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Authorities in Pakistan Question 5 Americans; Health Care Compromise; Afghan Army Recruits

Aired December 10, 2009 - 12:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: American Airlines used eight jets to bring families to Texas from all across the country. The airlines says it is important to offer sacrifice.

And time now for the rest of the hour reset here.

I'm Brooke Baldwin in the CNN NEWSROOM, in for Tony Harris.

It is 10:00 p.m. in Pakistan, where five young Americans face questions about possible ties to terrorism.

And it's noon in Washington, D.C., where opposition to the Senate's health care compromise getting louder and louder today.

And check the clock in Copenhagen, Denmark, 6:00 p.m. there, where we explore the role of corporate cash at the global climate summit.

Let's get going here.

The FBI wants to know why five Americans from northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., area are in Pakistan and why they left the U.S. under such mysterious circumstances. Now, authorities tell us that they flew out of Dulles Airport, northern Virginia, right about two weeks ago, and never told their families that they were leaving. One man did leave behind this video, this 11-minute video that sources say sounds almost like a farewell video with jihadist overtones.

CNN's Arwa Damon joins me now live from Islamabad.

And Arwa, you spoke with the mother of one of these young men in Pakistan. You've spoken with her. This is a CNN exclusive.

What is she saying?

All right. Arwa, unfortunately I can't hear you, and that -- let's get back to you. Apparently we can hear you now. Arwa?

We'll try and get back to her. Excuse me, we'll try and get back to Arwa in Islamabad, Pakistan.

She spoke with the mother of one of these five young men. We'll try to find out why they are there and also what authorities are saying.

In fact, we have her now. The wonders of technology.

Arwa Damon, can you hear me? And more importantly, can I hear you? Arwa?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. I hope you've got me this time.

BALDWIN: Yes, I've got you. Go ahead. What is the mother saying?

DAMON: Perfect. OK. Great.

Well, she did just speak with the mother of one of the young men. Now, his name is Omar Faruq (ph). His mother's name is Sabera (ph). We spoke with her in the city where the raise took place, actually at the very house where her son and their friends were detained.

Now, according to her, her son, his friends, all of them are innocent. Her son, in fact, she's saying, came to Pakistan with his friends to get married. But this is where the story gets even more convoluted.

She says she came to Pakistan some two months ago to look for a bride for her son, and then around two weeks ago, she realized her son had gone missing in the United States. She called his friends' parents. All of a sudden, all of the families realized that their sons were missing and they alerted the authorities, believing that they had been kidnapped.

And then, a few days ago, her son and his friends show up at a relative's house here in Pakistan. The family is United. Only then are the sons detained by the police on suspicions of terrorism. But she's very much adamant that this is only her son who had come to the homeland to surprise her, she says, and get married -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Now, I know this mother says that her son is innocent, but let's point out the other side of the story. I know you sat down, you talked to authorities, and they're telling a different story, motives possibly of terrorism.

DAMON: Yes, Brooke. We spoke with the head of police in the city of Sargodha overseeing this investigation, and he's saying that they are pretty confident that these five young men were involved in plotting some sort of a terrorist attack.

They've managed to track down the details of exactly how these young men became involved in a Pakistani militant group. What they're saying was that back in August, these young men were, through YouTube, able to post messages where they were able to target this Pakistani militant group by posting messages after seeing on the same Web sites where they were watching videos of attacks in Afghanistan on U.S. troops. The two sides made contact, established a certain level of trust, and that is when the young men traveled to Pakistan.

Now, according to the police, they would communicate with the militant group using an e-mail address. And based on the last e-mail that police were able to get their hands on, a draft of it, these young men had literally been just given their marching orders. If police had conducted the raid 15, 20 minutes later, after they actually did, the young men would have already been gone. They also said that they found maps on their persons containing the locations of known terrorist hideouts.

Now, they are not entirely sure exactly what their specific target would be. Of course, what raises the most amount of concern is that they're American passport holders, which gives them access to a number of locations that ordinary Pakistanis, quite simply, would not have access to -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: A lot of concerns raised. Still important to point out these five young men have been charged with nothing. The FBI and Pakistani police are investigating.

Arwa Damon for us in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Arwa, thank you.

And you can now add Nobel Peace Prize winner to President Obama's list of credentials. Arousing applause for the president, formally accepting his award just a couple of hours ago, early this morning for us. The ceremony in Oslo, Norway. And now the irony here of a wartime president receiving a the peace prize did not go unnoticed or even addressed in his speech.

President Obama spoke of humility in accepting his award.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It's an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, but for all the cruelty and hardships of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter and can bend history in the direction of justice.


BALDWIN: News about the economy and the job market. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits did rise last week after falling for five straight weeks.

Here's the number. The Labor Department saying initial claims for jobless benefits rose to 474,000. That is in the week ending December 5th. That is up 17,000 from the previous week, and it is above what analysts had predicted.

Want to take an in-depth look now at one of our top stories, health care reform. Senate Democrats are trying to finalize this tentative deal on an alternative to the so-called public option. And today, the House Speaker is weighing in on some of the developments in the Senate.

And Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash joining me now live from Capitol Hill.

And Dana, I know you were just in that meeting, in that Speaker's news conference. What is Speaker Pelosi saying?


Of course, the dynamic here is that what's going on in the Senate is that there is a tentative agreement among some Senate Democrats to drop the public option, the government-run health care option, from the health care bill in the Senate. Well, when it comes to the House, they did pass a health care bill with a public option in it. And just the makeup of the House is much more liberal.

And so, in the past, the House Speaker has been very clear. In fact, I read this quote to her. She has said, "There is no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option."

Well, today, she was singing a different tune. She actually did open the door to doing just that.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: As soon as we see something in writing from the Senate, we'll be able to make a judgment about that. Our standards are that we have affordability for the middle class, security for our seniors, closing the doughnut hole and sustaining the solvency of Medicare, responsibility to our children who are not one dime added to the deficit, and accountability of the insurance companies. We'll take a measure of their bill and those...


BASH: So, it was quite interesting. She basically -- as you heard there, she laid out the tenets of what she and other Democrats in the House hope to see in terms of what the health care bill should achieve, the things that they -- that a public option achieves.

And afterwards, Brooke, in the hallway, one of the reasons why she said that she is open to listening to what actually happens in the Senate in terms of how much it would really cost -- and that's what everybody is waiting for -- is because of the provision in this deal that the senators have tentatively brokered in the Senate to expand Medicare, expand Medicare to people 55 and older. You are hearing more and more from liberal Democrats that that is something that they've wanted for quite some time, and that that is perhaps sufficient in expanding health care to enough people. Not all Democrats -- not all liberals believe that, but perhaps enough to pass this health care bill without a public option.

BALDWIN: So, you point out, yes, she's opening the door. It almost sounds like Speaker Pelosi is losing her voice, perhaps, talking about all of this health care.

But based upon, Dan, what you're saying, are you sensing a different, more cooperative tone there among the Democrats?

BASH: We really are. In the past 24 to 48 hours, the most -- the dug-in, moderate Democrats who have said absolutely no government intervention whatsoever, and the most dug-in liberal Democrats who have wanted the most robust public option, or government option for health care, they have all pretty much, you know, not done that in the past 24 to 48 hours. In the Senate, in particular, what everybody is waiting for -- and this is important. What everybody is waiting for is the Congressional Budget Office to come back and to tell these senators how much all this will cost.

And maybe, more importantly, when it comes to the dynamic here, whether or not what they have hammered out will achieve what they want, which is affordability, particularly for the middle class, and to make sure that there really is greater competition for private insurance companies to ultimately bring down costs for the American people for insurance. So, that's what they're waiting for.

We probably won't get those results until about midweek. I was just talking to a Democratic source, but if that happens and the train could start moving to actually potentially pass health care in the Senate by Christmas, and if they decide to stay here between Christmas and New Year's, which is a distinct possibility, Brooke, there is a slight possibility, the Speaker made clear, a slight possibility they could actually give the president his deadline to pass health care and send it to his desk by the end of the year.

But everything would have to work out perfectly in terms of timing for that to happen.

BALDWIN: And we know not everything could be perfect. But at least the train is moving, it's on the tracks.

BASH: Oh, yes. We know that well covering the Senate all these years.

BALDWIN: All right.

Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, thank you for that.

BASH: Thanks.

BALDWIN: So, who are these young Afghan men we're counting on to take over security in their country? We will show you how an army is built.

First, though, our "Random Moment" in 90 seconds..


BALDWIN: All right. Check this video out with me here, "Random Moment of the Day."

Meet Dillie the deer. She has lived with a veterinarian in the Cleveland area for five years because of health problems. Let me reemphasize, she's lived in the home for five years.

Dillie eats ice cream, prefers spaghetti, fresh berries. There she is going on up the stairs.

Hey, guess what? She can turn on lights, open doors -- hey, hang out on a bed. Most importantly, Dillie, maybe like your dog, likes to go outside to the bathroom. WJW's Mark Zinni takes a quick look.


MARK ZINNI, REPORTER, WJW (voice-over): She's dearly beloved...

MELANIE BUTERA, DEER OWNER: She really just is so well-adjusted. She just knows no other life.

ZINNI: ... and constantly fawned over.

(on camera): We're talking about you, Dillie.

BUTERA: She says, "I know. I'm a star."

ZINNI (voice-over): To most, Dillie is a deer. But to the Buteras, she's part of the family just like the cat and dog.

BUTERA: When she first came here, she would go underneath Lady. She was that small. And she would go underneath Lady thinking Lady was her mom.


BALDWIN: What does that dog think? That's what I want to know.

Dillie the deer, "Random Moment of the Day."


BALDWIN: The top U.S. general in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is on Capitol Hill again today.

We're keeping a close eye here on his comments specifically the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and the president's new plan to deploy 30,000 new troops there.

Yesterday, General McChrystal sat down with our own Christiane Amanpour for this exclusive interview, and Christiane asked him to explain this new strategy and if it will actually work.


GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: What we are going to do and what we have already started doing -- and you see in a number of areas, Garmsir, Nawa, and other areas -- where we provide security, we deny the insurgents the ability to operate and threaten the population. That lets them move on with their lives.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST, "AMANPOUR": But how? I mean, are you going to draw in the Taliban? What are we going to see on the ground?

MCCHRYSTAL: What you'll see is areas that become increasingly secure. We will work with Afghan partners to establish security zones. And gradually, those security zones will grow in size, and as they connect to each other, they provide the ability for an Afghan farmer, for example, to raise crops in the central Helmand River Valley, and then to move with full security up to the markets of his choice. It might be Lashkar Gar, it might be Kandahar.

When you push the insurgents out, you deny them their ability. I am much less worried about killing insurgents, Taliban, than I am about securing the people.

AMANPOUR: But are you concerned about defeating the insurgency?

MCCHRYSTAL: That's how you defeat the insurgency. If you take away from them the opportunity to accomplish their mission, which is to get at the population, they are prevented from being successful. Over time, they become irrelevant, and they in fact are defeated.


BALDWIN: So, what about the end of the mission? Afghanistan's military will be the ones who will be taking over the country's security in order for our own U.S. troops to come home; therefore, building that military in strength and its numbers, very crucial.

Our Atia Abawi reports on the difficulties of recruiting soldiers in the capital city of Kabul.


ATIA ABAWI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cold, desperate and hungry, the perfect recruits. Recruits that the Taliban want, but these men are being drafted by another group.

Every morning, the Afghan National Army, known as the ANA, heads to the streets of Kabul looking for potential soldiers. Some are willing.

"We want to be of service, spend our time working in Afghanistan," says Kor Mohmad, "so we don't have to wander around in other countries like Iran or Pakistan looking for work." But others are not so interested.

"They wouldn't give me enough salary to join the army," Nakib says. "My job is better than being a soldier. At least I won't be harassed here."

The government recently increased the pay of soldiers and police by 40 percent, enticing men who are struggling to provide for their families. Soldiers can make as much as $250 a month if they are in the heat of the battle in the hotspots of the Afghan war. It's not going to make them rich, but at least it's steady money, although less than what some Taliban groups will pay.

The ANA is doing everything it can to enlist, going to the streets and the airwaves. But it's a long way to this from this.

(on camera): Despite the disheveled and unkempt appearance, doctors say that these men are fit to fight. Out of the 1,500 who have come through this processing center in the last couple of days, only 25 were rejected on medical grounds.

(voice-over): These men are going through a life-changing experience. Most of them can't read or write, let alone understand what they're doing today with the physicals, biometrics and paperwork.

The question remains, is this more about quantity rather than quality? President Obama has stated that he expects the ANA numbers to grow up to 134,000 by the fall of 2010, taking some of the burden off the international forces in the country. And Afghan commanders say they will do just that, not because the Americans want them to, but because eventually they want to take charge of their own land.

"This was something that was started by our forefathers," Colonel Hakim says. "We have to protect our own country."

These faces are those of desperation, desperate to make a few dollars and desperate for peace. A peace most of them have never known.

Atia Abawi, CNN, Kabul.


BALDWIN: A lot of money being spent in the climate debate. We are taking a close look at who's doing the spending.


BALDWIN: Top stories coming into the CNN NEWSROOM.

Pakistan holding these five young American men for questioning about possible ties to terrorism. The group left the U.S. without even notifying their family members. One man left behind this video that a source describes as jihadist in tone.

President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize while defending his role as a wartime commander-in-chief. During the speech in Oslo, Norway, the president said war is sometimes necessary. He also acknowledged there were others more deserving of the honor.

And all you Facebook users, you log on and think, what is this? You'll notice something new next time you log on to the site. You'll be asked to modify its privacy settings. The company says it's simply streamlining the process just to make it easier for its 350 million users to control their information.

And we'll get you another quick check of our top stories in 20 minutes.



BALDWIN: And let's talk about global warming now.

The worldwide summit here on global warming has unleashed a flood of special interest cash, all of it designed to shape this debate. Our Christine Romans is in New York with more on outside efforts to influence climate policies.

And Christine, a lot of big interests and a lot of money here to really influence this debate.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's true. When you're looking at this Copenhagen summit, you've got 15,000 delegates officially there. There are international bureaucrats, there are U.N. climate scientists, and there are BINGOs.

I'm not kidding, this is what they call them, BINGOs, Business and Industrial Nongovermental Organizations. They also have a place at the table, and they have been lobbying bing and strong for months around the world about climate change. Everyone has something at stake here, and so they really have been a big voice in here.

When you look at the United States, at the money we can track, the money and the lobbying money spent specifically on climate change, the Center for Responsive Politics tells us, January through September, there were 2,224 lobbyists devoted to climate change, some $300 million spent. And a spokesperson over there told me that he has no doubt that more money has been spent in the fourth quarter. We'll know in a month exactly how much.

The climate lobby has heated up as the debate has moved toward Copenhagen, and also some measures under consideration in the House of Representatives here. You can see these are the number of companies hiring lobbyists from the first quarter of 2008, all the way to the second quarter of 2009, more than 1,000.

It's not the monolithic push of lobbying you might expect. People who track these numbers say it's a pretty diverse array.

Clearly, you have a lot of money being spent by the big carbon emitters who are trying to make sure that whatever happens isn't going to hurt their bottom line too terribly much. But it's also, for example, defense companies who are lobbying because they want their satellite systems to be what measures officially global temperatures. For example, food companies that are concerned about how new rules would maybe change the way we have to harvest food and how much that would cost.

Also, you know, battery-operated vehicle makers and environmental protection companies and logger and miners and coal companies. I mean, you go all the way down the list. There are a lot of different, diverse interests who are spending millions and millions of dollars just from what we can see on the U.S. part of it. And then when you look over in Copenhagen, there are other big international groups also spending money to influence this debate.

BALDWIN: Yes, lobbyists, also the scientists, the climatologists, those in the area of academia. A lot of people, a lot of money, a lot at stake, Christine Romans.

Christine for us in New York. Christine, thank you.


BALDWIN: And we are still talking about this and digging deeper here, talking about global warming, and really looking at the truth. Tonight, 8:00, a special edition of "CAMPBELL BROWN" takes a closer look at the science, the skepticism and the secrets surrounding climate change, "Trick or Truth?"

Small business owners need loans just to keep their doors open these days. But what do they think about the president's efforts to make those loans actually a reality?


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's take a quick look at the big board and let you know what's going on money wise. I'm told that Nasdaq is up 12 points. The Dow, there it is, up about 64 points. Now sitting at 10,401. A little bit going on money wise today. The president's money man talking to the congressional oversight panel about why TARP should be extended, perhaps shaping some of those numbers. Remember, you can always get the latest numbers. Just head to our website,

And when it comes to really the economy here, small businesses across America are teetering on failure. President Obama's new plan to reinvest unused TARP funds promises to help them just a little bit here, but some critics question if it's the right kind of help. CNN's Lisa Sylvester profiles a candymaker who is simply running out of time.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Maria De Lourdes Sobrino is the owner of Lulu's Desserts in Anaheim, California. She's been in business for 28 years. But the company may be forced to close next month, 45 employs losing their jobs, unless Sobrino was able to get a new business loan.

MARIA DE LOURDES SOBRINO, OWNER, LULU'S DESSERT: I don't hear anybody receiving loans. I don't see myself receiving any loans. So, it is urgent. It is urgent for the president to do something about this.

SYLVESTER: President Obama wants to help small businesses, like Sobrino's, get loans to avoid mass layoffs and survive the recession. The White House is proposing eliminating capital gains taxes on small business investment, extending write-offs to motivate business expansion, and creating new tax incentives for additional hiring. Congressional Democrats say President Obama is on the right course.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: He inherited an economy that was in total free-fall and now the GDP numbers have improved. They're in positive territory. And the unemployment numbers are improving. But no one will be satisfied until we fully turn the corner. SYLVESTER: Mr. Obama's job recovery plan would rely, in large part, on the estimated $200 billion in unused funds from the TARP program, originally set up to help struggling banks. Republican critics question how much it will ultimately cost taxpayers to spend our way out of the recession. Senator John Thune says Congress approved billions to stimulate the economy, yet the job losses keep stacking up.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Earlier this year, the president and congressional Democrats pushed a nearly $800 billion stimulus bill that would, as they claim, keep unemployment under 8 percent. We all know that unemployment is now 10 percent.

SYLVESTER (on camera): Maria De Lourdes Sobrino, the businesswoman we profiled, she needs a loan by next month to avoid cutting 45 jobs. She said of President Obama's plan, that it's a good intention, but the question is how the administration executes the plan and how quickly. Many of the ideas, tax write-offs and tax incentives, that's not immediate help. What she says would really help her is more pressure on the banks to ease commercial credit.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.


BALDWIN: A video alerted family members and authorities to the actions of several young Americans who are now being detained in Pakistan. So, what was on that video?


BALDWIN: Checking the top stories in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Pakistan holding five young Americans for questioning about possible ties to terrorism. Now this group, as we understand it, left the U.S. without even telling their family. One man left behind this video that a source describes as jihadist in tone.

President Obama has picked up the Nobel Peace Prize. Speaking in Oslo, Norway, this morning, the president conceded his accomplishments are slight compared to some of the giants in history who have received the award in the past.

And brutal cold. We've been talking about it this week following the big snow. Parts of the Midwest -- look at this. Can you imagine driving in this? -- paralyzed by a foot and a half of this stuff. Wind gusts at 60 miles an hour. A blizzard brought the second largest snowfall to -- on record to Des Moines, Iowa.

And now talk a little bit more about these five Americans held in Pakistan today. These are people who know the five. They actually say, the friends and family, say they can't believe these men have anything to do with terror or terror ties. In fact, one neighbor describes one of these guys as just a normal joe. Another, studios, patriotic. CNN's Randi Kaye has more on the men and their unannounced trip to Pakistan. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): In Pakistan, they're being painted as terrorist wannabes. The FBI has not confirmed the five men arrested in Pakistan are the same men that mysteriously disappeared from Virginia. One official saying, "we think they are, but we don't have it firm."

Pakistani officials there tell CNN, "it appears the men tried unsuccessfully to hook up with two terrorist groups," including the J. Shi Mohamed (ph), the group believed to be responsible for the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross studies homegrown terrorism and radicalization.

DAVEED GARTENSTEIN-ROSS, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: This is a bad group. And it's a group that's known to be a bad group. It raises the red flag of perhaps them undertaking training or in some other way preparing themselves for battle.

KAYE: If it's true and the missing men did make their way to Pakistan, their motive is still unclear, though Pakistan police say they are, quote, "confident they were planning terrorist acts." If so, U.S. law enforcement believes their intent was to wage jihad overseas, not at home. Of great concern to authorities, a videotape left behind by one of the missing men that is described as a farewell tape.

NIHAD AWAD, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: I have seen the video, and I was disturbed by the content of it.

KAYE (on camera): According to CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the video is about 11 minutes long and shows just one of the missing men talking about conflict in the world and referring to the Koran. The council's executive director says the man's parents found it and got it to authorities.

GARTENSTEIN-ROSS: He could have filmed the video intending to return to the United States and carry out a martyrdom operation or a suicide bombing here.

KAYE (voice-over): The man on the tape and four others, who all apparently knew each other, disappeared last month. CAIR says all of the missing men are from Virginia. A U.S. law enforcement source says one of those missing is Ramy Zamzam. We've learned he's a dental student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. This photo is from his FaceBook page.

KAYE (on camera): We've learned at least one of the men, maybe more, worshiped at the Islamic Circle of North America, which has a chapter in Alexandria, Virginia. The men range in age from 19 to 25. Pakistani police say two are Pakistani-Americans, two Yemeni- Americans, and one Egyptian-American.

KAYE (voice-over): A Pakistani official says the men arrived in Karachi on November 30th, then went on to Lahore and then Sarghoda, an area well known for militant activity. That's where they were arrested during a police raid Monday. CAIR says the missing men had never shown any outwardly radical or suspicious behavior. If that's the case, and they are in Pakistan, what were they doing there? And why was it such a big secret?

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BALDWIN: So given that story that Randi just told, there are so many questions out there, specifically about these five American men. Now our Larry King, he has been working on trying to get some of the answers here and he spoke with CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve, along with several other leaders in the Islamic community, who have some details, some answers with regard to this case.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Did the parents know that these boys were going overseas?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, from what I understand, they were concerned about this and there was a video left behind by one of the young men. As it's been described by some of the individuals you'll be talking to here tonight, it was very disturbing video, and that there were hints in there that these young men were going somewhere. There were images of conflict and an exhortation that young Muslims had an obligation to do something. So the families suspected that Pakistan was possibly their final destination. That is why the State Department reached out and specifically informed Pakistani authorities that they might be there.

KING: Mr. Awad, you have viewed the video, is that correct?


KING: How did you obtain it?

AWAD: Well, the families brought it with them when we connected them with the FBI in the presence of lawyers.

KING: What disturbed you about it?

AWAD: Well, the fact that it's like almost a typical video that you see on the Internet. Young Muslims misled and also misunderstanding certain verses of the Koran, juxtaposing images of conflict to justify actions that they would like to take. So that, to me, disturbing. And in light of the fact that these students have been described by their families as upright, engaging, great, you know, sons.

KING: Did it -- did it lead you to think that they may be up to no good?

AWAD: Yes. When you add it together, yes. I just walked away with that feeling. And I think the same feeling the families had when they watched the video. And that prompted them to contact the leaders of the mosque, who also connected them with us. They brought them to our office. And then we just take a moment to thank the families for their courage. And the leadership of the mosque who trusted us. And we connected them with the FBI in the same day, immediately. And both the agency -- the agency and the families are working together with our organization to close this chapter.

KING: Now, before we continue with any anti-Muslim thoughts, it's a very patriotic act on everybody's part.

Former Chaplain Malik, you knew one of the missing men. Tell us about him.

IMAM JOHARI ABDUL-MALIK, FORMER MUSLIM CHAPLAIN AT HOWARD UNIV.: Well, first I have to say, I'm the former Muslim chaplain at Howard University, but . . .

KING: I said that, yes.

MALIK: But I have attended events and activities on campus in which other students tell me that Ramy was among the people present in that group. The FBI showed me photographs of individuals who were part of the group they suspect. I didn't recognize any of them from the photographs.

But the young men that we're talking about, if they are who I think they are, then they have been active in campus life, active with the interfaith work, doing community service. There was no indication on our part that these individuals could ever have done something against America or violent in any way.


BALDWIN: "Larry King Live" from last night.

Well, how about this? A lot of buzz about green jobs. The question we're asking, though, will they last?


BALDWIN: Are you out of job thinking, what can I do? Well, have you heard about green jobs? Apparently they're touted as really one of the ways to stem the hemorrhaging of job losses? But can it work? Will the growth of the green job sector actually last? And maybe most importantly, how can you get one? Personal finance editor Gerri Willis joins us with some answers.

I guess before we talk specifics, Gerri, the question is, how sustainable are these green jobs?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Yes, will they last. It's a great question. We talked to Howard Gould, the co-founder of the Clean Economy Network, a green jobs advocacy association. He says the green jobs concept will simply become part of the mainstream.


HOWARD GOULD, CO-FOUNDER, CLEAN ECONOMY NETWORK: Eventually, you know, it's not going to be green as the niche, it's going to be green as the norm. And these kind of jobs will no longer be referred to as green jobs. Can it bail out the economy? I think it will probably give a very solid support in lifting us out of this state.


WILLIS: He says that the green jobs movement will mimic what we saw in the early '90s with the Internet in terms of innovation. But the difference is that unlike the '90s when you had some guy sitting in front of a computer, with a green movement, companies will be manufacturing products. And that takes all kinds of professions. From developers, to people installing products in homes, cars, et cetera, et cetera. So, the life span of green jobs, he says, is likely to be longer, like than what we saw, say, in the Internet bubble. And remember that a lot of what green jobs are is simply improving things we already have. So you're going to have a lot of existing workers in, say, construction who simply learn new skills. Companies are more likely, at least now, to add green responsibilities to existing employees rather than to remake their workforce.


BALDWIN: So people listening to you and hearing the long life span of jobs. We like hearing that. So if somebody's interested in going out and getting one of these green jobs, what's the best way of going about that?

WILLIS: First off, you want to see what's out there. There are a number of online job boards that you can look at to get an idea about what kind of training qualifications you're going to need here. Here are some examples,,,, That's an international one. Hotjobs has a tab on the left where you can click on the green jobs link.

And once you've seen what kinds of certifications or experience you may need, training is the next thing you'll need. Two great places to check out training issues, your local community college. Ask if there are any green job training programs or related classes. Now, apprenticeships are programs that provide on-the-job training for different trades. For more info on that, check out the Department of Labor website at You can type in "apprenticeship" in their search tab.

And if you do decide to enter into a training program in hopes of landing a green job, make sure to ask what -- where they place people. Where do these students go after they finish their time? Do they have a connection in the jobs arena? Make sure you get it in writing what exactly this program can do for you once you've completed your training.


BALDWIN: Well, hopefully you and some of those websites can help some people get one of these green jobs. Gerri Willis . . .

WILLIS: You bet. BALDWIN: Thank you.

And sort of along the same vein here, as world leaders address the issue of green -- climate change. We also want to hear from you. For the next two weeks, we're going to ask your -- or rather, I should say, we're going to answer your questions about this particular issue. All you have to do is go to the blogs, like Leave a comment with your questions and then we will present the answers and break it all down here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Or grab your phone. You can call us toll free, 1-877-742-5760. We want to hear from you. This affects a lot of us. Climate change the topic there.

Going beyond the lesson plan. A Las Vegas school reaches out to homeless students.

But first, it is time to take, oh, boy, it's time to take the CNN Challenge. Simpsons this is so not in my wheelhouse. Maybe it's in yours. Which "Simpsons'" character received the most write-in votes cast in the 2009 New York City mayoral elections? Here are your options. Am I saying this right, Apu. Yes. OK. Apu, Homer Simpson, Mr. Burns, or Mayor Quimby? We will have the answer for you after the break.


BALDWIN: All right. Time to answer our CNN Challenge question. All you Simpsons' buffs, I know you know the answer. Here it is, the question again. Which "Simpsons'" character received the most write- in votes cast in the 2009 New York City mayoral elections? I have been corrected by my floor director Craig (ph). Apu, Homer Simpson, Mr. Burns, or Mayor Quimby? He guessed it. Did you guess it? The answer, Mr. Burns, "c." There you go. He's excited. You can play anytime, just go to

And a school in Las Vegas helping to make life a little bit easier for some homeless children. Besides learning how to read and write, the students at Whitney Elementary School get clothes, birthday gifts, dental care and, of course, food. Here is CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): They are chefs from some of the fanciest hotels in Las Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go, kido.

SIMON: But today they are serving breakfast at Whitney elementary. Part of a non-profit initiative to eliminate malnutrition and hunger.

SHERRIE GAHN, PRINCIPAL, WHITNEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: So what do we say when we're very grateful and very fortunate?

KIDS: Thank you!

SIMON: School Principal Sherrie Gahn says it's a healthy and memorable meal for students who don't have much. GAHN: Which one?

SIMON: That's because the school estimates that as many as 85 percent of the 600 or so students are homeless, living in cheap motels, with friends or in shelters.

GAHN: Literally at my every waking moment, I think about what else do I need to do?

SIMON: When Gahn arrived here seven years ago, she says children were devouring ketchup packets to fill empty stomachs. Clearly they weren't getting enough food. So she set out to do something about it. A mission that came from personal pain.

GAHN: And I was raised in poverty. My mother went to a local organization at one point. My mother actually asked for food and clothes and they turned us down. And I -- and I saw how devastated she was.

Get your food, honey.

SIMON: Gahn vowed her families at Whitney would never be turned down. She twisted arms and begging for donations. Opening a one-of-a-kind school supply closet, part food bank, part clothing supplier.

JAMES ICENOGLE, 4TH GRADE STUDENT: I got some pants, some shirts, some new shoes and some new socks.

SIMON (on camera): A lot of these kids come from such challenging circumstances that there's no money at home to even celebrate birthdays. So once a month, the school throw a giant birthday party for all the kids who had birthdays that month. There's pizza, t here's cake and even some presents to take home.

SIMON (voice-over): Hairstylists donate haircuts and dentists donate dental care. When a family comes up short on something like a utility bill, the school, through donations, can help with that, too.

SHIRLEY HERNANDEZ, GRANDMOTHER: Last year we didn't have Christmas. They gave us Christmas. And this year we're hardly going to have Christmas, but they're going to give us Christmas. They've helped us a lot, so I've got to donate my time here, you know, to show how much I appreciate the people here.

SIMON: And that's what Gahn expects, that parents give something back by volunteering.

SIMON (on camera): At the end of the day, what is it that you wish for these children?

GAHN: I want them to have that sense of norm that a lot of families grow up in America having that they don't get.

SIMON: On this morning, they do get attention from the city's best chefs. For many, it will be the best meal they've had in a while. For Sherrie Gahn, it's another small victory for her students. Dan Simon, CNN, Las Vegas.


BALDWIN: All right, that does it for me. But stay right there. NEWSROOM continues right now.

Melissa Long, take it away.

MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Brooke. Have a wonderful day.