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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Thousands Unable to Return Home in Flooded Northeast; President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Visit Graceland; Roller Coaster Safety
Aired June 30, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening again.
Tonight: the headline nobody wants to see, new allegations of American war crimes in Iraq.
ANNOUNCER: The allegations are ugly, but what's the evidence against soldiers accused of rape and murder?
On the run and on the air -- nearly five years after 9/11, why are earth can't we get this guy?
Was it the coaster or the hidden heart defect, or both? A boy died -- lifesaving facts you need to know about your child's health.
And, who knew?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew he loved Elvis. I didn't realize how much he loved Elvis.
ANNOUNCER: What happens when a president and a prime minister call on the King?
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Tonight, sitting in for Anderson, and reporting from CNN's Washington bureau, here's John Roberts.
ROBERTS: And we begin tonight in a part of Iraq where brutality is routine. Most of it, the vast majority, is the work of insurgents. Some of it, though, allegedly, has been practiced by American forces in Haditha and Hamandiyah and now Mahmudiyah -- so, all the angles tonight on these fresh allegations, rape and murder and an attempted cover-up in Mahmudiyah back in March.
We will look at the investigation, the latest in a string of them, which raises many questions, including how good is the military at policing itself? We will also get a firsthand account of the incredible strain and pressure on troops in that part of Iraq from a Marine who patrolled there.
This was, you will recall, where two members of the Army's 502nd Infantry Regiment were kidnapped and butchered some days ago.
Here's CNN's Jamie McIntyre.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Army sources say the allegations came up during combat stress debriefing sessions that followed the murders of Privates Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker.
According to a senior Army official, two soldiers from Menchaca's and Tucker's unit, the 502nd Infantry Regiment, told military counselors they heard about an incident that happened on March 12 in which two other soldiers supposedly raped an Iraqi woman, and then one of the soldiers allegedly killed her and three family members, including a child.
The secondhand account was enough to prompt Major General James Thurman to order a criminal probe.
A brief statement issued by the military in Iraq says, a preliminary inquiry found sufficient information existed to recommend a criminal investigation into the incident.
An Army official says one of the suspects is confined to base in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, the same area where it's alleged the four Iraqi civilians were killed in their home. The investigation is the latest in a string of incidents in which it's alleged U.S. troops hilled Iraqi civilians. In Haditha, where 24 Iraqis were killed last November, an investigation is still under way.
In Hamandiyah, seven U.S. troops are charged with killing an Iraqi man in April. At Thar Thar Lake, four soldiers are charged with killing three detainees in May. And, in Ramadi, two soldiers have been charged in connection with the shooting of an unarmed man in February.
(on camera): Army sources say, in this latest incident, a second suspect was discharged from the service for reasons the Army won't disclose. He is believed to be in the United States and is wanted for questioning. No charges have been filed against either soldier, as the investigation continues.
Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
ROBERTS: As we mentioned, this is both the latest alleged atrocity and, if true, yet another ugly incident, American or insurgent, in a very difficult corner of Iraq.
My next guest was there on patrol, former Marine Lieutenant Ilario Pantano. He also knows what it's like to be accused of war crimes. He was investigated and cleared in the killing of two insurgents, something he writes about in the book "Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy." Lieutenant Pantano and I spoke earlier tonight.
ROBERTS: These allegations are incredibly serious, that a soldier raped a woman, then killed her and killed two other people to cover it up. What do you make of this alleged incident?
ILARIO PANTANO, FORMER U.S. MARINE: John, I think that they're the most serious allegations that we have seen come out of the region so far.
And, because of the seriousness, I urge caution, tremendous caution, at this stage. It's an investigation. It's in the very early stage of that investigation. And this type of an allegation has the potential to be the most incendiary that we have seen so far. So, caution is the order of the day. Let's -- let's let a thorough investigation unfold.
And let's remember, first of all, the 101st is a very professional outfit, one of the most professional outfits serving in Iraq right now. Let's also remember that most commanders and even junior commanders are married and have children. So, allegations of -- of misconduct against civilians, and certainly against women, are the kinds of things that are not tolerated at all, and will be investigated very seriously.
If these are true, then the punishment will be very severe. And -- and that will be important for the Iraqis and for the Americans.
ROBERTS: Allegations in other incidents originally came to light through Iraqis who had reported them in places like Hamandiyah and -- and Haditha.
This one, apparently, though, came from the mouth of a U.S. serviceman, who was undergoing a stress debrief. And apparently that corroborated something that someone else said. So...
PANTANO: I don't want to...
ROBERTS: ... does it have more credence because of that?
PANTANO: Well, I don't want to diminish the credibility of American servicemen. But I would remind your audience that allegations were brought against me that was started by an American serviceman. And they were proved to be completely unfounded.
So, let's wait and let the investigation bear its course. Sometimes, guys on the ground, in the heat of combat, in the confusion, don't always get it right. And these are such serious allegations that really more, even, than any other case, I recommend that we have a very cautious and -- and mediated approach, and that we let the investigation bear its course.
Bear in mind that this area of -- of the Triangle of Death, Mahmudiyah, was actually one of the bright spots in the Triangle of Death. It's surrounded by towns like Lutafiyah to the south, almost a mini-Fallujah. And then to the north is Yusufiyah, where we lost heroes very recently.
All of this is really, safe to say, a suburb of southern Baghdad. And it's along one of the most important supply routes, which is Route Jackson, that runs straight through town. Hamandiyah has the potential to be one of the bright spots in that area. So, let's let this investigation play out before we -- we condemn the area.
ROBERTS: This investigation brings to almost a half-dozen the number of investigations that have been announced by the Pentagon just in the month of June. Does this indicate, Ilario, that there's a sudden epidemic of this type of -- of alleged misconduct? Or is it just that the Pentagon is more eager to make it public?
PANTANO: John, I think there's two things to consider here.
The first is, there have been a number of allegations made in the last weeks. But the incidents in question have happened over time, almost a year's span of time. So, you know, I -- I would put into context that, if we consider that, in some American neighborhoods, we have more criminal activity in one weekend than we have seen on the ground committed by a million men and women over a three-year liberation, I think it's an important context.
Our soldiers and Marines are behaving very professionally, as a rule. We are going to see criminal behavior. It's an inevitability not just of armed conflict, but of human behavior. We have criminals from the Congress to the church. It's natural, at some point in time, we're going to see some conduct that's going to be inappropriate, and it's going to be punished very severely. I assure you.
ROBERTS: But, as you said, the overwhelming majority of U.S. troops behaving professionally and doing a good job.
Ilario Pantano, thanks very much for your time.
PANTANO: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: Just a day after Osama bin Laden's last tape hit the Internet, we appear to be on the brink of yet another one. The announcement -- a tease, if you can call it that -- came today on an Arabic-language Web site.
It says the next bin Laden tape will address Islamic fighters in Iraq and Somalia. And, just as with the last one, there will be an army of people scouring it for clues that might lead them, at long last, to the man himself.
Here's CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the eve of yet another new message by Osama bin Laden, analysts say the one we have in hand isn't a lot different from his previous threats.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OSAMA BIN LADEN, LEADER OF AL QAEDA (through translator): We will continue, God willing, to fight you and your allies everywhere in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan, until we drain your money and kill your men.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TODD: But what clues can we get from how the message was sent to where Osama bin Laden might be?
It was posted on an Islamic Web site, complete with split-screen graphics and pictures, produced by a company calling itself the Al- Sahab Institute.
(on camera): You might think a company with employees might lead Western intelligence to people who have contact with bin Laden. But experts say there may not have been any human contact at all, and the trail may be colder than it was when al Qaeda only sent messages on tapes to the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: When they were sending them all to Al-Jazeera -- or a lot of them to Al-Jazeera -- there was at least the kind of theoretical idea that you could trace the chain of custody through the tape back from Al-Jazeera back to bin Laden. Now, you can't trace the chain of custody back, because they're posting these things directly on jihadist Web sites at some anonymous Internet cafe that could be anywhere in Pakistan.
TODD: But with the ability to monitor international phone, e- mail and banking transactions electronically, wouldn't similar Internet postings provide clues? Experts say, the way al Qaeda may be using the Internet, with, say, chat rooms, rather than e-mail sent from one computer to another, can be harder to trace.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: They can go into a chat room. They can do this in a residence. In recent years, Pakistan has acquired more high-speed Internet connections.
TODD: Which means, intelligence sources say, it may take some old-fashioned digging, finding human sources, to catch bin Laden -- one possibility, a system of couriers reportedly used by al Qaeda to track down freelance cameramen, bring them to bin Laden and his associates, and record their messages. Analysts say that system, reported by the Associated Press, at least allows for the possibility of intercepting operatives in the field, and eventually bin Laden himself.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: And for more perspective on this latest bin Laden tape, we go to Peter Bergen, our CNN terrorism analyst, who sat down with us earlier.
ROBERTS: Peter, it's not exactly a rapid-response operation, but this audiotape would seem to indicate that Osama bin Laden is still capable of following the news and responding to it.
BERGEN: Well, he's always been sort of a news junkie. He's -- we have had a lot of these tapes from him, more than 20 since 9/11, and also 20 from his sidekick, Ayman al-Zawahri.
And they often refer to recent news events in Sudan, the death of Zawahri, stuff that's going on in Somalia. They don't -- you know, these guys have a lot of time on their hands, I think. And they -- they probably are listening to VOA, BBC. They may be watching Al- Jazeera. They're getting news from a variety of sources.
ROBERTS: Do -- do -- did you find anything in this tape that was particularly troubling. Or is it, as the White House said today, it is what it is?
BERGEN: Well, it is what it is.
It was imminent -- we expected a tape reacting to Zarqawi's death from -- both from bin Laden and Zawahri. I think we now expect another tape from bin Laden and Zarqawi talking about the new leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq. We have a name of somebody al Qaeda has identified as this new leader. It will be interesting to me to see, in the next week or so, if Osama bin Laden and Zawahri really embrace this guy.
ROBERTS: The fact that it was not mentioned in this particular tape, might that be an indication that this was recorded between the time that Zarqawi was hit and the time that al-Muhajer was named the leader of al Qaeda...
ROBERTS: ... al Qaeda in Iraq?
BERGEN: I -- I think so, because these tapes have -- generally speaking, have had a two- to three-week turnaround. And this is a very good example of that. It's very unusual for a tape to come out within two or three days of an event. It's much longer. The process of making the tape, the process of getting couriers to take it to wherever they post it, that takes time.
ROBERTS: What does it say that bin Laden is still only making audiotapes, when Ayman al-Zawahri is making fairly well-produced, translated videotapes?
BERGEN: You know, I'm sort of an agnostic about that. I mean, you know, perhaps he's deathly ill, but I don't think so. I just think that he's -- you know, there's a high degree of operational security that bin Laden has followed. And videotapes just have more information. One of the reasons Zarqawi was killed was because he made a videotape that was just, you know, rich with information about where he was.
And, you know, these guys have actually got smart in the last -- in the most recent tapes. Instead of sending them to Al-Jazeera, they're just posting them to jihadist Web sites, which you can find an Internet cafe in Pakistan -- there are literally tens of thousands -- post it to a jihadist Web site, and there's basic -- it's basically untraceable.
Sending it to Al-Jazeera, as they have done in the past, that was a much more traceable chain of custody, because there's only a limited number of places that Al-Jazeera would be receiving these tapes, whereas there's a potentially, you know, infinite number of Internet cafes in somewhere like Pakistan.
ROBERTS: The U.S. military got Abu Musab al-Zarqawi not by following him, but by following people close to him. Do you expect that they're trying to do the same thing with bin Laden; they're trying to track down the couriers that are delivering these tapes, trying to track down the production company that is -- is doing some modification to these tapes, trying to sort of backtrack, if you will, to find out where he's hiding?
BERGEN: That would be the best way to go.
This -- this production arm of al Qaeda, Al-Sahab, which produced this videotape, the videotape from Zawahri, and also the audiotape from bin Laden, you know, this is a fairly active production company. And there was a piece in the Associated Press recently. They interviewed one of the cameramen. Apparently, there are a number of cameramen who they call on.
They obviously have some -- some crude post-production facilities to do these split-screens and streaming video and Chyrons, lower- thirds, that we see on these tapes. And, also, in some tapes, we have seen them being produced in different languages.
So, I -- you know, that -- that is the only way to find Zawahri and bin Laden at this point, short of somebody dropping a dime on them, is to follow the couriers, follow the production process of how these tapes are made.
ROBERTS: Peter Bergen, as always, thanks.
BERGEN: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: So, the voice of terror returns, but the face remains elusive. Here's the "Raw Data." Since the 9/11 attacks, 16 taped statements have been attributed to Osama bin Laden. At least six have all been audio recordings. Bin Laden's most recent videotape message aired more than a year-and-a- half ago, on October 29, 2004.
In the flooded Northeast, the waters are receding, but thousands of people are still unable to return home. And millions of dollars of damage awaits them when they get there -- coming up, the latest on the flooding that has created so many disaster zones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The drops and the loops are what you wait for. But it's the anticipation that sets it all up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: They're called super-coasters, bigger, faster, steeper than ever. But do they carry greater risks as well? CNN's Gary Tuchman found out.
And Japan's prime minister goes to Graceland and finds his inner Elvis -- his hip-shaking moves when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: Throughout the soggy Northeast tonight, the waters continue to recede, but it could be days before people can return home in many cities.
In parts of five states and Washington, D.C., floodwaters this week submerged entire towns, forcing thousands to flee low-lying areas. Low-lying areas have been especially hard-hit, especially those next to rivers.
CNN's Allan Chernoff is in Binghamton, New York, and joins us with the latest.
Good evening to you, Allan.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, John.
Well, we have shown you already what some of the low-lying areas look like. And here, we're not even close to a river, but, as you can see, you certainly do not have to live right on the banks of a river to have a basement looking like this, filled with about two feet of water.
The record rainfall here in Binghamton and the surrounding areas has actually overwhelmed sewage systems, leading water to actually back up from drains and even some toilets.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHERNOFF (voice-over): When storm drains back up in the town of Conklin, New York, you have got more than just another fish story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, you son of a gun.
CHERNOFF: The fact is, the fish may be able to navigate some streets better than vehicles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not good.
CHERNOFF: For three days, Dan and Melanie Mastronardi family room has been under water. Upstairs, this living room carpet, it used to be white.
MELANIE MASTRONARDI, RESIDENT OF CONKLIN, NEW YORK: I still can't believe it. It's -- words...
DAN MASTRONARDI, RESIDENT OF CONKLIN, NEW YORK: It's worse than we thought it could be.
M. MASTRONARDI: Ever. Ever.
CHERNOFF: At least they could get into their house, not so for Linda Tomer of nearby Binghamton, who has been shut out by floodwater.
LINDA TOMER, RESIDENT OF BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK: I'm devastated. I'm devastated. I cannot get in my house. It is rough. I have a 84- year-old mother. We have not been in the house for like four days.
CHERNOFF: Homes in the Binghamton region look like small islands; 18-wheelers appear as drowning victims of the swollen rivers. Dozens of New York highways and bridges remain closed.
After taking a bird's-eye view, New York Governor George Pataki promised state aid of up to $5,000 per family, though he concedes there's no way yet to add up all the damage.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: It's got to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm sure that the federal government will work with us to make sure that we get the disaster relief that we're entitled to.
CHERNOFF: Pennsylvania is requesting federal disaster aid from Washington for 34 counties. The floods claimed 18 lives across five states and Washington, D.C. Overflow from the Delaware River still fills the streets of New Jersey's capital, Trenton, preventing some people from returning to their neighborhoods.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's crazy. It's hard, knowing that we live over there, and don't know if we have got a house or not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to, like, hurry up and just start cleaning up, so I could actually sleep in my own bed.
ROBERTS: Allan, with the water still flowing in so many places, what are folks doing to dry out their homes?
CHERNOFF: They're doing anything they can.
But, in some cases, it's actually leading to a vicious circle. Have a look. Because the ground is so saturated around here, when one neighbor actually pumps out water from the basement, which you see is happening over there, the water here flows right down the driveway, into the curb, and way down the street.
And, as you can see, down the street over there, there's a massive puddle. You really could call it a little pond. The pond is so large that it is actually overflowing into the adjoining homes and creating more of a flood situation for neighbors.
So, come down here, and you can see the front yard of this house, as well as the backyard, are flooded. And it also is going right into the basement. So, it seems only Mother Nature can really determine when this area will dry out, and that may not be for a while, because the weather forecast calls for sunny skies on Saturday, but some rain on Sunday.
ROBERTS: And, Allan, it sounds like, despite all the hardship there, somebody has found the time and the fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.
All right, thanks very much.
CHERNOFF: Yes, they...
ROBERTS: In a moment, what may have caused a 12-year-old boy to die after riding a roller coaster at Disney World? There's new information on that story.
But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories that we're following tonight.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John.
For the first time, a motive has been revealed in the shooting death of a Tennessee minister. At a bond hearing today, an investigator testified that Mary Winkler said her husband's repeated criticism and stress over financial problems caused her to snap and shoot him. Earlier this month, Winkler pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.
In New York, former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik pleaded guilty to charges of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts while serving as city corrections commissioner, the job he had before becoming New York's top cop. Under a plea deal, Kerik avoids any jail time and will pay $221,000 in fines. In what is being called a calculated gamble, NASA is going ahead with tomorrow's shuttle launch, despite objections by two top managers, who fear foam flying off the fuel tank might harm the space shuttle Discovery, though they don't believe the crew is at risk. The shuttle is set to blast of from Kennedy Space Center at 3:49 p.m. Eastern time. It's the first shuttle launch in almost a year, and only the second since the Columbia disaster in 2003.
Finally for you, a cautionary tale, we think -- former "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff, remember him, played a lifeguard, of course, on TV for 11 years, and rode around with KITT, but that didn't save him from unexpected danger yesterday. He actually severed a tendon in his right arm while he was shaving at a gym in a London hotel.
Here's how it happened. Hasselhoff apparently hit his head on a chandelier in mid-shave, showering his arm with broken glass. Doctors operated to repair the injury. Hasselhoff is said to be doing fine.
John, I hope that never happens to you while you're shaving.
ROBERTS: My goodness. That's the most bizarre shaving accident I have ever heard.
HILL: It's odd, yes.
ROBERTS: Now, I met him about a week ago, while I was filling in for Miles on "AMERICAN MORNING," a very interesting guy, a nice guy, and a very funny guy.
ROBERTS: It's amazing that something like that happened to him.
HILL: It is. It is a little crazy.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Erica.
HILL: Hope he's doing well.
HILL: Thanks, John.
ROBERTS: Thanks. See you later on this hour.
Too bad Elvis Presley isn't alive these days, or else he would have seen this, the Japanese prime minister and President Bush paying homage to the King at Graceland, one of them actually channeling Elvis. That's coming up.
And, following the death of a young boy at an amusement park this week, we look at how fast coasters really go these days. Is it too fast?
That story when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: A preliminary autopsy has been completed, but mystery still surrounds the death of a 12-year-old boy after a roller coaster ride at a Disney theme park.
CNN's Susan Candiotti has the latest on the investigation.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Passengers were lining up again to rocket through the dark on Disney World's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at MGM Studios, one day after a 12- year-old collapsed and died on the thrill ride.
Michael Russell's family said he was healthy, even recently passed a physical with flying colors. Yet, initial autopsy findings uncovered a heart defect. A medical examiner says, "No evidence of injury was found, but congenital heart abnormalities were detected which will be further evaluated."
The 12-year-old from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, collapsed during the one-minute ride that jolts riders from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds. Disney says it's given more than 36 million rides since it opened in 1999.
The boy's father, a Green Beret who served in Iraq, used CPR until paramedics arrived. Someone at the ride called 911.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: You have radio contact with somebody there, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
911 OPERATOR: Right. We want to make sure they have a defibrillator, if there is an AED available.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right? Find out if there is one available.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Twenty-one seconds later, a reply.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there a defibrillator available?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A defibrillator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A defibrillator?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
911 OPERATOR: An AED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Paramedics arrived three minutes after the 911 call and used a defibrillator four minutes later. The boy was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Whether a defibrillator, which shocks a heart that has stopped, might have made a difference if available sooner is impossible to say. In Disney's own 2002 safety study, the company cites praise from the American Heart Association for voluntarily having at least 600 defibrillators and 4,000 employees trained to use them on its properties and cruise ships.
But it doesn't keep defibrillators at each high-intensity ride. Disney prefers to use -- quote -- "roving professional paramedics at each park to respond to emergencies."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can make rapid patient contact. They can begin airway management. They can begin CPR, if necessary. They can begin any type of drug therapies that may be necessary. So, you know, they provide a higher level of service than just having the ability to provide a -- a -- a shock to a patient that needs it.
CANDIOTTI: The family of a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy who died last year on Epcot's Mission: Space ride is suing Disney for not having a defibrillator at the ride itself, even though an autopsy showed that youngster also had a preexisting heart problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should be readily available and cast members who are trained -- again, Disney says they have thousands of cast members trained to use the machines. They should have somebody there and ready to use the machine.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): In Michael Russell's case, the exact cause of death won't be known for a while. His family is getting help, both from Disney and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, military base, where his father is stationed.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Orlando.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Meanwhile, this summer millions of people will visit theme parks to ride roller coasters. Whether made of wood or metal, looping or non-looping, scream machines get more elaborate and faster every year. And they are very, very big business. CNN's Gary Tuchman takes a ride. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you see the skull and cross bones, it's too late to turn back. There are more than 1,300 roller coasters in the United States. Bigger, better, faster, steeper. Coasters are more popular than ever. 335 million people went to U.S. amusement parks last year, most went on roller coasters.
BETH ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION AMUSEMENT PARKS & ATTRACTIONS: Our technology continues to improve and the demand for more fun, for new things.
TUCHMAN: The drops and the loops are what you wait for. But it's the anticipation that sets it all up. Grand openings of super coasters are the big thing in the industry now. 200 foot tall, 70 mile per hour Goliath just opened this year at Six Flags over Georgia. It follows in the tradition of the great cyclone at New York's Coney Island, 79 years old and going strong. Other traditional coasters are the racer at Pittsburgh's Kennywood Park, a wooden coaster where you race another car. But it's the ultimate thrill coasters with huge drops and loops that are dominating the industry now.
I play a game with my kids when I take them on a roller coaster, they could get on this time but they're at summer camp right now. The game is, keep a serious face as long as you can. When you go through the loop, you see if you can stay serious. But it's very hard to do for a long time. These are not your parents' or grandparents' roller coasters. But the industry says greater thrills do not mean greater risks.
ROBERTSON: Roller coasters are absolutely safe. In our industry, in today's regulatory system, there is virtually no safer form of recreation.
TUCHMAN: American amusement parks took in more than $11 billion last year. The feeling of your stomach dropping out is a great feeling but one piece of advice. Do not eat lunch or dinner just before you get on this. The summer season is just hitting its stride. Roller coaster ridership is expected to be record-setting. So what did you think of that?
It was OK. I'm surprised we held on to the camera.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Gary, nothing like a little reporter involvement there. The industry says that it's safe but what can riders do to make roller coasters even safer?
TUCHMAN: Well John you know those warning signs you ignore when you go on thrill rides? Well don't ignore them. They say you shouldn't go on if you're pregnant, you shouldn't go on if you have a bad back, you shouldn't go on if you have those problems that could be a risk. So it's there for insurance reasons, those signs, but it's also there for practical reasons. ROBERTS: I think one of the problems though is Gary is that some of these young children who have these congenital defects in their heart don't know about it until it kills them. Gary Tuchman thanks very much.
If you think you're in control while driving and talking on your cell phone, we've got news for you. Consider it a wake-up call. That's coming up next.
Plus, it was a crime that shocked the country. The murder of 9- year-old Jessica Lunsford. The case seemed open and shut until today's bombshell court ruling. That's ahead on 360.
ROBERTS: It's the most famous list in America, the FBI's ten most wanted. But who's really on it and what threat do they really pose? In our next hour 360 profiles the list that has become one of the most effective tools in the history of law enforcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The success rate of the top ten program is terrific. There have been 482 fugitives placed on the top ten most wanted list. Of those, 452 have been captured or located. So the success rate is quite high.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: "Most Wanted," a 360 special report. Joining Anderson Cooper will be the host of "America's Most Wanted" John Walsh. That's in our next hour.
In a little more than a week, the trial of a sex offender charged with murdering 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford will begin. At the center of the prosecution's case is the defendant's audio taped confession. Tonight you will hear it. But today, a judge made sure the jury will not. CNN's John Zarrella reports.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John Couey's confession that he killed 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford seemed to leave little doubt.
JOHN COUEY: Went out there one night and dug a hole and put her in it, buried her. (INAUDIBLE) plastic bag, plastic baggies.
OFFICER: Was she dead already?
COUEY: No, she was still alive, I buried her alive.
ZARRELLA: But the jury in Couey's trial may never hear the chilling words. As John Couey sat in a Citrus County courtroom, Judge Ric Howard said he had no choice but to throw out the confession. Couey had repeatedly asked for an attorney, but did not get one. JUDGE RIC HOWARD, CITRUS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: This is a material and a profound violation of one of the most bedrock principles of criminal law.
ZARRELLA: Citrus County, Florida detectives had gone to interview Couey in Augusta, Georgia, where he was picked up. During the interview Couey is heard asking time and again to have an attorney present.
OFFICER: John will you take a lie detector test for us?
COUEY: I guess. I want a lawyer.
OFFICER: I'm just asking. I'm just asking. Would you? I'm not saying do it now, just saying would you?
COUEY: I said I would. I just want to talk to a lawyer, I want a lawyer here present. I want to talk to a lawyer because if people are trying to accuse something I didn't do. I didn't do it.
ZARRELLA: Shortly after his confession Jessica's body was found buried outside a mobile home where Couey was living, she was found in a plastic bag clutching a stuffed animal, her hands tied. Following the judge's decision the Citrus County sheriff defended his detectives.
SHERIFF JEFF DAWSY, CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA: You're sitting now 15 months after we found Jessica. The day we interviewed John Couey in the investigation, we still believed Jessica was alive. Those guys were on the premise of looking for a live child.
ZARRELLA: Former federal prosecutor Kendall Coffey says even the best of motives don't trump the law.
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: What they did might have been understandable in human terms because there was still hope that Jessica might still be alive. But in legal terms they crossed the line and the judge had no choice under Miranda but to exclude that confession.
ZARRELLA: Police and prosecutors say they would like to have had the confession but there is still an abundance of evidence, including a bloody mattress from Couey's bedroom that contained Jessica's DNA. As for Couey, he has now pled not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin July 10th. John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Coming up, the list that really made a name for itself and perhaps the people on it too. In a 360 special, Anderson Cooper and John Walsh take a look at the FBI's ten most wanted. That's coming up.
Plus a new warning about using a cell phone while driving. Is it any safer than driving drunk? You might be shocked to see what some researchers found. Their report when 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROBERTS: People yakking and driving. It's a scene that's becoming all too familiar now that more than 200 million Americans are using cell phones. And despite safety concerns, only New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia have complete bans on handheld cell phones while driving. Of course, if it's you doing the driving you probably feel completely in control. But new research suggests that even people using hands-free devices drive as if they were legally drunk. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In their study of 40 drivers taking 160 trips in a driving simulator, researchers at the University of Utah expected a few fender benders. What they did not expect was that legally drunk, yes, drunk, test subjects, would do better than drivers on cell phones.
FRANK DREWS, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH: I think that is a fair statement. I mean, what we found is a significant increase in accident rates when driving and conversing on a cell phone, and we didn't find this increase in our study when people were legally drunk.
FOREMAN: Professor Drews demonstrated what he found. We conducted half our interview by cell phone while he was in the simulator.
FOREMAN: And just like his subjects, he says he was hitting the brakes more slowly, having trouble following the flow of traffic --
What's the speed limit where you are?
DREWS: It is actually -- a good question. I don't know.
FOREMAN: And several times, he nearly crashed.
DREWS: There's a big -- oh my gosh. There's a big --
FOREMAN: Still, there are questions about this research. It was a small sample of drivers who were barely drunk. And most drunk driving accidents occur with people well above the legal limit for intoxication. And a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that while cell phone talking is dangerous, the crash risk is even higher for people who are reaching for things, distracted by sights along the road or overly tired. In addition, the cell phone industry says, look at the real world.
JOHN WALLS, CTIA - THE WIRELESS ASSOCIATION: What we see is over the last ten years, accidents going down, while cell phone usage has gone up almost 4,000 percent. So if it was a sinister of a behavior combination as many claim it is, we think we'd see a proportionate rise in accidents and that's just not happening. FOREMAN: Nevertheless, the professor says with nearly one in ten drivers using a cell phone at any given moment, his research should give lawmakers something to talk about over this busy driving weekend. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Here's something else that's bound to get people talking. A world leader impersonating Elvis. Today, President Bush took Japan's prime minister to Graceland where the hardcore Elvis fan behaved as if he were in a karaoke bar. Don't miss this one.
Also, how much would you pay for lunch with the world's second richest man? We'll tell you what one person will have to fork over. Fork over. When 360 continues.
ROBERTS: We hope that you'll stick around tonight for a special hour of AC 360, it's a look at the FBI's ten most wanted. From terrorists to polygamists to out and out thugs, it's the worst of the worst. See how they made it on to the list and how they are being pursued. 360: Most Wanted" coming up next.
Also tonight, Japan's prime minister impersonates the king of rock 'n' roll. It's the shot of the day and it's coming up. But first, Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us now with some of the business news that we're following tonight. Hi, Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: John, stocks finished the week and the second quarter on a down note after weaker than expected data on Chicago area manufacturing. The Dow dropped 40 points today to close at 11,150. The NASDAQ and S&P each fell 2 points, basically flat. The markets weren't able to take advantage of new excitement over General Motors which saw its stock rise after billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, a big shareholder, said automakers Renault and Nissan are interested in buying a significant stake in the company. Now meantime, one of GM's top competitors is actually turning up the pressure. Chrysler Group saying this holiday weekend it will unveil the most aggressive auto incentives of the year. It's combining employee level pricing with 0 percent financing and a 30-day money back guarantee. Chrysler is trying to clear out over two months worth of old, unsold vehicles.
And changes are coming to your crackberry, yes, the Blackberry. The maker of the e-mail device Research in Motion says new versions will likely be thinner, lighter and will come with extra do-dads like a camera. The new products could hit shelves in September and early October.
And maybe you've heard about a buffet lunch, but what about a Buffett lunch? One lucky bidder and up to seven friends are going to experience just that, lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett, who's of course the second-richest man in the world. And it's usually an expensive meal. The lunch up for auction on eBay, the winning bid, $620,100. It benefits a nonprofit group that helps San Francisco's poor and homeless, the GLIDE Foundation, which is a great organization I have to say.
ROBERTS: Erica I wouldn't say it's going to be an expensive lunch because don't forget, that Warren Buffett --
HILL: He's a hot dog right?
ROBERTS: Warren Buffett still lives in the house he bought so many years ago for $31,000.
HILL: I think the lunch is normally like a hot dog somewhere.
ROBERTS: For Buffett it probably is. Stay right there because it's time now for the shot of day and this one is all shook up. It comes to us from the land of the king, Graceland. We don't often get too see a world leader impersonate the late, great Elvis Presley, nor should we. But when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi put on a pair of Elvis' glasses today, well, he just couldn't resist. It was as if Elvis himself had come back from the dead.
HILL: I've got to say, it never gets old. Every time I see it or every time I hear him sing.
ROBERTS: How could that ever get old? It's like the bouncing bear, it never gets old.
HILL: Did you know he also shares a birthday with the king.
ROBERTS: Yes I know.
HILL: It was meant to be.
ROBERTS: And he's got that great doo too, doesn't he?
ROBERTS: Thanks Erica, see you next hour.
HILL: Have a great weekend, John.
ROBERTS: As you might guess, Koizumi is a huge Elvis fan which is why at the end of his two day visit to the United States, President Bush brought the prime minister to Graceland. It was the first visit for both world leaders and certainly a change of pace from their no nonsense oval office discussions. CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on the president, the prime minister, and the king.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When a president and a prime minister meet, it usually sounds like this. When that same prime minister goes to the home of the king -- love me tender -- love me tender.
BUSH: I knew he loved Elvis. I didn't realize how much he loved Elvis. MOOS: Graceland brought out Prime Minister Koizumi's inner Elvis. He even put on Elvis sunglasses, transformed into an Elvis impersonator. All that was missing was the leather outfit. Elvis songs played aboard Air Force One as the two leaders flew down to Memphis, press vehicles following the motorcade got into the swing as they passed the Heartbreak Hotel. We should have known Prime Minister Koizumi would break out in song.
JUNCHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPAN'S PRIME MINISTER: Wise men say.
MOOS: After all, he'd done it once before during a CNN interview.
KOIZUMI: I want you, I need you.
MOOS: The prime minister, who has the same birthday as Elvis, toured Graceland with Elvis' flesh and blood, daughter Lisa Marie and former wife, Priscilla. Lisa Marie got an arm and an earful.
KOIZUMI: Hold me close, I want to hold you tight
MOOS: The prime minister called the hour-long tour a dream come true.
KOIZUMI: To dream the impossible dream.
MOOS: It was as if the prime minister was possessed by Elvis. He spoke in Elvis-isms.
KOIZUMI: Thank you very much for treating me nice. Plus every song, treating me nice.
MOOS: Even the hard-bitten press corps seemed bitten by the Elvis bug, donning those gold-framed glasses. President Bush managed to resist seemingly bemused by his guest. The president is forever talking about how well they get along.
BUSH: Very friendly relationship. He's a good friend. How close our relationship is. He's a good buddy.
MOOS: And while the president seems smitten with the prime minister, the prime minister is smitten with Elvis. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Koizumi has left the building. And that does it for me from here in Washington. Have a good weekend, everyone, happy Fourth of July. Coming up next, tracking down the FBI's ten most wanted. Join Anderson as he profiles the notorious fugitives. With him for the hour, the host of "America's Most Wanted," John Walsh. "Most Wanted: a special hour of 360" next.
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