Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

Pakistan Link; Rudolph Sentencing; Hurricane Emily

Aired July 18, 2005 - 08:59   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: New pictures this morning of the aftermath of Emily. The fury of the storm hitting vacation resorts on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Category 4 winds. A live report ahead.
An important new development in the London terror investigation. Three of four suspected bombers linked to Pakistan. We're live with the latest on that.

And another developing story as Eric Rudolph is set to be sentenced just hours from now for a deadly bombing in Alabama. Coming up, the survivor who will face him in court. She'll tell us what she will say, what she wants to hear on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.

O'BRIEN: Good morning to you. I'm Miles O'Brien. We're glad you're with us this morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello, in for Soledad.

Of course we're tracking Hurricane Emily this morning.

O'BRIEN: And that's where we begin this hour. The storm will continue to pound the Yucatan Peninsula for the next few hours before heading into the Gulf of Mexico.

A hundred and thirty thousand tourists have been asked to evacuate the beach resorts around Cancun. Many have been hunkered down in shelters all night, waiting out the storm.

Two helicopter pilots were killed trying to evacuate an offshore oil rig, and a family of four died in their car as the storm passed over Jamaica Saturday. Hurricane watches are up for southern Texas and the northern coast of Mexico.

Emily has weakened overnight, but soon it will be over the Gulf waters. Chad Myers at the weather center tracking it every step of the way.

Chad, good morning to you.



O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you, Chad. Appreciate that.

Stay with us all morning for continued coverage of Hurricane Emily. CNN, your hurricane headquarters -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Now to the terror investigation in London. There is new evidence linking three of the four suspected suicide bombers to Pakistan. Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson joins us now from London with more.

Good morning.


Well, Pakistani immigration officials and intelligence officials confirm that three of those suspect bombers did visit Pakistan last year. They -- immigration officials have released passport photos and photos taken at the immigration booth in Karachi Airport.

The first two arrived as a pair. Shahzad Tanweer arrived, along with Mohammed Sidique Khan. They arrived on the 19th of November last year.

They are believed to have spent the next week in Karachi. They then moved on to the town of Lahore, north of Karachi. They spent three months total in Pakistan, leaving on the 8th of February this year.

The other suspected bomber, the youngest, Hasib Hussain, arrived in Karachi Airport on a flight from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia here, right there, the 15th of July of last year. It's not known how long he spent in the country. It is understood at this time British investigators and Pakistani intelligence officials trying to find out exactly what these three men did while they were in -- while they were in Pakistan -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Nic, I also know the British government is beginning to debate new antiterrorism legislation. Might we see sort of Patriot Act enforced there?

ROBERTSON: What they're very like to do -- very likely to do is to focus on the issues of the radical Islamic clerics who have been able to preach messages that some people see as ethnically and racially hateful, and religious hateful as well. They will likely clamp down on that.

They will also toughen the laws on terrorist-related offenses, making it more -- making it harder for terrorists to plan attacks, and also to, perhaps, prepare and use chemicals in the country so that they will toughen those laws. There are laws preventing bomb-making, but they'll also toughen that, discuss it. But very likely, toughen that, discuss it by certain chemicals -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Nic Robertson, live in London this morning.

O'BRIEN: Eric Rudolph will be sentenced this morning in Birmingham, Alabama, for the first of four bombings that he confessed to. Rudolph pleaded guilty in April to the 1998 bombing at a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic. The blast killed a police officer and severely wounded nurse Emily Lyons.

Emily Lyons will be face to face with Rudolph today when she testifies at his hearing. She and her husband Jeff are joining us live now from Birmingham.

Good to have you both with us.



O'BRIEN: Have you -- obviously, you've thought a lot about this. Do you have any idea what you're going to say or what you expect to hear?

E. LYONS: What I plan to tell him is that he failed. He didn't shut the clinic down, or the clinic in Atlanta, and he didn't silence me. So his efforts that day failed in that respect. However, his efforts have put him in jail.

O'BRIEN: And tell us about, for people who don't remember the specifics, you were terribly injured and have had a long road to recuperation. How are you doing now?

E. LYONS: I'm doing great. I've had two surgeries recently. So I'm up to 21.

O'BRIEN: Wow. Wow.

E. LYONS: And, you know, you just keep recovering after each one. And I'm pretty good right now.

O'BRIEN: You know, you just said that almost with a smile on your face. What a great attitude. How do you do that?

E. LYONS: Well, it's either a smile and have him -- or what I call a pity party all day long. And we made the decision early on that that was not the case, that was not going to happen at our house.

O'BRIEN: Jeff, that's an important decision to make, and, know, you must be pretty proud of Emily.

J. LYONS: I think I married well. I am, indeed, very proud of my wife.

O'BRIEN: You're like me, you caught her, you know, at a weak moment, one of those things, right? Married up and all that.

But not having that pity party, that really kind of resonates with me, because it would be very easy to get into that whole cycle of pity and anger when something like this happens.

J. LYONS: Right. And anger just keeps you from enjoying life. And they say the best revenge is to live well. And that's what we try to do. We decided that we're going to get on with our lives, and Eric is not going to take any more from us than the physical aspect of this.

O'BRIEN: Well, that -- that is the most important thing, not to let him get away with anymore, I think, Emily. Of course, this whole deal means that he will not face the death sentence. Do you have strong feelings on that?

Emily, why don't you take that first.

E. LYONS: I feel very strongly he did not and is not getting the punishment he deserved. He meticulously planned all of these bombs, and he watched at the clinic that day when he attempted to kill me and indeed did murder Officer Sanderson. So he watched his handiwork that day, and that is cruel.

So I believe the bombings that he has done, the destruction, the deaths that he's caused, they deserve the death penalty. So I think I'm getting cheated out of part of the process here. I understand why the plea was agreed upon. It doesn't mean that, you know, I feel real good about it.

O'BRIEN: Is it justice?

E. LYONS: No. There is no justice for this.

He cannot have any punishment near to the suffering he has caused so many people. He will live relatively easy until he dies. He'll have a place to sleep. He'll be fed. He'll have medical care. He won't be out in the woods hunting for food or digging in dumpsters anymore.

O'BRIEN: What about the fact -- I mean, we just -- as you were talking there, that picture of him walking out, that kind of glare that he offered up reporters. He's never offered even an ounce of remorse. I don't expect that you are anticipating anything like that today.

What would that mean to you, if he were to offer that?

E. LYONS: Nothing at this point. You know, a dollar short, day late.

An apology for him would mean nothing, because we've heard all along he is not sorry for what he did. So just coming up at the last minute to say, "Oh, I'm sorry" would have no effect. So whatever he says today will have no importance to me.

O'BRIEN: All right. You are a very courageous woman.

E. LYONS: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: And we wish you well today and in the future. Emily and Jeff Lyons, thanks for being with us.

E. LYONS: Thank you.

J. LYONS: Thank you for having us.

O'BRIEN: All right. Our pleasure. Definitely our pleasure.

Let's check the headlines now with Betty Nguyen at the CNN Center -- Betty.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Miles.

"Now in the News," President Bush is hosting India's prime minister at the White House. Officials say relations between President Bush and the prime minister have improved in the past year, but it is unlikely the president will support India's wish for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

CNN will have live coverage of the news conference between the two leaders beginning at 11:15 Eastern.

Testimony in the first Vioxx-related lawsuit to go to trial gets under way today in Texas. Top researchers for Merck and Company are expected to testify. The trial centers on the 2001 death of a 59- year-old man who took Vioxx for about eight months. Merck denies any connection between his death and the drug.

And emergency officials in central New Jersey plan to head out today to assess flooding damage. Look at this.

As much as six inches of rain fell in parts of Middlesex County. Rising waters forced officials to close some roads and evacuate more than 100 people. Luckily, no word on any injuries so far. And that is good news.

Back to you.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much, Betty. Appreciate that.


Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, an amazing story of bravery out of Iraq. A U.S. soldier survives a sniper's bullet and then he turns around and helps his wounded attacker.

O'BRIEN: Also, an American rock climber goes missing in the mountains of Pakistan. What's being done to try and find her?

And, of course, we continue to track the path of Hurricane Emily. We'll tell you -- we'll take you, I should say, live to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Hurricane Emily slammed into the East Coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula at about 2:00 this morning Eastern Time. Karl Penhaul live via videophone from Playa del Carmen in Mexico, just south of Cancun, where the eye of the hurricane crossed early this morning.

Karl, you've had first light there. Have you seen much damage?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The kind of damage that we've seen so far, Miles, is mostly with trees being ripped up and snapped off. You might be able to see in this videophone shot behind here's part of one of the trees that toppled. That tree was snapped off. And also, some of the beach bungalows here, they had palm roofs on them, and some of those have been pulled off.

That said, it must be said that there's not too much major structural damage from what we've been able toll see so far. The trees, after all, are palm trees and rubber trees. Not particularly deep-rooted, so that explains there some of the damage.

What we can also see now is a lot of the many tourists that are on holiday in this region of the Yucatan Peninsula now beginning to move around, get back on to the beach and check out some of the damage for themselves. It certainly looks very messy, but as I say, when it comes to structural damage, that seems to be very limited.

And we talked to police here in Playa del Carmen this morning, and they say so far they have no reports of any casualties, neither amongst the residents or the thousands of tourists that were here. Part of that, of course, is due to the evacuation plan that was put into progress before the storm even hit last night. That involved many of the tourists being moved from ocean front rooms to the more solid structures well within the hotels themselves -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Karl, you know, I think you're on to something there, because this is a Category 4 storm, an incredibly powerful storm. We saw those pictures of people huddled in those facilities. They obviously did a good job evacuating folks.

PENHAUL: Certainly, they do seem to have done a very good job. And even late last night we did see police patrols coming down here to the beach where we were, just checking with flashlights to make sure there were no sightseers on the beach as the storm rolled in. But it has been somewhat of a funny old storm, Miles.

Yes, the winds were very strong, particularly here in Playa del Carmen, where the eye was coming across. But it brought very little rain with it.

The forecast was for a lot of rain. We didn't see too much rain.

And as far as the storm surges go, there had been predictions of storm surges of up to 15 feet. Here in Playa del Carmen, we've seen nothing like that. There has been a slight swell on the sea, but nothing like the surge that was predicted -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Karl Penhaul in Playa del Carmen. Thank you very much.

Let's go to the hurricane center in Miami now. Deputy Director Ed Rappaport is tracking the storm's path, along with the team there.

Ed, good to have you back with us. Why don't you just give us an update on the intensity and track of the storm right now.


The center of the hurricane did pass over the Yucatan Peninsula, but it's already emerging into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. You see the center of it here now, a little bit to the northeast of Narada (ph), Mexico.

And it weakened over land. We believe down to Category 2, but that's just an estimate. We'll have to wait and see when the next Hurricane Hunter aircraft gets into the storm early this afternoon.

The concern is that as the hurricane moves back out over water, then turns more towards the west-northwest and then west, that it will reintensify, perhaps back up to Category 3 strength.

O'BRIEN: You don't fly those Hurricane Hunters when they go over land, as I recall correctly. So that's why you don't have that information.

I'm curious. That west coast of the Yucatan, as that counterclockwise cycle goes through there, how much danger are they in?

RAPPAPORT: There is some risk for them, although with the center now beginning to recede, pull away from the coast, that risk is going down. But there would have been an on-shore flow here on the west side with the north winds of perhaps 100 miles per hour. So there could be some minor damage here along the north coast.

O'BRIEN: Would you expect a lot of storm surge on that northwest coast?

RAPPAPORT: There could be some storm surge here. Not as high as they would have had.

Now, I know that the interview you just had indicated there wasn't much surge there, but that town is to the west of Cozumel, of the island. And there may have been some significant surge out to the east, on the ocean-facing side.

O'BRIEN: It is still early. What's the projected track right now, Ed?

RAPPAPORT: If you take a look at that track, here's the center emerging from the coast. We have a landfall expected late tomorrow, somewhere between the northeast coast of Mexico and far south Texas. And there is now a hurricane watch up that extends northward from Mexico, across the border to (INAUDIBLE) Bay, includes the Brownsville area.

The forecast now is for the center to turn to the west, just to the south of the mouth of the Rio Grande. But there is still some risk for far south Texas.

O'BRIEN: And how soon do you think?

RAPPAPORT: It looks like the landfall will be late tomorrow night, just after midnight. At least with the current projection. But tropical storm-force winds arrive earlier than that, during the evening hours tomorrow.

O'BRIEN: OK. Listen up in that part of the world for sure. Ed Rappaport, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

RAPPAPORT: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Carol.

COSTELLO: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, a question we've all asked while shopping: how do those cheaper supermarket brands stack up against name brand competitors? "Consumer Reports" did some tests. We have the results. That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: Yes, supermarket brand products are generally cheaper than name brands, but are they as good? "Consumer Reports" magazine experts did some comparison testing in six categories.

Joining us to talk about the findings is Todd Marks, senior editor of "Consumer Reports" magazine.

You were actually involved in this research.

TODD MARKS, SENIOR EDITOR, "Consumer Reports": I was.

COSTELLO: What makes this research different?

MARKS: Well, every time "Consumer Reports" tests products, whether you're talking about orange juice to blue jeans, we try to throw in a few store brands to see how they measure up. Well, this time -- and we've always found that store brands, at their best, are equally as good as the national brands at their best. But we wanted to do a whole story dedicated to looking at some key categories, looking at the national brand leaders and the store brand leaders from coast to coast.

COSTELLO: And you name names, don't you?

MARKS: Yes, and we do name names. That's what separates us.

COSTELLO: OK. Well, let's start naming names then.


COSTELLO: OK. Let's start with facial tissues.

MARKS: Facial tissues. That was the one area where there was a clear-cut winner, and that was the name brand. But not the name brand you may be thinking of.

COSTELLO: It wasn't Kleenex?

MARKS: It wasn't Kleenex. It was Puffs, Procter & Gamble's tissue entry.

The thing about Puffs is that they were really strong and they were really soft. Great if you have a cold. But Kleenex, the name synonymous with tissues, was only marginal at best, and no better than most of the store brands we tested.



COSTELLO: So the non-name -- I mean, are all brand named Kleenex? Because you call it "Kleenex."

MARKS: Well, that's like Jello.


MARKS: And it's one of those things where the product brand becomes the product category.

COSTELLO: Understand.


COSTELLO: OK. Let's move along to paper towels.

MARKS: Paper towels. Well, Bounty, you've got the national brand leader. Is it the quicker picker-upper? Well, in our test it wasn't quite the quicker picker-upper.


MARKS: It was excellent towel, but actually, Kirkland Signature from Costco was just -- actually absorbed faster and was just about as absorbant. They were both excellent, and everybody else was kind of a cut below. Even Brawny, which is another big-named towel.

COSTELLO: Well -- well, what's the price difference?

MARKS: Well, with the Bounty, $1.90 for 100 sheets, versus $1.10 for Costco. So it's considerable.

COSTELLO: Interesting. All right. On to plastic food bags.

MARKS: Ah, yes. We look for strength and puncture...

COSTELLO: You love this, don't you?

MARKS: Oh, I live for this stuff. We look for strength and puncture resistance. And we found that in those food storage bags, that Ziplock, the king of bags, was in fact quite strong, sturdy, puncture-resistant. But so was Wal-Mart's Great Value brand, which cost about half.

Hefty, which is another big brand, was kind of -- we couldn't even rate Hefty bags because the quality was sporadic. It ranged from spectacular to OK.

COSTELLO: So why do -- do more people buy name-brand items? Let's get that out of the way first before we ask you the next question.

MARKS: That's a fascinating thing. Over the years, people have -- are becoming less brand loyal than they used to. And actually interesting, some recent studies have shown that people do think that there are differences, some differences between the name brands and the store brands, but not enough always worth paying for.

COSTELLO: Interesting. OK. Let's move an to yogurt.

MARKS: Well, everybody knows Dannon and Yoplait, right? We buy them all the time. But if you have a Stop-N-Shop in your area, or an A&P, Food Emporium, America's Choice, the A&P brands, and Stop-N-Shop are head and shoulders above both of them.

COSTELLO: I'd have to agree because I buy Stop-N-Shop yogurt, and it's a lot cheaper.

MARKS: It is. It can be -- you know, store brands can sell anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent -- are more less than a comparable national brand.

COSTELLO: OK. A little known fact that I found -- that I found quite interesting in your article is that some of these store brand names were actually manufactured by the national brand name manufacturer.

MARKS: That's the not-so-dirty little secret of the food manufacturing business. Many major brands, many national brand companies, Chicken of the Sea, Del Monte, Sara Lee, Alcoa, maker of Reynolds Wrap, and many, many other companies are actually in the business of making store brands.

COSTELLO: Don't they compete against themselves, though?

MARKS: Well, somebody's going to do it. Years ago, they wouldn't do that because, you know, they basically said we're cutting into our own sales. But what's happened is they realize that if they don't do it, there's other third-party manufacturers out there who are going to do it, and they'll be, you know, raking in the profits. So why not us?

COSTELLO: True. Todd Marks, I'm glad there are people like you in the world.

MARKS: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Thank you for joining us this morning.

MARKS: My pleasure.

COSTELLO: There is much more AMERICAN MORNING to come.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Ahead on "90 Second Pop," the new "Harry Potter" book is flying off the shelves, but is the "Half-Blood Prince" any good?

Plus, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a huge hit. Has Hollywood finally kicked the box office blues?

That's later on AMERICAN MORNING.