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Kentucky and Oregon Decide Today; Hearty Survivor Emerges From China's Quake Wreckage; British Back in Basra

Aired May 20, 2008 - 10:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning, everybody on this Tuesday. I'm Betty Nguyen in for Heidi.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris. Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the rundown. Kentucky and Oregon, decide today, the two states highlighting the deep Democratic divide between Clinton and Obama supporters.

NGUYEN: Buried alive for more than a week. A hearty survivor emerges from China's quake wreckage.

HARRIS: The British are back in Basra. What went on when militias took the Iraqi City this spring? Stories of atrocities today, Tuesday, May 20th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is primary day in two more states. Kentucky and Oregon. Tabulating votes today with both Democratic candidates, expecting wins. CNN's Jim Acosta is with the "CNN Election Express" in Frankfurt, Kentucky this morning. Jim, great to talk to you.

You know, we are so used to seeing you on these mornings of these primaries and talking about what the Secretary of State is predicting in terms of voter turnout in that particular state. What about Kentucky, what are you hearing?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, people are fired up in both of these states, Tony, both Kentucky and Oregon. And election officials in both of these states are expecting healthy, if not record turnouts. And as you mentioned, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are expected to split these states. If you look at the way the CNN poll of polls, Hillary Clinton has a healthy lead over Barack Obama here in Kentucky. Barack Obama, a sizable lead up in Oregon. And voting is already under way here in Kentucky. We have some pictures from Louisville, Kentucky earlier this morning when the voting is already under way.

But the real show, the real action, will be tonight when both of these candidates stage their victory parties. Hillary Clinton will be in Louisville, Kentucky. Barack Obama, Des Moines, Iowa, the state where he really got launched on to the national stage as far as the campaign is concerned. The Obama campaign is going to essentially say that they have clinched a majority of the pledged delegates so far. Not to be confused with clinching the nomination. They are not going that far as of yet, of course. But not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton is saying repeatedly, and it's been something she has been saying out on the stump over the last several days that she is now up a lead over Barack Obama in the popular vote.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And right now I am leading in the popular vote. More Americans have voted for me. Right now, if you add up the states that I have won, it totals 311 electoral votes. You have to have 270 electoral votes to win.


ACOSTA: Now, the one asterisk you have to put up next to that sound bite there is Hillary Clinton is including the disputed voting that took place in Michigan and Florida. The Obama campaign, of course, takes exception with that. But Barack Obama is not spending as much time talking about the New York senator. He's directing his aim at John McCain and specifically the presumptive Republican nominee's stance on foreign policy.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Iran, the single biggest strategic beneficiary of our war in Iraq. And I believe that if we had tough direct diplomacy, we could contain the threat that Iran poses. We got to change our foreign policy works and that's not what John McCain is delivering. And that's why he can't be in the White House for another four years or another eight years. He's got the wrong idea and the wrong message.


ACOSTA: Now, all three of these candidates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, are headed to Florida next. It will be a big battleground state coming up here in the general election, Tony. And expect Hillary Clinton to continue to press her case with the disputed delegates to be counted in her favor and Florida and Michigan. And Tony, I did check on your behalf and I just want to make sure that you are clear on this, that Colonel Sanders is not a delegate here in Kentucky.

HARRIS: Thank you for that. Appreciate it. Hey, I got to ask you just a quick question, Jim. When will - oh, when will Florida and Michigan move from the undecided column to the resolved column?

ACOSTA: That's never going to happen, Tony. We'll be talking about this for years to come.

HARRIS: That's right.

ACOSTA: By the end of the month, the Democratic National Committee says that its rules committee will have this sorted out by the end of the month. We are all, of course, holding our breath to watch and see that happen. Hillary Clinton, obviously, needs all of that to happen entirely in her favor for it to be to her benefit. But that is not expected to take place which is why we are seeing both of these candidates, Obama and Clinton, dialing down the rhetoric on this campaign. They know what the next stage is that's coming. HARRIS: There he is, Jim Acosta for us in Frankfort, Kentucky. Jim, good to see you. Thanks.


NGUYEN: Well, let's take a look at where everything stand right about now in the Democratic delegate count. Here it is, Barack Obama leads, 1,909. That's a combination of pledged delegates and 297 superdelegates.

Hillary Clinton trails with 1,718 delegates overall. It is unlikely though that Obama will reach the 2,026 needed to clinch before the end of the primary season but is just 15 away from clinching the majority of pledge delegates.

So, you want to tune in tonight for a complete coverage and analysis of the Oregon and Kentucky primaries. Join the best political team on television live from the CNN "Election Center." Our coverage kicks off tonight at 7:00 Eastern.

HARRIS: Well, listen to this. The White House this morning denying a report in the "Jerusalem Post" that President Bush wants to attack Iran. CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry joins us now. Ed, what's this all about?

ED HENRY, White House CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, the White House being very strong in saying that it's not just wrong but they're saying it's "not worth the paper it's printed on." This story, that coming from Dana Perino. The story in the "Jerusalem Post," basically charging that an Israeli official is claiming that during President's Bush's recent trip to the Mideast, an unnamed official in the Bush administration basically said during a closed meeting that the President and Vice President Cheney are of the opinion that military action is called for against Iran and that the U.S. is likely to do that before Mr. Bush leaves office.

This story went on to allege, again, from one official claiming about another unnamed official that the only thing stopping it right now is Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are pushing back and saying this is not a good idea. It added that there has been added urgency to this because of the situation in Lebanon, what Hezbollah the terror group is doing there. And that has increased the chances of the U.S. attack on Iran. And finally, adding that allegedly during one of these closed meetings in Israel, Mr. Bush said, "the disease must be treated, not its symptoms."

Now, a comment on the record statement out now from Dana Perino says, "we along with our international allies who want peace in the Middle East remain opposed to Iran's ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon. To that end we are working to bring tough diplomatic and economic pressure on the Iranians. Basically saying that war is not the first option. Though when reporters pressed Dana Perino, a few moments ago, she said, obviously, essentially the military option has been and continues to be on the table. And that nothing has changed and she insists that this unnamed official said -- no such thing in these meetings with the Israelis.

A reporter pointed out to Dana Perino, though, that we heard these similar denials from the White House in the run up to the war in Iraq. They insisted that the diplomacy was the first option. Military option was the last option. And wondering whether this is a replay. Dana Perino insists it is not, Tony.

HARRIS: All right. Ed, let me - a couple of quick ones here. You were traveling with the President last week in the Middle East. This story, did you hear anything on this? Was it bubbling up last week at all?

HENRY: Zero. But obviously, if, and I stress if, this happened behind closed doors, it is not exactly the kind of story that the Bush administration would have told us. Because it is not the story line that they want out right now. Secondly, they insist that we didn't hear about this story because it actually never happened. That no one in the President's delegation said anything like this. And I can tell you I was there. I certainly did not hear anything like this, Tony.

HARRIS: The "Jerusalem Post," then, we have to ask, is this thought of as a reputable newspaper?

HENRY: Of course. They have been in the business a long time. They have a lot of credible stories. Many times, obviously, you can't defend every single story they've ever done. None of us can and I'm not going to speak for them but they are considered a reputable news organization obviously. I mean, look the bottom line here is that there is a broader fight going on which is the White House against the media. Yesterday the White House put a very tough letter out there. White House counselor Ed Gillespie firing away at NBC News, alleging that they sort of inappropriately edited a comment the President gave them in an interview over the weekend in the Mideast. They - NBC responded that's not the case.

Then the White House put out another letter now today. The White House putting out the tough statement about the "Jerusalem Post" saying this story is "not worth the paper it is written on. So, in two days, you have the White House taking on two media organizations. They obviously feel that these stories are not fair.

HARRIS: Very interesting. Ed Henry at the White House for us and I appreciate it Thank you.

NGUYEN: More bodies and more anguish in China. Here is the latest for you right now. China's state media is reporting another rise in the death toll today. It now stands at more than 40,000 with nearly 246,000 injured. Get this. More than 32,000 still missing. Something positive in all of this destruction. Rescuers actually pulled two more people from the rubble in Sichuan province. One was buried almost seven days. The other nearly 7 1/2 days. China's state council says more than five million people have been left homeless. 280,000 tents have been allocated to survivors with another 700,000 being manufactured. Also this morning, a reason to be cautious. Chinese scientists warning of more dangerous aftershocks. Now, we know many of you do want to help. And here at, we have a special page on the devastation in China and Myanmar. Complete with links to aid agencies that are organizing help for the region. It's a chance for you to "impact your world," so let us be your guide.

HARRIS: Stay indoors, the message in South Florida. Smoke and fog advisories are in effect as a wildfire spreads across almost 40,000 acres of the Everglades. Inmates have been moved from a nearby state prison and federal detention center. The fire is in the only known habitat for an endangered sparrow. The birds, we are told, are OK so far. The fire is about one-third contained.

NGUYEN: Well, let's see how the weather is holding up today and if it's going to provide any kind of relief for any of the folks who need it, especially out west, Rob, how awfully hot out there these past days. Triple-digit heat.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Steamy. 110, 115, 120 in some places. Nasty stuff. But there will be a severe weather threat today across parts of Carolinas in through Georgia. Notice that the rainfall doesn't just get quite down to Florida where those fires are burning. They are still in the dry season. We will kick out the rainy season here in a couple of weeks. Our primary threat again for this, not so much tornadoes but probably some large hails and potentially damaging wind in some of the other, the larger storms that bubble up here with this particular situation.

To talk quickly about the primary states, Kentucky, you are looking at Paducah at 75. Just a couple of showers in spots, generally speaking though. It will be in the eastern part of the state. Here it is. The action now exiting into much of the Atlantic Ocean, West Virginia, into western Pennsylvania. Some things firing up as they cross the Allegheny plateau towards the Poconos and Appalachians.

But most of the action in Virginia, so far is alleviated. Some showers, Seattle, down to Salem. Rain showers in Oregon where they are voting today. A lot of people who forgot to mail their ballots in, might be running to the post office or voters' offices today. So, be aware of that in western Oregon. We have a cool front that's driving down across the Pacific Northwest. Winds and very low humidity here. So, critical fire danger on top of the already record breaking heat. We will see temperatures today again up and over 100 degrees in some of those spots. And then extreme fire danger happens tomorrow. Even worse looks like across parts of Mexico and parts of Arizona.

A quick shot of the tower cam for you. Let's bring it to you. There you go, Phoenix, it's going to sizzle again today. 110 yesterday. Today you will be closer to that number, maybe a couple degrees cooler. It just looks hot, it's 7:30 out there, round about 7:00 a.m. and it's --

NGUYEN: It's hot and hazy. MARCIANO: Yes. Stay cool, sunglasses, light clothing. You know the drill.

NGUYEN: Well, how about just stay indoors?

MARCIANO: Not a bad idea.

NGUYEN: Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

MARCIANO: Fertile farmland under water. Look at this, a new worry in Myanmar. Will people starve? More on the story.


HARRIS: Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris. City in fear. Iraqis still haunted by atrocities attributed to militias who ran Basra. People killed for their clothing or for living alone.


NGUYEN: Mourning in Myanmar. Here's what we know so much. More than two weeks after the deadly cyclone Nargis, flags have been lowered as the country begins three days of official mourning. The government says 134,000 are dead or missing. And some aid is arriving but the U.N. says that for more than a million survivors the situation remains urgent. Many are in remote areas and still have not been reached. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will travel to Myanmar this week. The U.N. says he' going to meet with the military leaders and see the devastated areas firsthand.

Well, from bad to worse in Myanmar. Cyclone Nargis strikes another cruel blow. This time to the nation's rice crops. We have a report now from our CNN's correspondent in Myanmar.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This rice field was farmer's U Han Nyunt's livelihood. Normally he would be preparing to plant the next crop right now. But since the cyclone hit, the soil is useless.

U HAN NYUNT'S, RICE FARMER: No rice will grow here for a very long time, he says. The soil is dead because of the floodwater that the storm brought. Like so many villages in the most devastated area, this one subsists from rice farming. The Irrawaddy Delta is known as Myanmar's rice bowl region. Feeding the entire country and leaving enough to export to neighboring nations. But when cyclone Nargis ripped through here more than two weeks ago, much of the production was destroyed. And that destruction is long term. As we take a boat trip down the rivers of the Irrawaddy Delta, along with the massive human death toll, we also see water buffalo carcasses everywhere.

Buffalo are the main farming animals here and without them, the people can plow their fields. Less than a month from now, the villagers were going to plant their next crops. But their seeds were also ruined by the storm. We are trying to dry the seeds in the sun, this farmer says. But it is hopeless. Once the seeds have started sprouting like this, we can't plant them anymore. All we can do is feed them to the animals. The cyclone itself only claimed three lives in this village but now the farmers say that they fear the worst.

We are all going to die here, he says. But not because of the cyclone. We will die because we have no food. Starving to death as they stand on what was some of the most fertile land in Myanmar.


HARRIS: You know, they just won't stop. Gas prices jumped to a new record. That Memorial Day holiday drive is getting even more expensive.


HARRIS: Well, Betty and I are trying to figure out what's behind this sell off today. We knew we're going to get numbers from retailers. We know we're going to get consumer reading as well. I should check those numbers because this is pretty big sell off there. The Dow down 143 points inside the first hour of the trading day. The Nasdaq, let me check here, down as well 23 points. Susan Lisovicz is here with us this morning. We'll get to the market check in just a minute, right here in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: All right. So, we know our next story isn't a big surprise. But these days, I mean who would be shocked by higher gas prices, right? Well, take a look, the national average today, and I know you're not shocked but listen to it nonetheless. $3.80 again for a gallon regular. According to AAA, that my friends is a new record and it's up more than a half cent from yesterday and more than 30 cents from a month ago. Diesel which is used for trucks that carry our food, and just about everything else that we use. Also, at another record, almost 4.54 a gallon. And on a related note, this morning, oil hits it's highest level ever. More than $129 a barrel.

HARRIS: So, you hate flying. Well, you are not alone, the airline industry just scored the worst customer satisfaction grades since 2001. That is according an annual University of Michigan survey. Take a look at this. the airline with the highest level of dissatisfied customers, U.S. Airways followed by United Northwest and Delta. Coincidentally, all of those airlines are in merger talks right now.

Customer say they specially hate soaring ticket prices. Check. Overcrowded flights. Check. And those extra bag fees. Big check here. While the airlines are flunking overall customer satisfaction, it is up for other industries including cable and satellite TV. Of all the big companies, satellite provider DirecTV scored the best ratings. Comcast and Charter Communications were tied for worst.

NGUYEN: All right. Let's take to you Basra right now. Because a month after being pushed out of the city by militias, British forces have been returning to establish control there. And what those forces and their Iraqi allies have found is a city in shock. Here's CNN's Arwa Damon.


ARWA DAMON, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: The people of Basra are fully emerging from their nightmare and the true horrors of militia rule are surfacing. (Sabriya) lost her tree sons, her daughter and her sister. All killed by hard-line Shia militias sometimes compared to the Taliban.

This one was killed because he was drinking. This one was slaughtered for his car. This one, the same. Her husband shows us one of the son's rooms. Kept as a shrine to his memory. Sabriya's sister was murdered because she was a single female who dared to live alone. They say you don't have a husband? They came in at night and put a pillow on her face and shot her in the head. Women bore the brunt of the militia's extremist ideologies, executed for anything deemed un-Islamic.

Local residents told the Iraqi army that this was where Shia extremists would bring women to be executed. Sometimes for things as simple as just wearing jeans and standing here, you can still smell the stench of death.

The militias enforce their own rules without pity or mercy. Threatening stores like this one for displaying bare shoulders. The owner is still too frightened to appear on camera. And for some militia, religious zealotry seems to be an excuse for terrible crimes. This man was arrested by Iraqi security forces after they retook most of Basra in April.

(Ahlam) her name means dreams. She was a university student. As the questioning continues, his story changes. The detainee starts listing names.

This document is the detainee's full confession that he gave to the Iraqi Army and listed on it are the names of 15 girls that he says he was involved in the kidnapping, rape, and then murder of the youngest girl on this list was just nine years old. When the militia's control Basra, few dared venture outside unless they followed a strict interpretation of Islamic behavior. Slowly, that's changing. The people of Basra know militia elements still lurk. The memory of their rule is still fresh. But security is undeniably better. Under the watchful eye of some 30,000 Iraqi security forces, the people of Basra are beginning to live again. Arwa Damon, CNN, Basra, Iraq.


NGUYEN: And in her next report from Basra, Arwa talks to Iraqi and British Army officers who have joined forces to try to get the city back to work and keep it out of the militia's grip.

HARRIS: Tough times. Hillary Clinton supporters looking head. But not quite ready to jump ship.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS: All right, primary day.

NGUYEN: Yes, it's Tuesday.

HARRIS: Oregon, it is a Tuesday.

Welcome back everyone to the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Tony Harris.

NGUYEN: Yes, hello everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Heidi.

Well, two more states making their presidential choices today. Polls are open right now in Kentucky, mail-in ballots are being returned in Oregon. So here's what's at stake. Kentucky has 51 pledge delegates. Hillary Clinton is expected to win the state by a wide margin. But, Barack Obama has been the front-runner in Oregon. Oregon has 52 pledge delegates. Clinton is still in Kentucky today but Obama, he has moved on. He is holding a rally tonight in Iowa, site of his first win of the primary season.

HARRIS: No hard feelings. The Clinton and Obama campaigns agreeing to come together for a greater goal one day.

CNN's Jessica Yellin reports.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CAPITAL HILL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Barack Obama is squaring off for the general election --

SEN. BARAK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain's campaign is being run by Washington lobbyists.

YELLIN: Senator Clinton insists this fight isn't done.


YELLIN: But a series of news outlets is reporting that Clinton's donors are preparing to switch sides and already joining Obama's supporters for private talks aimed at merging the two candidates' team.

The truth, supporters of both candidates tell CNN, Clinton donors are not jumping ship on mass. And they are not holding hush-hush meetings. But, many top Clinton backers are telling friends in the Obama campaign they're ready to support him when the primary season is over. One top Democratic donor insists this it isn't betrayal, it's evidence that Democrats will unite. And the Democratic National Committee is getting in on the act. They've gotten both candidates on board as DNC fundraisers.

News of that agreement made it on to the "Tonight Show."

JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: You made news today. This is a new fundraising agreement? HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Yes. Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have both agreed to raise money for the Democratic National Committee. It means that one candidate is willing to support the other candidate financially, no matter who wins.

YELLIN: The Clinton campaign insists she can win, and is still raising money.

CLINTON: So I hope you'll go to and support our campaign.

YELLIN: But several top Clinton fund-raisers tell CNN, quote, "We're not dumb." They believe Obama is likely to be nominee.

And one of Clinton's most loyal backers put it this way: "When my commander decides it is time to surrender I will know it, and enthusiastically support the other. Until then, I'll put my life on the line for my commander."

(on camera): All these fundraisers will have a chance to come together May 31st. That's when the Democratic National Committee holds a huge fundraiser honoring Al Gore. Its co-chaired by one Clinton supporter and one Obama supporter.

Jessica Yellin, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: So who needs John King's magic wall when you have a crystal ball? Well, I certainly do. Astrologists, psychics and prophets pick the next president.

NGUYEN: Oh, goodness.

Well, meantime though, parents the Texas polygamist sect, they are back in court today trying to get their children back. More than 460 are in state custody.

And CNN's David Mattingly, takes a look.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Walking down the long row of steps from a west Texas courthouse, FLDS parents James and Sarah Jessup, tell me they are weary. The couple's five children, ages 18 months to 9 years, are scattered in foster care facilities across Texas. From Waco to Houston to Amarillo to Liverpool. They figure a single visit to each child is an 1,800 mile journey.

JAMES JESSUP, FLDS FATHER: In Houston, being together as brothers and sisters, just -- definitely, just very -- another experience for them.

MATTINGLY: The Jessups are among the first to begin the long process they hope will lead to legal reunification with their children. They agreed to what the state calls a family service plan. Terms include a psychological evaluation and counseling. But timetables and goals are not specific.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just like an assembly line, where these children are all being treated the same way without any regard for the particular circumstances as family.

MATTINGLY: Jessup's five children with wife Sarah, and two children with two other wives, were taken in a massive raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in April. State officials alleged young girls were being forced to marry older, adult men. But there's no evidence so far showing any of Jessup's children were abused.

JESSUP: There's definitely no signs of abuse here. It's not relevant for the case.

MATTINGLY (on camera): State prosecutors will eventually have to decide if --


HARRIS: We're going to get back to David Mattingly's piece in a couple of minutes, but we want to take to you Washington D.C., now.

President Bush made a statement at the Chinese embassy a short time ago, signing a sympathy book there. The president joined by the first lady.


GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRES. OF THE UNITED STATES: Laura and I have come to the Chinese embassy. Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much. Madame, thank you very much. We've come to express our country's condolences. For those that mourn for the loved ones, we stand ready to help any way that the Chinese government would like. We know there's great courage being displayed Mr. Ambassador, as rescue workers search for those who may still be living.

Natural disaster is very hard on many of your people and we understand that. We extend our deepest sympathies. And we pray for recovery, pray for the strength of those who are, whose lives have been torn apart during this terrible tragedy.


HARRIS: President Bush, a short time ago at the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C., making a statement after signing a sympathy book in the aftermath. A full week now since that killer earthquake in China.

NGUYEN: Well, you want to take a look at this. They are the first moments after China's killer earthquake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 20 seconds after the first huge tremor. The ground is still shaking. Stay down, stay down, someone says. Nothing is clear except the terror of tens of thousands. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Clinging to life in a city turned to dust.


NGUYEN: This video is just absolutely riveting. It was shot seconds after the earthquake struck China.

Here's Bill Neely, of Britain's ITN.


BILL NEELY, ITN INTERNATIONAL EDITOR (voice-over): This is what happens when the earth quakes and a city collapses. It's 20 seconds after the first huge tremor but the ground is still shaking. Stay down, stay down, someone says. Nothing is clear except the terror of tens of thousands.

So many are children clinging to each other. Choking, crying. But there's more to come. Another violent tremor, everyone cowers, the camera's microphone breaks. And then behind them, buildings collapse.

Everyone is covered in dust again. But those outside are the fortunate. In a theater, children performing a play are trapped. A wall has fallen on them. Get over there, he says. People need help. They sprint out, others stagger. Few rescues are painless. There is pain everywhere. Masonry has trapped two girls by the legs. Nearby, rescuers work to free another.

All over Beichuan, people are running. It's now many minutes since the main earthquake but there's still panic. My baby, she says. Where is my baby? Another woman seems rooted to the spot. Don't stand here, they say. Get out. But many are in a daze. From the rubble, a child is handed down beside a woman barefoot and bruised. He is safe, for now.

Suddenly, yet another aftershock and a call for calm. There may be another tremor within minutes, the official says. You really must get out. But it's not that simple. Scattered on the ground are Beichuan's injured. Falling masonry hitting young and old alike. It is now around a half an hour since the major earthquake. Here alone in those minutes, 20,000 have been injured. Every aftershock is causing more damage, more injuries. But the dead were everywhere, too.

And nowhere more so than in Beichuan's schools. This is Qushan primary and inside, the children are trapped. In an upper window, three boys, one holding his head, another yelling. There are more of us in here, he says, more kids over here. The rescuers have a problem. All the exits are blocked and they have no ladder. They try to rip down the basketball tower. They scale a collapsed and dangerous roof instead. The first child is taken out and lowered down on ropes. She is unsteady but uninjured. Then somehow a little boy gets out himself. My child is in there, he says. Distraught parents have begun arriving. One brings an ax. The children inside are crying out for their mothers. But it is slow and painful work. This girl has lost a foot.

They've been trapped for nearly an hour. Now Beichuan's playgrounds are full of children, but the rubble is too. I need eight people, he says. Volunteer rescuers put up their hands, many parents themselves. All around the traumatized, exhausted, the injured -- and the emotional. This is the mayor begging people to be patient. On Yu Long (ph) Street, they are gathering food. This was Beichuan's best street, it's already now, the street of the dead. And the shop owner has to order the living to share his food.

It's almost one hour after the main quake. China's worst disaster in 30 years is still claiming lives. Almost 15,000 in this city since this video began. The pain here is distant to us, but searing for everyone here. This is the man who recorded those scenes. He cries often. His father, still missing. In his hour of filming, he says, the ground hardly stopped shaking.


NGUYEN: That is tragedy beyond belief. And we know you may want to help. So here at, we do have a special page on the devastation in China and Myanmar. It is complete with links to aid agencies that are organizing help for the region. It's a chance for you to impact your world, so let us be your guide.



NGUYEN: We are waiting for this. Want to give you a live look down in Miami, Florida. You see the podium there. We are waiting on Senator John McCain to speak today at a town hall meeting. He's going to make a speech on policy, dealing with Cuba, and he's also been campaigning there in Florida, with the support of Governor Charlie Crist, whose name, in fact, has been floated about as a possible running mate. So if there is any news on that. So as soon as John McCain takes to that microphone, we will bring it to you live.

HARRIS: A U.S. attack on Iran? A report claims it will be President Bush's parting shot. The White House reaction, in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Presidential pollsters, please pause. Astrologers, psychics and prophets are making their predictions.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look to the stars.

CLINTON: Celestial choirs will be singing. MOOS: I see a new president in our future.

And who needs an election when there's an astrologers' convention to tell us the winner?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary being a Scorpio, you can never count her out.


MOOS: Fifteen hundred astrologers gathered for the United Astrology Conference in Denver -- the perfect spot to pick up vibes from the upcoming Democratic convention Denver will be hosting. While the political world fixates on John McCain's age, the astrologers were more interested in the exact time of McCain's birth, which his mom helpfully supplied in this Mother's Day video.


ROBERTA MCCAIN, JOHN MCCAIN'S MOTHER: Well, anyway, this baby came out, I think, about 11:00.


MOOS: Astrologists need birth times to chart the future. Forget John King's magic wall -- astrologists have their own charts, though this guy predicted Hillary would win Super Tuesday, when Barack Obama and Hillary actually split.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So (INAUDIBLE) is coming and saying, Hillary, hey, here I am to protect you.


MOOS: Protect us from John McCain's chart, which sounds vaguely obscene.

JON STEVENS, ASTROLOGER: He has transiting Uranus directly on top of his natal Saturn.

MOOS: The prediction, please.

STEVENS: The person holding the highest office in the land will be referred to as Madam President.

MOOS: That prediction was made about two months ago. This one came about two years ago.




MOOS: A self-proclaimed prophet called the ancient one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our current president will be running again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding me?


MOOS: Or maybe you prefer Tarot cards.




MOOS: Obama's card suggested charity. Hillary's card, with three swords plunged into a heart...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotional pain.


MOOS: And McCain's card indicated an aggressive, take charge attitude, suggesting he might win.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: King of swords.


MOOS: The most accurate reading so far came from psychic Sylvia Browne almost six months ago, predicting the Democratic frontrunner.


SYLVIA BROWNE, PSYCHIC: I think Obama. I think she's going to look like she's going to run away with everything and then all of a sudden she flattens out.


MOOS: A Gallup poll showed that 25 percent of Americans believe in astrology. But, hey, if candidates can predict the future -- say, the year 2013.

MCCAIN: ...which led to the capture or death of Osama bin Laden.

MOOS: ...why not astrologists -- or even kids?

(on camera): Is John McCain going to be the next president?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is John McCain going to be the next president?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Hillary Clinton going to be the next president?



MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HARRIS: And good morning again, everyone. You're informed with CNN. I'm Tony Harris.

NGUYEN: Yes. Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Heidi.

HARRIS: Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Tuesday, the 20th day of May. Here's what's on the rundown:

NGUYEN Decision day in Kentucky and Oregon. Both Democrats are planning victory celebrations tonight.