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Former Enron CEO Appeals Conviction; Wal-Mart Claim After Bad Publicity; Identifying Signals of Autism

Aired April 02, 2008 - 15:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, he was one of the smartest guys in the room before -- before he went to prison. Today, Enron is long gone, and Jeffrey Skilling wants his conviction overturned. Our Jeffrey Toobin looks at the prospects.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Airplane maintenance, it's the last thing you want the airlines or the FAA to leave up in the air. We're inspecting the inspectors this hour.

LEMON: And on World Autism Awareness Day, we try to unravel the mysteries, not just autism's cause or effects or treatments, but signals that can lead to diagnosis.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar, in today for Kyra Phillips.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: In court this hour, lawyers for Enron's former CEO Jeffrey Skilling, well, they're appealing his 2006 conviction in the storied collapse of the giant energy company telling a federal appeals court in New Orleans that prosecutors hid evidence and used a flawed legal argument to send Skilling to prison.

The same appeals court has overturned other Enron-related convictions based on that second claim. So, what are Skilling's chances? We will look into that with our legal, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, in just a few minutes.

KEILAR: Is U.S. air travel safe? That's a question everyone wants to know. Is the government making sure the airliners are airworthy? Basic questions we have thought a whole lot about, as airline after airline has canceled flights for snap inspections.

Correspondent Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit joins us with the latest.

You got to watch a pretty interesting news conference there, Drew. What can you tell us?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the FAA holding a news conference coincidentally one day, Brianna, before the House transportation Committee takes a very critical look at the way FAA has been conducting inspects on the airlines. But the FAA says today it announced a review of its inspection process. And Robert Sturgell, the acting director here, said that 99 percent of its airline airworthiness directives, those are those mandatory safety checks, were in compliance by the major airlines.

He said the air travel is safe, and even though there was that one percent, and we have been hearing, Brianna, as you and I have and many of the traveling public have been seeing these planes pulled out of service and inspected over those last two weeks -- that's a sign, he says, not of a system that is not working, but a system that is.

Here's what he had to say.


ROBERT STURGELL, ACTING FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATOR: First and foremost is to look at the data, look at the system we have today, look at the accident record over the last six, seven years and make a judgment based on that, not just on the commercial side, but on the general aviation side as well. We are at our lowest fatality rate in general aviation since the 1940s.


GRIFFIN: Well, even though he's touting the safety record, he also announced five new initiatives by the FAA to improve its overall record-keeping and inspections of commercial airlines, saying that the partnership with the airlines is key to all this.

Of course, critics in Congress, especially Congressman Oberstar, thinks the FAA is way too cozy with the industry, relies way too much on the industry to police itself. That will be the subject of a hearing tomorrow. But as of today, the FAA says, yes, air travel is safe, and, despite what you have seen over the last several weeks on the tarmacs, Brianna, that there's nothing to worry about.

KEILAR: Do we know yet? I imagine some critics are saying that the FAA, this is just sort of self-defense in a way what they're coming out and saying. Have we heard that?

GRIFFIN: Yes. They danced around that question. And if we believe them at face value, we're just to believe that this is a coincidence that this news conference is being held literally hours before whistle-blowers from the FAA are going to go before Congress and complain about the administration at the FAA and the safety record-keeping.

I also should add that there are four new investigations going on of four different airlines. They wouldn't give specifics, but I think, Brianna, if you look back over the last two weeks, that the airlines have actually had to pull planes because their inspections were not up to snuff, you could pretty much guess which airlines might be a target of those investigations at the FAA.

KEILAR: All right. Drew Griffin with CNN's Special Investigations Unit, thank you. LEMON: Want to get you now to some breaking news, and these pictures courtesy of our affiliate WTMJ. Thank you for this. This is coming out of Wisconsin -- Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

This is a building explosion, and here's what we're hearing from our affiliate. An explosion occurred downtown Oconomowoc, near Wisconsin Avenue. The energy company there is on the scene and believes the explosion was caused by a service line being hit.

They have also heard reports there locally that the First Baptist Church, which is located on Wisconsin Avenue, received some heavy damage as a result of the explosion, that a house next door to the church is on fire.

You can see the smoke billowing up from this building, whatever it was that exploded. Not sure if it was a church or a structure next door to that church. There may have been some construction crews on the scene. So far, according to our sources on the ground and the affiliates there, five injuries have been reported. But the pictures you're looking at now, a building explosion in downtown Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. We will bring you have the very latest as it develops.

Meantime, federal prosecutors are trying to determine whether a man arrested yesterday at Orlando's International Airport is mentally ill. Kevin Brown faces one count of carrying a weapon or explosive on a plane, on an aircraft. TSA officials say the 32-year-old suspect tried bringing bomb-making materials on board an Air Jamaica flight. A bond hearing was put off until tomorrow, so Brown's mental health history can be reviewed.

KEILAR: A developing story that we're following out of South Carolina. If you're driving right now, hopefully, it is not on Interstate 26 in the southeastern part of that state.

According to the "Associated Press," I-26, near Saint George, South Carolina, has been shut down both directions because of an overturned tanker trucker that -- pardon me -- tanker truck that was carrying hazardous materials.

Now, officials say hazmat teams are there trying to clean things up. The good news here, according to the "Associated Press," no other vehicles were involved in this crash, and the driver of the tanker only had minor cuts. But, again, this is I-26 in southeastern South Carolina, an overturned tanker truck, both lanes, both directions shut down. We will continue to follow owe.


KEILAR: While parents and doctors look for answers, several lawmakers from both parties are trying to expand the care and services available to families dealing with autism. It's been almost a year since they introduced legislation. and today, as the world focuses on autism awareness, they're calling on their colleagues to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MIKE DOYLE (D), PENNSYLVANIA: My colleagues and I in the Congressional Autism Caucus are deeply committed to ensuring that the federal government does everything it can to address the challenges presented by autism around the world.

Millions of families need and deserve our help. I look forward to working with my colleagues here and in the Senate to enact both of these important bills. I urge all Americans to ask their elected representatives in Congress to support us as well.

We need your help to move these bills through Congress and to the president's desk.


KEILAR: In a few minutes, we will explore one way that parents might detect autism, plus, the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange with a personal account of how autism affects a family.

LEMON: Lawyers for Enron's former CEO are planning his conviction this hour -- appealing, I should say, his conviction this hour.

They're telling a federal court in New Orleans that Jeffrey Skilling's 2006 conviction should be dismissed or he should get a new trial. So, what are his chances?

Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, it seems a little bit odd, but we will go with it. But what are his chances? And tell us why they're appealing and they feel they have grounds to appeal.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think his chances, like the chances of most people appealing criminal convictions, are low. It's important to remember, 90 percent of convictions are upheld on appeal, particularly in federal court. And the issue that Skilling is raising is that there were about 400 pages of raw notes, of handwritten notes by FBI agents of interviews with witnesses that were not turned over to the defense.

Now, the official reports were turned over to defense, but the underlying notes were not. This is actually not all that uncommon in federal criminal cases, that the notes aren't turned over. Very rarely does it lead to a conviction being overturned. But that's the core of the case -- of the appeal here. And the stakes are enormous, because Jeff Skilling got 24 years in prison in this case.

LEMON: OK. So it appears, though, the Fifth Court is giving him some hope in all of this. I mean, there is hope. Otherwise, I don't think they would have taken it into consideration, correct?

TOOBIN: Well, not really. They're pretty much obliged to listen to his appeal, and certainly in a case where the sentence is so long.

Enron seems like a long time ago. It was a long time ago. It broke shortly after 9/11, really was much in the news in 2002. But Jeff Skilling was the only senior official to go to trial and get convicted whose case is still before the courts. Remember, the senior person at Enron...

LEMON: Ken Lay.

TOOBIN: ... was Ken Lay. He was also convicted, but then he died suddenly before he went to prison.

So, the sole legal legacy really of this -- of the Enron debacle is Jeff Skilling. And I think that is a bad sign for him, because if this case gets overturned, that would essentially wipe the slate clean of convictions coming out of this case.

LEMON: OK. OK. Yes, that's what I was going to say. You're talking about Ken Lay. And Ken Lay died of cancer after that. So, and then -- didn't they sort of recuse him, or whatever -- what's the legal term? All the charges -- he was released from all the charges, and they sort of just said, we won't even do it? We won't deal with it?

TOOBIN: Right. Well, that's what happens when a defendant dies, is the case essentially goes away.

The only real legal significance of that was for the civil cases. Many, many people are still suing the senior leaders of Enron, trying to get some of the money they lost when their stock plummeted and suffered other losses.


TOOBIN: The fact is Ken Lay's estate didn't have -- doesn't have much money in it anyway, so the fact that the conviction was vacated, the fact that those civil cases may go away as a practical matter doesn't really matter much.


so, and all of this, and we're talking now about Jeffrey Skilling. What does this mean to -- probably not much -- I think you may have answered part of that -- to the thousands of people who lost their money, their pension, their savings? Not much, right?

TOOBIN: Just a feeling of some satisfaction that someone is paying a price. And a 24-year sentence, that's a very serious price for white-collar crime, violent crime, any kind of crime -- 24 years is a big deal. But that money is mostly gone.


TOOBIN: There have been many civil lawsuits. There have been some recoveries against the investment banks, against the accounting firms that propped Enron up. But, you know, the fact is many lives were ruined and the financial recompense is...

LEMON: That's done. TOOBIN: ... not nonexistent, but it's been small.

LEMON: Yes. OK. Jeffrey Toobin, we appreciate it.


KEILAR: Let's take you now to a developing story out of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. A building explosion is what this appears to be, concerns that it was caused by a service line being hit. And our affiliate who is bringing us these pictures, WTMJ, hearing a report that this is actually a Baptist church that was heavily damaged as a result of the explosion and that a house next door to the church is on fire.

Our affiliate being told that construction crews were working in the area and five injuries have been reported. We will continue to follow owe this.

LEMON: You can see the steeple actually there from -- there it is. So, we know that, for sure, Brianna, that that's a church, and pretty heavily damaged. Look at the structure next door.

KEILAR: And we will continue to follow this here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

After winning in court, Wal-Mart reassesses a costly claim against a disabled woman and her family. We have got a live update.


LEMON: More on our breaking news now from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. You can see there smoldering -- under the smoldering flames and smoke there that this is indeed a church in Oconomowoc, near Wisconsin Avenue, we are told. It's a Baptist church that exploded.

Now, according to the energy company there on the scene, they said that they were working on a service line and they believe that that might have been hit, causing this explosion, and also some heavy damage to a house next door to this church, which is on fire now. And you see that.

That is the video. We also have some live pictures of what's going on now. These are courtesy of our affiliate WTMJ shooting these scenes from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. And you can see, there's a construction crane there in the middle of the scene. And it is -- according to the reports from the ground, that there were construction crews in the area, that crane would confirm that. They're also telling us that there are five injuries reported in all of this.

So, again, it appears a church completely destroyed, a neighboring home also receiving some major damage in what is an explosion in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. We will continue to follow it.

KEILAR: With less than three weeks to go until Pennsylvania gets its turn on the election calendar, we have got some new poll numbers in the Democratic presidential race to tell you about. A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania shows Hillary Clinton leading with 50 percent to Barack Obama's 41 percent. Now, that is a nine-point margin, but it's actually down slightly from two weeks ago, when Clinton led by 12 points -- 158 delegates at stake in the April 22 primary.

And, of course, now it is all about Pennsylvania. The battle for that state's Democratic delegates leads our Political Ticker.

Barack Obama still on his Pennsylvania bus tour. And on his schedule today, two stops in Philadelphia -- that includes a speech to the AFL-CIO and an event in Wallingford. Hillary Clinton is focusing on Pennsylvania's second city. Among her stops today, a tour of Pittsburgh's Life Sciences Building, and then later she hosts an economic summit.

LEMON: A prominent conservative is still refusing to jump on John McCain's bandwagon.

In a state to "The Wall Street Journal," Focus on the Family founder James Dobson says he sees no evidence McCain is unifying the Republican Party or attracting conservative supporters. To the contrary, Dobson says, he seems intent on driving them away. Dobson spoke as a private citizen, not as a spokesman for his group.

McCain tells CNN he respects Dobson's views, but he says polls show the Republican Party is unified.

All the latest campaign news is available at your fingerprints. Just go to We also have analysis from the best political team on television -- that and more at

KEILAR: You just know that something is wrong. Could it be autism?

Elizabeth Cohen is in the NEWSROOM with help for concerned parents.


LEMON: CNN is devoting much of its programming today to promote World Autism Awareness Day. It's an event also noted at the New York Stock Exchange today as well, which is where we find our Susan Lisovicz and a very special guest.

Hi, Susan.


Well, Duncan Niederauer is the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. And he rang the opening bell this morning, as he so often does. But alongside with him on this first World Autism Awareness Day was his 10-year-old son -- quite a charmer, I might add -- Liam.

Tell us about Liam.

DUNCAN NIEDERAUER, CEO, NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE: My wife and I are the proud parents of three children, two girls and a boy. And Liam is a 10-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome a few years ago.

LISOVICZ: Tell us about Asperger's syndrome.

NIEDERAUER: Really just at the high end of the autistic spectrum. I think when a lot of people in this country and probably around the world hear about autism, Sue, they think about what -- the very narrow definition of autism, nonverbal, no emotions, et cetera.

It's actually quite a broad spectrum that affects a number of children. And Asperger's syndrome is at the higher performing end of the spectrum.

LISOVICZ: Well, I met Liam in the elevator. And he seems like -- quote, unquote -- "a normal kid." He loves to read. He loves to play video games. Nonetheless, he requires a lot of special care. Tell us about that.

NIEDERAUER: There's a lot of therapies that you can deploy. He's on a special diet. As parents, you try anything you can try that you think is going to help your child. And I think we're fortunate that we have access to a lot of resources, whether it's physical therapy or social skills training or the special school that he's in right now, which is for kids on the autistic spectrum, who really have to be coached and managed in a very different way than a lot of other kids.

LISOVICZ: Duncan, you're lucky in that resources are not a problem for you. You're a very successful executive. And, also, you have a lot of connections to people who can really make a difference in Liam's life.

What about those folks, so many out there who are watching this program right now, saying, we just don't have that? What can they do?

NIEDERAUER: Well, first of all, what they can do is be aware that there's a growing community out there of people like us who care a lot and want to help.

One of the reasons I had Allison (ph) and Liam here with me this morning is, our view is, it's a great opportunity to raise awareness and let people know they're not alone. This is a growing epidemic. The community of families that's affected by this is very tightly knit. And there's lots of resources out there you can tap into. It may be at the state level.

I'm blessed to live in New Jersey, which is one of the top states in the United States for dealing with this. Talk to your local school district. Go online to the Web sites. Go to the Autism Speaks site. There's a lot more resources out there for parents. I will never forget the first time we got the diagnosis. It was quite unsettling.

And we just went right to work. And the Web and all these other sources are wonderful resources. It's out there. We're here to help you.


LISOVICZ: Before we go, what is your single biggest wish for Liam?

NIEDERAUER: Well, that -- that all these things we're doing for him now, that he can have more days like he had today. He had a wonderful time being here today. When he was asked on another one of the networks what he thought about today, he said it was an honor to ring the bell, and he really hoped everyone focused on autism and its importance from a community service point of view.

That's great. God bless him and all the kids who are in his position.

LISOVICZ: Thank you so much.

NIEDERAUER: Thanks a lot, Sue.


LISOVICZ: Duncan Niederauer, the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.

And to Liam as well, who tried to ring the bell, I might add, Don, a few seconds early.


LISOVICZ: That's a no-no, even if you're the son of the CEO of the NYSE.


LISOVICZ: Back to you.

LEMON: I think, though, Liam, if he had done that, all would have been forgiven.


LISOVICZ: I think it was.

LEMON: Thanks to both of you.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

KEILAR: There's part of me that wishes he had sort of gotten away with that, right? What happens then? What happens?


LEMON: Everybody goes, oh, my gosh.

KEILAR: That would be great. LEMON: False start.

KEILAR: All right. Another story coming up -- after winning in court, Wal-Mart reassesses a costly claim against a disabled woman and her family. We have got a live update.


LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Kyra Phillips. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Just into the CNN NEWSROOM, two people are now in the hospital. At least two people following an explosion in downtown Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. This is in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. And according to our Milwaukee affiliate WTMJ bringing us these pictures, I should say, they have heard reports that this happened at a Baptist church, or that a Baptist church was heavily damaged, that a house next door to the Baptist church is on fire, and we have seen -- you can see here a home that is on fire, some reports that construction crews were working in the area.

We did see earlier some large construction work and an energy company, I believe it is, there on scene, concerned that maybe some sort of service line was hit. At this point, though, hearing reports from WTMJ that there are five injuries and we are hearing from the Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital that two people are now at that hospital.

No word on their condition at this point. We will continue to follow this story and bring you details.

LEMON: As we follow that story, we also have several other stories we're working on for you today in the CNN NEWSROOM. Lawyers for former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling are appealing his case this hour. They say prosecutors hid evidence and used a flawed legal argument to convict him.

Disturbing new details about this man, accused of trying to sneak bomb-making materials on a Florida to Jamaica flight. According to court papers, Kevin Brown said he planned to build a bomb after he landed. A formal hearing for Brown has been postponed until tomorrow in Orlando so government officials can determine if he is mentally ill.

United Airlines has canceled more than 30 flights so far today after grounding its fleet of Boeing 777s. The airline found that a routine safety check on part of a fire suppression system had not been done. It could take another day or so to complete the checks.

KEILAR: Wal-Mart has apparently decided its reputation is worth more than a couple hundred thousand dollars. Almost three years after the world's biggest retailer sued a disabled former employee, it is dropping its demand that her family pay up. This is a story that CNN's Randi Kaye has been following and she's joining us now from New York with the latest.

What is the latest, Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Brianna, yesterday was a very good day for the Shank family of Missouri I can tell you that. Now just to give you a little background so you understand why it was so important for them, Debbie Shank had a major accident. A semi truck plowed into her minivan about eight years ago leaving her brain damaged and in a nursing home.

So they have been battling Wal-Mart for quite some time because she sued the trucking company, the family did, won about $1 million. After fees and legal fees, about $470,000 went into a special trust for her future care. Now, what she didn't see, nor did her husband, in her health plan, the fine print said that if she settled with an outside company, which she did, the trucking company, Wal-Mart had the legal right to recoup the money it paid for her care, which was that $470,000. Wal-Mart sued, the court rules in Wal-Mart's favor.

The family appealed, that didn't go there way. Then all of a sudden, yesterday, out of nowhere, the family gets a letter from Wal- Mart saying, hey, guess what? You can keep the money. We're not going to take it away from you. I spoke with Jim Shank, Debbie Shank's husband, just a short time after he got the good news and here's what he told me.


JIM SHANK, DEBBIE SHANK'S HUSBAND: I got a phone call right around noon, Randi, from my attorney in St. Louis. This being April fool's day that was the first thing that went through my head.

KAYE: How do you feel now knowing that your wife's future will be handled and will be paid for?

SHANK: It's just a great relief, Randi. It's just a great relief. What really makes it great is the fact that not only is this not only a victory for Debbie, but this is a victory for every Wal- Mart associate, that they're going to change their whole insurance plan, that this won't happen to anybody again.

KAYE: Is there anything that you would like to say to Wal-Mart tonight and its executives?

SHANK: Well, I just like to let them know that they did the right thing. I just wish it hadn't taken so long, just should have dropped it from the beginning, but I thank them. And I hope they go through with all they've said they're going to do.

KAYE: Since our story first aired about your family we were overwhelmed with responses from the viewers, many of them angry with Wal-Mart. I know that you too have heard from a lot of the viewers looking to help. What have they told you, and were you surprised by such a reaction?

SHANK: Oh, the reaction is just -- I can't explain in words. I mean, this is a victory for people. People have spoken. We still have a voice in this country. It just shows that we can make a difference if we all stand together.

KAYE: And why in the end do you think Wal-Mart decided to do this? To go ahead and forego the money?

SHANK: I hope it's just they saw the light. The pressure from the people and, you know, all the hits, like you said you've had millions of hits on your sites expressing what they think of Wal-Mart and for such a retail giant, you know, maybe they finally felt the pressure, you know, maybe we better rethink things and come out of this as the good guy instead of the bad guy. Most of the people have called me and sent me letters have seen it on CNN.


KEILAR: It's so nice Randi to see that Jim has something to smile about finally and I'm wondering if he's had a chance to tell his wife, Debbie, the good news.

KAYE: He was planning to tell her. At last we spoke he hadn't told her yet Brianna but he was planning to go to the nursing home where she now lives and tell her that they had won, more importantly that she had won. But what's really important to remember here is that Debbie has no short-term memory.

She couldn't remember my name just a couple minutes after meeting me. Whether or not she'll truly understand what a victory this is and how important this is for her future care, we don't know. But it was very important for Jim to tell her.

KEILAR: And so many hits on the "AC 360" blog, I'm wondering what these new developments, what's the latest that you're hearing from viewers?

KAYE: We've had viewers write in who told me they were in tears after reading that the family was able to keep the money. One viewer just wrote in big capital letters, justice, for the family. And we have a few -- I have a few blogs that I wanted to share some of the responses.

Cindy in Georgia had written to us: "At least Wal-Mart came to their senses. But you know it wasn't out of any caring for her, it was all about saving face and keeping bad publicity down in this case."

Sara in California also wrote: "Way to go all of you at "AC 360" and CNN. This is a great example of using the powers of the media to give a voice to the voiceless. I'm very happy for the Shank family, one less thing that they have on their plates now. Thanks for bringing this issue out into the open and holding Wal-Mart accountable so that something could be done."

The last one I have here is Renee. She writes: "What a great turn around. I was ready to boycott Wal-Mart for this stance. I appreciate whatever made them change their decision, most likely the amount of press the past days. Good move Wal-Mart. You really do have heart."

So a lot of opinions out there. One other opinion out there is really about the attorneys' fees. Some people have questioned whether or not the family's attorney should have taken his fee, which was about $300,000. But I asked Jim Shank that and he said absolutely he earned every penny of it.

KEILAR: And I'm wondering, that money that Wal-Mart was suing for, where is it now?

KAYE: Well, there's about $217,000 that's left for her care, and that's been frozen in this special trust for Debbie Shank so nobody has been able to touch it. The family couldn't use it and Wal-Mart wasn't able to take it. So now that will be released to the family and they will be able to start spending that money for her care in that trust.

KEILAR: All right Randi Kaye, amazing story. You really made quite a difference, allowing our viewers to make a huge difference. Thanks for that.

KAYE: Thank you.

You can catch more of Randi Kaye's in depth reports on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," weeknights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

LEMON: Breaking news we told you about earlier from a high school in Roswell, Georgia. Roswell High School as a matter of fact was on lockdown, because some people had to be treated there. Not because of any weird incident where there was a gun or anything, but 18 people we're told had to be treated because of a formaldehyde leak.

Now four of those 18 people we're told were taken to local hospitals. Here's how it breaks down. Two teachers, one student and one police officer. It is believed that a pint of formaldehyde spilled in a bathroom. The school had to be evacuated. And then the students, of course, got to go home for the day.

But really, the interesting part of this as we look at the video there, people being treated, some of those 18 there, is that 18 people had to be treated from this. Four of those had to go to the hospital and the school had to be completely evacuated. If we get more information, we'll bring it to you here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

KEILAR: You just know something's wrong. You know it. What is it? Could it be autism? Elizabeth Cohen is in the NEWSROOM with help for concerned parents.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, this is David Isaac. This is my home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Although they're identical twins, the autism affects both of them differently. When they were younger and we would go out to the store or something, they would freak out. I carried with me at all times the paperwork from the doctor saying they had autism. It's gotten better now, they're 15-years-old. They're just very sweet boys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) was diagnosed with autism at 18 months. When we started early intervention on her, they had to teach her emotions. They would reward her with things she liked, like candy. But in the end, she wanted just praise and hugs. She got so excited when she got praised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joshua, he had such a mission to fill in this life. He loved every person, no matter your situation status or anything. Yet he had a two-year-old brain. Joshua died of a heart that was two times the size. I feel like he had a mission of love.


LEMON: Beautiful children. Those are just some of the autism stories we've been hearing via i-Report. Parents are the first to know when something about a toddler seems different. But diagnosing autism is something only experts can do.

Still, researchers have come up with a video glossary to help parents know when to seek help. Our medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is here with that.

Elizabeth, tell us about this. How do you know if your child is autistic and tell us about this video glossary.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This video glossary is incredibly helpful. If you remember, one of the moms in that lovely piece that we just saw talked about early intervention. That's when experts get in there and help children as young as possible.

The scenario that happens too often is that a parent will take let's say their one-year-old or their 18-month-old and say something's not quite right, and the doctor might say, oh, it's fine, wait six months. Don't worry about it, he's just a boy, boys are slower, something like that, and then the child doesn't get help as early as he could have.

So parents need to watch out for the signs of autism. So what we're going to show you is some clips of what a typical child behaves like and what a child with autism behaves like, and parents can really learn from that and learn when to really advocate for their child.

So we're going to show you a clip right now where you see a little boy, he's playing with big bird. He gives big bird a hug. He's interacting. This child does not have autism. He gives mom big bird. You'll see that he is making eye contact. You'll see that he's doing make-believe. He's so cute.

LEMON: Look at the cheeks.

COHEN: He is -- big bird is thirsty, the clinician was thirsty, so you're going so see mom is thirsty, he kind of identifies that people have needs, if you will.

LEMON: Right.

COHEN: That is what a typical child might do. But let's take a look at what a child with autism does in the exact same situation. This child, another cutie pie.

LEMON: Gorgeous.

COHEN: He is really focused on the objects in front of him. He is not really relating to the two women next to him. His mom and the clinician on the other side. They try to get him interested in big bird and he's just not really going there. He's not trying to feed anybody. So you can see there what the difference is between these two.

And this is from It's a terrific Web site where they have all these clips and more.

LEMON: I can't take my eyes off him. He's gorgeous too.

COHEN: I know, isn't he adorable? He's just great.

LEMON: Do you have another example?

COHEN: We do. We have another example of a child with autism and the kind of behavior that parents want to watch out for. And not diagnose your child but say, this is what my child's doing, I'm worried. Again, look at this child who has autism, he is focused on that bowl. That bowl is really everything, and then with other objects in front of him.

He is not focusing on the two women next to him, he's not focusing on the stuffed animal. He's really just into the objects that are in front of him. This is another warning sign. We want to thank the folks at Florida State who gave us these video clips and the folks at who helped us with this as well.

LEMON: All right, let's just say your child is showing some of those signs. Children, they don't always focus all the time. It doesn't necessarily mean your child is autistic.

COHEN: It doesn't What we don't want parents to see these clips and say, oh, my child sometimes gets very involved with the object in front of him. That's not what we want people to do. If that happens sometimes, that's one thing. It's all the time that you have to watch out for.

LEMON: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you and they're all just gorgeous. You see the video and they're such beautiful kids. OK.

And we hope we're helping today and I think we are, by doing this. Because we're going all day and all night with coverage on autism, unraveling the mystery. Catch a special edition of CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE", it's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Actress Jenny McCarthy will be talking about her relentless quest to help her son who has autism, also on the show a leading pediatrician and the parents of triplets with autism. You don't want to miss Dr. Sanjay Gupta's special report "Finding Amanda."

Sanjay introduces us to people living with autism who show us how they experience the world. See it tonight, 11:00 Eastern on "AC 360", right here on CNN.

KEILAR: We've got a potentially dangerous situation in California to tell you about. This coming to us from a California wire service. Apparently authorities, you can see a hazmat team there at Long Beach Harbor. They're investigating an unconfirmed report that a cargo container on a truck there at Long Beach Harbor may have been contaminated with anthrax.

This container was taken to a remote part of the harbor. People were being kept away from this area while these hazmat crew team members that you see here working to determine whether there was any danger of anthrax contamination. We don't know the answer to that. We are working to confirm this for ourselves and we're following this developing story at one of the nation's busiest ports in Long Beach Harbor. More in just a moment.


KEILAR: One of the most popular stories at today is an editorial written by actress Jenny McCarthy. She became an autism activist after her son was diagnosed and she's going to be on "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight. Larry is actually on the phone with us to preview his special hour.

Larry, what's going to be coming up?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Brianna, as you probably know, we have done an awful lot on autism over the last couple of years, devoting many shows to it and probably the highlight show was when Jenny McCarthy was on, talked about how it involved her life and her family. And, of course, that also affected Jim Carey and it became an extraordinary hour.

And now she's done a page for us on our, if you go to "Larry King Live," it's called "My son's recovery from autism." She doesn't call it a cure, she calls it a recovery. She'll be on tonight, and there will be dueling doctors, doctors who disagree on the question of vaccination.

I think she's been mostly encouraged by the polling decision, in which they said that that child's autism could have been caused by vaccination -- it's McCarthy's contention that it does cause it. We'll have that debated on the show tonight. Jenny will be on, they'll be other families on as well, as we devote the whole hour to it.

I also want to salute CNN. I think they're doing a great job today of covering this from soup to nuts. This is a topic that deserves the attention it's getting. We're happy to be a part of it. I know you are, aren't you, Brianna?

KEILAR: Of course. Of course Larry and I know that you get a tremendous response from viewers when Jenny McCarthy appears on your show, right?

KING: Well she's a magnetic personality. She's the perfect spokesperson for her cause. They couldn't have a better person out there than Jenny. She's not only beautiful but she's also very expressive, very bright, very alert, very, very animated. She's the kind of person that is a television host's dream in that you can't turn her off.

You don't hit the clicker when Jenny McCarthy is on. And of course that focuses more attention on autism and the fact with the involvement with Jim Carey who is such a major star, doesn't hurt it at all.

KEILAR: That's right. A very important cause. Glad that it's going to be on your show tonight Larry. We will be watching tonight, "LARRY KING LIVE." We're going all day and night with coverage of autism, unraveling the mystery.

You can catch that special edition of CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. As we said, actress Jenny McCarthy is going to be talking about her relentless quest to help her son, who as Larry said does have autism. And also on the show, a leading pediatrician and the parents of triplets with autism.

LEMON: We want to get you back now to our breaking news coming out of Long Beach, California. These are live pictures from our affiliate KCAL. We're getting several reports here about hazardous material believed to be, unconfirmed reports, of anthrax.

Here's what the "Associated Press" is reporting. They're saying that they're investigating a cargo container that was marked, again, according to the "Associated Press," marked with graffiti saying anthrax, a gift from Osama. OK, Long Beach Fire Battalion Chief Frank Kaye said a truck hauling the container was stopped at the terminal around 10:30 a.m., that's local time because of the spray painted graffiti.

The truck driver told authorities the container was picked up in nearby Wilmington and was empty. The container was moved to an isolated area of the port for inspection and hazardous materials crews wearing oxygen tanks and protected suits have opened it and authorities say there are no evacuations and terminal operations are continuing there.

We're checking this out, that's according to the "Associated Press." Also our affiliates and also our L.A. bureau on top of this story, but it has shut down one of the busiest container operations in the country there. We'll continue to follow it.

KEILAR: The closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street, that's straight ahead.


KEILAR: Two very different fights caught on camera. First, a violent struggle at a CVS drugstore near Philadelphia. Two shoppers tackle a man who was slashing the store manager with a box cutter. The manager had suspected the guy of shoplifting and then tried to stop him as he left.

Police say they have no doubt that the rescuers saved the manager's life. Then, a continent away, we go inside a firefight between Colombian troops and FARC rebels. You can hear soldiers yelling at the cameraman to get down. The army says five rebels were killed in yesterday's clashes.

And the closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street.

LEMON: I know, I sit here at 1:00 Eastern and then all of a sudden I look up and it's time to throw to Susan already.

Where did the time go?

LISOVICZ: I can't tell you, I just rushed to the chair, and throwing on my jacket and the microphone.

KEILAR: At least you had your mike on today. I'm not trying to rub that in. I've done that before too.

LISOVICZ: Yes. That's when I leap to the floor and find it. Which is, you know, that's another silly video and story that -- well, I'm sure we'll make on a blooper reel somewhere. One of the studies that came out today talked about how consumers are pulling back on discretionary items because of the slowing economy.

So here's that has this new service called text buying. You take your cellphone right and you see a product, say on television or in a store or online and you text in the product on your phone or the UPC number and Amazon, within a minute they say, will tell you what they're selling it for online.

So instant comparison shopping from No that was not a plug for, it's just kind of an interesting device for people who are interested in comparison shopping.

I wish we could comparison shop for oil and gas. Oil dropped nearly $5 over the last two days. Today it jumped $4 in one day because we had a big drop in weekly gasoline supplies. So there went that fledgling rally, just modest losses after yesterday's big surge. See you tomorrow.

LEMON: Who's ringing the closing bell, Susan?

LISOVICZ: You know, I don't know. The power of hope.

LEMON: I thought it was an autism group.

LISOVICZ: It was the opening bell.

LEMON: Thank you, Susan. Have a great evening.

LISOVICZ: You too.

KEILAR: Let's head to "THE SITUATION ROOM" and John King.