Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Fed Opening Two-Day Meeting Starting Today; Tornadoes Zigzag Across Southeastern Virginia; Alternative to Terror

Aired April 29, 2008 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Betty Nguyen. Heidi continues her maternity leave.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: You will see events coming to the NEWSROOM live on this Tuesday, April 29th.

Here's what's on the rundown.

NGUYEN: Disaster zone. Parts of the southeastern Virginia shredded by tornadoes. Hundreds are hurt.

HARRIS: North Carolina's governor backing Hillary Clinton just a week before the primary. The endorsement live this hour.

NGUYEN: And a survey finds gas prices "Issue #1" for Americans. Another day and, yes, another record in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And this just in, President Bush will hold a news conference next hour in the White House Rose Garden, and it's all about the economy. The president is expected to call on Congress to send him bills to help Americans deal with rising and energy and food prices, also mortgage payments and student loans.

Of course, CNN will have live coverage of the president's news conference 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Perhaps the president will focus on gas prices, up again this morning. Another all-time high. We seem to say those two together there every morning here. The national average for regular is up about a half cents a day, more than $3.60 a gallon, according to AAA. Diesel will cost you $4.24 a gallon.

NGUYEN: And paying for that gas, according to a new survey, it is the biggest economic worry facing most families. That answer was cited across income levels. 44 percent of people surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation said paying for gas was a serious problem. 29 percent are more worried about getting a good paying job or a raise. 28 percent listed health care and health insurance costs as their top concern.

Well, another interest rate cut is in the works, or is it? The Federal Reserve is meeting today and tomorrow and analysts do expect a quarter point cut in a key interest rate, dropping it to 2 percent. It would be the latest in a long string of cuts aimed at pumping up the economy. So you can expect a decision tomorrow. I do want to invite you to keep watching CNN. Our money team has you covered whether it's gas, jobs, debt, housing or savings. We'll also be listening carefully to the president next hour, as well, and then join us for a special report. It's called "ISSUE #1, THE ECONOMY," at noon Eastern only on CNN.

HARRIS: A boost for Hillary Clinton. Any moment now she is expected to get the endorsement of North Carolina governor Mike Easley. The state is one of two holding Democratic contests one week from today. The other is Indiana.

CNN's Dan Lothian is with the Election Express in Indianapolis.

And Dan, I've got to tell you, most of the polls in North Carolina show Hillary Clinton trailing. Perhaps this helps a bit today.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This will really be a critical endorsement for Senator Clinton in a state where Senator Obama really is expected to do quite well. So, you know, that campaign, the Clinton campaign is certainly feeling good about that endorsement.

Senator Clinton beginning her day, along with Senator Obama, in North Carolina, then she will be coming here to Indiana where she has three events beginning this afternoon.

Both of the Democrats have really been sparring with each other, but they've also been focusing on the issues that are important to voters, such as health care and the economy.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want you to think through with me how we're going to get the economy going. How we're going to get the gas prices down, how we're going to get the energy prices down, how we're going to move toward a clean renewable energy future. Make sure we have health care that's affordable for everyone and make college affordable again for every hard -- working young person.

Now, you know, to some people that might sound like a pipe dream. To me, it sounds like reality, because in the 1990s, we were doing pretty well in the economy.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People want a job, that's what they want. They want a job. But, you know, when you see an economy where the CEO of the company makes more in a day than the ordinary worker makes in an entire year and it's the CEO who gets the tax break, and the ordinary worker gets nothing. And then if the company goes belly up, the CEO walks away with a $1 million bonus and the worker loses his or her pension, something is wrong and something has to change.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LOTHIAN: Now, Tony, you know, we talked with -- in Pennsylvania about that core group of working class white voters and how critical that was to the Democrats. And that group, again, is important here in Indiana. This is a group that Senator Clinton really has been able to tap into. It helped her win in Pennsylvania, helped her win in Ohio, and there's been a lot of questions about whether or not Senator Obama can woo this group of working class white voters.

His campaign saying that he has been able to make some successes in states in some of the earlier contests such as Iowa, and they believe that his message can resonate with that group here in Indiana, as well -- Tony.

HARRIS: We will see.

Dan Lothian with the CNN Election Express in Indianapolis. Dan, good to see you. Thanks.

One week to the primaries in North Carolina and Indiana and Hillary Clinton appears to be closing in.

A new CNN national Democratic poll of polls shows Barack Obama leading Clinton by four points. She's closed an 11-point gap since winning Pennsylvania last week. If the election were held today, a poll out this morning from AP IPSOS shows Clinton would beat presumptive Republican nominee John McCain by nine points. Barack Obama is in a statistical tie with McCain.

NGUYEN: Well, John McCain spent another day talking health care in Florida. And next hour, the presumptive Republican nominee outlines his plan at a cancer center in Tampa. McCain wants tax credits to help pay for coverage. And the goal is to increase insurance company competition and bring down costs. McCain calls the $2 trillion spent on health care in the U.S. every year staggering.

So easing your pain at the pump, what the candidates would do about soaring energy prices. We're going to take a look at that coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Also making headlines this morning, miles of wreckage. Hundreds of injuries. The picture is just so dramatic here. Yet an overwhelming sense of relief in southern Virginia this morning. Three tornadoes ripped across the region with little warning and a tremendous force, at least 200 people injured, remarkably most injuries are considered minor and no deaths are reported. That is a staggering thought for those now sharing their own tales of survival.


ED FANCHER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I thought we were gone. I thought it was all over because it's just -- it was overwhelming. The noise, the wind, everything was being torn and falling down around us. The wind was tearing up the flooring, everything, the metal structures. And we just stayed down, squatted, and asked God to let us live. And I wanted my son not to be hurt. That's all I cared about. And He must have heard me because my son's home and he walked away from it. Both of us did.

And then when we came outside, I couldn't believe what I saw. I just couldn't believe we survived it.


NGUYEN: Yes, they are definitely lucky, and Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency and plans to see the hardest hit area today.

CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano is on the scene there in Suffolk this morning.

Boy, what a mess behind you, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I'm standing in the strip mall -- what was left of the strip mall where that gentleman told his harrowing story where he and his son took cover. This is a -- this was a new structure. I mean look at this, brick, mortar, steel, are you kidding me? Completely gutted by this tornado. I mean at least an F-2, if not an F-3. National Weather Service will be out later on to take a look at this. But this was a well-made structure and this is not the only building that was damaged or completely destroyed.

One hundred and forty homes damaged or completely destroyed deemed unlivable in many cases. As you mentioned 200 injuries. As of now, no reports of fatalities. We certainly hope that number stays the same. Search and rescue crews are going to be out throughout the day today.

Look at this. I mean this -- cars like -- this scene is duplicated throughout this county. Cars tossed and twisted like toys, one on top of the other just like that. And beyond this one, there's one inside the store there. Now places, your typical strip mall type of facilities in here. People just parked, shopping, maybe store owners.

Can you imagine being here yesterday afternoon when all of this came down, that tornado coming through those woods and just drilling a core of damage and destruction right through the center of this facility? This is one of three tornados that came through the area yesterday afternoon. The first one 60 miles west of here around 1:00, the second one, 60 miles northwest of here about 3:00. This came in 4:30, 5:00. So you can just imagine just how busy it was and for that reason, it is nothing short of miraculous that folks -- that we have yet to see any fatalities here.

We talked to the mayor and she says they are blessed. This is hurricane country, Tony and Betty. They are not necessarily used to seeing tornados, though. They have had a few in their history. But every local that I've talked to that's lived there their whole life has said that they have never seen anything like this.


MARCIANO: (INAUDIBLE) NGUYEN: It is remarkable that three tornados, really, during the height of the day when people are out and about and no fatalities there. Any idea how strong these tornados were?

MARCIANO: Tough to say. The one -- that early one likely was an F-2 with winds topping 100 to 110 miles an hour. The National Weather Service will be out here later today to assess the damage. This one, likely an F-3.


MARCIANO: I can't image winds less than 120 miles an hour or 130 miles an hour doing this sort of damage.

NGUYEN: Goodness.

MARCIANO: So -- they have had one as strong as that -- the F-4s in Virginia, but that was like 15 years ago.

HARRIS: Right. Right.

MARCIANO: This is unusual.

HARRIS: For sure.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. All right. Rob Marciano joining us live. Thank you, Rob.

Well, when the weather does become the news, you can remember to send us your iReports. Here's what you do. Go to and click on iReport or type into your cell phone. But always stay safe doing it.

HARRIS: Father and son at the ballpark.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a beer for myself and asked Leo if he wanted a lemonade.


HARRIS: That lemonade costs dad -- Betty, costs dad custody. Sour twists, in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Betty Nguyen.

Well, do you have osteoporosis? A new study links a popular treatment to a heart condition. Information that you need just minutes away.


HARRIS: So what do you say we take you to Raleigh, North Carolina right now and North Carolina governor Mike Easley set to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Listen in.

GOV. MIKE EASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA: How knowledgeable she was and how knowledgeable she is now is some indication of why we all know that Hillary Clinton gets it. She gets it. It's time for somebody to be in the White House who understands the challenges that we face in this country, and you can't minimize them. They are significant. I never, ever thought the United States of America could get in as much trouble as we have over the last seven or eight years.

I just didn't think it was possible. And it's going to take somebody very special, somebody smart, somebody who understands that somebody who has experience to get in there and turn it around immediately and she can do that. She can do that.


EASLEY: You can go online and read all of her policy and position papers. And you can see where she stands on the issues.

But let me just tell you about a couple that are very important. We just got through touring the BTEC center, that Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center. We used tobacco settlement money to transform all of these tobacco dependent communities. And we are now number three in biotech in the United States of America. We're right behind Boston and California, and I want the Governator to know I'm hot on his trail. We're moving.

But we are at a critical time in this country where we know if we don't invest in our stock and trade, which is creativity and innovation, and you've heard talk about it on more than one occasion, that we have to raise the level of knowledge, talent and skill. And if we don't do it and do it almost yesterday, then we run the risk of becoming a second tier nation.

Now that sounds kind of down. But let me give you the good news. The good news is we have somebody running for president who gets it, who understands that and has the ability to deliver on that need right away. And that's the critical difference. Hillary knows and understands that there is a connection between education and economic development that's never existed before that if we want to dominate, we have to innovate, that America's ability to dominate the world economy has been based in the past and will be based in the future on every child at every corner of every county of this country having access to a college education.

That's in her plan.


EASLEY: That's in her plan. There is a lot of yes, we cans and yes, we should going around. Hillary Clinton is ready to deliver. That's the difference. She's ready to deliver today. Immediately.

(APPLAUSE) EASLEY: And I'll tell you this, I've been accused of being persistent and down right aggravating. Now I'm not going to say what she calls me, but this lady right here makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy. She's got go up and go. She's here today. She's going to be here next month, the month after that, and the year after that as the president of the United States.

I'm proud to support and endorse Hillary Clinton, the next president of the United States of America.


CLINTON: Good morning. Wow. It is so exciting to be on this campus today and I am thrilled to be here with your governor and your first lady. I am so grateful to both Mike and Mary for their leadership. They're a real team and they are really committed to this state and producing positive results for the people of North Carolina. And we did have a terrific tour over on the Centennial Campus of the BTEC facility and heard a lot about what's happening right here, and I think that North Carolina has made all the right bets and all the right investments.

You are looking toward the future with confidence and optimism. And as Mary said, we know we've got challenges. But there isn't anything we can't do if we start acting like Americans again. And we roll up our sleeves and we get to work. In addition to First Lady Mary Easley and, of course, Governor Easley, I want to thank state representative, Alice Bordsen, and Wake County commissioner, Lindy Brown. I want to thank the entire staff here at NCSU and especially the faculty and students who are here because this election is much more about you than it is about me.

It is not just an election. It's about the next generation. And we've got to be smart about how we help prepare the way so that each and every one of you can fulfill your own God given potential and make a contribution to this great country of ours, because we are in an increasingly competitive global environment.

HARRIS: And there you have it. New York senator Hillary Clinton accepting the presidential endorsement of North Carolina governor Mike Easley this morning in Raleigh, North Carolina. It must be noted, however, that much of the state's congressional delegation is backing Illinois senator Barack Obama for president. However, the endorsement of Governor Easley could help Clinton in that state of North Carolina as she trails right now in most of the state polls.

Hillary Clinton accepting the presidential endorsement of North Carolina governor Mike Easley in Raleigh.

NGUYEN: In other news, a domineering bully, that's how family members described a father who locked up and raped his daughter for more than two decades.

The man is in court today and CNN's Phil Black is in Amstetten, Austria this morning.

Phil, so what happened during this first court appearance where we first were introduced to this guy?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Betty. This court appearance, it was brief, a formality. Police are seeking to keep him Josef Fritzl in custody. He is a man accused of imprisoning his daughter for 24 years, and during that time, fathering seven of her children. He didn't say much but he did speak of his desire to redeem himself.

That's big ask because his family, this community, they are all now coming to terms with the fact that they have been believing his lies for more than two decades. For that time, he has maintained that his daughter ran away at the age of 18 to join a cult. Every so often, she would come and leave a child on their doorstep, one she could not look after.

We have speaking to people in this community about that. Let's hear what one of them has to say.


GERTRUDE BAUMGARTEN, FRIEND OF ROSEMARIE FRITZL (Through translator): She said she believed her daughter had had the child with someone from the cult and couldn't take care of it. That's was Elizabeth laid it in front of the door. And she said, "Well, what can we do? We have to take the child in." She never knew that something was so very wrong there. I believe it would be fitting to get a rope and hang him. Such a pig.


BLACK: Now Josef Fritzl admits to imprisoning his daughter, fathering seven children, six of which survived, one of which he destroyed the body of in a furnace.

He admits to all of this but police say he has offered no justifications for his actions over the last 24 years so far, Betty.

NGUYEN: Oh, Phil, this is just so hard to stomach as we've already have gotten a lot of the details. But are you expecting to hear even more today in this case?

BLACK: Well, police tell us today that they have been searching other properties belonging to this man for the possibility of other prison-like cellars existing beneath these properties. It's unlikely, but they say it's a possibility they have to either rule in or rule out. Nothing has been found so far. They're holding a press conference within the next hour or so. We hope to learn more details then.

This community, though, as it struggles to accept these terrible facts, it will be holding a candlelight vigil this evening in honor of the victims -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Phil Black joining us from Austria today. Thank you, Phil.

HARRIS: A CNN exclusive, clamping down on al Qaeda.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day in and day out, we meet them, we talk to them, we understand them. That's an advantage for us as it is a disadvantage for them.


HARRIS: Important lessons from inside the largest terrorism detention camp in Iraq. Only on CNN.


NGUYEN: Alarming findings this morning. The popular osteoporosis drug Fosamax could double your risk of an irregular heartbeat.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here, and we really want to know how -- when you hear this, how dangerous is Fosamax.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The heart condition we're talking about is atrial fibrillation, which is a relatively common problem. And I will tell right off the top, a pretty harmless problem for the vast majority of people. They may feel their heart racing a bit, and more seriously, they may have some fatigue, in very serious cases they could actually suffer a stroke.

But this idea that this Fosamax drug which, you know, used to ward off osteoporosis could be causing heart problems is a relatively new finding.

Let me show you, for example, what happens with atrial fibrillation specifically. You have four chambers in the heart. What happens here, Betty, is the top two chambers called the atria just stopped beating normally. They beat inefficiently and blood clots may form in the heart and those blood clots may travel through the body causing problems.

What they found is that in the general population, atrial fibrillation occurs in about 4 percent of people.


GUPTA: In this study, elderly women. If you're taking Fosamax, those numbers go up to about 6 percent. So there is an increase. It's not staggering and certainly doesn't mean, for all the people who take this medication out there, they're going to develop atrial fibrillation. But there is a concern about this.

NGUYEN: Yes, there is that possibility. So for those who are taking Fosamax, what do they do after hearing this?

GUPTA: Right. Well, you know, I think that the best advice that we can -- we sort of - called a lot of people and talk to them about this -- is that if you have some sort of history of this in the past, either it runs in your family or you've had some sort of an irregular heartbeat, you may want to talk to your doctor about a different type of medication.

If it's never been a problem for you, then I think you're probably going to be OK. Keep in mind that warding off hip fractures or something like that is a huge asset, because a hip fracture in an elderly person puts them in -- at bed-ridden state for sometime...

NGUYEN: Right.

GUPTA: a hospital or nursing home, it's a huge problem. So don't just simply taking the medication. There are some other alternatives, though, to your point. Some vitamin D, for example, supplements, exercise, light weight lifting. This is something you used to tell your mom, Betty, because -- I tell my mom to do some weigh lifting. You don't talk about elderly people doing weight lifting.

Sorry, Mom, didn't mean to call you elderly.

NGUYEN: Yes, I was about to say, wait, my mom is not elderly, Sanjay.

GUPTA: They're actually doing some weight training, increases the strength of those bones which is so important especially as you get older for women and men alike.

NGUYEN: I can't her on the treadmill let alone weight lifting.

GUPTA: Fire some dumbbells.

NGUYEN: I'll say Dr. Sanjay said to do it.

GUPTA: That's right.

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Sanjay.

GUPTA: All right, guys.

NGUYEN: Well, if you are in the CNN NEWSROOM, you're watching us right now, we do want to welcome you on this Tuesday morning.

Hey, Tony.

HARRIS: Good morning, everyone. Just want you give you another quick reminder here. President Bush is scheduled to hold a news conference this morning in the White House Rose Garden. That's scheduled for the next hour. And it is all about the economy. The president is expected to call on Congress to send him bills to help Americans deal with the rising energy and food prices, also mortgage payments and student loans.

CNN will, of course, have live coverage of the president's news conference 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, an hour from now.

NGUYEN: The presidential candidates and your soaring energy costs, what would they do?

CNN's Jessica Yellin has a scorecard.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The rage over gas prices is rising. Truckers protesting in Washington. Americans driving south of the border to fill up or opting for alternative transportation.

Now the candidates are vowing to slash your prices at the pump.

John McCain was the first to propose a federal gas tax holiday. He'd lift the 18.4 cents a gallon federal tax on gasoline during peak summer travel months May through September. McCain says it will give low-income Americans...

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A little bit of relief so they can travel a little further and a little longer, and maybe have a little bit of money leftover to enjoy some other things in their lives.

YELLIN: Clinton's plan? Like McCain, she'd have a gas tax holiday. She points out, that will cost the government up to $10 billion, money that's used to improve our roads. So she'd make up for lost revenue with a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. Their profits over a certain figure would be taxed at 50 percent.

CLINTON: Oil companies aren't paying their fair share to help us solve the problems at the bump. So now in the short-term, we have to take aim at these enormous oil company profits.

YELLIN: Clinton would also close $7.5 billion in oil and gas loopholes and monitor prices to be sure there is no manipulation.

And Obama, his plan is very similar to Clinton's, only he does not support the gas tax holiday. He says it would save the average driver only $25 to $28 and he calls it a political scheme.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's typical of how Washington works. There's a problem. Everybody is upset about gas prices. Let's find some short-term quick fix that we can say we did something, even though we're not really doing anything.

YELLIN: Obama would use a windfall profits tax on oil companies to help low income families pay their energy bills. And he insists he'll work harder than the other candidates to limit oil company's influence in Washington.

(on camera): Both Clinton and McCain are piling on Obama for opposing the gas tax holiday, but a number of experts tell CNN while that holiday is popular, it is not a long term solution to soaring gas prices.

Jessica Yellin, CNN, Washington.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, job cuts in the works at GM. Yes, the automaker says it will lay off some 3,550 people this summer. Those cuts brought on by weak sales of pickup trucks and SUVs. Now GM is blaming high gas prices and the economic downturn and the cuts will happen at factors in Flint and Pontiac, Michigan, Janesville, Wisconsin and Oshawa, Ontario.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: What do you say we get you to the New York Stock Exchange now, as we get the business day started. Boy -- hey, hey, hey, who is that?

NGUYEN: That is Robert Downey Jr., I believe.

HARRIS: That is Robert --

NGUYEN: Ironman as they like to call him.

HARRIS: Is he Ironman? Is he the lead character?

NGUYEN: Yes. He's going to be the lead character.

HARRIS: He's about 5'5" and he's playing Ironman? He's got bigger than life, superhero-type character there.

NGUYEN: It's the movies. They can make everyone look like a superhero.

HARRIS: Oh, it's the movie. OK. So as we get the business day started, the DOW starts today at 12871. You know, this is always going to be a bit of a cautious start to the day.

The Fed opening a two-day meeting starting today. Interest rates, the topic of discussion, obviously. An interest rate cut actually expected tomorrow. Wall Street likely to be a bit cautious ahead of that Fed decision. At least that's the guidance we're getting from our friends over at CNN Money.

And there it is being played out right now. The DOW down 23 points. Obviously, we keep in mind that it is early. Our A-lister, Susan Lisovicz, watching the market for us, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And keep watching CNN, our money team has you covered, whether it's jobs, debt, housing or savings, probably some analysis on the president's news conference on the economy this morning. Join us for a special report. It is called "ISSUE #1," the economy. All this week at noon Eastern only on CNN.

NGUYEN: Well, listen to this. It's a Wizard of Oz type tornado. Homes, cars, airborne.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as I seen the car fly up in the air, we started high tailing it to the back of the store. But man, that was the scariest thing I've ever seen. It shook the building. Shoes are falling over. It was really, really scary.


NGUYEN: Frightening, nonetheless. Damage assessment, though, we have it live from the disaster zone here in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: You know, it is a small craft that can do some big damage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even a 40-pound vehicle in the air can cause substantial damage and take out a small airplane flying in the same air space.


HARRIS: Drones protecting the borders, what's protecting you from drones? Ahead, before the top of the hour, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Well, miles of wreckage, hundreds of injuries yet an overwhelming sense of relief in Southern Virginia this morning, despite what you're seeing right there.

Three tornadoes did that. Just ripped across the region with little warning and tremendous ferocity. At least 200 people were hurt. But remarkably, most injuries are considered minor and no deaths are reported. That is a staggering thought for those now sharing their own tales of survival.


ED FANCHER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I thought we were gone. I thought it was all over because it just -- it was overwhelming. The nose, the wind, everything was being torn and falling down around us.

The wind was tearing up the flooring, everything, the metal structures. And we just stayed down, squatted and asked God to let us live. And I wanted my son not to be hurt. That's all I cared about. And He must have heard me, because my son is home and he walked away from it, both of us did. And then when we came outside, I couldn't believe what I saw. I just couldn't believe we had survived it.


HARRIS: In the eye of the storm, CNN viewers share their first- hand encounters with tornadoes that tore through Southern Virginia. Here's one from I-reporter William Bernstein Jr. Take a listen.


WILLIAM BERNSTEIN JR, I-REPORT: Storm, right there. It's right there in Suffolk. As you can see this is a super cell center storm. Right there on my left, you can see the clouds and they're rotating as I'm driving into Suffolk. This is exclusive coverage right now of this tornado that was confirmed on the ground.


HARRIS: Boy, he looks and sounds like a reporter, an I-reporter there, Betty. And another I-reporter, Jeanne Hartley, sent us these photos, these images. Also, from Suffolk, Virginia.

Virginia's governor is touring the damage in the region today. Boy, that could take some time. The loss is significant. At least, 140 homes damaged or destroyed and more than 200 people injured. Remarkably, most injuries are considered minor and no deaths are reported.

If you have images to share, go to and click on I-report or type into your cell phone. Just one other quick note here.

Eric, correct me if I'm wrong with this, but I believe a news conference in scheduled in that area -- Suffolk, Virginia -- at the top of the hour, a news conference. We'll learn more about the damage and the more importantly, how the people in Suffolk, Virginia, are doing.

NGUYEN: Well, the Wisconsin parents who prayed while their daughter died have been charged with second degree reckless homicide. Police say 11-year-old Madeleine Newman called Kyra (ph) by her parents, had an undiagnosed Diabetes-related illness. And she died from complications. Police say her parents never took her to the doctor because they believed God would heal her.


JILL FALSTAD, MARATHON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: During the last 48 hours of her life, she became unable to speak, unable to eat or drink, unable to walk, and she showed signs of breathing difficulties. During the final hours of her life, she was comatose.


NGUYEN: Kyra's (ph) parents will be in court tomorrow and they face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the charges.

HARRIS: A dad takes his son out to the ball games and gets squeezed. It seems he made the wrong choice at the concession stand. Reporter Steve Garagiola of affiliate WDIV reports.


STEVE GARAGIOLA, WDIV REPORTER (voice-over): Chris Batte took his 7-year-old son to a ball game here at Comerica Park.

CHRIS BATTE, FATHER: I got a beer for myself and asked Leo if he wanted a lemonade, because there was a sign up above that said Mike's Lemonade. GARAGIOLA: Chris had never heard of Mike's Lemonade. But lemonade is lemonade, right? Wrong. In the ninth inning, a security guard approached.

BATTE: Are you giving this to your son's to drink. And I said, yes. He said did you know it was alcoholic. I said you got to be kidding. No I had no idea.

GARAGIOLA: Mike's hard lemonade contains 5 percent alcohol. So Child Protective Services took custody of the little boy.

BATTE: It's just a simple fact that I didn't know this brand and didn't suspect that some of the lemonade sold in ballparks nowadays is alcoholic.

GARAGIOLA: According to Mr. Batte, everyone involved seemed to agree that taking the child was an overreaction but said rules are rules. Don Duquette, an attorney and child advocate says the flaw in the system is that it's too arbitrary.

DON DUQUETTE, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, LAW PROFESSOR: If I had my way, CPS workers would have the highest pay of any workers involved. Because unfortunately, decisions like this one become bureaucratic. Well, this is ridiculous, but this is how we do business.

BATTE: Fine. This guy bought this drink for his son. We need to look into this. But maybe we don't have to take the most extreme, you know, measure available to us.


HARRIS: The boy remained in foster care for two days before his mother was allowed to take him home. But dad had to move to a hotel for two weeks, for two weeks before he could rejoin the family.

NGUYEN: What a story. Well, we have a CNN exclusive for you. Clamping down on al Qaeda.


UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Day in and day out, we meet them, we talk to them, we understand them. That's an advantage for us as it is a disadvantage for them.


NGUYEN: Important lessons from inside the largest terrorism detention camp in Iraq, only on CNN.


NGUYEN: In Afghanistan today, a suicide bomber attacked a drug enforcement team. At least 18 people were killed and about 40 others injured. Now it happened at an outdoor meeting in Eastern Afghanistan. Tribal leaders and the district governor were talking about destroying poppies when that bomber attacked. As you know, poppies are used to make opium.

HARRIS: Defusing a powder keg at detention camp, the center of the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq. CNN is the first television network allowed inside. The exclusive story from CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This is a new front line in the fight against terrorism. Camp Bucca, the United States' biggest detention facility in Iraq.

MAJOR GEN. DOUGLAS STONE, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Over here this is al Qaeda here.

ROBERTSON: We're the first TV crew to get a tour.

STONE: Marine General, Douglas Stone, leads the way. This is the most dangerous part.

We've got about 2,000 identified al Qaeda here in the internment facility (ph). They are hard to break.

ROBERTSON: Right now, we're wearing protective glasses. You've got shields up here to protect us. Everyone down here is crowded around looking at us now?

STONE: Right. But this is not a place that you want to hang around. So we really don't want to stand here that much longer, because they will now organize around us. And you can already see the lieutenant is ready to move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go back this way, I'll take you up the center.

ROBERTSON: We move on through the massive razor wire as alleged al Qaeda members gather below. We can't show their faces, or talk to them. To do so would violate Geneva conventions and Red Cross rules. It's the only special condition of our visit.

STONE: We want you to see everything. I mean everything.

ROBERTSON: Inside Camp Bucca, there are more than 19,000 civilian detainees. They are neither criminals nor prisoners of war. For Stone, Bucca is a terror trove like no other.

STONE: This is the only place notice world where U.S. and coalitions forces day in and day out, engage with al Qaeda. Day in and day out -- we meet them, we talk to them, we understand them. That's an advantage for us as it a disadvantage for them.

ROBERTSON: But it wasn't always this way. When Stone arrived last year, the camp was literally in flames.

(on-camera): At its worst, the violence involved between 1,000 and 10,000 detainees, rioting spread across half of the compounds in the camp, some of them were set on fire. Detainees also planned to kidnap guards and kill them. It was so bad, it was considered a strategic threat.

(voice-over): So bad, Stone says the detainees were effectively running the institution.

STONE: But it most assuredly was a jihadist university -- unquestionably.

ROBERTSON: So bad, Stone was on the verge of shooting rioting prisoners. Action, he says, would have made the abuses at Abu Ghraib pale in comparison, and undermine the United States' moral authority.

STONE: Those were certainly my turning points. I can't speak to others before them, but I could only see bad things coming for the command, for the overall effort here in Iraq and for what was really a lost opportunity.

ROBERTSON: Since then, Stone has radically reshaped the camp, changed the attitude of guards and detainees.

STONE: Detainees now tell us more about the network of al Qaeda, about the training techniques of al Qaeda, about how they fund their operations.

ROBERTSON: But he's met plenty of resistance to his reforms along the way from within the U.S. military.

STONE: Always been a block. Every single time somebody has said, no, no, no, because it's not doctrine, it's not the way we've done it. And so somebody has tried to block that except for one guy, one guy.

ROBERTSON: When we come back, how Camp Bucca was turned around, and who helped Stone.



NGUYEN: An alternative to terror, changing minds at the largest terrorist detention center in Iraq. CNN international correspondent Nic Robertson continues our exclusive tour. CNN is the first TV network allowed inside.


STONE: Good to see you. We're going to go in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good, sir.

STONE: All right.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we continue our tour of America's largest detention facility in Iraq, gates normally barred to journalists are opening up. General Douglas Stone leads the way. He's showing us how he's turning the company from jihadi university, to model lockup. And this is where it begins -- religious reeducation. Suspected insurgents listen to an imam, who preaches a moderate interpretation of Islam far removed from the far ideology that fuels al Qaeda and that took fury extremist brethren. In Camp Bucca, classrooms are the new battle ground. Victory is a detainee converted to moderate Islam.

(on camera): While we've been here, the imams explain to the detainees that they have to respect other people. It is also said, that we all make mistakes, but it's up to us to correct those mistakes. It is also said it's no good just being a good Muslim and keeping to the tenets of Islam if you go ahead and kill people. He said that's wrong.

(voice-over): Stone takes us to his other battle front. Hard- core extremists he keeps isolated to stop them indoctrinating the moderates.

STONE: There's no way we'd put these guys in a class. I don't know what's going to happen right now.


STONE: Oh, yes, not going to happen. And I don't know what's going to happen right now, either.

ROBERTSON: You never brought a camera in this close before?

STONE: I've never seen this, to be honest with you, because we've been working on getting guys out and broken apart.

ROBERTSON: Even the hard-core are getting the chance to reform, but their teacher stands outside their wired cage.

STONE: You see, this is cooperation with the coalition forces.

ROBERTSON: And this is what they just trying to stop all that time. Whoever they are, whoever they're with, this is what they do to stop it?

STONE: Absolutely. These guys have systematically stopped anybody else from doing it. So, these are the guys we had to remove to get there so that we could get to the other guys.

ROBERTSON: Stone's doctrine doesn't stop with the detainees. He wants to win over their families too. He's improved visitation. Detailed research, he says, shows most detainees at Bucca got family permission to fight to make money.

STONE: The reality is this is the battlefield of the mind. And it's all about what they're willing to think and what they're willing to do when they do think it. And these family units are integral to that decision.

ROBERTSON: Art therapy, he says, has opened up some of the most extreme. Others get English classes. Even civics courses teaching Western-style democracy. But one of the biggest motivators for reform is the revamped review hearings that Stone instituted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not serving a sentence here. You've been held because you're been determined to be a security threat.

ROBERTSON: For the first time, detainees are actually present for their six-monthly review hearings, and can argue their case for release.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we decide to recommend your continued detention, we may also recommend that you participate in the vocational skills training program.

ROBERTSON: Stone has let 7,000 go. Some had been locked up for as long as three years. Only seven have come back. Before Stone arrived, mass releases put al Qaeda indoctrinated detainees right back into the fight. Now Stone's refined release program is even releasing detained imams to spread their new message of moderation.

STONE: Each detainee represents the possibility of being a moderate missile, if you will, fired into a community to spread a degree of moderacy, and that's the way we view it, with 20-some or 19,000 detainees, 23,000 overall, if we had half of them hitting the target, it's makes a huge difference.

ROBERTSON: So why wasn't anyone doing this before?

STONE: I can't answer that.

ROBERTSON: He can answer who is helping.

STONE: General Petraeus.

ROBERTSON: And why hasn't he blocked it?

STONE: Because General Petraeus understands this war fighting. Because when I walk in with an idea, he'll challenge me, he'll slice and dice it, but if he thinks it has merit and he understands the context in which it's being done, he has the bigger picture. He understands how this population fits in that population.

ROBERTSON: A war where the battle doesn't end when the enemy is captured.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Camp Bucca, Iraq.


HARRIS: So you say you got an ache in the pocketbook? President Bush plan to talk about the sinking economy this morning. His news conference live, 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time right here in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Hello, everybody, in this Tuesday. I'm Betty Nguyen. Heidi Collins is off.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the rundown. The president is talking about that pain in your wallet. His news conference live in just 30 minutes.

NGUYEN: Homes and splinters. Look at this, lives on hold. Tornadoes zigzag across Southeastern Virginia.

HARRIS: Politics this hour. Tax credits for health care. John McCain talks up his plan in Tampa today. Tuesday, April 29th. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: First up, miles of wreckage. Hundreds of injuries yet an overwhelming sense of relief in Southern Virginia this morning. Three tornadoes ripped across the region with little warning and these twisters were strong, as you can tell. At least 200 people hurt. Remarkably, though, most injuries are considered minor and no deaths are reported. That is a staggering thought for those who are now sharing their own tales of survival.


ED FANCHER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I thought we were gone. I thought it was all over because it just -- it was overwhelming. The nose, the wind, everything was being torn and falling down around us.

The wind was tearing up the flooring, everything, the metal structures. And we just stayed down, squatted and asked God to let us live. And I wanted my son not to be hurt. That's all I cared about.