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New Terror Attack in Pakistan; Survivors Describe Ambush; Test of Market's Resilience; Bringing Back the Dead

Aired October 12, 2009 - 09:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: New militants strike on a U.S. ally. More than three dozen dead today in Pakistan in the fourth attack there in a week.

CNN exclusive pictures of a mission targeting al Qaeda. Iraqi troops take the lead with U.S. Special Forces in support.

And driving while distracted. A new course teaches teens the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins, it is Monday, October 12th, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

This morning, we have a very busy day ahead of us. We're tracking two fronts on the terror war and we are watching Wall Street. Here's what we're talking about today. CNN's Reza Sayah, as you can see, is in Pakistan, where that country's military is once again targeted. We'll talk with him.

And also, across the border in Afghanistan, U.S. forces are ambushed. Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is talking about that and has some Pentagon reaction with survivors.

Also, Christine Romans is following another story. That's the markets, where recent successes could actually be put to the test. We'll get to all of that, but we begin this morning in Pakistan, where just two days after its military headquarters were attacked, an explosion rips through a security force's checkpoint.

At least 41 people are dead, 45 wounded. It happened in the Swat Valley where Pakistani army have been battling Taliban militants. And CNN's Reza Sayah is joining us now live from Pakistan's capital with more on this.

Reza, tell us, what's the very latest in what's happened here?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Heidi. It has been a dreadful couple of weeks here in Pakistan with one deadly militant attack after another. The latest one taking place on this Monday, 1:00 p.m. local time. A suicide blast at a very busy market in the Swat Valley. 41 killed, 45 injured.

Military officials tell CNN this suicide attacker was a teenage boy. He describes him as may be 13, 14. The officials telling CNN the suicide attacker targeted a military convoy. Six of the fatalities, security personnel. But, again, because this was a busy market area, you had at least 35 civilian fatalities.

The region where this happened is noteworthy. The Swat Valley. This is a place that the Pakistani government and the military was pointing to as a great achievement when it comes to fighting the Taliban. It was a Taliban stronghold a few months ago. The military launched a sustained and aggressive offensive. They say they pushed the Taliban out.

We were there last week. Things looked like they were back to normal, but with this deadly suicide attack, this is certainly a setback for the government, even in this location where it looks like they've made some progress. Clearly, there's work to be done, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes, clearly. All right. Reza Sayah, thanks so much, live from Islamabad with the very latest.

Back in the United States, the president will meet again with his war council this week as he considers a proposal for a significant troop buildup in Afghanistan. Today, some soldiers already there are talking about surviving an ambush by militants.

CNN's Barbara Starr has the story.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Survivors of a brutal firefight here at combat outpost Keating telling their story of an ambush at a remote mountain valley base.

1ST LT. CASON SHRODE FIRES, SUPPORT OFFICER, U.S. ARMY: I made a call and just said, we're taking heavy contact, we need assets. From that point, just tried to fight the fight.

STARR: A helicopter crew member recalls seeing hundreds of militants attacking.

C.W.O. CHAD BARDWELL, APACHE GUNNER, U.S. ARMY: It was just kind of shock to see the amount of flames and the smoke and then to see that amount of personnel, you know, that were running outside of their wire. It was really -- it was really, it was just shock.

STARR: The White House scheduling another meeting this week, still deciding on a way ahead.

Counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen advises the Pentagon on both Iraq and Afghanistan.

DAVID KILCULLEN, COUNTERINSURGENCY EXPERT: I think that the -- there are really two options. We need to do this thing properly or we need to go home and prepare for the inevitable humanitarian disaster that's going to happen.

STARR: Disagreement between the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator John McCain told John King on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" it would be a mistake of, quote, "historic proportions" to reduce the U.S. effort. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think the great danger now is not an American pullout. I think the great danger now is a half measure, sort of a -- you know, try to please all ends of the political spectrum.

STARR: Key Democrats say more has to be done to make Afghans take responsibility.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: There are ways of showing resolve without more and more combat troops coming from the United States.

STARR: But for the men from Camp Keating, the only fight is for their buddies' lives.

SGT. JAYSON SOUTER, U.S. ARMY: I think the best moment that told me, you know, what great of unit I was in, what great guys I was working with was when everyone basically came together, and in the mix of it, all, they were donating blood for the wounded that we had. They all pulled together to make sure, you know, we can pull our battle buddies out of this.


COLLINS: Barbara Starr joining us now live. So, Barbara, what's really expected to come out of this week's meeting at the White House? Is this more of the same, or is something going to be decided now?

STARR: Well, by all indications, Heidi, nothing is decided just yet. Another round of meetings to discuss strategy and troop numbers. Still, what we believe from sources we've spoken to is the U.S. military wants about another 40,000 troops to add to the 68,000 earmarked for Afghanistan.

Why 40,000? Well, General McChrystal believes that's the right number to add in to secure the population centers. Kandahar down south, other population areas, to protect the Afghan people and really get this counterinsurgency strategy moving. Heidi?

COLLINS: All right. We'll continue to watch it. Sure do appreciate it, our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Thanks, Barbara.

The opening bell on Wall Street, less than a half hour away now. The market is coming off a strong performance last week, but that momentum could be tested in the next few days.

Christine Romans is joining us now live from New York with more on this. So, Christine, what is it that's coming out this week that everyone should be aware of?


COLLINS: Yes. ROMANS: We're going to start to find out how companies are actually doing. The last quarter was about cost cutting, it was about trying to stabilize, and this quarter we'll get kind of a better sense of how many of these companies are doing.

We're going to get a lot of bank earnings this week. That will be pretty key to find out what's happening to consumers. Are they paying their credit card bills? Are they in distress? What kind of trouble they're having. And also how these companies are managing to make money if they are in a pretty tough environment.

Also, Heidi, we've had such a big, big run in stocks.


ROMANS: A lot of people are saying it's time to see if the market can keep going. I mean, look at this. This is remarkable. That March, if you look there in the middle where that bottom part of that chart there. That was March.

Since March, the S&P 500 is up 58 percent. Think of that. That is an epic rally. Up 58 percent. Still, the S&P 500 is down 31 percent from its record highs. So we have had this epic rally over the past few months, but we are still crawling our way, slowly, crawling our way out of all of the losses over the past couple of years.

So some people have been too scared to get in here, quite honestly.


ROMANS: And wondering if now is the time to be trying to jump in on this rally. This week is a really good test to see if there's more to go for stocks because we're going to see how companies are really doing and whether this rally can continue.

COLLINS: Yes. Yes. Besides earnings, though, some banks are still trying to find out what to do about big bonuses.

ROMANS: That's right. And you know, Citigroup has now decided to sell one of its energy trading divisions, a group called Fibro. You might have heard the $100-million man, the guy who runs it, (INAUDIBLE) there, was on deck to make $100 million.

Well, Citigroup is now selling it to Occidental Petroleum. It's just too much of a headache to have in this day and age when Citigroup is a world of estate essentially to be able to pay one guy $100 million. So they're selling the whole unit, basically, because of that.

And Goldman Sachs, we will hear more about Goldman Sachs' profits this week. They're expected to be OK, to say the least, and Goldman Sachs' CEO was in "The Wall Street Journal" this weekend, saying that...


ROMANS: He's going to pay out his bonuses. And if it comes to making -- you know, making his employees happy or making Washington happy, he's going to try to make his employees happy.

COLLINS: Yes, understood. I saw that. "Romans' Numeral" for today?

ROMANS: Six hundred billion. It puts the stock market, this powerful stock market move in perspective, I think. Just last week, Heidi, the paper gain in the value of the stock market was $600 billion, in one little week. So that shows you that there is a lot of money that is still flowing into the stock market.

Also into commodities, into gold. There is a lot of money being put to work here right now. This week will be a really good test to see if it continues.

COLLINS: OK. We'll be watching. Thanks so much, Christine Romans.

Well, it's certainly not the way they wanted to spend Columbus Day, being driven from home by a massive landslide. We'll show you the extraordinary pictures coming in from Washington state.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And now heading toward Washington state, Oregon and the California coastline, an old typhoon is going to bring big wind and big rain to the Bay area. Plus another round of soaking rain for the southeast, flooding under way again across the ATL. Weather is coming up. The CNN NEWSROOM will be right back.


COLLINS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on the fourth day of her six-day trip to Europe and Russia. Clinton is now in Belfast. She's focusing on Northern Ireland's peace process and economic development.

Clinton is also trying to encourage the main Protestant and Catholic leaders to make more progress in their power-sharing government.

The Protestant majority has been fighting efforts for the government to take authority on Northern Ireland's police and justice system from Britain. The U.S. and Britain believe that transferring those powers would strengthen Belfast's coalition government.

A wet and muddy mess in central Washington this morning. We're talking about a landslide there, too. Some people evacuated their homes as the mud moved in. It happened in the Nile Valley, a small community 10 miles west of Natchez.

Take a look there. You can see the mud oozing its way across a state highway, parts of which are now closed. No one was injured but at least one home badly damaged. Several others were flooded, hundreds of people lost power.

Rob Marciano joining us to talk about that. And also California bracing for a major storm, right?

MARCIANO: Yes, this one is going to bring ton of rain, more so to central California and northern California then to Washington. That's good news for the folks dealing with that landslide.


MARCIANO: We'll keep you posted on this new tornado warning and also the flood warning, which will be ongoing, certainly, Heidi, throughout the day.

COLLINS: Yes, kind of a good Monday, so far. All right, Rob, we'll check back later. Thanks.

MARCIANO: You got it.

COLLINS: True stories of medical miracles. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells about a young man who flatlined and came back to life 15 minutes later. It's all part of our week-long series, "Cheating Death."


COLLINS: Checking our "Top Stories" now.

A hijacking suspect has been captured more than 40 years after the incident. Luiz Armanio Pena Soltran surrendered to authorities at New York's JFK Airport yesterday after getting off a flight to Havana. Soltran and three others were indicted in the 1968 hijacking of a plane to Havana. Two co-conspirators served their sentences, a third was acquitted.

In Pakistan, at least 41 people are dead at an attack on a busy mark place. Dozens of others were wounded in the explosion in the Swat Valley. The attack targeted a military convoy. Police are telling us the suicide bomber was a teenage boy. The attack follows three other militant strikes last week, including a military raid on Pakistan's army headquarters.

Seven children packed into a car with an alleged drunk driver in New York. The result, a crash that killed an 11-year-old girl. Affiliate WPIX reports that Carmen Huertas were taking her daughter and the others to a sleepover. Police said she crashed and killed one of the friends inside. All the other girls were hurt. Huertas is charged with DWI and vehicular manslaughter.

Doctors who treated him call his case a medical miracle. A 22- year-old man who was dead comes back to life 15 minutes later. The thing is, cases like his are no longer as rare as they used to be.

All this week, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is looking at how science and medicine are redefining the notion of death, bringing you stories of people who cheated death. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, in many ways, I've been thinking about this book for close to 20 years, since I was a medical student.

How do we really know when dead is dead? Is there a bright, white line between life and death?

Well, as you might imagine, the answer is no. It's much more of a process, which means that it's much more of an opportunity as well to reverse death. That's exactly what happened with the young man you're about to meet. Take a look.



911 OPERATOR: 911, where's the emergency?

CHRIS BROOKS'S FATHER: Middletown Township.

911 OPERATOR: What's the problem?

CHRIS BROOKS'S FATHER: My son's not responding here. He's breathing, his eyes are open, I don't know what's going on. I don't know if he's snoring...

J. BROOKS: Chris!


911 OPERATOR: Is he awake and talking to you or not?


J. BROOKS: Hurry up!

911 OPERATOR: I'm going to give you some instructions. Just stay on the line.

J. BROOKS: Christopher!

GUPTA (voice-over): They're talking about Christopher Brooks. 22 years old. He's just months from college graduation and he was working construction part-time and also living at home with his family.

(on camera): When that 911 call came in, Chris Brooks was dead. Clinically dead for more than 15 minutes. His heart stopped beating shortly after 3:00 in the morning on November 15th, 2008.

But here's the thing. It wasn't the end. In his case, and in several others that you're about to see, death was reversible.

The night Chris Brooks died began innocently enough at this bowling alley in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. A night out with a girl and his best friend, T.J. Simon. Was he acting any differently at all?

T.J. SIMON, CHRIS BROOKS' FRIEND: No, he was actually acting himself. You know, he's always the life of the party.

J. BROOKS: He's 22. Just got home from college to work for the weekend. He went bowling.

Plugged his cell phone in here and woke me up. And he goes, it's just me, mom, I'm plugging my cell phone. I said, OK, are you going to sleep here? Yes, I'm going to sleep down here tonight.

GUPTA: Moments later, there was this noise from the couch. Joan thought it was snoring, but something wasn't right.

J. BROOKS: I came over and I bent over him and I went to smack his face and he went like this and I put my hands down on both his arms to go smack his face again, and then I'm like, Christopher! What's the matter? I can't wake him up.


GUPTA: So, Heidi, I can tell you that Chris is doing perfectly fine. I saw him. I spent time with him. His brain is completely normal. And really he's doing great. And that's sort of the point. That this man, probably 10 years ago, 20 years ago, would have been pronounced dead and now he's here.

So what have we learned as a medical establishment and how do we know when to keep going versus to stop trying? Stories like Chris and many others in a documentary coming up this weekend, October 17th and 18th, and also in the book. And again, this is something I've been thinking about for a long time, and I think hopefully there'll be lots of practical advice and some really amazing stories for people to take a look at. Heidi?

COLLINS: Yes, we look forward to that special. In fact, don't miss the primetime debut of Dr. Gupta's special series, "Cheating Death." It's also the name of his new book. You can see the series beginning this Saturday and Sunday and at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

The wait is now officially over for the latest Michael Jackson single, at least for fans who didn't download a sample that leaked on the Internet yesterday. You can now listen to the complete version of "This Is It" on A two-disk CD set will hit stores later this month, followed by a movie.

Here's part of the track.


COLLINS: Michael Jackson died on June 25th. An investigation into Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, is still going on.

No road in, no road out. The Iraqi city of Ramadi, under a lockdown after nearly two dozen people die in a series of attacks.


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: The Dow last traded above the 10,000 mark in October of last year. Will the blue chips could get back into that territory this week if a big wave of corporate earning reports are to Wall Street's liking?

Susan Lisovicz, at the New York Stock -- I'm sorry, I was laughing at who's ringing the bell and (INAUDIBLE).


Just distract me up, but anyway. Yes, everybody is waiting and hoping to break through that barrier of 10,000, huh?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. As a mother of two preschoolers, I'm sure you know who that character is, Heidi.


LISOVICZ: On the opening bell platform. Currently, there's a new relief of one key idle and that is -- hey, it's capitalism at work. Meanwhile, Heidi, stocks set to add to last week's big gain. The Dow rebounded from two down weeks with a 4 percent gain. The Nasdaq and S&P added at least that much.

This week, the first big wave of corporate earnings will determine the market's direction. Wall Street will hear from six of the Dow 30 stocks, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, Intel, IBM, JPMorgan Chase and GE, Google, and Goldman Sachs are also on tap.

Christine was talking earlier, Heidi, about all those financials that are coming this week.

Last week, you may recall Dow component Alcoa reported a surprise profit. If more companies start to do the same, we could be on our way to Dow 10,000.

The earnings flood begins Tuesday. No major earnings or economic news on tap for today.

Heidi, "The New York Times" says in today's paper that stocks and bond markets are closed for Columbus Day. Well, there will undoubtedly be a correction in tomorrow's paper.


LISOVICZ: The bond market is closed today. We're expecting a quiet day in terms of volume.

And checking out the early numbers. Yes, we're seeing some gains. The Dow closed 135 points on Friday from you know what. And I'm not going to wear this today, Heidi Collins. What I am going to wear is this.

COLLINS: Oh, God, you had to do it, didn't you?

LISOVICZ: I know. But you used to live in Gotham.

COLLINS: I know. But I lived in Minnesota for 20 years, I can't deny it.

LISOVICZ: I know. But now you have to root for the great Yankees.

COLLINS: Yes, I will. I will.

LISOVICZ: It's destiny.

COLLINS: It's tough, but I will.

All right, Susan, we'll talk again shortly. Thank you.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

COLLINS: On to this now. At least 23 people are dead in a series of car bombings in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. Now authorities are taking action to clamp down on the violence.

Our Mohammed Jamjoom is joining us now live from Baghdad with the very latest.

Mohammed, good morning.


Yesterday, 23 people were killed and 77 injured in a series of three car bombing attacks that took place in the city of Ramadi. Now interior ministry officials in the city of Ramadi are telling us that they believe al Qaeda in Iraq was behind these attacks. Ramadi is Anbar Province, which is former insurgent stronghold.

Now today, we're being told that also regarding Anbar Province and the city of Fallujah, that intelligence officials there believe that al Qaeda in Iraq is planning attacks, car bombings are being planned right now. They have the indications. Because of that, checkpoint had been set up. There's a curfew that's been imposed, and all entrances into the city have been closed off.

The government of Iraq has condemned these attacks that took place yesterday, and the office of the vice president today issued a statement, urging the Iraqi security forces to step up their efforts to increase security across the country, especially considering the facts that elections are happening this January and they expect that violence may occur at those times - Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. We sure do appreciate the update. Thanks so much.

Mohammed Jamjoom, thank you so much, live from Baghdad this morning.

Training the Iraqis for the day Americans won't be backing them up anymore.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teaching a guy how to clear a room, learn how to drive a humvee, that's very basic stuff. Teaching a guy not to grab something when he's going through a house, looking for evidence, or not to take bribes. That's the hard part.


COLLINS: A CNN exclusive, embedded with Green Berets as they test Iraqi forces and put them to the test. That's coming up before the end of the hour. So make sure you stick around for that.

Meanwhile, President Obama facing mounting political pressure over Afghanistan. Military advisers asking for extra troops. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal reportedly wants up to 40,000 more troops. Now powerful senators from both sides of the aisle say the president should listen to that advice.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think to disregard the requirements that has been laid out and agreed to by General Petraeus and Admiral Mullen, I think, would be an error of historic proportions.



SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), CHAIRWOMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't know how you put somebody in who is as cracker jack as General McChrystal, who gives the president very solid recommendations, and not take those recommendations if you're not going to pull out.


COLLINS: This week, the president is holding strategy meetings on both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A big resignation this morning over the disputed results of Afghanistan's presidential elections. A member of the U.N.-backed fraud panel just quit. The panel was set up by the United Nations to look into complaints of fraud soon after the elections. The official who resigned said he walked off because of what he calls interference of foreigners. The panel is just about finished with its investigation.

NATO military exercises were supposed to ramp up today in Turkey, but now they are postponed, thanks in part to the U.S. pulling out. And the reason goes back to tensions between Turkey and Israel.

Ivan Watson is standing by live now in Istanbul to tell us more about this.

Good morning to you, Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. What we have here is the freshest diplomat spat between two key American allies in the Middle East, Israel and Turkey, which is basically Israel's only real Muslim friend in the Middle East. And it revolves around these joint air force international military exercises that were supposed to start this week.

What we heard was from the Israeli military on Sunday, a statement saying that the exercises have been postponed indefinitely because the Israelis had been excluded. The Turks excluded the Israelis from the exercises.

Now I asked Turkey's foreign minister, in an exclusive interview last night, I asked him, did this decision to exclude Israel from the military exercises have anything to do with ongoing Turkish criticism of Israel's offensive into the Gaza strip last December and January? And this was the somewhat cryptic answer that Ahmet Davutoglu gave me.

Let's take a listen.


AHMET DAVUTOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER: It was an international military exercise. We decided to make it a national military exercise. That's what has happened. It is a national military exercise now, after consultations with all the parties involved. And we hope that the situation in Gaza will be improved. The situation in the Middle East will be back to the diplomatic track. And that will create a new atmosphere in Turkey (INAUDIBLE) as well. But in the existing situation, of course, we are criticizing this approach, the Israel approach.


WATSON: So what we're hearing here, it appears that he's linked the two issues here. But we've since heard from the Turkish foreign ministry, they're denying there are any political issues behind the decisions postpone the exercises. They've also added a statement in there saying that calling for common sense, Heidi, from Israeli officials in their statements to the media - Heidi.

COLLINS: Well, remind everyone, if you would, Ivan, about the tension between these two U.S. allies and in the Middle East.

WATSON: Yes, Heidi, they have strong, traditionally strong military and economic ties, but the atmosphere was really poisoned by that offensive by the Israelis into Gaza in December and January. More than 1,000 Palestinians were killed. Perhaps a bit more than a dozen Israelis killed in that offensive. The Turkish government was a very loud critic of that offensive, and that really turned to a boil in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

There you have the Turkish prime minister, who used to belong to an Islamist political party that's now banned here. He lost his temper in an argument with the Israeli President Shimon Peres. He accused him, basically, of being very good at killing people, of killing children on the beaches and then he stormed offstage, after losing his temper. And the Turks have continued to criticize the Israelis and their policies in Gaza to this day. And it continues to flare up from time to time in the relationship between these two key U.S. allies in the region - Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Ivan Watson for us this morning.

Ivan, thank you.

Many parents pound home the lessons about drunk driving, but what about driving while distracted? Doing things like texting, eating, putting on makeup. Well, one driving course in Oklahoma City piles on the distractions and lets young drivers see the consequences.


BAILEY WALLACE, STUDENT DRIVER: Missing three out of the four red lights was pretty good enough for me to say, don't do it.

There's so many things that can happen on their own without you having an influence on them, so why would you add to the problems?


COLLINS: So we told you about this story last week, but next hour we want to let you know, we are going to be talking with a school administrator and a student who took the test there to see if these lessons are translating to the road.

In fact, we do want to hear from you about this. Do you think texting and driving, texting while driving, I should say, is dangerous? And if you do, do you still do it anyway?

Make sure you go to our blog, When you first get there, you can see a little bit more about the issue of texting and driving and then go ahead and register your comments. We'll bring some of them to you right here in the show a little bit later on.

A couple thankful to be alive this morning after their car went flying into the water. How they were able to get out of this terrifying situation before it was too late.


COLLINS: And getting a look at our top stories now.

It's a pivotal week for health care reform. At least, it could be. The Senate Finance Committee will vote tomorrow on its long- awaited health care bill. The congressional budget office says the measure would cost an estimated $829 billion over ten years, but 25 million Americans would still be left uninsured. And expanded insurance coverage to most Americans will be there, also reducing the deficit. A huge rally and a march across San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to push for same-sex marriages. Also on their minds, ending the military's contentious Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. They hope the president will follow through on a promise he made to end it at a dinner for the human rights campaign this weekend. Some people within the gay community are frustrated the president hasn't acted quickly on campaign pledges he made to the gay community.

In China, six people are sentenced to death. They are charged with murder and other crimes in the July riots that killed 200 people. A seventh person got a life sentence. All seven charged are Uyghurs, Muslims living in western China Xinjiang Province. The riots in July were prompted by long-simmering resentment by minority Uyghurs and majority Han Chinese.

Making decisions about your health benefits. The changes in store for open enrollment this year, and how they could impact you and your family.


COLLINS: In Massachusetts, a couple have a lot of people to thank this morning after quite a water rescue near Boston. Police say the 94-year-old man who was driving this car somehow went through a barrier and then his car went flying into the water. An off-duty firefighter witnessed the crash and rescued the man. A Harvard police officer in the area helped the woman inside before the car sank.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was able to get my hands around the female in the driver's seat. She was on her way out of the water, up and out of the vehicle. I got my arms around her and pulled her up on shore to safety.


COLLINS: Police are investigating the cause of that crash.

Rob Marciano joining us now. More rain in the Southeast. It's kind of becoming like an everyday thing, it feels like.

MARCIANO: We had a little bit of a break there. But what's worse about this batch is that it's pretty heavy.

Let's talk about a big swath of moisture from Louisiana through Georgia and South Carolina. And a number of warnings that popped up throughout the day. Most have been flash flood warnings. This one is effective for the next hour and a half, for Washington County, and that's in parts of Mississippi. So that's the first one that we've seen so far, out of Mississippi.

Most of them have been out of Alabama, and then, of course, Georgia. Here's the Atlanta skyline, where it's raining. We've already seen an inch and a quarter of rain in about a six-hour period since the heaviest rain started last night. Obviously, you can't see a whole lot. But the rain is going to continue throughout much of the day today, because here it is on the radar scope. We're expecting a fair amount of rainfall and the heaviest right now is coming through the southeast with a pretty good line right here, just moving through Birmingham. This actually has been severe as it crosses the I-20 south and heading a little bit further north towards Atlanta.

So that's got some heavy rain and then a number of the creeks that flooded the last go around, namely, Nancy Creek, (ph) Peachtree Creek (ph) have risen rapidly just in the last couple of hours and those may very well be showing some flooding.

Birmingham, Alabama, to Atlanta, two to four inches on top of what we've already seen, so flashflood watches are in effect through the rest of the day today.

The other big weather story is across parts of the upper mid- West. Minneapolis seeing some snow, the first real snows of the season, a dusting to maybe two to three inches possible up there. Now, that's the home great and dear to your heart there, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. They actually, mom and dad just got back from Europe and came home to a, quote, "white lawn." I guess that's the snow, huh.

MARCIANO: Well, they're not shoveling yet, so there's not too much to...

COLLINS: They're not, no? The snow blowers come out later.

MARCIANO: Well, talk, next hour Heidi, big storm coming in to the West Coast. We'll talk more about that it's an old typhoon, it's a nasty one coming towards San Francisco.

COLLINS: Very good, thank you, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right.

COLLINS: Iraqi Special Forces take the lead in a mission to capture al Qaeda in Iraq members. We are there for an exclusive look at the operation.


COLLINS: You already know that you'll pay more for your health benefits this year, but what other changes are coming your way this year for open enrollment?

Personal finance editor Gerri Willis has your crystal ball on that. So good morning to you, Gerri. What are the trends when it comes to these health plans now?

GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, here's something you really need to pay attention to. About 10 percent of employers out there will drop you from their health plan if you don't actively participate in open enrollment and choose your own plan.

Used to be, if you didn't make a decision, you would default to last year's option...


WILLIS: ... but this year, if you don't choose, an increasing number of employers are saying, hey, we're not going to give you a health plan at all. Now, those in the industry say this will force people to really re-evaluate their own health options. Bottom line, don't count on your company to lock you into a health plan if you're not choosing anything. You have to participate in open enrollment.

COLLINS: All right, so what about dependent coverage then?

WILLIS: This is getting trickier too.


WILLIS: Employers are increasingly auditing who you cover under your health insurance plan to make sure they're not covering people who are not eligible. Now, if your spouse is on your health plan and has other insurance options available you could be paying more in premiums.

You know how this is Heidi, higher cost for them, they're adding on to your financial burden.

COLLINS: Yes, definitely.

What are the trends when it comes to any other changes that we should be aware of here?

WILLIS: Well, some employers plan to cut the number of health plan options they offer. For you this could mean you have to change doctors or pay higher out of network costs. And increasingly, employers are offering consumer driven health plans as a way to control costs.

Now, we talked about these plans before they are known as CDHPs, they are high deductible plans where you may have to pay $10,000 out of pocket before your own coverage begins.

All right, so that's the bad news. The good news is, some employers out there are offering increasing wellness incentives like gift cards, cash and discounted premiums for participating in smoking cessation, weight management or fitness programs.

The devil is in the details here, you've had to read those materials as you get them. And I know, folks in our company just got them and we're all seeing higher costs, cost being shifted on to the consumer, on to us as these companies try to wrangle these higher costs their facing.

COLLINS: Yes, no kidding. It's getting complicated. You really got to watch and know what you're doing. Read a lot. All right. Gerri thanks so much. I appreciate it.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

COLLINS: An awful a lot going on this morning. As you know we do have our crews in place to bring it all to you.

Let's get a preview now from our correspondents beginning with Christine Romans. Hi there Christine.

ROMANS: Hi there, Heidi, I'm following a story about the insurance lobby which has really dropped an 11th hour bombshell here and released a report that says under health care reform, coverage costs are actually going to go up and go up more than we thought. Supporters of reform, though, are crying foul saying that the industry has done a hatchet job and is working at cross purposes with millions of Americans.

I'll have that coming up for you at the top of the hour.

LISOVICZ: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange.

It's been more than a year since the Dow traded above 10,000. But the blue chips right now are less than 100 points away from five- digit territory. And the bulls could keep going higher, if Wall Street gets favorable results from the likes of Bank of America, Intel, and GE.

Heidi, more on that in the next hour.

MARCIANO: Green is good on Wall Street. Red, bad on the weather map and that is plenty of that happening with warnings across the Southeast, more flooding happening. There are white on the weather map as well, with the first snows of the season across the mid-West and a big storm rolling into the West Coast later tonight. Talking all about that in the next hour.

COLLINS: OK, very good. Thanks guys.

Coming up in our next hour: learning the consequences of driving while distracted. Some Oklahoma teens gets firsthand experience and decide to put the brakes on their bad behavior behind the wheel.


COLLINS: A CNN exclusive; embedded with U.S. Special Forces in Iraq, as they train their Iraqi counterparts. For safety reasons, CNN cannot reveal the identities of those involved. But our Cal Perry was there when the training was put to the test during a raid in Tihila (ph) on more than a dozen al Qaeda suspects.


CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are Iraq's Special Forces. Today, they're training, a simple exercise in how to clear a house, searching for a hostage. When the U.S. military talks about a shift in mission to training and advising this is exactly what we're talking about, Iraqi Special Forces learning close quarter combat. Now, while all of this was going on American Special Forces, Green Berets, watched it all from above. That way when the exercise is over, they can do a debrief, talk about what they did well, what they did poorly and what they can do better in the future.

For two and a half months these Green Berets have been working with this group. They say they're making progress.

U.S. GREEN BERET OPERATOR: The biggest area where they have made the most progress is when it comes to values and professionalism.

Teaching a guy how to clear a room, how to drive a Humvee, that's very basic stuff; teaching a guy not to grab something when he's going through a house looking for evidence or not to take bribes, that's the hard part.

PERRY: Just a few days later the U.S. Green Berets put four Blackhawk helicopters into play, going after four individuals south of Baghdad. Iraqi special force troops ride into battle, their trains are alongside.

The choppers have landed at what was believed to be the target building but it was not. So a night foot patrol begins; Iraqi up front in the lead. At one point during the patrol, soldiers come across men with weapons; turns out they're Iraqi police. The patrol moves on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep moving. Keep moving.

PERRY: By the time the unit gets to the target, it's clear that emotions are running high.

The U.S. military tells CNN the treatment of this detainee at the hands of an Iraqi operator will trigger an automatic investigation. Regardless, both sides believe the joint mission was a success.

They believe they have rolled up their main target of this operation, it was supposed to be a lightning quick Blackhawk strike. But what it turned into was a mile and a half, two-mile march. The entire time the Green Beret U.S. Special Forces let the Iraqis take the lead. They believe that they've led them to this suspected insurgent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awesome. One over there, two here, yep. It's going to be crowded on the helicopter. It makes for a long walk worthwhile.

PERRY: Cal Perry, CNN, imbedded with U.S. And Iraqi Special Forces.


COLLINS: We'll have another portion of Cal's exclusive report tomorrow. He goes on a training mission with the mission with the U.S. and Iraqi Special Forces. It takes him to the middle of what used to be known as the "triangle of death."


PERRY: The emergency response is basically Iraqi Special Forces backed by United States Special Forces Green Berets have detained who they believe to be alleged members of al Qaeda.


COLLINS: CNN's Cal Perry embedded with U.S. and Iraqi Special Forces, Iraq in the hunt for al Qaeda terrorists. That's tomorrow in the NEWSROOM.