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Two Young Girls Shot to Death on a Country Road; A Look at the Politics of Fear; Face to Face with a Suicide Prevention Line; A Pricey Piece of Potter

Aired June 11, 2008 - 09:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

You'll see events come into the NEWSROOM live on this Wednesday June 11th.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Sandbags pile up as waters rise. From little rivers to the mighty Mississippi, the Midwest faces its worst flooding in years.


SHERIFF JACK SHOATE, OKFUSKEE COUNTY, OKLA.: Basically what we're saying is, you know, we don't know what it is but if it were me, you know, I wouldn't let my kids out walking unless they was with other people around them that you knew.


HARRIS: Two young girls murdered on a country road. Now more security and less innocence for an Oklahoma town.

COLLINS: And look at this. Operating with a claw hammer. A doctor reaches for the toolbox to remove a nail from his patient's head, in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And let's get started this morning. Falling rain, rising rivers, more misery today from the Midwest flooding and the threat could continue for weeks.

The big story right now -- a sandbagged levee. Looks like it is holding in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Officials were worried the river could spill over the levee and flood the city's downtown.

In Wisconsin authorities are watching about 1,000 dams for possible breaches. Only two have given way since Monday but others could fail as more rain falls.

Also in Wisconsin, engineers are repairing the damage left after Lake Delton drained into a nearby river. Imagine that? Four homes were swept away and the popular lake was reduced to a mud pond. COLLINS: We are following the Midwest flooding as several fronts this morning.

Susan Roesgen is in Lake Delton, Wisconsin where several homes had been swept away. And meteorologist Rob Marciano is in the Weather Center for us this morning.

Susan, let's begin with you. What's the latest now there behind you?

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, picture this. It took just a couple of hours for this 300-acre lake to completely drain out like water running out of a bathtub. Where I'm standing today, last year, I would have been swimming, dog paddling. This entire lake practically drained dry.

What happened was, with all the heavy rain here this week, part of the embankment of the lake -- washed away and the water just rushed out.

We have some new video this morning. Video taken by a police officer who was in a boat watching this as the water became a raging channel swept past five mansions, million-dollar mansions, and he watched these mansions just tumble right into the rushing water and get swept into the river.

Those houses, all five of them -- parts and pieces of these houses now are floating all wait down the Wisconsin River and into the Mississippi River and will wind up -- parts and pieces, furniture, rugs, kitchen equipment, everything -- probably in New Orleans by the end of this week.

There was just no way anyone could stop it.


CHIEF TOM DORNER, LAKE DELTON, WIS. POLICE: Well, once the water decided that it was going that way, there was nothing we could do to stop it until it is all drained. It's obvious it's (INAUDIBLE)

ROESGEN: Makes you feel kind of puny next to Mother Nature, huh?

DORNER: Yes, it does. Absolutely.


ROESGEN: Now Lake Delton is an incredibly popular tourist attraction. Again where I'm standing they have water-skiers. This is the famous Tommy Bartlett show. Lots of water-skiers out here, a full crowd to watch.

You know what, Heidi? Tomorrow they're going to go ahead and have a show minus the water-skiers. They're going to have a magician, the comedy acts, some jugglers, some Polynesian dancers, anything to try to get people to fill the seats, because the economy around here depends on this lake for a lot of businesses. Not just the water- skiers here but the resorts, the restaurants. Everybody's in serious trouble.

They do not expect to try to refill this empty Lake Delton until the end of the summer season. So they wouldn't have people out here again swimming, fishing, boating, waterskiing until next year -- Heidi?

COLLINS: Susan, from where you stood yesterday, and the day before, it must be absolutely mind blowing to be standing in that muck that used to be Lake Delton?

ROESGEN: It really is. The water would be above my head here. There's a couple of other issues, Heidi. There is a problem with drinking water in this area. 750,000 people in Wisconsin use private wells and their water may be contaminated.

There was -- down the way where from the lake breached and formed that channel into the river -- a sewage line. A whole bunch of underground sewage lines broke open. They had to put a stop that. Stop the sewage. So they're just sort of holding tight now.

They asking the governor for help. The governor, of course, is asking the feds for help, because this is a $1 billion tourist industry here in Wisconsin Dells' Lake Delton and the water runs out, income dries up, too.

COLLINS: Yes. Yes. Just unbelievable pictures. Very dramatic.

All right, Susan -- CNN's Susan -- excuse me -- Susan Roesgen for us there in what used to be Lake Delton. Susan thanks so much.

HARRIS: Let's get you to Rob Marciano now in the Severe Weather Center.

Rob, I -- so the embankment gives way and the lake literally drains. Let me just think about that for a second.


HARRIS: It's amazing.


COLLINS: That's kind of awful. Yikes. All right.

MARCIANO: Drier -- it looks drier next week.



COLLINS: We'll be watching. Thanks, Rob.

HARRIS: Got our hopes on the long-range forecast.


HARRIS: All right. Rob, appreciate it.

Let's get the latest now on the flooding in Iowa.

On the phone with us is Susan Staudt, spokeswoman for the city of Cedar Falls.

Susan, thanks for your time this morning.


HARRIS: Susan, is your downtown still there?

STAUDT: Our downtown is still here. Thanks to all of our thousands of volunteers. They, quite frankly, saved our town last night.

HARRIS: Susan, talk about that effort and how you got the word out and how many people responded?

STAUDT: Yes. We got word yesterday morning from the National Weather Service. They were predicting record flood levels. We have a levee that is 102 feet tall, and yesterday morning we heard that it was expected to rise to 103 feet.

So obviously, we needed to get the word out to volunteers to come help sandbag and the response was absolutely incredible.

HARRIS: Were you surprised at all by the response?

STAUDT: Coming from Cedar Falls, no.

HARRIS: There you go.

STAUDT: It makes me very proud to be from here.

HARRIS: I also understand you had volunteers on shift patrol as well. You had some volunteers working overnight?

STAUDT: We had volunteers all night patrolling the levee. They stopped sandbagging at around 2:00 a.m., and from there we had mostly city employees just patrolling the levee to make sure that it was staying firm.

HARRIS: OK. Talk to us, if you would, Susan, about the Cedar River. Where it is right now and how much of a danger does the river pose right now this morning?

STAUDT: As of 7:30 my time which is about 40 minutes ago, the last feed I got was that the Cedar River was at 101.5 feet here. It crested at 102.13 between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. so we're glad that it's going down.

Unfortunately, I'm just looking right out my window, and the weather looks very ominous, and in looking on the radar screen, it looks like basically the entire state, north and south, we've got another weather system coming in. So more rain does not look good. HARRIS: Boy, oh, boy. All right. Susan Staudt, we're going to keep our fingers crossed for you and that wonderful city. Appreciate it. Thanks for your time this morning.

STAUDT: Thank you.

COLLINS: Some rivers in the Midwest expected to top levels from the historic flood of 1993. The river (INAUDIBLE) rose to about 19 feet during the 1993 flood. It's expected to crest Thursday between 20 and 20.5 feet. You heard the spokesperson there talking a little about that.

Some facts and figures now from that devastating flood of '93. It inundated 20 million acres across nine states, 54,000 people were evacuated, 50 people died, and the flood cost $20 billion in damage.

HARRIS: Almost 180,000 homes and businesses in Michigan still without power this morning after several days of severe weather. Utility companies say it will be later this week before all the lights are back on.

Eight people were killed in the Michigan storms.

The National Weather Service confirmed at least two tornadoes hit the state on Sunday. Another struck during storms Friday.

COLLINS: Expected high winds could fan destructive flames in northern California today. Crews are fighting fires on several fronts near Stockton, California. Thirty homes were destroyed there. Fires farther north forced people out of their homes and destroyed another 21 homes.

Firefighters are facing off against about a half dozen different fires now. Fire captain is among several firefighters injured. He is in the hospital with second and third-degree burns.

HARRIS: A small town in Oklahoma on edge today. That's after the killings of two young girls shot to death on a country road. It happened on Sunday.

This morning officials are offering as $14,000 reward for information leading to the killer. Investigators say they're looking into the possibility that a local person may be involved, because it happened in such a remote area.

But they're also exploring other theories, and they're warning parents to be careful.


SHOATE: Basically, what we're saying is, you know, we don't know what the threat is but if it were me, you know, I wouldn't let my kids out walking unless they was with other people around, you know, that you knew.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS: Coming up in about 20 minutes, we will speak with a reporter who is covering the story there in Oklahoma.

COLLINS: A jetliner in flames. Investigators today searching for clues in the charred wreckage.

A Sudan Airways jet burst into flames last night after a rough landing at Khartoum International Airport. That's in northern Africa. At least 29 people died. Somehow at least 171 people managed to escape. Fourteen are still missing.

The city's police chief says a defect in the plane led to the fire. A thunderstorm and high winds also believed to have played a role in the disaster.

HARRIS: Backyard project stops when a nail gun shoots off and what happened to the nail?


GEORGE CHANDLER, HIT BY NAIL ON HEAD: He asked me, he says, "Did you see where that nail went?" And I said, "No, I don't," but I said, "I've got just a little sting here. Does it -- did the nail go by here?


HARRIS: Wait until you hear how the doctor the got it out. If you can't wait for us to tell the story, you can just go into But wait, wait, wait.

ANNOUNCER: "Weather Update" brought to you by...


COLLINS: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Soaring gas prices. Who's to blame? Big oil companies out make a buck or just plain old supply and demand?

A new CNN poll coming your way.


HARRIS: The sputtering economy -- it is "ISSUE #1." And Republican John McCain is stepping up his attacks on Barack Obama's ideas. His latest target -- Obama's suggestion that the North American Free Trade Agreement be renegotiated.

McCain says that would hurt small businesses, but he agrees with Obama on one idea -- a new economic stimulus package. Obama's proposal totals about $50 billion. McCain hasn't put a number on his ideas.

Meanwhile, Obama's list of potential running mates now numbers about 20. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is one of the names to surface. One Democrat who has seen the list says it also includes former lawmakers and former top military officials.

COLLINS: Florida and California cleared. The FDA now says tomatoes grown there are not suspected of making people sick. The head of the agency says he hoped they'll pinpoint the source of the salmonella cases within the next few days.

Check the map now. These are the 17 states that have reported at least one case of salmonella poisoning. They've all been linked to raw tomatoes. So far 167 people have been ill.

Along with California and Florida, the FDA had cleared tomatoes from 22 states, other states and seven foreign countries. So you can find a complete list if you're duly confused at

HARRIS: First choice diplomacy. But that's not the only option President Bush sees when it comes to Iraq's nukes.

The president had a news conference with Germany's leader.


COLLINS: When home fix-it jobs go bad. A man gets shot in the head with a nail gun so the doctor grabs a clawhammer, of course, to get it out. And I'm not kidding.

Here's Sandra Olivas with KCTV in Kansas.


SANDRA OLIVAS, KCTV REPORTER: With his wife and grandchildren by his side, George Chandler walks his dog in this Shawnee neighborhood. This simple task now seems amazing when you consider what just happened to him on Friday.

Take a look. This x-ray of his head says it all.

CHANDLER: It went all the way into the -- to the top of the head of the nail and you can see what little blood is on there. And that was all the blood there was.

OLIVAS: George and his buddy were outside building a lattice in the backyard.

CHANDLER: He was on the ladder and he was above me, and I don't know if he stumbled and come this way, and I was down here and I come this way.

OLIVAS: As his friend tried to untangle the nail gun hose it went off. What's unbelievable is at first they had no idea where the nail landed.

CHANDLER: He asked me, he says, "Did you see where that nail went?" And I said, "No, I don't," but I said, "I've got just a little sting here. Does it -- did the nail go by here?" OLIVAS: That's when they discovered the 2 1/2 inch nail had actually gone right through his head.

CHANDLER: It was just like a -- maybe like a sting bite or something, you know? And there was no blood, because if there had been blood I would have probably went - ooh, you know?

OLIVAS: George was alert and talking as an ambulance rushed him to the hospital. Instead of reaching into a surgical bag, doctors used something right out of a toolbox.

CHANDLER: Does anybody have a hammer? A clawhammer. I mean I thought he was teasing at first. Then he said, "No." He says, it went in like that, he says, we can pull it out like that.

OLIVAS: George returned to home where children in the neighborhood made him a colorful get-well card.

UNIDENTIFIED NEIGHBOR: I hope you don't have a headache.


OLIVAS: He and his family can laugh about it now knowing that he's pretty much nailed down the most unbelievable story on the block.

CHANDLER: I feel very lucky. Very, very lucky.


COLLINS: Now that is neurosurgery that I have not heard of before. We're going to have check with Sanjay about the old clawhammer technique.

Chandler actually says he feels fine but he will have to go back to the doctor for some follow-up checkups.

HARRIS: Gas crunch. Boy. Senate Republicans block a bill that would tax oil company windfalls.

You know we are reeling from $4-plus gasoline. So who's to blame?

Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business."

Ali, I want to take this sort of short-term, long-term. Was there something in this legislation -- for a short term -- something that would have lowered the price of gas?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Not really. I mean there is a sense of what the -- the idea was, in large part, is that the bill was going to tax what we call windfall profits, profits that are thought to be higher than reasonable on oil companies, and use that money to fund alternative energy.

Well, there's a whole lot of problems with that. We -- the gas company, the oil companies aren't actually doing something that's illegal. So once you start taxing things because we have to have an arbitrary decision about what is reasonable profit...


VELSHI: ... that goes down a slippery slope. The good part of that was the idea of funding alternative energy resources. Now the republicans blocked that. They wanted to encourage more drilling for oil. And that's a little bit flawed, too, because fundamentally we need to get Americans off of oil.

Earlier this morning Senator -- Sam Brownback was on CNN and he was talking about why he voted against this idea of a windfall tax on oil companies.

Listen to what he said.


SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: I don't know who thinks that if you raise a tax on something that it's going to be cheaper to you. This is going to make it more expensive. I think what we need do is work in a bipartisan fashion to increase oil supplies and really go at this.


VELSHI: As you can see in the left-hand corner of your screen, gas is $4.05 as the national average.

So there's this issue of what to do going forward. There's also this issue of what is going on with oil right now.

Tony, how many times we talk about the idea of speculation in the market?

HARRIS: Absolutely.

VELSHI: Well, a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows that 62 percent of respondents say that there is -- the recent price increase in gasoline is due mostly to unethical behavior. Only 32 percent think it's supply and demand.

Now unethical behavior doesn't mean manipulation, doesn't mean something illegal. You know, it's up to you to decide what you think unethical behavior is, because that's a pretty big basket.

HARRIS: Yes. Let's see if we can -- you know I don't want to be overarching or overreaching here.


HARRIS: But to what extent can we really blame big oil for prices at the pumps?

VELSHI: Well, they make a product that we buy. I mean here's the thing. They make a product legally that we buy.


VELSHI: With invest in those companies in our 401(k)s. They employ a lot of people. There's fundamentally a problem here about how much oil the world uses versus how much is there. It may not be all of the reason why oil is 135 bucks a barrel but it's a large part of it.

So it needs to be part of a bigger solution and the problem that Americans have to acknowledge is that there isn't any quick solution. Even John McCain's suggestion to take 18 cents off federal tax on gasoline, it would take 18 cents off. $4.05, you're still looking at really...


VELSHI: ... really high prices. So I think we do have to accept that we need a long-term solution.

HARRIS: And the president has said we're addicted to oil.

VELSHI: We are addicted to oil.

HARRIS: Yes, yes. So we got to figure out a way...


HARRIS: ... to get off oil. Yes. Sort of what you just said a moment ago.

All right. Ali, great to see you.


HARRIS: Thanks, man.

The future of oil, "ISSUE #1" on Capitol Hill today. The House Select Committee on Energy dependence and Global Warming meets next hour. The panel considering what to do in a worst case scenario of a nation dependent on foreign oil.

We're going to watch it for you.

COLLINS: New developments this morning in the case of two young girls murdered on a country road. In just a few minutes, we're going to talk with a local reporter who's been following the story.

ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM brought to you by...


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins and Tony Harris.

HARRIS: And welcome back, everyone to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.

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

Trying to hold back the rising rivers. But more rain in the Midwest today could add to misery from devastating floods. Right now a sandbag levee looks like it's holding in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Some good news there.

Officials are worried, though, the river could spill over the levee and flood the city's downtown. They are asking for more volunteers to help shore up the sandbags.

In Wisconsin, engineers are repairing damage left after Lake Delton drained into a nearby river. Four homes were swept away. Officials in Wisconsin are also watching more than 1,000 dams for possible breaches.

HARRIS: And we heard, Rob Marciano, from a spokesperson for Cedar Falls a short time ago taking a look outside and saying the skies look pretty ominous.


HARRIS: Not good. Not a good sign.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, we want to get this out to you, just as we are getting it in to the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's live pictures from our affiliate in Houston, KTRK. We appreciate the pictures. This is some type of chemical fire that is happening I believe at a Goodyear plant, which actually ends up in Southeast Houston.

We understand from our affiliate there that there has been a release of ammonia inside the plant. Obviously, that will make you very, very sick. It could possibly be fatal. At this point, four people inside that building did inhale those fumes and needed medical treatment.

Apparently, about four ambulances are being called to the scene. Not quite sure what happened. But we are hearing also from our affiliates that this leak has not yet been contained.

So we're going to try to find out what happened there. And have it for you this morning. Once again, a chemical fire at a Goodyear plant. Actually, I don't see any flames. I'm not quite sure what happens. It's more like a chemical leak that's what we're seeing. So we're going to follow it for you out of Houston.

HARRIS: Let's get you to the New York Stock Exchange right now and get the business day started. Boy, the Dow starts today at 12,289 after a pretty flat day yesterday. The Dow just up nine points yesterday. So let's take a look at the initial numbers.

You know, stock futures indicated that we might get a nice bump to start the day. That hasn't turned out to be the case. As you can see here for yourself, the Dow down 40 points in the initial moments of the trading day. We'll figure out what's going on here. We'll check in with Susan Lisovicz. She has market checks for us throughout the morning, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Murders in a small town. This morning investigators are looking for the killer of two young girls who were shot to death on a country road.

On the phone with us now this morning is Manny Gamello. He's been following the story for the "Tulsa World" newspaper and has the very latest for us.

Manny, thanks for joining us this morning. We've been talking about this story amongst ourselves in the NEWSROOM. And, boy, it is really, really a tough case. Investigators actually seem to have no idea what happened here. Tell us what you know.

VOICE OF MANNY GAMELLO, REPORTER, TULSA WORLD: Well, we had a press conference yesterday in the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which is helping along with the Okfuskee County sheriff's office on this, detailed the stages of the investigation at this point. It's still rather preliminary. They're still doing all the forensics, checking on the ballistics, the DNA and some of the other evidence that recovered from the scene.

COLLINS: Manny, pardon me. Do me a favor. Back up just for a moment and tell us exactly what happened. We know the two girls, ages 13 and 11 were found on the side of the road, they had been shot to death, as we've been saying. How do they know each other? What was the plan? They were going to do a sleepover together?

GAMELLO: Yes. They were doing a sleepover. They'd been long- time friends. Taylor Paschal-Placke, the 13-year-old lived nearby. And Skyla Jade Whitaker was spending the night with them -- with her. And they often went walking along the county dirt road right near Taylor's home.

And they left her place around 5:00, and then around about 30 minutes later, her father, Peter Placke, went looking for them after he tried to reach them on the cell phone. He couldn't reach them, went looking for them and then found their bodies alongside a road about a fourth of a mile north of his home. They both -- both of them shot several times.

COLLINS: Boy. I just can't imagine that as a father. It must have been truly devastating.

GAMELLO: It was truly traumatic. He couldn't speak very much into it.

COLLINS: I'm sure.

GAMELLO: And Manny, I want to read this real quickly. It's something that you wrote about these girls, because it's just devastating. You say, Skyla was the carefree, adventurer. The girl who walk barefoot almost every wear and rode her bicycle down endless dirt roads. This is coming from her grandmother. Where she went, her many cats followed along with her pet goat. She wanted to be a veterinarian.

And then about Taylor, you wrote, she was a big-hearted girl who rescued helpless turtles crawling in the middle of the road and wanted to become a forensic scientist like on TV.

What is the community saying?

GAMELLO: You know, that's the real tragedy of this -- the loss of these lives. These two, two children with dreams, and we're going to lose the impact of their potential through this crime. So we'll never know.

COLLINS: Yes. It's just --

GAMELLO: Community-wise, I went through town yesterday, and schools around here for the summer, but surprisingly there wasn't a kid on the street (INAUDIBLE) yesterday. Not even in a front yard. So I think a lot of the families are taking there's a danger in their midst to the heart.

COLLINS: Yes. And you know, that's something --

GAMELLO: It's almost deserted.

COLLINS: Yes. That's something that the sheriff actually said. He said if it were me, I wouldn't let my kids walking unless there are other people around that you knew. We don't know what the threat is.

Update us on the investigation as far as, you know, what they're doing. I'm thinking about tire tracks, footprints -- you know, all of the normal procedures?

GAMELLO: Yes, they're not leaving anything unturned here. They're checking -- they have shell casings that are taken from the scene. They don't know if it's related from that or from people hunting.

The country side around there is rather plush green. A lot of woods. A lot of underbrush. It's almost jungle-like, in some respects. The road where they were found is a county dirt road, about a lane in a half and width, and it's flanked on both sides by this foliage.

COLLINS: They do think, before we let you go, Manny, that it is possible that this suspect, whoever he or she may be, is local. Do you know why they're thinking that?

GAMELLO: Yes. It's because it's just too far off the beaten path. The closest paved road is almost four miles away and this is within a Maze (ph) County dirt road. So it's unlikely, according to the authorities, that anybody were to gone through there as, you know, thrill killer or whatever, looking for a victim. So that's why they think that.

And they didn't think there was any sign of sexual molestations. So they're really puzzled as to what a motive may have been. COLLINS: Wow. Well, it is just a devastating story. I hate covering these things, but obviously we want to try to get to the bottom of it.

Manny, we're going to check in with you again as you learn more, if that's all right.

Manny Gamello is a reporter with "Tulsa World." Thanks so much, Manny.

HARRIS: Several Pakistani troops allegedly killed in an attack. Pakistan's military now blaming the U.S.-led coalition. Live now with CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

And Barbara, boy, the Pakistani military very upset by this, condemning it in some strong language calling it completely unprovoked and cowardly act. That's pretty hot rhetoric.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is indeed. And as you often see in these cases, Tony, each side has a different version of events. What the U.S. is saying is, yesterday, they and Pakistani forces were actually tracking a number of militants after an ambush on the Afghan side of the border. They tracked them back into Pakistan -- very remote, very tough region.

The Pakistani military, they say, helped them track these militants and the U.S. then dropped a number of weapons from two F-15s and a B-1 bomber, a total of ten bombs on this location where they believe the militants were. They had positive identification, they say, according to U.S. officials, that these were the militants that had conducted the ambush.

There had also been a number of artillery rounds fired across the border by the U.S. as they were chasing these people down. Now, where does it all stand? The U.S. says there were at least seven people on the ground killed. They are looking at the identities. They're investigating this. The Pakistanis say, no. That the people killed on the ground were Pakistani forces manning the area along the border region.

So all of this remains to be sorted out, but what is very clear is the U.S. says it did fire artillery rounds and that it did have three aircraft drop a total of ten bombs on a location inside Pakistan, and that is a very sensitive matter for the Pakistani government. Of course, to have any U.S. weapons inside its territory.


HARRIS: OK. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Barbara, appreciate it. Thank you.

COLLINS: Some people come to the cliff to commit suicide and then they meet the man who talks them down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four years later, Shige's log list 129 names of people he convinced not to jump. People he still stays in touch with today.


COLLINS: Coming face to face with a suicide prevention line.


HARRIS: Protest over meat may lead to a shake-up in South Korea's government. So this was the scene in Seoul. Tens of thousands took to the streets protesting an agreement to resume import of U.S. beef. Those imports have been halted after a mad cow case in 2003.

South Korea's president says he won't go back on his word but may change out his entire cabinet to soothe tensions. He also may ask the U.S. for new conditions in the beef deal. The U.S. says, no way.

COLLINS: A chance encounter causes a man to change his life and wind up saving many other lives. CNN's Kyung Lah has the story of suicide cliff.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sheer rocks of Tojimbo Cliff are a natural wonder in Eastern Japan drawing tourists across the country. It's why 34-year-old, Hiro, came here, one last view of beauty before trying to kill himself.

HIRO, CONSIDERED SUICIDE (through translator): I wanted to die at the place where I could see the sunset says Hiro. My life had been depressing. I wanted it to end on a sunny day.

LAH: That was a year and a half ago. Hiro's mother had died. He had no friends and a mountain of debt. So he came to Tojimbo known as Japan's suicide cliff. But as he waited for the sun to set, Yukio Shige came walking by and asked Hiro if he needed to talk.

HIRO (through translator): He knew why I was here says Hiro. I told him I was planning to jump.

LAH: Shige listen to Hiro's problems and set him up with financial counselors and gave him a simple gift -- hope.

For 62-year-old Yukio Shige, it was just another day. Shige spent 40 years as a police officer until he meet an elderly couple while on patrol standing at the cliffs. He convinced them not to jump and sent them to a government office. Days later the couple wrote this letter.

The government office told us go ahead and kill yourselves, they wrote. The letter arrived at Shige's police station two days after they killed themselves. YUKIO SHIGE, FORMER POLICE OFFICER (through translator): It's like I lied when I promised I'd help, Shige says. I want to cry. What they were told should not be forgiven.

The government office no longer exists. But the letter changed his life.

LAH (on camera): Every day? Twice a day?

(voice-over): Shige retired from the police force and started patrolling on his own. Watching and talking to visitors. Mostly friendly conversation. Emergency phone booths and warning signs on the cliff are not enough, says Shige. And Japanese society isn't doing enough.

Four years later, Shige's log list 129 names of people he convinced not to jump. People he still stays in touch with today. Local police say 25 people jump off the cliffs of Tojimbo every single year, but that only tells you part of Japan's suicide problem.

According to national statistics, one person commits suicide every 15 minutes -- that's about the same rate as the U.S. But Japan is a much smaller country.

Activists at the suicide prevent group called Life Link say Japanese society connects career with life value, which is why suicides spike in Japan during recession. Life Link also blames a strong sense of shame when it comes to mental health.

YASUYUKI SHIMIZU, LIFE LINK: People tend to have a stigma to confess that they have pain or they need help, or especially mental support. It's very hard for them to ask for.

LAH: So if they won't ask, Shige approaches saying one man can make a difference. But he can't reach everyone. These flowers were left for someone who killed himself just days ago. Hiro wishes that that person had met Shige.

HIRO (through translator): Knowing someone will be sad if I die was a difference say Hiro. Maybe I'll have a wedding some day and celebrate with Shige.

LAH: That hope for some day is why at end of our interview Hiro can say farewell and walk away from these cliffs to the path toward tomorrow.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tojimbo Cliff, Japan.


HARRIS: Man, what a story. A presidential politics -- do you vote with your head, your heart or your fear? You may be surprised to hear what the experts are saying.


COLLINS: When it comes to politics, fear sells. Candidates making doom and gloom their bread and butter.

CNN's Randi Kaye looks at politics of fear.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The year was 1964. Lyndon Johnson was running for president against conservative Barry Goldwater when his campaign unleashed this.

A little girl, a mushroom cloud and a booming voice, warning the stakes were too high not to vote for Johnson, enough to scare the voters and help elect Johnson. He won by the widest margin in history.

(on camera): Fast forward more than 40 years, and those same fear tactics are still playing out today. Have you noticed the candidates trying to scare you with attack ads? You may not like these ads. You may even think they don't work, but your brain knows better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two wars, oil prices skyrocketing and an economy in crisis.

KAYE (voice-over): Emory University psychologist Drew Westen, author of "The Political Brain," says fear-based attack ads are very effective because they reach the voters' subconscious.

(on camera): Is the subconscious smarter than we think?


KAYE (voice-over): To prove it, we asked Westen and his business partner, Joel Weinberger, to measure how this group of undecided voters responds to attack ads. Their company,, has developed software to probe the subconscious.

The voters watched the ads, then identified the color of key words like "weak," "inexperienced," or "terrorist." If they hesitate, even for a thousandth of a second, it means the words had impact and so did the ads.

JOEL WEINBERGER, PRESIDENT, THINKSCAN.COM: If the word is on their mind, if the word was activated, it will slow them down.

KAYE: Westen says that response time measures voters' subconscious feelings. Take Hillary Clinton's 3 a.m. ad, designed to make Barack Obama look inexperienced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep.

JIM HAGAN, UNDECIDED VOTER: That one, to me, was pandering and fear-mongering.

KAYE (on camera): Did it make you think Hillary Clinton is a stronger leader than Barack Obama? HAGAN: Not at all. It made me think that she's much more political than he is.

KAYE (voice-over): In fact, no one in the group thought it made them doubt Obama, but it did. The group had the strongest associations with words like "weak" and "lightweight," which Westen says means the ad made them question Obama's readiness, and they didn't even know it.

WESTEN: Its purpose, too, is to make him seem like he's scary, like he's dangerous, like you need to be afraid if this guy as a president. And I think that message unconsciously got through.

KAYE: Still not convinced? Watch what happened with this ad against John McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I don't think Americans are concerned if we're there for 100 years or 1,000 years or 10,000 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred years in Iraq? And you thought no one could be worse than George Bush.

KAYE: It got a thumbs-down from our group, but Westen's data shows it left them feel feeling McCain has poor judgment and is too close to President Bush.

When this test was given to a much larger group, 100 voters, the results were nearly identical.

Why does this happen? Westen says the ads trigger a response in a part of our brain that experiences emotion. Still, Westen believes attack ads are risky. They can backfire.

RUSTY BOWERS, UNDECIDED VOTER: I think the attack ads can show the weakness of the candidate who's pushing the attack ad. So it looks like Hillary Clinton while watching the 3 a.m. phone call is saying that "I feel people don't think I'm fully capable, so I'll make this ad."

KAYE: The ticket to the White House, Westen says, is making voters feel inspired by you and worried about your opponent. If you don't believe that, just ask your subconscious.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


HARRIS: A pricey piece of Potter. A new work from J.K. Rowling hits the auction block. How much would you pay?


COLLINS: A Harry Potter prequel, not really. Instead author J.K. Rowling pen add new short story and it sold to the highest bidder. CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am sending 2,500 pounds and -- sold!

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Short stories on the auction block. Stationary card size fiction from contemporary powerhouses including a Nobel prize winner, even the writer behind the new James Bond book. But the bidders came for this story. We're not allowed to show it up close because it's handwritten by J.K. Rowling. The author behind the series of books about the boy wizard, Harry Potter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't fight it Harry, come to me.

VAN MARSH: A series and resulting movie and merchandising franchise that's made her one of the most-widely read and richest writers in history. Rowling donated about 800 words for this charity auction.

JOHN HOWELLS, WATERSTONE'S: The story is set about three years before Harry is born. It features Harry's father and Sirius Black, two really important characters and there's an altercation with a policeman and there's a magic involved. And that's all we're allowed to say at this point.

VAN MARSH: Rowling is saying don't think the story card is part of a new Harry Potter book. On her Web site she wrote, "Although I did feel a bit like a relapsing addict as I sat down to write, the words poured from my pen with frightening ease -- I am not working on a prequel."

(on camera): Each one of the authors was instructed to write their short story on one side of this A five cards. This is J.K. Rowling's write here. Now, how do you get a prequel, 800 words worth on one side? Well, the organizers said she cheated but if she wants to write on both sides for a good cause, well, the auctioneers aren't complaining.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 23, all take -- I had 25. I have 25,000 pounds there.

VAN MARSH (voice-over): No kids in Harry stars (INAUDIBLE) is here when the Rowling story was up for bids. This is the check writing crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not value for money, it's an interesting and historical thing that something to keep.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is unique.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is never going to happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sold to absentee bidder at about 25,000 pounds.

VAN MARSH: In the end, the absentee bidder paid about $50,000 for his or her own ultimate potter limited collection.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, London.


COLLINS: Good morning once again, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Topping our run down this hour.