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German Chancellor to Meet with Bush; Florida Beach Reopens After Fatal Shark Attack

Aired June 27, 2005 - 11:30   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: With his political future in doubt, the German chancellor is in Washington this hour for talks with President Bush. CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash joins us now to talk about this. Dana, what's the latest?
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, it is a little bit ironic that President Bush is preparing to go before the American people to convince them, as they look more and more skeptical about the mission in Iraq, that they should stay the course. And understand that he will say that he has very specific plans on how to make things better there.

That he -- the president is hosting one of the leading opponents to the Iraq war in the first place here today. Gerhard Schroeder, you see him arriving here earlier. They are currently meeting inside the White House at this hour. And the intent, according to Bush officials, is to keep this a low-key meeting. Certainly, the two men have tried to publicly get over their major differences over Iraq. But the reality is, the White House is quietly hoping perhaps they won't have to deal with Schroeder much longer because there is an election in Germany in just a couple of months.

And polls show that perhaps he is destined to lose to a candidate that the White House thinks might be more favorable to the president. So they are trying to keep it low-key, but there are certainly important issues on the agenda here. Iraq, they are going to talk about. Germany tried to help out, to train some of those security forces outside of Iraq. And of course, Iran. They're going to talk about Germany's efforts to try to get that country to stop its nuclear program -- Betty.

NGUYEN: A lot of issues up for discussion today. Dana Bash, thank you.

Here are some other stories making news overseas this morning. Iraq's new prime minister is calling on number Ten Downing Street this hour. It's Ibrahim's al Jaafari's first face-to-face talks with Prime Minister Blair since taking office two months ago. The meeting comes as the U.S. confirms it has held talks with insurgent leaders in Iraq. Blair says that policy is perfectly sensible.

A Kenyan court today acquitted three men on conspiracy charges in a 2002 hotel bombing. The judge cited a lack of evidence. Today's verdict came almost three weeks after a judge acquitted four other men charged in the bombing. The suicide attack at the Israeli-owned hotel (INAUDIBLE) killed 15 people. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility. And Iran's president-elect may be trying to ease concerns in the West that he's an ultraconservative. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he'll put together a moderate government. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Ahmadinejad is no friend of democracy. The incoming president vows, though, to continue Iran's nuclear program, a source of contention with the U.S. and Europe.

NGUYEN: A deadly shark attack off the coast of Florida.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was really aggressive. I've been here a long time and I'd never seen a shark get that aggressive.


NGUYEN: We will tell you how tourists on the Panhandle are reacting to the weekend's shocking death of a 14-year-old girl.


NGUYEN: A fast-moving wildfire threatening a Utah town is one of about 19 blazes burning in the Western U.S. The fire, north of St. George, Utah, grew from 2,000 to 8,000 acres in less than 12 hours. At least eight homes have been evacuated. And officials say they are battling both the fire and the elements of nature.


DAVID BOYD, UTAH BUREAU OF LAND MGMT: What we're dealing with out here is very dry conditions, strong winds. And we've had a very wet winter and spring. If you can remember, St. George had some pretty major floods. And the result of all that moisture, we have a lot of grass that's now dried out. And when lightning is hitting that stuff, it's just -- the fire is taking off.


NGUYEN: In Washington state now, a wildfire has consumed more than 22,000 acres of grass and wheat fields in Walla Walla County. Smoke from the fire was reported as far away as Spokane, which is about 100 miles to the north. So what a lot of folks need today is some rain.


NGUYEN: The beach near Destin, Florida, has re-opened, but beachcombers may still avoid the water in the wake of that deadly shark attack on a 14-year-old girl.

CNN's Carol Lin has more on the attack and a heartbreaking attempt to rescue the teen.


CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those who dared go in the water near Destin, Florida, did not venture far from shore for good reason. The day after a shark killed a 14-year-old girl, beachgoers could see the dark outlines of what looks like at least one shark in the water. Police told CNN there were sharks at the same beach where the girl was killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had all this week spent time in the ocean and had children who had been in the ocean. And it's just a little frightening to think about that. And our hearts just go out to the family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely staying away from the water. It's -- it was kind of nerve-racking. I was actually going into the water when they were telling me to come out. And we saw everybody just rushing out.

LIN: It was just before lunchtime Saturday when Jamie Daigle was swimming far offshore near the San Destin Resort with another 14-year- old girl. The only sign of the shark, an ominous dark shadow swimming towards them.

Suddenly, Jamie was pulled underwater in a pool of blood. Her leg badly mangled. She was face down in the water. The shark circling for another attack when surfer Tim Dicus pulled the unconscious teenager onto his board and swam to safety.

TIM DICUS, TRIED TO RESCUE VICTIM: He came back around, got underneath me, and tried coming up underneath me to get her hand. So I pulled her hand up on the board and smacked the water. And I guess that scared him enough to make another loop, which gave me time to paddle out of the blood pool.

LIN: Tim did get to meet the girl's father, who thanked him for heroically trying to save his little girl. Meanwhile, Jamie Daigle's family is back in Gonzalez, Louisiana, and in mourning.

GARY BELSOME, REV., FAMILY PRIEST: The family is doing fine at this time. They're at home with their family and friends. They've had family come in from out of town. And their neighborhood is a very close community.

She was a very vivacious young lady. As you see in the picture, she's got a beautiful smile and was always very up and happy.

She was very athletic and actually was working here. We have a summer camp going on right now for young people. And she was one of the volunteers who was working with the younger children.

LIN: An autopsy will tell more about the attacking shark, how big, even why it may have attacked. It is little comfort to the Daigle family that, while sharks are common off the Florida Panhandle coast, one has never attacked at the beach where their daughter was swimming.

The beaches are open again, but fear and questions remain.


NGUYEN: Well, officials say a grizzly bear apparently killed a couple inside their tent at a campsite in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The bear was still at the site when public safety officials arrived. Wildlife officers shot the animal and sent the carcass to Fairbanks for examination.

When it comes to fighting cancer, apparently there are a lot of misperceptions out there. And among them, the fear that surgery to treat cancer can actually help spread it. We'll tell what you other myths Americans are still holding on to.


NGUYEN: There is still much more to come this hour, but first, here's a preview of what's coming up in the noon hour on "YOUR WORLD TODAY."

JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Jim Clancy.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zain Verjee. Coming up at the top of the hour, the new face of Iran, what the leadership of hardline president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could mean beyond the borders.

CLANCY: European efforts to reign in Iran's nuclear program are expected to be on the agenda when Germany's chancellor sits down with the U.S. president.

VERJEE: And demonstrators vow to bring Israel's evening rush hour to a grinding halt to protests the upcoming withdrawal from Gaza. All that and more just ahead on CNN International.


NGUYEN: Now to our "Daily Dose" of health news, dispelling some common cancer myths. For example, can surgery cause cancer to spread? Well, according to a new study, a lot of Americans think so.

Our senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines this and other misconceptions to set the record straight.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): They say knowledge is power. So how much do you know about cancer? A nationwide survey by the American Cancer Society asked approximately 1,000 people about five common misconceptions regarding cancer. Get this. Remarkably, only one in four respondents correctly answered all five questions. So let's dispel some of these of these myths.

The most common misconception, treating cancer with an operation can cause it to spread. A whopping 41 percent wrongly thought this was true. It is extremely rare for surgery to cause the spread of cancer cells. Usually only happens, for example, if the wall of a fluid-filled cyst is accidentally ruptured during an operation. Otherwise, when cancer spreads, it's usually because of the type of cancer itself.

Myth number two. 27 percent surveyed believe that the medical industry is withholding a cure for cancer from the public just to increase profits. The truth, scientists have improved cancer treatments by leaps and bounds over the last two decades. Back in the mid '70s, for example, the average person's chance of surviving cancer after five years of being diagnosed was only about 50 percent. Today, 65 percent of cancer patients make it well beyond five years. It's true we haven't found a cure yet, but cancer remains one of the top research priorities in America, according to the American Cancer Society.

There are some myths, however, that most of us do know to be false. For example, pain meds are ineffective against cancer pain. That's one that only 19 percent believe to be true. And here's another one. Only 7 percent thought that cancer is something that can't be effectively treated.

The final myth is this. Just over 5 percent of Americans believe that all you need to beat cancer is a positive attitude, not treatment. Although a good outlook definitely can enhance treatments because patients are more likely to take medications properly and cooperate with their health care providers, treatment is still key in winning the battle against cancer. If a loved one living with cancer is holding off on seeking proper treatment because of their own misconceptions, here's what you can do: Help them find a qualified doctor they trust, learn more about treatment options through resources like the American Cancer Society, and look for support groups in your community.

Remember, there is help out there, and cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence anymore.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


NGUYEN: To get your daily dose of health news online, log on to our Web site. You will find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness. The address on the screen,

And we are learning more information today from Dennis Rader's attorneys. As we showed you a little bit earlier today, Dennis Rader, who you see there on your screen, has pled guilty to the BTK murders. Let's listen to what his lead defense attorney has to say. His name is Steve Osburn.


STEVE OSBURN, RADER'S ATTORNEY: Mr. Rader basically wanted to take responsibility for his actions early on. There was a confession right after his arrest. We counseled him, and advised him that we needed to be able to check the state's case, the evidence, to protect his rights to ensure that everything went appropriately. He followed our counsel, even though he did not plead not guilty at arraignment, he stood mute, and the court entered the appropriate not-guilty plea.

In the interim two months here, we have thoroughly investigated the evidence against him, checked into all possible defenses and that does include an insanity defense. We retained the Cambridge Forensic Consultants who are associated with Harvard University. They spent many hours with Mr. Rader, several sessions and thorough testing, and after that evaluation and conference with both the psychologists and Mr. Rader, we all determined that there was no viable insanity defense.


NGUYEN: That's Steve Osburn, Dennis Rader's lead defense attorney. Again, A guilty plea was entered today by Dennis Rader. We are waiting to hear from the district attorney, Nola Foulston. We understand right now, she is speaking with family members of the victims. Once we get that, we will bring it to you. You're watching CNN LIVE TODAY.



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NGUYEN: OK. If the idea of a pre-packaged vacation sounds like a trip to nowhere, we have some ideas for your getaways. The "Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel" may be your ticket to a new adventure.

Lonely Planet author John Vlahides joins us now from San Francisco. I guess my first question to you is, experimental travel. What is it and how did you come up with it?

JOHN A. VLAHIDES, LONELY PLANET AUTHOR: Well, if you think of conventional travel, it's all about the destination. You go somewhere. With experimental travel, it's not the destination that matters, it's how you get there.


VLAHIDES: So think of experimental travel as travel games, where you let chance be your guide. You lay a few ground rules and go.

NGUYEN: Basically you just let it go, let the chips fall where they may. But my question to you is, you know, a lot of people, when they take time off of work and spend their money on vacation, they want no know what they're getting into. This isn't for that type of person?

VLAHIDES: Well, yes, it is, of course.

NGUYEN: Well, yes, it is, of course, but good thing -- the wonderful thing about experimental travel is you don't even have to leave your own hometown to do it. You don't have to take vacation time. Experimental travel -- let's take an example.

NGUYEN: OK, let's do that.

VLAHIDES: I live in San Francisco. Let's play a game called countertourism. Go to the Golden Gate Bridge or some monument in your area. Go to a famous tourist site. And rather than focus your attention on that tourist attraction, turn your back to it. And if you're a shutterbug, take pictures of the people taking pictures of the monument. But at the Golden Gate Bridge, turn your back to the bridge. And if you look around, you see a nude beach. Now, none of the tourists know this is there, because they're all focused on the bridge.

NGUYEN: At the monument, yes, I got you.

VLAHIDES: Right, so this is a classic example of experimental travel. Just...

NGUYEN: So you take pictures of your back to these monuments, which I think is a great idea, because, I can never get the perfect picture, anyway, when I'm on vacation.

VLAHIDES: Well, that -- well, this is just one simple idea. Another one, get on a train or bus from your hometown and go to the end of the line. Get off, go exploring. This is great for moms with kids who are home for the summer and are bored, they don't know what to do. So you don't have to spend a lot of money for experimental travel.

NGUYEN: Well, here's one that I think is really interesting, because we're running out of time. Quickly, though, something that's called barman's knock. Now this can knock you out, literally. Tell us how this works.

VLAHIDES: Well, this is more of a drinking game. You go to your favorite bar -- or go to a bar, ask the bartender what his favorite bar is and what to drink at that bar, then go to that bar, then ask that bartender the same question and go to the next bar.

NGUYEN: Sounds like a game you played in college there.

VLAHIDES: Right. It's good for -- yes, it's great for college. It's good for all ages.

NGUYEN; All right, and then another one. It's called trip poker. Now this is folks who can't really decide what they want to do. Just play trip poker.

VLAHIDES: Exactly. Where you assign certain values to the cars, destination, what to carry, what to wear and you lay out in advance, set the rules up, and you play cards. So it's about shifting perspectives, finding new ways to see what you think you already know about. And it invigorates your sense of fun. It's like a reset button.


VLAHIDES: So you don't have to spend two weeks doing this. You can if you want. You can play human chess.

NGUYEN: And not could be confused with strip poker, just so that we make that very clear.


NGUYEN: John Vlahides. Yes, exactly, not to be confused with it, we got it.

VLAHIDES: Or you can do whatever you want, break the rules.

NGUYEN: I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Daryn Kagan today. International news is up next, so stay tuned for that.



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