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American Morning

Earthquake Hits Southern California: No Major Injuries or Damage; Radovan Karadzic Extradited to The Hague; California Wildfire Burning Near Yosemite Destroys Homes; Iraq Allowed Back in the Beijing Olympic Games

Aired July 30, 2008 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Earthquake. Natural disaster strikes in front of a live studio audience. Today, the aftermath and aftershocks in Southern California.
And, out of control. Twenty-five homes destroyed. A wildfire on more doorsteps right now on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning. And thanks very much for being with us. It's a Wednesday. It's the 30th of July. Only one more day -- well, two more days including today left in this month. And I can't believe how fast summer is going by.

ALINA CHO, CO-HOST: Yes. And lots of news coming out of California this morning. The earthquake, the fires. Boy, natural disasters galore.

ROBERTS: The place where it's summer all the time tops our news today.

CHO: That's right. And we begin with the latest on the southern California earthquake. More than 70 small aftershocks have been reported, the strongest measuring 3.8.

The 5.4 magnitude quake was centered in Chino Hills. That's about 30 miles east of downtown L.A., strong enough to collapse a wall and knock items off store shelves. But no major injuries to report.

Several TV shows were taping when it struck including -- take a look there -- Judge Judy. You can see people on the set actually ducking for cover. We'll have much more on that in just a moment.

And breaking this morning, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is now in the Netherlands. The plane carrying him landed just a few hours ago, completing his extradition to The Hague on genocide and war crimes charges. Hours earlier, his supporters held a rally in Beglgrade marked by violence.

CNN is at The Hague this morning. We're going to have a live report in just a few minutes.

And a clean bill of health for John McCain. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say a biopsy on a patch of McCain's skin shows no evidence of skin cancer and no further treatment is needed. The presumptive Republican nominee had a growth removed from his right cheek during a routine checkup on Monday. McCain has had four bouts with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.


JUDGE JUDY: Well, he got your credit card -- your bank card somehow. And he got your PIN number somehow.


ROBERTS: More than the bank card and the PIN number, back now to our top story.

Television cameras rolling in Judge Judy's courtroom as that 5.4 magnitude earthquake gave the unshakable judge a scare. Audience members ran out of the studio. Thankfully no one was hurt.

This morning the cleanup is under way in and around Los Angeles. The quake ruptured a water pipe at LAX Airport. And a water main shattered under a Los Angeles intersection. An I-reporter Travis Corcoran (ph) says the quake shook water out of his pool in the town of Laguna Niguel.

Susan Roesgen is up early. She's working the story. She's got the latest for us now from Los Angeles.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alina and John, it could have been much worse. But it was just bad enough to remind people here of the danger they face every day.


ROESGEN (voice-over): It was just about lunchtime Tuesday and this being southern California, cameras were rolling. The 5.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the taping of "Judge Judy" and "Big Brother."




ROESGEN: It was the biggest earthquake in the L.A. region since 1994. No serious injuries reported and just some minor damage. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was relieved no one in his family or anyone else was hurt.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I, of course, called home right away after the quake and to just see if the family is OK. And I think she was in the middle of a meeting and felt the house rock. But she's OK and everyone else is OK. Like I said, we were very fortunate that there were no serious injuries or the property damage that we know of at this point.

ROESGEN: The earthquake was centered in Chino Hills, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Earthquake experts say it was good preparation for what they call the big one. THOMAS HEATON, CALTECH: It does remind us all that we live in earthquake country. And L.A. has been very quiet for the last 10 years or so. So for all of us, we've kind of grown comfortable with the way things are. But when earthquake sequences get happening, things can get exciting and there's a chance we'll see a big earthquake.


ROESGEN: Exciting is right. Actually, they say that the odds of California having a major earthquake within the next 30 years is 99 percent. And this fall they're going to have what they're calling the biggest earthquake drill here in southern California. State and federal officials are going to put this on. And certainly with what happened yesterday, John and Alina, it will make the drill far more realistic.

CHO: That's right. A close call and certainly a good preparation for the big one.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens promising to fight corruption charges. A seven-count federal indictment accuses Stevens of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of gifts and services from a private company that allegedly paid for a major renovation of his home. The senator issued a statement saying he has "never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form."

The 84-year-old Stevens is the longest serving Republican in the Senate. He's up for re-election in November. Well, Senator Stevens has been a lightning rod for critics of pork barrel spending, including John McCain. Stevens, you may recall, was behind the infamous $220 million bridge to nowhere in Alaska, a symbol of pork barrel spending.

McCain has long railed against the beltways big spenders. He told a town hall meeting in Nevada Tuesday his own party has let spending get out of control.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's got to stop, and it's bred corruption. And my friends, I don't say that lightly. We have former members of Congress now residing in federal prison, and it's got to stop.

And I'm going to make them famous. I'll veto every single pork barrel bill that comes across my desk. We will make them famous. You will know their names.


CHO: McCain also said his rival Barack Obama has requested nearly a billion dollars for pork barrel projects. Now if Obama is elected, he plans to review executive orders issued by President Bush. That's according to House Democrats who met with the presumptive nominee in Washington yesterday. Several lawmakers say Obama told them that as president he would order his attorney general to scour White House executive orders and expunge any that "trample on liberty." President Bush has increasingly relied on executive orders to bypass congressional approval -- John.

ROBERTS: Back now to our other top story breaking this morning. Ex-Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic is now in the Netherlands after having been extradited on genocide and war crime charges.

Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is following this morning's developments. He joins us now live from The Hague. So we saw Karadzic but we didn't see him actually, hiding out in the eastern Bosnia in Belgrade under an assumed name and an assumed profession for a decade. What's next for him?

NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's got to appear in court with word from the prosecutor's office here that he will be appearing in court in about 28 hours from now late Thursday afternoon. The prosecutor is getting ready to address journalists to lay out, perhaps, some of the specifics of what Radovan Karadzic could expect to hear in court.

We know he is being tried on 11 different counts that includes genocide, complicity for genocide extermination, murder, willful killing and a list of other charges. We understand from the prosecutor's office that this involves Radovan Karadzic's leadership of the armed forces in Bosnia during the 1992 to 1995 war.

The prosecutor will say in 12 different Bosnian municipalities those forces under Radovan Karadzic's command killed non-Serbs, forcibly evicted others, putting more than 20 into different detention camps, raping and mistreating many of those in the camps, raping and mistreating many of those in those camps.

What is happening right now today in the detention facility just over my shoulder here, the U.N. detention facility for the war crimes tribunal, Radovan Karadzic is being given a prison cell.

He has been told right now of his rights, what rights he has inside the detention facility. He will get a routine medical check as all new detainees get. We're told here. Also, he will have it laid out for him what his options are for his defense -- John.

ROBERTS: So, Nic, he is the second of the big three alleged war criminals from the Balkans War. Slobodan Milosevic was tried at The Hague. He died in custody a couple of years back. Ratko Mladic is the only other one who's out there. That's Karadzic's right hand man, the general there in Bosnia. Any idea if Serbian authorities have any kind of a handle on where Ratko Mladic may be? And might he be brought to justice soon?

ROBERTSON: John, we're not hearing anything publicly but the indications are that very likely the Serbian authorities do have a reasonably good idea, at least good strong leads that might lead them to former General Ratko Mladic. The reason is, there's been a new political shift. A more pro-Western government has been elected in Serbia. They are the ones that are beginning to change the security services that led to the capture of Radovan Karadzic, and the indications are, that may also lead to the capture of Ratko Mladic -- John.

ROBERTS: We'll be watching that story very closely. Nic Robertson for us outside The Hague this morning. Nic, thanks so much.

CHO: Your money, your wallet. Stocks make a comeback. Gas prices keep coming down. And the value of your home, well, it's worth a lot less. Gerri Willis will break it all down for us.

ROBERTS: Rising food and gas prices coupled with sinking investments.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at how much we've lost. Incredible.


ROBERTS: Tough times. Crunching the credit card industry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are having a difficult time paying off their balance.


ROBERTS: The snowball effect linked to America's debt. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: The crazy mixed up world out there. Certainly because all of the indicators are pointing sort of like this.

CHO: You know it's mixed up when John can't be tracked (ph).


ROBERTS: It's also very early in the morning. Stock market up. Gas prices down.

WILLIS: OK, all right.

ROBERTS: Other markets are up. Housing prices --

WILLIS: Let me -- you know, I have good news today. Why don't I start there? Stock markets higher yesterday. Yes. Check this out.

Markets up. Dow industrial average up 2.39 percent to 11,397. Remember, the day before, it was down about the same amount so now it's up. That's good news.

Keep in mind though that we're still in the bear market here. We're still down 20 percent from the market's high last October. So that's really a green signal for folks who want to buy stocks. Looks like a little bit about why these stocks are doing better.

Merrill Lynch, as we mentioned yesterday morning, they're going to issue new shares. Possibly some $8.5 billion worth. They also wrote down $5 billion in assets. Lots of concerns about that company's balance sheet out there. That's good news. Consumer confidence higher. And oil prices down. Another piece of good news. At their lowest level in three months.

Check out these numbers. Light sweet crude at $122.19 a barrel. That's down $2.54.

CHO: A bargain.

WILLIS: Am I not doing well today?

ROBERTS: So far, you are the B pod, blonde prophet of delight.


CHO: Changing it up.

WILLIS: I have to give you some bad news.

There's little bad news, but it's rear-view mirror bad news. OK. We're looking at home prices. This, according to Case-Shiller Weiss -- their numbers, their index really solid data from this folks. They have really great numbers.

Take a look at what happened though. Las Vegas home prices down 28.4 percent. This is for the month of May. Miami down 28 percent. Phoenix down 26 percent. Los Angeles, San Diego. What you're looking at here is really the Sun Belt really getting creamed.

Now, let's just keep in mind what these numbers mean. If you look at Vegas from June of '06, do you know what that number looked like? Prices year over year were up 50 percent. OK? So let's keep this all in perspective.

I don't think any of these markets have lost all of their gains. So that's at least --

CHO: So the net is flat, I guess, right?

WILLIS: A silver lining. Well, I wouldn't say we're flat. We probably haven't given back all our gains. We're still in that positive over the entire housing boom for a lot of markets out there.

CHO: All right.

WILLIS: But, you know, the devil's in the details. Anything can happen.

ROBERTS: We'll hang around for the next half hour and see if you can continue the streak. So far, it's not too bad.

WILLIS: Am I being graded? OK. CHO: I guess you are. Gerri, thank you.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Gerri.

CHO: Legalizing pot. Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank sponsoring a new bill that would make it legal to use the drug. We're going to tell you how much he says is OK.

And rolling out a running mate. How are Barack Obama and John McCain making their critical choices for vice president? You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Great day to be alive in Providence, Rhode Island. The sun coming up there. Thanks to our folks at WPRI for that beautiful shot there. And it's going to go up to a high of 86 degrees and should be pretty sunny. So nice day to be in Rhode Island today.

CHO: Nice day to be on the water there, too. Pink skies.

All right, Rob Marciano has the day off. Reynolds Wolf in for him this morning. Reynolds, fires in the west and flooding in the Midwest?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I know. It's been kind of a crazy morning. Very wet morning for people in parts of Missouri and into Kansas where the rainfall rates exceed about an inch an hour. They're expecting anywhere from, say, three to four inches of rain before all is said and done.

We've got plenty of watches and warnings you'll notice across much of the Show Me State including into Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, along parts of the I-70 corridor where the rain continues to fall. And as I mentioned, it is going to be very heavy.

Anyone who plans on traveling along this thoroughfare, be sure to take your time out there. Roads are going to be awfully slick. A lot of water on the roadways. There's always a threat of hydroplaning, so please be careful.

I know the spot where we've seen some intense thunderstorms. You've been hearing the boom of thunder this morning in places like Sterling Heights, Flint, Saginaw, in Michigan. Right on parts of I- 75, it's been fairly intense. And right near Lansing, not to far from the campus of Michigan State University East Lansing, you're going to have to deal with those scattered showers and storms.

On the other side of the coin is not going to be the rain but rather the heat in parts of the east, especially in Philadelphia where all across the Philadelphia metropolitan area it's going to be very rough. Heat index anywhere from 100 degrees or higher. That is the latest we've got. Let's send it back to Alina and John in New York.

ROBERTS: Reynolds, thanks very much for that. A hot day today. People got to be careful. California burning. Instead of fresh air and stunning views at Yosemite National Park, visitors are getting smoke and ash from a massive wildfire. We'll have the latest on the fire that's burning out of control for nearly a week there.

And Americans worried about the economy are starting to take matters into their own hands. The surprising new credit card trend. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: It's coming up now on 20 minutes to the top of the hour. Let's fast forward to the stories that are going to be making news later on today.

President Bush is meeting with his cabinet this morning before talking to reporters about energy and gasoline prices. The president will push Congress to expand domestic drilling including offshore drilling. The White House says it's the 46th time the president has met with his cabinet.

The House holds a hearing today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on the quality of electric work at U.S. bases in Iraq. It stems from the January electrocution death of Army Ranger Ryan Maseth. His mother filed a lawsuit against a Houston-based company KVR (ph) though a Defense Department report cleared the company. And at least 16 other soldiers have died from electrocutions in Iraq that were non-combat related.

Also at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, well, look at that, that's a marijuana plant. Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is going to hold a press conference about his bill legalizing personal marijuana use. The bill would remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams of the drug. Supporters say prosecution of offenders is just too costly. They suggest regulating, even taxing marijuana. Think that will ever happen, Alina?

CHO: Not sure. We'll have to wait and see, but it is an interesting proposal.

In California, a wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park is now just 15 percent contained. The fires burned some 46 square miles since the target shooters sparked it last week. The flames are some 12 miles from Yosemite. But officials say at this point there is no immediate threat to people in the park.

CNN's Dan Simon shows us what thousands of firefighters and area residents are dealing with.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Alina, at least 25 homes have been destroyed including this one. Obviously, the people who live here lost everything. And this scene could be repeating itself a lot more in this area. Four thousand additional homes are said to be threatened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SIMON (voice-over): The fire is showing no signs of quieting down. That's because it has a virtually endless supply of fuel. Miles and miles of brush and dry vegetation just waiting to ignite. The flames have climbed 100 feet into the air. Even seasoned firefighters have been amazed by the spectacle.

RICH CADIGAN, FIREFIGHTER: This is something. And the state being stretched already because of all the fires and stuff that, you know, we've had to call in crews from Arizona and things like that. So this is something.

SIMON: The Red Cross opened an evacuation center for people who had to flee their homes. It's where we caught up with Mary Briggs who received word her home had been destroyed.

MARY BRIGGS, HOME DESTROYED BY FIRE: I keep remembering things I lost and it's hard. And I don't have a -- I don't have a home.

SIMON: A lot of what she has now inside a single garbage bag and the single mother did not have fire insurance.

BRIGGS: I didn't think it was going to burn. I had to go to work and we grabbed a couple of things. And I just figured we go back the next day and it would be there. And it's not there, you know.

SIMON: Many people here live on vast acres of land with goats, sheep and other livestock. The local fairgrounds has turned into its own evacuation shelter for animals. Where there are no flames, chances are, you can still see smoke.

Yosemite National Park remains open, but the views aren't quite the same. Still, park officials are not discouraging people from visiting.

SCOTT GEDIMA, PARK RANGER: Certainly the visibility and air quality are a factor. But the park is open and fully operational.


SIMON: Authorities believe this wildfire was started by a target shooter. And at this point, they believe it was entirely accidental. John and Alina, back to you.

ROBERTS: Dan Simon for us this morning. Thanks very much.

Less than 24 hours since California's earthquake, and already, nearly 100 aftershocks have hit the area. CNN reporters also felt the main quake. AMERICAN MORNING's Ed Lavandera was on vacation with his family at Disneyland when the quake hit.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And all of a sudden I started hearing this kind of, like, metal clanging back and forth. When you look up here, this is the top of the ride. I actually saw that moving back and forth a little bit. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Even on vacation, Ed's on the job. We'll have more of his on-scene report coming up.

And what do John McCain and Barack Obama need in a running mate? A look at the selection process that could help make or break a bid for the White House. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Twenty-six-and-a-half minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the "Most Politics in the Morning."

The VP buzz is building. Barack Obama and John McCain may be close to choosing their running mates. What does each candidate need most in a vice president?

Well, joining us now to talk more about this, from Washington, Jeanne Cummings. She is the senior correspondent for "Politico" and she recently wrote an article about all of this.

So when choosing a running mate, what does the presidential candidate need to do? Does he need to pick somebody who has good chemistry with or somebody who'll help win?

JEANNE CUMMINGS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "POLITICO": Well, most of the time they talk about chemistry. But really this ought to be a decision about winning. And that could be geographic. That could be reaching out to a certain constituency. They can come at it from different directions. But the goal, it seems to me, in picking the running mate should be more about how do you win rather than chemistry.

ROBERTS: Right. In terms of this idea of helping you win, it's been really since 1960 and Lyndon Johnson that any vice presidential running mate really could be said to have delivered a state. And he delivered the state of Texas for Kennedy, pushed him over the top.

Other people have said, hey, it's unethical to pick somebody who's not able to just walk right in there with the presidency if something happens to the president.

CUMMINGS: Well, that certainly has been the mantra since Dan Quayle was selected at vice president. That was seen as a very poor choice by the first President Bush because of Quayle's inexperience. I think you look at the model of Gore/Clinton, Gore delivered Tennessee that signaled a new generation. It emphasized the kind of message Clinton had in his campaign. That was a pretty good pick, too.

ROBERTS: Let's take a look at the short list on both sides here. First, Barack Obama. And there are others on the list but let's just narrow it down here.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Senator Joe Biden and former Senator Sam Nunn.

Give me a line on each one of these as to why they would be a good running mate?

CUMMINGS: Well, Kaine definitely emphasizes new generation. He's a good governor in Virginia. He's popular there. He also can help with the state of Virginia maybe flip it for the Democrats.

Looking at Bayh, Evan Bayh is a great fund raiser. He's got some foreign policy expertise. He's a little bland but with as much charisma as they've got on the top of the ticket, that may not matter.

Then we go to Joe Biden. He's got great foreign policy experience, but the downside to him is he sometimes overtalks, overspeaks. But there's great chemistry between the two of them.

Sam Nunn's maybe a dark horse, but he has terrific foreign policy expertise. He could be the steady hand at the wheel, and he also could put Georgia into play.

ROBERTS: All right. Short list on the McCain side. Mitt Romney, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty. Give me a line on each one of these.

CUMMINGS: Romney would bring in the Bush establishment people who supported him in the primary. He brings economic credentials which McCain may need.

Tim Pawlenty, new generation. He is also a governor, very popular. He could put Minnesota into play.

And then Rob Portman, may be a dark horse but he's from the great state of Ohio. We know how important that is.

ROBERTS: Exactly.

CUMMINGS: And he also brings economic credentials to the ticket.

ROBERTS: Yes. You also want your vice president to take on the role of attack dog during the campaign. And Mitt Romney would be very adept at doing that as well.

You know, Tad Devine, you quote him in your article. Tad Devine worked for the Gore campaign back in 2000 and saying that there are three moments for a vice presidential running mate. There's the announcement, the convention speech, the debate. Any other news that the vice president makes other than that may distract from the overall campaign. And you've got to vet, vet, vet, vet, vet when it comes to picking a running mate.

CUMMINGS: Absolutely. And I think that, you know, we've heard Tom Ridge come up recently in conversations. But the idea that Ridge has not been asked to deliver papers which he says he has not is a real strong indication that he's not on the short list, because vetting is vitally important these days.

There have been too many historic lessons of where that process fell down and a presidential nominee was surprised.

ROBERTS: When do you think we're going to get the nominees?

CUMMINGS: Well, I think that Barack Obama is suggesting that he's going to go ahead and do it in the traditional timeline, a few days before his convention to build momentum. For John McCain, it's a little trickier. There's been talk he wants to do it before the Olympics. If he does it in the traditional way, he'll be announcing his nominee in the middle of the Democratic convention which could really distract from coverage of his nomination.

ROBERTS: Well, this is something that we just love to watch. It's a favorite Washington parlor game. And we'll keep on watching based on a lot of the information that you've got out there today.

Jeanne Cummings from Politico. Great to see you again, my friend.

CUMMINGS: You, too.

CHO: Just about half past the hour. Here are some of the stories we're following for you this morning.

"The New York Times" is reporting that the CIA has confronted senior Pakistani officials with evidence members of the country's spy service have deepened ties with some militant groups responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan. Possibly including the suicide bombing just this month at the Indian embassy in Kabul.

It's the latest and perhaps most blunt warning from U.S. Intelligence officials about links between the powerful spy service and Islamic militants operating in Pakistan's tribal areas.

The United Nation says North Korea is facing its worst food crisis since the late 1990s. Officials say flooding and poor harvests have now put millions at risk of going hungry. Rice, for instance, costs almost three times more than it did a year ago. The U.N.'s World Food Programme says it will begin an international appeal to raise some $20 million for food. Money that's badly needed until the next harvest.

A potential breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. A study finds an experimental drug called Rember actually slows the progression of Alzheimers by breaking up protein tangles that clog the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Rember is still years away from being available. But one expert called the drug's results fantastic.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do I do? What do I do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go and stay in the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn, the ground is moving. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Oh, don't forget to take the drink there. Back now to our top story. Cameras rolling on the set of CBS' hit show "Big Brother" as a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit. About 30 miles east of downtown L.A. And the quake was also felt during a taping of "Judge Judy." Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we got your credit card -- your bank card somehow and you got your P.I.N. number somehow.


CHO: There's something you don't see every day. Rattled nerves there but no injuries reported on the sound stage. Now, the quake was also felt at Disneyland in Anaheim. That's where AMERICAN MORNING's Ed Lavandera was vacationing with his family. And he filed this report for us.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is where I was standing when I felt the ground was starting to move. This is the Astro Orbiter ride. And my little boy was just in line out there and just next to get on. And the ride was just wrapping up. And all of a sudden, I started hearing this kind of like metal clanging back and forth.

And if you look up here, this is the top of the ride. And I actually saw that moving back and forth a little bit. That was the sounds that I was actually hearing. I thought it was actually part of the ride for a moment. As the ride was wrapping down in minute, got the (INAUDIBLE) were coming down to the ground. I thought that was just what kind of happened. Then I realized that the ride wasn't moving anymore and we are the ones kind of swaying back and forth. Kind of like this.

The whole experience couldn't have lasted more than five seconds. It was over very quick. It wasn't until minutes afterward that kind of the anxiety of the moment that we're in kind of settled in. So, then, I kind of started looking around, trying to see what people were doing and everyone was really calm for the most part.

Just a few minutes after that, the lines started emptying out. Park officials were telling people that they needed to check out the rides and the safety of the rides and that everything was going to be shut down temporarily.


CHO: That was AMERICAN MORNING's intrepid reporter Ed Lavandera. By the way, his wife was on camera and tells us it took about two hours for Disneyland officials to inspect the safety of the rides before things got back to normal. John?

ROBERTS: A Fort Bragg soldier accused of killing a pregnant colleague will be in court today in North Carolina. 27-year-old Edgar Patino was arrested at his home and charged with a murder of Army Specialist Megan Touma who is seven months pregnant. Her decomposing body was found in a motel room bathtub last month. It's not known how she died or a possible motive for the killing. Patino and Touma had served together in Germany and then again at Fort Bragg.

Australian investigators say an oxygen cylinder exploded in flight ripping a gaping hole in the fuselage of a Qantas Airline's jumbo jet last week. The Boeing 747 was en route for Melbourne to London when the blast occurred over the South China Sea. The plane landed safely in Manila with 365 people on board.

Iraq has been allowed back in to the Beijing Olympic Games. The ban was lifted after Baghdad agreed that it would not politically influence the election of new members to its National Olympic Committee. A committee that saw some of its members kidnapped.

CNN's Morgan Neill is live in Baghdad. He's got reaction from some of the athletes for us this morning.

And Morgan, we remember the story that you did last week of Dana Hussein, the sprinter, who was in tears after being told that she wasn't going to be able to go to the Olympics. Are there smiles all around today?

MORGAN NEILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, John. I don't know about all around but certainly for Dana Hussein and a fellow track and field athlete, a discus thrower, it means their Olympic dreams are going to come true. But it has to be said for five others that had hoped to go, it means that they won't.

Now, according to the terms of this deal struck between the IOC and the Iraqi government late last night, the Iraqi government has agreed to select a new National Olympic Committee under IOC's supervision. That was the central point of contention.

But, as I say, for five athletes who missed their deadline before these talks took place, they won't be competing at the Olympics. Now, the Iraqi government has called this a great victory for Iraq. But we've talked to two of the athletes who won't be competing at the Olympics. And for them this certainly wasn't a great victory.


UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE (through translator): We asked them not to deprive us of this joy. Our joy is incomplete now with only two athletes participating.

UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE (through translator): A victory is of all Iraqi residents (ph) compete. Only two participating is not a victory.


NEILL: Now, the original ban, this ban against the Iraqi Olympic team came because the IOC said the Iraqi government had politically interfered in what was meant to be an independent National Olympic Committee. Now, the talks, the last-minute talks came just 24 hours before the deadline to allow these two athletes in. But for those athletes that won't be allowed to compete, they have to be left thinking, why couldn't this have been done just a week earlier?


ROBERTS: So, there's absolutely no chance, Morgan, that those other five would be allowed in?

NEILL: Well, we've been surprised. We've been surprised by these latest talks. It looked as if both sides had really heartened position and there wasn't much room for movement there, and yet, they did reach a compromise. But all we have to go on at this point is an IOC statement issued and that statement said it would only be the two athletics or track and field athletes that would be competing in Beijing.

ROBERTS: Certainly, it would be a nice symbol if they were all allowed to go. Morgan Neill for us this morning in Baghdad. Morgan, thanks so much.

CHO: An earthquake and nearly 100 aftershocks rocked Southern California. So, the big question is, are residents out of the woods yet or are more quakes on the horizon? We're going to be talking with a chief scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

ROBERTS: Rising food and gas prices coupled with sinking investments.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at how much we've lost. It's incredible.


ROBERTS: Tough times. Crunching the credit card industry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are having a difficult time paying off their balance.


ROBERTS: The snowball effect linked to America's debt. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHO: That's right. Just as David Bowie says there are changes. Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."

Big changes in the way people use credit cards. With the economy taking a toll on more and more American families, have folks turned on plastic? Allan Chernoff has the story.


CAPPIE PERRAS, CREDIT CARD HOLDER: This is -- that one. Look at how much we've lost. It's incredible.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Cappie and Don Perras saw their investment losses earlier this year, they decided it was time to tighten their belts. Cappie, a schoolteacher, and Don, a college professor, swore to stop using their credit cards unless absolutely necessary. A big change from their old attitude.

C. PERRAS: I felt secure with my credit cards like -- oh, well, I always have my credit cards. Now, I feel like it's almost like there's a big caution sign in front of the credit card. You know, do not use. Only in case of emergency.

CHERNOFF: The only plastic the Perras are using much today is their debit cards.

(on camera): The Perras are economizing. They sold off their gas-guzzling SUV and bought this -- a little gas-miser of a car.

(voice-over): And the couple is trying to attack their credit card debt of $8,000. How badly do you want to pay that off?

DON PERRAS, CREDIT CARD HOLDER: Oh, it would be a top priority. In fact, we have made it such in our family.

CHERNOFF: Even so, the Perras say they're barely making a dent in their credit card debt. Cappie and Don have plenty of company. Americans have built a mountain of credit card debt -- nearly a trillion dollars. And they're having trouble paying it down even as 40 percent of households cut credit card use, largely, middle-income and middle-aged Americans. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, a financial research firm.

JAMES VAN DYKE, JAVELIN STRATEGY AND RESEARCH: Credit card companies are running a bit scared right now and for good reason because people are having a difficult time paying off their balance.

CHERNOFF: In fact, 70 percent of banks say they're cutting back on credit card solicitations. Many are reducing credit lines to existing card holders as well. Even so, banks say, they've got the situation under control.

JAMES CHESSEN, AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION: You know the economy is riskier today than it was a year ago. So you naturally take that into account so you have the capacity to come out of this even stronger than you came into it.


CHERNOFF: But until the economy picks up and inflation calms down, credit card debt is going to remain a huge burden to American households and a threat to bank profits.


CHO: And this is another way people are tightening the belt. An interesting report. Allan Chernoff. Allan, thank you.


ROBERTS: 43 minutes after the hour. Extreme weather as some parts of the country gear up for floods. Another part could see excessive heat. Our Reynolds Wolf is updating the forecast in the Weather Center there in Atlanta as we speak.

Plus, his portrayal of the president has the Internet buzzing. It's the George Bush Oliver Stone wants you to know. We've got an early look at the film "W." coming up. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: A little Bruce Springsteen, The Boss, to kick us off this morning because he's in the New York area. Played a concert at the Giant Stadium Sunday, to which our Kyra Phillips and Susan Lisovicz went.

CHO: Oh, yes? And our producer Ed Cohen (ph) about to go later this week.

ROBERTS: Yes. Tomorrow night. He's giving another show. Always great to see Springsteen in concert. What the stadiums there.

CHO: Well, I'm one of the few who has not seen Springsteen. I know.


CHO: Don't figure.

ROBERTS: We got to get you out more. Ed --

CHO: And get me a ticket.

ROBERTS: Ed, you're taking Alina. All right. Hey, Reynolds Wolf down there in the Weather Center in Atlanta.

We've got a real hodgepodge of weather. Got hot and wet and something in between.


CHO: Reynolds, thank you. The film director who brought us "JFK" and "Nixon" now turns his attention to George W. Bush. It's the presidential walk on the wild side, as we like to say. Hear what people are saying about Oliver Stone's new movie -- "W."

Three, two, one, lift-off. Flying. It's not just for super heroes anymore. Soon, you, too, could own a jet pack for less than some luxury cars. Our own Miles O'Brien straps in and takes off. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Nine minutes now to the top of the hour. The "W." in Oliver Stone's new movie could stand for wild, because there's plenty of drinking, brawling and skirt chasing.

CHO: Hey, did we mention it's supposed to be a biography of President Bush? Well, we're getting our first look now at the film that was actually leaked on the Internet. And our Jeanne Moos got some instant audience reaction.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The reviews are coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'd love it.

MOOS: Not for a movie. Just for the trailer, leaked to the Internet.

SONG PLAYING: What a wonderful world.

MOOS: Maybe not so wonderful for W's image.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't like the sporting of this job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what you want?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working in the investment firm wasn't for you either.

MOOS: It's Oliver Stone's latest film. He's already done JFK and Nixon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry. I'll use the old Nixon charm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who could resist that?

MOOS: But can you resist this? "W." supposedly being lectured by his dad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Partying, chasing tail, driving drunk?

MOOS: Josh Brolin plays W.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy looks like him, too.

MOOS: Does he?


JOSH BROLIN, ACTOR: I'm incredibly excited about it. It's an unbiased biography of Bush.

MOOS: Unbiased, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell is Oliver Stone thinking of George W. Bush (INAUDIBLE). You know it's going to be a (INAUDIBLE).

MOOS: W. and his dad itching for a fight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want an ass whipping?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try it, old man.

MOOS: White House press secretary dissed the film saying Oliver Stone is an accurate historian like Gilligan was an accurate navigator.

We navigated our way with a monitor out on the street to give folks a sneak preview of the sneak preview.

Come on.

And after she viewed the trailer, headphones under the hat --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to look at his face. Yes. I've seen enough of him the past couple of years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's probably approaching it from a cartoon angle. You know, it's an exaggeration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't exactly finish up with flying colors in the international guard.

MOOS: A British actor plays Karl Rove, a British actress plays Condi Rice. Ellen Burstyn plays Barbara Bush. And James Cromwell as W's dad has the best lines in the trailer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you think you are? A Kennedy? You're a Bush. Act like one.

MOOS: During filming Josh Brolin and six others involved in the movie including the guy playing Collin Powell got arrested after a barroom confrontation with police. The film is due out less than three weeks before Election Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's for the Republican haters who don't insist on reality.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: It looks sort of like a comedy. So, I like comedies a lot.

MOOS: Technically it may not be a comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you think you are? A Kennedy?

MOOS: But had folks chuckling like it was one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a bush. Act like one.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHO: Three, two, one, lift off. Flying. It's not just for super heroes anymore. Soon, you, too, could own a jet pack for less than some luxury cars. Our own Miles O'Brien straps in and takes off. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt this shaking. And I felt a little dizzy. And everybody says earthquake, earthquake. So, I kind of panicked and I didn't know where to run to first. So, I ended up -- I was trying to find a door frame to run under.


CHO: Well, anything will work. Well, back to the "Most News in the Morning." That was some of the reaction to the strongest earthquake to hit the Los Angeles area in more than a decade. It was a moderate quake. 5.4 magnitude. No serious injuries reported. The quake was centered near Chino Hills, that's about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, but it was felt throughout Southern California, and as far away as Las Vegas.

Joining me now from Pasadena from the Seismo Lab at Caltech is Dr. Lucy Jones. She's the chief scientist at the multi-hazard initiative with the U.S. Geological Survey and expert in these types of things.

Lucy, thank you for joining us.

What I find most interesting about this is you were actually holding an earthquake emergency preparedness meeting when this happened. Talk about knowing what to do. How did everybody react when the quake hit?

LUCY JONES, CHIEF SCIENTIST, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: Well, I had a room full of emergency managers for Orange County discussing how we were going to encourage the residents of Orange County to participate in our great Southern California Shake Out Earthquake Drill.

The earth started moving. It was a room full of professionals. They were all under their tables and holding in place faster than I think I've ever seen it happen.

CHO: Oh, my goodness. I was reading some of the research this morning. A 5-year-old said he thought it was a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking around. A man described his house as a fun house. Are you surprised there wasn't more damage?

JONES: I'm slightly surprised more damage. But when we look at what happened with the earthquake we see why. It was located in an area that's been almost completely built since about 1995. And we had major changes in the building codes because of what we learned in Northridge.

And the most modern construction is really much, much better to withstand earthquakes than earlier buildings. And there weren't many older buildings nearby.

CHO: Oh, that's really interesting. So, Chino Hills are relatively new development. About 80,000 residents, strong buildings. That is good news. Now, your own group, the USGS released a report back in April saying there's a 99 percent chance that California will experience an earthquake of a magnitude 6.7 or higher within the next 30 years.

So, is this a precursor or does this earthquake gives us any indication of the big one and when that might happen?

JONES: Well, the report of 99 percent probability is really -- it's just a statement that we've never gone 30 years without an earthquake that size in California. So, it's very unlikely that we ever will again. So, we're talking about rates of events rather than one particular earthquake.

And when we go for one particular, we really -- we see a lot more randomness to it. What this is telling us, reminder that this is earthquake country. It is the largest earthquake in 15 years. But it's a very ordinary sized earthquake. We had a half a dozen of these in the period leading up to the Northridge earthquake. So --

CHO: Dr. Lucy Jones --

JONES: I would say that we are --

CHO: Yes, OK.

JONES: We -- I'd say --

CHO: All right. Dr. Lucy Jones, thank you so much of the USGS. I'm sorry. We've got to go. But I appreciate all of your insight into this. We'll get you on soon enough. Thank you so much.

JONES: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Coming up now to the top of the hour. And here are this morning's top stories. Breaking this morning. Europe's most wanted man is now at The Hague. Radovan Karadzic, the so-called Butcher of Bosnia arrived at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands early this morning. The ex-Bosnia Serb leader faces 11 counts including genocide and extermination.

Karadzic is accused by the war crimes tribunal of masterminding the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys during the Bosnian war.