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American Morning

Inside North Korea: New Diplomacy in Pyongyang; Reactions to new President of Cuba, Raul Castro; Big Winners at the Oscars; Health Crisis: Medical Care in the Skies

Aired February 25, 2008 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Pictures this morning out of North Korea where our Alina Cho is following the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as they are making a groundbreaking visit to the capital city there.
And also, we're getting a groundbreaking report this morning from our Christiane Amanpour who is there as well.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. She had a chance to tour a never been seen before facility there, a nuclear facility. So we're going to be checking in with her in just a second.

Also, we're talking to a lotto winner. 100 and -- how much did they win? I think after the lump sum, $164 million.

ROBERTS: It was $270 million for the lot of it. They decided to take the lump sum payout as opposed to an annuity.

CHETRY: That's right. What are their plans, and what does it feel like to be an instant millionaire? We're going to talk to them coming up in just a couple of minutes.

But first, making history in North Korea. Tomorrow, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing in Pyongyang for an unprecedented concert. The big question, though, is can North Korea change its tune on its nuclear program? And we're live in Pyongyang. New pictures overnight of one of North Korea's key nuclear facilities.

Our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, is just back from a tour of the plant.

Tell us, first of all, what it was like to be there. What did you see?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was quite remarkable, Kiran. In fact, the North Koreans have never taken American press to this Pyongyang nuclear facility. But this week, they did take us and we have seen the plant disabled as North Korea has said it would do and has, in fact, has done last summer. It shut down the plant. And now, over the last several months, has been gradually disabling it.

So we were shown the nuclear fuel rod area where they're removing nuclear fuel rods and putting them into the so-called nuclear fuel rod pond, disabling and neutralizing those fuel rods. And those are very, very important because when reprocessed, they produce the kind of plutonium that can go into nuclear weapons. And indeed, we went to the reprocessing part of the plant as well and we saw that shut down.

The chief engineer there admitting that yes, the plutonium can be used for weapons, and as you know, North Korea has already claimed that it test-fired a nuclear weapon some 18 months ago. We saw parts from all over the plant that had been disabled, dismantled, wrapped in plastic and put in storage. Now all of this under agreement with the United States. There are, in fact, U.S. technicians there helping in this disabling process.

Under an agreement with the U.S. government, in which North Korea would disable, disarm and in return get about a million tons of heavy fuel oil, they have big, big electric problems. Big power problems. They would get aid. They would get removed from the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terrorism, and they would get sanctions removed. Well, not all of that has happened because the U.S. says that North Korea hasn't given a full accounting yet and is still waiting for that. North Korea says that it is now slowing down its disabling. Slowing down the removal of the nuclear fuel rods.

However, despite all of that, there is a sense that both countries remain committed. Both countries' nuclear negotiators met last week, and they say they remain committed to this process. And, of course, Kiran, all of this happening as the New York Philharmonic makes its unprecedented visit here to Pyongyang. It arrived just a few hours ago. And as you said, tomorrow is going to be playing an incredible concert that some people here will see in the flesh, so to speak, and others will see broadcast live on television.

CHETRY: It's interesting, you know, because North Korea notoriously secretive. It does not allow foreign press inside. Is opening this up to members of the press like you, Christiane, part of its effort to show that they are complying?

AMANPOUR: Yes, part of it is to show that they are complying, but part of it also is to open up in these very few days to have a little bit of people to people diplomacy. The United States, even though this is a private visit by the Philharmonic, the U.S. administration has approved it, has encouraged it and hopes that it will show North Korea that it has no hostility towards the North Korean people.

There is a deep sense here in North Korea that America is the enemy. You know, the state of war still exists. It was only an armistice that was signed, not a full peace treaty at the end of the Korean War at the early '50s. And so, the people here have been brought up on a diet, if you like, of anti-Americanism and of America as the enemy. So this cultural unprecedented event is designed to show and to open a little bit of a window to show that there can be people to people contacts and maybe, it will lead to something.

For now, it's the biggest number of Americans that have been here since the Korean War, not just the musicians but the press as well. And just for us and just for the Philharmonic, they've lit up some of the town. You might be able to see the bridge behind me that's being lit up. This is a town where blackouts and very little electricity is the norm. But for these two nights, they are really pulling out all the stops.

CHETRY: Well, Christiane Amanpour with a very, very unusual look inside of this nuclear facility. Thanks for joining us today.

ROBERTS: Also new this morning, South Korea has got a new president. Lee Myung-Bak was sworn in today and then got right to work. He had meetings with officials from several countries, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Lee is the country's first president with a background in business, and he is expected to revive the country's economy. But Lee says his biggest foreign policy challenge is negotiating an end to North Korea's nuclear programs.

There's also a new president in Cuba today after nearly a half century of rule by Fidel Castro. No big surprise here. Cuba's parliament naming Raul Castro to succeed his brother. CNN is the only U.S. television network with a bureau in Cuba.

Our Havana bureau chief Morgan Neill joins us now. Morgan, Raul Castro said yesterday that he would consult Fidel on major issues.

So are we really going to see any kind of change there in Cuba?

MORGAN NEILL, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF: Good morning, John. That's right. Raul Castro made it very clear that his brother's role in this government has not come to an end. He said, as you point out, that he would consult with him on all important issues affecting the state. And overall, the makeup of this new government, not just Raul Castro as president, but his Council of State sends a message of continuity, not change. Primarily, these are close allies of Raul Castro.

Now, Raul Castro, in his speech to the people, his first speech as the official president said he had the mandate to continue strengthening, in his words, the revolution. But he also said that the country had to confront bureaucratic obstacles that plague its people and that some moves could be seen in that direction in the next weeks. So Cubans are left to interpret those words. Many have been quietly hoping that this could mean at the very least some economic reforms to make their everyday lives a little bit easier, John.

ROBERTS: So Alina Fernandez, Castro's estranged daughter, was on just a little while ago, suggesting that Raul Castro has already begun. I don't want to say it's a process of rapprochement with the United States, but certainly she suggests that he is, you know, giving some indications that he wants a different relationship. What are you hearing about that there in Cuba?

NEILL: Well, what we have heard from Raul Castro in the past and he's been fairly consistent on this is, in the future, not under this, the current U.S. government, but with a future U.S. government, he could be open to some sort of talks. That is, if and when the United States, and he always emphasizes this, treats Cuba as an equal partner, doesn't dictate the terms of any such talks, treats Cuba as a sovereign country. Now to this point, that's all we've heard are the words. And indeed, the last time we heard this in a speech from Raul Castro, we saw an article in the state-run newspapers the next day from his brother Fidel Castro saying we all know that this will never happen. So that essentially is where we stand, John. But in the short term at least, we don't expect to see much change in the U.S./Cuba relationship.

ROBERTS: All right. Morgan Neill for us this morning out of Havana. Morgan, thanks very much -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Turning now to politics, and Hillary Clinton telling voters she is ready to lead on day one. Her campaign has about nine days left to get some wins on the scoreboard. That's when big states like Texas and Ohio hold their primaries. Clinton also telling supporters she is the most qualified Democrat when it comes to foreign policy, saying she would call for an immediate withdrawal plan from top commanders in Iraq.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to take the damage that we will inherit and begin to repair it. Because, you know, waiting in that Oval Office is a war to end in Iraq and a war to win in Afghanistan. Two wars confronting our country. We haven't had very many wartime elections. And I think it's important that we not lose sight of what it means to be electing a president in the midst of not just one but two wars.


CHETRY: Clinton also blasted Senator Obama for having unrealistic plans for health care and global warming.

And more fighting within the Democrat ic hopefuls over NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Clinton attacking Barack Obama for mailing out fliers saying she supported NAFTA. Obama responded to her criticism by saying that she did support it when her husband was president and now wants people to forget that.


H. CLINTON: Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook. This is wrong, and every Democrat should be outraged.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Clinton has gotten mad at me because I said she supported NAFTA. She said, well, that's misleading. And I had to say, well, hold on a second. The Clinton administration championed NAFTA, passed NAFTA, signed NAFTA.

She is saying the part of the experience that makes her the best qualified to be president is all the work that she was doing in the Clinton administration. You can't take credit for everything that's good in the Clinton administration and then suddenly say you don't want to take credit for what folks don't like about the Clinton administration.


CHETRY: Clinton also said she recently made it clear she's ambivalent about NAFTA, blasting companies for "turning their backs on Americans by shipping jobs overseas."

ROBERTS: Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says he is running for president as an independent. He made the announcement yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press."


RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One feels an obligation to try to open the doorways, to try to get better ballot access, to respect dissent in America in the terms of third parties and, and independent candidates; to recognize historically the great issues have come in our history against slavery and women rights to vote and worker and farmer progressives, through little parties that never ran -- won any national election. Dissent is the mother of assent. And in that context, I have decided to run for president.


ROBERTS: Not everyone is happy about it, though. Hillary Clinton said it didn't turn out so well for the country the last time Ralph Nader run for president, actually speaking about the 2000 campaign. What's his message for voters this time around? We'll speak live with Ralph Nader coming up at 8:15 Eastern.

And it looks like Republican Mike Huckabee doesn't have much of a shot to win the nomination. He appeared on "Saturday Night Live" in its first show back from the writers strike, to say he knows when to get out and not overstay his welcome. Then he did just that.


SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Governor Mike Huckabee, everyone.



MEYERS: Thank you so much for stopping by.

HUCKABEE: Thank you. Great to be here.

AMY POEHLER, COMEDIAN: It was great having you.

H. CLINTON: Oh, it's just great being here, too.

MEYERS: Governor Mike Huckabee, everyone.

Governor Huckabee?

HUCKABEE: What's that? MEYERS: I think we're done now, sir.

HUCKABEE: Oh, right. You know, normally I pick up on those things. Sorry.

MEYERS: All right. Governor Mike Huckabee, everybody.


ROBERTS: Mike Huckabee will be our guest in the next half hour here of AMERICAN MORNING coming up at 7:40 Eastern.

CHETRY: Well, European invasion at the Oscars. The top acting nods all went to actors from across the pond. And "No Country for Old Men" took Best Picture as well as Best Director. Our Lola Ogunnaike caught up with the winners last night.




TILDA SWINTON, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: You rock, man. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a European sweep. Two Brits, a French woman and a Spaniard taking the top four acting categories at Sunday night's Oscars.

TILDA SWINTON, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kill (ph) power. No more Anglo-Saxons.

OGUNNAIKE: Tilda Swinton was shocked to learn the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress was hers for her turn as a hard-charging attorney in "Michael Clayton."

OGUNNAIKE (on camera): What does it feel like to be holding one of these things?

SWINTON: I'm sort of coming around from the operation, you know. I'm realizing how hungry I am and I'm sort of checking my memory bank to see if I said anything that's going to get me sued in the morning.

ANNOUNCER: The Oscar goes to Daniel Day-Lewis.

OGUNNAIKE (voice-over): Daniel Day-Lewis earned his second golden statue for his role as a ruthless oil baron in "There Will Be Blood."

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR: My deepest thanks to the members of the Academy for whacking me with the handsomest bludgeon in town.

OGUNNAIKE: Lewis was a favorite going in, which only added more pressure. LEWIS: I think there's something rather dull to people about anything that smacks of a foregone conclusion. So I really thought well, you know, this really could not go my way.

OGUNNAIKE: It was certainly going the Coen brothers way. Joel and Ethan Coen won three Oscars for their movie "No Country for Old Men," becoming the first siblings to win Best Director and only the second duo to win the award. They also won for Best Film of the Year and Best Adapted Screenplay.

JOEL COEN, BEST DIRECTOR: I'm very thankful to all of you out there for letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox. So thank you very much.

OGUNNAIKE: And "No Country" picked up a fourth Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. No surprise as Javier Bardem took home the gold for his bone-chilling performance as a serial killer chasing $2 million in stolen cash.

JAVIER BARDEM, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I wasn't worried about if I was going to win or lose. I was like, if I win, what do I say?

OGUNNAIKE: And one of the most closely watched races of the evening, Marion Cotillard snagged the Best Actress gold for her knockout portrayal of French singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose."

MARION COTILLARD, BEST ACTRESS: My aim was to understand her, to understand her heart, her soul.


CHETRY: There she is. She looked beautiful, by the way, Lola. And she was probably one of the rare few actresses that didn't have on red it seemed last night?

OGUNNAIKE: Yes. She actually had on a gorgeous cream dress. It was Marion Cotillard's night. I think that was the biggest surprise category, actually, for Best Actress. A lot of people thought the award was going to go to Julie Christie actually for "Away From Her." Julie Christie played an Alzheimer's victim, and it was a devastating piece of work, but Marion Cotillard actually walked away with the prize, the big prize.

You know, Kiran, it's interesting. Hollywood seems to really like it when a gorgeous girl goes ugly. It worked for Hilary Swank. It worked for Halle Berry, and it worked for Charlize Theron and it worked for Marion Cotillard last night.

CHETRY: How about it? Go figure. All the primping that they do to try to get gorgeous for the actual award ceremonies. Lola Ogunnaike live for us this morning outside the Kodak Theatre. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Seventeen minutes now after the hour. A passenger dies on a flight. Her cousin says she did not get proper medical care. What went wrong? And how prepared are the airlines for medical emergencies in the sky? We'll ask our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

And can music soothe the raw nerves between the U.S. and North Korea? Our Alina Cho is inside North Korea today where the New York Philharmonic Orchestra is to perform an unprecedented concert. A live report straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." Questions this morning about a death in the skies. A passenger on board an American Airlines flight from Haiti to New York died on the flight on Friday.

Carine Desir complained of breathing problems and extreme thirst after she had eaten a meal. Desir's cousin says they asked twice for oxygen and were refused twice by a flight attendant. And when the flight attendant finally did try to administer the oxygen from a portable tank, the cousin says the tank was empty.


ANTONIO OLIVER, CARINE DESIR'S COUSIN: My darling, please don't let me die. Go ask some oxygen from them. Please, baby. I love you baby. I love you. Don't let me die. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. Please, please. And I start yelling in the plane. Somebody help me.


ROBERTS: CNN talked with the spokesperson from American Airlines last night. She said American's flight attendants are "professionals and trained in assisting passengers in medical emergencies. I have no doubt that they did everything in their power to help this passenger."

The medical examiner's office says the woman had heart disease and died of natural causes. But what kind of medical care can you expect if you got sick at 35,000 feet? Our Elizabeth Cohen is at the medical update desk with us this morning.

How well equipped are they on board airliners to deliver any kind of emergency medical care?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, the FAA does require planes to carry certain kinds of emergency medical devices and drugs. So let's go over what some of those are. First of all, planes have to have automated external defibrillators. And those are -- you know, you see them in TV shows. That's to get the heart going, and they're very, very easy to use. Also, they're supposed to have IV kits to get IVs going if they need to, if there are doctors or nurses on the plane. And they're supposed to carry certain drugs like epinephrine, nitroglycerine, which, of course, is a heart drug.

Now, in addition, the airline crews have to have certain kinds of training. They have to be trained how to use those defibrillators. They have to be trained in CPR, and they have to do drills about what do you do in certain kinds of circumstances. Now, they repeat these drills every two years at least. And again, they're trained in the protocols of what to do when someone has an illness such as what happened to Desir -- John.

ROBERTS: So what are those protocols when somebody has an emergency crisis or medical crisis on board? And do we know if those protocols were followed?

COHEN: It really depends on who you're listening to. If you listened to Desir's cousin, then no procedures were followed. He says twice she was -- they denied her request for oxygen. And then when they finally did give it to her, the tank was empty. And then, a second tank was empty and then he says the defibrillator didn't work. So if you listen to him, no, those procedures weren't followed.

But it is clear that at least at some point, the crew did do several things they were supposed to do. They did find doctors and nurses on the plane to give her oxygen. They did use the defibrillator. So it's -- there's going to have to be some kind of investigation to figure out what the truth is here.

ROBERTS: And I'm sure there will be and we'll keep following that. Elizabeth Cohen for us this morning from Atlanta. Elizabeth, thanks for that.

COHEN: Thanks.


CHETRY: Well, imagine driving down the highway and seeing a plane coming right at you. It happened on a roadway in -- turned runway, I guess, you could say in Indianapolis. We're going to tell you exactly what happened here, and why the plane needed to land right on the highway.

Also, former Governor Mike Huckabee is still battling for the Republican nomination. Despite some very long odds, he insists he's staying in because he still has a chance. We're going to talk to him ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Ali Velshi in Bandera, Texas, about 50 miles out of San Antonio. This is the self-proclaimed cowboy capital of the world. But even cowboys are worried about the economy. I'm going to tell you what's on their mind, and I'm going to tell you how it affects you and gas prices. Stay with me.


ROBERTS: A couple of important appearances this morning by two presidential candidates. Mike Huckabee has been in the race for a long time, and Ralph Nader who just decided to get in yesterday.

And a quick check now of this morning's "Quick Vote" question. We have been asking, should Ralph Nader be running for president? Right now, 21 percent of you say yes. Seventy-nine percent say no. Well, a lot of people remember what happened in the 2000 election when it appeared, at least to many people, as though the 96,000 votes that went to Ralph Nader came from the Democrat s predominantly and prevented Al Gore from becoming president.

Cast your vote at We will tally the votes throughout the morning.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, 26 minutes past the hour. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business" from Texas. He's touring the state on CNN's Election Express. There's the bus. They've been driving all across the country. This morning he joins us from Bandera, Texas. It's the cowboy capital not just of the U.S. but of the world, and he's asking voters how they feel about the economy.

Hi, Ali.

VELSHI: Hi, Kiran. The story this morning is gas prices. And, you know, we saw oil prices going up, hitting $100 a barrel. Again, sort of shooting up through February. It's obvious. If oil prices are going up, gas prices are going up. Take a look at what's happened.

The Lundberg survey, it's a survey of thousands of gas stations across the country, say that as of Sunday, gas prices had increased about 16 cents in the last two weeks; 75 cents over the last year. Now, in Texas, there are some people who make a lot of money when oil prices are high and when gas prices are high. But you know what? There are a whole lot of people here who are not making their money on oil. They have to fill their tanks. They drive some big trucks around here, and that's affecting people. Here's what one cowboy we talked to yesterday had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's kind of crazy. These guys out here, they're making all this big money and something. They're making the decision. And they say, oh, we're going to up it to $7 something an hour in so many years. Well, my view it ought to be $10 an hour today and it still wouldn't be enough.


VELSHI: And that was Ringo. He was talking about minimum wage and how that might -- you know, people at least can make more money. They can afford to fill their tanks a little better.

Now, Kiran, you know, you and I have been carrying on about this all hat and no cattle thing. I was on a steer. Take a look at this. I think you have video of me riding around on a steer. We were over at a place. This is the dude ranch capital, so I was over a place called the Dixie Dude Ranch about eight miles from here. I was riding a steer. Also got to ride some horses, which was fantastic just to get a feel for life around here.

And we are out here in Bandera, and there are, in fact, horses just outside of the shot here. There are a bunch of horses here. There are people having a lovely cookout this morning out of a chuck wagon. And we're talking to the townsfolk here, population 1,250, about their concerns about politics and the economy. Lots of interesting stuff here in Bandera, and we'll be bringing it to you over the course of the next hour and a half, Kiran.

CHETRY: Hey, not too bad. That steer, though, looks like he's actually pretty tough to steer. How do you handle that?

VELSHI: It did not have power steering. It took me a few minutes to get used to it. And as you could see, there was a saddle on there because steer have sort of a bony spine and wouldn't have been too comfortable riding it. But this is all because you asked me if I was all hat and no cattle. So thank you for giving me the experience.

CHETRY: You're a man of your word. You told me you were going to prove it, and you sure did. So I give you major props for that. Ali Velshi live for us in Bandera. Thanks.

ROBERTS: I thought when you saved a horse you weren't supposed to ride a steer.

A new kind of diplomacy in North Korea. The New York Philharmonic is getting ready to play in Pyongyang. Our Alina Cho is traveling with the orchestra and talking about musicians about what they hope to accomplish during this visit.

They are $164 million richer. We're live at the country's newest mega millionaires, and they almost didn't bother to buy the ticket.


CHETRY: Welcome back on this Monday morning. There are some people probably a lot happier than others this morning.

ROBERTS: Why so?

CHETRY: Well, some people won $165 million in a lump sum payment this morning. They're going to be joining us in a couple of minutes.

ROBERTS: What about money doesn't buy you happiness?

CHETRY: Well, we're going to ask them if it does. It will at least buy them a GMC pickup truck which I know he wanted, among other things.

ROBERTS: Yes. It will certainly buy some independence.

Here's what's new this morning. Right now, protesters in Gaza forming a human chain. Here's some pictures to show you. The group popular committee against the siege is protesting the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The group says they will line up the length of the territory along its main highway. Israel sealed off Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks but critics say that, that siege is punishing innocent civilians.

And Cuba officially has a new leader for the first time in nearly half a century. As expected, the nation's parliament tapped Raul Castro to succeed brother Fidel as president. The move is not expected to change Cuba's communist system a whole lot. Raul says he will continue to consult with his brother on all major decisions.

CHETRY: A plane makes an emergency landing on a highway in Indianapolis. There you see the pictures. The pilot forced to land the small single engine Piper on I-70 yesterday afternoon when he lost power at about 7,000 feet. Police opened one lane of traffic. It took a mechanic two hours to fix the problem. No one there on the roadway hurt at all.

And Philadelphia news anchor Alisha Lane will be in a New York courtroom today. She was charged with hitting a New York police officer during a traffic stop. But the "Philadelphia Inquirer" is reporting that she may be let off lightly. The paper says a videotape has surfaced that contradicts the original police report and prosecutors will agree to an adjournment. The case will be dropped if Lane stays out of trouble for six months.

Heavy snow is expected in the Midwest today. Our Rob Marciano is at the CNN weather center tracking extreme weather for us. See what folks living in that part of the country can look forward to this morning.

Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They can look forward to snow. Good morning, Kiran. Although it's a bit of a mix from Iowa back through eastern parts of Nebraska. Here's a center of a low. It's what came in through California over the weekend bringing wind and rain across the coastline. Moving rapidly through the plains now. Well, at least a piece of it is. It will begin to strengthen.

So here you go, winter storm warnings posted for Chicago westward with snow and mixed with rain arriving later on this afternoon. And then eventually changing to all snow. Tomorrow could be very much a windy day. But with the anticipation of this storm arriving, it could very well be some delays today in Chicago. Rain and snow. Low clouds right now at Cleveland and Detroit and gusty winds possible in Dallas. There maybe some departure delays there.

Here's your storm. Here's the timeline. Tomorrow, it should be just south of Columbus, Ohio. Then, making its beeline towards the northeast. This is a swath that will see some heavy snow, six to 10 inches of it. Notice that it stays away from the I-95 corridor. So, this track keeps it on the warm side if it were to be a little further south than New York and Philly and all those other places could see heavy snow. By the way, extreme fire danger today across western parts of Texas with winds gusting to 50 miles an hour and very low levels of relative humidity.

Kiran, back up to you.

CHETRY: Rob Marciano, thanks.

ROBERTS: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra is in North Korea for a historic performance. Observers there watching closely hoping that it could mean the long isolated north is ready to open up. Our Alina Cho is traveling with the orchestra. She joins us live from Pyongyang this morning.

Good morning, or rather good evening to you, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, good evening from Pyongyang. It is snowing and it is frigidly cold. But we have arrived here safely. I was on the plane with the New York Philharmonic today and I can tell you it is not an understatement to say that this trip is historic. You can almost feel it in the air.

Remember, it is the first time an American orchestra has been invited to play here. It is the largest American delegation to travel to North Korea since the end of the Korean war. And tomorrow night when the New York Philharmonic performs here in Pyongyang, there will be symbolism everywhere.

Just imagine the U.S. national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner played before a North Korean crowd in the country President Bush once called part of the axis of evil. Now, nobody here in the orchestra believes this one concert will solve the nuclear problems, but many members told me that they do believe this will serve as a crack in the door of diplomacy. We should also mention that eight of the 105 members of the orchestra are Korean American and for them, this concert holds special significance.


LORIN MAAZEL, CONDUCTOR, N.T. PHILHARMONIC: It's the only weapon we have, so to speak. But a very important one. I've conducted orchestras in countries where I don't speak the language, but I speak the language of music and so do they. We get along instantly.

MICHELLE KIM, VIOLINIST, N.Y. PHILHARMONIC: Music can move mountains from what I can see. And I hope that music will open their hearts as well. And hence crack open the door a little bit wider.


CHO: Now, that was Michelle Kim you just heard from. She's a violinist and assistant concert master of the New York Philharmonic. Now, tomorrow's concert here in Pyongyang will be shown live around the world, including here in North Korea. That is unprecedented. And logistically, as you might imagine, this has been quite a production. Just listen to this.

The New York Philharmonic will be performing on North Korean chairs. But that's about it. Everything else has been flown in down to the music stands. There were four temperature-controlled trucks that rolled across the DMZ to transport the instruments and even the theater has been outfitted with a new orchestra shell to maximize the sound.

And all of this, John, and we still do not know if the man known as the dear leader, Kim Jong-il, will be in attendance. The New York Philharmonic representatives tell me, we won't know until the first note is played tomorrow night -- John.

ROBERTS: I guess when you are playing in Pyongyang you have to bring a lot of your own gear with you. Alina, we should mention that your family is from South Korea. How important has this visit been for you personally?

CHO: Listen. It's been an emotional week. As you know, I've been in Seoul for the past week shooting with my family. My parents flew to Seoul to help me with this story about my family. They were both born in Seoul, raised in Seoul. They both lived through the war. And much of my family history, I am learning sort of in real-time right now.

Also, I should mention that two of my dad's uncles disappeared during the Korean War and nobody knows if they were kidnapped or if they defected because nobody ever saw them again. And so this has been quite a professional journey but certainly a personal one for me as well, John. And we'll have much more on that tomorrow morning.

ROBERTS: Fascinating trip on a number of different levels. Alina Cho for us this morning. Live from Pyongyang, North Korea. Alina, thanks. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, down big in the delegate count, he's a long shot for the presidential nomination on the Republican side. But Mike Huckabee says he's in it for the long haul. So, how does the former governor plan to pull out a win? We're going to ask him coming up.

And also from huck to pure luck, we're going to talk to the man who won the fifth largest mega millions jackpot in history. And we'll ask him how he plans to spend it. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. A look at the delegate counts right now. And the counts are really against him, but Mike Huckabee is not going anywhere. The former Arkansas governor insisting he still has a chance. Mathematically, it does appear the nomination is beyond his grasp. But it's something that Huckabee has been asked about a lot and joked about in a tongue and cheek appearance on "Saturday Night Live." Take a look.


SETH MYERS, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Even if you won every remaining unfledged delegate, you'd still fall 200 delegates short.

HUCKABEE: Wow. Seth, that was an excellent explanation. But I'm afraid that you overlooked the all-important superdelegates. Don't forget about them.

MYERS: Well, I won't forget about them, but the superdelegates are only in the Democratic primaries.

HUCKABEE: They can't vote in the Republican primary?

MYERS: They cannot.



CHETRY: Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee joins me now. Nice to see you again. You were pretty funny on "Saturday Night Live," by the way.

HUCKABEE: That was a lot of fun. Great, great group of people that made the show.

CHETRY: And you were joking about the thing that you get asked about every television appearance you've done of late, which is can you -- why are you still in it if it seems the numbers are against you. You talked to a San Antonio radio station about a strategy, explain what that is.

HUCKABEE: Well, the whole thing is that this still could go to a brokered convention. People forget that many of the Republican nominees over time from -- until recently it was settled at the convention. Now if John McCain doesn't get 1,191 confirmed, committed pledged delegates, then there is no nominee officially until we get to the convention.

When we get to the convention, all bets are off and many of the delegates can do what they wish. Now, it's possible that he'll get there. If he does, then so be it. But in the meantime, there are millions of Republican voters who have not voted. Today, I'll be in Rhode Island. Tomorrow, we're going to be in Ohio.

Then we'll headed on to Texas. Those are all states and then you add into that Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nebraska, a lot of states haven't even voted. So, you know, if people say the conventional process of getting the delegates prior to the convention mathematically, it's hard for me to win that. But it's not impossible for me to make sure that this could go to the convention and the convention will decide it. That's still a possibility.

CHETRY: So, you're saying it's not possible to get enough votes in some of these states that you prevent the frontrunner John McCain from getting to that magic number?

HUCKABEE: Exactly.

CHETRY: What does it do to the party? Does it seem to cause a rift and to be troublesome if it appears that there's no decision leading all the way to the convention?

HUCKABEE: You know, the idea is that the party is hurt if we have an actual election that the party is damaged if you let the voters decide. That's the most ridiculous thing I think anyone presents. Many party leaders are trying to say that. If our party is so weak that we can't have an election that lets all the states decide the nominee, then I'm not the problem. And so I think it's absurd for us to talk as if -- that if we went to the convention that somehow allowing the total Republican Party of the entire United States to actually pick the nominee, somehow is a bad thing. I think that could be a good thing.

But, you know, Senator McCain's got a challenge on the issue of finance because he had agreed early to take matching money and now there's a question mark as to whether or not he can actually raise additional funds or spend additional funds within that federal limit. So there may be some unique complications that he'll face as a result of the campaign finance law, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act that he himself sponsored.

CHETRY: It's interesting to talk about other issues, including Cuba. When you were Arkansas governor you said that Cuba - that the embargo should be lifted because it was harmful to American business. You have since change your mind and think the embargo should stay in place at least when Castro was in power. Does anything change with his younger brother Fidel Castro, being handed the reins?

HUCKABEE: No. Raul Castro is frankly as bad if not worse than Fidel. And there's no change in policy. They are still holding political prisoners. They're still not having free, open and honest elections. There are a lot of things in Cuba that are not significantly changed. And that's the tragedy. It's sort of a passing from one tyranny to another.

And the primary reason for my position as a governor was that Arkansas rice markets were really being troubled and we were hoping to open that up for Arkansas rice. Honestly, as a president, you have to look at the fact the embargo is probably one of the few things that we do to keep some pressure on Cuba. And I don't think lifting it is a good idea for the overall United States.

CHETRY: Is Raul's presence, I guess the lack of presence of Fidel and opening them an opportunity perhaps for the United States to rethink how we're handling the Cuban situation?

HUCKABEE: Not as long as Raul is the one in power because I mean, he has personally taken some responsibility for the shooting down of the brothers rescue civilian airplane in international waters. He is not exactly known as a man of passionate democracy.

So I don't think that you are going to see any significant policy changes in the Cuban government as a result of Fidel Castro's brother taking over the reins. If anything, it's going to be either more of the same or it could even get worse. But it's not going to get better until there's a complete change of not only personnel but policy within Cuba.

CHETRY: All right. We want to thank you for being with us. Governor Mike Huckabee fresh off his "Saturday Night Live" stint as well. How about that? I hope you got it taped. Did you save it?

HUCKABEE: I think my son TiVo'd it somewhere back in Arkansas. I hope so. CHETRY: Thanks.

HUCKABEE: Thanks, Kiran. Great to see you again.

CHETRY: It's great to see you as well. John.

ROBERTS: You know, if this presidential thing doesn't work out, he definitely has a future in comedy.

Thirteen minutes now to the top of the hour. A couple goes from a trailer to wherever the heck they want. Meet the newest mega millionaires, next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Well, our next two guests were able to turn $2 into 200 and -- or actually $164 million after, of course, the lump sum payment. They won Friday's mega millions jackpot by playing the birthdays of their grandchildren.

ROBERTS: Quite an amazing return on investment, isn't. Georgia lottery officials have not confirmed the ticket yet. They need to see it before confirming the win. But Robert and Tanya Harris are expecting to a little bit later on this morning over to the lottery office with that ticket because it's in Robert's pocket right now. They join us live from Atlanta.

So, Robert and Tanya. This whole thing almost didn't happen for you. Robert, take us back to Friday night. You're on the way home. You got the idea to buy a lottery ticket. What happened?

ROBERT HARRIS, MEGA MILLIONS WINNER: I wanted to play my grandchildren's birthdays and I stopped at the store and it was heavy rains in our area. By the time I got to the register after filling it out in the car, I went up and I couldn't play it. So I went home and asked Tanya to go back to the store later and play the two tickets that I filled out. And she played them and woke up the next morning and we hit.

ROBERTS: Unbelievable.

CHETRY: Tanya, thank goodness you actually listened to him and went in there and did it. What was your reaction when you found out that all the numbers matched?

TANYA HARRIS, MEGA MILLIONS WINNER: Well, let me say something here. I had stopped -- was going to the grocery store. I really wasn't going to play the tickets. I had -- was almost home. It had been raining very hard. So when I bought the groceries, it was sitting right there at me and I decided - I said, well, I'm just going to go put the groceries up.

You know, if I go back, I do, if I don't. And something told me to turn around. And I said, well, I didn't want to come back out in the rain, so I just turned around and go played the ticket and then go home. You know how the women are. You know, we may do it, we may not. But I -- you know, I did. And it turned out wonderful.

ROBERTS: Wow, what do you think would have happened if you didn't play and those numbers came up on Saturday?

T. HARRIS: We probably would have been very sick people.

ROBERTS: I could imagine. You know what else is amazing. After all that drought that they've been having there in Georgia, you get a night where the rain is beating you away from two places. So, Robert, we talked to people a lot of times who win these lotteries and we say, so, is it going to change your life? Are you going to continue to work. They say, well, we're not sure. You made a decision about that pretty quickly.

R. HARRIS: Yes, sir.

ROBERTS: So what did you do?

R. HARRIS: Well, I just called and let them know that I would not be coming back again.

ROBERTS: Tanya, were you pretty confident that it was OK in quitting his job?

T. HARRIS: Oh, yes. I hardly seen Robert anyway. He worked out of town. Matter of fact, he's working -- was working here in Atlanta when all this happened. And I may see him maybe a weekend out of three months or four months. And it's been going on like that for about 19 or 20 years.

CHETRY: So I hope you like each other because now you'll get to spend a lot of time together.

T. HARRIS: It's going to be a little strange. It's going to be a little different.

CHETRY: It's also probably shocking right now to try to think of that amount of money and say, this is what I'm going to do. What are some of your immediate plans? What do you definitely know you want to do with some of this money?

T. HARRIS: Well, we would like to have a home. We want to buy some acreage and build a home and I am going to get my Mercedes. I've always wanted. And, of course, he's going to buy him a truck and we'll take care of the grandkids and the kids and, you know, the family and our church and, you know, people we care about, you know, that's been there for us.

ROBERTS: Well, you know, you can still spend lots of time apart as well except you can be in Paris and he can be in the South Pacific.

T. HARRIS: You know, that sounds great, but I don't fly.

ROBERTS: Uh-oh. You got to get yourself a huge bus to travel in. A big tour bus. T. HARRIS: Well, really, I had so many -- the media has called and wanted to fly me or us here and there and I told them no. And, you know, they said, well, we'll drive you. And I said, well, that's OK. We'll drive ourselves. We all -- we just haven't got used to all this attention yet. It's just still overwhelming with us.

ROBERTS: You know, you said, Tanya that a lot of the money will go to help the kids and help the grandkids. And you said in a pre- interview that Robert has been working so hard in part to take care of the grandkids. How are you going to instill in them a sense of value so that they get a really good perspective on what will await them when they grow up because that's an awful lot of money.

T. HARRIS: Well, yes, it is. We have some -- some good friends that is a CPA and a lawyer in that area. And they are going to direct us in the right way to handle all this and to where there will be money, you know, generation after generation and to take care of it and hopefully, you know, things will go well even after we're gone. We've always tried to teach the kids, if you got a dollar bill, you know, go to the store, spend 50 cent but keep 50 in your pocket.

CHETRY: That's right. Good advice. Now they can do the same thing but with a much larger amount of money. Amazing odds. 176 million to 1 are the odds that you guys will win this and you did it. So someone up there likes you. Congratulations.

T. HARRIS: Yes, yes, the Lord. There you go. God blessed us. God is a good god. He blessed us very well. Yes, he did.

ROBERTS: Be wise with the cash, folks. Sounds like you've got it all under control. So, good luck today when you go to lottery headquarters. All right.

CHETRY: That was Tanya and Robert Harris. She said they drove themselves to the studio because she doesn't fly.

ROBERTS: Maybe she'll have to learn how.

Ralph Nader says Americans feel left out and disrespected by the current state of politics. He's making another run for president. We're going to ask him, coming up, what his message is this time. That's coming up in the next half hour here in AMERICAN MORNING.

And a new turn in the shooting death of a junior high student in Oxnard, California. He had been telling friend that he's gay. Now another teen faces murder and hate crime charges after his death. What are schools doing to protect students? We're asking, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.