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Your World Today

Iranian Ships Scouting Waters off Iraq; U.S. Citizens Reported Abducted in Nablus; London Terror Trial

Aired February 20, 2007 - 12:00   ET


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Iran showing off its military might as concerns grow over its nuclear program and its alleged involvement with Shia insurgents in Iraq
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Prosecutors in the London terror trial say this video shows one of the suspects disguised as a woman wearing a burka.

CLANCY: Stranded inside an airline. JetBlue rolling out a customer bill of rights a week after an ice storm forces an operational meltdown.

GORANI: And a miracle named Amillia. The story of a tiny baby girl who beat the odds.

It is 8:30 p.m. in Tehran, Iran, 5:00 p.m. in London.

Hello and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.

I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy.

From the U.K., to the U.S., wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

We'll have more on those stories in just a moment. But first we want to update you on a story that's just coming in to CNN.

Palestinian security officials telling CNN three American women have been abducted on the West Bank. Thus far, there is very little information to go on. And there has been no claim of responsibility.

Eighteen foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the Palestinian territories in the past year. Most of them, though, in Gaza. All of them have been released within hours or sometimes days.

As we get more information, we're going to bring it to you immediately

GORANI: All right. But now we turn our focus to Iran, whose president is telling the world what it would take to for his country to free sensitive nuclear work on the eve of a new United Nations deadline.

CLANCY: And while the international attention all focused on a nuclear dispute, Iran's naval exercises near crucial oil shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf also raising concerns.

Here's a brief look at what's happening right now.

GORANI: Now, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says Iran could begin enriching uranium on an industrial scale in six to eight months. Mohamed ElBaradei is making a last-minute appeal for Tehran to abandon this work in talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator.

CLANCY: Now, ElBaradei's report to the United Nations this week on Iran's nuclear program could trigger additional sanctions. Negotiator Ali Larijani says his country is looking for ways to start a constructive dialogue.

GORANI: Now the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says Iran will not stop enriching uranium unless western nations do the same. He says fairness requires such a step before any negotiations can begin.

CLANCY: Iran once again flexing its military muscle with war games in the Gulf. Revolutionary Guards are conducting three days of exercises across the country, including a test-firing of a range of different new missiles that it has. Many of them acquired from Russia.

The top U.S. Navy commander in the region says Iran's war games over the past year amount to what he termed provocation because they come right around the juggler of crucial oil shipping lanes. Two- fifths on of the world's oil supplies pass through the Straits of Hormuz, including tankers from Iraq.

In another troubling development for the U.S., Iranian ships have recently been scouting waters near Iraq's offshore oil terminals.

Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr joins us with that part of the story.

What's the military saying about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Jim, but for the U.S. Navy there are growing concerns about what Iran may be up to.


STARR (voice over): CNN has learned that in the past 10 days, Iranian boats have crossed into Iraqi waters at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, sailing near Iraq's offshore oil terminals, perhaps trying to gauge the military response.

The offshore complex is Iraq's economic lifeline. Every second, $18,000 worth of crude oil is pumped into waiting tankers. And that makes this a potential target, which is why the U.S. military is trying to figure out what Iran may be up to.

Officials say the Iranians are not being aggressive. After staying inside Iraqi waters for about 10 minutes, they turned back after being told to leave by Iraqi security forces.

Probes by Iran have occurred in the past, but one official says the encounters increased after the U.S. military accused Iran of shipping advanced weapons into Iraq. The U.S. military strategy? To ratchet down tensions.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran, we are not planning a war with Iran.

STARR: But there are worries. U.S. officials say Iran's navy has expanded its operating areas in the Gulf, raising questions. Is Iran's real intention to demonstrate it has the ability to shut off the flow of oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz?


STARR: And Jim, U.S. officials say shutting off the strait would not be a one-sided situation. Iran needs that waterway open as well. And that is one major reason that the U.S. strategy now is to try and keep things calm -- Jim.

CLANCY: How about the deployment of ships there in the Gulf? We have one of the commanders there today, Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, saying that this is a really amounting to provocation by Iran, the way that it's carrying out some of these war games, the way that its vessels are moving around the Strait of Hormuz.

STARR: You know, what the U.S. Navy says their fundamental concern is right now is the extent to which the Iranian navy simply is in fact doing that just, moving around water space in the Persian Gulf, up and down the coastline, up and down the Gulf, that they previously had not operated in. All indications are, the Navy says, is that the Iranian are simply expanding their areas of operations. Not necessarily being aggressive, not looking like they're going to attack, but making sure that they're out there, that they're being seen, and that they are now a factor, their naval power is a factor to deal with in the Persian Gulf.

That's something the U.S. Navy indeed is watching very carefully -- Jim.

CLANCY: Barbara Star reporting live from the Pentagon.

Thanks, Barbara -- Hala.

GORANI: Well, one thing that could curtail Iran's nuclear program has nothing to do with diplomacy. It's a past due bill. Russia's nuclear agency warned Tehran on Tuesday that late payments for a Russian-built nuclear plant will delay both its launch date and uranium fuel deliveries. The top Iranian nuclear official disputes the late payment claim and says Moscow is buckling under international pressure.

All right. Let's get more there on our breaking news story this hour. Three American women have apparently been kidnapped in the West Bank.

Correspondent Ben Wedeman joins us on the phone from Jerusalem with more -- actually, he is live.

Hi, Ben. Thanks for bringing us up to date on this breaking news story so quickly.

What do we know about these women, anything at this point?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know, Hala, is about an hour ago, just south of Nablus, at the Hawada (ph) checkpoint, which is the main checkpoint to the south of the city, these three women were abducted. It's not clear by whom, and various factions have denied that they had anything to do with this incident.

Now, the U.S. consulate here in Jerusalem says they have no information regarding the identity of the women. Now, we did speak to a Palestinian security source who did indicate that they may be in fact released shortly. This, after a inter-session by some of those security forces in Nablus.

Now, Nablus itself has been a somewhat troublesome place in the past. There have been kidnappings and assassinations actually of various members of the factions that are involved in the current spat between the Palestinians, Hamas and Fatah. And, of course, kidnappings are not unusual in the West Bank and Gaza. There have been almost 20 in the last year.

Normally, the people who are kidnapped are released hours or days afterwards. Usually unharmed.

But at this point, it's only one hour into this kidnapping. We don't have a lot of information beyond that -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much.

Ben Wedeman reporting there from Jerusalem on those three American women, presumably kidnapped in the West Bank -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right. We'll continue to watch that.

Meantime, let's take a look at what's going on in Iraq. Six people killed, more than 100 wounded. That, after a tanker truck that was carrying chlorine gas for water purification exploded north of Baghdad.

The blast sending scores of people to the hospital after inhaling the toxic fumes. Iraqi officials say it was an apparent attempt by the insurgents to stage a sort of a dirty bomb attack

GORANI: To Britain now, where jurors have seen what some are calling shocking video footage of a man wearing a burka. This man is one of six suspects accused of plotting suicide bombings in London back in July 2005.

Damon Greene is outside the courthouse.


DAMON GREEN, REPORTER: The pictures that the jury saw here at Wiltshire (ph) this morning were astonishing. They show Yassin Omar (ph), and his defense don't deny that it is him, dressed as a woman leaving London just hours after those attempted alleged bombings.

It is -- the first pictures show him catching a coach gold is (ph) green, wearing a burka and carrying a women's handbag, and then bus and arriving at Digberth (ph) coach station at 9:15 in the evening, the day after those alleged attacks, where he gets out.

He's wearing a burka, a garment worn by some traditional Muslim women designed to cover the face. It covers his head, his face, and his entire body. It is a long black garment.

Now, the footage, the CCTV which the jury has seen, has rings and arrows on it to show what they're supposed to be looking at, but actually they're not really necessary. Yassin Omar (ph) is a very big man, he's 6'2" tall. He's very heavily built, and dressed in that garment he's very, very conspicuous, indeed.

He sent about 45 minutes in the bus station before a car arrived to take him away. And we know that five days after these images were taken, he was arrested by (INAUDIBLE) police at gunpoint at an address in the city later.

He was charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. He denies those charges, and the five man who stand accused alongside him at (INAUDIBLE) deny the same charges as well.


GORANI: All right. And that was Damon Green there reporting from the United Kingdom.

CLANCY: Well, let's check some of the other stories that are making news right now.



GORANI: Welcome back to CNN International and YOUR WORLD TODAY.

CLANCY: We bring CNN's international and U.S. viewers up to speed on some of the most important international stories of the day.

All right. Returning now to one of our top stories, the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program, Iran says it will not stop enriching uranium unless the West does the same, making it very likely that Tehran will not meet another deadline to comply with U.N. demands.

Our next guest is with the Center for American Progress. He's long been active in nuclear nonproliferation. Joseph Cirincione is also author of "Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons."

He joins us now from Washington.

A lot of people listen to what President Ahmadinejad said this day, that the West is going to have to stop its nuclear enrichment in order for Iran to back down. They hear the threats coming from Iran and they think that is the full dimension of the Iranian position on its nuclear program. But what do others see that know what's going on?

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, that's part of the rhetorical bravado you often hear from Iran, this sort of, we're tough, we're an independent nation, don't think you can walk right over us. But then there are also more pragmatic voices talking about compromise, talking about a temporary suspension of the program, looking to see where they can make the deal.

This is typical Iranian negotiating tactics. And it's reflect some of the factionalization you see inside the Iran government. There are various elements, often not coordinated, who are vying for political one-upmanship within their own domestic political context, and it sometimes makes it difficult for the rest of the world to see who's really talking.

CLANCY: You know, there's a fundamental question, though, Joe, that a lot of people want to ask, and that is, even if Iran agrees to suspend any work on a nuclear weapon, how do you believe them? How do you get verification? Is it possible?

CIRINCIONE: It is possible. Now, remember, Iran says that they do not have any weapons work going on right now. And, in fact, we haven't detected any actual weapons work. This is all about what they say is a peaceful program to develop the machinery for creating nuclear fuel for reactors.

The problem is, those same machines, the centrifuges, if they ever get them up, could also make material for nuclear bombs. So what you need is an extensive inspection program going beyond the normal inspection program for other countries. And Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, has talked about this, where you'd have to be sure that what they were doing in those centrifuges was only for peaceful purposes, and there were no other secret facilities on the site.

That would be intrusive inspections, but it is possible.

CLANCY: There was a lot of concern later this year that Russia was going to deliver some of the nuclear fuel that was on order from Tehran. They built that -- what, it's a billion-dollar project at Bushehr for a nuclear power plant. And yet the Russians suddenly say, Iran, you haven't paid your bill. Now the Iranians are saying, what are the Russians talking about?

What's going on?

CIRINCIONE: Well, this is a very interesting development. This Bushehr reactor is years behind schedule.

This is a big moneymaker for Russia. They're making at least a billion dollars off of it. Iran wants to build a second, maybe a third, so more money downstream. And Russia would like to open up the entire Middle Eastern market for its contracts.

But they now say that Iran has not been making their payments. So they're delaying the actual operation, the opening of the reactor, which was supposed to happen, oh, about the summer of this year. Maybe that's part of Russia helping us out, you know dragging its feet, delaying its delivery of goods to put pressure on Iran. But it also might reflect very real economic pressures that are occurring in Iran.

Iran, despite being oil rich, is actually having an investment crisis. It is in financial difficulties, in part because of the sanctions that have been put on by the U.N. Security Council and unilateral ones taken by the United States. So we're seeing some pressure points operating here that could help convince Iran to come back to the negotiating table.

CLANCY: Another U.N. deadline comes up tomorrow for the report on all of this. What's going to happen, briefly?

CIRINCIONE: Nothing. Right away, nothing is going to happen. Iran always takes these things up to the limit and then crosses the limit. They will send a signal that they are willing to talk, willing to negotiate, willing to temporarily suspend, given the right circumstances. It's now going to be up to the diplomats over the next couple of weeks -- and it won't take much longer than that -- to see if there's some diplomatic face-saving way that they can get Iran, the EU, and eventually the U.S. back to the bargaining table with a suspension of the Iranian program.

Like Mohamed ElBaradei, I'm actually optimistic about this, because I don't see any other way out. Iran can't just keep doing what they're doing. There is no military option here. In the end, there's going to have to be a negotiated compromise.

CLANCY: Joe Cirincione, we're going to have to leave it there.

Joe's with the Center for American Progress.

Thank you.

CIRINCIONE: My, pleasure, Jim


GORANI: All right. Let's get an update on those three American women reported abducted in the West Bank town of Nablus. Ben Wedeman has some news for us and he joins us live from Jerusalem.

Good news, Ben?

WEDEMAN: Yes, Hala, all's well that ends well, as Shakespeare wrote. And according to security sources in Nablus, the three women are on their way to the office of the governor of that city.

They have been released, according to Palestinian security sources. The man who kidnapped them was a member of the popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It appears that he kidnapped them in a personal capacity.

Apparently, he wanted to use these women as leverage to get medications for a wound he sustained in the first intifada that ended in 1993. Now, hopefully we'll get more details on that, but it does appear that this kidnapping, which lasted one hour and 20 minutes, appears to be over -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem.

Thanks very much.

Even by...

CLANCY: All right. We're going to...

GORANI: I'm sorry. Even by Palestinian standards, that was a quick release.

CLANCY: That was a quick release. But we've seen that many times before.

GORANI: We have, right.

CLANCY: Still, dangerous.

GORANI: An hour? Very dangerous, absolutely. Not making light of it there. But quick, in and out. Less -- a little more than an hour.

CLANCY: We're going to check in on how the markets are doing when we come back after a break.

GORANI: Also, later...


DAVID NEELEMAN, CEO, JETBLUE: We have this laser beam result to make sure that that never happens again.


GORANI: ... the airline that aimed to bring humanity back to air travel promises to clean up its act with a passenger bill of rights. Will it be enough to regain trust among JetBlue's customers?

Stay with us.



GORANI: Welcome back. You're with YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: And I'm Jim Clancy. These are the stories making headlines around the world.

Palestinian security sources telling CNN three U.S. women kidnapped in the West Bank have been released unharmed. The three were reportedly kidnapped by a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Tuesday, south of Nablus. They are not said to be on their way to office of governor of Nablus.

GORANI: Also in the headlines, on the eve of a U.N. deadline for Iran stop enriching uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country won't do that, unless Western nations do the same. Iran's non- compliance with U.N. demands could trigger additional sanctions.

In another development, the U.S. says Iranian gunboats crossed into Iraqi waters, recently, near sensitive off-shore oil terminals. The U.S. says the moves are part of Iranian navy's expanded operations in the Persian Gulf.

CLANCY: Prosecutors in the London terror trial say this video footage shows one of the bombing plot suspects, Yassin Hassin Omar (ph) disguised as a woman wearing a burka, jurors were shown the images of the more than six-foot-tall man on Tuesday. Six men are on trail, accused of plotting suicide attacks in London, on July 21, 2005.

GORANI: Another day of deadly violence in Iraq. A string of bombings leaving at least 20 dead there and a tanker truck loaded with toxic chlorine gas exploded killing six and sending over 100 people to the hospital after they inhaled the noxious fumes. Authorities in Taji, north of Baghdad, say they're working on the theory that it was an attempted dirty bomb attack.

CLANCY: The escalating sectarian violence in Iraq has given Al Qaeda to gain a greater foothold there. Arwa Damon reports that Al Qaeda is taking advantage of that opportunity in growing in power in cities in Baquba.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The sun sets on the streets of Baquba, disturbing forces lurk. Amid the ranks of Shia and Sunni insurgency that battle for power here, another shadowy force is gaining strength on the streets: Al Qaeda in Iraq, carrying the banner of the world's most infamous Sunni terrorist group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Baquba has become a terror den. And the government has no solution.

DAMON: Baquba is the capital of Diyala Province. A microcosm of Iraq, with its ethnic breakdown of Sunni, Shia and Kurd. While the Iraqi government and U.S. military focused is on securing Baghdad, Baquba is falling apart.

From the insurgency's infancy, this city has been plagued by violence. An ideal atmosphere for groups like Al Qaeda to gain a foothold, robbing power from the local security forces.

(On camera): Most of the Iraqi policeman here at the Diyala police headquarters will not appear on camera for fear of their lives. But there is one recurring theme, over the last four months, security here has deteriorated drastically. Blame one organization for that -- Al Qaeda in Iraq.

(Voice over): Late last December, Al Qaeda claimed the neighborhood of Tahrer in southeast Baquba, as part of what it calls the Islamic State of Iraq. While U.S. and Iraq troops still patrol, these images instill a fear stronger than any sense of security the troops can provide.

Also, late last year, this footage documented Al Qaeda efforts to stir up crowds after an attack many blamed on a U.S. air strike. An air strike the U.S. military says never happened.

True or false, blaming the Americans and the weak Iraqi government for the violence is one strategy the insurgents uses to increase its power. Another, according to this security official, who won't show his face on camera, is purely through fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): First, terrorists are killing civilians in public and committing massacres. The other thing is they're taking advantage of the government's mistakes.

DAMON: Both the national and local governments here are perceived here as having a Shia agenda. Leaving Sunnis feeling like they have no one to turn to, other than Al Qaeda.

COL. DAVID SUTHERLAND, U.S. ARMY: It's a fear and perception of inequality. It's different Sunni extremist groups, its different Shia extremist groups. It's Shia domination throughout the area. All that plays into the empowerment of the -- of the terrorists.

DAMON: And in Baquba right now, the most powerful group of all? Al Qaeda. Arwa Damon, CNN, Baquba, Iraq.


CLANCY: Well, Pakistan is denying reports of an Al Qaeda resurgence in its tribal region of north Waziristan, calling it "ridiculous".

GORANI: Well, it's virtually impossible to confirm the allegations that Western officials are making regarding this. Reporters and outsiders are unwelcome in Waziristan, to say the least. Rosemary Church has some insight.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INT'L. ANCHOR: Well, it's hard to get reliable information out of Waziristan, on of the most remote rugged terrains in the world. The border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan is also one of the world's most dangerous.

Waziristan is part of Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas, in the northwestern part of the country. An area smaller than northern Ireland, Waziristan is largely exempt from Pakistani law and under the control of local chieftains. It's been that way for centuries now.

In fact, in 1897 a young Winston Churchill was reporting from the tribal region, when it was still a part of British administered India. And he wrote a vicious fight between British forces and the local tribesman, who he wrote were in a continual state of feud and strife. While Waziristan shares a 150-mile border with Afghanistan, it's divided into a northern and southern half. But it's the northern portion that is getting the most attention these days.

Pakistani army officials say they have more 90 check points overlooking the rugged border with Afghanistan. It says that Afghanistan has 27. Still it's Pakistan raising most concern from the White House down.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters do hide in remote regions of Pakistan. This is wild country. This is wilder than the Wild West.


CHURCH: It's impossible to confirm just how Al Qaeda militants are in northern Waziristan. Pakistani officials estimate that it's in the low 100s. While, Western intelligence officials suggest it could be as many as 2,000. Pakistan also rejects reports of an Al Qaeda resurgence in that mountainous region, calling them incorrect. So, is a comeback under way? CNN's Brian Todd has our report.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Is Osama bin Laden rebuilding his network inside Pakistan? U.S. officials tell CNN of more Al Qaeda training compounds there. That Pakistan's tribal region, near the Afghan border has become a safe haven for senior Al Qaeda leaders. I asked CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen if bin Laden and his top lieutenant are directing operations there.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Clearly Ayman al-Zawihiri is in this area. According to other intelligence officials, I've spoken to, bin Laden is in an area further northern. Right in the area of Waziristan, where kind of a lot of the central Al Qaeda operation is going on.

TODD: What goes on? Bergen says bomb making instruction, more tactical cooperation with the Taliban. Evidenced, he says, by more cross-border raids and suicide bombings inside Afghanistan.

But Bergen, and a U.S. official, tells CNN, Al Qaeda operations within Pakistan has reached even further. Training plotters involved in the July 2005, London bombings. And the thwarted attempt to bring down U.S. airliners over down the Atlantic last summer. What could they do in the future? One is do a radiological bomb I a major European City. This is quite within their capabilities, this is not a Chicken Little scenario. Also, they could bring down a commercial jet with a rocket propelled grenade, or surface-to-air missile.

TODD: We asked Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, are there Al Qaeda training camps inside his country's borders.

MAHMUD DURRANI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: There may be an old place. When we find out, we take it out. We have done that recently. But seeing that they have re-established themselves, and there are a lot of compounds, and they have rejuvenated that's incorrect.

TODD: The ambassador disputes U.S. officials who say a recent agreement between the Pakistani government and tribal elders in that border region, some of them Taliban sympathizers, has led Pakistan's army to withdraw from there and Al Qaeda to regroup. He says the army is still conducting operations there.

(On camera): The ambassador rejects any notion of American forces crossing into Pakistan to go after Al Qaeda, even though U.S. forces have targeted Al Qaeda militants there from the air. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Well, Pakistan is planning to take additional steps to curb cross-border infiltration. It says it plans to build 2.5 meter fence at known crossing points from Waziristan into Afghanistan, when weather permits. That's just over eight foot tall, but Pakistani officials say, nothing can seal the border 100 percent. Back to you.

GORANI: All right. Rosemary Church there with our "Insight" segment.

Coming up on YOUR WORLD TODAY, the follow out from the JetBlue implosion.

CLANCY: We're going to learn now how airline is trying to make amends with some of its angry customers, and other travelers left stranded on the runway. And what JetBlue's recent problems could mean for the rest of the airline industry?



DAVID NEELEMAN, CEO, JETBLUE: We have identified the problems that we had. We have some solutions, some have already been implemented, some of them will be implemented in the next coming days. We have this laser-beam resolve to make sure that that never happens again.


CLANCY: A man on a hot seat. Welcome back, you're watching YOR WORLD TODAY, here on CNN International.

GORANI: Well, that was the CEO of JetBlue, David Neeleman. Neeleman and his employees are no doubt breathing that sigh of relief today -- or are they?

A JetBlue spokeswoman says the airline is finally back to its normal operating schedules, about 500 flights. JetBlue, of course, plagued by cancellations and delays since the snowstorm last week severely impacted it's operations.

Thousands -- you can see pictures there from inside some of the planes stranded on the tarmac. Thousands of travelers stranded, including some stuck for nine hours on planes, on the tarmac. Well, Neeleman called the mess a defining moment for his airline and in response, he's drawn up a Customer Bill of Rights, offering wide- ranging refunds and free travel vouchers. Will it be enough to ease the anger of travelers and repair the airline's tarnished image. To discuss that we're joined by David Andelman, executive editor of

Thanks for being with us. What do you make of this Bill of Rights? Is it enforceable?

DAVID ANDELMAN, EXEC. EDITOR, FORBES.COM: Well, Hala, that's the whole problem, of course, it probably isn't enforceable, certainly not in any court of law, It's not like the U.S. Bill of Rights, which is in our Constitution and can be enforced in any court in the land.

This is simply something that one airline has done to try to improve its image. It might work in the short run. But the question is what happens in the next crisis? That's what is key.

GORANI: So, this is a PR move?

ANDELMAN: Oh, it's no question, it's PR image branding move. Look, JetBlue has a cadre of people who just adore this airline. They're almost like a cult. I mean, it's not question that they'll keep coming back. The question is what happens to marginal travelers, the business travelers. The people who really depend on JetBlue from time to time, and yet who, in this particular moment, they got roasted.

GORANI: How much is this going to hurt JetBlue? Will they be able to recover financially very quickly? And will the image of JetBlue be tarnished for long, do you think?

ANDELMAN: Well, in terms of finance, look, it costs them -- it will cost them about 13 million, is what they're saying, this whole meltdown, if you will, of the last few days. That is as much money as they spend on jet fuel for one day, in their entire operation.

GORANI: So that's not much then?

ANDELMAN: It's not very much, really. It's not going to affect them financially. The big question is over the long-term, has it hurt their image? Again, the core JetBlue fanatics, they'll keep coming back. There question is what happens to the people at the margin, and the fact that is that other airlines aren't necessarily doing all that much better. There was a huge meltdown involving American back in December, and United, just the other day

GORANI: Well, really one of the criticisms coming from some analysts and observers was that day, you had an icy -- an ice storm, wouldn't it have been better to just cancel all of the flights, and take that loss, and tell passengers, right off the bat, there no traveling today?

ANDELMAN: That's what --

GORANI: And you had a friend, in one of the JetBlue planes, I understand, who was stranded for nine hours on the tarmac?

ANDELMAN: Yes, she was not very happy about that. Let me tell you.

But look, that's what a lot of other airplanes do that. In fact, all other airplanes routinely they just cancel the flights from the beginning. But JetBlue is known for the "Little Engine That Could", the Little Airline That Could. They're the ones that always get through somehow, and they felt that they could in this case.

Also it costs them a lot less money to keep people in airplanes, figuring that eventually they'll be able to take off. Rather than have to give them vouchers for whole new flights. That's going to change. JetBlue in that respect, is going to become probably like a lot of the regular airlines that we have out there now.

GORANI: All right, David, one quick last question, will other airplanes follow suit, do you think, with their own bill of rights?

ANDELMAN: Well, they may be very well. The question is whether Congress is going to follow suit with a legally binding bill of rights. And that's next on the agenda.

GORANI: All right, David Andelman, the executive editor of Thanks so much for being with us, David.

ANDELMAN: Thanks for having me.

CLANCY: Boy, I tell you, you get stuck on a jet. You really wonder when you're going to get off. You can't get any answers, the worst thing --

GORANI: Nine hours! I'm sorry. I don't think, I could -- well, I would have to last -- but

CLANCY: You don't have a choice.

GORANI: But I mean!

CLANCY: Bill of rights, we'll see how far this goes. The whole incident has a lot of people like us thinking about what should they expect when they're traveling? What are their rights? And we wanted to know you think.

GORANI: We have been asking the question, do you think there should be an industry-wide bill of rights? Here's what some of you had to say.

CLANCY: Don wrote in and said this: "Passengers should be treated fairly and it shouldn't require a bill of rights. It's just good business."

GORANI: Lesia Clark from Florida writes: "All airlines should have a bill of rights. This will ensure the airlines have safeguards in place for weather delays, overbooking, et cetera."

CLANCY: Sharon Tomlinson weighed in with this: "What on earth has happened in this country when any business is run so poorly the customers want a bill of rights?"

GORANI: And Mary Wojcik had this to say: "A bill of rights needs to be mandated by the government" -- that's what we were discussing there with David Andelman -- "and not left in the hands of the airline business."

CLANCY: All right. I think, Hala we can say most people want to see some kind of bill of rights out there. We love hearing from you, keep your responses coming and we're going to read more of your opinions here.

GORANI: Right,

Now doctors in Florida are calling it a medical miracle.

CLANCY: And a lot of people are echoing that. Her mother knew Amillia was a fighter from the start. Coming up, the most premature baby on record, not only survives, but rewrites the medical books.


CLANCY: There was a time when a baby, tiny little girl named Amillia, wasn't expected to survive. Now she's going home.

GORANI: The world's smallest premature baby. Doctors says she should be fine, even though Amillia spent half of the time in the womb, half, that most babies do.

CLANCY: Laurie Jennings has the story of the baby who defied all the odds.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, baby. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's truly amazing. That's why I've named her "Queen Bee".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how much do you weigh today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three pounds and 10 ounces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, she is our little princess in the unit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her lungs are a little premature still, but besides that she's fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's truly a miracle.

LAURIE JENNINGS, REPORTER, WPLG (voice over): Sonja and Eddie Taylor's baby girl has earned a lot of nicknames over her four months in intensive care...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go, baby.

JENNINGS: ... "Queen Bee," "Princess," "Miracle." But none more perfect than her given name, Amillia.

SONJA TAYLOR, MOTHER: We were looking through the Internet, and it meant fighter, resilient.

JENNINGS: And Amillia had to be a fighter to beat some incredible odds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Survival of babies that are less than 22 weeks of gestation is close to zero, if not zero.

JENNINGS: The medical standard is not to even resuscitate the 22-weeker. So when Sonja knew she was going into early labor last October at just 19 weeks, she fibbed a little about her baby's age. Doctors worked to hold off the birth, but nine days later they had no choice but an emergency C-section, thinking they were delivering a 23- weeker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was so tiny. She was just all ribs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I was prepared for the worst and prepared to break the news to the mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we weighed her and she was just 10 ounces.

JENNINGS: Still in shock at her size, neonatologist Dr. Pukhet Tanidate (ph) took a chance. He inserted a feeding tube and Amillia took to it in the first try, perked right up. He knew then this baby, just slightly bigger than a pen, was something special.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was literally just a little -- a Coke can under sterile drapes.

JENNINGS: Pediatric surgeon Dr. Holly Neville (ph) was called in immediately to repair Amillia's left ear and much of her scalp that was torn during delivery and left hanging. Normally such young gel- like skin couldn't even accept stitches or being handled at all. But somehow, Amillia's skin was mature beyond her young age, and that's a big part of what protected her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had never seen such a small baby.

JENNINGS: It was months later when doctors verified Amillia's true age with her parents' fertility specialist and discovered this now perfect healthy baby was born at exactly 21 weeks and 6 days, a world record.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was speechless. I really was. This is not supposed to even happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm still shocked right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Science has proven us wrong, for when you look at such a small miracle, you almost have to believe there's something else, you know. There's a higher power that allows us to do what we do.

JENNINGS (on camera): Eddie, what do you want to let the doctors and nurses know?

EDDIE TAYLOR, FATHER: They did a super job. I owe them big thanks.

You're a little miracle.

She's going to change medicine.

S. TAYLOR: Yes, she is. And I knew that I wanted her to have a chance. And I just knew in my heart that she was going to make it.

JENNINGS (voice over): Laurie Jennings, Local 10 News.


GORANI: That's it for "YOUR WORLD TODAY." I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. Thanks for being with us.