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U.S. Markets Take a Pounding; Interview With Congresswoman Jane Harman; Whale Finds Way to London's River Thames

Aired January 20, 2006 - 15:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Stock market taking a beating right now. Investors are black and blue up and down Wall Street. We're going to check in Ali Velshi in Washington, Susan Lisovicz on the trading floor in New York.
Ali, why don't you first give us a sense of the numbers right now?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The numbers are serious.

Susan will give you some perspective on ti, but 175 points lower right now on the Dow, 10705, which puts it below where we started the year. Now, it started off the day because of some earnings and economic matters that Susan will tell you about. But what had it going in the course of the day, and we finally finished trading oil for the day. It looks like it has settled $1.62 higher. This is for a barrel of crude oil, $68.45.

Now, I will remind you that we got up as high as just a little over $70 at the height of Katrina. We saw that relief. And we saw it coming back with gas prices and heating prices. Now we're back up there because of Iran and Nigeria and news from Kuwait.

But let's talk about how it got kicked off with Susan at the New York Stock Exchange.

Susan, start off with earnings from some of the biggest companies in America.


Oil obviously is a big factor. And we have seen oil prices getting very close now to the record highs that we saw after Hurricane Katrina. But another thing that really has investors unhinged is the beginning of the earnings season.

When you start to hear from companies like Citigroup, the world's largest financial services company, Intel, the world's biggest chip company, and GE, one of the world's great conglomerates, that makes everything from light bulbs to jet engines, and they miss Wall Street's estimates, investors get very nervous.

And what you are seeing is a big sell-off. Now, the -- the CEO of GE, Jeffrey Immelt, says the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape, but investors don't really have a full picture yet, because it's so early. Not even a quarter of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported.

But what you are seeing is fear ruling out the day. There's two factors that usually rule the marketplace, fear or greed, pervasive fear today, triple-digit losses for the Dow industrials, the worst we have seen in seven months, the worst we have seen on the Nasdaq in about a year.

But, remember, this has -- doesn't compare to point losses or percentage losses, what we saw after September 11. When the markets opened six days, finally opened six days later, the Dow industrials dropped 700 points in one day, and the worst percentage loss we saw was in October of 1987, October 19.

A lot of investors will remember that day. The Dow dropped 22 percent in one day. So, to put it in perspective, it's bad, but it could be a lot worse -- Kyra.

VELSHI: We were -- we were talking -- Susan, Kyra and I were -- we were all talking the other day about what happened in Japan, those losses that triggered the markets closing early.

For a perspective, Susan, even that big day, you and I were both working, September 17, 2001, which is the biggest point loss ever on the Dow, at 600-and-some-odd points. Even that would not trigger the Dow stopping. The Dow can take double that before it has to slow down.

LISOVICZ: That's right.

The New York Stock Exchange has put into effect these curbs that will try to restrain a sort of panicked selling that you saw in Tokyo, and that was one of the reasons -- that was a big reason why the -- the Tokyo stock market had to close for the first time in its history, because its computer system couldn't handle it.

For the Dow industrials, for the New York Stock Exchange, the world's biggest stock exchange, to stop trading, it would have to -- we would have to see a point loss of 1,100 points. And we're nowhere close to that.

VELSHI: Thankfully.

LISOVICZ: The traders -- thankfully.

And the traders that I have talked to here today say trading is very orderly. Obviously, the volume is heavy, but it's orderly. There's no sort of panic that I have heard about.

PHILLIPS: Susan, Ali mentioned Iran, Nigeria, Kuwait. You have talked about the al Qaeda affect. Why don't you explain what that is and how it is playing as a factor.

LISOVICZ: Well, you know, it is not a plus for the markets. I mean, al Qaeda has made threats before, Kyra, but you have already seen oil rising on two -- on problems or concerns about two OPEC producers, Iran and Nigeria. And so, when you have al Qaeda talking about a bomb or some sort of terrorist action in the United States, it just reinforces the concerns that are already in the marketplace about supply disruptions and about the demands that the United States and other big economies, growing economies, like India and China, which need a lot of oil.

PHILLIPS: Susan Lisovicz, Ali Velshi, we will continue to check in with you guys. Thanks so much.


PHILLIPS: We will stay on top of the story.

Meanwhile, we're waiting for any word or about Jill Carroll now, the American journalist who was kidnapped in Iraq two weeks ago tomorrow. Carroll's captors are threatening to kill her unless the U.S. frees all of its female Iraqi prisoners by today.

That won't happen, but many people are calling for Carroll's release, not least of whom is Carroll's father, who went on Al-Jazeera television in a last-minute effort to save his daughter. They also include Adnan Dulaimi, the Sunni politician whom Carroll was trying to interview when she was kidnapped.

Jill Carroll is a freelance reporter on assignment for "The Christian Science Monitor."

Dan Lothian is CNN's bureau chief in Boston, where "The Monitor" is based.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ever since freelance journalist Jill Carroll was snatched off the dangerous streets of Baghdad almost two weeks ago, The Christian Science Monitor, where she has been working for the past year, has been fighting for her release.

DAVID COOK, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": The people at "The Monitor" are working on this night and day in a variety of cities around the world.

LOTHIAN: At first, officials at the Boston-based paper worked quietly behind the scenes to keep a lid on the story and asked other news organizations to do the same. They only released vague descriptions of their efforts to win her release. Last week, the paper began writing about the kidnapping. After insurgents released this video on Tuesday, "The Monitor" made a much more public appeal.

COOK: It would be wrong to murder someone who has devoted herself unselfishly to promoting understanding of the Iraqi people.

LOTHIAN: Now "The Monitor" is calling on captors to -- quote -- exercise justice and mercy and allow Carroll to be reunited with her family.

And while they say there have been no negotiations with the group calling itself the Brigades of Vengeance...

COOK: "The Monitor" is undertaking strenuous efforts on Jill's behalf, taking advantage of every opportunity we have at our disposal.

LOTHIAN (on camera): When Carroll was kidnapped, her translator was killed. The Christian Science Monitor says it is caring for his family and will continue to assist them even as the paper works to have its freelance reporter released.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


PHILLIPS: The results are in. Iraqi Shiites the big winners in last month's parliamentary elections, but not big enough. Now the tough job of forming a coalition government.

CNN's Michael Holmes is in Baghdad now with the results and what lies ahead.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The keenly awaited results were largely as expected, the United Iraqi Alliance, that is the main Shia group, getting 128 seats in this new parliament. That's 46 percent. Together with the Kurdish bloc, who got 53 seats, they are at 65 percent of the vote. Now, that is short of the two-thirds required to form a government on their own, pick a president, push through constitutional reforms and the like.

Now, of course, comes a difficult job. That is forming a government, and not just forming one, but one that will satisfy an often divided population.

The key thing here, the level of Sunni inclusion in the government, perhaps a major portfolio on the offer, perhaps not. Shias and Kurds have indicated a willingness to bring the Sunnis in, but the results do show that the Sunnis have little bargaining power.

There had been some fraud allegations, some boxes rejected, nearly 300 from the count, because it's a small number percent wise, less than 3 percent. The parties now have two days to contest these results. And then they will be locked in. Meanwhile, in Baghdad and elsewhere around the country, very high security, in effect a lockdown on roads into and out of major centers. So, far comparatively, for Iraq, a reasonably quiet day, however.

Michael Holmes, CNN, Baghdad.


PHILLIPS: A major new offensive in the war on terror. The Bush administration is fighting to preserve its controversial eavesdropping program against critics who charge it breaches the Constitution, specifically the right against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. Opponents say that the so-called data mining also violates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was passed in reaction to Watergate. We asked seven House Republicans to talk about the program. Four said no. Three haven't responded.

Representative Jane Harman said yes. She is a California Democrat and ranking minority member on the House Intelligence Committee.

It is nice to have you with us.


PHILLIPS: I'm just going to get -- since we mentioned the Constitution, the unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, we mentioned the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- then you came forward and commissioned the Congressional Research Service to do another analysis. And we learned of yet something else.

And that was the National Security Act of 1947. My goodness, a lot of different laws, including what we're talking about with regard to the Constitution. Are you finding even more to add to your argument?

HARMAN: Well, let me try to simplify it, but, first, to say that...

PHILLIPS: Can you simplify it?

HARMAN: ... this story about Jill Carroll is so wrenching, and it should show all of us how dangerous this world is and why we need the best tools to find bad guys before they attack us.

But let me say, there are two sets of issues. And I think all of this is headed for the Supreme Court. One set is around the process, who in Congress gets briefed. And my position is that the so-called gang of eight, just the chairman and ranking members of the two Intelligence Committees in the leadership, is not the right group to brief.

All the -- all the membership of both Intelligence Committees need to be briefed, under -- because of the National Security Act of 1947 and what it says. And that's what this CRS report that I got recently says.

It says that -- that briefing fewer than the full committees is a violation of law. That's one issue. That's process. Then, there is substance. Does this program comply with the law? And the program is highly classified, as you know.

I have been briefed on it, as recently as today. I'm urging that the briefings be open. But what I -- here's the deal. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 requires that, for communications inside the United States, you need a court order.

I believe that's the case. And all communications inside the United States should comply with FISA. The program, which I cannot describe, because it is highly classified, is a foreign collection program.

Foreign collection does not have to comply with FISA. And, then, the question comes, where foreign and domestic collection intersect, precisely what do you need to do? And this is where I say, one, Congress needs to be briefed. Two, we need to be sure that the law is being followed. Three, if it isn't being followed, we either need to change the law or change the program.

PHILLIPS: Right, because you are talking about eavesdropping internationally vs. eavesdropping domestically.

HARMAN: Right. Right.


Now, let's go back to National Security Act of 1947. Like you said, it says that Intelligence Committee should be kept -- quote -- "fully and currently informed..."

HARMAN: Right.

PHILLIPS: "... on intelligence activities and covert actions -- covert actions."

Now, the NSA says that it doesn't fall under covert actions. Do you agree with that?

HARMAN: Right.

I -- this is a collection program. This is gathering information on what the plans and intentions of al Qaeda are. This is not a covert action as it's defined in the law, which is taking some sort of action, literally, that no one is supposed to know is taken at the behest of the United States.

PHILLIPS: So, the National Security Act of 1947, then, would be irrelevant, then?


The National Security Act of 1947 says, Congress shall be kept fully and -- and completely informed, unless it is a covert action, in which case, a small group of Congress can be informed. And I'm arguing, this is not a covert action. This is a collection program. And the...

PHILLIPS: So, you want to change that act?

HARMAN: I want -- no, I want Congress fully briefed, and I believe the National Security Act requires it.

PHILLIPS: All right. You went to the White House today. Tell me who was there.


PHILLIPS: Tell me what happened.

HARMAN: Well...

PHILLIPS: Are you -- are you satisfied with what happened?

HARMAN: There was a White House meeting this morning. I -- I can't tell you who was there. It was a classified meeting.

But I will tell you that there was a discussion both about the program and the process. I had requested a discussion about the process. And I am hopeful that, as we speak, the White House is considering whether to brief the full Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate. I have urged them in the strongest possible terms to do so.

PHILLIPS: Now, you don't have to say who was there, but can you at least say, were powerful individuals of influence there, possibly...

HARMAN: Powerful...

PHILLIPS: ... Andrew Card, possibly, White House chief of staff?

HARMAN: Very powerful individuals. I'm not sure why I was there. But there were very powerful individuals there.


PHILLIPS: Well, you have been very outspoken about this issue.

Why not leave it to the gang of eight? Why do you -- why do you feel that everybody needs to be briefed, vs. just the high-ranking members?

HARMAN: Well, Congress is an independent branch of government. Some may be forgetting that.

And we have oversight responsibility. We write the checks. We set the overall direction for the executive branch to follow. We have to make sure that they are following our direction and that money is well spent. And we can't do that without full information.

A program like this is a very critical capability of the United States. I support that critical capability, but Congress has to oversee it. And we can't do it without the information.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let me go back, of course, to the NSA.

The NSA says, since 2002, look, we have intercepted international calls and e-mails linking Americans and others to al Qaeda; we need this program; we need to be able to do what we are doing for the sake of national security.

HARMAN: I think we need very, very robust foreign collection capability, but it also needs to comply with U.S. law.

And, as I said earlier, there is this small intersection -- I don't think it is a big intersection -- between foreign collection and domestic collection. Domestic collection clearly has to comply with FISA. But where this overlap is needs to be carefully reviewed. And, if it doesn't fit current law, either the program needs to be changed or current law needs to be changed.

PHILLIPS: And, once again, members of NSA, even members of the Bush administration, said, look, we don't have time for FISA. We don't have time for this special court. When we know that something is going down, we don't want to take any risks to even get close to another 9/11.

HARMAN: I don't want to take any risks to get close to another 9/11 either, but I don't want to -- to abandon our system of laws and our values. Otherwise, the terrorists win.

We can do both. And what we may need to do is adjust FISA. It is a 1978 statute. That's pretty old. Our whole system of communications has changed radically. I'm prepared to look at that, to see if the framework is adequate, and, if it's not, to change the framework. But everything we do in the United States of America to catch bad guys should be done within a legal framework.

PHILLIPS: Well, let me ask you, with regard to FISA -- I mean, that's interesting. You are saying you would like to maybe look at -- at the process.

HARMAN: Right.

PHILLIPS: How -- how quick can FISA act? Is this a situation where a phone call can be made and, boom, you are in session; you make a decision say, within...

HARMAN: It's not that fast.

PHILLIPS: Yes. That's...

HARMAN: Yes. But...


PHILLIPS: I'm wondering, do we know? Do we know how fast it...

HARMAN: Well...

PHILLIPS: ... or how quickly it can act?

HARMAN: ... FISA has been used repeatedly.

It's used very often now. It has a probable cause standard. You have to tie the person you want to listen to or whose e-mail you want to read to an agent of a foreign power. But those are things that protect the liberty of Americans. It -- you have to prepare a filing with the FISA court. I would be happy to figure out a way to do this electronically, faster. You also have 72 hours after you do whatever -- you listen to this U.S. person to make your filing.

PHILLIPS: Well, it does seem like a lot of time.

HARMAN: So, I think that's -- well, maybe it should be more.

PHILLIPS: You know, if you are getting a phone call that something is going to happen in, say, six hours, you have got some intel...

HARMAN: I think we have the ability to act within six hours.

The problem here is that we're four years after 9/11. Calling this a war, I think, doesn't fit what our issue is. We're now in an era of terror. And we have to adjust our legal framework and our expectations to fit that era. But, if we give up our values and violate our Constitution, I wonder what we're fighting for.

PHILLIPS: All right, final question, Jane Harman, and that is, February 6, you have been talking about this open hearing on the eavesdropping program. I want to get the exact title of this -- of this right, Wartime Executive Power and the NSA Surveillance Authority, OK, including testimony from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

What -- what do you hope will happen in this -- in this open hearing?

HARMAN: Well, that is a Senate hearing. There are no hearings planned yet in the House. I'm disappointed about that.

And I still hope that our Intelligence Committee in the House will not only be fully briefed, but will be able to hold hearings. Our members have requested that of our chairman. But, nonetheless, what I hope, from this Senate hearing, is that there will be a full, robust debate about the legal authorities.

I think the president's legal case is weak. I think there are some legal arguments that are strong against him. I think this case will end up in the Supreme Court. And what I want to do, as a lawmaker, is carefully review this program against the laws that apply, and see if we can help change these laws, so that we have a legal framework that supports the right activities that are lawful against these dangerous threats.

PHILLIPS: Representative Jane Harman, and we share in what you said at the very beginning.

HARMAN: You bet.

PHILLIPS: I think everybody is keeping their fingers crossed and praying for Jill Carroll.

HARMAN: And the Carroll family.

PHILLIPS: Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it. HARMAN: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Coming up on LIVE FROM, the situation for quake survivors in Pakistan goes from bad to worse, as winter keeps an icy grip on some of the harshest terrain in the world -- a report from one town where life hangs on by a slender thread.


PHILLIPS: Fredricka Whitfield working on a story just into CNN -- Fred.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, remember that New York transit strike that crippled the city? Well, now new challenges that are stemming from that.

Mary Snow is in New York with more on that -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, it was a surprise move. And, you know, it is just one month to the day when we had that three-day crippling strike here in New York.

The city's Transit Union workers have just announced that they have rejected their new three-year contract. There had been union workers who said that there were just too many concessions in that contract, and, for the first time, the city's union had asked union workers in the Transit Union to contribute to their health care plan.

So, approximately 22,000 union workers have until about noontime Eastern to vote, and this contract was rejected on a seven-vote margin. The union leader, Roger Toussaint, spoke just a short time ago. Here's what -- some of what he had to say. (AUDIO GAP) is what happens next and the question of whether or not there could be another strike.

What Roger Toussaint did say is that he is going to be meeting with officers of the union and go back to the drawing board. Leading into this vote, there had been talk that, if it had been rejected, that it would likely result in binding arbitration.

Now, coincidentally, today, also, there had been a court date scheduled for union leaders. Because that strike last month was found to be illegal, there had been the possibility that some union leaders could face some jail time. Also, there was talk of fines. That court hearing had been postponed today, so a lot of unanswered questions.

And, Fredricka, obviously, the big question now is what will happen next, whether or not there could be the potential for another strike -- the union leader saying he is going to be meeting with the union officers, going back to the drawing board -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And, of course, Mary, that's the paramount concern for a lot of the commuters. Of course, the request that these union making -- union workers are making is, of course, very important, but a lot of the commuters want to know, are they going to be revisiting what they experienced just a short while ago, when so many people were unable to go to work, go to school, etcetera? Everyone's lives interrupted by that strike.

SNOW: Yes, seven million commuters estimated every day coming into New York City on buses and trains. As of now, of course, things running just as they have been, and that three-day strike back in December really did cripple the city just around the holiday season.

WHITFIELD: It did indeed.

All right, Mary Snow, thanks so much for that update out of New York. And, of course, when we get more on that, we will be able to bring that to you -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Fred. Thanks, Mary.

Well, the weather is better. The choppers are flying. But how can U.N. relief operations possibly save three-and-a-half million Pakistanis left homeless and helpless in October's earthquake?

ITN reporter Dan Rivers concludes his visit to the town of Moori Patan, where achingly cold temperatures are just compounding the misery and making the struggle to survive increasingly desperate.


DAN RIVERS, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): Forced to pray out in the cold, because their mosque has collapsed, the villagers of Moori Patan are drawing strength from their faith at the worst of times.

The basics of daily life are a real struggle here. Making tea involves collecting water from an icy spring, and then a long walk through the snow. Most houses are just a shell. A few families are brave enough to live in what remains, despite the risk of an aftershock bringing the whole lot crashing down.

All electricity has been cut off since the earthquake. It's more like the Middle Ages, rather than the 21st century. But many people here are in tents. It's a daily battle to keep them up when the snow is falling. And it is a battle that some are losing.

(on camera): It's been snowing all night. You can see, some of these tents have actually collapsed. The people inside have spent half the night with this huge weight of freezing snow lying on top of them. And the conditions really are getting steadily worse and worse. And, for these people, it is really just completely desperate now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These tents cannot sustain the -- the -- the -- the weather -- the weather conditions, of snowfall conditions. So, I'm afraid either these people have to be dislocated from there. They have to come down to safer areas, more plain areas, because they cannot -- they will not be in a position to prolong their stay there.

RIVERS (voice-over): They lack warm clothes and proper shelter. But these people have nowhere else to go.

(on camera): The people of Moori Patan lost a quarter of their population in the earthquake, yet, three months on, they are still dying from cold and from illness. We are about to leave the village now, but these people face many more weeks of a bitterly cold winter.

(voice-over): Our descent is not easy. The path is treacherously slippery, and there's a 1,000-foot drop on one side. Even when we reach what passes for a road, we have to dig our way through landslides and run the gauntlet of falling rocks.

For children like little Raymond (ph), the journey is too risky. We left some medicine for his eye infection, but there are many others without help.

We left Kartum (ph) grieving with her family for tiny Pavin (ph), the daughter who died from the cold just before we arrived -- her tiny shoes still lying by the door. And we left baby Sadir (ph), born a month after the earthquake which killed his father, fighting a fever he has had for two weeks.

There are many villages like Moori Patan, where the cold is slowly taking the vulnerable.


RIVERS: Where the destruction and desperation are overwhelming.

Dan Rivers, ITV News, Pakistan.


PHILLIPS: And we want to remind you that there are a lot of ways that you can help. And is a really good place to start.

The front page of their Web site has a link that takes you to a list of more than a dozen fund-raising groups that are collecting money right now specifically for the Pakistan quake survivors and that particular region.

Straight ahead, intelligent design or evolution, hand of God or random act of science? It's a black hole of a debate sucking in a galaxy of U.S. educators and school systems. Now guess where the Vatican comes down? An article this week in the official Vatican newspaper asserts intelligent design is not science, and teaching both will only cause confusion.

This would be the same Vatican that went pretty hard on Galileo for arguing the Earth revolves around the sun. The article's author, an Italian university professor, writes that some Americans have turned the debate back 200 years by arguing ideology as science. Late last year, the pope did say he believed intelligence was involved in the creation of the universe.

It's a race against time to save a wayward whale, what's being done, what can be done, to turn him around? Expert advice -- as the news keeps coming on LIVE FROM.

Stay with us.


PHILLIPS: A deep sea whale takes an unexpected tour of the River Thames. And if my next guest were anywhere near London, he'd be helping with the rescue.

Tim Binder is director of animal care at the Georgia Aquarium and a specialist in large animal movement.

How do you become a specialist in large animal movement?

TIM BINDER, GEORGIA AQUARIUM: Oh, that's the school of hard knocks.

PHILLIPS: I can just imagine, filling out on the application, right?


PHILLIPS: All right. Taking a look at the situation right now. First of all, how do you think -- we don't know if it is a he or she yet. How do you think it got where it is right now?

BINDER: Well, clearly this is a northern bottle nosed whale. This is an animal that belongs in deep water. It is in an area that it shouldn't be in. So there's something wrong. It is a sick, injured or old animal.

It is not uncommon for these animals to become disoriented or to seek harbor in waters that are not as rough as where they might normally be found.

PHILLIPS: So that's what would draw the whale to this specific area. You think possibly because it's calmer?

BINDER: Well, perhaps. It's more likely that this animal is just disoriented or not feeling well. And it is just swimming waywardly.

PHILLIPS: Now, you have been watching the videotape, and you've been hearing about the rescue efforts. How do you think they are doing? Do they know what they are doing?

BINDER: Well, I believe that they are doing the right thing. An animal of this size could be quite dangerous just because they get stranded and they might be thrashing about a little bit.

So they have a couple of concerns. They have to be concerned about the whale making sure that it is out of harm's way as best as possible. But they also have to be concerned about human safety. It is very common for people to want to jump in and help these animals, but their tails can be pretty powerful.

PHILLIPS: So that would be--let's say, someone did want to jump in, a rescue team, is that an option? Is that smart? Or is that something you would say that is not what you want to do. You want to guide the whale versus trying to touch it or come into contact with it?

BINDER: My guess is that the people working on the rescue there would like bystanders to give them a call if they see the animal. So people that have the experience can get in and work with it.

The animal has beached itself twice. And they have been successful to get it to refloat and swim back out. So I think that's the ultimate goal is to try to get the animal swimming back out into open ocean.

PHILLIPS: Why would it beach itself?

BINDER: They will sometimes run aground when they are simply just too tired to swim.


You said that--so the only threat to a human being if they went into the water would be the flapping around. Is that it? I mean is there anything else that could happen? Or does that seem to be-look at--we're actually -- where are these photos coming from? Do we know where these--are these pictures -- we don't know.

OK. Oh, they are from the Associated Press. Well, there you go. There's somebody right there trying to move his way toward the whale. Not a good idea.

BINDER: Well, that gentleman was doing the right thing in that he wasn't trying to touch the animal. He was splashing water to try to keep it moving away from the sound.


BINDER: But clearly this animal could pose a danger to people because of its powerful tail. It may be carrying disease that those folks probably shouldn't be exposed to. So I think human safety really becomes an issue when you have an event like this.

PHILLIPS: So why would you want to get involved in this? Is this one of those ultimate rescues that you would just really want to be a part of?

BINDER: Well, my feeling is that a situation like this should be responded to humanely. If that animal is suffering, if there is a humane response that could help that animal and not have it suffer, I think that's an appropriate thing to do.

In rare circumstances, perhaps, the animal could be rehabilitated and released. But a humane response I believe is the right way.

PHILLIPS: Tim Binder, if you don't want to just watch our video here you can head to the aquarium here in Atlanta, Georgia. See plenty of interesting whales.

BINDER: Absolutely. We have a wonderful facility here.

PHILLIPS: Thanks Tim.

BINDER: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Well, celebrating 16 years of this beautiful sound. The seals of San Francisco's pier 39 have been returning every January since 1990 following the fish that they love, of course, increasing in numbers and ignoring the gawkers prying into their personal lives. Various anniversary events are planned at the pier today.

Well, it is an outrage. A young wife goes into the hospital to deliver a baby and comes out a quadruple amputee. Why were this woman's arms and legs cut off? The search for answers ahead on LIVE FROM.


PHILLIPS: Firefighters in Virginia got a call they didn't expect this week. While fighting a house fire, the volunteer crew found out their own firehouse was burning. By the time they got there, most of their two-story building was destroyed, as were two ambulances parked inside. The department is using donated replacements until they can rebuild.

Whoever said there's no such thing as bad press. They want to talk to Richard Scrushy. That's if there's any truth to a writer's claims that the former HealthSound CEO paid her $11,000 to write favorable stories about him during his multi-billion dollar fraud trial.

Audry Lewis also says Scrushy saw the stories before they were printed in "The Birmingham Times," a small black weekly newspaper. And her pastor claims that he got money to bring black preachers to court to help sway Scrushy's mostly black jury. The two say that he still owes them $150,000. Scrushy, who was acquitted, denies everything, and his lawyer describes the allegations as a shakedown.

When it comes to jaw-dropping stories, this one is hard to beat. A Florida woman goes into a hospital to give birth and comes out a quadruple amputee. Cynthia Demos of our Orlando affiliate, WFTV, has more on a heart-breaking turn of events.


CLAUDIA MEJIA, QUADRUPLE AMPUTEE: Yes, I want to pick him up and I can't. He wants me to pick him up sometimes and I can't. That's very hard for me.

CYNTHIA DEMOS, WFTV REPORTER (voice-over): Claudia Mejia and husband, Tim, play with their 9-month-old Matthew and 7-year-old George. George continually asks his mother why she went to the hospital to have her second child and came back with her arms and legs gone.

MEJIA: He tell me every day, Mom, why did the doctors -- what happened? What happened? I want to know what happened. And I don't have an answer for that. DEMOS: Mejia went Orlando Regional South Seminole Hospital nine months ago and delivered Matthew. Afterwards, there were complications. She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical in Orlando where she had a quadruple amputation.

TIM EDWARDS, HUSBAND: I love her so I will always stick with her and take it a day at a time myself.

DEMOS: The hospital cited this, toxic shock syndrome, gangrene, streptococcus A, a flesh-eating bacteria that spreads quickly and can be deadly. But Mejia says after birth everything was fine, then 12 days later, still in the hospital, the bacteria had taken over her extremities. She had no idea when or how she caught this, and she says Orlando Regional Healthcare Systems won't tell her.

MEJIA: Because I try and I ask them, they don't give any information.

DEMOS: Her attorneys wrote this letter saying "according to the patient's right to know about adverse medical incidents, a new state constitutional amendment," the hospital must tell her how this happened.

JUDY HYMAN, ATTORNEY: When the statute is named patient's right to know, I don't know how it could be clearer.

DEMOS: Orlando Regional's attorneys wrote back. "Ms. Mejia's request may require legal resolution." In other words, sue us for the information, so Mejia filed this complaint requesting the information.

EDWARDS: We have a right to know what happened to us or her, I should say, and if it happened to anybody else in the hospital before her.

DEMOS: Orlando Regional doesn't see it that way.

SABRINA WILLIAMS, HOSPITAL SPOKESWOMAN: I guess the problem is that they are requesting records on other patients, and we are not willing to do that.

DEMOS: But Mejia and her family hope something is done that some explanation is given so when her 7-year-old asks what happened, she will have an answer.

MEJIA: I want to know what happened because I can't believe that after I went to have my baby, I went to deliver my baby and then I came out of the hospital like this.

DEMOS: Cynthia Demos, Channel 9, Eyewitness News.


PHILLIPS: Well, a hot debate leads to burnout in the blogosphere. The "Washington Post" turned off the reader comments feature on after it was flooded by what the "Post" describes as personal attacks, profanity and hate speech. is a site dedicated to sharing news by and about the newspaper.

What set off readers was a Sunday column by "Post" ombudsman Debra Howell, who wrote corrupt that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans. Well, that's true though most of the money went to Republicans. Cutting off the blog triggered a ton of e-mail to the editors.

His soulful growl was one of the most distinctive voices in music, and when he sang about the midnight hour, they called him wicked. Remembering Wilson Pickett coming up on LIVE FROM.


PHILLIPS: News just out of Hollywood that actor Tony Franciosa has died. Franciosa worked on stage and screen, appearing in such films as "A Face in the Crowd" and "The Long, Hot Summer."

But he will be best remembered as one of TV's go to guys for crime dramas like the "Name of the Game" and "Matt Helm." Franciosa reported died yesterday at 77 after suffering a massive stroke. At one time, he was married to Shelley Winters who died last weekend.

Oh, yes. He took cool Detroit soul, mixed in some hot Memphis funk and stormed up the record charts as the "Wicked" Wilson Pickett. His music is on our minds today as we sadly report that Pickett died of an heart attack in his adopted home state of Virginia. He was 64.

The Alabama native grew up singing gospel and got his start in R&B in Detroit, but unlike the smooth soul coming out of Motown Records at the time, Pickett sang with a sharper edge. He climbed the charts after heading south to Tennessee in the mid 60s, scoring a string of hits for Memphis-based Stax Records.

Remember "Mustang Sally," "In the Midnight Hour," "Funky Broadway"? Pickett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Aretha Franklin called him one of the greatest soul singers of all time.



PHILLIPS: Well, TopCat cheerleaders, Banana Joe's bathroom accusations of inappropriate behavior. It all adds up to six months probation for Angela Keathley. The former Carolina Panthers cheerleader pleaded guilty this week to disorderly conduct and obstructing police at a bar in Tampa, Banana's Joes, back in November.

It seems Keathley and fellow cheerleader Victoria Renee Thomas were accused of having sex in the bar's ladies room, leading to a fight with other women waiting to use the bathroom. Thomas has pleaded not guilty to several charges. Both women were dropped from the cheerleading squad.

Another milestone for the winningest coach in NCAA basketball. Tennessee's Pat Summitt celebrated win number 900 when her ladies beat Vanderbilt last night in Nashville. Summitt's team was down by 14 points during the game, but came back to win 80-68. Coach Summitt has a career full of big numbers. During her 32 years as coach, the team has won six national championships. This year those women are undefeated and ranked -- what else -- number one.

A day down on Wall Street. Ali Velshi with the closing bell, straight ahead. The news keeps coming. We'll keep bringing it to you. More LIVE FROM right after this.


PHILLIPS: Charges of left-wing bias and countercharges of McCarthyism -- they're not academic -- at UCLA, where an alumni group has gone to the Internet to expose allegedly radical professors. The Bruin Alumni Association is offering up to $100 to students who can provide class notes or recordings that show professors teaching a political message. Its The site has a list of so- called radicals. One of the professors on the list calls it nothing less than McCarthyism.

You'd think today's college grads would be ready to face the world. You would think a college degree is evidence of knowledge acquired and retained. You'd be wrong. A new study the Pew Charitable Trust says that today's grads can read, sure, but they don't always understand.

More than half of today's grads can't cope with such real world challenges as comparing credit card offers, figuring restaurant tips or -- and this really pains me to say -- comprehending news stories. Before you go feeling all superior, you should know the study rates the average literacy of college students a lot higher than that of the general population.



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