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Earthquake Hits Indonesia; Tsunami Warnings for Indian Ocean Countries; Interview with John McCain; President Bush Taking Petraeus' Recommendation to Bring Troops Home

Aired September 12, 2007 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Which way out? The president's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq ignites debate on both sides.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What General Petraeus is saying is simply does not pass mustard as a betrayal of trust.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Legislating a date for withdrawal and we will fail for certain.


ROBERTS: We're live this morning with Senator John McCain.

Plus, caught in the act. A cop's tantrum caught on tape after a teen installs his own dashboard camera.

And crazy 8's. The new weather warning for what could be the hottest year in the last century on the last on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: Good morning. Welcome back. And thanks so much for joining us. It is Wednesday, September 12th. A lot of news going on this morning. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you are with us. We start with some breaking news right now.

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake striking near southern Indonesia. The island of Sumatra a tsunami watch issued immediately for the area. Our Rob Marciano is on the scene and is tracking developments. And of course there is typical lag time when an earthquake is reported and whether or not there is any reporting of damages or a tsunami. What is going on Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Generally speaking, the closer you are as far as the epicenter of the earthquake if a tsunami is coming your way it will get there in a relative hurry. Give you some perspective as to where this earthquake occurred; again a 7.9 magnitude quake centered about 64 miles from Van Koodas (ph), Sumatra which is a fairly large city in Sumatra, Indonesia. I will take you from the Indian Ocean now the entire basin affected, if a tsunami was generated. The big, the if is huge here because it's only a tsunami watch at this point. So we're looking at Indonesia, generally speaking here, up here is where the 04 earthquake happened. This area right through here where you see the red is what the USGH indicates what has happened in the past hour, 7.9. It has a depth of 15 kilometers so just under ten miles. That is relatively shallow. That's a concern.

The size of the earthquake is a concern as well. The Inod Australian plates diving and clashing with the other plate and because of that this is a very active area for earthquakes in general. Tsunami watch issued for the entire Indian Ocean basin. They do not know if a tsunami has been generated but history tells us that this size earthquake certainly has the potential to generate a tsunami.

Who is going to get it first? Folks here and over here and they'll get it within minutes. So if we start to get reports in this area that folks have been hit with a tsunami, then we know that the earthquake was such that it moved the water and then tsunami will be generated outward as well and if that were to occur, places like Palembang would see an tsunami in about 15 minutes, Australia the north west coast of Australia would see a tsunami I would say 10:29 Eastern Time, Salunka (ph) about 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time if a tsunami was generated.

There are no buoys out in the Indian Ocean to sense a tsunami. If this happened on the Pacific side we could say, all right, some of our buoys out there have sensed a tsunami but we can't say that for sure. Until we get reports of a tsunami in the local area, we cannot confirm that a tsunami has been generated but a tsunami watch has in effect for that area. This is a major earthquake a 7/9 , anytime you get one over 6 is big and over 7 is even bigger, closer to 8 is huge and 9.0 was a magnitude back in 2004, we all know what happened after that quake.

CHETRY: That's right. Ended up some 230,000 people died as a result of that one. Rob, real quickly. You mentioned that you said this earthquake was relatively shallow. The epicenter. Why is that a concern?

MARCIANO: You move the Earth. More shallow it is you'll -- the big concern is did it do this? Or did it do that? And if it does this, just like kicking you your foot in the bathtub that will make the water roll. We really don't know which kind of earthquake it was. We only know the size of it and it's a big one so history tells us we have to be on our guard and the folks who live in that area, the warning signs are does the water move out, you know, more than it normally should? That should tell you to head to for the hills right there.

Folks in this area have been on guard since 2004 and there have been a number of scares with earthquakes and folks heading to the hills and just getting out of harm's way. So I suspect that is what is going on right now after feeling the earth shake under your feet.

CHETRY: OK, Rob Marciano tracking this for us. A 7.9 magnitude quake hitting off the island coast of Sumatra and the tsunami watch that are still in effect right now. Thank you.

ROBERTS: Let's get more on the quake damage with Susan Potter she is a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado. She joins us now on the telephone. Susan, how can you characterize this earthquake for us this morning?

VOICE OF SUSAN POTTER, USGS SEISMOLOGIST: It's definitely a larger magnitude quake. Right now I have it at 7.9. That is magnitude is subject to slight adjustment. And, also, the summary before was extremely -- right now it is a shallow quake at 15.6 kilometers.

ROBERTS: Is there any way to know, Susan, whether or not as Rob Marciano was saying just a moment ago, that this was a quake that was caused by a slip of the Australian plate underneath that Eurasian plate that Indonesia sits on or if it was a thrust type of earthquake we saw two years ago?

POTTER: Right now, I do not have that information. Right now we're getting the data in, locating it and getting the magnitude and the depth. We will be getting that information right as soon as possible. It will be on our Web site as soon as possible.

ROBERTS: OK. We'll keep looking for that and Susan we seem to have a bad telephone connection with you so we'll try to get that straightened out and get back to you this moaning. I know the USGS has tremendous amount of important information on this. Susan Potter for us this morning from Golden, Colorado with the US Geological Survey.

President Bush is taking his top general's recommendation and he is expected to announce a plan to bring 30,000 troops home from Iraq by next summer. It comes after General David Petraeus told Congress that the presidents troop build up has met its military objectives, quote in large measure. White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has got the latest on that for us from Washington. Suzanne this really was the plan all along that the surge would last a certain amount of time and the troops would come home but it looks like what is going to happen is that next July, the United States will be exactly where it was seven months ago in Iraq.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, you're absolutely right. Part of this was really inevitable. Military planners have been saying they can't sustain this military surge beyond April of next year so the president, by making this announcement, this was going to happen anyway. What is different is perhaps its happening a little bit sooner than people expected. What you're seeing is the president and the administration really trying to get some political capital out of this.

You'll hear the president talking about they made at least enough progress to pull out those additional troops and now you will have essentially the pre-surge level that was back in December. You're also going to hear the president as well really trying, when we talk about giving the space for the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki some breathing space to make his government work, you can hear the president also try to get some breathing space from Congress at least six months or so to make the case here that the Maliki government essentially will at least accomplish more on the reconciliation portion of this if he's just given more time.

ROBERTS: So the question is it doesn't look like Democrats have peeled off enough for Republicans to give them the votes to actually do something about troop levels in Iraq, but are the Republicans that were kind of sitting on the fence here satisfied enough from Petraeus that they may not go over to the Democratic side if something doesn't happen soon?

MALVEAUX: So far, they are. But, you know, that could change. We're going to see next week, new legislation from several different senators who are actually going to be moving forward to say, OK, perhaps we'll take a look at those recommendations, the Iraq study group will make that into law. It is still unclear whether or not the administration is going to hang on to those Republicans and it is actually long-term John that the president wants to do is really give some political cover for whoever his successor is to convince them that this is a long-term project keeping U.S. troops in Iraq.

ROBERTS: It looks like now whoever succeeds President Bush will inherit the Iraq war. Suzanne Malveaux for us from the White House this morning, Suzanne thanks.

CHETRY: And so there has been reaction coming from Capitol Hill. Senate got a chance to speak to General Petraeus, grilled him yesterday in those hearings. And our congressional correspondent Dana Bash has just talked with Senator Barack Obama about this. Dana joins us now from the hill.

Hi Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Well Senator Obama certainly is like most Democrats and is making clear that he does not think that this change in policy is really a change in policy. But we'll get to that in a minute Kiran. I think what is most interesting here, Suzanne was talking about this a little bit, has been the Republican reaction. Some Republicans have been saying that they do welcome an idea, at least a narrative now, about talking about troop withdrawal.

But in yesterdays hearing with General Petraeus, many Senate Republicans were quite skeptical about the fact that this really is a change in plan. They say, wait a minute. What we're talking about is reducing the extra troops, the extra 30,000 troops that are in Iraq as part of this military surge, not doing that until the summer. Some Republicans said to the general, you know, what our constitutes are looking for is a light at the end of the tunnel and that is precisely the message that we're hearing from Democrats. Listen to the house speaker who walked out of the White House, stood on the driveway and made clear what she thought about this plan.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: So the president added 30,000 troops and now he's saying a year and a half later, nearly two years later, we'll be back to where we started from. I mean, please. It's an insult to the intelligence of the American people that that is a new direction in Iraq.


BASH: So that is the message that we are going to hear loud and clear. We are told from several Democratic sources, Kiran, today and through the next couple of days as they try to combat the big mega phone the president has as he addresses the nation on Thursday night.

CHETRY: All right. So we hear from Nancy Pelosi that the Democratic establishment not happy. Do they have the votes to really change that?

BASH: That is really the big question. The answer right now is no. When it comes to the fundamental plan the Democrats have been pushing which is a hard and fast deadline for troop withdrawal. You mentioned that I spoke with Senator Barack Obama just a short while ago. He obviously is running for president and he is an example of the problem that Democrats are going to have because they are pushing for behind the scenes now some kind of compromise with Republicans maybe shorter that hard and fast deadline. I asked Senator Obama about that. Listen to what he said.


SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, (D) ILLINOIS: We're going to have to evaluate what is available but it appears clear to me that the president is not going to compromise short of the Congress forcing him to accept a shorter timetable. Absent that, we're essentially engaged in a bunch of symbolic action there.


BASH: So there you hear Senator Obama pretty weary about the idea of compromising on this Democratic ideal for a deadline for troop withdrawal, but the hard, cold reality for Democrats is that despite the Republicans skepticism Kiran, they still do not seem to have the Republican votes in the Senate to pass that. That's why they are now looking for a compromise.

CHETRY: Dana Bash on Capitol Hill for us thanks.

By the way, CNN will be carrying President Bush's Prime Time address it is at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time tomorrow.

ROBERTS: New this morning out of Russia, news agency are reporting that President Vladimir Putin has dissolved the government, it is a major political shake up ahead of parliamentary elections in less than three months and a presidential vote next year.

He has had uphill battle since kicking off his campaign. Now John McCain is launching the no surrender bus tour and he will join us live from the campaign trail, in the Causblosa (ph), Iowa area. There he is in front of the "No Surrender" bus. John McCain coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Welcome back. Updating our breaking news now, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hitting Indonesia, the southern part. It was centered in a sparsely populated area south of southern Sumatra. This is a place that was devastated back in 2004 with that huge tsunami that hit. There's been a tsunami watch that has been immediately issued for the area simply because this is such a big quake. The quake shaking felt as far away as Jakarta and caused some tall buildings to sway, also in Singapore as well where one of our producers there feeling it as well.

Countries nearby including Malaysia and Sri Lanka as well as India issuing tsunami alerts. For parts of their country, parts that are closest to the epicenter. We're checking in with Rob Marciano throughout the newscast to find out more details and he will bring them to us as soon as we find out more.

ROBERTS: Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is kicking off his "No Surrender" bus tour this morning in Iowa, 19 stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The latest national poll shows him running third now behind Rudi Giuliani and recent entry Fred Thompson. He has gained four points in just the last couple of weeks.

Senator McCain joins me live now from Cusbluosa (ph) in front of the "No Surrender" bus.

Thanks for being with us Senator, always good to see you.


ROBERTS: Well talk about the campaign in just a second. First of all, I'd like to get your thoughts on General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker's testimony yesterday, over the last couple of days. It sounds, to many people, like when the so-called surge is over next July and those troops come home, the United States is going to be exactly where it was in Iraq seven months ago before that surge began.

MCCAIN: They may be there personnel wise if that's your criteria of number of people. But by generally any measurement, there's been significant progress and those are hard to dispute. I know there will be people who will dispute those facts, but on the ground and in Anbar Province and Baghdad and many other areas, there's still a lot of challenges and a lot of difficulties, but I have no doubt whatsoever that we're being quite successful and if we keep this up, that we're going to continue to succeed and gradual withdraw more troops. And John finally it's not the number of troops; it's the conditions on the ground. The conditions on the ground have dramatically changed since we got rid of the failed Rumsfeld strategy.

ROBERTS: On that point Senator, General Petraeus himself describes the improvements in security as fragile, and Ambassador Crocker admitted that the political component wasn't going anywhere near as well as he would hope. And General Petraeus said he would be hard-pressed to justify America's presence in Iraq a year from now if more political progress isn't made. My question to you is should you become the occupant of the oval office, there is not political progress made by the time that you take office, would you keep U.S. troops there?

MCCAIN: Yes and if there was significant political progress, I would probably still have some troops there. But the key to is is whether we are succeeding in securing the country and having the political economic and social progress that stems from a militarily secure situation which we are succeeding in.

And if we leave, if the situation, as you calls it, then the president of Iran, just last week, said there will be a huge vacuum when the Americans leave and you'll fill it. You will have chaos and genocide there. And you are going to have us back one way or another if we fail here. This is a seminal time the history of the United States of America. If they succeed in having us withdraw and the place descends into chaos, then we're going to have enormous challenges in the region for a long time to come and we are succeeding. I understand that the sorrow and the frustration of the American people because the war was managed -- mismanaged for so long.

ROBERTS: Let's move on to your campaign, Senator. I'm reminded of the famous Mark Twain quotes that reports of my death have been completely exaggerated.

MCCAIN: Campaigning is fun and Labor Day is over. The town hall meetings are well-attended. We're going to have larger crowds as we go through this.

ROBERTS: Did you really get a kick from the New Hampshire debate?

MCCAIN: You know, I think I'd have to leave that up to you. I think there's some increases in the polls but I don't know if that's the debate or better campaigning or what. But I'm very confident that we will do very well.

ROBERTS: We said that you gained four points in the national polls. We know the state polls are really what are important. Latest Bloomberg Poll has you running last unfortunately there in Iowa. What are you going to do to make up ground?

MCCAIN: We got a lot of work to do, John, and we're doing much better in New Hampshire and South Carolina. We got a lot of work to do. These are tough campaigns. I wasn't in Iowa in 2000, got a lot of work to do here. I can sense when things are going well in a campaign by the turnouts to the town hall meetings. It's a long struggle.

ROBERTS: Do you have the money in the infrastructure to do it after the problems you had with fund-raising and the retooling you did there in the summer?

MCCAIN: Sure. We've always had a solid and political base and organization in these states. Look. I'm not predicting victory. I'm predicting we will continue to do well because I can out campaign most anybody and I obviously believe that I can display my qualifications to serve.

ROBERTS: Well the bus says it right behind you there, "No Surrender." Senator John McCain, presidential candidate, thanks for being with us. Always good to see you sir.

MCCAIN: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: He did it once, now it's time for history to repeat itself. The CNN/YouTube debates are coming this time for the Republican candidates. Go to and submit your questions on November 28th, that is a Wednesday, your voice will be heard only on CNN. Your home for politics.

CHETRY: How about this? The tables were turned a driver instead installs his own dashboard camera and catches a police officer. Listen to what he caught on tape.

Well that's the camera. We're going to hear his story and hear more of that dramatic tape. Why did he have that dashboard camera in his car in the first place? And is the police in trouble this morning? Talk more about it coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. We've been showing this tape all morning long. It is from a car mounted video camera that was installed not by police but by a 20-year-old in St. Louis. It caught a dramatic confrontation, really a temper tantrum by a police officer. Take a listen.

The officer was suspended after that tape was posted on YouTube and Google. Brett Darrow was behind the wheel who rigged up that camera and joins me from St. Louis. Brett thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: Were you scared when the officer started screaming at you?

DARROW: Yeah, I was actually I was extremely scared. I thought I might get hurt or assaulted. I didn't know what was going to happen.

CHETRY: Let's listen to a little bit more of the confrontation. This is with Sergeant James Kenline.

So he appears to be saying he's going to make up charges against you. Your decision at that point was to put this video on to the Internet so that others could see it and hear it for themselves. Did you try to go to the police and say this is what happened to me?

DARROW: Well, actually, I kind of just posted it among friends and a couple of friends spread it out over the Internet and people were so outraged and I had so much support that it basically took off on its own. I woke up one morning and it was everywhere.

CHETRY: This officer has since been put on unpaid suspension right now, condemned by his supervisors. Let's answer a couple of the questions he asked you before the tirade. He said what you are doing in a commuter parking lot at 2:00 in the morning. What were you doing there?

DARROW: I was actually meeting up with my friend to get my cell phone that I left at their house. I just pulled in there. It's a 24- hour commuter lot. I figured it wouldn't be suspicious but the officer thought otherwise, I guess.

CHETRY: You didn't immediately give him your I.D. Why didn't you do it since it was 2:00 in the morning and you were there by yourself?

DARROW: Well, when he asked me for it, I started to get it out and as I was getting it out of my wallet, I asked him if I had done something wrong, if there was a problem, if they were looking for someone, I wanted to help figure out what was going on.

CHETRY: Why did you have the dash cam in the first place?

DARROW: I got a traffic ticket a year ago; I didn't think I deserved it. There was no way to prove my side. What better way to have video evidence if I get another one and I guess it helped out this time.

CHETRY: All right. Real quick before we let you go, let's just hear a little bit more of this confrontation.

Do you think that unpaid suspension is enough? What would you like to see happen to this officer?

DARROW: I'd like to see the officer fired. I thought his conduct was ridiculous and now the patrol car video is missing. The chief can't find it. So I think this officer needs to be fired.

CHETRY: Did you end up getting a ticket?

DARROW: No. Actually, I think he realized that with my camera, that he would just get escalate the situation more by giving me a ticket or arresting me that night.

CHETRY: All right. So keep your camera rolling there, Brett. Boy, this has certainly been viewed by thousands of people both on YouTube and Google. Thanks for being with us this morning, Brett Darrow.

DARROW: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Well powerful earthquake off the coast of Indonesia not far from that devastating earthquake back in 2004. Tsunami warnings issued across the Indian Ocean basin. We'll have latest for you when AMERICAN MORNING continues.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Wednesday, September 12th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. We have breaking news to tell you about this morning. A powerful 7.9 earthquake strikes off the coast of southern Indonesia off of the west coast. Rob Marciano at the CNN Weather Center with more.

Rob, we should point out that this earthquake is more than ten times less powerful than the 2004 earthquake but, still, 7.9, big in anybody's scale.

MARCIANO: That's for sure. It's a major quake. I was just on the phone with David Applegate of the USGS getting the 411 on this particular area as we know it's active. There's no doubt about that.

It's part of the Indo-Australian plate. It kind of dives underneath the Eurasian plate which makes it an active fault line because of that. The shear size is why we're concerned about whether or not there is a tsunami generated.

Let's go to the maps again. I want to talk about the fact that we've got a tsunami watch which means that we're not sure if a tsunami has been generated. We're waiting from either confirmation on the ground and that would happen right along this area. I mean it would probably happen within minutes of being so close. Localized tsunamis happen very quickly. These things travel hundreds of miles and hour so you can imagine if you're that close to the center you would feel the tsunami quickly.

Let's zoom out a little bit if we could and show you Palembang. That's an area that has a tidal gauge. If we have one up here that would tell us if a tsunami has occurred and according to some of the models out of the tsunami warning center, if a tsunami occurred it would reach this area at 8:14 eastern time. That means that we should be getting some information out of that area hopefully with this tidal gauge and that would allow the tsunami warning center to either drop the tsunami watch or upgrade it to a tsunami warning.

If they were upgraded to a tsunami warning, we will zoom out and show you the areas that would be affected. Much like the Banda Aceh earthquake and resulting tsunami, it would be pretty much the entire Indian Ocean and the countries surrounding bordering the Indian Ocean so India, western Africa, Madagascar, northwest Australia.

John, we're looking at the next several minutes here is certainly an intense time for this area. We're keeping a close eye on the tsunami warning to center to see if they drop this watch which they may have the ability to do given the proximity of that tidal gauge or upgrade it to a warning. As soon as the information comes into us, we will let you know.

ROBERTS: All right Rob. Thanks very much.

We are also getting some early reports of some damage on the mainland there of the island of Sumatra to a little town called Muko- Muko which is north of where the epicenter was. Just looking at satellite pictures of it. It looks like a fairly rural village. I mean no large buildings, not certainly like they have in places like Jakarta. We will keep you updated on the very latest damage reports and tsunami warning that Rob was talking about as we go through the morning -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Brian Shiro joins us now. He is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. That's in Hawaii. He joins us on the phone. Brian, thanks for being with us.

BRIAN SHIRO, NOAA GEOPHYSICIST: You're welcome. How are you?

CHETRY: Great. We're talking about the tsunami alerts. Many countries in the surrounding area, including Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Pakistan even Iran, Yemen also issuing these alerts telling people to be aware in that area. When will we know for sure whether or not we can rule out a tsunami?

SHIRO: Well, we have just received the data from the Padang tidal gauge, as we heard a few moments ago, and we see a small tsunami so far of about .7 meters, about two feet. This is just the first part of the first wave. So we don't know if it's going to get larger or if that is the largest wave but there definitely was a tsunami at least two feet in size.

CHETRY: Is that a concern two feet or is that relatively small?

SHIRO: That's a relatively small tsunami. But at this point, it's hard to know if we're just seeing the very beginning of it or if that is typical of the whole tsunami. The tsunami, as you may know, is a series of waves. It's not just one so have you to watch it for some time to do what it will do.

CHETRY: How does that compare to the 2004 tsunami that caused all of that devastation and killed hundreds of thousands of people?

SHIRO: This is much smaller than that at this point.

CHETRY: Did you have that type of technology back then well or has this been instituted since that devastation?

SHIRO: Well, the technology we're using has been around for decades and hasn't changed too much. What happened since 2004 in the Indian Ocean is that now there's a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean and now there are a lot more of these tide gauges are there and in 2004 event, there were no tide gauges and that is why it was almost impossible to know what was going on.

CHETRY: Right. There was also, it seemed to be, a break in getting information out. They had known there was significant tsunami but getting information to the people was lagging then. But again, this time at least the first measurement is being taken. Evidence after two-foot tsunami and as you said, Brian, not terribly concerning but that is the first wave so we will continue to follow it. Brian Shiro at the Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, thanks.

ROBERTS: Well, that is good news that any tsunami that they've seen so far is fairly small but as you said, first wave, could be more in the works. A remarkable turnaround this morning for NFL player Kevin Everett. The Buffalo Bills' tight end voluntarily moved his arms and legs after a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Doctors say it is totally spectacular and unexpected and literally a day after saying he would probably never walk again, now they're saying he could very well walk out of the hospital.

Two new studies about popular diabetes drugs reveal they could do damage to your heart. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us from Atlanta with the details. There have been concerns about these drugs for a number of years. What is the latest?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. This is not the first study. This is really worrisome for people with diabetes. Because you take a drug thinking it's going to help you and it turns out it can actually increase your risk of having a heart attack. That's what the new study in the American Medical Association says.

It says that the drug Avandia increases someone's chance of having a heart attack by 42 percent and doubles the chance that a patient will have heart failure. This, obviously, is very concerning to many people, especially as we said because other drugs -- other studies have had similar findings -- John.

ROBERTS: So what do patients do if they're on these drugs? I mean they need them to control their diabetes and, at the same time, there's this increased risk of heart attack according to the studies.

COHEN: That's right. What you need to do is talk to your doctor because there are other drugs to control your diabetes. This is not the only one. If you're concerned about Avandia and you're on it, don't just go off of it. First, talk to your doctor and talk about other options for controlling your diabetes.

ROBERTS: Is this another case, Elizabeth, of a drug not adequately being study or not being studied adequately enough before the FDA approves it for general use?

COHEN: Certainly a lot of people are talking about that concern, John. In fact, there's an editorial in the journal of American Medical Association that basically says what is going on here? Why are drugs looking okay in trials and then when they're out in the general population, they seem to be causing problems? This one critic in the journal said, look, you know, there are rigorous mathematical ways of assessing whether a risk of a drug are worth the benefits. He said the FDA doesn't use those rigorous models.

ROBERTS: Wow. That's stunning. Elizabeth Cohen for us this morning from Atlanta, Elizabeth, thanks.

COHEN: Thanks.


CHETRY: CNN has been following the story of a 5-year-old boy from Iraq named Youssif. He was badly burned by masked men in the war zone. A lot of you saw his story and wanted to reach out to help.

CNN's Arwa Damon made the trip with the family from Baghdad to Los Angeles. She joins us now outside of the Grossman Burn Center in L.A. where Youssif is being treated.

Hi Arwa. How did the trip go?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran, it was absolutely amazing just to watch the expressions on the family's faces. They experienced everything for the first time. This is a family just imagine that lives in a one bedroom home in a rundown Baghdad neighborhood where they hear explosions and gunfire all of the time and suddenly their craziest dream is coming true because of the risk they took to tell CNN their story. This was their first time plane ride, their first time on an escalator, coming through customs, flying down into the United States into Chicago and seeing all the greenery.

Youssif's mother said oh my God, I think I'm in paradise. In fact, that was the only thing that both of Youssif's parents could say, this is heaven. Someone needs to pinch us. We never believe that this could actually come true.

The entire trip took about 24 hours and absolutely exhausting but despite that when Youssef and his family arrived in their home they could not stop running around and looking at everything. The living room and the kitchen, very plush carpeting and there were toys over the place from the Children's Burn Foundation is financing this entire trip put a lot of thought into every single detail necessary there. Youssif and his brothers and sisters were playing, squabbling over the toys the way children do and there was laughter in this household and it is so rare that you hear an Iraqi family laugh. It was really an amazing sight to see.

CHETRY: How about his condition? What type of treatment is he getting there and what is his prognosis for helping him with those severe burns?

DAMON: He still has to see Dr. Peter Grossman for the first time. Probably that will happen later on today. Then we will be able to have a better idea of exactly how long the surgery is going to take, likely to be multiple surgeries. An estimation of at least nine months before Youssif can even begin to travel back to Iraq. They're guessing perhaps even up to a year.

It's going to be very difficult for this family. It's going to be very difficult for Youssif and very painful and there's also concerns about any sort of psychological scarring that might have taken place as well. But really what the family is truly focused on right now is the fact that their child, finally, thanks to all of the help that they got from the Children's Burn Foundation, from Dr. Peter Grossman, from all of the viewers that donated was that their child is going to have the best shot at a relatively normal life and I cannot begin to put into words what the parents were going through and as they realized that this dream was actually coming true in America.

CHETRY: That is wonderful. Again, as you said, there was such an outpouring of sympathy and concern and viewers who were watching your reports on Youssif did help with that. Arwa, keep us posted on his progress and everybody is keeping their fingers crossed for him. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Fantasy football is costing corporate America billions of dollars. We will tell you how people are wasting time at work and how much money it's actually costing employers. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: 45 minutes after the hour. Updating our breaking news now. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes off the southern coast of Indonesia. It was centered in a sparsely populated area of southern Sumatra or at least that is the area of risk. A tsunami watch was issued for the entire Indian Ocean including Australia, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan and Yemen.

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reporting a small two-foot tsunami that was seen about 400 miles north of where that earthquake was centered in Padang. They have a new buoy out there that measured that.

It was felt some 400 miles away in Jakarta all the way to Singapore where tall buildings actually swayed. You're looking at video from Bengkulu. You saw some of Bengkulu there I should say, the largest population center on the west side. We also have some still pictures from Jakarta. There we go. These are people evacuating people in Jakarta. We have heard some reports of some buildings collapsing in a small, very rural town on the western side of Sumatra but nothing in the larger population centers at this point.

Again, the tsunami that was measured came in, they said at .7 meters which should be about two feet. Nowhere anything near to what we saw in Banda Aceh Christmas week of 2004. That tsunami came in well over 20 feet and 30 feet in some areas. We will watch the story and have the latest on you this morning.

47 minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi is here "MINDING YOUR BUSINESS." Are we losing a tremendous amount of productivity to people who go online with the fantasy football games, fantasy baseball?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Football season has started and I have been trying as hard as I can to ignore this story because I think it's a nonsense story but then I couldn't because a new story came out of Britain about the productivity that workers lose to these social networking sites like My Space and Face Book. The numbers are remarkably similar. A study in the U.K. says social networking costs businesses $1.25 billion a week, about two hours a day for workers, 233 million work hours a month spent and the quote is wasting time on social networking sites.

Then we look at fantasy football or anything to do with football. One estimate came out that about $1.1 billion a week is what it costs U.S. businesses because people spend time on their football, their pools and things like that. By every single measure, the U.S. worker is more productive than they've ever been. They are more productive than any other worker in the world. We work long hours. We work at home. We work on our Blackberries. We work on our cell phones.

What is wrong with letting people take a little bit time to do their own stuff? I mean I've heard of companies that say you can't use any personal Internet. You can't be on the Internet for personal reasons at work. Remember, we also smoke less than we used to so that's time people used to go out and waste time. I don't know if it's wasted time.

If we're all that productive and people are doing things that sort of enhance their feeling, if you go to Google, they've got free lunch for everybody all of the time. They've got sports rooms for people and game rooms. It makes the worker more productive. I'm not sure why we think we can squeeze every last ounce out of a worker but you can't let them play with their football or their MySpace or Facebook. Go ahead and play. Nonsense!

ROBERTS: Take it from Ali.

VELSHI: I'm going back to do my Facebook.

ROBERTS: If your boss fires you.

VELSHI: Tell them I said it's OK.

ROBERTS: Tell them Ali said it was OK. Ali, thanks very much. "CNN NEWSROOM " just minutes away now. Tony Harris at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead.

Hey, Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Ali Velshi, man of the people. Love it. Good morning John. Good to see you.

War strategy on the "NEWSROOM" rundown this morning. President Bush expected to endorse a troop drawn down in Iraq, his prime time speech live Thursday night on CNN.

Six suspects charged in a ghastly torture case out of West Virginia. We will talk live with the Logan County sheriff.

And they've got a lot of explaining to do in toy land. Industry execs answering to Congress this morning about safety recalls.

Any breaking news, when it happens. Stay informed in the "CNN NEWSROOM" top of the hour right here on CNN.

John, back to you.

ROBERTS: All right. Tony, thanks very much.

Of course, we all obsess about the weather. Who better to tell us about the forecast for the next winter and the next year than the Farmer's Almanac? Kiran is going outside with the new forecast and the year to come coming up. Stay with us.


ROBERTS: Updating our breaking news this morning. An earthquake measuring 7.9 in magnitude strikes off the southern coast of Indonesia. Now we should tell you that that is less than ten times smaller than the earthquake that triggered the giant tsunami off of the northwestern tip of Indonesia back in the Christmas week of 2004. That one, of course, devastated the city of Banda Aceh, the tip of the Sumatra and the island of Sumatra, also Wooket Island along the coast of Thailand. A tremendous amount of damage in Sri Lanka, as well.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they did measure a little bit of a tsunami in a place called Padang which is north just about due north of that red dot. Only came in about two feet and they said that is first wave though so there could be more in the works but so far it doesn't look like it's anywhere near as bad as it was in 2004.

Kiran's gone outside. She's got a check of what the weather is going to be like not just for the next week but for the next year.

CHETRY: That's right. It's interesting for the past 200 years it's been the Old Farmer's Almanac that has been able to predict, whether, among many other things, something that's been used to centuries. But the interesting thing is when it comes to the '08 and years ending in 8s can tend to sometimes be crazy years weather wise. Judson Hale is the editor in chief of the almanac and he joins us from Boston this morning.

Hi, Judson.

JUDSON HALE, EDITOR IN CHIEF OF THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC: Hello, Kiran. I'm here in the public garden. It's a beautiful spot.

CHETRY: It is beautiful behind you actually. Tell us about your predictions for next year. This is the -- one of the years that is ending in '08, of course 2008 which has historically seen some crazy weather patterns. What is on tap for '08?

HALE: Well, very warm. Kiran, we're predicting the warmest year yet on record. As far as the winter is concerned, we're predicting a warm and dry winter, mostly nationwide, with some exception. I mean, the deep south we're saying will be cooler than average and Florida will be too. California will be wetter but warm and generally speaking, warmer than average throughout most of the country.

We are predicting more snow than usual from a little narrow strip that starts in northeast Texas, goes up through Arkansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, you know, Ohio, Pennsylvania, up into New York state and northern New England. That area, that little band would be more snow than usual but, otherwise, less snow than the average amount for this coming year. There's been two years, Kiran, that --

CHETRY: How do you guys make your predictions? How do you guys make your predictions? HALE: Well, we -- not a dartboard. We don't use the Willie worms because they come out in the fall and we go to press in June. Since 1792, when we first came out, when George Washington was president of the United States, we've been doing it based on the activities on the sun, the sun spots. We're in a very low cycle right now. Sun spot cycle 23, we're waiting for sun spot cycle 24. And you know, that radiant energy that comes from the sun to the earth? It fluctuates and it used to be thought that it fluctuated haphazardly. Now with computers and everything we can detect the pattern and the pattern is a response to what is happening on the sun and it does affect our weather on earth so that's how we do it.

CHETRY: All right. Quickly, before we let you go, do you believe in this crazy 8s phenomenon when you look at history that '08 or that years end in 8 ...

HALE: It does seem that way. I know in my lifetime. 1978, remember? We had the big blizzards in the northeast. '98 was the warmest year up till that point and remember we had that big huge ice storm in the northeast. The blizzard of '88, 1888. The hurricane of 1938. Name any year you come across with an 8 and something really weird happens. We'll see what happens with 2008.

CHETRY: We'll have to check. Could be the hottest, could be the driest. Judd Hale, editor of the Old Farmer's Almanac, thanks for being with us this morning.

HALE: Thank you, Kiran.

ROBERTS: If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes, it's going to change. We'll be back right back with more on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us.