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The Situation Room

Fatah, Hamas Supporters Trade Gunfire in Gaza; Kwan Cleared to Skate in the Olympics

Aired January 27, 2006 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you the day's top stories, including the late breaking decision of the United States Olympic Committee on whether to allow Michelle Kwan to skate in the Olympics, even though she skipped the main competition; we'll have details.
Also happening now: It's 2:00 a.m. in Gaza, angry losers of the Palestinian election take to the streets and trade gunfire with the winners. Will the U.S. show its own concern by pulling the purse strings on a Hamas-led Palestinian government?

It's 4:00 p.m. in California. The conservative prosecutor who pursued Bill Clinton is appealing to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, right now, for clemency in a murder case; has Ken Starr found new controversy?

And at 7:00 p.m. in New York, where Oprah Winfrey talks about books. When she does so, people listen. When she gets angry about fake memoir, the publishing industry listens as well.

I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM

After the voting, calls for vengeance. Thousands of protesters gathered in Gaza to take their anger out on leaders who they say are to blame for the stunning election victory by the radical Islamic group Hamas. Hamas loyalists were in the streets as well, celebrating. And the two sides exchanged gunfire, several people were wounded.

Is that the start of something much more serious? Let's go live to Gaza right now. CNN's Ben Wedeman standing by with the latest -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, Hamas roundly defeated Fatah at the polls here in Gaza, and now Fatah rank and file want to punish their own leaders.


WEDEMAN (voice over): They're angry. They're armed. And these Fatah faithful want answers from their leaders. How did their movement, which led the Palestinians for 40 years, end up in the political wilderness following Hamas's landslide victory? "All the mercenaries should go," shouts this man referring to Fatah's leaders. In Gaza's Nasaidat (ph) refugee camp they're having a hard time coming to terms with the new reality.

(On camera): These are the losers in the Palestinian elections, and it looks like they're not going to take their loss in quite the right spirit.

(Voice over): Outside the home of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, police brace for trouble, headed their way. Another group of disgruntled Fatah followers demanding the resignation of their leader. But the president, who also leads the movement, wasn't home. So they headed to the Palestinian parliament. The prospect of Hamas coming to power, difficult for some to swallow.

"Hamas should not be allowed to control the government" says this Fatah member. "Only we should be in control."

Others put the blame for their loss solely on their own leaders, whom they accuse of corruption and incompetence.

"First of all, Mahmoud Abbas and everyone around him should resign, and then let a new generation take over," says Asharaf (ph), a Fatah member.

Part of the new generation is former Palestinian security chief Mohamed Dahlan, who tried to calm the crowd down.

In the election campaign, Hamas capitalized on Fatah's growing inability to control anarchy. Images such as these may only serve to bolster the wide-spread impression that Fatah's rank and file are out of control.

The night before, Hamas supporters in Gaza City held noisy, but largely peaceful celebrations to mark the group's victory, which is feeding the flames of anger among Fatah's bitter young men.


WEDEMAN: And, Wolf, we're hearing reports of some more fighting in Khan Younes just south of here. I'm told there is fighting between Hamas and Fatah from the rooftops of the town down there, And on Palestinian radio, Fatah leaders are calling on their members to exercise restraint -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll check back with you, Ben Wedeman, for all of the latest information. Looks like it is getting really ugly over there. Ben Wedeman reporting for us in Gaza.

The Achilles' heal of Hamas is the Palestinian's desperate need for international aid. If Hamas does not turn away from terrorism, it may find that the fruits of its election victory are very bitter indeed. The White House today made that abundantly clear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You can't have one foot in politics and one foot in terror. That's a contradiction that needs to be resolved. We do not and will not give money to a terrorist organization.


BLITZER: CNN's Ali Velshi is following the money, he's joining us live from the newsroom -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf, this is a tricky one, because most of the economy in the West Bank is now comprised of aid from other countries in the world. The new election by Hamas is causing some problems.


VELSHI (voice over): At least part of the attraction to Hamas for Palestinian voters has been its historic ability to raise money to build badly need schools and medical clinics, to counter Hamas's influence the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority managed to attract about $1 billion a year in aid from Western nations, like the U.S. But that all changed when Fatah was defeated this week.

Last year the U.S. provided $275 million in financial support, even the EU, which gave $600 million last year, is now talking about choking that aid off, unless Hamas publicly renounces terrorism, and recognizing Israel. Hamas has long been regarded by the U.S. and the EU, as a terrorist organization.

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Let us be very clear. The law in poll policy of the United States is that we do not provide funding, money to terrorist organizations. We will base our actions on our law and our policies.

VELSHI: The Palestinian territories are far from being self- sufficient. By conservative estimates more than a quarter of the population is unemployed. More than half live below the poverty line. The meager trade that it does do is with Jordan, Egypt and Israel, mainly in things like olives, citrus fruits and other foods. So, if the U.S. or European Union cuts off aid, the Hamas-dominated parliament will turn elsewhere for money.

Back in 2000, Saudi Arabia conducted two highly publicized telethons to support a Palestinian intifada. Analysts said we spoke with said the West needs to be careful not to create a vacuum that the Saudis or Iranians might rush in to fill.


VELSHI: That's exactly, Wolf, why you're not seeing hasty developments from the EU and the U.S. They are saying if Hamas does renounce terrorism and recognize Israel, they may be able to continue that aid. They don't want to cut it off just yet, until they find out they aren't able to deal with Hamas. So, maybe there's some hope, Wolf. BLITZER: All right. Ali, thanks very much. Ali Velshi reporting.

We've just gotten word that the former world champion figure skater, Michelle Kwan, has been cleared to skate for the United States team in the upcoming Winter Olympic games, even though she's been out of the main competition so far. She's holding a news conference right now. Let's listen in to what she just said.

MICHELLE KWAN, U.S. FIGURE SKATER: That I've never been in before, and going into the rink, you know, with the media outside I'm like thinking, this is a normal practice, OK. You can do it. I've done the jumps before.

And so when I stepped on the ice, it got warmed up quickly and ran through my programs. And, you know, nothing is ever certain, so when I finish the program, I made a few mistakes. You know, I did triples, I did a triple flip, triple Lutz, but you finish skating and that's all you can do. You wait and see.

BLITZER: Michelle Kwan will now be representing the United States in the Winter Olympics, even though she didn't participate in any of the qualification events. She did participate today in the U.S. Olympic team decided she will represent the United States as part of the Olympic team. We're going to have more on this story coming up later this hour.

Let's check in with CNN's Zain Verjee now at the CNN Center for a closer look at some other headlines making news.


In California a big rig tanker crashes into a house. Officials say the tanker carrying formic acid rolled into a back yard, releasing hazardous fumes and forcing evacuations. Officials say that the tanker's driver was pinned in the cab; he was eventually freed by emergency workers. Reports say the air is the area is hard to breathe.

It's a newly found tunnel used to sneak people and drugs into the U.S., but officials say it may also be a direct route to death. It's the longest and one of the most sophisticated secret tunnels ever found between Mexico and California.

Drug enforcement officials think that a notorious drug cartel is behind it and officials warned that anyone associated with it may be in grave danger. Saying the drug cartel will kill people to protect its interests.

It's a violent video game that allows players to murder, deal drugs, and become involved in prostitution. The City of Los Angeles says it also secretly allows players to engage in explicit sexual acts. The city is suing the makers of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" alleging the game hides pornographic material. One official says game makers have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products. Doctors say the sole survivor in the accident of West Virginia's Sago mine is making significant progress. Randy McCloy is now said to be awake and able to eat food. Yesterday he was able to stand for the first time. Doctors say McCloy is emotionally responding to his wife and at times appears to be smiling or even a little bit sad.

McCloy survived 41 hours exposed to deadly carbon monoxide; 12 of his co-workers died.

Let's go back to Wolf and Jack in THE SITUATION ROOM. Are you guys looking forward to the weekend?

BLITZER: Certainly are. I know, Jack is as well.


VERJEE: Any exciting plans, Jack?

CAFFERTY: Excuse me?

VERJEE: Exciting plans for the weekend, Jack?

CAFFERTY: No, ma'am. I have not plans for the weekend.

VERJEE: Walk the dog?

CAFFERTY: Yes, I will walk my dog.

VERJEE: Very glamorous.

CAFFERTY: People don't really care about those things. They don't think about this.

VERJEE: They do. I care, Jack.

CAFFERTY: We can't talk anymore. Wolf's going to get mad.


VERJEE: Do you watch "Desperate Housewives"?

BLITZER: Time enough, go ahead.

CAFFERTY: No, I don't watch "Desperate Housewives'" and you knew the answer to that before you asked.


California is the first state to call secondhand smoke a toxic air pollutant putting it in the same category as diesel exhaust and arsenic. Researchers found tobacco fumes can drastically increase the risk of breast cancer in young women, raising it by as much as 120 percent. They also linked it to premature births, asthma, and heart disease among other cancers and health problems in children.

However, the tobacco company R. J. Reynolds says there's no research to support calling secondhand smoke an air pollutant. Right.

All of this could lead advocates in California to push for even tougher anti-smoking laws like banning smoking in a car with kids, or pushing nonsmoking floors or wings in apartment buildings. Here is the question. Are the current anti-smoking laws tough enough? E-mail us your thoughts, or


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jack. Appreciate it.

Coming up, hurricane criminals busted for bribery. Find out who is being accused to trying to make money off the disaster.

Also, the Oprah Winfrey effect. Find out what impact she's having right now in the publishing world. Will the scandal over a lying author change the books you read?

Michelle Kwan, as we just showed you, now allowed on the U.S. Olympic team even though she missed all the qualifying competition. It's a huge controversy in the skating world. We're following this developing story. We'll have new details, all of that coming up. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A bird flu vaccine that may be 100 percent effective. Find out if it really works. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: New allegations tonight of workers taking advantage of the Katrina disaster for their own gain. Two FEMA officials are now under arrest, charged with bribery. CNN's Gulf Coast Correspondent Susan Roesgen is standing by in New Orleans; she has the details.

Tell us what happened, Susan.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the U.S. attorney's office says two FEMA officials who managed up a camp for FEMA workers, came up with an idea to make some money. According to the U.S. attorney's office, these two FEMA officials approached the local food service provider, the local contractor, and told him to inflate the number of meals he served at the camp in order to get a greater reimbursement from FEMA.

In return, these two FEMA officials allegedly demanded a $20,000 kickback. The U.S. attorney's office says that the local food service provider went to the police, and today, when he allegedly gave two envelopes filled with $20,000 to the two FEMA officials the FBI was there to swoop in.

Tonight the two FEMA officials identified as Andrew Rose and Lloyd Hallman, both from Colorado, are in jail. And, Wolf, the U.S. Attorney's office wants them held without bail as a flight risk. I also have a response from FEMA, today, I'll read it to you. The response says in part, "We have no tolerance for fraud. The Department of Justice's Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force has our full support. We want to see anyone guilty of fraud prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

BLITZER: These things happen, Susan, when billions and billions of dollars are going through people's hands. Is there a suspicion this is just the beginning of a lot more of this?

ROESGEN: You know, I didn't get that from the officials I spoke to today, with at the FBI and with the U.S. attorney's office. But I can tell you, Wolf, here from the general public's reaction there's sort of an, "Oh, brother, here we go again."

That food service provider's contract with FEMA was for $1 million. So, you're absolutely right, a lot of big money involved, and nobody wants to see any kind of fraud involved when we're trying to get through this hurricane recovery.

BLITZER: Susan Roesgen on the scene for us in New Orleans. Susan, thank you very much.

A nation at war, a domestic threat, searches and surveillance without warrants, eerie echoes of a decades past for the former leader of a radical American underground group and his former FBI pursuer. Let's go live to our Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena. She has an amazing story for us -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're going to take you back on a trip to the '60s tonight. The group was the Weather Underground, and one of it's leaders, Bill Ayers, got to relive a part of his past last night.

He met, for the very first time, the FBI agent who had had hunted him down for years, at a very appropriate venue, the Spy Museum, here in Washington.


ARENA (voice over): It was a time of rebellion over the Vietnam war, social reform and civil rights. Bill Ayers was part of that rebellion, a leader of the group called the Weather Underground, responsible for about 40 bombings, including the 1971 explosion one at the Nation's Capitol.

BILL AYERS, FMR. LEADER, WEATHER UNDERGROUND: The point was to draw screaming attention to the fact that our government was murdering 2,000 people a day.

ARENA: Ayers went underground, a fugitive for about a decade, wanted by the FBI. Don Strickland, an FBI special agent at the time, was part of the squad hunting for him.

DON STRICKLAND, FMR. FBI AGENT: He always managed to keep a step or two ahead of me. ARENA: Ayers and another leader Bernadine Dohrn surfaced in 1980. By then, federal charges against them had been dropped due to questionable law enforcement tactics.

BERNADINE DOHRN, FMR. LEADER, WEATHER UNDERGROUND: The nature of the system has not changed.

ARENA: Ayers, who married Dohrn, is now a college professor. He sees a lot of similarities between then and now.

AYERS: Like the illegal wiretapping, like the imperial presidency, these are things we've been through more than once in our history. And they are things that are upsetting and must be changed.

ARENA: And so it seems fitting that just this week he came face- to-face, for the first time, with the man he alluded for years. Age has not brought them ideologically closer.

AYERS: If today you're organizing a nonviolent, direct action warrior movement against the war in Iraq, I'll join you.

STRICKLAND: A bomb planted in a public place is a message of hate, addressed to whom it may concern. I felt that way in the '60s. I feel that way today.


ARENA: The two men offer a very different take on history, but they agree on one point, Wolf. The nation is as sharply divide now as it was then.

BLITZER: Some of us remember those days quite well. Thank you very much, Kelli, for that. Kelli Arena reporting.

Still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, first Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, now Ken Starr is taking on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Find out why the former prosecutor is teaming up with the ACLU against the governor.

Plus the Oprah Winfrey effect. High-powered book publishers taken to task. Find out how this may change what all of us read. Stay with us.


BROWN: Now to the Samuel Alito confirmation fight. A lot of people are scratching their heads tonight over last-minute political maneuvering by some top Democrats. Tom Foreman has been trying to make some sense of it all -- Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, some of the more perplexing moves in the Alito fight are being made by two of the biggest names in the Democratic party: John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. She is joining him today in trying to block Alito's confirmation.


SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I know this is flying against some of the sort of political punditry of Washington. I understand that. But this is a fight worth making.

FOREMAN (voice over): Senator John Kerry knows he's tilting at windmills but he insists a Democratic filibuster of the Alito nomination is the right thing to do, even though Senate Democratic leaders say this.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D-NV) MINORITY LEADER: Everyone knows there's not enough votes to support a filibuster here.

FOREMAN: The Bush White House is openly mocking Kerry's threat to block a vote on Alito and the fact that he first made it in Switzerland.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think even for a senator it takes some pretty serious yodeling to call for a filibuster from a five-star ski resort in the Swiss Alps.

FOREMAN: Some Democrats fear Kerry's uphill battle to block a vote on Alito will turn off all but the most liberal voters.

But as most political analysts see it, Kerry is trying to impress the most die-hard Democrats as he weighs another race for the White House in 2008. Ditto for Senator Hillary Clinton. Her office says she'll also support a filibuster of Alito. Clinton and other top Democrats seem to be trying to one-up one another lately, in giving red meat to Democratic activists.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country.

AL GORE, FMR. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently.


FOREMAN: All of this may matter in 2008, but it probably won't matter much when it comes time to vote on Alito. The full Senate still seems solidly on track to approve his nomination on Tuesday, just hours before the president's State of the Union Address -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Tom. Tom Foreman reporting for us.

Here's one more example of some of the strange politics in this Alito fight. The anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan threatened to run against Senator Dianne Feinstein if -- if the California Democrat doesn't support a filibuster.

Feinstein's office says the senator already has pledged to join in the filibuster and her spokesman adds that Feinstein took that stand before Sheehan issued her threat. We'll have much more on the Alito fight with our Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield, in just a moment.

Meanwhile, there's some nervous soul-searching going on in the publishing industry here in the United States. It's fallout from the author, James Frey's confession that parts of his best selling memoir "A Million Little Pieces" are made up. CNN's Mary Snow is joining us from New York, now, she has more -- Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's no doubt that Oprah Winfrey can have a big impact on sales when she recommends a book. When she's critical of one you can bet publishers take notice.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I really feel duped.

SNOW: One day, after Oprah Winfrey confronted author James Frey and he admitted he lied in his memoir "A Million Little Pieces", industry watchers say the fallout has sent a shudder through the spine of the publishing industry.

PETER OSNOS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS PUBLISHING: I think, yes. There's definitely a shudder, but it is also a shudder in a sense of OK, now, the number's been called now, and let's see what we can do to make it better.

SNOW: While Frey admitted he fabricated parts of his memoir about a struggle with addiction, the publisher of the book admitted no one checked the facts. Publisher Nan Talese said editors relied on Frey's account.

NAN TALESE, PUBLISHER: As an editor do you ask someone, "Are you really as bad as you are?"

WINFREY: Yes, yes.


Yes, yes, yes, you do.

TALESE: Yes, you do.

SNOW: Industry watchers say it's not likely that publishers will hire fact-checkers, but they will make changes.

SARA NELSON, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: I think that publishers are going to be reevaluating what they're doing. They'll change the way -- whether or not they put disclaimers on books and that kind of thing.

SNOW: And repercussions already are being felt. Frey's current publisher, Riverhead Books, which published "My Friend Leonard" the sequel to "A Million Little Pieces" plans to reevaluate his future contracts, saying, quote, "The ground has shifted. It's under discussion." And Doubleday and Anchor Books, publishers of "A Million Little Pieces" plans to add a note from the author and publisher in future printings of that book. In the future, observers say, publishers will need to label books for what they are, recollection, or reality and they say Oprah Winfrey has a big impact.

NELSON: She is the holy grail of publishing. Every publisher wants Oprah to pick their books, and put them on the air, and make them bestsellers.


SNOW: In the meantime, the question is, will "A Million Little Pieces", which currently tops the nonfiction paperback bestseller's list be classified differently? We placed calls to "The New York Times" and to the book's publisher. We don't know yet whether it will be moved over to the fiction category -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Mary. Thanks very much. Mary Snow reporting for us.

Let's get some more on this and other news we're following. We're joined by our CNN Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield.

Jeff, you've written fiction, you've written nonfiction. I'm curious, what are your thoughts about this uproar over Oprah and James Frey?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's certainly going to affect my memoir of my life as America's first black, gay astronaut.

But you know, I really have an old-fashioned simplistic view about this. If you tell people I'm writing a memoir about what happened, then it ought to have happened, and this relativistic therapeutic notion, of well if it makes people feel better, what's the difference?

I really -- I take my hat off to Oprah Winfrey. She made what I thought was a mistake when she called into Larry King and said it didn't matter. She got called on it and copped to it; owned up to the fact that she had made a mistake.

And said, look, the point about this is when you create a bond with a reader, based on your experiences, it has to have happened. If you want to move people with fiction, there are plenty of examples, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", change the food and drug laws. All kinds of books, fiction books, novels, about personal loss and betrayal. But when you tell people, this is what happened -- call me mad-cap, Wolf, it has to be what happened.

BLITZER: When he first circulated this proposal, I take it he did circulate it as fiction, and nobody was interested. Then he circulated it as a nonfiction like it was true and then of course he got a publisher.

GREENFIELD: You see, part of what's at stake here -- I think the publishing business has to change. I mean, I just think of the number of books that reputable publishing houses publish say, about the assassination of John Kennedy.

Some of the stuff was just obvious garbage, the most ridiculous kinds of conspiracy theories. And their claim was well, you know, we don't check the facts. We rely on the author. I just don't think it can work that way. And, you know, it is a fundamental betrayal.

You can make mistakes because we're all human beings. I'm sure I have. In the books I've written, there were factual errors. But the idea of deliberately concocting a story and then telling people you're going to be emotionally moved by this because it happened, it's just to me -- there's no complicated ethical issue at all here. It just ought not to be done.

BLITZER: I want to move on to some politics, but let's not forget, he's made many millions of dollars for this book. The publisher's made many millions of dollars as well.

Let's talk about John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, these Democrats now supporting a filibuster even though the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, says they don't have the votes to go forward. What's going on really here?

GREENFIELD: You know, to me it's a metaphor for one of the stranger political climates I can remember as we go into the State of the Union and a midterm election. I mean, conventionally, the Republicans should be in great trouble trying to hold the Congress.

The president's approval ratings are low. The country is incredibly pessimistic. The great majority of Americans think we're off on the wrong track. You've got a burgeoning scandal involving one of the most significant Republican lobbyists.

And yet, because -- if you look at the Senate and the prospects for a Democratic takeover it doesn't look good, because whatever the national numbers are there are a lot of incumbent Democrats that are up in red states, states that Bush carried handily.

Democrats are up in Nebraska, they're up in North Dakota, they're up in South Dakota. So part of what's happening is, the Democratic presidential wannabes -- John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, to take examples -- they have to appeal to the core of the party.

The Democrats that are up for re-election in those red states -- Tim Johnson, for instance, Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- they both said they're going to vote. Not only are they not going to filibuster they're going to vote for Alito, as is Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, another state that's moved increasingly into the Republican column.

So the fact that you have got this bifurcated conversation going on in the Democratic Party between the national Democrats and the core liberals, and the Democratic senators that are trying to survive in states that are relatively friendly to Bush is, I think, helping to create this bizarre -- I don't know what you want to call it -- discordance, where John Kerry and Hillary Clinton are saying we're going to filibuster and three Democrats at least are saying no, we're going to vote for the guy.

BLITZER: We'll be watching it very closely. Jeff will be with us here THE SITUATION ROOM Tuesday night for our special coverage of the president's State of the Union Address.

Let's check in with CNN's Anderson Cooper for a preview of what's coming up on his program later tonight -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Wolf. Yes, at 10:00 Eastern time tonight, new developments in a Massachusetts murder mystery. A man whose wife and daughter were found dead is now under questioning in London. He went there around the same time that police here say the murders of the family took place.

Now, prosecutors in the U.S. are only calling him a person of interest. Scotland Yard is actually only calling him a potential witness. There are a lot of questions about where he was exactly during the time of the murders and if he's the only person of interest. Do the cops have someone else in their sights? We'll bring you up-to-date.

Also, the continued recovery of Sago Mine survivor Randy McCloy Jr. He's now been moved out of the hospital and into a rehab center. We were able to get inside the center to see how he's going to live his life and talk to the doctors about how they're hoping for his full recovery. That is just amazing. All that and more at the top of the hour at 10:00, Wolf.

BLITZER: Sounds like an excellent show as usual, Anderson. Thanks very much. Anderson Cooper, airs 10:00 p.m., 10:0 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

He became a household name as the conservative special prosecutor who pursued the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Now, Ken Starr is now taking on another controversial case. Let's go back to Zain at the CNN Center. She's following this story -- Zain.

VERJEE: Wolf, Ken Starr is asking California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare the life of a convicted killer whose execution date is rapid approaching.


VERJEE (voice-over): We haven't heard much from Ken Starr since the White House intern scandal that led to the impeachment of President Clinton. These days Starr is the dean of Pepperdine Law School in Southern California, but he's plunging back into the spotlight on behalf of this man, Michael Morales.

He's scheduled to be executed next month for the 1981 rape and murder of 17-year-old Terri Winchell. Starr is asking California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant Morales clemency and commute his sentence to life in prison.

The appeal is part of an unlikely partnership between the conservative Starr and the ACLU, which says Starr is taking on the case because Morales has taken responsibility for his crime, tried to atone for it, and expressed remorse. Terry Winchell's mother doesn't buy it.

BARBARA CHRISTIAN, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I don't believe he has the right to eat and even breathe after doing something like this. None of these guys do.

VERJEE: Morales is also arguing California's lethal injection method of execution is cruel and unusual, and can result in a slow and painful death.

BEN WESTON, MORALES ATTORNEY: Terry Allen (ph) didn't die for 18 minutes after they administered the drugs.

VERJEE: A federal judge has agreed to hear the Morales case and the Supreme Court has said it will take up the same issue that's driving the case of Clarence Hill.

He was already strapped down in Florida's death chamber with I.V. lines inserted when the high court stayed his execution. But California prosecutors argue that any discomfort Morales may feel pales in comparison to what he put his victim through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He beat her, he stabbed her, he choked her, he sexually assaulted her. The kind of pain and suffering she went through is nothing like what would happen to Mr. Morales.


VERJEE: The California hearing on lethal injections is scheduled on the 9th of February. Morales is currently scheduled to die on February the 21st. Governor Schwarzenegger could commute his sentence at any time but he's never granted clemency to a death row inmate before -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Zain. Thanks very much. Very interesting.

Just ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie are flocking to Switzerland right now. What's the big draw? We'll hear from Angelina Jolie in her own words. That's coming up.

And in the middle of a massive downsizing, Ford takes an unusual step to encourage loyalty from its employees. Some would call it outrageous. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Let's go back to Zain for a closer look at other news making headlines around the world -- Zain.

VERJEE: Wolf, it's a controversial question at the heart of a sensational case in Italy. Did Jesus exist? Today, an Italian judge heard arguments over whether a priest should stand trial for answering yes to that question. An atheist, named Luigi Cascioli, is seen here in this picture. He is accusing the Roman Catholic Church of deceiving believers for 2,000 years, by saying that Jesus existed. The atheist says that that violates two longstanding Italian laws. The judge is expected to announce its decision on Monday.

In Mexico, police believe she is a female ex-wrestler who also killed women with her bare hands. Juana Barraza is now in police custody. Police allege that she's a serial killer, who terrorized Mexico City for two years. Police say in a videotaped confession, Barraza admitted killing women because she was angry that her mother gave her away to a man who sexually abused her.

Researchers in Pittsburgh are announcing what could be the first effective weapon against a global bird flu pandemic. They say the vaccine they developed in just over a month is 100 percent effective in stopping the H5N1 strain from infecting mice and chickens, but there are other scientists that caution that that won't necessarily translate to humans, and they say that the virus will likely mutate anyway should it become easily transmitted from person to person.

And celebrities are making a big showing at the World Economic forum in Davos, Switzerland. Among them, Irish rock star Bono, and also attending, actress and human rights activist Angelina Jolie. She talked about her experience at the forum.


ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS/GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: I was thrilled with all the different agendas going on at Davos, it was -- I was so, so thrilled to see that human rights was on the agenda. It is, if I could say, I think it's the most important, it's the root of everything.

About five years ago, I started traveling with UNHCR, the U.N. refugee organization, to camps, and visiting with families. And in the years that followed, I saw so many people fighting. We all hear about charities fighting to clean water, for education, for some kind of shelter. UNHCR fights for people to have the right to seek asylum. And we all do look at this as -- which is I think the message of this panel -- whether it's charity or is it our right? And the reality is the Declaration of Human Rights, and what it says is that these are not things that nice charities do for poor people, but that these are the law. It's the law. Children should have an education. People should have the right to seek asylum if they are in danger. They should have a right to protect their families. This is the law of the land, and it's what we should all follow.


VERJEE: And that's a look around the world -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain, thank you very much. Zain Verjee reporting for us.

Up next, parking privileges for some Ford employees, but not for others. We're going to show you why the troubled company is playing favorites with some of its workers. And Michelle Kwan's quest for an elusive Olympic gold medal. Word just in on whether the former world champ gets to skate in the upcoming Olympics. We'll update you on the story.


BLITZER: As if it weren't bad enough, life is about to get just a little more difficult for employees at one Ford plant who don't drive Ford vehicles. Ali Velshi is here with "The Bottom Line" -- Ali.

VELSHI: The plot on this one thickens. You'll recall earlier in the week we were covering live from Detroit the Ford job cuts. They were announced on Monday; 30,000 jobs being cut, 14 plants being closed. One of the plants that's not being closed is the Dearborn truck factory, where they make the F-150, the big truck that has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for more than a quarter century.

Now, on Monday, the plant manager at the Dearborn factory made an announcement that of the 2,600 employees there, the 15 percent of them who qualify for -- they have parking permits on site, of those people they had to drive Ford vehicles. Otherwise, they can't park in a parking lot that they use. They have to park in a lot across the street.

Now, this has been -- this was something that the United Auto Workers wanted. It was part of the whole, we've got to fight back and cause people to buy our cars. So it was actually endorsed by the workers. It's the first time that a car company has actually endorsed one of these moves by the union, although we have heard from some union members who say, I don't really want the company telling me what to do, and in particular in this week, when so many have lost their jobs and all of the job cuts weren't announced just yet, so others may lose their jobs. The idea that Ford is telling them what kind of car they can drive to work is a bit problematic to some people, Wolf.

BLITZER: Ali Velshi, thank you very much. CNN "ON THE STORY" Saturday night, 7:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Now, an update on a story we've been following earlier this month. A CNN investigation revealed exactly how easy it is for someone to get a list of every phone call you've made on your cell phone. Tonight, consumers are getting some welcome relief. Our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner, has been all over this story. She's joining us now to explain -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: This is so important, Wolf, we really like to get you posted when we get more information.

When we did our investigation, we plugged our producer's phone number into this Web site. We paid $110, and within eight hours, we got the last 100 phone calls made from that cell phone.

Well, if you go back to that Web site, tonight, this is what you are going to see instead. Now, we went to the company that hosts, and they told us they did, in fact, take the site down. They said they got enough complaints from consumer and from law enforcement officials, they didn't want to be affiliated with that content anymore.

And another development this week, and one to let you know about, Sprint Nextel, the latest cell phone company to file a lawsuit against the company that owns these Web sites, Wolf, and now all four major carriers have filed suit and taken action.

BLITZER: All right. Keep us updated. Jacki, thank you very much.

Up next, going for the gold. A committee has made a decision that affects ice skater Michelle Kwan's Olympic hopes. We'll tell you what is going on.

And when it comes to air pollution, is secondhand smoke as bad as diesel fuel? Jack Cafferty is going through your e-mail.


BLITZER: We're following a developing story involving figure skating star Michelle Kwan. As we told you earlier this hour, she learned that she's been cleared now to make another attempt for an Olympic gold medal even though an injury kept her out of the recent National Championships. The decision was made after a private tryout before a panel of judges.


KWAN: You know, today was just like a little test for me. And, you know, I'm very, very lucky that I'm named to the team, and I feel that I have a lot to work on and I'm going to try my very best to skate from the heart.


BLITZER: CNN's Chris Lawrence is live now in Los Angeles. He's got more on this developing story -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, normally the three spots in the Olympic team go to the top three finishers at Nationals. This time Michelle Kwan is going to Italy but not without a little controversy.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): She's the golden girl who's never won Olympic gold. A five-time world champion, the most decorated American figure skater in the sport's history. Kwan was the favorite going into the last two Olympics, and was beaten by an American teenager both times, Tara Lipinsky, then Sarah Hughes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you feeling? KWAN: Pretty good. Thanks.

LAWRENCE: This time, Kwan had to prove herself by skating privately before judges. She withdrew from the National Championships with a groin injury, but asked for a medical buy onto the Olympic team.

DARYL SEIBEL, FIGURE SKATING OFFICIAL: I think top line they're looking for her overall level for fitness and readiness to compete at the Olympics.

LAWRENCE: Critics say she was trying to take a spot Emily Hughes rightfully earned. Sarah's younger sister finished third at Nationals. Kwan missed almost the entire season and didn't complete a single triple jump in her only competition.

But Kwan's supporters say she's done more for figure skating than any American woman.


LAWRENCE: Yes, the judges felt that Michelle Kwan has a chance at gold and at 25 years old, it's probably her last one. Old at 25, what does that make us, Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, I guess everything is relative, Chris. Thanks very much. Chris Lawrence reporting for us.

Let's go to Paula now to find out what's coming up right at the top of the hour -- Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. You've touched on this tonight, and we're going to have the very latest information for all of you out there on that baffling murder case. It ended up being the murder of a mother and daughter in a quiet New England town. That investigation has now fanned out to England, where Scotland Yard is involved in the questioning of the husband of the slain mother and child being called a person of interest tonight.

Also, eye-opening surveillance video. Gangs -- check this out. Shoplifters at work, gangs that cost shops billions of dollars a year. They make it look far too easy.

And how's the world first face transplant recipient doing? Two months after surgery well, she's given her first interview and we're going to hear what she has to say. It seems, Wolf, that she's doing much better on a physical level than she is on an emotional level. She has a long road ahead.

BLITZER: Paula, we'll be watching. Thanks very much, "PAULA ZAHN NOW." That comes up in a few minutes.

Still ahead, are anti-smoking laws tough enough? Jack Cafferty going through your e-mail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Let's go right to Jack in New York with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Wolf, California, the first state to call secondhand cigarette smoke a toxic air pollutant. Researchers have found, among other things, that tobacco smoke can drastically increases the risk of breast cancer in young women -- secondhand tobacco smoke. The question then is this. Are anti-smoking laws tough enough?

Jerry in Phoenix writes, "nearly every medical professional in the world agrees that even one cigarette is harmful to one's health. There is not one rational reason to smoke. Do any other products get this level of disapproval? Why do we continue to vilify the tobacco companies, and yet allow them to continue to sell their product. It's insane."

Lonnie in Baltimore writes, "I think smokers should stand trial for assault if they do it anywhere but in their own homes. After all, is it legal for me to walk up to someone and pour a chemical down their throat? I don't see the difference."

Leslee is St. Louis: "I'm already regulated enough when I want to smoke. I don't pollute anyone else's air. I smoke alone, so how is it that I'm killing anyone with second smoke? I'm sick of being told I can't smoke. It's my choice. The only person I am hurting is myself. Smoking Nazis, lay off of me."

Tom writes, "location restrictions can only go so far. A smoker is going to find a place to smoke no matter what. They're going to buy a pack no matter how much tax is piled on it . We need to focus more on prevention and education rather than just passing legislation."

Mary in Yuma writes, "don't you think we have enough laws to supposedly protect us? The next thing we know, they'll make a law that we can't watch CNN or Jack Cafferty anymore because it causes high blood pressure."

Jim in Mocksville, North Carolina: "Can we stop talking about cigarettes, please? I just gave up smoking last Friday. Right now every cigarette looks like it was made by God, rolled by Jesus, and moistened shut with Angelina Jolie's pouting lips. You're question ain't helping, Jack."

I smoked three packs a day for the better part of 20 years. It is so addictive and so difficult to quit. I never would have stopped. I would up -- I had a collapsed lung is the only reason I was able to get off cigarettes. Never tough habit to break.

BLITZER: It's very tough but very important. I recommend that everybody break it.

Jack, have a great weekend. Thanks very much.

CAFFERTY: You too.

BLITZER: We'll see you on your program tomorrow, CNN, "IN THE MONEY," Jack Cafferty and others, 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Don't forget, we're here weekdays at this time, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern. I'll be back Sunday morning on "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk. Among my special guests, the former president, Jimmy Carter -- 11:00 a.m. Sunday.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. Let's go to Paula Zahn in New York -- Paula.