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A Death in Custody; Pregnant Soldier Death Now Being Treated as Homicide; McCain: Law & Order

Aired July 01, 2008 - 11:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning again, everyone. You're informed with CNN.
I'm Tony Harris.

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

Developments coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Tuesday, July 1st.

Here's what's on the rundown.

John McCain talking law and order this hour. His address on crime to the nation's sheriffs, live from Indianapolis.

HARRIS: Guns on trains and buses and other places. A new Georgia law makes concealed weapons legal today. We get live reaction.

COLLINS: And a consumer group claims most sunscreens don't get the job done and some might even be harmful. Are you protected? Find out in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Well, the presidential candidates tackle law and order, religion and faith today. Here is a look at the headlines this hour.

John McCain focuses on fighting crime in a speech before the National Sheriffs Association. That is taking place in Indianapolis. We will have live coverage of his remarks.

A live picture of the hall. And when the speech begins we will bring it to you live. Later, McCain leaves on a trip to Latin America to talk trade.

Former President Bill Clinton speaks by phone with Barack Obama. The Obama campaign says the two talked for about 20 minutes. A Clinton spokesman says Clinton wants to campaign with and four Obama.

Barack Obama religion and reaches out to voters in a speech today in Zanesville, Ohio. He is expected to call for expanding faith-based community programs initiated by President Bush.

And not backing down, retired General Wesley Clark defends his comments about John McCain. Clark says McCain's experience as a Navy pilot and prisoner of war don't necessarily qualify him to be commander in chief. The McCain camp accused Clark of attacking McCain's war record. Obama issued a statement rejecting Clark's comments.

And once again, we will bring you John McCain's speech before the National Sheriffs Association when it gets under way. Again, it's set to start this hour in Indianapolis.

COLLINS: Three crime stories making national headlines this morning.

In Maryland, a homicide investigation is under way in the death of a suspect charged with killing a police officer. Nineteen-year-old Ronnie White was found dead in his jail cell. He had been strangled and asphyxiated. White was accused of running over and killing a police officer, father of two children, during a traffic stop.

The Army joining the police investigation into the killing of a pregnant soldier in North Carolina. The body of Specialist Megan Touma was found in a motel room bathtub. A self-described serial killer sent a letter to a newspaper claiming responsibility for the killing. Police are skeptical.

And an Illinois man charged with positioning an illegal toxin. The FBI raided Edward Bachner's home. The toxin found in puffer fish can produce rapid and violent death.

The family of that dead Maryland prisoner speaking out just minutes ago through their attorney. Our Jeanne Meserve is in Washington with the very latest.

Jeanne, what do they have to say?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, the family calling for a thorough and exhaustive investigation into the death of 19-year-old Ronnie White. He was found without a pulse in his jail cell Sunday morning. The medical examiner says he appears to have been strangled.

Here is a bit of what the family had to say.


BOBBY HENRY, ATTORNEY FOR RONNIE WHITE'S FAMILY: In the Prince George's County Jail, a yet-to-be-identified person or persons took it upon themselves to be both the judge, the jury and the executioner for Mr. Ronnie White. The family of Ronnie White is absolutely, unequivocally outraged and incensed and deeply saddened that the loss of life for their loved one could be taken so cold, so callously while he was in the custody of law enforcement officials. Something is dreadfully wrong with our system.


MESERVE: White had been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Corporal Richard Findley of the Prince George's County Police Department. He was 39, the father of two children. The county officials said in a press conference last night that the police are not suspects in this case. They are looking at who had access to Mr. White in his cell.

We just spoke to a representative of the Prince George's County Correctional Officers Association. He tells us that two officers were contacted at home yesterday by state police. One spoke briefly with them, the other hired a lawyer.

Preliminarily, they are looking at seven officers. A card reader shows that those are the officers who went into the cell area. But this union official does tell us that sometimes when a card is swiped, more than one person will walk through the door. So the list of people of interest could expand here a bit.

The Maryland State Police is handling the investigation into the homicide. The FBI has entered a -- has started a civil rights investigation into the apparent murder of Ronnie White.

Back to you, Heidi.

COLLINS: Boy, this is such a tough one, Jeanne. I mean, you watch that press conference, and some people out there would say, well, what about the family of Officer Findley? What do they have to say about this when he he's talking about lack of justice and so forth? And no one is saying eye for an eye, no one is saying vigilante here, but we're looking at a picture of him right now, and it was just to me a shocking sort press conference to hold.

But I have to ask, when we're talking about this list of suspects, where are they?

MESERVE: Well, not suspects. That's too strong a word.

COLLINS: Well, forgive me. The investigation is ongoing.

MESERVE: People who had access to the cell area, right.

COLLINS: Right. The investigation is ongoing. Where do they look next if the police are not people that they're looking into?

MESERVE: Well, first an foremost, I imagine that authorities are looking very carefully to everybody who had access to that area of the jail. And as I said, that would include corrections officers and their supervisors.

I imagine also they'll be looking -- although there were no surveillance cameras in that part of the jail, there may be cameras elsewhere that may indicate who was in the area. There may log books for them to look at. Clearly, also, they will be looking at any forensic evidence which may exist.

You said nobody's called it vigilante justice. In fact, somebody did. Last night, the Prince George's County executive...

COLLINS: No. I'm saying no one is saying that that's correct, and what should be happening.


COLLINS: I am aware of that, yes.

MESERVE: That's correct. And I will say that the Prince George's County executive last night, in addition to expressing outrage at what had happened to Mr. White, also said it was intolerable that Corporal Findley should die in the line of duty as he did.

COLLINS: All right, Jeanne. So appreciate it. Great reporting on all of this. Jeanne Meserve for us this morning. Thanks.

HARRIS: New information this morning about the death of a pregnant soldier.

Our T.J. Holmes covering the case in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for us.

And T.J., there are some new developments. Good morning.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Tony.

The new development this morning really has to do with person or persons of interest, and also that mysterious letter that was sent to the local newspaper claiming to be from the person who says, in fact, they killed Sergeant Megan Touma. Sergeant Touma was found dead at a hotel here in Fayetteville, North Carolina, her body found in a bathtub decomposing. This was two Saturdays ago now that her body was found.

Well, a letter was sent to a local newspaper claiming to be from the person who killed her. That letter also said that they had killed before and they will kill again.

Well, police, skeptical of this letter, not really sure about the veracity of some of the claims in that letter. Specifically, they don't want people here to believe for a second that there is a serial killer on the loose. That's exactly what they want to get out to the people of Fayetteville. They don't believe they have a serial killer here.

However, just because they have questions about the veracity of the claims as far as being a serial killer, they still say that letter is a very important, a crucial piece of evidence in this case, that they do believe may in fact be in some way, shape or form connected to the crime. They won't exactly say how.

What they see from the text of that letter, how it connects to something in that room, they won't let us know that. But they do believe it's a very important piece of evidence.

Also, Tony, they say they're really -- it's unfortunate for them in this case that the letter was released publicly, because since it has been put out, they have been inundated with calls and e-mails from others, what they call copycats, and even "wackos" out there, pretty much just making some kind of claim about the crime as well.

And moving on now, the other piece of detail we got this morning about the person of interest, we do know that at least one soldier is being looked at as a person of interest, officially one person as a person of interest, at Fort Bragg. They don't know, are not saying how they believe they're connected to Sergeant Touma.

However, police this morning tell us that they aren't ruling out that there could be several others. They say, in fact, "There are several others we are looking at," even though they have not officially (INAUDIBLE).

Also, there's so much talk, and rumors, even. The family talked about a boyfriend, or fiance that Megan Touma had. One family member says that she, in fact, had a boyfriend, someone else said that she had a fiance. But police saying that they haven't been able to track down anyone that they believe is, in fact, a boyfriend, a fiance, or the father of her child. Of course, she was seven months pregnant.

The last detail we're getting this morning -- and Tony, this is not the best of news -- in that we might not see an autopsy result for some time, even possibly months, because of toxicology reports that have to be done. Of course, the state medical examiner has already concluded -- or has been doing one autopsy. Now the Army is doing another.

But, Tony, they do not know if they'll have those results for sometime to come. So we might not get those hard answers. Of course, as you know, it's being treated as a homicide, but not ruled a homicide yet. So we're not even sure if she was in fact murdered.

HARRIS: Boy, there is still so much ground to cover in that case.

T.J., we appreciate it. Thank you.

And just want to just apologize just very quickly for some of the audio quality.

T.J., we're going to get you with a stick mike next hour so that we can hear you just a bit better. But good to see you. Thank you.

HOLMES: Sure thing, Tony.


HOLMES: All right, Tony.

COLLINS: Trying to keep the fire at bay. New pictures this morning of a growing wildfire north of Phoenix, Arizona. It's in the community of Crown King. I believe we began telling you about this yesterday.

Firefighters worked through the night to protect homes. And so far three of them have burned. The wildfire now just about 500 feet from others. Fire retardant was dropped from the air around those homes. So far, that far line is holding. So, some good news there.

But firefighters are making slow progress against other wildfires in California. There are still more than 1,000 of them burning right now, and with so many fires, crews have to pick and choose which ones to fight.

Resources are being moved to residential areas, while some fires deep in forested areas are being allowed to burn. Even with an increased fear of fires, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided against a ban on Fourth of July fireworks.

HARRIS: And before we get to Rob Marciano for an update on weather conditions, let's get you to Indianapolis and John McCain focusing on fighting crime in a speech before the National Sheriffs Association.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... most of our country. In some cities, people felt as if their neighborhoods were under hostile occupation.

At the federal level, President Reagan offered a different approach to criminal justice, focused on vigorous enforcement and stricter sentencing. Criminal justice reform is a part of the Reagan revolution that's often forgotten today. But over time, America has become a better, safer and more just country because of those reforms. And you're the ones that helped make it happen.

Thank you.


We still hear -- we still hear some academics and politicians speaking as if a rising rate of incarceration and a reduction in crime were unrelated facts. But, of course, when the most violent and persistent criminals are in prison, crime rates will go down. And they have gone down. And this is exactly what happened through the 1990s and most of this decade.

The progress our country made against crime was the result of smart policies, bipartisan cooperation, and, above all, high-quality work by the men and women of law enforcement. Many of our cities became safer during the 1990s, thanks to the resolute action of city and county leaders such as my friend Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner, Bill Bratton.

During both Republican and Democratic administrations, Congress continued to supply states and localities with new resources. Under legislation I have supported, we've also sought to increase penalties for repeat felons who commit crimes with a firearm or commit violent crimes on behalf of a criminal gang.

We've worked to improve the national instant criminal background check system that applies to firearms purchases, and we've sought to increase the fines criminals must pay into the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and bar all criminals, all criminals, from profiting from their crimes. We also expanded public registry requirements for convicted sex offenders, because to prevent and punish the exploitation of children, the surest policy is zero tolerance.


When anyone is convicted of a sexual assault on a child, they should stay in prison for a long, long time, and their names should stay forever on the National Sex Offender Public Registry. When they're released, if they're released, they should be tracked both in their physical movements and in their Internet usage. Under a bill that I've authored and intend to sign into law as president, we're going to get serious against Internet predators.


Anyone who uses the Internet in the commission of a crime of child exploitation is going offline and into prison for an additional 10 years. In protecting children and in all criminal justice policy at both the state and federal level, we've shown how much can be achieved when consistent principles are applied and both parties work together. And this spirit will be needed in meeting the challenges of our own time.

The overall trends in crime are small comfort to the more than six million victims of violent crime in America each year, or to the more than 18 million victims of property crime. In an enterprise measured by the standard of 100 percent success, this is no time to linger on the progress of the past. We need to stay on the offense against crime, and especially crimes of violence.

The federal government has its own well-defined set of law enforcement concerns such as multi-state criminal syndicates, terrorist cells, government corruption, and the protection of America's borders. And from the standpoint of state and local law enforcement, often the best service our federal government can render is to do these things and do them right.

Presidential leader suspect is essential in all of these responsibilities, but nowhere is the influence of a president more critical to law enforcement than in the power of judicial nominations. It will fall to the next president to nominate hundreds of men and women to the federal courts. These choices will have far-reaching consequences for all Americans, and perhaps especially for law enforcement.

When a serious crime is investigated, prosecuted and punished, it takes many hours and the best efforts of police, trial courts and juries. Yet, one badly-reasoned opinion by one overreaching judge can undo it all just like that.

Evidence of guilt can be suppressed or a dangerous predator released because of judge-made laws having little or nothing to do with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States. Even worse, when such opinions issue from the highest court, they set a precedent for many more injustices, and they add one more obstacle to the work of law enforcement.

We saw such presumption again just last week in a serious matter before the United States Supreme Court. In the considered judgment of the people of Louisiana and their elected representatives, the violent rape of a small child is a capital offense. There is nothing in our Constitution to contradict that view, but five justices decided in the people's judgment, didn't take into account "evolving standards of decency," whatever that means, and so they substituted their judgment for that of the people of Louisiana, their legislators, their governor, the trial judge, the jury, the appellate judge, and the other four members of the United States Supreme Court.

HARRIS: And there you have John McCain speaking to the National Sheriffs Association this morning in Indianapolis, talking tough on crime and punishment, saying that we must put the interest of law- abiding citizens first in all criminal justice policy. And a couple of nods to Congress as well, saying that Congress needs to get its priorities straight, and that that begins by supporting the priorities of front-line law enforcement in areas of personnel technologies for tracking criminals, gathering data and sharing vital information.

John McCain in Indianapolis this morning.

Just another reminder, Barack Obama will be talking faith today, this afternoon, in Zanesville, Ohio.

Packing heat on public buses or trains.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It scares me. People don't always think before they act. And in a tense situation, they could react in a way that could be dangerous.


HARRIS: Guns allowed. A new law taking effect today has some Georgians, dare I say, up in arms.


COLLINS: Starting today, California drivers must use a hands- free device with their cell phones. But what about the other driver distractions?

Here's CNN's Chris Lawrence.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Technology is already outrunning California's new hands-free law. It forces adult drivers to put down their cell phones when talking, but doesn't stop them from texting. When the bill was first proposed seven years ago, texting wasn't all that popular. NICOLETTE WHITTEN, CALIFORNIA DRIVER: People now text more than they talk, I think, younger people. My sister is a big texter, so she won't buy hands-free. She'll text people instead, which is worse.

LAWRENCE: Anyone under 18 years old is banned from talking or texting, like in this YouTube video. North Carolina passed a similar law two years ago. But a recent study found it did not stop teenagers from texting. Even police admit it will be hard to enforce in California.

WHITTEN: I don't know how they would be able to catch you. Like, make a law saying you can't text on the phone. Because, you know, you can't really see if somebody's doing that.

LAWRENCE: It's a $20-fine for a first offense, $50 for a second. But a driver who ignores the law and causes an accident could face huge civil judgments or even jail. But some critics say it's not enough.

STEVEN BLOCH, AAA RESEARCHER: Well, hands-free is not risk-free.

LAWRENCE: Sociologist Steven Bloch monitors driving habits for AAA. He says just talking causes inattention blindness, where drivers focus straight ahead.

BLOCH: Well, it cuts down on peripheral vision tremendously. People simply can't see to the side.

LAWRENCE: The CHP says cell phones were a factor in nearly 600 injury crises two years ago. The state expects the hands-free law to save lives. But some are wondering how far the government will go to legislate good behavior.

TOM OWEN, CALIFORNIA DRIVER: What's next, my coffee? Can I drink my coffee in my car? Am I going to be able to do that? Maybe not.

LAWRENCE (on camera): But that's the thing. You still can put on your makeup, flip through a playlist on an iPod. The new law doesn't specifically ban any of it, even reading the paper. Now, some of this is vaguely covered by negligence laws, but, like texting, it's not inherently illegal.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.


HARRIS: You know, there are a lot of laws taking effect today across the country. One allows people in Georgia to take guns into restaurants or on trains or buses. A scary thought for some, a secure feeling for others.

Brooke Baldwin joins us from Atlanta.

And Brooke, if you would, sift through some of the reaction this morning. BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure.

Well, Tony, I think even this story seems to be growing legs as the morning progresses. It's getting even more interesting.

First off, you mentions the passengers. Exactly. We're here talking to people, asking them, how do they feel knowing the guy sitting next to you on MARTA could be armed?

It seems to be split 50/50. Some feel are worried that this is simply tempting fate, you're inviting an accident knowing that someone could be armed and a gun could go off on the train or the bus. Some people, though, are saying, hey, you know what? You have to go through a significant process even to get a weapons permit, let alone a concealed weapons permit.

And so, yes, if you go through that whole process, then you should be allowed to carry a weapon onboard a train, a bus, inside a restaurant, even a state park. You're responsible. You can protect yourself.

That is part one of the story.

Part two seems to be the issue with the airport. Here's the deal. You come to MARTA, a lot of people, like perhaps some of these people here, you walk in, you want to go to the airport. This is when it gets sticky, because the airport is a different jurisdiction than where I'm standing right here.

This is it MARTA. Airport is federal.

The situation is, if you step off -- let's say you are carrying a concealed weapon and let's say you're carrying your permit, which is legal here. That is not legal at the airport. And that's causing a rub this morning because officials, including Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, they have been giving a press conference within the last hour dealing with that very issue, because the supporter, the sponsor of this bill, he's Republican Congressman Tim Bearden.

He is saying that you should be able to do that, you should be able to be armed and be at the airport, Tony. And he's saying if someone is arrested on the spot at the airport, that he'll sue the city.

So if you're following me, it's getting complicated. We're still asking a lot of questions. Also, how is this going to be enforced? We're waiting to hear what Shirley Franklin is saying about this, and we'll hopefully get some answers for you a little later on in the afternoon.

HARRIS: Yes. We talked to that representative last hour. And he is fully prepared to go ahead...


HARRIS: ... and file a suit against Atlanta. So we'll see where that goes.

BALDWIN: Exactly.

HARRIS: Have to ask you, Brooke, maybe it would be helpful for you to sort of detail what it takes to even get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

BALDWIN: Sure. Give me a second. I'll look that up.

HARRIS: I see you have the notes right there.

BALDWIN: Right here. I was curious myself because this is such a huge deal.

Here's the deal, Tony. All right. If you want -- this is concealed weapons permit in Georgia.

You have to meet the license qualifications, you have to have a clean criminal and mental history. You have to pay fees, you get fingerprints. You have to pass an FBI background check. You have to be 21 years of age, and you have to go to your probate court in your county.

But once you go through all of that and you're clear, you can carry a concealed weapon here at MARTA.

HARRIS: Yes. And I guess we should make note of the fact that over 40 states in the country have some kind of concealed weapons law on the books.

Brooke Baldwin for us in Atlanta.

Brooke, good to see you. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

HARRIS: And we would like to hear your questions, your comments, or even your concerns on concealed weapons laws. E-mail us at, and we will read some of your comments on the air.


COLLINS: Communities threatened by the California wildfires. Many people have already evacuated, but some are staying put, like the monks living at a zen mountain center near Big Sur. Fire around Big Sur has charred 62 square miles and dozens of homes, but the 22 monks living at the center are ignoring the evacuation orders.


KION, REV. DAVE ZIMMERMAN: Personally, it's a matter of just staying grounded, you know, not falling into anxiety or fear. Just being ware aware of the emotions that come up, being aware of the concern, staying as equanimous as possible.


COLLINS: But they aren't just relying on a positive attitude. They've already installed a sprinkler system and they've cleared fire breaks.

HARRIS: I just want to incorporate all of that into my life on a daily basis.

COLLINS: I know. I know. But they're good. They're calm.

HARRIS: Breathe.

COLLINS: They're staying calm.


COLLINS: Rob Marciano standing by now, not so calm.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That -- well, certainly. What was that word he used?

HARRIS: That was a good one.

MARCIANO: You know?


MARCIANO: I can use that one at parties.

COLLINS: No idea.


HARRIS: I'm just trying to get the breathing right.

MARCIANO: I think he just means to be cool, you know? Hang out.

HARRIS: That's it. That's it.

MARCIANO: Not letting anything bother you.

COLLINS: But hey, you know what? They are actually minding the laws and that's something we haven't talked about very much, clearing that brush away from all of the structures.


COLLINS: And there are quite a few rules about it. You got to protect your own home.


COLLINS: Stay calm.

MARCIANO: Everything's going to be OK. Get that zenamin (ph)...

HARRIS: Yes. A little cinnamon in my diet. That would be good.

COLLINS: Is that the word? I didn't hear what he said. I was watching him be calm. I unfortunately missed the word.

MARCIANO: No, it was a good one. I might have to replay it.

COLLINS: It's more than two syllables.

Thank you, Rob.

HARRIS: Thank you, Rob.


HARRIS: Accused of killing a police officer. A young suspect winds up dead in jail. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: In Maryland, a homicide investigation is under way in the death of a suspect charged with killing a police officer. 19- year-old Ronnie White was found dead in his jail cell. His family spoke out just minutes ago through their attorney.

Let's get to our Jeanne Meserve in Washington.

Jeanne, good morning to you. What's the latest?

MESERVE: Good morning, Tony.

This is being called a case of vigilante justice. As you said, 19-year-old Ronnie White was being held in the Prince George's County Jail. That's in suburban Washington. He's being held in solitary confinement when he was found Sunday morning without a pulse. It turns out he had been strangled. His family is asking for a thorough examination of the facts.


HENRY: The family of Ronnie White is absolutely, unequivocally outraged and incensed and deeply saddened that the loss of life for their loved one could be taken so cold, so callously, while he was in the custody of law enforcement officials.

Something is dreadfully wrong with our system.


MESERVE: Guards found White without a pulse on Sunday morning less than two days after he'd been taken into custody.

Initially reports were there was no physical trauma to the body, but an autopsy showed that he had been asphyxiated. Two bones in his neck were broken.

Just a few moments ago, the Prince George's County state attorney was asked, is this murder?


GLEN IVEY, PRINCE GEORGE'S CO. STATE ATTORNEY: Well, certainly the medical examiner's conclusion lends itself to that direction, but we still have an open mind and we're going to move forward with the interviews of the people who work there. We're going to have a full investigation and we'll make the decision after we get all the evidence together.


MESERVE: State police are heading up the investigation into White's death. Mr. Ivey was asked whether it was likely that people would be asked to testify before a grand jury this week. He said that was a good possibility.

The FBI also launching a probe into the civil rights aspect of this apparent murder in Prince George's County.

Back to you.

HARRIS: OK. Our Jeanne Meserve in Washington for us -- Jeanne, appreciate it. Thank you.

COLLINS: So is your sunscreen doing its job? And is it safe? That's the big question.

Elizabeth Cohen is joining us to talk about it, coming up in just a moment.


COLLINS: And the guy in the little promo there, he just said the most important thing. We're going to talk about it in a minute.

As you know, it is July, time for the beach or swimming pool, and we've heard it a million times, time to lather on that sunscreen. But the fact of the matter is, there are some of them that just don't do the job.

A watchdog group claims four of five sunscreens, in fact, don't provide the proper protection. Some even contain potentially dangerous chemicals.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here to talk more about this. We've got good guys and bad guys out there.



COHEN: That's good.

COLLINS: I love that. COHEN: This is according to the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization and they say that some sunscreens -- and we're talking heavy hitters like Neutrogena...


COHEN: ... and Coppertone and Banana Boat don't do what they should and may possibly be toxic. We'll get to that in a second.

For example, here's a Coppertone product. And they say that it doesn't cover UVA rays as it should, and you need to cover UVA and UVB. They also claim that this will come off with sweat. That it doesn't stick to your skin the way it's supposed to.

Now let's move on to Neutrogena. The Environmental Working Group that this also will not protect you against UVA and that it contains a chemical called oxybenzone. Now Environmental Working Group and others say oxybenzone can give you hormone problems and can -- it has been linked to cancer.

Other people say that's just not true and that there's nothing wrong with this chemical. In fact, many doctors will tell you that. So you have to take it for what it's worth, which is that there's some controversy here.


COHEN: And...

COLLINS: But the thing that you mentioned about UVA and UVB, you've got to have both. Is that...

COHEN: You've got to have both.

COLLINS: ... the headline here?

COHEN: You do have to have both. The problem is that this group says, even when it says on the label that it claims to have both, it may not cover UVA as well as it should.


COHEN: Now let's talk about what these companies have to say, so you can imagine the makers of these products are not crazy about this.

COLLINS: They called you, didn't they?

COHEN: They -- we called them, actually.

Coppertone said that they rigorously test all its products in the lab and in the real world and that these products work as they said. Neutrogena says that its sunscreen products have been embraced by dermatologists and consumers for their efficacy. And the makers of Banana Boat did not respond to our request for comment.

COLLINS: All right. We should move on to the ones that we like or the ones that have been proven, apparently, to cover both and are safe.

COHEN: Right. This is what the Environmental Working Group says is good, that they do what they're supposed to do. Here are a few samples. And what they say is that these products really do cover UVA and UVB and they don't contain oxybenzone.

So when you're shopping, how do you know what to look for?

Well, one thing you can do is you can go to and we have links to places where you can put in the name of your sunscreen and this group will tell you what they think.


COHEN: And here are some, sort of, broad things to think about. One, you want to make sure that it's at least labeled for UVA and UVB. Some of them don't cover both. You want one that covers both. You want an SPF of 15 or more. You also want a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Look for those two chemicals. Thirdly, do not use the insect repellent/sunscreen combos.

You may feel like you're saving time or money, something in that insect repellent apparently makes the sunscreen not work as well as it should.

But again, go to and there you'll see an article by CNN medical producer Amy Burkholder that goes over all of this and again, links to places where you can put in the name of your sunscreen and this group will tell you what they think.

COLLINS: Good. And nice shout out to Amy there, too.

COHEN: Yes, and she did a great job.

COLLINS: Yes, I -- literally, I've got like six bottles to throw away so there you go. Yes, they're not supposed...

COHEN: But I want to be clear, though. Not everyone agrees with the work that this group has done.

COLLINS: True. Good point.

COHEN: Some people find it controversial.

COLLINS: All right. Well, certainly something to think about.

COHEN: That's right.

COLLINS: Elizabeth, thank you. Appreciate it.

COHEN: Thanks.

COLLINS: To get your daily dose of health news online, you can always log on to our Web site. You will find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness.

Once again, that address

HARRIS: As many parents know, higher education comes with a pretty high price tag. But now there is some relief.

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on student loans.

Susan, good morning.

SUSAN LISOVICZ CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. How do you spell relief? L-O-A-N.


LISOVICZ: Big-time.


LISOVICZ: The interest rates on many student loans are resetting and they're going lower. It's part of the College Cost Reduction Act. Starting today, rates on subsidized Stafford loans originating this year are going to drop from 6.8 percent to six percent.

The rates will go down each of the next four years, a drop to just under 3.5 percent in the 2011 to 2012 school year.

Tony, how about that for a change?

HARRIS: Well, I like it since I'm on the lifetime plan here. I'm just wondering how much of a cost savings...

LISOVICZ: You and me the same.

HARRIS: ... are we talk about here, Susan?

LISOVICZ: The U.S. Public Interest Research Group commonly known as PIRG says the average four-year college student will save $2500 over of the life of a loan.


LISOVICZ: Significant because these are need-based loans. The median income of the families taking these loans is just $45,000. It's wide reaching, 5.5 million students take out subsidized Stafford loans every year.

Also in the College Cost Reduction Act, those are unsubsidized Stafford loans, not based on need, can borrow more money. The maximum for Pell Grant increasing by nearly $500, but doesn't sound particularly generous...


LISOVICZ: ... considering what college tuition is. But -- OK. Now let's talk some more numbers.

HARRIS: All right.

LISOVICZ: A week start to the third quarter. The Dow dropped more than 100 points at the open but pared losses after strong manufacturing reports. The companies are paying more...


LISOVICZ: ... for fuel and raw materials. Demand for finished products is shrinking.

What also shrunk is the -- some of the numbers connected to the Dow. Pared its losses down right now 41 points, about a third of a percent, ditto for the NASDAQ. It's down third of a percent. And the bulls are trying to -- you know, rally.


LISOVICZ: But they haven't been able to get there yet. We have a few hours to go.

HARRIS: You remember the BEOG grant from back in the day? I think that turned into the Pell Grant? I wore that out when I was back in the day, a much younger man.

LISOVICZ: Well, I mean, you know, it's important. And you know...

HARRIS: It really is.

LISOVICZ: ... there are millions of students with loans that affect them for years.

HARRIS: Man. Nice to hear news of the reset.

All right, Susan. Good to see you. Thank you.

LISOVICZ: Likewise.

COLLINS: Homeowners, with the sluggish housing market, is it a good idea to sell your home, or should you just remodel? Designing guru Vern Yip in the studio in the NEWSROOM...


COLLINS: ... in just a moment.


COLLINS: Tight credit, a sluggish housing market, some owners ready for something new are actually look at remodeling instead of moving.

So is it a good idea?

Here to talk about that is Verne Yip, host of HGTV's popular "Deserving Design" show. So nice to have you here.


COLLINS: Everybody in the NEWSROOM all excited about having you.

YIP: Well, very nice to be here, thank you.

COLLINS: It has been what we have been calling here "ISSUE #1," the economy.

YIP: Yes.

COLLINS: And it brings up all kinds of different things to talk about. And one of them is, certainly, what do I do with my home? How do I get the most money out of it if I want to put it on the market or if I want to stay in it for 10, 15 more years?

So should we be renovating or should we put it up on the market and get what we really want?

YIP: That is a really hard question and there are so many factors that go into that decision.

Number one, do you love where you're at? Do you love your location? Does your current home support your functional need? Is it large enough? And the third thing is, really, how long have you been in that home? You know, have you been in it long enough where it now makes sense for you to sort of sell it despite the fact that housing prices have gone down, or should you really hang tough for a little bit?

COLLINS: Yes, because, you know, at least when you drive around here, and I know it's the same for many other cities across the country, everywhere you look, there are "For Sale" signs.

YIP: Absolutely. Absolutely. And there are lots of smart things that you can do if you decide that it is the right decision to renovate your home instead of reselling. Lots of smart things that you can do that will last over the course of time and be smart decisions.

COLLINS: In fact, you have some rules and everyone is looking forward to hearing these because you're the guy to learn all this from.

The first one that you say is you should understand your neighborhood. What do you mean by that?

YIP: Absolutely. You have -- you want to understand the comparable prices in your neighborhood so that you have an idea of how much you can spend on a renovation. You don't want to price yourself out of your neighborhood. So understand where current prices are with the houses that are in your neighborhoods. So you understand where your budget is. COLLINS: And this next one, I love, because you really have to be honest with yourself about what your talents are. Figure out if you can really do it yourself or if you want to call a professional.

YIP: Absolutely. A lot of times, you know, there are plenty of things that you can do yourself that are easy to do, but a lot of times there are things that you really should call the professionals in, because if you try it, it may not be safe and you also may have to bring in somebody to redo it for you, which is going to end up costing you just more money.

COLLINS: Very, very expensive. And you have to wonder, too, when you talk about renovating, are you really going to get the money back should you decide later to put it on the market? And some of those returns are not as great. So you have to be smart about which things you make changes to.

And one of them that you have here, it's all about paint. I mean sometimes all you have to do is slap a coat of paint on the walls?

YIP: It is the oldest trick in the book, but it's one that keeps on working. A gallon of paint will do wonders for your home. And everybody knows how to paint. And if you don't know how to paint, you can teach yourself pretty easily.

COLLINS: Dorset Gold, Benjamin Moore.

YIP: You've got to your go-to color.

COLLINS: Yes, I do.

OK. And then the last one that we were just talking about, you got to pick the parts of your home that are worth remodeling or what everyone seems to be looking for if they want to buy and that usually ends up being the kitchens and the bathrooms, right?

YIP: Kitchens and bathrooms are still the smartest places to put your money. But if you're going to renovate it and you want to make a smart long-term decision, stick to some classic things. Don't go really trendy. You want to stick with things that are going to endure over time.

COLLINS: Granite and stainless.

YIP: Granite and stainless.

COLLINS: See, I can do this.

YIP: You -- we should give you your own design show.

COLLINS: Oh, just say it.

YIP: You don't need me here.

COLLINS: Listen, quickly, before we let you go. "Deserving Design," season number two, kick off is? YIP: Is tomorrow night.

COLLINS: Tomorrow.

YIP: Wednesday night, 9:00 Eastern Standard Time on HGTV.

COLLINS: Well, we're looking for it. We also watch you on "Design Star," of course, too.

YIP: Thank you.

COLLINS: Very, very fun program.

Vern Yip -- oh, look, there you are, shooting some of those stories. Excellent. Everybody wants you to come to their house, you know, so look out when you leave the NEWSROOM.

Vern Yip from HGTV -- thanks so much, Vern.

YIP: Thank you.

HARRIS: He has been on TV and in movies. Now Moe is missing. Celebrity chimp at large. An update on the search in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: You know, a lot of people in Southern California are asking where's Moe? The 42-year-old chimpanzee named Moe actually escaped from an animal sanctuary on Friday. He apparently fled into the San Bernardino National Forest. A weekend search came up empty. The couple who raised Moe, afraid for his safety.


LADONNA DAVIS, MOE'S CO-OWNER: This is a new environment for him. We don't know if he can survive it.


HARRIS: So the couple brought Moe from Tanzania. Among other accomplishments, he can eat with a knife and fork. And he is a bit of a celebrity, appearing in movies and TV shows. Don't have the list of his credits, though, sorry.

COLLINS: We'll look that up.



"Curious George?" No.

CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now.

HARRIS: "ISSUE #1" with Gerri Willis and Ali Velshi starts right now.