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CNN NEWSROOM

Vice President Dick Cheney Meeting With Saudi Officials; In Afghanistan Coalition Forces Already Bracing For Spring Taliban Offensive; Cartoonist Holds Police At Bay For Two Hours With Toy Gun; Search Continues For Boys Missing From Red Lake Indian Reservation; Airline Travel Tips

Aired November 25, 2006 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: "Now in the News" a 24-hour curfew in Baghdad is not stopping the violence. In separate attacks, today, at least one person was killed, eight wounded.
The U.S. military say north of Baghdad, coalition forced killed 22 insurgents in separate operations.

Vice President Dick Cheney is seeking Saudi Arabia's help in quelling the violence in Iraq. Cheney arrived in Riyadh today for talks with King Abdullah. They are also expected to discuss Iran, Syria, and other regional issues.

In New York, a man was shot to death on the day of his wedding and two others were wounded. A.P. reporting police shot and killed the groom and wounded two other young men just after they left a bachelor's party early this morning in Queens. It's not clear what sparked the shooting, CNN's Mary Snow is heading to the scene, she'll us bring us more information when she gets it.

In Minnesota, the FBI is not ruling out foul play in the disappearance of two young Native American brother, Tristan Anthony White and Avery Lee Stately were last seen in the Red Lake Indian Reservation on Wednesday morning.

In Britain, a death by poisoning straight out of a novel, officials have determined that former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died from radiation poisoning. A senior British official calls the case unprecedented. Litvinenko died Thursday in London.

Attacks and revenge across the sectarian divide in Iraq. If it's not civil war, what is it?

Espionage, murder and radiation, the elements of a whodunit after the death of a former Russian spy.

And you might be happy to hear that you got into one of the nation's most prestigious universities, but now Harvard is offering a course to make its students even happier.

The news unfolding live on Saturday, the 25th day of November. I'm Carol Costello at the CNN Center in Atlanta, you're in the NEWSROOM. Baghdad on edge, families living in fear behind closed doors. Shiite and Sunnis step up the slaughter despite a strict curfew. It is so bad the city's airport remains closed at this hour and Iraq's president has postponed his trip to Iran. More now from Arwa Damon in Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): if you ask U.S. and Iraqi officials, they will not say that the situation here is spiraling out of control, nor will they call it a civil war. But if you speak to most Iraqis that are living with the violence here every day, they will just tell you that the civil war here started long ago.

If we just look at the period of the last few days, a deadly attack in a Shia neighborhood, Sadr City, where five car bombs killed at least 200 Iraqis, that is followed by a series of attacks mainly against Baghdad's Sunni population.

(on camera): Mortar rounds, as well as targeted killings, wounding a number of Iraqis, at least two dozen Iraqis, killing a number more. A gruesome report coming out of one Baghdad neighborhood, according to an official, with the Sunni deputy prime minister's office, he said that at least seven Sunni worshipers were torched by Shia militiamen. The U.S. military put out a press statement saying they dispatched an Iraqi army unit to investigate these reports. They have not been able to firm the torching nor has the Iraqi police.

But this increasingly an environment where rumors have more credibility than any military statement or any government official statement. Just the rumor that such a horrific act could have taken place is enough to keep more people at home and increase the level of fear with which they are living.

(voice-over): Iraqis look at this violence, they look at the number, the body count at the Baghdad morgue increasing, they look at the ethnic cleansing that is happening around them, and they say civil war here started a long time ago, the Iraqi government, what has it done for the population? Well, it slapped down this curfew that began at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, but largely in terms of trying to control the sectarian violence that, has still continued.

(on camera): Many of the Iraqis, especially in the capitol of Baghdad, are turning towards their government, turning towards their security forces and increasingly saying this is a government with an army and a police force that is dominated by the militias.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: The escalating violence between Sunnis and Shiites calls for a quick review of these two schools of Islam and how this tension came to be. So here are the facts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: About one in every five people on the planet consider themselves Muslims. That's about 1.2 billion. But there are many divisions in the Muslim community, the largest being between Shiites and Sunnis.

The majority of the world's Muslim population follows the Sunni branch. Only about 15 percent follow the Shiite branch. But in some countries, the concentration of Shiites is larger. These nations are Bahrain, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Iran and Iraq.

Shiites historically believe that religious authority has been handed down from Prophet Mohammed through bloodlines.

When you see "Imam" and "Ayatollah," these refer to Shiite religious leaders. Sunnis attach much less importance to their leaders and much more importance on Muslim traditions. There can be extremists in both branches of Islam, but Sunni extremists, like Osama bin Laden, have focused predominantly on the corruption of the religion and specifically the negative influence of Western culture.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: So now you have the facts. Let's seek some solutions in the Middle East. Vice president Dick Cheney is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for a meeting with King Abdullah. Nic Robertson is there, he brings us this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in the early afternoon, he was met by Saudi officials at the airport, driven off to wait for his meeting with King Abdullah.

What the Saudis would like to see come out of this meeting, they would like to see the United States not pull its troops out of Iraq because they believe that that will add to the unrest in Iraq, add to the war in Iraq and potentially spill over into Saudi Arabia.

Another of Saudi Arabia's very big concerns, at this time, is what they see as growing Iranian influence in the region. They see that in particular, they say in Iraq, they say they also see it in Lebanon where they say Iran, along with Syria, is helping rearm Hezbollah in Lebanon and undermine the pro-Western government, there. That, of course, something of concern for the United States as well.

What Dick Cheney could hope to get from the Saudis is for the Saudis to bring their influence to bear with the Sunni community in Iraq to help stabilize the situation there to help calm the tensions and passions down. But at this stage where the violence is so high and so strong in Iraq, any immediate agreement here today is very unlikely to see an immediate change on the ground in Iraq.

What I was told by one Saudi advisor was that the Saudis expect to be involved heavily with the United States in the region and in Iraq over the next two years, what exactly that involvement will be is unclear. The Saudi advisor also described this as a broad new initiative that will encompass not just Iran, not just Iraq, not just Syria and Lebanon, but will also deal with the militancy of Hamas.

That's how one Saudi advisor put it, however the vice president's office has not raised expectations, they have not divulged what they hope to achieve in the meeting. But it is clearly an important meeting that the vice president should fly all the way to Riyadh for one meeting with the king Saudi America and then fly directly back to Washington on Sunday.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: We will have more from Iraq in a little bit. We're going to talk to General Shepperd, but right now we want to talk to Reynolds Wolf. Because a lot of people might be flying home and wondering if the weather will be, wondering if their flights will be delayed?

(WEATHER REPORT)

COSTELLO: All right, thanks Reynolds. Keep it tuned here tomorrow for continuous travel updates. We'll give you the latest flight and weather information.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PROCESSOR JOHN HENRY, TOXICOLOGIST: Polonium is an incredibly potent poison. Is it 100,000 million times more toxic than cyanide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: And incredibly hard to get and dangerous and someone used it to kill this man. The investigation into the death of a former Russian spy in London.

And we'll get expert opinion on the violent free-for-all in Iraq, what can the U.S. do and can it do it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: "Going Global" now. In Lebanon, Hezbollah renews a threat to stage mass protest to bring country to U.S.-backed government. Hezbollah opposes today's cabinet meeting. It's expected to approve an international tribunal to try suspects in last year's murders of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

China and Pakistan, today, laid out plans for greater cooperation in military affairs, economic trade and other areas. The accord was reached one day before Chinese President Hu Jintao concludes his visit to Pakistan.

A rare sight off news New Zealand. Tourists in helicopters view -- those are icebergs, breaking up after drifting from Antarctica. Officials say a flotilla of icebergs floated so far north because of a New Zealand cold snap and of course you had the favorable currents, too.

We now know what killed former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, but the who, why and how are still a mystery. British anti-terrorism forces have joined other agencies to investigate. Litvinenko died of polonium poisoning Thursday in London.

That radioactive killer has British health officials concerned. They've closed several builds where Litvinenko went before his death. His killer remains a mystery. Litvinenko's friends and family say they suspect Russian president Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK TREVELYAN, "REUTERS" SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Many people would say, and certainly the dead man's friends are pointing the finger at Moscow, directly at Putin, that they're blaming him for this poisoning. On the other hand, there are people are who say, well actually maybe things have been set up precisely to look like that in order to frame the Russian Security Services, in order to discredit Putin and his government...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: British investigators are looking at who might gain the most by discrediting Putin. He denies any involvement in Litvinenko death.

Now those traces of polonium-210 have been found Litvinenko's home, a London restaurant, and a hotel. Could anyone else be at risk? Lawrence McGinty explains how this radioactive killer works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE MCGINTY, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Suddenly the familiar streets of London are not quite so ordinary. A sushi bar where Mr. Litvinenko had lunch, now closed after scientists found trace of the radioactive toxin discovered in his body.

A hotel where he had a meeting, they've discovered similar contamination there. And in his home, they found the same radioactive polonium-210. All this is uncharted territory, a poisoning like this has simply never happened before.

Polonium 210 is a highly radio active isotope, it's very toxic, even the tiniest amount, a trillionth of a gram can harm you, but only if you eat, drink or inhale it. It spreads rampantly through your body and within hours will interfere with the major organs: The liver, bone marrow, and heart.

Although radiation from polonium-210 is very destructive, it only travels a short distance. It won't even penetrate a piece of paper. So you could stand next to someone who'd been poisoned with no risk. You could only be contaminated by touching their feces, urine or sweat and not washing your hands before eating. HENRY: Polonium is an incredibly potent poison. It is 100 thousand million times more toxic than cyanide, for example. You know, the amount you need to be lethal, if it's swallowed, would be -- we're not about something on the head of a pin, but we're talking about something you could put on the point of a pin and lose there.

MCGINTY: Polonium is one of the nastier poisons found in nuclear waste, one indication that it can't be brewed up in a back bedroom. You need a lot of technology to make it, state sophisticated technology. That's what, agents like Mr. Litvinenko, would have called it.

Lawrence McGinty, ITV News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: We'll take up the problems in Iraq in just a minute. General Don Shepperd will shed light on the course the U.S. is on where it might need to change.

And it's an often forgotten front in the war on terror; we'll take you to the front lines of Afghanistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Baghdad, a city on the edge, mortar rounds echo in deserted streets. Revenge killings continue despite a strict curfew. Sunni gunmen raided two Shiite homes killing 21 men from two families. Baghdad's airport is now close and Iraq's president has postponed his trip to Tehran basically because he can't get out of the country.

The spiraling violence, an urgent matter for diplomats and the U.S. military. Joining us now from Tucson, Arizona, CNN military analyst, Major General Don Shepperd.

Hello, General Shepperd.

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: How do you do, Carol?

COSTELLO: Let's talk about the step that the U.S. government is taking to try to quell this violence. President Bush is supposed to meet with the Iraqi prime minister in Jordan next week. If that happens, Muqtada al-Sadr, the cleric, I guess, chiefly responsible for this sectarian violence, has vowed to pull out of the Iraqi government and that could crash the Iraqi government. So, let's say the worst happened, where would that leave the U.S. military if the Iraqi government just dissolved?

SHEPPERD: It'd be one more tragic step in a very tragic war, Carol, it would leave the United States in a country without a government to support, in other words, responsible for everything that's gone on there, instead of just some of the things that have gone on. This is as desperate a situation as it gets.

And there's two phrases the U.S. and the U.S. military doesn't want to hear, "spinning out of control," which clearly things are doing in Baghdad, and "civil war," which has become a symbol of failure if it evolves into a civil war. Clearly there is some sort of civil war going on. So, it's as desperate and depressing as it gets.

COSTELLO: So we can say definitively now there is a civil war going on in Iraq.

SHEPPERD: No, you can't say there's a definitive war as we know civil wars, but definitely this sectarian violence is some type of civil war, and it seems to be escalating, not getting less, so it's a very, very tough situation.

COSTELLO: So, if Muqtada al-Sadr is making life miserable for the U.S. military, why not take him out?

SHEPPERD: Well, it's easier said than done. He is visible, but we don't know where he is all the time. And also, you are there to support Nouri al Maliki, the prime minister of the sitting government, if he does not want Muqtada al-Sadr taken out and of course Muqtada al-Sadr is part of his -- one of the major parts of his support, if that would cause him more problems, then you produce more problems for the government that wants to support. So it's a circle of -- it's a very difficult circle to tread.

COSTELLO: So should President Bush meet with the prime minister of Jordan or shouldn't he?

SHEPPERD: Well, he's going to have to meet with the leaders in the area and if he doesn't meet with the leaders, it looks like Muqtada al-Sadr is calling the shots, which of course President Bush and Nouri al Maliki do not want to have happen. So there are lots of threats that get thrown become and forth in this area, so this is just one more threat. I suspect the meeting will take place somehow and Nouri al Maliki will also attend.

COSTELLO: OK, let's talk about Iran because the president of Iraq, Talabani, was supposed to go to Iran to meet with leaders there. He's probably going to go on Sunday when the Baghdad airport reopens, hopefully -- I mean, hopefully the airport will be open because that means the violence will have quelled somewhat. But if Iran gets involved, what does that mean for the U.S. military?

SHEPPERD: Yes, the Iraqi president, going over there, is a necessary step. Because Syria and Iran are mixing -- are in the mix on the bad things that are happening in Iraq right now. If Iran enters the war, of course that would be a huge major step, and then on the horizon, Carol, we have the Iranian nuclear program looming there with Israel, you know, Israel basically the target of the remarks of President Ahmadinejad of Iran. So Iran is a very serious problem, both within Iraq and then looming on the horizon with its nuclear program.

COSTELLO: So, if you're as you general on the ground and U.S. troops seem to be in the middle of a whole lot of things, what do you tell your troops? SHEPPERD: Yes, first of all, there is no quick solution. People are looking for a quick solution, the Iraqi Study Group is going to issue its report, we will do something, but if there was a change in tactics that the U.S. thought could make things better, they would be in the middle of it or already have done it.

There isn't any real quick change that's going to produce quick results. But I would do, is I would embed more U.S. forces with more Iraqi military, perhaps as much as a platoon with every battalion, giving them backbone, helping them come up to speed quicker.

That's the thing that I would do and then I would move against the militias. The militias are the key in Baghdad, they must be taken on, they must be disarmed for Baghdad to work.

COSTELLO: General Shepperd, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

SHEPPERD: Thank you.

COSTELLO: General Don Shepperd.

A world away from the battlefields of Iraq to the most recognized academic institution of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You come out of this class, I think, with a little bit more idea of how you can apply it every day. Whereas when I'm learning intermediate macro economics theory I don't see directly, at this point in my life, how I can apply that every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: How many times did you say that when you were in school? What else could be more important to your everyday life than say, intermediate macro economic theory? The class that has Harvard students feeling so happy. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alan Durning (ph) is on his way to work, no suit, just Spandex. Three months ago, the Durning family of Seattle gave up their wheels to help save the planet.

ALAN DURNING, SAVING THE PLANET: We're making a quantifiable difference because we're not burning anywhere near as many gallons of gasoline.

KAYE: If Alan's math is correct, and in one year cars emit their own weight in pollution, then he's saving the environment about 4,000 pounds of pollution.

Amy walks most places and a few hours a month, she rents a hybrid car.

(on camera): Without a car, Alan and Amy figure they now walk about a mile and a half every day. Not only is that good for the planet, but seems to be benefiting them, too. Together, they believe they've lost nearly 10 pounds.

(voice-over): And they've gained more of what they call "walking around money." The careless lifestyle saves them $200 a month, not much compared to what they hope to be saving the planet, but they'll take it.

I'm Randi Kaye, that's this week's "Modern Living."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Thirty minutes past the hour. Here's what's happening in the news. Deadly violence in Baghdad despite a 24 hour curfew, at least one killed, eight wounded. North of the capital coalitions forced killed 10 insurgents in Taji, a teenaged boy also killed and U.S. military reporting air strikes on a bomb-making factory killed 22 insurgents. The military also says a U.S. Marine died in combat yesterday in Anbar Province.

Vice president Dick Cheney is seeking Saudi Arabia's help in quelling the violence in Iraq. Cheney arrived in Riyadh for talks with king Abdullah; they're also expected to discuss Iran, Syria, and other regional issues.

On the day of his planned wedding, a groom was shot dead by police in New York early this morning. A.P. says two others were wound in the shooting just after a bachelor party in Queens. It's not clear what sparked the shooting.

Cartoonist Jose Varela was anything but funny when he held police at bay with a toy gun and a knife at the "Miami Herald." Varela was upset with the editor of the "Herald's" Spanish-language paper. He surrendered after two hours.

In Britain, a death by poisoning straight out of a spy novel. Officials say former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died from radiation poisoning. A senior British official calls the case unprecedented.

Sectarian violence on the rise, Baghdad under curfew, another U.S. Marine killed in Anbar province, the pressure on the Pentagon planners to turn things around in Iraq.

Our Kathleen Koch has more from the Pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More sectarian violence in Baghdad as U.S. forces make airstrikes, taking out rocket launchers in the Sadr City enclave. Tasked with finding a new way forward in Iraq is something Pentagon official's call the strategic dialogue group.

Rather than a full-scale review of options, say officials, the 16 members are engaged in a largely secret brainstorming exercise. Some just back from Iraq, the top officers are giving the Joint Chiefs of Staff inside advice and an unvarnished reality check.

GEN. PETER PACE, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I think what's important is that we look at the objectives that we have set for ourselves in this nation and that we, in the military, take a look at what is going right and should be reinforced, what's going wrong and should be changed.

KOCH: The president now speaks frequently about the internal review underway.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you know, General Pace is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in the process of evaluating a lot of suggestions from the field and from people involved with the Central Command as well as at the Pentagon.

KOCH: Some lawmakers have insisted sending more troops should be one option, and the top U.S. commander in the Middle East does want more U.S. troops to train and back Iraqi forces. But General John Abizaid has told Congress that sending 20,000 more would only help temporarily and be something the military could not sustain.

(on camera): It's unclear when the Pentagon review will be complete. The findings could act to either bolster or counter the recommendations due out next month from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Some unbelievable pictures for you now. A fierce battle between British troops an Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the left...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sniper fire coming down, mate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: IED, IED!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty-one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: We just thought we would share this with you, because, you know, a lot of people say, we forget there's something going on in Afghanistan right now. These pictures are from southern Afghanistan. Coalition forces have been fighting a resurgence of Taliban militants in the region.

Although winter in Afghanistan may slow down the Taliban fighters, coalition forces are already bracing for a spring Taliban offensive. Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is traveling with the top U.S. commander in the region.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Winter has already come to these mountains of Afghanistan, and the bitter cold means that in some areas, attacks by the Taliban are dropping off, at least for now. But the top commander is expressing his concerns about al Qaeda activity across the border in Pakistan.

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, CMDR., U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I'd say that the Pakistanis have done a great deal, especially in the areas away from the mountains, to get after al Qaeda, capture their operatives and make it difficult for them to conduct operations.

That having been said, there's no doubt that in this region, there is a safe haven on the Pakistani side of the border that needs continued work in cooperation with NATO forces.

STARR: Here in Afghanistan, commanders expect that 2006 will wind up with more than 100 suicide bomb attacks in this country, a tactic that had not been seen until recent years.

Indeed, commanders here tell us that in the last three months they have broken up six suicide bomb cells here in Afghanistan. The bombs that are seen here are still fairly rudimentary, though some of them have grown to be larger in size than they have seen in the past.

Still, as commanders say, the attacks are dropping off with the winter weather, they are already preparing to see a spring offensive by the Taliban.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Bagram, Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: And from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond, there's a lot to keep track of in the volatile Middle East. Lou Dobbs is keeping tabs. He tackles the chaos in the Middle East tonight and all week long at 6:00 Eastern right here on CNN, the most trusted name in news.

Imagine this cartoon: angry man storms a newspaper building, holds police at bay for two hours with a toy gun. But this was no cartoon. It really happened in Miami.

CNN's John Zarrella has more for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Miami Police SWAT team packed up their gear. The standoff ended the way they would like all of them to end: peacefully.

CHIEF JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE: Thank God everything went well. It was a very tense situation for three or four hours.

ZARRELLA: Police say at about 11:00 a.m., Jose Varela, a freelance cartoonist with the "Miami Herald's" Spanish edition called "El Nuevo Herald," made his way into the building and took over the sixth floor newsroom. Miami police were able to evacuate the sixth floor and isolate Varela there.

(on camera): A police negotiator spent about 40 minutes talking with Varela over a cell phone. Throughout the conversation, Varela told the negotiator he did not want to hurt anyone.

SERAFAIN ORDONEZ, MIAMI POLICE NEGOTIATOR: Since he's a cartoonist, I focused on his artwork and I focused on his family and I was able to defuse the situation, calm him down, get him to rationalize what he's doing and we were able to get out, bring him out of the building.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Police say Varela was apparently unhappy with some recent firings at "El Nuevo Herald," and he claimed "The Herald" was censoring his work. Newspaper officials say they never had any indication Varela had a problem.

VETTE DIAZ, HERALD MEDIA CO.: We weren't of any complaints or anything that would -- you know, we weren't aware that he was disgruntled in any. We were quite surprised to see the path the events today took.

ZARRELLA: This is the second incident inside the "Herald" building in the past year-and-a-half. The last time, a distraught city commissioner shot himself to death in the lobby.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: You reserved your seats, you've got your ticket, you arrive hours ahead of time, so why can't you get on your plane? Some ways to avoid getting bumped from your flight. That's coming up in our "Dollars & Deals" segment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: "Across America" this hour, the Justice Department will be asked to investigate the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta. Kathryn Johnston was killed Tuesday in a gunfight with police. The 92-year-old Johnston wounded three undercover narcotics agents when they came to her door looking for a drug dealer. Neighbors and relatives say it was a case of mistaken identity.

The search continues for two missing boys in the U.S. The brothers, ages 2 and 4, vanished from the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALICIA WHITE, MISSING BOYS' MOTHER: If anybody knows anything, seen anything...

JEFF GOLDBERG, REPORTER, KMSP (voice-over): A desperate plea from a mother missing so much, including an understanding of exactly how she feels.

WHITE: Lost. My babies are gone, out there in the cold by themselves.

GOLDBERG: 4-year-old Tristan and 2-year-old Avery...

WHITE: ... sweetest little boy, just lovey-dovey.

GOLDBERG: ... were playing outside the house Wednesday morning, as they often do. But when Alicia went to check on the boys just before 10:00, they were gone.

WHITE: We searched the grounds.

GOLDBERG: Almost immediately an intense search effort was in motion. By Friday, the number of law enforcement and volunteers had reached 175. They have used all types of vehicles and animals to scour a massive area of difficult and sometimes dangerous terrain.

Some, like Stewart Dajella (ph), who did not have time to walk the woods, gave whatever they could.

I thought about it during the night, you know. And I was wondering, well, what if my grandkid was out in the woods like that. You know?

GOLDBERG: Margaret Porter (ph), lacking strength to search, stood strong for her family in pain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we're all related as one, the Shinabe (ph) people.

PAUL MCCABE, FBI: Time is always a concern, and any time you have missing children.

GOLDBERG: FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said investigators still don't know whether the boys wandered off or whether they were taken away.

MCCABE: Right now there's no new information that would lead us one way or another.

GOLDBERG: Alicia White doesn't quite know what to think, but staying positive becomes harder every hour.

WHITE: You just kind of keep the thoughts out of your mind because they've been gone for two days now and it's been so cold out there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: If you can help, you're asked to call the number -- this number I'm going to give you. It's at the FBI, it's 612-376- 3200, or you can call the Red Lake Tribal Police Department at 218- 679-3313.

Two days after Thanksgiving, HoneyBaked Foods is recalling nearly 50,000 pounds of ham and turkey products. Wouldn't you know it? The Department of Agriculture is concerned the meat could cause listeriosis. That's a potentially fatal disease. The meat includes cooked, glazed, and sliced ham and turkey.

In other recalls, Volvo is recalling more than 170,000 passenger cars, station wagons and sport utility vehicles built between the years 1999 and 2002. A malfunctioning throttle could limit speed to below 30 miles per hour.

You might not see a new one of these things again, not from General Motors anyway. The carmaker says it's scrapping plans to develop a new family of minivans. Instead, GM is shifting focus to crossovers, vehicles that have the body and feel of a car but are designed to look like SUVs.

OK. You get to the airport in plenty of time. You comply with the carry-on rules, you make it through security, you get to the gate, only to find many other people at the very same gate, too many to all fit on the same plane. More people this year are being bumped from flights. Kevin Doyle of "Conde Nast Traveler" magazine has some tips on how to deal with that situation and other holiday travel hassles.

It's just wrong, it's wrong to be bumped. I don't care what the circumstances are with the airline, it's just wrong.

KEVIN DOYLE, SR. EDITOR, "CONDE NAST TRAVELER": Well, that's the way they do business.

COSTELLO: Why?

DOYLE: That's the way they do business. It's perfectly legal and they've been doing it this way for a long time. So all airlines overbook. There may be one that does not, maybe JetBlue does not, but in any case, the good news for the airlines is more people are traveling this year.

COSTELLO: Now, wait a minute. Why would they book so many passengers that they couldn't fit on one flight?

DOYLE: Because they don't want any seats flying empty and because they're allowed to. So they figure that some people aren't going to show up. It's called yield management. They say that they have these very, you know, complicated models that they follow and they're allowed to do it.

So as I say, the good news is more people are flying, but the bad news for travelers is that more people are being involuntarily bumped from their flights. So if you're alone in the first six months.

COSTELLO: So is there a person who's likely -- is there a...

DOYLE: This year alone, in the first six months, 8,500 more people were involuntarily bumped than were last year. So it's really important that you know what your rights are. And it all comes down to when the airline ultimately gets to you your destination.

So what they'll typically do is rebook you on another flight. And if you do get to your destination within one hour of your originally scheduled arrival, you're entitled to nothing.

If you get there between one hour and two hours of your originally scheduled arrival, you're entitled to one-half your fare or the one-way fare up to a maximum of $200.

And if they don't get you there within two hour, the two hours or later, you're entitled to two times the one-way fare up to a maximum of $400. So...

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: Well, I don't know if that makes me -- stop right there for a second. Stop for a second. Stop, stop, I need to ask you more questions. Who is likely to get bumped? Is there a likely person?

DOYLE: If you're traveling, you have much, much better protections. And that's also in the December issue of the magazine.

COSTELLO: Can you hear me? Can you hear me well.

DOYLE: Now I can.

COSTELLO: He's not hearing me. That's why he wasn't taking my...

DOYLE: Now I can hear you.

COSTELLO: You can hear me now?

DOYLE: Yes.

COSTELLO: OK, let me ask you again, is there a person who is more likely to be bumped?

DOYLE: Yes, generally it's the people who arrive last are the first to be bumped. So what we recommend is that you check in online as many as 24 hours before your flight leaves or that you arrive at the airport well within, say, two hours of your departure.

COSTELLO: Well, you know, during the holiday times -- and I know you're entitled to money if they get you there within an hour of your destination or two hours -- but sometimes you just have to be at mom's house on time. Is there any we to talk them into like putting you back on the plane? DOYLE: Well, not really. I mean, if you're the last to arrive, you're going to be the first to be bumped. And they'll do whatever they can to get you on the next flight and to get you there on time.

But some other very important things people should be aware of that they might not be aware of are passport -- changes in passport requirements. And on January 23rd, people flying between the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda will for the first time be required to carry passports.

Up until January 23rd, a driver's license and a birth certificate have sufficed. But starting on January 23rd, as part of our nation's efforts to secure the borders, everyone is going to need a passport and currently only about 25 percent of the population carry carries a passport. They takes about six months to process and cost between $80 hundred and $100.

So if you go to tsa.gov, which is the State Department Web site, you'll be able to find one of the 7,000 processing centers near you. Many post offices will take these applications. But you definitely want to make sure you have your passport if you have any travel plans to the Caribbean, Mexico or Bermuda after January 23rd.

COSTELLO: Will do. Good advice. Thanks, Kevin. We appreciate it.

We have news just in to CNN that I have to tell you about. This is according to Reuters. That curfew in Baghdad has been extended until Monday. As you know, last week, terrible violence there. Two- hundred people died in a huge car bombing on Thursday. There was also sectarian violence following the second day when two Mosques, two Sunni mosques. Twenty-two men were killed in that attack.

So the curfew has been extended until Monday in Baghdad. That means no flights south and, of course, as we've been telling you, the president of Iraq, Talabani was supposed to meet with Iranian officials this weekend but that's unlikely to happen because the Baghdad airport will remain shut down until Monday. When we get more information in, of course, we'll pass it along to you.

It's a class that students are more than happy to take. Learn what all the excitement is about just ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

COSTELLO: It is holiday time. And although we try to be happy, some of us just can't. We're just unhappy. Well, there is a place you can go to learn to be happy, and that would be Harvard.

CNN's Dan Lothian looks at a course that has students smiling.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the class Harvard students can't seem to get enough from.

PROF. TAL BEN-SHACHAR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: We can learn gratitude as a way of life.

LOTHIAN: It's not a course on philosophy or law or engineering.

BEN-SHACHAR: It's a class that focuses on making people happier and we all want to be happier.

LOTHIAN: Tal Ben-Shachar is part professor, part motivational speaker, delivering spirited lectures in a course called positive psychology, a mix of serious research, pop culture and pop songs.

Every class starts with a tune. Today's theme -- change.

BEN-SHACHAR: Do it. Just do it. You can't make a change in theory.

JESSICA GLAZER, TEACHING ASSISTANT: We take our happiness for granted and that is why it's so important that we study it. So I think it just works to help them to apply the class outside of the classroom.

LOTHIAN (on camera): Eight hundred and fifty-six students pack into this theater twice a week to learn and laugh. With so many pressures in life to achieve -- better grades, better jobs, bigger raises -- sometimes, happiness gets lost in the rat race.

BEN-SHACHAR: What is actually important for sustained happiness is the internal, our perception of the world. For instance, how do we look at failure? Do we see it as a stumbling block or do we see it as a stepping don.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): Sam Siner and Tiffany Niver are exploring those very questions.

SAM SINER, HARVARD FRESHMAN: It's telling us that it's not a bad thing to try to do what makes us happy because, ultimately, it will benefit ourselves and it will benefit everyone around us.

LOTHIAN: Students are encouraged to keep a gratitude journal to chronicle the positive things in their lives.

TIFFANY NIVER, HARVARD SOPHOMORE: You come out of this class, I think, with a little bit more idea of how you can apply it every day, whereas, when I'm learning intermediate macroeconomic theory, I don't see directly at this point in my life how I can apply that every day.

LOTHIAN: Some call it self-help; others call it life-changing. Harvard grad Liz Petersen was headed for a career in law until the class opened her eyes with three simple questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you find meaning in, what are you good at and what do you find pleasure in?

LOTHIAN: The answer sent her in a different direction. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Psychology and trying to help people be happier about their lives.

LOTHIAN: Perhaps a sign of the times that students have to be taught happiness in a classroom?

NIVER: I don't think college campuses as environments are less happy, I think it's because we can study something that makes us happy, as well as has huge impacts.

LOTHIAN: After all, where else can you find a course where something other than a good grade makes you really happy?

Dan Lothian, CNN, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: I can only say, Reynolds, if they're not happy in college, wait until they hit the real world.

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: A look at our top stories in just a minute, but first, Jennifer Westhoven has what's coming up in "IN THE MONEY."

JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks.

Coming up on "IN THE MONEY," SOS meets NBA. We'll look at how the new philanthropy applies business tactics to help people in need.

Plus, paid with good intentions. Find out why U.S. aid to other countries doesn't always do what you would expect.

And sweet charity -- we'll speak with the founder of a magazine that wants to be your handbook for changing the world. All that and more after a quick check of the headlines.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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