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Tunnel Collapse in Boston; Blasts in Mumbai, India

Aired July 11, 2006 - 11:30   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Out of Mumbai, India, explosions ripping through crowded commuter trains. At least seven blasts tearing through the evening rush hour. It happened around -- in and around India's financial capital of Mumbai, the city formerly known as Bombay.
Police say at least 70 people are dead. Wire reports put the death toll around 100. Another 300 people were injured in those blasts.

Authorities in Boston say a broken steel tie set off last night's tunnel tragedy. Three ton ceiling panels fell, crushing a car and killing one person. The structure is part of the $15 billion, 15-year "big dig" project plagued with problems. Six employees of a concrete supplier were arrested in May and charged with delivering substandard materials. In April, 2005, debris fell from the overhead vent onto cars and they have been many large leaks.

More now from Gail Huff with our affiliate WCVB.


GAIL HUFF, WCVB CORRESPONDENT: A 38-year-old Boston woman was killed. She was struck in her car by a ceiling panel that fell from a tunnel.

It happened about 11:00 last night. The car was crushed by several concrete panels that fell from the ceiling of a tunnel on the way to Logan Airport in Boston. The panels weigh three tons. We're told a steel tie back gave way.

The tunnel is part of Boston's "big dig" project, often criticized for being over budget and for shoddy work.

Now the tunnel is closed indefinitely.

In Boston, I'm Gail Huff.


KAGAN: From Boston to Mumbai, there are new numbers coming in on the series of explosions on that railway through Mumbai.

Betty Nguyen has that -- Betty.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we've been watching this all morning, Daryn, as you well know. It started, you know, around 15 dead. Then it grew and grew. And now it's up to 135 people dead, some 260 people injured. Seven blasts on a commuter train during rush hour. I mean it couldn't have come at a worse time, around 6:00 p.m. Mumbai time. And these trains were just simply packed.

We're looking at video right now of some of the injured. Some 260 people, mind you, who were injured. But 135 dead so far. And obviously they are working just as fast as possible to treat those injured. And, of course, they're still searching for those still who could possibly be inside these commuter trains.

Those blasts occurring around 8:30 a.m. Eastern our time, but during the height of evening rush hour in Mumbai.

So we'll stay on top of this, Daryn, and as soon as more numbers come in -- hopefully, they don't. But you know how this usually plays out in an incident where so many people are injured in several bomb blasts, in fact, this being seven. So we'll keep you updated as those numbers do come in.

KAGAN: All right, Betty, thank you.

Today, the Pentagon changing the rules at Guantanamo Bay. Sources telling CNN that from now on, detainees will recover protections under the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war. The move gives some basic legal rights to detainees, among them suspected Al Qaeda members.

It's a reversal for the Bush administration and it comes after last month's Supreme Court ruling that trying terror detainees in military tribunals is illegal.

Two U.S. soldiers kidnapped and killed in Iraq and now a video on an Islamic Web site claims to show the aftermath of their killing. It's followed by a photograph of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with his voice and a statement that was released earlier this year.

The video contains graphic footage reportedly of the soldiers' bodies. It goes on to say the killings were to avenge the alleged rape of an Iraqi girl and the murder of her family.

CNN cannot verify the tape's authenticity.


KAGAN: We're going to join our affiliate of CNN in India.

Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED IBN ANCHOR: ... but the explosive devices were (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


Of course, we have our correspondent, Ganaya Singh (ph). He's at the Martunga Station, where he has been describing some of the shock, the horror that commuters have faced -- mangled compartments and the bodies strewn around there.

Let us also tell you at this time that hospitals that have -- that have taken some of the injured in, that are treating patients over there, we have their contact numbers over there.

We have the Sion Hospital. This is the main hospital where most of those who are injured are going to. In case you want to get some information, they have set up a help line there in Mumbai. That is 022 and then 407-6380.

We also know that there is the Dahlan Hospital (ph), the Shushusha Hospital (ph), 444-9161 over there. And those injured in the Mahim blast have been taken to the S.L. Rahaja Hospital (ph), 446- 7569.

We have all those numbers for u.

You can go to our Web site,

All of this information is there.

Meanwhile, if we could go across to Kanaya (ph) right now -- Kanaya (ph), you have been following -- in fact, you were there before the police actually arrived at the Martunga Station. And then you followed how people had -- how commuters had come out to help those who had been injured.

Tell us what you've been seeing.

KANAYA, IBN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it seems like we reached before the police as you rightly pointed out. We reached the Mumbai Station, where one of the blasts has (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We reached the track. Bodies were lying here and there. We tried -- when we were shooting, the people were angry. They were not allowing us to shoot. They were, in fact, saying that first we need to go ahead and help them out.

In fact, what (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they went out, helped out people, evacuated them from the train as they left from the railroad track after the police arrived. They were -- the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the police very little in the crowd was very huge, though. Even the police had a tough time controlling them. They couldn't stop them.

There was no information. For a short while, there was no electricity. The trains were stopped. So it was a complete set of pandemonium and shock. The police literally couldn't control it. We had some of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who said they themselves didn't know what was happening.

And somehow now the situation is -- seems to be a little under control, though people have to walk south kilometers and kilometers. Traffic is huge. It's absolutely chaotic out here. UNIDENTIFIED IBN ANCHOR: If you, Kanaya, if you could tell us, is there a -- is the BST now, of course, working over time? Because AN Roy, the police commissioner, told us a short while ago that the BST has been told to specifically go along routes along the western railway stations...

KAGAN: We've been listening a little bit.

This is a taste of our sister network, CNN IBN, in India.

They are covering the series of attacks in Mumbai, the financial capital of India. It happened during rush hour, killing as many as 100 people, injuring about 300, they're saying right now. And all of the major cities in India right now are on high alert following these series of blasts.

We're going to get to some news here in the U.S.

Accused of kidnapping and raping and burying a 9-year-old girl alive, John Couey gets a big legal break before his trial begins.

That story ahead on CNN, the most trusted name in news.


KAGAN: let's bring you the latest on what's happening now out of India and that region, this after the death toll rises to more than 100. More than 100 people are feared dead, more than 300 injured after this series of at least seven blasts rocked this commuter rail line in Mumbai, the financial capital of India.

The latest on that, the president of Pakistan, President Musharraf, coming out -- also, Prime Minister Aziz there -- strongly condemning what they call a terrorist attack in India.

Now, officials do believe this was a series of bombs that caused this devastation. But no group has come out so far and claimed responsibility for that.

We're continuing our coverage along with our sister network, CNN IBN in India.

And one of our correspondents, Jency Jacob, was actually on one of those planes as -- one of those trains -- as the blast ripped through.

Let's listen in to one of his reports for CNN IBN.

JENCY JACOB, IBN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's the background that we are seeing. Also in that the other blast did.

But let me talk about the place where I was.

It was a first class men's compartment and the first class men's compartment was the place where the explosive was kept. Nadeep (ph), also let me tell you that when I moved toward the back, I could see some explosive -- some pipes that were fallen down. The police were investigating that. And it seems to be that it was the explosive was packed up in pipes and kept in the first class men's compartment.

I spoke to the police that were investigating it. They are preliminary -- what they are saying, though we don't have confirmed reports, they are saying that it could be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kept in the compartment.

And looking at the explosion that has taken place and the kind of -- you know, the seats are ripped apart and moved out and are thrown out from the train -- looking at it, it seems to be -- it seems to be that it could be IDX (ph) and also the pipes -- the pipes that the explosive devices were kept (AUDIO GAP)...

KAGAN: That was Jency Jacob, a correspondent for our sister network, CNN IBN, who was actually on one of the trains that was ripped apart by a series of seven explosions today in Mumbai.

More on that as that story develops from India.

Right now, though, we want to focus on the Jessica Lunsford case and the convicted sex offender accused of her brutal murder.

Jury selection is underway again today in the murder trial of John Couey. Most of the potential jurors questioned yesterday said they didn't know much about the defendant, but they had heard of 9- year-old Jessica Lunsford and her disappearance in March of 2005.

Couey is accused of kidnapping, raping and burying the little girl alive.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty is Couey is convicted.

Now, just last month, the judge tossed out Couey's taped confession because he repeatedly, apparently, asked for a lawyer but didn't get one.

Let's talk more about that case with an expert.

Former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey joining me now from Miami -- Kendall, hello.

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Hey, good morning, Daryn.

KAGAN: First of all, let's talk about this jury selection.

A change of venue appears to be making a difference here in the number of prospective jurors that say they've never heard of John Couey. COFFEY: Yes, they moved the case, basically for jury selection purposes, two counties away, to the west of Citrus County, where it happened. A somewhat different media market. So they seem to have some results in getting jurors that are at least going to be open- minded, that haven't been inundated with all the publicity in Citrus County.

But this is a case where the shockwaves were felt everywhere in Florida. So certainly people have heard of this terrible tragedy and crime involving Jessica Lunsford.

KAGAN: As jury selection goes on, the defense, the prosecution, what is each one looking for?

COFFEY: Well, I think what the defense is looking for in the jury selection is to make darned sure whoever is on that panel hasn't heard, in some shape or fashion, any of the sordid criminal history about John Couey, a career criminal, apparently a proven child molester and a registered sex offender.

At the same time, they're obviously very concerned that they don't want anybody on this jury who might have heard about the confession, because that's slam dunk guilty if any of the jurors come on that panel who might have heard about it from a friend.

So those are the two big focuses in jury selection, not to get people with empty minds, but people with open minds.

KAGAN: And let's talk about what's being tossed out. Talk about some breaks. The confession gone. Any mention that he had been arrested on drug charges gone. And his sex offender status, the prosecution is not allowed to bring that up either.

But is there still enough to possibly convict this man?

COFFEY: Well, it's got to seem like this judge is bending over backward to protect the rights of somebody in a horrible crime.

But, Daryn, as we know, any conscientious judge wants to make very sure that you don't create a strong ground for appeal and create the risk that this traumatic, agonizing case might have to be done all over again someday.

Meanwhile, the focus of the prosecution is going to be physical evidence. They think they've got enough to convict.

KAGAN: And they're going for the death penalty.

So how does the defense build its case?

COFFEY: Well, the defense is going to try to pick apart the physical evidence. Here's the really tough part for the defense. Jessica's body, as we know, was found very close to the mobile home where John Couey was living. And even more incriminating, DNA and fingerprint evidence places Jessica inside the area where John Couey was living. In fact, DNA matching the mattress. So the big challenge for the defense is somehow to explain away the DNA and forensic evidence. That is a mighty tall mountain for them to climb, even with the confession thrown out.

KAGAN: We'll be watching from Central Florida.

Kendall Coffey.

Kendall, thank you.

COFFEY: Hey, thanks, Daryn.

KAGAN: To Washington, D.C. a raid on Capitol Hill -- another battle in the courts. One day after a judge upholds the search of a congressman's office, the lawmaker vows to appeal.

William Jefferson, who you see there, says he will challenge the ruling that the unprecedented search of his Capitol Hill office was constitutional.

The judge says making Capitol Hill offices off limits to police would create "a taxpayer subsidized sanctuary for crime."

The raid was part of an ongoing bribery investigation of the Louisiana Democrat. He denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime.

Once again we're following this story as it develops out of India.

Officials believe it was a series of bomb blasts that ripped through trains across Mumbai. At least 100 people have been killed. The latest on that story just ahead.

Also, when to shoot, when to hold your fire. Marines now training under a harsher spotlight.

That story ahead on CNN, the most trusted name in news.


KAGAN: A huge developing story out of India, where a series of blasts has taken the lives of at least 100 people.

Our Betty Nguyen has the latest on that -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Oh, Daryn, these numbers just keep rising.

So far, 135 dead. The latest numbers we have, between 250 and 300 people injured.

Several blasts causing this commuter train, at least one of them, to split in half, by the explosions. And this happened at the worst possible time, during rush hour when people were trying to get home in the evening. Now, as you just reported moments ago, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf says that he strongly condemns these attacks on these commuter trains. And in a statement, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry says the president and prime minister have also strongly condemned the terrorist attack -- key word here, terrorist attack -- and have expressed condolences over the loss of innocent lives.

Now, if I recall correctly, we haven't heard that being used so far today, although we have been talking about seven blasts.

But the Pakistani president calling it a terrorist attack.

And as of this moment, we have also not heard of anyone taking responsibility for these attacks.

But, nonetheless, a lot of damage caused by them. Seven blasts during the height of evening rush hour in Mumbai. One hundred thirty- five people dead and up to 300 people wounded so far, Daryn.

And as you know, they are under, really, a panic to try to get these people off of the trains. This is during the monsoon season, which is making it even more difficult to recover the wounded and injured in this.

KAGAN: Well, as I understand it, the entire rail system is India now has been shut down and all the major cities on high alert.

NGUYEN: Right.

KAGAN: Betty, thank you for the latest on that.


KAGAN: Making sure that the target is a bad guy -- Marines under more pressure now in Iraq facing tougher training here at home.

Our Barbara Starr traveled to one camp. She did it for "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eying a target, deciding whether to take the shot -- these Marines are in California preparing for their first tour in Iraq. The stress has never been higher. The headlines lately have not been good for the Marines.

(on camera): With allegations that Marines may have killed innocent Iraqi civilians in places like Haditha, the focus here is on training to make split-second decisions. The bottom line? Knowing when to shoot.

(voice-over): So training, already tough, has just gotten tougher.

BRIGADIER GENERAL DOUGLAS STONE, COMMANDING GENERAL, MARINE TRAINING COMMAND: I think in any one day here, an individual Marine will -- will have a month's worth of the kinds of activities they might have when they go in country.

STARR: That means a unit has to deal with possible simultaneous attacks from roadside bombs and snipers, while at the same time hunting for suspected insurgents.

Marines practice searching cars using hand signals to community clearly with Iraqis. They also practice staying calm. There are too many incidents of Iraqis being shot at checkpoints because neither side could communicate and troops panicked.

But there are no new instant answers about when pulling the trigger is the right thing to do, in a place where insurgents often hide among civilians. Commanders have scrutinized the recent killings of Iraqi civilians in great detail, trying to learn what might have gone wrong.

When Marines search a house or when they encounter a potential bomb, they are being told to rely on what are called their core values in those last seconds before they fire and perhaps kill someone.

STONE: That, we have emphasized over and over again, the fundamental decision-making criteria for what is ethical -- ethical use of force, what is the appropriate and measured level of response in any given situation.

STARR: In plain English, the most important thing is making sure the target is a bad guy.

LANCE CORPORAL THOMAS BULANDA, U.S. MARINE CORPS: One of the things that I learned personally is not to open fire, even though that may be your instinct.

STARR: So in a place like Iraq, full of unseen threats, sometimes the toughest thing may be deciding not to shoot.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Twentynine Palms, California.


KAGAN: Reports from the front lines and behind the lines on "PAULA ZAHN NOW," weeknights at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific.

From the world of rock, the death of a '60s legend, Syd Barrett, one of the founders of the British band Pink Floyd, has died. No word yet on what caused his death. He was 60. He left the band in 1968, before Pink Floyd recorded its best known work, "Dark Side of the Moon."

And in case you're wondering, it is him third from the right.

Syd Barrett dead at the age of 60.

I'm Daryn Kagan. Keep watch CNN. We'll have the latest on the developing story out of Mumbai, India, where more than 135 people dead after a series of bomb blasts during right here.

"YOUR WORLD TODAY" will have full coverage, coming up next, what was happening in Mumbai and across the globe.

And then I'll be with you in about 20 minutes with headlines from here in the U.S.

See you then.



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