CALLAWAY: When this was announced, this arrest was announced, according to documents in this case, he was convicted in 1998 of a felony drug charge in Cobb County, Georgia, and received seven years' probation for that.

LEMON: Catherine Callaway, thank you so much for that report. We'll check back with you. Let us know once he gets to court.

NGUYEN: Another case taking place in Atlanta. Will Brian Nichols ever go on trial? A judge here says that the answer may be no, unless the state of Georgia comes up with more money for Nichols' lawyers. They've already been paid millions and say they need more to put on a viable defense.

Nichols' alleged killing spree two and a half year ago terrified Atlantans. It began at the Fulton County Courthouse, where a sheriff's deputy was overpower and beaten.

Police say Nichols then went gunning for a judge, and then, allegedly, he killed a court reporter, another deputy, and a federal agent before he was captured the next day.

The funding issue notwithstanding, the judge has decided to go ahead with jury selection this afternoon. We're going to have more on the case and the dispute over lawyer fees. That is coming up right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

One of the men charged in the O.J. Simpson robbery case has agreed to testify against the former NFL star as part of a plea deal. Today Charles Cashmore told a judge in Las Vegas he'll plead guilty to an accessory to robbery charge.

He reportedly will testify that guns were used in the theft of sports memorabilia from two collectors last month in a Vegas hotel room. Simpson says the memorabilia belonged to him and that no guns were used.

Trial run for terror? The Department of Homeland Security puts itself to the test with a scenario straight out of "24". Is America ready to handle a dirty bomb?

LEMON: Plus this. A Vatican official allegedly caught making homosexual advances. He says he was only faking it for research.

NGUYEN: And the final tribute, Michigan high schoolers toss traditions to lift up an ailing classmate. We're going to tell you this really sweet story.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


LEMON: Sixteen past the hour. Three of the stories we're working on for you, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Police say they know who he is. Interpol says it's identified this man, allegedly seen on the Internet molesting young boys. They think he's in Thailand and that he once worked as an English teacher. Police haven't released his name yet.

We heard from California authorities just minutes ago on this deadly inferno. It happened Friday in a highway truck tunnel near L.A. Police are asking any witnesses to call them as they try to figure out why 30 trucks and a passenger vehicle got into a chain reaction pile-up, sparking the flames. Two adults and a baby are dead.

Rapper T.I. is about to appear in federal court in under two hours. The Grammy winner is facing weapons charges after a federal sting. He allegedly tried to buy machine guns and silencers. He's not allowed to own them, because he is a convicted felon.

NGUYEN: All right. Listen to this: radioactive bombs going off on U.S. soil. Don't worry, it's only a test. But a big one. Top Four kicks off this week. In terms of people involved, it is being called the biggest terror drill ever staged nationally.

CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is right in the heart of it there in Portland.

And Jeanne, kind of give us a rundown of what we're expecting to see today.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, today we're not going to see much. You see these tents behind me. They are empty right now. But tomorrow they'll be full of people gravely injured in the explosion of a dirty bomb.

Of course, it's not for real. Portland, Oregon, one of four sites involved in this massive exercise. There are also going to be dirty bomb explosions in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Guam.

And then you'll have federal officials in Washington playing, as well, about 15,000 people in total playing in this exercise.

This -- the idea is to stress and test prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, to see if the nation's really ready for any terrorism event or a natural disaster.

The price tag for all of this is $25 million, but the secretary of homeland security says it's worth it.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Preparation, planning and training all get tested in the exercise. If you don't exercise, if you're a football team and you never actually play a scrimmage game, you're never going to know what's working and what's not working.

So I make the argument that exercises are actually the best value, because they tell us what we've got that's working correctly and what we've got to fix.


MESERVE: There are some critics of these exercises, though, who say that the lessons learned -- learned are not disseminated far enough, not -- they don't get down to the state and local officials who actually will be the ones to respond to any event.

They point out, for instance, that the after action report for Topoff Three, which took place two years ago, still has not been publicly released.

Federal officials say that's because it contains highly sensitive information, information that, if it were put in the hands of people who wanted to do the country harm, would be very useful to them. They claim that the information is incorporated into federal planning for future events -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, Jeanne, with all the different scenarios out there, why is this drill centering on the dirty bomb scenario?

MESERVE: Well, because they think that's something that's quite possible, because a dirty bomb is not difficult to make, and because it is not all that difficult to get your hand on the sort of radiological material that you need to make a dirty bomb.

It's going to test not just first responders' preparations and whether they follow the right protocol but what happens after a dirty bomb. What do you do about contamination? How do you handle public panic? What about the economic repercussions.

One interesting point: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is here. They told me that they actually blew up a vehicle up in Yakima, Washington. They carefully mapped out the debris field. Then they put everything on a flat bed truck.

They have brought it down here to this raceway in Portland, Oregon, and they are positioning all the debris exactly as it was at that blast site. So when the first responders come here tomorrow, they are going to be looking at a very realistic scene -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Important lessons to be learned tomorrow when that thing kicks off. Thank you, Jeanne. We do appreciate it.

LEMON: All right. Let's check in now in the CNN severe weather center with Chad Myers.

A mess in the middle part of the country. I understand you have some new video, too.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It was an ugly morning in Dallas, in Plano, in Richardson. The rain came through, and line after line of severe cells just rolled right through Dallas, north Dallas.

And here are some of the latest pictures. I want to get them right to you, because they just came in off the satellite. And it is not pretty up there.

This is from one of our affiliates, KTXA, and there you see that's water right to the bridge and then some for a while. But this is like the I-635 and Park Central, a little bit father to the north here. We're going to see some cars all the way up to the top of the car.

I mean, literally this water was running off all night long. The rain started early, and it's finally moved to the east of Dallas. But this is what our special "Planet in Peril" is going to be all about.

I mean, Dallas was literally in the middle of a major drought two years ago. You couldn't get anything to grow. You couldn't water your lawn. And now all of a sudden Oklahoma City, Dallas, you've had more rain this year than you should have had for the entire year. And we still have months to go yet.

And Oklahoma City today, we know broke a new record for the all- time amount of rain in one year. All-time. Over 55 inches. Pretty close.

And look, you still have the rest of October, November and December to break that record more. I mean, think, another 20 inches of rain.


MYERS: Now, this is where the rain is going to go. We know where it is. We know where it was flooding. But now the potential goes to Little Rock and Memphis, all the way down to Tyler and into Houston itself, even College Park. We can see an awful lot of rain in some big towns.

And the problem with what happened in Dallas and Plano and Richardson was that you got concrete in the way of a very heavy downpour. And when concrete gets in the way, the water runs off, Don. It doesn't run in.


MYERS: And then the water comes up so fast. That's why we call it flash flooding. And there was a lot of people in the way of flash flooding this morning.

Watching one more thing, too.

LEMON: What is it?

MYERS: This is brand new off the press. We just got this in from the hurricane center. No number, no name, but they are watching that little cloud mass that just came off the Yucatan for development for the middle of the week, somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, remember, the Gulf of Mexico is still very warm with a lot of potential out there.

LEMON: Yes, and you know what? You were talking about Dallas and the flooding. We don't need the flooding, but we could use the rain here. Any chance we're going to get some rain here in Atlanta?

MYERS: Yes. Some of this, some of this rain that comes across Dallas could move across to the northeast.

But one more thing. I have a friend that owns a farm that grows trout in North Georgia. Normally, there's a river that runs through that trout farm.

LEMON: Right.

MYERS: That has stopped. So then he dug -- he used his own well to pump the well water into his farm tanks. That well has now run dry. And now his business is done for -- until we get rain.

And now you don't think about this, but all of a sudden it hasn't rained. And now our food supply starts to get a little iffy, because he was supplying like 5,000 pounds of trout to the Atlanta markets every week. And now he's growing nothing.

LEMON: You said it, Chad. "Planet in Peril".

MYERS: Absolutely, buddy.

LEMON: All right, sir. We'll check back in.

Also, we want to tell our viewers, we love i-Reports. If you're in the Dallas area, anywhere there's severe weather, send us your I- reports,, and we will put them on the air for you.

NGUYEN: You know, you talk about planet in peril. How about the Dow in peril? Look at these numbers: down by the triple digits. Susan Lisovicz will tell us why from the New York Stock Exchange.

She joins us right now. What is going on?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, stocks are going lower because, Betty, oil is going much higher. I'll have the numbers and the explanation next.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


LEMON: This just into the CNN NEWSROOM. News on Senator Larry Craig.

Idaho Senator Craig, he has just appealed a judge's decision to let his guilty plea stand in connection with an airport bathroom sex sting. As you might remember, he was -- he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August after he was accused of soliciting in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That was back in June.

Well, just a few weeks ago he appealed -- or wanted to overrule, wanted a judge to overturn his confession in all of this. The judge said he would let that stand. And now Senator Larry Craig is appealing that.

This comes less than about two weeks after the judge refused to overturn that guilty plea, saying it was accurate, voluntary, intelligent and supported by the evidence.

But again, Senator Larry Craig has appealed that judge's decision. We'll follow.

NGUYEN: Well, some of the nation's best known banks are throwing out a big life preserver to help rescue the struggling credit market. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange to explain what all of this means.

Yes, Susan, how is this going to work?

LISOVICZ: Well, it's kind of a complicated procedure, but it just -- it speaks to the complexity of the situation that got us here, Betty.

Bank of America, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and several others are creating, essentially, a huge bail-out fund. The fund will be used to buy mortgage-backed securities. Those are the loans that banks buy, bundle into securities, and then resell them to investors.

The new bailout fund should help ease the credit crunch we've seen lately, especially when it comes to short-term debt. The fund total not disclosed, but estimates put it as high as $100 billion. Banks and others are concerned that if the crunch of the short-term debt market fails to ease, it could fall to the bank's bottom line.

The U.S. Treasury Department saw a need here to help broker this deal. Any return to normal for the credit market, however is likely good for all us, since all of us use credit. NGUYEN: Absolutely. But you know, the question is, how are these banks doing financially in order to be able to provide this?

LISOVICZ: Very good question. And we should have a better answer for you in the next week or two, because it's earnings season. And we just got a report today from the biggest of them all.

Citigroup's quarterly profits fell nearly 60 percent. Many of the losses came from mortgage-backed securities, but Citi has had problems outside of that, its profit also hurt by trading losses. Its operating revenue fell.

Results, however, better than Citi had warned they would be.

Still, shares of the Dow component are down nearly 4 percent.

And while we're talking about down and downsizing, let's just mention that AOL is further downsizing its work force, AOL cutting 2,000 jobs. Twelve hundred of them will come in the U.S. The rest will come from overseas.

This is on top of 5,000 jobs that AOL announced last fall. The new cuts amount to 20 percent of its workforce.

And AOL, I should mention, is one of our corporate cousins, part of the Time Warner family.


LEMON: Tight, dark and twisted. College kids get lost for hours in a cave that is more like a maze. We'll have details for you straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Well, hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen live at the CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

All right. Idaho Senator Larry Craig still not backing down. CNN has just learned that Senator Larry Craig has appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals today in his ongoing attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in connection with an arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting.

You might remember he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August after he was accused of soliciting sex in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in June. Then he asked a judge to take back that guilty plea. The judge less than two weeks ago said he wouldn't, that it was accurate, voluntary, intelligent, and supported by the evidence. Well, today the senator said he is going to appeal that. We'll continue to follow this developing story right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Let's take you back now to Chad Myers with more of that Texas flooding. You've got some pretty amazing pictures coming through.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, Betty, you worked there a long time. But I mean, I know you can identify some of these places here, but really, North Dallas, Richardson, all the way up through Plano, the rain just came through this morning and now it has moved a little bit farther to the east. But the damage is done.

Take a look at some of these cars. I mean, this is what -- basically this is what far Carfax is for. Oh boy. Yes, if they call and say, hey, new interior, yes, that's -- probably that's not the car you want to buy. Now no one was injured in any of these pictures here but...

NGUYEN: Is that the roof of a car right there?

MYERS: ... that's the top of a car, literally, KTXA. The problem is -- now look, see all of that debris that was floating around there. That debris was in the drains and the drains couldn't move the water down fast enough. But no matter where this water is going to drain, it's going to go up. And there was an awful lot of problems there in Dallas, Richardson, Plano, up to the northeast of Dallas, really.

Now the water and the rain is going to move to the east. So, if you're in a bigger town, let's say, Memphis, Fort Smith, Little Rock, and you have a lot of concrete, you're going to see some flash flooding possible today because this was the problem. The water came down so fast, couldn't soak in, couldn't run away, couldn't get away from these rivers fast enough.

Now I've had e-mails from people in Dallas and Fort Worth and I remember these a couple years ago saying, would you give us some rain, everything is dying here. And you know, it goes from feast to famine. And that's what the extreme weather is all about. You just don't know what you're going to get. You would love to spread it out a little bit. Give us an inch of rain here in Atlanta for crying out loud. I haven't seen that in, I don't know how many months. It just isn't happening.

That's the problem when you get this kind of weather, it focuses on one spot and it's either drought or it's flooding. And today Dallas and all the points northeast, you got the flooding today. We'll see where it goes tomorrow. But it will be a little bit farther to the east -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Yes. Well, maybe it will make its way to Atlanta, because you know we need it here in Georgia.

MYERS: Man, it's just so hard. Every time it tries to rain it just won't do it. You see a couple of clouds, and then the next thing you know, the sun is back out. It's looks like today, though, Betty, it's Memphis, it's Little Rock, it's to the southeast of Texarkana, Shreveport, and then down to probably Houston for later on tonight, so.

NGUYEN: Look at all that rain. But none here. All right. Chad, thank you.

MYERS: You're welcome.

NGUYEN: We're going to stay in Texas for a minute because three college students who got lost in a cave below Austin, Texas, are now safe. The two men and one woman were found Sunday in a 500-foot long crawl space about the width of a sewer pipe. They were tired and hungry but otherwise OK. The University of Texas students went into the cave Saturday morning and even told friends to call for help if they weren't back by midnight. Thankfully, they had left a trail of leaves so crews could find them if they got into trouble.

I want you to take a look at these pictures from I-Reporter Robert Hollingsworth. You see that right there? You can see what searchers were up against. The entrance to that cave is just 18 inches across. A tiny little thing. These pictures show you just how narrow it was. The 12,000-foot long cave is tight, maze-like and easy to place -- easy for someone to get disoriented, tough for even the most experienced cave explorers. Many places though are accessible only by crawling, and you can see how with how small the little crevices are there.

LEMON: My goodness. Well, trouble on a new front in Iraq. Kurdish officials say several northern Iraqi farms were shelled by Turkish forces over the weekend. Turkey says it's retaliating for attacks by Kurdish rebels that have killed 30 soldiers and civilians since late last month. Right now Turkey has about 60,000 troops massed along its Iraqi border and is threatening to root out the rebels. U.S. officials say an attack wound undermine Iraq's struggling government. They are pushing for a peaceful resolution in all of this.

Iraq is now more convinced than ever that Blackwater security guards opened fire unprovoked on Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square almost a month ago. Now it's demanding Blackwater be out of the country entirely in six months. The FBI is still investigating the September shootings.

And one victim's father is still waiting for justice. He spoke with CNN's Jim Clancy.


JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ali Mohammed (ph) is missed more than ever, almost a month after he was shot and killed in a Baghdad square. His family is in pain, but as his father was questioned here by the FBI, he says he had questions of his own.

MOHAMMED ABDUL RAZZAQ, EYEWITNESS & VICTIM'S FATHER (through translator): I was always asking them, will you have the courage to get to, to expose the truth despite the fact that you may be under a lot of political pressure. And they always answered me saying, inshallah, God willing. Even the Americans knew how we say it in Arabic.

CLANCY: As he looked over his Iraqi police report, Abdul Razzaq said FBI agents wanted to know whether he could pick out any of the Blackwater guards he might have seen shooting that day if they showed him photographs. He says he'll try.

RAZZAQ (through translator): There are more than 200 witnesses who can have their testimonies checked. The company clearly wasn't under fire or a mortar attack or a car bomb. And let's be realistic, the company said they were attacked by mortars. Then they said it was a car bomb. Then they came back and said no, it was gunfire. They changed their story three times.

HARRIS: Blackwater's Erik Prince says his men were under attack.

ERIK PRINCE, FOUNDER & CEO, BLACKWATER USA: At least three of our armored vehicles were hit by small arms fire, incoming. And one of them was damaged, which actually delayed their departure from the traffic circle while they tried to rig a tow.

HARRIS: Sunday, Nisour Square was quiet. A single policeman, a light flow of traffic. But the shootings here that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded another 27 have sent shudders through Iraq and its relationship with the United States.

Everyone in the country has heard accounts from police, victims and witnesses. And there is an overwhelming belief the shootings were unprovoked. The crime at Nisour Square, as the local media calls it, has even political rivals abandoning their differences and coming together to demand justice.

Moreover, Abdul Razzaq warns Americans must understand how most people in the country see this case. American justice is about to be put on trial.

RAZZAQ (through translator): I tell the American people the same thing I told the FBI investigators. We condemn the killing of American soldiers. We consider them victims and regret the American people's loss. But we demand they condemn these acts and demand American justice be fair and unbiased in trying these terrorists in Blackwater.

CLANCY: Abdul Razzaq will be watching. Hazy cell phone videos of a 9-year-old Ali Mohamed are about all he has left. The dreams now he says are nightmares of bullets coming at his family from everywhere.

(on camera): Abdul Razzaq says he hasn't been offered money nor has he asked for any. Compensation from Blackwater, he says, will not bring back his son. What he wants is justice for what happened at Nisour Square, a place that he says he will forever call the "square of lost souls."

Jim Clancy, CNN, Baghdad.


NGUYEN: Well, back here in the U.S., cancer death rates dropping faster than ever. So the question is, why? Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains, that is coming up.

LEMON: And check this out. Boy Scout one, Bear nothing. A scout's tent "bears" the evidence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see the scratch marks, claws, and he was telling you that that is definitely not just a small bear. That's actually a very large bear.

LEMON: Wow. And his pants look like they bear the evidence, too, unless he was trying to scramble away so fast they (INAUDIBLE). How a teenager used his training to survive when wildlife got a little too wild and a little too close. That's ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: All right. So you forget where you left your keys or you laid down the cell phone, don't know where it is. Is it a simple memory lapse or something to really worry about? Well, a new test may have the answer.

According to Reuters an international team of researchers developed a new blood test to predict who will develop Alzheimer's. They say it's about 90 percent accurate and can spot the disease up to six years before the symptoms hit. About 18 million people suffer from Alzheimer's worldwide.

LEMON: And it's a kind of news doctors and patients want to hear. Cancer death rates are not only dropping, they're dropping faster than ever. Our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains why.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The American Cancer Society says that Americans can give themselves a bit of a pat on the back when it comes to cancer. They say that death rates from cancer are down. Let's take a look at the specific numbers, the death rates are down 2.1 percent from 2002 to 2004.

What accounts for that decrease? Well, the cancer society says that Americans are getting the message, don't smoke, and get the screening tests that you need when you need them.

These declines are especially striking for colon cancer. Those numbers are, for men, colon cancer death rates have gone down 4.9 percent, and for women, they have gone down 4.5 percent.

Now the death rates aren't down for every type of cancer, for instance, take a look at liver cancer. That's an area where the society says more work needs to be done. The reason, they say, obesity, if you're obese you have a higher risk of getting liver cancer, also hepatitis C rates play a role here as well.

In general, cancer experts say there are three things you can do to keep yourself from getting cancer. Don't smoke, keep yourself at a normal healthy body weight, and also get the cancer screening tests that you need when you need them. You can go on the American Cancer Society's Web site to find out exactly what those tests are.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


NGUYEN: Hope the boss isn't listening. But hey, it's the truth. No job is fun all the time. But, a new government survey ranks the most depressing jobs in the country. Listen to this, caregivers for children, the elderly or the disabled had the highest rates of depression. Food service workers are right behind them, followed by people who work in community and social services. Health practitioners and technical staffers as well as folks in the arts, design, sports -- listen up, Don, the media are on that list, yes.

LEMON: Are we really?

NGUYEN: The study found women are more likely than men to have major bouts of depression and younger workers more so than older ones. Depression adds up to more than $30 billion in lost productivity every single year. I'm depressed just thinking about that.

LEMON: Yes. I just wonder if it's because we have to report so much bad news all the time, or such a pressure cooker. I don't know. But I would imagine when you're giving care to people that would sort of depress you, certainly.

NGUYEN: Well, that would definitely, especially if their state -- especially health care state is not a good one.

LEMON: That's a very interesting survey.

NGUYEN: Yes, again, depressed thinking about it.

LEMON: Yes. And we're going to -- another sad story. A Michigan teenager loses his fight against leukemia, but not before his shot at royalty. The story of King Eli. That's straight ahead. You don't want to miss this one, right here on the CNN NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Take a look at these live pictures from Rogers, Arkansas. The president is speaking there today. In fact, he is going to visit and tour the struggling packaging plant. He's also scheduled to have lunch with business leaders and from there he will travel on to Memphis, Tennessee. Of course we'll be monitoring his speech today and provide you with any developments just as soon as we get them.

LEMON: We certainly will. When black bear came calling, a scout's skills, well, they just kicked in, 14-year-old Chris Malasics was camping with his Boy Scout troop when a bear ripped through his tent. It looks like it ripped through his pants too. Always prepared, the Boy Scout used his training. Today he talked to our Kiran Chetry on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: You can obviously tell where the bear just ripped his way through. How did it start?

CHRIS MALASICS, SURVIVED BEAR ATTACK: My friend got pulled out from the other side and he came in and woke me up, the bear pulled out his pad he was sleeping on, it is like a little mattress. And after a while he came in, woke me up, and then the bear came over, stepped right here, collapsed the tent. The poles were all bent, these poles from different tents. And then he cut that open and grabbed me out.

CHETRY: Yes, and we have your jeans actually. You can see where he just -- he literally tore through the pocket, this part, and were you hurt?

MALASICS: Yes. I got a seven-inch and a four-inch mark on my butt.

CHETRY: How did you know -- how did you get the bear away from you?

MALASICS: I just played dead because that's what they told us in training when I went to New Mexico.


LEMON: Wow. Glad he's OK. Some other campers heard that commotion, they flashed lights, they banged pans and the bear eventually just lumbered off.

NGUYEN: Can you imagine, though, just to stay still and not move? I mean, that's what you're trained to do, but with a bear right there on you.

LEMON: Mama!


NGUYEN: Yes. I'm out of here!


NGUYEN: All right. We're going to get to this story, though. A Michigan teenager -- this is a sweet story, he lost his battle with leukemia but won the hearts of his classmates who made the boy king, well, we get that story now from Gabe Gutierrez of affiliate station WJRT.


GABE GUTIERREZ, WJRT REPORTER (voice-over): Until this year, only high school seniors got to be homecoming king at Lake Fenton High School. On Friday, sophomore Eli Florence broke the mold.

JAKE KIRK, LAKE FENTON H.S. SENIOR: And we just said, wouldn't it be cool if we gave it to Eli?

GUTIERREZ: It was all senior Jake Kirk's idea, he was one of five potential homecoming kings. But he and the others thought Eli deserved it more.

KIRK: Just a great kid. I mean, if he wasn't making me laugh, you knew something was wrong.

GUTIERREZ: Something was wrong with Eli. He had battled leukemia for three years. We spoke with him in 2005.

ELI FLORENCE, FENTON H.S. HOMECOMING KING: I haven't figured out exactly why, but there's a reason.

GUTIERREZ: Each week his mom saw him grow weaker.

TRINA FLORENCE-KING, MOTHER: I prayed this morning, I asked God, if you really are not going to heal him, if he's not here on this Earth, if it's not going to happen, please take him today. I just didn't want him to go through any more pain.

GUTIERREZ: And so Sunday afternoon, as Eli's classmates gathered to raise money for his treatment, at home his mother held him one last time.

FLORENCE-KING: And he was at peace when he died. He had a heart attack, but it was OK.

GUTIERREZ: One by one it seemed his friends learned the news, some through cell phones, others through hugs.

CHRISTIAN PENN, LAKE FENTON H.S. SOPHOMORE: He asked his mom if they had baseball in heaven. I'm pretty sure he's up there playing baseball.

GUTIERREZ: If you ever needed proof that a community bands together in times of loss, you needed to be at Lake Fenton High School Sunday night.

In Lake Fenton, Gabe Gutierrez, ABC 12 News, this morning.



NGUYEN: Take a look at Jimmy Justice (ph). He is a man with a video camera, a YouTube login and a mission.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ought to be ashamed of yourself! You're supposed to enforce the law, not break the law!


NGUYEN: Yes, that's Jimmy Justice, the self-proclaimed video vigilante, keeping them honest, his own way. You're going to meet him coming up. But first the next hour of NEWSROOM starts right now.